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Opinion

Despite the threat of Omicron, glorious uproar will erupt again

The spread of coronavirus is once again threatening Christmas and the plans we have made with family and friends. Editor of The Big Issue, Paul McNamee, is certain however that better times and “glorious uproar” lie ahead.

We’re all tired of it. We’re wandering around checking Omicron updates shouting like Al Pacino in the third Godfather film. Just when we think we’re out, it pulls us back in again. Such is the growing frequency of Covid pings that the nation’s mobiles are ringing out like the chorus of Ding Dong Merrily on High.

The streets begin to empty. The hospitality sector is taking another hammering. The plans for some kind of break, a Christmas to beat last year’s limits, are no longer fixed. While so far there hasn’t been a spike in deaths, it’s easy to feel a bit defeated.

We’ve been around this way before. In March 2020, as we lurched into the unknown, things were darker, certainly for The Big Issue. It was a time of crisis, for our vendors and for us as an organisation. But we emerged.

The Big Issue was strengthened by the support of tens of thousands – of friends, new readers and an army of subscribers. It allowed us to stay upright, and to get over £1 million in support out to our vendors. This tricky time requires an additional hand up. We encourage you to support vendors when you can if you see them on the street. If things get even quieter, consider a subscription.

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There are always green shoots. Manchester United look like they’re finally getting their house in order. There is a new Mrs Brown’s Boys set to bring festive cheer. I know EVERYBODY likes it. And we should all have the positive mental focus of the determined group of girls I passed in Glasgow city centre a few days ago, heading (masked) towards the pub. “Have you rung in sick yet?” one asked the other, more in demand than query.

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I read a great piece by marine specialist Philip Hoare last week. He talked excitedly about the reawakening of a coral off Indonesia that had been thought previously to be dead. Due to work by diligent oceanographers it was free from manmade peril and was again, said Hoare, “erupting with glorious uproar”.

Teeming with life, the fishes and other creatures down there were helping the ocean “crackle and roar”.

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I don’t know if the girls in Glasgow were going to bring glorious uproar, but at least life still beats. I look forward to some kind of uproar returning for us all. Things will remain difficult for a time. For some people the dark times will be pitch. This Christmas we will need to rediscover that spirit of community that had so many looking out for the least of us back in late spring 2020.

But it will pass. We will return and find our way to sound our glorious uproar. I’ll stand you a drink when you’re ready. (Actually, I’m getting a bit carried away. There are a lot of you. Let’s agree to meet for a drink.)

Until then have a merry and safe Christmas.

Paul McNamee is editor of The Big IssueRead more of his columns here.

paul.mcnamee@bigissue.com

@PauldMcNamee

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine. If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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