Frustration is a feeling that we have reluctantly embraced in these Covid times. It still feels awkward writing those two words concurrently, but the fact is we now define time globally alongside BC and AD.

Collective frustration comes in many forms but ultimately leaves us in one of two camps: the frustrater or the frustrated. On the one hand we watch Hancock, Bojo and the poor man’s political Mr Bean, Williamson, as they strike fear nationwide, yet continue to not so subtly blame us, Joe and Josephine average, for our current plight.

On the other hand, we make do and pretend to enjoy our plight, including events such as football. Sky Sports current offering, even with the fluff, is not the same product, despite the visual opening credits starter purporting to add some excitement to the upcoming, underwhelming, main course. The top echelon of gilded footballers are unmasked and given preferential treatment, whereas your kids aren’t.

To overcome this frustration we turn to social media for some respite, only to find the virtue signalling has shifted from overdrive to rampant with the advent of lockdown three. Now, many of us continue to question what we are told. For clarity, we are not Covid ‘deniers’. It is a potent virus that deserves our respect and scorn in equal measure, yet when we question the impact of masks, the two-metre rule, the shutting of schools, the cancellation of operations and ultimate early deaths of many of our compatriots, we are branded as ‘Covid deniers!’. This virtue signalling then emanates by many actively defriending or disassociating themselves from what they deem to be uneducated ‘covidiots’.

And so, we continue to be tarnished if we don’t fall hook line and sinker for the rhetoric as we are ordered to do what we say, not what we do. Sainsbury's is one such example: it recently followed Morrison’s by virtue signalling its intent to ensure all customers wear masks before following it up with the words that enrage me: ‘we are doing all we can to keep you safe’. After you enter a heaving mass of bodies, all attempting to contort their bodies away from any human contact, despite them fingering the item you have just put down.

And yet should you voice your concern publicly you are struck down with fire and brimstone. The rhetoric you have been force fed gets spewed with wanton abandon as you are accused of being a denier! Anti NHS! And not adhering to the rules to keep us all safe! For the record, the majority of the curious among us do adhere to all the rules, despite questioning them vigorously, and still the frustration grows.

The Trump supporters are criticised (rightly) for their storming of Capitol Hill as ‘undemocratic’ and, the Tango man is called a sore loser, and quite rightly so. Yet, many of those, most vicious in their condemnation, from politician to layman, have spent the past five years attempting to derail or overthrow the Brexit vote. There have been legal challenges, voting down of legislations and blocks put in the way at every turn. One might ask if they genuinely believe in their actions, or are they too attempting prove a point - that over half the population were wrong and they were right as they openly criticise Trump for being undemocratic while being the sorest of losers themselves.

And so, the frustration grows and grows. We are told to listen more, to care for one another, yet seem incapable of doing so until the only course of action open is to thrust our frustration onto the only vehicle in which we still have some semblance of an opinion: The ballot box. But then our political allegiance doesn't get into power as we claim a fix, and the frustration cycle continues with no end game in sight.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher