The law of consequences



It seems like we are living in unprecedented times and it is hard to focus on anything really except the great cloud hanging over the world. In my mind I am marching, marching, marching. Every day. Pretending it’s all going to be ok or that running away [latest destination selected by daughter one: Iceland] is a solution seems a bit beside the point at the moment.

Yet continuity is important too, particularly for children trying to negotiate the world they have been thrust into. The everydayness of inset days – even if they are spent checking out how to get a Spanish passport for the kids in case things turn ugly; auditions for Hairspray [daughter two is up for a part in the anti-racism musical]; parents evenings about international exchanges, a vestige of the old world where tolerance and mutual understanding were seen as good things.

When I was a health reporter, back in the day, there were various health “scares”. The MMR debacle was one of them. Every day there were panic-filled headlines. Every day was spent trying to look calmly at the actual facts. One of the main problems, it emerged, was our inability to understand the concept of risk. Everything has some element of risk. It depends what kind of risk you are willing to contemplate – a small risk of one thing versus a major risk of something much worse. All decisions have consequences, even deciding to do nothing.

The problem these days seems to be that people are focusing only on their small bit of the picture without seeing the wider perspective and the bigger risk, but ignoring the bigger risk doesn’t make it go away.

So here we are in this weird sort of cross between carrying on as normal while realising that everything is far from normal, with the tectonic plates shifting all around us constantly. Trying to focus on the everyday and the small picture with the alarm bells of the bigger picture flashing all around us.

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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