When I heard that Culture Declares Emergency was organizing a series of ‘Letters to Power’, I thought to myself: “Rupert, you should probably write one”. You see, I have spent much of my life attempting to talk to, persuade, even beg those with power – our elected leaders, heads of banks and businesses, big organisations or media companies, for example. I have written many, many letters to power before.

Though to be frank, it’s been largely pointless; while some appear to listen, most fail to hear and even more refuse to act.

Trying once again felt a bit like bashing my head against a brick wall. I felt my enthusiasm for the project draining away.

But then I stopped for a minute and really thought about power. Especially in the context of these last three tumultuous years.

I started to re-assess my assumption about who this letter would be directed to. When I looked up the dictionary definition – “the capacity or ability to direct or influence the behaviour of others or the course of events” – and I recalled the way the world has changed since 2018, it became clearer where the power really is.

With us, the people.

We were the ones who, earlier this year, initiated precautionary action when, at least in the UK, our government was clearly going down a different, deadly, route of (non-) response to the Covid crisis.

We were the ones who supported our family, friends and neighbours with countless good deeds during lockdown, and who stood in public solidarity with the NHS and key workers.

We were the ones who questioned, and continue to question, the motives of our rudderless governments in their stance on coronavirus.

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