Social Distancing and the ‘requirement’ for PPE will finish off many businesses that the Lockdown didn’t

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The only indicators of what is happening to business and our economy as a direct result of the Lockdown is the collapse of high street business names making it into the media and press.

They demonstrate just how vulnerable business has become to unexpected change in an age where for most enterprises cashflow is king and those big enough literally borrow money that sits in their bank accounts between payments from customers and the time its used to pay their bills.

Small businesses don’t have the luxury of such choices. Many get into enough trouble spending VAT and Corporation Tax (or the equivalent) using bank statements as their guide to what they can spend rather than management accounts.

No matter the method or morality of how businesses manage their finances, the Lockdown has created financial chaos for the majority that have had to stop or drastically reduce operations.

The cases where the Chancellors giveaway or Loan Guarantees would actually help businesses are few, because there is an assumption that trade levels will return to the level that they were before the Lockdown immediately when it is lifted. They won’t.

Some business owners already have no way forward. The debt created was never part of their strategy and is simply too big to service when trading will have dropped and trading figures before the Lockdown only just covered wages and bills.

Others will keep going, knowing that the debt may be repaid, but it will be a black hole they didn’t need preventing investment, pay rises and all sorts of positives that would have trickled down positively for customers, employees and suppliers.

It doesn’t stop there. Even business owners desperate to keep going – because their business is their whole livelihood – may negotiate the challenges the Chancellor created to find that their attempts to keep going are derailed by Social Distancing and PPE.

Take for instance the Dental industry. I am aware of a Practice forced to take one of the Government’s underwritten Loans in excess of £50K – a massive dent for any business to absorb, IF things had been the same when the Lockdown ends and the private business that they have developed over many years was set to immediately return.

The sting in the tail are changes to regulatory requirements likely to demand expenditure on additional PPE and the requirement to the lengthen of time allocated for basic procedures that may make private dentistry unaffordable for most.

What many don’t appreciate is Dentistry is already one of the most regulated workspaces already with standing requirements for PPE and procedural safety for commercial business that make them second to none.

Businesses will not survive in the long term if they are required to undertake procedures and provide equipment for which there is no evidential need, made mandatory by some bureaucrat who doesn’t understand the implications of what they are doing for the business and for customers and patients who will no longer be able to afford what they do.

This scenario is playing out over and over again. Not just in Dentistry, or in public transport that I have mentioned before.

Services we all need are being wrecked for no reason, contributing to an horrific mess where the basic requirements of life – like going on a bus or having a tooth fixed – will no longer be something we can afford.

We didn’t need the Lockdown. We didn’t need Social Distancing. We don’t need either to continue damaging life.

We need this fear-driven farce to stop before life as we knew it before the crisis is completely obliterated by the cure.

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The Government has Bankrupted Britain whilst jumping into a trap that it will not climb out of if it continues to behave the same way

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Somewhere in London, a new kind of reality has dawned. We may note ever hear it spoken about or acted upon in any way or sense. But rest assured, a new era has now been born.

Six weeks ago, the Johnson Government took a series of decisions that are about to have seismic consequences for us all.

It began with the Lockdown. It was aided by the clever and manipulative messaging that was purposefully designed to make normal people too frightened to go out. It then culminated with a series of financial ‘support’ measures such as the so-called ‘Job Retention Scheme’ that has failed businesses, workers and the Country at large whilst addicting many to ‘free wages’ and polarising them against returning to work.

The Bank of England has today announced that the UK is officially now in recession, and this my friends is just the start.

The Lockdown itself was unnecessary. It traded all the certainties and regularities of life that we had like going to work, the pub, the gym, the shops, catching a bus or train or visiting whoever we might like to as and when we wanted to, for a gamble on what stronger leadership would have known would be a futile attempt to control a virus which they could only ever manage – not control.

The use of Behavioural Insights and mass manipulation, aided by an out of control media to install fear, purely on the basis of getting people to accept and adhere to the Lockdown and the Social Distancing measures that the Government imposed was a textbook example of both what to do and not to do all wrapped up in one.

Use of terms like ‘Stay at home, save lives’, ‘Protect the NHS’, and go outside on Thursday night at 8 and clap for the Keyworkers succeeded in securing such rigorous levels of buy-in to the Lockdown, Social Distancing and the measures taken, that many people genuinely and sincerely believe that acceptance of any and all measures that the Government dictates will be the only way that they can remain alive.

Many will not willingly respond to directives that go the other way, simply because the subject matter of the manipulation used has touched on the promotion of measures to avoid death.

Death and its avoidance is the primary fear that drives many parts of life and sits within the subconsciouses of us all. It influences so much in life, but rarely finds its way coming into our rational view.

The financial package that the Chancellor followed up the release of the genie with was much too clever for its own good. It over complicated matters when there was always a simple, fairer and much less damaging way to mitigate the fallout from the lockdown whilst addressing the issue of income for us all.

It is unlikely that senior members of a national government running the UK Treasury would not have known about or discussed the alternative options that were at hand. So we must conclude that the absence of real leadership at the top meant that the Government yet again went for what seemed to be the easy option rather than the right one, and in so doing laid out a giant trap for itself into which the Country is now about to fall.

In the coming days it is likely that the ties of the Lockdown will be loosened. But with the same ideas and mentality driving the direction now as we have experienced since the COVID-19 emergency began, it is likely that in only a couple or a few weeks from now, the Government will have to return us all to the full Lockdown again of not something even more punitive, because these so-called leaders have still not faced up to their responsibilities or the most salient facts.

That is of course if the majority of people still agree.

You cannot inflict absolutes on a population to resolve an emergency when no absolutes about the emergency like when it will end and how it will be ended are known.

It takes real leadership to go against the media and say that it is unavoidable that people will die, but we also have to maintain a level of life and functionality across everything that lies beyond the emergency so that we can make it possible for everyone else to live.

But that is exactly what we needed from Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak at the beginning of the Pandemic, and even now, which such an incredibly damaging chain reaction for the economy now started and underway, it is the same thing that we need to hear them say.

COVID-19 is not going anywhere anytime soon and we cannot restrict every other part of life with Lockdowns and Social Distancing measures that are completely impractical until it has, just so the fearful believe that we have it all under control.

We don’t. We wont. And what the Government has been doing has been giving people they have deliberately worked up into a frenzy of fear false hope and a false sense of security. People genuinely believe that they will avoid death by following these measures without realising that they no longer have lives to live.

The Government needs to manage Coronavirus as the firestorm that it is. That means firefighting wherever the fire breaks out by focusing all the resources where necessary and not spreading them out so thinly that we will continually be overpowered by a Virus that they still don’t understand.

Only when the Government does this will they begin to be able to start addressing what is going to become the far more pressing crisis at hand: How do you manage an economic crisis when you cannot keep printing money and printing money is the only thing they can think of that will work.

 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the Government is being honest with people as he now tells us that he wont be able to protect every business. Neither statement is true

Finally, in the past 24 hours, media talk has shifted away from supporting the NHS and nothing else. It is beginning to focus on the unfolding financial disaster that is hoovering up businesses viable before the Lockdown was imposed and is set to cast millions of us into unemployment in days and weeks ahead.

Watching the Tory supporters club lauding everything that Boris and Chancellor Rishi Sunk have done as being heaven made since the travesty of the Lockdown began, is enough to make an objective observer’s stomach churn.

It should have been obvious from the start that the Lockdown was itself a very dubious way to address a Pandemic where so many unknowns and variables were involved. The response to the impact of the Lockdown on jobs, incomes and businesses was never considered in the depth that it should be or even really thought through.

Telling the Country’s workforce and business owners in March immediately following the Lockdown being imposed that nobody would be left without help sounded great to those who were listening and trusting, rather than questioning at the time.

But for those who have been left to fall down the very sizable gaps in the Government’s provision, the potential fallout from this Conservative Chancellor’s failure to understand the very nature of how business works and think through how his decisions will affect them first, and ultimately us all, looks increasingly bleaker by the day.

Some of the most simple problems in life are in fact so simple, they are simply too obvious for some to understand.

In this case for politicians, it has been the absence of the basic understanding that throwing money around at only the most obvious groups of people to have lost their income because of the Lockdown was never going to fix the problem for everyone else, nor help the whole UK economy in any meaningful or balanced way.

Instead, the Government and the people who advise them have opted to create complicated solutions that were only ever destined to complicate rather than simplify what was always needed by People and Business to be a very simply result.

The problems caused by the Lockdown at the start are still today only going to be addressed by putting a temporary halt to ‘normal’ monetary flow.

Bringing a a halt to normal monetary flow means suspending the need for all people and businesses to pay bills for normal services or products unless they continue to operate normally during the Lockdown.

Stopping ‘normal’ monetary’ flow was and remains the simplest way to treat everyone fairly and in the same way during the Lockdown and the period of recovery thereafter. Because the impact will always be relative to what those people have and what they earn – as any policy that is supposed to work for everyone universally always should.

It was and remains within the power and the reach of the Government to enact such a policy now.

The Government can and should mothball the financial situation for all those who are about to lose jobs or businesses and put life on hold for them so that it can be resumed, once normality has returned.

It can surely only be an unforgivable lack of understanding of how business, the economy and monetary flow works by the Government, or a deliberate move on the part of politicians and their advisors – whose first loyalty is to the world of finance and the banks – that the ‘solution’ we have to the impact of the Lockdown has been created and rolled out in the way that it has.

With things unchanged and left as they are for the duration of the COVID-19 Pandemic, you only need to follow the Taxpayers money that the Government is pumping out through these policies to see who it is who will still be doing well and profiting out what has continued to be business as usual for them during a time of national crisis for everyone else. They are the ones who are still getting paid exactly the same – if not more – as they were in ‘normal’ times.

Addressing the realties of the crisis that will accompany any pandemic would never please everyone. Some will feel they have less. Some will want a lot more. But there is no excuse for our political leaders to fail to enact decisions and public policy which is fair and treats everyone like they are valued by Government and Society as being in need of exactly the same help when the experience we are all living through is exactly the same.

When considered fully in context, the Chancellor’s latest warning there will be tough times ahead is ridiculously after the fact. Especially when it is his own and the Government’s Policies in response to Coronavirus that were the beginning of the real problem the UK is now facing, rather than the Pandemic itself being the cause.

The stupidity, self-interest or mixture of both that has led to this situation is of such magnitude that it would be justified and reasonable to demand that the Government resign.

The problem is that a Labour administration under Kier Starmer could not offer us any better and would potentially create an even bigger mess than the Conservative Government as the champions of business are doing with an 80-strong majority all on their own.

We are stuck with a Political class that is so out of touch with the lives of the people it governs, it is going to make a very bad situation for us all considerably worse.

We can only hope that if civil order breaks down as a direct result of what the Government has done, the void that will be created will be filled by someone or something that knows how to turn this all around and make things right.

This. Is. Not. Enough.

Everyone needs the Government to do more.

What the Government has done for us financially is not enough.

Paying people just enough so that they might be able to service their bills only helps the banks, the finance sector and whoever owns property and capital further up the chain.

This isn’t fair. It is making profit from misery. It is going to hurt many more than it will save.

It isn’t fair that so many people are riding the clutch on debt and just about managing in normal times.

There is no way that prioritising or showing preference to creditors during a national crisis is in any way fair on all of us now.

The madness has to stop.

The Government must ditch the complicated solutions and lack of consideration for the impacts and consequences that the decisions they are making will really have.

EVERYONE MUST BE TREATED THE SAME

It doesn’t matter if you are Self-Employed, Unemployed, a Shareholder, Zero-Hours Worker, Professional, Key-Worker or Business Owner.

EVERYONE MUST BE TREATED THE SAME

The only way to deal with this crisis equitably and in a way that will work for EVERYONE and put us in the best place possible for us ALL to pick up our lives and resume them as near as possible to how they were before, is to shut down the normal flow of money until normal business can be resumed.

STOP THE BILLS, THE INTEREST AND THE ACCUMULATION OF DEBT FOR EVERYONE

Don’t piss about with clever ideas that sound great when they are shared from a lectern during a TV briefing, but only end up helping some, and then in too many cases only part of the way.

EVERYONE WHO HAS LOST INCOME DUE TO THE SHUTDOWN SHOULD RECEIVE EXACTLY THE SAME 

£94 a week is enough for any one person to feed themselves and buy the necessary essentials IF THERE ARE NO OTHER BILLS TO PAY.

KEY-WORKERS, ANYONE else who is able to continue working or ANY BUSINESS that continues to trade will get the immediate bonus of having a payment holiday – which is a very fair and balanced way for the Country to say a big thank you for all that they do.

Anything else is simply setting us ALL up for a great fall.

Businesses are already closing and will not reopen.

Jobs that have been put on hold will never return.

The Crisis DOES NOT need to be made worse for any of us than it already is.

The Government can do this and it can do it quickly.

THIS IS THE HELP THAT EVERYONE NEEDS!

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The Government is forcing us to fear life as if it were the same thing as death

img_5361Friday was a very dark day for this Country.

Journalists, activists and supporters cheered on Boris Johnson as he effectively closed down life for any other purpose than to facilitate work that cannot be carried out from home, or for making what has become a futile attempt in recent days for many of us as we attempt to service basic human needs.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor succeeded in convincing the party faithful that a half-hearted attempt at addressing the financial problems people now face would be beneficial to everyone. In fact it prioritises only the needs of some without coming anywhere close to answering the real questions for them or anyone else.

Many others were simply bypassed by the big words of this written-on-a-fag-packet strategy altogether, when what could and more importantly should have been a working plan to treat everyone the same and as an equitable cause was simply not considered at all.

What many of us are missing as we watch the endless streams of news and what has quickly become the media-driven 24hr Coronavirus Show, is that these Politicians are not in charge of what they are doing, nor are they successfully meeting their real obligations to the people who elected them and put them in office in any thought-through way.

Whilst they would like us to believe otherwise, the Politicians making the decisions today are human beings who like most people outside of Westminster are actually very afraid.

The problem with this form of leadership is that fear is no leader when what is called for to genuinely help others is the ability for them to be strong.

Our leaders are not leading. They are being led by fear themselves, and that fear is leading them to make decisions that have already or soon will become an overkill that really hurts a lot more people across this Country than it could ever really help.

The Government and the people advising them are more afraid of getting a few very specific things with healthcare wrong, when they should be a lot more afraid of not getting everything else about this Crisis right.

There are some cold and harsh realities that we all must face about the Coronavirus itself and what the reaction of the Politicians, the State and the so-called specialists working alongside them is going to do.

None of them are particularly nice.

Key in peoples minds will be the tragedy unfolding in a very personal way for the people who have and will continue to die. It’s horrible, but the media focusing on individual cases non-stop as they are doing is making the whole experience for everyone else unnecessarily much worse.

Next will be the toll that dealing non-stop with Coronavirus in our hospitals will be and what the exposure to that will mean for the longer term mental health of those who were already working on or have volunteered to join the front line. This is the job that they have trained and committed to doing and keeping this in the forefront of wider perspective is what will keep the wheels turning.

However, the one reality that we should all wake up to, be most concerned with and understand today is the one that nobody is talking about. The one that unlike Coronavirus does not have the capacity to go away. The one where the Government is prioritising the fight to prevent the most vulnerable in society from possibly dying prematurely at what is the disproportionate cost of denying everyone else the ability to have and maintain any kind of normal life.

Yes, we are hearing horror stories from Italy and from other places around the World about infection rates and the related number of deaths.

But we have no guarantee that the potential for any of that to happen here will be mitigated by shutting down the country just to facilitate what could be a delay.

What none of the medical people, specialists and experts can tell or rather guarantee any of us, is how long Coronoavirus will be here and how long social distancing will remain their only solution in what will surely be an ongoing and what will soon feel like a permanent process of temporary delay after temporary delay.

Indeed, on the basis of what they are telling us, the duration of this social lockdown will actually need to go on for as long as it will take to exhaust the spread of the virus throughout the entire population, or alternatively to create a vaccine, test it, produce it and then vaccinate everyone, or which ever will be possible to achieve first place without any further or unseen delay.

None of this advice being given is based upon real numerical facts. Even if it was, that advice would be or is subjective, is based only on the management of critical health care and does not take into consideration any of the wide-ranging impacts, consequences and knock-on effects for people, businesses and society as a whole that an unmitigated focus on being able to provide ventilators at the time that everyone might need them has already began to cause.

We already know that our leaders are thinking the time their policy of social distancing will take to keep the need on any day for these resources, managed by the pathway of time, is likely to run into many months. As such, it could easily become a period of years.

Meanwhile, the Country is set to fall apart on nothing more the basis that because Coronavirus is new and has a name, it is somehow more important and therefore must be treated differently than the significant number of deaths we have in this country each and every day or every winter when the figures for deaths from existing conditions such as seasonal flu alone are typically already much worse.

The reality that we all must face once we have been conditioned to it and matured is that this life ends for every one of us in some way, some day.

This whole crisis and the decisions that Politicians, Advisors and government officers are taking right now are already affecting and are about to take over our lives both today and for the future.

They will do so based only on the premise that we should listen to somebody with a title without question, whilst they are themselves motivated by fear of something even they don’t fully understand, and are taking little more than a guess about how only the things they are responsible for in isolation might turn out.

What is more, the number of people that this unproven and best process of guesswork might save from an early death is likely to turn out significantly smaller than all the hype being peddled by our irresponsible media would suggest.

The consequences of shutting down this Country, the economy and all of our lives simply as a strategy so the NHS can cope will inadvertently kill, destroy lives and create a level of hardship for a number of people that will go way beyond – if not actually totally eclipse the number that this fear-driven escapade on the part of people driven by their fragile egos will ever save.

Yet the deaths, the suicides, the life-long mental health issues, poverty, hardship, the destruction of relationships, safeguarding issues and many other forms of malaise and negative knock on effects for individuals and families that the choices the Johnson Government is going to create by shutting down businesses, our lives, our incomes and our ability to pay the debts that they have done nothing to keep at bay, will never get mentioned or championed by these same Politicians in any way.

Yes, Coronavirus kills. But death is an inevitable end to this life and other diseases, conditions and factors will always kill more.

The fear of our Politicians and the stupidy and self-serving nature of the media that leads them has turned a drama into a crisis, simply because they have been able to give the fear that they thrive on a name and through their words and actions have given it the power of being like a flip side celebrity cause.

The misery that their ineptitude, ignorance and incompetence will cause to many more than will ever die from Coronavirus is an uncomfortable subject that the establishment will wilfully fail to recognise when any individual brings a story of real life misery to their door that might uncover the horrid truth about how those in power operate whilst exposing their many flaws.

The real fear for us should not be Coronavirus.

Our real fear should be our politicians and the people advising them because they are out of their depth.

Through the actions of shutting down our lives and making us dependent upon everything they say and do, we are together and collectively being coerced into behaving and therefore believing that it has become normal to fear living in the same way that we are conditioned to fear death.

Leaders who are afraid of their own shadow will not easily relinquish the control which their fears have motivated them to take at a time when they were trusted because they believe they will continue to keep them safe.

In the weeks to come and as the inequity and self-serving nature of their thinking becomes more apparent and as it becomes clear how their inept plans are going to turn out for everyone, people are going to realise just how over the top the dysfunction of this wholly avoidable shutdown of our lives really is.

As things like the parts run out to keep the lorries and ambulances running that they are telling us will keep us all safe whilst everyone is shut down, and the flawed concept of social distancing remains the only political parable that exists, people are going to realise just how draconian and out of touch with the hard-hitting realities of the wider and wholly avoidable Crisis they are creating alongside Coronavirus that our current Government and the thinking of the MPs around them really is.

None of us really wants anyone else to suffer.

We certainly don’t want anyone to prematurely lose their life.

But the reality is that we are all being forced to sacrifice our lives and peace of mind for little more than a cause that has value because it has been a name and therefore a face.

The response of the Government and the specialists to Coronavirus is going to damage and destroy much more for us, our Country and our future indirectly than it is ever directly going to save.

Neither the Public or Business can service debt without income. The Chancellor’s Coronavirus ‘help’ is yo-yo politics that flashes in the face but simply doesn’t go that far

img_5330The ineptitude of our politicians is stunning.

The problem that millions of people and businesses right across our country are facing is that their income has already stopped, soon will do, or at best is going to be severely reduced.

So what does the Chancellor do?

He sets them up with a loan.

And that’s for the specific people he has actually identified – certainly a long way from being them all.

We don’t know how long the Coronavirus Crisis will take to complete its course. We don’t know when ‘business as usual’ for any industry or occupation will be able to resume. We certainly don’t know if trading levels for any company will then have even the remotest possibility of returning overnight.

So when faced with losing either your wage or your business losing at least some, if not all of its trade, the last thing you need is a loan – even without interest – that is open ended in its value because you don’t know how long you will need it for; loans that will already be unaffordable to pretty much everyone because it’s not something that you have either made allowance in your monthly domestic outgoings or business income vs expenditure budgeting for.

img_5329For a Chancellor of the Exchequer – and a Conservative one at that – to not understand the implications of what would be no more than a cynical headline-grabbing plan in normal times would itself be very profound. For him to do it at a time of National Crisis, when people and business need genuine help to survive, whatever the duration, and then be able to return to their own normality at some point in the future whenever that might be is profoundly ridiculous at very best.

Whilst the Tory troops are lauding the whole effort and shouting plaudits suggesting that this is the best Chancellor we’ve ever seen, the reality is dawning on many people that the measures he has announced is little more than yo-yo politics, where what appears to be given to those in need at speed will just as quickly return to the hand of the giver on what is a deliberately transparent, yet firmly fixed string.

Regrettably, the approach that the Johnson government is employing in the handling of the Coronavirus crisis is akin to something that would fit right into the conspiracy theorists playbook.

Talk of confining the public to their homes for many months on end; the shutting down of public events, gatherings, and pubs and now a series of financial measures dressed in the rhetoric of being there to help and support us, whilst in its cold and hard reality does anything but.

At best, it all points to a disproportionate level of control being levied upon the public at large by an inept Government living in fear of its own responsibilities and driven by the interests of a very close cadre of financial and business interests that it feels unceasingly obliged to prioritise and serve.

God help us all in a few weeks if the Public become tired of what may well quickly prove be a misdirected overkill and people then take to the streets. Because all of this ineptitude on the part of a Government that thinks that with an 80 seat majority it can do no wrong, really will give currency to the words and actions of those who will prove themselves to be far more dangerous than fruitcakes and loons.

The Government has a level of power and the responsibility to use it at a time of National Crisis like this that it never has before.

We may not be at War. But the circumstances are potentially as severe nonetheless.

This means that the Government and in particular both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister have an incredible opportunity to step beyond the restrictions and shibboleths of so-called peacetime protocols and carry out the real functions of the Offices of State that they are there for.

But to do this they must lead and not be led.

No civil servant, no adviser, no specialist, no expert has the knowledge, training or experience to come up with the comprehensive solutions that will factor in everything that needs to be considered.

They certainly have no way to know if what they do suggest, advise or contribute will turn out being right.

That means listening to ALL of the advisors, specialists and representatives whilst keeping in mind that all of them will have their own bias and self interest in the solutions that they offer. But that even when the solution they offer might appear to work, it wont work for the many if it prioritises financial or other benefits to the few.

In the first instance, to be equitable and to be fair to EVERYONE and not just the usual suspects and same old few, our Leaders MUST instruct the Civil Service, Industry and the Financial Sector what the solution will be and not make it voluntary for them to support or options that they can choose on the basis of it being like advice.

Breaking completely new ground it might be, but if Boris wants to go down in history as the PM who saw this thing through the right way and got the job done, this talk of £300 Billion in the underwriting of loans and grants needs to be scrapped immediately and replaced with radical Standstill Legislation with key points like these addressed fully in clear and unhindered view:

What the Country needs:-

  • People and businesses don’t need debt relief or loans for the duration of the crisis. They need the payments to completely STOP.
  • We ALL need payments for non-essential services and items to STOP.
  • People who have been laid off need surety that their jobs will continue to exist.
  • Interest payments of any kind need to STOP.
  • People who are self-employed or working in the gig economy need the same basic income as everyone else affected too.
  • HMRC needs to go on holiday and open the VAT window for collections to at least 6 months from 3 or even more – WITHOUT levelling interest.
  • People who have been laid off or have had their wages reduced need the surety of a basic income just to pay for food.
  • We need the Government to step in takeover every service that was formally in public hands so that essential utilities and services can be provided to EVERYONE who cannot work, trade or keep going as normal for the duration of the crisis FOR FREE – Not paying the retail bill for every household and business, but by taking over and underwriting the whole supply chain so that there is no profit taking at any level remaining involved.

What we don’t need:-

  • A Government unable to look beyond the restrictions of what advisors advisors tell it is possible, what it has done, or what history tells us that it can do.
  • The same pockets being lined with profit now during this crisis as they are in normal times

Above all, the solution that will work now and for the future must be applied on a blanket basis.

By taking over and underwriting essential services and ensuring that EVERYONE has at least a basic income that will cover the cost of a weeks food, the Country and everyone not working within it will be in the best place during the crisis to financially survive and then thrive once this terrible chapter has ended and is over.

The benefit for those who continue working in roles like the emergency services and in our hospitals, the benefit in kind will be that they receive a payment holiday whilst they are working. That’s a sensible and fair bonus for doing their bit for community whilst we all do our bit for each other to ensure to survive.

 

images thanks to dreamstime.com

 

 

 

 

 

This Government’s retarded view of it’s responsibilities and how the economy works will inflict misery upon small business and generations to come whilst all the usual suspects get a bumper pay day

The new chancellor had a massive opportunity to look the Coronavirus crisis in the eye and do the right thing in his announcement today.

He has failed.

Lending – or rather underwriting loans to the tune of £330 Billion sounds like a big thing. But all it will do is line the pockets of the same old lenders in the finance and banking sectors, whilst shackling businesses and the people who have been or will be laid off or lose their jobs as a result of the crisis to years of debt, simply to stay afloat because of a situation that is not anyones fault.

Nobody should be able, nor allowed to profit from the misery of this situation. We should all be in this together and the Government should be using the responsibility and power that was entrusted to it last December to think outside of the perimeters of what normality tells them they have option to do, and implement solutions that are equitable to EVERYONE and not just those who are able to legally print money whilst creating an even greater financial divide between the have’s and have not’s, where it is the same old usual suspects who will realise a very quick win.

Managing and taking this Country through the Corona Virus Crisis is not something that should simply be contracted out by the Government and placed with private profit making interests and into shareholder-driven hands.

To do so now is fundamentally irresponsible, a surrender of responsibility and a sell-out to the very same people who are using the debt burden placed upon people right across our society to create every greater levels of profit whilst inflicting misery and what is becoming the 21st Century version of enchained slavery where simply remaining financially solvent has replaced the ability to simply enjoy life for too many of us as our priority and cause.

This is little more than looking after your conservative friends Chancellor. Do the right thing and help us all by putting this insidious debt-driven economy on hold and use the legal power that your Government has to create the Standstill Legislation that would help all businesses and all the people being effected by this dreadful outbreak to survive whilst things are critical and then pick up where they left off when this crisis is over and life is no longer simply put on hold.

 

No Chancellor, it’s not hijacking Brexit when the People are taking back from you what we already own

MANDATE 1Two days out from the European Elections on Thursday and fear is back on the menu for those behind the Brexit crisis as they desperately attempt to regain some control.

Suggesting that ‘Populism’ is hijacking Brexit sadly says a lot more about the bubble that the politicians who have been running our Country are living in, rather than anything we should take as any form of appropriate or informed analysis about the ingredients that could be about to lead to a substantial Brexit Party win.

This approach has become a trademark gesture of those Politicians who still believe that the UK will continue to be ruled after Brexit by their exiting ‘Old Politics’ world.

That they attempt to again soil and pour scorn upon the reality of a democratic uprising by casting out and blackening the names, identities and views of a majority of Voters is only going to fuel the growing hatred and contempt of the Public for this ‘we know what’s best for everyone’ and ‘me, me, me’ form of Politics. The outgoing order, where the majority of this political class consider themselves to rule by some twisted kind of divine right.

They forget that they relinquished the right to continue with their own selfish ideas and stupidity, when they tossed over the decision over Leaving the EU to the People. Yes, David Cameron might have driven it, but these are the self-same, self-serving, self-righteous Politicians that supported him then who have since and are now involved.

Whatever kind of spin these proponents of the ‘Old Politics’ use as their argument against the democratic choice of the People to Leave the EU, history tells us that when the results of other elections have suited them and their purposes, they have never had reason to question the legitimacy of our decision and the way that it was formulated and then made.

The European Referendum of 23rd June 2016 was based on a tried and tested binary question, legitimately agreed and endorsed by our Country’s Regulatory Processes. It was not loaded or misleading and it certainly was not a multiple choice list of ways we could Leave the EU like the one that our busted flush politicians have tried presenting in Parliament since, like Brexit presented in 50 different shades.

Just as we, the Public have to own our choices when we appoint a new Government, we are right and justified to expect the choice we made for a clean and proper Brexit to be honoured both materially and in spirit, and given time to demonstrate all that will be different BEFORE any attempts at a review of OUR DECISION is ever made.

The fact is that We the People made the choice to Leave the EU.

You, who We trusted and Elected to represent us as our Politicians have done nothing less than attempt to steal OUR BREXIT. You have done this for reasons no better than self-interest, your fear and therefore your unsuitability to continue in roles that have much loftier levels of responsibility and justifiable expectation than you were clearly ever cut out for.

We cannot hijack Brexit.

Because Brexit was never and will never be yours.

Brexit is the Will of the People.

Brexit is therefore ours.

And Brexit will be properly delivered by a new Government. Whether that Government is made up of existing Politicians who have put their hands up and are prepared to think differently, or by one driven by the populism that you hate. A Government that will without doubt have the qualities that most of you seem sadly to lack within this one. That’s the best of intentions towards the Electorate – irrespective of whether they may or may not have any flaws.

Explaining the Deficit: Let’s call it the Overspend instead…

Red-HerringYou are probably feeling quite fed up with politics, politicians and all the talk of May 2015. If not, the chances are you may be one of those planning to run in the General Election.

Wherever you look, the Parties are sounding off in what they are calling the ‘long campaign’ which runs from now until April, and the Deficit is something we are already hearing a lot about.

But when a Westminster politician starts talking about Deficit reduction, or making statements that indicate they ‘plan’ to reduce the Deficit to zero by the year XYZ, you may be one of the many people left wondering what they are actually talking about and what it really means.

You might not be sure what the Deficit is. You may not understand the difference between the Deficit and the National Debt. But whatever question you may have, don’t worry. Even MP’s have struggled to explain the difference when they have been asked to do so.

Giving new names to existing products, services or methods of working isn’t a new idea. In fact, it’s not just Westminster politicians who use new names to sell their ideas and many of the new products you buy will just be a re-hash of an old idea using new words to describe something differently; just so it sounds like something better.

Selling is one thing. Misleading us another. The term Deficit is perhaps one of the biggest red herrings that Westminster has created, and especially so when they use it to draw attention away from the spiraling National Debt.

So what is the Deficit?

Perhaps the easiest way to picture the Deficit is to think about the Government as a person. A person who earns money and then spends that money on house-keeping and all the things that it might need.

Where we might run a home, the Government’s house is the whole of the UK.

Where we might spend our money on food, the mortgage or rent, clothes, transport, paying back loans and maybe going out, the Government’s housekeeping bill is public services such as the NHS, the Police, Armed Forces, Education, Transport and Local Government.

Whereas we would do a ‘job’ to earn a salary or perhaps an hourly rate of pay, the Government ‘earns’ its money through Income Tax (PAYE), National Insurance, VAT and all the other types of Taxation which we all pay.

Whilst most of us can only earn what our employer agrees to pay us, every year, the Government sets itself a Budget for all the money it will spend on public services. The Budget should ideally not be more that what the Government has ‘earned’ or will ‘earn’ from Taxes during the year that the money will be spent.

When a Government decides that it wants to spend more in a Budget for a year than it will ‘earn’, it has two choices. The Government can raise Taxes so that it has more income than it did before, or it can borrow on top of what it has earned and ‘overspend’ – even though we are normally told that they are spending within Budget.

The difference, value or balance between what the Government ‘earns’ and what it has planned or does actually spend in its Budget, is what Westminster politicians call the Deficit.

Each Budget Deficit – or the Deficit for that year, is what we would call a loan*.

The Government pays interest on that loan*, and this interest – and the money which has to be paid back each year is then added to the housekeeping bill for the term or lifetime of the loan.

When the outstanding balance of the loan* and interest for the year isn’t paid off, it becomes the National Debt and every unpaid Deficit or overspend for each year is added to this.

Surplus

Another term you may hear used by Westminster politicians in the coming months as one of their ‘aims’ is ‘Budget surplus’ or just ‘surplus’.

A surplus in this sense would be the sum of money left over if the Government did not use all of the money it ‘earned’ from Taxes in a year and then had some left over.

Reaching a surplus would be the only point that the Government could then begin reducing the National Debt.

The Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne is suggesting that this will be achieved by 2020 if the Conservative Party are elected with the majority of seats in Parliament in May. Being in Government with a majority and not as part of a Coalition as they have been since 2010, will allow them to make even more cuts to public services than they have so far and this is how the Conservatives plan to reach a point where they have a surplus.

Whether you support the plans that any of the Political Parties have or not, the fact is that this Coalition Government and the Labour Government before it have both had an annual Deficit or have overspent each and every year for a long time.

We wouldn’t be able or allowed to spend money like this ourselves unless we had savings to fall back on, and neither would the Westminster politicians if they were dealing with their own finances.

 

* The way that the Government ‘borrows’ money is not normally the same as going to a bank and asking for a loan. To borrow money or ‘raise funds’, the Government usually sells bonds, which banks, other financial organizations and sometimes even other Countries buy on the basis that they will get the value of the bond returned to them at the end of the lifetime of the bond – probably 3 or 4 years, and that they will receive a fee or fixed amount of interest on top of that for the period too.

When a bond comes to the end of its lifetime and the Government is unable to pay off the balance or value of that bond and its interest because there is not a Budget surplus, the Government then sells more bonds to cover the cost of doing so.

 Image: Source unknown

 

The 2013 Budget has created more perspiration than aspiration for those who keep on paying the Nations bills. It’s about time the Coalition Government started growing balls on their own Bench, rather than gifting their Opposition the opportunity to do it for them

This week’s Budget has been received differently by us all and in a manner which illustrates all too clearly how shallow Policy making has now become when imbalance and impact are considered.

Talk of support for working mothers with young families, tax free loans for first time home buyers and even a 1p drop in duty on a pint of beer have done little to disguise the fact that there are so-called  ‘winners’ and then real losers at every turn. The Chancellor has done little to give any credence to his ‘Budget for an aspiration Nation’, other than the complexity of the words he used to speak this statement.

As a culture which now thrives on the use of labels and stereotypes, we have happily painted ourselves into a set of social pigeon holes where many of us hide from the realities which we share with many others. Successive Governments have formed policies on this basis which has left very few of us with any immunity from the pros and cons of a Taxation and Benefits system where the only thing universal is its level of unfairness and the disparity that now fails us all through its application.

Getting to grips with economic problems which are continuing to grow at an alarming rate will not be achieved by tinkering around the edges. Nor will we as a Nation be insulated against the gathering storm of explosive financial issues within the European project, such as those in Cyprus, unless Government begins to consider all Policies in terms of how they will impact upon all others and not just in the isolationist manner that they have continued to do so up until now.

A truly balanced and fair approach to formulating Government Policy now seems to be the most alien of concepts to our Politicians, particularly when party politics has been the long accepted means by which to target benefits to those whom are considered to be your bread-and-butter support.

But until the time that Politicians accept the principle of fairness in a meaningful way as a guide to Policy making, and particularly where Taxation and Benefits are concerned, nothing for anyone else outside the Westminster Village is going to change.

Government will soon have no option but to use systems such as a Flat Tax and wholesale simplification of the Taxation System if they genuinely want to treat everyone fairly whilst encouraging growth, prosperity and ambition in a way which balances the books.

Benefits must be targeted and restricted for the use of those who genuinely need them using common sense as a guideline, rather than the culture of tick-boxes which allows so may to play the System within a politically correct and fearful age.

Above all, Politicians must now accept that Policies created on the basis of improving rights in the workplace have now gone so far beyond their point of good, that they have made some of the very jobs they were created to improve unaffordable to the employers who at one time provided them.

Whether Westminster likes this as a truth or not, each and every Government Policy in existence today interchanges with almost every other, through the impact it has upon the lives of us all. Policy implementation may have its benefits to some, but this has for far too long been at the unacceptable cost to the many. This has to change.

Osborne’s threats to break up Banks: True banking reform will take leadership by example rather than the issue of diktats to the financial leviathans for whom God is profit first and the interests of the very customers who keep them there come a distant second

Commercial Altruism is perhaps an aspiration, but a term which certainly describes the kind of ethics that we need to see exhibited more often within industry and certainly within the Financial Sectors where its absence has been so painfully apparent.

Any resistance to George Osborne’s plans to require Banks to split their retail and less-stable investment arms in attempt to avoid further Taxpayer-funded bail-outs will hardly come as a surprise,  and particularly so when politicians themselves hardly exhibit anything near that type of mentality. But is this really all that the Government actually has within its power to do?

Few could actually believe the sums thrown at the rescue packages of the Banks which had effectively beached themselves through little more than acts of greed and complete disregard for anything other than maximising profit on the part of a few – all at the cost of people who have paid perhaps not just once through fees; but twice by then paying out on the losses when speculation – upon what is effectively thin air – crashed to the floor, as anything without true foundation surely would. The true wonder is how they kept the charade going for so long.

Forcing banks to ‘ringfence’ funds and therefore prevent further Government intervention through the creation of dedicated retail arms, is hardly likely to encourage a growth in benefit to domestic or small business customers. It is in fact more likely to increase the cost of basic banking services to people who already struggle to make ends meet and to those small businesses that need to be subsidised themselves, rather than to be given no option but to subsidise focussed services that banks are currently reluctant to give.

The development and provision of a an easy-to-access or ‘peoples’ bank which would provide the basic account services that everyone is entitled to access is the responsibility of Government, and should be set up as such.

Providing basic free-banking services in this way would provide Government with many advantages such as access to unfettered borrowing streams without 3rd party profit margins being included. But it could also support the administration of ‘smart’ card payments to retailers by customers, restricting the purchase of certain items by those being encouraged into work, with the added benefit of instantly losing the stigma which would be associated with payments made with a non-bank-derived payment card.

Better still, a Government-based bank run as a public service and with a customer focused culture, rather than one based upon benefits to employees and stakeholders may be able to provide many of the products which those on low incomes currently seek such as ‘payday loans’ without the utterly unrealistic levels of interest, and also provide the low-cost services and low-margin lending which new and existing small businesses need in order to survive and then thrive as we have so very long been seeking.

Creation of such a new bank – or indeed adaption of one of those that the Taxpayer already owns – would require a radical change in thinking and the type of leadership which has been sadly lacking in British politics for far too long. But it could be done.

The real question here is whether the Chancellor and the Government really want to affect change in the way that the Financial Sectors operate.

True banking reform will take a lot more effort than simply telling the banks to split their operations or even go back to employing managers within every branch.

Reform will take leadership by example and the provision of the best services possible for those who have the least money first; not by sound-biting newsworthy diktats to the financial leviathans for whom God is profit first and the interests of the very customers who keep them there come a distant second.