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Both of my Grandfathers fought for the 75 years of Freedom we had that Boris Johnson ended on a whim in one day

Today we celebrate 75 years since Victory in Europe was declared. VE Day truly was a special occasion for us all as it marked the end of a European tyranny that had the destruction of freedom and a way of thinking that should be alien to us all at its very heart.

I cannot put into words how proud I feel of both of my Grandfathers and the roles they played. They volunteered rather than waiting to be called. One with the Royal Navy, the other with the Royal Artillery. Both suffered physically after the Second World War had finished and neither of them had lives that we would now consider to be long.

What they fought for has become too easy for us to overlook. In fact many people today are so insulated from the realities of the hardship that the wartime generations experienced that many have surrendered them without even giving it a second look.

The point was driven home to me this week when I was asked the simple question ‘What are you missing most’. I passed and thought about it and said ‘The freedom to choose to do the things that we can’t do at the moment, whether it’s go for coffee, for more than one walk a day, to a pub and of course to meet up with people in real life’.

Whoever you are, if you have any respect for the workings of a democratic and civil society and what that means – which the majority of us genuinely do – you will not be alone in constantly wondering whether your interpretation of the Social Distancing ‘rules’ is right. The chances are you have that feeling you need to look over your shoulder to make sure you aren’t doing something ‘wrong’. You will probably also be one of a significant majority who has been quietly questioning themselves if there had ever been a time that we had continually seen so many Police Cars and Vans on the street and wondering where they had all been parked before the Lockdown began.

The Lockdown is not freedom.

This is how a police state works.

This is how a dystopian society kicks off.

The great irony is that it is the mirror image of our wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill that Boris Johnson has always intended that his ‘leadership’ would be seen to be.

They are not on the same page, in the same chapter, the same book or the same library for that matter.

Churchill was driven by service to his Country. He was objective with the decisions he made during the war to a degree that many people today simply do not have the life experience to understand.

We won the War by facing and accepting all the costs.

Boris is driven by service to himself. He is subjective with the decisions he has been making during the COVID-19 emergency and his decision to impose the Lockdown and the steps taken to control the Country in his attempt to fight the impact of a Virus over which there is still no definable way to fully contain has set off a chain reaction of events that are escalating out of his Government’s reach and control. It has already restricted both our physical freedom and our freedom of thought.

Boris is losing the UK’s campaign against the Coronavirus emergency because he and his Government believe that they can pick, choose and plan their way out.

Their futile attempt to control Coronavirus has opened a Pandoras Box of problems that their limited and self-serving thinking will never be able to resolve.

The loss of the Freedom that many Grandparents just like mine fought for is just a drop in the ocean of the challenges, difficulties and pain that are now on their way as a result of what this Government has done.

We need a real Churchill to lead us out of COVID-19 and the massive challenges that now lie ahead if this very different kind of war is ever to be won and the freedoms taken from us on a whim by weak politicians is to be fully returned.

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.

 

Money is no longer god. Oil is just the start.

April 22, 2020 Leave a comment

If you had spoken to an economist just a year ago, they are likely to have told you that a situation could never exist where oil could not be sold. Yet that is exactly what has happened around the World in the past 48 hours.

Oil has long been known as black gold for good reason.

In its refined form it fuels and lubricates our cars, lorries, buses, trains and aeroplanes and is used in the manufacturing process for a seemingly endless number of different things.

Its sale, trading and transportation has become such a key part of the World economy at large, economists and industrialists watch both the price and the quantities being sold at any time very closely. Downward fluctuations in price are often a good indicator of the economy slowing down – simply because less production and use of oil means that demand for everything else has dropped.

Oil production has been used as an economic weapon for a long time. One of the most unsettling realities of the interest that the West has had in the Middle East and Arab States since the Second World War has been maintaining dominance of the control of the Worlds oil supply – as the taps being turned off would normally mean that everything else can be brought to a halt – or supply restricted to the point where the prices of everything go through the roof because of the key role that oil plays in the production of almost everything today.

Oil has always been about money. Those who own the oilfields or have monopoly over the supply have until now been guaranteed to be able to write what seems like an endless cheque.

Not any more.

Suddenly, the vulnerability of their bomb=proof industry can be seen for what it as and the role that it plays within our lives.

Despite the fear that COVID-19 has created, and the damage that is being done as a result of the very poor choices and decisions that our Politicians have made, there are good reasons to be positive about what the future and the post-COVID-19 world will hold for us all.

The stranglehold that big business, the banks and the finance sector has on us all because of the way that money is generated, manipulated and given false value by the trade in commodities like oil is being broken.

Right now their grip is being destroyed by a tiny little Virus that neither we, the Government nor they can control.

A great door has been opened and we are literally entering a different World to the one that we have all previously known.

Money is nothing. It is an idea. A construct and nothing more. Money only works because we consent to it being a means of exchange. Yet it has become so important in our lives, we have culturally come to the belief that the possession of money and the other trappings of material wealth are the only things of value and the only way that we can truly assess what someone is actually worth.

Having our lives shutdown by the Lockdown has began to show us all what money and wealth is really worth. We have a choice between attaining and attempting to keep a false material wealth that always sits outside of us, or recognising the true value within us all that is never in transition and remains and intrinsic part of us all.

No, I am not making light of the pain and anguish that many people are already or are likely to go through in the coming weeks and months simply because the Chancellor and the Johnson Government haven’t got the financial support for everyone who has lost their income right.

In fact, one of the most telling reasons that the Government has got this all so very wrong, is the inherent belief within the establishment that Money is the god that underpins all things and that it must continue to flow at all costs or everything will go wrong.

It won’t.

The lesson that the Johnson Government will soon learn if it has not done so already is that they should have used the responsibility and the power they have to bring the economy to a halt whilst they dealt with the COVID-19 emergency, instead of continuing under the ridiculous assumption that bailing out people and small businesses because they suddenly have no income was the right and only thing to do.

This Government has simply turned an emergency into a crisis and made things considerably worse for us all.

Because of what our Politicians have done, as individuals, as communities and together as a Country, we are now set on a pathway which is going to cause us all a considerable amount of pain.

The flip side is that we are already and will continue to look, feel and think differently about the World around us and the way that things are being done.

Our values are already changing and are going to change further still. Whether it’s as simple as being because we can now see how working from home can introduce a much higher quality of life, or that we don’t need the regular visits to restaurants, coffee shops and out-of-town shopping villages – simply to be happy as we once thought we did, we are collectively going to see life and everything around us through a very different lens.

We will no longer see celebrity and status as the be-all and end-all. Instead we will see the value in conversation and relationships with others around us in ways that we can already appreciate today, that before the Lockdown we never even realised we had.

The march of globalisation is now over no matter what any banker, economist or business leader thinks. Jobs once lost from the UK will ultimately return.

We are going to want to shop locally with local traders and local producers who we can trust to be there in ways that big business cannot. As we do so, we will help our local producers to produce more efficiently and more cheaply and we will see the value in consciously considering and supporting the use of shorter and more considerate supply chains for the provision of everything that we use in our everyday lives.

The political system in this Country will not survive what our current politicians have done.

The Political Parties we have are part of an establishment that is out of touch with the realities of life for those who are governed.

Those who govern us in the future will have to understand everything that they are working with around them in the sense of a genuine and empathetic three-hundred-and-sixty-degrees world view.

Governance is going to be about the consideration of consequences in all that a Government or Authority will do and no longer about what a politician can gain from getting a job, rather than what they are there to give and do on behalf of us all.

We are going to work together and see community and collaboration as a way to do things for the benefit of everyone, rather than just a way to further our own cause. The power that is there to be harnessed by working together will be beneficial for everyone, because it will no longer be about money and its imaginary value, but about caring and consideration for all.

Much too much credence and power has been given to people who call themselves specialists and experts in one or other field and they have played a significant role in bringing us to where we now are. They are usually highly intelligent people with qualifications as long as your arm. But intelligence given by anyone without care, consideration and thought for others is wasted. It will never account for anything of real value in whatever they do.

The real opportunity that has come from COVID-19 will be the fall of money as a god, the reevaluation of what real wealth really is, and with it the return to a way of being and seeing the world where everyone has value, no matter what it is they do.

2020 is going to be a big year for us all.

We need the government to change its approach or for there to be a change in government NOW

April 21, 2020 Leave a comment

img_5679The clock is ticking. Every minute. Every hour. Every day.

We are living through an extraordinary period of change.

As we all struggle to make sense of our new way of living, confined to our homes, passing each other at a distance and in many cases wondering how we will soon afford to live, it is easy for any one of us to allow national and world events simply to pass us by as if there is no risk that we will ever be found out.

Yet the problem that we all now face is the Government that is supposed to be leading us at this time of national crisis is doubling down on all the mistakes it has already made. It is on target to make things considerably worse for us all.

There is talk today on the media channels of apportioning blame to the Government for failing to take COVID-19 as seriously as it could have done at an earlier point in time. The difficulty in doing so is that the Government would still have taken the same disastrous steps that it has done since and would have done so then.

The inescapable truth undermining the Coronavirus is that there is no form of reasoned control of the epidemic that comes without the price being far too high for us all in so many different ways beyond the specific impact on health of the Virus itself.

Sadly, for many of us facing the struggles that we are, it is only with the benefit of hindsight that we will be able to look back at late March and April 2020 and see that the Government let the Lockdown go too far and didn’t do anything near enough to mitigate the losses that it has inflicted upon people, businesses, industries, sectors and the whole economy at large.

The Government isn’t coping with its responsibilities and it is not going to do so.

The Government is obsessed with the words of specialists and experts, and using data as the anchor upon which it can pin its decision making on.

Yet Coronavirus is new and there are absolutely no guarantees or anything set in stone about what will happen if it continues to prioritise the Coronavirus emergency rather than the crisis that it has created around us all at large.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a series of unknowns and variables from start to finish. This its nature and how it will all play out until a Vaccine has been found, produced and is in comprehensive use. Nobody knows how long this process will actually take.

Everything else across our lives was full of comparative certainties that give security to each and all of us simply because in general terms, we are focused on what we can all control, rather than the things that we can’t.

What the Government did by upending our lives with the Lockdown in the way it has – in a rush to try and control a Virus that it simply cannot control – has been to compromise us all, our jobs, our businesses, our communities, our industries, our sectors and our economy at large.

These Politicians simply weren’t big enough to make the right decisions for no better reason than that they would be unpopular and that to do so would be to go against the false populism that our out of control media has stirred up since the COVID-19 chapter began.

If the decisions had been made in isolation and there was nothing further for the Government to now do, the situation we are facing would be certainly not be looking as bad. But Coronavirus and the impact it has had on this Country and on the World at large is not now going to simply disappear and go away.

There will be decision after decision to be taken that will effect how we as a Country live with the Virus in the coming months and years. There will be decisions to be made about how we save our own economy and get back on track during a downturn that has all the makings of a catastrophe for the World economy too. There will be decisions about our relationship with the EU which may now need to protect us from what might be its imminent collapse. There will be decisions that need to be taken about the changes that we now need to our public sector, the way we work and live or what we know as the British way of life. There will be hard decisions about seeing off trade wars, re-localising our production, going green and significantly reducing our dependence on globalisation as the way to get things done. Above all that, the Worldwide changes that are underway bring with them a significant risk of armed conflict in the months and years ahead, especially with the rhetoric and even law suits being targeted at China, whom the small-minded and profit hungry are looking at to lay all the blame.

These decisions are just the start and are only but a few.

This Government has already proven that it cannot think ahead, work strategically, operationally, or simply to do what’s in the best interests of everyone right from the start.

With a growing list of historic decisions that will now have to be made, these are not the people we want to be steering the ship that we are all now sailing on.

This is nothing as simple as a change in political make up and a switch to the left from the right. Labour, the Liberal Democrats nor any of the existing political parties can offer anything  better than the Conservatives can. They have all been created, developed and have thrived within a system that has no concept of what is morally or ethically right.

Nor is this about a fall back position to a form of government made up of all the usual suspects, the bankers, the so-called business leaders, the rich, the famous, the people who have a name. They might all look different, but when it comes to power and responsibility, these are people who will continue to forget everyone but themselves like this Government has done – just the same.

We are now in the realms of needing a shake up of the whole establishment and the removal of those who have and won’t to be replaced by the people who can and will.

At first glance it would appear oxymoronic to even suggest that there could be such a thing as a good dictator.

But that doesn’t mean that one couldn’t exist.

We need real world views informing all that we now do as a Country. This cannot be achieved by people who have only had lives of privilege, don’t understand what it is to get their hands dirty and have no understanding of how everything in life is relative to experience for us all.

To get us all through the mess that is here now and the chaos that is coming will require single-mindedness with a healthy respect for all the ways of the world at a level that none of our Politicians will ever possess or be equipped to have by the advisors that they surround themselves with.

We need all of the voices for change heard, but not so prioritised that one voice for one issue becomes the voice that leads them all.

We need a form of government that works like a genuine committee, where all perspectives are heard, but treated equally, so that no undue influence can be given to whoever is liked most, can buy others or is most likely to return the favour if they are given undue support.

Above all, we need an executive decision maker who will answer to these real representatives of the people, but is ready and well equipped to make the decisions that need to be made in the moment and has the confidence to make them, knowing that they can be justified on the basis that they have done or will always do what is right.

Our democracy has been taken over by irresponsible insiders behaving like thieves in the night.

The political system that we have pays nothing more than lip service to Voters in return for the massive trust it has been given.

The establishment at large is not equipped to deal with the COVID-19 emergency, the crisis the Government is causing through its actions in response, nor the World-changing events that are now on their way and will come in the weeks and the months ahead.

We need the government to change its approach or for there to be a change in government NOW.

 

image of V’s mask from the film V for Vendetta. Thanks to unknown.

 

 

The supermarkets will be able to deliver more online if they simply tell people when they will deliver rather than letting customers decide

March 19, 2020 Leave a comment

As someone who set up a successful distribution business by winning a contract with a large newspaper company and setting it up overnight, I’m well aware of how to make a delivery operation flow right for staff and customers in a time sensitive environment.

Of course, as a commercial provider to a business customer, my key considerations were very different to that of a supermarket supplying a weekly shop to a retail customer. Or rather they would have been in normal times.

One of the greatest inefficiencies of the way that supermarkets have been working, has been to give customers the freedom to choose their delivery time and fit the delivery of their online order around that specific requirement.

This in effect means that even with deliveries grouped as much as possible across the number of vans that any store has, they will be zigzagging across a district or suburban area most of the time, adding time and running costs to the journey which limit or short-change the extent of what the driver and vehicle can do.

With the landscape changing and the idea that the customer is always right having been exchanged for one where we will get what the supermarkets can give us at the location and time it is available, the retailers we use for food and essential goods have options to cover more ground in less time and extend their online delivery services during the Coronavirus Crisis in ways that at other times they never could.

It all boils down to just one thing. Telling customers when they will get their delivery rather than giving them options to choose in the way that they currently do.

People are working from home and not going far.

If customers want food and the goods that supermarkets can provide them they will be grateful to have them delivered during the crisis and won’t worry about what time.

By being able to group deliveries into the closest distances between a set of addresses in blocks over a few days, efficiency is certain to increase. Even one more customer per van per shift would help more people than the system currently is.

If the supermarkets start delivering around the clock on a 24hr basis – prioritising more social hours for the elderly, the vulnerable and reaching key workers between their shifts – the existing delivery system could be able to double deliveries and perhaps even more.

Yes, there will be a shortage of staff that needs to be filled. But there will also be many people willing to step into help where possible to do so. I for one would be happy to do a few shifts from a local store or even drive an artic from a nearby distribution centre to the supermarket back door if I can find a doctor to sign off the medical for my Heavy Goods Class 1 renewal once more.

In difficult and challenging times, business as well as politicians have to consider whats fair and best for EVERYONE. Not just those who pay, complain or can influence more.

But we ALL have an investment in the government, the public sector and the businesses working to keep us alive getting this right.

They cannot do it alone and need our support to get there – even if that means opening the door to an online supermarket delivery person at what feels like a very peculiar time.

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