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The majority won’t challenge the establishment until they themselves get burned

August 3, 2020 Leave a comment

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As the false floor economy that has been in place since the start of the Lockdown crumbles, those who have already been left high and dry financially, lost their businesses and in some cases still do not know when they will be able to return to work already know, the Government has got its approach to the Lockdown very wrong.

No. we are not just talking in terms of the so-called social distancing measures and the cancellation of personal freedoms and liberty that the Government are still imposing upon us now. But also in their approach to financial remedies such as furlough money and the Job Retention Scheme that really didn’t go all that far for a great many and simply haven’t touched the pockets of some.

Whether you are the Director of a small Limited Company unable to claim a subsidised wage like many normal employees, or you are just a normal person with your eyes open to the ridiculousness of the steps the Government is taking to restrict and impose the fruits of their own ridiculous fears upon our lives, the reason why there seems to be a difference between your experience and the many people who don’t seem to have ‘got it’ is that they simply haven’t been burned yet.

Regrettably, we live in times where very few of us take the time to think, look and emotionally connect even with people who are immediately around us. Whilst we see images on our screens and hear voices full of fear that effect our lives – sometimes permanently the moment that they are heard – we rarely look upon the difficulties that others are experiencing unless they resemble and more importantly feel like our own.

The increasing rate of redundancies, shop closures and stories like Charlie Mullins sacking any of his staff this week who refuse to return from furlough now that he would have to contribute financially himself tell us that the fallout and the explosion of our economy that the politicians created with the Lockdown is now beginning to pick up speed on its pathway into full public view.

When it has, possibly in just a few weeks’ time, that is the moment when the majority of people will have had their lives touched by the ineptitude of the few. That is the time when the people will really begin to know and accept just how badly this national crisis has been handled and realise just how incompetent the politicians we have elected and trusted with our destiny really are.

Do businesses make staff redundant now or delay using furlough money until October?

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The Financial Measures that the Government implemented as a follow up to the Lockdown are a piecemeal response to a universal problem.

Even now, organisations such as Forgotten Ltd are fighting to highlight for a response from the Treasury over the lack of provision for Directors of Ltd Companies forced to stop or severely reduce trading, losing their incomes as a result.

They are not alone. There are many people already suffering in silence from the impact of the Lockdown.

As the so-called help from the Government is reduced and then stopped, there are going to be many more.

Of the businesses able to apply for ‘furlough money’ under the Job Retention Scheme, many jumped in as quickly as they could, knowing only too well that if their turnover ceased or was severely reduced, it would be the jobs of employees that would be out of the door first.

In principle, the Scheme well for companies employing significant numbers of staff who are paid around the average wage. Or at least that’s how it seemed before the realities of what the Government has created with the Lockdown began to actually sink in.

What is not being reported in the media yet, is that all sorts of unforeseen consequences are beginning to unfold for business.

One business I am aware of that employs around 750 people has began to end furlough, re-starting around 200 of their most qualified and experienced staff. They have already concluded they are achieving 40-50% of normal productivity and turnover with just 25% of the workforce and they are now re-evaluating their business model, even before the coming recession begins to kick-in.

However, the wider marketplace has changed overnight. Jobs that were needed and even considered critical until March no longer exist on the whiteboards in the boardrooms. But because the Government is paying the wages – or the biggest part of them, they will technically exist until October. That is unless Business Owners, Directors and Managers turn away the ‘free money’ that the Government is providing for those staff until and bring forward mass redundancies now.

At first glance, it is easy to conclude that if a job no longer exists and the Company knows this, they should make those staff redundant now and stop claiming the money from the Government.

But life is seldom as straightforward as it looks at first glance. We must be careful over how and where the answer to what is fundamentally a question of morality, wholly dependent and conditional upon where our own perspective lies.

With the Spectator Magazine, the dilemma that is at work was put into full force yesterday when Chairman Andrew Neil announced that they had done much better through the Lockdown than expected and had decided to give all their Government Furlough Money back.

Kudos to the Spectator as far as the fortune of their current position goes. But an elaborate form of virtue signalling like this – no matter how genuine the reasoning might have been, in itself helps no-one. Simply, because for too many other businesses, the decision they make over the money they claim and pass on to people who are currently on their books have real-life outcomes involved.

Yes, it is Public money that the Government is handing out. But the Government created the Lockdown in the first place.

No, an employer shouldn’t claim money from the Government that it doesn’t have to spend. But they are doing nothing legally wrong and after October, the many thousands if not millions of people living on furlough money today, may find themselves beginning many years without jobs.

What is very clear is the Government has entered a minefield of its own making where it could and should have made the effort to really think these things through.

A universal problem requires a universal solution.

We should have been given a a simple one, rather than the complicated one that we have got.

Nobody should be falling through the gaps in provision. Nobody should be made to feel wrong or guilty for taking any or all of the help that has been offered when they didn’t choose to stop trading.

Taking whatever is on offer is all that they – and many of their employees – have still got.

 

What will the true cost of the Lockdown be for our kids?

June 1, 2020 1 comment

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As the ties loosen, shops open, horse racing returns and we dare to hope that the pubs will be open before the end of June, the questions that have been troubling many for the duration of the Lockdown are finally finding their way into the news.

It is troubling that only after 9 weeks of the Lockdown have senior Tories recognised openly that there may have been a related increase in abuse for children vulnerable in their own homes.

The voices speaking out against the Lockdown from the start are a comparative few to the number today. But the realities and consequences of a universally-applied Lockdown with a piecemeal response from the Chancellor were openly being discussed back in March.

What the suicides, job losses, bankruptcies, cases of abuse, evictions and a seemingly endless list of personal tragedies that have yet to unfold all have in common is that they will be suffered most often only by individuals, their families and the people immediately around them. These are not stories that will make the mainstream news.

Yet there is one story that is very different to all of the above. That is the question of the impact that the Lockdown is having on our children, their education and what home schooling for the better part of half an academic year is going to involve.

It was disturbing to learn that a Union boss has gone on the record over the weekend to evangelise that Teachers deserve their full summer holidays on the basis they have continued working ‘flat out’ to ensure that the children continue to be taught.

I dont know what parallel universe this so-called representative came from, because it is does not contain the same world where I and many parents like me are from.

Children of all ages and from all backgrounds are completely switched off to education today, and have been since the Lockdown began.

It is impossible for parents to replicate the school environment in the home – no matter how motivated they are to do so, unless there is ongoing proactive intervention from teachers and educators, sufficient enough to keep education and learning real for their students during a period that has been confusing, unnerving and completely strange for adults and children alike.

Some teachers are getting it right. They are using all the great resources at their disposal to get the messages and encouragement through. Yet in the majority, these diligent educators represent not the state system, but the Private Schools that the very same Unions would like to see destroyed.

The disruption to the learning process and backwards leap for children who will only get this one chance aside, the psychological damage that children are suffering from having the life they understood switched off like a light, taking their friends, grandparents and many others out of their lives in one stroke will be very VERY profound.

As adults, 9 weeks of this strange reality have passed very quickly. But to a 9 year old, 9 weeks are an eternity that makes what we perceive as a temporary change, one that feels very permanent indeed.

Parents are beside themselves. They can see what the Lockdown and the withdrawal from life is doing to their kids, but they are dependent on those with responsibility providing the way out.

The majority of parents know it would be much better for children to be back in school learning. Because the benefits of consistent education far outweigh the risks from Covid-19 that only Unions and those with a vested interest in pursing their own agendas are still choosing to see.

 

Cummings Statement: The elephants in the room and missed questions about the validity of the Lockdown

May 25, 2020 2 comments

After a delay that brought new meaning to the term ‘a pregnant pause’, Dominic Cummings rolled into view over half an hour late to deliver a Statement that had basically put the UK on pause.

In a diatribe that raised possibly more questions than it could ever answer, such as the 30 mile drive with his family to check out that he was fit to drive, we witnessed a very different side to the Prime Ministers head honcho.

For once, he looked submissive to the system he is most often pictured showing complete contempt for and gave an explanation that would have been more at home in a headmasters study after a trailer load of dog turds were found floating in the school swimming pool than being given at a press conference of this magnitude on the No10 lawn.

Cummings looks scared. But the departure from his usual demeanour is likely to say more about the vulnerability of his Master, than the suggestion of a statement made with genuine humility on his own part.

Was this whole episode today more about saving Boris, simply because the PM cannot be without his Chief Spad?

In terms of opportunities missed, the chain-gang of media names that rocked up to ask their questions in order immediately afterwards seemed to leave one very important subject untouched: Has the Lockdown really ever been valid when your actions – as one of the key instigators of its implementation and design – clearly demonstrate that it is not?

It is difficult to see that Cummings will be going very far from No10 anytime soon.

The mainstream media are missing the point that the Government’s Policy of Lockdown and Social Distancing that they are attempting to bolster by putting Cummings on the rack is itself fundamentally flawed.

By failing to question its legitimacy when they have the perfect opportunity to do so like this – they are themselves getting the whole thing and what their role should be completely wrong.

No single cause deserves a bespoke package of help. We are in this together and ALL need the right support from Government to survive – just the same

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The flow of pleas from companies like Landover, arts organisations like theatres and many others including charities for ‘bespoke’ financial help from the Government, on the basis that they are a more deserving cause than any other is getting louder all the time.

We should not doubt for one minute that the managers, owners, employees, volunteers and supporters of any organisation staring over the cliff edge that the Government has created all feel that their purpose is most deserving of help as a priority. That’s what we all would do.

We notice big names because they usually have a big voice. But their status doesn’t make them different to anyone else or more deserving in any way.

As Coronavirus and the Government’s response to it has impacted all of us equally and not in the way that something might be industry specific – like a permanent volcanic ash cloud grounding all aircraft would hurt only the airlines and travel industry – there really is no excuse for bailouts or bespoke packages of support using public money and resources when everyone is having to deal with different impacts of a problem that have been caused by exactly the same thing.

There is no doubt that the Lockdown was a mistake from the start. The Lockdown was a disproportionate response to a problem that the Government still doesn’t understand. It could not justify implementing it or the accompanying Social Distancing measures on that one basis alone.

Universal problems require universal solutions.

So where that one error became the catalystic cause of an avoidable crisis was the failure of the Government to simply put a stop to everyone and every business or organisation having to continue to pay all the bills that could and should have been put on hold right at the start.

It really would then have been as simple as only having to pay everyone who had lost income a subsistence allowance or basic income, or top it up.

It would have cost the Country much less and jobs and businesses would have been mothballed rather than lost, with none of them set up to fail in the very turbulent months and possibly years that now regrettably lie ahead.

Treating anyone or any entity as if they are different now as we go forward – no matter how convincing or well-deserving their argument might be – will not help anyone in the long term – even the specific organisations involved.

Just like the so-called help the Government has given such the ‘Job Retention Scheme’,targeted or bespoke help might look like it is benefitting those targeted temporarily, but it is only delaying the inevitable.

The solution to this universal problem can only work if it is a universal solution.

We must be collectively treated as one.

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.

Don’t make Cummings your sinner. We are all playing a part in keeping this ridiculous fear-based farce on track

Everyone loves a guilty bastard. That special victim upon whom we can all project outwardly our anger, frustrations and yes – the blame. Especially now.

The media and the Government may not be saying it or acknowledging it in any way, but public feeling isn’t quite as supportive of what the establishment is continuing to do than they might like to think.

Reality dawned for some as soon as our Prime Minister launched the Lockdown and our Chancellor leapt out of the blocks and began a process of handouts that immediately sowed division, set up millions of people to fail and condemned us all to the coming catastrophe of a massive economic crash that was avoidable if it had been handled differently right from the very start.

The temptation for many, now that the truth of what the Government has done and what it is still doing has come into view, is to look for those characters leading us who demonstrate any behaviour that contradicts Government policy, whilst illustrating exactly the things that we wish to be allowed to do.

Yes, Dominic Cummings is right up to his bloody neck in the mess that the Johnson Government has created.

But the reason we are here, why things aren’t changing now even though we know they are wrong, and why things cannot begin to improve anytime soon, is because we are all in some way and at some level responsible for what is going on.

The imbecilic wannabes and self-serving glory seekers in Government who have driven the UK bus off the cliff with us all in it are in these roles because we collectively put them there – Not necessarily by voting for them, but because we accept and therefore allow our broken political system to exist.

The Lockdown has worked because through our actions – even if not our thoughts – we have supported what they have done.

Social distancing can only continue to work because we still accept that these restrictions on our liberty have legitimacy in some way.

They don’t. Because there is no evidence, proof or history to tell us that these measures work, or that they will benefit us more in some way than the alternative, which is for us to just get on with life and deal with illnesses and life events that jump up and hit us as and when they do so as we all did so well before.

The massive difference between the two options is that by continuing to acquiesce in Government Policy as we are doing so, as a Nation, for every day that the Lockdown or Social Distancing of any kind goes on, we are collectively condemning ourselves to experience the future that has been unwittingly designed and put into play by a system that we simply accept as being the pre-defined pathway we must follow in the very same way as we are accepting these measures now.

There is no requirement for us to do this. But until we accept that we have a choice between the system that exists and alternatives that haven’t yet come into view – then act upon it, or events precipitate change in Government from beyond the current system as they might well do so, we are in fact allowing this Government to continue in power and give them assumed legitimacy to carry on doing whatever they do.

Until we take back control from Dom and all those like him that populate Government, we really don’t have any excuse or reason to call him out.

Because we are in this together and are guilty bastards too.

Don’t waste money challenging the Lockdown in Court. Fund a people’s movement for change instead

May 22, 2020 1 comment

It sounds like I’m about to critiscise Simon Dolan for his High Court Action against The Lockdown and the Crowdfunding Campaign he has been championing to find it.

I’m not.

But I can’t support it either.

Not because I don’t agree with the principle of what he is doing.

I do.

I won’t actively support it because the objective itself is a waste of his time and that of his legal team.

The money would be better spent funding a new people’s movement for change. One we will need very soon, when the reality of what the unnecessary Lockdown has done hits home and the UK wakes up to the need for real leadership to get us out of the mess that Boris and his Government created, putting right all that they have done wrong.

One of the most difficult and challenging things that I ever had to do as a Borough Councillor was to explain to consitituents who had valid, justified and correct arguments against the actions of politicians and Government that they would be able to say their piece, but the system would ensure that they wouldn’t be heard if it went against the direction of political travel that day.

It is no different now and the money that Mr Dolan has attracted from many people from across our great country who realise the Lockdown and attack on our liberty was not necessary and has done far more damage than it was ever worth, fills me with hope that we can change the way things work for the better – as long as we play the right game.

The flow of this broken establishment system goes only one way. You can only win by fixing the whole broken thing (which means changing all of it) or by taking action that compliments it and goes exactly the same way.

The Court Action does neither. No matter what exchanges take place, what is reported in the media or how the Government might appear to be criticised in some way, the justification for this argument will not stop the Government from doing what it is doing and will not get a result.

What we all need, more than futile gestures – no matter how well intended they might be – is for people who have something to say and have the ability to get public attention to say it, to make the argument for the need for change and give it real voice.

When the wheels fall off for the Johnson Government as you can be sure they are going to very soon, we do not need a situation where we only have Keir Starmer or whoever is leading the Liberal Democrat’s as the choice.

We will need options that will work for us all. Those options will not come from any of the existing parties, even if words like reform are involved.

Putting right the damage that this Government has done and making the very best use of the opportunities for bottom to top change that will come to improve the lives of everyone in this Nation post COVID-19 requires that we have new blood, new faces and above all new thinking at the top.

Working against the tide of this establishment isn’t easy as the fear they have installed within so many of Coronavirus has shown.

Money, passion and the support of real people like that given to Mr Dolan will be the catalyst for change that this Country will need and the money being spent challenging the Lockdown in Court would be better spent funding a people’s movement for change.

 

We need a good dictator

CycleThe disturbing thing about the mess we are now in is that many people – and in that number I include many politicians – don’t know that we are already in it.

Rishi Sunak’s prediction that we are heading into a very severe recession overlooks the reality that he caused it and that the financial measures he used to do so are fuelling the perception that nothing has changed economically.

Then there is PM Boris Johnson, who unleashed the Lockdown, using messages to plant the seed of Coronavirus fear in the minds of many that continues to grow and flourish like the most immovable of weeds.

Now that the questions are being asked and Politicians know that the spotlight is beginning to shine on their mistakes, we find that we are returning to what we experienced all the way throughout the Brexit impasse.

It was made clear that we have the wrong politicians in power. That the system only allows the faces and the words they use to change. The motives and the morality underpinning this broken and desperately self-serving culture remain arduously the same.

Democracy isn’t working in this Country. It will not do so for as long as the political system and the people who gain access to Government Seats and power remain the same.

It is a vicious cycle. We will not get the right people in politics whilst the wrong people hold all the levers of power. We will have the wrong people in power until we get the right people into politics.

We need single-minded, selfless determination at the top of Government, not just to get us through the crisis and problems that are now crossing the horizon, but to drive through the changes in public services that are long overdue.

To address the massive issues of inequality that exist from the top to the bottom of society, we require determination and a unique form of bloody mindedness, resilience and ruthlessness to see it through.

Leadership of this kind will not be possible under the system of Government and the democratic processes that we have whilst it remains under the control of the existing political parties who have a monopoly on who our controlling MPs will continue to be.

During the coming crisis, we need to turn away from this broken form of politics and embrace the political thinking and tools that are needed to facilitate the changes that we need to be made.

This can only be achieved with one person, one mind and one vision in charge of the Nation.

We need someone who understands the lives and thinking of people of all backgrounds, and how businesses and organisations work.

We need someone who can think through the consequences of government action before decisions are even made, and see problems on the horizon long before they come into public view.

We need someone who is confident in us as a Nation, respecting each and every one of us as the adults that we are.

Above all, we need someone who is detached from the siren call of the media, who thinks and sees everything, everyone and what they say generously, but critically, using facts and an understanding of human nature to determine what steps and policies are in the best interests of everyone for the Country to pursue.

In the times ahead we need balance and consideration in leadership above all else as we look to a better post COVID-19 World and the opportunities for something better for all that it will give us.

We have never needed a good dictator to take charge of our destiny like we do right now.

Now is the time to find that good dictator.

Pay rises ARE NOT a lasting solution for Key Workers and the low-paid who ALL deserve more

img_5939One of the few positives of Coronavirus has been widespread recognition that many of the workers who make much of life as simple as having to pay a bill don’t get nearly enough income so that they can live the lives they have outside of work in the same way as most would choose.

The emphasis has been on Key Workers and specifically the nurses, healthcare workers and medical support staff who work for the NHS. But refuse handlers, van and lorry drivers, shop assistants, shelf stackers, gig economy workers, takeaway staff and many more besides all do jobs that streamline and bring significant value to our lives.

Because we have been conditioned to believe that money is the only thing that really adds value to anything, there is a clear link between public acknowledgement of what these workers do and the growing clamour to provide a financial reward.

Yet the problem that is difficult for many to see is that by raising the salaries and hourly rates of the lowest paid or those we accept are not paid enough, we simply set off a chain reaction of price rises and financial benefits that stretches right back up to the top. It makes the money we have worth less and quickly takes the real-world value of the new higher wage back to where it was before.

The supply of money isn’t the best way to reward the people that we need to value more.

It is the money system itself that is the problem. The way that it is managed by Government that is broke.

As long as this continues, life will always be something that the low paid simply cannot afford.

Free markets and liberalisation of finance, big business and the banking system are a great idea if everyone working within them operates compassionately and considerately with the emphasis fully on service with profits playing only a happy and coincidental part.

That’s not the way that it works.

With Banks printing money at will, agents buying, selling and transferring goods before they reach us without adding value to the process many times, and a city that speculates on company and asset prices like the impact on users doesn’t matter, the real people who just want to earn enough to provide for themselves and have a life observe the rich who play with money getting so rich they cannot spend all they have, whilst the basics in life are all the low paid can hope for and little more.

The looming financial crisis created by the Lockdown will provide us with the opportunity to put all of this right. That’s as long as we have the right people with the right vision and the motivation to do whats right and see it through in charge.

The basic prices of goods, services and accommodation that are essential for the lowest paid worker to support themselves without help and live a life that is worth living now have to be controlled.

Only Government should have the power to adjust prices, print money or have the ability to manipulate markets.

The management of money and how it can be used against us should no longer be left unhindered in private, profit-hungry hands.

This is the way that every worker no matter what they do and where they do it can do their job and feel that they go home with adequate reward.

Let’s end the idea that more money can solve any problem and just change the way that life works so that it is something that everyone can afford.

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