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War would have been less damaging to our Country than the Government’s response to Coronavirus because people would at least still want to live

September 18, 2020 Leave a comment

As a regular walker, I am now used to the process of getting to know the people I meet regularly. Smiles become hellos. Hellos become a moment sharing the time of day or a view. Sharing a view becomes a discussion on a life and experience that you would never otherwise have known about.

One such series of encounters led me to become familiar with one old guy in the Village where I live, and as he regaled me with stories of the nights that he and his brother would catch a train from Gloucester to attend dances in the Village pub, it wasn’t the romantic idea of steam and a train station lost under the Beaching Act that captured my imagination the most. It was his memory of the time in the years after the Second World War when he said ‘We were glad to be alive’.

This was a conversation that came before Coronavirus and it did of course stir my thoughts on the entitlement and ‘take everything for granted’ culture that has been so prevalent, where young people don’t want to become Police Officers because they don’t like working nights, and soldiers are more likely to be experts at protesting the technicalities of their human rights after capture on a battlefield rather than pick up a heavy gun and fight and avoid being caught.

Yet since the Government’s response to Coronavirus began, what started as concern has been replaced with the utter disbelief that in only six months of a Conservative Government handling a ‘peacetime’ national crisis, people have been deliberately manipulated and conditioned so effectively that they are now afraid to live.

What is clear is the Government’s response to Coronavirus has been more damaging psychologically to the minds and thinking of British People and our national psyche than our direct involvement in a war would be.

In the 1940’s Blitz, as bombs dropped, neighbours and friends died, and houses, pubs and schools were completely destroyed, people still wanted – and were prepared – to go about their daily business in as normal way as possible. They looked each and every day in the eye and wanted to rebuild and rejuvenate the world around them so they could grasp everything and every opportunity that was there to be enjoyed.

Death was a regular visitor. But death was never inevitable for as long as people respected and worked on the basis that we were in in together.

Yet today, as we supposedly fight disproportionately against a cold like virus that the Government itself fears more than it understands, we are being forced to believe that by being together at any time, our early death is inevitable, whilst death itself is not present amongst us in any way that is different to what would be the seasonal norm.

What the hell have our politicians done?

How did they do it?

Why did they do it?

What does it tell us about the World to come?

Whilst fear makes the world turn at some level for everyone, many do not possess the awareness either to accept or to understand this.

Fear is the power that drives everything in this world at the deepest, most intrinsic level. And if the fear button is incorrectly and deliberately pushed, fear can do untold harm to anyone and everyone, no matter how rational they might believe or understand themselves to be.

If you have access to Netflix, you may have taken the 90 minutes or so to watch ‘The Social Dilemma’ which is a very recent release. It is certainly worth a view as it puts in perspective the harm that can be done and the consequences for us all when people’s minds are played with in the pursuit of profit when the only thing intended (and considered) by the Social Media platform is a fee-paying result.

The cultural use of Facebook, Twitter and just about every social media platform you can think of is having an adverse effect of some kind on all of our upcoming generations. And this is what happens when there isn’t the use of fear involved.

Flip the coin of behavioural control to its other side and you will find the pseudo science of Behavioural Economics or ‘nudging’ in order to achieve specific outcomes with people.

It’s what unscrupulous politicians who are only worried about controlling people would see as the easy way to ‘get things done’.

Social Media is filling up with discussion groups focusing on what is little more than a drive to change people’s behaviour without those same people being conscious that they are being influenced and changing the way they behave in any way.

It’s been a growth industry in recent years with No10 even having its own Behavioural Insights Team.

It was these guys who were called on when the Coronavirus Pandemic kicked into full swing and the Johnson Government – forever committed to controlling the agenda – decided that it was time to use their mind manipulation unit to get the whole population, rather than the virus, under control.

What the impact of Social Media on young minds, Behavioural Economics (or Insights) and Boris’ Lockdown behavioural controls on us all have in common, is they have a defined and measurable purpose. But the consequences or side effects of the actions taken are also not being given a second thought.

It’s a bit like the stories that you may have heard about live theatre shows where a well-known performer conducts hypnosis on members of the audience to get them to do things like barking like a dog or pretending to be something that they are not, whilst all the time they are ‘under’ and not aware of what they have done. Just as the hypnotiser can programme the person being hypnotised to do something with a trigger word at a future time, they can also be sewing all sorts of damage to the individuals mental health which can impact heavily upon their life to come.

The objective of the Government’s mind games at the beginning of the Lockdown, was control of the population. The method of hypnosis that they used was fear. The intended result was a population that would do what it was told wherever the words Covid-19 or Coronavirus were involved. The unforeseen consequence and the damage done is that people are now too afraid to live.

Whilst Lockdown and Social Distancing Measures of any kind continue to exist, it will be all but impossible to snap anyone out of the mind-meld that the Government has created, as continuation of these measures in any form will give legitimacy to lie that a real population-wide threat from Coronavirus continues to exist.

We are literally in the situation that until a responsible Government or Political Leader stands up and says this was all a crock of shit and that Coronavirus is just another illness that has to be treated and addressed quietly and without fuss just like everything else, this Government-inflicted malaise will continue and it will continue at rabid pace.

As we don’t have such worthy politicians in Westminster today, we are in effect staring into a void where none of the damage done can be reversed.

The damage was avoidable and should have been avoided. But this is what happens when irresponsible politicians get their hands-on irresponsible toys.

Whilst the political classes complain of the risk to their idea of democracy from fake news, it is the very same susceptibility to misinformation that people have that makes everyone vulnerable to what politicians have themselves done, just so they could retain the control they believed they had.

Any form of manipulation conducted deliberately will have wider and unknown consequences. Its use is therefore wrong.

Profit or control. The aim simply doesn’t matter. The cost is simply too high for the lives of those People involved.

As we go forward and we leave the days of this kind of government behind, this misuse of power and the roll out of this 21st Century ‘dark art’ must be regulated and kept under strict control.

The Lockdown measures have taken beneficial ‘nudging’ like the fly stickers in the urinals of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to a nefarious extreme. The ability to manipulate minds in this way is simply too much responsibility for politicians and business people without scruples to have.

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.

 

The Johnson Government will not be forgiven for harm it has caused us that it had the option to avoid

April 27, 2020 Leave a comment

The sunlight is now breaking on the damage that this Government has done.

Despite the protestations of the 1922 committee in recent days that many businesses are not going to survive, the Lockdown still continues as if the only game in town is those who are suffering with COVID-19 related illness and there is absolutely nothing else involved.

Whilst it will be foolish to try and blame the Government for the COVID-19 outbreak itself, the way that our Politicians have managed and continue to manage the emergency is a very different story and one that we will all become very concerned with in the coming weeks if we have not done so already.

Many suspect that things aren’t right. Other’s, that things don’t add up. Some already know that what the Government is doing is wrong.

When the questions start, these are the points where they are likely to begin:

Taking the Media’s lead

Whilst we can all see how difficult the media age has made it for almost everyone with the creation of the court of public opinion, we go to the polling booths at a General Election with the understanding that those who have put themselves foreword to represent the interests of perhaps 75,000 people in their own Constituency and many more if they accede to a role beyond that of just being an MP, will be discerning enough not to have their views and decisions swayed by those who make the most noise.

There is simply no doubt that many of the key decisions taken in the run up to the imposition of the Lockdown on 23rdMarch 2020 were heavily influenced by the noise that the media was making, which is driven by the most negativity that it can generate at best.

The weakness in leadership that the Government has shown by being led by the tone and approach of the media, at the most critical point of a national emergency when highly consequential decisions were made, has resulted in the UK being pushed into a dire situation that is set to get much worse – not because of the Coronavirus – but because of the impact of the decisions that were made in response.

Misuse of behavioural insights to ‘brainwash’ the population

Over recent years, the pseudo-science known as behavioural insights has become a population control tool actively used by Government at both National and Local Level, primarily through the use of messaging or marketing that encourages people to change their behavior in some way, usually without them realising what has been done.

Whilst this so-called science can be used to influence behaviour for the common good, it can also too easily be misused for non-direct aims and in the same way as decisions should be made on the basis of the immediate here and now, using behavioral insights with a view to doing something because you can whilst you have something else in mind means that those driving its use are likely to lose control of the result.

By creating the ‘stay at home’, ‘protect the NHS’, ‘social distancing’ mantras, the Government bought the participation of the masses in the dubious Lockdown by installing a level of fear of dying from Coronavirus for many of us like it has been installed like a programme.

What they have done is no better than brainwashing or mass manipulation – as illustrated best by the 8pm call to clap for the NHS on Thursday evenings and rainbow posters being put up everywhere like it’s the only fashionable thing, and that it would be somehow wrong for any of us not to be involved.

However, whilst many still think this all to be a good thing, the approach taken has been akin to letting a genie out of the bottle with the Government playing the role of an Aladdin that has no real concept of the trouble that it has made.

People may have accepted the unnecessary Lockdown on the basis of the manipulation as being the only way to deal with the COVID-19 emergency. But their reciprocation in going back to work as if the whole thing was done with an on/off switch will prove to be a very different thing.

It is highly irresponsible for a Government of a democratic country to deliberately influence people in this way.

In the coming weeks and months we will see the price that has to be paid.

A Lockdown that has caused many more problems than it could ever solve

So much has the Government and the Establishment bought into its own hype over the Lockdown and what it was important to do, the very people who should know better in an emergency have overlooked all of the out of sight things that needed to be considered as they rushed to show the media and the world around them what they were going to do.

On the face of it the Lockdown seemed like the ideal way to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The problem is that the spread of COVID-19 was not then, has not been since and never really will be the problem that needed to be the number one priority itself.

Responding to it in the way that the Government has done so has created a growing number of developing and already substantial problems that are far more serious than the Coronavirus emergency and are going to be very difficult to fix – especially if we still have the creators of that problem left in charge and running the Country.

  • Job losses
  • Business closures
  • Businesses becoming unviable
  • Shops refusing to take cash
  • Evictions
  • Debt
  • Depression
  • Suicides
  • Abuse
  • Safeguarding Issues

– are all issues amongst many more that are growing disproportionately in number as a direct result of the Lockdown, and would have been avoidable if the Government had not implemented the Lockdown by choice.

Financial ‘Support’ given in response to the Lockdown rather than imposing a corresponding Lockdown of the Economy 

The severity of the impact and the consequences of the Lockdown would have been completely different and arguably negligible if the Government had chosen to address the impact of the Lockdown on Businesses and workers who lost income – no matter their tax or employment status – by taking a blanket approach to all.

Instead of dolling out cash from the ‘magic money tree’ that the Conservatives have so mercilessly attacked the Labour Party over for years whilst stating that it doesn’t exist, the Government should have locked down the economic system for all those people and businesses who suddenly found themselves unable to earn as a result of the Lockdown and removed the need for them to pay any bills for goods or services that they have not ordered during the Lockdown itself.

As a temporary measure, this would have been the surest way to help and to be fair to everyone from the top to the bottom of the economy, whether they are a billionaire or they are unemployed.

Nobody would have had to pay the bills it would have been right to stop. So the only money that anyone would have needed help to find would have been for the basic necessities such as food and essentials each week.

Paying out something like £100 per week per person who had lost their income and for their dependents too would have cost the UK Taxpayer significantly less than the sums that have already been spent on a series of loans, grants and wage subsidies which hasn’t reached everyone and has left substantial gaps in the provision it was supposed to provide.

Businesses that couldn’t operate wouldn’t have had bills to service whilst they had no income and could have effectively been mothballed until life was ready to resume. The jobs they provide would then have still existed for all the many thousands of people who are now likely to have none to return to.

Some will argue that what the Government has done has literally been the way of the world in responding to the COVID-19 Pandemic in the way that it has. But that doesn’t make it right.

If anything, it demonstrates just how dangerous the mindset and culture of national leadership across the 21st Century World has become when so-called leaders are too afraid to overrule economists and bankers because they are more concerned with the risk to themselves than the impact of getting it all so very wrong on the people they are there to represent.

After the impact of the mismanagement of the 2008 Financial Crisis when politicians lived up to the lie that the banks were too big to fail and then saddled the UK with unnecessary debt whilst the bankers took bonuses and were allowed to roll on like nothing had gone wrong, the stupidity of this Government in printing money to solve a problem like this that could have been solved differently is not just going to go away.

The Government has committed us to a level of debt that will hurt us all first through the damage they have done to the National Economy. It will then trickle down and hurt us all directly through the loss of our jobs and an even greater dependence upon personal debt when we cannot afford the debt and commitments that we already have.

The only way that the Government of the UK and possibly all Governments of the World will be able to address the mess that has been created will be at the very least to go through a process of significant debt forgiveness. Alternatively, they will have to conduct a complete reset of our economic system and revise the way that money is made so that basic living is something that an average wage earner and someone on benefits can actually afford, and money is available where and when it is really needed, rather than automatically flowing back to the pigs with their heads in the trough where it starts.

Straightforward as it might sound, if these problems were to be left in the hands of the clowns that got us to where we are now in the first place, it would make it all but inevitable that they wouldn’t get the cure to the problem right.

The politicians we have simply don’t understand or appreciate anywhere near enough about the people, the businesses and the way of the world over which they have responsibility to get any of it genuinely right – that is if they were able to think beyond the benefits of whatever they do for themselves and however anything they do will look.

Doubling down rather than turning around and being big about the mistakes they have made

It would be ridiculous to think that good leaders don’t make mistakes. They do, and they make them often too.

The difference between good leaders and the ones that we have got in Government today is that good leaders accept and learn from their mistakes and are prepared to change course or direction as soon as they do – no matter what anyone or in particular the media says.

We have been burdened at a time of national crisis, with so-called leaders who are obsessed with controlling how everything looks, rather than focusing purely on the robustness, reach and impact of what it is they do.

Even the biggest mistakes that the Government has made during the COVID-19 emergency so far such as the Lockdown and the so-called Financial Support Measures that they followed up with could have had significantly less impact if the Government had changed direction and done a u-turn after they had been announced and gone a different way.

What is clear is that the political class that we have just doesn’t do things that way. They see changing their minds as a sign of weakness and so double down when they are questioned or challenged – no matter what will be the outcome or cost.

Like everything political since spin took over in the days of New Labour and Tony Blair, the politicians we have are obsessed with the words they use rather than their actions, when actions will always speak to us much louder than any of the words.

The ongoing irresponsible use of propaganda.

Propaganda is now being used as the basis for the story rather than the story being used as the basis for the Propaganda itself

Talking up vaccines, antibody tests, contact monitoring, PPE shipments, the Nightingale Hospitals – to name but a few. All of these topics are being used to manipulate and persuade people that the Government has, is and will be doing much more than it actually does.

Whilst it is a poor illustration of the political culture that we have got, its use during ‘normal’ times would be questionable. But its use during a national emergency is knocking on the front door of it being a real crime.

The Government cannot cope with the responsibility that it has because the politicians within it are not of the quality or outlook of the politicians that we as a Country should have at any time, let alone a time of national crisis.

If they were good leaders, they would be able to work with reality as it is and use it to inspire and encourage the people as genuine leadership always will. Instead, they have to use trickery to make us believe that we are being led by a group who know what they are doing and actually have an end game in mind whilst they have the wherewithal required to get there.

Our politicians might not actually be lying to us in the strictest or black and white sense. But they are being very economic and selective with the truths that they are telling us and using them as smokescreens to hide the growing proof that will eventually come out and hurt them – but only after they have caused significant harm to all of us.

It will be all the worse because if they had chosen to come clean and stop spinning everything at any point since the COVID-19 emergency began, their honesty could then have prevented pain and even death from happening for others – instead of for what for them has been all about nothing more than consolidating their position and personal gain.

Letting ‘Experts’ lead a specialist response to a medical emergency and including everyone when a general approach of facilitation was what was needed

One of the worst things of all that this Government has done has been to fall into the trap of believing that so-called experts and specialists are the best people to call on for solutions in a crisis that reflect on everyone, when their experience and knowledge is subjective and the response requires a wholly objective view.

The role of good political leadership is to be very much like a grand facilitator or chairman of sorts, bringing together, discerning and recognising the value that comes from all perspectives and then putting it all together and applying it in a formula or policy that actually works.

The Government has not done that and instead has been swayed by listening to the most obvious voices rather than all of those that should have and should now be being heard.

***

An increasing number of activists, commentators and writers are being vocal about the real depth and breadth of the problems that the Government has caused and is causing, and the realities that people are now facing and will have to face just to exist.

Some are already advocating legal action against the Johnson Government at the end of the COVID-19 emergency – whenever that time should come.

Whilst we might wish them well in the process of getting to the bottom of what was clearly done wrong, it would be much preferable that we do everything to head off as much of the coming catastrophe as can be avoided – rather than waiting until the only thing we have power over is the decision of who to blame.

This means that the UK must now look to doing Government in a very different way.

We cannot continue with politicians of the kind we have left in charge.

A new world is now set to emerge from the era of COVID-19 and the politicians we have are simply not equipped, of the quality or possess the ability that the UK needs to see us through the crisis for the UK that they have created, nor the impact upon us that is coming from the crisis that is set to engulf the entire world.

We cannot wait for the end of the existing Parliamentary cycle before there is the opportunity to replace them, as even then the system is so shut down and closed to new influences it will be impossible to displace their kind.

We need new leadership in the UK now. That new leadership must come from none of the usual suspects, but from people who might be just as skilled and as intelligent, but also care, love others as themselves and above all have the humanity to understand how the world works in different people’s minds as well as within the systems that we can openly see and interpret at work.

When the time comes for that change, those in the Johnson Government will not be forgiven for harm it has caused us that it had the option to avoid.

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