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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.

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 NHS MUST be reformed after COVID-19 so that front line and clinical staff are valued as they should be whilst universal health provision for all remains something our Country can afford

April 13, 2020 2 comments

It is at the pinnacle of a National Crisis and not after the event itself that the most pertinent questions should be answered about how supply chains and service provision can be improved to ensure that the national response to the same thing happening again is future-proofed.

So much effort within, on behalf of and supporting the NHS and it’s staff is being expended during the COVID-19 Lockdown, that many people including the Media and our MPs too are failing to allow room to think about the lessons that should already have been learned.

From the responses to appropriate comments and questions on social media, that much is sure.

It is now essential for the Government to ensure that the future of our universal healthcare service for all is safe and that we can all be confident that in a time of a future medical crisis like there is with COVID-19 now – should a pandemic or similar be repeated – the Country will find it much easier to cope.

NHS Staff are doing the best that they can with the resources and the support that is available.

But the time it has taken to put resources like ventilators and PPE in place, the need for the recall of retired and specialist staff who had let their registrations lapse and the suggested need for the whole country to acquiesce to a Lockdown in order to ‘Protect the NHS’ speaks volumes about the problems that already existed within the NHS before the Coronovirus Pandemic began.

We must all ensure the Government is compelled to both consider and act upon these supply and resorting issues immediately and appropriately when the COVID-19 Crisis is over and done.

If the real and underlying condition of the NHS is not considered in this way now, the lack of political will to deal with real problems unless they are under the media spotlight will ensure that nothing like the change that has been necessary for a very long time will ever get done.

Don’t be deceived into thinking that the money and resources that are being thrown at our hospitals now without limit will make a difference to the Nurses, Doctors and health workers in the long term. It won’t.

The NHS has institutional and cultural problems that cannot simply fixed by providing the Health Service with more money at a rate that is neither sustainable or at a cost that the Country can actually afford.

What the NHS needs is complete bottom to top reform.

Comprehensive reform is the only way that real value can be given to frontline clinical staff and their support – both in terms of what they earn, the responsibility and influence that they have and the support they have from the Government and the Public Sector.

Money will never work as a genuine solution to the problems that the NHS has, even if it looks that way, because more money will simply maintain the service in the state and condition that it currently is. And the NHS is not a happy place to work.

What we have learned and are now likely to accept is the people who do frontline jobs in services such as the NHS, healthcare, waste collection, transport and working in supermarkets too all have roles which are just as important to our lives and existence as any celebrity, football player, company CEO, journalist or politician – if not more.

Everyone has a big part to play in making the wheels of the Country turn. Not even bankers are the untouchable gods that they would like us to believe.

WE ARE ALL THE SAME. WE ARE NOT AND SHOULD NEVER BE DEFINED BY WEALTH, JOB, INCOME OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT MAY APPEAR TO MAKE US LOOK DIFFERENT TO ANYONE ELSE.

The Government must now take steps to ensure that REAL value is attributed to NHS Staff not only financially, but in the public policy and measures that the Government can take to support ALL people who are currently underpaid in relation to what it costs to live.

One of the most ridiculous things that I have read in recent days was that an advert had gone out from one particular Health Trust to employ a diversity officer at about twice the wage of a frontline NHS Nurse. This kind of stupidity in the management of political correctness applied in the workplace represents everything that is wrong with the NHS today. It has to stop.

This is part of a massive problem that the Government can and should be tackling head on.

Things that the Government should do include:

  • Placing a ban on the use of agency and contract staff to fill frontline NHS roles to be enacted within 18 months
  • Placing a ban on the outsourcing of management work to contractors, freelancers and consultants to be enacted within 12 months
  • Management of all operational functions to be placed back in the hands of experienced clinical staff
  • Rescind the European Working Time Directive and replace it with legislation that allows each individual to work the hours they choose to, providing their doing so will not put others at risk and that they can only work hours above those they are contracted to do so as a personal, non-coerced choice.
  • The creation of a parallel extended vocational route (a genuine apprenticeship or time served route) to degree qualification as a Nurse for non-academically inclined candidates
  • The cancellation of tuition fees for Nursing, Medical and other NHS-related undergraduate degrees for academic candidates
  • GPs, Drs and Consultants who leave the NHS after receiving a UK education and on-the-job training with the NHS to be required to undertake 10 years service in their post-trained NHS role after the completion of training before they can ‘go private’
  • That any employee transferring from a commercial sector role be required to undertake a minimum of 6 months clinical operations experience before being able to take up their new NHS role, unless they have gained worked within the NHS as a full-time NHS employee within the preceding 5 years.
  • That no Public Sector employee should receive bonuses for carrying out the function that they were employed to undertake.
  • All purchasing to be carried out for the whole network by a centralised service with ordering only carried out at local level
  • The NHS ‘internal supply chain’ to be managed and operated by the NHS and not contracted out to external suppliers
  • The cancellation of all existing PFI arrangements
  • Removing the ‘right to sue’ from anyone who has not directly paid for NHS care in the event of something ‘going wrong’. (Directly to include those receiving private treatment on a private healthcare policy)
  • Set up a specialist NHS Adjudication Service to make judgement on any negligence claims from patients who have directly paid for treatment
  • Setting a basic standard of living level, ensuring that the providers of essential services such as utilities are either in public hands or run on a strictly not-for-profit basis and resetting the property market to ensure that standard housing is affordable to all.
  • Remove the ability of Unions to call strikes or any kind of industrial action
  • Set in law the requirement that the CEO of any health trust cannot earn more than 10 times the wage of the lowest paid member of staff in the trust – including any enhancements that come with the role.
  • Pensions to be brought in line with general requirements
  • The changes made by Gordon Brown to Pension Funds in 1997 to be reversed

One of the most important requirements of successful change for the NHS and equipping our Hospitals to be prepared for all future events is the acknowledgment that the NHS does not stand alone.

A significant number of people work professionally within the NHS and its supply chain. But by its very nature as a public service, the NHS and the people who staff it are effected by Public Policy right across the board.

It is therefore essential that the Government no longer treat the NHS like it sits in an isolated bubble – just as people outside of it understand Westminster and everything political to operate..

What the Government does for or to the NHS will have an effect on other public services and industry, just like what it does for them will affect the NHS too.

Some of the changes that need to be made are specifically related to the management processes within the NHS. But not all of them, as there are many more.

Identifying and implementing policy for the NHS and its staff that overlaps with other areas of life is beyond essential.

Without it, the next time we need the NHS just as we do with the fight against COVID-19 today, it will have long-since been placed in critical care.

 

 

 

 

 

Seeking financial reparation from China for Coronavirus would be ridiculous. The pay-off should be the warning that today they are not a Government the UK can trust

March 18, 2020 Leave a comment

One of the most rotten aspects of culture today is the overriding need that some people have to be able to blame someone or something external to themselves for everything that they consider that they have suffered in some way.

It doesn’t stop there.

Being able to blame someone or something else for the misfortune that they have suffered means that they simply must be compensated – most often financially – in some way.

Money is nothing. It is simply an idea. And giving it value as an emotional currency that can be used to ‘pay someone off’ is helping nobody and least of all the person making the claim.

In recent days, Twitter chat has turned to the subject of seeking reparations from China over the Coronavirus outbreak which we understand to have originated in Wuhan.

Whilst the cost to the economy and the Public Purse in monetary value and the far reaching cost to us all and not least of all those who have lost and will lose loved ones in emotional terms will be significant to say the least, that cost is not something it would be sensible to try and calculate and then present to anyone or any country to whom we might be able to attribute blame.

The reality is that whilst scientists have long suggested that a viral pandemic would be most likely to originate on the Asian Continent in some form, it is in reality just as likely that a problem like Coronavirus could have or still could originate from somewhere in the West in similar or alternative forms. Viruses by their vary nature constantly mutate and it is as feasible that an agent that exists in the UK and is currently viewed as harmless could at any moment change and mutate into a more virulent and malevolent form. All this without any attribution to the science of Porton Down and research into germ warfare being at any time involved.

Whilst conspiracists are already trying to gain traction with the story that Covid-19 was deliberately engineered by one or another Government and simply realised upon the World in Wuhan in its current form, the reality is that the location where this all kicked off was on the part of the Chinese simply a very big dose of bad luck. As such, this is not something in itself that any of us should be seeking to attribute blame or indeed seek reparations from them for.

We have been expecting a Worldwide pandemic for sometime and in the eyes of many, it has long since been overdue. 2020 has simply and unfortunately proven to be the time.

What we could and should be taking note of however, is the approach that the Chinese Government took to notifying and informing the World when the outbreak first took off, and how they may even now be approaching the management and manipulation of information and its flow even now.

Control is everything to the Communist Regime and it is very clear that they are involved in and have access to everything, no matter whether it is government, business or personal in nature – wherever they are involved.

The delay in providing accurate information to the rest of the World may well have prevented many Governments from being able to act sooner to address the spread of Covid-19. The reality is that we will never be sure.

But we should take the whole experience as a reference point for what the Chinese actually does, as opposed to what in parallel it desires us all to be told.

Government MUST NOT bailout airlines, banks or any privately owned business during the CV Crisis. It should provide standstill legislation that trickles down to support EVERYONE and not just those who believe they are too rich to fail

March 16, 2020 4 comments

Reading over the weekend that Virgin Airways boss Richard Branson is seeking a £7.5 Billion Government bailout for the Airline Industry because of the Corona virus crisis gave me quite a jolt. Not because of what it says about the exponential impact of the worldwide outbreak of this horrid virus on British based airlines. But because of the long term implications of another government writing out cheques to underwrite privately and shareholder-owned businesses as they did so in response to the 2008 Financial Crisis without any consideration for the long term impact that it still has for us all.

To be straight to the point; it is not the responsibility of any government, the Taxpayer, public purse or whatever you want to call it, to bail out private business and especially not in such profit-orientated times.

It simply doesn’t matter matter how bad the consequences might seem for staff, shareholders or anyone else involved. These businesses are not run as a public service. They exist to enrich the people who own them, not to prioritise the wellbeing of the people they serve.

It is certainly not legitimate for any politician, elected or otherwise to underwrite the rescue of any privately or shareholder owned business so that it can again become profitable whilst the public is saddled with a debt for doing so that has not or never will be repaid.

Whilst we might all be at least concerned if not genuinely worried about what the coming days and weeks will bring, there are remarkably few businesses or organisations that will not be affected in some way. Within these, staff will have to change where they work or be laid off if they have not already done so, and in a large proportion of cases they will find themselves with a reduced income, whether that be from losing work completely or finding their hours lowered or indirect income reduced from a reduction in expenses or some other specific way that they would normally accumulate what they count as being pay.

Small businesses are going to fail. Especially those that are owner led and may have none or very few employees, where margins literally pay a living wage to the owner and nothing more. Other businesses, if not all of them, will have to lay off many staff.

Without clever thinking on the part of Government and politicians which really starts to join up all the dots and goes way beyond the brainstorming of Dominic Cummings current weirdos and misfits team, businesses that were not only viable a few weeks ago, but also very profitable will overnight become a permanently lost cause.

It is genuinely the case that like birth and death being the great levelers that they are, Corona virus does not see wealth, status or any other factor as being a mitigating factor against its dark and malevolent cause.

Nobody has the right to be treated better or differently to any other in this Country. If this Government is to succeed in leading us all through a crisis of what could very well become an indeterminate length, it is essential that Politicians on all sides put equitable thinking and the consequences and knock-on effects of all this and how it is going to effect people and businesses alike at the heart of their decision making and at the centre of what should now be a purely non-partisan cause.

Whilst we have many experts who are putting forward their opinions and trying to pressure the government to change policy and go in different ways, the reality is that whether these ‘experts’ are economists, mathematicians, scientists or doctors, none of them are experts on the full and comprehensive complexity of the snowballing issues that this crisis is building. Even the political leaders themselves have never dealt with a situation like this one and none of them have a specific historical example to look back on which could be shoehorned into use as a blueprint for managing this 2020 pandemic.

The time to question the ability, decision-making and motivation of any politician is at election time. Not when a crisis of this magnitude comes to call.

For better or for worse, right now, we have the politicians that the electorate gave us and we MUST give them the support necessary to get something done that for some if not all of us is never going to feel right.

The question should therefore be not whether our Politicians are suitable for the jobs that they had in December – because public opinion has already concluded that for us.

The question must now be whether our Politicians can now adapt and think differently to the way that they historically appear to have always done so – without foresight, empathy or any reasoned ability to look beyond the situation that appears to be right in front of their faces and then think through the implications of everything that their decisions and responsibility will now touch and lead to not just one, but potentially many steps beyond.

When big names like Branson come calling and are given an immediate public spotlight because of the fickle world of media and celebrity we have been living in until now, we must all look to see and consider the realities that roll out beneath, in front of and beyond the self interest that drives these people and see the impact of every single decision government and influential people now make as being part of the same very big cause which is actually theirs, mine and yours.

Why does anyone want a bailout?

Right now, there are lots of businesses and whole industries asking themselves and looking to our Political Leaders to answer the question ‘who will keep the lights on’?

But it is not the responsibility of the Government and therefore the Taxpayer (that’s you and I…) to keep any business functioning when it cannot trade – no matter what the circumstances or cause.

To do so – with the way that our economy currently works – will help them now, whilst causing long-term pain for us all.

Sounds harsh I know. But if a business stops trading and isn’t doing anything, so needs to be ‘mothballed’ even temporarily – what are the costs and how can or rather how should those costs be met in order to keep that business viable for when ‘normality’ can return?

Contrary to common parlance, no business is too big to fail and no individual is too financially rich to fail – that is if politicians are genuinely doing their job. It is only fear and lack of ability to take responsibility on the part of the people we have elected to lead us that drives decision making otherwise.

So no, in 2008, the Banks should never have been bailed out. And certainly not in a way that they could resume paying bonuses to staff almost immediately and then return to profitability whilst we the public will continue paying for what was a commercially created – and therefore avoidable mistake, now and for potentially many years to come.

The difference between the banking crisis and the Corona Virus crisis is that in 2008, the implications of a financial meltdown were assumed because of the ideas we all have about money, what happens without it and how we all perceive it to be the controlling force within our lives. In 2020, the implications of the Corona virus are all about how the spread and presence of a real disease WILL genuinely affect us all – not just about how we feel and respond emotionally – and in some cases irrationally – to it in our thoughts.

Income, what we ALL face and the trickle-down solutions that we ALL now need

Today, businesses are worried about trade and therefore income.

People and employees are worried about jobs and being able to work and therefore income too.

But why is income so important?

Income is important because we all have to live – which other than for food pretty much means to keep paying bills.

But who takes money from us when we pay the bills?

If we remove basic food and essential items from the equation, its commercial interests, whether it be for phones, TV, utilities (such as water, electricity, gas etc), services, loans, leases, rents or anything else.

So when we are all facing a situation that has the ability to leave none of us untouched, why should any of those private interests be able to continue to profit from what is essentially a genuine crisis, public emergency and therefore public cause, when any one of them in isolation will be able to resume their profit making activities without anything standing in their way once the Corona Virus crisis is over and life in the UK returns to something like what we agree to be the norm?

The answer is that they shouldn’t.

And it is now that Boris and all of the wannabe politicians and advisors who surround him and inhabit our political system need to stand up to these interests that are indirectly responsible for so many of the ills that we face, simply because money and profit are their one an only motivation and cause.

The Government has the power to grant a moratorium on all non essential payments and financial activities such as the accumulation of interest in every sense possible.

The Government can also underwrite the actual cost of providing essential utilities and services during this crisis period without any profit being payable to any of the private interests or shareholders who are involved in providing the ‘public’ services that we will all continue to need.

Standstill Legislation: extraordinary measures for extraordinary times

No individual can survive on around £90 per week in what we would now call ‘normal times’ and for any politician to say otherwise is to tell a disproportionate lie.

However, if the Country comes to a standstill – as it is quite reasonable for us to now expect it will do so, the suggested £90 per week, per individual or thereabouts that the DWP would pay through ‘Universal Credit’ or whatever the benefit paid to those laid off from work as a result of the crisis would be, would certainly be enough just for food and essentials per person. That is if ‘Standstill Legislation’ halted the requirement for all other bills to be paid and Government takes control of essential services so that everyone can function within their homes with no travel or any other form of expenditure required.

Done in blanket form, without exception for any company, industry or anyone else involved, Standstill Legislation would not only be a fair, but very practical solution to effectively shut down the wider, profit-based nonessential goods economy and put it on hold until we are all ready and able to move forward with life in this Country as one.

Legislation could include but not be restricted to:

  • The temporary halt of all loan, mortgage, lease and credit card payments for all people and businesses, with payment plans resuming for full schedule beyond
  • The temporary halt to all interest accumulation on credit for all people and businesses with interest only becoming applicable once again once we move forward as one
  • The temporary halt to all council tax and business rate payments for all people and businesses with Central Government picking up the tab for revenue income flow for local authorities in-between
  • The implementation of anti-profiteering legislation for all businesses able and continuing to function throughout the shutdown period requiring margins to either reflect pre-crisis trading or those of the specific industry in the period before
  • Employers being able to lay-off staff until the crisis ends, with permanent staff being able to resume their positions as soon as the crisis ends unless the business can demonstrate that normal trading cannot be immediately resumed
  • Universal Credit or rather a ‘basic income’ payable to all those out of work because of the crisis purely for food and essential items
  • Government control of all essential and previously publicly owned services (Gas, Electricity, Water, Transport etc)
  • A temporary extension of VAT payment windows to at least 6 months from 3 for any business continuing to trade during the Shutdown Period
  • Staggered Taxation support for businesses that have been able to remain trading, applied relative to drop in trading
  • Suspension of all EU derived working hour legislation – including removal of the restrictions on driver hours, driver cpc training etc.
  • All tickets for holidays and events to be honored within 12 months of normal activates being resumed or repaid – with the choice being that of the customer, or refunded by default if the event or holiday cannot be honored for ANY reason which is identified at that specific point
  • Supermarkets being required to focus on essential foods and items only with rationing in place for items that are in genuine short supply

If there is one very good thing that can come from the Corona Virus outbreak and the crisis that has created, it will be the opportunity for politicians and big business to recognise how none of their actions or decisions take effect in isolation or in the targeted way that they might think. Echo chambers are only something that exists on the internet, not in real life.

The reality is that Corona Virus is not only exposing us all to a potentially life-threatening illness. It is also demonstrating how the lives of all of us are already exceptionally vulnerable, and that Government already has the ability to address the weaknesses of an unrestricted economic system where private interest and profit making at one end of the spectrum are indirectly or otherwise making life misery for many others in a wide ranging and incalculable number of different ways.

Yes, the suggestions that I am making would be only on a temporary basis and that is how it would have to be once normality returns. But until politicians actually start doing their jobs properly, taking responsibility and making life better and more equitable for everyone in many different and far-reaching ways, the chaos and hardship that the Corona Virus is now revealing will continue to be an example of the daily struggles than many British people face until we all start thinking and behaving like we are one.

 

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