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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.

The Nightingale ‘Field Hospitals’ look more like a cynical publicity stunt by the day. No Government should treat the public like this at any time and certainly not during a time of National Crisis

April 17, 2020 2 comments

As white elephants go, the Nightingale Hospitals are likely to be the very worst we will ever see.

With a Lockdown imposed upon the Country that feels more and more like the early stages of a Police State than a restriction on daily life that is designed to help, the ‘temporary’ end of our liberty was firmly sold to us on the basis that it was the only way to enable the Government to do all that was possible to ‘protect the NHS’.

Of that dubious sales script, one of the most contrived-to-be-convincing excuses the Government made for the requirement of public support for the Lockdown was the time that it was going to take to set up, equip and then open the Nightingale Hospitals, the first of which was set up in an Exhibition Centre in London’s East End.

Once it had opened, it didn’t appear to be the case that the London Nightingale was immediately struggling from over use like many established NHS Hospitals around the Country that are still throwing everything that they have available at COVID-19.

In fact, some started to question how these ‘Field Hospitals’ would actually be staffed, given that the twenty thousand or so retired and de-registered medical staff who answered the call to come back could at best only meet what is known to be the NHS’s pre-Coronavirus and therefore immediate or existing staffing shortfall.

In the past 24 hours, the real story has began to find its way out.

Instead of the Nightingales being the genuine additional capacity to support the whole of the NHS to fight the COVID-19 Crisis that we were told by the Government that they would be, the facilities they offer are only being made available to specific cases and the patients who are most likely to survive. Furthermore, a place will only be offered if the transferring hospital provides the staff to care for that patient too.

On reading this, you are probably wondering to yourself ‘what is the point?’.

Well it’s a good question to ask. Because the pretence for this ridiculous Lockdown was all about helping the NHS to cope.

Now, with three weeks of this highly dubious Lockdown already passed, it is clear that the additional space to manage the so-called ‘peak’ of the Pandemic in the UK was put in place with the intention of it being no such thing.

If the Government is picking and choosing which patients its flagship ‘Field Hospitals’ are going to treat, it can only mean one thing: That the Nightingales have been set up as a publicity stunt to provide figures and data that can be manipulated to show that the Government is achieving results when all the time it is not.

Meanwhile, the Lockdown has already began to destroy jobs, incomes, businesses and lives as the support that the Chancellor has provided does nothing to help people and protect the economy in the way that it should.

Then there are the patients suffering medical conditions and diseases like cancer are being sidelined or their treatment delayed by Hospitals up and down the Country as existing staff and resources are re-tasked to concentrate on prioritising Coronavirus patients.

So even when it comes to addressing the medical aspects of this National Crisis, the Government is telling us all one thing, but doing nothing like what it is saying or indeed anything like what it really should.

There was no excuse to shut down the whole Country under the pretence of supporting the NHS in the first place.

But to have done so when the Government itself is not doing all the things that it should to help either the NHS or the millions of people and businesses that it has effectively put under house arrest offers no logical, responsible or even reasonable excuse.

The more we see of this Government and its clear inability to cope, the more we see the real truth unravelling and finding its way into the light. It is clear that these Ministers and their advisors are making it all up as they go along.

All they are doing is based upon how the things they do and say will look, rather than what the results will be. The Nightingales are a vanity project, clearly all about the Government being able to tell everyone how great they were at dealing with the COVID-19 Crisis.

But this approach is helping nobody. It is just another part of the almighty and escalating mess and chaos that the stupidity of the politicians who are supposed to be leading this Country has created.

For what is happening now on the Johnson Government’s watch, there simply isn’t any legitimate excuse.

The NHS has been in need of desperate top to bottom reform for years and successive Governments have failed to address the real systemic issues in the Health Service over a long period of time.

Good leaders would have recognised and accepted this in the early stages of the Crisis and done everything necessary to ‘come clean’ and explain to us all that there was simply no way that the resources and staff would be available or ready in time to head off or prevent every death that it might be have been possible to prevent, had everything already been in place.

Instead the Government has taken us all on a wild goose chase. They have given false hope and false promises, removed our liberties, set fire to the economy, and fired the starting gun on the destruction of quality of life for countless millions, probably for many years to come.

All because they have no idea what to do, and stupid is as stupid does.

 

 

 

 

 

Politicians created the fake news culture and only want to tackle the narratives that are out of their control

August 15, 2019 Leave a comment

Yes, you read that right. Politicians created the fake news culture and they did so, because they made fake news publicly acceptable when they embraced the concept of spin.

There is a vicious circle at work where the problem has become as bad as it has because on one side of the argument the political classes speak out vociferously about the dangers of fake news and the negative impact that it is having on democracy. Yet on the other, the very same politicians continue to create stories and narratives to increase or improve their own electability that does precisely the same thing,

What this all overlooks is the two edge sword that is the failure of education to teach young people critical thinking skills so that adults can discern between what they should trust, what they shouldn’t and where they should attribute value in between, and the other, where the distinct lack of public figures who speak openly, honestly and treat everyone as if they are all adults in the same room leaves the whole population without the leadership role models that demonstrate what right looks like in a world which is telling us so much is now so wrong.

Plans and efforts to force social media outlets and companies to crack down on fake news sound like very laudable goals. But in reality, there is very little out there that should or rather would need to be banned or removed from circulation, if politicians weren’t making it impossible for people to trust what they should be able to trust in the first place.

The debate or issue doesn’t end there, because mainstream news production and output is now so predominantly based on opinion rather than basic news itself.

Whilst it makes uncomfortable reading, the reality is that opinion and fake news are pretty much the very same thing.

Regrettably what began as an institutional problem within politics crossed to the mainstream media and then social media too.

It is now a cultural malaise and the attempts to wrest the problem at the feet of social media companies does little more than make light of the depth of the problem that now exists and what steps really need to be taken if the so-called war on fake news is actually to be won.

What is sure is that tackling the fake news problem wont be achieved by simply shutting down narratives which make politicians uncomfortable – usually because they simply put their own roles and situations at risk.

It would simply be hypocrisy to do so.

It basically says that fake news is fine as a propaganda tool to influence the electorate – so long as the fake news in question is based on a narrative that we and only we actually own.

This isn’t to say that nothing should be done about fake news being spread about and treated with the same value as truth.

It most definitely should. But the real question is about how this is actually done.

The best place to start would be for Politicians to simply start being open and telling the truth and for the media in general to start reporting news as news rather than what is little more than the personal opinion of reporters and journalists as fact.

 

TV Election debates are great if showmanship is the only standard set for Political leadership

September 17, 2018 Leave a comment

download (23)I’ve written about televised leaders debates before and I continue to have doubts about their validity, and whether it is even possible for them to be truly fair.

With talk of another General Elections becoming ever frequent, probably because of Labours obsession with finding a way to cause one, it comes as little surprise that somebody, somewhere is obsessing about how people will feel in a very specific, but what will be painted as being a wholly comprehensive way..

That looking to ‘big up’ a certain point of view is a process of little more than confirmation bias by people with the public ear is no great shock. But it is ironic that the subject matter here is the focus of the media, where a lot of the symptoms or effects causing upset amongst not only young people but the wider population too, was generated in the first place.

No, there’s nothing wrong with young people being in favour with television debates. In fact, I defy anyone to suggest other than it is what we can all safely expect.

After all, TV and all forms of media are now to many representative of the world we live in. From that perspective alone, we would be foolish to overlook the way that to so many people the world of politics is now perceived.

What happens is we all forget or overlook one massive and inescapable truth when when the infinitesimally small, pure, unadulterated level of fact provided through these mediums is acknowledged and put to one side.

Every other bit of content on the news, on TV, on the internet and on social media isn’t real. Its words. Opinion. Spin. Someone else’s way of interpreting events in the world. It’s the way that other people want us all to see AND interpret what is going on around us. And even then what they say and what we hear may be very different things.

We have created the illusion of all illusions. Instead of measuring our life decisions with the facts hidden below the surface of this pretend veil, we are mistaking illusion for fact. We have fallen in to the trap of creating a parallel universe where nothing really exists except the many perceptions that we have differently as individuals. Perceptions that we experience as genuine which are misleading is about everything.

No, I do not blame young people or anyone living a normal life outside the bubble where this is all created for the misunderstanding, the frustration and yes, the injustice which sits in between. I don’t even blame those creating the problem from within it, because these are people who are so clearly lost from the impact and consequence of what they are doing, that they cannot really have any idea of what it all means.

The biggest problem in amongst all of this is that our political classes do not see the reality of what is going on and what this all really is. Despite it not being unreasonable that we should be able to expect all those holding elected office to be savvy enough to see the wood for the trees AND act upon it, they have become obsessed with making all this noise real. They simply overlook the responsibilities that they have to us all and obsess about what looks good when it is presented to us

Watch Politicians on Twitter. Observe them on Facebook. But above all take note of how little sense any of their answers or statements really make when they are asked reasonable question about the work they are supposed to be doing for you.

Our political classes have become so obsessed with playing up to what they think people think, rather than doing the job they are supposed to do, that it really comes as no surprise that things have got as bad as they really are for us all. This is wrong.

The establishment didn’t see Brexit coming. Many of the Politicians belonging to it are still convinced that everyone outside Westminster and London actually wants to remain. They certainly haven’t got any real idea of what it is to be a normal person trying to make ends meet, or to be a young person struggling with the prospect of taking on a lifelong debt to obtain what will probably be useless qualifications before their adult life even begins.

So if we focus only on how a Politician or would-be Prime Minister performs on TV or all the other forms of media, we are overlooking a great many things.

Yes, good media performance is important for Politicians. But it is only just the cherry on a very large metaphorical cake. It’s not even the icing, or the most important part, the middle, which itself needs to contain real quality ingredients. All in one what should really be a many great things.

None of this can really be seen within a televised debate forum. Seeing is believing only if you believe the idea that the camera never lies. And if any of us use this example of judging the suitably of a prime ministerial candidate and the substance of the Political Party that backs them, we should not be surprised when the results are policies which only inflict pain within our lives, because the illusion of credibility that being on a screen gives then wins.

 

image thanks to independent.co.uk

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