Now then, Richard Branson. You will not find anyone who doesn't know who he is.
He is seen largely as one of those slightly mad British entrepreneurs, and one who pushes to hold odd records, hence his antics with hot air balloons or speed records with the Virgin Hyperloop One etc. Generally most see him as a jovial face who crops up every now and again.
I see him in a slightly different light. He was involved heavily in the East Coast Railway Franchise debacle. In fairness it should be pointed out that serial failure Mr Grayling was also heavily involved. Branson + Grayling. Make your own minds up !
That fiasco cost the tax payer a huge amount. Virgin and Stagecoach had undertaken to pay the Govt £3.3Bn by 2023, the deal was ended 3 yrs early. Branson claimed that he and Stagecoach had lost around £100M. It would be very interesting to see if any money flowed into the Treasury during all of this, I cannot find this out.
Anyway, Branson walked away. Having failed. One possible silver lining, Lord Adonis was forced to resign as Chair of the National Infrastructure Commisssion.
Branson and Stagecoach shared a payout of £52M just after the £2Bn bailout.
In 2017 the NHS settled out of court with Virgin Care. No details are available as to just how much the NHS handed over. However, The Health Service Journal revealed that one CCG inadvertently disclosed that it was facing liabilities running into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Our pounds, pounds which were meant to assist our NHS.
Branson and his private company took money away from the NHS.
Doesn't seem quite so jovial and friendly now does he ?
The above paragraph hinges on one huge and altruistic principle. The NHS is not there to be profited from. It is there to help sick people. Branson not only wants to profit from it, he took it to court and extracted money from it. CALLOUS.
It is coming to light today that he has written to the PM stating that the aviation industry requires a bailout. A rather large one. £7.5Bn to be exact. This at a time when the hapless PM is appealing to industry to start manufacturing Ventilators at the earliest opportunity. The need is dire. Many people are and will die. The NHS is buckling. All energy and concern needs to be acutely focused on helping it. We do not have enough beds, staff are going to start dropping soon. Branson wants money for aviation companies. Money to help those companies to survive.
Survive ? Well, here's a thing. I want PEOPLE to survive. Old people, weak people, homeless people, poor people, well off people, smelly people, slow people, clever people, foreign people, actually ALL people. £7.5Bn for the aviation industry.
Sure enough there are thousands of jobs that depend on that industry. However, when all this starts to recede, those planes will still exist. All those routes will still be there. All that hardware will still be usable. Yet he raises this massive distraction for fear of losing some money. Why is he not offering to make some of his vast fortune available to help out ? Could he not be adding his plummy voice to the call for industry to get making those Vents ? More likely he will have his analysts looking for ways to make a few quid.
I worry about our PM and his uncontrollable dedication to CASH. It is quite likely that Branson will get his way. Johnson will wet his pants with glee.
So, as long as we have one homeless person in the UK, one lonely senior citizen worrying about seeing tomorrow, one tired nurse with an empty fridge, one youngster on NMW going to work with the sniffles, one person who struggles to read being grilled by the DWP, one person with depression unable to get through on the phone, one food bank, one single parent mother who can't find anything for the kid in the charity shop, one family opening the eviction letter, any of that, -
Branson and his like should be told to get the hell away. They will not be.
Business has to thrive, not at the expense of the poor living poor lives and dying poor deaths. How many unmarked graves will we be left with ?
This crisis is shining a very harsh light on the extent of Victoriana in this awful country.
The UK is being viewed across the globe for what it really is.
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Society Not Economy.