Now then, to listen to the endless news channels it really is all over. Malls are reopening, Stores are getting ready to throw their doors open. We saw the Rishi God being interviewed in some brightly lit Mall all smiles and positive energy, smile fully switched on for the gushing reporter. Football is back next week, Horse Racing (not a sport a huge gambling business), is already enabling people to part with cash during this apparent crisis. Every other report on the box is a business owner telling us how ready they are to provide customers with a "totally safe and exciting experience". Pubs, Restaurants, Airlines, Hair Dressers, on and on, to listen to these people the virus is now a thing of the past. So, let us head out, have a hair cut, go for lunch, have a bet, have a few pints, generally enjoy our new found freedoms to spend spend SPEND.
I'm not so sure about all of this. One or two alarms are ringing in the back of my mind. Most importantly any decisions re the UK resuming where it left off are being taken by a Govt that has successfully steered us to having the second highest death rate on the planet. Quite an achievement that when you consider that the UK is supposedly one of the strongest economies. It has to be said that seeing any evidence of that before the virus was quite difficult.
The Govt seems to have alienated the science community and when asked about this point blank refuses to engage.Neil Ferguson OBE is an Epidemiologist and Professor of Mathematical Biology ( I don't even know that that is) has broken ranks and assassinated any vestige of credibility the Govt may have thought it had. He has stated that if the Govt had followed the scientific advice ( this is a very foggy area ) and imposed restrictions a couple of weeks earlier the death toll would likely have been halved. Now, I'm no scientist, however when somebody says something like that from such a qualified position it surely requires high level responses. This is not happening. Therefore, I have no confidence at all in the same Govt being capable of deciding if/when it is wise to "kick start the economy". We all know that the current UK Govt is owned lock stock and barrel by super rich city types. This is not at all good.
One of the most irritating voices I am hearing screaming is that of the hospitality sector.
They are shouting loudly from every available platform about the absolute need to reduce the social distancing rule to one metre. This they put forward as the definitive way to enable them to open up with complete safety. What utter garbage is this?.
Put simply they are rabid in their need to put you and me and anybody else in the viral firing line to get a few quid in. If this is the case, why are some countries not at all keen on letting people from the UK into their environments? The UK has been held up as a laughing stock by the media all over the globe. Thing is it is not at all amusing. It is sad and has resulted in the fractures in the UK society being highlighted in the harshest of ways. Still these business people drive ominously on.
Again, the hospitality industry is a good example of one of those serious fractures. Next time they have some hotel owner on crowing about the number of employees they have, I would like the reporter to ask what their pay rates are on Bank Holidays?, if they have company sick pay?, how many holidays do employees get?, do they get two days a week off together?, is night pay higher than day pay? - I worked in a local hotel where the rate for nights was the same as days- do they have a union? , I have a feeling the owner would not be quite so bubbly then.
Asking visitors to self isolate for two weeks has come in for huge criticism, two things occur to me here, firstly the airports should have been closed in early March, secondly I do actually believe anyone dumb enough to come here just now should be isolating to protect themselves, from us.
So, it's now OK to venture out to the town centre. As long as you wear a mask on public transport. As long as you stand two metres apart. As long as you sanitise your hands often. All this while the swings on the local parks remain closed. But, you can nip in the Bookies, this makes no sense to me at all. There was always going to be a crunch moment between the Govt and business, that moment is now with us. It struck me as rather damning when Hancock gleefully announced his pleasure that "Our Sport" (horse racing) was back, Hancock is the MP for Newmarket and has accepted cash from various horse racing figures. Explains a lot eh?
This is the sort of thinking that is being used to take the decisions regarding the UK and it's future. This why we get battered via the media into thinking only business matters.
Stock markets around the planet are crashing. This is not going to stop. Actually it is going to accelerate quicker than an F1 car. The crash is going to make anything we have experienced so far look like a picnic. There is a blind panic spreading through all those business owners. British Gas owner Centrica has today announced 5K job losses. An energy company, been raking it in for years. Just Google it and you will see. When these companies announce financial losses what they mean is they have made less money than in the previous year. I am not sure if anyone actually knows if they are actually operating on a negative level. This blind panic is now infecting the Govt at rather worrying levels. It therefore affects you and me.
So, I ask this question. Given that we can now seriously consider reopening just about everything, that business owners up and down the land are utterly convinced they can provide us with a "safe experience", that all those youngsters can resume serving fries, that you can sit outside a pub and get pissed, ( just how many problems are the Police going to have when the big reopening of pubs happens), that you can have people around to your house, just when exactly did we START ISSUING VACCINATIONS ?
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Society not Economy.