Read Part 1 of this article here.

Too many here it seems are quite happy to continue working from home or living on furlough payments, while it seems millions of others are living in vastly reduced circumstances. Tens of thousands have not received much help from Rishi, who has apparently now decreed that furlough payments will continue to at least the summer, which would suggest at least that any sort of normal, new, or otherwise is still a far-off ambition.

What sort of normal that is going to be, when large sections of the public seem content to sit it out while others lose their savings, homes and livelihoods, is an interesting question. As is how employers – public or otherwise – will motivate a workforce, certainly in the public sector, that has largely gone its own way for the past year, happy in the knowledge presumably that the ‘little people’ are still working to keep things running without, for the most part, any recognition coming their way in kind or otherwise. Odd too that most of the unmentionable jobs are done by people earning low wages or working for private sector companies or indeed are the much maligned and largely forgotten self-employed. Just collateral damage to the well-heeled dinner party ‘elites’ of North London, or perhaps like the Headteacher, they ‘just don’t care’.

I wonder how these ‘out of sight out of mind’ workers will feel when the inevitable tax and price rises come their way. It’s not been mentioned much in the mainstream media, but prices are already rising and there are more hints on a daily basis of inevitable tax rises across the board. Never mind, people who have worked in the background during the last year will, I’m sure, be only too pleased (not) that they will have made a contribution to keeping the country running and at the same time contributing to payments made to people on full pay or furlough who, according to the Chairman of the Bank of England, have saved billions of pounds while supposedly working tirelessly from home but nevertheless been able to take hours off work to go walking or play with the ‘kids.’

Interesting times in which we live, although ‘old John,’ one of our local characters and a man of many practical talents, said to me the other day, ‘this is wearing very thin now, mark my words there will eventually be trouble, if they can work from  home all this time, maybe we should ask if we really need them in the first place and what exactly are they all doing because I can’t actually see any results.’

Except of course the local council now says it has a deficit and will need to raise monies to cover the shortfall. Roll on the elections this May, that’s if we are allowed to have them, because by that time some of the chickens may have come home to roost. Maybe the proverbial penny will have dropped into the public consciousness. Not that I for one will be holding my breath but one can always hope.

Hope seems to be in short supply these days, as whoever is controlling the media seems to want to keep the masses totally frightened, confused or in despair. Looking at all the media over the last month or so, is a dispiriting experience. It’s as if this daily diet of gloom and doom, driven by the so-called experts in this or that, is some sort of government Machiavellian plot.

For example, this week we are now expected to believe that the omni-shambles of the so-called Brexit Bill withdrawal trade agreement, just sort of, well, happened. The fact that experienced EU watchers, lawyers and politicians were actually warning of this before the withdrawal date seems somehow to have been ‘forgotten’ by the media.

We are expected to believe that Lord Frost is about to sort the EU out, as Gove wasn’t tough enough, and so on. Is it starting to dawn on some commentators that having a cabinet full of people who wanted to remain is just not a very good idea? And that when Gove talked about a reset with the EU last month, what he meant was not what you may have thought he meant.

Presumably, he knew that fishing and other industries would suffer when banned from exporting untreated shellfish to the EU. And other goods including chilled meat such as sausages, ground meat and burgers, seed potatoes, ungraded eggs and even exports of trees were to be included and not, as we were told, temporarily, but now revealed by the media, permanently.

So this, we are expected to believe, well, just sort of happened, but what we actually got, according to Ben Habib, allowed the EU to sell goods here but for us not to be able to sell goods freely in the EU. And apparently Michael Gove unilaterally waived all import declarations for imports from the EU until June this year! We all saw how Dutch officials treated that lorry driver from the UK who had his lunch sandwiches confiscated, or how earth-moving equipment sent to Northern Ireland was refused entry, because it apparently had English or should that be British soil on its tracks.

Grant Shapps – he of the ‘we call it the short straights’ description of the crossing from Dover to France has  also agreed that vehicles leaving here for Europe should, for ease of compliance of course, display number plates that conformed to the EU style.

Obviously, he had not noticed that as soon as possible after it became clear that we were leaving the EU, thousands upon thousands of drivers dumped EU number plates and reverted to UK style plates. Maybe the Department of Transport is unaware how many people removed EU style plates from vehicles and were quite happy to purchase a GB plate to display on their vehicles. But, say the authorities, you now have the Union Flag on your EU style driving license. Oh well, that’s alright then. I was under the impression that we had left the EU. After all, it said so on the government’s DVLA website, for a time at least!

These minor trivial things (not) are all very convenient of course and presumably part of the new Gove reset of relations with the EU which as usual seem to me to be all one way. By the way, Mr. Shapps was also a remainer apparently. Is there now anyone in the cabinet who actually wanted to leave the EU? Perhaps we should be told, or are the rumours, stories and the rest being promulgated in the mainstream all part of this ‘plot’ we keep hearing about to rejoin the EU at some point?

As ever, with the mainstream, it’s not what they tell you and cover that counts, it’s what they don’t tell you that really matters. Who for example is actually of influence in Downing Street? Who or what is driving the childishly named ‘route map’ to normality that we keep hearing about but has dates and goals that constantly keep changing?

Where is an impact assessment of the financial effect of this extended lockdown? What is the Johnson government doing about or proposing to do about its propaganda arm the BBC or the attack on civil liberties? The list goes on and on and all we hear about is the latest Megan and Harry saga, or the latest shock horror probe story of the day. Hancock and the ‘contracts’ springs to mind although the media seems to be quiet on that at the moment. Perhaps that’s being kept in hand for a later date.

I’ve no idea, as the old pop song went, who Alice is or was, but my goodness, if she’s not wondering what the devil is going on, she and the rest of us should at least be asking, and I see little of that either.

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