Bit of an autumn feel to the weather here in St. Mary on the Wold over the last few days, but this morning, for the first time in what seems like ages, we have clear, cloudless skies. Clear not only of clouds but of aircraft. Usually at this time of the year it’s possible to see the contrails of at least 16 or so high-flying aircraft as they ferry the last late summer holidaymakers to sunnier shores. Good news for the airline industry is in short supply. Fear of travelling, mixed messages from Boris, Hancock, Shapps and the health police have had the combined effect of crippling the airlines, with billions of pounds-worth of losses, adding up to grounded airline fleets, lay-offs of air crews and the knock-on effect of reducing some airports to airline parking lots, not forgetting the huge job losses across the board. ‘We always have a mid-September holiday; sets you up for the winter and you don’t get the crowds after the kids have gone back to school’ is a comment that you would often hear from older people enjoying their mid-morning coffee and croissant in our favourite garden centre.
Not so this year, for us and many of our friends. Holidays abroad and, for many older people, coffee and lunch in the bigger establishments, have just gone by the board, despite Dishi Rishi’s ‘eat out to help out’ scheme. I hasten to add that in the past we have eaten out quite regularly, but as we decided that queueing in the street to be ushered to a table by somebody dressed as if they were playing the mortuary attendant in Midsummer Murders wasn’t really to our taste (like much of the food on offer), we’ve found other, smaller establishments, many run by the owners who are always in evidence, and who, in many cases, adapted and opened even just for coffee and simple take-aways as soon as some of the restrictions were lifted. These small businesses have really suffered and judging by the now familiar faces we see, during these trying times have garnered regular customers by providing service with a smile.
Not that this has been appreciated by some of the WFH (that’s the ‘working from home’ lot to you and me) who are still pontificating in the media about how well off they are now that they no longer have to spend time and money on the commute and buying expensive coffee and lunch – as one commentator in the ‘quality press’ put it this week: “Why should I bother about all these non-business establishments selling flowers, coffee and expensive sandwiches? They just provide non-jobs for people, so good riddance and I have no sympathy.”
There you go then, the authentic voice of the smug middle-income earner no doubt living in a fashionable area near to you. Let’s all just hope that Dishi Rishi’s magic money tree keeps flowering on and on, but somehow as winter approaches, I can’t see that happening. It’s more likely to be like my tomatoes, full colour green but refusing to ripen and withering on the vine. Which is what is happening to a lot of businesses at the moment, and to be honest are you surprised?
The Wold is in the middle of the ‘English Midlands tourist’ area and, make no mistake about it, the local economy depends on the money tourism generates. Local High Streets have lost their hustle and bustle. Several large stores have closed, either bankrupt or due to ‘reorganisation’ as footfall became non-existent. People have been half frightened to death by the gloom and doom merchants in the media following, in many cases to the letter it seems, the often half-baked ‘health scares’ made worse by various ‘health professionals’ working from now-discredited computer models but acted on by local politicians who often looked like rabbits caught in the glare of a car’s headlights at night while basking in the knowledge that their new found ‘powers’ to regulate and control their citizens placed no financial burden on them whatsoever. Safe in the knowledge that they are doing the ‘right’ thing based on advice given by officers they assume, wrongly in my view, that they will not be held to account for their decisions. They may have a shock when local and by elections are eventually held.
Towns and cities all over our area – and presumably yours too – saw road closures, pedestrian areas and bike lanes sprouting like autumn mushrooms on your lawn and just as useful, causing inconvenience to shoppers, consternation to the surviving business owners and traffic mayhem, while at the same time people were frightened off from using public transport and told by yet more ‘health professionals’ not to share a car with somebody outside of ‘your bubble’! You could not have made it up.
Well, you and I couldn’t, but then most of us are not privy to the ‘advice’ of health professionals who, unelected, now assume that elected officials at local and national level will do their bidding. We can now see where that has taken us, with out-of-their-depth elected representatives and government ministers failing to take even basic management decisions. It’s like watching all powerful Human Resource and Health and Safety ‘professionals’ dictating company strategy to a CEO and board of directors or looking on in horror as British Leyland entered its death throes.
We have been watching this charade now since the beginning of the virus pandemic, a government not able to take decisions, manage or control their septic servants, with the on-going shambles in the Home Office being a prime example.
Many people seem to have accepted the unpaid and unasked for role as restriction and pseudo health ‘enforcers’. You can see them in their cars, windows closed, mostly sitting alone staring into the distance while wearing masks and sunglasses. When on foot they dart around in the street avoiding other people like the plague, which they obviously think you can catch everywhere, even up wind at a hundred meters.
If these people are so afraid of everything, why don’t they just hibernate for the duration, or maybe they just want to ‘virtue signal’ their compliance or subjugation to arbitrary laws and restrictions. We are now told that one in 30 of our fellows has taken it upon themselves to call the ‘police snitch lines’ to complain about somebody, neighbour or business.
If this trend continues, we can follow the example of some citizens in the United States and ‘de-fund’ the police. It would certainly be cheaper and, we would see, well, you would have seen if the results had been reported on MSM, just how effective that would be.
Mind you, judging by the actions of police reported and filmed dragging somebody off a train this week and the selective policing that went on in London and other cities over the last few months, one could be forgiven for asking just what they think they are there for – ‘the protection of life and property and the preservation of the Queen’s peace’, and the little matter of ‘without fear or favour’ seems to have been lost somewhere along the way during the last few years.
If Grant Shapps as Secretary of State for Transport is happy with the example provided by the British Transport police (the clue is in the name) this week, for whom he is responsible, he needs, as one recent prime minister was quoted as saying, to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. Dragging people off a train is not a good look for any police service. Perhaps they think they are being left behind by police in Melbourne, Australia and want to get in on the act.
Part 2 of All is well, just dream on will be published here tomorrow