Part 1 of All this talk; where’s the action? can be read here
Then there is the question of illegal immigrants. Statements from the Home Secretary, as far as anyone can tell, promise action. Not action this day as you would expect in a time of national emergency, but some time eventually, maybe if we could, possibly in the future. The public voted for action on this subject at the last election and still illegal migrants arrive courtesy of the Border Force on a daily basis.
Don’t mention, let alone ask, about the state of policing and the justice system. Better hopefully keep away from it all as both seem to have been captured by people best suited to being social workers. How many years ago now is it since that Labour Home Secretary declared both were not fit for purpose? I forget his name and when to be honest there have been so many over the years.
But saving the best until last, to savour every nugget of the PM’s utterances, ‘going back to work’ takes the proverbial Rich Tea biscuit. ‘Civil service mandarins are to be ordered back to work’ scream the mainstream headlines. Apparently at one time less than 10 percent in some departments were at work in the ‘office’. City centre – by which the media means the one and only city which is ‘London’ as nowhere else counts – are in danger of losing all the small and large cafes, pubs and sandwich bars that these people frequent. Oh dear, never mind. What a shame, is this not the same industry that Boris was warned could shed millions of workers if ‘lockdown’ was not lifted. Had it not dawned on anyone that thousands work in the hotel, catering, and leisure industry? Perhaps the ministerial pre-packed sandwiches for breakfast arrive in shops by osmosis. In which world do these reside? Even here around St. Mary on the Wold, there are B&Bs, pubs, takeaways and cafes that have seen their footfall decimated as the lockdown bit.
Next fumble – sorry statement – was, it’s safe, get out and visit our towns and cities and help save the retail sector. In the same month millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money was thrown at local authorities to make the streets safer for supposedly terrified shoppers by widening the pavements, creating no-go areas for vehicles and buses, with cycle lanes and all the rest to encourage pedestrians to keep their social distance. The result? Towns festooned with huge red and white motorway barriers, crush barriers along widened pavements, signs beware this, do that, look here, one way pavements, and to cap it all in one town large trees in planters adorned with the notice, ‘Supported by HM Government’ together with the EU logo proclaiming ‘European Development Fund’ which apparently, we have to repay, and didn’t we leave?
The result was anger by many residents about the cost and lack of consultation with businesses in the town, traffic chaos and a petition from 150-plus business owners who had already seen their business decimated.
For some reason still not clear, when the ‘virus’ is receding, new powers were given to local authorities apparently to control new or localised outbreaks. You could rightly be wary, given the patchy response from local government since March, and feeling a little dubious when these same ‘officials’ (have you noticed the increase in ‘officials’ of late) arrive with the soothing words of “we are here to help”.
Fresh from the campaign to save ‘our’ NHS (from what and for whom has yet to be disclosed) the BBC or anyone else in government or the media has now, without any sense of irony, started a campaign to save ‘our BBC’ . It isn’t, you will be pleased to learn, staffed by left wing Guardian-reading employees with a distaste for anyone’s opinion other than theirs, but right on totally unbiased journalists of the highest calibre. Why it purchases more copies of the Guardian is never explained, as a news gathering broadcasting organisation second to none in their eyes, with world-class news-gathering staff and billions of pounds worth of resources behind them. Surely the Guardian staff and, for that matter, all the main stream media should be tuned to its rolling news for inspiration, rather than the reverse. It does not produce programmes with a heavy left-wing bias, it’s fair and independent during its news programmes, to which we all have apparently turned to for genuine news during the events of the last few months. I’m so pleased to hear that and you may also be relieved to learn that Question Time is a cultural icon and national treasure and never packed with members of a particular political persuasion.
One of their big stories this week, and you may wish to steady yourself, is that Dame Jennie Murray, the mainstay of in these times a rather oddly-named program called ‘Women’s Hour’, is leaving after, wait for it, 33 years to spend more time doing whatever you do after working on one program for half a lifetime.
In the unbiased, diverse and politically-correct and neutral world of the BBC will the program in its present form survive?
People are fast realising that the BBC has had its time. They do not, as a spokesperson alleged recently, ‘regret cancelling their licence and after a few days start missing the quality programs that our BBC ‘offers.’
Well, good luck with that. Tens of thousands have cancelled their licence. I’ve not heard that young people are enthused about their output, and many older people are now turning to streaming services too. If the BBC is so sure that it is a much-loved national institution, then let’s put it to the test. As it’s now ‘our BBC’, which we need to save, perhaps we should, as we have done for that other national institution, arrange regular street clapping sessions, food parcels and discounts on everything for all its hard-working staff to show our appreciation. Presumably the government is quite happy to kick the can down the road because of its continued use of the fear factor to frighten much of the population and its use of the overseas services for its propaganda and so called British soft power influence which, despite all the recent bravado and rhetoric, is declining.
The Prime Minister’s use of social media during the election, which entertained in a sort of Reganistic way and gave many people confidence in his ability to communicate with the electorate, has gone silent. What we are getting is poor presentation which comes over as uncertain bumbling and what the media used to call one gaff after another, He and his colleagues are certainly trying the patience of many people willing to give him and his government the benefit of the doubt. It’s easy of course to be wise after the event as many pundits are. We all realise that the government was acting on expert advice at the beginning of the lockdown but hindsight does not explain why communication has been so mixed and contradictory, why policies, guidelines and laws have been enacted without any clear and transparent scrutiny.
The appliance of science was a good advertising slogan for domestic electrical equipment 25 years ago. It’s not one that bears any relevance to government during a time of supposedly national emergency, although demonstrably not much of emergency when our MPs, conspicuous by their absence for most of the year, have now left for the six-week summer recess.
Many will say that, given the perfect storm of economic, employment and health problems waiting in the wings, not to mention a second wave virus of some sort waiting to pounce on us all, the government would decide what it’s going to do and get on with it, but on present evidence that is probably too much to ask.