Part 1 of Dead cats and elephants in the room was published here yesterday.


Doting parents need to take notice of the other educational elephant in the room, many of these degrees serve no purpose except to get ‘Olivia’ out from under their feet at home for three years, because, as ‘Olivia’ will find out the hard way, in the new ‘dead cat’ new normal, the reality is that to compete here at home, and on the ever more competitive world stage, it’s not more educational psychologists, media influencers, financial advisors we need but people with scientific, engineering and technological qualifications with the practical know how to use them.

Olivia had a bit of a setback though as she failed her driving test, having had it cancelled back in March.  Her parents had bought her a lovely new Fiat 500, as her instructor was more than sure she would pass first time.  Not to be though, driving with a mask – as was the examiner – made her very nervous and that made her spectacles steam up which made matters worse.  Anyway at least she has her car, although goodness knows when she will get a test, as the DVSA website crashed due apparently to the demand of new applications and the little matter of the backlog meaning tens of thousands of people waiting for a test.

It doesn’t seem to have crossed the mind of Grant Shapps that most people taking driving tests are the very people who have been messed about by the virus lockdown and the exam shambles, and now when they need to get a driving license either to get to work or university they will have to wait months for a driving test.  Nothing from him on that matter, but advice recently that breaking the instruction to lock down is a criminal offence which means a criminal record. Actually you have to be found guilty of an offence before being handed a criminal record, but hey, don’t let the facts stand in the way of increasing the ‘dead cat’ fear factor, or perhaps the Secretary of State has taken over responsibility for the justice system as well. If so it would have been nice to have had the change reported.

There has been some good news though.  It’s been announced that road traffic casualties and deaths have fallen in the months from April to July, which must have taken the most in-depth research to work out why.   Is that what staff members of the DVSA working from home were doing during the lockdown months?

Talking of ‘elephants in the room’, visiting town this morning which in itself is a dispiriting experience, was not helped by the fact that this week another familiar national store disappeared from the High Street along with the jobs of local people who worked there for years and loyally stayed to the bitter end facing an uncertain future.  It certainly doesn’t look bright for them as several other retail outlets have also closed. In nearby Stratford on Avon, even the home of the bard is suffering with most historical venues except the birthplace closed until 2021.  The birthplace trust is a charity with 241 staff who are also presumably facing a difficult future as redundancies and restructuring take place.

Down the road at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre it’s the same story with the theatre now making some of its 750 staff redundant and additional 250 freelance personnel also facing an uncertain future as the theatre too will remain closed until 2021. So not much prospect of a huge increase in visitor levels and the trade that they bring to the local economy.  This pandemic government policy and the hysteria that has been promoted is starting to kill local economies.  Looking around it’s hard to imagine any great improvement.  As the autumn and winter approach and queues at the Job Centre and Food Bank increase, one could be forgiven for wondering how all this is going to end. From where I’m standing it doesn’t look good.

So, onto the next dead cat.  Earlier this month the alternative media was covering illegals arriving by boat on the Kent coast.  Nigel Farage made a series of reports, mainly ignored as usual by the mainstream media news outlets, until even then they had to sit up and take notice. Priti Patel made the usual noises about being outraged and annoyed and something will be done.  Criticism mounted, particularly when it was disclosed that illegals were being housed – by mistake apparently – in her own constituency; why that should be any different to anywhere else remains unclear, but the illegals were eventually removed to who knows where.

Anyway the storms of the century took over as ‘plucky Britons’ faced the storms of the millennium, rain of biblical proportions, hurricane force winds and so on. Tell that to the people living in Louisiana who faced winds of 150 miles an hour.  If nothing else that stopped the stories of rubber boats filled with refugees arriving from war-torn France, and gave somebody or other the chance to attempt to remove (that’s  deport to you and me) a couple of dozen illegals, which was subsequently stopped by the High Court after representations by lawyers.  That in itself should have caused the usual teeth gnashing and hand wringing in the press, but not this time as two much better ‘dead cats’ hit the headlines.

The BBC, now entering the latest phase of its terminal decline, caused outrage and slung a well-aimed dead cat at middle England and the ‘quality press’ following its decision to at first ban Land of Hope and Glory and Rule Britannia! from the Last Night of the Proms which was good for one dead cat and hours of media discussion, swiftly followed by, well it’s only the words we don’t want to sing, followed by a denial by a conductor most will never have heard of, that actually it wasn’t her decision but the decision of somebody or other in the hierarchy of the BBC. You have to hand it to the BBC – they certainly know how to make the news and throw ‘dead cats’.

It created howls from millions of people who didn’t agree, but probably couldn’t tell you the words to either anthem, let alone tell you how many other proms there are in a season or what was being featured this summer.  But no matter; they instinctively know when something is not right and showed their collective disapproval by making the recording by Vera Lynn the number one in the charts!

So ending the week on a brighter note, dead cats and elephants abound, I wonder what our political class have buried in all the uproar this week, we shall have to wait until after the holiday to find out, when I suspect the nasties will start.

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