Part 1 of Guide me great redeemer can be read here.
For some people it seems that the guidelines are difficult to follow. Many, it seems, prefer to wear a mask over their mouths and chin, which is certainly not recommended by the guidelines and makes one wonder if it is more of a fashion statement, like the sunglasses which they are often seen wearing on their heads. One lady was observed talking to someone having taken care to lift her mask away from nose and mouth while speaking; behaviour that would also fall far short of the latest guidelines.
We eventually arrived at the shop we wanted, a large retail and combined food emporium of once national standing but now much more run-of-the-mill. Round signs had been painted on the walkway designating where shoppers should stand before being ‘welcomed’ into the store. I find this most irritating to be perfectly honest and would prefer to either shop elsewhere or online. Shuffling along in the company of others and being told what to do in order to enter a shop and spend money is not my idea of a pleasant morning shopping.
After 15 minutes or so, the shop prefect – sorry ‘welcomer’ – started shouting: ‘Anyone here for food?’ Thinking we had somehow joined the queue for a food bank I checked that we were indeed outside our choice of shop and the prefect was requesting the attention of shoppers who wanted the privilege of shopping in their food hall. To my astonishment, several people raised their hands like naughty school children in the playground and were then herded along. We did actually find a more ‘welcoming store’ and purchased what we wanted from them.
It seems that the unproductive feather-bedded mandarins and local government officials, all happily working remotely from home, think that their regulated idea of regulated behaviour and guidance is what the public wants. They may even be correct, as half of the nation seem happy now to be cowed down and readily accept petty and often unnecessary restrictions, all for the sake of ‘safety’ and profess apparently to want more, while at the same time there is plenty of evidence that others are just doing what they want when they want and how they want, while the authorities mostly hand out more guidelines and do little but spout platitudes.
We passed a once thriving cafe, now reduced to selling coffee and tea in recyclable cups to the public queuing up on the pavement either side of the entrance door which has now been turned into a serving hatch. Following guidelines customers stood on a predesignated two-metre square next to the hatch while paying, card only, and then moving to another area while their drinks were prepared. All very well if, like somebody in a 1990s movie you like drinking and eating while walking along the street, but actually I don’t. I feel sorry for business owners if that’s what they are reduced to, but I’m not spending £7 cash in this instance to stand outside and drink coffee from a cardboard cup, particularly if it’s raining.
A worrying aspect of all this is that very few of the buying public seem to be bothered by the restrictions or by the way that central and local government, quangos and so-called charities, aided and abetted by the media, seem to promote all this guidance. In fact, it seems to be a national preoccupation of any self-proclaimed business leader, let alone the ‘leaders’ to demand more guidance. Anyone having dealings with the public sector will know full well that ‘guidance’ is a way of life. It goes hand in hand with the inertia of our public sector, as witnessed in the greater form by quangos, the National Health Service, the police service and so on, all presumably hanging on to gold plated ‘guidance and policies’ never, it seems, questioned either by the media or public and nothing acted upon unless it meets peer approval and satisfies the needs of ‘the guidance’.
This health crisis has proven a godsend for people wishing to produce and issue ‘guidance’, it’s the ‘nanny state’ on steroids. In the last month I’ve seen business leaders asking for guidance as to how they should work with their members to ‘stay safe’ or reduce the profound effects that the three-month moratorium on work has had, not only on them but their employees. Voluntary organisations are infected with the same virus, retailers appeal to local government on how to run their businesses, schools need guidance from local and national authorities, everybody and their business partners large or small needs this magic medicine from somebody, and it all starts at the top. Politicians need guidance, the civil service need guidance, local government, right down to the general population. Goodness knows where all this intellectual competence and expertise is going to come from. Perhaps it will be the next province of ‘human resource’ and ‘health and safety’ departments.
The last three months should be enough evidence for anyone to realise, at long last, where this regulation and red tape will lead. Management that needs constant guidance is not management at all. What we are seeing demonstrated on a daily basis is leadership and management in a funk and a ‘blue funk’ at that. They won’t take decisions or decisive action unless somebody else is there to either carry the can or take the blame.
Much of an adult population is just as bad and apparently needs guidance for even the simplest actions. There is, quite obviously a serious problem with confidence in much of the risk-averse subservient population, hidebound to guidelines and now, as Boris and his behaviour insight team will be aware, frightened and scared. ‘Fear’ is also contagious as we have seen, but it can, like all emotions be controlled. Goodness knows we have enough mandarins, scientific and media experts on hand daily to give expert guidance. They have successfully created the panic and fear; now let’s see them ‘nudge’ the public and the political class out of it.
It is largely forgotten now but should be noted by the present generation that when push comes to shove, as events did on June 5th 1944, one man alone, Dwight D Eisenhower, after hearing from experts, made a decision that changed for ever the lives of millions and arguably the course of the free world.