Part 1 of Motivation or subjugation was published
here yesterday.


One of the major irritations for people is the uncertainty of government diktats, and the sheer lack of professional communication skills. We hear this week, from the casually dressed trainer-clad chief executive of the BBC, that they are to hire ‘a group director of corporate affairs to help it navigate the forthcoming licence fee negotiations against a backdrop of increasing scrutiny by the government, Parliament and regulators’.   This is the BBC we’re talking about here.  Let me get this right, the BBC, the world renowned (in their eyes at least), needs somebody to take control of their core business, which is, wait for it, communication.

Mind you, in the week that it announced, or let slip or leaked or was leaked, that it was to give staff still working from home £240 each to purchase a new chair for them to use while working, (all 1800 of them according to some reports in the media) it would seem that they need one, or at least somebody who knows something about public opinion and timing of announcements.

It looks more and more likely that government needs somebody of the same experience and professional skill.  This week we all presumably basked in the warm glow that leaves us feeling confident that all is well with government and that our representatives are looking after all our interests, as, apparently, we are all in the mess, a mess created by their failure to do their job of scrutinising and questioning government since March of this year, and is not theirs but our fault.

MPs who, having been given an extra £10,000 to help out with working from home, have now been given a pay rise linked to public sector workers’ pay settlements worth around £3000 each.

This in the week when the private sector has suffered tens of thousands of job losses, most of which will not be replaced. Just a little more collateral damage it seems.  When the reality dawns on the ‘red wall’ and others, and from what I’m hearing they are now starting to notice, it will take more than some communications and PR expert to sell that one to a certainly not impressed or grateful nation, who according to one MP we may all recall, thinks that the average ‘joe’ is as thick as mince.

At least now we are not being enticed or instructed or inveigled to clap for the NHS. As always happens the truth is out and people have been shocked to find that many treatments, often lifesaving, have been curtailed, postponed, or cancelled.  Many people also report, and actually want to know why, they are unable to get a face to face appointment with their GP, which is a really good question.  Apparently, some surgeries are still closed and it’s difficult to arrange a dental appointment.  I heard today that private hospital GP services are not, in some cases, being run at the moment, which is good news for anyone paying for health insurance as it seems that much of the private sector is still being held in reserve, and presumably paid for from government coffers.

It’s all getting a bit much really.  A trip into town these days is often a dispiriting experience. The latest rumour circulating in the mainstream media seems to have unnerved the population again.  A queue was forming outside one supermarket establishment in town on Saturday, something not seen for quite a few weeks now, which suggests that people are starting to stock up again. Interesting, really, as numbers of pedestrians in town over the last week or two have declined most noticeably, as various events have been cancelled and or postponed indefinitely,

The hospitality sector, starved of foreign tourists this year and managing somehow to survive on fairly local day trippers, has now had its remaining confidence knocked yet again, by press speculation that their sector is about to have it activities curtailed.

Comments from business sources and reports in the regional press seem to suggest that many small restaurants, cafes and particularly the licensed sector, will not survive another curfew or lockdown and, as one owner told me this week, we keep getting the blame.  This is most unfair.  The sector is staffed by people who know what they are doing, have complied with all the regulations, as confusing as they have been, not to mention ridiculous in some cases.  We are probably the most regulated business, have strict hygiene rules and regular certification, and yet we get the blame for increased infections.  If this carries on there will not be a viable hospitality sector.  And now we find that hospitals appear, according to media reports, to have increasing cases affecting patients that were tested negative before being admitted. What on earth is going on here?  he not unreasonably asks.

Nobody seems to know. Well, somebody does obviously, but for some reason, leaks and senior sources, rumour and conjecture seem to be in short supply.  There are one or two interesting snippets though, apparently the ‘not the NHS’ track and trace shambles – sorry, world-beating £12million pound ‘app’ – that fewer people than expected have downloaded and more and more people now have little trust or no confidence in, has had, courtesy of one of the government’s favourite corporate consultancy experts, supplied expertise in the shape of hundreds of consultants earning up to, it’s reported in the media, £2300 a day. I wonder if that includes expenses.

To end on a positive note, the Queen’s Birthday Honours list has been published this week, when the great and the good have received all sorts of designations which mean little to the bloke down the pub or the woman who worked in the supermarket all through the worst of the epidemic, but who will, no doubt, be pleased that ethnic minorities have been honoured to the correct percentage of the population.

Some have received highly-regarded honours but, as usual, most people at the bottom of the list – the ones that actually give their time and expertise to their community – get only minor ones, no doubt awed that a famous personality in some field or other gets a Knighthood or becomes a Dame or a well-known chef gets a OBE, but noticing that person who has run their local memorial and village hall for the last 25 years gets … well you guessed it.

There are arguments for and against all these ‘gongs’ and the way in which they are awarded, often to people who are just doing a job for which they are paid, often quite handsomely, but as David Davis said today regarding the awards to those on the ‘Sage’ committee, words to the effect that maybe now was not a good time to announce them.

On a more pleasant note, walking back home with the dog this morning on the near-deserted main road, I was overtaken by a large black saloon car, complete with privacy glass (so obviously someone of some importance was being chauffeured around).  While musing the fact that once again and not with any surprise I had probably like you been overlooked for some ‘honour’ I chanced to look down and spotted – well actually the dog did – a crisp new fiver floating along the rainwater gutter and coming my way.

Thanks to my unknown benefactor, it was well received and bought me a top-quality cappuccino in one of our remaining, but struggling to survive, coffee shops.

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