Part 1 was published here yesterday
Tell me again how many computer ‘devices’ have been given free of charge to school pupils this year, who have not actually always had available, or taken advantage of, online instruction on a regular basis. The answer by the way is tens of thousands provided by the Department for Education.
How many laptops or devices the civil service and local government have provided for staff working from home is not readily available but that must also run into tens of thousands. One local authority alone provided over 2000 to employees, and readers may remember that the BBC provided special chairs for its thousands of staff ‘working from home’.
Whether or not the taxpayer benefits from all this remains to be seen, but if the amount of taxpayers’ money thrown at local government to provide the now mostly dismantled pedestrian schemes and bicycle lanes that appeared overnight (often unwanted and without consultation) during the first lockdown and after public uproar removed, one could reasonably assume often ‘not a lot’.
But not to worry. Hasn’t the Prime Minister in his New Year Address promised us that our world class NHS and world class medics are well on the way to beating the present emergency with the Oxford vaccine, well sometime or sometime soon or sometime by this summer by some reports? Given the shambles with Test and Trace and logistical failures I can’t say that I have much confidence.
He tells us that our green energy strategies, plans and projects will also be world-beating and will create thousands of new highly technical jobs to replace all the ones lost in the last year as befitting our newly trained, highly qualified, highly motivated new Covid-safe and secure workforce that is going to magically appear as soon as it’s safe and of course as soon as we have all had ‘the jab’.
Which is just as well, as there certainly is going to be a need for such people. In case Boris hasn’t noticed, unemployment figures and national and personal debt figures are rising faster than one of Professor Ferguson’s models.
Now there’s a thought. Maybe Ferguson could model the menace of unemployment and personal debt and so terrify the Prime Minister and Chancellor that they provide some actual leadership and management or projected solutions that may address a real and present problem that is going to affect huge numbers of the population who are about to find out they really and truly are ‘all in this together’. It’s just that, like ‘equality’, some are more ‘equal’ than others.
Which just about sums up the position of the four nations of the UK, although these days, when the Prime Minister talks about the ‘nation’ I’m never quite sure which nation that actually is, as decisions taken at Westminster seem to be totally ignored or countermanded by the first ministers of the other nations, which, if we are to believe what is written in the media, are quite ready and able to operate as if they are part of a federation of states.
Just how Johnson is going to sort that mess out over the next four years is anyone’s guess, but presumably the taxpayer will, as always, foot the bill. Still at least, as long as the first minister of Scotland allows him to enter Scotland, Johnson, presumably having won the war on Covid, will, if he has not as some commentators suggest been deposed and replaced, be able to speak at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Cop 26) in Glasgow when doubtless he will be able to tell the audience about our world-beating offshore wind farms and the technical advances made by battery manufacturing facilities in the West Midlands.
Either way, presumably if he’s got his mojo back, we will be treated to his usual flamboyant rhetoric and gestures and lots of projections and statistics provided by more experts being lined up for titles, honours and gongs, having already agreed that all internal combustion engines in new private vehicles in the United Kingdom will be battery powered by 2030, leaving many people wondering just how that will be accomplished and more importantly, just how they will be able to afford one in nine years’ time. Not that any of us mere mortals should worry about that; it’s far too complicated and decisions have been made far above our pay grade, as civil servants say.
But as we now know and to our cost, he is not for turning, so the little matter of hydrogen-powered vehicles now in production and more convenient than electric battery propulsion, for cars and much else (although not without environmental pollution due to the manufacturing process), will not be discussed as pollution, as we know in the political world, only affects private vehicles and not aircraft runways and high-speed railways driven through the heart of the country, or huge areas of land being gobbled up at ever-increasing rates to provide new housing for what we keep being told is an aging and decreasing population.
You could be forgiven for thinking, if you read or view the mainstream media in the United Kingdom, that some sort of collective illness has taken over the minds of much of the political and media class – which seem to be one and the same thing these days. In fact, as ‘politics’ is now seen as a profession and a stepping stone to a nice safe corporate sinecure, journalism, once the home of the enquiring mind, now seems to be seen as a stepping stone to politics, which is one answer as to why we find ourselves looking and reading the obviously biased drivel based mostly on hearsay or opinion.
The long march started 50 years or so ago in education and the effects of that can be seen in schools, colleges and workplaces, particularly the public services as those people, proud holders of certificates and degrees gained during the late 80s and early 90s education explosion, take as they see it, their rightful place in politics the civil service and corporate management ranks.
New Year; nothing’s normal – part 3 will be published here tomorrow.