The ‘New Normal’ workplace



[continued from Part 1, here]


“New Normal”? Tell that to the queue at the food bank, or those struggling to exist as their often low-paid job ceases to exist. Ask them how they feel about the ‘new normal,’  when they will have the right to ‘work from home’ or they should ‘get on a bike’ as a previous generation’s politician Norman Tebbit was incorrectly quoted as saying, by a press even then hardly worthy of a mention, and cycle to work instead of going by car. 

Mr Shapps has  said there had been unprecedented levels of walking and cycling during the pandemic. Well that is a surprise , whatever next! According to a BBC report, he said:

“Whilst it’s crucial that we stay at home, when the country does get back to work we need to ask those people to carry on cycling or walking and for them to be joined by many others as well.”

Pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250m emergency fund. It is the first part a £2bn package for cycling and walking, which was part of a £5bn investment announced in February, by the Department for Transport.

Hang on a minute, has someone ‘let slip’ that this health emergency is not  just actually about the  health emergency but about green issues and presumably climate change as well?

Regarding working from home, who will pay then for the correct seating arrangements lighting and health & safety surveys and risk assessments, not to mention security and high-quality interconnectivity? It may be that perching on the kitchen table is fine for a couple of weeks but doing that for a length of time may not, in practice, be as good as many may like, neck, back and other aches and pains notwithstanding.  I can see lawyers and unions having a field day. Also, I’m not particularly happy with my personal or financial data ending up on a p.c in somebody’s kitchen. Is this all part of a plan? Maybe it is, but it would be nice to hear Boris say something about it.

People are now being told that the ‘new normal’ will bring with it many changes. By whom, what and why is not clear.  Who are these people who are hatching plans that will affect us all, certainly if this is true, the government needs to ‘get a grip’ and communicate in a way that is clear and concise, leaving no room for ‘sources’ to put forward the sort of  inconsistent mutterings  that we have heard over the last few weeks,  either way poor communication, mixed messages and more government by decree is not going wash for very much  longer.

In the new normal are we going to see that productivity will suddenly take off in the UK? That manufacturing of products now sourced worldwide will suddenly be made in new  green field factories with staff all working at social distance of course? All trained by a rejuvenated and highly motivated army of educationalists free from the political dogma that has been allowed to grow in the educational sector for many years! Has Boris got a ‘Beaverbrook’ hiding somewhere in the cabinet office able – and with the authority – to galvanise all this? To be honest I’m not holding my breath. 

Would the ‘new normal’ proponents please come out of academic wonderland and tell us, preferably not using models designed and kept in their head or made with a  commodore 64 computer circa 1990, how all this is going to be paid for? Are we, for example, looking at the model used in Cyprus by the EU when it gave bank accounts a ‘haircut’ and restricted ATM withdrawals?  Is a ‘purchase tax’ being considered?  When introduced the last time there was a real national emergency: in 1940, purchase tax was levied at 33% of manufacturing price, raising to 100% before dropping to 33%. Older readers will remember the effects of this and the anomalies it created with various goods. It was still at 25% when V.A.T was introduced in 1972. 

Now we seem to have a Conservative Party with, at the last time I looked, a 50% poll rating and the trust and goodwill of the population together with all that implies. Could they, or is it just too much to ask, decide, without the help of sources leaking to the mainstream broadcast and print media, where we are going and how we are going to get there?  Because I’m getting the distinct feeling that the part of the country that actually drives the economy and, to match another world war 2 phrase, has the ‘tools to do the job’, is getting just a wee bit fed up with the obvious games that, even after the warning given to Westminster, the media, and the political elite, post-Brexit, are still being played. 

The ‘New Normal’ whatever that is supposed to mean, sounds like something dreamt up in the behavioural change unit in the cabinet office to condition the masses to accept the present status quo with a little relaxing of the restrictions. Good luck with that, people are starting to notice. Goodwill, patience and compliance does not pay the mortgage or put food on the table.


Photo by clubjuggler

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