Have you reached out to anyone lately?   I only ask, as it seems these days if you are in yet another minority you haven’t.   From Cabinet Ministers to government departments, from global corporations to the corner shop, everyone reaches out.

The present national emergency has turbo-charged the expression, the prime minister has apparently ‘reached out’ to the new leader of the Labour Party and other opposition leaders. I wonder if that will include Nigel Farage, I mean let’s face it, the Conservative Party has copied most of the things that ‘Nige’ has suggested over the last few years and, as far as I can tell, never ‘reached out’ to him before.

Never mind, don’t let a chance to reach out be lost, although just why you need to bring on board the opposition parties when one is being assisted by the ‘most able personnel of the scientific world along with the most senior members of the civil service’, I’m not sure, but anyway Boris has said:

I want to listen to your views and update you on the measures we have taken so far, such as rapidly expanding testing and providing economic support to businesses and individuals across the country.

I’m not sure when he mailed the letter, but if it’s anything to go by, none of my friends or family have received his previous letter which was intended to reach out to me and 30 million other households at a cost of  a mere £5.7 million pounds and which asked us all to stay at home. It may well be late delivery due to the fact that lots of ‘posties’ are off sick at the moment, but who knows, and, in any case, it’s an additional load on the already unsung posties who must be really looking forward to visiting every house on their round.  I mean, it’s not as if it’s reducing their risk of contact with the public is it?

Not that writing a letter to the leaders of the opposition would be needed anyway, as it’s been kindly reproduced within a matter of minutes by the mainstream media and sits between articles which are, it seems to me and many others, to be written in such a way as to induce fear and alarm.

Try repeating the contents of many of these articles in the vicinity of one of the more enthusiastic members of the constabulary and you could find that they will ‘reach out’ to you, as fear and alarm these days features a lot in public order legislation – which seems to mean anything that plod decides these days if they decide to arrest you and if you are with more than three people this could well happen, particularly if you were previously under the impression that the police or anyone else for that matter had no right to stop and demand to know why you are buying Easter eggs from a supermarket during the run up to the biggest event in the Christian calendar.   Telling a plod that – in no uncertain terms – as we once said, could well get you arrested if the officer decides that you are using threatening, abusive, or insulting words and behaviour contrary to the Public Order Act.

It strikes me that should this lockdown last for any length of time the police force will be reaching out to many people, especially as the weather improves and people who are getting fed up with looking at four walls take to the streets, lanes and byways of this once free and pleasant land and visit the countryside or seaside in great numbers. How plod will react to that remains to be seen, but a pre-emptive strike has already been made in some areas where safer neighbourhood officers have taken to closing off public places with blue and white police ‘do not cross’ tape. At least these are brightly coloured, but who authorised this action and under what powers seems to be a matter for discussion.  Mind you, as the Boris letter reaching out to all leaders now includes Keir Starmer ex-Director Public Prosecutions, I’m sure he will be able to give suitable legal advice.

The government has well and truly reached out to the NHS, writing off billions of pounds of debt so that the CEOs and managers of NHS Trusts can concentrate on fighting the virus without worrying where the next pound is coming from; and someone must have plenty to worry about, as there are apparently over 1200 hospitals and over 200 trusts running them with an army of over 30,000 managers between them.

NHS/PHE, Department of Health and emergency planning seems to have been woefully inadequate despite all these managers being employed and nothing much seems to change. Last year it was reported that £2.4 Billion was paid out following claims from patients of clinical negligence.


Part 2 will be published here tomorrow.

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