Part 1 of Welcome – who are you kidding? can be read here
It doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination to see that many will take the hint and remove themselves and their money from areas and businesses where they were not actually made welcome and will not visit again. I wonder how many of the complainants were actually locals or recent migrants from city life, who, as we country dwellers have found, arrive with little knowledge of the area or culture and then try to change it into something like they left behind in the big city.
Our family has withdrawn support for several trusts and institutions following the virus. The National Trust for example now wants to welcome me back – that’s after pushing their ‘woke’ credentials for all they’re worth for the last couple of years. Not interested thanks; if the history of the original owners of properties and land offends you so much, it presumably should all be swept away, so return the properties to the original donors or close doors permanently and set them up as some sort of ‘woke’ monuments. You will be, I’m sure, underwhelmed by similar-thinking people who are just waiting to become new members and volunteers.
Much of the theatre luvvies have done little during the national emergency, now seeing for the first time surprisingly, that theatre is not for many on their first choice list of things to do as it’s often seen as snobbish or boring or both. For years, particularly in London, ticket prices have been out of reach for many people of modest income, particularly those with children. Talking to theatre-goers it’s quite plain that many object to being lectured on some topical cause of the moment by some celebrity name when all they did was buy expensive tickets for a production, but getting, in many cases, a cramped seat or a poor view, while often being unable to hear properly what the actors were saying, in an atmosphere that was too hot or cold and not particularly ‘welcoming’ – that word again.
When Dishi Rishi offered a lifeline of tens of millions of taxpayer’s money, it was received by one regional organisation not with thanks, but with ‘reservations’. Excuse me, ‘reservations’? You do realise that to many taxpayers for good or bad, Netflix is more to their liking and cinemas, now or used to, provide world-class entertainment in modern venues at affordable prices. Ask the many young people who go regularly or the older retirees who do the same.
But let’s, for the moment, take a look at other public sector organisations that haven’t done much to build confidence or ‘welcome’ visitors.
Jumping on the ‘let’s make town centres safe for people and covid secure’ bandwagon, towns and city councils suddenly had hundreds of thousands of pounds provided by the taxpayer to widen pavements, provide cycle lanes, pedestrianise town centres and all the rest. Many appeared overnight without any consultation, caused uproar and had to be removed, according to Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport or something, often wasting thousands. Will somebody be held to account for this waste of taxpayer money? Don’t hold your breath.
Have you tried to contact a public sector organisation of late? Well, try calling and you could be in for a long wait. Many are still, despite what the Prime Minister has requested, working from home. ‘Requested’? What is going on here! These people are paid by the taxpayer to be available. Two local authority buildings in a town near St. Mary on the Wold have told workers that they probably won’t be needed in the office until next January, and if you have the courage to visit the council office you will be met with a security guard wearing full covid-secure garb, standing outside the main entrance, alongside a large sign which proclaims to the taxpayer ‘only 10 people permitted in this building’ – not very ‘welcoming’ then, particularly as it houses hundreds of workers when they are actually there!
The same town needs some advice on the ‘welcome’ message as there is litter everywhere, pavements are often covered with the remains of take-away food and the delightful sight of somebody’s night out deposited by them on their walk home. Locals tell me that there is a real problem with unfortunate people who appear to live in empty shop doorways and are often the worse for drink or drugs and sometimes aggressive. Despite representations to the authorities nothing much ever seems to happen but there are always parking wardens on duty to fine the unwary motorist. Either way, it’s not a very welcoming sight or advertisement for the town.
As far as many businesses are concerned, we will in the main, and as far as possible, support those who supported us. One very large organisation and destination of choice (one of those shopping/restaurant/garden centre places), just ignored long term customers, and when it did open, turned the place into some sort of government approved outlet. ‘Welcome’ said the sign, very welcome indeed, security guards, plastic face coverings, signs staying ‘wait here’, ‘do this’ and ‘do that’. The clincher for me was being told to queue here and report to a staff member and leave your contact details, just to enter a café and buy a coffee. There are ways to ask customers to do things; ordering them about isn’t one of them.
You and Dido must be joking. Tell us Dido, how you came to get that job in charge of the (not the) NHS Track and Trace system, which according to you and Matt Hancock is world-beating and working well, but according to staff and a newspaper report this week is anything but. Oh, ‘somebody offered you the job’. Wow, that’s all I need to know thanks, and there I was thinking that jobs in government circles were appointed in line with their equal opportunities and diversity policies.
Well, to be honest, I’ve had more than enough of looking at the policies of this government. Let’s be frank – most of them, like the six pack, seem to have been made on the hoof. No alternative scientific opinion has been allowed to surface since these restrictions have been foisted on an ever more suspicious or gullible public, many of whom are still terrified to go out, driving cars alone fully masked up with the windows closed and many older people and the disabled misled and frightened by newspaper headlines. We’ve all seen it and the results and in my view the whole management of the emergency is a shambles and the communication of often ill-thought-out restrictions even worse. To cap it all we are now told by the Home Secretary no less, to snitch on neighbours who may have more than six people in their own home. To enforce this message, we are now told to expect to see in public places the latest ‘eye-catching strategy’ paid for by the taxpayer – ‘Boris Bores’ paid £30,000 a year plus expenses to parade around streets boring people to death, frightening others and spying on the private business owner who may not have taken the name of a customer in his establishment.
Time for a rethink and probably a re-shuffle Boris, the people are fast turning against you in growing numbers. It’s no longer good enough to threaten and coerce. You and your ministers are in danger of outstaying your ‘welcome’.
Photo by m.gifford
Photo by WaywardShinobi