The Lockdown, ‘Bullying’ and Red Tape

Like most thinking people, I have been securely locked down and isolated over the past few weeks but I am beginning to wonder whether I am doing the right thing or merely pandering to the whims of a rather pathetic clique who profess to run this country.

It seems that people with serious health problems like cancer are not being treated so that the NHS will not ‘implode from over-demand on its limited capacity.’ But the main function of the NHS is surely to save lives? Turning desperate patients away or postponing much needed operations is not saving lives – it is just exchanging one life for another because politicians want to be seen to be in control of the coronabug. It is undoubtedly sad but completely unavoidable that thousands of people die each year from a plethora of life-shortening illnesses. For years we have accepted this. The Covid-19 total is still well below the average annual death rate for all other categories of disease.

And let’s face it, we are continually told by the ‘experts’ that ninety percent of deaths attributed to the Coronabug are of people who are either very old or have serious underlying medical conditions. In other words, the virus has merely hastened a death that would not have been long in coming anyway. 

In these categories of the vulnerable, winter flu has for years carried away tens of thousands and the country never said a word. Nor did the media. One simply accepted that death by disease was part of life.

But with our economy now in serious danger of complete meltdown, what price can be put on a million destroyed small businesses, double that number of unemployed and the tidal wave of depression, suicide and misery that must follow? 

Our politicians, still in slavish obedience to their army of bureaucrats and boffins (who so far have got just about everything wrong) are merely uttering meaningless platitudes and trying to appear in control of the situation. We have the professionals at the Sharp End, the nurses, doctors and front line workers – I am not talking about the desk jockeys! –  who have done and continue to do a wonderful job with inadequate resources. We have hundreds of thousands of volunteers eager to help. We just don’t have the right kit or nearly enough of it. In place of nannying exhortations to ‘save the NHS, save lives’ plastered all over our screens – as well as the repeated instruction to keep washing our hands – the arrival in the right place of several trucks of masks, PPE outfits, test kits and ventilators would be nice. 

We read daily of private sector manufacturers who have offered to switch their production lines to make the needed stuff and tell us that they have not even received a reply from officialdom. This is surely a disgrace.

When this is all over, I pray that the inevitable enquiry will record that Britain’s national bureaucracy and its partner-in-incompetence, the quangos have let us down badly in our hour of need. Bureaucrats and politicians must be held to account and a general clear out of pen pushers is surely vital before the next national emergency hits us – as it surely will.

In a long and pretty varied life I have never seen such fluttering panic among political leaders. Ordinary folk have in the main responded magnificently and done exactly what they have been asked to do, but the wooden incompetents who whitter inanely on our screens each evening are beginning to make the bravest of people wonder why they are bothering to listen.

It seems that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel has been cleared of charges of bullying members of her staff.

I don’t have much time for political heavyweights – as you might have noticed – but so far this good lady has done an excellent job despite being the subject of a what appears to be a concerted smear campaign by her civil servants.

One of her team is even suing her, claiming ‘constructive dismissal’ but the independent inquiry seems have found no evidence to support those bullying claims.

The lefties and the paper shufflers of the civil service seem determined to stop the Government pursuing what seems to be a fairly radical agenda and they are targeting the likes of Ms Patel and the Prime Minister’s special adviser, Dominic Cummings both of whom are inclined to say what they think and don’t much care who they offend.

Yet how much credibility can these civil servants possibly have? Quite frankly, any man who claims to be bullied by a five-foot, elfin woman needs to take a good long look at himself.

I have been a little hard on the desk jockeys today I suppose, but it seems that an infuriatingly complicated application process has been blamed for the failure of the government’s ‘Pick for Britain’ scheme that was supposed to help farmers out of a hole now that their sources of overseas labour have gone.

Out of fifty thousand applications this scheme has recruited only two hundred volunteers.

Applicants claim to have faced a wall of bureaucracy which saw furloughed workers asked to film videos about their team-working skills to secure a manual labour spot picking fruit and vegetables from the ground. One Yorkshire company director turn down two job offers because they were both at farms five-hour drives away – in Scotland and Dorset.

Due to this nonsense with what ought to be a simple process  49,800 applicants have decided against joining the Land Army and only about 6,000 have completed the video interviews for the scheme that was intended to replace the influx of immigrant workers who usually harvest Britain’s summer food crop. 

Let me tell you exactly what the applicants are facing. They begin by applying to join the new Land Army on a government web site and are asked simple questions such as whether they possess a driving licence, how far they are willing to travel and whether they will need accommodation. So far, so good.

Then they are emailed and asked to download a phone app in which they enter up their details all over again. They are then required to film themselves answering seven interview questions such as ‘what motivates you, what experience do you have of team working’ and another on targets and deadlines.

All of these answers have to be uploaded as separate videos before applicants are told whether they have successfully completed the process. They are then offered a number of possible jobs, some of which – as with the company director from Yorkshire – are patently impractical.

Another method is trying to apply using the government’s ‘Pick for Britain’ scheme. There are sixteen different recruitment companies for this lot and applicants are advised to apply to each one individually.

Why damnit and is it any wonder that people are being put off by trying to wade through this sea of red tape for what – let’s face it – is little more than a general labouring job?

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