Wed. Oct 20th, 2021

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Holmsey

3 min read

Who knew Bob Seely was medically trained? Is there no end to his talents? I don’t usually do Twitter, but with time on my hands, I glanced at what half a sausage Bob has to say about the Island’s Tier 1 status. Tiresome MP Bob’s been boasting again, this time claiming the credit for our being placed in Tier One because he telephoned Health Minister Matt Hancock! Just for a moment, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and believe MP Bob’s persuasive plea was really heard and acted upon. Can he please now use his influence to get the promised Island Deal sorted?

Seely told Hancock our Covid infection rates are jolly low, as though the Health Secretary didn’t have anyone else to tell him. Bob’s also noticed the constituency is an Island, although I suppose it is possible Hancock already knew that too. Everyone knows how awful our ferry services are – but Bob shows no interest in improving them, instead he’s using his hotline to Hancock to plead for more NHS spending – due to our isolation. In response the wretched government keep moving services to the mainland. His mate Matt seems to have a bad case of selective hearing – call Dr Bob!

The Tories keep making a terrible hash of the crisis, after the lockdowns, we were led to believe things would return to normal, but here we go again, and possibly again in February. Tiers two and three are far from life as normal and the last lockdown imposed was largely ignored. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a fan of restricting liberty and I don’t support the closure of what appeared to be mostly small independent shops and restaurants. On my almost daily trips to work on the mainland, big stores seemed to be operating almost business as usual, while the small shops were shut.

My office is near a McDonalds, the drive through queues on the surrounding roads each day are astonishing, often causing gridlock. Other multi-national fast-food outlets also seem to be having a good pandemic, apparently doing a roaring trade while small independent cafes remained closed.

Small pubs, restaurants and cafes have had a wretched year and in most of the country they are now losing December, a vital month when many get 30 per cent of their annual turnover. January is always bleak in hospitality because having eaten and drunk too much over Christmas and New Year, most of us need some down time. Unemployment and bankruptcy rates are already shocking and will surely get worse. It’s feared 30 per cent of UK pubs may never re-open; their closure by government diktat simply forced social drinking in households, where there’s far less space and fewer precautions – no wonder infection rates went up. Scientists agreed pubs were fine if reasonable safety measures were taken, but the government shut them anyway; those early curfews were idiotic. We may be luckier than some on the mainland – but economic hard times will hit us all.

Who knew at the start of 2020 that Bob and his government would be telling us all where and when we could drink, travel, or who we could meet and where? In case you forgot or never knew, Covid-19 has an over 99% recovery rate, yet we’re living through some kind of Dystopian nightmare and, tragically, it’s nowhere near over yet. We all need to keep our fingers crossed that the vaccine delivery is more efficient than Track and Trace was.