By Press Release Aug 1, 2021

Make your minds up…

I’ve always been suspicious of authority and, increasingly, those suspicions seem more than justified. Regardless of who I voted for, governments always have a ‘nanny knows best’ mentality. Remarkably, many seem cheerfully compliant with any new rule imposed, particularly when the ‘But it may save a life’ excuse is trotted out. We’ve been extraordinarily tolerant of Covid rules, but they’re trying our patience: ‘Have Christmas; don’t have Christmas’, ‘go to France; don’t go to France’, ‘Eat out to help out; don’t eat out’. No wonder we’re confused. The policies change faster than we can get through check-in, let alone board an actual plane!

Everything seems under pressure – a farmer mate urgently needs some belts for his combine harvester; they can’t wait until the harvest is over. But Westminster is clueless about the supply chain because, unlike Sir Paul McCartney, none of them ever worked in distribution. I’m currently reading the definitive Beatles biography. When the fab-four returned from Hamburg, they had just a handful of £6 gigs each month. Paul’s dad insisted he get a proper job so, reluctantly, until they made it big, he worked for SPD Distribution, delivering packages around Liverpool.

Like every musician, Paul’s been legally prohibited from making music; perhaps Boris should’ve hired him to decide which transport workers to exempt from the pingdemic? Our government seems incapable of choosing exactly which key workers need to keep working.
And as always, locally there’s that other hurdle, our blasted ferry services. Solent travellers are experiencing a difficult summer and that affects freight deliveries too. Crossing has become like spinning a roulette wheel but without the thrill. When you get to the port, you might be a winner, able to travel and go where you want to, at (or near) the time you wanted – but it’s far from certain. With both companies, losing is all too likely; if you absolutely positively need to get somewhere, best to go a day early. The Island should twin with Las Vegas – ferry travel turns us all into reluctant gamblers.

Incredibly, despite its endless problems, including Monday’s ‘heavy docking incident’, Wightlink has been discreetly offering generous severance terms to older staff. When you repeatedly blame ‘crew shortages’ as an excuse for failing to operate, that seems strange, but the policy isn’t about the here and now. Some staff claim they want to replace experienced, higher-paid team members with newly-qualified lower-paid people. Surely not! The severance option is expensive initially, but cuts costs long-term. I wonder where those savings will go. Will they cut fares or will management and shareholders enjoy even bigger bonuses and profits? Answers on a postcard, please.

Some of Boris’s decision making is far from sure-footed, and the nation longs for some long overdue certainty. Lockdown may have been justifiable at the beginning, but then on, off and on it went, until few of us take much notice. Boris says it won’t happen again, and he’s a naturally brave politician, but he’s surrounded by overly cautious people. They let us have some hope, but always snatch it away again – Freedom Day was a cruel joke. Bit by bit the state has eroded our faith and freedom. It was bad enough before we’d ever heard of Covid, but it’s hard to believe we’re now living in a country where politicians demand to know where you are, where you’ve been and with whom. Of course, they want to keep telling us to stay home too, but that’s just too George Orwell, isn’t it?