Anne Marie Waters
October 25th 2020
It is one of my favourite days of the year; gaining a full hour in the morning to do with what we wish. Bliss! If I gain an hour, especially in the morning, it is inevitable that I will use that time to read, and that’s what I’ve done. But rather than research my next book as I might have, I decided to trawl through the papers, take a step back, and have a look at where we are on October 25th 2020.
Nobody can say it isn’t interesting!
We’ll start mainstream, then have a look at some alternatives. The place to begin is obviously the good old BBC. Featuring heavily with the Beeb this morning is unsurprisingly Covid-19.
Let’s not go over the ludicrous rules in detail again, but a thought about the new measures in Wales is worth a few moments to reflect upon. Last week, rather strange rules came in to effect; supermarkets and shops were not allowed to sell non-essential items. Or were they? It’s not quite clear.
Needless to say, to impose a rule about ‘non-essentials’ instantly starts an argument over what does or doesn’t fit the bill. What is essential for one person will not matter in the slightest to another. Are clothes essential? Yes. One would have thought so, and yet, sale of clothes are temporarily forbidden.
According to the BBC: Supermarkets have been told they can only sell “essential” items and must close parts of their stores which sell products such as clothes, shoes, toys and bedding during Wales’ 17-day “firebreak lockdown”.
Unsurprisingly, there is confusion, as one big Tesco was selling stationary and another wasn’t. A poster on Twitter however said that the Welsh government confirmed stationary was fine to sell after all. Why stationary and not clothes? We may never know.
The leader of the Welsh government is Mark Drakeford, a Labour Corbynite. Perhaps that’s where he gets his desire for absolute control, and why he sees nothing particularly worrisome about the state telling folk what we can or cannot buy in the shops. That’s the kind of society Corbynites dream about!
The reason the Welsh government offers is to keep people in the shops for as little time as possible. This doesn’t cut it I’m afraid. If this is the case, if our time is so desperately limited (despite wearing masks and ‘social distancing’), why can we use that limited time to buy a pen but not a pair of trousers?
Moving on, Rishi Sunak’s latest financial package of bailouts (using your money) features on this morning’s Sky News home page. The Chancellor’s initial furlough package – where the state would foot the bill to the tune of 80% of staff wages – will cease at the end of October, so Sunak must now introduce the next phase. This is how it’s described by Sky this morning:
The successor to the furlough scheme, the Job Support Scheme, which begins next month will only require employees in open businesses to work one day a week to be eligible for support, with employer contributions for unworked hours falling to 5%.
An example provided by the Treasury said that under the improved conditions for employers, a full-time member of staff paid an average £1,100 a month would still take home at least £807 – with employers contributing £283.
Grants for the self-employed are doubled to 40% of pre-crisis earnings. It means that the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750 under the two looming schemes which will cover November to January and February to April.
Understood? Not really? Same here.
It goes on:
There is no change to the support on offer from the Job Support Scheme for businesses forced to close because of the highest level of restrictions UK-wide. The government will pay 67% of wages with no employer contributions.
Under England’s tiered approach, companies can claim up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant scheme if they fall within a Tier 3 lockdown.
Add to this that England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland all have different restrictions, there are the distinct “tiers” that make things even more bewildering, and the fact that even police and politicians admit they don’t understand the rules, and you have a country running around like a headless chicken.
ITV news this morning is utterly dominated by Covid-19 on its home page, far more so than the BBC or Sky. Its primary headline focusses on Wales, but others include: “NHS will be unable to cope”, “Police to stop non-essential trips across the Welsh border”, “Police shut down COVID rule break wedding with 250 guests”, and “UK records 23,012 Covid cases and 174 more deaths”.
Yes, ITV is determined to stoke the flames of Covid fear, and will no doubt continue to.
On another matter, the US Presidential election is hotting up, though less attention is paid than one might expect. What we do expect however is anti-Trump bias, and we get it. The BBC is absolutely head of the game in this regard.
Under it’s “US Election” section, it has put together a series of “fact checks” regarding claims made by both Donald Trump and Joe Biden. It has to be seen to be believed so do check it out for yourself.
The overall gist is this:
Trump = “liar”,
Biden = “he got that bit wrong but never mind”.
It’s entertaining if nothing else.
The mainstream is filled with Covid fear stories, anti-Trump rhetoric dressed up as news, and the occasional bit about the economy, so what about the alternatives?
Breitbart leads with an amusing headline of: “Escape from Wales – UK Police Set Up Checkpoints with Lockdown Region”. As can be expected though, Breitbart delves in to areas the mainstream won’t. For example, Swedish police will be using drones to observe “no-go areas” (i.e. areas blighted by foreign criminals who are destroying Sweden from within). This is a prime example of political theatre – like Priti Patel making tough speeches about immigration. It’s all a facade, an attempt to persuade the public something is being done. Nothing is being done. As usual. There is absolutely no point in Swedish police observing anyone if they don’t intend to prosecute and punish the crimes observed. But on past form, Sweden has little intention of prosecuting or punishing anyone except its own people.
Speaking of Priti Patel, despite her great speeches, life continues as normal – illegal immigration, Brits on the streets while foreigners are housed in hotels… the usual stuff. She’s done nothing to stop it. To be fair, there’s little she can do when we have legislation in place that specifically places the rights of foreign criminals over and above law-abiding Brits. It’s called the Human Rights Act and the Tories have had every opportunity to get rid of it. They haven’t, and they won’t. So we’ll continue to see the scenario described by Breitbart this week; a foreign murderer can stay in Britain despite having already been subject to a deportation order, and despite the fact that he poses a direct threat to the safety of the British people. He has “human rights”. Brits don’t. That’s the message from both Labour and Tory. We only need to decide if we intend to put up with this forever.
Finally from Breitbart, I doubt many of us will be surprised to learn that teachers in France have been subjected to a deluge of death threats from Muslims following last week’s horrific beheading of Samuel Paty – a Paris teacher who dared to stay true to the crucial French value of secularism and discuss Mohammed cartoons in class.
The French government is still talking tough on this. But the problem they’ve got is that only ending immigration and insituting mass deportation will stop it. Will France do this? Not a chance!
The final media site I browsed today was UK Column. I know little about this site, but the headlines tell me it might be worth paying more attention to. Issues covered include the level of death caused by lockdown, the potential for defence unity that will include the UK in a post-Brexit Europe, and the prospects for future One World Government. But it is the headline ‘Civil Liberties, Once Given Away, Won’t Come Back’ that particularly caught my eye. This article quite rightly argues that we have lost our civil liberties and will have to fight to get them back. It partly blames the media for this, as do I, and as should anyone who is paying attention.
The author writes:
Combined with Daily Mail inspired fear-porn, such inflammatory coverage, amplified on social media, is building the public consent needed to drive through restrictions on civil liberties which could very quickly be reminiscent of Soviet Russia.
Soviet Russia is a very apt comparison, because it is communism itself that is at the heart of this. It is the hard left that is so desperately keen on lockdowns and restrictions, because it suits them. The hard left likes control.
What is also pointed out on UK Column: If history tells us anything, it’s that once a government claims power, it rarely willingly gives it back.
That’s of course entirely true, but within this cloud is a silver lining – people are aware of the corruption and incompetence, and increasingly so.
It’s therefore the best time in our lives to bring about political change; not with gimmicks or celebrity self-interest, but with people power and democracy. That is what has always brought change, and that’s what will bring it again.
Anne Marie Waters
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