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  • Writer's pictureAlan J Porter

"Another way forward ..."

October 18th

2.30pm. Today in the U.K. it’s cold, but hearing parts of the latest news it appears the temperature is getting higher with resistance to the lockdown measures occurring in parts of North England. In Greater Manchester the population in 2019 was 2.822 million, and their Mayor Andy Burnham with other leaders of their authorities and Conservative MP’s are at this moment in time standing firm in opposing a lockdown. They are hoping for another call from the government to listen to their opposite views. While on the Andrew Marr TV show, this morning Andy Burnham mentioned a word that could, if followed up blow the governments fleet of ships of course onto the rocks sooner that their present course is taking them. The explosive word is EXAGGERATION. The Manchester Mayor along with his colleagues say, this is what the government are doing. He stated in the last few days the number of virus infections are dropping and currently only 62 hospital beds in their area are occupied by the virus infection. At it’s height in April, when the epidemic was very virulent, over 240 beds were occupied. His argument is to lockdown the large area where there are many more people who are on a lower pay, and it will hurt far more businesses and people. He is asking for more money to sustain people as this lockdown may last longer than expected, and may not produce the results they want. Many people now think like this, and to use the word exaggeration to a government , who is sending a message that if the Prime Minister cannot get a consensus of people to go along with their plan he will ultimately enforce the law against the Manchester authority. With no obedience from the people of Manchester, their police force might not be able to enforce the law. People then react and disobey. If the government pay further money Manchester asks for, other lockdown areas in the North of England will want their funding to be increased.

A CONUNDRUM APPEARS, or is it a moment when the governments failed strategy is to be turned on its head ? There has been with this government a slogan saying WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER. That’s taken by many people especially in the North as a joke. Always has been. For the mentality of many and I’ve been of the same opinion living North of Watford, we have always looked down on the South as being far more affluent in career prospects and having greater salaries. Where the North is, it can be likened by some just like in the year AD 122 when the Roman Emperor Hadrian built his wall across the width of Great Britain saying, he regarded those on the other side as living in another world. This them and us attitude which is not healthy for a country as been perceived like this all my life. This is a red line Prime Minister Johnson is now walking, as Andy Burnham has said Manchester is being used as THE CANARY IN THE CAGE. This was a reference in earlier times in the coal mines, if they were detecting gas leaks they would test the situation by taking a canary in a cage to the front of the pit. Andy Burnham is saying, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and other Northern areas are being used as a test bed case seeing whether these lockdowns work or not. Then hearing today the government are paying consultants £7,000 each a day to help in the track and trace, which as already seen millions paid to large companies who have failed miserably in the six months. Add the £190 million paid for 50 million face masks from Turkey that did not pass the specification requirements. All this adds up to a disaster waiting to happen. These big companies having contracts for track and trace and digital apps are just milking the government knowing they have no idea what they are doing. What does this say, as our countries finances and resources are being bled dry, and the truth of so many fiascos are being hidden.

The government are proposing an order soon where no one will leave their homes for three weeks and possibly more. This will not be accepted by everyone as it will be impossible to enforce. All these desperate measures are because of the failures to act better and earlier in the first place. Are these just my thoughts? Well these next words and thoughts come straight from a recent controversial article. Last week, three leading scientists from Stanford, Harvard, and Oxford universities declared that our government had got it all wrong on Covid. They went on to say, Those who are not vulnerable should immediately be allowed to resume life as normal, argued Sunetra Gupta, a professor of epidemiology at Oxford, and two professors of medicine Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff. Their statement was signed in an office of a free-market think tank in the resort of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, and it’s now been given a name, THE GREAT BARRINGTON DECLARATION. They believe the Coronavirus is running a predictable and finite course, rather than running out of control. They say LEAVE IT ALONE as communities will soon achieve herd immunity. The vulnerable should be given ”focused protection” while individuals should act as they see fit, based on their own perceptions of the risks. Other scientists now say in March they knew little and deaths were mounting and heavy restrictions were made proportionate. But now, they say for most people the infection is very mild and in consequential. It is also said in the U.K., fewer than 400 people under 60 without other conditions have died. For this we have restricted human interactions and stifled the economy. With no vaccine in sight before the spring there is no end in sight. “THE CURE SEEMS TO BE WORSE THAN THE DISEASE.”

As a result of the government actions modelling now suggests there are devastating effects on public health, with lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health. It is now believed the backlog for cancer treatment is so long that 3 million are now waiting for screening says Cancer Research U.K. Charities estimate up to 35,000 extra deaths, maybe caused by cancer, as a result of the pandemic. One such story of a teacher who had a back pain and found it impossible to get a face to face appointment. It took a month even to secure an online consultation, then she was prescribed with pain killers. Four months later concerns raised by a blood test. She was referred for a colonoscopy and a consultant said, it seemed to be a tumour. The lady teacher believes that had it not been for the pandemic, she would have been diagnosed sooner. She now could have just two years to live and cannot see her young children growing up.

I’ve mentioned before, we have not seen the end of October and it might seem as though I’m predicting doom. No, but as I said at the very start, we should have adopted a policy as though we were at war with this new invisible enemy. It was clear then it was not a passing phase as the government thought in the first place. I’ve said in the beginning our resources and energy should have been given to those authorities to do the track and tracing as they knew their area and people, rather than giving millions to companies who had no more idea than the man in the street. The millions and billions that have been wasted will be hidden and someone must be held accountable. But we know that won’t happen. That voice in Manchester might grow, just like the theory of those three credible professors who suggest another way. The virus grows around Europe, and it is hoped answers can be found and given to all countries to find a better way. With winter approaching and colder weather, plus further unemployment looms, this all adds to more discontentment to everyone. We must believe that around the next metaphorical bend in this river better times will return. If I’m following my feelings I see March as a turning point. Repeating myself, no one should lose their homes due to this virus, and no one should be bad marked at the banks when their mortgages or rents should have been frozen. Still many consequences to occur, and I believe many unexpected twists to this terrible time, we are passing through. A light must be shone on those who are desperate for their lives and safety for their families harrowing stories are still occurring around the world.

Only an hour ago it reported a dead body was washed up as many migrants are still trying to cross the English Channel in cold weather. Many of them are just seeking refuge and safety and the possibility of a better future for their children. One voice beginning to want change will be joined by another, which will be followed by more. The world we live in has beauty in abundance. Let’s hope that the wind of change can bring more enlightened thinking with more giving from everyone. THEN WE CAN SAY WE ARE ALL IN IT TOGETHER.

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