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  • Writer's pictureAlan J Porter

"Some hardship stories to tell ..."

July 12th

7.40pm. I travelled to my daughters in Manchester on Saturday, going to my grandsons birthday the following day. After hearing an announcement on the TV this morning at 9.00am that everything was going back to normal, I thought it’s not only the Russian TV media that is controlled by their government, but the same occurs in the U.K. too. My daughters and husbands all work in a professional capacity, but I was hearing of some of theirs friends and associates who have founds their careers taking a nosedive as a consequence of this Coronavirus lockdown. The loss of jobs are hitting all sectors and each one brings devastating news to every family involved. Hearing some of these stories is painful, because loss of job means loss of security and stability and automatically brings great anxiety, stress, and fears, which may lead to seeing relationships and marriage fall victim to this continuing epidemic. With stories I’ve heard this morning where each of their friends and acquaintances have had university educations and in careers they could never have imagined what was going to happen as mortgages, and overheads become a crisis. This though is happening in all sectors of society where people are facing an abyss. One friend mentioned was commercial data analyst for ten years in their late thirties now unable to find a job other than one way below his CV qualifications. With so many now facing such circumstances, there will be great psychological aspects many will not be able to deal with. A figure of millions now see an uncomfortable reality around the world as hope must prevail that through mistakes as in the U.K. a better way is soon to be found. Another friend was a top buyer in clothing that travelled the world, and as a consequence of the collapse in the high street clothing retail sector their career of several years disappeared. Another acquaintance had degrees in mechanics and traveled Europe on behalf of a top car company and like the aircraft industry thousands are losing their jobs with no prospect of revival appearing for a few years. Rolls-Royce, a world renown aero engine company, are laying thousands off and saying it will be several years before their business will resume.

Such hardship stories are reaching millions, and none are easy to accept, but having empathy and trying to realise the torment is impossible unless you are in this unwanted position. With most families if you have been without your regular income for months and you have been furlonged with eighty percent of your income you have been lucky. Some of the stories I’ve heard if you have fallen into being self employed, which many big companies have now made certain individuals, their position has been made precarious. It is said, 147 million people have lost their jobs world wide and at a cost of the equivalent of three trillion pounds. Those figures are just figures, but multiply the sheer stress, anxiety, fears and probability off eventually losing ones home and this throws up a cauldron of despair. I do hope and believe such consequences will not last longer as many fear. Natural disasters happen, but unless it’s touched you such nightmares belong to another world. Many economists are saying as I’ve previously mentioned, a revival plan that is aligned to all economies must be prepared for every country to stabilise all its currencies and go forward with a plan of rebuilding each economy. Smaller and poorer countries will be hit the hardest and immediate help will be required. The question is, do we have a forward thinking leadership that can solve such problems? So going back to that frivolous remark made earlier today on the TV, of getting back to normal, shows how such media personnel live in their own comfortable bubbles. I haven’t even mentioned the catastrophe of big and small businesses that are in dire straits and are closing, many once very profitable concerns. The travel companies and hotel owners around the world will be lucky to hold and own their properties unless they have large cash reserves. Another story that has just evolved mentions that holiday makers going to Croatia have now prompted a further escalation of the coronavirus. This suggests that this dramatic leap with people being allowed to have holidays in various countries could ignite a further spreadof the virus. I will mention a story where we in the U.K. have allowed people to travel from Europe to work on farms, collecting fruit or vegetable products. One farm that employed 200 people was found to have 73 of them with coronavirus.

A story was made known, a couple of days ago, of a possible fraud allegation in the U.K. of a gigantic sum of money totally over 4.5 billion pounds being taken in false information given in obtaining loans and grants for businesses. If such known loop holes were possibilities, the question is why were they not closed. One must think of the housing crisis our country faces, and ask the question how many affordable homes could have been built with these billions now lost. I’ve always said we are in a war like situation and if such acts of fraud are committed in these times, the punishment should be severe. Again leadership is needed, and such action would send a confident message we are going to win this battle not just in the U.K. but to countries around the world. We are going to put right the many mistakes we have made and are still making. Rishi Sunak our chancellor was thrown into a ring of fire although he came with high qualifications and experience at such a young age. He’s giving his best, but I have my own views which are now being shared by many as he’s thrown a lot of money too quickly in the first place at the problems that lie ahead. With the big mistakes of the Coronavirus being made in the first place in the U.K. one can only imagine the sheer panic that was revolving in governments offices. Rolling out large sums of money I believe was a quick way to pacify those consequences we faced a few months ago. Annual fraud in the U.K. in 2017 ranged across vulnerable individuals, major corporations, smaller businesses as well as the public sector with an unimaginable figure of 190 billion pounds. With fraud already occurring it does not take much serious thinking that with billions now being given out in various ways to help companies, fraud is likely to take place on a bigger scale. With believing, we are at war, we should have applied draconian penalties to make people think that going to jail was not the their safe refuge. We could have used what AlBERT EINSTEIN suggested, when answers could not be found to a problem CREATIVE IMAGINATION USED. Change has been made by so many saying that companies will not be requiring the office space they once required, as so many people are successfully working from home. This is one of the big changes that will not be reversed to where business acts was always performed in the office. Big developments of offices now being built for city centres are now having to think differently in what the future holds.

Large retail chains are not accepting the high rents they have had to pay as many are having to close because of the already high rents they are presently not able to afford. High business rates paid to local authorities are not now affordable, so they too cannot put their head into the sand believing that yesterday is the future. A U.K. large group of shopping malls are in administration and who will take them on. No one, if the same rents and rules still apply. This is another small piece of this ever rearranging big picture that will see just the beginning of ultimate and defining big changes that will appear in our society. With this lockdown, people have not been able to spend as they used to and have shown they have not needed to purchase further clothing. Unessential goods also have not been bought, and having takeaway meals have not been affordable. Coffee shops have not opened, and socialising activities had ceased. Frugality had unconsciously grown with many not driving, as people found they were saving money and such habits now with the economic situation people will not find it hard to resist. Those, who paid in their hundreds for gym activities will not return if one has to make an appointment. The wise ones who had a training schedules, as I did, knowing you expanded your lungs to do heavy exercise, would now not place yourself in an enviroment where close training took place. Membership will be cancelled until a vaccine is discovered. With theme parks and Safari Parks, Wildlife sanctuaries and other big attractions that entertained children and families for a day, all very expensive actives, will now not be on as many peoples list. These are a few of the changes to occur, children can enjoy their days out in the woods having picnics and exploring nature as it used to be. With so many falling sadly to this economic and virus catastrophe all unexpected, change is inevitable. But we must try to help as many as we can, but also we are seeing that big changes in work and how we live is not going to be disastrous. We cannot leave anyone behind in this time of change, and consideration for others is in itself a moral obligation which will prove that another direction is needed. It’s not the end of the world, but in my opinion it’s a new beginning of a far better world, where better opportunities will begin to appear for those in society who feel they have no future. This great ship which will metaphorically represent every country where inspirational ideas will begin to grow and eventually benefit everyone.

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