Why is England’s Covid messaging so all over the place?

I was in a local shop a couple of days ago and the chap in front of me asked, when he got to the front of the queue, whether he should be wearing a mask (he did have one on) in that particular shop. The answer was that whilst the Government says you don’t have to we really do want all our customers to wear masks to help protect each other and the staff. The chap agreed but then went on to make a more general comment. He said that he could not get his head around government messaging on the subject as it seemed all over the place to him.

That comment made me think back to something I’d seen or heard, only a few days prior, on a media platform (can’t recall which) where a journalist had been tracking what differing Ministers had been saying about Covid and the ‘freedoms’ we were supposed to be getting. The conclusion was that the messaging was in fact all over the place and Ministers were in effect contradicting each other by giving out sometimes significantly different information/opinions. When you add into that the deliberate misinformation that can be circulated on social media, is there any wonder folks struggle to know what the powers that be are actually saying to us?

On many matters, the bad information, the misinformation, and even the deliberate lies don’t actually cost lives but with Covid they do! So why can’t our leaders at least sing from the same hymn sheet? To me, the answer is that Government Ministers don’t actually have an agreed message to give out; they really are just doing their own thing, giving personal opinions, or pieces of propaganda based on what their own political sect thinks. It’s like Brexit all over again but this time people’s lives are at stake! I really am beginning to wonder if the Conservative Party is slowly but surely turning itself into a political force akin to the US Republican Party where real facts mean nothing but opinion, no matter how ill-informed or off the wall, is treaded as fact.

I really can’t think of a previous UK Government, of any colour, that would have treated this Covid crisis as the present one has been doing. I would go so far as to suggest that incoherent chaos has been dominating Government thinking. Can you seriously imagine Tony Blair, John Major, Ted Heath, or Harold Wilson running a government so badly through such a massive national crisis? No, neither can I especially when you look at the more sober and considered messaging coming out of the Welsh and Scottish Governments. I might not personally agree with the Welsh or Scots leaders but I can credit them with being pretty consistent and clear in what they have been doing and saying during this crisis.

Tony McCalmont-Woods RIP

Tony was a Conservative councillor in the Maghull area of Sefton Borough in the 1980’s and 1990’s. If memory serves he represented Park Ward for a number of years until the late 1980’s when a political power shift took place in the Maghull & Lydiate area and the Lib Dems came to the fore.

Tony was also a member of Maghull Town Council which is where I came to know him following my election to that Council in a by-election in 1985. Again, if memory serves, I think he continued to be a member of the Town Council until the late 1990’s.

My memories of him are of a chap who always wore a business suit and tie as was quite usual for gentlemen of his and my Dad’s generation. Indeed, my Dad (George Robertson) and Tony knew each other well as both were members of the former Conservative Club in Maghull – It became Kensington House Sports & Leisure Club.

In Town Council meetings Tony was always very business-like in his approach to matters and I, as a fresh faced young Liberal, looked upon him as a big beast in local politics. I was once told that Tony was expected to rise through the Conservative ranks on Sefton Council but this did not happen because of the change of political wind in Maghull & Lydiate towards the SDP/Liberal Alliance and then the Lib Dems.

I recall a conversation with him at some civic event when I asked him about his serious approach to pretty much all Council business and he laughed out loud taking me by surprise as a different side to his stern character surfaced. It wasn’t long after this that some new play equipment was being ordered by the Council and Tony was very keen that it should be galvanised to make it longer lasting. It then became a bit of regular political banter as some wag would add on to something Tony had said along the lines of ‘and get it galvanised’.

Tony also had his very own political opponent in the guise of Cllr. Audrey Beattie as every now and then they would have a reasonably ‘good natured’ set to over some matter or other much to the amusement of other members of the Town Council.

During my very last conversation with well known local journalist Jim Sharpe, a few weeks before he died a couple of months ago, he asked me whether I’d heard anything of Tony in recent times as he understood him to be quite unwell.

I did not serve on Sefton Council with Tony as he had left that Council before I was elected to it in 1999 I might add.

The last time I saw Tony was a few years back in Morrisons Maghull shop. We had a chat about the old days and he commented on how the political rug had been pulled from under his party’s feet by the Lib Dems and that Labour had now done the same to the Libs in Maghull. How true that comment was.

I was not close to Tony but I hope my recollections and memories of him, if only at the margins, illustrate the man, the politician and the local councillor.

Chris Rea – Josephine – Politics and music collide or NOT

I like much of Chris Rea’s music and have seen him live a few times over the years, the last time at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall.

One of his tunes has stuck in my head forever – Josephine. There are quite a few different arrangements of it which Rea has used over the years, particularly live versions and you can find pretty much all of them on YouTube.

This is my favourite:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZpEz3-kj44

And here’s the Wikipedia page all about Rea:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Rea

If you scroll down the page you get to the collision between music and politics i.e. the fake news about him donating money to the Conservative Party when in fact it was donated by someone else with the same name. I must admit to being taken in by the fake news that it was the musical Cris Rea when I should have said to myself don’t believe all you read in the UK press!

15 Questions the Tories won’t answer

Tim Farron’s Liberal Democrats want answers from the Tories

The Tories seem to think – if we ignore any difficult question – we don’t have to tell the public the truth. If they cannot tell us even the most basic things why should we trust them at all.

Theresa May seems to be hiding their real agenda from the public.

The Tories cannot tell us anything about their plans and they are doing it on purpose. They hope to secure a colossal majority and then to take the country for a ride. We cannot let this happen – our schools, hospitals and social care are at risk

After the debacle on the Dementia Tax, the only policy they gave us detail on, it is no wonder they are trying to hide things from us. They need to come clean and tell us the truth.

These are the fifteen questions that the Conservatives must answer

Security

1. Why are the Conservatives insisting on a Brexit negotiation strategy that will automatically prevent access to the vital EU Schengen Information System – used 16 times a second by UK police forces to track terrorists and criminals?
2. Why has only one individual out of hundreds who have travelled to fight for ISIS in Syria been subject to the Temporary Exclusion Order powers introduced by the Coalition?
3. How will the Conservatives ‘ban encryption’ without weakening internet banking security for millions of British citizens?

Schools

4. How many children will lose their free school lunches?
5. How much money will the Conservatives spend on providing free school breakfasts instead of lunches?
6. Exactly how much money will the Conservatives give to schools to plug the the hole in their budgets, and why is their pledge unfunded?

Health and social care

7. How many people risk losing their house as a result of their social care policy?
8. At what level will losses be capped for people with long-term degenerative conditions like dementia?
9. How will the NHS cope with the loss of 26,000 EU staff who are planning to leave because of Brexit?

Welfare

10. How many people will lose their winter fuel payments?
11. How many lives will be lost as a result?
12. Will the coldest areas of England and Wales be exempted, as Scotland has been?

How will they pay for their manifesto policies?

13. Why should anyone vote for a manifesto without costings?
14. How many billions will be lost to the public finances as a result of the Conservatives’ plan to reduce net immigration to the tens of thousands?
15. How much will they raise taxes and national insurance by in order to pay for their pledges?

Crime Commissioner Candidate – This beggars belief

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/revealed-tory-who-wants-85k-11270594

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above

What on earth is the Tory Party doing putting up a candidate who has been dismissed from a Serious Organised Crime Agency job for gross misconduct?