I’m a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a person and their character in a time of crisis, or ‘when the chips are down’, so to speak. Who digs in and battles valiantly until the end? Who uses the situation for personal gain? And who turns in to one almighty hypocrite?
Of course there are many variations and alternative responses, however broadly speaking, more often than not a crisis results in 3 types of people.
When I talk about people ‘digging in and battling until the end’ – I am referring to a large percentage of the British public. The ones who just GET ON WITH IT. The ones whose lives have also been effected negatively as a result of this world wide pandemic – whether it be financially, physically, mentally, socially or indeed some way else. Stereotypically speaking these are the NHS workers, the emergency services, the supermarket staff – in short, The Key Workers. However, anyone who has had to deal with the negative effects of this inhumane virus and simply carried on with life as best they can, deserve to be in this category.
Secondly we have the person(s) who have used this global crisis to fuel their selfishness . Those multi million pound companies who’ve decided to cash in on the government’s generous furlough scheme. You know, the scheme that was introduced for companies as an alternative to making their employees redundant. A metaphorical lifeboat offered out to rapidly sinking businesses to help them stay afloat. Unfortunately, as in all walks of life you get the people / companies who can’t help but take advantage. People like Richard Branson, a man SO rich he owns his own island. Most normal people struggle to own their own house, yet this man owns an actual island. A man so affluent you count his worth in billions. A man who having previously sued the NHS for losing out on a contract, and having not paid income tax for the last 14 years, then begged the government for a 500 million pound bailout to help save his precious Virgin Atlantic Airline. An airline which made staff take 8 weeks UNPAID leave. Staff who probably get by month to month. Staff who, without effectively 2 months pay, would no doubt have struggled to feed their family or pay their bills. To a man like Branson and a company like Virgin Atlantic this matters little though. A man who could have paid every single one of those employees out of his own pocket and it would have barely scratched the surface of his net worth.
You also have the Premiership football clubs, the one’s who spend hundreds of millions of pounds every transfer window on a new striker. Who pay their players hundreds of thousands of pounds every week. Who earn billions of pounds from TV rights and ticket sales. These same football clubs couldn’t wait to use the furlough scheme as a money saving exercise, rather than as a last resort it was intended for. Who saw the furlough scheme as a chance to increase their spending power rather than leaving it for those who so desperately NEEDED it. These are just two examples of the many people and companies who have used Covid-19 for selfish gain.
Finally, we come on to the main topic of this post and the unnerving amount of hypocrisy that has been embodied by sections of the general public and media, since the arrival of this virus.
I’m sure it wasn’t so long ago that Caroline Flack tragically took her own life and the press, Piers Morgan and everyone else were pleading for people to be kinder and protect mental health. Fast forward what, a couple of months and these EXACT SAME people now find it acceptable to abuse, harass and bully whoever they like. Odd that.
This country has turned in to a bunch of children gossiping about the latest rumour in the playground. Surely there are far more important matters going on in the world right now than if and why a man drove up to Durham with his family. To be clear I am not saying Cummings did abide by the strict letter of the law and I am not defending him. I am however questioning whether the anger, venom and privacy invasion directed at him by so many, would also be there for people who commit FAR more heinous crimes every single day…I somehow doubt it. Hypocrisy is at an all time high in the UK – journalists gathered round a man accusing him of breaking social distancing laws, whilst they themselves are breaking the exact same law at that very moment. Piers Morgan turning to twitter and his morning TV show to hound and harass a man continually for weeks on end for doing something he considers to be ‘immoral’ and ‘a pack of lies’. The same Piers Morgan who back in 2004 was sacked as editor of the Daily Mirror after it was discovered that photos the paper had published purportedly showing British soldiers torturing an Iraqi were fake. Photos which had the potential to completely undermine the British army and result in thousands of unnecessary deaths. How IMMORAL is that? The same Piers Morgan who was also embroiled in a phone hacking scandal. Again, how IMMORAL is that?
So lets just get this straight. Piers Morgan, a man now continually tormenting and verbally assaulting a man for driving to Durham. A man who continually pesters government officials to come on his TV show, to then talk over, judge and ridicule them like some sort of high and mighty God. Is also a man who was sacked from a previous job for horrific lies and immorality.
It get’s better. Some of you might remember Morgan’s anger and outrage at the ‘lack of testing capability’ by the government and his observation that NHS workers simply weren’t getting access to corona virus tests that they needed. Fast forward what, a matter of weeks and Morgan himself starts feeling a tad unwell. Guess what, guess who has no qualms about using up one of those corona virus tests for his himself. That’s right, MORGAN. A man on a breakfast TV show. Not a man saving people on the font line, not a man working tirelessly to prove food and essentials to people. A man purely hosting a TV show.
So when I talk about hypocrisy and revert you back to my original reference to Caroline Flack, and Morgan desperately jumping on the ‘be kind’ bandwagon. Now you can fathom why it’s not surprising that a man who shouted from the rooftops about a need for society to be kinder and value one another’s mental esteem, is a man who has hounded harassed and actively encouraged people to oppress another human being for driving himself and his autistic son to Durham. The same journalists who printed in their newspaper columns the need for a more compassionate public after Caroline’s death, are the same journalists huddles together outside Mr Cummings house like a pack of wolves waiting for the lamb to appear. Those members of the public who no doubt spouted their views on how Caroline’s death signals a desperate need for change in people’s way of thinking, are the same people outside Mr Cummings family home shouting obscenities at him, whilst he and his family hide inside.
I feel like (and I so badly wish I could) pulling Piers Morgan or one of these abusers aside and asking them how they would feel if they were camped inside their family home with a baying crowd outside wanting blood. How they would feel if they had an autistic son and the actions they would take to try and protect his best interests. How the ‘be kind’ message they so proudly supported, could be so abandoned in only a matter of weeks.
They will not be happy until Cummings has killed himself, which will give them something else to obsess over for the next week or so.
I am NOT defending Cummings. I don’t know the in’s and outs of what happened and quite frankly I don’t really care. I am simply questioning the abuse and harassment levelled at his door. The hypocritical actions of SO many. The need for such focus on someone without knowing the full facts. A crime that even if committed, pales into insignificance when you consider the evil and inhumane acts committed every single day.
The fundamental problem with people such as Piers Morgan and the media, is they make money from selling stories, and being controversial. Good news unfortunately doesn’t gain the traction that bad news does and the need therefore, to create bad news is overwhelming. Why not report on the amount of people recovering from Covid-19? Why not report on the superb furlough scheme and the financial situations it’s rescuing? Why not report on the fact the NHS was able to stand firm and perform resolutely in the face of an incoming tsunami? Why not talk about the fact this country actually values it’s citizens freedom and has tried to adhere to that as much as possible?
Why do members of the public continue to make some of the outrageous and factually incorrect statements that I have listed below:
‘every single death is on this governments head‘ Or ’60 thousand excess deaths are as a direct result of this government’s failings’ – As if they genuinely believe that a different government in power would have somehow resulted in zero deaths, and a global pandemic miraculously missing the UK. A warped belief that a different government would have taken us to some sort of promised land.
‘10 years of austerity and cuts to the NHS have led to us not being able to cope’ – A belief that governments make cuts simply for the hell of it, and to line their own back pockets. A belief that forgets a war in Iraq cost this country billions, or a global financial crisis in 2008 meant Gordon Brown left the country bankrupt and so cuts HAD to be made to claw back some of the deficit.
‘Boris Johnson missed 5 Cobra meetings in the lead up to Corona Virus because he couldn’t be bothered’ – A statement that is almost as ludicrous as it sounds. Another warped belief that Johnson simply wasn’t interested and was instead sat in 10 Downing Street playing computer games or having a nap. A belief that happens to forget the hundred and one other things a government is dealing with at any one time – Brexit, Terrorism, Trade deals, International relationships and concerns etc etc etc. A belief that is based on the odd assumption that discussions from Cobra meetings would not be passed on to the PM of the country if he were not able to attend
‘The government failed to provide the adequate PPE to hospitals and care homes’ – A belief that is simply a media driven lie. Why is everything automatically the governments fault? What about the people responsible for making sure each hospital has the adequate and correct PPE in the first place? What about the fact warehouses around the country were stocked up on ton’s of PPE which had unfortunately gone out of date? – again NOT THE GOVERNMENTS fault. What about the fact nearly all care homes are privately owned and residents pay an absolute fortune to reside in them, along with staff being barely paid minimum wage. Yet, when these establishments so desperately needed PPE the option of dipping in to their own stack of cash simply wasn’t viable. Instead, lets blame the government.
‘Yeah but look at New Zealand they’ve hardly had any deaths’ – A statement that compares the UK (a nation with 68 million people in it) to a country on the other side of the world whose entire population could quite easily fit in to London.
As much as all of these absurd claims annoy me, my biggest gripe is this. The media (in particular Piers Morgan) and members of the public highlighting the fact the UK has the 2nd highest death toll in the world.
Stats and comparisons at this point are pretty much pointless. Each and every country record their deaths differently. The UK for example record deaths in all settings – both in hospitals and outside hospitals. Most other countries do not. The UK records a corona virus death if someone has died WITH the corona virus. Nearly all other countries only record a corona virus death if it’s proven that the person died FROM corona virus. If 2 people sat the same exam and for every correct answer you gave one person 4 points, and the other person only got 1 point, would you then turn round and say that person had performed 4 times better than the other. No you would not. Without an accurate aligned process whereby the recording of stats is carried using the same measures, a global comparison is pointless. Unfortunately however, that still doesn’t stop the thirsty media from scaremongering and attempting to derail the government.
I believe strongly that if you removed all the for-profit media corporations, and egocentric influencers from the equation, a lot of this countries problems would vanish overnight. In a global crisis which has wreaked havoc all over the world, people want real time factual information Not a biased, agenda driven approach designed purely to cause division and animosity.
People seem to have lost sight of what is actually happening and suddenly turned in to global pandemic experts. Every day I hear people questioning and dismissing the guidance or views of EXPERTS in the top of their chosen field. Experts who have dedicated their whole life to science or medical knowledge. Experts who have been working tirelessly under severe amounts of pressure to try and get this country back on its feet. Experts who are chastised and attacked by the general public and media alike, who for some bizarre unknown reason think they know best. How annoying must it be whenever you bring out a new piece of guidance or an update and the media IMMEDIATELY go and find another ‘expert’ who seems to have the exact opposite opinion. A ploy designed deliberately to undermine you.
The hindsight armchair critics who condemn the government at every single turn. I liken it somewhat to criticising and shouting at a professional footballer from the stands for poor performance or not being able to do something that looks so simple from the sideline. Actually getting out there and doing it in under copious amounts of pressure is rather more difficult. Everything always looks so easy and straightforward from the metaphorical stand. Being out in the arena is somewhat different. And when it comes down to it, there’s a reason we are in the stands and the footballers are on the pitch…
To summarise, I am not suggesting the government have made the correct decision at every turn, I am not suggesting they have been faultless. I am however, suggesting they have the best experts in the country advising and helping them at every opportunity. That in a rapidly evolving dangerous environment, which no-one HAS EVER DEALT WITH BEFORE, mistakes will be made. That is life, we are humans and not robots. Are you the sort of person who berates and constantly criticises Premiership footballers as if you could do better. Are you the sort of person that would berate and criticise an experienced plumber, carpenter or car mechanic when you have no experience at all in their line of work? Are you the sort of person who would blame a world wide pandemic on people simply doing their best to get us out of this mess…
Stay safe and hope you enjoyed reading.