Let’s be honest, Corporal Jones himself couldn’t have made a more botched job of calming the UK collective anxiety in the face of what seems to be one self-inflicted adversity after another. The hapless Dad’s Army character, and his famous “Don’t Panic! Don’t Panic!” catchphrase, may have been well intentioned, but inevitably always had the exact opposite effect on his spooked comrades who, it must be said, seem to bear an uncanny resemblance to certain members of this Government. In fact, if you haven’t tried it yet, a match-up of traits is a mildly amusing way to pass a couple of hours stuck in an angry forecourt queue attempting to fill up or idly parked on the M25 thanks to the irresponsible actions of a motley crew of ill-informed tarmac huggers.
It seems you can shuffle the ranks as much as you like, but ultimately you end up with yet another ill-disciplined rabble of foot soldiers whose principle objective is to don a flak jacket and resolutely deflect as much blame for a particular crisis on their predecessors’ obvious lack of foresight. Whatever happened to the old well-worn adage of prevention is always better than cure? Brexit has now been almost five years in the making, and Covid-19 around since March 2020, so it’s fair to ask why certain persons who are afforded – at great expense – positions of huge responsibility, with massive internal resources and real industry expertise at their disposal, are consistently left in a state of flux.
It doesn’t take an Eddie Stobart to work out that somewhere down the line the UK would face a chronic shortage of HGV drivers, which would in turn lead to desperately low levels of the key components essential for a fully functioning society. That’s day one for anyone taking up office in the Ministry of Transport, surely, and who knew that CO2 was vital in the wellbeing of our livestock industry? Well, maybe, just maybe, that’s something that might be of interest to the Minister responsible for food and agriculture. What none of them ever seem to comprehend is, that we live in very different times to when a local problem could be kept as just that. Thanks to social media, and twenty-four news channels, with vast voids to fill, every situation of once mild concern is now up for intense scrutiny and – through hearsay and fevered speculation – very quickly transforms into a national crisis. The same medium could surely be used to some effect in dispelling such rumours, but perhaps the Civil Service has not yet embraced Facebook and Twitter or else, after so many false dawns, we have just apparently stopped believing what we are told by successive Governments, whatever their political colour or agenda.
And don’t get us started on the underwhelming performance of the Home Secretary in “dealing” with the ridiculous posturing of the Insulate UK bandwagoners who clearly don’t do irony. In the main, these are the same rag tag and bobtail virtue signallers who bought the capital to a standstill last summer with their Extinction Rebellion antics and were treated with kid gloves and comical dad dancing by HM Police Force. It’s not as if they aspire to come up with anything really creative or inventive to further (what handled more sensitively could garner strong public support) their cause and keep the police on their toes. Many have already appeared numerous times before a magistrate to have their sticky hands slapped, the authorities know where they live and operate from, yet they are given carte blanche to travel unchallenged each day and cause mayhem to businesses and essential services playing a vital role in getting the country back on its feet after so much adversity. Anyone else would be forcibly man-handled away before you could say Superglue but, for reasons that dare not speak their name in these woke times, they are consistently indulged by the powers that be. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t, so let’s hope it just goes away would appear to be the modern mantra but, as it’s been said many times before, hope is not a strategy for anyone, let alone an elected Government.
Despite the get tough rhetoric, and cast iron assurances, sadly, no one is holding their breath that we aren’t heading for another winter of 1970s-type discontent although this time…..without the comedy classics and great music, to provide some much needed relief. In fact, anyone old enough to have been around in the those darkly depressing days will recall, with impending doom, the prospect of the endless weeks of power cuts and candles, empty fuel pumps, rubbish piling up in the streets, and three day weeks for businesses that were literally on their knees begging for financial help. Back then – quite rightly – we were referred to as “the sick man of Europe”. Now, as we lurch from one black comedy moment to another, we are increasingly being seen as the “funny man of Europe”. And, unfortunately, the joke, as with our unsuspecting and oblivious Corporal Jones, is actually on all of us right now.