In December a libertarian business-friendly Government was elected in the UK with a mandate to get Brexit done and rebalance the economy with massive investments in infrastructure. Ten months later we have the most out of touch authoritarian and incompetent administration since the 1930s.

The reason for the total shambles we are now in is entirely due to their failure to tackle the rise in Covid-19 infections earlier this year and their desperate attempts to cover their tracks by totally over reacting to a potential increase in the virus this winter. They have destroyed the economy, put millions out of work, increased national debt by billions and ruined thousands of perfectly good businesses.

It matters because without a vibrant economy there are no jobs, no investment and no increase in tax revenue which funds all the electoral promises.

The Rule of Six is the latest ridiculous dictate from number ten Downing Street. Grouse shooting and air travel are OK but for two families to mingle outside the school gates means immediate arrest. A student having a party in their hall of residents can be fined £10,000, and a shopkeeper who fails to ensure Covid-19 precautions are met can be jailed. It’s utter madness and it is destroying the British economy faster than a Marxist led Government could dream of. And I’ve not even mentioned Brexit and the trade deal which is still to be sorted in a matter of weeks.

Pic: The Guardian

People have become compliant and accepting of a long list of regulations that have destroyed civil liberties made even more difficult to understand as they vary from week to week, town to town and across the borders of the four constituent nations. They are frightened to go back to work, to go shopping or even leave their homes. Shopping has become an unpleasant and tricky operation along with going to the pub or cinema.

The effects are felt across all sectors of industry and commerce. Trains are half full in the rush hour, buses often empty and offices are gathering dust and spiders webs. There is no need for any of this as the risk to 99% of the population is miniscule. In 1957 and 1968 there were flu pandemics which killed millions around the world and tens of thousands in the UK. No businesses were shut, schools stayed open and the economy continued as normal. The Government did not stoke the flames of public panic with misleading graphs, graphics and emergency press conferences lapped up by the media. In short the epidemics were not politicised.

Offices lie empty as people stay away

If the Government were to say tomorrow it is all over so go back to work as there’s no need for masks or social distancing or Perspex screens in shops and pubs there would be little change. People have been so conditioned it would take months to break their new found habits. Plus those considered to be at risk such as the elderly and obese are frightened. The fact they are more likely to die from ordinary winter flu, heart disease or even a road accident won’t convince them to change their habits.

Sweden has adopted a more reasoned appoach to the crisis. Pic: The Times

I’ve written before that we should have adopted the Swedish approach which has arguably been less authoritarian and more successful in protecting the economy. Their equivalent of the NHS publish the dangers of the disease and have issue advice about masks, hand washing and social distancing. We should allow the citizens to decide how to behave. No fines, no Covid marshals, no Rule of Six, no bans on parties, football matches or theatre shows. The public should decide for themselves on their own risks, behave like grown-ups and get on with life as usual.

We have become a nation of curtain twitchers Pic: The Daily Star

Instead the authorities are fuelling all the worst aspects of society from snitching on neighbours, reporting groups of teenagers to the police and imposing fines on people for not wearing a mask when they pop into a shop or take a bus ride. Where will it end? We look at Belarus, Russia, China and North Korea with a superior glaze in our eyes and yet little by little our own Government is increasing rules which are akin to those types of society and only a year ago would have seemed incredible.

Back to the economy. The one which works through making a profit. The one that employs most people in this country and one the government relies on for tax revenues. And there lies the issue if as expected unemployment reaches the levels of the 1970s, let alone the 1980s or even the 1930s. When people lose their jobs, they often lose their homes and their relationships and even their families. Their mental and physical health suffers and society in general takes a massive hit. The warnings from history should not be ignored. There is a strong link between unemployment and a rise in suicide rates and an increase in those suffering from depression.

Pic: Inflation, unemployment and national grievances led to the rise of Hitler

The last time the levels of business collapse took place and the numbers of unemployed rose into the millions on this scale was in the 1930s. It led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and global war. The only difference now is inflation is low, but if the global recession tripped into a depression and another banking crash then we really are in trouble. And the point is there is no need for the Government’s obsessions with Covid-19 rules.

Pic: The Guardian

The Office of National Statistics only this week released information for this summer showing more people are dying from flu and pneumonia than Covid 19. The numbers of people dying in hospitals and care homes is lower now than at this time last year – but here’s the catch – the levels of people dying at home has risen massively. The reasons are obvious. People are simply too frightened to see their doctor, go to hospital or for relatives to allow their aged parents to enter care homes. Again the fear factor stoked by the authorities has created a kind of national hysteria. End the Rule of Six now and all the other restrictions and come to terms with the fact that like any other disease we must live with it.

Harry Mottram

This article was written for the business credit intelligence group ICSM Credit who work to stop bad debts and alert members about late payers and dodgy companies.

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