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Post Covid Politics

I remember just after the financial crisis a decade or so ago, reading a sizable report in the economist about the expected political repercussions.

They suggested large-scale protests, a rise of populist leaders and possible government overthrows, all across the world. And this is what we had – from the Occupy protests, to the Arab Spring, to Trump, Brexit & Co, and so much more during the 2010’s – all either directly or indirectly, fully or partly, caused by the financial crisis.

Which leads me to wonder what this current major crisis will bring in the way of politics going forwards?

I think there will be 3 main threads – not all affecting the same countries and affecting different countries to different degrees, often depending on their current government; anti-China, anti-government and anti-populist/pro-expert.

Maybe we haven’t had quite enough of experts

Yes, I foresee an age where experts are once again valued, where we have not actually had quite enough of them.

Politics is often a reaction against perceived current failures or recent past failures, and those governments who have studiously ignored experts, hello Jair “A Little Flu” Bolsonaro, will surely struggle going forwards against politicians who are publicly backed by experts, hell, maybe are experts themselves.

Even if the politicians themselves are not experts at the more important subject matters of the day, having a calmness and a dullness could be an attribute post-covid – we could easily witness the rise of one of the most boring political party leaders ever here in the UK, Kier Starmer, who is dullness studiously defined. But he does have this air of competence about him.

Of course, those governments judged to have failed to look after the health of their citizens by ignoring expert advice, do have other options.

Everything Is China’s Fault

Let’s face it, there is quite a bit of blame for the Covid crisis that can be left at China’s door, from lying to the WHO about the outbreak, to spreading false information, stopping doctors from speaking out and if you believe some of the more “out-there” ideas, it could even have escaped from a lab in Wuhan.

The US-China trade war has been running for a while, protectionism is on the rise and there is a general fear in many countries across the world about Chinese interference in markets and politics, and theft of intellectual property.

You may not buy into the idea that China is doing anything wrong. But I’m pretty sure that you can buy into the idea that blaming China will make for very electable policy in the coming years.

The most obvious is Trump’s public China-bashing, but the democrats are arguably just as anti-China, and with their twinges of long-standing protectionism could even be argued to be more naturally anti-China. In the UK, we’ve now turned against using Huawei products for our 5G network – in some European countries China is to blame for dumping of steel on the markets, leading to the closure of steelworks in countries like France, as one example.

Their state capitalism model allows them to subsidise industries to take them towards monopoly positions as private western companies cannot compete. Not to mention the argument that many manufacturing jobs have gone to China since they were admitted to the WTO in 2001.

Again, you can pick and choose whichever of the above you agree with, and I have barely covered even the main accusations made towards China, so please do excuse my brevity. Yet the narrative is set, and there for politicians to be able to take advantage of.

Will those politicians who suffer from a lack of competence be able to take advantage of the growing backlash against China?

Or we could just blame the government

Covid-19 has not just badly struck countries with populist leaders, though there does seem to be a theme there, it has also impacted countries with left-wing governments like Spain or centrist governments like France.

In all countries there will be a desire by the public to blame the government for failings, perceived or real, in the handling of covid-19, and this may lead to some surprising election results.

You may find some countries such as Sweden hold their hands up to their failings regarding Covid-19, as they seem to be doing with respect to their very high figures of care home deaths. On the flip side, I’m fully expecting Boris Johnson to be blaming the EU for our care home deaths, hell he’ll be blaming a crocodile infestation in Botswana before he takes responsibility in public for any mistakes.

Yet governments of most countries will not escape the blame, and this pandemic has plenty of time to run – even countries which are currently judged to have had a “good crisis” will have plenty of opportunity to anger their citizens.

It could perhaps even see autocratic regimes fall – I’m sure Putin is aware of the danger, hence the alleged theft of vaccine ip and claims of the first vaccine.

You could argue that covid-19 led to the denied victory of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (I had to look up her second name!) in Belarus’ election recently, especially given the anger under the surface reported there in recent months, with the president suggesting drinking vodka and driving tractors as a cure for covid. And you thought Trump was dumb.

When, where and how?

I think the most difficult aspect to ascertain is the latter aspect, regarding anger over how governments have dealt with covid.

As we’ve seen in the UK, there was a “rally around the flag” feel at the beginning, and the Conservative Party ratings soared. Yet, bit by bit, the narrative has changed to one of incompetence. Opposition politicians in many countries have dampened their attacks during the crisis, but will find a pool of anger and discontentment to tap into.

When this will happen, is uncertain. Mass protests will likely be avoided in many countries until the pandemic is at an end, unless there is an urgency to seize the moment – and perhaps the incompetence will be forgotten about by time it is safe to protest in large numbers. Perhaps.

Also, not all of the three above-described outcomes will affect all countries, though often all will to one extent or another.

I guess the biggest question remains whether an increased desire for boring but sensible politicians could outweigh the ability of other politicians to blame China, and what shape any post-covid anger may take in the way of protests. The election in the US will be fascinating as a glimpse to see which movement has most power – anti-China or anti-populist?

For Britain? I’ll cover that in a future blog post. I feel there is quite a lot to say about the current state of British politics!

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How Successful Is The Government’s Handling Of The Covid-19 Crisis?

I can hear you now, dear Brexit-voting, Boris-worshipping reader, about to go apoplectic over how I dare to even consider whether there should be some criticism for Saint Boris over this perfectly-handled response to the Covid-19 crisis?

Oh wait a minute, you’re actually a leftie and still mourning how the country were duped into not supporting a radical programme of democratic socialism – of course this is nothing less than a Tory Genocide.

It seems how you view Boris Johnson and the government’s handling of this crisis is rather closely related to how you voted in December 2019. Those that are outright criticising the government didn’t vote for Boris Johnson, those that are broadly supporting the government did vote for Boris Johnson.

So I’m in an odd position. I didn’t vote for Boris in 2019 – the first general election where I have not voted Conservative.

Yet I’ve found myself going from Brexit-related despair over almost everything the government does, to a modicum of support for the government – with antipathy towards left-wing arguments against the government, if not an especially strong defence of the government.

I guess it is possible that I have fallen back into being a Conservative now Brexit is no longer the political focus. However I expect it is partly due to “rally round the flag” phenomena, which almost all leaders across the world have experienced. You can see how Boris Johnson’s approval ratings shot up at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis.

I shall try to explain why I believe that the government has done broadly well in this crisis – though certainly not without criticism.

In Support

Trying to get my head back to where we were in early March is not easy, but I do remember getting on with life as normal – even going to visit family in Yorkshire on the weekend before lockdown began. There was certainly a sense of foreboding change and there were some hysterical warnings of crisis ahead, notably some on social media pointing to the near-collapse of the health service in northern Italy.

This was predicted here. We were told that the NHS would collapse, that there was nowhere near enough intensive care beds and nowhere near enough ventilators. And then there was a stream of stories about companies offering to make ventilators and how dare the government not respond to them.

Yet the NHS didn’t collapse. There were always enough intensive care beds and the emergency-built Nightingale hospitals were barely used. Ventilator capacity was not breached – there was a notable story about not requiring the Dyson ventilators.

This should be all be noted as successful organisation from the government, though as I’ll discuss later, arguably at cost.

Also the economic response from the Chancellor has been impressive – with the furlough scheme in particular hopefully saving many businesses and jobs that would not otherwise have been lost. Expensive, yes, though likely less expensive than just allowing the enforced, publicly-demanded economic collapse.

We were also told that the British public would not follow lockdown orders – yet a clear order from Boris Johnson explained the gravity of the situation (albeit it took two attempts) and there was, at least for the first few weeks, almost complete embracement of the order.

If you’d have asked me in January whether the British public with centuries of proud liberty behind them would support such draconian measures, I would have firmly disagreed.

In Criticism

Yet communication was not always clear. That first order on the Monday for people to stop going to pubs but pubs not to close was not ideal – and left me to wish that someone with the talent for clear communication was Prime Minister, instead of someone known more for slogans, waffling and being untrustworthy.

Some have argued that recent “Stay Alert” communication was not clear, though this only seems to have confused Boris Johnson’s opponents. I understood – I am sat in my bedroom on a Saturday evening writing this post.

Many seem now to argue that lockdown should have happened earlier, though that was a niche argument prior to the Monday where lockdown was (kind of) announced – I recall Rory Stewart making the argument though few others. I disagreed with him at the time, though in hindsight…maybe he was right.

Of course, the hindsight experts all say that they would have locked-down earlier had they been in charge, though I asked a couple of people that argued this during personal conversations what they were doing the weekend before lockdown – yep, they were out and about in pubs, shops, church, etc. Everyone is…or can be an expert in highsight.

PPE has clearly been a huge problem and I assume will have contributed towards our high death total. Yet this is a global issue – doctors in Germany were protesting over the lack of PPE – this a country whose response to the Covid-19 crisis has been widely praised. On the flip side, there seems to have been advice that the government should have had stockpiles of PPE, and arguably should have prepared more thoroughly for the mass use of PPE earlier in the crisis – though admittedly this was when China and the WHO were denying human-to-human transmission.

The real monster in the room to my judgement has been the volume of deaths in care homes. Whoever decided that patients should be discharged from hospital to care homes without a test for Covid-19 needs to be sacked…actually they probably need to be prosecuted, though that will never happen.

Whether that was the Prime Minister, Health Secretary, head of NHS England that ordered this – or perhaps whether these were decisions at local NHS trust level I have zero idea.

I wonder whether the care home issue would have been the same had social care not been politicised to the point where no government over the last few decades have attempted what would have been unpopular reforms – at least until Theresa May tried something in her 2017 election manifesto – and we saw a collapse in support from older voters there.

Also I recall Jeremy Hunt fighting to have social care included with his NHS portfolio at one point – alas, Brexit got the better of that idea and Jeremy Hunt in general.

Would either potential reform have been completed in time to affect the death rate in care homes? I have no idea.

Also I wonder if the intense media and particularly social media pressure over the warned-of collapse of the NHS led to poor decision making elsewhere? We won’t know that until the inquiry some years down the line.

In Summary

This is a lot more wordy than I planned or desired so I’ll try to bring it to a conclusion – yet I know I have barely scratched the surface on an assessment.

I stress that I’m not an expert on any policy area discussed here, so you can take my analysis and summary with as large a pinch of politicised salt as you prefer.

Were this a self-imposed crisis – like Brexit or the Iraq War, then I’d feel much more willing to criticise the government. We should remember that this is a rather virulent and deadly virus that has escaped from China to the most interconnected city – and country in the world.

The delayed onset of symptoms and total lack of them for many makes it a difficult virus to track and control.

This is an externally-enforced crisis like 9/11, for example. Sure we could have been better prepared – just like the US could have in 2001 given that they had prior warning with an attempted bombing of the World Trade Centre.

Mistakes have been made – in particular, at least in my view, the error in allowing untested hospital patients be moved to care homes.

Interestingly it seems other European governments have all had similar criticisms of their handling of the crisis – from their political opponents. Take the left-wing (partly hard-left) government in Spain, for example, who have been criticised over – yes a lack of PPE and a care homes crisis, amongst other things. You can find similar criticisms of the centrist government in France or populist right-wing government in Italy.

It seems to me that it is impossible to have a perfectly successful response to such a crisis – any crisis in fact.

Time will judge more fairly than in the heat of the Covid-19 crisis – there will be a multitude of inquires and there is plenty more scope for the government to make more mistakes on the way out of lockdown.

You can clearly conclude on how the government has handled the Covid-19 crisis however your personal politics takes you and perhaps I am too, though I try to be as objective as possible – I am far from wedded to a Boris Johnson government.

I currently side with the idea that they have handled the Covid-19 crisis broadly well, yet I say that very tentatively not knowing who is responsible for the decisions around social care which seem to have been especially deadly. And I do suspect that having a Prime Minister who was more detail-focused and serious, such as Jeremy Hunt or Rory Stewart, would have led to a less bad outcome. Perhaps going forwards, people might regain the preference for serious leaders rather than populists? Probably wishful thinking.

Given how polarised our politics seems to be, I’m sure everyone reading disagrees with me.

Thank you for reading – I had to get my thoughts into writing. I wish you all well, and my heart goes out to anyone who has been personally affected by the crisis.

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What Next For “Remain”

Brexit is over. Brexit is done. I lost. You lost. We lost. (The last two IMHO).

Once the Brexit vote had happened there was no turning back. I argued for the hardest Brexit possible – whilst wanting to remain totally in opposition to Brexit.

Yet I wasn’t going to totally give up the fight whilst there was still a very tiny chance that the mass of public opinion could sway vehemently against leaving the EU.

Which is why I went on the marches and why I continued to argue as often as possible (too often, yeah) that we should not leave the EU. I knew it would almost certainly be fruitless, but I couldn’t stay by and watch what I see as the degradation of the United Kingdom in silence.

Sure, in poll after poll, more people said Brexit was wrong, than right, roughly 47% to 40% (the very most recent poll has seen 43% saying Brexit right – but one poll doesn’t make a trend, and that is still belong Brexit wrong at 46%).

However, I always felt unless this reached a critical mass, say 65% of people saying Brexit was wrong, then there was no legitimacy in a second referendum.

I did also have the vaguest hope that remainers might actually vote Liberal Democrat – the only party in favour of staying in the EU during the 2019 election.

I jumped from Conservative to Liberal Democrat, alas, few did make the required move – most believing in the socialist lies of Jeremy Corbyn, pro-Brexit Jeremy Corbyn, which really disappointed me.

My initial whelp of joy at the Conservative 80 seat majority after the election was mostly of relief that we avoided destructive socialism, but it was also partly a feeling of betrayal – that other remainers couldn’t make the jump away from their party to a remain party.

So, we are where we are. Both tiny chances of legitimately stopping Brexit were lost – though in all likelihood, even if it had been stopped, it would have happened at some point.

What now?

If Kier Starmer wins the Labour leadership election, circa an 85% chance currently according to the bookies, he will command the support of much of remain.

Not me. I cannot countenance supporting Labour – a party that has historically crashed the economy so many times, yet people still try to rewrite history, blaming a Global Economic Crisis in 2008 for Gordon Brown initiating a large budget deficit every year from 2002.

Yet Conservatives seem totally unable to counteract this argument (away from the increasingly small free-market bunch of them) – and further to that are probably going to increase the budget deficit by implementing unaffordable Labour-esque spending. This will end in tears, though perhaps it is time for Labour to clear up an economic mess, for a change. And I certainly cannot support this.

The danger for the Liberal Democrats is not only from Kier Starmer eating up all the left-wing side of them, but also could come from who the Liberal Democrats themselves elect as leader. They could also choose someone of more left-wing disposition, say Vera Hobhouse, but not be strong enough to compete with Labour – and lose Conservative liberals such as myself.

That would leave me totally politically homeless, not that I feel especially comfortable voting Liberal Democrat as it is.

Meanwhile for those of us wanting to oppose Brexit, it is all about biding our time and waiting patiently. No more second referendum appeals, no more large-scale protests.

Only when the public start to feel the failure of Brexit, the impact of borders, instability in Northern Ireland, passport queues at airports, higher prices, higher unemployment, car factories closing, etc, will public opinion on Brexit change dramatically. I’m not stating all of that will happen, it is unlikely all of that will happen – Brexit won’t happen in a vacuum and not everything can be predicted. Just like Labour do, you can be sure Brexiters will blame any forthcoming recession on everything but their own actions. I will say it as it is – whether it be Brexit-related or not.

And, of course, maybe we will really hit the sunlit uplands that we have been promised. Maybe we will reverse the £550m a week loss to the UK since the Brexit vote that is because of Brexit and end up with £350m extra a week.

Alas, I doubt it, and our continued lower growth and/or a Brexit-related recession I feel will eventually/suddenly lead to opposition to Brexit being much more pronounced. One report in 2019 suggested that Brexit had already cost £1,000 over 3 years to the average person (£550m a week to the UK). Maybe not huge sums for some – but I know I’d prefer that £1,000 to not having it.

Assuming this happens, that will when the argument for rejoining the EU will have more salience. Enough salience and enough public support? Who knows, but you wouldn’t win a referendum on having an invasion of Iraq now.

All about being patient, factual and respectful to those that voted Brexit. Our time will come. This can and hopefully will be reversed.

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A Collection Of Post-Election Thoughts

1. I struggled to decide who to vote for on Thursday.  Really struggled – I expected some kind of support for Liberal Democrats from other remainers, but most plumped for socialism instead.  Boris’s behaviour and Brexit were why I turned away from the Conservative Party, but I felt myself coming back to the fold, the more I saw socialist thoughts and general arseholeness from entitled lefties.

2. In the end, I e-mailed both the local Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidate.  The Liberal Democrat candidate e-mailed me back – she was honest in her belief for campaigning against house-building that doesn’t have enough car parking spaces (like we need more cars???) but agreeable on other points I raised.  I appreciated her honestly.

3. Also she is German and, I think, a lesbian.  I would be a lesbian if I had a sex change, so I could identify.  She got my vote.

4. As was 99.5% likely, the Labour candidate won in my area.

5. I was super-nervous before the exit poll.  More nervous than I had been about anything in a long time.

6. I did let out a squeal of joy when I heard the result.  I was amused by the idea that the Conservatives do better the less that I want them to win.

7. I feel a bit more like a Conservative again.  I don’t know why.  Perhaps because of all the bullshit from those having a leftie meltdown.  I am particularly offended by people saying things like “all working class Tories are thick”.  Those are my people.  Fuck off you pretentious, self-absorbed twatts.

8. The Conservative Party trolling game is top-notch at the moment.  I laughed at the idea of them being the People’s Government (so Mao) and their “make no mistake – Get Berxit Done” was just class.

9. I despise them both, but kudos to Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson for their victory.  Get Brexit Done was even more effective than Take Back Control – or Yes We Can.  Very, very simple and very, very clever.  Begrudging respect – like when your local rival football team do something really damn good.

10. Corbyn should be toast.  All the polling suggests that by far he was the main reason that Labour lost the election.  Not Brexit – as the Momentum spin is trying to weave.

11. I cannot think of any other leader in recent British political history that has had such a disastrous defeat, yet has not immediately resigned.  Yet Corbyn is staying on so they can have a “period of reflection”.

12. I cannot think of any other socialist in the world that stepped down after any form of election victory.  Socialism always fails, and needs democracy to be undermined or outright destroyed to survive – socialism goes against natural human will.  Though Corbyn is staying on so they can have a “period of reflection”.

13. Labour are almost certainly toast next election too.  I don’t think any political party have ever overturned such a deficit.  I’d love to see another party become the opposition, but that ain’t going to happen under First Past The Post.

14. If Labour want to stand a chance of reducing the Conservative majority next time, they have to elect a centrist – someone with star power – and someone who is a reflection from Boris Johnson.  I’d suggest Jess Phillips is their best current chance – though hated by a good chunk of Corbynistas – and they have the power, especially because of the “period of reflection”.  However, she has matured in the last year or so from being a total gobshite, and I feel her personality could get under Boris Johnson’s skin.

15. Certainly they need someone to hold Boris Johnson to account.  He consistently avoids scrutiny and has done all his election-winning delivery-failing political career.  Someone who is a joke to everyone, or a total lightweight, will not do this.  All people, no matter their political persuasion should desire this. Corbyn was a disaster for all political life in this country.

16. Brexit is over.  It isn’t done – and won’t be for years, but the argument is over.  I’ve long severely disagreed with it, but I’ve also long accepted it – and argued for a hard Brexit so that its failure will be clear and proven.  And a possibility to rejoin in a “fuck we were actually wrong about invading Iraq” kind of way.

17. Despite not being able to vote Conservative, it feels like there is clarity.  It probably was a good idea to have a General Election – no matter how much I didn’t enjoy it.  It was the least worst plausible outcome for myself.

18. I don’t know what to hope for now.  Some kind of reconciliation?  Maybe there isn’t any hope – just acceptance that we have a way ahead.

19. And a huge fucking amount of relief that the British public, especially my dear fellow northerners, have rejected socialism.

20. I guess Maggie will be delighted about yet another defeat for socialism.  A shame we actually had to fight it in the first place – and unless we solve the housing crisis, I feel it will need fighting again.

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Am I Still A Tory?

JUL
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I had to put up with a lot of bullshit during the EU referendum campaign.  We all did, in one way or another.

Something that particularly pissed me off was the abuse that I and other remainers would receive within Tory circles.  As a member of Tory-only groups on Facebook (allegedly Tory-only as many members seemed to view UKIP very positively, for a party trying to damage the Conservative Party), I watched as relatively sensible discussions about any subject became nasty, vilifying discussions with spurious anti-EU arguments backed up by allegations of those of us that supported remain, such as that we were traitors, scumbags, and worse.

Since then I have had to put up with fellow ‘Conservatives’ supporting Donald Trump, supporting nationalising the railways, supporting industrial intervention – all kinds of political anathema to a liberal Conservative such as myself.  All anti-economic policies.

And I vote Conservative more for economic reasons than any other – after all I am quite liberal on social matters.
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I’ll give you some examples of what I have to put up with from fellow Conservatives:

“It’s about time someone destroyed Hillary Clinton. She’s much to hide. Julian Assange should be given a Knighthood for his services.”

EU – “They can get stuffed. They need us much more than we need them due to the balance of payments deficit. We tell them our deal. We don’t let them tell us their terms.”

“May and Trump will be a blast. VOTE TRUMP AMERICA!!!!!!!!”

“Why has Islam been allowed such power in the UK. Thousands of Jews arrived here in the late 1930”

“Liberals have said YES to Islam for too long. Just say NO for a change and feel better about yourselves”

“He (Obama) is making an issue of Islam, going out of his way to include Muslims in everything publicly. It certainly throws up a lot of questions…”

This is just in the last day.  So many uneducated/intolerant comments.  Don’t get me wrong there are people, like myself, arguing back in a constructive manner but I’ve really had to question whether I am actually a Conservative over the past month or two, mixing online with the sorts of folk that I find abhorrent – or at least the sort of folk that have opinions I find abhorrent.  Let alone un-Conservative.

I do remain angry about Brexit and I put most of the blame at the Conservative Party, with some help from UKIP and Corbyn.  I want to punish those who have put us in this position.

Immediately after the vote, when I filled in the Yougov surveys that I occasionally do, I said that I would vote Liberal Democrat.  Indeed they had a bit of a poll bounce.

But unfortunately, the Liberal Democrats seem completely unelectable under the very weak and whiny Tim Farron – and have a fairly uninspiring leftish economic policy that is anathema to myself.

Labour are a joke and would be under any leader.  Labour cannot be trusted with the economy so they are a simple no.

The Green Party are about as economically sound as the Labour party which says enough.

UKIP are UKIP, Farage or not, I cannot be associated with those bastards.

So by default, I am still a Tory.  It isn’t by passion any more.  They are the least bad option.  I should really remember that the Conservative & Unionist Party. To give it its full name, is a broad church.  I do accept that at least half of them will disagree with my pro-immigration view, for example, but there are levels of anti-immigration – when it becomes verging on the racist then I just find it simply unacceptable.

I can understand why the Tory party became known as the nasty party.  There are some people within the ranks that are abhorrent.  Some people that I find really unpleasant.  Though not a patch on some of the vile characters in UKIP or the left of Labour.

And I do have some hope since Theresa May was elected.

That is for another post, but had Andrea Loathsome been elected leader, that probably would have been the beginning of The Only Ex-Tory From Hull.

For now, I am still The Only Tory From Hull.

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Let Me Shop On Sundays Please

Occasionally, I want to go buy something from a shop later on a Sunday afternoon.

Currently, I am not allowed to.

Many shops close at 4pm.  Others at 5pm.  If you are lucky, or in central London (also lucky) then 6pm.

Many of us across the country work Monday to Friday – many of the shops are closed when we are not at work on these 5 days, unless you happen to live in a vibrant metropolitan area or close to a major shopping centre.

Weekends are two precious days filled with a variety of activities for many people – for myself I study all day on Saturday and relax in the evening.  On Sunday I study for much of the day and then go out for a late lunch.  Maybe I’ll try to enjoy some sunshine during the summer, go to a football game or go to the pub for a pint.

Many an occasion I have wanted to go shopping late on a Sunday afternoon but have been inhibited from doing so by arcane laws devised so shops in the town centre, or supermarkets, can only open 6 hours.

Instead I often have to put off my purchase – or simply not make my purchase at all, thereby reducing the income of local shops.

Sometimes I can order what I want from the likes of Amazon instead.  And I guess at some point they will probably be able to deliver me anything I want on a Sunday evening within 30 minutes, so maybe I shouldn’t be complaining.

But it makes no sense why I can go to a Tesco Express at 5pm on a Sunday – but not a WH Smith.  Nor can I go buy a plunger from Wilko.  Or a pair of socks from Primark.

Now I see a whole host of the usual anti-business crackpots from the SNP and Labour are voting against sensible suggestions of economic freedom for businesses and consumers – backed by a few crazed Tories for whom I cannot for the life of me understand why they would be anti-business.

Some people are even bemoaning the loss of the “Christian sabbath”.  Blame Mr Darwin for that one as he has proven your stories to be codswallop.

Please just let us shop on a Sunday at normal trading hours.

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Labour’s Dream NHS ‘Crisis’

I think it is about time instead of using the scare-story tactics of Labour on the NHS that we applauded the excellent work that our NHS does.

That the NHS is coming slightly short of its 95% target for A&E patients seen within 4 hours should instead be stated as a congratulatory message that 92% of patients into A&E are seen within 4 hours.

To me, that is pretty damn impressive.

Most other health services in the world don’t dream to meet such a target.  You can look close to home where Wales (under Labour) manage just 83%.

It is all the more impressive when you see this in the context of rising patient numbers to A&E.  In 2004 when the target was first set, there were 4,374,927 visits to A&E that year.  In 2014, there were 5,573,644 in total.  A 27% increase.

I repeat that I believe we should treat this as a success.

However there clearly is an issue.  I am not an expert on the health service.  I try not to use it unless strictly necessary (ie my mother tells me).  However with an aging and increasing population and the clear evidence that the exceptional A&E performance is perhaps only excellent now, along with empirical comments about the pressures, a discussion about the way forward should be held.

Labour should stop playing politics, such as their pathetic over-dramatised calls for an “emergency summit” and come up with some concrete proposals to improve the NHS.

WITHOUT SPENDING MORE MONEY.