“Let Them Eat Cake!”

So, here we go again. As we sat and listened to the Prime Minister’s announcement last night it felt like time had been rewound to March. The country is heading back into lockdown. All precautions and safety measures have failed, and Corona infection rates and death rates are back to the levels they were in April. Am I surprised? No, of course not.

During the original lockdown from mid-March to mid-June, we saw repeated instances of people ignoring the rules with little or no consequences to themselves. This made me angry because I felt it was unfair on the rest of us who were doing what we were told. To those of us staying home, only venturing out once a week for essential supplies, not seeing our friends and families, and coping as best we could with house arrest – the fact that so many treated it as one great paid holiday was disgusting and immoral. Yet they got away with it.

There aren’t enough police to manage the situation, we were told. Fine, I can understand that. So where were the army? Where were the TA? Weren’t the TA formed for exactly such situations as this? Hell, call out the military police from the air force if need be. The lockdown needed to be reinforced – severely reinforced – but it wasn’t. In my opinion, anyone caught breaking the rules should have had their furlough pay or benefits suspended. Maybe it’s hard line of me, but I felt my furlough was pay for obeying the rules, taking care, and STAYING AT HOME. It wasn’t so you could swan off to the beach, have vast barbecues and invite all your friends, or congregate in each others houses.

And now, surprise surprise, we’re all heading back into lockdown for at least a month, possibly longer. But once again the government is half-arsing it. Instead of a total and strictly reinforced lockdown of all but essential and key workers, it is vague and fluffy around the edges. Work from home, unless you can’t, in which case go to work. How are most firms supposed to interpret that? I fear most will take it to mean business as usual so public transport – especially in the cities, will be crammed as workers commute and spread the virus.

All schools, colleges, and universities to remain open. My jaw dropped at that one, and I simply looked at Miss F in disbelief. The places that we know to be absolute petri dishes for this contagion are places where children and young people are gathering in great numbers. Miss F comes back shaken and scared every time she has to go into her college. Although her and her friend wear masks and regularly sanitise their hands, not many others do, and there’s no reinforcing of the mask rule. There’s precious little hand washing, and absolutely no social distancing. The children are crammed into classrooms and are shoulder to shoulder in the public areas.

Then when they leave their places of education, you see them crowded together on the streets. There’s no social distancing, just bunches of young people hanging out together the way they always have done – all close to one another, touching, and in some cases, hugging each other.

So, tell me, BoJo, how is this supposed to work? The children go to their places of education. They mix and mingle with hundreds of other children, who in turn have mingled with hundreds of others. They pick up the infection on their skin, clothes, and hair. They then bring it back to their families sheltering at home. They infect them with the virus. The young person probably won’t get sick, or if they do, mildly. But the family member they infect may not be so lucky. And what about if that family member is the primary carer for an elderly or vulnerable family member, or their job is being a carer to sick, elderly, and vulnerable members of society?

Once again, the government don’t seem to have thought this through. If the lockdown isn’t going to be for all non-essential members of the society, then why bother doing it at all? Why not just leave us to take our chances?

After the announcement we discussed it. Miss F is afraid to go back to college and I one hundred percent support her decision. She is mostly homeschooling now anyway, so it seems pointless risking infection for the three hours or so a fortnight she has to go to college – only to find that her teacher couldn’t be bothered to turn up for class so the kids are crammed into another class, breaking all the social distancing rules.

Miss F’s feeling is that she would rather lose one month of lackadaisical and substandard education than risk losing me, or, at the very least, bringing home the infection and making me very ill. This is something I do have to seriously consider. At 53 I am not old, but neither am I that young. I’m not vulnerable, but this virus seems no respecter of how healthy or fit a person is. I am also the only captain of this ship. If I get sick, then there is no one else to do what I do. I cannot afford to contract a virus that could potentially affect my ability to work and support us for the rest of my life. I also do not want to die and leave my daughter alone. So, am I being selfish keeping her at home? Maybe. Do I believe it is justified and the right thing to do? Absolutely.

So, this is a message to the Prime Minister and all those other selfish, overpaid, idiots in power. OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT CANNON FODDER. IF IT IS UNSAFE FOR ADULTS TO BE OUT THERE, IT IS UNSAFE FOR THEM TO BE OUT THERE. END OF STORY!

I am already beyond disgusted at how this government has acted recently. Voting themselves a massive pay rise in a time when many are struggling to keep body and soul together is such a blatant slap in the face to those parents who cannot afford to feed their children. Many have lost their jobs due to the pandemic or have been left too ill to work. So many small businesses and industries have closed with the loss of jobs and income. So many in the entertainment industry have had their lives destroyed by this.

In New Zealand, all politicians voted to take a pay cut in solidarity of their people and in recognition of their suffering. That is true leadership. That is putting the needs of your people first. Did our politicians follow this sterling example? No, they did not. They greedily and selfishly demanded a large pay increase. As a reward for handling the situation so well, presumably!

On top of that, it has recently come to light that all politicians receive a £25 a day food allowance. £25 a day, every single day of the year!

I’ll give you a moment to process that. £25 a day! Each. Apparently, the poor dears can’t manage to feed themselves from their £80k+ a year salary. This is the same government that then voted against ensuring that no child is starving in the UK. Again, I’ll give you a moment to process that. They sat on their well-fed and well-padded backsides and said no to allocating £2.50 a day to give a free school dinner to every child that needed it during the half term holiday. They said no, whilst receiving a £25 a day allowance paid to them from OUR tax money to pay for their nom noms!

This is beyond disgusting. This is unethical and criminal. That a government can put themselves so far above their people is shocking in the extreme. I wonder, when someone informed BoJo that the people could not afford to buy bread, did he respond with “Let them eat cake”?

It took companies like McDonalds, Papa John’s, and other high street food chains to step in and offer free food to children. Across the country, food retailers heard the call and answered. And all I can do is shake my head in despair and say to the government, shame on you. Shame on you for so blatantly demonstrating that our lives mean nothing to you, our children mean nothing to you. And how dare you. How dare you take our tax money to pay for your three course lunches whilst others go hungry. You can afford to feed yourself and your families. On the money you earn you can afford to stop the £25 a day food allowance and direct it to a more worthwhile cause. Because at the end of the day, if I can afford to live, pay my bills, and feed my family on less than £13,000 a year – I know that you can do it on £80k+.

It is rare that I rant about anything as controversial as this. And I know that there are many out there who will not hear a bad word against the government. Who are staunch supporters and cannot see anything wrong with how the government has handled the situation. I agree, it is an unprecedented scenario. I agree, no one should have to deal with it. I agree, many difficult and hard decisions had to be made, and I wouldn’t have wanted the job. But this is the job they wanted. They wanted to be the leaders of our country. So, all I am saying is LEAD US WELL.

Even the most ardent supporter must look at their recent behaviour and begin to doubt that the government has our best interests at heart. Surely, anyone who is a grandparent or has children in their family must have listened to the announcement last night that all places of education were to remain open and despaired. And even the most hard-hearted and uncaring individual must agree the unfairness of a government that would quite happily leave children to starve whilst sipping a cheeky little Bordeaux wine over their slap-up, paid for lunch. Paid for by us, don’t forget.

I am sorry if I have offended anyone. But this is something I feel needed to be said. We are living in dark and strange times, and these are the days we should be all pulling together. Yet the gap between wealthy and poor has never yawned so widely.

I am late writing this blog because I was in two minds whether to post it or simply delete it and post something light and inconsequential. I am an author, and as such have never felt I have the right to use my social media standing as a platform to air my views – be they political, religious etc – but, I am also a mother and a tax-paying resident of this country. I am directly affected by the events that are happening around me and I cannot stay silent on this.

I am not an extremist. I am not a radical. I am simply a person who wants everyone to be treated equally and fairly. Sure, let the politicians keep their £25 a day food allowance – but only if we ALL get that same allowance. I manage to feed two of us and a cat on £50 a week, so that would amply pay for all our food and all our other bills. And as for the argument that politicians work long, hard hours – so do doctors and nurses and retail staff and construction and factory workers – but they are expected to pay for their own meals. The average nurse earns less than £18,000 a year and yet still have to pay the vastly inflated prices in the hospital canteen if they want a hot meal in the middle of a twelve-hour shift.

There is so much that is rotten and unfair in our country. Many of us work hard for little pay, and struggle with ever increasing food prices and utilities. Just keeping the lights on and food on the table can sometimes consume almost a whole monthly wage and it is a constant struggle. What else can you cut down on? Turn off the heating, put on an extra jumper, do without breakfast so your child can have something to eat, work extra shifts, all just to get by. And all the time, those who are at the top of the food chain squeeze even harder, desperate to wring every last penny from us to pay for their own luxurious and indulgent lifestyle.

It is wrong. So very wrong.

But I do not see change coming anytime soon.

I apologise to those of you who tuned in expecting the usual A Little Bit of Blake, and I promise that normal service will be resumed next week. But I had to get this off my chest, and I thought the six of you who read my blog wouldn’t mind if this once I used you to let off steam.

Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, keep your families close and please stay safe.

Julia Blake

11 thoughts on ““Let Them Eat Cake!”

  1. Well said Julia. I wholeheartedly agree with you. I didn’t realise the government had a daily £25 allowance -absolutely appalling! My average shopping bill is £12 for myself and 2 guinea pigs. I have no heating on (house currently at 12 degrees) and do sit in the dark to watch tv at night. They are being reactive , not proactive, but always just two weeks too late. Why is this latest lockdown not happening until Thursday-presumably so we can have more scenes of revellers like we had recently in Liverpool and Nottingham? Sorry I too needed a rant!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally sympathise. Add Brexit, sitting there like a giant turd in the middle of the drawing room floor. That he’s just ignoring because … oh someone else will clear that up.

    If any of them had ever had to do a day’s work in their lives, perhaps they might be more use. 🙄 As it is they are so hopelessly self obsessed and out of touch that they haven’t a clue.

    Cheers

    MTM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have often thought that MP’s should be forced to live for a month with a less well off family. Not allowed any perks or special treatment, just having to live the way most of us have to. Hand to mouth, constantly afraid of what the future might bring. Maybe they would be more sympathetic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel your pain. Here in the U.S. we’ve been pretty much back to normal over the summer, but our cases have skyrocketed, too, and while some states are returning to earlier lockdown phases, states like mine are doing nothing. And, to be honest, my state could get 50k new cases a day and it would still do nothing. The politicians currently in power are very much of the, “if you get sick and die, oh well” mentality. So, I know how discomforting it is when you feel like one of the only people who cares and is doing what you’re supposed to be doing. I’m glad Miss F is able to stay home for a while. I hope the cases come down there soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So sorry! It is very upsetting. It’s sad your daughter has to miss school, but you have no choice. You’re doing what makes sense and is the safest. Also, she completely understands! And one good thing is that your lodger moved in just in time. But will he be going to classes? Ugh! Just thought of that. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve answered your question about the risk posed by our lodger still attending college in this week’s blog. Ultimately, there’s not a lot I can do about it, other than take precautions and minimise the risk as best I can.

      Like

  5. So sorry to hear you’re going back into lockdown, Julia, and I hope it is only for 1 month. Our second wave went from a 6 week lockdown to 4 months and we still have travel restrictions and such in place now. It does get frustrating when you’re doing everything right and the minority aren’t and are ruining it for the majority. Best of luck with it all and stay safe ❤️.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. We had to go into a second lockdown because our government couldn’t run a returning traveller program properly, but the restrictions did work and were now 9 days straight with zero cases, down from 700 cases a day at the start of our second lockdown. Fingers crossed this lockdown works for your guys too.

        Like

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