M is for Media
After 100 days of lockdown, the UK government is no longer being held to account.
Government daily briefings stopped a couple of weeks ago and they are effectively no longer under scrutiny. The BBC has been muzzled by funding threats and the only information we get is leaked to and then filtered through, a right-wing press.
The Daily Mail has just overtaken the Sun to become the UKs biggest selling newspaper. Like the Sun, it is extremely right-wing and supports the government in everything. Even if the government does something totally egregious one day, like supporting Dominic Cummings, the Mail will let one reporter criticise Johnson’s blind support, but another six will rush to his defence.
The Daily mail is in its element during a pandemic; it loves a good health scare and people, preferably foreigners, to blame.
Black Lives Matter (BLM) has caused the right-wing press some problems; obviously they have to say that racism is wrong, but the media is the last bastion of white privilege, and after a few days of hand-wringing, the Sun managed to dig up a video clip of a black man punching a white woman at random (in Brooklyn). They have been tracking down these type of stories everywhere.
For a few days there, the Sun and the Daily Mail were in danger of alienating their Brexit-supporting reader base, but the realisation that BLM might have far left leanings and an anarchist base, has let them off the hook. Business as usual.
Only more so. Over lockdown, newspapers’ circulation could have gone down by as much as 80%. The right-wing press have a much higher base and will survive. The counter-balancing press, however, is struggling and it would not be a surprise to see victims. The Guardian’s business model was already based on begging online before lockdown.
With a severely weakened press and a hamstrung BBC, the UK government can get through a no-deal Brexit, leave China’s take-over of Hong Kong unchallenged and consider housing minister scandals a closed matter.
Who knows what else the UK government is getting away with while we are locked away at home, relying on Facebook for communication and obsessing about people going to the beach. Whatever it is, it relies on a compliant media, and the government has got it. And from what I can see, so have all other countries who have taken the lockdown.
Cash is being phased out; all our financial transactions are going to be tracked. The future is cryptocurrency.
Middle management is a buffer between the bosses and workers. It is a place where vaguely competent workers arrive, before it is decided whether or not they can rise higher up the ranks. It is what Boris Johnson’s government is stuffed with. And it is totally dispensable.
After furlough, top company management everywhere will have come to the conclusion that all they need to succeed is hard (low paid) workers at the bottom and a lean management at the top (themselves), plus maybe a few more BAME workers.
Middle management is surplus to requirements.
There will be a culling of middle-management and a slew of terrible new businesses, as middle management spends its redundancy money. As restaurants and micro-breweries close down, expect a new bunch of fools to rush in and take over.
60,000 people have died in the UK with Covid-19. Their families have not been able to grieve. Children are stuck at home painting rainbows, adults with violent partners, money is tight, landlords have started eviction proceedings. Cancer patients are not being treated and GPs surgeries are all but shut.
Death, isolation, unemployment, homelessness and ill-health are the major triggers for depression. Usually, it takes around 8 months to get a referral to a therapist for depression. It will now take well over a year before people suffering lockdown depression manage to get into the system. Their GP will prescribe antidepressants, but these take months to work and finding the right ones and dosage is trial and error.
The infrastructure to deal with depression has been underfunded for decades and has been decimated in the last decade. If you have depression, you are on your own. As evictions and sackings ramp up, so too will drug and alcohol abuse and suicide levels. They will hit an all-time high, possibly one per Covid death. 60,000 suicides in the next year does not seem unlikely. Whatever the reason for this global lockdown, I hope it was worth it.