Clear, Transparent, Responsible and Accountable.
So yesterday the Government announced that our pubs cannot open and in fact may not be allowed to open again this year. Michael’s announcement was worded carefully as he made sure we all understand that this had nothing to do with himself or his Government. It was all the fault of the virus and the best the Government could possibly do is to take the expert medical advice offered.
Let’s look at that a moment. Pubs are privately run businesses, mostly family owned in this country. Back in March the virus itself did not visit every pub in the land and order the owners to close their doors. Without Government intervention, some pub owners may have voluntarily closed while most others would have continued business as usual. But Government did intervene and all of them were ordered to close by law. So the burning question now is, who’s responsible? The Government always speaks of the need for transparency and clarity in all things. So being completely clear and see-through, the virus didn’t close the pubs, the Government did.
Also, besides transparency and clarity, the Government incessantly reminds us of the need for accountability and responsibility in all walks of life. So if the Government closed the pubs then the Government are both responsible and accountable for the huge loss of revenue suffered by all of these private businesses. It doesn’t get more transparent than that!
But the Government have possibly shifted the blame when they say they are following the advice of the medical experts in this matter. That medical community is represented by National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET), and if you dig down on this website you’ll discover a plethora of snouts in the trough. It reads like every medical association in the country is involved, all feeding recommendations into the decision making and then taking money out of it naturally. This begs the question then, do all of these bodies share the accountability and responsibility for pub losses? Are they the ones responsible and accountable? Leading on from that, should they all have to financially compensate the pub industry collectively for all losses incurred?
But NPHET maintains that they only ‘advise’ the Government and they cannot force pubs to close for example. It is not they who make the final decisions. However, the Government Ministers maintain that they cannot ignore professional advice either so who’s really making the decisions? More importantly, where’s the transparency and clarity and whose is the accountability and responsibility for the fallout from such decisions? This same conundrum applies to every private business adversely affected by the laws of the lockdown. Who pays the piper?
When I was a lad, each and every one of us had responsibility for our own health and welfare. Doctors were an option as were the inevitable tablets they prescribed, but given that you had to pay for this out of your own pocket, the choice was your own. The State might help in some cases but mostly, it was up to the individual to decide what was best for themselves. This included our reaction to the winter flu season. Some caught it and battled on, some avoided it and some took to the bed for a week of chicken soup and hot tea. Of course, many died also. Our annual flu season normally takes a couple of hundred souls quietly away with it. In all of it though, the flu was a topic of conversation, normally tagged onto to the daily weather chat.
You can see the transparency and clarity there and the attendant accountability and responsibility. You got the flu, you were clearly sick and though it was nobody’s fault, you were stuck with it. So you decided to take time off work and then you lost some pay because the choice was your yours, your responsibility. It happened to me twice in this way over the years. But with that personal responsibility came the personal authority to decide things for yourself. You could take up smoking, you could get pissed in the pub or you could eat a giant meal in one sitting and it was nobody’s business but your own.
Fast forward to the new century and it appears that the Government has removed your own authority in personal matters, (The Nanny State), and taken over those responsibilities for your actions. This is the only way they can have the authority to ban you from smoking in the pub and subsequently close that pub due to a bad flu. So the buck now stops with Central Government and if they assume such authority for our choices then they must accept the responsibility that goes with it. Taken to its natural conclusion then, the pub owners have a right to demand compensation from the Government for losses incurred due to the lockdown. Indeed, their customers could claim for a level of upset as well.
Or do you see it differently?