Friday 1 May 2020

I am a grumbling embittered resident of Cornwall

Future posts from moi will likely be OT for the simple reason that I don’t watch the BBC very often these days. 

And, for another reason. The non-leftist media are on the BBC bias case at last. Like Rottweilers. See Tom Harwood in the Telegraph, Guido, and - do I need to list them? No.

FYI, unrelated to the pandemic, Cornwall is gradually being trampled to death by the fallout from the problems of the country as a whole.  Its natural wildness is disappearing. Its tranquillity is all but lost and its quirky ‘back in time’, “dreckly” culture is being swallowed up by ‘budget’ tourism and white flight (an ex-councillor says.) 

The silhouette of ugly, tacky new housing developments despoils every horizon. Vast estates of substandard, poorly constructed and badly insulated housing shoot up like mushrooms. A surveyor friend says they will be ‘un-mortgageable’ in a few years time due to in-built design flaws and shoddy workmanship. 

Strong rumours have it that Cornish councils are rewarded handsomely by inner-city councils for taking ‘problem families’ off their hands. Bulk, off-plan reservations are made at the planning stage; Locals need not apply. “Councils will deny this”, warns a local gov. employee but empirical evidence attests to the veracity of it. 

In summer, roads are choked; locals must wait days for an appointment with a doctor. In summer, supermarkets swap their regular stock of fresh ingredients for overpriced ready-meals ‘for visitors’; mile-long queues of holidaymakers whose bank cards are lost or ‘don’t work’ clog up the local branch of Lloyds bank, which is due for imminent closure so tough if someone still wants to pay in an old fashioned cheque.

This is about yesterday’s press conference - the PM’s first post-illness performance.

Here’s the press report of the relevant question: 

The first question from the live briefing came from Michelle, from Cornwall, who said:  
"We are getting enquiries daily to book a holiday let from June onwards. 
"We're worried there will be an influx of people coming away from the cities and to tourist hotspots which could bring a second wave to areas such as Cornwall. 
"Please can we ask how tourism within the UK will be managed in the coming weeks?”

What transpires is a profound misunderstanding of Michelle’s question.
“No-one can doubt the pressure he was under from his own party, including a number of big donors, who have been warning of the ever-more terrible damage to the economy if the lockdown continues"
says Melanie Phillips, which helps to explain why this was a misunderstanding waiting to happen. Under pressure to ease the lockdown before the impending, possibly irrevocable, economic armageddon, Boris immediately assumes Michelle from Cornwall is asking solely because she’s eager to get back to work. 

Like many of us who reside in Cornwall, Michelle is probably worried that the seasonal ‘influx’ of carriers and spreaders will overwhelm Cornwall’s less than adequate medical facilities. 

So far, Cornwall has suffered a comparatively low rate of infection. This is fortuitous because of Cornwall’s relatively meagre healthcare provision. The main NHS hospital isn’t exactly renowned for its cutting edge efficiency. 

In a normal summer, all services are under strain. The quality of life plummets, but complaining looks ‘selfish.’ A typical comment in the Telegraph goes:
"Cornwall would be wonderful without the grumbling, embittered Cornish.I have yet to hear of a successful Cornish Person"
That's why Michelle feels she has to couch her question in a manner that won’t make her look too much like a yokel and a nimby so she refers to the pressure to ease the Lockdown by mentioning a ‘holiday let’. Big mistake. Big red herring.  

Boris’s over-defensive reaction to the anti-Lockdown sentiment leads him to disregard the important part of her question - her worry that the government isn’t taking sufficient measures to prevent Cornwall being overwhelmed by ‘a second wave’. He reinterprets the thrust of the question and the media, constantly gunning for Boris and eager to condemn him for prolonging the Lockdown, goes along with it. 
“In his response, the Prime Minister acknowledged the hit taken by the tourism industry due to the lockdown. 
He said: "I sympathise very much with everybody in the tourism industry who has taken such a hit and it’s been one of our jobs to make sure that we look after business as far as we possibly can through our loans, our support schemes, our furloughing schemes for workers.
"But you will come back Michelle.”
I feel sorry for Michelle whose question was couched much too ambiguously. And I feel sorry for myself and all residents of backwaters in the country formerly known as Britain.

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