The Great British Press

I have often discussed the topic of the great British press with my friends. As a result, and to follow on from my previous blog about having too much news, I am going to discuss the press and media.

Not only the British press, but the speculation, guessing, rumours, and sensationalism that goes with it.

22nd September 2020

The date is Tuesday 22nd September 2020. This day provides us with a great example of what is wrong with the system right now.

The day started with few facts. People started the day knowing that their was a cabinet meeting of the government.  Also known was  that a statement would be made to the commons by the Prime Minister about Coronavirus.

Discussing no news

Cue, rumour, speculation, sensationalism, expert opinion. In other words, ZERO news.

There was only one fact that seemed to have been leaked and that related to the pubs having to close at 10 PM.

Speculation and Rumour

The TV and radio managed to fill hour after of hour of expert analysis on nothing. Spreading rumours of lockdown, travel bans, circuit breaks. All of which were pure conjecture.

Work on facts

I have learnt through my profession, that the best decisions are based on facts. With facts, I can make logical decisions. To go on a staycation or not to go on staycation. To work in the office or from home. Do I order shopping for delivery or to go to the supermarket.

Is it good for us?

Why oh why, do we tolerate hours and hours of experts and journalists guessing the future? Is this productive? Can we consider this useful or helpful? I think not.

Indeed, I would suggest the opposite. The actions of the journalists has a negative affect on people. It adds stress. Uncertainty and confusion rules. As well as this, it confuses the message and news when it does actually arrive.

It is my belief that this is not only unhelpful, but dangerous. Everyone is calling for clarity of message, yet the journalists are confusing it.

Report News rather than speculation

I fully respect and certainly welcome a free press. If done properly, they are a valuable part of society. I even enjoy the analysis and commentary that they provide on facts that they know.

My plea to the journalists is report facts. Analyse facts. Provide your thoughts on the facts. But please, stop muddying the waters. Stop causing confusion. Right now, we need clarity of message. The responsibility of distributing that message lays firmly with the journalist, newspapers, radio and TV. It is a big responsibility. The population needs them to pass the messages and facts accurately.

We need The Great British Press to behave responsibly.


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Travel during Pandemic

Foreign Travel in a Pandemic

I recently read a comment on Facebook than anyone making foreign travel in a pandemic was a, well let’s just say the language was colourful.

As I sit by a sunny poolside, gathering my thoughts, I consider if this person was talking about me. (The comments were not aimed at me on Facebook).

Could I be the person they so colourfully described? Am I being selfish and putting the country at risk?

The answer is not as simple and as straightforward as this person suggests in their post. Indeed, it is far from it.

Simplistic Approach

I have to say, that there are some attractions to such a simplistic approach to life. i.e. If I don’t agree with a persons actions then I can be abusive towards them. Simple is it not?

I could ignore the fact that I don’t understand the full thought process of the person I am abusing. Perhaps jumping to my conclusion without knowing the full facts is a good idea? I don’t have to put forward a salient argument to support my opinion, I can just insult.

Not everything is as it seems

But on the other hand, that’s just not me. Whilst it is true that I often don’t agree with the things people do or say, is it really my place to make an opinion so vocal that I resort to abuse? Indeed, is there ever a place for abuse?

To the original question….

To the original point they raised (not directly to me) about if it is wise to travel to foreign countries during a pandemic.

There are two big topics that this question raises.

Safety = common sense

The first is of safety and infection. Safety is first and foremost a question of common sense. A question of taking precautions and following the guidance. If you keep your distance whenever possible, wear a mask when asked to do so, wash hands etc, then the risk is heavily reduced.

Common sense – not very common

Unfortunately, common sense isn’t very common and I see so many people not following basic procedures. Perhaps they consider themselves invincible. Do they care?

The human constraints

The second consideration, is very much more complex. It deals with how the human race has developed and how we manage our lives.

We have developed a way of living that means livelihoods, health and wellbeing, and the quality of our life depends on money.

Money does not grow on trees

It can surely not have escaped anyone’s attention, the interventions the governments around the world have had to make to support their economies and therefore peoples welfare.

Such interventions can not last for long. Despite the opinions of many, money does not grow on trees. We have to abide by the constraints that the human race has placed upon itself.

So how does this affect holiday decisions?

So, I hear you say, how does that affect the question of holidays in a pandemic. The answer is simple. Tourism, hospitality and travel make up an enormous segment of our economy. It supports thousands of jobs in the UK and more beyond. Some countries economies will fail if this sector stutters.

Should I stay or should I go?

So to the original question, should we travel in a pandemic? My answer is yes, if the risks are low.

A game of Risk

Ultimately our climb out of the pandemic is a risk management game (although it is far from a game).

If we want to return to our normal lives, with jobs and income intact, with the same quality of life as before, we must most certainly take risks. Not any risk, but sensible and calculated risks.

Risk Management

As an individual, I am so very very risk averse. I go out of my way to avoid risks. But even I acknowledge that risks are a way of life. It is how we control the risk that is the key, how we get it to an acceptable level.

So yes, I will take a foreign holiday if I believe I can safely do so. I will be sensible and take the normal precautions and I will support the rebuilding of what we know as normal. Yes there are risks, both with health (not just mine) and finance. But these risks can be managed.

Back to the abuse

So to those who resort to foul and insulting language, please think upon what I have said.

The decisions about activity should not be taken lightly. The risks should always be assessed. But that is surely no different to anything?

Different people will come to different conclusions depending on the scope of their assessment and their risk profile.

You don’t need to agree with it. You don’t even need to like it. But please be respectful and if you should feel a challenge is needed, be polite and constructive to whoever you are challenging and be open new ideas and information and to changing your mind if appropriate.

Remember, Stay Safe if you decide you can take foreign travel in a pandemic.

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