Doormats ‘R’ us

I think it is true that what I’ve heard suggested from others is that the British dress up incompetence and neglect as stoicism.

Johnson would call it, ‘taking it on the chin’ – something, as a rather high earner, I doubt that he has great experince of in his own life.

The stiff upper lip is supposed to be a characteristic of Etonians, yet I fear it is actually more usually suggested by them as a characteristic of the nation. They are actually encouraging doormat syndrome.

The doormats are us – we are supposed to be unemotional and aloof while overall solutions are driven down to our own base level. This meanwhile encourages us all to take our own individual responsibility for being. And of course for being doormats.

With the current Coronovirus crisis the government needs to address, as a minimum, benefit and Statutory Sick Pay levels, conditionality of financial state benefits, and also mortgage and particularly, rent payments.

Rather than requiring doormats to soak up the diasastrous dirt, the current government has to realise that its very existence is based on risk sharing. Otherwise we might as well all be unique individuals hunting alone.

Neither Johnson, nor Hancock nor even Gove, all of whom have, sometimes serendipitously, led relatively privileged lives, have ever seen that. Though of course they like to think the rest of us are bound to be equally lucky – or somehow we haven’t been sufficiently bright…

An example is demonstrated in their horrendous idea that all pubs, clubs should be closed – but not MANDATING it.

I could suggest that it is their singular intention, which is certainly possible, but it looks to me, rather like a financial gift to the insurance companies – yes loss of business, but no, no mandated closure because of a virus. (No, insurance doesn’t cover it.)

Whether the government realises or not, I’m afraid this looks likes a failure to look after the electorate. Corporations give money but do not actually (thank goodness) have votes…

Meanwhile our government is not looking after either its small businesses or its citizens.

We seem to be able to be squeezed for compliance and relied on to get even poorer if we own a small business, or to personally take responsibility for an ‘Act of God’ from our employer. That is supposed to be life. But we need to understand, it is ours, not theirs.

And just by the way, Johnson has now signed the death warrant on so many pubs and restaurants, that I doubt many will recover.

People say Johnson is inordinately fond of a drink – but it seems only at home on the sofa.

Meanwhile, we, not he, or even his party, remain the doormat of choice.

I can add only a subdued ‘Welcome’ – as they often inscribe on doormats.


  1. Ivan Horrocks -

    Peter, I posted a comment on the same subject as a follow on to a blog on TRUK by Richard. It didn’t concern the pub and restaurant sector but kennels and cateries. It followed my cancellation today of our cat’s stay at our local cattery and kennels and being told that they originally had 61 dogs booked in for Easter and now they have only 7. And I was their 20th cancellation this week for the cattery. So, business basically destroyed.

    1. Peter May -

      Agreed, Ivan. Even tonight’s recent ‘helping’ measures are basically all about loans and with such dire uncertainty – I suggest there is little likelihood that this crisis will finish before the year is out so who on earth wants to agree to a loan? Why should you be saddled with interest to banks when they have done nothing for you except create money out of thin air. It just increases your overheads when trade is declining.
      The government is out of ideas – except to preserve their own.
      Trouble is how do we get them to see sense?
      Even if we wanted to go on a demo, basically we cannot/should not.
      We’ve ‘elected’ a government of the talentless.

  2. Graham -

    We shop at a small cafe on a Saturday for scones and cake to treat ourselves after our hill walks at the weekend. The young woman who runs it has already had to take an enforced “holiday” last year while Council renovations made her business impossible. The advice is now to stay away from cafes. I don’t know if she’ll manage to stay in business. There are thousands more like her.

    While the current crisis forces us all to think about keeping safe and how, or if, we will get through this, I hope we don’t forget to question just why we have such little resilience built into our system of health care, social services, food security and so on.

    It’s quite clear that the political choices made over the past 40 years in pursuit of a neoliberal nirvana of a small state “getting out of the way” to allow markets decide who floats and who sinks has not only increased inequality and unfairness but has left the UK unprepared and unable to cope with a crisis such as this.

    1. Peter May -

      Agreed and what I don’t like is that the young woman who runs your cafe has no previous idea of how on her own she is.
      We have to elect governments that look after us – the electorate and realise that we are all actually vulnerable – the government should actually protect us…

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