Monday, 23 May 2022


The governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, speaking to the House Treasury Committee said: “I’m afraid the one I’m going to sound, I guess, rather apocalyptic about, is food.”

Morning Bid: Apocalypse now? | Reuters

I was apoplectic when I read this. Governors of the Bank of England have in the past been more circumspect. The word “Apocalypse” describes the “complete final destruction of the world as described in the Bible Book of Revelation.” And we’re not there Andrew, not even close.

We seem to have lost the art of balanced argument and nuance.

Try this for Prime Ministerial understatement - Harold MacMillan in 1958 following the resignation of his Chancellor of the Exchequer and several others in the Treasury team just before his leaving on a Commonwealth tour, said“I thought the best thing to do was to settle up these little local difficulties, and then turn to the wider vision of the Commonwealth.” 

First of 27 new trains starts running on Gatwick Express route - BBC News

Last week we decided to abandon “apocalyptic Covid caution”.

So we went to London, visited Home House drank a refreshing few glasses of vino verde, strolled up Marylebone High Street bought some books in the delicious Daunt’s and ambled home on a busy train; then celebrating the Brighton Festival we made visits to the theatre and two amazing concerts in swift succession plus supper at Bills. There was barely a mask in sight anywhere; people hugging each other; smiles, laughter and sunshine.

No pandemic? Well actually there have been 239 cases in the past week in Brighton and Hove and in total a cumulative 96,000 (out of a population of 280,000). We are well on the way to achieving, if not herd immunity, pandemic saturation. But now 2 ½ years into this virus we know more but still not enough. The WHO data suggests that all European countries and the USA performed similarly in terms of “excess mortality” (that’s how this abnormality is measured. It’s the number of deaths – from all causes – that occur during a crisis that’s beyond what would be expected in typical times.) 

Director James Sunshine on His Pandemic Movie 'Safer at Home' – The  Hollywood Reporter

Some of the precautions taken like paranoid hand watching and surface disinfecting have been shown to be futile as preventative measures. Most importantly carrying on pretty much as normal like Sweden did seems to have been more effective than the more restrictive lockdowns in Germany. How did we do? The UK did averagely well or badly, depending how you look at it, although Scotland seems to have performed rather worse despite Nicola Sturgeon’s insistence on sustained tougher restrictions.

Taking a balanced view it seems fair to suggest that getting on with life, going to work, going to the theatre, cinema, restaurants and so on is the way forward. “Circumspect normality” we’ll call it.

A group of people in white clothing walking down a street

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So what about China and their “Zero Covid” strategy? The “big whites” (the Covid Inspectors dressed all in white with huge powers) have become very unpopular although infection rates have recently dropped. But so too is their economy. Bloomberg (gloomy Bloomberg) expect the Chinese economy to grow by only 2% this year compared to the USA at 2.8%. If so, this would be the first time China has lagged behind the US growth rate since 1976 and this despite a $5 trillion stimulus.

Possibly it’s a short-term correction but it’s also a lesson. Your economy will slow if you lock everything down.

How To Support Local British Farms This Easter And Be Sustainable

Back to the Governor: another lesson is our overdependence on food imports. We’ve failed to focus on and have faith in domestic food. In 2020, the UK imported over 46% of its food. That’s got to change to avoid future supply difficulties.

Spoiler alert: But no apocalypse

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