Covid-19 Archive

Podcast script - Tuesday, June 02, 2020

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Good Morning Chelveston, Caldecott and Chelston Rise it’s Tuesday 2nd June and this is Adrian Dale with the daily podcast.

Yesterday’s podcast led to some fascinating exchanges with a couple of residents who were not happy with Government messaging.

Melvyn called me about the changes in rules for people who were shielding. He’d looked at the messages from Matt Hancock as reported by various news outlets. These were completely at odds with the letters that he and Rosemary had recently received from the NHS. The NHS letters were clear that lock down would continue for them well into July and might even be extended beyond this. Melvyn was cross, what should they make of the weekend messages from the Government? They are intelligent and responsible people, but have no clue whose guidance to follow.

Other people have now received texts from the NHS saying that they are no longer on the vulnerable list. Again, there has been no explanation for this and their GPs know nothing about their change of status.

I am at a complete loss, who indeed is correct? My advice is that we should take control of our own lives now. We need to manage our own health risks. I suspect that the Government is being driven by other agendas.

James Bird also contacted me. He’d been surprised to see a coffee shop in Higham opening for business over the weekend. Of course, it was only for take aways, but when I investigated, I found that their whole chain had been advertising extensively for several days encouraging people to go out and about to the beauty spots around their outlets.

You can’t blame the entrepreneurs. They have businesses to run and staff to employ, but is this really what the Government intended as they released the lock down slowly?

James and I agreed that the worst decision was to announce the rule changes before the weekend. Giving people an inch, allowed them to steal a yard as the old proverb goes. And we all saw the madness that happened over the weekend as a result.

Today some of the schools were allowed to re-open. I searched hard for guidance and information on this. Some local authorities in the North West and North East have categorically forbidden this. Infection levels in their areas are too high for a safe return.

Northamptonshire County Council was a complete muddle as usual. Yesterday, the latest information to parents was dated 15th May. The web page pointed to guidance from the Department for Education which was dated 24th May. The web page said it would be updated on 1st June but it wasn’t. I checked the web sites of all the local primary and infant schools. None had been updated and none gave me useful information on school opening or the precautions that schools had taken.

Now, as the new lock down rules came into effect yesterday, the legislation also changed. But how many people even realised this? At 3pm yesterday, a new statutory instrument apparently came into force. According to the BBC and the National College of Policing, It is now a crime to stay away from home overnight, or to hold gatherings of more than two people indoors, or six people outdoors, except in a limited number of circumstances.

Let’s be clear here, a law came into effect that was not debated in Parliament, nor was it subject to public debate. The fights around the Magna Carta in 1215 were all about no legislation without representation. And I have to say that I was not properly represented when this law came into effect.

My line has finally been crossed. No matter what the emergency is, I will never agree to laws enacted without due process.

Frankly this is shambolic from the top to the bottom. In this crisis, information is everything. Informed people can make informed and sensible decisions. We cannot have laws imposed upon us without proper debate.

Clearly folks, we need to take control of our own destiny. We need to decide the risks we are prepared to take and we need to manage our lives. The Government is behaving like an ass and should not be dragging our laws down with it.

After so much annoyance and frustration yesterday morning, compounded by a bearing exploding on my second mower, Rachael and I were delighted to meet with Neil Chambers at the Village Hall. Neil is our resident Health and Safety Consultant and he responded to my request for assistance in preparing the Village Hall Covid-19 Safety Plans.

It was a breath of fresh air. People often say “Health and Safety gone mad” but in this case it was completely the opposite. We had sensible, informed discussions. He was pragmatic and knowledgeable, and he made us think. Fortunately, he supported our re-opening plans and was able to suggest several ideas to improve on them.

For example, he suggested a Perspex screen across the top half of the serving hatch between the kitchen and the Hall. This will allow people in the kitchen to be distanced from the hall users, even though they are only 1 metre apart as they pick up their refreshments.

He also advised us on the chemicals we need to use to disinfect surfaces between sessions, and suggested overnight “fogging” to fill the Hall with a mist of anti-viral spray. We hadn’t even heard of this, let alone considered it.

We are taking all his ideas on board and indeed have started to order the necessary equipment for this already.

Neil has also agreed to review the Church re-opening plans as they emerge, so watch this space.

So, in the midst of Government incompetence, there is an upside to this crisis. We have discovered the talent and expertise that we have on our doorstep. All we need now is a socially distancing hairdresser and we’ll all be sorted!

Thank you