Sunday Column: Are we headed for another winter of discontent.


By Derek W Gardiner

"Winter is coming" the motto of House Stark from Game of Thrones, a warning of the impending invasion of the undead, has never felt more chilling than it does today. As we come to the end of a rather turbulent summer and move into a winter that could prove to be the worst since 1978/79 when mass strike action ground the country to a halt, to the point where even the dead were left unburied. The winter of 2020/21 will present many obstacles to be overcome from the end of the furlough scheme to the economic fallout of lockdown.


August has traditionally been known as the "silly season" a period of time where the government does nothing, for the more libertarian-minded amongst us, it is a welcome break from silly new rules being made, this summer seems to have been no exception but when summer ends the government is going to have to finally deal with the mess that it has created by imposing a nationwide lockdown on the British people. Job vacancies are at a record low and 730,000 jobs have already been lost since the start of lockdown despite the job retention scheme, which is set to end in October. However, once it does mass redundancies are expected, around 2 million jobs could be lost, which begs the question; Is it worth continuing to pay for the next two months to fund what are effectively zombie jobs?


The government is already considering tax hikes to pay for the furlough scheme which could last years and force those who did not benefit at all from it such as; essential workers, current students and school pupils, the self-employed, pensioners and the unemployed, to end up footing the bill. So much for public services which benefit everyone. This will likely lead to a backlash from those who voted Conservative to avoid the tax rises that would have happened under Corbyn, they will lose faith in Boris Johnson's government and it will most likely cost them the next election or at least deprive them of a majority next time.


A second wave of coronavirus remains a possibility but what shape will it take. Today, there were warnings that students going back to university could create a second flare-up but the evidence shows that if they catch it they will not be much affected by it. There has been minimal increase in hospital admissions and deaths continue to fall so it's possible that this second wave will only result in a few hundred deaths. However, the precedent is now set that when the public is sufficiently alarmed by an uptick in even asymptomatic cases found through increased testing, then they will demand a second lockdown as Aberdeen has shown, this can happen even when there is only a few hospital admissions. While the UK government is at least sensible enough to know that a second lockdown will destroy what is left of the British economy, the Scottish government under Nicola Sturgeon simply do not care and would gladly impose a second lockdown knowing full well the damage it will do.


The issue of Brexit is also likely to become a hot topic once again with the transition period set to end on 31st December and news this week shows that little progress has been made on getting a trade deal, mostly because the EU is refusing to back down from unreasonable demands that we continue to abide by their rules and regulations while allowing them unrestricted access to our fishing waters. A WTO Brexit may cause some short term economic damage but we have a battered economy anyway and having the freedom to cut EU imposed red tape and regulations will benefit us in the long run. For example, we will no longer have to follow the EU's minimum VAT floor which will allow us to massively reduce prices on energy and food.


Who knows what else might be on the horizon it is 2020 after all and nothing seems to be predictable anymore.


There is likely to be much discontent towards this government from those who have either lost their jobs or will have to pay more in tax, the government will finally have to start focussing on the economy again instead of face masks and quarantines when people finally wake up to reality.


The Culture War can only be won when the majority finally speak out.


The BBC's latest assault on our culture has been met with the obstacle of public opinion, around 55% of the British people don't want Rule Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory removed with only 5% wanting it completely scrapped. Public opinion has never been on the side of this woke agenda which is why they consistently vote Tory. Most of the British working-class love their country and are fed up with being labelled as gammon racists by out of touch university professors and radio presenters. Most of them don't want political correctness and hate crime laws to be thrust upon them, they respect democracy and freedom of speech, something the ruling classes do not.


It's time for the majority to stand up and say no more, we don't want the government to tell us what we can and cannot say or do with our lives and that government policy should not be dictated by a small minority of fringe groups and, as Nigel Farage pointed out this week, we may be finally be seeing the silent majority speak up.


Why aren't isolation payments being implemented in Scotland?


The latest plan to pay people £13 a day if they are asked to self-isolate does not seem to be being implemented in Scotland, even though welfare remains a reserved issue (this is because the SNP refuse to use any welfare powers they have been given). The new Conservative leader, Douglas Ross, has asked Nicola Sturgeon to trial the scheme in Scotland but why can't the UK government simply implement it in Aberdeen as well as Blackburn and Oldham, they after all UK cities.