By Douglas Kruger
TWO weeks ago, I was on a flight with a Kiwi. Nice bloke. After some good-natured ribbing about the rugby we got chatting about lockdowns and the varying levels of damage inflicted by governments around the world.
The lady sitting next to us leaned over and said that New Zealand handled it exactly right. “Complete shutdown. Uncompromising measures. No one in or out. Brilliant!”
I suspect it was a subtle attempt at complimenting the Kiwi beside her. And I suspect she thought we would both raise our fists and say, “Yes, comrade! Thank God for government coercion. We are led!”
But it didn’t land the way she anticipated. With some great restraint, my new friend said: “New Zealanders despise her. Oh sure, she can smile nicely for the cameras. But Jacinda was a total narcissist, and the worst kind of political tyrant, and, actually, we thank God she’s gone.”
I gave my two-pennies’ worth, which also failed to align to expectations: “All they had to do was nothing. Lockdowns did severe harm, particularly to children, while achieving nothing. And they wrecked our economies. I come from a nation with a 45% poverty rate, and South Africa also engaged in severe and sustained lockdowns. People starved. That’s not compassion.”
The conversation became a tad stilted after that. The lady asked for a nice glass of wine. The Kiwi and I went back to chatting about rugby, a less fractious topic.
I remain proud of Britain for being effectively the first in the world to open up again. And I’m sure the fact is completely unrelated, but just this week the UK economy reported better performance than Germany and France since lockdown. Huh.
“But if it saves just one life!” went the so-called logic.
But it didn’t, did it? The studies and meta-studies have long since come in, indicating that lockdowns did more harm than good. We shouldn’t have done them. Read the 2022 Johns Hopkins report.
“But we were all in it together!”
Sure. And have you ever heard a clearer clarion call for groupthink?
And here’s something most people have forgotten: prior to the outbreak, virologists and government thinktanks around the globe had plans in place for just such an eventuality, and in the Western world, none of these plans included mass lockdowns of the healthy or the summary cessation of entire industries.
Then the Communist Chinese did it, and suddenly everyone thought it was a good idea… Let’s just say that again. Everyone thought it was a good idea to ditch established best practice… and follow the lead of Communist China.
So, why bring this up in 2023?
Because we’re still paying the price for that irrationality. In a choice between “freedom” and “government enforced social control”, we threw the dice in fear and bet on the latter. And our gamble has just claimed another victim: the Jersey Reds.
Let’s be clear: lockdowns – not Covid – butcher economies. When a few years have passed by, it’s easy to forget “the cause”, even while living through “the effect”. Many who demanded shutdowns for the global economy are now baffled and amazed that there should be a cost-of-living crisis.
How does it relate to the Reds?
Follow the timelines presented in some detail in our recent news, and you will note that the Reds were experiencing the beginnings of real growth. Like any budding enterprise, it was a bumpy road getting started, but by 2018, they’d bought back their own grounds and their earnings were on an optimistic upward trajectory.
Then we shut it all down. When you do that, not only does incoming revenue grind to an instant dead halt, but governing bodies find themselves faced with uncertainty, and if there’s one thing investors don’t like…
So, what caused that uncertainty?
What was the result? Their funding, which had already been compromised, was cut even further.
The RFU have a lot to answer for here, and certainly they have not covered themselves in glory with the handling of the matter. But even they are victims of a bigger picture. When a government can forcibly switch off our lives “for our own good”, and for indeterminate periods of time, the very notion of certainty is off the table. And in the real world, that hurts people.
The Jersey Reds story leaves me heartbroken. Imagine having to clear out your flat and head home with immediate effect, even though you are the reigning champions. You wake up one day, and the dream is just over, even though you’ve done everything right.
It is heroically tragic. I feel more than a little angry and betrayed on their behalf. And it happened to me, too. I was a professional business speaker on the South African circuit, until they shut it all down and effectively closed my doors. No public events equals no income.
It’s a complex story. There are, I believe, many more things that could have been done to rescue the situation along the way. But it began with the lockdowns.
People who call themselves “woke” are forever clamouring for reparations. In this instance, maybe it’s an idea. Entire economies should be demanding reparations from China. Or perhaps, more specifically, suing the WHO for subverting its own policies and best practices, and requiring its adherents to follow Communist China into utter disaster.
The Reds disaster may not be earth-shattering in its scale. But it’s shattering for us. They mean something here. And I think it matters to this island that we try to rescue them.
So, if you are the chief executive of a local business, would you like to be the most popular person in the Island? A legend for life? Rescue the Reds. Sponsor their stay. Tell them: “This is your home,” and pay to keep them here. By all means, plaster your branding over every rippling muscle. But do it. Heck, if one of the banks took the initiative, I’d switch my account to them tomorrow.
Douglas Kruger lives in St Helier, and writes books to keep himself out of mischief. When the seagulls aren’t shrieking, he records them too. They’re all available from Amazon and Audible.