It’s common sense

We’ve finally got clarification on the British Government’s advice to the public. We’re all to use good old fashioned British common sense. Well that’s a relief. Only it opens up even more questions. Questions which you can be certain that Boris Johnson doesn’t have any answers for. After all, he doesn’t have any answers to anything much else, not even the question “So how many kids do you have?”

Sadly for all of us, common sense is very much like deodorant. Those who are most in need of it never think to use it. The great American thinker and political theorist Benjamin Franklin once said that common sense is something that everyone needs, that few possess, and none think they lack. He was clearly having a premonition about Boris Johnson and the Conservative party. Albert Einstein said that common sense is the collection of prejudices that we have acquired upon reaching adulthood. He was obviously thinking about the Conservative party too.

There is the most obvious question, which is does British common sense even exist? Because you’d imagine that if it did then Boris Johnson would never have become Prime Minister in the first place. British political common sense would appear to have led the UK to making the very worst decisions since WW2, so if we are to rely upon British common sense, we’re all screwed, so very very screwed. Sadly British common sense does little to protect us all from Boris Johnson’s lack thereof.

British common sense is indeed a deeply peculiar creature, one which people from other places scarcely recognise as common sense at all. As anyone who isn’t British would point out, British common sense is having a peculiar aversion to mixer taps in your bathroom sink. However like any old Etonian, or indeed anyone brought up with the English class system ingrained into them, understands deep down in their heart, British common sense is the belief that any moronic inanity magically becomes intelligent if it’s delivered in a posh accent. Fnaugh fnaugh.

Is British common sense different from any other kind of common sense? Because a specifically British form of common sense sounds like a bit of a worry. British common sense as practised by the British tabloid media is the kind of common sense that tells the world “we won the war you know” and so is founded in the unshakeable belief that the normal rules don’t apply because we’re British. British common sense is the common sense that tells a British nationalist that they’re not a nationalist as they wave their union flag and sing God Save the Queen while looking down on lesser nations. It’s the British common sense that says the the UK will flourish outside the EU because everyone and their granny will be rushing toward the UK with offers of lucrative trade deals, what with British common sense telling the UK that it’s exceptional. May all the gods save us from British common sense.

British common sense would appear to be the form of common sense that was applied by all those people who were having VE Day street parties last week. British common sense was being practised by all those police and members of the public who crowded onto Westminster Bridge to clap for the NHS workers who’d be caring for them after they’d broken lockdown rules, crowded together, and got themselves infected with the virus. British common sense was being applied by all those people who were fighting in the aisles of supermarkets over toilet paper a few weeks back. It was only a short while ago that this very same British Government which is now enjoining us all to practise British common sense couldn’t trust the British public with knowing even the most basic information about the scientific advice that it claims to be following.

It’s wrong for a government to tell the public to use their common sense because what it really means is you’ll have to work it out for yourselves, plebs, because the government hasn’t got a clue and can’t give you sensible advice that’s easy to understand and to follow. This is, remember, the very same government which contains Jacob Rees Mogg, who told us that the people who so tragically and terribly died in the Grenfell Tower fire after following official advice to stay put were not using their common sense. Jacob has been very quiet of late. You’ll not have seen him presenting any government advice or information, and this is a government which is quite happy to stick Priti Patel, Michael Gove, and Dominic Raab in front of a TV camera. That’s how low their bar is, and Jacob still can’t clear it. Does good old fashioned British common sense mean that we should act like an Etonian and march over to a hospital for a photo opportunity and insist on shaking hands with everyone? This government isn’t going to tell you.

It’s wrong to ask people to use their common sense when you’re dealing with people who voted for Boris Johnson in the first place. It was never common sense to believe in the lies of a habitual liar. But most of all, this is wrong because telling the public to employ British common sense is an abnegation of government responsibility. It’s up to you to intervene with your employer to ensure that it’s safe for you to return to work. It’s up to you to ask your employer to be reasonable if you can’t organise child care. It’s up to you to stay alert and avoid the virus. Not the government. You’re on your own with your British common sense. The government won’t take responsibility.

Common sense dictates that in an emergency it is incumbent upon the powers that be to issue simple and clear guidelines which are easy to understand and easy to follow. That’s how we as a society get out of the emergency. The British Government is asking members of the public to use their common sense because it has no common sense of its own. Scottish common sense tells us that we’d be far better off without this bunch of self-serving idiots endangering our lives.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times…

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33 thoughts on “It’s common sense

  1. “These are the times that try men’s souls.”
    Thomas Paine, an Englishman with common sense.

  2. Thanks Paul. I spend my life telling folk to abandon Common Sense. It’s an over-rated pastime. Try Good Sense instead.

  3. Talking of common sense why is is that Care Home workers are going to and from work in their Uniforms? Surely that is a significant risk to them, their families, colleagues and those they are caring for – where is the infection control?

  4. BBC fake news. (Not really news in Scotland).

    Arrogance + Ignorance = Hubris + Misinformation

    The BBC’s Home Affairs Correspondent has been criticised after he said that different rules over travel in Wales and England were “ridiculous” and that “no one was going to police” them.

    The BBC’s Home Affairs Correspondent has been criticised after he said that different rules over travel in Wales and England were “ridiculous” and that “no one was going to police” them.

  5. I am new to your blog but have enjoyed an hour or so reading articles this morning, all quite brilliant, thank you. I was a bit disappointed when I realised it wasn’t you singing in the Bonny Tyler haircut video 🙂

  6. Does British common sense actually exist? Well when you consider that to the yoon “Britishness” is a non national identity, the nomenclature for a group collective, were one element pays for the other to pretend its something it isn’t: Common Sense would seem to be in short supply. British common sense is doing just fine.

    The UK continuity party; still pretending to be lib dems, tories and labour, are pure raging that we won’t bow to this “British common sense”

    This will be the same common sense applied by “labour” when it stood against home rule, when its original core vision for Scotland was…home rule. British common sense was very much in evidence when Ruthless Ruth declared 8 out of 10 Scots contribute nothing to the UK, or when George Robertson said Scotland had no history or language.

    It was also overstocked during the Brexit debate and in the aftermath of it. Corbyn was wading hip deep in the stuff when he was convinced that people who were one pay cheque away from a food bank referral, would flock to him if he re-nationalised the trains. To be honest, it was 2nd hand British Common sense, as Corbyn was wading in the same stuff Miliband was, when he was convinced that if he threatened to concede an election to the tories, the Scots would vote for him.

    British commonsense would seem to be the confusion you get when you try to convince your heart and soul of something your brain knows is a lie.

  7. There are an increasing number of virus deniers,usually of the political right who are demanding business as usual.

    Put them in a room with a snake.
    “Thinking” goes like this:

    1. This isn’t a venemous snake,only a grass snake.
    2. Even if it is venemous,only old sick people die from snake bites.
    3. It won’t bite me.
    4. ………………

    • Put a group of snakes in a room with another snake?

      Mind you, I pity the original snake having to share the room with them. Still, it got it’s own back.

      Fangs for the analogy! 🙂

  8. Aye aye, namanahee, chust so,

    Through out my life a truth that has been a constant.

    Common sense is not as common as you think.

    The more costly in time, effort or money an education the lower the common sense available.

    In other words the higher or more costly the education in any subject or group of subjects, the less the obvious is apparent to them.

    I came to this revelation about 45 years ago. When I worked with an individual who had a BSc in Navel Arch, an MSc in electronics and was under 30 years old. A switched on individual. (NPI)

    Could take a radar or TV (crt or plasma) apart down to it’s last component, tell you what every component did, how and why it did it. Then reassemble the whole thing to fully operational status.
    But would never think to check the fuse in the plug.
    Although at the time I was their superior I knew I would be quickly eclipsed by this individual.
    Which proved to be the case, a rapid rise through the oil industry and a transfer into IT. The last I heard was on the board and heading up a research facility in the silicon valley some where.

    But she still can’t change a plug.

    We will always need people highly educated, we will always need naturally talented people, and occasionally each group will produce the third group the genius or the savant.
    But you should try not to associate the ability of one group with the other.
    In general the highest common sense quotient sits with the naturally talented,the mass of the population.
    This I believe is why politicians are for ever “asking the public” “listening to the public”.
    But are actually very few politicians who are capable of hearing and understanding what is blatantly obvious to the public.
    In short what is common sense to the public. to most but not all politicians is a complete mystery.

  9. Ayup. The ‘abnegation of responsibility’. Mainly because they’re terrified. Terrified of an already badly mismanaged body politic, society and economy falling apart and revealing their management for what it always was. They’re already on two out of three strikes…

    Oh, and they’d rather the population(s) and businesses on these islands took responsibility for getting them out of a jam on number three. If a few folk happen to get put in harms way whilst that’s on the go? Well. That’d be because they weren’t alert enough…. apparently.

    Not the most rosy message tbh.

  10. Boris Johnson isn’t common like wot we common common sense people is i’naat, kno

    They say that 10% of the people of every nation on earth are just plain thick and that will always be so, but doesn’t that mean that Englands percentage of thick people outnumber Scotlands entire population which includes 90% of our normal to smart ones

    Or how about 5.6 million people in England thicker than Donald Trump outvoting Scotlands entire population of 5.4 million

    I’m being flippant but…..

  11. The spin on the media this morning about care home death rate.
    Not our problem it was the local authorities agreeing to the bed blocking residents being returned to the home WITHOUT a test, or we’ll stop the funding.
    A large number of care homes are run by private for profit companies.
    I know of a local church run care home that closed due to the local authority not placing new residents to make up for losses,it became too expensive for the church to continue.
    On websites of media companies we are getting old articles re published and moved on from the doris mis communications.
    The handcock says masks don’t work well.Then says you should use them on trains/buses,but not use them in an office as long exposure times make them less effective.
    This common sense message is not GOOD sense.
    If this is a government in charge then we’re doomed.
    The virus needs to be contained until we get a immunisation until then this release will cause a new spike.
    See they’ve found carlos jackass to tell us we are in a NATIONAL plan but with agreed changes allowed in the other NATIONS.

    • Linked to the point you raise care homes, I posted this on discharge to care homes from hospital, btl on Talking up Scotland a couple of days ago.

      It concerns, as an illustration, the company ‘Impact Healthcare REIT’ (a ‘real estate investment trust’). It is a major commercial investor in care home properties – often ‘buy and lease back’ deals – including in Scotland. What follows comes from the risk register in its latest (2019) annual report published in April 2020, I think it is noteworthy.

      The risk register recognises this: Risk – Pandemics/ Probability: high/ Impact: major. It then states:

      “The immediate risks of an outbreak are REDUCED OCCUPANCY at care homes and the lack of availability of key workers at the care homes as a result of infection or a requirement to self-isolate. (my emphasis)”

      “Should a pandemic take hold and not be capable of being contained, it could compound and enhance a number of principal risks, not least general economic conditions, default of one or more tenants and ability to meet our financing obligations.”

      And then most interestingly, in the section on risk ‘mitigation’: “As the NHS prepares for a continuing and growing outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, our tenants have noticed AN INCREASE IN DEMAND FOR BEDS as the NHS seeks to relieve pressure on hospitals. This INCREASE IN DEMAND COULD HELP MITIGATE THE EFFECT ON REDUCED OCCUPANCY if an outbreak occurs in a care home.”

      So this major care home investor appears to see the increased take-up of beds by people discharged from hospital to a home that HAS a Covid-19 outbreak as a positive (mitigating) commercial factor to counter reducing occupancy in these homes due to other (unspecified) causes.

      Not quite the message being communicated by the corporate media and BBC when criticising government for these transfers! And why a silence on this beneficial ‘mitigation’ from the commercial care home sector? Without transfers from hospitals continuously making up for any drop in occupancy levels the commercial sector, it seems, would be in financial trouble.

      (Link to Impact Healthcare REIT’s annual report: )

      • Yes Profits before people,as long as there’s enough people available to collect.
        Much like yesterday,the management at Edinburgh Airport wants flying to restart as his business plan is mince just now.
        Mixed messages from handcock.
        No holidays by flying this summer but we have an arrangement with France and Ireland that we can have flights.
        Then Ryanair say they’re going to fly 40% of their routes,but you’ll need to ask IF you need the toilet facilities. They will sell the middle seats although it is recommended to have spacing.
        Sky show a picture of a single person on a train with the comment to not face each other if more on board.Read to the end and there’s yesterdays picture of crowded carriages.
        Propaganda mode.

  12. The Disclosure documentary on BBC Scotland implies neglect by the Scottish Government by following the UK government’s approach regarding lockdown and it’s discharge policy with care homes. Am I missing something? Haven’t the BBC, opposition politicians etc been lambasting the SG for diverting from the UK approach?

    • Indeed, but that’s how blatantly lacking in common sense the ‘Scottish’ media is when it’s desperately trying to deal with its Britishness. What it should have been saying is that had Scotland been an independent nation, it could have done things very differently. But the ‘Scottish’ media cannae work out which way to turn next and in that respect is perfectly parrotting its ‘heroes’ at Westminster as are our very own unionist politicians.

      I think it was you, Mark, who posted up in a previous thread the 2016 Public Health England paper about the country’s readiness to deal with a pandemic. I briefly glanced at it because it was very ‘technical’, but it struck me right then that your average Westminster/unionist politician these days would look at it and his/her eyes would glaze over. “Ahh, yes, let’s just file it away somewhere. This is the sceptred isle and we don’t get pandemics. That’s what foreigners get. But wait, I have a solution. Let’s privatise the NHS then it would become someone else’s responsibilty. Common sense, really. “

    • Aye you are – your missing the concerted effort of the ‘proud media of Scotland’ doing their very best to blame the First Minister, the Scottish Government and to promote and enable any pillock to appear on the telly to say SNP BAAAAD!

      Not to mention the scurrying about in bins , sewers and other dingy holes to ‘unearth’ whatever miniscule piece of information to bend into outrage.

      I really have come to hate them.

  13. There has been much disparagement of the term “herd immunity”, however in reality is that not the only way out of this?

    If widespread immunity cannot be developed then permanent lockdown is necessary and that way dystopia and destruction of society lies.

    It is a matter of opinion (there appear to be “facts” available to support many differing opinions) whether we have passed the point where this destructive lockdown is causing more harm than it’s saving – my own view is we have passed that point.

    Not only that there is considerable evidence the peak of coronavirus infection rate in the UK was on April 8th – far too early for lockdown to have had any effect on it. There is no evidence that the lockdown has worked or even saved a single life.

    How is the NHS paid for?

    It can only be paid for with taxes paid by working people and by the employers that employ them. There comes a point when the economy will be permanently damaged and we will not be able to afford the NHS in it’s present form.

    We need a phased return to normality (even that word is disparaged now) starting this week but coupled with protection for the over 70s and vulnerable under 70s way beyond what is happening just now.

    That is where the efforts of the state should be concentrated – not on causing economic disaster and mental health damage to the vast majority of people who are at little or no risk from cv19.

  14. So we’re back to the chicken or egg question.
    What comes first,The Spending or the TAXES.
    The BoE buying up Government bonds and releasing cash doesn’t seem to be a conflict,to be paid back later.
    This government is releasing lots of money into circulation sourced from the BoE which appears to have lots and lots of cash.
    We are not paying much tax as some 6 million people are on the Furlough scheme or Universal credit. Certainly the furlough people will still pay around 20% of what they get as tax but the take will be from 80% of what they would have earned. The possibility is that they might be due a tax rebate if they were on PAYE.
    We live in a complicated financial world.

    • The BoE does not have lots and lots of cash – it has a button.

      This button – and all the “Central Banks” have them – is pressed and hey presto £500m is “created”.

      This “money” is then loaned to you and me on which we have to pay interest, oh and we have no say in the matter, the “government” doesn’t want to worry our little heads – as long as we cough up mind you.

      • We are saying the same thing.
        The BoE buys a 20 year BOND from the ‘Government’ at some fixed rate of interest.The ‘Government pays out the interest each year to the BoE. At the end of the 20 years the ‘Government ‘pays back the ‘Capital’. End of Bond.
        As far as I’m concerned when the ‘Government’ uses the created money and gives me some ,it’s cash. The BoE prints money,paper and electronic.
        The cash money in circulation is reported to be less than 5% of transactions,getting less as we move to electronic money.
        My point was, the chancer is releasing liquidity into circulation before he recovers it by taxation.
        So spending first, some say a £trillion before the end of the year added to the deficit,national or fiscal.

  15. “How is the NHS paid for? It can only be paid for with taxes paid by working people and by the employers that employ them.”

    I’m a bit out of my depth here but can’t help note that you seem very certain that government spending is only possible – is dependent upon, by implication – first raising taxes from people and businesses. The view that this is how the finances of a nation-state which issues its own currency operates is no longer as ‘certain’ – certainly not as simple – as your statement implies.

    As you may know, there is now a very substantial international literature around the topic of what money is and how money is created, not all of it accessible to a non-expert like myself. This is from one of the more accessible sources:

    “… what is called the national debt is not, as it is popularly described, ‘a burden in future generations’, but is instead the absolutely essential money supply that lets an economy function.”

    And for more, see this on the recent view from the Financial Times:

    There will be others who visit this site much better able than me to explain but are we not all getting – or at least wanting – a better appreciation of the issue based on the evidence before our eyes? There really is a ‘magic money tree’ of sorts (maybe two): this was demonstrated following the 2008/9 financial crash with Quantitative Easing and it is being demonstrated now with the mitigating actions in response to the pandemic.

  16. The chancer has just extended the furlough scheme until October.
    Read the words, 80% support from the Government until July then SHARED between Government and employer.
    This, I think, will cause a rush of redundancies as the employers limit their exposure.
    Ts & Cs apply, pre-published in the media before the commons statement.
    I remember a time of budgets when you had to wait on the commons speech for the details.

    • There’s surely some political jockeying here, too.

      Remember when his boss was ill the right wing Press were in ecstasy in proclaiming Sunak as being the saviour of Middle England and that he was being touted as a successor to Mr Bojangles?

      Now that LBJ is back and Hancock is in the limelight more and more, you can sense that Sunak has been eclipsed and his star is starting to fade. If he did not act soon – in a way that would please the Daily Mail reading types (just close your eyes and forget he’s brown, dear.) then the Sunak would indeed have set.

      (All puns intended.)

  17. Nicola Sturgeon.answering questions on updates about the an absolute disgraceful disgusting shower
    Of so called journalists.and even being accused of cover ups.
    Is there no depths that this shower of vipers will try
    And show contempt towards.Nicola Sturgeon.and the
    SNPBAAAAD.surely anyone with any intelligence whatever
    Can see through these not make me
    Laugh.the lot of them are an absolute shower of lowlife repugnant Backers of the Westminster establishment.
    Absolutely bitter Britnat unionists.they deserve no respect
    The quicker Scotland is out of this totally discredited union.
    And an independent country the better.

  18. UK raises £660 in tax revenues. £63Billion is raised in Scotland, More pro rata. Councils also raise monies in rates etc.

    The NHS is one of the main spends. It is the elderly who use it the most, £130Billion?. In Scotland funding was raised £12.5Billion. In the rest of the UK it was cut £20Billion. Average £4Billion a year. £115Billion spent on NHS England.

    UK NHS spending increased from £129Billion. Expected to be £134Billion in 2020.

    One of the biggest Gov spend.

    Scotland spent more on social care, allowing more people to stay in their own homes.

    Social care £100. Residential Home care £600+. Hospital care £600 a day.

    No mention in the Press the death rate is half in Scotland.

    UK Gov had responsibility for a pandemic and shut down. They should have shut down a month before. They had all the relevant expertise information for years. They did nothing but cut the NHS funding.

    The BBC/Press news has no viewers. No wonder.

  19. Swings and runabout. People not going on holiday will spend more money at home. People not working or going out spend more money on shopping. Still 70% working in Scotland? People working from home.

    Schools shut less money on heating etc. Teachers salaries already covered. People not driving. Less money spent on petrol or fares. Less maintenance on roads.

    Loans to business, End up paying back interest. Unis shut less monies on maintenance. Already covered, Teaching at home on the internet.

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