Report from I.W. Councillor John Nicholson

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 23rd April 2020, 12:30

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COUNCILLOR JOHN NICHOLSON

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Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South
Chairman of Policy & Scrutiny Committee for Adult Social Care & Health

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SUNNYSIDE

PALLANCE LANE

NORTHWOOD

PO31 8LT
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Tel: 07918 757843

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Email: cllr.john.nicholson@btconnect.com

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See the I.W. Councillor’s section

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WARD REPORT – APRIL 2020

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The Report appearing in the May 2020 edition of Northwood News:

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Coronavirus Commentary

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Stranger Than Fiction
Am I the only one who thinks that we seem to be living in one of those bizarre sci-fi or horror movies? You know the ones, those B-movies, where untold people are falling ill or dying, the whole world has stopped functioning properly, and people are frightened to engage with each other least some unseen horror befalls them. This is certainly one of those occasions when you can honestly say that real life is stranger than fiction!
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Misunderstanding
There has been some misunderstanding, however, on what Government has instructed and not instructed. Government has said that all unnecessary activity should cease, but then goes on to qualify what that means – government definition. Basically, these are not arbitrary decisions; they have reason behind them. Anywhere that people have to assemble in close quarters for sustained periods, when infection could be easily spread, has to close. Other services that can be carried out safely within Government safe operating guidelines should continue, under measured controls, and if those safe controls cannot be kept, then the activity should not take place. The essential activity that should be continued, where possible, under new awareness and controls, includes work.
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Rational Measured Steps
The knee-jerk reaction to the initial message has meant that many activities that keep the economy rolling, and that could still be carried out under new measured controls, have stopped, and there is a knock-on effect through these independently-made decisions. One example is with the Construction Industry. There are many cases where it is possible to continue operations under new control guidelines, albeit at measured and reduced levels. The school works programme, for example, continues with measured control, but many other sites that could operate are prevented from doing so because the supply chain has closed, despite it could have continued with measured controls, as indeed some other smaller suppliers have successfully managed to do.
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Devastating Side-Effect
Yet, there is more than a single focus that we need to maintain during this crisis. Focus on taking all sensible precautions to protect each other from the virus has been the main concern at hand, after all, we are in the midst of one of the biggest health scares the world has ever seen, and one in which we now, hopefully, with concerted effort, seem to be getting on top of. But, without diminishing the significance of the impact and effect of the virus, we also need to keep the other eye on another crisis in the making; one of the biggest financial downturns in history, and the risk that will have a deeper, greater, wider, more profound and lasting devastation than the virus. So, we also need to take all sensible precautions and sensible steps to keep what parts of the economy turning over that we can safely.
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Hopes
Personally, I hope that we come out of this a more purposeful and focused Country, with a clearer appreciation of the values that we hold and what makes us a nation. I hope that the burden of over-bureaucratic systems, and correctness for correctness’ sake is diminished – it seems, sometimes, we are frightened of our own shadows! I hope that we will return to being a more direct, open, can-do society. One in which we have greater positive appreciation and respect for each other and our natural assets, diversities and differences. One in which the focus of service, whether it be a pub, a Council or Hospital, is entirely on the people it is serving, rather than the focus slipping, as it often does, on self-serving wants, processes and justification.
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Our Future is What We All Make it
I believe that there are only binary decisions in life; by opting out, you consent to the default and must accept the same accountability for your decision. There is example in history when otherwise good people did not speak out,
and thereby shared culpability for just going along with things. We, I feel, should not be a people that just go along with things, who don’t complain because we don’t like to make a fuss, put up with bad service or behaviour because the perpetrator has a problem, etc. Tolerant, yes, but there is a sharp divide between being tolerant and condoning by not doing, giving in, going along with things, following the herd. By exercising choice, we become more informed, by taking responsibility, we gain more control, by standing up for what we believe in, we take ownership and get a better society. At the same time, we should not have fixed ideas, but learn by experience and from each other, without entrenchment or taking things personally, because that is childish, and the society that we build reflects our deep-down attitude. So, it is the one that we deserve. Let’s change what we deserve!

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John Nicholson
Ward Member for Northwood & Cowes South.

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See the I.W. Councillor’s section

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