It’s no use shouting ‘back to work’ when Britain’s industries are in a jobs meltdown | John Harris | The Guardian

The old Tory exhortation won’t get manufacturing back on its feet if there’s no investment in jobs we need for the futureI recently spent a weekday afternoon in the centre of Bristol, chasing the small comforts of retail therapy, and trying to do my bit for a few of my favourite shops. The experience was dreamlike, and unsettling: businesses smattered with hazard tape, half-deserted streets, and a rush hour that seemed to amount to little more than a few momentary traffic jams. Most of the city’s office workers, it seemed, were either furloughed or working at home. Normality – whatever that is – was nowhere to be seen; perhaps the most forlorn sight was that of empty buses adorned with faded adverts for films that came out before the pandemic.The same day, alluding to both Rishi Sunak’s “eat out to help out” scheme and the near silence of our business districts, the front page of the Daily Mail featured the headline “We’ve had our lunch, now let’s get back to work!”. Returning to workplaces in the midst of a possible second wave is a self-evidently dire prospect; big companies from Google to Mastercard have recently told their employees they can remain at home. But here was another example of the idea – indicative of the reflexive Tory belief that we are at heart a nation of idlers, and lately voiced by such fans of the work ethic as Iain Duncan Smith and Kirstie Allsopp – that we might be able to return to the pre-Covid world by a sheer act of collective will. Continue reading…

The old Tory exhortation won’t get manufacturing back on its feet if there’s no investment in jobs we need for the future

I recently spent a weekday afternoon in the centre of Bristol, chasing the small comforts of retail therapy, and trying to do my bit for a few of my favourite shops. The experience was dreamlike, and unsettling: businesses smattered with hazard tape, half-deserted streets, and a rush hour that seemed to amount to little more than a few momentary traffic jams. Most of the city’s office workers, it seemed, were either furloughed or working at home. Normality – whatever that is – was nowhere to be seen; perhaps the most forlorn sight was that of empty buses adorned with faded adverts for films that came out before the pandemic.

The same day, alluding to both Rishi Sunak’s “eat out to help out” scheme and the near silence of our business districts, the front page of the Daily Mail featured the headline “We’ve had our lunch, now let’s get back to work!”. Returning to workplaces in the midst of a possible second wave is a self-evidently dire prospect; big companies from Google to Mastercard have recently told their employees they can remain at home. But here was another example of the idea – indicative of the reflexive Tory belief that we are at heart a nation of idlers, and lately voiced by such fans of the work ethic as Iain Duncan Smith and Kirstie Allsopp – that we might be able to return to the pre-Covid world by a sheer act of collective will.

Continue reading…


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