Nicola Sturgeon is close to tears because some young people have caught coronavirus in a pub. Perhaps we should await developments before regarding this as tragic. It is well known that young people do not, other than exceptionally, suffer the extreme effects of the virus that afflict the elderly and infirm. Let us see whether any of the young people now affected become seriously ill, and let us ensure that they do not associate closely with the vulnerable.
We cannot expect people who are unlikely to feel much more than the symptoms of a cold to keep themselves cooped up indefinitely. Unless we are to wreck the economy completely and risk a rise in mental illness, or even possibly public disorder, we need to allow those who can probably withstand the effects of the virus to be exposed to it, if that is what they choose. The original purpose of the lockdown was to ensure that the NHS was not overwhelmed with coronavirus patients.
Unless scores of elderly and infirm people invade crowded pubs, that is unlikely to be an issue. It is hard for governments to lessen their grip once they have imposed it, but the time has come to do so.
Missing the point
Jayne Shayndel makes an interesting point about lockdown vs state pensions in yesterday’s Letters. However, I think she misses a couple of points.
The government’s intention is to eventually raise state pension age to nearer 70, if not higher, hoping eventually to only have to pay a few survivors or to remove the state pension altogether, as most will have been enrolled into a workplace pension which was supposed to top up, not replace state pensions.
Secondly, the government is surrounded, like I am, by hordes of early retirees. Teachers, lecturers, doctors, fire fighters, police officers, armed forces officers, and local government employees in their thousands are able to retire in their 50s, so their view of a lockdown of over 50s is somewhat skewed.
I had the same idea about imposing a cordon around London during the early stages of the epidemic when the capital was the epicentre of the disease. However, this time round the cost of providing a tunnel from Westminster to Watford Gap to allow Dominic Cummings to escape would make it prohibitively expensive.
Having recently read highly critical references to Red Tractor in your publication, I thought it sensible to highlight some facts about the scheme.
It might seem like a lifetime ago, but for the vast majority of British farmers, the 1990s was a torrid time. After a spate of food scares, trust in British agriculture was at an all-time low. It devastated farming and food businesses up and down the country and ruined livelihoods.
A lot has changed since then, the food and drinks industry is now considered to be one of Britain’s flagship industries; it contributes more than £100bn to the UK’s economy and employs more than four million people.
No sector has evolved as much as British farming, and Red Tractor has been an important element in this journey. It has rebuilt consumer trust and significantly helped to improve the overall standard of farming.
As the UK’s largest food and farming scheme, we have continued to improve standards across all sectors that we cover. Not just in food safety, animal welfare and environmental protection, but in other critical areas, such as driving down antibiotic use in livestock and poultry, so that in this country, farm animals are now treated with far fewer antibiotics than its citizens.
The logo, which appears on almost £14bn worth of food and drink, is a crucial point of reference for consumers who want a guarantee that a product is safe, fully traceable and has been produced in the UK, to some of the highest standards in the world. With over 70,000 members, it is a scheme that is endorsed by the UK’s biggest retailers, brands, wholesale caterers and food service companies.
Farming has always been a challenge. Now more than ever, it is crucial that consumers understand the importance of affordable food produced to high-quality standards by looking for the Red Tractor.
CEO of Red Tractor
Isolation for over 50s
The possibility of Covid-related isolation for the over 50s must have come from someone who would love to be kept from the public, Boris Johnson. He has done quite well already.
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