China has closed and so will the USA. Ireland has closed schools and banned large gatherings, Italy is in the process of closing everything. Meanwhile, Spain has also closed its schools and banned some more stuff.
Here in the United Kingdom, unlike Johny Foreigner, we have the rather jolly Cheltenham Festival (OK as long as you wash your hands!) while in London, the Coronavirus is managed through the medium of the meeting – the most important of which is the COBRA which is the 1947 Dom Perignon Brut of meetings.
In the UK’s Corporate and Political world, there are three things we like: MEETINGS, the phrase ‘WE NEED TO’ – as in ‘We need to look after our elderly’ or ‘We need to allocate some money for the homeless’ and….
A word which is most definitely the politicians’ favourite and I have used it above. It is the word ‘ALLOCATE.’
Politicians or more specifically, Ministers of the Crown, love to allocate funds. What you may have noticed is that while they allocate with gay abandon, they never tell us how to go about getting our hands on the allocation.
This time, they will be allocating ‘resources’.
Let’s have a look look at the overall favourite – the meeting. Many management scientists have shown quite clearly that meetings are a waste of time and prawn sandwiches. Unless of course, you feel that the primary function of a meeting is for the meeting leader to spend an hour-or-so is full male-display mode, flexing his mouth and impressing the underlings with his wit and rhetoric and if you are an underling, it is the status which an invitation to the meeting bestows upon you.
Another quite valid attraction of attending the meeting is to spend some quiet time making sure that you get not only a prawn butty but the egg and cress, while you fantasise about important matters such as what goes on under the Finance Director’s jumper as it strains under the pressure of her mouth-wateringly sumptuous decolletage while she overreaches when pointing to crap Powerpoint slides.
With the COBRA meetings, on top of all of the above nonsense, we have the drama of statements which appear to have been written by an intern from the Ministry of Stating the Bleedin’ Obvious. Here’s today’s example from Prime Minister Boris Johnson after the latest Cobra meeting: ‘(Coronavirus) is the worst public health crisis in a generation.’ followed by: ‘…many more are going to die.’
So why not make a decision and do something about it. Stop dithering!
For example, Mark Carney, the outgoing Governor of the Bank of England pushed the red button only hours before COBRA began and lowered the BBR by 50 basis points.
The statisticians and analysts are having such a wonderful time producing lots of numbers and graphs which clearly point to the inevitability that some of us are going to die. Yes INEVITABILITY!
The other important thing to say is that because it is inevitable it is difficult to comprehend why our leaders are in meetings whilst watching the Coronavirus express heading towards them as they cower, prawn butty in hand , shielding their eyes against the glare of its rapidly approaching lights. Next stop? Pain and Death.
We don’t want to stay at home washing our hands every five minutes wondering what to with that spare room full of toilet rolls – so the answer is not in COBRA meetings and platitudinous statements but in aggressive action.
Now would be a good time.