My loyal reader will be well familiar with my concerns about the scale of the economic crash that is coming our way. For some reason, Boris Johnson can only be the purveyor of good news. The pubs are opening, you can go out to a restaurant, you can get a haircut. “We’re coming out of hibernation.” Yes, but Bozo, millions are going to lose their jobs. Many will struggle to get another good job in a time of mass unemployment, some may be condemned to a lifetime without meaningful work. “We’ve heard too much from the doomsters and gloomsters,” Johnson will say. ‘Stop being so negative.” Trust me, there are plenty of reasons to be negative. Here are some jobs that have already gone:
British Airways – 12,000 jobs
Virgin Atlantic – at least 3,000 jobs
Easyjet – 4,500 jobs
Ryanair – 3,000 jobs
Aer Lingus – 900 jobs
Swissport – 4,175 jobs
Heathrow airport – at least 500 jobs
Centrica – 5,000 jobs
Ovo Energy – 2,600 jobs
BP – 10,000 jobs
Bombardier – 600 UK job cuts
Rolls-Royce – 9,000 jobs
Aston Martin – 500 jobs
Jaguar Land Rover – 1,100 UK job cuts
HSBC – 35,000 jobs
Johnson Matthey – 2,500 UK job cuts
The Restaurant Group – at least 1,500 UK job cuts
Monsoon Accessorize – 545 jobs
Clarks – 900 UK job cuts
Oasis and Warehouse – 1,800 jobs
Mulberry – 470 UK job cuts
Travis Perkins – 2,500 UK job cuts
Let’s put this into some kind of perspective: these job losses, not all in this list in the UK, but most are, and happening despite the government furlough scheme being in operation. That’s over nine million people being paid by the government because otherwise they’d mostly be unemployed. Add a couple of million self-employed people who have no work or cannot work, or both, and you have something like 14 million people out of work at the moment when you include the 3 million already on the dole. It’s not good.
I’ve seen some of the furlough shaming on social media and in the mainstream hate newspapers, like the Mail. Some people have posted things like, ‘Share if you have had to work all the way through the spread of the pandemic’ and an idiot like Richard Littlejohn literally thinks people are refusing to go to work because they’re enjoying being at home being paid to do nothing. A brief reminder, then, for the hard of thinking: people are furloughed because they have been told to furlough. It was not the choice of a single employee. However, I digress. This is about the crisis to come.
Johnson’s breezy confidence will do little to reassure those who work at the Mall at Cribbs Causeway, who like Lakeside and the Trafford Centre, are owned by Intu who are £4.5 billion in the red. To be fair, Intu has been in bother for some time. It is owed huge amounts of rent from traders who are also struggling in the current climate. Unless Intu sort something out with their investors, they could be closed as early as Friday. It’s that bloody serious.
This crisis is coming down the tracks, just as COVID-19 was earlier this year. When it was, Johnson was on a permanent holiday and when he wasn’t on holiday he was asleep at the wheel. By the time he awoke from his slumber, the NHS was bulk-buying body bags. Everything else with COVID-19 has been of a similar level of breathtaking Johnson incompetence. Why should the collapse of the economy be any different?
People like Rishi Sunak and ,I agree, he does perform well on TV. He is also Dominic Cummings’ man in the treasury, a yes man to do Cummings’ bidding. Cummings is a disruptor, a believer in chaos to bring about change. Chaos gave us Brexit, chaos gave us 65k dead with COVID-19 and chaos is likely to wreck the economy.
This is not about Project fear, it is about what is literally happening. The job losses listed above are but opening shots. If the aviation industry continues to struggle and that struggle for some airlines becomes existential, the implications go way beyond a few airlines going bust. The companies who build the planes and the infrastructure and indeed engines for the planes will be in serious trouble. So will a myriad of supply lines. For aviation, read the automotive industry, steel; every industry you can imagine.
I don’t think things are as bad as I am making out. Greater minds than mine, of which there are many, say it’s much worse than that.
Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are obscuring the view. Those barbecues, those endless rounds of golf, those trips to the beach; just a mirage.
Few will be safe when the days grow short and the nights grow long. The NHS, perhaps, and perhaps those who will pay the benefits of those who go to sign on, many for the first time in their lives.
And if we get a second wave of COVID-19, then I’ve underplayed it. COVID-19, an economic crash followed by a no deal exit from the transition period with the EU. Good luck with that one, Mr Johnson. Much of it will be on you.