Is this The Truman Show?
ONE of my favourite actors is Jim Carrey, and like most great comedians, one of his best performances was (for him) an understated one as the eponymous character in The Truman Show.
I thought about this as I watched our senior politicians and civil servants stumble through Friday’s unsteady press conference where they had really nothing much to say and went into meltdown as soon as they were asked some simple questions on 14-day quarantine, the seven-day trial and what our plans were for September. Suddenly we seemed to be a long way from the days of high fives and weren’t we doing so well that the world’s media loved us.
In the film, the hubristic producer played by Ed Harris (perfect casting as Gavin St Pier when the film is made) is so blindsided that when he is asked the simple question of ‘Shouldn’t Truman be told he is a virtual prisoner on a make-believe island?’, he almost cannot understand the question, and the best he can say is a combination of ‘It’s a horrible world out there and anyway I know what’s best for him’.
The frustration is that putting the option of shortening the quarantine period into a trial was always going to create the expectation that this was the next step. The instant you take this away it’s going to be seen as a negative decision, especially when you don’t give a plausible explanation of why.
There’s also the problem of our noisy neighbour who seems to have found a perfectly acceptable way to let 8,000 people in, detect four cases and manage the situation. Again, no real explanation why we cannot emulate?
I know there is a large proportion of the population that support any policy which results in no risk at all. But we also have to be realistic; travel is a very important part of our island which leads to its significantly above average GDP and vibrant community.
I am not talking about holidays here, but the fact that a high proportion (50%?) of the population weren’t born here and most have family in the UK. On the economic side we seemed to have dealt our tourism industry a death blow and, despite the mutterings about how you can run finance on Zoom meetings, as someone who has actually worked in that industry for 30 years I can tell you that if your competitors (Jersey, Dublin, Luxembourg, etc.) can travel to London at any time but you can’t, that’s a massive disadvantage.
I hope this is just a short misstep on what has so far been a great response and we don’t fall into the trap of believing that calling decisions right a couple of times means you always call it right.
Oh, ‘and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and goodnight’.
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