Staying alert by Angela Caldin

I’m living in New Zealand at the moment, but I’ve been following developments in the UK as well. On TV here, there’s an adaption of Eleanor Catton’s Man Booker prizewinning novel The Luminaries. I read this book when it first came out and couldn’t put it down. The only problem was that when I arrived breathless at the end, I had no idea what was going on among the huge cast of characters. It was good therefore to understand from the first episode on TV that two of the main protagonists, Anna… Read More

The letter of the law versus the spirit of the law by Susan Grimsdell

The NZ Herald reports a South Island mayor urging farmers who have claimed the government wage subsidy  during the shutdown, to repay the money.  Prices have held, there has been no actual loss.  One farmer with a conscience has given back $177,000 he said he had claimed “just in case”. The letter of the law The policy states that money is available if the claimant experienced an actual or “predicted” loss of revenue of one third in any month over the 6-month period January to June compared with last year. This is… Read More

Will a Change of Mind Lead to a Change of Heart? by Susan Grimsdell

Who would ever have guessed that hard-core deeply conservative people would overnight change their view of the world? Covid-19 could well accomplish what decades of argument and reasoning and appeals to fairness have failed to do.  People who have insisted that the market should rule, supply and demand are king, and let those who aren’t up to it fall by the wayside, have experienced an epiphany.  Suddenly, yes indeed government must step in when people are in trouble, yes indeed government must give handouts when things go wrong. Handouts from the State… Read More

Shots from the bunker by Trevor Plumbly

All together now! One of the blokes on the radio the other day was banging on about community spirit and it struck a bit of a nerve. So I’ve taken to sitting on the porch and it’s surprising how many passers-by are happy to chat. One was a young guy from up the road who’s really into this together stuff. He urged us to stand at the gate at 7-00pm to applaud our front line workers. This evoked tales of the London blitz in WW2: the camaraderie, British Bulldogs and all that… Read More

Reactions to Covid-19 by Susan and Trevor

Susan’s radical view My view of  Covid-19 is this:  as a 79-year-old, with every heart problem that can be had while still being alive, I am definitely in the high-risk group. However, I would  far rather have let the disease rip and let the chips (or me) fall where they may, rather than have the world economy go down the drain, with all the terrible suffering that’s happening.   It breaks my poor damaged heart to walk around the city seeing businesses closed, many of them forever, to hear stories of people losing… Read More