By Tom Penn
In 2010 the British Government set up the Iraq Historical Allegations Team to investigate claims of misconduct by British troops in the region. The bulk of staff were provided by the Red Snapper Group, the same recruitment agency who ten years later won a contract to provide Covid marshals to councils across England.
An acquaintance of mine (for the sake of anonymity I shall call him David) was recruited last year by Red Snapper to operate as one such marshal in Bristol city centre. During a recent chance encounter with him, I pounced upon the opportunity to try and understand his role in post Freedom Day Britain – a supposedly coercion free era in which cautious personal responsibility is encouraged over blind obedience to enforceable health directives.
As his job title appears to suggest, David does indeed stroll around flagging up ‘threats’ to the public: they are just no longer pandemic related. Trip-hazards, graffiti, vandalism and the like – these are the perils which have replaced lethal ignorance of one-way pedestrian systems, and David reports his findings straight back to Bristol City Council.
He also patrols various postcode zones to see if the businesses operating out of them match council records, and incredulously does the rounds of used car dealerships to check the vehicles they are selling conform to current emissions standards, or was it the fuel they were selling he was supposed to investigate? I pointed out that car dealerships don’t sell fuel. He had absolutely no idea what this particular aspect of his marshalling duties entailed, but just as long as he was on record as having paid a visit to somebody somewhere, regarding something, marshalling he was.
David does not wear his issued high-viz vest for fear of ridicule, keeping it stuffed away in his pocket most of the time. Looking no different to your average passer-by, he is therefore somewhat of an undercover agent for the controversial recruitment group; albeit one fulfilling a job description completely disconnected to the one for which he was originally recruited and continues to be paid for – with public money.
Care assistants in the UK receive on average £9 an hour to help protect the vulnerable of society around whom the entire pandemic narrative is constructed. David on the other hand receives £9.50 an hour, and works six-hour shifts but gets paid for nine hours. He hadn’t the faintest idea why this was so, and even gets a free bus-pass.
With Government’s Autumn and Winter Plan able to inflict further restrictions on the public in line with ‘emerging data’, and David’s job secure until March 2022, he is essentially a fully paid-up, taxpayer-funded goon on standby; with nothing better to do at present than point out cracked windows, wonky benches, and pesky seagulls to Bristol City Council.
With unvaccinated care home workers soon to lose their livelihoods – for many also their vocation in life – vaccine refusing David, by comparison, lives the life of Riley: Government paying him substantially more money than some of the most essential of all key workers to do absolutely nothing of any worth or sense for society.
Throughout this exaggerated emergency millions of healthy people have been paid to sit at home on furlough, likewise doing nothing of any merit that would ordinarily warrant remuneration. Rishi Sunak has said that he does not want to extend the scheme past the end of September, and with thousands of unemployed care home workers potentially soon to join the benefits queue, that the Chancellor appears content to continue paying people like David to not sit at home doing nothing but to ‘walk around town doing nothing’ (David’s words not mine) is absurd and insulting in the extreme.
In guidance withdrawn on July 19, gov.uk state that all Covid marshals ‘should undergo a training programme provided by the local authority’. David was provided no such training however, by either Red Snapper or Bristol City Council. He was merely asked if he had ever had to deal with a member of the public when in a position of relative authority, and on the basis of having once thrown a guy out of a pub, was immediately offered the job.
We both chuckled when he told of how a colleague of his, having entirely forgotten the time of his own Red Snapper interview, ended up successfully conducting it in pyjamas from his bed, via WhatsApp. David chuckled in appreciation of the absurd, comedic value of the anecdote: I out of sheer discomfort.
The Government seem unperturbed by the impending loss of thousands of care home workers, having already stated that the end of the furlough scheme shall create a pool of entrants from which the sector may then begin recruiting.
I sincerely hope, for the sake of the elderly, that the void shall not be plugged with a small army of Davids: young, naive, cash-strapped, corruptible, un-vetted, untrained, uninterested and – David is a Covid sceptic by the way – morally destitute.