We’re into the third week of lockdown, I know it feels longer. Indeed this crisis has been developing since late January, we’re now into April and I think its fair to say that we’re only at the end of the beginning and we’re getting into the crucial middle phase of this crisis. A crisis that is two-fold by the way. First this is a health crisis, there will be an economic freefall in which to tackle in the months after as social distancing measures are scaled back.

As and when the country can get to some level or normality, which looks like it will be a while yet, we need to have a serious discussion about how our industry, indeed the entirety of UK manufacturing and construction, deals with China.

Trust shattered

We know what we’re getting when it comes to China. We know they’re a communist country, that suppresses it’s people and has one of the most strict surveillance programmes in the world. We know that free speech is restricted. We know that its not afraid to impose its decisions on its own people, even if that means destroying the lives of those who get in its way. We know they pose a serious security and cyber-security threat.

We know this, yet turn a blind eye to it knowing that we can get almost anything we want in the world from there because its cheap. For decades the UK has shipped its manufacturing abroad to be able to buy back its products cheaper. Now, after covering up the initial outbreak for at least four weeks, setting the planet back weeks in lost time to be able to prepare, trust in China is now well and truly shattered.

For a start, I haven’t met a single person who believes the figures that have come from China in regards to cases and confirmed deaths. A US intelligence report recently stated that they believe China has under-reported cases and deaths and continue to do so. I don’t think many have placed that much faith in any sort of data or information the country releases. Remember, it suits a communist regime to control the narrative to portray the image they want to the outside world. But any trust anyone might have had should now be shattered.

The subject of morality, as subjective as that is, has come back into public thinking these past few weeks. So perhaps it now time to start thinking about how moral it is to support a regime like China, by supporting their economy, knowing full well its range of infringements on privacy and human rights.

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Supporting domestic economy

Should the UK and other countries consider moving back production of goods to their own domestic economies? Yes. We’re all about to face a global recession which is going to surpass the 2008 financial crisis and make that look mild. There is going to be an extreme need for the public and companies to support their own economies as much as they can. That goes for the UK as well.

I will expand on this more in a future post, but what I hope we will see is a huge push by the British people and British companies to spend more here, make more here and create more jobs here. The spending taps won’t turn back on in that much desired v-shape recovery which was once touted even a few weeks ago but has long since faded into a pipe dream. We’re going to need another national effort to support local, small business. To spend more of our money on vacations here. To buy and source as much as we can from the UK to help support our own economy.

I’m hoping that such a change to normal life brings with it a new-found respect for the quality of what we do and what we buy. A renewed effort to support the areas that we live in by purchasing from those who operate in our own villages and towns. Do that, and jobs will return. Prosperity will grow and progress across all kinds of fronts will be made. We might even make some new friends along the way.

China has questions to answer over why it kept this secret for so long. The damage it did to the planet and its ability to combat the disease will likely take decades to recover from in all aspects. Our relationship with them after this has to be very different.

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