‘Good Morning Wednesfield’ – Tuesday 7th April

Good Morning Wednesfield – Tuesday 7 April 2020 – Its a bright Sunny morning. There was an early morning frost, but it should warm up. Can I wish my boy hood friend Micky Edwards a ‘Happy 70th Birthday’. For whatever reason I do not know. Even though I don’t always keep family birthdays in my head. I have always remembered Mick’s Birthday!
Last night’s news that the Prime Minister has been moved into the Intensive Care Unit, dominates quite rightly the Nations news. People will be a tuned during the day for any further news
Every morning I get a briefing from the Local Government Information Unit. It’s a valuable briefing and its one of the first items I read every morning, as it gives a precis of what is taking place across the United Kingdom and further. Here is a truncated part of that briefing. It carries what the” Papers Say” and is likely to create the headlines on what you the residents will be talking about at home and at work or with your friends.

Boris Johnson moved to intensive care
Boris Johnson was moved into intensive care on Monday night after his COVID-19 symptoms worsened. The Prime Minister was admitted to hospital in London with “persistent symptoms” on Sunday evening after having been in isolation for 10 days. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is the First Secretary of State, has been asked by the PM to deputise for him where necessary. The news came after Mr Raab led a press conference during which he insisted the UK must see progress in bringing down infection rates before plans to lift the lockdown could be discussed. The UK declared 439 more deaths yesterday, taking the total to 5,373, but the number of people dying of COVID-19 has now fallen for two days in a row.
Sir Keir Starmer reveals shadow cabinet
Sir Keir Starmer, the new leader of the Labour Party, has announced the members of his shadow cabinet, including defeated opponents Lisa Nandy and Rebecca Long-Bailey, along with former leader Ed Miliband. Mr Miliband will be shadow business, energy and industrial strategy secretary, while Ms Nandy will be shadow foreign secretary and Ms Long-Bailey will be shadow education secretary. Anneliese Dodds has been named shadow chancellor, while Nick Thomas-Symonds will be shadow home secretary, and Rachel Reeves will take the role of shadow chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. David Lammy will be shadow justice secretary and John Healey will be shadow defence secretary, while Jonathan Ashworth retains his role as shadow health secretary.

‘Virtual’ House of Commons ready within weeks
A ‘virtual’ House of Commons is to be ready in time for the end of the Easter recess, with MPs to be able to use videoconferencing technology to remotely access some parliamentary proceedings, including Prime Minister’s Questions. The plans were discussed by the House of Commons Commission yesterday after they were announced by Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg last week. Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle said he was “so impressed by the endeavours of our House staff, who have achieved so much in such a short space of time, despite their teams being reduced in numbers by self-isolation and sickness.”
New Labour leader must ‘work with local councils’
Cllr Georgia Gould, the leader of Camden Council, writes in the Evening Standard to say that her “joy in seeing my local MP Keir Starmer elected leader of the Labour Party was stopped in its tracks as I heard from a constituent trying to get a loved one’s body collected from their family home.” With Sir Keir taking over as party leader “in the darkest of times for so many in our country,” she writes, his “first task is to connect to the fear, uncertainty and pain, coursing through our communities.” He must “work with local councils,” she adds, “which are stepping up in extraordinary ways to support the vulnerable.”


Two care workers die from COVID-19
The deaths of two care workers from the coronavirus have intensified calls for chronic shortages of protective equipment to be addressed, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 related deaths of care home residents approached 50 – although a lack of testing means this number is likely to be an underestimate. The death toll in one Liverpool care home, Oak Springs Care Home, reached nine after three elderly residents died over the weekend, while five deaths have now been recorded at Harry Sotnick House in Portsmouth. Nadra Ahmed, executive chairman of the National Care Association, said the “issue we hear most is: ‘I am desperate for masks. Has anyone got any gloves? I am down to my last stock.’ Once you run out it is a question of being down to Marigolds and bin liners.” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in parliament on March 25 that all care home workers would get the protective equipment they need “by the end of the week,” but many in the sector say this has still not happened. Labour MP Liz Kendall said while the Chancellor “was right to say the NHS would get whatever resources it needs, the same has got to be true for social care because the two services are inextricably linked.”


Councils may be forced to close parks
The Local Government Association has warned that councils will “reluctantly” be forced to close more parks if members of the public continue to flout social distancing rules. After Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick called at the weekend for parks to be kept open wherever possible, Cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson, chair of the LGA’s culture, tourism and sport board, said that councils “know that parks are a lifeline for residents needing to get some exercise or fresh air and are great for physical and mental wellbeing.” “This is why councils want to keep parks open,” he added, “but people need to follow the social distancing advice, otherwise councils will be reluctantly forced to close them as a last resort to help prevent the coronavirus spreading.”
Stricter lockdown could worsen crisis
Official modelling carried out for the Government has predicted that “very stringent” lockdown measures, like those seen in Hong Kong and China, could be counterproductive in the fight against the coronavirus, simply delaying the outbreak’s peak until after restrictions are lifted, potentially in the autumn. The Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), has said the current strategy of “behavioural and social interventions which further reduce transmission” is the option most likely to flatten the curve and result in a lower summer peak. Senior police have also warned that enforcing a stricter lockdown would stretch resources, with West Midlands Police assistant chief constable Jayne Meir saying it “would be really difficult to police individuals on a daily basis.”


Man jailed for abusing council worker
A man has been jailed for racial abuse after becoming abusive while visiting Bristol City Council’s offices last month, and accusing a member of staff who he thought to be Chinese of bringing COVID-19 to the UK. Marcus Spiteri, 35, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 29 weeks in jail after admitting a racially aggravated public order offence, and actual bodily harm against a police officer who tried to arrest him.

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more