The Bower & Collier Family History

Research by Colin Bower

New Milton Discussion Group

Discussion Group meeting at Community Centre - – 8 September 2020

Ten people attended our first meeting, socially-distanced, back at the Community Centre, since the lockdown.

Questions and Answers were:

Question 1 Is Boris’ style of management appropriate for the leader of a National Government?

This was an update of a previous question:

- There was sympathy for Boris in that we live in unprecedented times which would have stretched any PM (and other countries) and he has clearly suffered the effects of contracting Covid himself.
- When he was London Mayor he had good people around him and as anticipated he has delegated to his ministers (some of whom have proved to be lightweight). He also seems to rely on his chief of staff Dominic Cummings who is not universally popular!
- In many ways we need a Churchill of whom Boris is a devotee but Boris has come across as lazy and ill-prepared, gaffe prone and mumbling orator.
- He has not looked good in comparison with Nichola Sturgeon and his own Chancellor Sunak, who looks more articulate and competent.
- His Government has lacked leadership, strategy and conviction and appears to have been dictated to by events leading to u-turns.
- Government announcements have asked more questions than given answers. Bare facts are given (like the latest UK Internal Market Bill) instead of a polished presentation of how it is all going to work.
- The group felt that confidence and trust in Boris had waned and Conservative MPs were getting worried.

P.S. Could now add to the list setting unachievable goals/shots!

Question 2. Should pensioners pay National Insurance as a contribution for social care and the NHS?

This was a relatively straightforward question. It was along the lines of how much the NHS provides despite being financially insecure and pensioners still working should pay NI on income, perhaps above an acceptable threshold.

This got a lot of support.

It was thought a lot of well-paid pensioners still worked and could easily afford it. Though it would hit the lower paid depending where the threshold was set.

We did briefly discuss what could be done to build up resources to pay for social care:

- Needed to start with younger people and invest their contributions for their futures whilst older people would have to pay themselves in some way
- The current situation was unfair to an extent in that (for whatever reason) some people will not be able to afford social care and would have to rely on the state
- This could result in private occupants paying more than the local authority was paying for one of their occupants

Question 3. Should we compromise our morals and consciences and provide military training to countries which are repressive and contravene human rights?

Again a relatively straightforward questions and ideally the question provided its own answer.

The Group came up with the foillowing:

- This is a shady operation and we could be helping a regime that we would be condemning for their activities.
- The only “justification” really was: if we don’t do it, someone else will (France, USA, Russia).
- We need defence spending unless we can identify other industries that will bring in income of this magnitude.
- We have to be uncomfortable with the sale of arms that are put to use in a way that we would not approve of. Also the contracts may include training (the subject of the question).
- At least the sale of arms is subject to scrutiny.
- Morally it would be right if defence spending was for defence of our islands and for support of UN/NATO initiatives. The problem is that world peace is not stable with some belligerent countries with territorial ambitions, e.g. China, Russia and Iran)

Question 4. Should the flu and Covid vaccinations be mandatory for pensioners?

Again ideally this should be achieved to prevent some pensioners getting and spreading either flu of Covid.

It was felt that there would have to be exemptions, e.g. if jabs could cause serious adverse effect on their health. This would mean that in some cases the doctor would have to agree first.

We wondered if some religions might object too.

A mass programme of innoculations might put a strain on the NHS and there would have to be some policing to check that the objective was fulfilled.

It was thought that the MRS debacle has put a lot of people off vaccinations.

Colin Bower
13 September 2020

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