IN 2010 the Government set up the Iraq Historical Allegations Team to investigate claims of misconduct by British troops in the region. The bulk of staff carrying out the investigations 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 whom I shall call David was recruited last year by Red Snapper to operate as one such marshal in the centre of Bristol. During a recent chance encounter with him I pounced upon the opportunity to try to 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 suggests, David does indeed stroll around flagging up ‘threats’ to the public: they are just no longer pandemic-related. David now reports trip hazards, graffiti and vandalism to Bristol City Council.
He also patrols various postcode zones to see if the businesses operating out of them match council records, and 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 hi-viz vest for fear of ridicule, keeping it stuffed in his pocket most of the time. Looking no different to your average passer-by, he is therefore something of an undercover agent, albeit one fulfilling a job description completely disconnected from 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 receives £9.50 an hour, and works six-hour shifts but is paid for nine hours. He hasn’t the faintest idea why this is so. He also 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 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 keyworkers 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. That the Chancellor appears content to continue paying people like David to ‘walk around town doing nothing’ (David’s words not mine) is absurd and insulting in the extreme.
In guidance withdrawn on July 19, the Government stated that all Covid marshals ‘should undergo a training programme provided by the local authority’. David was provided no such training 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.
The Government seem unperturbed by the impending loss of thousands of care-home workers, having already stated that the end of the furlough scheme will create a pool from which the sector may then begin recruiting.
I sincerely hope, for the sake of the elderly, that the void is not plugged with a small army of Davids: young, naive, cash-strapped, corruptible, unvetted, untrained and uninterested.