Should taxpayers’ money go towards bailing out big businesses whose operations pollute the planet with fossil fuels? The answer seems obvious. But it isn’t always borne out by Governments in the UK and beyond.
Yet, the response this week to Richard Branson’s request for Government support to help Virgin Atlantic through the coronavirus crisis was met with a louder resistance than would be typical.
In an open letter to Virgin Group employees, he wrote: ‘We will do everything we can to keep the airline going – but we will need Government support to achieve that in the face of the severe uncertainty surrounding travel today and not knowing how long the planes will be grounded for.”
He went on to explain further why Virgin Atlantic should be saved to preserve jobs. A worthy sentiment. But the billionaire entrepreneur makes an underlying assumption that there will some sort of return to normal after the pandemic.
Why the assumption of going back to normal after this?
It has not gone unnoticed that the earth has begun to cleanse itself without the constant pollution of human activity. Los Angeles is welcoming back blue skies over smog, dolphins have been spotted in the Venice canals.
The business community have also found new ways to work. The full potential of video conferencing and digital media is being properly explored. Do they really need to drag employees across towns and cities to work in the same congested place from 9 to 5 every day? Do they really need to take that international business trip to see clients? Are their employees finding a better work life balance working remotely?
Families are rediscovering local beauty spots and wondering if they really do need to jet across the planet to relax and spend quality time together. Instead, should we spend our hard earned money supporting local businesses, nourishing community life?
GOING BACK TO NORMAL IS NO LONGER AN OPTION.