Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers seem quite happy to work from home on a permanent basis. | MDB

It seems there has been a number of long(ish) term effects from the Covid-19 pandemic, some perhaps understandable, others more ‘left field’ than would be expected. For instance, few of us it seems, bothered too much with our appearance when either working from home, or just stuck indoors for days on end. And so - shock horror, it appears that women are buying less make-up and washing their hair fewer times in a week than was the case prior to Covid - and not to put too fine a point on it, could be accused of… letting themselves go!

According to research women around the world are wearing make-up, on average, 28% less than in 2019. It seems that this is called “opting for a more natural look” whilst letting their hair grow-out and scaling back visiting to the hairdressers. Indeed, if I can make the point, a bloke can go to the hairdressers, even here in the UK, and still have plenty of change from twenty quid if he should so wish; women on the other hand are usually very unlikely to let her partner know just how much her last visit to the Miguel or Anton had actually cost - trust me, women lie about this sort of thing. Anyway, moving on - with the cost of living spiralling, many of us are clearly re-visiting life’s priorities, from doing without that stick of lipstick to not buying yourself that occasional pint or bending down to the bottom shelf when buying a bottle of wine anywhere.

One of the more positive elements in this (hopefully) post Covid phase is apparently people’s desire to lose the weight that they put on in various lockdowns and to take up exercise in some degree or other. A short walk in the local park here, will have me dodging about like a nifty fifteen year old trying to avoid those determined to shed a pew pounds and get fit again - as if they ever had been in the past! For instance the local tennis club I have joined recently, boasts a membership surge of more than 100 members since Christmas.

Working from home? They should be so lucky

I was listening intently to a debate on the radio earlier today, where the subject of ‘working from home’ was being discussed. This was probably in the light of certain civil service groupings in Whitehall and beyond being accused of “dodging the column” in terms of returning to work as Covid retreats. For instance, one man was doggedly defending the action of hundreds of thousands of public sector workers, who seem quite happy to WFH on a permanent basis. Conservative politicians in general, seem to be getting increasingly angry at the current situation whereupon whole government departments work from home when most people in the private sector went back to work a long time ago.

Moreover, what about all those men and women who don’t work in an office environment and have been working ‘on the job’ before, during, and after - ever since the first outbreak of Covid? Indeed, my own son who works for a government agency (No, not that one!) has not entered his designated office since March 2020. It also has to be said that those working in the public sector at almost every level and in almost every job, are - and always have been safe in the knowledge that - a) their job will still exist…whatever - and b) they will get the same pay, pandemic or no pandemic. As I say, you don’t have to be a raving Tory to comprehend that reality do you? And while I’m at it, the same sort of advantage will be the same for workers in the public sector in Spain. So perhaps no wonder there is an undercurrent of discontent (I wouldn’t go as far as to say anger as yet) in Britain’s private sector workforce, who believe rightly or wrongly, they are being taken for mugs.

Naturally enough, when this subject is discussed, nobody seems to comprehend that there are millions of people out there in every society who don’t actually work in an office for a living and so by definition can’t work from home. So then, good luck to you Whitehall based civil servants and tough luck, you steelworkers, bus drivers and carpenters out there - it really isn’t fair is it?

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

I have been recently considering some statistics that reveal that a place of work in London where 650 people elected by the public have their offices in the ‘Mother of Parliaments.’ These Members of Parliament i.e. MPs, are served by hundreds of other workers, from policemen to clerks - to advisers and aides who are paid to do a job of work to aid the efficiency of elected government or the official opposition. Very recently, three cabinet ministers and two shadow cabinet ministers are facing allegations of sexual misconduct after being reported to the parliamentary watchdog set up in the wake of the #MeToo scandal. They join almost 60 other MPs who have been referred to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) over more than 70 separate complaints.

The allegations include making sexually inappropriate comments and more serious sexual wrongdoing that include attempted bribery for sexual favours. To be fair, Sir Lindsay Hoyle the Speaker of the Commons is concerned by the number of complaints and is preparing to launch a review of working practices in parliament. One of the problems in the past when it comes to this sort of sexual misbehaviour and harassment is that MPs employ their staff directly and deal with human resources problems and issues themselves. So then, what happens when an aide or researcher seeks to complain about his/her political boss? You go and figure! More importantly, as I’m no good at maths, I wonder what the percentage is of 60 into 650? And are you thinking what I’m thinking?