I was heartened to read that the British Growers Association has received an overwhelming response to its national campaign for seasonal workers, but was perplexed at the plight of A&S Green as this seems to directly contradict their experience as a local grower. That such a business should even need to put out a request for labour is shocking, given ONS statistics for this county in March 2020 stating 2,120 of its residents are claiming out of work benefits. In addition to this, the number recorded under the economic activity section for 2019 shows a total of 3,900 people described as “want a job”. Further, the Covid-19 outbreak will mean thousands more to add to the burgeoning statistics. Forgive me for stating the obvious but isn’t the county’s labour shortage solution right there in those figures? And if people aren’t volunteering themselves (aptly, having just commemorated VE Day, as was the case back then with the amazing Land Army) why the devil are we not threatening to stop unemployment benefits for the able-bodied if they refuse to help with the national effort? At every turn we are force-fed wartime rhetoric by both the media and the government, you can’t move for an abundance of crass and misplaced parallels to World War II, yet companies like these struggle for labour supply. These businesses should not be suffering simply because the usual supply of workers from Eastern Europe has been hampered. We have workers right here, who at times like these should get off their backsides and off their mobile phones and into the fields. As usual, we are too soft in this county, but in a very confused way. Nobody wants to enforce our unemployed to step up to the plate given they’re the ones with the most time on their hands, yet at the same time we’re all under virtual house arrest and threatened with fines if we dare to break one of the many draconian rules, many of which have been proven not to spread the virus. It is sheer madness to quarantine healthy people, as around 90% of the medics and academics I speak with agree. So let’s stop flattering ourselves by making comparisons of today’s society with those who partook in the Great War and WWII. If our out of work citizens can’t even fill the labour supply shortage voluntarily then we deserve no such privilege. Churchill would be turning in his grave at this debacle, and if he is looking down at this is probably glad to be gone. I have always been a fierce patriot, and want to say “Let’s make Britain “Great” again”, but this entire nightmare has shocked me to the core and shone a rather revealing light on some of our most insidious characteristics. There is still a 99.9975% chance overall that an individual WON’T die from this virus, yet our government and mainstream media have strived to do a hatchet job on the scientific facts from day 1, leaving the average citizen hiding behind the sofa whilst clinging to their childhood blanket wearing a fully enclosed biohazard suit. So I won’t recite that little ditty as it’s quite clear we have become a nation of neurotic, curtain-twitching, snivelling, cry-baby snitches, completely lacking in perspective let alone war time spirit. I doubt very much that we will be as “Great” again as we once were. Sorry to spoil the feel-good sentiment, but many I speak to feel this needs to be said and what’s more, the truth will out about what’s occurring right now. You mark my words. Our “finest hours” have been and gone decades ago. Fiona Thomas Hereford