The number of ‘essential workers’ is enormous

These complaints are extremely stupid:

Many people were nose-to-nose with people on the Tube, trains and buses as well as platforms despite being told to be two metres apart to avoid catching coronavirus, which has claimed 335 lives so far.


Transport union TSSA today called for police to be deployed at all main London underground and overground stations to make sure only key workers are getting on trains amid claims Tube staff could walk out unless ID checks start immediately.

No doubt there are some people going out who shouldn’t be. But there are two things to remember here. London almost entirely relies on public transport. It’s been pushed as the way to travel in the capital for decades now. For most people there is no alternative to being squashed together like sardines to travel, it’s what the government has been forcing you to do. So don’t blame commuters if the dimwits in government are only now realising that there are massive downsides to high-density communal transport.

Secondly, I don’t think a lot of people understand just how many jobs are essential. The Guardianistas and the Twitterati and the chattering classes live in a rarified world where most people are ballet teachers, or diversity coordinators, or graduate students, or they live off their husbands. They don’t realise that there are millions of people doing everyday work that needs to keep going if they are to be fed and showered and able to use their phones.

Here are just some of the workers who need to keep working:

Doctors, nurses, and all NHS staff.

Medical researchers.

Everyone who works in the water industry.

Everyone who works in the gas industry.

Everyone who works in the electricity industry, including workers at power stations.

Everyone who works keeping the physical internet running, and a lot of the software workers too.

Everyone who works in supermarkets and corner stores and other food shops.

Everyone who works in farming.

Everyone who works in the food and drink production industry.

Everyone who works in warehousing food and drink.

Everyone who works delivering food and drink to shops.

Everyone who works in making essential non-food items, like toilet paper, hand sanitiser, soap, bleach, cleaning products, etc., including production, admin, warehousing, delivery.

A lot of the people who work in the newspaper business.

Everyone who works in the business of keeping mobile phone signals working.

Everyone who works in the production of mobile phones, including the designers, the factory workers, the admin staff, the warehouse workers, the delivery men.

Everyone who works in the production of webcams, including the designers, the factory workers, the admin staff, the warehouse workers, the delivery men.

Everyone who works in the postal services.

A lot of people who work in insurance (it’s a busy time for them, and they can’t all work from home).

Everyone who works at places like Amazon warehouses, and all the other online warehouses.

All the enormous number of delivery drivers.

Taxi drivers.

Bus drivers.

Tube drivers.

Tube workers.

Train drivers and train workers.

The people who make sure the roads are running.

RAC, AA, Green Flag people rescuing stranded cars.

People who work at garages/petrol stations.

Petrol tanker drivers.

Everyone who works at the oil refineries, and the drilling rigs.

Computer systems people keeping important computer systems going.

People working in banking (some could work from home, but a lot can’t).

The people who fill up the cash machines.

The people who fix power outages (plenty of that around my way recently).

The people who fix the water when the pipes burst (also plenty of that around my way recently).

Rubbish men, and the workers at the depots they take the rubbish to.

The police.

Ambulance drivers.

A lot of council workers (although I bet many will stay at home, which will be for the best.)

A lot of call centre workers who need to be there in the office to be on the system.

The teachers who are still teaching.

The daycare workers whom are looking after the kids of all these people.

The people who work in old age care homes.

Everyone who keeps the TV and radio stations going.

Repairmen and women, who must continue making urgent repairs.

Sewage workers who make sure the sewers keep working, because if they stop working then you’ll really know what disease is (thanks to Jim for this one).

And so on, and so on. I’m sure you can add many more. We’re talking millions of people who have to keep going into work, and who can’t just ‘work from home’, or take an unscheduled holiday. Probably at least a third of the workforce, maybe half. Most of the working-class, who it turns out, are far more valuable to society than all the gender officers and climate scientists and Feng Shui consultants.

You can’t just shut down all this, and expect to have water coming out of the taps, food on your plates, your mobiles and webcams working, and have your sick parents looked after. If you think no-one should be going to work except a couple of policemen then you know nothing about how the real world works.


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21 thoughts on “The number of ‘essential workers’ is enormous

  1. When the dust starts to settle and we gaze out at the economic wasteland our careless panic has wrought, thoughts will turn to accountability.
    Giving aid and comfort to the enemy or economic sabotage has long been a category we have reserved special vehemence for.
    How many of those casually condemning others to years of poverty whilst secure in the knowledge that their taxpayer funded pension is secure would benefit from living on the level playing field of the self employed?
    Other thoughts on who the mob might turn on if this proves to be no more than seasonal flu+ and the NHS has been directed to slow walk use of Hydroxy-chloroquine + Azithromycin???

  2. People who don’t understand how the world works are probably a far bigger problem than we realise. Think about what the actual consequences of this zero carbon shit would be. Masses of people think that life would just carry on as normal with everything working just the same but with electricity from windmills.

  3. Back in ancient history when Brits were Brits, something like 40,000 Londoners died during the German Blitz. Despite a death toll which puts today’s Panic Virus in the shade, shops would proudly display signs saying “Open As Usual” to indicate their defiance and their commitment to carrying on.

    Reportedly, a certain shop lost its entire frontage during one evening’s bombing. Next day, the owner put up a sign saying “More Open Than Usual”.

    Almost any admirable objective can become a negative if taken to extremes. Society’s obsession with “safety” has been building for years. It has now reached the point where it is counter-productive. Sadly, there is no clear path back to the positive spirit that Londoners were once capable of exhibiting in the face of adversity.

  4. Unfortunately the Ruling Classes are utterly divorced from the Doing Classes, in a way that pretty much mirrors the divide between the Aristocracy and the Workers 100-150 years ago. Your average university educated Civil Servant, or local council CEO or NHS bureaucrat is as far removed from how the sewers work, or how food gets into Waitrose, or how the lights come on when the switch is flicked as Lord Fontescue was from the lives of the farm workers on his estate, the miners in his mines or the factory workers in his mills.

    We need a new revolution.

  5. Jim makes an interesting point about the gap between our rulers who live in the world of producing Words and the doers who live in the world of producing Real Goods & Services. How to bridge that gap?

    It is interesting to recall that Elvis Presley at the height of his fame had to put his career on hold and do National Service, just like everyone else. That was a good way to put the future Ruling Classes face to face with “Diversity” and the inescapable realization that there is no correlation between education and competence.

    Perhaps some form of National Service is a concept worth reconsidering — no-one can enter Oxbridge until she has completed 2 years shoveling slag in Scunthorpe, side by side with her fellow citizens?

  6. The mob won’t turn on anyone. That’s the sad reality. We’ll all just go back on with our lives, buying cheap tat from China by the containerload and watching ‘X Factor’.

  7. Wait until people’s broadband starts going off under the strain (or the government starts to lean on companies to throttle it so they can hold pointless meetings)…

  8. I have long thought that you shouldn’t be able to enter parliament unless you have spent at least five years doing a real job. And by that I mean doing something that is demonstrably useful.

  9. A sound suggestion is that no one in receipt of public funds shall stand for public office.
    This removes the opportunity for peculation so often demonstrated by our political class.

  10. “It is interesting to recall that Elvis Presley at the height of his fame had to put his career on hold and do National Service, just like everyone else. That was a good way to put the future Ruling Classes face to face with “Diversity” and the inescapable realization that there is no correlation between education and competence.”

    I’ve always thought that a good educational system should not allow anyone who goes through it to be good at everything. It should provide a range of activities that allows everyone to be good at something, and almost as crucially, everyone to fail at something. Its absolutely terrible for the academically bright to sail through school thinking the sun shines out of their behinds, and never have to have their face screwed into the mud by the thick but very good at sport types, to face failing woodwork because their woodwork project more resembles the tree it started out as, or to have their singing and acting laughed at for its utter awfulness.

    Thus when the academically bright inevitably end up at Oxbridge etc, and finally get to lord it over the rest of us in positions of power, they might just remember that a) they’re not superior to all the other people who didn’t follow their path, and b) there are millions of people out there who can do things that they can’t. And a degree of humility might ensue, rather than regarding the broad mass of humanity as some sort of sub-human species that it is their duty to control and subdue.

  11. It’s a bit like the Scandinavian town where a loud horn was used to scare away tigers. When someone pointed out that there were no tigers in that area, the answer he got was “see, it works!!”

  12. Late to the party, but…

    It’s worth remebering that National Service wasn’t exactly egalitarian. Those with public school educations were automatically selected for officer training at a very early stage of their basic-training. A pleb with a degree was almost certain to become an instant Sergeant in the Education Corps (a “schoolie”), other than that, the military remained an incredibly class-structured organisation, down to the distinguishing “Officers and their Ladies”, “Sergeants and their wives” and “other ranks and their women”.

  13. Even later to the party ….

    I’m an electronics engineer, degrees, CEng, 40 years design / production experience, run companies etc. I was invited to dinner a few years ago, mainly academics and political people there, My neighbour at the table leant over and said she’d heard from (the hostess) that I was an engineer. I agreed (reluctantly, because I knew what was coming). She said “ That’s wonderful, I need some advice. We’ve been having a lot of trouble with the dish washer recently. Would you like to have a look at it sometime? “

    I’ve also had a mob of “plastic free Abergavenny” women – all well educated – accusing me of harassment because I asked them if they could explain how their mobile phones, cars, houses, cookers, medical systems, freezers, underwear, in fact almost anything were going to work if they didn’t use plastic. The PPE lot have no idea where the electricity comes from and the shit goes in the world.

    I’m sorry if I sound bitter.

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