Posts Tagged ‘coronavirus’

Reclaim the Streets Soho

June 3, 2020

The impact of covid-19 has hit everyone hard, every sector, but none so hard as the hospitality sector, with no sign yet of when they may be able to open.

Look at Soho, boarded-up streets and unless action is taken soon, they will remain boarded-up. And unlike airlines and travel sector which spread covid-19, are victims.

And yet it should not have been. Opening up too soon, relaxing lockdown, will create a second wave, but there was absolutely no reason why indie coffee shops and restaurants, not chains, could have not opened up in May, the weather was ideal, opened up with their tables and chairs spread well spaced apart in the street to maintain social distancing.

What has stopped this happening is the intransigence of local councils who would rather see local businesses die than give them a helping hand.

We can hear birdsong, streets are traffic free, city centres pollution free.

Covid-19 has jolted us into another now.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

Time to Reclaim the Streets.

Pedestrianise not only Soho but also Covent Garden, leaving only the arterial routes for through traffic. Deliveries park on the periphery, deliver by hand cart or trolley.

Kick start the local economy, allow indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread their tables well spaced apart into the street, no chains no pubs No Smoking, social distancing maintained.

Win win for everyone, local businesses helped back on their feet, improves the ambience.

Soho Summer Festival:

We’re proposing that streets around Soho are temporarily pedestrianised, in order to allow restaurants and bars the space for outdoor seating. This would allow the public to enjoy the Soho we know and love, while maintaining a safe social distance.

The norm in Athens, local streets at night turn into restaurants.  The Mayor of Athens is extending the pedestrianised streets.

The norm in North Laine in Brighton, coffee shops and restaurants, tables in the street. Brighton is extending its pedestrianised streets.

This does not require a change in licencing laws, it does require a change in the mindset of local jobsworths who would rather see local businesses go to the wall than improve the ambience of our city centres.

An initiate to Reclaim the Streets in Soho has been launched, an initiative dubbed the Soho Summer Festival. Initially pedestrianise the area for the summer. 

Once the summer has passed, it should be made permanent.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day seventy

June 1, 2020

First day of June.

A hot sunny day.

Single decker bus. Four passengers. Driver fails to turn off engine, open door, when waiting at bus stops. Bus very hot.

Four trains as Lincoln Central Station, including LNER Azuma London train.

Bus station many buses, usually deserted. Bus station still deserted of people.

I learn buses now running every half hour as of first of June not once an hour.

Not been out for six days, more traffic, more people about.

Sterile space in front of Central Coffee House, 200 Degrees, should be used for tables and chairs. Tragic the behaviour of brain-dead local councils, who would rather see businesses fail than provide help, a win win for everyone as improves the street scene.

More shops open. Sweet shop now open.

I learn a zero waste stall will open in Lincoln Central Market. They have been working on the space last few weeks. Bizarre though laying new floor. It will be a welcome addition to the market, if well run and well stocked.

Two passengers on return bus.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day sixty four

May 26, 2020

Three people on the bus. A single decker. It was ludicrous last week a double decker. And with single decker, easier for people to keep apart.

In Sincil Street and the High Street more people about.

Sterile spaces in front of Grand Coffee House and 200 Degrees coffee shop could be given life, if the coffee shops were allowed to use for tables. Helps the coffee shops back into businesses, safeguards staff and clientele, and improves the street scene.

I discussed with both coffee shops. They thought an excellent idea. But, said backward council would not permit. It is up to them to demand, or are they going to continue allowing the local council kick small businesses in the teeth?

A coffee from 200 Degrees. Not good, I poured down the train.

How are M&S getting away with selling clothes on their ground floor. Even the sales counter is open. People are trying on clothes, shoes, then putting back.

Six passengers on return bus.

Fire Dominic Cummings

May 23, 2020

Dominic Cummings malignant cancer at the heart of government.

Lockdown rules were clear. Lockdown means lockdown, means Stay at Home.

Only allowed  out for exercise, to buy essentials, visit doctor or other medical needs.

People have been heartbroken at not being able to visit dying close family and friends, not attend their funerals.

People, have been fined for breach of lockdown.

Dominic Cummings broke lockdown to travel halfway across the country. He did so whilst he and his wife were infected with covid-19, accompanied by a small child.

Rules on infections quite clear, if infected with covid-19, self-isolate within house from other family members, they in turn can’t come into contact with others. Child was put at risk for duration of the journey. Or maybe they put the child in the boot with its own air supply.

But Cummings did not break lockdown once. Whilst Up North, he went on a little outing maybe more than one, we as yet only know of one. He returned to London, then went Up North again. That is three breaches of lockdown. A QC has forensically dissected his actions come to the conclusion,  a clear breach of the rules.

He should be fined maximum amount. He should be fired.

Looking forward to all those cabinet ministers who excused Cummings first trip to Durham trying to explain his second one. Minsters who lack any integrity who spout what they are told to say.

On his first trip Up North, his car an incubator of covid-19, did the car stop, toilet breaks, fill up with petrol, get a  bite to eat? How many did they infect en route?

UK has more covid-19 deaths than any country in Europe. Second only to USA.

China bought us time, we squandered it.

We saw what was happening in Italy, then Spain, we sat back and did nothing.

Too late to enter lockdown, peddling of bogus science, too late to ban mass gatherings and sporting events, close schools, close pubs bars clubs, implement mass testing, lockdown London, an app to track and trace, failure to close airports, quarantine for all arrivals.

Germany has placed source code of its app in the public domain. Why do we not adapt, open source?

And to the catalogue, add the insanity of Stay Alert, which has led to the breakdown of lockdown.

The arrogance of these people is they think they can do as they wish, show contempt for ordinary people.

Please follow the advice of Paul Mason, share, tweet, like on social media, that Dominic Cummings must go.

If Boris Johnson refuses to fire Dominic Cummings there must be a Vote of No Confidence in Boris Johnson. These are mass murderers with blood on their hands.

Think what the death toll would be if everyone behaved like Dominic Cummings. Thanks to the insanity of Stay Alert, lockdown breaking down, we are all about to find out.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day fifty six

May 18, 2020

Passengers on the bus, three or four, some got off some got on.

Shocked to find the wooden sculpture of a Lancaster bomber outside Lincoln Central Bus Station smashed. Wings broken off, all that is left, a broken fuselage. Mindless thugs. Hopefully caught on CCTV. Last week marked VE Day 75, the weekend the Dambusters Raid.

The last few weeks during lockdown only one train at Lincoln Central Station. Today three, including LNER Azuma London train. But still highly restrictive to travel by train. LNER have introduced mandatory reservations.

One week on from the insanity of Stay Alert, more traffic, many more people on the streets, lockdown is breaking down. At the weekend visitors flooded to coastal resorts, but will be as nothing when the weather warms up. We are now more or less guaranteed a second wave of covid-19 infections, a sharp rise in cases.

In M&S more obstruction of the corridor leading through to the Food Hall, they no longer bother to curtail off the clothes section, people trying on shoes.

Easy to see why M&S a failing retailer and now marked down to junk bond status.

Six passengers on return bus.

Lincoln coronavirus lockdown day forty seven

May 9, 2020

A hot day.

One passenger on the bus.

Why oh why do bus drivers not turn off engine when ahead of schedule sitting at a bus stop?

Passing through villages occasional houses with flags flying.

An example of crass stupid of local council. Toilets at Lincoln Central Bus Station, alternate wash basins taped out of use. Why? It places people at greater risk as more people using any individual wash basins.

More and more businesses are opening.

Sign of the Fish open in Sincil Street, I would not recommend, very poo quality, No sign of a queue, no one buying.

Why no traffic wardens dealing with illegal parking? It is worse on each visit into town.

M&S once again have put obstacles in the corridor leading through to food hall, people forced closer together and thus at greater risk.

A couple of people on return bus.

VE Day 75 coronavirus lockdown we must move forward

May 8, 2020

VE Day, UK was broke, Europe was broke. Had useless prat George Osborne been Chancellor, we would have had austerity for 75 years. Instead we invested, rebuilt UK, rebuilt Europe.

Following the euphoria and celebrations of VE Day, VJ Day was yet to come, a more low key event, life was tough, rationing did not end until 1954. And we should not forget the role played by the Commonwealth. Nevertheless what followed, creation of the Welfare State, NHS, free secondary schools, school leaving age raised to 15, nationalisation of key industries, coal, steel, railways.
The desire was to create a fainer more just society.

During WWII we knew who the enemy was, we had weapons to fight. With covid-19, we know who the enemy is, but the enemy is invisible, a silent killer, we have no weapons with which to fight.

Post-Pandemic we are heading for the worst collapse since the South Sea Bubble burst.

We therefore do the same, we rebuild, not by going backwards. After VE Day, we did not go back to the 1930s, we moved forward.

We therefore must do the same. We do not bailout out dirty industries, we do not bail out tax dodging conman like Richard Branson.

We bail out people, local indie businesses, not global corporations, we fund a Green New Deal.

Strategic sectors we bail out through acquisition of a controlling share. Minimum conditions: no use of offshore tax havens, zero carbon by 2035.

Denmark, Hungary, France and Canada will not bailout tax dodgers.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We hear birdsong, our streets are traffic free, cities centres pollution free. We have learnt we do not have to engage in pointless consumerism, visit ghastly shopping malls.

As we slowly relax lockdown, indie coffee shops first, we allow them to spread out into the street, improve the ambience of the street, the norm in Athens, they then can social distance, safeguarding staff and customers.

But it needs worthless council jobsworths to engage their brains, act on behalf of local businesses, the local community. When a coffee shop in Lincoln asked of their local county council they were met with an emphatic no. That is how much they care about the local environment and helping local businesses back on their feet.

We need to develop Doughnut Economics for every city, every sector. Amsterdam working with Kate Raworth has developed Doughnut Economics Amsterdam. A rough draft has been drawn up for Cyprus, Doughnut Economics Cyprus, focusing on the tourist sector.

Portugal easyJet director living in an alternative reality

May 4, 2020

Airlines, airports and travel industry in general live in a different world to everyone else. They talk of back to business as usual, airports expanding.

Covid-19 has opened up another now. There is no return to normal as normal was not normal, mass tourism was killing the planet. People have become used to bird song, streets traffic free, cities pollution free. They are not going to give this up without a fight.

Aviation a major contributor to global warming, has spread covid-19 around the world, therefore within this context the comments by director general of Easyjet in Portugal José Lopes objecting to quarantine for arrivals into the country beggars belief.

The director general of Easyjet in Portugal José Lopes has said that the resumption of the company’s activity in Portugal is very dependent on the elimination of the quarantine imposed on passengers arriving in Madeira and therefore suggested “the elimination of these barriers to connectivity ”.

Portugal, together with Greece, one of the few countries in Europe to have acted promptly and contained coronavirus. José Lopes wishes to throw this all away.

José Lopes is not alone in expressing these sentiments, UK Airlines has come out with similar comments. Objecting to quarantine, claiming aviation vital to the UK economy.

What has been the economic cost of coronavirus pandemic, of wild fires in Australia, of floods in England?

Airlines, tour companies, and tourism industry, live in a different reality to the rest of us.

Not satisfied with trashing the planet then spread covid-19 around the world, they are now objecting to quarantine for arrivals into a country.

When other countries closed borders, closed airports, and where open were screening passengers, UK did not. Inbound flights from coronavirus hotspots from around the world, no screening, hop straight onto public transport. Very late in the day, consideration of quarantine, though in reality not quarantine, self-isolation.

At the weekend a friend travelled from Spain to Cyprus via Germany. On arrival at Larnaca she was taken into quarantine. She did not object, even though she has gone from lock down in Spain to quarantine in Cyprus, as she sees that it is necessary to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Covid-19 may have arisen in China, airlines spread it around the world.

Airlines are the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

There is no going back to normal as normal was not normal.

We cannot have a third runway at Heathrow, a second runway at Gatwick, airport expansion.

We have to live within the limits of the planet, one of those limits is the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. We have to reach zero carbon by 2035.

In the future we will have pandemics, we have to be prepared, stop them spreading rapidly around the world.

Aviation contributes little to the economy. We have seen how fragile our supply chains, how easily pandemics are spread around the world.

We have to relocate manufacturing within our own borders, grow our own food.

J D Wetherspoon plan to open in June

May 1, 2020

J D Wetherspoon plan to open in June.

Greed writ large. Not an essential business.

No end of lockdown in sight nevertheless J D Wetherspoon plan to open in June, bailed out by taxpayers.

J D Wetherspoon have form.

  • at the start of pandemic refused to pay sick pay to staff if called in sick
  • encouraged people to go out drinking
  • when forced to close told staff to get another job
  • refused to pay suppliers many of which are small craft brewers

One of the main causes of high death rate from covid-19 was the failure to close pubs bars clubs sooner.

To open, J D Wetherspoon would be putting at risk staff and clientele.

J D Wetherspoon staff have put forward a 10-point plan to be implemented before they return to work.

Workers used to fear going on strike for fear of losing their jobs. Now they fear returning to work in fear of losing their lives.

There can be no relaxation of lockdown until daily death toll drops into  tens, currently running at several hundred a day, with UK headed to be the worst country in Europe for deaths from coronavirus.

  • indie specialty coffee shops outside tables
  • local independent businesses
  • restaurants
  • pubs bars clubs

We already see some local businesses open, what can be described as essential, butcher, baker, pharmacy, fruit and vegetable stalls. Wetherspoon is not an essential businesses.

Coffee shops only outside tables spaced 2 metres apart, not meeting with friends. Served take away only, contactless payment, much as it goes against the grain to recommend either, but reduces risk of covid-19 infection, needs must and was standard practice before lockdown. Coffee shops because dwell time short.

Small indie businesses, for example bookshops.

Restaurant next, same rules as coffee shops.

Last and at the earliest next year, pubs, and even then phased,  small indie pubs, binge drinking bars the very last.

For those who wish for a  drink, small craft breweries,  for example Neon Rapture on-line deliveries and off-sales.

At each phase there would have to be a pause to asses.

There would have to be mass testing in place.

  • frontline at risk staff
  • people displaying symptoms
  • random testing

Random testing essential otherwise do not know what is happening within the community. And testing on its own not sufficient, need to test, trace, isolate

J D Wetherpoon by no means the only rogue company.

Zombie tour company tui is offering for May non-existent holidays in Spain.

  • lockdown cannot travel to airport
  • FCO advice no overseas travel indefinite
  • nigh impossible to obtain travel insurance and it will exclude covid-19
  • expired passports not being renewed
  • too risky passing through busy airport packed like sardines on an aircraft for several hours
  • risk of being stranded overseas
  • will have to quarantine for 14 days on return to UK

Spain is in lockdown. If we look to Tenerife, if and when hotels open, it will be for locals, then Spain, with Brits not welcome being one of the worst affected countries.

Fools and their money easily parted. Any who pay for a non-existent holidays will then have problems obtaining a refund when cancelled.

Doughnut Economics Cyprus

April 27, 2020

A couple of weeks ago the Cyprus finance minister opened himself up to ridicule when he claimed the Cyprus economy was going to shrink by about five percent.

The following week the figure had  been revised to ten per cent, which was at best wishful thinking.

With loss of the Cyprus tourist sector, and anyone who thinks Cyprus is going to see any tourists before the end of the season is living in la la land, the economic downturn is going to be far greater than ten per cent.

The world is heading into economic meltdown far worse than the Great Depression, international trade already down by 30%. IMF has warned the global recession is likely to be worse than the Great Depression, and has urged countries to spend, spend, then spend some more, which is an amazing about turn for the IMF.

To put the Cypriot figures in context, the UK economy is expected to shrink by anywhere between 13 per cent and 30 per cent depending on which model, the assumptions fed into the model. The Treasury has forecast April May June the economy may shrink by 30 per cent.

We can not go back to normal as normal was not normal, it was destroying the planet.

We have been able to hear birdsong, our streets traffic free, our cites pollution free, the skies free of planes. A world few of us will have seen in our lifetimes. In India they are able to see in the far distance the snow covered Himalayas, a sight last seen over thirty years ago,

We were told we could not cut carbon emissions within the timescale required for zero carbon 2035, it was impossible, impractical, and yet we have achieved massive reductions overnight.

Politics is not a race, two or more corrupt  political parties in a race as to decide who gets the opportunity to do the bidding of oligarchs.

Politics is who does what to whom.

We have seen capitalism put into suspended animation.  We are in a postcapitalist world, we have been since 2008. Who decides what the future will look look like once we are through the coronavirus pandemic?

If we look to the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak  has made billions of pounds available, to furlough workers with the government providing 80% of salary, a week later for the self employed, grants, soft loans to small businesses, all to keep businesses in hibernation,  ready to be woken up.

In the covid-19 pandemic we are living in another now. What we have to do is create our own another now, an alternative reality, a vision of how we wish the world to be. We failed in 2008, we cannot fail again in 2020, we cannot return to what was the norm, as the norm was not normal.

EU failed to deliver on eurobonds, offered loans that put the southern vassal states in debt bondage with austerity to follow.

We have seen post-WWII relentless rise in GDP, or at least up to the 2008, but this rise is not normal, it has been at huge environmental cost, and the increase in GDP has not been fairly distributed, it has been shared with the rich.

If I ask a bank for $100,000 to safeguard an ancient forest, I will probably not get very far. If I ask for $1 million to cut down the forest sell the timber they will happily give me the money.

If I ask a bank for 100 million euros to destroy pristine coastline for a hotel development, bring in dredged sand to create a beach, destroy bamboo groves habitat of  a rare endangered snail, show I will have guaranteed contracts with a big tour company to bring in all-inclusive guests, I will of course not tell them no benefit to the local economy, the bank will hand me the money, or at least they would have pre-coronavirus pandemic.

Destruction of a forest, of a pristine coastline, is not without costs, soil erosion, floods, loss of a carbon sink, species loss, degradation of water supply, loss of inshore fishing and fish breading grounds, which then feeds into ocean acidification, warming climate, rising sea levels, forest degradation, loss of coastline, further loss of fisheries. These costs are dismissed as externalities (a polite way of saying someone else problem).

The standard economic model showing monetary flows between households and businesses, together with flows of capital and goods and services, sometimes expanded to include the role of banks and government, is too simplified, it takes no account of the economy is embedded within society, which in turn is embedded within Gaia.

Never confuse a model with reality, even worse distort reality to reflect the model.

Kate Raworth has drawn a model, that incorporates what went before, but also includes the commons, the flow of energy, flow of materials, and thus more accurately reflects reality.

We therefore have to devise a new economic system, one that sees the poor are not left behind, are not  reliant on food banks, homeless are not living on our streets, whilst at the same time we do not exceed our planetary limits and what we do produce is fair and  equitable.

One such system is doughnut economics. How do we apply it to Cyprus, to the island, to municipalities, to sectors?

Look to Amsterdam, where the city is working with Kate Raworth to devise doughnut economics for the city, a 21st century economic system.

One of the largest sectors in Cyprus is tourism, it cannot be a return to mass tourism which not only is destroying the planet is destroying Cyprus, it brings in the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive hotels with no benefit for the local economy.

Does Cyprus need an easyJet flight every day, sometimes two a day, would not two or three a week suffice, assuming easyJet is in business and will not run out of money by August?

A proposal for a doughnut economy for Cyprus, a broad brush to be expanded upon.

Doughnut economics was developed by Oxford economist Kate Raworth as an antidote to conventional economics which does not reflect the real world and has not served us well.

What is the economy for? Until we can answer that question, how do we know what to measure, how do we measure success?

Economies need to be distributive, regenerative.

Visualise a doughnut. In the centre nothing, this is where resides abuse of human rights, poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, food banks, it is where we should not be. The body of the doughnut is where we wish to be, a circular economy, everyone’s needs met, living within the limits of the planet. Beyond the doughnut, again where we should not be, global warming, species loss, habitat destruction, acidification of our oceans, pollution, rising sea levels.

Kate Raworth has developed a doughnut economics model for Amsterdam, working with the city. Something that should be studied, adapted to Cyprus, but no two places are the same.

For Cyprus we need a doughnut model for the island and for each and every municipality and sector, and the people involved in developing it.

The largest sector in Cyprus is tourism, but it is not in a healthy state, has not been for years, and looking at crude tourist numbers is about as helpful as focusing on GDP to measure economic well being.

One only had to wander through Protaras last year at the height of the tourist season to see all was not well.  During the day, mid-afternoon, empty sunbeds, watersports siting idle. At night, during the evening, bars and restaurants empty.

The last few years many local businesses have gone bust. They finished last season in very poor shape, and many more would not have survived another season.

Tourism has to benefit society with minimum impact on the environment.

Mass tourism is bad for the planet, bad for Cyprus, it is not sustainable.

There is an over-reliance on tour companies, on mass tourism, on all-inclusive hotels.

Cyprus has become the dustbin for the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive attracts the dregs, little if any money flows into the local economy.

Cyprus is not going to see tourists this year, therefore time to reflect, seize the opportunity for radical change and innovation.

Rewind the tourist sector to thirty years ago when Cyprus was a quality destination, attracted quality tourists, when hoteliers took a pride in their hotels, restaurateurs in their restaurants.

Cyprus needs far fewer tourists, quality tourists. There should be no all-inclusive hotels, tour companies should be no more than 20% of hotel bookings (no single tour operator more than 10%), pay promptly at the end of the month (with penalty for late payment).

Encourage long stay, fourteen days and longer, discourage short stay, short breaks, seven days and shorter. Fewer flights for the same hotel occupancy.

The noisy bars bulldoze to the ground.  Restaurants in an attempt to compete with all-inclusive hotels are in a race to the bottom, a race to the bottom no one can win.

What passes as coffee shops is laughable, Cyprus is infamous for bad coffee, coffee shops serving drinkable coffee could count on one hand.

Replace noisy bars with traditional tavernas and coffee shops. It would be difficult to find good examples without visiting Plaka in Athens. Paul’s Coffee Roasters and Lazaris (though not for coffee) near St Lazarus Church in the back streets of Larnaca set high standards, take a pride in what they do, as does Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina, but these are the rare exceptions, not the norm, oasis amidst the dross. Once the norm in Cyprus, until a race to the bottom to attract custom from all-inclusive hotels, a race no one can win.

For restaurants slow food not fast food, local cuisine using fresh local seasonal produce.  Sea food restaurants overlooking the sea, fresh caught fish, for example Spartiatis overlooking Konnos Bay and Demetrion beside Liopetri River overlooking the sea.

Tourism is more than hotels, it is bars, coffee shops, restaurants, car hire, boat trips, water sports. All of which have suffered in recent years thanks to all-inclusive hotels.

There is a need to improve standards within the tourist sector, hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops. How to measure standards?

TripAdvisor is worthless, fake reviews and trolls. Google Maps marginally better. Proposal to tender a contract to assess standards  seriously flawed in a country where everyone knows everyone, someones cousin friend went to school with.

Create an open source open coop collaborate commons platform Booking Cyprus. Charge a small fee to generate a surplus to maintain and improve the platform and fund local community green projects.

There is a need to diversify within the tourist sector.

Diversify away from tourism based on a handful of coastal resorts.

Encourage rural tourism, bookings through FairBnB not AirBnB. AirBnB destroys local communitiesFairBnB works with and supports local communities.

Encourage cultural tourism.

An example would be a week of tango at Grecian Park, not organised by the hotel, they host a week organised by two dancers well known within the world of tango.

A green new deal, use it to kick start the economy. 

Look to what DiEM25 is proposing for Europe. EU needs to issue eurobonds, €500 billion a year to finance a Green New Deal for Europe.

Implement a tree planting programme. Start by planting trees at bus stops for the 101 / 102 bus service Paralimni Protaras Ayia Napa to provide much needed shade.

Pedestrianise the sea front at Larnaca and extend the pedestrianised area into the back streets around St Lazaris Church. Provide an electric shuttle bus service from, Larnaca Marina to Mackenzie Beach.

Cyprus is over-reliant on oil imports, which is crazy in a country with abundant sunshine. Install roof top solar, feed into local community owned and controlled local grids, paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price, surplus generation fed to other local grids via a publicly owned national grid, any ‘profit’ fed back into the local grid or used to fund local community projects.

The proposed Paphos Marina with facilities for cruise ships should be scrapped. Cruise ships are floating environmental disasters.  Floating all-inclusive hotels that bring no benefits to local economies.

The project in Paphos to create a marina for 1,000 boats plus cruise ships is an example of the insanity that is destroying Cyprus. It should be scrapped.

Cruise ships are nothing more than glorified floating all-inclusive hotels, that cause horrendous damage wherever they dock, with little benefit to the local economy.

The streets of Athens, especially areas like Plaka and Acropli, are clogged whenever a cruse ship docks, causing a problem for both locals and visitors, and they do not spend any money. The tour buses ferrying them around, traffic congestion, noise and pollution.

Venice is being destroyed by cruise ships.

Cruise shop are major greenhouse gas emitters, plus passenger fly to start and end of trip. Cruise ships dump their sewerage and garbage overboard, including plastic.

Will there even be cruise ships? As we have seen floating hell when covid-19 spreads through the ship and nowhere will permit a plague ship to dock.

These floating all-inclusive hotels are now all rapidly returning to port, discharging their passengers and being mothballed. The industry has not just been devastated, it has ceased to function altogether. For it, coronavirus has been the perfect storm. It has gone from being an industry worth $46 billion (£37 billion) a year, with 26 million passengers per annum, to an almost total standstill overnight. The only destination for cruise ships, the scrap yard.

Art and culture should be part of our doughnut.

Art and culture would seem an oxymoron when said in the same breath as Ayia Napa, and yet Ayia Napa has an excellent International Sculpture Park on a hillside overlooking the sea and hosts an excellent Medieval Festival.

How many visitors are aware of the open air theatre during the summer in the grounds of Larnaca Castle?

Cyprus has a democratic deficit which should be addressed. Not only open municipalities to the public, open to public participation, live stream all meetings.

A doughnut may appear to be a simple concept, but appearances can be deceptive. Its power lies in its simplicity.

A lower social bound bellow which we should not fall. An upper planetary bound which we should not exceed. It is also circular, symbolises not only money flowing around the economy, but also symbolises mutual cooperation, collaborative commons.

A simple example will suffice. On changing money in a car hire, we are recommended to take a boat trip. The boat trip recommends a restaurant. The restaurant recommends a vineyard from where they source their wine. To visit the vineyard, we return to the car hire to hire a car. We pass through a lovely little village, learn of a house available through fairbnb should we be tempted to return. At the vineyard, we learn they are renting out a beautiful studio apartment with incredible views of the sea. We find a coffee shop which we have been recommended, and as is the nature of coffee shops, interesting conversations ensue with the owner and barista and fellow coffee drinkers, we learn of many cultural events, an out of the way fish restaurant overlooking the sea and of a taverna  overlooking the sea. We learn Cyprus has much to offer, which we would never have learnt of from tour guides at an all-inclusive hotel. And the local economy has benefited. And maybe we will return one day to explore further.

Salient points of a doughnut economy:

  • GDP is not a useful measure. We cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Obsession with GDP has destroyed the planet whilst at the same time creating obscene levels of  inequality. The top richest 1% have accrued more  wealth than the poorest 99%. Uncontrolled growth has a name, cancer.
  • Create, innovate, value human development. With rare exceptions there is a lack of innovation in Cyprus. One bar owner opens a bar with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Then more bars open with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Those that follow, do not bother to check the first bar always empty.
  • Understand the power of networks, how feedback systems operate.
  • An economic system must be distributive. All must share in the wealth created.
  • Transactions within an economy are not simply financial, nor are the players only government and private sector. The economy also has to include open coops, collaborate commons, each working in loose partnership with each other.
  • Economy has to be regenerative. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition to merely protect the natural world from harm.

The Cypriot economy is moribund if not in free fall, no tourists anytime soon.  The time should be put to productive use to implement a doughnut economy.

It is important public information, in Greek and English, to keep everyone informed, not only locals but also visitors. Then network and share with other municipalities, not only across Cyprus, across Europe.