Opinion: Craig Mackinlay MP – A strange time

Craig Mackinlay

This period of lockdown across the nation feels like that strange annual period between Christmas and New Year; little difference between the days of the week or the routine. The big difference is that there are no expected or unexpected visitors likely to call, and this period will continue beyond the usual week.

For me the routine has been conference calls with Kent NHS, local council chiefs and the police for updates and input as to the situation locally and across Kent. I’ve had a couple of ‘Skype’ Public Accounts Select Committee meetings which were strained given varying internet connection qualities across the MPs around the country – lots of frozen screens and drop-outs. The current proposal for Parliament’s return is for a digital system for daily questions. Whatever the wonders of this new virtual world, it doesn’t entirely work and is no substitute for real face to face interactions. How we’d vote is yet to be solved.

The volume of constituency work has been overwhelming but according to time spent is mainly across four categories:

  1. Concern about obtaining food and supplies by those who are the most vulnerable. These have been referred to the local council community team and known volunteer groups and have been dealt with efficiently. The details of the 750,000 NHS volunteers are filtering down to local teams and are starting their work.
  2. Enquiries about how the support schemes for employers, employees and the self-employed will work and when. Whilst the schemes work for the majority, there are many at the edges for whom these schemes do not quite fit. Those who had left one job to start another face difficulties. There is the problem for directors of typically smaller companies who have traditionally taken a small payrolled salary and then dividends. The self-employed scheme is more generous but has a hard all or nothing edge at earnings of £50,000 and above. The loan scheme whereby banks will be indemnified by the government up to 80% of the loan value has not, to date been working well. To their credit, the government had to construct schemes from scratch within a week and then roll them out.
  3. Repatriation of constituents stuck abroad. These cases have proven the most intractable. The government has created a £75m scheme to subsidise charter flights, asking people to pay some of the costs of repatriation where normal commercial operations have ceased. The giant Emirates airline stopped operations a couple of weeks ago causing huge dislocation with its status of monopolistic supplier across many unusual routes. I can only imagine the anxiety felt by many constituents stuck in a foreign country itself under lockdown. There has been no magic wand to solve these problems as no government can recreate an airline with hundreds of routes but constituents are gradually getting home.
  4. A huge variety of suggestions as to how the government has; got it right; got it wrong; the best way out of the lockdown and back to normality; the variety of oddities thrown up because of social distancing, abortion services being but one; complaints about the number of people out and about; the perceived lack of PPE at the frontline (a topic in itself); this shop or that had run out of a particular product line.

All are receiving researched and considered responses and information, but this is all far from normal.

We are obviously grateful that the Prime Minister, who had been seriously unwell, is now through the worst and recovering. This virus respects no boundaries or any person and so continuing the restrictions are the right thing to do until a plateau and decline of infections and deaths is clearly seen. I finish with a thought for those on the frontline working day in and day out to keep us safe and help the sick and vulnerable. They have earned the respect and thanks of the nation.


  1. It would be great if Mr Mackinlay put pressure on his colleagues to stop lying and stop trying to shift responsibilty for government mistakes onto NHS staff and members of the public.

    Dont you preach personal responsibilty?

    Prime Minister Johnson went round spreading the virus, despite having access to top level scientists.

    The death of thousands as a means to solve the “social care crisis”.

    Stand up or stand down.

  2. Can you explain why your government declined a request in 2017 from the NHS for a stockpile of PPE?
    Why did you cheer when a bill aimed at increasing the wages of health workers was voted down?
    Why had your government closed 17,000 acute beds?
    Why did your government shut down the Pandemic Preparedness Team?
    Why don’t you donate the £10,000 you are being bunged to work at home (no one else is) to all those local people cutting and sewing and 3-d printing to make the PPE your government has and still is failing to provide?
    I’m sure we’ll all sleep more soundly in our beds secure in the knowledge that you’ve been having conference calls with the NHS.

  3. For years this government has allowed private companies and their shareholders to leech off the taxpayers via the NHS and drain funds out of the service. Now the thin wallpaper has dropped off the wall to exposed the gaping cracks that NHS staff have been complaining about that fell on deaf Government ears . Now the very MPs who froze nurses pay and have allowed the back door privatisation. Have the audacity to stand outside their front doors on a Thursday evening to clap for all the hard work nurses and key workers do. Those MPs must all have a degree in Hypocrisy with honours.

  4. All the knockers coming out of the woodwork! Stop nitpicking at this very serious time , we should all be pulling together

    • The comments criticizing the government are not trivial. We should indeed all be co-operating, but the past ten years have seen the NHS being destroyed s bit at a time- who has been doing that, if not the government? Co-operation is not something the Tories want. With housing, education and health services, for instance, they have been trying for decades to intensify hostility and envy between different segments of society.

    • I’ve been making PPE masks for care workers at home because the government have completely failed to do their job.

      The people ARE pulling together. Mr Mackinlay in the meantime, who cheered when healthcare workers were refused a pay rise, has happily accepted an extra £10,000 to sit at home while over 13,000 people in Thanet have had to sign on because they have no work.

      It is our duty to put pressure on the people that have the power to affect outcomes here.

      I can keep making masks but I’m doing what the government could have done a long time ago.

  5. Richard. No by telling the truth now of what has been going on in the NHS and public services in general it might, just might make the government think again before they run services into the ground again when this Coronavirus is over.
    It’s been reported today that the government declined to buy large stocks of PPE in 2017. Up until now 31 NHS staff have died of the virus. The truth and embarrassment of incompetence should never be swept under the carpet.

    • Once more I find myself agreeing with Ann.
      We are in this dreadful mess partly because of the many mistakes and cock-ups carried out by this government, both in years past, and in the past month or so.
      All pull together? MPs get £10,000 for working from home, front-line health workers don’t even get basic kit to keep them safe.
      Nit picking? Over 30 health workers have died of C19. Is that nit picking? (Mat Hancock had the gall to play the number down, saying they didn’t all necessarily contract it at work. So that’s alright then).
      There’s an idea to set up a points scheme, to see who would get an ICU bed. If you’re over 70, you get 4 points, if you’ve got an underlying health condition, you get more points and so on. If you score more than 8, you don’t get a bed.
      I’ve an alternative idea: if you voted Tory in the past 10 years, you get ab automatic 8.

      • Andrew ‘ I’ve an alternative idea’ you show yourself up for what you are in your final comments. You are a typical nasty piece of work who hasn’t even got the guts to publish your real name. Two words fit you gutless coward!

        • Hmm. I thought my idea was quite pragmatic and fair.
          You reap what you sow. If you voted for a Tory government, then you should be the first to enjoy the consequences.
          Why should others suffer?

          • Oh your a thinker as well. Yawn! Must get back to the book I’m reading about the Civil War in Angola much more interesting than looking at your deranged rantings

          • You are espousing the same views as Terry Christian who is equally disgusting, who got sacked for saying things like you.
            You should be ashamed of your comments. Vile, disgusting and overall stupid.

          • So Marva, if he had suggested the other way around, for Labour voters, would you have suggested it was satire?
            It’s not satire, it’s deeply offensive.

          • If Andrew had made a justifiable satirical comment about Labour then of course I would have recognized it as satire and accepted its relevance to the subject..

        • Its been my long experience in the past when my name (and sometimes my address) has been publicly printed, and after my views were taken as unacceptable by right wing, numpties, who couldn’t argue their way out of a wet paper bag, to attack me in public! I mean attack me! Because that’s what fascists do, when they can’t win an argument, they sneak up and desecrate your front garden, or shout and scream at you in public, so pull your head in Laurence Davies, or would you be good enough to post your address on this site as well?

          • Dumpton surprised it has taken you this long to join in with your ramblings! Still I suppose it passes the day for you.

        • Laurence Davies, why won’t you tell us where you live? Why do your want to know the names of people you mock? Your type have nothing to add to the human condition, except to display your ignorance and support of this useless government, including all its Tory MP’s, elected on the basis they want to send back migrant workers!

          Has anyone else noticed that when pictures of those Care workers who have died are published, they are mostly non white! In many cases these people came here to work in the Care industry, and are doing a dangerous, and often low paid dirty job! This Tory government has passed a law to send them back to their home countries, unless they can prove they are essential workers, and earn salaries well in excess of what they are paid now! Mackinlay, and all the other cringing boot licking Tory MP’s who voted for this should be ashamed of themselves, but I doubt they will be, because in pursuit of their careers, they won’t be! There are currently 122,000 Care worker vacancies, why haven’t native British people applied for these jobs, take a guess Mr Mackinlay!

  6. Craig , could you help get more food out to Thanet residents by contacting sharon goodyer with financial support for our kitchen who are providing many local charities food to the community. County councillors of all
    political parties are helping financially sharon,but we need funding to keep supplies flowing in

  7. Interesting photo of Craig Mackinlay and Charlie Elphicke at the top of this piece. Two fine upstanding gentlemen.


  9. Hold on… we’ve just voted these clowns back in with a greater majority. How dare you complain about what we knew all along. We’ve become precisely what we deserve, selfish greedy, me first shall I continue? So when this is done how many of you will think any different? Not enough to make up for years of Tory dogma which led us to this in the first place. Shame on all who voted for more of this lot.

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