Comment – Majestic initiative / Why the origins of Covid matter / Play time

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Majestic initiative

Computer says yes attitude speaks volumes.

Mark Jepp and his team at Majestic should be applauded for their latest initiative which ticks so many boxes.

When they received a call enquiring whether they would consider an idea being put forward by a Bishop Auckland based historian wanting some space at their Hippodrome Bingo Hall it would have been oh so simple to decline politely, wish him luck with his venture and move on to address more pressing commercial and operational issues at what was a particularly difficult time for the sector.

Instead, and to the team’s huge credit, they looked beyond the immediate and saw the opportunity meets duty, to at least learn a little bit more about what was being proposed.

Fast forward and the outcome was a socially distanced opening of The People’s Museum – attended by local MP Dehenna Davison generating column inches of hugely positive coverage in regional media.

Local historian Michael O’Neill, the person behind the People’s Museum was effusive in his praise of Majestic with Mark Jepp confirming the initiative dovetailed with the company ethos of serving the local community.

And that’s surely the point that needs to be pressed home and articulated at every opportunity. Bingo Clubs and AGCs only exist and prosper if they connect with their communities and that relationship between venue and community is the heartbeat of our industry.

Accommodating and supporting The People’s Museum and inviting the constituency MP to be part of the experience is PR at its very best.

Why the origins of Covid matter

To plan for future crises we need to know the source.

Conspiracy theories attempt to explain significant events and circumstances as the acts of groups or individuals with an agenda.

Theories emerged rapidly after the news of Covid broke and have continued throughout the ensuing months. For some it was a left-wing plot to derail Donald Trump’s re-election campaign, for others it was linked to 5G phone masts and others sought to establish a bizarre connection with Bill Gates.

One of the most popular theories was that the virus was manufactured in a laboratory in China rather than having developed naturally.

All of the conspiracy theories have been debunked and shown to be the outcome of over active imaginations and a human desire to provide simple and populist explanations to complex issues – until now.

A US intelligence report leaked to the Washington Post claims that three researchers from the Wuhan Institute of Virology were so ill they sought hospital care a full month before China declared the first Covid patient was discovered.

Authorities in China have strongly denied that the virus leaked from one of its laboratories but Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious disease expert has said he was not convinced by the wet market explanation and the UK government has urged the World Health Organisation to explore all possible theories around the origin of the pandemic.

President Biden has ordered a closer intelligence review of what he said were two equally plausible scenarios of the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic and the hypothesis that the virus may have escaped from a laboratory has gained more mainstream traction.

Clearly there’s a huge difference between an accidental leak and the deliberate use of Covid as a bio-weapon that’s paralysed the world and resulted in an estimated 3.5m deaths.

The key question is that as the government addresses its grotesque unpreparedness of March 2020 is it easier to plan for an act of nature or for the tragic outcomes of a laboratory accident?


Play time

The initial results are in from the UK public, and it’s a long way from nul points. Players are returning to pub machines according to initial post-lockdown statistics from CLMS.

Players returned to pub machines at a rate of 82 percent of pre-lockdown levels during the first week of reopening. That’s an encouraging sign for a sector that has been through a punishing 18 months where machines have been out of bounds for much of that time.

Whether it’s wishful thinking or the adrenaline of euphoria that lockdown is finally being eased, but there was something else in the CLMS stats that prompted a thought.

In his analysis, Simon Barff noted that the figures were showing activity across the range of indoor play – pool, children’s equipment etc.

The punters wanted entertainent back on the menu – they wanted machines, pool and anything and everything else available.

It may just be my conclusion from these statistics, but people seem to have had enough of lockdown and all the restrictions. They want to play, they want to socialise, they want to live – and they get the health and social responsibilities that come with that.

Have we reached the stage that people just want a sense of normality?

Do we now finally want to take back control …. of our lives.

Now it’s just a personal view, and in all honesty I am a fuckwit, but apparently, so are many key figures in the government according to Dominic Cummings this week.

This message should obviously resonate with them too.

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