CORDER’S COLUMN: Pent-up frustration

Rob Corder.

I keep on reading that households have amassed savings of £150 billion over the last 14 months and that the economy will spring back as pent up demand is unleashed on retail, hospitality and tourism.

Encouraging data on footfall and GfK figures on watch sales have certainly supported this theory as economic activity has risen in response to the road map returning our freedoms.

Britain’s watch sales rose by almost 10% in March, according to GfK, despite the country remaining in one of the toughest lock downs in the world and non essential retail still being closed.


Today should be a day of optimism and even celebration that the sacrifices the country has made since March last year have paid off, and we are now taking the next step towards normality with the reopening of indoor venues.

Instead, the media is jumping on every uncertainty from the data and spokespeople from government and the scientific community to keep the population in a state of heightened terror.

Take today’s front page of The Times, for example.

Ignoring an eighth straight week where deaths and hospitalisations have been below the UK’s 5-year average, The Times tasked its two front page stories and its picture story to keeping people quivering under their beds.

I do not have a problem with The Times, the BBC and other institutions reporting the potential risk of virus variants on a day we can go back inside pubs, cinemas and other venues.

It is the sheer imbalance between the coverage and the reality.

It is as if our metropolitan media have seen light at the end of the tunnel and rushed out to demand more tunnel.

The front page was slanted enough, but the main cartoon on the opinion pages was a different level and truly reveals the entrenched position of what Britain is used to calling our newspaper of record.

Peter Schrank cartoon in The Times (May 17), the day pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres reopened.

What is The Times trying to tell us? That all the ladders we have painstakingly climbed have been thrust aside and a deadly, poisonous snake is poised to take us back to square one.

Square one?!!!

If we do end up back at square one with a variant that entirely evades vaccination, we will wish we had not wasted precious weeks this summer quivering under our duvets.

Cases, hospitalisations and deaths have been at steady and low levels for a month now. We are five weeks away from all social distancing laws falling away on June 21.

These five weeks need to be used reassuring the large proportion of the population that it is safe to get on with life — to shop, to meet friends and families, to get back into the workplace with confidence.

Over a year of fear will not be reversed overnight. Today was a chance to give positivity a shot in the arm, but it appears our mainstream media is happy to blow it.


  1. I agree Rob, well said, however WatchPro is guilty of similar reporting within our industry. The amount of times, your front page headline has really annoyed me because it is a selective extract of a report that very often doesn’t even reflect the headline. I think as one of the industry’s trade voices, it would have been good, and particularly over the last year and a bit, to highlight positives or to offer a balanced report. Too often a report on retail in general is headlined when it really =doesn’t reflect the jewellery and watch industry. When people buy a watch or a piece of jewellery, they’re not buying a necessity, it is an indulgence, a special gift, creating a memory, a sign of love and much more. When the customer is a making a purchase like that, more often than not they want to make it an event, a time, a moment or day to remember. Often they combine it with, (pre- and hopefully post-Covid), a meal out, a visit to the theatre, gallery, cinema or whatever, maybe a trip into town. maybe a night away, perhaps even combing shopping for clothes or make-up, or whatever. It generally makes up part of a time of indulgence or hedonism. It’s not the same as a trip to the supermarket or corner shop, or buying school uniforms or whatever. Sadly the main report about retail consumers which paints a bleak picture is used to highlight a crisis which doesn’t always exist in our industry It would be good if WatchPro, Professional jeweller and other similar publications, headlined the positive and consign the doom-mongering to the inside pages… Just a thought really


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