Will it End in Tiers?

The move from local lockdowns in parts of the north of the country and the Midlands came fast, the move from tier 1 to tier 2 in London, York and other areas came even faster, as if the Government had miscategorised certain areas in the first place which of course they had. The people, needing clear, simple, effective guidance in the face of rising case numbers and hospital admissions didn’t get it. The rules, no longer guidance and now enforceable by law, were complex and it was difficult to understand how they would work. The balance of protecting the nation’s health against protecting the economy weighed heavily in favour of the latter. Confidence and compliance were low.

As families and communities considered the impact of the new rules on their lives and how they might bend or break them, open rebellion in the Westminster-governed political sphere was seen for the first time, echoing the previous divergence of the devolved administrations. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, declared that he would resist a move from tier 2 to tier 3 unless the Chancellor found some money to support those affected. You can’t instruct people to stay at home, he argued, if to do so deprives them of an income. Correct, of course, but falling on deaf ears, or tin ears as Kier Starmer like to refer to them as during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Sir Kier, leader of the workers’ party and knight of the realm, was not in favour of the tiered approach and argued instead for a short total shutdown, the “circuit breaker” approach, which would at least hurt the economy as much as it would the people. It was an argument that had previously been put forward by the Government’s own scientific advisors, the SAGE group, who were also ignored.

In Liverpool, the first area to enter tier 3, we discovered that there were two mayors, a Conservative mayor for the Liverpool city region with whom the Government maintained a dialogue and a Labour mayor for the city of Liverpool with whom they did not.

Britain was a nation fractured and exhausted. The arts had been written off as unviable, the hospitality industry dealt yet another blow by the tier 2 restrictions which didn’t shut them down but discouraged customers from going out and thus killed their trade without compensation, and football failed to emerge from behind closed doors.

The twin saviours of mass testing and comprehensive contact tracing still seemed a distant dream. Both were in the purview of Tory darling, corporate and political failure and baroness, Dido Harding.

Earlier in the crisis, Prime Minister Johnson and his sidekick, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, were at pains to demonstrate how they’d “ramped up” the testing regime, setting their own targets and celebrating when they achieved them but under Harding’s regime the swabs were all tested at centralised, privatised “lighthouse” laboratories, standing down the previous NHS and university collaborative effort and when laboratory capacity looked close to being exceeded the system started to restrict access to tests, sending symptomatic people hundreds of miles to testing centres and cancelling walk-in appointments. The Government issued a stern message that you should only apply for a test if you really needed one.

Hapless Harding, abetted by an equally hapless Hancock, took a cue from their boss and spaffed £12 billion on a test and trace system that didn’t work, including an app that failed and a centralised contact tracing system that couldn’t find any work for full-time private sector contact tracers. Although comparisons with spending in the Republic of Ireland were misleading, the rumours that some consultants earned in the region of £7000 per day proved true.

Populist Prime Minister Johnson had got it wrong at every turn, from herd immunity to world beating test and trace. Even the appointment of a vaccine tsar and the promise of a jab by September had come to little, but at least the news from China was more encouraging.

Hands, Face, Pasty

Six tier one folks can still meet inside
It’s the tier where the science and the politics collide
Where the rule of six guide stands ready for the slide
Over to the hundred in one hundred thousand side

So, we’re standing on the precipice of tier two
Sadiq says that it’s coming very soon
But I’ve got people to see and things to do
While COVID’s turning the screw

Meanwhile there’s a new slogan in tier three
Where you can’t have a pint except with your tea
It’s like Tim Wetherspoon’s writing policy:
Hands. Face. Pasty (and chips).

Rishi Sunak (We Know a Song About You)

Oh dear, Rishi
You’ve pissed off the people
Who like to rhyme
Who like tell stories
Who like to keep good time

Oh dear, Rishi
You’ve pissed off the minstrels
The entertainers
The chroniclers
The maintainers
Of the culture
Of the hope
Of the real story
Of our times

Oh dear, Rishi
You forgot the golden rule
That all that glitters is not gold
That money can’t buy you love, Love
That value can’t always be measured
In pound notes
Not even close

Oh dear, Rishi
You forgot
That we know the words
That people sing
And people hum
That we know the tunes
That people whistle
And people strum

Rishi Sunak we know a song about you
No better than the other Tories in your crew
Rishi Sunak, fuck you

EDIT: Full Fact are now reporting that Sunak didn’t say that musicians and other people working in the arts and creative sectors should all re-train and ITV have modified their headline and deleted their tweet accordingly.

But you know what? Fuck him, anyway. The Musicians’ Union recently published a survey of their members which reported that 70% can’t do more than a quarter of their pre-COVID work but 38% of them aren’t eligible for the government’s support schemes. His hands are nowhere near clean.

And let’s not forget Edwina Currie telling LBC’s Iain Dale that “you can’t save all the puppies”.

Facemasks at Half Mast

It’s facemasks at half mast
For the coffee guy at the station
For better facial aeration
For poorer droplet filtration
For rules half followed out of frustration
And Stanley Johnson ain’t wearing his at all

It’s facemasks at half mast
For the woman on the morning train
In a sippy cup coffee kinda vein
She’s looking at her make-up again
Over a blue chin protection membrane
And Stanley Johnson ain’t wearing his at all

It’s facemasks at half mast
Baby, let’s go exponential
It’s facemasks at half mast
Baby, let’s get existential

My mask protects you, your mask protects me
Round here, it’s what we call solidarity
It’s how we show love and respect for one another
Sisters and brothers

It’s facemasks at half mast
For the fella on the train home
Slipped down while he was on the phone
Glanced around the carriage and he’s not alone
With important communications home
And Stanley Johnson ain’t wearing his at all

It’s facemasks at half mast
Baby, let’s go exponential
It’s facemasks at half mast
Baby, let’s get existential

My mask protects you, your mask protects me
Round here, it’s what we call solidarity
It’s how we show love and respect for one another
Sisters and brothers

Spaffer doesn’t understand the rules
What rules?
Whose rules?
His rules
For home and work and schools
While Stanley Johnson ain’t wearing his at all

It’s facemasks at half mast
Baby, let’s go exponential
It’s facemasks at half mast
Baby, let’s get existential

My mask protects you, your mask protects me
Round here, it’s what we call solidarity
It’s how we show love and respect for one another
Sisters and brothers

Leyton Orient 0-19 COVID

One of the players has got a cough, Boss
One of the players has got a cough
One of the players, should we take him off Boss?
One of the players has got a cough

One of the players is feeling hot, Boss
One of the players is feeling hot
One of the players, he’s the best we’ve got Boss
One of the players is feeling hot
Should we take him off?

One of the players lost his sense of smell, Boss
One of the players lost his sense of smell
One of the players, who should we tell Boss?
Whatever you do, don’t tell the EFL, Boss
One of the players lost his sense of smell

One of the players is feeling unwell, Boss
One of the players is feeling unwell
He’s lost his sense of smell, don’t tell the EFL, Boss
One of the players is feeling unwell

One of the players is off the pace, Boss
One of the players is off the pace
Shouldn’t we we do the test and trace, Boss?
If one of the players is off the pace

One of the players is burning up, Boss
One of the players is burning up
There’s a televised fixture coming up, Boss
I’m not sure that we’re up for the cup, Boss
‘Cos one of the players is burning up

The fans will have to watch on their screens, Boss
The fans will have to watch on their screens
If we can’t even keep our hands clean, Boss
The fans will have to watch on their screens

The Rule of Six

Your mum, your dad, your aunt, your nan,
The man who drives the Yodel van,
Your uncle Bob and his mate, Stan
And Hassan who’s from Pakistan
Are banned
You understand?
That gatherings of your loved ones
Are limited to six persons
The seventh and eighth don’t get to come
Unless they’re carrying a gun
So, Hassan who’s from Pakistan
Your uncle Bob and his mate, Stan
The man who drives the Yodel van
Your mum, your dad, your aunt and your nan
Are all off to a grouse shoot, man.

Tofu Bats and Tofu Pangolins

No, I don’t believe in god she says
But I do believe in pestilence and plague
You’ve just got to look around these days
To see this shit’s man-made
There ain’t much left round here that Jesus could save
Not while the boom bust cycle of suffer and recover
Is long on the suffer and short on recover
And the government is just a machine
To turn public money into private greed
Disaster capital’s here to stay, it seems
And I don’t bang on about the furry little fuckers
But here’s where I get my angle in
‘Cos no one ever made themselves sick
Eating tofu bats
And tofu pangolins

No, I don’t believe in god she says
‘Cos I don’t understand a Tory who prays
Then goes to work to be the best he can
At the very expense of his fellow man
Clapping for the NHS on his Facebook page
While the boom bust cycle of suffer and recover
Is strong on the suffer and weak on the recover
And the government is just a means
Of giving the public purse a squeeze
Into offshore tax-free banking schemes
And I don’t bang on about the furry little fuckers
But here’s where I get my angle in
‘Cos no one ever made themselves ill
Eating tofu bats
And tofu pangolins

Operation Moonshot

Is Operation Moonshot
The best that you’ve got?
Chucking in our lot
With a punt on a long shot?

Astronaut Spaffer, it has to be said
Is comfortable speaking out the back of his head
But a 20-minute test when you get out of bed
Sounds like he’s just bet it all on red

Is Operation Moonshot
The best that you’ve got?
Chucking in our lot
With a punt on a long shot?

Cosmonaut Spaffer of the rule of six
Reckons he’s got a long-term fix
A quick test between toothpaste and lacing up your kicks
Trouble is it doesn’t yet exist

Is Operation Moonshot
The best that you’ve got?
Chucking in our lot
With a punt on a long shot?

Starfleet Spaffer’s new COVID marshal
Badge and gun, pledge to be impartial
Breaking up a seven-plus party in your local
Doing it for free, there’s no money on the table

Is Operation Moonshot
The best that you’ve got?
Chucking in our lot
With a punt on a long shot?

Spaceman Spaffer’s shooting for the moon
Spit in the pot, you’ll know pretty soon
If you’re going back to work or back to your room
Are we watching a PM or a cartoon?

Is Operation Moonshot
The best that you’ve got?
Chucking in our lot
With a punt on a long shot?

The Under 21s

You’ve relaxed too much says Van Tam
Relax, go back to work says that Johnson man
Is it any wonder you’re confused?
Does anyone understand all the rules?
Stick to your guns
Blame the under 21’s

A harder, faster lockdown in Bolton
Let’s hope the locals don’t get their revolt on
Don’t let the subject pass their eyes
That the response is still too centralised
Stick to your guns
Blame the under 21’s

It’s the uni crowd the way they carry on and party
You know that term ain’t actually started
But the numbers from the test and trace don’t lie
Who do you think’s in the service industry front line?
Stick to your guns
Blame the under 21’s

They’re better than us without even trying
They know when politicians are lying
The mess of the world, they understand it
Just as we’re about to underhand it
So when election time comes
Remember who you blamed: the under 21’s