(There Ain’t No) Halfway There

If you halve child poverty, will they all be half as poor?
Or will half be as poor as all they were before?
What sort of compromise
With government lies
About austerity and poverty
And children going hungry
Says well, we’ll meet you halfway there

The judgement of Solomon is somehow lost on them
The biblical rule said going halves ain’t cool
What kind of compromise
With folk that you despise
Says, you know well maybe
If we can’t have all the baby
Says well, we’ll meet you halfway there

We went looking for the centre, but all we found was the system
There ain’t no halfway there

The judgement of Solomon is somehow lost on them
The biblical rule said going halves ain’t cool
What kind of compromise
With folk that you despise
Says, you know well maybe
If we can’t have all the baby
Says well, we’ll meet you halfway there

We went looking for the centre, but all we found was the system
There ain’t no halfway there

There ain’t no halfway
There ain’t no halfway there

Euro 2020

A beaming Kier Starmer is beamed into our homes
Wearing an England top stitched by children in export processing zones,
And who’s that posing by an England flag? Why it’s Owen Jones.
It’s amazing what winning and taking the knee can do,
Even Priti’s forgotten that she’d rather boo
And that seems to go for her boss too
With his England shirt worn over his clothes.

Keep the politicians out of football, but not the politics,
‘Cos it’s hard not to love a team that’s anti-racist
And not afraid to make the boo boys face it.
Who’ll speak truth to power and use their position
Like Marcus, leader of the opposition,
Got Spaffer to cough up on child nutrition.
There’s still plenty out there to make them fix.

So, Lee Anderson can go unpack a box
And take that wanker with him, Laurence Fox.
In fact, all the politician bandwagon jumpers
Who would never normally know their Arse from their Spurs
Or their O’s from their Bees
Can watch at home on TV
While our players take the knee,
Because just sticking to football ain’t the aim
And Black Lives Matter in the People’s Game.

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.

Johnson Has Washed His Hands

A beach packed with punters
Creates a major incident
Johnson has washed his hands

From rules to guidance
From cognisance to dissonance
Johnson has washed his hands

A COVID spike
In abattoirs and factories
Johnson has washed his hands

A dialled in parliament
On pound shop batteries
Johnson has washed his hands

Keir passed the soap
And held the towel
While Johnson washed his hands

A welcomed announcement
Despite its disavowal
Helped Johnson to wash his hands

Stay at home as much as you can
While visiting the shops as much as possible
Says Johnson has washed his hands

While the march back to Wetherspoons
Is seemingly unstoppable
Because Johnson has washed his hands

Confused about the guidance
Scared or simply bitter
Johnson has washed his hands

The scientists’ advice
Relegated to Twitter
Because Johnson has washed his hands