Burning Down the House

It’s a rather special house. Built 23 years ago by a team of international, award-winning designers, who battled their way through some frankly mind-boggling construction problems. Really quite an achievement.

Such a shame it’s on fire. Can’t think how that happened.

I mean, gosh, I personally visited the place to give a fire safety talk. Assured everyone I’d safeguard the property. Then removed the batteries from the smoke detectors and locked the fire extinguisher in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leprechaun’.

Yes, they did raise concerns. Warned me I was creating a fire hazard as I sloshed accelerant from the front door down the hallway and right up the stairs. Looked on in horror as I lit a match, tossed it over the threshold, and watched the fire steadily take hold.

Kerosene is nothing but perfume to me.

H/T Talking Heads, Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury

For an overview of the current threat to the Good Friday Agreement, see Jonathan Freedland, ‘The consequences of Boris Johnson’s careless Brexit are playing out in Belfast’The Guardian, 10 April 2021.

P is for Protest

The Right Honourable Bertrand Somerville-Thruppe waddled from the chamber. He’d just voted in favour of the anti-protest bill and was feeling rather smug. That he styled himself a dyed-in-the-wool libertarian didn’t strike him as remotely hypocritical, because of course all that really mattered was his own liberty to do what he damn well pleased.

It wasn’t as if peaceful protest had ever achieved anything worthwhile: women’s votes, workers’ rights, upholding free speech… Poppycock, the lot of it. Those chaps in Brazil and Hungary had the right idea: their laws were doing a top job of keeping dissenters off the streets.

Best of all? The Home Secretary’s new powers to define “serious disruption” however she wished. It pained him to admit it, but she was doing a bloody good job for a woman.

Oh delicious irony. The suffragettes would be spinning in their graves.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons by 359 votes to 263 on 16 March 2021. Not a single libertarian Tory voted against it. Or any Tory at all, for that matter.

One per cent

Tory Government: Congratulations, ladies! You’ve got a whopping 1% pay rise!

Nurses: 1%?

TG: Damn right! Just think of everything you’ll be able to buy with that extra £3.50 a week.

Nurses: But… We’ve put our lives on the line for you in an ACTUAL PANDEMIC. Held people’s hands as they were dying. Kept the NHS from tanking!

TG: Hmmm, there is that, I suppose. OK — let’s do another Clap for Carers.

Nurses: No. More. Token. Clapping. Give us a decent pay rise.

TG: Sorry, girls. Too busy outsourcing billions to our mates instead. And just think: if we can get away with 1% for nurses, then other public sector workers won’t stand a chance. So definitely don’t write to your MP. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got a meeting about Carrie’s £200,000 makeover of Number 10. You know what they say: charity begins at home.

*According to the Royal College of Nursing, the pay of an experienced nurse has fallen by 15.3% in real terms over the past 10 years*

Should Have Listened to the Exports

Well, Bob, I’m pretty pleased with how it’s going so far. A 68% drop in goods going to the EU in the space of a year! What fantastic progress.

Come again, Fred?

Well, Gove was spot on, wasn’t he? We’ve had enough of exports. About as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Fred, you know that problem you’ve got with your hearing?

Pardon?

YOU KNOW THAT PROBLEM YOU’VE GOT WITH YOUR HEARING?

No need to shout, Bob.

Jesus wept! Fred, read my lips. Gove didn’t say Britain’s “had enough of EXPORTS”. He said Britain’s “had enough of EXPERTS”.

*Fred gives airy wave of the hand*

Exports, experts, same difference. Come on, Bob — don’t get all steamed up now. Let’s be sensible, as Raab suggests, and take a 10-year view.

Fred, you are such an f*cking idiot.

Who Do You Think You Are Kidding, Mister Johnson?

To the ‘Dad’s Army’ theme tune

Who do you think you are kidding, Mister Johnson
When you claim that you did all you could?
One hundred thousand excess deaths
So many were preventable.
From Chelten-ham to care homes
Your health policies were lamentable.
So who do you think you are kidding, Mister Hancock
If you think we don’t think you’re to blame?

Mister Brown goes off to town to ‘Eat Out and Get Covid’
Gives it to his nana, who then *guess what* dies of Covid.
So who do you think you are kidding, Mister Sunak
If you think we don’t think you’re to blame?

Who do you think you are kidding, Mister Johnson
When you say ‘we truly did everything we could’?
Crap PPE, crap Test & Trace
The airports left wide open.
Var-i-ants rampaging
There’s a gun and it is smoking.
So who do you think you are kidding, Mister Johnson?
There’s got be a public inquir-y.

Total Covid-19 deaths in UK to 6 February 2021 = 112,092

Total Covid-19 deaths in UK to 27 March 2021 = 150,000

Sign the petition calling for a public inquiry into the government’s handling of Covid-19 here (set up by Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice)

No. Deal. Brexit.

H/T Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol (1843)

Ebenezer Johnson! I am the Ghost of Christmas Past! You and your cronies keep forgetting your wild promises and bare-faced lies, so here’s a quick reminder: “We hold all the cards / easiest trade deal in history / exactly the same benefits as before / there’s no plan for no deal because we’re going to get a great deal / we have a deal with the EU that is ready to go, it is oven ready — you just put it in the microwave and there it is.”

*Johnson shrugs*

Ebenezer Johnson! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present! Just curious: are you leading the most incompetent, tactically inept and self-deluded government in our entire nation’s history, or were you planning no deal all along?

*Johnson shrugs*

Ebenezer Johnson! I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come! Pull back from the brink or the country’s f*cked.

*Johnson shrugs*

Cummings & Goings

Inspired by Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘Major-General’s Song’

I am the very model of a modern Human Wrecking Ball,
I’ve information personal and private and political,
I know the Kings of England and I quote the fights historical,
From Waterloo to Leave EU in order categorical.

I’m very well acquainted too, with matters philosophical,
I understand Herr Nietzsche, that old nihilist and radical.
About the will to power I am teeming with a lot o’news,
I reckon I’m a genius but I’m dumber than a doggy chew.

I’m very good at coming up with catchy three-word slogans
And giving juicy contracts to the favoured and the chosen.
In short, in matters populist, divisive and political
I am the very model of a modern Human Wrecking Ball.

Contemptuous, mendac-i-ous, dishonest and duplicitous,
I do whatever pleases me, my ego and ambitiousness.
I flout the Lockdown rules to take a stroll round Barnard Castle,
Stick a finger up at lesser folk because I am an arsehole.

And now I’ve been ejected from the vipers’ nest at Downing Street
The list of those who hated me was on its twenty-second sheet.
In short, in matters populist, divisive and political
I am the very model of a modern Human Wrecking Ball.

Special Relationship

Prime Minister, it’s time to phone President-elect Biden and offer him your congratulations.

Look, are you absolutely sure Biden’s won? No chance of Trump staging a comeback? We don’t want to blot our copybook — post-Brexit trade deal and all that.

Joe Biden has definitely won the American election, sir.

Bollocks. It’s just that… Obama thought it a trifle rude when I said he had an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire”. Didn’t understand I was joking. And apparently Joe’s got a long memory.

Sir, I’m sure he appreciated your robust failure to defend democratic processes following Trump’s attempts to stop the count.

Well, how could I know the way things would go?

Sir, that’s not the p… I’ll try to connect you now, sir.

*Brief conversation & awkward pause*

Sir, I’m afraid Mr Biden isn’t able to take your call, but he’s asked me to pass on a message.

Yes?

“Get to the back of the goddamn line.”

Lockdown

Conversation with Greg, proprietor of the Complete Care Emporium, which sells mobility and household aids to the elderly.

Boris? He’s an idiot.* If you ask me, herd immunity’s definitely the way to go.* Just let it spread among the fit and healthy and we’ll be fine.*

Gives middle-aged cough, pats beer belly.

No, the fact that herd immunity’s only ever been achieved with a vaccine (polio, measles, mumps) clearly hasn’t entered my head. It’s not as if other coronaviruses — say the common cold — keep going round and round every year, is it?

You’re right, I haven’t bothered to read up on the science. But let me tell you how much I enjoy going to the pub every Friday night* and how the first lockdown cramped my style.

The elderly? Well, you just need to shield them* and get on with it*, don’t you?

Shop door chimes and two ancient people dodder in*

Back in a tick. I just need to serve these at-risk customers who form the bulk of my clientele.

*Verbatim from actual conversation. 
Proprietor & shop name changed.

Maggie’s Ghost

I do still miss the old place. So I drop in every now and then to check things are running smoothly. Except they haven’t been lately, have they? Not since the Right Dishonourable member for Uxbridge and South Ruislip became Prime Minister.

I couldn’t believe my eyes tonight. The Conservative Party — my own beloved party — approving a bill that rides roughshod over the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement and BREAKS INTERNATIONAL LAW. The Lord Chancellor and the Law Officers of England and Wales voting AGAINST an amendment ‘requiring Ministers to respect the rule of law and uphold the independence of the Courts’. For shame!

What on earth has become of us? How can I look Ronnie, François and Helmut in the eye now? Our once great nation is a pariah state.

No, I shan’t ever forgive them. And nor should you.

The Internal Market Bill passed its third reading in the House of Commons on 29 September 2020: 340 votes to 256, a majority of 84.