Boris Does Karaoke

To the tune of Prince’s ‘1999’

I was pissed when I wrote this
Tier 4 restrictions gone astray
And when I woke up this morning
I knew it was your judgment day
Westminster sky all gloomy, people in intensive care
Trying to outrun virus droplets
Guess what, I don’t remotely care

I say: two thousand twenty Christmas lockdown’s coming, oops, out of time
But privately I party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine

Hungover when I wrote this, so sue me ‘cos I had a blast
Well, life is just a party and mask mandates aren’t meant to last
Vodka cocktails all around us, my mind is saying fuck ‘em all –
Let little people die alone as long as I can have a ball

I say: two thousand twenty Christmas lockdown’s coming, oops, out of time
But privately I party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine

Yeah, yeah, hey.

That’s right…
Paaaaaaaarty!

Sing it for your nation, y’all
Paaaaaaaarty!

Whatcha gonna do about it?
Paaaaaaaarty!

**********

‘Families’ fury at Boris Johnson’s ‘sickening’ boozy lockdown Christmas parties scandal’The Mirror, 1 December 2021.

Japanese Cheesecake

There’s three of them, all masked up in the doctor’s waiting room. Flu jab.

The Bloke is watching something with a violin soundtrack on his phone, and tells the others (because how often do you meet actual new people during a pandemic):

‘It’s a YouTube video on Japanese cheesecake. Looks lovely’.

Which leads to discussion about a really good chicken dish involving ginger, soy sauce and rice wine.

Lady 1 is called in for her jab.

The Bloke says to Lady 2:

‘Should have been a chef, not an accountant. Wanted to switch when I was 34, but they said it was too late’.

‘It’s never too late’, says Lady 2 encouragingly.

‘It is too late,’ he says. ‘Won’t ever have my own restaurant now.’

There’s a bit of a silence, then the Bloke gets called in for his jab.

‘Look up the Japanese cheesecake video, right?’

Lady 2 says she definitely will.

 

Daylight Robbery

Judge: ….we therefore sentence you to 30 days imprisonment for the crime of…

Robber: This is an outrage! I’m completely innocent!

Judge: My good man, you’ve just been found guilty by the court.

Robber: It’s a matter of interpretation, your Honour. I was simply being helpful by testing the security of the house in question.

Judge: You took half a million pounds worth of jewellery!

Robber: But I also fed the cat while I was there, which makes everything alright.

Judge: The verdict stands.

Robber: I don’t think so. If you won’t play ball, my Powerful Mate will have a special committee review your position and the structure of the courts.

Judge: So he’d sacrifice the rule of law just to overturn a 30-day sentence?

Robber: You’d better believe it – he’s not exactly squeaky clean himself, if you know what I mean. It’s a cracker of a plan. What could possibly go wrong?

‘Ex-PM John Major: Government handling of Paterson case shameful’: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-59188972

‘Boris Johnson sleaze crisis deepens amid pressure on Covid deals’: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/06/johnson-sleaze-crisis-deepens-amid-pressure-on-covid-deals

‘Boris suffers brutal poll blow with his ratings plunging to worst EVER in wake of sleaze shambles’: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10174163/Boris-suffers-sleaze-row-poll-blow-ratings-plunging-worst-EVER.html

Polski Blues

For only the second time, my mum has a European carer. Her name is Lena, she’s Polish and she’s lovely.

On Day 2, I show her our food stockpile. It’s because of Brexit and Covid, I say. Don’t want to run short.

Brexit? she says.

The UK leaving the EU, I say.

Is it something you like? she asks.

No, no, no, I say – a complete disaster.

Because, she says, some in Poland are not so happy in EU. We are a proud country with tradition, we are Catholic, so maybe better not?

Oh no, no, nooooo, I think, my stomach lurching.

I say: Lena, please please please learn from our mistake. Keep your freedom of movement; stay in the Single Market.

She looks blank.

Final shot: a new Daily Mail poll in which just 36% said they’d still vote out.

Why, I ask, have so many changed their minds?

For the first time she looks thoughtful.

That, she says, is a good question.

Ebenezer Visa

1 October 2021. We asked 6,238 European HGV drivers in motorway cafés throughout Poland, France, Germany and Spain:

“Will you be applying for an Ebenezer Visa?”

The visa would magnanimously allow EU truckers to rescue the UK from the supply chain mess it has created by leaving the Single Market and abolishing freedom of movement. The visa is granted on the strict understanding that if Stanislaus, Michel, Andreas and Carlos don’t “go home” by 24 December they will be forcibly removed.

A cautious examination of the results indicates that the UK is not the desirable work destination its government imagines it to be.

UPDATE: 2 October 2021. “Emergency visa scheme extended in major U-turn by Boris Johnson: Threat of Christmas being ruined by driver shortages forces ministers to expand range and duration of visas”

You Free?

Forget it, Nick, you won’t change my mind – I’ll never regret voting Leave. Our freedom from EU tyranny is priceless!

Nuff said, Gary. You free tonight? Fancy a game of darts down the Badger’s Arse?

Well, I’ve got a few things to sort out, like getting petrol cos FOR SOME REASON our usual petrol station’s run out, so I need to drive over to Lichfield to tank up… And then Trish wants to go to Morrison’s in Birmingham cos FOR SOME REASON the Weetabix, fish cakes, pizza, toothpaste and baby wipes didn’t come with the online shop. And get this, she wants to see if she can get a turkey now – in September! – cos FOR SOME REASON she thinks there’ll be a shortage at Christmas. Women, eh?

Soooooo, I take it you’re not free?

No.

And you don’t think any of this is down to Brex—

NO.

Queue Jumper

The man saunters into the post office. He stands opposite one of the counters, adjacent to the head of the queue. There are five people waiting, neatly spaced at two metre intervals.

He lets Bakery Lady go up with her takings while he pretends to look at his phone.

Post Office Lady spots him and says: d’you want the post office? the queue’s by there.

He widens his eyes, all exaggerated innocence: oooooh, didn’t realise, been waiting fifteen minutes, you don’t mind do you?

This last addressed to Translator Lady, who’s next in the queue. She bloody well does mind, but what can she do, because he’s already sidled in front of her, and he isn’t wearing a mask. But sweet Jesus, she has murder in her heart.

He stands there smugly, while waves of loathing roll towards him from Post Office Lady and the whole of the queue. King of the Castle, the Guy Everyone F*cking Hates.

Inbox full

It’s a long time ago now, so I’ll come clean. I was the one who went to the press.

To be frank, we were operating in chaos. Kabul had fallen in a day, the Taliban were putting crosses on doors, and Raab was sunning himself in Crete. Things weren’t much better once he got back. Those Johnson loyalists were bloody awful at the job.

The tipping point? The PM’s ghastly Thick of It walkabout at the Foreign Office. And of course the emails themselves.

A junior minister had asked me, almost as an aside, to “take a quick look” at the Operation Pitting account for MPs trying to evacuate Afghans. What greeted me was an entire week’s worth of unopened emails. Over FIVE THOUSAND of them! Just sitting there as the clock ticked down.

I’ve no regrets. I still feel a burning sense of shame for the lives we could have saved. There was a total moral vacuum at the heart of that government.

‘Revealed: Foreign Office ignored frantic pleas to help Afghans’ (28 Aug 2021): https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/28/revealed-foreign-office-ignored-pleas-help-afghans-mps-evacuation

‘Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab blasted for cringe photo op at Afghanistan crisis centre’ (28 Aug 2021): https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/boris-johnson-dominic-raab-blasted-24858600

MPs trying to rescue more than 7,000 people trapped in Afghanistan (31 Aug 2021): https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2021/aug/30/mps-trying-to-rescue-more-than-7000-people-trapped-in-afghanistan

Lost in Translation

Phone transcript: Foreign Office Flunky to the Rt. Hon. Dominic Raab, Amirandes Hotel, Crete – Friday 13 August 2021.

Foreign Office Flunky: Sir, we reckon Kabul’s about to fall.

Raab: You’re telling me why?

FOF: Erm… You’re head of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, sir. We need you to request top-level assistance from the Afghan foreign minister so we can get our interpreters out.

Raab: I thought everyone used Google Translate these days.

FOF: No, sir. Our interpreters do far more than translate, sir. Their cultural knowledge and diplomacy are vital to the work and safety of our troops. That’s why the risk of Taliban reprisals is sky-high and we need you to…

Raab: …yes, yes. Look, just delegate it, OK? Try Zac – they love a Lord.

FOF: But sir, time’s of the absolute essence.

Raab: It most certainly is. Happy Hour’s ticking away here!

Be there in a sec, darling. Make mine a Bloody Mary!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9906319/Dominic-Raab-busy-holiday-help-brave-translators.html, 18 August 2021

Clive Lewis, ‘I saw Afghan interpreters translate so much more than words’, The Guardian, 6 August 2021

Write to your MP: https://www.safepassage.org.uk/write-to-your-mp

Pingdemic

pingdemic, noun; see also pandemic

This term surfaced in the UK media during the third wave of the COVID pandemic, and referred to the wildly increased number of NHS COVID app notifications—or ‘pings’—instructing individuals to self-isolate after coming into contact with an infected person. The term featured extensively in newspaper headlines such as ‘Fears over shortages as stores hit by pingdemic’ (The Times, 22 July 2021), and implied that ‘pings’ were responsible for retail staffing crises rather than the 40,000 daily new cases following Prime Minister Johnson’s wholesale lifting of COVID restrictions. This was much like suggesting a smoke alarm be blamed for a house burning down, as opposed to the actual fire or the fire brigade failing to show up. The origin of the term is unclear. Most likely a pun-loving journo after a very boozy lunch.

From Covidiot to Zoombombing: Lexicon of a Pandemic (Oxford 2027), p. 182.