Mrs Santa: FFS, why did you let him go?
Elf: You know how he is. Once he’d heard that 3000 truckers were stranded without supplies, there was no stopping him. Said we were all in the same line of work and needed to stick together. He’s disguised himself as Nico, a Dutch haulier with a consignment of food and portaloos.
Mrs Santa: You don’t think that the sleigh and reindeer will give him away?
Elf: Um… Not sure he’s really thought things through.
Mrs Santa: Damn right. You do realise that Kent is the epicentre of the mutant Covid strain they’ve let run riot? That there have been nearly 80,000 deaths on Plague Island already? That Santa is a corpulent, wheezy old man in the very highest risk category? What do you reckon his odds are right now?
Elf: *miserable silence*
Mrs Santa: Prep the helicopter. We’re going in.
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.”
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?
Ebenezer Johnson! I am the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come! Pull back from the brink or the country’s f*cked.
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.
24 October 2020
Jeffrey, could you bring us up to speed on AMVCP Committee activities?
Certainly, Steve. As you all know, the AMVCP’s remit is to Alienate as Many Voters as Comprehensively as Possible. And I must say that we’ve done a sterling job this month. Our lacklustre Job Support and SEISS schemes, along with the PM’s warning of a no-deal Brexit, have thoroughly pissed off the UK’s business and self-employed sectors. Using Manchester’s Tier 3 finance negotiations to take Mayor Burnham down a few pegs has also successfully enraged Red Wall voters. And our triumphant vote against ‘freebie’ school meals has resonated with almost everyone, burnishing our reputation as callous shits. Our reintroduction of VAT on face masks as the pandemic rages is but the icing on the cake… You have a question, lowly intern?
Um, yes… Wouldn’t it actually be better to keep our voters onside?
*Uproarious laughter gives way to thoughtful silence*
Deloitte recruiter to job applicant:
DR: Congratulations! You’ve got the job.
JA: That’s amazing! Thank you so much!
DR: One small clarification. When I say ‘the job’, I don’t mean the finance position you applied for originally. That’s gone. But we do have some vacancies in our Lighthouse labs.
JA: But… Don’t they process Covid tests? What’s that got to do with accountancy?
DR *brightly*: Well, we’re making shedloads of money from fat cat government contracts, with the promise of plenty more to come.
JA: No, I mean why am I, a qualified accountant, being offered a job in a lab?
DR: There’s a bit of a backlog.
JA: But I wouldn’t know what to do!
DR: You’re really being far too modest. *Looks at notes*. It says here you’ve got Biology GCSE Grade D. If anything you’re over-qualified for this shambolic, outsourced mess. Welcome to Deloitte!
In all honesty, Monday was a real low. Sure, we knew we were going to lose given the parliamentary maths, but it still hurt watching Tory after Tory vote our amendments down. I mean, why wouldn’t you want to stop the NHS being part of any future trade deal? Or keep chlorinated chicken off our tables? No, don’t answer that.
I know what you’re going to say. Why bother. Because, mate, we’re playing a long game. We forced them to show their hand; now their votes are on public record. Ammunition for when the election comes round.
Apart from this fine glass of Belgian beer, there’s a Rebecca Solnit quote that’s keeping me going. ‘Your opponents would love you to believe that it’s hopeless, that you can’t win. But hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.’
Amen and cheers to that.
25 June 2020. Stan ‘Stats’ Robinson works in the bowels of a government building. He’s been number crunching for years, but this pandemic’s something else. Now he gets how data can mean the difference between life and death.
Leicester thinks it might have a new outbreak. It’s been pleading for updates for days. But he’s been under strict instructions to withhold Pillar 2 — the results of testing outsourced to firms like Deloitte. Some half-baked crap about ‘data ownership’. And that means the city’s been in the dark about 90% of its new cases.
Stan was finally allowed to send the info this morning, but he hates that he was part of this shameful delay.
Scrolling on Twitter, he sees the latest Covid figures from the Financial Times. It’s got a stats team after his own heart, using data to tell it like it is.
He leaves the office early, whistling a little tune. Then he calls the FT.