Showing posts with label Covid-19. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Covid-19. Show all posts

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Did Boris Johnson Really Do His Best? Or Am I Living Among the Walking Braindead?

 

"I truly did my best!" Boris Johnson says with very sorry eyes.

 "Never mind, you tried your hardest and that's what matters," they reply.

Yeah, one hundred thousand innocent people are dead due to Tory greed and incompetence. Poor Boris.

My God, I don't know what to say here. I really don't. One hundred thousand innocent people are dead (more than a packed Wembley Stadium) and this is the crap my fellow countrymen and women are coming out with. I'm at a loss.

Remember when Donald Trump said he could shoot a person on Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters? Well, that's you people, you're the British, sorry English equivalent. Boris Johnson just shot one hundred thousand people on Oxford Street and you're mad at how Jeremy Corbyn wore his poppy that one time.

Well, hopefully not all of you.

I need you to tell me you're not one of them. That you're not one of the walking braindead. That you can see reason. Because right now, I'm wondering what I ever did to deserve to be born into a country of dangerous idiots. Of lemmings jumping off a cliff at the behest of the funny buffoon man with the silly haircut. Because that's who we should be taking leadership from in a crisis. A cartoon character.

Dear God, help me escape idiot island. Is New Zealand accepting refugees?

"At least Corbyn's not in charge!" they bellow, almost gleefully, like the man who demanded we lock down on 15th March 2019 and pursue a "zero-Covid strategy" that's worked so well in other countries would have done worse. 

Worse than the worst death rate in the world? Worse than the worst economic recession? Worse than £22 billion to Serco and God knows how much to other dodgy contractors? There are times you need to stop and ask yourself, have I been brainwashed? Now is one of those times.

HINT: If you read the newspapers, you're probably not getting your information from credible sources here. You're more likely getting it from people willing to kill your grandma so they can go for a family day out. From people who think your niece with asthma doesn't matter because she has an "underlying health condition". 

Of course, you may actually be thinking along those lines too, in which case you've not been brainwashed, you're just a psychopath. Worse, you're a traitor.

Ironic, isn't it? The people who love to talk about patriotism are always the first to sacrifice our own people so they can live in a little extra comfort. The real patriots, of course, are the ones who love the people in this country, who are prepared to take the pain to protect even those they've never met. Even the dumb ones who voted Tory!

That's why I'm quite prepared to endure another lockdown, even though I'm surrounded by three kids 24/7 and honestly at the brink of losing my damn mind while suffering from long Covid and crippling back pain and finding myself in a purgatory where even my one outlet - writing - is mostly denied to me. The only reason I'm writing this now is because I somehow got the kids to sleep without too much fuss and I'm furiously typing in an adrenaline-fuelled rage before I collapse and pass out some time in the next 15 minutes and then return to the tedium of being teacher/child juggler all day again tomorrow with absolutely no let up. 

Hell, I'm desperate for the kids to return to school. So fucking desperate. There are so many things I could be doing, if only I was child-free, even with my shitty health issues and constant brain fog. I would love for lockdown to be lifted, but I'm not asking for that. Why?

Because I care about my fellow human beings. I care that the new Covid strain - the Johnson strain - is infecting more people. I care that it's more contagious. I care that it's taking more lives. I care that children might suffer the worst from long Covid. I care that even young, healthy people are now filling intensive care units. I care that old, frail people are dying at such a rate, the pensions bill has been reduced by £600 million. And I'm fucking terrified that I live in a country where some people are seeing that as a win. £600 million you say? Marvellous!

"We will have the kids back at school by March!" Johnson says while thinking up a get-out clause for private schools.

"Yeah, you better bloody had!" Starmer replies, under the misunderstanding his role as LOTO is to out-Tory the Tories.

"March isn't soon enough!" the sociopaths cry, suspending their heckling of NHS staff to turn their attention back to "lazy activist teachers" who are dying at twice the rate of other people in their respective age groups. But who gives a crap about them? I want to eat some shite food at Wetherspoons.

We're up to 1,700 deaths a day. "But Corbyn's a terrorist supporter!" they insist as we have a 9/11 every 36 hours. They love talking about national security, but they hate keeping our nation secure.

The infuriating thing is how this is all so self-defeating. This arrogance, this hostility to science, this complete and utter indifference to the plight of our most vulnerable citizens.

If we had listened to Corbyn, if we had locked down earlier and harder, not only could we have stamped this out quicker, saving countless lives, but we could now be seeing a stronger performance for their precious economy and we wouldn't be facing such draconian lockdown rules. They chose to sacrifice lives rather than their own freedom and bank balance, instead they've sacrificed all three.

But we're the loony lefties.

Starmer fans are nodding in agreement as they wear t-shirts saying, "Grown up in the room" because they're so grown up, they only want to half-ignore the science. Or at least their cult leader does.

But at least it's not Jeremy Corbyn! I mean that free broadband idea was so stupid when one in three kids can't access home schooling because they have no internet. So glad that lot helped put Johnson in charge. Honestly, it was Corbyn who cost us the red wall, not the PV brigade. And now all us northerners are being rewarded for switching allegiance with things like 60% furlough (remember that?) and 50% reduced vaccine stock because All Lives Matter, but southern lives matter more. 

Also, I'm pretty sure Johnson is still planning to starve the kids at half-term (or has he changed his mind yet?) and every kid where I live is on free school meals so that means every kid will be starving. All in the name of sovereignty.

At least we saved our fishing industry though... Hang on, no we didn't.

Thankfully, working class children can't actually feel hunger. Or human emotion. Us plebs just like to whine about these things because it's a hobby to us. Plus, it's all our fault Britain is doing so badly because we are simultaneously demanding lockdown be extended while flocking around to massive house parties, apparently. Where are these parties exactly? Because I haven't bloody been invited.

Anyways, I'm not letting you all off the hook here. I need to say that if you still support Johnson after all that's happened, you're dangerous. Really fucking dangerous. And your idiot vote comes with consequences. As in a lot of very full morgues. 

Please pull your head out your arse, take a look at reality and try to give a crap about your fellow human beings because honestly, you're exhausting, and if you're mad at me for being mad at you, just remember Johnson is mad at you too. In fact, he's blaming everything on you. Whatever you do, don't forget that according to him, it's all your fault!

Lack of PPE? Your fault.

Delayed first lockdown? Your fault.

Premature end to lockdown? Your fault.

Refusal to have circuit breaker? Your fault.

Eat out to help out? Your fault.

Repeatedly starving kids? Your fault.

No test and trace? Your fault.

Overcrowded non-essential workplaces? Your fault.

Constantly changing and woefully inconsistent rules? Your fault.

Lack of ventilators in ICU? Your fault.

Johnson hiding in fridges? Your fault.

Everything's your fault, according to Johnson. And if you voted for him, I kind of agree.

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Thursday, 31 December 2020

2020: The Year the Tories Let 83,000 People Die, Unopposed by Labour

So 2020, eh? What a shit year! I haven't felt a what-the-fuck-was-that reaction like that since Westlife released their debut album in 1999 and I was subsequently forced to listen to it on repeat play for weeks on end (don't ask).  

Anyways, before we go any further, I must congratulate everyone who managed to survive the Tory government this year. That was quite a feat. 

These Tory fuckers really have done their damnedest to cut the benefits bill by letting as many of our citizens die as possible. In a spectacular display of sheer audacity, they even tried starving the school kids - and next year, Priti Patel plans to reinstate the death penalty. Pretty sure that's to execute lefties, rather than children, and anyone who's not productive enough in the workhouses coming soon to a working class town near you. Probably.

So yeah, where do we even begin with this shit year? 

How about the beginning, when we were still reeling from Blue Labour's devastating election victory over their own fucking party. Let's make no mistake, it was Sir Keith Starmer and his neoliberal buddies who slammed our most vulnerable citizens into Boris Johnson's twisted version of this Tory nightmare. 

Jeremy Corbyn had the nerve to almost become Prime Minister, not just in 2017, but also 2019 when May's Brexit deal fell flat on its arse, and Blue Labour punished him by ensuring their own supporters had another five years of Tory rule. Utter cnuts.

January 2020 was a month I mostly spent away from social media, kind of in a daze, wondering where the hell we on the left even go from here. Defeat was unthinkable because we knew it meant more good people dying, and we weren't fucking wrong, were we? But I don't think any of us, even in our worst nightmares, thought things would get this bad.

I remember hearing about the scary coronavirus emerging in China, and at the time, I thought it was just the bird/swine flu situation all over again. I honestly thought it would blow over quickly, but here's where I differed from our complacent Tory government: I paid attention to the science and soon began to realise I was wrong. The scientists quickly  identified how contagious and dangerous this thing was, and they warned us to stock up on PPE, ventilators, etc. Also, let's not forget a government report from a couple of years ago found we were woefully unprepared for the next pandemic, which was always an inevitability.

A pandemic was one of the biggest threats to national security and the government knew it.

But the Tories, who love to bang on about national security, decided not to take national security seriously at all. They went with more austerity, even in the face of the biggest threat to our nation since the rise of the Nazis. You see, Tories only care about national security if it means bombing brown people to steal their resources and make profit. They don't give a fuck about the kind of security response that costs them money and in all honesty, they'd rather we paid with our lives. 

Our national security is a business to the Tories. Our very safety has been commodified.

And what makes all this even worse is the brass neck of these fuckers. When Iran's leaders were getting infected, they were using this as proof positive that Iran is a banana republic with a leadership that needs to be overthrown. When Italy was in crisis and under lockdown, they openly mocked them and sneered at how bad they let things get over there. All the while, our scientists were saying we were three weeks behind, and that if we didn't lockdown immediately, we would be hit as hard, if not harder than Italy, Spain, and other countries that were struggling.

The Tories had clear warning and they had an international scientific consensus that immediate lockdown was necessary. So what did they do? Allow the Cheltenham Festival to go ahead and welcome thousands of football fans into Liverpool from Madrid, knowing it was one of the worst hit cities in Europe. Meanwhile, they weren't even bothering to stock up on PPE and ventilators.

At best, you could say this chaos came about because the Tories didn't want to dip into their pockets. At worst, you could say this was a fantastic opportunity to slash the benefits bill, by culling citizens who were not useful to capitalism. This was a virus disproportionately affecting the elderly, frail, disabled, and the impoverished. And who gives a fuck about a socialist city like Liverpool in the north of England? Not Johnson, I reckon.

Remember the words "take it on the chin" from the Prime Minister when speaking to Phil and Holly on This Morning? Yes, our prime minister actually told us to take a pandemic on the chin. He got way with it though, because when he wasn't lazing on a beach in Mustique or dodging Cobra meetings or banging one of his mistresses or having a fake baby the size of a teenager or hiding in fridges, he was getting infected with Covid-19 to gain public sympathy.

Imagine fucking up at work so badly you actually kill thousands of people, but you shoot yourself in the foot in the process and say "poor me." That's Boris Johnson.

Now, how about that chilling phrase "herd immunity" from Dominic Cummings, which was met with horror from the government's own SAGE scientists. And let's not forget Cummings had no business whatsoever being at those SAGE meetings, let alone playing a role in decision making. He had no scientific background and he was not even a government minister. It's fair to say the Tories could not have made a worse choice, if they'd put Dr Mengele in charge of this shit. 

The infection and mortality rates were public knowledge at this point and people were calculating herd immunity meant in excess of 500,000 people dying. Oh, how we were mocked, even as scientists backed up our concerns. And then the pandemic hit our shores...

I'd been toying with the idea of pulling the kids out of school, and made the decision to do that on Friday 13th March when, as luck would have it, we all got infected. The kids expectedly shrugged the coronavirus off, but not me - nine months of long Covid and counting - that's breathlessness, fatigue, and strange reactions to foods I used to be able to eat without problem. 

20% of the infected go on to experience long Covid, and we might never be the same again, but our pain is clearly worth it, as long as Julia Hartley-Brewer doesn't have to stay indoors. Blitz spirit and all that.

Obviously, the infection numbers skyrocketed in March and the government realised they could no longer get away with ignoring science, so we locked down. That was quite nice actually, apart from being really tragic and terrifying. I got to sit in my garden and enjoy rare sunshine as a lack of cars on the road cleared our skies. It was so tranquil and poignant, just sitting and pondering the collapse of modern society. I remember thinking I hope capitalism never recovers - that's definitely one casualty I would gladly accept. But those Tory bastards were never going to give us Universal Basic Income and build a society around need, rather than want, no matter what.

It wasn't long until the Tories furiously denied herd immunity was ever their policy, and that it honestly wasn't their fault health workers were wearing PPE that was five years out of date and didn't fucking work. Imagine sending soldiers into battle without rifles during World War 2. That's what the bastard Tories did to our health workers during the pandemic. How did they ever get away with this shit? How does Boris Johnson still have a job after this scandal? How isn't he in prison?

As if the Tories weren't already taking the piss, Dominic Cummings decided to breach his own lockdown rules to drive across the country and stay at a cottage on his parents' farm, then test his failing eyesight by driving to Barnard Castle while sick from Covid with his children in the back. His family even got out the car and had a walk while they were sick - they actually chose to cause a super-spreader event so they could see a tourist attraction! Anyone else would've got a massive fine and been sacked from their job, but not Dominic. He was being a good parent, apparently, by risking his children's, and the public's, lives. My God.

But it gets better. 

Journalist Alex Tiffin conducted an investigation and broke the story that the cottage on the Cummings' farm lacked planning permission and was overdue about £30,000-£50,000 in council tax. It was the scoop of the year, and yet when the mainstream media jumped on the story, they decided not to bother giving Alex credit. Even worse, Cummings' council tax bill was written off by the government! They gave tens of thousands of pounds to one of their mates for no reason whatsoever, but they've made a habit of that, this year. If that cottage belonged to an ordinary person, it would have faced a demolition order, but the rules don't apply to the Tories. They never have.

At this point, the Tories decided to start treating the pandemic as a free-for-all and hand out contracts to companies with no expertise in a particular field, often without tender, while paying way over the odds. Remember when they asked Dyson to start building ventilators, despite their complete lack of expertise in that field? And who can forget how they handed over £12 billion to Serco to build a test and trace app, under the watch of the woeful Dido Harding. Ireland paid £870,000 for their app and it actually worked. Ours didn't work, and we ended up with a much higher death toll as a result - even Northern Ireland which shares the same landmass as the Republic of Ireland was hit much harder.

While the Tories were fleecing the tax-payer and spending twenty times more money than the "unaffordable" Labour manifesto would've cost, and getting nothing to show for it, apart from failure and death, they decided they wouldn't feed the kids during the school holidays. These kids being the children of families expected to survive on less than minimum wage in a pandemic.

Step forward the leader of the opposition. 

No, not Keith! That useless dickhead was too busy agreeing with the Tories, and insulting Black Lives Matter as they toppled slaver statues, and siding with the racist bullies in his party, and risking bankrupting Labour while paying off Panorama "whistle blowers," even though his lawyers said they would likely win the court case. No wonder 60,000 people have walked out of the Labour Party - its leadership fucking hates them.

The real leader of the opposition is actually Marcus Rashford MBE who was honoured by the Queen for taking the same position Jeremy Corbyn was vilified for. He demanded we feed the kids. He used his huge platform to speak out and gained public support by remembering his roots and campaigning for the kids growing up in the same struggle he was fortunate enough to escape. 

Marcus Rashford is the best kind of rich person - the kind who actually gives a shit. Scientists have confirmed there are only about four of his kind in the entire world so we really should treasure him. If I had my way, he would be prime minister, but our dumb electorate only votes for people who despise them. Go figure.

Lockdown thankfully helped us get the infection rate under control, albeit at massive human cost. We have the worst death toll in Europe at 83,000 excess deaths, despite having had the longest warning and best information on how to act. 

Thankfully, we have leading epidemiologists like Denise Welch acting like we can just go back to normal now. Denise has been one of the true victims in this pandemic because she's had to stay indoors so her fellow countrymen and women don't die agonising deaths. Poor Denise.

One of the more hilarious aspects of this whole mess was how anti-maskers and conspiracy theorists who've been terrified of staying indoors, have kept banging on about "blitz spirit". We used to send men into the trenches and tell them to walk through minefields with bullets flying towards them. 

You snowflakes would've switched the lights on during blackout because your freedom mattered more than your compatriots being blown to pieces. Fucking blitz spirit? You lot invited the Nazis into our country and pointed them to your neighbours. It's just in this case the Nazis came in the form of a virus.

On a happier note, July saw our friend and comrade Jane Heybroek defeat Rachel Riley and Tracy-Ann Oberman in court, after the pair had sued Jane for libel. They agreed to settle the case and pay a substantial sum towards Jane's costs, showing that not everyone on the left gets priced out of justice. This was incidentally our biggest news story of the year and it cheered me up no end. You can read more here.

So, during a period of madness when one of our princes was fending off paedophilia claims and the Tories were doing their level best to do everything wrong, Sir Keith Starmer was broadly agreeing with them while focusing on the real enemy - socialists. He was purging socialists from the socialist Labour Party, kicking the Labour leaks report into the long grass, and suspending the previous leader and most decent human being in the country, Jeremy Corbyn. All the while, he was taking the worst possible positions on those rare occasions when he chose not to sit on the fence.

Who could forget Starmer insisting he wanted children to return to school in September, "no ifs, not buts" when every creature more sentient than an amoeba knew this was not a good idea? Fast forward three months and Starmer was aghast we had to cancel Christmas due to the second wave he helped usher in! The man really is a danger. This is the same fellow who abstained on bills which violated our human rights, like the infamous "spy cops bill", knowing it gave police the right to not only spy on us, but break the law with impunity. 

Starmer couldn't possibly have voted against such a bill because he wanted to win back "trust". The trust of who? Fascists? Sociopaths? Rupert Murdoch?

Come the end of the year, Starmer was all set to not abstain for a change! Hilariously, he whipped his MPs to vote for a 1200-page hard-Brexit bill he couldn't possibly have read properly. Twelve months ago, People's Vote was so important to Starmer, he was willing to jeopardise Labour's general election chances, and when the opportunity arose to get his stupid PV, he and the Liberal Democrats decided they couldn't possibly make Jeremy Corbyn interim PM to accomplish this. He screwed the FBPE cult over then, and he's screwing them over now.

And today, we're seeing queues of trucks tens of miles long at Dover as France closes its borders to us idiots on Plague Island. This is only the start as well. Expect things to get so much worse.

For four years, FBPE told us remaining in the EU came before anything else. Now their leader has voted for a hard Brexit Jeremy Corbyn could and would have prevented. They had the nerve to call Corbyn a Brexiteer, even though he didn't vote for the bill because it didn't satisfy Labour's six tests. But Starmer dropped those six tests just as easily as he dropped his ten pledges, and the result is FBPE are all inadvertent Brexiteers now. Oh the irony!

What this mess means is we can expect a 2021 which should be even worse than 2020. A Brexit-Covid apocalypse with food shortages and mass unemployment in a fascist police state. But at least Starmer's lot stopped Jeremy Corbyn, eh?

Do you plan to specialise in rat catching or pigeon trapping next year? Or will you just starve?

Our single ray of light, our only hope is Jeremy Corbyn's Peace and Justice Project, and we owe it to ourselves to turn that into a Peace and Justice Party in 2021. Corbyn has said that's not in his plans, but just wait until Starmer expels him from Labour and the mass walkouts go to the next level. 

We've seen the Jeremy Corbyn legal fund raise incredible sums this year when he was facing the threat of libel action, and we've seen tremendous excitement about his most recent project. The public appetite for Corbyn to act is incredible. And if he no longer feels up to the long-term fight, he can at least set the ball rolling and make way for a new leader in a year or two. We just need that figurehead to get started, that person who can attract members in their hundreds of thousands.

We on the left have one hell of a fight on our hands and we desperately need a rallying point. The Peace and Justice Party could well be it.

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Saturday, 19 December 2020

Xmas Cancelled in SouthEast: Starmer Furious That Johnson Did What He Told Him To

Sir Keith Starmer has expressed his fury that Boris Johnson cancelled Christmas in the southeast of England as a direct result of schools reopening in September (which Keith told him to do). 

A Labour spokesman explained: "We didn't mean that crap about 'no ifs, no buts.' Our focus groups told us to appeal to right-wing dickheads to score a few cheap political points. We didn't think in our wildest nightmares Johnson would be stupid enough to listen to us." 

(Note: I may have slightly paraphrased there.)

So there you have it, Captain Hindsight knew what the right thing to do was all along. He just told the government to do the exact opposite because optics are much more important than principles for Blue Labour, even if it means a few teachers might get sick or die. I have no polite words for these people.

But let's not let the Tories off the hook here because let's face it, they've been completely and utterly useless this year. Dangerous, in fact. 

I still can't believe Tory voters let Johnson cancel Christmas just because they didn't want Jeremy Corbyn to give them free broadband. Especially when you consider they've been screaming for the last 20 years that lefties are trying to "cancel Christmas!" They're a confused bunch, Tory voters. But to be fair, most of them struggle to see past the end of their bank balances. Or their racism.

So here we are, with Europe's highest death toll, with a totally avoidable second wave while New Zealand is back to normal, having seen about 25-ish deaths, thanks to the socialist leadership of Jacinda Ardern. God, I fucking love her! Please don't tell my wife.

The southeast has been put into Tier 4, and don't ask me what that means because I'm no journalist, I'm just an idiot blogger and I really can't be arsed to check. Is anyone keeping up with the rules these days? I just know that if you are put in Tier 4 and try to visit relatives at Christmas, you can get in trouble with the police, so please don't. Plus, don't bother making plans if you're in Tier 3 because you'll probably be put in Tier 4 on Christmas Eve, about three hours before midnight... 

"Don't be silly, they wouldn't do that!"

Really? Well, they did it to Muslims about three hours before Eid, but in fairness to the Tories that was probably because they see Muslims as second class humans. Then again, they see most of us as second class humans, especially us council estate dwellers.

What a way to end the worst year in living memory, eh? Not content with needlessly killing our vulnerable citizens for capital interests, inflicting "long covid" on 20% of sufferers, haemorrhaging (took me six attempts to spell that correctly) jobs,  and completely and utterly decimating NHS services, they haven't let many of us get together for Christmas. They really have given us the worst of all worlds. 

Merry Christmas everyone (Tories excluded!)

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Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Starmer Abstains on Horrendous Tier Bill, but Corbyn Does the Right Thing Again

Tonight MPs voted on new, tougher tier proposals from the Tory government to prevent a third Covid-19 wave. While tougher action would certainly be welcome, some would argue the proposals simply do not go far enough. Plus, they are inherently unfair and the support packages are woefully insufficient. 

For example, pubs which are no longer allowed to serve food will get a one-off payment of £1000, which would not cover their bills for a month. Without further action, we could be looking at mass closures in the areas which are facing the harshest measures.

Surely, Covid-19 measures should be the same throughout the nation. You would certainly expect the leader of the opposition to make that argument. If the government is failing to adequately protect the public, it's the job of LOTO to step in and argue for an alternative. Someone really should explain this to Starmer.

In the end, only 78 MPs voted against the proposals, but not all were heroes - some 55 were Tories - mostly nutjobs who want no action to be taken at all. It's safe to say the Tories were revolting, in both senses of the word.

Jeremy Corbyn was, of course, one of the few Labour MPs to do the right thing and vote against the plan. He was joined by some colleagues from the Socialist Campaign Group. Here are the other Labour MPs who took a stand:

For all the SCG's faults, at least a few of them still know how to vote on principle. Starmer certainly doesn't. Some would argue he does not know what his principles are yet. A cynic might suggest his principles are conservative and the best way he could support the Tories was to sit this one out, like he does on every contentious vote where human rights are at stake. It seems human rights are not the type of thing a Blue Labour leader should take a stand on, but to be fair, Starmer has more pressing issues like purging socialists from a socialist party.

It's certainly worth mentioning that if Starmer wasn't supporting the Tory farce from the beginning, we would never have found ourselves in this mess. Countries like New Zealand acted strongly and avoided the catastrophe we are facing, but Starmer would prefer not to embarrass the government by pointing this out. He would rather support them while people are dying - 72,000 and rising. 

Here's me thinking meaningful opposition meant opposing government failure, but what do I know? I'm just a loony leftie. Silly me.

Starmer actually ordered his MPs to abstain, saying he recognised restrictions needed to continue, but he was "far from convinced" the new system will work. Absolutely fucking useless.

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Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Tories Don't Give a Fuck About the North

Tories don't give a fuck about the north.

Those words could almost be considered a northern proverb, given how they've been etched into our psyche. We lived through the Thatcher years and saw our industries destroyed. We saw the union movement crushed and we saw mass unemployment and poverty as a result. We also saw complete and utter indifference to our plight from the privileged few whose wealth we created. 

For so long, we were the industrial backbone of this country, and yet we were left to rot when we were no longer needed. This is why it was so galling to see the red wall fall to the Tories at the 2019 general election. How could this possibly have been allowed to happen?

Well, the reason was simple: too many up north were convinced the European Union and immigration were the cause of our problems, rather than the people who've ruled over us for a decade. We'd been left behind by Thatcherism, and as our living standards continued to fall, we foolishly allowed the blame to be placed elsewhere. We were sucker-punched and we really should've known better. It was collective amnesia.

Now let's be clear: this blog post is not a call for a return to the European Union. 

As much as I think that might be for the best (even though I'm no EU fanboy), it's not going to happen and we have to accept that now. Indeed, if Labour had accepted the Brexit result at the last general election, Jeremy Corbyn might've been Prime Minister, but unfortunately the Brylcreemed Knight of FBPE ensured that didn't happen because he wanted to inflict his own brand of conservatism on us. And now he's completely silent about hard Brexit...

It's true that we were manipulated into leaving the EU, but we were also manipulated into voting against the one party that had our backs. Corbyn's Labour. Even worse, we allowed that party to be destroyed and replaced with the Tory B team who think all the north really needs is more racism. That would be Blue Labour. What a fucking mess...

So here's where we're at: 

We have a multi-tiered Covid lockdown system designed to hit the north hard, devastate Labour seats and completely screw over those red wall towns that switched to the Tories while allowing Tory heartlands to continue as normal. The Tory system will place the north in Tier 3 with absolutely minimal support, meaning businesses will collapse and we'll relive the 1980s and 90s all over again, when much of the north was reduced to wasteland and my hometown saw the Meadowwell Riots

That's where we're heading. It's a fucking nightmare.

Tier 3 lockdown rules are a confusing mess that I can't be arsed to list, let alone make sense of, but they will do little-to-nothing to stop the spread of Covid. Recent evidence shows transmission rates in schools are tens of times higher than in the wider community, yet schools remain open, and we savages up north will get the blame when Tier 3 completely fails.

I hear there's going to be a judicial review into whether this Tier 3 bollocks is even legal, given the lack of scientific evidence to support it, and the government's shocking lack of planning.

Manchester's Labour Mayor Andy Burnham (and even some Tory MPs and councillors) begged, pleaded with the government for £90 million in support for their city. Boris Johnson's response was to drop the original offer of £60 million to £22 million which works out at £8 per head! He basically kicked Burnham, and the working class, in the nuts.

To put this in perspective, £22 million is 0.183% of the £12 billion the Tories gave their mates at Serco for the broken track and trace app.

Let's not forget, Ireland built a working app for about £800,000. 

That's not a typo. The Tories spent 15,000 times more money on a broken track and trace app than Ireland did on a working app. They gave £12 billion to their mates at Serco who have a string of failures but keep getting government contracts, and they said "Fuck you" to Andy Burnham who asked for less than 1/500th of what Serco got paid, so he could help struggling people and small businesses survive. 

And 1/500th is not a typo either. 

Andy Burnham asked for the equivalent of Serco's pocket change and the Tories told him where to go. Even worse, they spitefully dropped their original offer of £60 million to £22 million for no reason, but now they've decided to honour the original £60 million, just as I was about to hit publish on this article.

That's people's lives they're playing politics with, but the Tories don't give a crap about our lives because we're just peasants in the north. At least some northern Tories are starting to realise though...

Manchester Young Conservatives have since deleted this tweet

Andy Burnham is no King of the North

Andy Burnham is a Labour centrist who once abstained on the welfare bill that ruined so many lives up north, and yet he's winning over so many on the left, for one simple reason: he is fighting back. While Sir Keir Starmer is showing himself to be as much use as an inflatable dartboard, Andy Burnham is talking like this:

"What we've seen today is a deliberate act of levelling down. ... I don't believe we can proceed through this pandemic by grinding people down. We need to carry them with us, not crush their spirit."

Us lefties are often nonsensically accused of being uncompromising, yet here we are accepting leadership from a centrist we don't always agree with, simply because he's on the side of the people. He's speaking up for our interests. And we haven't heard anyone do that since Jeremy Corbyn stood down. All we bloody want is representation, but it's so hard to find these days, even from the Socialist Campaign Group who are now seemingly toothless. 

The hunger is real and it's caused by corruption.

We're all skint up here. All struggling to survive and being exploited. My wife is working a temporary factory job and didn't get paid by the agency the other day, but what can we even do? We're sitting in a half-decorated living room on an inflatable couch we bought from Tesco because we can't afford a real one! Christmas isn't happening this year. Not for us, nor for most people around here.

And what's the Tory response when Marcus Rashford asks the government to spend £40 million feeding hungry school kids during the Xmas holidays? Fuck you, again!

And again, £40 million would be Serco's pocket change. 1/300th of the broken track and trace app. We mean that little to them.

The Tories are taking the piss out of us. They've turned the Covid crisis into a free for all. They're looting the country and crushing their political opponents and they're getting away with it because we let them. They've handed out PPE contracts to companies with no experience of producing PPE. Same goes for ventilators. They pay massively over the odds - we're talking orders of magnitude - and we get failure in return. And who are they giving the money to? Their biggest donors. 

This is what corruption looks like. We overthrow leaders in Latin America for less.

Next time you get bent out of shape over a refugee getting £37 a week, just remember that's a drop in the ocean here. The amount of money the Tories are stealing from the tax payer is almost unimaginable. For example, it dwarfs the £60 billion cost of the Labour manifesto we were told was completely unaffordable and it's crippling the economy.

Small businesses can't get support in the north but Tory heartlands are allowed to continue as usual, or rather live in denial as the north faces the brunt. School kids can't be fed in the holidays, but Tory advisers can get paid £7,000 a day for their incompetence. Furloughed workers can be expected to survive on 2/3 minimum wage while paying 100% of their bills, but Dominic Cummings can't be asked to pay his £50,000 council tax bill. 

And worst of all, our Prime Minister reportedly spent tens of millions of tax payers' money fucking Jennifer Arcuri, I mean getting technology lessons from her. The Prime Minister was quite literally willing to spend more money getting his leg over than he was feeding hungry school kids. 

Has there ever been a more corrupt government in our history? Has there ever been a clearer example of the Tories' hatred for the working class and the north? Because I don't even think even Thatcher hit these levels of corruption, and I'm pretty sure she's now busy privatising the furnaces in Hell.

When do we say enough is enough?

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Wednesday, 16 September 2020

BREAKING: Northeast Under Lockdown From Friday

 
Health Minister Nadine Dorries has met with 22 MPs from the northeast of England to discuss lockdown in the region which has faced its largest rate of Covid-19 infections since May. It is understood that lockdown measures will be announced on Thursday and imposed on Friday in Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham, and Northumberland.

The planned measures include:

  • 10pm curfew on pubs, restaurants & other licensed venues
  • A ban on socialising with anyone from another household
  • Public transport & car sharing discouraged at peak times
  • Only essential visitors allowed into care homes
  • No holidaying with people from other households
  • No attending sports games

So all in all, another set of measures which will have about as much effect as the pointless rule of six. Of course, when infection rates continue to rise from the government's failure to properly lockdown, they're going to say it's our fault again for not following the new rules. Marvellous.

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Friday, 11 September 2020

BREAKING: Britain's R Number Now Officially at 1.7 - Second Wave in Full Swing

It has been announced that Britain's R number is now at 1.7 and infections are doubling once every 8 days. It's fair to say the second wave of Covid-19 is now in full swing to the surprise of absolutely no-one.

356 schools saw outbreaks of Covid in the first week of reopening with pupils being sent home just days after their return. Doctors have been unable to work because they can't access tests, and farcically, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has blamed the lack of tests on too many people using them! The whole situation is a shambles and the government really needs to admit it got schools reopening wrong and U-turn, otherwise many more people are going to die.

In the most recent study, 150,000 people were randomly tested and of those, 136 came back positive, meaning 9.1 out of every 10,000 people (around 50-60,000 in total) are currently infected and unaware. I understand these tests were done on people who mostly had no idea they were infected and therefore spreading the illness around public places.

Researchers point out all age groups are showing rises in infections, not just the young as the government has suggested. Winter is always the worst time of year for respiratory infections so those numbers are surely set to climb further without immediate action. And that action must surely be more convincing than banning visits from Grandma or blaming youths for not following your guidelines after you drove to Barnard Castle. 

One of Britain's top scientific advisers stated our response in the next 6-8 weeks will be crucial in what kind of winter we have. The problem is if the Prime Minister U-turns now, he will come under huge pressure to resign and Johnson is not one for facing up to responsibility (just ask his kids), but the longer he delays, the worse things will get. Johnson will not be able to use the excuse from the start of the pandemic of this being an unexpected crisis because we've had 6 months to learn and we know what must be done.

Germany has extended its furlough scheme until the end of 2021, but ours is set to end in just six weeks. It really is no exaggeration to say Britain is on the brink of disaster, and if you doubt that for one second, just imagine what will happen when we throw No Deal into the mix.

We need to look at full lockdown for the next 6 weeks to get this situation back under control. Last time we entered lockdown too late and it gave us the worst first wave in Europe. Do we really want to be the country that also has the worst second wave?

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Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Tory Idiocy: Ban on Gatherings of more than 6, but Schools Remain Open

The government has announced gatherings of more than six people (indoors or outdoors) will be banned from Monday 14th September. Breaking this rule will result in fines from £100 up to £3,200, but how the rule is going to be enforced is anyone's guess.

Don't get me wrong, I fully support effective measures to protect the public from Covid-19. I am a sufferer of "long Covid", having experienced symptoms for over six months, including breathlessness and fatigue, therefore I understand the risks are not just to the elderly and disabled, but to everyone, and we must minimise the spread of this awful disease.

My issue is not that gatherings of more than six people are banned, it's the absurd hypocrisy, the dishonest motives, and the contradictions which render such a move ultimately pointless.

One tweet encapsulated this perfectly:

The Plan is not Remotely Logical

We can squeeze into crowded workplaces, visit churches and mosques, swarm through shopping centres, send our kids to packed schools, take them to heaving soft plays, eat at busy restaurants, and expose ourselves to hundreds, if not thousands of potential Covid carriers, but we can't invite friends or family members to our homes because that would be too dangerous? If you have three kids like I do, you can't even have a visit from both grandparents at the same time!

The government's justification for this policy is that public places must follow social hygiene rules - which simply means washing your hands and not touching each other. So why can't we just tell visitors to our homes to wash their hands and not touch us? 

And what if we do have people around? Are the police going to knock at our doors and start counting heads? What if we refuse to let them in? Will they return with a warrant? Do they have nothing better to do? Personally, I won't be having visitors, but the idea of fining people does not sit well with me when far larger gatherings are forced upon us.

An Idiot in Charge of a Disaster

Matt Hancock was asked about how his policy could prevent grandparents from helping with childcare, and he simply replied: "I'm not actively trying to do that." But that's the implication of his policy. The fact some consequences are unintentional does not make the government look any better. It makes them look worse. The Tories completely failed to consider the consequences of their actions and went ahead regardless. It would appear they're just winging it, driven not by public safety, but the desire to mislead.

You can now be fined for not sending your kids to a crowded school to keep them safe, and you can also be fined for asking the grandparents to look after the kids because that would be too dangerous.

Matt Hancock said he hopes this rule can be lifted by Christmas, but how can it have any meaningful impact? When we are forced into crowded situations daily, banning people from occasionally seeing the family will not stop the spread of the virus. The move is a ridiculous deflection, a way of pretending to act as Covid cases rise because of schools reopening, and then passing the blame onto the public.

357 schools have reportedly seen Covid outbreaks in the past week, but the Tories couldn't possibly admit they got the reopening wrong and U-turn, not least because they don't give a shit. Public pressure can occasionally sway them, but they've made far too many U-turns recently and one this big would make it hard even for the Murdoch press to spin. I doubt Dominic Cummings could find a dead cat big enough. 

So anyways, what happens after Christmas, Matt Hancock? Do we just pretend everything's okay and lift the rule, even though nothing will have been achieved? Do we drag the gathering ban out longer? Or do we take meaningful action now, closing schools and work places etc., until we've got the numbers under control again? 

I know the U-turn would be embarrassing, Matt, but you could always resign with your last shred of dignity intact. You do know what dignity is, don't you? It's that thing credible public servants are supposed to have.

Let's Do Something Meaningful

Professor Sir Jeremy Farrar of the government's scientific advisory committee, said "the next four to six weeks will be absolutely pivotal to the sort of autumn and winter we have". Surely, we should do something over the next four to six weeks because what we're doing right now is nothing while pretending we're doing something. And we're going to fine people if they fail to comply with the nothing. My head hurts.

In addition to this nonsense, we've seen Matt Hancock blame the public for the shortage of available tests because people are asking to be tested!

"Unfortunately, we have seen this quite sharp rise in the last couple of weeks of people without symptoms, who don't have a good reason, coming forward and getting a test."

How can you blame a shortage of tests on people being tested? How can you say we need a world-beating test and trace system before reopening schools and then not deliver one, but reopen schools anyway? 

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking we have a government of incompetents, but don't worry, the Tories plan to launch a campaign to remind people to wash their hands. Yes, really.

If anyone is totally lost and has no idea what the rules are (which let's face it, is all of us), here they are, courtesy of the BBC:

  • Social gatherings of more than six people in England will not be allowed in law from Monday 14th September
  • The ban applies to people in private homes, indoors and outdoors, and places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and public outdoor spaces
  • The ban applies to all ages
  • The ban does not apply to schools and workplaces, or weddings, funerals and organised team sports
  • A full list of exemptions is due to be published before the law changes
  • People who ignore police could be fined £100 - doubling with each offence to a maximum of £3,200

This is exactly the type of meaningless policy you would expect from a government which boasts of breaking the law in parliament and endorses driving to castles to test your failing eyesight. The Tories are now a parody of a government, their leadership so farcical that if this was a movie script, you'd say the writers have gone too far. And this shambolic leadership is not something that's just arisen during the chaos and panic of a pandemic. It's been going on since day one and getting progressively worse with the majority support of the mainstream media.

Blaming the People

We now live in a topsy-turvy country where those who oppose the Tory madness are labelled extremists. Not in a hyperbolic off-the-cuff manner either, but officially. Any movement which challenges the government is being designated an extremist group. The police are actively monitoring people for crimes like attending Extinction Rebellion protests or standing with Black Lives Matter. Next, the police will be knocking at your door to fine you and your parents for defying Covid rules. The rising death toll will be your fault, just like the lack of available tests is your fault.

Meanwhile, we've got an inept opposition leader who demanded schools reopen and is only too happy to go along with the Tories' nonsense. Why? Because only the left are offering solutions and centrists are just as reluctant to hear those solutions as the far-right. They really are cut from the same cloth, it's just centrist politicians are less honest about who they really are. Less honest than Tories.

If you want to follow through on WHO recommendations or climate science or demand racial justice or believe we should take meaningful action to address poverty, you are "far-left", but if you pretend to care about these matters and sneer at meaningful action, you are "moderate". The far right love those moderates by the way - the kind who will sack Rebecca Long-Bailey for siding with unions on schools reopening and then pretend she's an antisemite to justify their betrayal.

Surely, public health and other serious matters should not remotely be considered left versus right. Surely, there should be agreement that we embrace science, logic, decency, compassion, and build our policies from there - policies which are ethical, coherent, and effective. Instead, we're banning family visits while opening restaurants and soft plays to protect private profit. We're reopening schools and then blaming the youth for the sudden spike in Covid infections. Those are the tactics now - blame and vilify.

We've had years of the left being vilified, and now as the public blindly nod along, accepting whatever smears are thrown our way, they're being picked off, one-by-one, and blamed for the failings of the government. It's the fault of the school kids, or the teachers and nurses who they clapped just a few weeks back, or the fault of care home staff or whoever else they can think of blaming. And when they've got no one to blame, they tell you about a non-existent migrant invasion. They tell you anything to keep you distracted from their shambolic policy-making and their eagerness to put profit before people. 

Don't Invite People into your Home, Do Go into the Office

They want you to stop working from home, not because you need to be in the office, but because the owners of the office spaces want their rent and because the owners of Pret A Manger want you to buy a needlessly expensive sandwich on the way to work. None of this is considering your safety and none of this enables you to work more effectively. Think about this. 

You must comply with the system, but if you meet your friends or family, you will be blamed for the failures of the system, for the spread of the disease. They want you to risk your life to prop up this artificial system which is dependent on such unnecessary behaviours. A system that is not in any way there to meet your needs. You going into that crowded workplace is not helping you earn money. It's not providing any tangible benefit to you or your employer. None whatsoever. But the Tories need to keep control over you to keep their money machine rolling. This is a landlord economy. A parasitical economy where the parasites are in charge and killing those who are not useful hosts.

Every person should minimise human contact and be sensible, hell, we should probably be under lockdown now, but make no mistake, the gatherings ban has nothing to do with keeping you safe and everything to do with blaming you.

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Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Managing my Post-Covid Symptoms

Like 1 in 10 people who've had Covid-19, I'm still suffering symptoms months after infection. I fell ill with Covid-19 on March 13th and experienced relatively mild symptoms from the initial infection. It was not a pleasant experience by any stretch of the imagination, but I was not close to needing hospital treatment. You would therefore think I would immediately recover and get back to normal, right? Wrong!

I distinctly remember in the days after I'd "recovered", feeling a sudden and intense burst of energy. I could not sit still so I was out mowing the lawn and doing every job in the house and feeling surprisingly fantastic. I'm back to normal now, I thought. And then the fatigue hit me like a ton of bricks. I spent about two days mostly sleeping. My chest was tightening up and I was feeling strange palpitations which were really unnerving. 

Since then, these symptoms have been a regular occurrence, along with dizziness and drowsiness. I tried a light bit of exercise once and my legs turned to jelly afterwards. My arms were shaking like an old man's. It was really quite pathetic! 

And yet when I was doing nothing, I felt mostly okay. The symptoms would come and go, but they were bearable on the condition I lazed around. Only problem was I was getting seriously restless and desperate to return to normal. Plus, I have 3 kids to look after.

So I began reading up on post-Covid symptoms, on post-viral fatigue, and on research showing some people with an initially mild infection were now suffering inflammation of the heart and lungs, and some even showed signs of permanent damage. These people were an increased heart attack risk and I was exhibiting the same symptoms. Even more worryingly, a friend of mine tragically died of a heart attack at just 37 and we have no way of knowing if it was Covid-related.

Sometimes lying in bed at night, I could feel an aching in my heart and lungs. It was never severe to the point I felt I was having a heart attack, but it was rather unsettling. I didn't know what to do. I did not want to burden the NHS when others needed hospital far more than me. I called the doctor a few times and never got an answer, so I decided to start figuring this out and then something really obvious struck me.

Back in 2011, I suffered a nasty bout of food poisoning and ever since, I've suffered from IBS and a minor sugar intolerance. No one knows the cause for sure, but I've always felt it was an auto-immune response triggered by foods and resulting in inflammation. I wondered if something similar could be happening in my chest and then I started to notice a link.

My IBS has certain trigger foods like chocolate, for example. After 9 years of management, I've realised what doses of these trigger foods are safe to eat before they become problematic. But since Covid, my body appears to have a heightened sensitivity. Eating anything at all is triggering the tightness in my chest, but if I eat even a little junk food, it's five times worse.

I've always had an overactive immune system. I react to pretty much anything and I suspect those 1 in 10 who are suffering long term like me are much the same. I'm now carefully avoiding anything that I might react to, and focusing on relaxing my body, cleaning up my admittedly imperfect diet, reducing my food intake and drinking plenty of water. The result is my chest does not feel quite as tight. The inflammation is generally lower and the fatigue less severe. The symptoms still flare up after eating, but usually not to the same extreme. I feel a little more energetic too, but I'm far from 100%. I'm now utterly convinced my post-Covid symptoms are the result of an overactive immune system.

Post-viral fatigue can typically last for six months and I'm at 4 and a half months. Hopefully, this problem will clear up on its own soon, but given I've suffered IBS problems 9 years after food poisoning, I must consider this may be a life long issue. At least it seems to be one that can be mitigated through healthy living choices though. If anyone is going through this ordeal, I strongly recommend bearing the above in mind and adopting as clean a lifestyle as possible. It really might help you.

From what I've read, the best way to reduce inflammation is to reduce blood sugar, lose weight, keep stress levels low, and avoid inflammatory foods like trans fats. Eat good foods like fresh fruit and vegetables and fish, and drink lots of water. Obviously, many of us can't afford to eat perfectly, but improve your shopping habits where possible and you should see a difference.

One important thing to note: Please do not self-medicate with over the counter anti-inflammatories as these may increase heart attack risk. Please speak to a doctor if your symptoms are getting out of hand.

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