#TheWeekInTory returns, and I’m very sorry, but it’s a monster. The little scamps have achieved quite a lot in the – yep – FIVE DAYS – since the last one.
Let’s dive straight in with probably the most gobsmacking sentence you’ll read all year…
1. NHS staff were polled on whether, in recognition of their efforts to fight Covid 19, they would prefer to be given a badge or a snack box
2. It was reported 2 out of every 3 hospices will have to make redundancies. In a pandemic.
3. The govt published a poster: “We plan to cut all homeless people in half by 2025”, which is a bit severe even for Priti Patel
4. The govt insisted we all comply with Test and Trace rules, and then excluded restaurants in the Palace of Westminster from Test and Trace rules
5. In Sept Boris Johnson announced a £100bn “Operation Moonshot” to fix Covid “within months”
6. A month later it was leaked Moonshot was cancelled
7. The next day it was revealed the govt still pays over 200 private consultants up to £7000 per day each to work on Moonshot
8. So 2 days after it was cancelled, it was reinstated, but now Boris Johnson said it will “take time”
9. We’re still giving £100bn to private suppliers for a vaguely rapid thingy to do a hazily defined whatchamacallit that will happen too slowly to produce any useful results
10. In May Boris Johnson reassured a grateful nation that “nobody will go hungry as a result of Coronavirus”
11. He then denied food to the UK's 600,000 poorest children
12. So Marcus Rashford ran a campaign to get the kids fed
13. Then Boris Johnson congratulated Rashford on the MBE he got for his campaign to overturn the cruel policies of [checks notes] Boris Johnson
14. And then 3 days later, Boris Johnson refused to feed the kids again
15. And then, (because let's face it, allowing children to starve barely raises an eyebrow any more) the govt won a vote in parliament to prevent child refugees from being reunited with their families, because obviously that's helpful to … anyone know who that helps? Anyone?
16. But the govt pressed ahead with helping British people to lose weight (by starving them), and it was reported the (obviously) private contract to provide emergency food-parcels is charging £44 for a box that costs just £19 at Aldi. And the govt one contains rotting food.
17. In Sept Boris Johnson said “a free press is vital in holding the government to account”
18. This week, govt scientists reported they are being banned from speaking to the press, due to “the difficult political landscape”, meaning silencing science is a purely political act
19. More media news, and it was revealed that following a long, noisy, mostly Lineker-focussed campaign to cut the wages of BBC staff, the Tories offered to increase the wage of the BBC Director General from £100k to £280k, but only if it could be Boris’s friend Charles Moore
20. In June the govt gave a contract for PPE worth £32m to Pestfix, a sweet warehouse with assets of £18,000. The govt paid 75% upfront, and the delivered materials turned out to be faulty
21. The govt has since awarded 5 additional PPE contracts to Pestfix, worth £313m
22. The govt is now being sued to find out why it’s covertly handing out almost £350m to a crisp warehouse for PPE it has proved it cannot supply, and Pestfix is using the £350m to pay lawyers to stop us finding out why it got £350m in the first place. Still no PPE.
23. And now, the latest update on Mark Francois…
Nope, that's all I've got. Moving on…
24. Boris Johnson announced the new lockdown rules were “simple enough for anybody to understand”
25. He immediately got them wrong, telling the press separated parents could not see their children, convenient for a man who famously only acknowledges 57% of his offspring
26. Anyway, Johnson then said the rules were obviously too complicated, so he would overhaul them. Again
27. He said he’d liaise with local regions, and provide “improved financial support”
28. He then forgot to liaise with local regions, and cut their financial support
29. Boris Johnson said “whatever happens, nobody gets less than 93% of their current income”
30. People get a max 67% of their current income
31. The govt said it would “stop at nothing” to support people in Tier 3 areas
32. The govt stopped at £7.85 per person in Manchester
33. By contrast, Robert Jenrick improperly arranged a £25m gift to his own constituency – £237 per head, 30x as much as Manchester
34. And Boris Johnson paid £100k of public money for “IT advice” from Jennifer Arcuri, who this week admitted they were actually having an affair
35. Anyway, the Mayor of Manchester didn’t ask for such largesse, or even offer to pole-dance for the Prime Minister; he just asked for Manchester to get the same amount of money per person that is being given to Lancashire.
36. Boris Johnson said he “completely understands” why Andy Burnham objects to the settlement
37. And then Boris Johnson stopped understanding, and said Andy Burnham was “playing politics” and therefore he would impose direct rule on the region’s democratically elected Mayor
38. And in further boost to the govt’s support for regions, Daniel Kawczynski, Tory trade envoy to Mongolia and successful brain donor, called for the Welsh Assembly to be scrapped
39. Kawczynski then called for improvements to his local hospital to be scrapped. In a pandemic
40. And then, after many eventful years calling for Britain to leave the EU, and objecting to a (non-existent) plan for an EU Army, Kawczynski, a technically sane man, tweeted that we should “begin the process of creating an alternative EU” that is “predicated on defence”
41. Brexiters insist we can strike great deals around the world, and immediately failed in negotiations with Manchester and Wales
42. Which brings us onto Brexit: and Boris Johnson’s oven-ready deal has skipped the middle-man and gone straight into the toilet
43. This week the PM appeared on TV in the guise of a traumatised Shredded Wheat, and told us all we should get ready for No Deal
44. It was reported Boris Johnson was “startled by the EU insistence” that he sticks to the agreements that he, personally, insisted the EU signed
45. So the PM said we should walk away and have an “Australian-type deal with the EU”
46. It was quickly explained to the PM that Australia doesn’t have a deal with the EU
47. So Boris Johnson, now a master of detail, amended it to Canada-style deal next time he was asked
48. But then it was revealed the Canada/EU deal includes an arbitration mechanism that Boris Johnson has already rejected
49. John Redwood, a Tory MP and Vulcan, insisted all we want from the EU is the same thing Canada gets, such as protection of our fishing industry
50. Canada doesn’t have a fisheries deal with the EU
51. After a dizzying evening chasing reality in circles, it became an Australian-type deal again
52. The business secretary was asked the difference between No Deal and Australian Deal and had to admit: nothing
53. Brexiter Andrew Bridgen said we wouldn’t be limited to trading on WTO rules, we could trade on “WTO plus”, a thing that doesn’t exist
54. The Chairman of the Royal Inst for International Affairs said “it now seems likely that Brexit will lead to the break up of the UK”
55. The head of the CBI and head of the Fed of Small Businesses said the UK is not ready for No Deal
56. Tesco chairman said the UK will have months of food shortages after No Deal
57. British Pharmaceutical Society said there would be shortages of medicines if we have No Deal
58. Even William Shatner – yes, you read that correctly – got involved, explaining that Brexit means smaller overseas businesses importing into the UK have to pay £1000 just to file the forms to register for VAT, and therefore would likely stop trading with us
59. Reassuringly, the govt said it was “determined to continue to seek a deal”
60. And then the govt told the EU not to bother coming to London for more talks
61. And then multiple Tory MPs, each provided with real human brain, tweeted identical suggestions to “sod the EU”
62. Michael Gove, a quasi-sentient almond who last year said “Let no one be in any doubt how difficult and damaging [No deal] would be”, now went on TV and insisted the EU had to “make constructive moves towards a deal”
63. He then said, inside the same 2 minutes at the dispatch box in parliament, that talks had “effectively ended”; and then that the EU had taken the “constructive move” he demanded; and then that as a result, talks could now “intensify”. Wait for it…
64. And then he refused to restart negotiations anyway, cos honestly, what do words even mean any more
65. He claimed in parliament the UK would “do better” without the law enforcement cooperation we get from the EU, which made even Theresa May gasp “utter rubbish”
66. And then Michael Gove said we shouldn’t worry about the 12% unemployment the IFS predicts would be caused by a No Deal Brexit, because we can create lots of new jobs building enough lorry parks to obliterate Kent
67. I’m sure we’ll be fine, because the govt proudly announced a trade deal with Côte d’Ivoire, to which we sell 0.13% as much as we sell to the EU
68. The world-beating Test and Trace service sent hundreds of people to be tested at a testing site in Kent that doesn’t even exist
69. And then the world-beating app that is designed to give accurate information the public can rely on sent a series of incorrect and contradictory risk-level alerts
70. But good news: profits at Serco are expected to jump 18%, which I’m sure is your top priority right now
71. And on the subject of profit, Boris Johnson is rumoured to want to resign in March because his salary is too low. Which means in the middle of a Brexit crisis and a global pandemic, the Tory party will spend months fighting over which Dementor becomes the next leader
72. It’ll be Priti Patel, obviously, because this week she announced she, personally, would tell judges what constitutes “inhuman or degrading treatment” (being an expert) and they should no longer use the globally accepted UN Declaration on Human Rights
73. And now, unexpectedly, an all-bishops finale! The Archbishop of York was denied the traditional peerage on his retirement. I don’t know if you noticed – it's hardly worth mentioning, really – but he’s the first black Archbishop we’ve ever had
74. The excuse given by the govt was that it “needs to limit the size of the house of Lords”, days after ennobling 36 peers including Boris Johnson’s brother, Ian Botham, and Claire Fox, an unrepentant apologist for IRA terrorism who just happened to support Brexit.
75. Five archbishops appealed to the govt not to breach international law, which seems like a reasonable thing to ask. It's the law. Don't break it.
76. Beta-version human and self-styled "Brexit-hardman" Steve Baker said “of course they entitled to these views”
77. And then Steve Baker went on to say if they have the views they’re “entitled to”, they should be thrown out of the house of lords; and the Church of England, which the Queen is head of, should be disestablished. A perfectly sane response to being asked to obey the law.
Looks like I was taken in by fake news – item 3 isn't real. Sorry, I didn't fact-check enough.
So just 74 incredibly stupid things in 5 days. Seems fine.