Monday, May 10, 2021

Music to relax on Monday evening: "Achieved is the Glorious Work" from Haydn's Creation

Peter McCall re-elected with 53.5% of the vote

Cumbria's excellent Conservative Police and Crime Commissioner has been re-elected with 53.5% of the vote.

There was no need for a second round of counting as he won on first preferences.

  • Peter McCall (Conservative) – 56,753 - ELECTED
  • Barbara Cannon (Labour) – 27,687
  • Lorraine Birchall (Liberal Democrats) – 21,506
Conservative majority 19,066

Latest polling if there is another Indepenence referendum in Scotland


Guide to election speak, updated

 Added a few more of the phrases used this week to my handy beginners' guide to what parties and candidates mean when the talk about election results.

Credit to Guido Fawkes for the first translation, and to Rebecca Long-Bailey, Ian Murray, and the two knichts, Sir Ed Davey and Sir Keir "Knight of the wrong knives" Starmer for comments which cried out to be added to the list.  

What parties say about an election result

What they mean

We fought a good positive campaign

We lost.

This result gives us something to build on

We lost badly

Our party made progress in this election

We lost very badly

We’re not making progress quickly enough

We lost very, very, badly

Our candidate can be proud of having stood up for what we believe in

We lost very, very, badly indeed

We won a moral victory

We were so badly hammered that if you look up “electoral disaster” on the internet you’ll probably find a picture of our candidate.

You can’t read too much into a by-election result

We lost.

We are quietly confident

We think ’re going to win, but don’t want to say that for fear of making our voters complacent, or of looking like idiots if we’re wrong.

These elections were always going to be tough for us (before the vote)

(Usually) expectations management to make the expected win look even better

These elections were always going to be tough for us (after the vote)

I’m saying the first thing that comes into my head to explain away the defeat

All my colleagues fully support our leader

Most of them want him gone but don’t want their dagger found in his back

This is a very significant result

We won

This victory gives us a mandate to do X

And I’d have been saying it meant we should do X for any result from total victory to failing to get a single vote

"It wasn't a Jeremy Corbyn problem, it was a problem with having no policy at the top of the Labour Party"

Some dinosaurs survived the asteroid: the same sort of people who bought Tony Benn’s line that voters re-elected Maggie Thatcher because Neil Kinnock wasn’t left wing enough now imagine voters backed Boris Johnson’s Conservatives because Keir Starmer isn’t left wing enough.

“I take full responsibility for this result”

“I’m about to start sacking or reshuffling every woman in my top team.”

We are chipping away at X party’s lead

And at the present rate of progress might overhaul them some time in the next century.

These results were as good as we could have expected in the circumstances

And maybe next year we might actually win something

Quote of the day 10th May 2021

 "The voters have let us down. I hope they don’t live to regret it."

(Defeated Labour councillor Chris Emmas-Williams, outgoing leader of Amber Valley Borough Council, speaking to the Derby Telegraph and quoted in the Steerpike column of the Spectator offers his explanation for Labour's poor showing in last week's elections. 

Others might think that any party demonstrating that kind of arrogance is riding for a fall.) 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

COVID-19 and vaccination update


Nickname of the week

 "Knight of the wrong knives"

I think this is now an even better nickname for Sir Keir Starmer than "Captain Hindsight."

Call out to Tom Harwood who used this without the K as a description of Starmer's botched reshuffle.

Sunday music spot: "Holy is the True Light" by William Harris

A sunday reflection

This is the candle I lit after the service this morning at St James' Church Whitehaven.

I prayed for all the victims of the car bomb set off by DA'ESH outside a girls' school in Kabul as pupils were leaving, and for the people of India as they are facing a particularly swvere wave of COVID-19..

Quote of the day 9th may 2021

"If you look at the percentage of votes what strikes you is just simply how evenly divided Scotland is.

"Scotland is now divided absolutely down the middle of the constitutional question."

"To give you an idea as to how neither side really at the end of the day can claim that this provides a mandate for their point of view.

  • On the Constituency vote, 50.4% of the vote went to the three unionist parties, 
  • but on the List vote 50.1% of the vote went to the pro-independence parties."

"The reason we have a pro-independence majority in the Scottish parliament is to down to how the electoral system operates.

"But, hey guys, those are the rules and that's the way it has played out."

"The truth is neither unionists nor nationalists can come away from the election in Scotland confident that their point of view represents the majority view."

(Polling expert Professor Sir John Curtice speaking to BBC Breakfast)

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Beginner's guide to election speak

This weekend there are all sorts of comments flying around about the elections being declared.

Here is your handy guide to interpreting what politicians, candidates and their parties are saying about the results.

What parties say about an election result

What they mean

We fought a good positive campaign

We lost.

This result gives us something to build on

We lost badly

Our candidate can be proud of having stood up for what we believe in

We lost very badly indeed

We won a moral victory

We lost so badly that if you look up “electoral disaster” on the net you’ll probably find our candidate.

You can’t read too much into a by-election result

We lost.

We are quietly confident

We think ’re going to win, but don’t want to say that for fear of making our voters complacent, or worse, looking like idiots if we’re wrong.

These elections were always going to be tough for us (before the vote)

(Usually) expectations management to make the expected win look even better

These elections were always going to be tough for us (after the vote)

I’m saying the first thing that comes into my head to explain away the defeat

All my colleagues fully support our leader

Most of them want him gone but don’t want their dagger found in his back

This is a very significant result

We won

This victory gives us a mandate to do X

And I’d have been saying it meant we should do X for any result from total victory to failing to get a single vote

Credit to Guido Fawkes for the first one, I added the rest. 


and we can also add
"It wasn't a Jeremy Corbyn problem, it was a problem with having no policy at the top of the Labour Party"

Which means: some dinosaurs survived the asteroid. The same sort of people who agreed with Tony Benn that people voted for Margaret Thatcher because Neil Kinnock wasn't left wing enough now think that people voted for Boris Johnson's Tories because Keir Starmer isn't left wing enough.

Quote of the day 8th May

I don't often agree with Labour MPs but this quote from an article published yesterday by Khalid Mahmoud, who recently resigned from Labour's front bench, is spot on:

Friday, May 07, 2021

Vaccination update


Ben Houchen re-elected Mayor of Tees Valley with 73% of the vote

The inspirational Conservative mayor of Tees Valley, Ben Houchen, has been re-elected with a staggering 73% of the vote.

A remarkable and richly deserved win for a man who has done an incredible job of attracting investment and jobs to the Tees Valley.

We need a metro mayor doing the same job for Cumbria.

Polling feedback on Labour's election disaster yesterday

Reasons given by voters for not supporting Labour yesterday:

All seem pretty good to me. 

Music to start the weekend: Christopher Tin's Civilization VI theme, Sogno di Volare (The Dream of Flight)

County Council officers declare the council "neutral" in respect of West Cumbria Mining appeal

Nothing is capable of surprising me any more that Cumbria County Council does in relation to the West Cumbria Mining planning application.

The statement from county council officers yesterday which they have placed in the public domain reads as follows:

"The council received a letter from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local government on 11th March 2021 informing us that the Secretary of State has decided to "call-in" the application submitted by West Cumbria Mining Ltd and to hold a public inquiry. Consequently the application will now be determined by the Secretary of State.

Cumbria County Council has submitted a statement of case on the 5th May in line with the requirements of the public inquiry and is committed to supporting the planning inspector to determine the application."

That "statement of case" appears to have been submitted on the last available day before the expiry of the deadline - e.g. yesterday - and the news started to leak out midway through yesterday, which was of course also polling day for the local elections. The news started to come out after some people had voted but while polling stations for a number of elections including four county council by-elections were still open.

Councillors, including myself and members of the DC&R planning committee were notified by email yesterday afternoon of what had been submitted after the event and told that the submission was being sent to us in confidence and we could not share it.

So I'm not going to share the document, but it has leaked out and reports have been published in local news sources that the county council has declared itself neutral in the planning appeal.

Since this is already in the public domain I cannot see any point in pretending not to know whether that report is correct. It is.

I have two issues with this decision and the way it was done.

1) The West Cumbria Mining application has been put to committee three times. On all three occasions planning officers recommended approval. On all three occasions the Development Control and regulation committee voted in favour.

All three votes were cross-party - the first two votes were unanimous, the most recent one was by a three to one margin. which included a majorities of votes cast by council members from each of the three major political groups and an Independent, with councillors from all over Cumbria voting in favour.

To ignore the position taken through a due and exhaustive process by the overwhelming majority of elected councillors on the relevant committee without making any attempt to consult most if any of them until after the fact makes a nonsense of any claim by the council to be acting as a democratic representative body.

2) The timing of this submission was also the worst of all worlds - too late to enable people submitting representations to take it into account, late enough that it leaked out after some people had already voted but early enough that it leaked out before others had.


I have recorded an interview with ITV Border news and a brief clip from the interview was broadcast at about 6.15pm on the 6pm local news programme this evening.

This picture of a sign near a polling station was being shared yesterday, sometimes as a joke about the Liberal Democrats but, frankly, it applies even more strongly to the present administration on Cumbria County Council.

Quote of the day 7th May 2021

 Translation for beginners: 

"We've run a very positive campaign" = "We've lost."

(Guido Fawkes tweeting in the early hours of this morning as the election results started to come in.)

Thursday, May 06, 2021

Music to relax as polls close: "The Phantom of the Opera" theme (Lloyd Weber)

Polls close in two hours

 The polls are open for another two hours in the UK's largest ever set of local elections.

Up for election today are the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly, the new MP for Hartlepool, and a host of Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners, and councillors.

Polls are open until 10pm.

You do not need your polling card to vote, but it helps.

If you have a postal vote and have not yet returned it you can do so at a polling station until polls close at 10pm.


 Across the country, the choice for the British people is clear: 

  • Conservative candidates who are focused on the people’s priorities – or Labour candidates, who are more interested in playing political games because they have nothing to offer the British people.
  • We expect these elections to be difficult for the Conservatives, as they would normally be for any governing party after 11 years in office.

In the council elections:

  • Conservative councils up and down the country have a proven record of keeping council tax low and delivering better local services.
  • Labour councils spend longer trying to score political points than focusing on making sure your bins are emptied, or potholes are filled.

In the mayoral elections:

  • Conservative mayors in the West Midlands, Tees Valley, West of England, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have championed their areas and secured vital new investment to support local jobs.
  • Labour mayors have failed to deliver the change that matters – with projects delayed and money wasted – they spend more time on their own PR and the sorts of political arguments people want to move on from.

In the Hartlepool by-election:

  • Our fantastic candidate Jill Mortimer will secure real change for Hartlepool by working with the Conservative Government to get things done.
  • Labour have held the constituency since it was first created in 1974 - it is why the town has been taken for granted and struggled.

In the Police and Crime Commissioner elections:

  • Conservative PCCs are working with the Government to get more police on the street as part of our pledge to recruit 20,000 more officers, and are giving them the powers and the tools they need to cut crime.
  • Labour are weak on crime, voting against laws that will give our police extra support and powers, and tougher sentences to the worst offenders.

In the Scottish Parliament election:

  • The Scottish Conservatives are the only party who can stop an SNP majority and get the Scottish Parliament 100 per cent focused on rebuilding Scotland – but only if people vote Scottish Conservative & Unionist on their peach party list ballot today.
  • The SNP are prioritising a divisive second independence referendum over Scotland’s recovery – and Labour and the other opposition parties are too weak to stand up to them.

In the Senedd election:

  • The Welsh Conservatives will deliver a recovery plan for Wales that will create 65,000 jobsdeliver the biggest infrastructure programme in a generation, and put more money into schools.
  • Labour have been in power for 22 years in Wales – their record shows they cannot be trusted to rebuild the economy and put Wales on the right path for the future.

Across the country, vote Conservative today so we can keep delivering on the people's priorities as we build back better. 

In Copeland I voted (by post last week) to re-elect Peter McCall as Police and Crime Commissioner and have been campaigning for Bill Dixon for the Whitehaven Central by-election.


The polls are now open in the UK's largest ever set of local elections.

Up for election today are the Scottish parliament, the Welsh assembly, the new MP for Hartlepool, and a host of Mayors, Police and Crime Commissioners, and councillors.

Polls are open until 10pm

You do not need your polling card to vote, but it helps.

If you have a postal vote and have not yet returned it you can do so at a polling station until polls close at 10pm.

Quote of the day 6th May 2021


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Vaccination update

 Three in ten UK adults have now had both doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine:

The latest figures:

Good luck to all Conservative candidates standing for election tomorrow

Good luck to all Conservatives standing tomorrow in the largest ever set of elections other than a general election - for the Scottish and Welsh devolved bodies, mayors, councils, and police and Crime commissioners.

Last night in our final election broadcast, the Prime Minister reminded the British people why they should vote Conservative tomorrow.

  • Today has been the final day of campaigning ahead of a crucial set of elections across our country tomorrow - and every vote is important. 
  • The choice at these elections is clear: Conservatives, who are focused on the people’s priorities, or Labour and the opposition parties, who are more interested in playing political games because they have nothing to offer the British people.
  • Having been in power for eleven years the Conservatives would expect to find these elections difficult, so every vote counts.
  • We are fighting for every vote - so we can continue to get on with the job of delivering for the British people as we build back better from the pandemic.

With just one day to go until the 2021 elections, the choice for the British people is clear:

  • Conservatives who are focused on the people’s priorities, delivering better services and lower council taxConservative councils provide better services and charge on average £93 less than Labour councils in 2021-22 for a Band D home, and £120 less than Liberal Democrat run councils. 
  • Conservative councils who fix potholes more quickly than Labour councils. On average, Labour councils that responded to a recent survey revealed they took an average of 28 days to repair potholes reported to them. In Conservative council areas, it took six days less on average.
  • Conservative councils which recycle twice as much as Labour councils. Conservative-run councils reused, recycled, or composted 111,841 tonnes of household waste in 2019, whereas Labour-run councils reused, recycled, or composted 55,525 tonnes – half as much.
  • Conservative councils which are more efficient, helping to keep bills low. The overall council tax collection rate for Labour councils in England is 95.7 per cent on average, whereas for Conservative councils it is 97.7 per cent. As a result, Labour councils have accumulated arrears of £194 per household – more than double the £97 per household owed to Conservative councils – making council tax increases in Labour areas more likely.
  • OR Labour councils, who don’t share people’s priorities, charge more council tax and are more focused on playing political gamesLabour councils prioritise pulling down memorials and rebadging streets, than delivering good local services. 

And across the country:

  • Conservative mayors are creating thriving local economies by attracting investment, improving transport links and creating good-quality jobs. While Conservative mayors like Ben Houchen and Andy Street are levelling up their regions with huge increases in investment, better jobs and more local homes, Labour mayors leave their communities paying the cost of their financial incompetence and mismanagement.
  • It is only by electing Shaun Bailey as Mayor and getting more Conservatives into the Assembly that London can get the fresh start it deserves. After five years of failed promises under Sadiq Khan - with spiralling crime rates, a lack of affordable homes and increased council tax - we can help our capital thrive once again as we build back better.  
  • Only Conservative Police and Crime Commissioners can be trusted to keep our communities and streets safe. While we are backing our police, Labour voted against measures to get knives off our streets and ensure dangerous criminals spend more time behind bars. Labour PCCs are also less likely to be rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ on measures of effectiveness than Conservative PCCs.

And it is only the Conservatives who will stand up for the Union, and help to build a better, stronger and more united Britain as we build back better from the pandemic.

  • In Scotland, the only way to stop an SNP majority, say no to another divisive referendum, and get the Scottish Parliament 100 per cent focused on rebuilding Scotland from coronavirus, is to vote Scottish Conservative & Unionist on your peach party-list ballot.  
  • And in Wales, after 22 years of Labour-led governments, only the Welsh Conservatives will deliver the recovery plan needed to create the jobs, hospitals and first class schools that the people of Wales deserve.

Looking our for veterans

This Government is committed to making the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran and we have achieved a huge number of things through the Office for Veterans’ Affairs since it was established in 2019.

  • The government is currently taking the Overseas Operations Bill through parliament - a vital piece of legislation, which will address the endless legal cycles of repeated investigations faced by our service personnel in relation to overseas operations.
  • As the Prime Minister has said, there is more to be done on the issue of Northern Ireland legacy. We remain committed to making progress on this as quickly as possible, and to doing so in a way that focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims of the Troubles and ends the cycle of reinvestigations.
  • The government is engaging with the Northern Ireland parties and the community in Northern Ireland, including victims’ groups, as well as the Irish Government, on the way forward.

British trade with India

Yesterday the Prime Minister agreed with the Indian Prime Minister an ambitious 2030 Roadmap that will strengthen the work between our two countries over the next decade - bringing our nations, economies and people closer together.

  • Our friendship with India, bound by shared values and a commitment to the Commonwealth, will only grow stronger as we tackle the world’s biggest challenges together and make life better for our people.
  • That is why we agreed an ambitious 2030 Roadmap  with India that will strengthen ties between our two countries, including commitments to:

    • Expand our health partnership to improve the supply chains of critical medicines and vaccines.
    • Work together to achieve ambitious goals in tackling climate change and preserving nature.
    • Deepen our economic relationship through an Enhanced Trade Partnership.
    • Increase academic cooperation in crucial research areas like health and climate science.
    • Work in lockstep to tackle threats to our shared security in all their forms.
    • Help us to attract the best and the brightest through our landmark Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement
  • These historic agreements mark the beginning of a new era in our relationship with India, while delivering new jobs, opportunities and prosperity for the people of our two countries over the next decade as we look to a future beyond the pandemic. 

£29.3 million investment to protect against new COVID variants

Today the Health Secretary announced a £29.3 million investment into new state of the art testing facilities to help accelerate the deployment of vaccines tailored to tackle variants of the virus – helping future proof our country against any new variants.

  • The UK has been at the forefront of the global effort in vaccine research and development from the start of the pandemic, and we are continuing to give our scientists the resources and support they need to adapt our future response to Covid-19.
  • That is why we are investing £29.3 million through our Vaccines Taskforce into new testing facilities at Porton Down, to assess the effectiveness of existing and new vaccines against Covid variants, while increasing the scale and pace of specialised testing to support the rapid development of variant vaccines.
  • As our vaccination programme continues to save thousands of lives, by ensuring there is robust support in place for the programme in the future, we can stay one step ahead of the virus and protect the country over the coming months and years. 

Midweek music spot: Bardcore's medieval version of "The sound of Silence"

Quote of the day 5th May 2021

"Johnson’s shtick will wear thin eventually, and that will be an opportunity for Labour. But lost voters will not snap out of a trance, wonder by what witchcraft they were seduced into being Tories, and pick up their old ancestral allegiance.

"In over a decade of opposition, Labour has offered many policies that it thinks voters should like, buttressed with solid reasons to reject the Tories. It hasn’t worked. One thing no leader has attempted is a candid, humble explanation for why the party keeps losing, complete with a credible display of understanding why voters switched sides. It doesn’t come easily. 

"The left is conditioned to doubt that any decent human being could be a Tory. That is the barrier to empathy across which no minds are changed. The alternative is to keep running the same old campaign against the same old Tories, and to keep on losing because Britain doesn’t have the same old politics, or the same old voters."

(Rafael Behr, extract from an article "Labour keeps pushing the ‘same old Tories’ line – but voters have moved on," which you can read in full here.)

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Vaccination update


Quote of the day 4th May 2021

"In an interview, the BBC's Andrew Marr put it to Sturgeon that the only way to avoid a hard border between Scotland and England if Scotland joined the EU would be a unique let out from the requirements of the EU single market or for the UK to abandon Brexit. Neither is likely to happen, he observed drily. Sturgeon, always articulate, responded with the classic "we will negotiate", despite knowing that neither of her prospective negotiating partners could or would meet her demands.

"Under Sturgeon's leadership and with opinion polls at their back, the SNP is expected to retain power at Holyrood elections in May and claim a mandate for a second independence referendum. Boris Johnson has ruled out granting one, but that simply adds another grievance to the nationalists' well-stocked quiver.

"Scottish politics resembles a ball kept aloft by a water fountain. The ball is the SNP which is dedicated to leaving the union with England. The fountain is composed of the Scottish electorate's credulity and the party's constant of happy talk about Scotland's golden future if it can escape its oppressive ties with England – and the fantasy that inescapable obstacles are escapable. The SNP needs a majority of the Scots to believe the fantasy until after independence when the consequences would prove its untruth but be irrevocable."

Start of an article by Donald Forbes on Comment Central, which you can read in full here.)

Working with our G7 partners to strengthen democracy and trade

Today the Foreign Secretary chaired discussions on tackling threats to democracy and deepening cooperation and trade with our G7 partners, helping to make Britain safer and stronger.

  • The UK’s presidency of the G7 is an opportunity to bring together open, democratic societies and demonstrate unity at a time when it is much needed to tackle shared challenges and rising threats.
  • At the Conference in London today, the foreign secretary chaired discussions with our democratic partners on pressing geopolitical issues that threaten to undermine democracy, freedoms and human rights - including relations with Russia, China, and Iran – as well as outlining our vision for increased G7 and Indo-Pacific co-operation on building trade ties and tackling climate change.
  • Leading from the front on trade and co-operation with countries which share our values of democracy and openness will help ensure the success of Global Britain and make our communities safer and stronger as we build back better.

Building on Britain's trade agreement with India

Today the Prime Minister has announced £1 billion of new UK-India trade, creating thousands of jobs that will boost our economy and help families and communities build back from coronavirus.

  • Like every aspect of the UK-India relationship, the economic links between our countries make our people safer and stronger.
  • That is why the Prime Minister has today committed to deepening the partnership between the UK and India at a summit with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including £1 billion of new UK-India trade and investment which will create 6,500 new jobs across the UK, and setting an ambitious target of doubling UK-India trade by 2030, putting us on the path to negotiating a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement.
  • This will help take the relationship between our two countries to new highs, delivering new jobs, opportunities and prosperity.

Lesley Riddock on Sturgeon's surprising allies

Lesley Riddoch has a piece on the Speccie website arguing that if Nicola Sturgeon really wants to call an Independence referendum in the next Scottish parliament, she may have some surprising allies.

There are some unionists who are thinking that if we must have such a referendum best to get it done and out of the way, hoping that their side would win but if not that then at least we would all know where we stand.

There are a lot of people in the London-based media who as Riddoch accurately poitns out seem to be talking the prospects of Scottish Independence up - some of them may be adrenaline junkies desperate for another really big story, others may be people who are unhappy with the present UK political situation and want to shake it up. You can read her article here.

All of them should be careful what they wish for.

If there is one thing more disruptive than breaking up nations and unions of nations, it is doing it in a hurry without a carefully thought through plan - something it is obvious from the nonsense spouted by the SNP in the last few days on borders and currencies that they do not have.

The partition of Ireland and the independence of most of the island a hundred years ago this week was followed by a rather nasty civil war which claimed more lives than the fight for independence itself and created a legacy of bitterness and division some of which exists to this day.

The rushed independence and partition of India and Pakistan to meet an arbitrary deadline set by Mountbatten caused a bloodbath and did great long-term harm to both countries.

I voted Remain and would still do so today if I could have my vote again knowing what I know today, but Brexit would have worked much better than it did if the Leave side had won on the basis of a properly thought through plan.

I still hope that the Union can be saved. If the SNP separatists do win, I hope they learn from the mistakes of those responsible for the independence of Ireland, India and Pakistan and for Brexit.

Even better, let the Unionists learn from the mistakes of the Remain campaign and put forward a positive case for the union which has given us one of the most successful collaborations in the history of the world, and win the argument.

For Star Wars day - another version of The Final Countdown

I could hardly post a version of "The Final Countdown" on Star Wars day and not follow it up with the classic coupling of Europe's original music with the First battle of Geonosis ...

Tuesday music spot: a medieval style version of "The Final Countdown" - Bardcore

Happy Star Wars day


Monday, May 03, 2021

Vaccination update

As reported earlier today Britain has hit the big 50 - 

fifty million vaccination doses administered

Latest figures:

50,089,549 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have now been administered in the United Kingdom.

+254,552 doses in the latest 24hr period.

34,588,600 people have received at least one dose, of whom 15,500,949 people have also had a second dose and are now fully vaccinated.


Quote of the day 3rd may 2021

"If we become unable to distinguish between public and private conversation, we shall all go mad. Perhaps we already have."

(Charles Moore, writing in this week's Spectatot)

Music spot: "Coronavirus Alert" by Nathan Grammer, parody of "Virus Alert" by Weird Al

Weird Al Yankovic is the American equivalent of the Barron Knights and he made his name and has spent most of his career parodying the songs of other artists.

One of his comparatively few original songs was "Virus Alert" which takes the mickey out of the warnings of (usually) non-existent viruses which circulate on email.

Nathan Grammer has written an extremely clever parody, "Coronavirus Alert," about the COVID-19 pandemic, which parodies "Virus Alert" in the same way that Weird Al parodies everyone else.

Limits on mourners at funerals to be removed

Today, it has been announced that the limit on mourners at funerals will be removed as part of Step 3 of the roadmap, to take place from 17 May at the earliest, allowing families and friends to pay their respects to loved ones in greater numbers. 

  • The British people have made huge sacrifices throughout the pandemic to protect the NHS and save lives, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the deeply painful restrictions on the numbers attending funerals.
  • That is why I am pleased to read that the government now considered based on scientific and medical advice that they are in a position, thanks to the continued efforts of the British people and the successful rollout of the vaccine, to remove from 17 May the limit of mourners at funerals, and allow more friends and family to come together and pay their respects.
  • After such a challenging year there is now light at the of the tunnel as Britain continues to move through our roadmap and safely return to spending more time with our loved ones and return to normality.

50 million COVID-19 jabs administered

 More than 50 million doses of approved COVID-19 vaccinations have now been administered in the UK.

That's properly tested and approved vaccines for a disease nobody had heard of sixteen months ago.

This is an absolutely incredible achievement which has already saved more than ten thousand lives and gives us hope of getting our lives back.

Congratulations to everyone involved both in the UK and abroad, all the scientists, doctors, nurses, volunteers, the public for coming forward and yes, the vaccine task force for their roles in making this possible.