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ONE MAN, TWO GLOVES

It’s Wednesday morning and it’s the fourth night that I can’t sleep properly. I’m having nightmares of Carole Baskin dipping me in sardine oil, memes of influencers screaming “Chanel, Chanel, she’s an African Grey and she’s gone towards the canal”.  Or, even worse, the stark realisation that my Mam might be a secret part of the illuminati and she’s cooking up world dominating vaccine in our shed.

Who am I kidding? We haven’t got a shed.

And the only conspiracy theory me Mam’s interested in is who is smuggling hair dye in the street because her roots, they are as white, weedy and offensive as my legs in football shorts. She’s gonna kill me for that.


I want to dive into something that isn’t politics so I take The Guardian’s advice and download the Headspace App - the free version though coz ain’t no way am I spending my money on some middle aged man whispering into my ear about releasing my sacrum to the sounds of Dolphin’s whistling in the Atlantic .  


I give up after three minutes because I can’t get comfy - my living room floor is filled with the my dog’s teddies or Blue Ribbon wrappers. And I don’t have a bedroom in me family home and my legs are too long for my little sister’s bed so, quite frankly, I’ve fucked it. 


I wanna watch reruns of The Walking Dead but in a world which is so dizzyingly depressed why would I optionally enduring fake conflict? If I wanted real conflict I’d tell me ma I don’t think she’s a real Catholic for how much money she drops on slot machines. But, in the end I opt for something which I think will be mind-numbingly superficial, something I’ve avoided since Monday. So I put the kettle on and I search… Boris Johnson’s Downing Street address.


I am sat brew in hand watching a man who has brushed death clamour onto slogans and phrases that have been workshopped and thoroughly prepped but instead of transparency, specificity or vulnerability, we get metaphors about wrestling or warfare because Great Britain we have succeeded in our first battle against Coronavirus because we,  we’ve been following the science.


How can Liverpool be following the science when Liverpool’s public health funding arrived three months too late to a council board with vacant positions because the budget couldn’t afford to fill them? Leaving my hometown as one of the worst hit places from Covid-19 in terms of infection and death as our main hospital trust reports nearly 10% more deaths than the national average.


How can our nation follow the science when we have acted on none of the points of operation Cygnus: an operation that four years ago told us we are woefully unprepared in terms of infrastructure and key resources such as PPE and ventilators? 


How can we follow the science when our government’s scientific advisory board SAGE has no molecular virologists, immunologists, nurse leaders or intensive care experts? How can we follow the science openly and transparently when thirteen out of the twenty-three identified board members are paid government employees? Including Dominic Cummings - a man whose head is so big because he has to remember the names of all the people who’ve propped him up in his career as swans around the halls of power unelected.


How can Boris Johnson stand at a lectern and ask for our trust when our nation’s predicted death figures are higher than any other European country? 


How can he ask for our trust when his government allegedly tried to fiddle PPE figures by counting one glove as two separate items to maximise the number or when Dominic Raab talks about the facility to test rather than actually testing, a device in order to deceive the public to believe that they are doing more.


How can we trust a government who puts the price of an NHS workers life at the figure of £60,000 - the life of my Mam, or my sister, or Laura down the street. A figure much smaller than any cabinet minister makes in a year, whose death may have been avoided? 


How can we trust a party that has generationally assaulted the welfare state leaving minimal competent structure to deal with the rising cases of domestic abuse that are happening during isolation? 


How can Boris Jonson ask the trust of mothers who sit anxiously as they watch their children fall behind in schoolwork because, in schools near me, most kids don’t have home computers, or their one laptop it’s pulled in five different directions as each family member is fighting to get on to apply for a part-time job in a supermarket or to claim their Universal Credit or to access Duolingo as the 15 year old daughter, oh she dreams of sitting on the UN’s Human Rights Board one day. Sure they can go to school to sit in a classroom with kids of other key workers of drastically varying ages, abilities and needs taught by teaching assistants  with no equipment just the sheer good-willed determination to make it something other than a glorified babysitting service. Suddenly the idea of free Broadband for everybody doesn’t seem like a radical idea but a much needed gap in the education of middle and working-class kids.


If these colossal failures in policy and action were to happen anywhere outside of the political sphere there would be moral outrage, people will be fired and there will be public, maybe even criminal, enquiries pursued, and rightfully so. 


We are wrestling with a government who cares more about its political image than the very real images of nurses wearing bin liners as aprons or swimming goggles as visors in one of the most developed countries in the world. 


Today Laura will sit, a few doors down, and she’ll watch as government ministers try to defend their actions on morning television. Her mental health it’s depleting so she’ll turn off the television, she’ll kiss her son Noah goodbye and she’ll put on her blue NHS scrubs and she’ll try and place her mind elsewhere. But we, we shouldn’t. We should remember Laura every single time we set foot in an election booth, every time we join a picket line or every time we sign a petition. And then maybe, just maybe, when we become engaged this government will remember that they, they work for us.

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