Manchester’s Andy Burnham secures £108m of covid funding after promising to supply PPE

NO QUESTIONS ASKED: Manchester’s suddenly famous mayor, Andy Burnham, has found a way past the UK’s intransigence. Instead of accepting Boris Johnson’s final offer of £60m, he has set up a dormant company and offered to supply PPE.

Within minutes the deal was sealed. No deal proved better than a bad deal, since none of the £108 will go towards PPE. Instead it will alleviate the worst effects of the Manchester lockdown. It’s an instant double your money move.

Other prominent Mancunian leaders are now contemplating pulling the same stunt. One enterprising soul is proposing to run a better Track & Trace system, in return for £12bn. Of this, a more up-to-date version of Excel and a temp to input data will be spent. A few pounds on advertising and bingo! Manchester will be quids in.

Burnham’s genius lies in the naming of his off-the-shelf company. Enterprise Ferries & Fisheries Ltd was such obviously Brexity bait that the big fish in the Department of Health swallowed it, hook line and sinker.

The Financial Director (Burnham) informed the CEO (also Burnham) that the money had appeared via an unspecified route. The Sales Director (Burnham as well) instantly resigned to spend more time with his responsibilities.

It’s not much in the bigger scheme of things, but it’s a start. At just under £40 per person in the region, it should just about cover a meal for everyone in the pub before they are all forced to close again.

Ten days of fractious discussions has led us to the point where both sides allege that the other walked away first. It fills the nation with great hope. Nobody comes out of the situation looking good. Instead, the hope is that, by walking out of Brexit discussions, the EU will look as petty and vindictive as the UK. That should stop Keir Starmer invoking Article 49 for an instant return to the EU, when he takes over shortly after Johnson’s government does a collective bunk with the money next January.

Bring on the winter of our discontent!

Downing Street tells Manchester – “A bad deal is better than no deal”

NO PM IS BETTER THAN A BAD PM : DOWNING STREET is continuing to multi-task this week as the negotiations with Manchester continue over funding for Covid-19 restrictions, even as it shouts and stamps its little feet at Brussels.

Rumours suggest that Michel Barnier is being called in to negotiate with Andy Burnham, but he will not be available until later this week. In the interim Boris Johnson has taken “personal control” of the crisis.

“That explains why it’s a crisis,” a 10 Downing Street insider told LCD Views, “why the talks have collapsed. Mr Johnson got involved. Mind you, Dominic Cummings wanted to use an e-bomb on the city and return it to the 18th century, so the fact that negotiations continued is actually a success by the prime minister.”

It’s believed the most compelling argument the people’s prime minister will make is that “a bad deal is better than no deal”. Whether or not this will convince Andy Burnham to do a half arsed lockdown on the cheap purely to suit the pennypinching instincts of Tory politicians faced with a predominately Labour area is anyone’s guess.

“It’s really just a disaster of Andy Burnham’s making,” the source added, “if he thought to set up a shell company last week and stick £5 in it he could have secured a contract worth hundreds of millions for make believe PPE.”

But allies close to the embattled PM have suggested he should tread carefully, as “the north remembers”, just not those areas that voted Tory last December, who seem to have completely wiped the 1980’s from their collective memory. Much to their detriment and everyone else’s, whether they voted Tory or not.

Manchester to turn the M60 into a wall and make London pay for it

PLAYING POLITICS: The row between Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and Crime Minister Boris Johnson has escalated. There is no common ground between London control freakery and Manchester independence. So the Northern Powerhouse has decided to go it alone.

“Mexit” brings challenges. The economy is modern and vibrant, even if The South still thinks it’s ‘something to do with cotton’. But there must be a border. So there will be a wall along the line of the M60 – the M25 of the North – and Burnham has insisted that London must pay.

This is a response to the covid outbreak, although as Government figures have been cooked more often than school cabbage, it’s difficult to be sure. Manchester has decided to take back control of its borders, laws, and viruses. So long as its main imports of black pudding and Manchester United fans are maintained, it should be notoriously rainy sunlit uplands all the way.

Manchester’s main exports – jangly guitar bands and Coronation Street – are quite sufficient to keep the new city state solvent. The new M60 wall should be no barrier. Indeed in these lockdown-happy times, it might be a positive advantage. There should be no need to reignite the ancient feud with Liverpool over trade, football, and impenetrable regional accents.

So if you pronounce “day” as “dare”, and “dare” as “durr”, and you can distinguish your barmcakes from your oven-bottoms, you’re in. Anyone making jokes about “Personchester”, or talking in a silly voice at the mention of Eccles, will be larrupped on the bonce, escorted to the border, and put on the first train back to London.

Soon there won’t be much of Brexit Britain left. Northern Ireland will go, Scotland will go, Wales is closing its border, Kent has been ceded to the EU. If Manchester goes, it is likely that Liverpool, Leeds, Birmingham and others will leave too. That will show the world that Global Britain means business!

Track and Trace consultant in “stable condition” after hearing phrase “no such thing as a free lunch”

NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT : LCD Views has learned this evening that a consultant working on the Serco Track and Trace system has been rushed to A&E after hearing a common phrase for the first time.

It’s believed the individual was busy counting their money after another day’s hard consulting when they heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”, and was injured.

“The consultant is said to be in a stable condition at an inner London private hospital and is expected to receive a personal visit from the prime minister later this evening,” a spokesman for Serco Track and Trace told LCD Views.

“Although they have requested that Boris Johnson wears a mask during the visit, preferably a full biohazard suit, keeps his distance and does not attempt to shake hands,” the spokesman continued, “they may not be very good at setting up something as basic as a test and trace service for an infectious disease, but you don’t get over seven thousand pounds a day to consult if you’re a complete idiot.”

When pushed for details of how a common saying could have injured the consultant the spokesman shrugged.

“As I understand it they broke a rib laughing, split their sides, fell over and rolled about the floor howling. No such thing as a free lunch when you’re on seven thousand pounds a day with seemingly zero expectation of any output but transferring public cash to your bank account? That’s a free lunch mate. Be in no doubt about it.”

Bishop John Sentamu denied House of Lords seat after being informed that there wasn’t space for him to move diagonally

BASHING THE BISHOP: The Upper House is becoming a Crowded House, after being stuffed with ardent Brexiters and members of Boris Johnson’s family. There was so little space that Bishop John Sentamu was denied the traditional life peerage awarded to a retired Archbishop. The reason given was that a Bishop requires space to move diagonally.

This conveniently ignores the fact that the House of Lords is full of Knights, each of whom can only move two steps forward and one sideways at a time. There is also a contingent of old Queens, who can mince in any direction they choose.

The government hastily cobbled together a press release, to head off charges of racism and cronyism. It stated: “Bishop Sentamu will have to be patient until the chequerboard black and white tiled flooring is complete.”

It’s hard to tell whether this makes matters better or worse.

Campaigners are trying to make Bishop Sentamu a pawn in a much bigger game. This is blatant racism, they say, and in making the Lords a practically all-white chamber they only succeed in blackening its name.

There are few shades of grey here. This is a black-and-white issue. Tradition has been broken, as with former Speaker John Bercow. In both cases, men of integrity have been denied a traditional privilege. There is a common thread here: both men are named John.

Johnson good, John bad. Little brother Jo Johnson is secure, rubbing shoulders with other non-entities whose former seat on the backbenches was always going to be the peak of their career.

After all, you don’t hear too many cries of “Johnson out!” Unless you happen to be Jennifer Arcuri, on the receiving end of avalanches of passion, and hearing Bonking Boris’ traditional mating cry.

So the Bishop will have to wait. The whole affair looks like ending in a stalemate.

Mark Francois discovered hiding up his own backside

MISSING IN ACTION: Little Mark Francois, everyone’s favourite pocket-sized tinpot general, rentagobshite, and sometime MP for the nether regions of Essex, has finally been discovered. His absence was viewed with relief in some quarters, but fears for his safety finally prompted a search.

ReMarkably, Francois was found to be hiding up his own backside. Medical experts and quacks from around the world described his condition as being unstable and contradictory, which is actually quite normal for Essex.

The condition has been given a Latinate name: Smuggus Intolerablia. The only known cure is a large dose of humility.

By purest coincidence, Francois disappeared from public view as soon as allegations of rape were made against an unnamed Tory MP. It can’t be Francois, as he has most certainly been named.

“There’s not a lot we can do,” admitted Doctor Hedda Parse. “Humility is beyond the budget of the NHS. The only option left to us is to take one end each, and pull.”

We wondered if the unfortunate Francois would, in future, be known as SkidMark.

“I think that’s almost inevitable,” Dr Parse said, sadly. “These incidents are rare, but not unheard-of, and some kind of staining is bound to occur.”

He will be a Mark-ed man. The operation was about to begin, so everyone donned out-of-date PPE, crossed their fingers, and took their positions.

“On your Marks!” called Dr Parse, as the pullers struggled to get a handhold on some portion of Little SkidMark. “And take the weight… hold him steady… now, on my Mark.. Pull!”

But it was to no avail. Gently the pullers pulled, but Francois retreated ever further up his own fundament.

“Confronting a sufferer with the reality of the situation often makes the double down,” said Dr Parse. “Or double up, in this case.”

They tried, again and again, before admitting defeat.

“It’s no use,” said Dr Parse. “We’re going to need a bigger arsehole.”

Angel of the North to be replaced by statue of Boris Johnson

CAN YOU HEAR THE ANGELS SINGING : DOWNING STREET HAS ANNOUNCED TODAY that it is really serious about levelling up the ‘North’. So serious it’s going to do something exceptionally symbolic.

“It’s to show our appreciation for the red wall voters,” a Downing Street insider told LCD Views, “if they hadn’t believed in the Oven Ready Brexit and come over to us to GET BREXIT DONE, well, we may not be free to trade with the world. Except the EU of course. We don’t trade with them anymore.”

The symbolic gesture will surprise many, given that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has avoided gesture politics in his long career. Except for holding up a kipper, posing as a builder, driving a forklift through a pile of empty boxes, and all the other empty gestures.

“The statue itself will showcase Britain’s world beating statue building industry to the world and will be made with locally sourced materials.”

Designs for the statue, nicknamed the ‘Colossus of Wanknassus’ by the design team, are still being finalised but the elements that will be used in the construction are already known.

“The body will be of wicker, with a cavity in the centre for offerings from grateful northerners in their funny flat caps. The whole structure will be coated in iron pyrite so it really catches the light the one day a year the clouds part north of Watford. And the feet will be local clay. It’s a boom for manufacturing.”

There are plans to hold an annual festival of gratitude at the site too.

“Once a year on Brexit Day people will gather to recant the benefits of Brexit and discover who their prime minister is shagging now. It’s going to unite the country like only Boris Johnson can.”

CERN : Scientists confirm if they can open door to parallel universe they will shove Trump through

IT’S THE HOPE THAT KILLS YOU : CERN scientists like to gamble. This is obvious by their intention to attempt to create mini blackholes in the hope of contacting a parallel universe during 2020. But like all canny fanciers of odds they also hope the gamble will pay off.

To this end they will cycle up the atom smashing Large Hadron Collider near Geneva next week and then keep their fingers crossed. Will they successfully create a black hole or won’t they?

“We better. This is the last shot to save humanity, unless the American voters can wade their way through all the fraud and electoral crime to actually vote Donald Trump out,” a CERN spokesman told LCD Views, “this is why we’re doing the experiment to open a door to a parallel universe before the US election, and not after. If we fail it will be up to you America. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”

But if they are successful in opening a door way to another universe, what then? Aren’t they worried something may come through it?

“Well, there is some concern we maybe doing that current Twitter trend of ‘How it started…and how it’s going’. You’ve seen the film ‘Pacific Rim’? Great fun. There’s some concern giant, space lava spewing monsters may come through, but we think it’s worth the risk.”

Why?

“Because if we are able to create mini blackholes and a door to a parallel universe it will be just the opportunity we’re looking for. We’ll invite Donald Trump to hold a rally at the LHR and then shove him right through the door.”

But what will happen after that?

“We’ll close it. Jesus. We’re scientists. Not maniacs.”

Half of all UK alcohol sales to cease Friday at midnight

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE DRUNK TO WORK HERE BUT IT HELPS : RUMOURS ARE AFOOT, and a hand to mouth in the Westminster estate today, following the decision to ban the sale of alcohol by Speaker of the House Lyndsey A-Hoyle There!

In particular the rumours are focused on plans to stage an internal coup, lead by David “DD” Davis and Michael “Grade A” Gove.

“Once we seize control of the beer taps we will hold all the jars,” David Davis is said to have asserted, confidentially, blithely, over confidentially, perhaps drunkenly, and in complete denial of what most sentient life forms, with or without thumbs, would call reality. But that won’t dent David’s confidence.

The move to ensure that the flow of alcohol remains seamless, while the UK transitions through the pandemic, will also help with the ongoing internal negotiations with the “North”.

“We have to ensure Dominic ‘Doom Bar’ Raab stays well oiled if he’s to bludgeon the upstart Mayor of Manchester in the ongoing negotiations. We’ll be giving Dom yard glasses of warm ale, telling him how macho he looks and then with a slap on the butt he’ll be going to Manchester swinging! Burnham won’t know what hit him. Especially if Raab is carrying CV-19 asymptomatically. Which given the way Jacob Rees-bogg’s is managing the Commons is increasingly likely.”

But potentially the real benefit of ensuring consistent supply of alcohol to the Commons is the risk of an improvement in overall governance if MPs are forced to make decisions sober.

“There’s the real risk of a dangerous precedent being set,” Davis has warned his fellow saboteurs, “if we sober up for a day we maybe forced to confront the reality that we are really, really shit at government. And that’s a red line I’m not personally prepared to cross.”

Downing Street confirms the Office of Prime Minister has been outsourced to Serco

No 10 SERCO STREET : A Downing Street source has confirmed rumours today that the Office of the Prime Minister has been outsourced to multinational test and trace giant Serco. In. Its. Entirety.

“It happened on the 13th December 2019,” the source explains, “the morning after Boris Johnson’s famous “Oven Ready” general election win. Boris was still sleeping off the election night party at his Russian mate’s pad. Someone had to run the country. It was an unprecedented crisis.”

But it seems it was a crisis averted as the corporate stepped forward to offer to take the contract to be prime minister on without tender.

“But it’s incorrect to say it’s just Serco, there’s a drop down menu of various corporation supplying consultants and experts. It explains why the country is rapidly becoming the ghastly, ungoverned shower that you see in the headlines. The profits are huge. But just pay attention to the news cycle and feel immobilised with rage.”

The confirmation does at least make sense of the waste and mismanagement, as is common when the British state privatises services it should do itself, solely in the public interest.

“It really is the peak of trickle down economics,” the source adds, “the money these businesses are taking consulting on how to run the UK will not just trickle, but flood to a variety of bank accounts in low tax regimes. It’s essentially a massive work of international aid development, depending on how you look at it. Especially for chaps that write company names on letterboxes on tropical islands.”

But while the outsourcing itself is uncontroversial, some are quibbling over the lack of penalty and break clauses in massive contracts won without tender.

“They’ll stop asking that once they realise their Serco Social Score is liable to worsen if they don’t shut up. And whatever you do, when you next vote, ensure it’s a postal vote being handled by a mate of the governing Conservatives.”

Plans are also in place to outsource the opposition parties in the UK to private actors.

“It will provide strong and stable government,” the source finishes, “and not the sort of chaos we would have experienced under Ed Milliband. This is why Serco has rehired both David Cameron and Boris Johnson as consultants.”