A round-up of the month’s biggest and hottest news stories with a satirical twist.
Boris’ roadmap out of lockdown
Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his four-step roadmap out of lockdown on February 22nd. All legal limits on social contact are to be lifted by June 21st if strict conditions are met. Shops, hairdressers, gyms and outdoor hospitality could reopen on April 12th. From May 17th, two households might be allowed to meet in homes while the rule of six could apply to pubs.
Now, there’s a lot of information to take in here, but film fans will rejoice that drive-in cinemas are set to open on the 12th and general cinemas on May 17th. I’ve certainly missed a trip to the pictures. The restrictions being eased all depends on four tests on vaccines, infection rates and new Covid variants to be met at each stage. Boris claims the plan will be “cautious, but irreversible”. Mr. Johnson also told a Downing Street press conference that the coming spring and summer would be “seasons of hope, looking and feeling incomparably better for us all”.
I watched the press conference and couldn’t believe how much weight the Prime Minister has lost, but also how bald he looks now - he’s gonna be balder than Chris Whitty soon! He put down the reason he got so ill from Covid back in April down to being overweight. Clearly whatever diets and regimes he’s been following have made him less fat and more fit.
It’s amusing how Boris the buffoon chooses to surround himself with the most boring bunch of advisers and politicians this country has ever seen. First there was Dominic Cummings who looked like Lord Voldemort. Then there’s Matt Hancock who is blander than John Major. And now there’s Prof. Chris Whitty who looks like the baby from ‘Family Guy’ and has a permanently red face (I imagine Boris in his put-on posh accent musing “OEEEH I THINK HE’S BEEN OUT IN THE SUN!”). Boris is a lot of things, but boring isn’t one of them.
His government has been criticised for acting too little, too late to previous lockdown measures, but I have to say I’m pretty impressed with this new roadmap. It’s led by “data not dates” and caution rather than Johnson’s trademark over-optimism. The vaccination programme has been a great success and I just can’t wait to be back at the cinema. Roll on May 17th!
Dishy Rishi’s Budget
Chancellor Rishi Sunak, looking as dashing and dapper and sounding as posh as ever, delivered the 2021 Budget to a Downing Street press conference on Wednesday March 3rd. It’s a budget of considerable tax rises including a 25% rise in the Corporation Tax - just 1% short of Jeremy Corbyn’s proposed 26% tax rise and the first time the Corporation Tax has been raised since the lacklustre Labour government of 1974 promised to squeeze the rich until the “pips squeak”. The government are spending £407 billion and setting peacetime records for borrowing.
It’s a very unconservative budget - a very liberal budget you could say. With it, the Tories have essentially become their dreaded nanny state; going against the low tax, small state economics that fundamentally sculpt their right wing ideologies. The Tories constantly accuse Labour’s over-reliance on the role of a big government and a large welfare state as nannying so it’s ironic they’re now doing the nannying themselves. But what other choice do they have in a country with 126K deaths and 4.3 million Covid cases and the UK in its worst recession in 300 years?
I’m fully supportive of the government’s increase in taxes and spending billions of public money. How else are they going to get the economy back on track? Previous government handlings of the pandemic had me thinking of voting Keir Starmer and Labour, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to be sticking with the Conservatives. They’re not doing anything objectionable and dishy Rishi is the face of modern, liberal conservatism peeking out from beneath this pandemic…
Sturgeon vs. Salmond
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has been cleared of breaching the ministerial code over her involvement in the Alex Salmond sexual harassment saga. The Holyrood inquiry by senior Irish lawyer James Hamilton has been looking into whether the First Minister misled the Scottish Parliament over what she knew and when.
His report stated that Mrs Sturgeon had given an “incomplete narrative of events” to MSPs, but said this was a “genuine failure of recollection” and not deliberate. Mr. Hamilton also says he is of the opinion that Mrs Sturgeon had not breached any of the provisions of the code. The code establishes the standards expected of Scottish government ministers and states that anyone who deliberately misleads Holyrood would be expected to resign.
Mr. Hamilton, however, concluded in his report that Mrs Sturgeon did not breach the ministerial code in respect of any of the four issues he considered. These include allegations that Mrs Sturgeon had failed to record a series of meetings and telephone discussions with Mr. Salmond in 2018.
The news over Sturgeon’s clearance will make SNP supporters and Team Nicola very happy. There have been criticisms from some in the SNP about a lack of strategy to force another referendum, but most apparently accept the First Minister as a key asset for the independence movement - many believe she is one of the main reasons for increased support for leaving the UK.
In two days, the Scottish election campaign will be kickstarted and an SNP victory is likely to bring about another independence referendum. Sturgeon has high approval ratings for her response to the pandemic and she’s certainly been more decisive than Boris. What an SNP victory means for the future of the union is up for debate. The Scots voted against independence back in 2014 thanks to the benefits of remaining in the EU, but, with the UK now out of the EU, the demand for devolution has never been higher. This is proof that Brexit could lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom. I now wish I’d voted Remain…
Harry and Megz on Oprah
Wasn’t the Harry and Meghan Oprah interview the most gripping 2 hours of Television in years? There were those like The Sunday Times’ Camilla Long who branded it a “bitch-a-thon” and Jeremy Clarkson claimed Piers Morgan lost his job for nothing. I just found it a really sobering experience - I really feel for Meghan and Harry very much now.
I don’t think it’s wrong they should want to take a backseat to all the paparazzi and pizazz of being in the royal family and some of the “Megxit” headlines were shockingly racist. “Rich and exotic DNA, Miss Markle’s mother is a dreadlocked African-American lady from the wrong side of the track”, “Meghan’s seed will taint our Royal Family”, “The real problem with Meghan Markle: She just doesn’t speak our language” were just some of the headlines shown on screen.
It doesn’t surprise me either that there were questions about baby Archie’s skin colour in the royal family. After all, this is a family whose Prince Phillip, on meeting the Nigerian President in 2003 who was dressed in traditional robes, said “you look like you’re ready for bed”. There’s always been a stigma about interracial marriages - a sense that it muddies the bloodline. As someone who is half-White British, half-Indian, I know a lot about this stigma. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had to explain to people in disbelief that my mum is white.
Will this be the end of the royal family? I highly doubt it. The monarchy has survived affairs, beheadings and abdications, I doubt it will die out over the claims of a pretty and pregnant former princess and her ginger former prince of a hubby. What the Oprah interview has exposed, however, is that the royals are not that different to us all - full of prejudice both racially and genderly. My thoughts are with Meghan and Harry. They have my vote…
RIP Sarah Everard
At around 9pm on Wednesday 3rd March, 33 year old Sarah Everard disappeared in South London. Living at the time in London’s Brixton Hill area, she went missing after leaving a friend’s house near Clapham Common to walk home at night. On March 9th, Wayne Couzens, a Metropolitan Police officer with the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection unit, was arrested in Deal, Kent, first on suspicion of Everard’s kidnapping and then on suspicion of her murder. On March 10th, her remains were found in woodland near Ashford, Kent. Couzens was charged with kidnapping and murder two days later.
There’s talk that there’s going to be plain-clothed police officers policing pubs, bars and nightclubs when they reopen and I fully support this notion to protect women. We men and women need to do everything we can to ensure our daughters, sisters and girlfriends are safe on nights out and at night. The only thing I would urge too is that non-police officer, everyday blokes call out their friends for crimes like sexual harassment. I know people who have groped women in bars and all that happened was that they were kicked out by the bouncer, not arrested for a serious sexual assault like they should be. We need to arrest anyone who has committed this both male and female. Only then will women feel safe when they go clubbing or when they walk home at night. Please do your bit…
Meet Roshan Chandy
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
Roshan's Top 5 Films of the Week
1. A Quiet Place: Part II (in cinemas)
2. Cruella (in cinemas)
3. After Love (in cinemas)
4. Dream Horse (in cinemas)
5. Frankie (in cinemas)
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