Clever sports commentators tell us football’s a game of two halves. Likewise this past week. For real people in the real world, much of the news has been upbeat. But, as our Political Correspondent Peter Spencer reports, it’s been a downer in Downing Street.
The hell with those guys, let’s hear it first for the rest of us.
Daily deaths from Covid have now fallen below the average numbers from traffic accidents.
One day last week the virus claimed four lives across the nation. One less than the norm on the roads, according to the Department for Transport.
Also, the risk of being admitted to hospital falls dramatically in the weeks after the first jab.
These findings, after a huge survey, have put a smile on the fact of the prof presenting them to the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
Calum Semple from Liverpool Uni said: ‘This is real world data that vaccination is working better than we could have possibly imagined.’
Hardly surprising, given the startling numbers he was coming out with.
Just three weeks after the first injection, the risk of a serious dose of the disease fell by ninety-eight per cent. Even in frail and elderly folk.
Also, the chances of passing it on to others were greatly reduced.
Oh and btw, fears the Indian variant might dodge the vaccine appear to have been unfounded.
Little wonder the government in Wales is lifting restrictions faster than originally planned, while the pressure remains for Bojo to follow suit.
Fat chance, given the number of times he’s had his fingers burned down to the elbows.
But the government is on a mission to make summer holidays abroad doable, at least for some of us.
Officials hope to launch a system of Covid passports proving people have been inoculated as early as next month.
And, separately, a European medical agency’s calling for those who’ve got them to be able to sidestep tests and quarantine.
If the plan works it should open the doors to more than twenty countries.
Things are looking up for the economy too, as a monthly survey of money experts for the Treasury points to the sharpest growth in decades.
It seems people who’ve accidentally saved money during lockdowns are now gagging to spend spend spend.
For that reason investment bankers JP Morgan, along with other number crunchers, go further. Predicting the biggest splurge since the war.
The so-called ‘Beautiful Game’ was also going to be a nice little earner, at least for the six English clubs signed up for the European Super League.
In the event this actually was a game of two halves. In the first they were going to make loadsermoney. In the second they were as they were.
Probably a relief for Johnson, that, as he’d been huffing and puffing about it, without any clear idea how he’d blow that house down.
Point of fact his pro-soccer credentials are on a par with his man of the people drinking habits.
In photo-op terms a pint in the hand is worth two in the wine bar. The boozer’s a schmooze with the punters, and that’s it.
But the Bojo brand’s been taking the same sort of hit of late as soccer’s bloated bosses, for not unrelated reasons.
A fab Abba hit from 1976 springs to mind. ‘Money, money, money. Always sunny. In the rich man’s world.’
Not so much a revolving door between public service and private sector, more a lowered drawbridge.
Former Prime Minister David ‘Call Me Dave’ Cameron was described by Labour MP’s last week as ‘Dodgy Dave’.
Though Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent at Sky News, reckons ‘Desperate Dave’ may be a better handle.
This after the Bank of England released a mass of material showing how busy he’d been pestering old colleagues in government.
Because he got short shrift, Dave turned to the bank itself, but had no more luck there.
Such a shame. His boss, the Australian financier Lex Greensill, would have paid him very nicely had it all worked out.
In the end he’ll probably be able to prove he didn’t actually break any rules. But it isn’t likely the episode will wow the fans.
Same applies to Boris Johnson, after the leaking of text messages and emails to the billionaire businessman James Dyson and others.
His promise to ‘fix’ the vacuum cleaner geezer’s tax status if he built covid patients’ ventilators in the UK looks like sleaze to the Labour leader.
Though whether that’ll translate into a poll boost in next month’s local elections is questionable.
Nonetheless, these instances are starting to look like the tip of the iceberg. And Number Ten is pointing the finger at the man everyone loves to hate.
Dominic Cummings, the Barnard Castle Bastard to some, is accused of conducting his own personal vendetta after he got the heave-ho.
Meanwhile, the ex Veterans’ Minister Johnny Mercer has his own testimony to brutality after he got sacked last week, by text.
‘This is the most distrustful, awful environment I’ve ever worked in, in government.
‘I don’t think anyone really can get on their high horse about trust and ethics and all the rest of it in politics.
‘As far as I’m concerned, most of it is a bit of a cesspit.’
An embittered ex-somebody maybe. But unhelpful to the government, in the current climate.
Maybe Macbeth’s witches were on to something.
‘Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and caldron bubble. Cool it with a baboon’s blood, then the charm is firm and good.’
Feels like it’ll take more than a good soak in baboon’s blood to get all this dirty linen clean, what with eight inquiries under way, so far.
A far cry from Oscar Wilde’s complaint, that women flirting with their husbands looked so bad, like washing one’s clean linen in public.
Can’t speak for the flirting, but the other thing’s been in decline since the pandemic started.
A YouGov survey found nearly a third of us have become less likely to put clean clothes on.
In addition, and apologies if this is TMI, nearly one in five of us is taking fewer showers, and a quarter washing our hair less often.
Also, horror of horrors, according to the retail analysts Mintel, nearly a third of us have been using less deodorant.
And the younger people are, the worse it gets.
Of course, our friends à travers la Manche have always had us down as the great unwashed.
And, as if to prove their superiority over us island apes, French women are are sending their (presumably clean) underwear to the prime minister.
All part of a protest against lingerie shops remaining closed during lockdown because they’re classified as ‘non essential’.
The social media campaign’s called Action Culottée, which translates as cheeky, or panty.
Rather, put in true Gallic style: ‘Knickers to you.’
Peter Spencer has 40 years experience as a Political Correspondent in Westminster, working with London Broadcasting and Sky News. For more of his fascinating musings on the turbulent political landscape, follow him on Facebook & Twitter.
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