Mark Steel: Aristocracy can carry on as normal while North has much to grouse about – Mark Steel

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I can understand why so many people who live in what is called The North are a bit cross.

It must seem like there’s been a meeting in a gentleman’s club where Conservative ministers said: “Why don’t we try this new lockdown out on Northerners? They don’t venture out anyway as it’s dark all day, and they’re all covered in coal so they can’t see each other.”


Local businesses are terrified of having to close down again but Conservatives would argue they must show some imagination.

The rules allow people to meet if it’s for a grouse-shooting party. So fish and chip shops should adapt and sell grouse and chips with pickled quails’ eggs. Instead of moaning, they could offer a meal deal, of a brace of pheasants in batter with a saveloy and mushy asparagus.

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Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham

Then they can claim they’re part of a hunt and business will boom.

As the aristocracy seems to be allowed to carry on as normal, shops such as Poundland will have to think a little.

They could become Guinealand, where a customer goes up to the counter, and buys the man’s daughter for a sprinkle of gold. And if he marries her, that’s even luckier as 15 people are allowed at weddings, so the family might get a bit of cake if they’re invited.

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham protested that if cities are to be shut down, people ought to be compensated, so they don’t have to live on half their normal income.

Grouse shooters on Forneth Moor in Dunkeld, Scotland

On the other hand, the Government say everyone should just accept the stricter rules.

I wonder who is right.

Maybe this will be the Government’s next announcement.

They’ll tell people in locked-down areas not to worry about being forced to stay indoors, as before long they’ll get so behind on their rent or mortgage, they’ll be thrown out of their home.

Then they can make up for being stuck inside, as they’ll be out all the time, getting plenty of fresh air, living in a shop doorway.

They might even have company, sharing the pavement with the person who used to own the shop before it closed down.

This is all part of the Conservatives’ successful campaign to prove they’re now the party of the North.

To make that even clearer, Boris Johnson will make a special Address to our Northern Friends, in which he will say: “Good evening, permit me as it were to parlance in a manner you may comprehend. ‘Ee ’eck we’re int’ right pickle, or piccalillus piccalillus to use its correct Latin moniker. Thou’s to stay ’ome is thee, and if thee’s no snap, thou’s to go without and cook thine pets, I’ll tell thee that for nowt.”



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