Covid stories 21 —endchildfoodpoverty, Burnham, tears and Lanzini
Inevitably, when I read these blogs back, they will no doubt feel partial accounts of what happened and it’s tricky to judge what history reflects as significant; what may seem big within a 24 hour news cycle may be insignificant in time.
My feelings are that the very brutal spat between Andy Burnham and the Government over Manchester is disregarded but what what won’t be is the debate around how the government have treated the poorest (and the North) during the pandemic. That is undoubtedly due to the incredible way that Marcus Rashford has mobilised the country.
His asks have been so modest, which ironically makes it all the more extraordinary that the Government appear to have misjudged the mood so badly. £20m to cover school meals over Autumn half term, when the taxpayer subsidises public schools each year to the tune of £100m, or whilst consultants are paid £7k per day on a failing test and trace system. It will be some U-turn if it comes, and yet it feels the momentum is such that it feels inevitable it will come.
Andy Burnham tapped into this issue with arguing for additional support for low paid support in the North. And yet nothing happened until London went into Tier 2 lockdown (no doubt the restrictions of the Tiers will be an issue of some mystery in years to come). Levelling up is now transparently a facade.
How close is a vaccine? People seem to think there ‘may’ be something rolled out by the New Year but it may take 3–6 months before it is fully rolled out. So there is a long time ahead. And all the while, the second wave is such that we now are regularly seeing over 200 people dying each day. And that ‘seems’ an acceptable number. Part of me wonders whether at the end of all this, life will somehow seem less precious. There seems to be an active balancing of 200 people dying each day with the economic interests of the country — but interestingly, I have always thought the two are intrinsically linked and that containing the virus contains the economic damage.
From a personal perspective, our hens were killed by a fox, and whilst I had done so well to lose a stone in weight and be more healthy with more exercise (a 15k run!) and sleep, I kind of went off the rails last week. Joe has been to stay for the weekend — we couldn’t really do too much except monopoly, Strictly, playing football in a muddy park — but it was great fun! And we watched West Ham grab a 1–1 draw with Man City which suggests some turnaround in our form — especially after Lanzini’s extraordinary injury-time equaliser away to Spurs after being 3–0 down after 15 minutes.
It was more than ironic that half an hour later, I walked out into the garden to find Lanzini (the hen) been got by the fox. I hope that isn’t prescient with Manu’s West Ham career.