A low-cost solution to the spiralling costs associated with the construction of the HS2 rail link has presented itself in an unlikely way.
The current coronavirus crisis is predicted to create unemployment on an unprecedented scale, and government officials are said to be drawing up plans to build forced labour camps along the proposed HS2 route in preparation.
A report leaked to The Bluelands Gazette reveals that the predicted 6 million unemployed people facing financial hardship will be press ganged, medieval navy-style, into work on the vital rail link.
A Whitehall source, who wished to remain anonymous, told us that forcing poor people to work for the good of the nation may go down in Tory party history as being the most innovative scheme for re-employment ever conceived. “Everyone knows that gainful employment is the key to people’s sense of self-worth. And what better way of boosting the mood of the country than to unite the north and south of England in a patriotic sense of shared starvation, drudgery and death from poor sanitation?”
Temporary wooden Victorian-style workhouses with all mod cons are proposed to house workers for up to 8 years, although wifi connectivity has been ruled out for fear of encouraging workers to Tweet about mistreatment by gangmasters.
It is thought that once finished, the rail link will provide new job opportunities for the ex-workers who didn’t die, and everyone will be bloody delighted to go back to their mind numbingly dull careers.
Newly elected leader of the Labour party, Sir Keir Starmer, is reported to be impatiently awaiting the government’s announcement on the UK’s Coronavirus exit strategy.
With another 3 weeks of lockdown just announced, Boris Johnson’s right-hand man, Dominic Raab, has yet to give news of how Britain will ease back into normal life. Speaking to The Bluelands Gazette today opposition party insiders admit that Sir Keir Starmer is running out of things to criticise the government for.
“Nobody knows for sure how Boris Johnson will ease lockdown restrictions, or when. But one thing is absolutely certain: whatever it turns out to be, Starmer will be on Twitter, Newsnight and The bloody One Show denouncing the plan as all shades of shit to a Sunday.” When asked how one can be so sure that Sir Keir will oppose the as yet to be drafted timeline, the party insider replied that the job of an opposition party is to vehemently criticise all government policies, regardless of how brilliant they appear to be.
“Modern politics is all about arguing with the party in opposition to you, publicly, and desperately trying to come up with a vaguely believable reason for doing so.”
The Prime Minister, meanwhile, is spending his sick leave formulating a suitable trolling to Sir Keir’s inevitable repudiation of the future proposals.
Are you a retired boomer, confused about how to distinguish between a seasonal affliction that is a total pain in the arse as soon as spring arrives, and a deadly pandemic? Take our quiz to find out what might be going on.
1. You are experiencing worrying symptoms of a sore throat, a cough, and a loss of your sense of taste and smell. Could this be because:
a. Your house has been full of daffodils, crocuses, and gladioli for the past week
b. A week ago your house was full of friends and family wearing homemade facemasks, to celebrate your granddaughter passing her driving test “Well she deserves a little party”
2. You feel hot and sweaty, but then cold and clammy. Could this be because:
a. It’s 18 degrees centigrade outside but you’ve forgotten to turn the heating off, so you’re sitting in a deckchair next to the rosebushes in just your underpants ‘to cool down’
b. You fell asleep on the nightbus after Judy’s wine and cheese evening and woke up with your tongue resting on the handrail in front of you
3. You are short of breath. Could this be because:
a. You’ve just power-walked all the way to Homebase and back to buy rhododendron, buddleia and lupins for the front garden ‘to show Jeff and Carole that we’re not chavs’
b. You decided that the government’s social distancing guidelines don’t apply to you, so you’ve spent Sunday picnicking with your friends and half the neighbourhood on the heath
Mostly A’s: You probably have hayfever. Self- isolate anyway, just in case.
Mostly B’s: You probably have Covid-19. Self-isolate and hope to God you haven’t just sealed another person’s fate with your cavalier attitude.
Joggers have today confirmed that will definitely run straight through small groups of people causing them to move out of the way slightly. This is despite overwhelming evidence that the rest of the road and pavement is, in fact, completely empty.
Passer-by Steve, 43, is puzzled by this strange behaviour. “The wife and I were just enjoying our daily government sanctioned walk. There wasn’t a car on the road, and no one else to be seen, apart from a jogger in the distance. He ran towards us on the other side of the road, then crossed to our side just before getting to us. We had to step aside a bit to let him pass. What the bloody hell was that all about? Twat.”
Innocent walkers around the country have reported similar incidences, with some even having to hastily dive out of the way of oncoming Lycra-clad fitness freaks. However, concerns that the heavy breathing, sweating, excess-saliva-spitting hobby runners may be hoping to spreading Coronavirus have been pooh-poohed by the running community.
“It’s complete rubbish”, splutters the president of London running club Bluelands Panthers, Gavin Jones. “The 2 metre rule simply doesn’t apply to us. The reason we brush past complete strangers in an unneccessarily intimate way is to show them how lithe and toned we are. That’s all. It’s pure vanity and nothing more.” Shirley Higgs, wearing some unfeasibly tight leggings and a sport bra, agrees. “People need to catch a whiff of our sweaty armpits as we zoom past. Perhaps a few droplets of sweat, or actual physical contact. We’re doing them a service. Why should we run unobstructed on a clear stretch of pavement? Don’t be ridiculous.”
Gavin takes his top off. “I might run past that couple over there in a minute with my bare chest. Have you seen these pecs? Go on, have a feel.”
It has emerged today that line managers who give their staff constant ‘feedback’ on their staff’s performance, sometimes several times a day, are actually crap at their own jobs. Far from showing their own bosses that they are diligent, hard-working perfectionists, most bosses are well aware that they have a total prick on their hands.
Company director Malcolm Wynter, from Swindon, knows that senior manager Fergus is a mini tyrant who constantly picks fault with every member of his staff. “There’s nothing wrong with his team, they’re all fine, which has absolutely nothing to do with Fergus. He could just as well spend the day making a sculpture out of office stationary and the department would still run perfectly well. He’s a self-important little arse-wipe.” Wynter pauses. “He’ll still get his annual pay rise this year. His staff won’t, obviously.”
Jenny and Mike, two of Fergus’s team, are tired of the daily nit-picking. “He insists I chase sales lead every day, even though my customers are getting really pissed off with me. I’ve lost 3 this week already”, says Mike. “Fergus is shit at his job and covers it up by making out everyone else is rubbish and in desperate need of his strong management skills”, adds Jenny. “I was doing this job while he was still getting wedgies at primary school. I’m tempted to give him one now, actually.”
The little town of Scarsford Dale in Northumbria is a community divided, and not just by the A1. The town’s 6,000 or so residents are being consulted on plans to build a new wind farm, which is expected to provide up to 25% of the town’s energy needs, and will bring much needed job opportunities to the area.
Barbara Drayton-Findlay, leading the opposition group determined to stop the proposed development, spoke to us yesterday. “Scarsford Dale is a town proud of it’s diverse wildlife and natural beauty. Erecting a dozen bloody big turbines will not only startle the Red Squirrels found recently to be living on the site, but will also ruin the view of the historic Skelmarsh Water Treatment Works. Once the petition is drawn up I know I can count on a good 20 or 30 of my rich neighbours to sign it.”
Despite only a small number of rich Tory voters expected to oppose the new clean energy enterprise, it is expected that they will win the fight due to them being rich Tories, and therefore more important than their working-class neighbours. “The sewage farm may not be the prettiest local landmark, but it is our landmark, and the visitor centre’s famous breeze block edifice can be seen for miles around. We want an uninterrupted view of our settling ponds and gravel beds.”
The National Grid have denied reports that the Red Squirrel, a protected species, was found living close to the site. “It turned out to be a Grey Squirrel that had been captured by some local nimbys and dyed ginger using L’Oreal’s Casting Creme Gloss”, a spokesman told us. “It’s dead now, it got beaten up by it’s mates for being ginger.”