Bruce Lawson’s personal site

Song: Bella in the Witch Elm

bruceclawson · Bella In The Witch Elm

Bella’s in the witch elm
Regal in a taffeta gown
Queen of her forest realm
Autumn leaves form her crown

Bella’s in the witch elm
She won’t say how she came there
She’s still as seasons turn
And winter winds wind her hair

Beneath the cries of the weeping willow
You can hear the sighs from the witch elm’s hollow

Bella’s in the witch elm
wearing her gold wedding ring
She’s silent at the coming of Spring
At the maypole, children dance and sing

Bella’s in the witch elm
Wearing just one summer shoe
She will never tell
Someone put here there – but who?

Who put Bella where she can’t see
Who put Bella in the Witch Elm Tree? Who?

Words and music © Bruce Lawson 2020, all rights reserved.
Production, drums and bass guitar: Shez of @silverlakemusic.

Reading List 259

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Boris Johnson lifts the lockdown

“Look, it’s perfectly simple. Go back to work, but don’t use public transport. Travel in a chauffeur-driven ministerial limousine. Use common sense – under no circumstances shake hands with people you know to have the virus. Covid-19 appeared in December, which makes it a Sagittarius, so Taureans and Libras should wear masks. But it also appeared in China, which makes it a Rat, so anyone called Mickey or Roland is advised to wear gloves. We’re following the science, so here’s a graph.

Incomprehensible graph

Remember, this is Blighty, not a nation of Moaning Minnies, Fondant Fancies or Coughing Keirs (thanks, Dom!). England expects every interchangeable low-paid worker and old person in a care home to Do Their Duty: let’s just Get Dying Done. God save the Queen, Tally-ho!”

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Lockdown Cover 1: Lady Godiva’s Operation (Velvet Underground)

I’m trying to record a cover version each week of songs that have really influenced me. They’re not especially polished, but it gives me a chance to experiment with my recording studio outside my usual working practices.

This is the first Velvet Underground song I heard. I was at a student party, sitting next to the speaker that Lou Reed suddenly shouts his vocals out of. It made me jump and I dropped the communal spliff into my beer. But I forgave them and became a total VU anorak.

Reading List 255

This week, my friend Vadim Makeev and I released the first episide of our podcast, The F-word, which discusses Front-end, browsers and standards. The web site is built on Eleventy, hosted on Github so anyone can contribute and has a 100% Lighthouse score. The pilot episode is 38 minutes long—why not have a listen!!

Why I won’t clap for Boris

A right-wing friend got angry with me because I refused to “clap for Boris”, saying now is not the time to make political points.

If you think this is not a time to make political points, you’re wrong. Boris Johnson has Covid-19 because he went around shaking Covid patients’ hands, against expert advice. Those experts who, in 2016, Gove said everyone is tired of.

He shook people’s hands because he had a plan to boost herd immunity – we should all “take it on the chin” he said. This policy was dreamed up by him and Dominic Cummings, who said “herd immunity to protect the economy and if a few pensioners die, so be it”. That’s your dad and my mum he was prepared to sacrifice.

And because of this deranged policy (which models showed would cause the death of an extra quarter of a million British people), he delayed ordering the Personal Protective Equipment that the health workers need — the health workers whom he voted to deny a 1% payrise to. Mass testing and contact tracing are what got China and South Korea through this. But even the lefty paper the Daily Mail is reporting that the “herd immunity” delay means we won’t have enough of the chemicals needed to produce the 100,000 tests that Matt Hancock promised by the end of the month. (After Johnson falsely promised 250,000.)

In October 2016 the UK government ran a national pandemic flu exercise, codenamed Exercise Cygnus. “We’ve just had in the UK a three-day exercise on flu, on a pandemic that killed a lot of people,” chief medical officer Sally Davies said at the time. “It became clear that we could not cope with the excess bodies,” Davies said. One conclusion was that Britain, as Davies put it, faced the threat of “inadequate ventilation” in a future pandemic.

What did the Tory government at the time do? Nothing. Johnson was a senior Cabinet Minster at that time.

Matt Hancock was invited by the EU to collaborate in bulk-buying ventilators. Johnson said no, because he didn’t like the politics of collaborating with the EU. End result? We don’t have enough ventilators.

I hope he gets better, because I’m a socialist so I value his life more than he values mine (or yours). I hope he recovers and comes back more humble, more humane. And as a patriot, I will not stop holding to account this dangerous man whose bad political choices mean that UK will have Europe’s worst death toll:

In the early stages of the UK outbreak, deaths climbed steeply, which the IHME says is a major driver of predicted deaths.

The flirtation in government with the idea of “herd immunity” as a way out of the epidemic meant there was a delay in implementing physical distancing until 23 March, when there were already 54 daily deaths.

It is unequivocally evident that social distancing can, when well-implemented and maintained, control the epidemic, leading to declining death rates.

His political choices will cause far more of our compatriots to die than would have otherwise. His policies require scrutiny. He deserves no applause.

Bruce’s vegan leek and potato soup

As I’m self-isolating with my vegan daughter, I’ve been trying to cook healthy vegan meals. We had a couple of leeks in the fridge which needed to be used up, so I invented this leek and potato soup, which was pretty delicious.

Lovely soup

Ingredients

Peel and chop potatoes into cubes around 1cm. Chop the leeks into chunks about 1cm wide. Chop the onion finely. Fry it in a little oil. until it’s translucent. Add the potatoes and fry for a few minutes. Dissolve the stock cubes in around 2 litres of boiling water. Add the liquid to the pan. Add the leeks. Let it bubble. Chop the celery, and add to the pot. Add a tablespoon of marmite, 2-3 tablespoons of the mixed herbs and some chilli flakes. Stir it all up. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!