Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has rallied against the reintroduction of local lockdowns in parts of England with high COVID case rates – claiming they “simply do not work”.
The government has so far refused to rule out reimposing tougher sanctions in English regions where a more infectious variant of coronavirus – first identified in India – is causing cases to climb once again.
Bolton is one of the areas to suffer some of the biggest rises – with transmission rates in the borough more than 14 times the national average.
Speaking to Sky on the weekend, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Given though Bolton has been in some form of a lockdown for a year, it’s not a step we want to take but of course we might have to take it and we will if it’s necessary to protect people.”
But GM Mayor Andy Burnham has fought back against talk of local lockdowns this week – claiming that regional restrictions “turn lives upside down, ruin businesses and put young people’s lives on hold – with little effect on containing the virus.”
Writing in The Mirror, Burnham suggested that people in lockdown areas would simply travel to other parts of England, causing the virus to circulate further.
He stated: “The trust of the public will be lost if local lockdown restrictions are imposed on them just at the time when the Government is easing them everywhere else.
“And it will be harder for mayors and local leaders to ask the public to observe local lockdowns when the Government hasn’t even tried other solutions that might have prevented them in the first place.”
Burnham claimed the real solution was “staring us right in the face” – and that people needed full income support during self-isolation, whilst high case areas like Bolton should be given permission to vaccinate all people right down to the age of 16.
Greater Manchester is no stranger to local lockdowns.
In Autumn last year, several boroughs were living under different sets of ever-changing rules. At one stage, Trafford and Bolton were given the green light to lift social curbs on meeting others indoors – only to have the restrictions reimposed on the same day they were due to be removed.
On September 8, Bolton hospitality was blamed for high case rates and the sector was restricted to takeaway-only – with all venues temporarily required to close from 10pm to 5am.
Now, with case rates rising once again, business owners in the borough are concerned that similar restrictions could return; just days after bars, cafes, pubs, cinemas and culture venues reopened to the public on May 17.
Testing has however been ramped up in Bolton to slow the spread and a new vaccine centre has opened – with more than 6,000 local people queuing up to get a COVID shot over the weekend.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has refused to commit to a course of action yet, but said there was nothing yet in the data to suggest England would need to deviate from its roadmap to exiting lockdown.
He stated: “We’re looking at all the data as it comes in from places like Bolton, Blackburn, Bedford, Sefton” and added that the situation was “under very careful, close review.”
Fans ‘scarred for life’ after old Paddy McGuinness football DVD resurfaces
A very old clip of Paddy McGuinness has resurfaced this week and fans of the Bolton comedian are not coping well.
The clip comes from his All Star Balls Up DVD, which compiles funny mistakes and well, balls-ups, from the world of football, with the help of some famous footie mates.
One clip in particular that’s come back around has been labelled ‘vile’ and ‘traumatic’ – while others say it’s the ‘peak of comedy’.
The clip starts off in a weird way, with the Phoenix Nights comedian tucked up in bed with two seemingly naked women.
“Ooh you’ve caught me having a little bit of Paddy time,” he says, which is one word for it.
He then pulls himself together and pops a suit on for a proper intro, in which he describes himself as a ‘working class hero, man of the people’ – while having his supercar polished in the background. Clever.
But then we get to the clip that’s left people questioning how it ever got signed off in the first place.
In the video, Paddy walks in to see Chris Kamara, Alan McInally, and Paul Merson all bent over a sink, aggressively buffing something held at about crotch-height.
It’s pretty obvious what the gesture is meant to look like, but it turns out Chris and Alan are actually polishing up their trophies.
But Paul Merson… the dirty dog.
When Paddy asks what he’s doing, McInally says: “Best not to say.”
Then Merson turns to the camera with a facial expression that should definitely have been kept in private.
The initial person who shared the clip again, which has now been seen almost 1 million times, said: “The absolutely vile ‘joke’ at the end of this advert for Paddy McGuinness’ football DVD, Paddy McGuinness All Star Balls-Ups, has been stuck in my head since the day I seen it. Proper scarred for life stuff.”
Someone else wrote: “The last 10 seconds of this are both amazing and traumatic in equal measure.”
Another tweeted: “Well I wasn’t expecting that,” while someone else pointed out: “I have sooo many questions.”
It was also a nostalgia trip for a lot of people who were into that sort of comedy back in the 2000s.
One Twitter user said: “Memory unlocked; I deffo had that DVD. The football gaffe dvd era was unmatched.”
Another wrote: “Incredible stuff. I used to have this dvd and thought it was the peak of comedy.”
And to sum it up neatly – “Laughed, cried, was enthralled. 10/10.”
Featured image: Paddy McGuinness, All Star Balls Up
Peter Kay calls Matt Hancock a ‘proper b***end’ in thank you message to fans as his tour sells out
Peter Kay has taken a swipe at Matt Hancock in a thank you message to his fans after astronomical ticket sales.
The legendary Bolton-born comedian and actor has taken to social media to express his gratitude to everyone who has bought at ticket to see his upcoming tour, but while he was at it, also took the chance to chip in with his thoughts on the former Health Secretary and his highly-publicised current stint on the ITV reality competition show I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
In case you somehow missed it, Greater Manchester – and much of the UK, to be honest – went into a bit of a meltdown last week when Peter Kay announced that he is to play a whole slew of huge Manchester shows from next month as he makes a return to live comedy on his first stand-up tour in 12 years.
Rumours began circulating that the 49-year-old was preparing for a 2023 comeback tour earlier this year, but it was first confirmed that Kay will be doing two massive shows at the AO Arena on Friday 2 & Saturday 3 December 2022.
After that, the comic will head on over to Birmingham to close out 2022, before making his way across the rest of the UK and Ireland in 2023.
Due to the absolutely overwhelming demand to see the comedy legend take to the stage for the first time in over a decade, with hundreds of thousands of people in online queues and tickets being snapped-up almost instantly when they went on sale this past Saturday morning, Kay decided to keep adding extra dates to the tour schedule to give all fans the chance to catch his comeback moment.
It may have just started out as two humble shows, but now, Kay is set to play a total of 42 gigs just at the AO Arena alone – running from December 2022 until May 2025.
Sales for this tour have also significantly surpassed the record Kay back in 2010 too, where he played to more than 1.2 million in a single tour.
The comedian says he is “absolutely blown away” by ticket sales.
In a thank you message to his fans, Kay said on Twitter: “Absolutely blown away by the ticket sales so far, especially as some of the shows aren’t for a good while yet, but don’t worry, we’ll have a laugh when we’re all together.
“Much love, Peter.”
That wasn’t all Kay had to say in his message though, as he made sure to sign-off by saying “P.S. Matt Hancock is a proper b***end.”
Matt Hancock, who was the former Health Secretary for a large majority of the COVID-19 pandemic between 2018-2021, and has also held a number of other senior roles in the UK government throughout his career, is currently causing a stir as a contestant on I’m A Celebrity…
Since entering the jungle, Hancock has faced all the Bushtucker Trials he has been eligible for, and has been the subject of much discussion, controversy, and questioning from both within the camp by his campmates and on the outside world on social media.