The Curmudgeon

YOU'LL COME FOR THE CURSES. YOU'LL STAY FOR THE MUDGEONRY.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Noblesse Oblige

O rah for the Bullingdon lads,
Their PR and rah-rah and ads!
Six years on the grab,
Now parking their flab
In multiple luxury pads!

O rah for the Bullingdon lads,
Those charming wee chubby-cheeked cads!
Machine-gunning gooks
And cooking the books
From toil of their tax-dodging dads!

O rah for the Bullingdon lads,
Their sweet little foibles and fads!
We humble proles might
Have all our belts tight,
But plenty of cream for the spads!

Gideon Fatwick

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pour Décourager les Autres

Some treacherous foreign swine are plotting to give us back our borders. With the French presidential election approaching, Her Majesty's Government's fellow migrant-bashers across the Channel are taking a rather unsporting attitude to their duty of ensuring that the wogs stop at Calais. At present Britain has an agreement with the ghastly Socialists, allowing passports to be checked in France and thus protecting those efficient people at G4S and Serco from being overwhelmed by too many cockroaches swarming into their concentration camps. Should the serfs of the EU be so indiscreet as to elect a president more in tune with the legitimate concerns of white working burkiniphobes, this agreement may have to be re-negotiated; perhaps through the famous yet discreet diplomatic skills of the ever-subtle Imperial Haystack. As with everything else to do with Britain's new-found independence, doubtless the whole affair will turn out a triumph of fair play and common sense.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Elephantine Interventionism

Well, here's a thing: the Conservative Party appears to have been saying the thing that was not when it pledged to shut down the domestic trade in ivory, which is worsening the risk of extinction for the African elephant. The pledge was first made in 2010, but was quickly forgotten because of the urgent need to fix broken Britain by engineering a three-year economic depression and kicking the NHS to bits; while the Conservatives' little orange enablers were no doubt vociferous in their strong and principled agreement that the African elephant should be granted sufficient liberty to look after its own interests. In 2015 the Bullingdon Club sneered out the pledge again, or perhaps they simply forgot to remove it from the manifesto; this time the excuse for inaction is that "the illegal wildlife trade is a global issue and will only be solved through global co-operation." Rendered into Standard English this means that, as usual, the lesser breeds are to blame and that Britain must necessarily lead from the rear. It is, of course, a great pity that there are no international organisations to facilitate global co-operation on these issues, such as a European trading bloc with powers to make and enforce any laws agreed by its members.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

They Hate Our Control

Interfering foreigners have had the nerve to blame British politicians for the spontaneous outbreak of legitimate concern which followed the EU referendum. A UN committee for the elimination of good clean fun has accused our more straight-talking populists of having "created and entrenched prejudices, thereby emboldening individuals to carry out acts of intimidation and hate towards ethnic or ethno-religious minority communities and people who are visibly different". Of course the wogs don't know what they're talking about: Her Majesty's Government has a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, which is clearly and forthrightly defined as any form of persecution which has not been duly approved by Her Majesty's Government or by the scumbag press, and which the police and the courts have the time, inclination and funds to investigate. No names were mentioned in the UN bureaucrats' anti-Britishness screed, but the strutting Caudillo emeritus of the Farage Falange may well start blathering for a Brunxit if this kind of discrimination continues.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Most Reliable Indicator

Imbecile calms fury horror

Markets, businesses and embittered Remainers were possessed by beatific calm today after a proclamation by Iain Duncan Smith that Article 50 will be triggered early in 2017.

Triggering Article 50 would give the UK two years to negotiate its exit from the European Union, which has led to jitters among some deluded persons who seem to think that in any such negotiations the EU would be the larger party.

However, for many years one of the most reliable indicators for any given fact of British politics has been an announcement by Duncan Smith to the opposite effect.

Duncan Smith's time as commander-in-chief of the Idleness Police was characterised by repeated announcements of the imminent and efficient delivery of Universal Credit, which is now scheduled to be rolled out at some point between Brexit and the heat-death of the Universe.

Duncan Smith's department also extruded numerous statements about how much freedom the poorer classes were being worked into, while thousands became dependent on food banks and several unemployed expendables committed permanent acts of social self-cleansing.

Apart from his own long-standing contributions to veracity, Duncan Smith's sources for his assertion that Article 50 will be triggered early next year include Boris Johnson, David Davis and Adam Werritty, as well as a fan of the famously demented Psychoactive Substances Act.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Public Indecency

Certain voices in France are beginning to question whether the war against extremism can best be won with bans on beachwear. In the name of secularism, law and order and good manners, women who choose to cover themselves up on French beaches have been stopped and surrounded by armed police, yelled at by mobs with legitimate concerns, and accused of "provocation" by Nicolas de Racaille. Doubtless in the name of liberty, fraternity and equality, the deputy mayor of Nice, a party colleague of the ever-emollient former president, has also threatened legal action against anyone publishing images of municipal police. Nevertheless, as the education minister has pointed out, it remains unclear how far public safety and secular values can be upheld by ordering women to dress in accordance with some arbitrary prohibition, after the fashion of the sky-daddy's more fun-loving friends.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Another Humble Flagstone on the Road to Hell

Two sisters and their brother have been removed from an EasyJet plane and interrogated on the tarmac for an hour by Special Plod, apparently for the heinous crime of looking a bit headscarfy. Some other passengers on the flight decided that one of the sisters had a reference to the phrase Praise be to God on her phone; which, like so much anti-Muslim evidence, would certainly have been damning if it were true. None of the siblings went so far as to incriminate themselves by reading about Syria, although at least two of them have been to Iraq raising funds for victims of the Fighting Sons of Tony. Special Plod asked them about their knowledge of Arabic, a question they cunningly dodged by being natives of London, with Indian ethnicity, and unable to speak any language except English. (Since they looked so foreign-like and exotic, their knowledge of English was tactfully established by Special Plod with the first question barked.) Before being allowed back onto the plane, whose ethnically correct passengers had been treated to a full view of the entire precautionary measure, the siblings were warned that further checks would be carried out and that, if anything turned up, the forces of Britishness would descend upon their heads. Nobody was waiting for them when they returned from their holiday; although, since their father was born in Uganda, there is little guarantee that those efficient G4S people may not decide to pay an early-morning call if the Home Office should suddenly realise that Uganda is no longer part of the British Empire. As for the couple who began the whole salutary business by denouncing them, Essex Plod have satisfied themselves, after doubtless rigorous investigation, that the call was "of good intent".

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Laws Are For Little People

Antipreneurial and backsliding persons are again cavilling and complaining about Her Majesty's Government's cosy relationship with its brothers in Britishness, the head-chopping House of Saud. As an enthusiastic backer of the Arms Trade Treaty, which is supposed to protect schools, hospitals and homes from the depredations of unscrupulous warmongers like the beastly Russians or the Heathen Chinee, Her Majesty's Government is quite naturally doing everything it can to assist the head-chopping House of Saud in their continuing rampage in Yemen, where schools, hospitals and homes are being pulverised with rah-rah firepower and token regrets. More people are in need of humanitarian aid in Yemen than anywhere else in the world, yet still the whiny do-gooders persist in talking down this gold-medal British performance.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bow Down and Be Counted

I am sure we all agree that if there's one thing this country needs more of, it's bright ideas from the likes of Michael Gove and his chums. Policy Exchange, a "centre-right" (right-wing, in Standard English) think-tank founded by Gove and his almost equally sensible chum Nick Boles, has come up with a jolly wheeze for distinguishing between real and fake Britons. David Goodhart, who wrote a book squealing about the beastly migrants and the damage they cause to the social-democratic values which are so precious to the centre-right, has extruded a report squealing that the beastly migrants are using our jewelled isles as "a sort of economic transit camp". The solution, it appears, is to give everyone a number, which would be stored in a central database managed, no doubt, by some efficient, accountable company like those nice people at Serco and G4S. Students and short-term migrant workers "would not have full access to social and political rights, would not have an automatic right to bring in dependents and would leave after a specific period of time", rather than voting in every election, claiming benefits before they're off the boat and staying here forever with all their wives and cats and mothers, as they do at the moment. David Goodhart went to Eton. You can tell, can't you.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Thirteen Days By Sunset Beach

In recent years Ramsey Campbell has continued to turn out fine story collections along with a couple of excellent novellas, The Pretence and The Last Revelation of Gla'aki; but his novels have disappointed. Ghosts Know is competent but unremarkable; while Creatures of the Pool is little more than a rehash of "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", disfigured by in-jokes and finally crippled by clever-clever musings on the nature of the Open Text.

Thirteen Days by Sunset Beach is a shorter, more compact book, and constitutes an encouraging return to form. Although Campbell is undoubtedly aware of previous efforts in the subgenre (notably Simon Raven's Doctors Wear Scarlet and the Lewton-Robson film Isle of the Dead) and begins the action of his novel on Lovecraft's birthday, he has refrained from intertextual shenanigans and played to his considerable strengths of evocative prose and carefully chosen detail.

The story concerns a fortnight's holiday in Greece with grandparents, children and grandchildren, and Campbell deftly portrays the characters and the petty awfulness of family dynamics without slipping into soap opera. One overbearing in-law does veer close to caricature, but no more so than many people in real life; and even in his case a few details are sketched in to humanise if not to redeem. The protagonist, Ray Thornton, is the grandfather of the party, and the first chapter combines the mundane nightmare of tourism with the mortal inconveniences of ageing. Even before the supernatural intervenes, a shadow hangs over the holiday, as Ray and his wife have received bad news which they have decided to keep secret from their relatives.

The small island where they sojourn is relatively untouched by tourism; which means that the locals' English can be at least as frustratingly ambiguous as some family members' efforts at translating Greek. As usual, Campbell gets plenty of sinister mileage from innocent child-chatter, conversations at cross purposes and such nuances of local tradition as who might be feeding on what, or vice versa. In fact, despite the hoariness of its subgenre the novel admirably sustains the ambiguity of all its supernatural portents, as becomes apparent with devastating effect during an argument late in the story between the grandparents and their sceptical offspring.

Nor does Campbell stint when it comes to out-and-out scare scenes. A nocturnal visitor steals and partly destroys a clue to the island's mystery, resulting in a chase which Ray finds turned back upon himself. Two gruesome cave explorations, one early in the book and one at the end, as well as a thoroughly creepy look around an ancient monastery, gain immense power from Campbell's depictions of the jumpy and fragmented effects of mobile-phone light and the sinister motions of water. The ending is quiet, but equally powerful after its own fashion: a delicate, poignant merging of hope with horror.