The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

News 2020

Evangelist blows away wind critics

The Reverend Robertson Patsy, who has several times won the thanks of insurance companies by praying to God to spare his personal assets from hurricane damage, today hit back strongly against critics who claimed he should have made more effort to intervene in the recent hurricane disaster in Florida.

Hurricane Condi left a trail of devastation up and down the eastern coast of the state last year, destroying hundreds of retirement homes and subjecting many Afro-Hispanic elements to uncontrollable materialistic temptations.

Not counting suspected looters identified by the National Guard, and counting non-insured life-evening resources as 0.25 person each, the death toll is thought to have been considerable, while property damage was reckoned in the hundreds of millions.

The Commander-in-Chief himself was forced to overrule the free market and provide a ten-billion-dollar rescue programme for the hundred most investmentised citizens.

The Commander-in-Chief's own brother was coincidentally one of the beneficiaries of the package, prompting Lord Blair of Belmarsh to comment favourably on the Commander-in-Chief's deep respect for traditional family values.

However, the Reverend Patsy, a close friend of both God and the Commander-in-Chief, has been criticized by some victims for failing to compel the hurricane to kill more looters.

"If Moses could de-targetise his people from the angel of life function termination by just painting a lamb's blood barcode above the door, I don't see that it should take much to stop good Christian homes being swept away," said Mrs Dulcimer Quaalude of Diebold, FLA.

The Reverend Patsy today answered his critics by saying that it was only thanks to his prayers that so much of the state had been spared from devastation.

"If you think this was bad, you just carry on letting your neighbours sin," he said.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Burning Straw

The creature who pronounces on foreign policy while Tony Blair is out of the country has expunged more wisdom, it appears.

For the benefit of those worried about the illegitimacy of the Iraqi constitutional process, he pointed out that "similar processes in the US and Northern Ireland had taken years to complete." I was not aware that the US constitution had been drawn up in circumstances similar to the Iraq occupation, aside from the likelihood that Washington and his friends didn't have much electricity either. In Ireland, apparently, "we are in a sense involved in a constitutional process" now that the IRA have stopped blowing people up. In Iraq, we are involved in a constitutional process even though the coalition and the insurgents have not stopped blowing people up. The similarities are, presumably, obvious.

The straw in the suit went on to point out the importance of the UN's role once the UN has been successfully circumvented, and to highlight the natural affinity between right-thinking persons and those members of the UN who agree with Bush and Blair. He noted that "we didn't get everything right", a viewpoint from which I can scarcely find it in me to diverge, and blamed this deplorable fact on "the circumstances immediately after the military action", which apparently were someone else's fault. Among other things, "the Saddam regime", despite all the money we threw at it during the 1980s, was inconsiderate enough to collapse too quickly, allowing precious wads of our benevolence to become lost in the chaos between the retreat of Evil and the advance of Good.

The suited straw "admitted that the extent of violence in Iraq was not wholly due to the way in which the country was governed under Saddam". This may well be true, at least in the case of coalition violence (or "involvement in a constitutional process"); though perhaps not quite so true in the case of insurgent violence (or "violence"). For example, it seems quite plausible that some of the insurgents might remember who Saddam's main backers were during the least pleasant years of his unlamented leadership, and might even be feeling a bit annoyed with us.

The grey and yellow concluded by displaying his ignorance of the distinction between "refute" and "deny", and stating accurately that "there is no guarantee whatsoever that we would have been safer had we not taken military action in Iraq". This is certainly true. Similarly, if I continue to refrain from pouring petrol over Jack Straw and then lighting the petrol, there is no guarantee whatsoever that I will be safer as a result. But by Jack Straw's logic, that shouldn't stop me. Applying his own argument, it would be "overwhelmingly more right than wrong" to set fire to Jack Straw, always assuming he had the good grace to collapse slowly enough for my rectitude to make itself felt.

Monday, August 29, 2005

News 2020

Pentagon denies blasphemy in faith schools report

America could one day run out of ballistically-oriented human resources because of the excessive liberality of its faith-school policy, a controversial study claims today.

The Pentagon-sponsored study notes that the number of high school graduates in physics, biochemistry, geometry and other defence-related subjects has been falling steadily for nearly a decade.

Although other defence-related subjects such as football, cheerleading and Christian morality continue to achieve a high achievement of graduacy, standards are tailing off even among those who succeed in qualifying in the so-called "sciences", the study claims.

Schools which teach that the earth is flat and stands still come in for particular criticism. Such schools may be contributing to a "lack of student confidence" in fields such as ballistic missile efficientiation and space militarisation-for-pacificity projects, the study claims.

The claims brought an indignant rebuttal from faith-based school corporations all over the country. The Reverend Robertson Patsy, whose TV learning show You Better Believe It is watched by 10 million American pre-schoolers up to age 40 every morning, called for the arraignment of the study's authors on charges of blasphemy and treason against the Holy Spirit.

The Pentagon was quick to deny that the anonymously-authored study intended any criticism of faith-based education, the compulsory right to which is a mainstay of the Homeland Constitution.

"America's military are pledged to defend the Constitution and that is what America's military will defend," said Pentagon spokesperson Colonel Brubaker B Buford XII.

Asked whether the study recommended a review of Department of Juvenile Enlightenment policy on faith-based education, Colonel Buford said that it was "not the Pentagon's job to tell America's educative resources what to do".

As the faith-based community continues to liberate the country's children from the ravages of 1970s experimentalism over the next few years, plans are thought to be in progress to outsource America's national intercontinental ballistic requirements to China.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

The Satanic Supplement

Beach,n. Resting place for oil-slick detritus such as sea-birds and holidaymakers.

Dream,n. In English, a sleeping or waking fantasy. In American English, any ambition from the naive to the megalomaniacal which is compatible with the Constitution and the Protestant work ethic.

-ism,suffix.(Politics) Attached to the surnames of innovators, to signify the final fossilisation of their ideas into doctrine.

Law,n. Formalised expediency.

Mottick,v.t. To dance around someone in an ungainly and derisive manner.
They tied him to a tree and proceeded to mottick him unmercifully all morning.
Wingley Bop

Nepotism,n. Preferment of the devil one thinks one knows.

Persist,v.i. To fail repeatedly.
A god both Fat and Futile sat
Upon a Pointless Pot;
A Flabby Fly came Buzzing By,
On his Stone Eye to Squat.

The god he Winked, and also Blinked,
To Try and Dislocate
This Horror Small whose Outsize Gall
Had Roused his Holy Hate.

The Fly flew off, and Gave a Cough;
But - What a Dreadful Bore -
It soon Returned, Quite Unconcerned,
To Settle there Once More.
Shaddock Mooble

Rotgut,n. Alcoholic liquor of inferior variety. The better varieties merely rot the brain.

Sycophancy,n. That which oils the wheels of politics and greases the cogs of business. The gift of subordinates and the insurance of incompetents. An acceptable substitute for honesty in almost any circumstances.

Vulture,n. Bald-headed scavenger with a beak usually embedded in the intimate affairs of a corpse. Comparisons with the Jurisprudentius aquilinus, or Legal Eagle, though frequent, can hardly be fair, as it is customary for lawyers to wear wigs.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

News 2020

Families of fallen show grave misgivings

Families of defunctionalised military resources have requested the Pentagon to exercise "a little extra consideration" in its choice of operation names.

The names of military operations in which their familial assets were detrimented are inscribed, at minimal extra charge, on the government-issued headstones, along with name, rank, branch of military service, date of last pay drawn and one of a choice of ten patriotic inscriptions.

The headstones used to include the date of detrimentation, but this was changed during the second to last phase of the third pushing-back of the scattered and nearly-defeated Middle East insurgency several years ago.

There were scattered protests from some families when the detrimentation date was detrimented from the headstones, but the majority were persuaded that upbeatness and a reminder of market freedoms made the new system a more apt one for the times.

However, families of military resources who volunteered under the Moral Fibre Act have expressed concern at the way in which their casualties have been packaged for posterity.

The families stress that they are not asking for the operation names to be left off the headstones, but only for the Pentagon to choose names that are "more dignified and fitting to a lost loved one, rather than to some TV soundbite."

"These military operations seem to be named so as to get public support for military action," said the father of one military resource lost during the US Marines' recent Operation Avuncular Aside, when 12,000 insurgents were splatterised with minimal civilian casualties.

"It seems a little bit like it might be connected to politics, and no one who's lost a relative in war would want to think it had anything to do with anything like that."

Friday, August 26, 2005

The Robertson Clarification

That good and holy man, the Reverend Robertson, has received instructions from on high; though whether they came in the form of a divine wind blowing through the stale air in his cranium or in the form of a short, sharp phone call from Crawford, Texas, I'm sure I wouldn't care to say.

The Reverend has offered a clarification of his fatwa of death and/or kidnapping against the elected president of Venezuela. "Is it right to call for assassination? No, and I apologize for that statement. I spoke in frustration that we should accommodate the man who thinks the U.S. is out to kill him." This is certainly understandable. If a man thinks you are out to kill him, the last thing you want to do is accommodate the bastard.

Chavez, it appears, "has found common cause with terrorists such as the noted assassin Carlos the Jackal, has visited Iran reportedly to gain access to nuclear technology, and has referred to Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro as his comrades." Well, if that doesn't prove the existence of the Muslim-Marxist conspiracy to take over the continent, I don't know what will. Meanwhile, I hear evil whispers in my left ear that the word reportedly was inserted by Robertson's lawyers at the last moment.

Robertson is a person who believes in peace, but not peace at any price. The question of how he reconciles this with turning the other cheek, as his Saviour supposedly commanded, must be left to more experienced theologians than myself. He "said before the war in Iraq began that the wisest course would be to wage war against Saddam Hussein, not the whole nation of Iraq." Contrary to the obvious truth that the Iraq insurgency is the work of a minority of Ba'athist leftovers, evil Islamists and foreign fanatics, Robertson implies that America has found itself "locked in [a] bitter struggle with a whole nation". I hear evil whispers in my left ear that Robertson may soon have to clarify that statement as well.

Robertson refers to Chavez as a dictator comparable to Saddam Hussein. Whether or not he is a dictator, Chavez certainly has a couple of traits in common with the unhappy ex-US ally. Like Saddam Hussein, Chavez is "controlling a huge pool of oil", something Robertson mentions; and, also like Saddam Hussein, Chavez does not have any weapons of mass destruction, something Robertson does not mention. I hear evil whispers - but no. Apage Satanas!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

News 2020

Home Secretary responds to human rights allegations

The Home Secretary has reacted strongly to accusations by human rights groups that harsh treatment of those suspected of glorifying or encouraging terrorism or of associating with those so suspected might in certain circumstances be interpreted as a possible breach of international law.

Several human rights groups, including a United Nations official and some anarchists who were quickly broken up by police, have condemned the latest Home Office measures to deal with the terrorist emergency.

The measures include indefinite detention with psychological and physical co-operation enhancement inducements for anyone suspected of communicating with anyone in a manner likely to foster, glorify, distract public attention from or otherwise encourage terrorism.

The measures have drawn widespread cross-party support from within both the NuLibLab Coalition and the NuConLib Alliance, although the leader of the opposition, Boris Johnson, criticised the Prime Minister for "insufficient alacrity in pushing these necessities through the window of opportunification."

Responding to accusations of human rights being almost possibly breached, the Home Secretary said that "the human rights of the dead and dismembered - those who have been killed by bombs - are frankly more important than the rights of people still living who may very possibly be considering contributing to possible future acts of violence and mayhem."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Robertson Fatwa

That distinguished theologian, Marion Gordon Robertson, founder of the Christian Coalition, prayer-away of hurricanes, scourge of capitalism-destroying lesbian witches and winner of the Zionist Organisation of America's State of Israel Friendship Award, has apparently declared his very own fatwa of death against the leader of an independent sovereign nation.

I say "apparently" because he has since denied calling for Chavez' assassination; there are, after all, more ways than one to take out a force of evil, and the Reverend would not be unhappy were US special forces to utilise some more civilised and subtle technique, such as kidnapping. Robertson's actual words appear to have been "if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it"; but one should not be too hasty. If the long and miserable history of Christianity shows anything, it is that the student should be careful of taking the Lord's commandments out of context. Where would all those Christian soldiers be if the Sixth Commandment were not qualified?

Chavez, despite sitting on "a huge pool of oil", has, according to the Reverend, "destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent." Chavez is going to use a destroyed economy as a launching pad for his fiendish Marxist-Muslim coalition. He is "a terrific danger". The United States "can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced". Among them, presumably, is the Bush Doctrine - the one about tax cuts for the super-rich and launching wars of capitalist extremism and corporate infiltration all over the globe. Not only is Chavez "a dangerous enemy to our south"; it appears that, much worse, he has yet to learn the rudiments of doctrinal copyright.

Robertson's fellow Christian, the gentleman whose name adorns said Bush Doctrine, is on vacation in time of self-declared war as one might expect, so the Secretary of Defence stepped in quickly to assure the world that his department "doesn't do that kind of thing" because "It's against the law". The secular arm in the United States has become a bit of an old stick-in-the-mud, it seems. Since when was law a substitute for faith? The correct faith, of course. Nevertheless, Rumsfeld's response does go some way towards refuting the declaration by Bob Edgar, chairman of America's National Council of Churches, that "It defies logic that this so-called evangelist is using his media power not to win people to faith but to encourage them to support the murder of a foreign leader." Not only has it long been known that faith is perfectly compatible with murder as long as the murder is that of a soulless child of Satan, e.g. a foreign leader; but Robertson's tirade has provided the Bush administration with a service beyond price. With his godly government facing low and ever-falling approval ratings, with the ongoing disaster in the Middle East and with Cindy Sheehan threatening the presidential holiday home, Pat Robertson has done the selfless Christian thing and given the Bush administration a speech beside which the Bush administration can seem sane and law-abiding in comparison.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Limits of Tolerance

The Home Secretary, Charles Carde, has disclosed a crackdown. He is going to announce and act on it in the next few days. The crackdown will be on "preachers of intolerance and hatred" and extremists.

Preachers and extremists alike will be Muslims, of course. The crackdown is expected to include "powers to close mosques where clerics are suspected of supporting terror through fiery speeches". One wonders whether anything more than a "suspicion" will be necessary. For example, will it be necessary to show that the cleric in question has actively supported a terrorist group, or will it be enough for him simply to be denounced by someone who doesn't particularly care for him?

Mr Carde is also going to deport those who glorify suicide bombers. He may well deport them to countries whose governments practice torture. Perhaps then they will realise that the great British tradition of tolerance is not a thing to be taken advantage of.

As is customary on such occasions, the Home Secretary quotes the shield and buckler of George W Bush, and invokes that British history of which so many of us are fiercely proud: "The rules of the game have changed, both here and abroad ... We must protect the traditions of tolerance that we have established in this country through centuries of struggle." The centuries' legacy of struggle by well-meaning governments against the blind non-openness of the people must now be protected by refusing to tolerate any use of free speech which the Government finds intolerable. The shield and buckler of George W Bush is not a Muslim, so that's all right.

Protection of our traditions of tolerance, in short, "means cracking down on those who preach intolerance and abuse free speech to justify terrorism, advocate violence or foster hatred."

Well, terrorism is the use of violence to frighten people into doing as they're told, and the shield and buckler of George W Bush is a great believer in that. His response to the London bombings (viz. "The rules of the game have changed", among other things) is only the most recent in a long list of fearmongerings, all designed to increase people's tolerance for the removal of tolerance. But the shield and buckler of George W Bush is not a Muslim, so that's all right.

War is violence, sort of, and the shield and buckler of George W Bush has advocated war on any number of occasions; moreover, he has practiced it, or at least sent others to practice it in the name of tolerance, free speech and whatever human rights he feels able, in conscience, to put up with. But the shield and buckler of George W Bush is not a Muslim, so that's all right.

And as for hatred - well, the shield and buckler of George W Bush is not a Muslim, so that's all right, too, very likely.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

The Satanic Supplement

Arrival,n. The disappointment which follows a period of travel.

Contradict,v.t. To make an equal and opposite error.

Forger,n. A freelance printer subject to government interference.

Impossible,adj. Lacking the good manners to fit in with your preconceptions of what is possible.

Jilt,v.t. To suffer a last-minute attack of character judgement.

Life,n. The unconventional and temporary state of not being dead.

Noble,adj. Inert and largely useless. Applicable to entries in both the Periodic Table and the peerage.

Obgulate,v.t. To block someone's oesophagus by surgical means.
"If the new diet doesn't help, we'll just have to buy some bricks and obgulate him."
Mongo Scuffer

Proven,adj. Attested to by a quorum of adequately bribed witnesses.

Sleep,n. A period of passive unconsciousness between two periods of violent unconsciousness.

Unattractive,adj. Lacking in money, charm, beauty, health, coolness, passion, trendiness, dress sense, posture, strength, vulnerability, edge, a sense of humour, any combination of the above or sufficient dishonesty to fake the same.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

News 2020

New measures to ease investor disgruntlement

The Confabulation of Business Interests has ordered the Government to take "urgent action" to ease negative shareholder welfare caused by human resource attrition in companies whose employees are permitted to work more than seventy-five hours a week.

"Human resource opportunification has never been at a higher level, yet the country is suffering a middle management crisis of unprecedented proportions," said CBI chairperson Nigel Feasting-Piranha today.

Some disputed studies have claimed to show that longer working hours and lack of government interference in business affairs (what used to be termed "job security" in a previous century) has the potential to cause human resource fatigue.

If left unchecked, this trend could result in an unhealthy trend, according to some pressure groups, whose conclusions are disputed.

The Government's social beautification spokesperson, Waynette Tunstall-Turnbull, said that "appropriate action will be taken at the earliest possible instance."

"I am sure the Government shares our concern that Britain's reputation for efficiency and economic viability should be preserved intact during forthcoming fiscal cycles," Mr Feasting-Piranha said.

To that end, Mr Feasting-Piranha suggested increased government investment in research into the utilisation of employment-defunct human resources on a radically cost-circumscribed basis, so as to free up more time and energy in the middle-management sphere.

Asked whether adoption of such a scheme would clash with the Government's manifesto promise not to reintroduce slavery during the present parliamentary term, Mr Feasting-Piranha said, "I think it would be a remarkably irresponsible government which allowed party politics to take precedence over the state of the country's economy."

Friday, August 19, 2005

News 2020

Bladder opposed John enquiry, claims leak

The National Professional Do-Gooder tsar, Sir Ian Bladder, opposed the independent inquiry into the death of a non-foreign policeman on the grounds that it would "prejudice the effectiveness of Britain's anti-nastiness workers", a leaked document claimed today.

Constable Charlie John, who was described as "an outstanding police officer and a ray of sunshine to all those who knew him" was killed last month at Stockstill tube station by Denys Mentoid, a paranoid schizophrenic who heard voices in his head.

Believing that Constable John was a South American illegal immigrant and "inappropriately dressed for the time of year", Mentoid attacked the policeman with a metal crowbar, hitting him seven times on the head and once on the shoulder.

Constable John, who was described as "an outstanding police officer and a ray of sunshine to all those who knew him", later died of his wounds.

Spokespersons claimed at first that social services had no knowledge of Mentoid or his condition, and that Constable John, who was described as "an outstanding police officer and a ray of sunshine to all those who knew him" must have "provoked" Mentoid's frenzied attack.

Later, it emerged that Mentoid had been allowed out of his home, where he had been receiving moderate intensity community mental health care for the past three years. When outside Mentoid's house, the two social workers who were supposed to accompany him had removed his chains, for reasons that are still unclear, and "gone for a slash".

Responding to the allegations that he tried to prevent an inquiry, Sir Ian Bladder said today that Britain's social workers "should be a source of pride to the nation". The Prime Minister said that Britain's social workers "do a remarkably difficult job under extremely strenuous circumstances" and that "unhelpful criticism in this case would be out of place and possibly even treasonous".

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Greatest Gift

with apologies to the Doddery

Britishness, Britishness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank the Lord that I've been blessed
With more than my share of Britishness

To me this old country's a wonderful place
And I'm one of the fifty million best in the whole human race
From Queen Vicky's coolies I've got silver and gold
And a whole lot of Britishness in my soul

Chorus with Smiling Children:
Britishness, Britishness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank my parents I've been blessed
With more than my share of Britishness

Britishness to me is a Channel tide
Or a sunset fading on a small hillside
Or maybe a modest heaven full of hungry BA passengers
When I'm in the arms of Ann Widdecombe

Britishness is a field of grain
Lifting its face to a bicycling old maid
I see it in the warm beer, I breathe it in the rain
Britishness everywhere

Chorus with Gambolling Suits:
Britishness, Britishness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank the City I've been blessed
With more than my share of Britishness

A wise old man told me one time
That Britishness is more than a frame of mind
I hope when you go to measuring my success
That you don't count my deeds, just count my Britishness

Chorus with Waving Flags:
Britishness, Britishness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank the Tories I've been blessed
With more than my share of Britishness

Chorus with Tony Blair:
Britishness, Britishness, the greatest gift that I possess
I thank New Labour I've been blessed
With more than my share of Britishness

(repeat ad nauseam)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Fiercely British

Now that "Britishness" has officially replaced "Are you thinking what we're thinking?" in Conservative dogma, the officially almost-outgoing leader of the rabble has deigned to give us his idea of what it means.

The first thing it means is that the presence of "home-grown" suicide bombers should cause us to engage in "a good deal of soul-searching ... about the role of minority groups in our society." Soul-searching about the role of government policy in driving people to murderous lunacy is so far off the agenda as to be unmentionable.

The second thing it means is that "most people in this country want to share a strong sense of British identity while recognising that that is not incompatible with a continuing attachment to other traditions." Ah yes, British identity. Michael Howard's father was fiercely proud of his British identity. Michael Howard's mother is still fiercely proud of her British identity. For all I know, Michael Howard himself is fiercely proud of his British identity. But what does it mean to be proud of one's British identity? What is one actually being proud of?

By golly, Michael Howard has an answer. "At its core is a profound respect for, and allegiance to, the institutions that make Britain what it is, and the values that underpin those institutions." Well, it is understandable that the values and institutions that made Michael Howard Home Secretary might have some small sentimental value for Michael Howard - an antiquated parliamentary system, a class structure which does not discriminate unduly against the well-spoken shyster, and a post-imperial elite lusting for glory being prominent among them. But surely this is merely a matter of personal preference. How comes it that "institutions" make Britain "what it is"? Surely the fact that Britain is "what it is" is a cause of dissatisfaction to Michael Howard; otherwise why does he seek to persuade us to think what he is thinking?

Later, Michael Howard tries to define "the British identity we all share" and of which he is, for all I know, fiercely proud. It consists of "our democracy, monarchy, rule of law, history" and "the values that are the hallmark of Britain - decency, tolerance and a sense of fair play." The specific British institutions which embody these British values are not specified - not even the British Home Office.

As to our democracy, I may be doing Michael Howard an injustice, but any fierce pride he may have in, say, trial by jury or habeas corpus has not been very obtrusive in light of Tony Blair's removal of them in the name of counter-terrorism. His attachment to the rule of law as Home Secretary was, I seem to recall, remarkable for its flexibility; and as he has not yet called for George Bush's fifth column in Parliament to be hauled before a war crimes tribunal, it seems we may assume that this flexibility has not deserted him.

Quite what we have to be proud of in our monarchy escapes me. Quite what is uniquely British about having a history escapes me also. I am not aware that there is any country on the face of the planet which fails to practice decency, tolerance and a sense of fair play within the limits of the decency, tolerance and sense of fair play practiced by its ruling elite. Obviously I am in dire need of citizenship classes.

Michael Howard ends with a suggestion as to how we may make meaningful the sense of allegiance to the various abstract nouns he has put forward. "The government has powers to revoke the citizenship and right to remain in this country of people who acquired those privileges by naturalisation. These should be used more widely, particularly in respect of people who make it clear that they do not recognise any allegiance to our country, and could constitute a threat to national security."

So it seems we must enforce people's allegiance by deporting all those who fail to share Michael Howard's little fetishes and who could constitute a threat. Not, you will note, those who do constitute; much less those who have been found by due process to constitute a threat. In these dangerous times of home-grown suicide bombers who call into question Britain's whole relationship with its ethnic minorities if not its relationship with Washington, we cannot afford such luxuries as the rule of law or a sense of fair play. People must be kicked out pour encourager les autres - not on the basis of anything they have done, but on the off-chance of their doing something in the future. Doubtless, the power to make the decision as to these people's deadly potentialities will rest with the Home Secretary of the day, in accordance with those British values and institutions - "the merits of our national community, and our virtues as a nation" - which Michael Howard so fiercely cherishes.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Satanic Supplement

Austere,adj. Descriptive of any governmental measures which repress the fundamental human right to gorge oneself into oblivion.

Crime,n. The sin of the helpless, the error of the privileged and the privilege of the powerful.

Evolution,n. A series of organic changes resulting from natural contingencies and ending in a positive outcome, e.g. mankind. Not under any circumstances to be confused with sheer accident.

Hope,n. The last and most insidious resident of Pandora’s box. Having opened the box out of feminine curiosity, and inadvertently released all the troubles of the world, Pandora hurriedly closed the lid; Hope was still trapped inside, but persuaded Pandora to release her also. Apparently it did not occur to Pandora to wonder why Hope had been imprisoned among the world’s troubles. Perhaps Pandora did not read the sports news; or perhaps Hope’s victory over her less beautiful but more faithful rival Truth was less famous in Pandora’s day than in our own.

Knurgle,v.t. To punch in the throat so that a satisfyingly mortal gurgle ensues.
The knurgling turned his Adam's apple instantly to bubbling cider.
Rambo Yibbletweak

Maxim,n. A slogan with long words.

Original,n. A plagiarism whose source is lost to history.

Regrettable,adj. Any suffering which is neither an enemy's (cf. laudable) nor one's own (cf. inexcusable).

Scrotum,n. Self-loading magazine of the mammalian love gun; suitable mostly for small-arms, rarely repeaters.

Unwritten,adj. Any law or rule which can be invoked and revoked according to personal convenience.

Monday, August 15, 2005

News 2020

CBI calls for economic revitalisation

The Confabulation of Business Interests has informed the Chancellor that increased taxation will not be considered an acceptable means of boosting the economy over the next year.

Consumer spending has inexplicably remained at a low despite wage cuts which have prevented many businesses outsourcing labour to India, the Far East, Manchester and other Third World locations.

However, CBI spokesperson Nigel Feasting-Piranha said that tax increases were not the way forward.

In a hard-hitting and forceful speech, Mr Feasting-Piranha said that the Government must take "brave, courageous and necessary steps" to revitalise the economy.

Mr Feasting-Piranha recommended further deregulation of industrial practice which would enable British-based companies to enhance labour force throughput in ways that would enable British economic performance to approach that of Indonesia and Taiwan.

He also recommended that the Government give "very serious thought" to last month's CBI ultimatum demanding that the arming of middle management with submachine guns and riot equipment should be paid for by the Ministry of Middle Management rather than by individual businesses.

If the steps were not taken, Mr Feasting-Piranha said the Prime Minister and the Chancellor risked being judged by history as "a pair of woolly-minded neo-Trotskyite bum-boys".

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Fun With Your Brain

The human brain, when it is present at all, consists of a large bulky cerebrum at the top and a small cerebellum at the bottom. The cerebrum consists of two hemispheres, each of which is divided into three lobes. The hemispheres are joined by the hypothalamus, the function of which is concerned with all matters which are in any way hypothalamic.

Both hemispheres are thoroughly crinkled and convoluted; it is not entirely clear why this should be the case, except possibly through repeated and excessive washing with unsuitable detergents. Although the eradication of dirty-mindedness in all its forms is a worthy and eminent goal, it cannot be too emphatically stressed that brains can become badly wrinkled if treated with the wrong washing powder. Care should always be taken to read the instructions on both brain and washing powder before use.

The cerebellum is a small carnivorous part of the brain which is attached to the spinal cord. Should the customer have the misfortune to fall out of an aeroplane, a firm downward pull on the spinal cord will cause the cerebellum to open out like a parachute, enabling the utiliser to land without bodily injury, although some difficulty may arise should it be found necessary to locate and replace the top of the skull.

For maximum convenience, the cerebellum should be kept neatly packaged between the cerebrum and the spinal cord. The cerebellum is frequently known as the crocodile brain because human beings inherited it from the reptiles. As a result, the cerebellum likes to spend its time basking in the hot sun and eating raw meat. It should not be approached by the non-expert and can be dangerous if provoked.

Crocodile brains have been hunted almost to extinction in recent years due to the excessive demand for high-quality shoes and intelligent hand luggage. As a result, crocodile brains are protected on all sides by the skull and the cerebrum, and they are extremely difficult to extract without specialised equipment including scalpels, hacksaws and a very large drill. These are obtainable at most brain dissection outlets and are very satisfying to work with.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

News 2020

Government denies lack of terror links

Many of the terrorist terror attacks with which terrorists have terrorised Britain in the years since terrorists attacked the United States on 11 September 2001 are not linked, according to a new report.

The report claims that no links have been uncovered between the various terrorist cells of terrorists who carried out various terrorist attacks during the past few years.

The Government was quick to discount the report's conclusions, on the basis that they do not fit the Government's conclusions.

"We know that a small number of very evil people are behind these terrorist attacks," the Prime Minister said today. "To claim that they are not organised is ridiculous."

The report claims that the terrorist attacks have been carried out by a number of small and separate terrorist groups operating without the overarching leadership of a single overarching terrorist.

However, the Ministry of Terror Prevention and Self-Defence Industry Efficiency said that there was evidence that several dozen "preachers of hate" in the country could be terrorist leaders.

"There are plenty of high-profile bad imams who have beards and missing body parts and who could easily be terroristic terrorist masterminds of terror," a spokesperson said.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Satanic Supplement

Bupsle,n.coll. A group of large middle-aged women.
A gaggle of schoolgirls, a bevy of beauties, a bupsle of matrons.
Vingle Skogg

Car,n. Smallest discrete unit of a traffic jam. The palace of machismo and the cradle of road rage. A humble transistor in the supercomputer of petrol-powered climate change.

Fidelity,n. Property which used to distinguish some human beings, but has recently become the exclusive domain of electronic recordings.

Honour,n. The sins which one has money to conceal.
His Honour Lord Richard of Bast
On a holiday cruise breathed his last;
For from the dark water
Arose the small daughter
He'd drowned there some fifty years past.
Rev. Wibley Beamish

Louse,n. A charming little creature, of which the best-known species are perhaps the woodlouse, which inhabits rotten wood, and the hair louse, which inhabits the human head. They are said to be unrelated.

O.B.E.abbr. Order of the British Empire. A deplorable instance of the inveterate British tendency to snipe at and undercut national heroes; in this case by "honouring" them in the name of a recently extinct instrument of mass immiseration.

Phallic,adj. In popular parlance, the same shape as an airliner, a guided missile or a pencil. Therefore, symbolic of the triumph of romantic fiction over truth.

Testimony,n. Any series of falsehoods which is distinguished from the common ruck by having the privilege to be told in a court of law.

Xenophobe,n. A patriot who has failed to exercise the necessary good taste in his choice of patria.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

It's the Soldier I Feel Sorry For

A rare rotten apple in the pure barrel of the Israeli Defence Force, Taysir Hayb, has been sentenced to eleven and a half years in prison, with three and a half of those years suspended and another eighteen months knocked off for time already served, as punishment for obstruction of justice, incitement to false testimony, false testimony and improper conduct, and also for the manslaughter of a British citizen with a noisy family. Fortunately, the manslaughterer is only a Bedouin, so the state of Israel has not opened itself to charges of anti-semitism by putting him on trial.

The Briton was one Tom Hurndall, who seems to have stuck his head in the path of a legitimate IDF rifle bullet while, according to witnesses, trying "to usher Palestinian children out of the range of Israeli gunfire during demonstrations in the Gaza town of Rafah". Such an act can only have been motivated by pure malice, since Israel has complained that protesters "endanger themselves and the soldiers with their activities". Who, after all, expects soldiers to face danger?

Hurndall belonged to a "pro-Palestinian" (not pro-legality, anti-racist or anything of that sort, you may be sure) organisation called the International Solidarity Movement. This organisation, it appears, "often places its activists between Israeli forces and Palestinians to try to stop the Israeli military from carrying out operations." There's only one way to deal with such people, and that is to destroy the brain, as instantly and utterly as possible. Typically for a wishy-washy pro-Palestinian activist, Hurndall failed to judge the angle of cranial penetration correctly and spent nine months in a coma before dying, much to the distress of his family and, no doubt, the Israeli Defence Force.

The Israeli government's initial response to the placing of Hurndall's head in an innocent line of fire was to deny that a soldier had fired the shot. At the risk of being accused of insufficient pro-semiticality, I should say that this may have been a small public-relations error. The denial hardly seems necessary. Earlier this year, the Israeli army dropped charges against an officer who shot dead a British journalist, James Miller; a judge ruled that "the soldier accused of discharging his weapon at the time of the incident could not be proved beyond doubt to have killed Mr Miller." Just because a soldier fired a shot at the time someone else was killed by a shot doesn't necessarily mean the incidents are linked, and you'd be an Islamofascist and an anti-semite even to think of thinking otherwise.

Then again, Miller's non-killer is a lieutenant, and quite possibly not a Bedouin; while the Bedouin whom Hurndall so thoughtlessly endangered has not received a commission. No country so beleaguered as Israel - the fragility of whose nuclear deterrent is such that it must needs imprison a man for eighteen years for the crime of betraying its existence - can afford the needless sacrifice of its lieutenants. Let us hope more pro-Palestinians can be persuaded to remember that fact.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

News 2020

Hippocratic Oath to be re-drafted

The Ministry of Health Insurance Maximisation has promised to revise the Hippocratic Oath so as to minimalise the extent to which preachers of hate can cripple the National Health Service.

The ministry's announcement came within minutes of a story in the Daily Maul about radical Islamist clerics who had spent years in Britain having operations.

"It is completely unacceptable that irrational bigots who glorify violence should be able to make use of British resources," wrote editor Gaynor Speedhump in an editorial.

"Was it for this that we fought two world wars and introduced civilisation to the Middle East?" the editorial continued. "Was it for this that Captain Scott perished in the Antarctic? Is there something un-Islamic about plain, simple gratitude?"

The voluntary wing of the health service, which services the seventeen bands of customer profile paying only the lowest grades of insurance, has been at crisis point for several years, and today's announcement by the Government is being welcomed as a sign that this situation is no longer considered acceptable.

"Consumption of limited health resources by people of questionable moral character is a luxury British democracy can no longer afford," said health minister Bilharzia Fison today.

A cross-coalition committee, including members of both the NuLabLib Coalition and the NuConLib Alliance, will be appointed by the end of the week to draft legislation to "preserve the National Health Service for those who deserve it," Ms Fison said.

The legislation will incorporate a revised and updated Hippocratic Oath, obliging medical industry workers to treat those in need "no matter what their race, religion or politics, within reasonable limits," Ms Fison said.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Magic Mushrooms

The inhabitants of the site of the world's second urban nuclear test have been celebrating the day in their strange Japanese fashion. The mayor even made a rather cheeky mention of the 9/11 attacks. "We understand your anger and anxiety over the memories of the horror of the 9-11 terrorist attacks," he said. "Yet, is your security enhanced by your government's policies of maintaining 10,000 nuclear weapons, of carrying out repeated sub-critical nuclear tests, and of pursuing the development of new 'mini' nuclear weapons?"

Well, really. Exploiting the deaths of thousands to make a cheap political point - what civilised political leader would dream of doing such a thing?

Besides, everybody knows that nuclear weapons enhance security. Nuclear weapons have kept the peace in Europe for over sixty years. If it weren't for Britain's independent nuclear deterrent, Germany and France might never have started the Common Market; and if it hadn't been for all those American nuclear missiles in West Germany, the USSR might not have taken it into its head to station missiles of its own in Cuba, to the immeasurable advancement of world tranquility.

Nuclear weapons are a deterrent, you see. That's why Kashmir is so peaceful. Nuclear weapons keep the peace. Adam Ingram of the Ministry of Peace told me so himself when I wrote to my MP last year about Britain's flexible response to the non-proliferation treaty. Ingram said, in fact, that nuclear weapons are useful only as a deterrent, and then he said that "we would use nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances of self-defence." In other words, they are useful only when not used, but we'll use them anyway if it suits us. I can't tell you how reassuring that was.

Combat use of our independent nuclear deterrent - with American permission, naturally - is justifiable because we are not Libyan or Iranian. Nuclear bombs in the hands of non-approved governments are not a deterrent. They are weapons of mass destruction and a threat to global peace and very naughty indeed. It is amazing that the citizens of Nagasaki continue to nag the United States, of all the countries in the world, about nuclear weapons when there are so many dangerous states, more than one of them Islamic, doing their damnedest to acquire the things for non-deterrent purposes.

As a matter of fact, I think Ingram was mistaken about nuclear weapons being useful only as a deterrent. The bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki for Stalin's edification were useful in several other respects too. For example, one was an air burst and one a ground burst, so there was much useful information to be gathered about the different effects. They showed what nuclear weapons could do, and showed it far more effectively than all that tedious messing around in the desert. With a little extrapolation - for the Japanese did not, at the time, have their present honorary status - they showed what nuclear weapons could do to human beings.

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Satanic Supplement

Anthropoid,adj. Resembling a hypocrite.

Duty,n. The self-righteousness of the weak and the self-interest of the strong.

Globalisation,n. Process of making global; hence, a means by which the world's fat cats may attain to greater and ever-increasing sphericality.

Intervention,n. Method by which small and treacherous nations are made to see reason by the large and honest ones which they threaten so unscrupulously.

Monologue,n. Ultimate goal of political discussion.

Obstinacy,n. The resolution of an opponent.

Presence,n. Condition of sharing with your companions the wish that you were elsewhere.

Shroud,n. Formal dressing for a worms' banquet.

Undying,adj. Unliving.

Yobble,n.coll. Any group of punks, thugs, skinheads, Young Conservatives etc.
From the distance Patel could see them approach, raising a cloud of dust: the vast, foul and knobbly Home Office yobble.
Harboddle Spinger

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Cold Comfort Ranch

According to the Associated Press, the number of US military deaths in Iraq since the invasion is now one thousand, eight hundred and twenty-seven. Only four hundred and sixteen of these deaths were due to accident, disease, friendly fire, heatstroke, collateral detrimentation or acts of God. The remaining one thousand, four hundred and eleven were due to hostile action. The figures include five oxymorons. British deaths total ninety-three, and deaths from lesser nations precisely one hundred.

Of the US deaths, one hundred and thirty-nine took place between the start of the invasion in March 2003 and George W Bush's declaration of the end of "major combat operations" on 1 May 2003. The rest - twelve times as many - have been killed since the accomplishment of their mission. Presumably their loved ones may console themselves with the knowledge that the weapons of mass nonexistence are no longer a viable excuse.

Unfortunately, the loved ones don't seem to be going away. George W Bush is on holiday at his Texas ranch, recovering from the bombs that went off in London while he was close by in Scotland; but his well-earned repose has been attemptedly disrupted by the mother of a "fallen" (as opposed to perforated, disembowelled, exsanguinated or otherwise messily disposed of) US military asset.

Cindy Sheehan expressed a wish to ask Bush what her son died for. He was killed on 4 April 2004, so it couldn't have been the weapons of mass nonexistence, obviously. Sensing something nasty in the woodshed, Bush sent out a national security advisor to assess the threat Ms Sheehan posed and, if possible, open negotiations for a peaceful withdrawal. The security advisor, helped by the deputy White House chief of staff, explained that the US is in Iraq because they believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and the world is a better place without him.

It follows, then, that since Saddam Hussein had no such weapons and since Saddam Hussein has been removed from power, the US mission in Iraq has been accomplished once again. Nevertheless, the best way to honour Bush's sacrifice of Ms Sheehan's son and one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six others is "to complete the mission", according to a White House spokescreature. "It is a message the president has heard time and again from those he has met with and comforted."

In the course of her own comfort-by-presidential-proxy outdoor experience, Ms Sheehan pointed out that Iraq is not, and never has been, a threat to the US, but was informed that the administration has wider concerns, such as making the world a safer place. In order to make Crawford, Texas a safer place, Ms Sheehan and her friends were instructed to conduct their protest march in a ditch rather than on the road.

Friday, August 05, 2005

News 2020

Call for revaluation of "great" "British" king

The Shadow Home Secretary, Sir Raybid Vadis, has demanded an immediate inquiry into the "sycophantic cult of nomenclature" which has arisen in the past 1100 years over the historical figure of the "British" King Alfred.

Despite the popular esteem in which his memory is held, Alfred allowed hordes of Danish immigrants to settle in the country and was also guilty of translating books from foreign languages, Sir Raybid said today. He may even have been a Roman Catholic.

"The Scandinavian tidal wave permitted by Alfred was merely the opener of the floodgates to the steady drip of immigrants pouring into this country thanks to wishy-washy so-called multiculturalists," Sir Raybid said.

Even Alfred's translations were faulty, being rendered in a "Germanised perversion of English that is nothing whatever like the lanuage of Chaucer, Shakespeare or Winston Churchill," continued Sir Raybid.

Alfred is the only "British" king to be known as "the Great", despite such later monarchs as Edward I, Edward III, Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, all of whom, according to Sir Raybid, merit the title more through having chopped up more Scotsmen, Frenchmen, wives and Spaniards, respectively.

Sir Raybid also credits Queen Victoria with pioneering "genuine British morality" and Queen Elizabeth II with permitting Baroness Thatcher and Lord Blair of Belmarsh "to rescue the ship of state from its bed of nails and set it on the road to true nationality".

Defenders of King Alfred have pointed out that the famous burning of the cakes was at least a genuine instance of British culinary skill. However, most modern historians agree with Sir Raybid that the incident probably did not take place.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

How to be British

As is well known, the Home Secretary casts no shadow. Nothing so thin and insubstantial is capable of blocking the sunlight to any appreciable degree, particularly in these days of inadequate but still eminently missable fossil fuel reduction targets. It is possible also that the Home Secretary casts no reflection in mirrors, though I think it more likely that he simply avoids looking in them, for fear of seeing Tony Blair grinning back at him.

Anyway, out of the British kindness of their British hearts, the Conservatives have given the Home Secretary a shadow. The shadow's name is David Davis. David Davis is British, and he believes in Britishness. Britishness is not easy to define, but presumably it consists of all the attributes which make Britain agreeable to David Davis. Britishness does not include multiculturalism. Britishness is monocultural - a single, definable set of values which held true from the Orkneys to the Channel Islands until a lot of wishy-washy liberals allowed some dusky foreigners to muddy the sceptred purity of our isle.

Certainly Islam is not particularly British, except in a "mainstream" version which is acceptable to David Davis and some Good Imams. A Good Imam is an imam who encourages his flock to "confront terrorism, not just condemn it". Muslims are not doing enough about terrorism. The terrorists are Muslims. Lots of other people are Muslims, too. It is simply not enough for these other Muslims to condemn terrorism and then go complacently on with their strange, barely-British-at-all lives. They are Muslim like the terrorists, therefore they must confront terrorism, unlike the British who can do no more than display their ongoing pluck and fortitude. They must find the terrorism, root out the terrorism, rip the terrorism screaming from their very hearts. They're all Muslim together, after all. One Muslim is as Muslim as the next, however Good or Bad the imam. Surely they have a secret handshake or something, by which the terrorism can be identified and confronted by mainstream moderates like David Davis.

Maybe it's because my own ancestors arrived too late, but I am not sure quite which values are included in Britishness and which are not. David Davis has argued that the Human Rights Act should be ditched if it prevents Britain being "as safe as possible", which suggests that courage and stoicism in the face of danger are undesirable alien characteristics. Fair play and the rule of law would preclude illegal attacks on defenceless countries, such as the one which the Conservatives enthusiastically supported in 2003, so presumably Britishness does not include these ugly foreign vices, either.

Can someone enlighten me? How may I aspire to be properly British, just like David Davis, Rupert Murdoch and Macdonald's?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

All the World's a Web

with apologies to William Shakespeare

All the world's a web,
And many men and women merely bloggers:
They have their profiles and their comments-box;
And one world-wide web space hosts many sites,
Their types being seven ages. The first the infant,
Mewling and puking in his Auntie's arms.
And then the blowhard school-boy, with his jowls
And scowling satchel face, flogged for a fee,
Most willingly the fool. And then the lover,
Boiling like cauldron, woeful joyous column
Limp at the thought of Tony. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths when bearded by the mob,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Bursting the bubble reputation
E'en in the troll's very eye. And then the justice,
Reviewing roundedly if not too oft,
With comprehensive objectivity,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so the site is seen. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With acid in his prose and gurgling tum,
His New York times well lost, his words too dry
Shrunk by the Raines; but his big manly voice,
Turning again toward Eastern Gonzo, pipes
And smokes the bastards out. Last age of all,
To witness our electric mystery,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion:
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


As reported by the BBC, a Home Office minister has met with Muslim leaders to discuss the interesting situation which has arisen as a result of the London attacks.

"Some delegates, including young people, police and MPs, said the meeting was positive," says the BBC, with characteristic attention to balance. Then, with more of the same, it says, "others disagreed." This is certainly enlightening.

The coincidentally-named Ms Blears had earlier "stressed police should not stop and search people simply because they were Muslim". Apparently the police can determine a person's Muslimity before stopping them; I wonder how they manage it.

Ms Blears also said that stop-and-search should be conducted on the basis of "intelligence, not racial profiling". Soundbites, on the other hand, can safely be conducted on the basis of sheer bleary ignorance. How, if not by the use of intelligence, did the police build up their profile of the Muslim race to start with?

Meanwhile, the shadow Attorney General has come out as believing the bomb attacks to be, of all things, "explicable". They are so, he claims, because of a "deep sense of anger, fuelled by the Iraq war and despair about the Islamic world, felt by some Muslims in the UK." This is a welcome change from the Blair-Bush theology, but Ms Blears was quick to point out the grievous flaw in his logic: "People can fundamentally disagree with policy issues, foreign policy, all of that," she generously conceded. However, "I don't see any justification for people blowing themselves up and murdering hundreds of other people." Expliquer, c'est pardonner; QED.

She does have a point, of course. People have no business killing themselves when they could be valued human resources in New Labour's new Britain. If they wanted to murder large numbers of people, they should have done it properly, with daisy-cutters and depleted uranium, and from a distance which would enable them to take a full and active part in any subsequent democratic process.

blear,adj. dim, watery, blurred as with inflammation; indistinct.
Chambers Dictionary

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Very Threatening Event

The Murdoch Times is in no doubt as to the potential serious consequences of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes. It was, as the inquiry will no doubt determine, a "terrible error"; and it has "devastated his family".

Worst of all, the killing "threatens to sap police morale at a critical time in the war on terror" and "threatens to become a cause célèbre among human rights activists". It is a very threatening event indeed, make no mistake about it.

The family may be troublesome, for a start. There have been complaints. In an access of Latin emotionality, six thousand people turned out for de Menezes' funeral. Fortunately, the family are being given some perspective on the matter by British officials and police chiefs. Blessed are they that mourn, for the angels of Blair shall comfort them.

Then there is the small matter of the suspects' story on the day of the shooting. Sir Ian Blair said that the killing was "directly linked" to the bombing attempt of 21 July. The police said that the victim lived in a house which they had under surveillance, that he wore "a dark bulky jacket" which roused their suspicions, and that when eventually challenged (having been allowed on and off a bus, suspicious clothing and all), he vaulted over the ticket barrier and started to run. Thus was public protection implemented with extreme prejudice.

As we all know, it has since turned out that, although Sir Ian Blair said the killing was "directly linked" to the attempted bombing, no such link existed. And, as it now turns out, there was also no bulky dark jacket to rouse police suspicions, though the uncharitable might suspect a dark complexion may have done the trick. Also, the victim did not vault over the ticket barrier. He may simply have been running to catch his tube train.

Well, no wonder it's threatening police morale. The unarmed units must be wondering whether, when similar circumstances arise next time, a yellow fluorescent vest and a pointy blue hat will be enough to save them from their colleagues' protective zeal. Not only that, but "it will outrage the family if [de Menezes] was killed because of apparently suspect behaviour and the misfortune to live at an address linked to terrorism." That damn family again. First devastation, then outrage; have they no perspective on the matter at all? Don't they know the stress our boys are under?

Still, mustn't grumble. We must look on the bright side. We must soldier on, putting our best foot forward. We must keep our nose to the grindstone, our shoulders to the wheel, and our eyes peeled for traitors with rucksacks or without. "Blair said that the public should also appreciate the bravery of the officers, who surrounded a suspect they thought might blow himself up," and who have risen to the beweaponed heights of their profession despite their evidently somewhat fragile grip on reality. "As one officer said yesterday: 'They’ve done a good job for their country.'"

Here, I regret to say, I must differ from the officer quoted in the august Murdoch Times. The officers who arrested the real bombers, if such they are, have done a good job for their country. Arresting people is advantageous in that, if they are the right people, one can question them, and if they are the wrong people, one can let them go. Blowing people's heads off is disadvatageous in that, if they are the right people, one cannot question them, and if they are the wrong people, one has done rather less than a good job for one's country. One has, in fact, committed an error. One has, in fact, committed an error at the very least, even before one starts to lie about it.