The Curmudgeon


Saturday, May 31, 2008

Excess Births

The head of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which condones more than eleven thousand unnatural births every year, has advised that schoolchildren need to be taught about infertility: "If one in seven of us in the modern world is going to have problems with infertility then instead of all the teaching at school being about how to stop getting pregnant someone had better start teaching about how you do get pregnant, because there are going to be a lot of extremely disappointed people out there." Well, only if they are also being taught that conception, gestation, parturition and being generally viviparous constitute the highest peaks of experience to which human beings should aspire. Given that the human species at its present extent is inefficient, anti-social, unhygienic, overcrowded, generally destructive and disposed to collective stupidity on a suicidal scale, perhaps it might be more responsible to teach schoolchildren that they could always adopt, foster, or simply shut down the baby factory and go and do something less harmful instead.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Terror Asylum Seeker Terror Threat Terror

An asylum seeker and terror suspect has called on Gordon Brown to sacrifice the last remaining shreds of his plummeting shelf-life in order to prevent an American military court doing its duty under the Patriot Act.

Asylum seeker and drug addict Binyam al-Mohamed claims to have an "automatic right" to British residency, despite having entered the country as an asylum seeker.

The terror suspect, who is also an asylum seeker, has been held in Castro's Guantánomalous Bay for several consecutive stretches of 42 days. Human rights lawyers are worried that he does not have sufficient access to cable TV, the Koran or illegal drugs.

If the terror suspect is found guilty of the terrorist offences for which he is a terror suspect, he could face the death penalty which helps keep American crime levels so much lower than British ones.

The UK, as a signatory under duress to the European Human Rights Act, is opposed to the death penalty except in anomalous circumstances and has repeatedly called for Guantánomaly Bay to be closed so that the remaining inmates can be transferred to less well-publicised accommodation.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

There Is None Good But One

The recently-ascended Vicar of Downing Street, who over the past five years has done so much to promote peace and understanding in the Middle East, has given a sermon to Time magazine about how he wants to spend the rest of his life.

Tony was, we are told, "a committed Anglican since his days as a student at Oxford in the 1970s"; so committed that he threw over the Anglican faith for that of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor as soon as he found it expedient to do so. Whichever of the world's many faiths you prefer, Tony finds they can all be jolly handy for those little dilemma thingies: "What faith can do is not tell you what is right but give you the strength to do it," he said. It is certainly refreshing to see one of the godly admitting that faith has nothing to do with morality; it will be interesting to see how many cardinals, imams, rabbis and other holy persons agree. Tony also noted that "If you believe in God, [judgement] is made by God as well," a characteristic theological profundity. If Tony's heavenly chum exists, presumably he judges whether you believe in him or not; and if Tony's heavenly chum does not exist, he is unlikely to judge anyone whatever their beliefs, even if the believer is the sort of person who can conjure weapons of mass destruction out of thin air.

Anyway, Tony has set up a Faith Foundation to give his heavenly chum a bit of benign intervention and "bring together six faiths - Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism" so that they can defy Jesus' implicit command at Matthew 26 xi to consider the welfare of the poor less important than his own posthumous pomp and circumstance. "If you got churches and mosques and those of the Jewish faith working together to provide the bed nets that are necessary to eliminate malaria, what a fantastic thing that would be," said Tony, seemingly so transfigured with enthusiasm that he was unable to pronounce the word synagogue. Perhaps the economics of the widow's offering cause him some slight psychological indigestion.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Law and the Profits

The anti-anti-terrorist pressure group Liberty is plotting further embarrassment for the City of London police over the teenager who was issued with a summons for displaying a placard calling the Church of Scientology a "dangerous cult". Liberty are interested to know whether the City of London police regard all quotations from high court judgements as an incitement to religious hatred, or only those which relate to the Congregation of Hubbard. Quite apart from its raising of the spiritual wealth of the City of London with earthly gifts to some of its police officers, the cult "continues to attract controversy over claims that it separates members from their families and indoctrinates followers". To be fair, the pronouncements at Matthew 23 ix and Luke 14 xxvi are probably not original to L Ron Hubbard; and of course Scientology has no faith schools and therefore can hardly hope to indoctrinate children.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No More Mr Nice Bloke

Well, that's a relief. Apparently the recent electoral successes have persuaded Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives that it's safe to drop the mask a bit. Given that it looks exceptionally bad for New New Labour, and given the extreme unlikelihood of the Glorious Successor or any of his right-wing ragbag of crooks, PR men and thugs having sufficient courage or imagination to change for the better, Daveybloke seems to have decided that he can afford to put a stop to at least some of that silly pseudo-liberal posturing and get back down to good old comfortable Conservative nastiness.

Daveybloke's spokesbeing for abolishing welfare, Chris Graybeing, is going to announce "boot camps" to kick unemployed young people into shape. He "plans to ask private sector companies and voluntary organisations to run the intensive training centres - with the £5,000 it costs to support a single person on the dole being offered to the company or voluntary group once the person has been in work for one year". In other words, the money that used to go towards helping the unemployed will now go to private contractors. Obviously, this will save the taxpayer a good deal. Graybeing also plans "a big move to privatise provision to help the unemployed", thus pumping taxpayers' money into private companies in return for public benefits along the lines of those already provided by the likes of Railtrack and the Private Finance Initiative.

Those who are unable to find work within three months "will be referred automatically to a specialist employment provider, where they will be expected to take part in an intensive programme of work-related activity" or, in Oldspeak, unpaid labour. There will also be "much tougher policies than Labour to get single parents and the disabled back to work". It might be amusing to hear how Daveybloke's fiscally-cuddly Conservatives plan to fund the necessary day-care and workplace adaptations; but no doubt Gordon or one of his crooks, PR men and thugs will find a way once they've announced Graybeing's measures in the next Queen's Speech.

Monday, May 26, 2008

An Ethical Dimension

The London Haystack has decreed that "many Londoners felt uncomfortable about the bus operation of one of the world's financial powerhouses being funded by the people of a country where many people live in extreme poverty", and has therefore cancelled a deal made during Ken Livingstone's administration "which traded London's expertise in transport and urban planning for subsidised diesel" from, of all places, Venezuela.

Venezuela, domain of the evil pineapple-god Hugo Chávez! Venezuela, where the faces of the poor are ground into the dust thanks to the persecutions imposed upon the rich! Venezuela, whose electoral system has been abused in a manner which George W Bush finds objectionable! Venezuela, which provided fifteen of the nineteen hijackers on 11 September 2001 (when America was attacked by terrorists), where women can't vote or drive cars, and where so many people live in extreme poverty that even Boris Johnson can't help but notice! Well, dash it all, what else was there to do except drop the whole deal as though it were a policy suggestion from Liam Fox?

The deal "covered a fifth of the fuel bill for buses and trams. The savings were converted into discount fares for around 250,000 people on income support", who were doubtless among the most vocal in making known their moral objections to the scheme.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Blind Guides

Having swallowed the camel of serious fraud involving arms dealers and Islamic extremists, the Government is doing what it does best and straining at the gnat of fraudulent psychics. The Independent laments the rise of belief in "the more outlandish elements of a piecemeal spirituality" now that the sane common sense of "mainstream religiosity" is in decline: "Some 58 per cent of us believe in premonitions; 38 per cent believe in guardian angels; and a hardcore quarter have visited a psychic or medium ... A sceptic might argue that it's less the [frauds] we need protecting from than ourselves." A New New Labour sceptic, if there is such an animal, might well argue thus; others might be less inclined to put faith in the notion of legislating away people's beliefs.

As it is, New New Labour have made a start separating those whose activities are a danger to society from those whose beliefs deserve every respect. Henceforward, those taking money for psychic services "will be barred from aggressively targeting the vulnerable", just as those who take money for running faith schools are barred from targeting the young and naïve; and "complainants will no longer have to demonstrate deliberate malice", leaving spiritualist churches "vulnerable to malicious complaints from the aggressively sceptical" while larger and richer purveyors of rival idiocies are protected by the religious hatred laws and the City of London police.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Freedom of the Seas

Now that the progress of global warming, which we have done so much to assist, has made a rise in sea levels virtually inevitable, the British government has laid claim to two hundred thousand square kilometres of the Atlantic seabed around Ascension Island. "The island has a land area of around 100 sq km but, due to its isolated location, it generates an [exclusive economic zone] with an area of more than 440,000 sq km", said the director of the International Boundaries Research Unit at Durham University. The ocean floor in the area "is believed", in the voice of the Journalistic Passive Credulous, "to contain extensive mineral deposits", which is no doubt what qualifies it for the honour of being designated an economic zone.

Naturally, since this is a British enterprise, the waters are "generally deeper than the Pacific and probably beyond current technological limits for extraction"; however, if the application is approved the Government will gain a lump of the Atlantic seabed "in which it will have sovereign rights to exploit living and non-living resources" until sufficient taxpayers' money can be sunk in a bribe for some private company to offer an appropriate degree of choice as to their disposal.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Occult Reasoning

The Crown Prosecution Service, whose staff presumably have not been wined and dined by the Church of Scientology, has ruled that the teenager who called the Congregation of Hubbard a cult will not face legal action. Apparently it is neither abusive nor insulting under the law to wave a placard stating that a particular faith is "not a religion [but] a dangerous cult". The CPS decided that "there is no offensiveness, as opposed to criticism" in the statement, which appears to imply that the CPS, rather than the Church of Scientology, is qualified to state whether the cultists are offended. Doubtless this is the product of the quintessential New Labour belief that one can legislate for feelings: a natural consequence of the Vicar of Downing Street's evangelical fervour, and an interesting parallel to the common idea among religious cults that one can believe by the numbers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cautious Welcome

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet some years ago in order to save himself the trouble of another reincarnation, has accused Britain of not doing enough to support Tibetan autonomy. The Glorious Successor is going to meet the Dalai Lama, but only in his capacity as the "spiritual leader" of the little yellow chaps; the Dalai Lama is considered unfit to cross the hallowed threshold of 10 Downing Street as Gordon's own spiritual leader was recently invited to do. The Dalai Lama claims that Tibet is facing a kind of "cultural genocide" and that people arrested by the Chinese are being subjected to "severe torture before asking questions". Given that they are not being carried out by the Israelis or the Americans, it is just possible that the Glorious Successor may have some objection to these practices.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Police Brutality

The police have expressed some annoyance at the Minister of Domestic Abuses for treating them like mere public sector workers. Although Agent Smith was spared the treatment given to Patsy Hackitt, the Nurses' Friend, a couple of years ago, she still had to sit with her New New Labour grin of interpersonal manageriality fraying like a psoriatic turkey's neck while the chair of the Police Federation taunted her about her drug-ridden past. "Your recent crimes have been more for the serious fraud office than the drug squad," Jan Berry wisecracked heartlessly, deliberately calling attention to Agent Smith's non-Saudi ancestry. More pertinently, Agent Smith was asked: "How was it that the Government found £2.7bn to dig itself out of a tax hole in advance of a by-election but couldn't find £30m to honour our pay deal?" The answer, apparently, was that Agent Smith took the decision to impose a pay cut on the police "only after a lot of thought - after considering the full facts of the case, the need to keep mortgages and the cost of living under control". Obviously, provided the cost of living is kept under control, the problems people have in meeting it are hardly worth bothering about. Another crucial factor was the need "to ensure that you continued to have your colleagues working alongside you", it being easier to pay a mortgage when there are lots of people around you who can't pay theirs either.

In compensation, Agent Smith promised new toys (handheld computers and electric stun guns) and said that the Government "would scrap stop and account forms, reduce data it collected by a third, and simplify custody, bail and premises entry procedures". She did not promise a bank holiday commemorating the forces of law and order, but doubtless it's only a matter of time.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ron Is Not Mocked

A fifteen-year-old may be prosecuted for displaying words on a placard during a peaceful demonstration. The words were "Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult"; admittedly, this begs the question of the Hubbard cult's essential difference from the Jesus cult, the Virgin cult, the Curia cult, the Muhammad cult and various others, but it hardly seems good reason for prosecuting somebody. However, section five of the Public Order Act prohibits "representations or words which are threatening, abusive or insulting" and the City of London police, who carried out the public order protectivity in the case, have rather good reasons for coming down hard on those who offend the Scientologists' itsy-bitsy feelings.

Monday, May 19, 2008

A Richer Dust Congealed

A report by Quentin Davies, who defected from Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives because they weren't right-wing enough and who might now be forgiven for emulating Winston Churchill's famous attachment to party loyalty and crawling back home again, recommends the "creation of a new public holiday in June" to celebrate war, and the implementation of a new law to make it a criminal offence to discriminate against peaceful, defenceless people in military uniform. Well, really. If this kind of thing goes on we won't be able to discriminate against anyone at all, apart from Muslims, gypsies, asylum seekers, welfare benefit claimants, single mothers and people with no children - and where's the fun in that? They're all armed to the teeth.

The head of the army, General Sir Richard Dannatt, has blamed "a lack of public appreciation" for sapping the will of the troops. They don't mind the heat, the terrain, or the bombs and bullets of the insurgents or our friendly-firing ally; but they crumple before a lack of appreciation. Hence, the Minister for Supporting Our Boys, Bob Ainsworth, said that the report would "ensure that the work of our armed forces is better understood and recognised by the nation they serve", presumably because having a bank holiday named after one's profession is a lot more fun than having proper equipment, reasonable housing or sufficient pay to feed oneself while being shot at.

The report also recommends that the armed forces be permitted to turn state schools into recruiting stations and give guns and authority to those bullies who can shout loudest. This will certainly help. If there's one thing the armed forces need, it's a few more recruits who joined up to see the world, and realised just too late that they might be required to blow some of it up. It is not clear whether pupils at faith schools, let alone Muslim faith schools, will be compelled to join this particular band of brothers.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Optimism of the Pocketbook

The vice-president of the intergovernmental panel on climate change has predicted "a situation where the rich live in enclaves, protected, and the poor live outside in unsustainable conditions", unless governments act to curb greenhouse emissions. He also noted that "developing countries are the most vulnerable to climate change and the poorest people will be the hardest hit"; for example, Bangladesh could lose seventeen per cent of its territory, much of it highly populated, to the sea. Fortunately, "in some countries you do find that rich people live in those kind of protected environments"; in other words, the means are already in place whereby the rich can be protected.

It is possible that the vice-president of the intergovernmental panel on climate change thought that these tidings would encourage governments to take rapid and decisive action to curb greenhouse emissions; particularly as he believes that "the consequences of failure are unimaginable" and the profits no doubt incalculable.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Helping Them to Help Us Help Ourselves

It has emerged that New New Labour goes about the business of keeping the planet habitable in much the same way as it goes about the businesses of health, education, locking people up and snooping: the effect on human beings matters rather less than the money to be made. The Glorious Successor announced the "environmental transformation fund" six months ago, and apparently was "widely expected", by those who have not been living in Britain for the past ten years, to make "direct grants to countries experiencing extreme droughts, storms and sea level rise associated with climate change". Given that the effects of climate change are at least partly the responsibility of the sort of people who expand airports in the name of private profit, go to war for oil, encourage private car use while neglecting public transport, and so forth, it seemed only fair; which only adds to the mystery of why anyone should have expected New New Labour to do anything of the kind. Instead of direct grants, Britain will give "concessional loans", which countries like Bangladesh will have to repay with interest. According to a policy adviser with ActionAid, this means that "developing countries will have to pay twice, once for the emissions that caused the problems and then again to clean up the mess". This of course reflects New New Labour policy in other areas, whereby parents have to pay twice, once in moving to an area with a good school and then again to bribe the religious commissars that run it; or where taxpayers have to pay twice, once for the Government to pay contractors for public utilities and then again in inflated charges for an inefficient service; or where Iraqis have to pay twice, once in having their friends and relatives killed and once in having their country requisitioned for the benefit of Halliburton. Whatever Gordon's faults may be, possession of a reverse gear is evidently not one of them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Proof of Britishness

And here's yet another blessing that ID cards will bring: when the system breaks down, poorer people will suffer more. All systems are prone to error, and British systems run by private companies are not so much prone to it as built on it; fortunately, the only people who will have to rely on the ID card as their sole proof of identity will be those who cannot afford the forms of proof available to real people, such as having lots of credit cards.

Further proof of the Britishness of the scheme emerged when the Independent Scheme Assurance Panel noted the disbandment of the ministerial committee in charge of "coordinating identity management across government". Perhaps the number of illegal immigrants working in the Home Office puts the ID card at an unfair disadvantage. ISAP pointed out the "risk of shifting sands": ID cards could take so long to introduce that the technology involved might be out of date before the scheme is up and stumbling.

Meanwhile, Agent Smith is trying to build support for the scheme by allowing public sector workers in "positions of trust" (or, in Oldspeak, those for whom New New Labour has least use and most contempt) such as nurses, care staff and teachers, to obtain a card without renewing their passport. Dashed decent of her.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Stolen Phish

Date: Thu May 15 2008 1:00pm Europe/London
To: undisclosed-recipients:;
Subject: firms are up for making this extension work


i am Daveybloke i am Bloke of the people i am Poeple Bloke. Gordon Bastard Brown is not Bloke of the poeple he is Nott people Bloke lcocal electons elections rah rah!!!!!!!!! i am Bloke wthith Plolicies i am Plolocieyful bloke. gordon Bastard Brown is Not ploilicy bloke. his plolicy is my plolicy butt My plolicy are betttter thasn Hisn. Gordon Bastard Brown stael stale stole plolicy from Conservatative Praty but This does nott maen we of the Consertavative Partty beleive in those Plolocies. Thhis is becuase we hvae outgornw Pujnch and pJuydydy plolictics adn [prprogrgresssed to plolictics of Bloke adn Not Bloke. i am bloke i am Daveybloke i am not tweedledumb or tweedledeedle i am Daveybloke Bloke. Vote for me against the plolicies of the Consrevative Prayty for the Plolocy of Gordon Bastard Brown though not but not the not opppositing Thingy.

rah rah

daveybloke (Bloke) bloke

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You Were Warned

The Glorious Successor has proclaimed that there is "no easy solution" to the problem of care for the elderly, and an underling has duly ruled out the solution that would be easiest for the culprits. There are a great many things for which the Glorious Successor has proclaimed that there is no easy solution; and in this case, as usual, it is clear that the Government's main effort will be in apportioning the difficulties correctly. The Glorious Successor recognised that "helping relatives is a challenge that most families rise to - however difficult it becomes", which is jolly convenient for anyone who has no particular wish to ease such families' burdens. The Glorious Successor was gracious enough to note that the difficulties which families have to overcome don't "make it any easier" to overcome their difficulties. This is certainly true. The Glorious Successor, who as Chancellor of the Exchequer kept the purse-strings loose for Tony's wars (though apparently not loose enough to feed the troops - another triumph of New Labour prioritisation), warned that there is a "funding black hole" of six thousand million pounds in the ever more threadbare social safety net. The Glorious Successor said it was "essential" that people who "worked hard and saved for retirement were treated fairly". Those who cannot afford to save for retirement because of mounting living costs, or who have insufficient investment in the housing market to "sell a treasured home to pay for their own care", are evidently not entitled even to the sort of treatment New New Labour considers fair.

If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday, I warn you not to be ordinary, I warn you not to be young, I warn you not to fall ill, and I warn you not to grow old.
Neil Kinnock, 1983

Monday, May 12, 2008

You Too Must Find a Loin and Gird It

The Minister for Student Fees has given what one of the Guardian's staff telepaths calls a candid assessment of New New Labour's chances of winning the next general election. Apparently the non-assertion of a "God-given right to govern" will help: "we need that honesty, that humility", though obviously nothing so extreme as a change in policy. "We must avoid kneejerk responses." This is ministerial code for Get in line and stay there, and the Minister made the message plainer still by noting that "people don't vote for divided, disunited rabbles". New New Labour received its electoral mauling not because of anything so ephemeral as policy - that would be too kneejerk a response and too simple a solution - but because people disagree with Gordon. Oh, the 10p tax furore was an error, of course, and New New Labour should "admit and acknowledge" the inexcusable damage to its public relations; but "there is no quick-fix solution, no one or two policy changes which will suddenly overnight transform our fortunes". This is ministerial code for Nothing substantive will be done. As with previous battles against terror, drugs, teenagers, smoking, drinking, un-Britishness, privacy, Magna Carta and non-decent Muslimity, there will be "a long, drawn-out battle in the run-up to the next election. A battle where we convince people of our vision and strength and convince them as well that they still can't trust the Tories"; the vision being of the tunnel variety and the strength being that which comes of being united in spinelessness.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Privatised Details

Well, here's a thing: the Independent Scheme Assurance Panel, a team of experts appointed by the Government to advise it on implementing the ID card scheme, has warned that the system "will be open to fraud by the people running it" - rather like the parliamentary system. The panel, appropriately acronymed ISAP, observes that "Based on the likelihood that the scheme will aggregate a lot of valuable data, there is the risk that its trusted administrators will make improper use of this data", despite the Government's intention to contract out the fingerprinting and photographing of law-abiding people and hard-working families to the private sector. The panel also notes that the scheme does not have a "robust and transparent operational data governance regime and clear data architecture", which the Observer helpfully translates as "confusion over its roll-out". Also, "Though the tender process is supposedly well advanced, requirements for information, communication and technology systems, processes and operations have still to be adequately specified and the rationale for key design decisions is unclear". Never mind what you're supposed to do for your money; never mind who you answer to; just grab those contracts and all that lovely taxpayers' money.

A spokesbeing for the Ministry of Snoopery said that using private companies "will give applicants a choice of competing services which should maximise convenience and drive down price"; which presumably means either that the public will have a choice of several different ID cards, or that there are several different governments trying to apply the service. On the question of whose convenience will be maximised, and whose pockets left unstrained, the spokesbeing was tactfully silent, although it did mention that the private sector "will have no decision-making powers over who is eligible for a passport or identity card"; which apparently is why there is no risk to the security of anyone who matters.

Friday, May 09, 2008

God Shall Send Them Strong Delusion

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, who likes to compare those who disagree with him to some friends of Pope Pius XII, has called for "a better dialogue between believers and non-believers based on mutual esteem"; whereupon, as befits so subtle a casuist, he proceeded to insult his opponents' intelligence: "The interesting question about atheism is what is the theism being denied? Have you ever met anyone who believes what Richard Dawkins does not believe in? The God that is being rejected by such people is a God I don't believe in either." As a matter of fact, there are quite a few gods Richard Dawkins does not believe in, viz. all of them; hence the description atheist as opposed to non-Catholic deist. What the cardinal means, presumably, is that he does not recognise his invisible friend in the unflattering depictions of the god of Jephthah, Joshua, Torquemada and Tony Blair which are so viciously promulgated by esteemed neo-Nazis such as myself, even though that deity's obsessive jealousy, his nasty misogyny, his condoning of slavery, his penchant for human sacrifice, his genocidal urges and sadistic practical jokes are all set forth rather plainly in both Old and New Testaments. "We need to examine what we might have done to give people a misleading idea of God," the cardinal observed, and suggested as a remedy "a deeper grasp of the mystery of God on the part of our believers". We Nazis are being misled because believers have an insufficient grasp of their deity's ungraspability; yet despite this, there is a "pervasive message" that committing oneself to Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor's idea of an ethereal heavenly father who rewards people for doing as they're told is to "take a step back from being independent and mature". Worse yet, there are "social currents that want to isolate religion from other forms of knowledge and experience", rather than viewing it as something wholly separate from scientific inquiry and secular ethics. Hence, "many people have a sense of being in a sort of exile from faith-guided experience". People who want, nay need to be Christians are being forced away from the faith because of their urge to conform with the likes of Richard Dawkins, and because of attempts to "eliminate the Christian voice" from the public forum. After all, when did you last see Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor's words of wisdom reported in the national press?

Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Sentimental Notice

On Friday 8 May 1998, the Dark Muse having waylaid me the night before, I wrote this:

Groke was going. He said something about venturing into the world to teach the rocks to sing, by finding the children of God and cutting out their tongues. "But I'll have to do every last one of them," he said.

That led, a bit later, to this, and eventually to this. Several people have paid to read it, and one generous soul has even reviewed it; both these facts continue to amaze me, but not nearly so much as the fact that I got the damn thing done.

You will, I hope, excuse the self-indulgence. Happy anniversary, Beelzebub.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Gunman Was Actual Human Being, Journalists Find

The man who took pot-shots at the police before being killed by them has been named as Mark Saunders, a barrister who had served with the Territorial Army.

He had a private education and was an Oxford graduate. The firearm he used was "lawfully held, and legally in the possession of the person it was issued to", according to the deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

Opponents of the Government will see this as a blow for New Labour's policy of fighting the war on gun crime by reducing the number of guns held by non-criminals.

A neighbour said, "I saw Mark some weeks ago. He was sitting on the wall or pavement outside his flat and he was sobbing. I have no idea what about but he looked shaken. He was kicking the pavement with the toe of his foot, banging it really hard."

The neighbour did not intervene. This has not yet been interpreted as a symptom of British cold-bloodedness deriving from a recent imperial past and a pervasive national immaturity arising from excessive national and cultural dependence on the United States.

No pronouncements have yet been made on the crying necessity to keep firearms out of the hands of highly educated white professionals.

None of the UK's major political figures has so far advocated abolishing the Territorial Army on the grounds that it encourages the belief that problems can be solved effectively through highly organised and calculated violence.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

We Have Been Here Before

A report commissioned by the Secretary for Caressing Obese Financial Felines has concluded that, as with the health service and the railways, privatisation of the post office has brought blessings upon the heads of those who really matter: "Large companies have benefited from the full liberalisation of the postal market since 2006 with more choice, lower prices and better quality products". Also as with the health service and the railways, "there have been no significant benefits for smaller businesses and domestic consumers," and the existence of the service itself is under a "substantial threat". The report claims there is a "strong case" for intervention in the free market to ensure a sustainable future for the Royal Mail. The strength of the case is, of course, unlikely to budge the objectionable immobile that is Hutton the Thrift's gland of executive self-interest; the Royal Mail is not, after all, Northern Rock.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Won't Somebody Perspectivise the Children?

The Minister for Tiny Human Resources, Beverley Hughes, has been listening and leading with members of the National Association of Head Teachers at their annual conference. The head teachers raised objections to league tables and to the Government's practice of putting children through exams at the age of seven. "Look, the views and opinions of teachers and headteachers are very important," Hughes triangulated; "but it's not the only perspective that's important, there's also the perspective of parents"; not to mention the perspective of political commissars, whose qualifications in the matter of looking after children occasionally rival those of our revered progenitors. Most parents enter their enviable state through a judicious combination of accident (meeting some chump), fraud (posing as somebody worth having sex with), bribery (gifts and prospects) and myopia (babies are cute, children are sweet, adolescents are reasonable, and one's offspring are one's new young selves on the road to earthly immortality). The career of many a political commissar has followed an eerily similar route, often involving nearly as much excrement and even more noise.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Auricular Intensification, Opportunicitious Renewalisation

The Glorious Successor has give his analysis of the causes behind the electoral mauling and has noted that, in the face of rising food and energy costs, he feels our pain. "I feel the hurt they feel," he said, referring to the proles. "We are standing up for people facing difficulties," he said, referring to the banks. A six-figure salary and some waiting company directorships will do that to a man, no doubt; but then, Gordon has always been a little too good for this world: "Perhaps I have spent too much time ... looking at the detail to solving people's problems". He said that "over the last 10 years, I have shown that I can take people through difficult circumstances, including economic problems", despite the decade-long boom in favourable statistics which, until recently, was his sole responsibility. He also believes - apparently he is not altogether certain - that "the real Gordon Brown is someone who is standing up at all times for hard-working families in this country", although we have yet to learn what reliable gauge he uses to determine just how hard all these producers of future soldiers and stockbrokers really do work in order to merit their privileged status. "That's what the dividing line in politics is," he said, as though Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives couldn't match him platitude for platitude on the wonders of family life and the creeping evil of non-reproductive singularity. He is equally forward-looking and visionary on environmental matters and the free market: "Clearly also there needs to be some international effort with Opec to get the oil price down." As always, however, the main problem is one of salesmanship: "showing people we have a vision of the future that will carry the country - optimistically in my view - into its next phase", said phase being composed of "a fair deal for working families, helping people get on to the first rung of the housing ladder, helping people get opportunity in education - more universities and more colleges - the big building blocks for the future that we are putting in place". Gosh. And he's been listening and leading for over twenty-four hours now.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

...And Then I Woke Up and Found...

Well, they went and did it. A floating haystack with a twit for a pendulum is now the mayor of London and the most powerful Conservative in Britain outside the Government after the editor of the Daily Mail. Appropriately, it appears he owes his victory to a doughnut.

The rest of the country seems to have done more or less what the Labour party did some months ago; namely, attempted to remedy the problems of Blairism by rejecting one Blairite in favour of another. Clearly there is something I am missing, some ineffable quality of suit, tie or teeth, which somehow makes Daveybloke's gallery of delta-minuses significantly more attractive to the electorate than Gordon Brown's gaggle of epsilons.

It is just possible that London may survive, if only because Daveybloke will wish to continue laying on the cuddliness until the Glorious Successor has lost the next general election along with everything else. Then again, having gained so much at the cost of little more than a bit of echt-Tony posturing and the small effort required to stand back and let New New Labour screw things up without yielding to the temptation of setting forth different policies, perhaps Daveybloke will decide he can afford to let Boris rip. This might be amusing, but probably only from orbit.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

Bozza izza Lozza mezza
Votey turney Kezza badda
Bozza blozza bigga badda
Davey Blokey boosty boosty
Bozza Gozza Brozza badda
Bozza gizza speechy speechy
blah blah fwah fwah ha ha ha
Bozza blagga bendy bussy
Bozza bigga badda blondy
Notta twitta shorty leashy
Gordy sulky mingy murky
Bigga Bozza blokey blokey
Davey wavey hazza happy
Bozza Jozza izza bigga
Mezza Lozza blondy bondy
Bozza izza Lozza mezza