The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not Quite So Moral an Outrage as We Had Been Led to Believe

Wee Nicky claimed last week that the Government had stopped Agent Smith's practice of deporting people who face persecution because of their sexual indiscretion, so this should come as no surprise. A twenty-two-year-old woman is awaiting deportation to the Christian country of Uganda, where homosexuality is illegal and where she was branded with a hot iron after being outed in a magazine. The UK Border Agency, with its usual British common sense, concedes that the lady has scars consistent with having been branded with a flat-iron, but does not believe that she has thereby suffered ill-treatment. Whatever she says about the experience now, at the time she may well have found it rather fun; and she is, after all, an asylum seeker.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunny Outlook on Bank Holiday Weekend

Government interference has not ruined fun, say oil companies

Greenhouse gas emissions have increased by a record amount in the past year, despite the efforts of governments in Greece, Ireland and the United Kingdom to beat their economies into a less anti-social mood.

The rise increases the likelihood of a global temperature rise of more than two degrees Celcius, which is considered "potentially dangerous", though only for those who cannot afford to avoid its effects.

Lord Stern, who reported to the Treasury in 2006 that someone probably ought to do something about it at some point, said that if present trends continue it "would mean around a 50% chance of a rise in global average temperature of more than 4C by 2100."

Fossil fuel corporations welcomed the news. "This means there is around a 50% chance that everything will still be more or less jolly in a hundred years' time," said a spokesbeing for Shell.

"Even if things do get a bit hotter, it will mean new markets in crowd control resources such as Shell employs in the Ivory Coast. There will also be new opportunities in air-filtering and human moisturisation solutions, which will lead to economic growth that will be good for everyone."

Stern agreed, saying that a rise of 4C would flexibilitise the potential of "hundreds of millions of people across the planet", creating a dynamic and competitive labour market.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Save Even More Lives With Our New Urban Sharpshooter Programme

One or two small clues have emerged as to the extent of Britain's support for the Arab spring; particularly in Bahrain, where demonstrations in March were put down by twelve hundred Saudi troops trained by British military personnel. Britain has been training and supplying the Saudi national guard since 1964, and recent goodies include armoured personnel carriers, weapon sights, CS gas grenades, "search, public order and sniper training" and, most democratically of all, "urban sharpshooter programmes". The national guard was set up because the royal family didn't trust the regular army to support it; a feeling with which Daveybloke's Cuddlies can no doubt identify, given their apparent determination to treat the police and armed forces with the sort of insouciant contempt that Conservative governments usually reserve for nurses and teachers.

As might be expected, Labour and the Conservatives were as one over this matter. A Labour MP and former chair of the Wogs, Frogs and Huns Select Committee said that arming dictatorships against their own people meant striking a "difficult balance" between ignoring and improving; it seems all that profiteering by Britain's arms dealers was part of a concerted attempt to induce the Saudi régime to allow women to drive cars. A spokesbeing for the Ministry of War and the Colonies said that the Gulf states were "key partners" in the war on the abstract noun; in Standard English, this appears to mean that the House of Saud hates Iran as much as we do. The spokesbeing also claimed that, by arming dictatorships against their own people, "we help to save lives and raise awareness of human rights". Those protesters in Bahrain must simply have failed to raise their awareness high enough. Let's hope the urban sharpshooters helped.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Better Burn Than Divorce

The island of Malta is holding a referendum on whether to permit divorce, and the Catholic Church has been putting the case for a No vote with the expectable degree of honesty and fair-mindedness. For weeks the place has been covered in posters depicting a child alongside the slogan, "I trust you with my future - vote No"; given what has emerged in recent years about the Vatican's concern for the welfare of children, this shows an encouraging level of satiric self-irony, but it appears that not everyone has taken it in the proper spirit. "This is about protecting the church courts that offer annulment as an alternative to divorce," said one of the MPs who drafted the divorce law. The activities of the ecclesiastical tribunals oblige the Church to absorb a certain amount of worldly wealth in legal fees, thus protecting secular lawyers from the grip of Mammon. Nevertheless, the archbishop of Malta fulminated that "marriage was created by God, Jesus ruled out divorce and we are therefore telling the faithful to vote no". Jesus also disapproved of wealth, ostentation and hypocrisy, but it is as yet unclear whether the archbishop of Malta would urge his congregation to vote Yes in a referendum on whether to sell off the cathedrals of St John's and St Paul's and give the proceeds to the poor.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Forgotten Victims

Greenpeace and another group of troublemakers called Platform are taking an unsympathetic view of energy companies' squeals of horror at the Government's windfall tax. Share prices in oil and gas producers have risen by an average of two hundred per cent over the past year, and Shell's profits have almost doubled since 2009. The idea that Shell might possibly keep some of its investors if it made a mere £500,000 an hour instead of one and a half million, or that share price rises of less than two hundred per cent a year may not necessarily turn Britain's boardrooms into the new Eritrea, is evidently not to be countenanced. Accordingly, the chief executive of a ministerial incentivisation collective with special responsibility for large-scale polluters and poisoners is threatening to withdraw twelve thousand million pounds' worth of investment and abolish fifteen thousand possible new jobs, on the grounds that "unexpected tax changes" damage investors' confidence. It is, in fact, just possible that this little quirk of psychology had not occurred to Daveybloke's Cuddly Chancellor, who apparently believes that cutting salaries, raising prices and throwing people out of work is just the thing to get everybody spending, and that the economy will be booming in no time as long as banks are permitted to hoard their money for bonuses rather than lending it to businesses.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Reverend Members

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who has no opinion on whether the Iraq war was "absolutely the right or the wrong thing to do", can be a very different kettle of wind when genuine moral issues are at stake. A leaked memorandum by the late dean of Southwark Cathedral shows the Christian gentleness and forbearance with which Dr Williams and the Archbishop of York overruled the diocese on the matter of who should be appointed bishop. Both of the diocese's preferred choices were thrown out. One, Jeffrey John, is the partnered but celibate gay man whom Williams himself appointed bishop of Reading eight years ago, only to fire him when the bigots started squealing. The other, Nicholas Holtam, is married to a divorcée; which apparently is not quite as bad as being homosexual since Holtam has since been made bishop of Salisbury. The memorandum mentions "two very horrible days in which I would say both archbishops behaved very badly ... When it came to voting, certainly two - possibly three - members were in tears and [Williams] made no acknowledgement but carried on regardless." Then, in a manoeuvre worthy of the Vatican at its gamiest, "at a critical point Archbishop Sentamu and three other members simultaneously went to the lavatory, after which the voting patterns changed", and Williams and Sentamu got their way. Apparently there are some people who think that a House of Lords with no bishops' bench would be detrimental to the dignity of the state.

Me at Poetry-24
Life Lessons

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Medallion Man

President Obama's visit has spurred Daveybloke into doing a little poodle-training of his own. The Conservatives have decided to let their owner, Lord Ashcroft, have a bit of fun playing soldiers, and have appointed him as a senior adviser to the review of Britain's military bases in Cyprus. Doubtless Lord Ashcroft will have much to say about how our brave boys might be better utilised in the financial interests of people like Lord Ashcroft, and I am sure the Conservatives will be happy to take the hint. Additionally, Lord Ashcroft has bought a lot of medals which were earned by other people, and is a big fan of Bomber Command; but, aside from these qualifications, his appointment provides Daveybloke with an important opportunity to rub the Liberal Democrats' noses in something malodorous and sausage-shaped, like Liam Fox. Wee Nicky was granted an audience with the Prime Minister, in which he apparently protested on the grounds that Lord Ashcroft "carried too much political baggage"; in other words, that the appointment would be a public-relations problem for the Conservatives. According to a spokesbeing, "the Liberal Democrats could not support the appointment, but they did not go to the wall on this", presumably because Wee Nicky knew that if he whined too much Daveybloke wouldn't let him hump Obama's other leg.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dead Green

The remains of the Minister for Pandering to the City of London, Vincent Cable, have announced that the City of London will be given the chair of the Government's green investment bank, so as to ensure that major priorities like pandering to the City of London do not yield precedence to minor public-relations issues like keeping the planet habitable. Sir Adrian Montague seems just the man for the job: he is a venture capitalist and has worked for Network Rail (remember them?), as well as helping the Treasury with the Private Finance Initiative boondoggle.

Cable's liquescent corpse also announced that, since the coalition promised not to use public money to subsidise the nuclear industry, the bank will be permitted to use public money to subsidise the nuclear industry. Cable's ichorous remnants sought to defuse objections by saying that offshore wind farms, energy efficiency projects and the shipping of waste to China were "likely" to get most of the funding over the first four years. Use of the green investment bank as a book-keeping trick for polluters has been postponed until 2015, presumably as a casual gesture by the Conservatives towards saving what is left of Wee Nicky's face. Since the relevant Government department is making less money available for flood defences, the bank may also finance these if the likes of Sir Adrian Montague find their carpets getting soggy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Loan Shirks

The banking sector has taken an endearingly Liberal Democrat attitude to Project Merlin, casually ditching any inconvenient pledges and hoping Daveybloke's Cuddlies will love them for it. I cannot imagine what might have given them that idea, but the banks' lending to small and medium-sized businesses has fallen about eleven per cent short of the rather pathetic obligations which George the Progressively Regressive and his chums stroked the fat cats into accepting three months ago. The banks blamed the small and medium-sized businesses for refusing to take out loans at rates which they cannot afford. The banks didn't get us where we are today by being prudent and living within their means, and they clearly see no reason why anyone else should do so either, provided the taxpayers are obliging enough to carry the can. We're all in it together, after all.

Daveybloke said that it would be "a bit hasty" to imagine that the banks have failed to live up to their side of the bargain just because the banks' side of the bargain has not been lived up to; but he intimated that if matters did not improve he would be forced to consider doing nothing much in a rather less casual manner than heretofore. Daveybloke's charity towards those who don't keep their promises and can't count is, I suppose, understandable enough: Daveybloke said he wouldn't cut the NHS, went into coalition with Nick Clegg and appointed Michael Gove as Education Secretary. Anyhow, if the banks don't modify their behaviour pretty sharpish, Daveybloke may even be forced, as with his promises on forming the greenest government ever, to commit his successors to doing something about it.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Efficiency Savings

As the weather grows warmer and our thoughts turn inevitably to arson, London's noble Fire Brigade are providing an object lesson in the superior efficiency of privatised public services. Rather than having the whole thing run by a nasty, top-heavy, expensive state bureaucracy employing hundreds of immigrants with gold-plated pensions, Tony Blair's first ministry threw a twenty-year, multi-million-pound contract at a private company to lease the Fire Brigade its engines. Under Tony's Glorious Successor, the same company received another seven million pounds of taxpayers' money to provide ambulances to the London NHS; and, as one might expect, the company's chief executive was recently sacked for "serious breaches of contract" and is now presumably seeking his fortune in either the banking sector or the Liberal Democrats. The company's share price, which has been as high as £2.31 in the past five years, has now reached £0.0375, which does rather echo Nick Clegg's CV at the moment. Anyway, if the company goes into administration, its creditors will have the right to sell off the five hundred vehicles and fifty thousand other oddments which it leases to the London Fire Brigade. Nevertheless, the London Fire Brigade, as run by the charming Brian Coleman, does not anticipate a problem and claims to have planned for all contingencies. What compensation the taxpayer will receive for the Government's having thrown all that money at a non-viable company is, it appears, yet to be determined.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back By Popular Demand

Lord Mandelbrot the Infinitely Recurring may be set for another recrudescence. The Government has already put the boot into Gordon Brown once, with much rah-rah and raspberry-blowing over his apparent urge to become head of the IMF. Even if Daveybloke's Cuddly Coalition were the sporting and chivalrous sort, the fact that Brown chose to open his bid with a speech about funding education and helping the poor can hardly have helped his case. Now the Government is hinting coyly that the man whom the Glorious Successor probably hates even more than he detests Ed Balls, and only slightly less than he loathes Tony Blair, would make a rather jolly director of the World Trade Organisation. A spokesbeing has proclaimed that Lord Mandelbrot "does not have enough credibility for the IMF", which presumably means he isn't yet a big enough crook. Still, it is encouraging to see Daveybloke and his orange muffler continuing in their efforts to initiate a new politics in Britain and replace the sleaze and petty spite of New Labour with something generous, clean and nice.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Health Ministers Non-Carcinogenic, Hints Lansley

Private health company employee in shock rebuttal

The Health Secretary has moved to rebut perceptions of a causal link between Health Secretaries and cancer.

Andrew Twizzler-Lansley is fighting this image by reversing his non-guarantee concerning the status of England's twenty-eight cancer networks.

Twizzler-Lansley has now said that the Government will continue to fund and support the cancer networks in 2012-13.

The government had originally hoped to place the blame for the loss of the networks on the proposed new NHS commissioning board, which will take over the role of commissioning care from 2013.

The board would thus have the duty of coping with two more rounds of cuts similar to this year's, which have brought the British economy to its present degree of well-being.

Experts have claimed for years that British ministers of health, who are inevitably concerned to withdraw health care from most of the population, are one of the most important vectors for disease.

One study placed health ministers second only to immigrants and toilet seats as factors in worsening the nation's health.

Me at Poetry-24
Curriculum Vitae

Thursday, May 19, 2011

If You Risk Your Life to Fight for Your Country, We Will Honour You

The vole-brained Secretary for War and the Colonies, Liam Fox, has been lecturing the armed forces about taking their medicine like men. Now that Iraq has been won, Afghanistan cleansed and Libya liberated, Daveybloke's Cuddly Coalition has decided it's about time our brave boys got what is coming to them; which, in the judgement of Fox and his colleagues, amounts to a few thousand compulsory redundancies and the decommissioning of various warships and aircraft. The navy will get some new aircraft carriers one day, but will have to wait for three years before they can carry any aircraft. The alternative, said Fox, is the same as the alternative to trampling the public sector: "more borrowing, more tax rises or more cuts elsewhere"; and, since it would be un-British to save a few billions by foregoing whatever shiny new blanched pachyderm is to replace Trident, this is clearly no alternative at all.

Fox then went into his favourite Muscular Christian mode: "There are no easy answers, there are no silver bullets. Only tough decisions, hard work and perseverance." Doubtless those who are made redundant will be invited to re-join the armed forces as volunteers and graciously permitted to persevere in making the best of things, while Fox chumps his way to joining his predecessor and party colleague, Malcolm Rifkind, in the mercenary business. Fox also blamed the Europeans for not jumping up to the mark whenever Britain and its master feel like bombing a few fuzzy-wuzzies, and blathered a bit about learning the lessons of history. Like Theresa May, Fox might profit from a study of how many of history's petty despots, imperial cranks and purple-faced twits have suffered deselection and occasional perforation through failing to keep their own hired thugs on side.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Certain Something

Clearly the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband's days in Gordon Brown's cabinet were not spent in vain, as witness today's superb display of ineptitude over the ongoing anti-NHS process. A certain Mark Britnell, chosen by one of Daveybloke's little men to be part of a special advisory group thingy, told a conference of Twizzler Lansley's kind of people in New York that there would be "no mercy" for the NHS and that the resulting devastation would be a "big opportunity" for profiteers. Labour's health spokesbeing used the comments to attack the Government's plans, and a Labour MP asked Daveybloke about the matter today. As one would expect given that the Government's NHS policy is simply the Bullingdon kick in the groin after the Blairite stab in the back, it turns out that Britnell was involved in drawing up Labour's own plans for wrecking the health service a decade ago, and that while the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband was still the Lower (if upwardly thrusting) Miliband, Britnell was director general for commissioning and system management. The Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband did not know this; neither did Labour's spokesbeing for health; and neither did the Labour MP who tried to score points on the issue. It takes a certain something to lose an argument with the Conservative Party over the National Health Service; but whatever that something may be, the modern Labour Party has it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dedicated Public Servants

Well, this is an edifying spectacle, isn't it. Various honourable members from the last administration appear to have seen their ministerial careers as little more than a means of doing a bit of profitable networking with the private sector. Patsy Hackitt, the Nurses' Friend, waited barely half a year after her stint as Secretary for NHS Demolition before taking a consultancy with Big Pharma and a £55,000-a-year post with a private health company. Alan Milburn, who resigned from the Department of Health in order to spend more time with his family values, has somehow found it in himself to re-order his work/life balance in favour of the private sector. Lord Davies, whom Tony's Glorious Successor appointed a trade minister, has taken no less than eight appointments; but then Lord Davies used to be a banker, and we all know how much bankers like to earn their own crust and be beholden to nobody. The ex-defence secretary and area of outstanding natural fatuity, Geoff Hoon, has set up a private consultancy; but thanks to a Channel 4 sting operation a few restrictions have been placed upon him. According to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments, forty-three ex-ministers have been vetted for jobs since last year, and in twelve cases no restrictions whatever have been placed on their asking their chums for favours. The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments is a non-statutory body which cannot interfere with the free market but which is allowed to "recommend restrictions" on any corruption which exceeds New Labour's generous standards of tolerance. Some campaigners are hoping that a government which includes Lord Ashcroft's chum Willem den Haag and Rupert Murdoch's chum Jeremy C Hunt will change this for the better.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's A Time, It's A Place, It's A Motion

A cross-party commission on Daveybloke's Big Society thingy has concluded that, after twelve months of rah-rah and finger-wagging, nobody is any the wiser as to what sort of a thingy Daveybloke's Big Society thingy really is. The cross-party commission on Daveybloke's Big Society thingy even claims that the vagueness of the thingy "has meant inconsistent policy-making", much as any fig-leaf may distort the rampancy beneath if not properly attached. Even in the voluntary sector, which is supposed to compensate for Daveybloke's cuddly cuts programme by doing everything for free, thirty per cent of organisation heads said they were unclear as to the thingy's definition; and it appears that the other seventy per cent aren't talking. Daveybloke himself, in the course of a single speech, managed to define the thingy in two different ways; presumably dead children will feature ever more prominently as the clarifications grow ever more desperate. So nebulous has the thingy become that Lord Wei of Shoreditch, who provided such a shining example of voluntary commitment earlier this year, has taken time out from his non-executive directorships in order to worry about the cynicism the thingy has bred. "There is evidence that, the more politicised a topic like this becomes, the less people may want to engage with it," he said. Indeed, public apathy has much to answer for, particularly if it has the bad manners to respond to a political party's political propaganda as though politics had something to do with the matter.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Historic Climate Deal

Ministers committed to claiming to hope and believe things

Cabinet ministers have agreed a far-reaching, legally binding "green deal" that will commit the Government's successors to casually shrugging off the fact that they couldn't be bothered to implement it.

Ministers claim (or "believe", as the Observer's resident telepath observed) that large corporations and new industries will be stimulated into orgasmic fervour by the Government's pledge to let corporations and eccentric millionaires take care of things.

The deal means that the UK has the most ambitious targets and the most exalted levels of rhetoric on carbon emissions in the world.

"This is a victory for the cause of enlightenment over the dark forces at the Treasury," said a spokesbeing, implicitly comparing an internecine spat over fairy-tale numbers to the clash of civilisations and the bombing of uncivilised tribes.

"We are the only nation with legally binding commitments past 2020," said another spokesbeing, making clear that nothing much needs to be done until approximately mid-2019.

"This country is now the world leader in cutting carbon emissions," said the same spokesbeing, as environmentalists held spontaneous demonstrations to thank the Government for flatlining the economy into a cleansing coma.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Good Book

Fewer than half of Britons believe that the Bible is an important book, and fewer still have much idea of its influence on the English language, laments the Bible Society, which has carried out a survey asking people to identify the source of Biblical phrases. With the blood of the NHS crying unto them from the ground, just over half of the respondents managed to recall the origins of "my brother's keeper"; but fewer than ten per cent knew that the phrases "a drop in the bucket" and "eat, drink and be merry" come from the Bible. More people ascribed the first to Tony Blair; in all fairness, the Bible is fond of mass murder and full of ridiculous claims which have been convincingly disproved, so they were certainly correct in spirit. More than forty per cent believed the phrase "eat, drink and be merry" came from Shakespeare, which isn't a bad guess; and eighteen per cent thought that "the writing on the wall" was from the Beatles, though slightly more got it right.

The culture programme manager at the Bible Society said: "It's clear that people's knowledge of the Bible is limited and they just don't realise how significant and wide-ranging its influence has been", and hoped that the anniversary of the Authorised Version would "help people, once again, to value the Bible". Disturbingly, there seems little interest in the Bible's moral influence: the importance of human sacrifice (Genesis, Judges); the wonders of slavery (Genesis, Titus); the wonders of concubinage (Genesis, etc.); the wonders of genocide (Genesis, Joshua, Revelation, etc., etc.); the wickedness of international Jewry (Matthew); and, for the ladies, the necessity of obedience (Ephesians) and the importance of sleeping your way to the top if you want your enemies properly killed (Esther), among much else.

Friday, May 13, 2011

To Fit the Crime

Nine years ago a private company, to which a right-wing government had fenced resources stolen from the taxpayer, killed seven people and injured ten times that number through criminal negligence. Anticipating the tactics later used by the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club after their own recent customer detrimentations, the private company initially took advantage of the then recently commenced War on the Abstract Noun and blamed a fictitious saboteur. The company's successor, which has a much improved name, has now admitted liability and given its generous permission for the taxpayer to cover the resulting fine. Since the company is a manifestation of private enterprise, which encourages individual responsibility, none of the individuals who were in charge at the time of the criminal negligence will be held accountable.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


A ninety-one-year-old Ukrainian American with leukaemia has been sentenced to five years in prison as an accessory to murder at Sobibór during the Holocaust. John Demjanjuk is the lowest-ranking person ever to have been tried for war crimes in Germany; an expert witness described him as "the littlest of the little fishes", and the prosecution's case rested on nothing more than his presence at the camp and, apparently, the fact that his crimes lacked sufficient magnitude to permit his recruitment into the CIA. "Justice must be done and be seen to be done, the sentence is almost irrelevant," said one survivor whose family was wiped out at Sobibór. Demjanjuk has, in fact, already been five years on death row in Israel because of a case of mistaken identity; it is far from clear whether the demands of justice would be served by counting this as time served and letting him die at home.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


The Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club is to issue hollow-point ammunition as standard from this week. Hollow-point ammunition expands (or, when used by law enforcement officers, "petals") on impact and causes greater internal injury, or "increases the chance of maximum incapacitation of the target", as Britain's leading liberal newspaper puts it. The commander of the Met's unit for doing a wonderful job under difficult circumstances said that the bullets "should never be referred to as dumdum", and claimed that the term was thieves' slang for ammunition which has been altered to increase the chance of maximum incapacitation of the target. In fact, the term dumdum has a somewhat more respectable background, having originated during Britain's mission to civilise India; this is rather apt considering that the last occasion when such bullets were used by the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club was the execution of a dusky foreigner, Jean Charles de Menezes. The commander of the firearms unit referred to that incident as "a very difficult milestone in the Met's history", possibly because the lessons learned from it resulted in the Met's demonstrable passion for truth, justice and public safety at Forest Gate and the G20 protests; but he defended the ammunition on the grounds that it poses less risk to innocent members of the public, such as Jean Charles de Menezes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Good Old-Fashioned Discipline

Saudi Arabia, which is such a paragon of New Labour values that its army was invited to help the government of Bahrain trample on some inconveniently springing Arabs, has shown itself still worthy of its allies by sentencing six orphans to ten lashes each for "acts of mischief". The sentence was carried out at a prison in Medina, the second holiest city of those who surrender to the Compassionate and Merciful. The public relations manager at the kingdom's ministry of social affairs gave a note-perfect New Labour/Cuddly Coalition comment to Reuters, pleading the independence of the courts and stating that the ministry would "rehabilitate and take care of the girls' social wellbeing". International human rights groups, excluding Her Majesty's Government, have criticised the Saudi régime over its enthusiasm for corporal and capital punishment, which embraces physical mutilation and beheading and is surpassed in few places other than the Conservative back benches and the more foetid reaches of various Home Office crania.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Customer Services

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Voters Just Playing Hard to Get, Blathers Clegg

Wee Nicky has been learning lessons in true New Labour style. As always, the problem is not one of bad policy, but of bad public relations: "I accept that there is real pressure on us to explain to our traditional voters why we are doing this and why it is good for the country". Also, the massacre at the ballot box means that the party is quite popular, actually: "the lesson I have learned listening to people on the doorsteps is that people want a louder Liberal Democrat voice in government", as opposed to wanting it to say the things it was saying when they voted Liberal Democrat last year. In the interests of loudness and public relations, then, Wee Nicky insisted that the cosmetic consultation over Twizzler Lansley's anti-NHS bill is not a cosmetic consultation, and went about repairing his own battered reputation for honesty and integrity by threatening to veto the measures which he recommended to his own party a couple of months ago. The Deputy Deputy Prime Minister, Simon Hughes, even noted belatedly that the Twizzler's bill breached the coalition agreement, a detail which has hitherto counted for about as much as one would expect in a party with the Liberal Democrats' attitude to pledges. For the further comfort of his remaining followers, Wee Nicky said that the party has "a platform from which we can recover", though it is unclear whether the country will fare so well; pledged that he would "never, never, never" join the Conservatives, aside from supporting their policies and serving as a minister in their government; and added: "I will be carried out in my coffin as a card-carrying Liberal Democrat", to which several hundred weary ex-councillors presumably chorused: "The sooner the better".

Saturday, May 07, 2011

We Must Look More Reluctant As We Wreck

Wee Nicky, whose word is his bond, has responded to the electoral disaster with more of the usual: in two or three years the voters will realise that it was he, Wee Nicky, who saved all those jobs and saved the NHS and prevented all those asylum seekers being deported and implemented all those green policies and prevented university fees rising to £9000 across the board and reformed the House of Lords and taxed the bankers rather than clobbering the unemployed and freed the Arabs from tyranny and la la la la la. Having promised bigger cuts than Thatcher's before the general election, and having grinned and yipped like an adoring beagle as Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives went about throwing people out of work and trashing the NHS, Wee Nicky now argues that "one role for his party would be to protect the country from a return to the unfairness of Thatcherism". In his bunker-psychotic confidence, Wee Nicky even joked that a majority Conservative administration might be to the right of this one, perhaps going so far as to bomb uncivilised tribes and grant monopolies to Rupert Murdoch.

Nevertheless, a spokesbeing for Wee Nicky was careful to state that the Liberal Democrats are not going to "have poisonous rubbish briefed into the papers", as the Conservatives do, or "play silly buggers or spring surprises on the Tories", since the Liberal Democrats are now far too weak to risk anything of the kind; and that the electorate is far too stupid to understand should "ministers from different sides of the coalition go on television to set out their differences". Apparently disbelieving these reassurances (I wonder why), the director of Policy Exchange worried that the coalition might be "crippled inside", as though anything could now prevent Daveybloke and his cuddly chums walking all over whatever objections Wee Nicky and the rest of the servants may care to raise. If there is a split, it is much more likely to be within the Liberal Democrats, between those who once thought the party stood for something and those who want to keep their positions at court.

Me at Poetry-24
Noblesse Oblige

Friday, May 06, 2011

Holyrood Horror

PM vows to crush rebellious Scots

The Scottish National Party has ruthlessly abused the country's fatally flawed proportional electoral system to gain an overall majority.

The result shows deliberate defiance towards opponents of electoral reform in the Scottish capital, Westminster, who have decreed that proportional systems lead inevitably to fatally weak and compromised coalitions such as the one that was elected under the British system last May.

The SNP intends to provoke Britain's real elected government by demanding the right to set corporation tax and increase the deficit. The party will then hold a referendum on whether to break up the United Kingdom.

According to the Gove-Ferguson™ history model, the UK has stood as a proud and indivisible bastion of freedom and market forces since its original formation by Alfred the Great.

The union of England and Scotland was formalised in the eighteenth century during the reign of a monarch remarkable for such Tory virtues as breeding and being fat, and was brought to maturity thanks to the transcendental union of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher.

Britain's sole legitimate Prime Minister oozed good-losership through clenched teeth as he promised to treat the Scottish people and the Scottish government with no more respect than he thinks they deserve.

The Prime Minister said that he would "campaign to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre I have".

On the strength of their record in the Alternative Vote referendum, this is thought to mean that the Conservatives will claim that Scottish independence leads to coalitions, rule by the BNP, nuclear missiles in Cambridge and Astute-class submarines running aground at the Henley Regatta.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Truth, Justice and the American Way

Osama bin Laden's been shot!
He was armed, though perhaps he was not;
Though our story's not straight,
Yet our glory is great;
All true Christians are laughing a lot.

Osama bin Laden, it's true,
Was no Blair in the numbers he slew;
Still, now that he's gone,
Whining lefties, think on
What a nice bit of torture can do!

Osama bin Laden, reviled
By all persons decent and mild,
Was buried at sea
Once the Brave and the Free
Had shot him in front of his child.

Clintrod Shill

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Leaky Briefs

The Minister of Ministerial Administrativity, Francis Maude, has joined with the Confabulation of Business Interests in true New Labour style to spring a leak about the Government's plans to destroy the public sector. The memo, which records a meeting between Maude and his chums, states that there will not be a "return to the 1990s with wholesale outsourcing to the private sector"; by which it apparently means that whatever was privatised during the 1990s would be difficult to privatise all over again, particularly in cases such as the railways where the combination of business ethics and administrative ministeriality has left the commodity in worse shape than before.

The Government is also "not prepared to run the political risk of fully transferring services to the private sector with the result that they could be accused of being naive or allowing excess profitmaking by private sector firms". In Standard English, this means that, despite cogitating upon the matter since at least February, the Government has yet to find a convincing euphemism for allowing the private sector to cherry-pick from whatever is left over. It may be significant that the memo was leaked to the BBC, which has done so much to clarify the distinction between cuts and efficiency savings. Meanwhile, a Downing Street spokesbeing said that the Government was "never planning wholesale privatisation. It was perhaps interpreted as such but that was never the plan". The plan (the word plan being here evidently something of a euphemism in itself) was simply to ensure a level playing field whereon Francis Maude's chums in the Confabulation of Business Interests could compete with charities and voluntary groups which were having their funds efficiency-saved; but, as so often, the public was too tragically stupid to comprehend the idea in all its transformative sublimity.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Just A Social Visit

Daveybloke, the Cuddly Conservative, has been trying to revive the neither-a-fake-nor-a-hypocrite thingy which he first used on Jeremy Paxman some years ago and which, in the wake of fake promises on the NHS, hypocritical Blair-raids on Libya and the espionage adventures of his Cuddly Coulson, has since become slightly the worse for wear. There are many other examples to choose from, but the case in question was Daveybloke's being wined and dined by Rebekah Brooks, an ex-scumbag press editor and a Murdoch favourite, while the Government was trying to give the impression of weighing up the facts before approving News Corporation's bid to eat up another chunk of the country's infotainment industry. James Murdoch, the chair of News Corporation, apparently dropped in that evening as well. Daveybloke said that Brooks was married to an old friend of his, namely Charlie Brooks, who breeds racehorses and went to Eton with our chubby champion of the common folk; self-evidently, there is nothing inappropriate about cronyism if it's wearing the right school tie. Daveybloke further clarified matters by declaring that the decision by Jeremy C Hunt, the Secretary for Prolefeed, in favour of News Corporation's appetite was as great a surprise to him as to the rest of us. Daveybloke also indicated his approval of the spiffing job being done by Paul Dacre's Press Complaints Commission, and his lack of enthusiasm for placing any civilised restraints upon the minions of Rebekah Brooks and James Murdoch. Doubtless Daveybloke can rest assured that his own private life will remain unmolested for now.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Horror at Pet Care Fury

Austerity bites as economy rolls over

The furious budgerigar of economic hardship is forcing pet owners to claw back expenses, according to a study by the animal welfare charity Blue Cross.

Half a million pet owners have been reduced to giving leftovers to their pet instead of feeding the dustbin, which has caused great social humiliation.

Two-thirds of pet owners are "having to dig deeper" to find the money to feed their pet and endow the statistics with the necessary quota of journalistic meaninglessness.

One in five say they are dropping visits to the vet in order to keep the bills down, and there has been a 19% rise in abandoned animals.

All these figures are expected to rise after Thursday's local elections and referendum, when Conservatives will be forced to decide whether the Liberal Democrats are worth their keep.

Liberal Democrats claim that the Conservatives are looking for an excuse to economise on "normal pets" so that they can concentrate on keeping their own more exotic breeds, such as the nearly edible Michael Gove.

Nick Clegg's ostentatious refusal to leg-hump the Prime Minister is only part of the problem, sources said today.

The coalition has also had trouble recently because of Chris Huhne's yapping and spraying and Vincent Cable's continuing inability to eat his own excrement without leaving some behind.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Regrettable Precision

Having gone to all the trouble of securing a fig-leaf United Nations resolution to make decent their rampant peacekeeping, Daveybloke and his fellow knights-errant are doing everything else the same old way. A NATO missile has apparently killed Colonel Gaddafi's youngest son and three of his grandchildren, all three aged under twelve. The commander of the operation (named, with NATO's customary puckishness, Unified Protector) responded to accusations of attempted régime change by stating: "All Nato's targets are military in nature and have been clearly linked to the Gaddafi regime's systematic attacks on the Libyan population and populated areas. We do not target individuals." Therefore, the bombing of the Gaddafi grandchildren must have been a tragic accident, since after all "NATO is fulfilling its UN mandate to stop and prevent attacks against civilians with precision and care". NATO does not target individuals, but it refrains from doing so with such precision that the individuals it would be targeting (if it did target individuals, which manifestly it does not) are collaterally detrimented anyway, to the regret of all concerned. It appears that NATO has learned much the same lessons from the Iraq débâcle as Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives learned from their party's years in the wilderness: namely that there is no policy so brutal, incompetent or discredited that can't be sold again once the worst of the blood and excrement has been scraped off the public display.