The Curmudgeon


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fear is the Key

Oh, dear. No sooner does Daveybloke, in his usual Blairy manner, prove we're all in it together by toddling off to Tuscany for his hols, than some malicious right-wing backbencher or scheming Liberal Democrat goes and takes the gag off Oliver Letwin. Goodness only knows how it came about, but Letwin, who has been kept in the basement since his helpful comments on the prevention of flying northerners, was somehow allowed to have a blather in public about public services. "You can't have room for innovation and the pressure for excellence without having some real discipline and some fear on the part of the providers that things may go wrong if they don't live up to the aims that society as a whole is demanding of them," Letwin blathered. He seems to have left it to his audience to draw the obvious contrast with the banking sector, whose efforts to live up to society's expectations can be improved with nothing more than a bit of a talking-to when the profits become tactless. Letwin further blathered that for the last twenty years "productivity" had improved everywhere except in the public sector; a spokesbeing for the Office of National Statistics said that he did not know where Letwin had got his figures, which in Standard English presumably means that Letwin made them up, or perhaps ordered one of his little men to make them up for him. ONS statistics do show that, during the almost twenty years between 1997 and 2008, there was a steady increase in staffing and equipment levels as compared with the output of such merchandise as operations performed and pupils taught. It is just possible that this corresponds to Letwin's idea of a fall in productivity, but I should not like to accuse even Oliver Letwin of being quite so brilliant as that.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Unfortunately Couched

The journal American Psychologist will publish a report next month on the effect of "trauma tourism", the invasion of New York by mental health professionals in the wake of 9/11. Since the co-author of one article says that researchers "couldn't really tell if people had been helped by the providers", the Independent has signalled its willingness to cater for the Murdoch market by headlining its story Therapy can drive you mad. Someone less constrained by the requirements of responsible journalism might put it that some people's traumas were exacerbated, or at least were not helped, by snake-oil therapists or by forms of therapy which did not suit the recipient; while others took the eminently non-psychotherapeutic view that least said is soonest mended. The therapists themselves had a wonderful time, and doubtless suffered few inhibitions about discussing their emotional reactions with the researchers.

Two of the report's findings are interesting enough to be buried far down the column. First, that those who were personally affected by the attacks tend to have a greater fear of terrorism than those who were not, but that this greater fear does not translate into greater support for bombing other countries. Second, that contrary to the beliefs of some therapists, watching news footage of a calamitous event does not produce the same sort of trauma as actually being there. With footage of made-up events, of course, there are all sorts of problems, particularly for members of the BBFC.

Me at Poetry-24
Soldiers of Fortune

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hello Sailor

The Labour party, which for much of its last period in office considered the British armed forces a price worth paying in the service of American corporations, is attempting to re-brand itself as "a party of the armed forces" by hiking up its skirts and soliciting uniformed members. Labour's would-be Steve Hiltons will commend to this year's LabConFlab in September a scheme whereby anyone who has served in the army, navy or air force in any capacity will be able to join the party for a penny, or one forty-one-hundredth of the standard rate. "Veterans' unique experience and insight will bring wisdom and expertise to the Labour party," gushed a spokesbeing, who wisely chose to remain anonymous. "No other political party has a membership scheme which offers concessions for veterans so this move would set us apart from others." Well, if some in the Labour party are open to the idea of being different from other parties, that will certainly make a reassuring change. The Royal British Legion had nothing to say, but at least one veterans' group has taken an uncharitable view. "I don't think that offering a bribe to vote for a party is a good thing," said the deputy campaign manager of the Equality for Veterans Association, who seems to think that political parties should show an interest in, of all things, policy: "Veterans have real hardships caused by things like the lack of parity for pensions. I wish the parties would concentrate on serious things like that."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Regrettable Misunderstandings

The Catholic church's flounderings over the abuse scandal have been replayed in miniature thanks to one Father Thomas Daly. Last week the Irish prime minister, Enda Kenny, had an attack of spinal fortitude unprecedented in recent European politics and accused the Vatican of "downplaying the rape and torture of children". Father Thomas Daly reacted with a leaflet titled Heil Herr Kenny in which he claimed that the last European leader to be impolite to the Holy See was "the ruthless German dictator Adolf Hitler". As when the Vatican blamed the abuse scandal on the Jews, the homosexuals and various other pests whose gassing might be more easily countenanced after a Catholic education, Daly showed an authentically Christian degree of intellectual honesty by proclaiming that Kenny, like Pope Pacelli's pal, "had to face reality. A cautionary tale". After complaints from Fine Gael, Daly matched spiritual stature with moral fibre with an "apology" that might have come straight from the Ascended Incarnation of the Reverend Blair. "I regret the headline and the misunderstandings that might have arisen out of it," Daly said; "I am not comparing Enda Kenny to Hitler", thus obeying Jesus' non-canonical but much-respected command that one should never repent one's own actions, but only their misinterpretation by others.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If Only it Would Stop Waving its Legs in the Air, We Would Have True Stability

Thanks to various unforeseen influences such as cold in winter, sunshine in spring, the royal wedding, the Japanese tsunami disaster, the previous Labour government and the persecution of News International by the left-wing press, the economy has been flat on its back for nine months; so Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives have been rallying around George the Progressively Regressive and his little chopper. "Unlike previous governments, there is one team at the heart of this government," burbled Daveybloke; "that is the chancellor and the prime minister working together." Of course, what with all those entirely appropriate meetings chez Murdoch and his goons, they've had plenty of opportunity for profitable interaction. George the Progressively Regressive himself has been on Radio 4 touting the wonders of stagnation: "without that you have nothing", even before losing your job, benefits, pension and healthcare rights. "At a time of real international instability we are a safe haven in the storm"; well, I suppose a stagnant pond can count as a safe haven, especially if you happen to be pond life.

In fact, there may be some doubt as to whether Daveybloke and his cuddly chums really care all that much about getting the economy working; particularly since any sign of an actual recovery would undermine the main pretext for their scorched-prole campaigns in the health, welfare, education and immigrant motivation industries. Meanwhile, the London Haystack is blathering about tax cuts, and Daveybloke has sent one of his little men to the civil servants' quarters so that deregulation of everything may proceed further and faster, thus ensuring that the present atmosphere of security and sanity is maintained.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Tactful Reminder

Daveybloke, the Cuddly Conservative, has responded to the tragedy in Norway with an announcement that the British government will "review our own security at home", presumably with a view to ensuring that the English Defence League does not feel harassed enough to take up arms against the Young Conservatives. Daveybloke also made the best of the occasion by demonstrating that there is no event so horrible that it cannot be used to remind everybody who won the war. "Britain and Norway have been good allies and neighbours in very dark days before," Daveybloke burbled, referring to Britain's violation of Norway's neutrality by mining her waters in the spring of 1940 and the inept military campaign which followed the invasion by Nazi Germany. So good an ally and neighbour was Britain that, although the decision to withdraw was made on 24 May, the Norwegians were not informed until a week later. Churchill, who had envisioned a Nordic alliance of Britain and Scandinavia against the Slavic menace of Bolshevism, was no doubt rather disappointed. As a Conservative prime minister whose wog-bombing credentials are still in the balance as far as his party is concerned, Daveybloke was hardly the bloke to let such an opportunity pass with a mere expression of condolence over the demise of a few dozen left-wing foreigners.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Down Among the Little Folk

Not having anything much to do at the moment, Daveybloke the Cuddly Conservative has been guest-editing The Big Issue, a newsletter sold by homeless people. Daveybloke burbled that The Big Issue "is a fantastic example of how we can reduce dependence on state handouts" or, in Standard English, another fantastic excuse for cutting back state benefits. Daveybloke gladhanded some of the staff and asked some vendors about how many copies were required to make ends meet. Told that this depended on whether the seller had shelter or just needed food, Daveybloke doubtless nodded sagely and reminded them that they were all in it together.

After the past couple of weeks, it is perhaps understandable that Daveybloke wasn't in much of a mood for news and scoops and so forth; so he got one of his little men to draft a column about family values instead. Daveybloke does not appear to have waved his dead child around, but he did waggle his dead father a bit in compensation. Daveybloke's father was disabled, which puts an interesting Oedipal spin on Daveybloke's plans to attack the disabled. Daveybloke also has an elder brother, and "like many younger brothers you find yourself always a few steps behind". Daveybloke's brother is now a criminal lawyer, and Daveybloke is a well-known associate of a number of tax-dodgers, liars, snoopers and frauds, so perhaps their careers are not so far apart after all. Daveybloke also reminded his readers that, no matter how homeless or healthless or jobless or pensionless they may be, Communism would have been worse.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

If Any Man Will Sue Thee at the Law

The Catholic church is displaying its usual preference for moral imperatives over legal technicalities by trying once again to squirm out of responsibility for the activities of its own priests. In a child abuse case now before the high court, the Church is claiming that priests are not employees, and that therefore the Church is not "vicariously liable" for any beating or buggering which may occur. Presumably this is yet another statement of the Church's famous assumption that canon law trumps national law; a premise which has previously been used to argue that criminal priests should be dealt with by ecclesiastical courts rather than by legal courts, and that raping a child is an act of depravity on a par with allowing a woman to stand up before a congregation and mumble. No doubt the Church does not consider its personnel as employees; most likely they are thought of in terms of a hierarchy befitting the mediaeval city-state which Mussolini so generously helped to constitute. The courts have yet to rule on whether the rest of us are obliged to think of them in the same way.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Another Humble Day

Newsroom Dialogue for Proud Professionals

(The editorial office of a family newspaper. In the central trough an Editor wallows, humming off-key snatches of "Rule Britannia" and submerging to blow bubbles in the ordure when he can't remember the words. His labours are interruped by a mobile ringtone bleeping the theme from "Rupert the Bear".)

EDITOR: (snatching up phone) Cunt!
REPORTER: Noblett.
REPORTER: Massacre.
REPORTER: Bad news.
EDITOR: Whafuck?
EDITOR: Whafuck?
EDITOR: England?
EDITOR: Mideast?
EDITOR: Scotland?
EDITOR: Whafuck?
EDITOR: Brussels?
EDITOR: Celebs dead?
REPORTER: Not much.
EDITOR: Brits hurt?
REPORTER: Not much.
EDITOR: Muslims?
EDITOR: Whafuck?
REPORTER: Not much.
EDITOR: How much?
EDITOR: Buildings?
REPORTER: Kiddy camp.
EDITOR: Compound?
EDITOR: Write it.
REPORTER: Front page?
EDITOR: Front page.
REPORTER: Pre-tits?
EDITOR: Pre-tits.
REPORTER: Pre-lotto?
EDITOR: Pre-tits.
EDITOR: Usual.
REPORTER: Day Norway Forgot About Phone Hacking?
EDITOR: Norway's 9/11.
EDITOR: Cunt. (Rings off, submerges and gurgles public-spiritedly)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Self-Discipline and the Corporate Criminal

Those enemies of enterprise, the parliamentary select committees, are at it again. The international development committee has been bullying the Blairite paragons at BAE over a trifling matter of twenty-nine and a half million pounds which was meant to be used for education in Tanzania. The money is a fine imposed on BAE for the singularly Blairite offence of making concealed payments to a "marketing advisor" in Tanzania for use in incentivising the local Jeremy C Hunts to wave through a deal. Since BAE is a corporate rather than a human criminal, it was "urged", rather than ordered, to pay the money within weeks; and since BAE is a corporate rather than a human criminal, it has been allowed to drag its feet for several months without being pestered unduly. Finally hauled before the committee again, BAE has adopted the New Labour dodge of claiming to have set up an advisory board so that it can administer its own penalty to itself in easy stages without the intervention of anyone who might take a less redemptive view. Unfortunately, it appears that parliamentary committees are full of such uncharitable persons: "You are not setting up a charity trust, or a personal or a private foundation, or some kind of outward branch for great super-duper positive campaigns that BAE will do to win friends in nice places, and gain influence in nice places," said the Labour MP for Glasgow Central; "you are paying a fine, a punishment." The only comfort BAE can derive from this disgraceful persecution is the fact that, thanks to the wonders of market forces, twenty-nine and a half million pounds will buy a good deal less now than it would have bought if paid on time.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Crowd Control

Sir John Stanley, who was Minister for Our Boys at about the time we were helping to arm Saddam Hussein, has rebuked the Government for allowing weapons exports to the wrong sort of Arab. The Minister for Lord Ashcroft and sometime Foreign Secretary, Willem den Haag, has taken advantage of the turmoil caused by the Government's other major sponsor, and has allowed a report to slip out concerning the review of Britain's exports to governments which handle popular demonstrations in ways of which the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club can still only dream. The review was undertaken at the behest of the Commons committees on arms exports, which registered annoyance at the fact that official guidelines were being circumvented in the name of profit and to the detriment of others. The committees were also unhappy with the Government's failure to demonstrate much interest in whether individual arms exports are linked to bribery and corruption; presumably the events of the last couple of weeks have provided some helpful hints on that one.

The committees further demanded that the Government give some indication of "how it intends to reconcile the potential conflict of interest between increased emphasis on promoting arms exports with the staunch upholding of human rights", a question which den Haag has answered in perfect New Labour fashion by waiting a couple of months and then shrugging the matter off: "Consultations with our overseas posts revealed no evidence that any of the offensive naval, air or land-based military platforms used by governments in north Africa or the Middle East against their own populations during the Arab spring, were supplied from the United Kingdom". Sir John Stanley has pointed out that, to paraphrase one of Tony's chums, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence; especially in the absence of official observers and "the fact that the UK government-approved arms exports including machine guns, sniper rifles, combat shotguns and ammunition were not emblazoned with Union Jacks". It is as yet unclear whether Stanley's attack is a show of principle or simply a case of trouble-making by one of those in the Not Particularly Bright Party who would like to see Daveybloke's Cuddlies replaced with something more overtly rabid; but Willem den Haag's inability to convince his own back-benchers, and on an issue as close to the Tory heart as killing wogs for profit, certainly indicates that his competence since the Libya fiasco has taken leaps and bounds towards more or less where it was before.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Decent Immigrants

After several days of nerve-jangled waffle, Daveybloke and the present occupants of his Cuddly Coulson's shoes have finally worked out a sort of response thingy to the corruption and incompetence brought to light by the phone-hacking scandal. As far as the media are concerned, Daveybloke no doubt intends to ensure a level playing field for chums such as Richard Desmond and Paul Dacre, while continuing to permit his other chums in News Corporation to get away with as much as can be got away with. Daveybloke's response to the corruption in the police force constitutes much the same kind of double back-flip: first, avoiding the problem by broadening the issue; and second, using the scandal as a source of propaganda for his party's programme of socioclastic lunacy, or "radical reform" as it is smirkingly known among the architects of the Big Society.

Since the phone-hacking scandal resulted partly from giving a foreign corporation too much control over Britain's infotainment, Daveybloke has decided to fight police corruption by handing over the police to foreign managers. "At the moment," Daveybloke burbled, "the police system is too closed," apparently because it is full of police. "Why shouldn't someone with a different skill-set be able to join the police force in a senior role?" Perhaps because, outside the House of Commons, the banking sector and the Bullingdon Club, having a different skill-set to that required for the job is known as incompetence, and is generally considered undesirable even today. However, Daveybloke's New Labour loathing for immigrants in general is matched only by his New Labour love for all things American, except of course for such antiquated aberrations as the written constitution, the Bill of Rights and the abolition of slavery; so it seems he may find it within himself to let American officers deprive hard-working British bobbies of their perks. Possibly Daveybloke believes that an American police chief would be just the thing to teach the foot-soldiers about the necessity for pay cuts and redundancies, much as the half-caste Ian MacGregor did for the miners a quarter of a century ago. Then again, given his endorsement of Cressida Dick, who was in charge of the operation which led to the responsibility-free demise of Jean Charles de Menezes, perhaps it is just that Daveybloke and his Cuddly Conservatives find an irresistible charm in the idea of people being shot.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hacking Up the Health Service

Silver lining smiles amid the gathering stormclouds' growing head of steam

The Minister for Health Twizzlerisation and his Labour shadow have both expressed their gratitude to News Corporation for keeping controversy out of the headlines.

Although the Prime Minister has been forced to fly back from Africa, where he was engaged in a tragically misconceived attempt to add credibility to the Foreign Secretary, this is seen as a good thing for the proposed privatisation of children's wheelchairs.

With everyone united in condemnation of the phone hacking scandal, the Government's plans have been announced in reasonable secrecy.

"If it weren't for Rupert and his team, we'd have had to face yet more questions about privatising essential services and allowing profiteers to exploit crippled children," said a spokesbeing.

"If it had gone really badly, the PM might even have been forced to wave his dead child around again, and nowadays quite frankly that corpse is looking a bit shopworn. Too much more and the sawdust may start to leak out."

Labour also expressed its gratitude, utilising the same spokesbeing for the purposes of expense claims.

"The hacking scandal has focused attention on the Conservatives and the police rather than on who's been handing out PFI contracts for the past thirteen years," the spokesbeing said.

However, the Labour leader may need to sup with a long spoon if his bed of roses is not to sow dragon's teeth for future soundbites.

"The next thing you know, people will start to think Ed Miliband has some sort of disagreement with the Conservatives over actual policy," his spokesbeing warned. "If that happens, he may have to start inviting Richard Desmond to his children's birthdays."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Calm Down, Dear

Daveybloke, the Cuddly Conservative, has registered a certain irritation at the implication by the outgoing head of the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club that appointing a Murdoch drone as a media manipulator for the police might be no worse than appointing a Murdoch drone as a media manipulator for Downing Street, and even perhaps no worse than taking tea on Murdoch's yacht or playing tiddlywinks with Murdoch's favourite editor. Daveybloke has rushed back from Africa, having been caught right in the middle of being good with the coloured folks and telling them how British business can privatise their resources far more efficiently than all those third-rate economies which have sneaked ahead of the United States; and he has wasted no time in putting Sir Paul Stephenson firmly in his place.

"There is a difference between Andy Coulson and Neil Wallis," said a spokesbeing. "Everybody knew that Andy was working for David Cameron. Nobody had told us about the Met's contract with Wallis until after he was arrested." Apparently this explains why the Coulson influence is nicer than the Wallis influence: the idea seems to be that the Conservative Party is more blatantly corrupt than the Met and therefore ought to get away with it. "I would say," blathered Daveybloke, blowing out his inner Blair to full dewlap, "that the situation in the Metropolitan police service is really quite different to the situation in government, not least because the issues that the Metropolitan police service are looking at have a direct bearing on public confidence into the police inquiry into the News of the World and indeed into the police itself." By contrast, the issue of Daveybloke's Cuddly Coulson has no direct bearing on anything very much, and least of all on public confidence in the party that used to claim some belief in law and order before New Labour came along and started the race to the BNP.

Daveybloke also burbled that the Government had taken very decisive action, having set up an inquiry almost before the Leader of the Opposition suggested it and having demonstrated "pretty much complete transparency" despite the likelihood that not doing so would have been even more stupid than crawling up Murdoch in the first place. Daveybloke's African itinerary includes Nigeria, where no doubt he has a thing or two to teach them about transparency and business ethics.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Appointment Card

Name: BROOKS, Rebekah M
Address: The Gutter
Age: 43
Appointment time: 12 noon, Sunday 17 July 2011. Please be prompt.

Purpose of appointment: Mrs Brooks anticipates the likelihood of some painful poodle bites on Tuesday and feels it would be helpful to consult with other potential victims as to how the inconvenience and discomfort could be minimised.

Is patient a fee payer? If necessary.

Signed: Dr Wolfie Wallis, Personal Physician to the Embarrassed

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Bouncing Off the Meniscus

Science has proved that people who don't need to remember things will not make the effort to remember them; or, as Britain's leading liberal newspaper hath it, "Poor memory? Blame Google". Researchers at Columbia University have discovered that people tend not to make the effort to remember data when they have the option of simply remembering where the data can be found. Somehow or other this is all Google's fault, as may be seen from the unhealthy contrast with the good old days when we all remembered everything and when note-pads, indexes, filing cabinets and (shudder) paper diaries were purely the stuff of science-fiction nightmares like Hansard or Pamela. "First it was a search engine. Then it became almost synonymous with the internet. Now Google is a replacement for the ancient human faculty of memory," blathers the story's first paragraph, thus achieving the near-Murdochian ratio of two fatuous falses to one bleeding obvious. The internet has become "an external memory source that we can access at any time" - which apparently is news to some at Britain's leading liberal newspaper. A somewhat deeper exploration of the issue can be found here.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Heroine of white working class sunk by Islamic autocrat

Red-top stunna and former domestic violence suspect Rebekah Brooks has resigned as News International chief executive following an intervention by the Saudi royal family.

Until recently, Brooks was thought unassailable enough to carry out an investigation into her own conduct, like the Metropolitan Police.

However, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud, News Corporation's second largest shareholder, called for her to go during an interview with the BBC's Newsnight. "For sure she has to go, you bet she has to go," he said.

In the face of this onslaught, the loyalty which Rupert and James Murdoch have hitherto shown Brooks appears to have evaporated like New Labour's interest in the Serious Fraud Office when the al-Yamamah arms deal was threatened.

In her resignation statement, Brooks said she felt "a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt", despite having been on holiday during the News of the World's criminal activities.

She also utilised the verb detract in a way which may have been calculated to demonstrate that her abilities as a tabloid editor have not faded. News International is thought to be preparing to launch a Sunday edition of The Sun as soon as it can be got away with.

The same team of ghost-writers which drafted the resignation statement are also thought to be collaborating on Brooks' autobiography, with the working title Rebekah Brooks: A Wade Up Shit Creek.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Not Quite So Impressive As A Dead Sheep

The Murdoch empire may crumble; journalists at The Sun may demonstrate solidarity with arbitrarily sacked colleagues; the corpse of Vincent Cable may be resurrected in a transcendental glow of I-told-you-so; but even in these interesting times, a few things never change. Among these eternal verities are the ineptitude, abjection and self-pity of the Reverend Tony's Glorious Successor. The Glorious Successor, who spent thirteen years in a government which dedicated almost every particle of energy left over from pleasuring the White House to appeasing the right-wing press and spying on its own citizens, has made a speech in the House of Commons denouncing the Murdoch press for spying on him. "Many, many wholly innocent men, women and children who at their darkest hour, at the most vulnerable moment of their lives, with no one and nowhere to turn, found their properly private lives, their private losses, their private sorrows, treated as the public property of News International," mourned the Glorious Successor, who blamed the Cabinet Office for doing nothing about it. He himself was, after all, merely the Prime Minister. "If we do not act now on what we now know," warned the Glorious Successor, now that other people are acting on what we now know, "and if we do not act forcefully and with clarity, friends around the world who admire our liberties will now ask what kind of country we have become." It is just possible that admiration for the liberties we used to have is one reason why some of those friends have chosen to live elsewhere. Even the timing of the diatribe is pure Glory-come-lately, as if Geoffrey Howe had delivered his attack on Margaret Thatcher a year or so after the old bag resigned.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Unprofessional Conduct

Andy Hayman, late of the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club, has been complaining of his ill-treatment by the home affairs select committee. Hayman was in charge of the 2006 investigation into phone hacking, which turned up a couple of rotten apples but did nothing to embarrass the News of the World or its owners, News International. Hayman, who by a remarkable coincidence now works for News International, was the subject of much uncharitable mirth when he told the select committee that he allowed News International to take him to dinner during the investigation because a refusal would have looked even more suspicious. Hayman has therefore concluded that the MPs must have been laughing at his accent, particularly as someone called him a "dodgy geezer" instead of utilising the terminology to which he feels himself entitled. "The irony, really, is that they don't like being treated in this way … and yet they're prepared to put us through that," Hayman said, in presumably unconscious paraphrase of the laments of those whom the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club has kettled, truncheoned, horse-charged and tipped out of wheelchairs during the last couple of years. "I'm not asking for special treatment, I just ask for a little bit of respect."

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Criminal Reform

The Government's attempts to blow away the cobwebs afflicting the justice industry with a cleansing megaton of Bullingdon flatulence, and get big government out of the way of big crime once and for all, are proceeding apace. The chief executive of the national service for offender management excluding war criminals and tax dodgers has warned chief probation officers of the Government's intention to "examine a range of possible options for service improvements and different models of delivering offender services within the community". In Standard English, this decodes as plotting to sell bits of the probation service to private security firms. Doubtless any profitable remnants will follow if the process works well, or whether it works or not; hence, presumably, the same private security firms will one day be contracted to run our prisons, so that decisions as to how offenders should be incarcerated, and for how much, can be taken on an appropriately market-friendly basis. It is not clear what will happen in the event of a chosen firm of hired thugs going bankrupt, perhaps thanks to some lightly-regulated hijinks by one of Daveybloke's chums in the City; but I am sure the Government is prepared to fight the taxpayers' corner with all the intelligence and honesty that the party of Michael Gove, Twizzler Lansley, Andy Coulson and Lord Ashcroft can muster.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Enforcing Choice

He may have thrown his Cuddly Coulson to the wolves, but Daveybloke's current cuddly advisors on media management are evidently well up on all the New Labour dodges like burying bad news. No doubt Daveybloke will be duly grateful to Rupert and Rebekah for helping to keep his latest bit of gove-lansley off the front pages. It was a little tactless of Southern Cross to close down on the day Daveybloke announced the effective abolition of the evil public sector aside from those parts, like espionage, wog-bombing and frontline police, which are immune to efficientisation and might cause inconvenience should some enterprising conglomerate decide to sell them to China. Nevertheless, Daveybloke burbled bravely on, claiming that the destruction of the public sector would mean more choice, as with all those competing energy companies which all charge the same price. There will also be improved services for those who can afford them, and equal benefit for rich and poor, as with the poll tax. Daveybloke burbled that there should be a "general right to choose" in such areas as education, health, social care and housing, and that in order to facilitate this public services will be handed over to profiteers. To ensure a level playing field, there will be competition from whatever remains of the voluntary sector once George has finished wielding his little chopper, and the ombudsman will act as an "enforcer of choice" (sic) for anyone who feels that there are not enough rocks and hard places on offer. Daveybloke also contrived to wave his dead child around yet again; which, in light of the behaviour of his chums at News International towards Milly Dowler and her family, was even more cuddly of him than usual.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Protecting Our Heritage

Though Wee Nicky's moral qualms may have faded in the glow of his very own Special Relationship, the UK Border Agency continues in its courageous zeal to keep Britain safe for hard-working families. A poet who came two weeks ago "to give a recital", of all things, was refused entry to the country and threatened with a ten-year ban. No doubt alarm bells started ringing when he informed the duty apes that he was an American citizen, as opposed to a plain honest American. In fact, the poet is of Russian extraction, and was thus an immigrant even before his dastardly attempt to infiltrate the shores of Albion.

"Creative artists from across the world are welcome to perform in the UK," said a spokesbeing. "However, as with any visitors, we expect individuals to meet entry requirements", which apparently include fingerprints, eye scans and, most biometrically formidable of all, assurances that visitors do not intend to use their cameras, paintbrushes or instruments to steal jobs from the white working class. The Border Agency's most famous victory is perhaps the one over Abbas Kiarostami, who was processed twice by the British embassy in Tehran and has now taken the hint. Indigenous luminaries such as Richard Curtis need fear no competition from that quarter.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

By Their Fruits

The Church of England's General Synod has taken time out from worrying about sexual organs and has come over all ethical about its investments in Rupert Murdoch's tar and feather empire. A vicar from Bury St Edmunds said that "senior figures in the church were embarrassed", at last, by its holdings in Murdoch, and the church's Ethical Investment Advisory Group, which has apparently found nothing to disapprove of in the Sun or its sty-mates until now, has written a letter to Rupert Murdoch exhorting him to clean up his act lest dire spiritual consequences ensue. If the appeal to God brings forth no redemption, the church always has Mammon to fall back on: "disinvestment is our ultimate sanction if engagement does not work". The Anglican church owns shares to the value of £3.7 million; doubtless this was considered a suitably minor sum for the nation's established religion to have invested in topless models and right-wing propaganda, particularly given the decline in the number of deserving poor who might otherwise have benefited.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Daveybloke's Moral Thingy

Daveybloke, the Cuddly Conservative, has been dispensing moral advice to Rupert Murdoch, proclaiming that it might have been politically expedient to throw Rebekah Brooks to the wolves along with Andy Coulson and the staff of the News of the World. "It's been reported that she had offered her resignation in this situation, and I would have taken it," Daveybloke burbled at a press conference. The source of the report was the present editor of the News of the World, whose employers at News International immediately denied what he had said. Both the report and the denials emerged yesterday, before Daveybloke gave his press conference; presumably Daveybloke's confusion over the matter is a sign of continuing moral shock at his Cuddly Coulson's ungentlemanly conduct.

Nevertheless, Daveybloke has mustered sufficient coherence to announce the long-overdue replacement of the Press Complaints Commission with an actual regulatory body, "so the public will know that newspapers will never again be solely responsible for policing themselves." After all, newspapers are not the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club, whatever transactions the free market may have allowed to take place between them; and this irritating crisis might never have happened were it not for the Guardian trying to police Daveybloke's chums. Since newspapers - even newspapers as ugly, unscrupulous and trivial as the average British tabloid - are rapidly falling out of date, little harm should be done; and thanks to the good offices of Jeremy C Hunt, Murdoch's tar-and-feather empire will soon be granted a still larger influence over the future of Britain's infotainment landscape.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

If Thy Right Wing Offend Thee

In light of their exceeding innocence, Britain's First Family have decided to close the News of the World. This Sunday's edition will be the last, and hence hopefully a sales-boosting collector's item; more importantly, a highly visible target for protest against the Murdoch tar-and-feather empire will disappear thanks to the lack of a red-topped rag among the usual Sunday bull, at least until the fuss dies down. After somebody's idea of a decent interval the Minister for Cultchah, Meedjah and Rebekah, Jeremy C Hunt, will be able to hand over the chunk of Britain's broadcast media that is the price of Rupert's tolerance this year, and then no doubt it will be safe for a Sunday edition of The Sun to be issued so that the moral character of the Sabbath may be retained. Certainly there is a sort of integrity in James Murdoch's firing everybody regardless of their involvement or otherwise in any criminal activity; few have maintained for longer or louder than the Murdoch press that laws for the rich lead to unfortunate consequences.

Daveybloke, despite his long and intimate association with the Murdochs' Cuddly Coulson, has apparently been a bit gove-lansleyed by the whole nasty business. He came back from Afghanistan, doubtless expecting the chance for a bit of a posture as the Bloke That Supports Our Boys, and instead found himself being beaten to the top of the moral molehill by a Labour leader who can't even win an argument over the NHS. It has since become more or less apparent that Daveybloke has conceived a vague inkling that an inquiry might be a good idea, and possibly another inquiry as well; perhaps after the pattern of one or other of the various Iraq inquiries, so that all the right people can be properly vindicated. Doubtless we shall soon be hearing much about the cost of such things to the taxpayer; but, given Daveybloke's moral and political ties to Britain's First Family, his ambivalence is understandable. Whatever may or may not have been done by his favourite editor while she was cut off from all communication in Italy, Daveybloke is hardly the sort of bloke to object to anyone's using dead children for personal gain.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Damped Down

Since Britain is merely a country made up of islands, the greenest government ever has decided that marine energy isn't really for us, thank you very much. Before last year's election, Daveybloke said that he would make marine energy research and development a priority, and Daveybloke has fulfilled that promise after his usual fashion: fifty million pounds which was originally set aside to help with commercial wave and tide exploitation has been cut to twenty million. As is clear from the Government's reaction to the Fukushima disaster, when the United Kingdom's business and energy ministries were placed at the disposal of the nuclear industry's public-relations branch, Daveybloke and his little orange chums have other priorities.

Me at Poetry-24
Inconceivably Innocent

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Terror Horror Fury

Fury at terror horror

The war on terror was brought within measurable distance of its end today as a former head of MI6 claimed that the Islamic terrorist terror of terrorist Islamic terrorism may be within measurable distance of the end of the war on terror.

Al-Qaida is facing a "crisis of credibility", Sir Richard Dearlove told a terrified London focus group under the leadership of a Conservative time-server.

The terrorist organisation of Islamic terrorists was almost as disgusted by the Arab Spring as leaders in the West, Dearlove said. However, Al-Qaida has fewer resources with which to hinder the emergence of democracy and has not been able to call on NATO for help since the Russians left Afghanistan.

Dearlove courted controversy by implying that not all Afghan foreign fighters fighting foreigners in Afghanistan were members of the terrorist organisation, and arguing that the proportion of security resources currently devoted to the war on terror ought to be reduced.

Delegates hid under tables and painted their contact lenses white as Dearlove painted a harrowing picture of a world with 70% fewer Halliburton contracts.

In such a scenario, military civilian resources would be deployed almost entirely for public order purposes at domestic anti-cuts demonstrations and the Olympics, with all the health-and-safety red tape that would imply.

Nevertheless, despite the end of the war on terror, the real war on terror could be just beginning as Al-Qaida "franchises or surrogates" were increasingly active, according to intelligence sources.

Monday, July 04, 2011

A Great American Hero

During the bad old days of the Cold War, the rulers of Soviet satellite states in central and eastern Europe were usually corrupt, authoritarian thugs who re-wrote history in the most ludicrous fashion, who pursued disastrous economic policies at the expense of their own people and the health of the environment, and who disfigured their cities with statues of mass murderers. Thankfully, nothing like that could happen in our blessed here and now. Instead, a statue of Ronald Reagan has been put up outside the American embassy in Grosvenor Square, and Willem den Haag has taken time off from saving Libya to relay an obsequious speech from Margaret Thatcher about how Reagan ended the Cold War, with no help at all from Andropov or Gorbachev or Oscar Romero, let alone from those rioters and anarchists in Berlin and elsewhere. A chunk of the Berlin Wall will be stuck in front of the statue; and, in a magnificent gesture of casual contempt, the US embassy will move away next year, leaving Grosvenor Square bathed in the effigy's benign fatuity.

Far be it from your humble correspondent, of course, to deny Reagan's historical importance. His main significance is that he played Alan Shepard to Brezhnev's Yuri Gagarin, pioneering the modern space-cadet style whereby a leader need be capable only of reading a script, and paving the way for the yet more vacuum-oriented postmodern style of George W Bush, who dispensed even with that obsolescent skill. Reagan's two terms undoubtedly deserve remembrance as the administration which demonstrated once and for all that the rulers of the United States could manage the country quite well in their own interests without the cumbersome formality of an actual chief executive.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Liquid Assets

Westminster, which has no particular objection to placing our armed services at the disposal of Halliburton or our news media in the pocket of Rupert Murdoch, may possibly have some vague worries about the take-over of a major water company by a Hong Kong magnate. Northumbria Water is based in County Durham and supplies water to unemployed people in the north-east, so it is unlikely that many Conservatives would have heard of it but for the saving fact that the company owns Essex and Suffolk Water as well. The magnate in question, Li Ka-shing, already owns chunks of Southern Water, Cambridge Water and Northern Gas, so a further large acquisition might have to be given the Jeremy C Hunt treatment, just for the sake of appearing to keep up appearances, before being waved through. The biggest shareholder in Northumbria Water at the moment is the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, and we all know how Westminster feels about teachers and their pensions. By contrast, Li lives in Hong Kong, which most of the Cabinet probably think still belongs to Britain.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Moral Cripples

The charitable sector, for which Daveybloke once had such high hopes as a potential source of free labour to replace the evil wage-claimants in the public sector, has put itself at some risk of losing its respected position at the base of the Big Society thingy. Two hundred and seventy charities for the disabled have gone all nasty and collective and are plotting to seek a judicial review of the coalition's plans to fine the disabled two thousand million pounds plus change. The charities contend that the Government's welfare abolition bill will have a disproportionate effect on disabled people and their families; for instance by ending the lowest rate of the care component of Disability Living Allowance so that six hundred and fifty thousand malingerers can be reclassified as fit for telesales, burger-flipping or the army. There are also plans to deprive disabled care home residents of mobility support, thus ending the interference of the nanny state and sending thousands of Southern Cross beneficiaries leaping from their beds and yelling for an opportunity to stack shelves at the local supermarket. Such miraculous recoveries will help to keep the unemployment figures down when those who can no longer afford to run an adapted vehicle are forced to give up their jobs.

The Department of Work and Pensions Withdrawal said that it was "premature to talk about a judicial review as the regulations do not go through until 2012", and it would be foolish to try and prevent a crime against our more vulnerable citizens when infinitely more profitable results can be gained from waiting until it's too late.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Government Cannot Do It All

Britain's leading liberal newspaper has attached the anodyne headline "Iain Duncan Smith appeals to businesses to employ young Britons" to a story about a blather to a right-wing think tank in Madrid by our regrettable Secretary for Work and Pensions Withdrawal. In fact, the blather is not so much a bit of friendly finger-wagging, such as the corpse of Vincent Cable likes to try with the banking sector now and then, as it is a routine piece of immigrant-bashing in the best New Labour manner.

The Labour MP, Conservative "poverty tsar" and Thatcher sycophant Frank Field has said that almost ninety per cent of the jobs created in the present administration's first year went to immigrants; Duncan Smith is anxious to ensure that British jobs for British workers remain as high a priority as under the Reverend Tony and his Glorious Successor, and it appears that too many jobs are now being done by foreigners which could be done by young people instead. Indeed, it is because of New Labour's failure to lock up and deport enough immigrants that we are at risk of "losing another generation to dependency and hopelessness", despite the coalition's strenuous efforts to improve their prospects by robbing their teachers, mugging their parents and flatlining the economy. "Government cannot do it all," whines Duncan Smith. If our native chavlings are going to be properly kicked into shape, business will have to get its boots on too.