The Curmudgeon


Saturday, June 30, 2012

Incredibly Methodical

Daveybloke has been trying his face at righteous annoyance over Barclays' manipulation of interest rates, with more or less indifferent results. Daveybloke declined to pronounce any profundities on the moral fitness of the successful comedian Bob Diamond, saying only that "he has questions to answer" while refusing to set up an inquiry which will ask the questions. "When people have broken the rules they should face the consequences," burbled Daveybloke, who spent his time as leader of the opposition complaining that the banking industry was chafing under the rules. "We need a change of culture and we know what's gone wrong and largely we know what needs to be done to put it right," burbled Daveybloke, like a chap taking the hinges off the barn door after the horse has fled to the Channel Islands. "What you are going to see from the government is an incredibly methodical series of actions to deal with all of these problems," Daveybloke burbled, and made an incredibly methodical start by listing various announcements which the Government has made, and then listing more announcements which the Chancellor has made. According to the latter, what should be subjected to inquiry is the question whether "just as crime on our streets are punished crimes on the banking sector [should be] punished too"; while the question whether directors of failed banks should be held criminally responsible for their failures is a matter for that interesting strain of long grass known as "consultation". Unlike those who throw fire extinguishers or steal bottles of water or write silly things on Facebook, you see, crooks who wreck economies and swindle their customers on a large enough scale are best dealt with in a slow, gradual and incredibly methodical manner, so as not to upset any real people.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Getting the Message

Apparently a man in Birmingham has attempted to efficientise himself out of the Big Society once and for all. After a disagreement with the Selly Oak Idleness Police, he tied himself to railings, doused himself with flammable liquid and set himself alight. The real police put out the fire and took him to hospital with burns to his legs. Disability campaigners and other deficit deniers have warned ministers that this sort of thing would happen, and a couple of months ago the Department for Workfare and Penalties sent out a note in the best Blairite tradition, ordering staff to exercise the "utmost care and sensitivity" when depriving vulnerable people of the means to live. In the smoke of today's incident, however, the DWP has departed from its usual eagerness to give useful advice, and has gone all quiet.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Just Precautions

Two Libyans who were detained by the Gaddafi régime are taking legal action against the British government, against the empty suit which occupied the Foreign Office at the time, and against MI6's former head of Muslim relations. The Libyans were kidnapped, along with their wives and children, around the time of the Reverend Tony's declaration that Gaddafi was a fully-paid-up member of the Chums Against Terror club; which may cast a bit of a damper on his reverence's present self-exculpatory frolics. Libyan intelligence documents discovered after Gaddafi's overthrow indicate the involvement of MI6, although it is not as yet clear whether the Reverend Tony was able to intervene personally for the sake of freedom, market forces, Gaddafi and the CIA. "Her Majesty's government," said a spokesbeing, "will co-operate fully with the police investigations into allegations made by former Libyan detainees about UK involvement in their mistreatment by the Gaddafi régime." There is, you will note, nothing alleged about the mistreatment; the Gaddafi régime is not Israel, Bahrain or the UK Border Agency. Still, by sheer good fortune, the British government is now trying to introduce legislation to protect its own privacy in the courtroom and to ensure that people's grievances against it cannot be exacerbated through excessive use of evidence. No doubt the Deputy Conservatives, who once pretended some sort of interest in civil liberties, are duly satisfied.

Me at Poetry-24
Fiddlers Three

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

David Cameron - Vampire Hunter

Tagline: Should be funny. Bloody isn't.

Teenage Dave lives a simple, hardworking life at his parents' farm, Blairmore. One day he discovers that his father is engaged in morally questionable activities involving offshore blood banks. Horrified, he spends several years trashing restaurants, during which he acquires a comedy sidekick named Gideon.

On the night that will change his life forever, Dave is embroiled in yet another ethical disagreement with his father. The venerable old man has just pronounced the film's key line, "Calm down, dear" - when a horde of vampires, enraged at his prudence in business, burst in and devour the entire family. Only Dave survives, thanks to his rubber-ring neck for which common girls despise him but which the monsters' fangs are unable to penetrate.

Haunted by his loss, Dave drifts around the country seeking his family's killers and carrying the Tesco Junior Achiever badge which is his only clue to their identity. In prisons, benefit offices and the UK Border Agency, he finds and destroys nests of bloodsuckers whose depredations are being abetted by various British-accented British ethnic minority actors. Eventually, working as a janitor at the Carlton Club Church, Dave is reunited with Gideon and together they are taken on by Lord Sheffield, who farms trophy wives and relishes Dave's agricultural bent.

Drawn from miles around by Dave's sanguinary reputation and luminous purple face, vampires descend on the farm and carry off Lord Sheffield's grandchildren, Ivan and Nancy. Dave manages to induce one of the trophy wives to rescue Nancy, then flees to the local children's hospital waving Ivan's drained corpse as proof that he means no harm.

The hospital staff are initially friendly and helpful. However, in a fiendish twist it is revealed that they are all vampires, as are many of the patients who claim to have been injured in industrial accidents for the sole purpose of stealing other people's blood. An immense battle ensues, during which Dave's family are avenged, the country's soul is saved and Dave himself learns that sacrificing others is usually more necessary than sacrificing oneself.

David Cameron - Vampire Hunter is in no way a rip-off of Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter. The protagonist of the latter film is a based on a statesman who contributed to ending slavery in his country.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

General Poverty Leads to Less Tax Shock

Earthquakes as Government wrestles with revelations

Making the country poorer can lead to diminishing tax returns, the Office for National Statistics said today in what is likely to be an institutional suicide note.

Shock and horror pervaded the Treasury as the Chancellor struggled to comprehend the possibility that lowering taxes for the rich, kicking people out of their jobs and letting banks hoard their cash might be contributing to the economy's chronic buggeredness.

Whitehall and Downing Street were shaken by moderate tremors this afternoon as Mr Osborne's jowls flailed about in search of someone to blame.

Previous culprits include the last Labour government, the weather, Britain's status as a safe haven in a stormy global economic climate, Britain's vulnerability to the globe's climatic storminess, and the Euro-wogs.

Immigrants and welfare recipients are unlikely to benefit from the Chancellor's opprobrium this month, as their shit-list status has already been earmarked by the leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister, respectively.

As a result, it is likely that the Chancellor will blame the Office for National Statistics, in the hope that its abolition will provide the extra redundancies and associated fiscal optimism necessary to kick-start the road to recovery.

Monday, June 25, 2012

On Welfare

If Daddy left you lots of dosh
He got by dodging taxes,
It's good to wield the moral cosh
While righteous anger waxes.

And should the public look askance
At all your wealthy chums,
You might do worse than have a prance
And trample single mums.

Donald Priggley-Maunder

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Can I Say it Too? Oh Gosh

Now that Daveybloke has indicated that it's all right to do so, some little gofer at the Treasury has crawled out of George Osborne's second-best rectum to condemn aggressive tax avoidance. Daveybloke described one particular instance as "morally wrong"; the Chancellor's orange-topped flunkey, doubtless after much soul-searching and patient negotiation with his betters, was permitted to advance as far as "morally repugnant". In return, presumably, he agreed to allow Osborne to deprive everyone aged under twenty-five of their housing benefit, unless that was one of Nicky's ideas to begin with. "If we could narrow the tax gap in this country by a quarter we could reduce income tax for every basic rate taxpayer by 2p in the pound," the gofer proclaimed, because every basic rate taxpayer who knows what is good for them is concerned only with reducing their tax bill so that they will have more disposable cash to allocate to the welfare of health profiteers, pension profiteers, police profiteers and so forth. Coincidentally, this sort of thing is also the concern of real people, whose moral indignation at having the top rate cut by a mere five pence is even now causing sleepless nights for the paragon in Belize.

Saturday, June 23, 2012


A Tale

In the chill of dawn the woman rose and swept the ashes from the fireplace, while the man grunted and turned to face the wall. The woman pulled on her boots without lacing them, and draped her coat across her shoulders without putting her arms into the sleeves. Carrying the dustpan full of ashes, she opened the door just far enough to let herself through.

She emptied the dustpan and crossed the yard to the outhouse, sucking in the cold air. The smell of the man’s breath coated the inside of her mouth and throat. She locked herself in the outhouse and sat almost doubled over, her elbows on her knees. The outhouse had a window through which the mountains and sky could be seen, and the field and a splinter of the disused road. The woman stared past the window at the stains on the wall.

On the way back she saw that something grey had sprouted in the yard. When she moved closer she saw it was a slate which had fallen from the roof in the night. She looked up at the roof but couldn’t see the gap. The woman picked up the slate and carried it into the house.

The man was shaving over the basin, as he did every morning whether the water was short or not. The water had been short for a week or more now, and the blade scraped thirstily against the man’s face while the cranleys squirmed in the rack opposite. The woman felt the scraping noise at the back of her throat, where the stink of his breath had been.

She put the slate on the table. The man looked around, glanced at it and then at her. "West side," she said, and sat down on the bed to pull off her boots.
"The wind must have blown it down," said the man.
"I didn't hear any wind."
"The wind must have blown it down," said the man, and the woman shrugged and went over to the fireplace. The wood took time to catch and gave forth grey billows, and for a moment she thought the chimney might be blocked. Then the wood kindled, and she hung the black pot over the flames. The remains of yesterday's cranley were still inside, along with some thickened water.

The man and the woman dressed themselves, and the woman rolled up the bedclothes while the man folded the bed into the wall. The woman took two plates and two cups from the shelf above the basin, while the cranleys wriggled in the rack. She put the plates and cups on the table, then took a third plate to the fire and spooned the remains of yesterday’s cranley onto it in a wet heap. The cranley was flaccid and swollen from soaking all night and there was very little movement left in it. The man and the woman shared it between them, chewing silently until nothing was left.

The man picked up the slate from the table and went out into the yard, leaving the woman to shut the front door after him. Standing at the basin she saw him walk out into the field. His head was down, watching the hard ground. He was still holding the slate.

The woman worked the pump handle over the basin until a thin trickle emerged from the spout, along with a few bits of ice. She stirred the water with her hands until the ice dissolved, then washed the plates and cups. She scrubbed at them with a stiff brush and dried them on a stiff cloth, while the cranleys' little eyes stared from the rack. The woman watched the man tramping about the field, or else she looked at the plates she was scrubbing or at the grey spatters on the window pane. She did not look at the cranleys.

Later the woman heard the ladder being propped against the west wall and the man climbing up and moving about on the roof. Occasionally his footsteps slid, and she thought of him falling off and wondered how the breaking bones would sound.

When she had swept the floor and fed the fire and scoured the black pot and patched the man's other shirt, the woman stood over the basin again and took a cranley from the rack. The cranley squeaked and squirmed in her hand and its eyes bulged. The woman took a blunt knife and sawed at the cranley's limbs. There were joints in each limb and she sawed at the joints and then broke the limbs off in segments and arranged the segments neatly beside the basin. With the rounded end of the blade she gouged out the cranley’s eyes, then placed them in the cranley's mouth and forced it to swallow. It was awkward working with a blunt knife, but a sharp one might have killed the cranley too quickly and lessened its pain and hence its nutritive value.

The woman put the writhing cranley into the black pot and pumped a little water over it, then scattered the pieces of its limbs on top. She hung the black pot over the fire and resumed mending the man’s clothes and sharpening blades, while the second cranley watched from the rack and they both listened to the hammering on the roof and the struggling in the black pot.

In the chill of evening the man came back in. The woman set out the plates and cups while he pulled off his boots. "We thank thee, Lord, for thy bounty," the man said, and the woman said "Amen." They sat, and with the sharpened knives they cut slivers from the cranley which they ate in silence while they watched it twitch.

While the woman cleared up, the man sat before the fire and smoked. When the fire was nearly gone they unfolded the bed from the wall and unrolled the bedclothes. The next day would be cold, and the day after that colder still.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wooing the Right Kind of Voter

What with corporations wrecking the country and the coalition doing all it can to help, the leader of the wannabe wing of the British Neoliberal Party has been backing up his bleats for a more responsible capitalism with a bleat about immigration. The Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband said that Labour had been too quick to dismiss the prejudices of ordinary people as prejudices, and made clear his resolution to pander rather than educate. Speaking as the descendant of Polish-Jewish refugees, the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband objected to Gordon Brown's quasi-BNP slogan "British jobs for British workers" on much the same grounds as Baroness Warsi once attacked the BNP itself: namely that one should not promise ethnic cleansing when the best one has to offer is social cleansing. "We have to confront the fact you cannot address people's concerns about immigration unless you change the way the economy works," said the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband, and promised to change the way the economy works by "reviewing" (in Standard English, cutting) benefits and giving incentives to corporations, which will certainly make all the difference.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It's Totally Legal

British governments tend to do transparency almost as well as they do efficiency and compassion, and the present rabble are no exception. With his customary professional attitude to weighty matters of state, Britain's Head Boy took a moment off from charming the Mexicans with wetback jokes and dealt out some serious moral chastisement to a tax-avoiding comedian; but, having been apprised of the risk to the affairs of comedians such as Philip Green and other father-figures, Daveybloke has hurriedly reinstated the normal Government practice of not commenting on individual cases. The comedian who started the whole thing has now apologised, and a spokesbeing said she thought the apology was obviously welcome, though its welcomeness was obviously not obvious enough to be sure. She also expressed the Government's disapproval of aggressive tax avoiders, as opposed to cuddly tax avoiders of the Ian Cameron stripe. Nevertheless, Daveybloke has decided that plans for senior ministers to disclose their tax returns, in the interests of showing how much the top rate is hurting real people, should now be postponed to the not-very-near future. Translated from the Westminster, this presumably means until shortly after pigs start flying over the ski-slopes of Hell.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

An Obliging Rebellion

Amid all the bad news, the Government's chief whip has offered Daveybloke some comfort: he is likely to have a fair excuse not to proceed with Lords reform. Up to a hundred and ten protectors of the traditional Conservative values of heredity, senility and stupidity may rebel over the reform bill; while Labour, since it believes in Lords reform, will be voting against it too. Many MPs are also annoyed with the Deputy Conservatives for failing to fly to the aid of Jeremy C Hunt, whose innocence of any wrongdoing was definitively determined by the Prime Minister within minutes of his appearance at the Leveson inquiry. "We need to remind the Lib Dems we are the majority shareholder," blathered one MP, understandably confusing government with executive directorship.

Since Daveybloke was too busy commenting on comedians' tax affairs today, his own comedy line about showing good faith to the Deputy Conservatives was passed to a spokesbeing. "We will bend over backwards to push this through," the spokesbeing said, summing up the contortions which will be necessary to avoid pushing it through while simultaneously avoiding the appearance of trying to avoid pushing it through.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Arse and its Hole

Mere evidence, for what little that is worth, notoriously suggests that the main trouble with faith-based policy is that reality will eventually rear up and bite you on the arse. When the object of your faith is itself an arse, the results may be anatomically distinct, but will almost certainly be equally inconvenient.

During what is tactfully referred to as his leadership of the Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith once saw some poor folk in Glasgow and then, only a year later, announced that he wanted the Conservatives to become the "party for the poor". Once in government, Duncan Smith naturally decided that poverty has nothing to do with lack of money and set about removing benefits and ordering cancer patients to drag themselves up before the Idleness Police. Apparently this has caused a degree of surprise to the community activist who was Duncan Smith's host in Glasgow and whom Duncan Smith credits with opening his flat dead eyes to the "problems and pockets of poverty across the UK". Bob Holman thought Duncan Smith "a decent man", apparently on the strength of a few crocodile tears and a bit of proto-Daveybloke posturing; perhaps Holman assumed, like many of us, that Duncan Smith was simply too stupid to lie. As we now know, that is always a dangerous assumption to make about any politician, even one of Duncan Smith's gluteal calibre.

Nevertheless, Holman now believes that Duncan Smith, like Nick Clegg and other honest chaps, has been forced by the Treasury to implement cuts against his will, and calls for him to resign and campaign for a Big Society. Given his brilliant record, it is unlikely Duncan Smith would be allowed to reply even should courtesy incline him to do so; be that as it may, the Ministry of Forced Labour and Social Cleansing extruded a spokesbeing to state on his behalf that there would be no comment. In public relations if in nothing else, the Government can still sometimes refrain from digging itself a deeper hole.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Unusual Forces

Populations of special advisers have risen dramatically during the Government's recent difficulties, catching the coalition in a vicious, ultracleggian circle of pledge-breaking. The coalition agreement pledged to limit the number of special advisers, which had risen to eighty or so under New Labour; while the de facto coalition agreement known colloquially as the Conservative manifesto pledged to cut "the scope of Whitehall". The special advisers were subsequently pruned to sixty-six, but have come rampaging back like kudzu and have now reached Blairite levels of profusion just as the coalition attempts to come to terms with its own Brownite maladroitness. The Minister for Ministerial Administrativity, Francis Maude, blamed the plague on "unusual forces"; by which he presumably meant ministers' ever-increasing need for obliging but expendable servants who can carry out the necessary proxy resignations.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A British Classic

Arguably, the resemblance of the Tony Olympics to The Italian Job began with Tessa Jowell, whose husband David Mills had that wholly innocent arrangement with Silvio Berlusconi, of which Jowell herself was entirely unaware and in the wake of which she hurriedly estranged him. The anticipated traffic chaos in London, the involvement of the chirpy little criminal Jeremy C Hunt with the Murdoch mafia, and the continuing explosions at the Leveson inquiry which was only supposed to blow the bloody doors off, to say nothing of Whitehall's generally Benny Hill relationship with information technology, have all added to the impression of a supposedly endearing, if rather crass, caper comedy remake. Now the London fire brigade has done its part by allowing that great British company BMW to advertise itself with a few Minis which will zoom discreetly about the Olympic park, putting out small fires and reminding people about fire safety: a task to which London's "first-class fire and rescue service" is apparently unequal. As a sponsor of the Tony Olympics, BMW is also supplying the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club with emergency response vehicles, while BP will be enhancing the Games' long-forgotten green credentials by pumping liquid petroleum into the catering. It is not as yet clear whether anyone will have sufficient drive and initiative to improve on the original by packing all the culprits into a Routemaster and making sure it doesn't just go half-way off the cliff.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Do Think Again

The Secretary for Healthcare Privatisation, Twizzler Lansley, has been wagging the finger at GPs who are striking over pension cuts. In his usual democratic manner, the Twizzler has ruled that a day of industrial action is much the same thing as a one-off holiday, and has instructed the beneficiaries to repay his goodwill by working an extra Saturday. "The action GPs will take could potentially displace up to 1.25m appointment bookings in primary care into the days and weeks following your strike - including appointments for some 140,000 children," warned the angel of mercy who has done so much to protect frontline services. "As GPs understand better than anyone, today's routine appointments can become tomorrow's emergencies," moralised the Hippocratic paragon who wants to turn GPs into bureaucrats and who tried to legislate away his own responsibility for the country's health. "Industrial action gains doctors nothing, will harm patients, and leaves you isolated from other major NHS unions. Do think again," urged the Twizzler, whose Health and Social Care Act gains doctors nothing, will harm patients, and has isolated the Twizzler himself from almost nobody except the public and the medical profession.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Helping Out

The hinges of the world are coming loose;
Our problems all continue to accrue.
It's up to humble folk like me and you:
Don't drive, don't fly, don't work, don't reproduce.

Muttock Flinge

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Murdoch Mnemonic Mutation Madness

PM in virus spread panic horror

The Murdoch memory virus is not only affecting the world's rulers but has begun to spread to the help as well, a forensic inquiry has discovered.

The devastating effects of the virus were first seen humbling Rupert Murdoch, and quickly deprived his son James of almost all recollection of anything that had happened at News Corporation since he reached the age of shareholder majority.

Facing questions about his relationship with the Murdoch empire, the British prime minister was unable to remember anything about his meetings with various potentates. Mr Cameron stammered, sweated, bulged, turned from puce to magenta and eventually had to consult his wife's diary before making a statement.

"There are definite signs that the Murdoch memory symptoms are starting to work their way down the food chain," said a scientist, who wished to remain anonymous on the grounds of funding.

"This is certainly cause for concern. It was bad enough when people of actual global importance were afflicted, but if the virus is spreading to third-rate PR spivs we are all in big trouble."

Before the inquiry took place, the Prime Minister's press office attempted to soften the impact of the news by releasing a story about him leaving a daughter in a pub. Mr Cameron has not denied rumours that the child was abandoned in the hope that a handy assassin or kidnapper would turn her into a public-relations coup along the lines of his earlier, NHS-related infantine resource, Ivan.

Encouragingly, however, Mr Cameron was able to recall that all the meetings he did have with News Corp personnel were completely innocent and devoid of any reference to either the BSkyB deal or plans to lease the BBC to the Murdoch family on a 99-year PFI-style basis with losses covered by the British taxpayer.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Providence Fell Reviewed

My new book, Providence Fell (ebook, if you must, here) has received a very generous review by the noted novelist and double-bluffing secret agent, Tim Stevens.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

We Are Gathered Here in the Sight of God to Acknowledge an Underlying Biological Complementarity

Greed has collapsed the economy and the poor are being made to pay for it; murder is rife in the Middle East and elsewhere, while the Prime Minister shills for armaments firms; the task of caring for the sick, the disabled and the old is considered purely a question of markets and profits; and Michael Gove is Secretary of State for Education. Given all this, what could be more natural than for the country's moral arbiters to be worried about sex? A few peculiar old men in fancy dresses are, yet again, having the most terrible time over the prospect of gay people being treated as full and genuine members of the human race.

Perhaps it is cruel to expect too much from an institution whose idea of social responsibility is to stand back and let the Corporation of London's hirelings kick protesters off the steps of a cathedral; but the Church of England's response to the Government's plans to permit gay marriage is hysterical even by the elevated standards of Christian serenity. "Such a move would alter the intrinsic nature of marriage as the union of a man and a woman, as enshrined in human institutions throughout history" - as in the Bible, for example, where polygamy and concubinage are not only accepted but virtuous, at least until the advent of Paul and his millennial cult of chastity. "Marriage benefits society in many ways, not only by promoting mutuality and fidelity," as in the career of the noted defender of the faith, Henry VIII, "but also by acknowledging an underlying biological complementarity which, for many, includes the possibility of procreation." In Standard English, this last appears to mean that married people sometimes have children, and that married people having children is a rather jolly business. Thank goodness the Church is there to point these things out.

The church is also worried that it might be unable to continue conducting marriages on behalf of the state, which would clearly be too awful given the Saviour's advice on rendering unto Caesar the ceremonies that are God's. The Bishop of Leicester belched out a delightful tissue of disingenuity, stating in the same breath his desire for "a society in which gay people are fully included and their needs are fully provided for" and his desire to see those needs trampled underfoot by a sectarian minority's interpretation of the whims of a demented Bronze Age djinn. For its part, the Home Office extruded a spokesbeing to proclaim that marriage "binds us together, it brings stability, and it makes this country stronger" although, as we now know, not when one partner is a wog on an income of £24,800 or less.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Not Much Upstairs

An initiative by the greenest government ever to get Britain's lofts lagged seems on course for the usual whimpering success. The Government's own impact assessment predicts that the number of homes being insulated will drop by more than eighty per cent; however, this must be considered in the context of a previous assessment, which predicted a drop of more than ninety per cent. The Department for Emissions and Copious Carbon extruded a spokesbeing which duly claimed that the lack of delivery was due to the policy's having worked so well: a mere two hundred thousand homes will have no insulation at all by the end of the year, despite the fact that some companies are having to bribe people to let them do the work. Given such glorious incentivisations, small wonder that the greenest government ever has decided to give loft insulation and cavity walls the same treatment as it gives solar energy and other malignant distorters of the fossil fuel market: "We have limited resources and we therefore have to make choices," said the spokesbeing. "Public subsidy must be targeted where it is needed most", and the recent cut in the top tax rate can hardly be expected to sustain Lord Ashcroft for ever.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Family Valuables

Like everything else, family life is a hobby for the wealthy and a duty for the proles; while for immigrants, it is an excuse for evading their merited deportation and remaining to pollute the purity of our Britishness. Hence, Nick Clegg has reached an agreement with Daveybloke's barmy old cat lady to throw immigrants out according to their income. Of course, Wee Nicky himself is married to a wog, but he is rich enough for it to be morally defensible. As regards lesser breeds, Daveybloke's barmy old cat lady has ordered the courts to interpret Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights as the Daily Mail would wish it interpreted; which is to say, from behind the moth-eaten Wizard of Oz curtain that is "national interest". Britain's leading liberal newspaper states that the Home Secretary "first promised action over Article 8 at the Tory party conference last year, when she cited the case of a Bolivian man and his pet cat", but tactfully refrains from noting that the citation was based on a work of fiction in the Daily Mail. Back in the evidence-based world, human rights lawyers and other pests - more than one of them coloured, I'll be bound - have warned that there could be legal challenges under Article 8; fortunately, the taxpayer will cover the Government's costs, and if all else fails Daveybloke can always veto the Continent again.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

Pirates and Emperors

The prime minister of Mauritius, Navinchandra Ramgoolam, has had a bit of a chat with Daveybloke about the Chagos Islands, which were stolen from their inhabitants by the British government in the mid-sixties and later used, with the blessing of the Lower (formerly Upper) Miliband, to facilitate kidnapping and torture at the convenience of the United States. Ramgoolam described his meeting with Daveybloke as "very cordial", as no doubt it was. Before he took up the prime ministerial thingy, Daveybloke's family found him a job in marketing, and presumably it was during this brief blip of nearly honest labour that Daveybloke learned to restrain his inner purple-faced school bully behind that cordial façade which has fallen away with such inconvenient regularity during recent months. Ramgoolam said that Daveybloke's demonstration of his talents with the coloured folk "augurs well for the future", which indicates either diplomatic politeness or a potentially traumatic lack of background knowledge concerning all those promises about cutting the deficit but not the NHS, protecting frontline services and so forth. Ramgoolam also expressed the hope that Mauritius would be an equal partner with Britain and the US in the negotiations over the sovereignty of the Chagos Islands, which will doubtless be good for a snigger or two in the Bullingdon Club (for example, compare and contrast: British values; American values; Mauritian values). Neither Downing Street nor the Ministry for Wogs, Frogs and Huns had anything to say about the talks, although a proclamation of delight was made because Daveybloke signed an agreement whereby Mauritius will prosecute and imprison those pirates whom the Royal Navy chooses to capture rather than serve.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Still Completely Gove

The Gove Bible project just won't stop being Gove. From the patronising, would-be-High Tory inanity of the idea itself, through the Bullingdon imbecilities of its execution, to the Murdoch leader-writer crassness of the aftermath, the Minister for Faith Schools' wizard wheeze has been pure, squelchy Gove from first inception to continuing fiasco. The latest splatter of Gove is that the Minister, despite his much-declared intention to indoctrinate the soldiers and shelf-stackers of tomorrow in the beauties of Britishness-for-God, has failed to make any provision for children whose vision is impaired or who have dexterity problems. Of course, the Conservatives generally have little use for imperfect children (although they have found some), and the words "Presented by the Secretary of State for Education" on each copy are almost certainly large and loud enough to edify the inadequates until they can be put to work. Nevertheless, a spokesbeing in Gove's own department was moved to emphasise the futility of the entire project by letting slip the fact that digital versions, audio versions and even teachers have been available ever since the education secretary made his presentation, and possibly for some time before: yet another indication that the entire business from start to finish has been massively, utterly, calamitously Gove.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The Britishness of Their Scottishness in the Englishness of Our Britishness

The Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband has been demonstrating just how far the Labour leadership has progressed beyond the Brownite obsession with the tempestuous non-issue of Britishness; the answer, in case you hadn't guessed it, is not far. Anxious as ever to outflank the Conservatives in the perpetual struggle to lay claim to the last refuge of a scoundrel, the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband waded into the Jubilee afterglow to warn the Scots that voting for independence would result in geographical catastrophe: "If they leave the UK they won't be British any more: it stands to reason." Apparently, should the fiend Salmond get his wicked way, the island of Great Britain will crack in two: Scotland and England are British in no other sense than that of being part of a political union, with mere six-hundred-mile lumps of continental shelf being purely the stuff of quibble.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tomorrow's Proles

Concerned to a degree beneath his powers of expression about the treatment of a few proles by a charity of which one of his party chums is the head, Daveybloke has extruded a spokesbeing to confirm that, for this year at least, it was all a one-off. Abuses of the unemployed are almost always one-offs, just as abuses of unemployment benefits are almost always part of a trend indicating a broken society, a lack of responsibility, the decline of family values and the approaching end of civilisation. In any case, it was all for their own good: "The work programme itself offers experience," lectured the spokesbeing, "and the chance to develop those skills that people really need to get into sustainable jobs"; skills such as changing clothes in public, sleeping rough and doing without a toilet break for twenty-four hours. Although the idea that amateur security work during a diamond jubilee somehow qualifies as "sustainable" has an unhealthy whiff of Osborne mathematics about it, no doubt we may be comforted that the Bullingdon Club's concern for the living standards of the lower orders is just as robust as ever.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

But Some Rules are More Breakable than Others

Contrary to initial expectations, Daveybloke has decided to set the dogs on Baroness Warsi after all. Unlike Jeremy C Hunt, Warsi made the gaffe of admitting personal responsibility for her own irregular conduct, rather than blaming it on the servants; although naturally, being a modern politician, it has not occurred to her to offer her resignation. More importantly, Warsi is not a proper human being like Daveybloke or Jeremy or Adam Werritty, but a bumbling chunk of PR tokenism whose appointment was initially intended to counter the Conservatives' reputation for racism and sexism, and is therefore increasingly irrelevant as the Nasty Party continues to blunder its way out from behind Daveybloke's bland rubber mask. Should Warsi eventually be forced out, there are plenty more clowns in the Conservative Party who have the additional advantages of being white and male. Indeed, given the general flawlessness of his reputation, perhaps Jeremy C Hunt himself might care to consider the chairmanship.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Illegal Infiltrators

A spontaneous burst of patriotic fire in the Righteous State has led to the arson of a Jerusalem apartment full of existential threats to the nation's racial purity. The prime minister and interior minister have been talking about African immigrants in terms that even Daveybloke's barmy old cat lady might hesitate to use, calling them "illegal infiltrators" and suggesting that they are a form of human garbage which spreads disease and undermines law and order. Concerned citizens have taken part in various manifestations of legitimate indignation, including attacks on shops, lairs and breeding pens. Although graffiti at the site of the most recent victory warned, "Get out of the neighbourhood", no swastikas have been daubed as yet.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Bullingdon Flees Breeze Wheeze

Daveybloke's Cuddly Chancellor is attempting to regain some of the credibility he lost over the various Budget disasters; unfortunately, those whose credulity he is courting happen to be Conservative backbenchers. Accordingly, George the Progressively Regressive is demanding that the anticipated proceeds from the now cancelled pasty tax be taken out of the hide of the renewable energy industry, which wants to put nasty, noisy windfarms in everybody's back garden rather than quietly fracking for shale gas and improving the national water supply with an occasional belch of methane. The Deputy Conservatives, who once claimed some sort of interest in keeping the world habitable, have indicated that they would prefer a smaller cut in the subsidy; say a moderately crippling ten per cent as opposed to the Chancellor's openly murderous twenty-five. A responsible and rigorously argued cave-in is doubtless in preparation.

Daveybloke himself, of course, used to burble a good deal about the greenest government ever; but that was in the days when he also used to burble about protecting front-line services and having a soft spot for the NHS. Last month Daveybloke attended a presentation thingy by someone who said that, where cuts are concerned, "if you go too slow, you create subsidy junkies". A few other things were said too, but that was clearly the only part which registered.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


Or, Boil Your Head

Once the guillotines were set up at Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace, the Jubilee proceeded better than almost anyone anticipated. The Queen’s head came off so neatly that its image is used on postage stamps to this day. Sadly, neither the Queen, her consort nor the heir to the throne could be recycled; though the younger princes and their various heifers were found sufficiently wholesome to feed the animals at the Zoo and the ravens at the Tower over the space of several months.

The Prime Minister, a distant relative of the Windsors who happened not to be on holiday when the celebrations took place, was a much more successful subject. There was an initial hitch when the blade of the Hyde Park guillotine bounced off the rubbery bulge at the back of the neck where Mr Cameron stored his speeches; but an enterprising civil servant, assisted by various NHS personnel, was able to procure various implements so that the job could be finished by hand. A great cheer went up from the watching crowd when the well-known appendage, a little ragged at the neck but otherwise undamaged, was held up by the strands which had partly covered its bald spot and then stuck on a spiked fence for display.

After a week the head was sent to Porton Down, where the brain was detected, removed and used in the manufacture of mind-relaxing drugs for goldfish. Mr Cameron’s head was then boiled thoroughly, until the face turned a charming lilac and maximum expansion was achieved; a cistern some fifty feet across was used for this purpose. The skin of the Prime Minister’s face was flayed and tanned to enhance its natural waterproof qualities, and after due processing yielded twenty-five large family tents for emergency accommodation of the homeless.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Fiscally Responsible

Despite its recurrent urge to trace every email, observe every movement and keep us all safe in our beds by filling them with fibre-optic bugs, it appears that Whitehall is fairly intensely relaxed about monitoring the way its minions spend the taxpayers' money. Government procurement cards, which are meant to be used in speeding up official transactions, have come under scrutiny by the public accounts committee, and last year's expenses have been found eminently questionable. Expectably enough, the Department of Work and Pensions, in keeping with the vindictive rigour it shows towards the unemployed, the low-paid and the disabled, did not bother to keep receipts for a third of its payments. However, by far the biggest offender is the Ministry of Defence, which last December spent more than £20,000 on restaurants, bars and leisure activities, including three separate "group bookings" at £3400 each. Further sums of about £1200 went on swimming pool hire and on "bars, taverns, lounges, discos" for what is charmingly described as "pre-deployment training". One quails at the thought of what must have been going on while Adam Werritty was in charge.