The Curmudgeon


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cutting the Deficit, Not the NHS

Well, here's a thing: despite the country's public health policy being run by such sparkling talents as Jeremy C Hunt, Twizzler Lansley and New Labour's Patsy Hackitt (whose famous commitment to free public health recently climaxed with a post in the profiteering sector), almost two thirds of nurses still have little or no idea how lucky they are. Sixty-two per cent have considered resigning on the grounds of stress, despite the present administration's having already shed five thousand in the name of efficiency. Eighty-three per cent believe their workload has increased, and even some of those probably consider this a Bad Thing, in spite of the concomitant real-terms pay cuts which, subject to the whimsy of George Osborne's ever-mobile goalposts, are at present scheduled to last until 2016. Many are being made to work extra, unpaid hours, thereby combating the under-utilisation and overpayment which blight the lives of almost everyone who doesn't have a private moat; the Minister for Health and News Corporation continually cheers them on; yet still they complain. Clearly, the Government's noted aversion to chaotic, top-down reorganisation of the National Health Service has been to little avail.

Friday, August 30, 2013

This Isn't How We Got Into World War One, You Know

They've let themselves down, they've let America down, they've let the whole of Big School down. Most importantly, they have let down Britain's Head Boy, whose intervention in Syria will now be confined to braying from the sidelines and to whatever sneaking connivance he can manage. First Argentina, then Ecuador, then Spain, and now the House of Claimants itself: will nobody give him a war?

The opposition's majority in the vote was thirteen; the number of coalition rebels was about forty and included some of the Conservative Party's UKIP wing, such as the osteocephalic brothers Peter Bone and Philip Hollobone, and even a handful of Liberal Democrats, so there is much rumbling and squeaking about the historical magnitude of the decision and the consequences for our transatlantic poodledom. Those remain to be seen. So far, the vote seems little more than a tic of coalition politics, abetted by Daveybloke's characteristic combination of incompetence and self-complacency. He expected, no doubt, that at the prospect of a bit of wog-bombing the Conservatives would go into orgasm, the Deputy Conservatives would go along, and Labour would make pious noises and then go along. I confess that I myself expected much the same; but then I am not the Chillaxer-in-Chief. As in the 2010 election, Daveybloke was certainly rather miffed at having to make a case before the public, rather than entering smoothly into his birthright.

Anyway, while the Head Boy retired to work out his anti-appeasement rhetoric with Lynton Crosby, Daveybloke's best chum worried about whether Britain wants to "play a big part in upholding the international system" of institutionalised piracy and mass murder, as Daveybloke himself does when he sells weapons to the moral cousins of Bashar al-Assad. Osborne also implied that failing to bomb enough wogs would entail turning our back on the world's problems; by which he appeared to mean that it might endanger his plan to make Britain a "big open and trading nation" by turning it into a Third World haven for large-scale tax dodgers. Doubtless the logic is clear to those economists who aspire to the level of George Osborne.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Their Trade is Treachery

It appears that Daveybloke has lost none of his famously hob-nailed touch when it comes to appointing the little men who do his communications thingy. Honest Andy Coulson's replacement is one Craig Oliver, a former editor of the BBC's pusillanimous news service who has responded to the Milibeing's political point-scoring over Syria with an accusation of giving succour to the Assad régime. An earlier stalwart of the Bullingdon school of bipartisanship told the Murdoch Times last night that "No 10 and the Foreign Office think Miliband is a fucking cunt and a copper-bottomed shit", thereby allowing a Labour spokesbeing to invoke, with doubtless a straight face, the families of potential casualties of the newsworthy variety.

Outside his primary aim of annoying the Government, the Milibeing wants stronger conditions for the involvement of the United Nations; Daveybloke has brushed this off with the assertion that any wog-bombing he carries out will be "a judgement call", i.e. an expedient course of action best left uncluttered by reliable evidence, concrete and well-defined aims, legality and other such fripperies. Daveybloke is doubtless much annoyed at the Milibeing for causing so much trouble and delay: in 2003 the brilliant Iain Duncan Smith was even more gung-ho for the Iraq crusade than the Reverend Blair himself. It is possible that Britain's Head Boy expected an equally civilised arrangement, especially in light of the Milibeing's previous obliging response to Daveybloke's advice about the taking the Labour party's funding back from the grubby hands of the proles. Certainly, if there is one thing Daveybloke is not accustomed to getting from Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, it is opposition.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Really Getting Real

The Archbishop of Canterbury has bidden fair to rival the convoluted hypocrisy of his predecessor with yet another tortuous disquisition on equal marriage. Welby is concerned because many young people find the Church's attitude towards homosexuality akin to "racism and other forms of gross and atrocious injustice", possibly including such historical Christian hobbies as religious persecution and slave-holding. While admitting that the Church has behaved rather badly towards homosexuals in the past, and issuing a bracing injunction to be "really, really repentant", Welby voted against the bill giving same-sex couples the right to be treated like other couples, on the grounds that this re-defined the nature of marriage. Presumably Welby is unacquainted with the Old Testament, in which the nature of marriage includes polygamy and concubinage, and which the Saviour endorsed down to the last jot and tittle. The archbishop also appealed to "the Christian tradition" (the Christian tradition being, as he admitted, to support and practise homophobia implicitly or explicitly as the Divine Will commanded); to scripture (enough said); and finally to "our understanding", thereby resorting to the argument from tradition, to the argument from authority and to special pleading, all in the same breath. For his next miracle, Welby proclaimed that, having fought against equal marriage with every unreformed constitutional resource at his disposal and having lost the battle with some ignominy, he did "not have the answer one way or the other ... I'm not going to get into the trenches." The Saviour - who, however repulsive he may have been in most respects, was never mealy-mouthed - must be really, really proud.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Gas Attack

Let's deal with this monster Assad,
Who is really most terribly bad!
Our chums in Bahrain
And Saudi are sane,
But Bashar is most likely mad.

Let's make a most virtuous fuss,
And burble and blather and cuss!
All the laws he's abused,
And the weapons he's used
Without having bought them from us!

Let's put on our peace-keeping togs
And tame all these Levantine dogs!
Some fun in the trenches
Will please the back benches:
Rah rah! Let us blow up some wogs!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Baker Bucks Things Up

If there is one thing the Deputy Conservatives are good for, it is seeing both sides of a question. On the second of January, a standard-class flunkey at the Ministry of Motoring was worrying about the possibility of empty trains during off-peak hours; today, the same flunkey is worrying about overcrowded trains during peak hours. As great liberal questions go, it may not have the resonance of further privatisation versus full privatisation (saving the NHS), or keeping the House of Lords as it is versus keeping the House of Lords more or less as it is (the greatest parliamentary reform programme since 1832); but it does mean that Norman Baker has taken the decisive and, no doubt, almost noticeably difference-making step of urging the rail companies to do something about it. Like the day after New Year's, the August bank holiday is a moment well chosen for such acts of Osbornean statesmanship: nobody is doing very much, so there is room for someone like Norman Baker to sneak into the news; and nobody is paying much attention, so our hollow, bitter laughter will not echo very long.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Making the World an Even Nicer Place

Moralists will be amused to note that the depleted-uranium and white-phosphorous community has come over all indignant about the Assad régime's alleged use of chemical weapons last week. The Nobel laureate for Peace through Drones expressed the customary grave concern, and his little purple prefect in the Poodle Archipelago expressed the customary state of absolute agreement. Daveybloke's special nuncio to Belize and part-time Minister for Wogs, Frogs and Huns, Willem den Haag, proclaimed last week that the attack was "not something that a humane or civilised world can ignore"; and it will no doubt be reassuring to some that there are still one or two abuses which cannot be ignored even in the British Neoliberal Party's idea of a humane and civilised world. Indeed, after the rousing success of the intervention in Libya, which improved things no end and whose benign repercussions were felt as far away as Mali and Westminster, it is difficult to see Britain's Head Boy resisting the urge to propitiate the UKIP wing of his party with a bit of good old-fashioned wog-bombing.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Der Schoß ist fruchtbar noch, aus dem das kroch

A brave man named Michael Russell has undertaken the massive task of providing English-speakers with a full translation of Karl Kraus' monstrous magnum opus, The Last Days of Mankind. Previous translations have been abridged, and even tidied; the version in the Karl Kraus Reader is commended as an "eminently performable" three-act drama, an achievement on a par with turning out an "eminently tasteful" version of Voyage au bout de la nuit. I am a little nervous about some aspects of Russell's translation; notably the rendering of Nörgler as "Begrudger", which seems both unidiomatic and infelicitous, and the preservation of Kraus' rhyme schemes in the verse, which will almost certainly involve numerous triumphs of metre over spirit. But of course every translation requires certain sacrifices, an armistice of meanings; the best one can hope for is a negotiated piece. Still, in victory or defeat, Russell's valorous enterprise will surely help to mitigate the nightmare of pious nostalgia which will undoubtedly mark the centenary of the First World War.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Taking Care Not to Crush the Entrepreneurial Butterfly, in All its Ethereal Sublimity

Employers are delicate creatures. Presumably that is why the Government has so far protected those who break the law on the minimum wage from the prosecution, courtroom appearances, exposure in the media and all the other little inconveniences which attend a misdemeanour by a prole. Somehow or other, it appears that this civilised treatment has failed to have much effect; which must come as a bit of a shock to a government which believes that the best way to prevent criminal activity by banks, newspapers and policemen is to allow them to continue undisturbed and unregulated along their merry way. Accordingly, a token Deputy Conservative minister in the cutesily-acronymed Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced a token measure: from the autumn, companies which underpay their employees will not only be subject to financial penalties, but will be "named and shamed" as well; and, much like the banks, the police and the scumbag press, will immediately reform themselves, or else be subject to expensive blacklisting by the all-powerful precariat. However, there will be no surge of prosecutions; much less the kind of exemplary sentencing meted out to people who filched bottles of mineral water or posted silly things on Facebook during the riots two years ago. Unlike the proles, who are not wealth creators and whose characters are frequently so coarse-grained as to greet enhanced flexibilitisation with near-total ingratitude, employers are made of finer stuff.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Breathe It In, Suck It Up

As the past few decades have shown, there are any number of ways to reduce unemployment without violating the sanctity of market forces: tactics range from the relatively sophisticated (discounting the victims of taxpayer-funded forced-labour schemes) to the simply fraudulent (letting Iain Duncan Smith loose on the statistics). In any case, it is the numbers that matter, irrespective of any relation which said numbers may or may not have towards the real world.

This approach has gone so swimmingly that the greenest government ever now wishes to use it in improving the environment as well. According to its own advisers, pollution from diesel engines and fossil-fuel power stations is killing almost thirty thousand people a year; but attempts to control or, worse yet, eradicate such pollution would mean falling in with European regulations, and are therefore entirely out of the question. Hence, rather than doing anything silly and foreign like trying to limit the pollution, the Government has decided to go straight to the heart of the problem and cut down on the air quality monitoring which generates all those annoying figures. The closure of the monitoring stations could save almost fifty million pounds over ten years; which obviously would go a long way towards compensating the wider economy for the sixteen thousand million which health services are spending on poisoned proles.

Having launched the usual post-decision consultation, conveniently timed for the summer holiday so as to avoid too much time-wasting argument, the Department for Emissions, Fracking, Radiation and Asthma has complained that the present régime for monitoring air quality is "diagnosis driven", which self-evidently goes against the faith-based approach now in fashion. Defra is also worried that "the level of local reporting can distract resources from air quality improvement", for which the Oldspeak translation appears to be that too much information about health risks to unimportant persons can lead to demand for resources that would be more profitably expended on tax breaks for Cuadrilla.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Real Bad Man

To torture ragheads and their kin
Is bad, let no-one doubt it;
And yet a still more heinous sin
Is telling folks about it.

Uncle Tombama's Little Book of Morals

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ethical Investment

A wealth creator has been sentenced to seven years' imprisonment for selling fake bomb detectors, which may have caused some collateral damage among the lesser races. The gentleman went into business in 1997, the year in which the Reverend Blair's earthly ministry ascended unto Downing Street; and in 2001 a Home Office scientist tested his merchandise and found that the same results could have been achieved with an empty box or Iain Duncan Smith. The scientist issued a written warning; so the British Government started selling the devices to foreign governments. Presumably, since they cost less than two pounds to manufacture and sold for fifteen thousand, the moral imperative was irresistible. At the time of his arrest, the manufacturer admitted that he had "no background in science, research, training or specifically security", qualifications which could not help but impress the present faith-based culture at Whitehall. Despite his own little indiscretions over Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass ethereality, the Reverend Blair himself remains at large.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Reasonable Grounds for Suspicion

There are, of course, any number of perfectly innocent reasons for the detention of David Miranda; reasons which have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Miranda's partner is Glenn Greenwald, the Guardian journalist who has been writing about the abuses of the National Security Agency. Certainly there is no reason to believe that Miranda's detention was ordered by the White House; a well-trained dog does not need to be told who to attack. Miranda is Brazilian, like the notorious terror suspect Jean Charles de Menezes; and Brazil, of course, is actionably close to Argentina, which insists on negotiating about the Falkland Islands; and to Ecuador, which continues to shelter the fiend Assange. Worse yet, both Argentina and Ecuador share a language with Spain, which at this very moment is treating the brave little folk of Gibraltar as though they were some sort of immigrants. All things considered, Miranda should really count himself rather lucky that he got away with nine hours' imprisonment and the confiscation of his gadgets, rather than a headful of dum-dums and a bit of posthumous defamation. Still, to look on the bright side, at least we now know that there are some police-state tactics to which even the Labour front bench have some objection, provided they do not happen to be in government at the time.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Burn the Poor

As might be expected of the greenest government ever, recycling rates have fallen for the first time in thirty years; and as might be expected given the Cabinet's preponderance of Victorian money-grubbers and Regency fatheads, a nineteenth-century technology is rising in its place. Meddling Eurocrats have placed restrictions on the traditional British method of waste disposal, namely sweeping it under the ground; so market forces have intervened to provide a flowering of furnaces instead. This not only means that less material falls victim to the political correctness of recycling; it also means that there is less incentive to build recycling plants and impose the resulting multicultural crap on future generations of Conservative voters. Even more fortuitously, given the Government's clear intentions for the non-utilisable prole population, many of the new incinerators are being built in areas of outstanding Osbornomic success. "There's a feeling that people who are downtrodden have a harder time getting their act together to object," said a technical adviser for a Cornwall campaign group, "and hence it's easier to place nasty things next to them." Additionally, of course, it will save on transport costs when the Government's social cleansing campaign reaches its logical conclusion.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Remorseless: Tales of Cruelty

Remorseless: Tales of Cruelty, Thomas Tessier's second collection after Ghost Music (2000), comes with a delightfully garish cover that points up the unashamed pulpishness of many of the stories. Nevertheless, there are subtler touches too.

Several tales work modern variations on traditional tropes. "Back in My Arms, I Want You" is a first-person account of obsessive self-deception which readers of Tessier's novel Rapture may find a little predictable; and "The Infestation at Ralls" is a bit of fun featuring a Dr Van Helsing whose command of the English language seems to have improved a good deal since that sanguinary little business of the Transylvanian count. The girl in "Goo Girl" is a victim of the push-button voyeurism that comes with the digital revolution; but her revenge is as poetically old-fashioned as one could wish, and gains an added chill from her not entirely poetic appreciation of the snow falling outside. The succubus in "For No One" attacks her victims through their fantasies of love or power, repaying the former with grief and the latter with paralysis; while the title character of "The Woman in the Club Car", whether ghost, premonition or simply an avatar of sudden loss, is altogether sadder though at least equally haunting.

"In the Sand Hills" and "Something Small and Gray, and Quick" feature protagonists whose surface confidence and self-sufficiency are undermined in opposite ways: the hitman in the first story by his physical surroundings and then by a supernatural horror in which he does his best not to believe; and the businessman in the second story by a psychological vulnerability which, at the end, manifests itself all too physically. "Fine, Until You Called", concerning an initially assertive and self-indulgent middle-aged man who receives an unusual intimation of mortality, will resonate with anyone who has looked at a list of symptoms and ended up self-diagnosed with an array of deadly diseases. "The God Thing", a comic horror about the efforts of a meat-headed body-builder to achieve physical perfection, opens in amusingly horrible fashion with a dozen decapitated monkeys and proceeds through increasingly grotesque stages as the hero's ever-increasing exterior charms are matched and undermined by the pharmaceutical apocalypse going on inside him.

"Premature Noxia" is an effective tale of curiosity leading to more or less arbitrary doom; the fate of the protagonist in "Club Saudade", though hardly deserved, reflects the more unfortunate side of his character and leads him to an unaccustomed, if necessarily brief, moment of self-honesty. This story's depiction of its protagonist's dark and dangerous underground journey is so effective that the monster at the end comes as something of an anticlimax; but given the man's own apathy, perhaps that is only appropriate.

Though probably for different reasons, the protagonist of the subtly titled "The Ventriloquist" shows an equally disturbing resignation to his fate. The story builds a surprising amount of suspense from an extended depiction of his session at a fortune-teller's, and leaves disturbingly ambiguous the matter of whether his future is being foretold or invoked. "The Inn of Distant Sorrows", the best story in the book for my money, is set in the mysterious Latin American territory first seen in "Blanca" and, like the earlier story, combines hints of the ghostly with the more brutal mysteries of the police state.

In addition, there are two short vignettes with twist endings: a form in which the effort involved is often inversely proportional to the word count, but Tessier brings them off nicely. "If You See Me, Say Hello" is a ghost story in which the twist is more poignant than scary; while the very brief "10-31-2001" uses fear of the terrorising Other to execute a devastating feint.

The book's copy-editing is unfortunately rather sloppy, with two separate characters in two different stories suffering incomplete name-changes: an error all the more irritating in that it's one of the few which can be cleared up quite painlessly using Microsoft Word's search-and-replace facility. Some evil demon or gargoyle has also been at the pagination, with the result that the contents list is two pages ahead. Still, though less substantial than Ghost Music and somewhat less varied in tone, the contents themselves are well worth your time.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Crude Calculation

Doubtless owing, at least in part, to the pervasive evil of the fiend Assange, Ecuador has had to announce the failure of its attempt to preserve the Yasuni national park intact. Ecuador had sought to keep a moratorium on oil drilling in return for three and a half thousand million dollars from any nations which cared to contribute; but those who emit most of the world's greenhouse gases have better things to do with their money. The United States, for example, which consumes almost half of Ecuador's crude oil production, is far too busy drone-bombing Yemenis: almost certainly an expensive business. Ecuador had demanded about half the value of the expected revenue from the estimated oil reserves under Yasuni, and imposed the additional, clearly unacceptable proviso that Ecuador alone would decide how to spend it. Donations came to a paltry thirteen million dollars, with a further hundred and sixteen million in pledges which may or may not be of the Nick Clegg variety; and doubtless it serves them right.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Sea Wrought, And Was Tempestuous Against Them

Some Christians have been returned to the fleshpots of Arizona after trying to sail to Kiribati and make a new, tax-free life as illegal immigrants. Like our own Lord Carey of Blathering-in-the-Dotage, Sean and Hannah Gastonguay apparently consider themselves persecuted in their own country; and, like so many Christians of the Blathering-in-the-Dotage school, they have found it convenient to disregard the Saviour's injunctions to rejoice, be exceeding glad, and pile up riches in Heaven by doing good to their tormentors. They set out for Kiribati, a Pacific archipelago which will probably disappear in a few decades as global warming raises the sea level. Having sailed for two months and used up almost all their food (God having somehow neglected to rain manna on the boat), they were picked up by the forces of satanic Latin American socialism in the shape of a Venezuelan fishing vessel. They ended up back in Arizona, which must be jolly pleased to have them, owing ten thousand dollars for their flight and, unlike Jonah after his own Divine Hint threw him up near Nineveh, working on another cunning plan.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Serco Wouldn't Like It

Few things are more galling to the faith-based than mere expert opinion; and the Ministry for Profitable Incarceration is duly incensed by a law professor's proposal that crimes against property should not result in prison sentences. "People who commit these crimes devastate lives and cause untold misery in our communities," foamed Damian Green, a member of the government which, from social cleansing to shale fracking, has done so much in the way of community happification. The Government, of course, already believes that some thieves and fraudsters do not deserve jail; but the idea of extending City privileges to the proles goes against everything the Conservative Party stands for, while the practice of making thieves and fraudsters work to compensate their victims would exhaust the likes of Twizzler Lansley into a moderately early grave.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Their Gruel is Still Too Thick

The scroungers' culture of the desolate north has made itself felt once more in a deplorable armed incident involving two hoodlums with knives. Apparently on a maniacal quest for quiche, rather than the natural northern diet of fried lard with lager, they broke into a café in Berwick-upon-Tweed during the night; and when the police arrived the criminals triggered a five-hour standoff by refusing to come out. No shale frackers were harmed during the incident, and according to one of the café's owners the malefactors were motivated by a base proletarian urge towards non-hunger rather than by any nobler sentiment, such as the love of money or eatery vandalism, that would have made them worthy in the eyes of the Bullingdon Club. In a way, of course, we are fortunate that the incident took place in Northumberland rather than anywhere Britain's Head Boy might have heard about it; otherwise his mad old cat lady might even now be drawing up emergency legislation to slap a ban on quiche.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hispanic Hissy-Fits

Ominous rumours have emerged concerning a possible conspiracy between the swarthy, treacherous Argies and the swarthy, treacherous Argie-speaking threat to world peace which lies north of Gibraltar. Despite being the wrong sort of Americans, the Argentines have somehow insinuated themselves onto the United Nations security council for two years, and they may use their position to connive with Spain in attempting to reduce the Britishness of various lumps of rock. Meanwhile Britain's Head Boy, despite having several gunboats on hand in the Mediterranean, has threatened to go whining to Matron, in the shape of those European courts whose rulings his government spends so much time and effort attempting to circumvent. It is to be hoped that the laws with which Daveybloke hopes to singe Mariano Rajoy's beard are not among those which the mad old cat lady at the Home Office has decreed to be overly concerned with human rights and other nasty Continental habits.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mature Debate

A Bangladeshi human rights lawyer, Adilur Rahman Khan, has been arrested on charges of "fabricating information" about the activities of some brave men doing a wonderful job under difficult circumstances. Khan's organisation, Odhikar, had criticised the Bangladeshi security forces for alleged torture, extra-judicial murder and disappearances; but it appears that the Bangladeshi state has not yet reached the level of sophistication where such activities can be gathered under the hospitable rubric of National Security. The British high commissioner was just about able to express "concern" at the arrest; since he expressed it on Twitter, the translation from the diplomatese is presumably something like vague awareness. Meanwhile, in the democratic West, several New Labour shysters who have connived, renditionised, and even fabricated a thing or two in their time remain rather profitably at large.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Another Clause 28 Moment

It appears that, in cases of bullying, a boycott is not always the answer. Britain's Head Boy has ruled out the idea of keeping away from a Sports Day in Russia because of the homophobia of the Russian state. Daveybloke's announcement was triggered by a well-meaning if bizarre open letter from Stephen Fry, which accused Daveybloke of a "determined, passionate and clearly honest commitment to LGBT rights" and proclaimed that "in the end I believe you know when a thing is wrong or right". This does Britain's Head Boy an injustice; the worst that can be said of Daveybloke is that he sometimes knows when a thing is expedient or inexpedient, and that his support of the equal marriage legislation was a prudent bit of liberal button-pushing to help resign the Deputy Conservatives to the present squalid right-wing onslaught.

Still, lest Daveybloke be accused of hypocrisy in calling for boycotts of bullying websites while consorting with bullying governments, it should be remembered that the internet and Putin's mafia state are two quite different things. The internet is complicated, multifarious, evolving and many-voiced; Vladimir Putin is a posturing, corrupt, authoritarian thug. It is therefore hardly surprising that Daveybloke cannot understand the internet, and even less surprising that Daveybloke feels he can do business with Vladimir Putin.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Own A Home Or Face Arrest

With the Bullingdon Club preoccupied by Gibraltar and its treacherous, swarthy, Argie-speaking northern neighbour, it has fallen to the communities secretary, Eric Pickles, to initiate the Government's latest attack on a community. Pickles has evidently resolved to avoid the abject political correctness of the Hungarian court which imprisoned some potential European allies of the British Conservative Party for taking positive action against seeing their country swamped. Pickles, who took a second home at the taxpayers' expense in order to spare his delicate constitution the trauma of a thirty-mile commute, is naturally discomfited by the existence of people who have no interest in land ownership, mortgages or George Osborne's Bubble to Buy schemes. A press release from his department described unauthorised traveller camps as a "blight"; the announcement was later reissued substituting the word "problem", although the Ministry for Community Cleansing insisted that the message had not been watered down. The message, apparently, is that travellers are not allowed to trash green belts. They are not, after all, developers; still less are they developers who fund the Conservative Party.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Here's A Charter We Drew Up Earlier

Britain's Head Boy, whose best chum implied that social security claimants are morally equivalent to child-killers and whose government recently paraded the message "Go home or face arrest" through various areas of racial impurity, has decided that there is at least one form of bullying which eludes his complete approval. This is internet bullying, which apparently contributed to the suicide of a fourteen-year-old girl last week. In cases of apparent poverty-related suicide, Daveybloke is generally loath to comment on individual self-cleansings, but when there is a dead child to be waved around in a good cause, Britain's Head Boy is first to step up to the plate and haul his chubby buttocks palpitating onto the bandwagon. As a beginning, he has urged everyone in Big School to boycott websites which allow bullying; and doubtless at this very moment his mad old cat lady is cloistered with Chris Graybeing and the Cabinet's resident IT expert, Iain Duncan Smith, to fill the back of an envelope with appropriate preventive legislation.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

You Are Perfectly Safe and Nothing Can Go Wrong

Those charming people at G4S, who did so much to keep our under-stretched and over-paid army personnel amused during the Olympics, and whose use of taxpayers' money is allegedly so efficient that it stretches to tracking non-existent persons, are being harassed by their staff at GCHQ. Egged on by the evil forces of trade unionism and Acas, cleaners and security staff are considering a ballot for industrial action, despite G4S' decision to give them a real-terms pay cut. A spokesbeing for GCHQ said that the discussions between G4S and the union had obtruded themselves upon the awareness of GCHQ, and it appears that in the event of a strike the army will be permitted to re-live its Olympic experience. A spokesbeing for G4S expressed absolute confidence that everything would be fine and insisted that the army would not need to be involved; from which it appears that in the event of a strike the army will be permitted to re-live its Olympic experience.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Statistically Sane

The Christian state of Florida has executed one John Errol Ferguson who, besides labouring under the racial handicap which enthuses so many American judges towards the death penalty, was also a paranoid schizophrenic with a history of hallucinations dating back to 1965. The US Constitution bars cruel and unusual punishment; and as far into the Bush régime as 2007 the supreme court ruled that executees must have a rational understanding of their approaching chastisement. Ferguson believed he was an immortal divine prince with the power of controlling the sun; so the Florida supreme court decided he was sane on the grounds that his belief in his personal immortality was shared by millions of American Christians, some of whose mental incapacity is apparently still in doubt. Still, Florida's decision that the Constitution is too quaint and outdated to bother with any more is certainly in keeping with the Nobel laureate's idea of government by the people, for the people; and the implication that almost all Americans are ripe for the same treatment as a pathologically deluded multiple murderer has obvious advantages for the enthusiast of drone justice.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Silent Spring

We all know, because people of the calibre of George Osborne have told us, that shale fracking is harmless, and that the companies whose business it is to cause explosions amid underground reservoirs and methane pockets are scrupulous to the point of profitability in their concern for health and safety. To prove the point, Range Resources, an oil and gas drilling company, reached a legal accommodation two years ago with the Hallowich family of Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania. Since the Hallowich family had not, as they claimed, suffered water contamination, burning eyes, sore throats and headaches, or indeed any harm at all as a result of local fracking operations, Range Resources paid them three-quarters of a million dollars and ordered them not to talk about fracking. This order also applied to the Hallowich children, then aged ten and seven; and it applied for the rest of their lives. The father did point out to the court that it might be difficult to ensure absolute compliance with the juvenile inclusivity clause; but presumably Barack Obama's surveillance state will henceforth be at the disposal of Range Resources, together with a couple of surgical drones for any necessary discretionary enforcement.

The company itself, besides claiming that the payout took place purely because there was no evidence of any ill effects on the Hallowich family, has now decided to disagree with its own lawyer and say that the settlement does not apply to the children. The Pittsburgh Post Gazette, which appears to be in the throes of a thoroughly unfashionable attack of investigative journalism, has been fighting to get the relevant documents released; doubtless because Range Resources, like all other fracking companies, has nothing at all to hide.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Michael the Martyr

Another Latin American state has gone rogue: the government of Belize has launched an unprovoked attack on the owner of the Conservative Party while seeking to benefit, of all things, taxpayers. Belize has nationalised ("seized control of", as Britain's leading liberal newspaper hath it) the registry of corporate tax dodgers which was previously operated by a company part-owned by one of Lord Ashcroft's little toys. The Belize government has also hatched a fiendish plan to tax the operating company for thirty million dollars, the price of several British cabinet ministers. The prime minister of Belize claims that the country's economy is being endangered; Ashcroft's little toy is squealing that financial apocalypse is nigh again; and Ashcroft's slightly smaller toy, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, is probably a quavering pale-purple heap somewhere, wondering whether his master's reduced financial circumstances will force him to downsize his stake in the Government.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

We're Going to Get You

Mark Harper, the hapless flunkey charged with defending the Powellite Pantechnicon Programme, is now busy denying that the UK Border Agency has been stopping people on the basis of their skin colour and ordering them to prove their pedigree. The Border Agency, it will be remembered, is that charming group of people who did their job so well that Theresa May felt moved to break them up and start again from scratch; apparently the Powellite Pantechnicon Programme is the scratch from which Daveybloke's mad old cat lady hopes to build a nice new blue-in-tooth-and-claw system for wog expulsion. The criteria for stopping people include "avoiding eye contact, a sudden change in walking direction or pace, and seeking to avoid confrontation with someone perceived to be a threat". Doubtless the one about eye contact is designed to ensnare those cunning wogs who have schooled themselves more thoroughly in English manners and mores. Still, it will be seen that even the last criterion, though it may require a degree of telepathy in judging who is perceived as a threat by the more inscrutable of the suspect races, makes no mention whatever of skin colour. Although the Powellite Pantechnicon Programme was piloted in racially mixed areas of London, the Home Office has not been collecting data on the ethnic background of those stopped for questioning; perhaps because such data would be largely useless for dealing with the approaching Romano-Bulgarian apocalypse. In any case, the whole delightful concept is not really a policy but a political stunt aimed primarily at UKIP and Daveybloke's own back-bench baboons; its effect on illegal immigrants is purely a secondary matter, and its effect on our swarthier citizens a purely instinctive one.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Helping Business

What with Ecuador protecting rainforests and Julian Assange, and Uruguay concluding a unilateral armistice in the war on drugs, signs of civilisation are rare in South America these days; but Chilean prosecutors' decision on the San José mining disaster three years ago may be a small sign of hope. The disaster, which trapped thirty-three men underground for ten weeks, became internationally famous when the human resources were indiscreet enough to get themselves rescued. This has caused much unease among the mine-owning community, who fear discrimination in the form of adverse publicity should one of the celebrities happen to be in another accident; and the owners of the San José are still being harassed by a civil lawsuit of the kind that used to paralyse the British economy during the bad old days of legal aid and free employment tribunals. It is to be hoped that the decision not to prosecute will provide the owners of the San José with some much-needed reassurance.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Enemy Within

Will these crusty Old Labour dinosaurs never learn? The MP for Leeds East, somewhere in the desolate wilderness of Frackingshire, has criticised the Milibeing for hesitancy, for lacking a strategy and for failing to set the political agenda. A campaign spokesbeing, Sadiq Khan, promptly responded that he and his team were setting the agenda, thank you very much; as when the Milibeing recently decided to downsize the party's links with the trade unions on the orders of Britain's Head Boy. As for strategy, the Milibeing is quite clearly adopting that of Daveybloke himself during the fag-end of the Brown premiership (viz. during the entirety of the Brown premiership), which was essentially to sit back and wait for the Government to lose. The dinosaur also complained that he didn't know the party's policies on health, education and welfare; this can only be the result of wilful blindness, given the alacrity with which Twizzler Lansley, Michael Gove and Liam Duncan Smith have been implementing them.