The Curmudgeon


Friday, February 28, 2014

Prioritising Mental Health

A functionary of the National Liberal British Workers' Party has conceded that the Stakhanovite work ethic might be a bit unprofitable to impose in some cases, notably when the beneficiary is unconscious. A woman with bipolar disorder was harassed by the Department of Workfare and Privation until she suffered a breakdown, and while sectioned under the Mental Health Act she had a heart attack which left her in a coma. None of this deterred the DWP's merry men or the iron-hard cadres of Seetec, the private company hired to push sick people into work. They went right on trying to drag out the lady's inner entrepreneur, dispatching a message of hope "that all the activity or training intervention completed so far has not only supported you to achieve your aspirations but has moved you closer to the job market", along with an invitation to have her aspirations supported even more.

The election cycle is approaching the point at which Labour feels it should make some sort of show of caring about the disabled, so the local MP raised the matter in Parliament. Mike Penning, the minister for disabled people (not, you will note, the minister for work and pensions) issued an apology and generously permitted the family to be aggrieved, while controversially claiming that the procedure for forcing sick people to work "clearly has gone wrong" in this doubtless very nearly isolated case. Since Seetec have not admitted to a decline in profits this quarter, it is as yet unclear exactly what the minister believes went wrong.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Deserving Poor

Oh deary! Will folk never stop
Abusing our men at the top?
We gambled and failed,
And so we were bailed:
Why cannot the proles let it drop?

Oh deary! Alas and alack!
Again we are under attack
Because of the onus
To pay a big bonus
And give a few small folk the sack!

Alack and alas! What a shame
That still we must shoulder the blame
From emotional folk
Who can't take a joke,
And don't know the rules of the game!

What a shame! What a bore! What a pity!
We're cursed across country and City,
Although we can pay
Our fat cats today
Because they ate yesterday's kitty!

Buster Grabbe

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Our Next Floods Will Glow in the Dark

Britain's Head Boy has had a bit of a burble about climate change, which he once again believes is among the most serious threats to the country and the world. This explains the relatively low priority given to fighting climate change as opposed to fighting wogs and workers' rights, which are among the more serious threats to the Conservative Party and its chums. Flanked by Twizzler Lansley, the embodiment of his equally sincere aversion to chaotic top-down reorganisations of the NHS, Daveybloke burbled about building a new nuclear power station. Owen Paterson has doubtless informed him just how safe and sustainable uranium can be, and most Conservative back-benchers probably think radiation poisoning is something that only happens in Japan.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

National Liberal British Workers' Party

After four years of tax cuts, privatisation and food banks, it seems that some uncharitable persons are casting doubt upon the Conservative Party's charitable intentions towards the little chaps. Accordingly, the Bullingdon Club has delegated a couple of working-class role models to re-brand the party for the great unwashed. One of the role models is the post-Thatcher interregnum whose Classless Society rhetoric was an equally effective, if possibly less insincere, precursor to Daveybloke's guff about his Big Society thingy. The other role model is the grinning spiv Michael Green, whose main achievements are shady doings on the internet and insulting representatives of the United Nations. Together, these two champions of the deserving poor will be fronting a campaign in the style of New Labour, whereby long-term economic plans will be set out on pledge cards so that hard-working families can enthuse without pausing too long in the struggle to get on. The pledges, so far, include tax cuts, social security cuts, wog-bashing, reducing the deficit and "delivering the best schools," all of which the Bullingdon Club and Lynton Crosby evidently consider the stuff of prole Utopia. Aside from the fact that the deficit was meant to be gone by now, and the welcome retirement of that flaccid old joke about protecting the NHS, it looks as if rumours of the disappearance of the Conservatives' 2010 manifesto have been slightly exaggerated.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Cure Found for Global Warming

Ministers in action urge

Volcanic eruptions can cure global warming according to a study in the journal National Geoscience, which has prompted renewed hope in the beleaguered forefront of the continuing war against non-profitable climate change.

The coalition has responded by blaming the last Labour government, a bloated public sector, benefits scroungers and asylum seekers, and by urging other countries to "do something."

Although the British Isles themselves contain no active volcanoes, environment spokesbeing Ed Davey said that the problem of climate change required a globalised response.

"Climate change is everyone's problem, and Britain will do its share and shoulder its own grindstone," Davey said, referring to coalition plans to let G4S and Serco bid for contracts in terrestrial crust management.

"We will invite relevant companies to tender for a fair and rigorous bonus structure in return for ensuring a modernised and continuing service in eruptive activity," a spokesbeing for the business secretary announced.

Owing to the practice of shale fracking, Britain is expected to undergo an increase in earthquakes, which Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has said are "much the same sort of thing" as volcanic eruptions.

Global warming has also been slowed down over recent years by sunspots and the Chinese. Plans to privatise sunspots may be included in the 2015 Conservative manifesto.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Some People's Money is No Object

The greenest government ever has emulated New Labour and decreed that money will be no object when it comes to clearing up the country's old nuclear reactors. This rather delicate task has been outsourced to private companies, apparently because the private companies managing Sellafield have done so well in emulating the banking community and claiming bonuses out of all proportion to their performance. Naturally, the private companies are not prepared to accept liability for anything that may go wrong, because the risk is so small that they cannot afford the insurance; accordingly, the Bullingdon Club has arranged a cosy little deal whereby the taxpayer will cover any costs. The greenest government ever is so proud of its achievement in protecting the public that the news was buried in a departmental minute released a week before the parliamentary break, so that the full implications could be debated as thoroughly as the Government would prefer.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wonga Wonga Land Begins at Calais

Conservative MEPs - those nice people who teamed up with the Polish chancer Michal Kaminski and the Latvian Waffen-SS Memorial Club in preference to the mainstream centre-right - are worried that some of their colleagues on the mainland may be taking the collaboration business a bit too far. Timothy Kirkhope, a former apparatchik during the Major interregnum, has warned that certain europhobes are negotiating with opponents of Europe's headmistress just when Britain's Head Boy wants to wriggle himself into her good books. "Those two working together can probably achieve more in creating a Europe that is sustainable for the future than any other leading figures in politics at the moment," babbled Kirkhope, who evidently assumes that a prime minister who can control neither his squabbling ministers nor his brainless back-benchers must, by the law of averages, be able to manage something or other. In any event, Kirkhope misses the point. The europhobes in the Conservative Party do not want a sustainable Europe; they want splendid isolation in an offshore Third World tax haven, while Britain's Head Boy probably does not care very much one way or the other. One can hardly expect a salesman to show enthusiasm before the nature of the product has been decided.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Lessons in Moistural Redistribution

Mere experts have once more been pestering the faith-based community at Westminster with their market-force denial and undermining of family values. A group of heretics has published an open letter in the Torygraph urging, of all things, long-term measures to prevent flooding, and worrying that the present enthusiasm for dredging might cause flooding in different places. Having made it abundantly clear where flood defences and other green crap fall in his list of priorities, Britain's Head Boy would almost certainly like nothing better than for the flooding to happen in different places; preferably places where no enthusiasm for the Conservative Party is there to be dampened. Unlike Nigel Lawson or a teacher in a Gove Learning Emporium, the letter writers are also suspected of being qualified and knowing whereof they speak; this must be particularly galling for Britain's Head Boy, who is noted for taking advice from people who have avoided the obstructing intellectual baggage that comes with lack of ignorance. A spokesbeing was duly extruded to read out numbers proving that the cuts mean more money is being spent than ever before, and that lessons are being learned which show that the Government is already doing everything right.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fast Work

Twenty-seven of the country's fifty-nine Anglican bishops have signed a letter blaming cutbacks and failures in the benefits system for the growing number of people who have to rely on food banks. Doubtless it was the apparent fact that a simple majority of church leaders think the coalition is doing a bang-up job which emboldened the faith-based community at Westminster to publish a report, commissioned by the Government and handed in last summer, which found that the demand for food banks is due to poverty, unemployment and failures in the benefits system. This contradicts the famous claim by Iain Duncan Smith's altar-boy, Lord Freud, that the increase in food bank use resulted purely from the increase in availability coupled with the proles' insatiable appetite for a free lunch. Since those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear, the Government's eight-month delay in publishing the report must be ascribed to the need for a decent interval to elapse before the brilliant Duncan Smith announces that it has confirmed Lord Freud's correctitude in every particular.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Spiritual Advice

Dear Becky, now pay me due heed:
A shyster of pedigree breed
Should fast be brought in
To check on your sin
And wash you as white as you need.

Dictate his report and then print
Part one when the Met's done its stint.
Make tearful professions
That you have learned lessons,
And taken the virtuous hint.

Then, after the purges are through,
You can up and release volume two.
For now, pop some pills
And think not on your ills:
Tony's shoulder to shoulder with you.

Tough up, don't be rash and stay sleek:
Remember, when things appear bleak,
You can write your own books
On the journey of Brooks:
Rebekah: A Wade up Shit Creek.

Rev. Lynton Kilkelly

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Compounding Problems

The Christian state of Missouri has run into a little trouble putting its latest black man to death. To begin with, the necessary drugs have been banned by the European Union, driving the warriors for justice to seek alternative suppliers. In the case of the Christian state of Missouri, the alternative until recently was a venerable Oklahoma pharmacist called Apothecary Shoppe and founded, as one might expect, in 1995. However, in the face of legal challenges from lawyers acting on behalf of the correctional beneficiary, Apothecary Shoppe has now cut off supplies. It is rumoured that the Christian state of Missouri may have squirrelled away a stash in case of just such an emergency; but the democratic state of Missouri has come over all coy about just how it intends to get its Christian duty done. An execution last month in the Christian state of Ohio took twenty-six minutes to accomplish; and although Missouri may well have sufficient drugs to kill its wayward citizen, it remains an open question whether the punishment will be free of the Christian but unconstitutional qualities of cruelty and unusualness.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Ideology as Interior Life

The bloggery of J Sewell McEvoy is regrettably infrequent, but unfailingly interesting. The Numinous Book of Review specialises in the under-rated, the unreprinted and the undeservedly forgotten; I owe a particular debt of gratitude for this post which, more or less as an afterthought to its thoroughly intriguing main subject, pointed me towards one of the best Frankenstein adaptations I've ever seen, in a TV series that also includes a charming version of Robert Louis Stevenson's "The Suicide Club" and a Sweeney Todd which shows up the Tim Burton-Steven Sondheim epic as the stodgy confection it is. As his comments to this post demonstrate, Mr McEvoy's other virtues include a knowledgeable enthusiasm for the work of Peter Van Greenaway.

It's all the more flattering, therefore, that he has now posted a characteristically thoughtful review of my novella The Foundations of the Twenty-First Century, an alternate-world tale about the celebration of a peculiarly significant figure in our proud island story. The book is available as paperback or as PDF, and the opening can be read here; but whether you buy it or not, you should definitely treat yourself to a tour of Mr McEvoy's numinous archives.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Soggy in Surrey

Alas for the good folk of Surrey;
By floods they are horribly hit.
If that weren't enough of a worry,
Now Dave has plopped in for a bit.

The water has broken its courses;
But all will be fixed, by our souls,
With old English pluck, market forces,
And one or two kicks at the proles.

The Head Boy finds time to give greetings
With those on whom ill fortune came,
Although he must chair many meetings
To find someone else he can blame.

He lately has been much elated
With sacking whoever's to hand;
So, now the disaster's abated,
He statesmanlike strides on the strand.

He knows that a newspaper column
And photo can be of some use,
In showing him rugged and solemn
And wellied and windswept and puce.

No money, no sandbags, no workers
Are object (at least for his mouth);
For those here in need are no shirkers,
But real people down in the south.

It is a most dire situation,
Which grieves one as much as it moves;
And, since Dave's in for the duration,
Will get worse before it improves.

Carper Squelchy

Saturday, February 15, 2014

With Prejudice

Even in the Christian state of Texas, it appears, one can lock up an innocent man for too long. Jerry Hartfield was sentenced to death for murder in 1977, but the execution didn't take place fast enough and his conviction was overturned, whereupon the state governor commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. There was no retrial, and the district attorney has had the magnanimity to acknowledge that the Christian state of Texas "may be partially responsible" for that little omission. Nevertheless, it is only fair to say that a certain measure of blame attaches to Hartfield, who has the customary racial handicap and has cunningly arranged for a learning disability and a low IQ in order to avoid filing the necessary papers. Eventually some troublemaker pointed out to Hartfield that an overturned conviction means there is no sentence to commute, and the appeals courts ordered him retried or released. He is scheduled to stand trial again in a couple of months although, according to his lawyers, at least one key witness for the prosecution has died and some of the evidence has gone missing. All in all, it is the sort of thing which certainly couldn't happen here, particularly once the Graybeing vision has been fully implemented and our forensics service is run by Serco, our courts by G4S and the Department of Public Prosecutions by News Corporation.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Floating Alternatives

Missing the point as usual, the Environment Agency has cast doubt on the effectiveness of sandbags at keeping flood-water at bay. Sandbags are a cheap short-term fix and evoke memories of the Blitz, which is all the Government wants at the moment, and is certainly as much as the proles are entitled to ask for. It might be more efficient in the long run to use water pumps, adapt the drains or seal cavity walls with the pulped remains of the Cabinet; but such measures are unlikely to pass a cost-benefit analysis in a political culture where paying people to work is increasingly seen as economically non-viable. Purpose-built flood protection equipment, or any solution geared to a term longer than the life of a single parliament, would require sustained intervention by the evil public sector, which is not the sort of thing for which the Conservative Party won the Second World War.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Talk is No Object

Britain's Head Boy has taken time off from his half-hourly COBRA meetings, and has convened a special assembly of prefects and ink monitors to try and find a better way to deal with the floods than throwing Eric Pickles at the victims. As the chief salesman for a government which has cut the budget for climate change adaptation by forty per cent in a single year, Daveybloke also wagged the finger at the rest of Big School, proclaiming on regional radio that everyone else had to do better next time. For his own part, Daveybloke intends to have a bit of a chat to his chums in the railway companies about letting the proles use first-class carriages in areas where transport disruption exceeds the national average. Daveybloke also intends to have a bit of a chat to his chums in the energy cartel about being "socially responsible", by which he presumably means that the next round of price increases ought to be a bit more tactfully managed than the last one. Daveybloke also said he did not intend to take sides about dredging, before saying that not dredging had been a mistake and that he supported dredging, especially where it made a difference. In a sudden glorious triumph of backseat generosity over localism, one of Daveybloke's spokesbeings ordained that councils should not charge for sandbags. Meanwhile, Nick Clegg said that he had not bestowed his own presence on any flood-hit areas without first checking whether a visit from Nick Clegg would be worthwhile to somebody or other.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Water Libel

One of the Righteous State's various lunatic fringes has walked out of the Knesset because of an insufficiently craven attitude on the part of the European Union. The offender was Martin Schulz, the president of the European parliament, who committed the gaffe of mentioning Palestinian suffering even as he protested that the EU intended doing the usual next-to-nothing about it. Schulz is German, which provided the basis for a wholly acceptable and civilised ethnic snipe by one Naftali Bennet; the Righteous State having been the sole legitimate memorial and redemption of the Nazi Holocaust ever since the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Bennet, an economics minister as befits one afflicted with religious mania, called on the Netanyahoo to demand an immediate correction of the lie that Israelis consume seventy litres of water a day, as compared with seventeen for Palestinians. The World Bank found some years ago that Israelis had nearly four and a half times more water than the Palestinian invaders; but Israel's own national water authority said that the discrepancy is considerably smaller, so one would be a fool and an anti-Semite to believe otherwise.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Making a Posture Out of a Crisis

Britain's Head Boy, who appointed a climate change denier as environment secretary and whose government has been slashing away at the Environment Agency for the past few years, has had a bit of a wheeze about how to deal with the floods. Apparently what has been missing all this time is the calming yet inspiring presence of Britain's Head Boy himself. A local crisis, of course, can be nearly as convenient as a personal bereavement for the proper sort of statesman; and Daveybloke has cancelled a visit to the Middle East in order to demonstrate once and for all that he does occasionally have greater priorities than the convenience of Britain's arms dealers. In addition, whether by accident or by design, the warm-up act had been far too good to waste: it would be a bit of an overstatement to say that Owen Paterson makes Daveybloke look calm and competent, but Eric Pickles certainly enables him to pose as the less blundering of two school bullies.

As for the minor business of dealing with the floods, Daveybloke has lavished praise on the Environment Agency's staff, much as he did with the NHS before letting Twizzler Lansley loose on it. He has brought in the military, since his chums in the private sector are apparently too busy to help. He has promised to ask his chums in the insurance game not to soak victims too badly, and he has proclaimed that money is no object (doubtless the unemployed can spare a bit more), and he has resolved to chair a lot more meetings from now on. Well, I feel drier already.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Nearly as Effective as Tim Yeo

Hard-working families at British Gas have suffered the unpleasant experience of being attacked by a doormat. Ed Davey (not to be confused with Ed or Davey), the Bullingdon Club's junior fracking monitor, has made another of his nearly noticeable interventions, this time dashing off an orange-ink missive to the energy regulator suggesting that British Gas might possibly be in line for a bit of a dressing-down. As is customary these days in matters of mere public interest, Davey belched forth a large quantity of pre-electoral hot air, urging the regulator to "think radically", even unto the possibility of breaking up British Gas should that company be seen to make uncompetitive use of its humble forty-one per cent share of the market. Lest the uncharitable among you should suspect a bluff, Ed Davey is a Deputy Conservative, no less; so any threats he makes towards profiteers and cartels naturally have the full and enthusiastic backing of Britain's Head Boy and all his chums. For its own part, British Gas is almost certainly chastened to approximately the degree one would expect.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Green Gas

Strange as it may seem, in view of its much-documented concern for fairness, justice and human rights at home, Britain's greenest government ever has been accused of backsliding on such matters abroad. According to Amnesty International, the authorities in Algeria are restricting freedom of expression, dispersing demonstrations and harassing human rights defenders; so much so, in fact, that of the £303 million in export licenses to Algeria which have been approved over the past five years, £290 million was classed as "military". Coincidentally, Algeria has some of the largest natural gas reserves in Africa; and as recent weeks have shown, Britain is desperately short of renewables like wind and water. Doubtless the exports in question were marked with the mandatory Not to be used for internal repression; yet still there are those who worry that the British government has not yet learned the error of its ways in dealing with the Arab world's Theresa Mays. Even Muammar Gaddafi, despite his moral regeneration from dictator to "autocrat" in the wake of his love-in with the Reverend Blair, came to a bit of a sticky end, with unfortunate consequences for hard-working families like British Petroleum.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

For Harper is an Honourable Man

Mark Harper, the minister for wog expulsion, has resigned over an unauthorised wog whom he employed as a cleaner. While he claims to have broken no law, he holds himself to a higher standard than lesser mortals and has therefore fallen on his sword in an apparently unprovoked fit of sanctimony. Harper, who achieved national fame as the flunkey charged with defending the Government's squalid little Powellite Pantechnicon stunt, has been duly informed that his resignation does him Daveybloke's idea of honour (a singularly high standard, no doubt), and that he will be jolly welcome to return to the front benches once the laughter has died down. Concerning the fate of the unauthorised wog, there seems as yet little information; it is not even clear whether Harper had the courtesy to send a warning van to her address.

Friday, February 07, 2014

The Wogs Begin at Calais, Not Berwick

Britain's Head Boy is to deliver a major sales burble (or heartfelt plea, as the Guardian's resident psychic hath it) urging Scotland not to vote for independence, and urging the proles in the rest of the UK to do their bit towards keeping Big School together. Daveybloke will be burbling from the site of the London Olympics, thereby proclaiming that a vote for independence would be a betrayal of all that Team GB achieved. Daveybloke will burble about his personal ties to Scotland: he comes from a long line of absentee landlords and colonial exploiters, and one of his ancestors, like so many genuine Scots today, even had a castle in Aberdeenshire. Daveybloke will burble about all the wonderful things England has achieved, from Alfred the Great to Queen Elizabeth I, which would have been impossible without our owning Scotland as well. It is just possible that Daveybloke will refrain from accusing the pro-independence camp of trampling on the soul of Little Ivan and condoning genocide in Syria; but I doubt it can be guaranteed.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Mitigating Circumstances

Despite its national leadership in the business of executing coloured people of the fiscally-disadvantaged persuasion, the Christian state of Texas has shown that its rough justice has a compassionate side as well. A wealthy white teenager who killed four people and seriously injured two more in a drunk-driving accident has been put on probation and ordered to attend a rehabilitation facility. A psychologist testified that he was suffering from "affluenza", and that his upbringing prevented him from grasping the consequences of his actions. As in the United Kingdom, moral culpability is the preserve of the lower orders, whose worm's-eye view of the world is a nearly infallible socialising influence; doubtless it was pity for his handicap that kept the culprit from being identified as a terrorist and/or drug dealer and thus prevented Texas' Finest from shooting him dead at the site of the accident. It's a jolly good thing there is no such condition as non-affluenza, lackaemia or povertigo, otherwise the Christian state of Texas might never execute anyone at all.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Puce Alert

Gurgles of relief bubbled across the waterscapes of England and Wales today as it emerged that Britain's Head Boy is to take personal charge of the flood relief thingy. An elderly relative of Daveybloke's has been visiting some of the disaster areas and, unlike the democratically-elected Owen Paterson, found time to listen to the afflicted proles and express sympathy with their plight. Evidently the prospect of seeming more out of touch with the real world than the Prince of Wales has galvanised Britain's Head Boy into wishing to appear to be seen to be doing something or other. He is, of course, eminently qualified for dealing with floods; partly because he has the complexion and intellectual substance of a family-sized rubber dinghy, but mostly because he can call meetings of a thingy called Cobra and bluster about making the European Union wait for its money until Britain has dried out a bit. Daveybloke also helped out with a bit of tough and decisive finger-wagging at the Environment Agency, which hasn't done nearly enough despite all the efficiency savings the coalition has imposed, and which is to blame for everything else because it does not believe in dredging. Daveybloke does believe in dredging, because it "did work, frankly, for decades and centuries", rather like horse-drawn vehicles, stone tools, slavery and so forth.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Civilisation Deferred

Mission Afghanistan seems to be growing more and more accomplished, at least in terms of the Bullingdon-UKIP virtue of keeping the little woman in her place. A proposed change to the criminal prosecution code prohibits relatives from testifying against an accused person; since most Afghans live in extended families ("tribal compounds" in Dronespeak), and since the most popular cause of violence against women is family values, a healthy reduction in complaints about slavery and other abuses is to be expected. The Afghan parliament has passed the law, which now awaits the president's signature, subject to pressure from campaigners. Unfortunately, in the words of Britain's leading liberal newspaper, "countries that spent billions on trying to improve justice and human rights are now focused largely on security, and are retreating from Afghan politics." The awesome nobility of our intentions has once more been let down by the natives.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Genuine Hardship

Despite the Government's best efforts to simplify the benefits system so far that even Iain Duncan Smith can understand it, a depressing number of the deserving poor are still at considerable risk. The cap on rewards for failure means that senior bankers cannot even rely on their seven-figure bonuses to keep their children from starving. Instead, they are forced into underhanded tactics like seven-figure shares payouts, and humiliating expedients like running to the shareholders for extra pocket money. The next time you read complaints from some behind-the-blinds lurker who is nevertheless healthy enough to use social media, perhaps you might spare a thought for Antony Jenkins and his ilk, to whom we owe so much of our present situation and yet who have thus far shared so little in its joys.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Good Corporate Practice

Michael Gove, the Great War historian, co-author of the Bible and Murdoch swot in charge of juvenile patriotism, has been defending his purge of Sally Morgan, the dangerously female and left-wing chair of Ofsted. In the first place, Morgan has been doing a "fantastic job" and has "superlative gifts" - she is, in other words, somewhat qualified for the work she is doing. Naturally, this was a black mark against her in the eyes of Gove, who demands from others the same rigorous standards of gibbering incompetence that he habitually imposes on himself. In addition, it is Gove's view that "there is a principle across government that there should be no automatic appointment and that after three years or four years - whatever the term is - it is appropriate to bring a fresh pair of eyes. That is good corporate practice," and Gove's idea of education is nothing if not corporate. Gove himself has been in post for four years this coming May, but regrettably he does not appear to have been asked about his thoughts on the succession for the Ministry of Academy-Grubbing.

One of those who will most likely not inherit, Gove's Deputy Conservative doormat David Laws, seems to have had the moderating effect characteristic of the coalition's yellow partners: he extruded various spokesbeings to squeal that he was "absolutely furious at the blatant attempts by the Tories to politicise Ofsted." Somehow or other, Gove appears so far to have weathered that particular storm; and he got in a nasty dig at the enemy within by referring to a Liberal Democrat donor as "one of the guarantees of integrity you would expect".

Saturday, February 01, 2014

There Must Be Some Explanation

Those among the proles who are too feckless to sign up for private healthcare have been given another little hint: ambulances are taking longer to reach patients after 999 calls, so that victims of strokes, heart attacks and stabbings are having to wait up to two extra minutes before their efficiency-savioured medical attention can be administered. A Labour spokesbeing blamed the cuts and the resulting overwork in accident and emergency departments, but the real explanation is likely to be subtler: something to do with the ambulance crews being overpaid, like the long-term sick; or over-pensioned, like the evil public sector; or over-numerous, like the nurses; or over-qualified, like the teachers; or under-privatised, like the justice system; or buried under red tape, like the wealth creators; or health-and-safetied to death, like the Daily Mail; or too preoccupied with daytime television, like the unemployed; or simply uninterested in public health, like the health ministry. I wonder which one it might be.