The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Criminal Efficiency

The coalition's rehabilitation revolution, from the normal sub-Victorian inhumanity of confining prisoners in their cells twenty-three hours a day, to the petty sub-human vindictiveness of trying to prevent them reading, is of course designed to ensure as high a rate of re-offending as is compatible with corporate profits and ex-ministerial fiscal security. The privatisation of the probation service looks set to continue this brilliant trend, with Sodexo, the coalition's corporate henchman in six of the twenty-one offender recycling enterprises, making a healthy start on profit maximisation by sacking a third of its staff. A voluntary redundancy scheme has been torn up, which shows that Sodexo has the same respect for probation officers as the nice people at Serco and G4S have for the law; and the company plans to handle most of its workload through electronic sign-ons and call centres. It will all be jolly efficient, in the sense that there is very little profit in building titan prisons unless you can keep them full.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Scarcely the Old Feudal Spirit

An immigrant family business has been accused of bad faith and underpaying its staff, and this despite a small genetic connection to Britain's Head Boy himself. Staff at a Berkshire property belonging to the family of a Mrs Battenberg say they are paid less than the living wage; a spokesbeing confirmed this beyond all doubt by stating that serfs are kept in accordance with government guidelines. An "unsatisfactory pay offer" was accepted last year, on the understanding that additional payments would be considered this year; as is customary in such cases, the management seem to have considered the idea mainly as the chance for a patrician snigger ot two. There will now be a vote on withdrawal of "goodwill" (viz. unpaid) duties, which could mean that class war might break out in the very week when Mrs Battenberg's plump purple chum from Carlton Television is receiving due homage from the proles. It all seems frightfully inconvenient.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Ever-Increasing Insidiousness

Much to the chagrin of the faith-based community at Westminster, the European Union committee of the House of Lords has reported that there is no evidence of excessive Euro-wog influence in any aspect of British life. Chaired by a Conservative ex-minister, the committee even implied that Britain's Head Boy, in claiming that the Euro-wogs had excessive powers, was squealing the thing that was not. To any sensible hard-working family, of course, this merely means that the conspiracy is even more insidious and foreign than previously imagined; but the Conservatives decided that such subtlery of reasoning is beyond the average voter, and opted for simply burying the review. The Deputy Conservatives are very annoyed, now that a Real Conservative has consdescended to tell them all about it; and there are rumblings of discontent in the business community. A spokesbeing for the empty suit at the Ministry for Wogs, Frogs and Huns, however, declared that the review showed that, as usual, the faith-based community at Westminster had been right all along. Remarkably, in spite of their qualms being borne out in every particular, the Conservatives' friends in the Press have said very little about it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

But Will There Be Tough?

The Ministry for Profitable Incarceration has sneaked through a contract with a foreign company for the UK's first "titan prison", a vast human warehouse first proposed under the kidnap-and-torture régime of New Labour, and subsequently designed to ensure that any attempt by a future government to cancel the project would result in severe and uncompromising punishment for the taxpayer. Fortunately, an incoming government from the other wing of the British Neoliberal Party would be open to other possibilities, provided only that they were punitive enough. The shadow Minister for Profitable Incarceration, Sadiq Khan, claims that he would cancel plans for a new "secure college" (child warehouse, in Oldspeak), partly because it wouldn't cost anything, but mainly on the grounds that the institution "would do little to punish and reform young offenders".

Friday, March 27, 2015

Coming Soon

Thursday, March 26, 2015

They Hate Our Freedom Still

Some eminently sane proceedings at the Old Bailey have ended in a verdict of acquittal for a man charged with plotting to commit acts of terrorism. The trial was originally intended to be held entirely in secret, but after a legal challenge by the media the appeal court put in place a compromise arrangement whereby some of the trial was secret and some of it could be attended by up to ten journalists who were ordered to report only the good bits. The reasons for the secrecy are also a matter of secrecy, although it is believed that security agencies may have uttered the magic words terrorism, national security and brown person, which generally suffices. Meanwhile, the mad old cat lady at the Home Office will doubtless be deeply concerned that a partially secret trial has resulted only in a partially guilty verdict (the accused was found guilty of possessing a bomb-making manual). Certainly the results would have been far more satisfactory if only things had been done in a more confidential, cosy and British fashion.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Ignorant and backsliding persons are furthering their evil anti-business agenda with a vicious attack against the innocent pursuit of wealth on the National Health Service. It will be remembered that Twizzler Lansley, the dead-eyed apparatchik charged with pimping the coalition's NHS wrecking bill, took advice from the fast-food industry while ignoring such founts of pseudo-medicine as the BMA. Now McDonald's and Burger King are reaping their rewards through endorsement of their products by association with hospitals, while the BMA is understandably displeased. Taking on the usual function of a parliamentary select committee (viz. the function that used to be the prerogative of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition), the select committee on health has called for a ban; although, as usual, nobody seems to know where else the NHS is going to get its money, since Jeremy C Hunt's Department for Health and News Corporation certainly has no interest in supplying it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Calling All Churchills

With all its achievements in regard to the budget deficit, the NHS, the infrastructure and the greenest badger-hunt ever, it is hardly surprising that the Government should wish to fall back on wog-bombing to scrape a few votes in this glorious anniversary year of VE Day, VJ Day and the Dardanelles Campaign. Alexei Pushkov's comments yesterday have evidently sent a few Conservative cog-wheels creaking into motion, and today the Minister for War and the Colonies announced that he would "beef up" the defence of the Falkland Islands. There are rumours that Argentina has secured a deal with Russia for the lease of twelve long-range bombers which, in the vew of the Ministry for War and the Colonies, means the likelihood of attack on the islands is increasing. Numerous global threats may also be materialising, despite Britain's consistently pacific stance and its provision of a seemingly inexhaustible supply of Tony Blair.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Not the Same Sort of Thing At All

Some remarks by an empty suit on the subject of the Eastern Question appear to have given a Russian parliamentarian occasion to blaspheme. "The annexation of Crimea was illegal and illegitimate in March 2014, and remains illegal and illegitimate in March 2015," proclaimed Britain's Head Boy's minister for Wogs, Frogs and Huns; whereupon the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee started drawing comparisons with the Falkland Islands, over which the sainted Thatcher fought a war for peace, freedom and democracy thirty-three years ago. The war cost more than nine hundred lives, many of them British, and was fought against a fascist dictatorship with which the sainted Thatcher's government had been, until then, only moderately friendly. Twenty years after first annexing the islands, Britain fought a war for peace, freedom and civilisation in the Crimea itself, to protect the democratic and humane Ottoman Empire against the illegal and illegitimate onslaught of the baby-eating Russian Bear. Russia's own experience of such purely defensive and democratic wars and land-grabs has, of course, been laughably limited, particularly since the year of the London Blitz.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Right-Wing Solutions

Over the past twenty-four years, five hundred and nine people in prison, police custody or migrant detention have been detrimented without due care and attention, or occasionally with excessive assertiveness. Some of the prison detrimentations showed a "lack of care and disregard for human life that is so blatant that it often appears as deliberate acts and omissions by individuals and institutions", which clearly shows that the minions of Serco and G4S have taken to heart the British Neoliberal Party's policy of perennial and ever-increasing toughness. Fortunately the five hundred and nine demising resources were all wogs, so nobody is to blame; and the Insititute of Race Relations reports that matters can only improve given that the present régime of profitable incarceration makes it even harder for troublemakers to interfere. There has been, as yet, no indication from Britain's Head Boy whether any of this makes him as physically unwell as the thought of allowing prisoners to vote.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Financial Headache

Yet further evidence of efficientisation in Jeremy C Hunt's Department for Health and News Corporation emerged today, when the charity Meningitis Now politely reminded the Government that vaccines tend to save lives and that, at least in a few unregenerate back-wards of the NHS, saving lives is still nearly as important as saving money. A vaccine was recommended to the Department of Health a year ago by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation; but it has not been introduced because the Government is still negotiating the price with a drug company. It is as yet unclear whether coalition ministers have shares or hopes of directorships in the company; therefore it also remains unclear whether the Government is trying to negotiate the price downwards or upwards.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Republican Party Reptile

Fury at continuing God denial horror

Creationists in North Carolina have been praising the divine sense of humour as another faith-testing prank was unearthed by palaeontologists.

Fossil evidence has been uncovered of a 9-foot terrestrial crocodile which walked through the Triassic on its hind legs. It is thought to be one of the most ferocious and primitive Republicans on record.

Members of creationist and Young Earth congregations could be heard into the small hours, chanting praise for Jesus and anti-palaeontologist slogans.

"This proves beyond all doubt that creatures essentially resembling Republicans walked the earth long before the so-called dinosaurs," said lay preacher and mobile home salesman Pollock Squalous in between hosannas.

"It throws a God-shaped spanner right into the whole Islamo-evolutionist hen-run, and there's places where the sun's gone out as well. Coincidence? I don't think so."

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Stuffing Themselves On Stephen Green's Tax Money

Mere experts - those dreadful, obstructive Blob-things which have stood in the way of every effort by the Bullingdon Club to drag our great country back to the glory days of the workhouse, the Jarrow March and Oswald Mosley - have raised the usual nit-picking objections to Britain's Head Boy's latest wheeze on public health. It will be remembered that our slender, lissom leader proclaimed war on fat people as part of the new régime to get the proles fit enough to deserve their welfare benefits. After all, there's no point slashing the safety net to tatters if someone the size of Eric Pickles is just going to come along and sit on it, what? Anyway, an editorial in the notoriously terrorist-sympathetic Lancet has been so frivolous and backsliding as to take issue with the idea that poor people should be compelled to attend weight reduction classes in return for social security payments. The Lancet finds the proposal "financially and ethically questionable", which is unlikely to raise more than a quick snigger from a party chaired by Michael Green and run by Rupert Murdoch. Worse yet, as is the way of mere experts, the editorial goes on to recommend that "any mandated programme should have a strong evidence base for success", and even seems worried that requiring proles to undergo major surgical procedures as a condition of receiving benefits could be "far from ethical" even if junk food manufacturers and private health companies were somehow to increase their profits.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Steady Hand in Your Pocket

The Budget! Rah rah! Come on, chaps!
Cry God, Queen and good old Grant Shapps!
I'm a good smarmy bragger
With plenty of swagger -
Of course they'll forget the collapse!

The Budget! I'll wave my red box,
And gas every Miliband fox;
We'll win, and hey presto,
Sod that manifesto -
The voters can take some more knocks!

The Budget! My targets all missed!
Those billions murally pissed!
But I'll go to work
With my Bullingdon smirk -
They'll never find strength to resist!

Gideon Fatwick

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Truth They Don't Want You to Read

As usual, British democracy is under threat; and, as usual, the source of the threat is not what you might think. British democracy is not, for example, threatened by the spectacle of the Government and Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition standing shoulder to shoulder against the poor. British democracy is not threatened by the idea that the SNP, a legally constituted British political party, has no place in the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament. British democracy is not threatened by the lobbying system, the FPTP voting system, the near-total lack of policy difference between the two and a bit main parties, or the standard shrug-it-off-or-sack-a-spad response which members of the House of Claimants generally adopt when they are caught with their hands in the till, their snouts in the trough and their arses in the breeze. No; British democracy is threatened by conspiracy theories on Facebook. It must be true, because Douglas Alexander heard it in a supermarket.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Cultural Misunderstanding

Another greasy foreigner is trying to tell Britain's Head Boy what to do. The culprit this time is Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council and former prime minister of Poland, who so culpably failed to prevent his countrymen coming over here and taking British jobs. Tusk had the cheek to insist on a "limited and rational framework" for Britain's as-yet-undisclosed new battery of opt-outs, and even went so far as to demand a "concrete proposal" in place of the usual Little Englander grandstanding and reminders of who won the war. It is possible that the problem lies in the language barrier: Tusk stated at one point that Britain's Head Boy should be helped "because he is obviously pro-European". A rudimentary acquaintance with the British language would have informed Tusk that Britain's Head Boy is in favour of Britain's Head Boy, and that pretty much everything else is up for grabs.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Their Great Achievement

O mothers, we send you our loving
Today when we honour your role,
Your great, saintly virtue in shoving
Some squalling flesh out of a hole.

You nurtured your uterine tumours
For all that your DNA's worth,
To blossom as fragrant consumers
Adorning this ape-ridden Earth.

Each fighting so all of the others
May starve so that some can grow fat,
While breeding new fodder. O mothers,
We certainly thank you for that.

Mo Foe

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Prolefeed With Added Green Crap

It is gratifying to record that some of the nice people who advised Twizzler Lansley on his Health and Social Care Abolition are now receiving their due kickback. The Government's Technology Strategy Board, now rebranded with the managerial anonym Innovate UK, is throwing taxpayers' money at the likes of Nestlé and Pepsi so that they can greenwash their methods of inducing obesity and heart attacks. According to the health charities reporting on the coalition's generosity, some of the payouts exceed the amounts available for local health services to spend on dealing with the health problems which the payouts are helping to cause. "We recognise just how important nutrition is going to be in the food industry in the next five to ten years," blathered a spokesbeing for Innovate UK; and it is devoutly to be hoped that the establishment of a connection between food and nutrition within a mere decade is not too ambitious a target for the brightest and best in Whitehall.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dire Consequences

On behalf of everyone else who is concerned about the freedom of poor people to choose between heating and eating, investment bankers and the energy cartel are squealing about Labour's latest proposal to give regulators the power to regulate. "This is a very complicated market," warned an investment banker, who raised the spectre of regulators concluding that prices should rise. At the moment, of course, prices and profits rise when costs rise; and when costs fall, profits rise while prices stay about the same or else rise slightly less than they might have done, depending on what everyone else in the cartel happens to think they can get away with. Clearly, all is for the best in this best of all possible markets, and excessive regulation can only mean that prices might possibly rise anyway, which is the very thing competition and the free market are designed by God to prevent.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Fan

"I know it's no deadline to miss,
But right now? Are you taking the piss?"

Cumbergag Nee

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Needling the Haystack

The mad old cat lady at the Home Office has done her bit for law and order by slapping down the London Haystack and the chairman of the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club, Sir Bernard Hog-and-Howitzer, who have both been squealing for new toys. The mad old cat lady has deferred until after the election any decision on whether the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club will be allowed to use water cannon along with all its other little perks. The decision is a sound one for several reasons; notably the fact that the water cannon have already been paid for, but only by the taxpayer, so that comparatively few major Conservative donors are in immediate danger of losing out. Additionally, the water cannon themselves are immigrants, having been manufactured in Germany where many cities are no doubt just like London in all sorts of ways. Most importantly of all, the decision puts one of the mad old cat lady's rivals firmly in his place, so that the risk of lawlessness and anarchy in the Conservative Party can be minimised in the event that the Milibeing somehow fails to put the present Head Boy back in Downing Street.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Simple Solutions For Simple Minds

I am in receipt of my first bit of election bumph, or my second if one counts the Chancellor's recent gobbet of scrounger-baiting. The Farage Falange has evidently taken to heart my constructive criticism of the incoherent squeal which was its bumph at the local elections last year, and has presented me with a long list of things - limited resources, green spaces, the NHS, congestion, overdevelopment, libraries, rising crime, lack of parking, etc. - in the hope that I am concerned about at least some of them. Under the Farage Falange there will be more sovereignty, less regulation, more services, less income tax, more green spaces, less green crap, more NHS (the Caudillo is apparently in favour this week) and lots more parking. The Farage Falange, as usual, will achieve all this and solve everything else by leaving the EU, thereby opening Britain up to global trade where we will obviously do much better with the EU as one of our competitors. (We will not be a trading partner of the EU, because that would mean signing up to a lot of regulations from which the Farage Falange is sworn to liberate us.) Even "our tolerant society" has been endangered by the beastly wogs, which is certainly too bad of them; and the Farage Falange, bless it, has plans to fix that too.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Gentlemen's Agreements

Well, thank heavens this sort of thing couldn't happen here. The Swedish foreign minister, a second-class human being according to the dictates of Allah as revealed to the House of Saud, claims that Riyadh blocked her speech on women's rights and achievements. The Saudis are also annoyed at her for speaking out against the sentencing of a Saudi blogger to a thousand lashes and ten years in prison for "insulting Islam". The Swedish coalition is in the middle of an argument over whether it should renew a memorandum of understanding on selling weapons to Saudi Arabia; the business community, with its usual ethical delicacy, has already ordered that the arrangement should be continued, while a former right-wing defence minister has lamented Sweden's lack of soft power among the Middle East's various dictatorships, theocracies and apartheid rogue states. Nevertheless, there is actually some debate as to whether the memorandum will be renewed, despite the notorious conditions of deprivation and poverty in which arms dealers live the world over. Evidently the Swedes have little conception of the more civilised arrangement used in the UK, whereby all exported weapons are stamped Not to be Used for Internal Repression, and that takes care of the human rights angle apart from a bit of tut-tutting.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Helping Them to Help Themselves

Less than a month after Britain's lissom, slender Head Boy declared his war on fat people, it appears that the UK is already in danger of being overtaken in the race to make the obese feel the weight of their irresponsibility. The government of Puerto Rico is considering a new law which would enable parents of overweight children to be charged with neglect and fined. According to the president of the Puerto Rico chapter of the American Academy of Paediatrics, "they’re not involving pediatricians, nutritionists, dieticians, the people who prepare the lunches in schools, in any of this. Teachers aren’t trained to identify obese children; they don’t have the time, the facilities or the knowledge. They’re asking people with no knowledge of dealing with obesity to identify these patients." While it is certainly refreshing to see the Third World adopting the enlightened approach and advanced social measures of faith-based governments in the West, Britain's Head Boy will no doubt be a little concerned to see the UK falling behind like this, especially as Puerto Rico is already far closer to achieving the levels of poverty and deprivation at which all two and a half branches of the British Neoliberal Party have been aiming for so long.

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Pay Restraint

After only seven years of losses, the Royal Bank of Scotland appears finally to be getting back on its feet, since it has just paid out six-figure bonuses to a hundred and twenty-eight of the wealth creators at its top trough. Three received up to six million euros (£4.3 million); doubtless because of personal humility, their identities are a secret. According to the non-executive director of the remuneration committee, these amounts constitute a reduction, and some money has even been clawed back, despite the notorious deterrent effect such measures have upon the brightest and the best. Still, those taxpayers who lack the resources to take advantage of our wholly legal loopholes and the relaxed attitude of HMRC will be gladdened to hear that only a further six or seven billion pounds and another five years will be required before RBS can start earning its keep.

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Destruction of St Anthony

The American came down like a wolf on the fold
With Tony in tow, for the petrol and gold;
And the shock and the awe were most charming to see,
And the money rolled in, just as smooth as could be.

Then Tony went off to start keeping the peace
And finding new flocks he could lecture and fleece,
While the wails of the widows were lost in the spin
Of his fine godly yap, and his sanctified grin.

"Be not pessimistic, for decency's sake!
Look not at the trouble that came in our wake!
Peace, freedom, democracy, brought here right fast;
Let Clio herself be my judge at the last!"

The pious crusaders found rich pastures new,
And boasted their bombings; indeed, it is true,
It happens at times that a troublesome nation
May find Roman peace in a good devastation.

But those who claim judgement by History's light
Or God's, are most prone to obscure and re-write;
And so from the ruins arose a mad horde
Whose notion of God was a little bit flawed.

Like Tony and chums, they did well at their killing,
Although their exploits were not nearly so thrilling;
And, subject unto most irrational fits,
They came upon Clio, and blew her to bits.

Alas for poor Tony, and all he has wrought!
Where judge has been murdered, the verdict is nought;
And, whether his doings were naughty or nice,
The verdict of Justice may have to suffice.

Nimrod Fitzbyron

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Useful Information

Some close chums of Goldman Sachs have opened the Conservative election campaign in earnest by sending me one of the Chancellor's fraudulent annual tax summaries. It consists of a pie chart showing that a quarter of my taxes went on a big red slice called Welfare, thus stimulating my Daily Mail receptivity centres with the idea that more of my tax money is spent on scroungers than on state pensions, education, health or keeping me safe from Islamic terrorists and the beastly Russians. Unfortunately, the document is a little imprecise. There is, for example, no indication of how much Welfare spending goes to pay for idlers' plasma televisions and how much goes to top up low wages in the face of unrestricted rents. There is no indication of whether the money thrown at private companies to chivvy cancer patients into work counts as Welfare or as Business and Industry. There is no indication to show how much of the health budget goes on actual healthcare, or to show how much more could have gone on actual healthcare if Iain Duncan Smith's mother had been given a free abortion. There is, however, a list of figures, headed How your tax conributed to public spending and linking my tax payments to specific expenditures, with a note at the bottom stating that the figures show no direct link between my tax and any specific expenditures. There is, in addition, a redeemingly useful bit which tells me how to opt out of receiving any more annual tax summaries.

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

They Shorten Our Memories, Too

Eighty-seven per cent of people who use smartphones do not become addicted, according to a study by the University of Derby. Most participants in the survey said that their phones caused distraction from other aspects of their lives; much as, in the olden days, people were distracted by television, radio, newspapers, gossip, other human beings and even telephones. Although the authors of the study are not suggesting that addiction to smartphone use is the same as addiction to cigarettes or alcohol (viz. addiction), they do think smartphones can cause narcissism, except possibly in researchers from the University of Derby, because a third of participants in the survey admitted to believing they knew better than the authorities. The researchers believe that certain games should display health warnings to deter excess play, such as Warning! This game is highly addictive! You may end up playing for hours and it may cause you to neglect your other [sic] responsibilities! It is as yet unclear how many people at the University of Derby have nothing better to do.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

A Fuel and its Money

Ethically challenged mental midgets are cock-a-hoop with antipreneurial joy today, having scored another petty yet perilous victory against the American Dream. Greenpeace discovered that a prominent climate change denier was accepting seven-figure sums in research funding from the likes of Exxon Mobil; which of course did not affect his scientific conclusions in the least, any more than funding from Big Government would bias a scientist in favour of high taxes, public healthcare and other forms of socialist collectivism. Nevertheless, donors have been embarrassed into cutting off the funds, and one electric utility has even been subjected to queries about why it is throwing money at bad science when it might be reducing bills. The bad scientist himself had a bit of a squeal via the website of the Heartland Institute, a market-fundamentalist madrasa based in Chicago, and apparently it's all a conspiracy.

Monday, March 02, 2015


Despite the best efforts of the greenest government ever and its eminently impartial chums in the popular press, the British public remains deplorably ignorant about the cost, capacity and efficiency of wind power. Most people believe that costs are fourteen times higher than they are, underestimate the energy that turbines produce and overestimate the energy needed to keep them turning. Nevertheless, public support for wind power remains high; which only goes to show, once more, the inherent illogicality of the British prole. Thank goodness for the Westminster set and their paymasters in the cuddly coal and sustainable uranium industries, who continue to protect us from ourselves in return for such notoriously moderate financial gain.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Raising Standards

Britain's Head Boy's monitor in charge of tuck-box has issued members of the House of Claimants with a stiff talking-to about being more forthcoming with the public. "Precisely because politics has become more elitist, more apparently to the public, an insider’s game, it is all the more important to get the rules right"; therefore the immediate necessity is not (perish the thought) to ensure that MPs actually work as MPs, but to suggest very, very forthrightly that they police themselves with sufficient rigour to declare up-front how many trotters they intend keeping in the trough once elected. This tough new régime will mean giving the voters a choice between corporate sponsors, rather than anything so undemocratic as a perceptible difference in policy; and "if the public feels that they have been brought into a decision on this matter, that can only be helpful". Reassuringly enough, the monitor in charge of tuck-box is "absolutely sure" that Britain's Head Boy is jolly concerned about the whole affair. After all, nobody really knows how many more members of the House of Expenses Claimants, under pretence of spreading murder, mayhem and torture for glorious profit, are in fact mere chiselling little crooks.