Wednesday 31 October 2012

The dirty, dirty bastards!

So, here's the thing. The reason I wasn't chattering away on Twitter last night? (What do you mean, you didn't notice?) I had to drive up to Leeds to get my house back.

Four years ago, when I first rented it out it was all newly finished. Rewire, new kitchen & bathroom,  re-plastered,  new central heating & beautifully decorated throughout. Early this year, when the first tenant left, it was still pretty much immaculate. Now, nine months later, I receive an anonymous text, asking me if it is available for rent, as it is empty.

What the f...? Call tenant; no pickup. Send text seeking explanation; received text back saying she'd tried many times to contact me to no avail. Funny how, when she blew up the washing machine, broke the back door and flooded the bathroom, etc, she could get hold of me just like that. Funny how everybody else who tried to contact me on holiday had no problem doing so.

Cool as you like she informed me she'd vacated ten days ago, that she'd got a council house and when would I like to pick up the keys? Leeds is only 110 miles from Birmingham, but it took 2-1/2 hours to get there through rush hour, accidents and lane closures. Did she show? Of course not. My reception committee was a pair of sub-human, track-suited, pond scum with overtones of welfare-funded, common or garden paedohilia in the form of a hooded middle aged man with an emaciated teenage kid in tow, who tossed the keys to me from over the road with a cursory grunt...

Their reason for my ex-tenant's no-show? She had the kids 'back'. When she took the place - recommended by previous perfect tenant - she had only one brat... turns out the others have been recovered from the social services lost property shop. To people like this, this is just a normal event. When I got inside I immediately saw the real reason she didn't meet me... dirty protest. (The kids are just an excuse; as easily ditched as soon as a better offer arises.) No wonder I got no notice until the evacuation was a done deal.

To us, the decent, striving, tax-paying fuellers of the economy, Life of Grime was a freak-show documentary about people with extraordinary and slightly amusing mental aberrations. To the underclass of idle, scrounging, sprog-popping, benefit-thieving peasants, it was a design for life. The Labour Party would have you believe that everybody is deserving of minimum standards way above those they have the ability to afford or appreciate. I defy you, after seeing the state she left MY house in to demand anything better than extinction for this breed of animal.

Labour's legacy

I am owed rent. The place needs a top-to-bottom, hospital-standard, disinfectant deep-clean -  full carpet & curtain replacement, new shower, total redecoration - before it's fit again for habitation. So, not content with taking our money - she/they lived entirely off the state - she sees nothing wrong in leaving me further costs to recover what is mine to a reasonable standard.

Do I have any sympathy for these generations of 'forgotten' souls? Do I believe for one second that they are the equal of any other human being? Do I think their squalid, mean, existences can be improved and that that improvement would benefit society as a whole? Do I reckon this breed of sub-human is the result of decades of mealy-mouthed, weak Socialism?

What do you think?

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Been mad for fucking years...

The one thing you can guarantee about statistics used by politicians is that they are flawed. Usually simply wrong, sometimes falsified and fudged to prove something they don’t actually prove, but more often they are just interpreted and deployed polemically. Better still, why bother with any real statistics at all? Just quote vague numbers and hope to provoke a visceral call to arms. Thus does Ed Miliband talk about ‘the biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age’, which he says ‘blights millions of people's lives’.

Millions, Ed? How many millions of people do you adjudge to be actually mentally ill, rather than a bit down in the dumps?  On LBC Radio today he talked about a One Nation approach to mental illness; about putting it at the TOP of the political agenda. So, what are you saying, Eddy-baby? That the economy, immigration, the EU, education et al should take a back seat to lunacy? That we’re a nation of nutters? Well we did suffer thirteen years of Labour rule after all.

Then, with a conjurer’s braggadocio he brandishes a bouquet of fragrant, tragic, magic numbers to back up his claims; that mental illness costs the NHS an extra £10 billion and the wider economy £26 billion a year. So in his estimation the total cost of dealing with mental health issues is more than our military defence budget? Where do these numbers come from and how in hell can you quantify something quite so nebulous as mental health?

He attacks Jeremy Clarkson and Janet Street-Porter for ‘belittling’ sufferers and making light of suicide and depression. Naturally Jezzer does what he does best and comes back with,  “I'm not sure he's right in the head.”Gotta love JC! But Janet SP is bang on with her analysis; we give in all too quickly to that which most of us could resist, deny or shrug off.

Depression is very much the slippery, difficult-to-prove malaise du jour for those who wonder why happiness eludes them. Some find Buddhism, but who has the time these days? Of course I’m not going to deny that real depression exists, or that it hurts. I've been there. I've curled up in that foetal ball and wept myself to sleep. I've felt all alone in the dark, worthless and wounded and wanting it all to end. I've longed for somebody to tell me it wasn't my fault and here, take your lithium and all will be well.

But it wouldn't be well, would it? Just as diagnoses of ADHD have been encouraged by the makers of Ritalin, the nutjob industry is keen to sell counselling and tranquillisers to desperate housewives and needy under performers in all walks of life… You’re not fat, you’re disabled. You’re not thick, you’re ‘special’. You’re not mediocre, you just have low self-esteem. It's not your fault, you have an addictive personality. Mostly self-pitying bollocks. So now, you’re not just stressed out, you’re proper poorly; Pop a pill, Popeye and join the wacky races...

The lunatics are taking over the asylum

Taking a public stance against anybody denying the scale of this partly imaginary problem is just another opportunity to engender faux outrage. Insensitivity is the favourite thing to get sensitive about these days. So I expect a bit of hate for writing this. Why, only last night I got blocked for saying much more gently what I'm saying now; that much of the problem lies with a too-ready tolerance of anything and everything and once again it's a case of the minorities dictating to the masses. I think you'll find that's the opposite of democracy and Miliband is quite sane enough to exploit it for knee-jerk votes.

But what do I care? In words from everybody's favourite Dark Side, "I've been mad for fucking years, absolutely years, been over the edge for yonks, been working me buns off for bands... I've always been mad, I know I've been mad, like the most of us...very hard to explain why you're mad, even if you're not mad..." Mad? I'm livid!

Monday 29 October 2012

So, what did Jimmy fix for you?

I go away for two weeks and you're STILL all talking about Mr Savile's predatory sexual tendencies in tones of horror and surprise and guess what? Out of the wormy woodpile ooze more and more of the allegedly abused, fuelling more and more calls for inquiries and prosecutions (and compo, obviously) and more and more demands for – yet again – the government to fix things for you, to make it all pretty and nice and happy again. 

The BBC is tying itself up in knots and injunctions are being prepared to stop anybody delving where delving might uncover something secret, dirty… something old and dusty and long forgotten. But what do you want? Do you not remember the 1970s, when all men were declared to be potential rapists? Have you not noticed how few jobs you can hold today without having a criminal records check? Are we already at the point where all men are potential paedophiles? 

The prurience of the human race appears to resist all attempts to set boundaries. So long as that unhealthy curiosity is aimed at high profile members of society and stoked up by the gutter press, spewing semi-literate, baying-mob fodder you all feel secure and smug in your little bubbles of bile. But just look at what you’re really doing. 

Incapable of exercising moral restraint yourselves you call for MORE state control, which will result in MORE suspicion with little evidence. There will be MORE legislation, leading to MORE lawyers; nobody can believe that’s a good thing. Where there are more lawyers there is usually less justice – you get the trial you can afford and wealthy criminals do far less time. 

And what are you really getting outraged by? What age is too young? Stop the countdown when that vein in your temple starts to throb: sixteen, fifteen, fourteen, thirteen, twelve…? You might want to check your geography (or your preferred century) before you decide. And what else is ‘wrong’? At what point does an admiration for stockings and suspenders (‘full webbing’ in military parlance) tip over into unhealthily kinky? One person’s light, playful restraint is another’s full-on bondage. Anal, anybody? 

Because, once you go down this road everything will be codified, classified and criminalised. Youthful indiscretions and experiments will stay with you forever. Two fifteen-year olds are caught in flagrante delicto - when he’s forty, will it still be on record that he had sex with a fifteen-year old? Not very many years ago this sort of thing would be controlled at a local level. A few stern words, parental correction, the odd threat… an occasional precautionary beating or a running out of town. 

Now, just like jobs, the economy, education, welfare, care, transport, agriculture, planning, policing, justice, arbitration, opening hours, drugs, driving, families, health and bloody safety etc, you want even our social mores to be dictated and regulated by increasingly unelected and sub-competent governments; because you can’t even be bothered to do the slightest thing for yourselves any more… like voting. 

Would you wanna be in his gang?

So, before you all start with the righteous indignation and the holier-than-thou proselytising, have a good long look at whatever it is gets your engine going behind closed doors. And you know who I feel sorriest for? Gary Glitter. All the poor fella wants is to be left alone. He just wants to lead a quiet life and have kids

Friday 26 October 2012

Back in control

Well, hard on the heels of the "Oh, my God! Really?" news that thick unsocialised scum spawn yet more thick unsocialised scum (under a system known, ironically, as Socialism) comes a long-awaited official recognition of another obvious correlation. Ian Duncan Smith has been hinting about it for years and using delicately phrased language to express those hints but now he's more or less said it outright in terms that even bottom feeding Labour voters can grasp.

"the current payment of benefits is supporting “dysfunctional behaviour” and for some families “the notion of taking a job is a mug’s game”" (Click the link and read it for yourself)

Good news. Does this signal a new confidence in the Conservative Party? It's about time they ditched the Limp Demics and said what needs to be said. Population Control. That's the solution - don't breed what we can't feed. Herds of wildebeest grow in number when the grazing's good and shrink, by attrition when it isn't. Populations of all kinds depend for survival on availability of resources and parasites cannot live without a host. I'm fed up of being part of that host population and you should be too.

But IDS should go a step further and move towards a wholesale reduction in benefits across the board. It is unconscionably stupid that a family paying tax should receive benefits paid from that same tax. It is outrageous that successive governments have invented benefits that hide the truth and take unemployable people off the jobless statistics. We should call a spade a spade, ya dig?

A reduced and stable population with the right attitudes and skills would steadily push up employment rates, which would steadily increase wages and a reduced state would decrease necessary taxation. It should be possible to have kids - if you must (sigh) - on a single full-time wage, but if you have other desires you'll have to make hard choices.

In 1957 Harold Macmillan said "You've never had it so good." He must be spinning in his grave.

Thursday 25 October 2012

Back to the drawing board

Well, in preparation for my triumphant return to home shores, it’s time to revert to UK blogging themes and get up a good head of steam for next week’s rants. Let’s see... PM inadvertently reveals possible good economic news during PMQs, to the chagrin of the feeble opposition benches? Nope, too flimsy, the Red Eds can wait. Hmm, what’s this about mortgages being harder to get? Old news.

Aha! Nothing like a recurrent theme to get my outrage glands secreting bile at the gush. Nobody with half a brain can deny there is something deeply wrong with British education these days and it turns out that is the nub of the problem; much of the early school intake possesses exactly that amount of brain. As with all social ills, I have been saying this for decades. Here’s the headline: 

Before certain women go off on one, just because I am a man it does NOT mean I cannot have a valid opinion on this subject. I've kept my bloggy postulations away from rape, abortion, sexual equality and all those other subjects some of you will not allow men to debate, but on this I will have my say because it affects me as well. If we allow this to continue we will have a nation of sub-human, quasi-sentient, feral scum sucking the last few drops of succour from the few remaining domiciled tax payers. 

In calling for early intervention, the article says “...there are[sic] a group of children for whom the state has to intervene because they will grow up in circumstances so chaotic that [that] they are actively harmed by the failure to be in a nurturing environment [where] they can learn the sorts of habits which allow them [to] become effectively socialised.” 

I’d argue for intervention much earlier than pre-school. We should be intervening pre-life itself. We don’t need a generation of children in state care, we need a class of children not there; those parents simply must not be allowed to breed. You can go shove your human rights fairy tales right up your arse. There is no such thing as natural human rights, but there are very many human wrongs. And we will pay for these particular human wrong ‘uns for their entire life. Banged up, on welfare, on drugs, in rehab, on parole and dependent for their very survival on a combination of state handouts and crime. 

These nasty little bastards are only going to end up in jail anyway so why tolerate their existence at all? If you don't want a burgeoning criminal class (Guess what - too late!) pest control will be far more effective, far more quickly than any combination of 'caring' interventions. What’s that? You’re all too soft and flabby after years of socialism and the fictions of equality and individual worth? 

Can't make an omelette without it.

Then avert your eyes and stick your fingers in your ears, turn your backs for a few years and let the government assemble hit squads to go out and stamp on their heads at the earliest opportunity. I told you before that if we want our civilisation back we need to start with a cull. 

There! That’s better. Batsby is back! Have a nice day.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

This town is coming like a ghost town

It’s the end; all things come to an end. It’s the last week of the season. One by one the paraglider operators cease plying their trade and the tandem pilots prepare to return to their homes for the winter. Shops are closing by the day and as the thunder rolls overhead, lightning flashing across the horizon, the plaintive strains of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez add a melancholy counterpoint to a quiet evening’s solitary beer and herald the sudden demise of what was once bright, shining and new.

As each day dawns the sight of beachside emporia that no longer open the shutters becomes more familiar and each closure causes less distress than the last; there is only so much you can mourn something you had for so short a time. The tour operators pack away their boards and the lights go out, one by one as the thriving resort of Oludeniz prepares to hibernate. The place you once tentatively thought you could live in forever loses its lustre and now you've seen beneath the surface it can never be the same again.

 There can be no greater symbol that this land of eternal sunshine is shutting up shop than the fact that we all bought umbrellas two nights ago, to get us home under black, pelting skies. Swapping paragliders for parapluies, how poetic. And talking of symbols, nestled on a pile of tee-shirts a lonely glass eye charm, a gift for a loved one, struggles under the brooding skies to do its work and ward off evil.

Ennui... enervation... it's still only Wednesday. The ticking clock tediously ticks off the seconds to Friday when we make our weary way slowly back home. What to do... what to do?

Little rays of hope

But, what’s that? A chink of blue light; the eye winks hope and all may not be lost. We heft our gliders onto our backs and head out for the transport, squinting into the light, fingers tightly crossed all the way.

Tuesday 23 October 2012

British? Not me, mate...

Travel, they say, broadens the mind. I've travelled a lot and I think I'm pretty broad-minded but there's one thing that makes me question the sagacity of further widening the tiny minds of a sub-species who really ought to be restrained from ever leaving our shores. In cages if necessary. We used to transport our criminals to Australia; these days it seems we let them choose their own destinations.

Once upon a time, British travellers used to marvel at the lack of sophistication of their hosts. From the back of a lofty howdah they could declaim about the scurrying natives and their unclean ways as their elephant lumbered through the market, servants in tow. The whole planet was a never disappointing freak show to an adventurous, well-heeled chap about the world.

But is it me, or is that position now pretty much reversed? Known across the Earth as a nation of football hooligans, the standard British tourist does nothing to allay that tawdry and intimidating image. While smartly dressed, attentive locals serve and trade and make busy, the rampaging hordes of fat, idle, tattooed sloths waddle through areas thick with the eternal eastern promise of 'Full English Breakfast', loudly denouncing their far more civilised and long suffering hosts as somehow inferior.

From their wobbly, red, exposed bellies atop their Union Jack shorts; from their artless, thoughtless poorly-executed ink; from their Jimmy Savile jewellery to their Del-boy approach to haggling and their loud, foul-mouthed commentary on anything they see as 'not right', they are truly a horror to behold.

I hate the British abroad; I always have done. But these days I do my utmost to not be associated with them. Que?

Monday 22 October 2012

Thunder and lightning, very very frightening...

Apart from the torrential rain, which can fill up a glider and render it flightless. Apart from the lightning that could strike you down as you cower under a tree on the top of a mountain. Apart from getting soaking wet and suffering hypothermia, there's a very good reason not to fly in the vicinity of thunderstorms. It sucks.

Ask Ewa Wisnierska. In Manilla in 2007 Ewa survived an extreme occurrence of what all paraglider pilots know as 'cloud suck'. It's what we search for, it's what keeps us aloft, but too much of a good thing... a fellow competitor wasn't so lucky and ended up spat out of the same cloud complex stone dead.  I urge you to click on the link above and read the whole story, as exciting a tale of pluck and survival as you'll read anywhere.

Clouds are our friends. They show us what the air is doing, they guide us to thermals and they are fun to fly up to and around. But you'll excuse me if I politely decline a lift up the mountain this morning, as there's a ma-hoosive, , hyoo-mungous big bastard cumulonimbus, spitting sparks and death at me.

What's the story?

 Not all big, spectacular clouds are bad though and they don’t come much bigger or more spectacular than Australia’s Morning Glory. One day, folks. One day...

Meanwhile, back in the UK the battle for political, economic credibility and survival goes on... and on... and on. Nothing really changes, but don't worry; I'll be back in a few days to put my own malicious spin on any story that takes my fancy and you will once again be able to bask in the morning glory that it is the world according to Batsby.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Whether to fly?

He was only a humble meteorologist, but one look at a girl and he could tell whether...

Some days it’s good, some days it ain’t. Working out which is which is part and parcel of being a daring, free-flying aviator. Settle down now and Uncle Batsby will give you a little lesson in flying and the weather... if only to bestow on you the knowledge to be suitably impressed by my tales of derring-do.

A paraglider might look like a parachute to you, but to us it is a wing, an aerofoil, a means to commit aviation. The world paragliding distance record is over 500km, set by one Neville Hulett of South Africa. For us it’s all about keeping it up, but eventually gravity always wins the unequal contest. It’s a bit like the European form of democracy; however hard you struggle, Europe ignores you and carries on regardless.

Actually, the main reason for landing is usually to regale your audience – any audience – with exaggerated tales of heights climbed, distance won and competitors vanquished. (Imagine then, how pissed off Neville must have been when he landed in the boonies without a soul in sight!)

Falling or flying? Just like those nutters who go in for freefall parachutery, we are always descending through the air, typically at around 1 metre every second, so we need to find air that is going up faster than we are going down. Although you can’t see it, the air is in perpetual turmoil – some going up and some going down. We need to find the uppy bits. And then stay in them.

You can’t fly without knowing whether. But wither the weather? (When we’re together?) Little fluffy clouds – that’s the ticket. When you see little fluffy clouds you can be sure they are sitting atop their very own little column of rising air. Like a lava lamp, bubbles of warm, light air pop up from all sorts of origins then rise and expand as they float on the colder, denser air around. As some air goes up, some must come down and eventually what was uppy air starts to sink again and so it goes... When you hear a glider pilot talking about thermalling he means he’s managed to spend a little time in his own personal bubble. Easier said than done; the bloody stuff is invisible.

A typical flight from Mount Babadag in Turkey starts at a mile high – a little over 5500 feet and lasts 20-30 minutes on a straight glide to the bottom. On a good day, you’ll find thermals and get up to around 8000 ft, prolonging your flight and increasing the fun factor. The other day I topped out at 12,200 feet and lest you think, “Pffft, easy!” civil aircraft regulations require the use of supplemental oxygen above 12,500 ft. 

That pimple below is a proper mountain!

Yes, yes, yes Felix Baumgartner jumped from 24miles high, but he had a balloon and a special suit. Pffft, easy! I had to do it all by myself, in shorts and tee shirt and I have to tell you, it was bloody freezing up there! Nice view though.

Thursday 18 October 2012

An assault on the senses

All is not sweetness, love and light here on the Mediterranean shores of the flying paradise that is Oludeniz. I'm here for the 13th Annual Air Games which should be a festival of exuberant free flying fun with displays of supreme airmanship, extreme acrobatic ability and superhuman nuttiness, on all of which I shall report in due course. But first there are a few matters to address.

First, of course, there were the mosquitoes, now sorted out by a combination of soothing unguents for me and extreme aggression for them. The final solution for the mosquito population of the hotel room has been a success and we have eradicated malaria from the region. I'm expecting a World Health Organisation citation at any moment.

The other room-based affront to my health and general welfare is my co-habitant’s snoring. Not possible to measure accurately in decibels, Luke’s nasal tremors are more easily recorded on the Richter scale; an Avro Vulcan on take-off would barely register above the din. The solution to that, it appears, is mouldable silicon ear plugs and weird though it is to go to sleep cocooned against the world of sound, I finally slept a full seven hours blissfully unaware of his nightly struggle with respiration. Had Armageddon arrived I would have been the last to know.

Oh and there’s the temperature range, of course; it’s 30-plus on the ground, but near-freezing at altitude. The solution was to ditch the flying clothes and go for shorts and tee-shirts, suffering a bit of a chill after take-off in order not to burn up on re-entry to the beach-o-sphere. And then, at the end of the day, to take a prolonged dip in the breathtakingly cool depths of the hotel pool.

But there’s one more obstacle to enjoying the holiday. We have jointly managed the various assaults on our numerous senses. We have conquered pain and disease and discomfort, but my oh my, what about a senses of style? What fresh hell is this? People from all over the world are congregating here this weekend, flaunting the latest in flying gear, leisure wear and cool, cool threads. So why in the hell would the East Europeans think it was acceptable to take to the promenade in fashion throwbacks from the seventies?

My eyes! I thought budgie smuggling had been abolished long ago. The last time I saw trunks that skimpy they were being sported by the late Sir Jimmy Savile, in preparation for a charity fun-rummage through a local children’s home.

Do have a lovely day, if your retinas have not been irrevocably damaged by that image.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

There be Monsters!

The end times are upon us. Was it not writ by the prophets that great tribulations would beset us at the end of days? Today it is my sad duty to confirm that, yea, those times are surely nigh. Okay, so the seas haven’t turned black, nor are there earthquakes. And now I think about it, no two-horned monsters have yet risen from the deep but, mark my words, dark days are ahead for surely this is a sign, a great plague of winged, blood-sucking beasts.

For the few of you not tracking my daily walk on this wild side we call Earth (and if not, why not?) I should mention I am in Turkey. And I am being eaten alive by bloody mosquitoes. It is no exaggeration to tell you I must have lost three pints of the red stuff last night. (Checks dictionary definition of ‘exaggeration’) Just like the parasitic EU (little bit of politics, there) the bastards are intent on sucking me dry and irritating the hell out of us all.

The similarities don’t end there. Just like the EU there are differing opinions on whether or not mosquitoes are a simple fact of life or an eradicable nuisance:

To the LibDems the mosquitoes would simply not be a problem. Far from it in fact, if it weren’t for the mozzies, there would be no work for manufacturers of proprietary anti-sting, anti-inflammatory preparations and thousands would lose their jobs. Save the mosquito, they’d say; befriend the mosquito.

The Tories would deny there was any issue with the stinging hordes. We need to be inside the swarm, they’d say, in order to control the swarm. Yes, some people are going to be stung, but it’s the price we pay to avoid wholesale blood-letting. Obviously, we need to make a few cuts in our control measures, but on the whole we’re better in than out.

Labour would then have no option but to insist that the government was cutting too far, too fast and that a Plan B was needed; a plan B that somehow didn’t appear any different in structure to Plan A yet sounded better if you shouted it loud enough and often enough. Good old Labour – never let the hard facts get in the way of an emotive plea.

But the little bastards breed, you know. And once you’ve let a few in, nature takes its course and before you know it, we’re overrun with the damned things. Sucking a bit of blood here, a bit of blood there, before long we’re out of blood and dried-out up husks of despair roam the land, victims of the three parties’ appeasement measures.

But what’s this I see? The can clearly declares its intention, “OFF” it says and it promises relief from the constant drop-by-drop invasion of the blood snatchers. Another, larger spray can of a more menacing design also offers a direct onslaught on the beasts themselves. Amusingly, as is so often the way with foreign-named products, it is labelled “FUK” This is the UKIP approach to the mosquito problem.

With the right will and the combined power of FUK and OFF we can be rid of mosquitoes Europe forever.

Monday 15 October 2012

Carry on up the Khyber

Michael Gove appears to be leading a movement to claw back powers from the EU. Oh, if only this were really true and not just a fanciful dream. Because he's still talking the language Brussels wants to hear, "If this, then that," when he should be talking the language the country wants to hear, "In or out", with the choice having nothing to do with 'them' and everything to do with 'us'.

The official line is much less clear, with Home Secretary Theresa May, saying she is ‘minded’ to opt out of 140 measures governing crime and justice. Well the numbers tell the true story here. The EU has forced onto its member states not a few hundred measures but thousands upon thousands.

This is not some cosy trade agreement which is on the whole benign and UK-friendly. It isn't (and apparently never was) meant to secure the lasting security and comfort of its people. It has always been a giant project aimed at creating a single federal entity and it intends to do this whatever the so-governed actually want. Not so very far from Hitler, the EU believes it knows best, regardless of the evidence of its own eyes and the increasing resistance of its populations.

At the same time Britain is trying to messily disentangle itself, yet again, from Afghanistan. Consider that we have been dabbling in Afghan conflicts since 1839 and maybe you'll see that, sometimes, things take a little longer to resolve than we might like. Good intentions invariably end up becoming a millstone round our collective neck.

The Khyber Pass - between a rock and... more rocks

So, there's no point in tinkering around the fringes of the European disaster zone. Little false victories like rejecting a handful of edicts here and a couple of policies there will still leave us fully shackled to the yoke. Michael Gove is still trying to hedge his bets; give a little, take a little  But when it comes to the EU there really is only one option left - kick it right up the Khyber Pass.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Throwing a Sickie

The latest threat to British sovereign autonomy and yet another drain on our scarce resources, no doubt inspired by the Multi-headed beast that is the European Soviet Union, it seems we must now treat foreign health tourists. In the scheme of things, in order not to appear discriminatory, this WILL mean that British citizens will take a step towards the rear of the queue.

It's always the way, isn't it?

Contrary to what you may believe I DO think the NHS is a wonderful thing. A strange, misdirected, wayward and lumbering thing, but wonderful, all the same. I wouldn't privatise it, although I would cut the hell out of it. For the majority of treatments the existing facilities are ageing but perfectly adequate. Nurses don't need degrees and managers don't need to outnumber the nurses. The expensive failed IT system was obviously (*sarcasm klaxon*) £12billion well spent and it is truly ludicrous that the NHS is the fifth largest employer in the whole world.

I mean, just how sick is the sick man of Europe for that to have happened? The service shouldn't spend its resources applying sticking plasters to minor scuffs and scrapes, nor tending to the bruised egos of Britain's low self esteem industry client base. Neither should it have to deal with drunks in A & E, sundry so-called addictions and imaginary new-age diseases invented by drug companies to sell, er... drugs.

But if it's going to fulfill even a part of its currently hugely inflated remit its duty should be towards British citizens first, EHIC card holders second and 'health tourists' not at all. Unless it gets paid. For the savvy burglar about town, I'm away on holiday next week, for which I have bought health insurance for immediate treatment and to get me back should I suffer illness and accident. I do not expect my host country to tend to my wounds for free, so why should I pay at home to do just that for people who have come here to, effectively, steal from us?

Yes, yes, yes, in an ideal world, blah, blah, blah, caring, compassionate and all that gubbins, but you may have noticed we have a teensy weensy bit of a financial crisis of our own right now. Many other countries operate a 'healthy' form of health tourism whereby those so inclined can take advantage of private medical facilities cheaper over there than here at home - eyes and teeth are very big abroad - so why don't we follow their example.

Get the fuck out of my hospital!

People are dying to get into Britain, we should be charging them for the privilege.

Saturday 13 October 2012

Give Peas a Chance!

Oh my dear good Lord above, the European Union wins the Nobel Peace Prize for "advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights" Alfred Nobel's great bequest to the world has been awarded to the undemocratic, population-enslaving destroyer of formerly proud nations. You've got to be kidding, right?

After a year notable for riots in many capital cities, the installation of puppet administrators in place of elected governments and the looming inevitability of a disastrous break up of the European monster, Herman Van Rompuy and Jose Manuel Barroso issued a joint statement:

"This Prize is the strongest possible recognition of the deep political motives behind our Union."

There you go - they no longer even have the decency to lie about their intentions. Europe is ours, they are saying and we will do with it what we wish. Now hand over everything to us.

Reasonable observers of the farce have come out, open-mouthed in incredulity:

Martin Callanan MEP, leader of the European Conservatives group, said it was "a little late for an April fools joke".

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader, said "This goes to show that the Norwegians really do have a sense of humour. The EU may be getting the booby prize for peace because it sure hasn't created prosperity. The EU has created poverty and unemployment for millions."

In the Daily Telegraph, Tom Chivers commented, "Without wanting to go into whether or not that's a good idea (it seems a bit strange, even to me), does this confirm at last that the prize's organisers have stopped worrying so much about whether the recipients are actually deserving, and instead decided simply to pick people who will annoy Right-wingers?"

Now it's maybe not for me to bandy about words like 'bribe' and 'nobbled' and 'did you know that Thorbjørn Jagland, head of the Nobel Peace Prize committee, is also Secretary General of the Council of Europe?' but somebody has to, so it might as well be me.

The EU rides roughshod over the lives of the people of Europe. Member states are powerless without bloody revolution to take back the most insignificant of powers. It levies higher and higher taxes; for what else is the membership levy?

And on the subjects of peace and harmony and dignity it shows callous disregard for the most fundamental of human rights, the right to self-determination.

The Nobel Peace Price

Will they have to give the prize back when war breaks out all over the mainland? How much peace has Europe brought to British farmers and fishermen? How peaceful is your day when you listen to yet more news of yet more heavy-handed intrusion into yet more lives?

Peace? I'll fucking give them peace!

Friday 12 October 2012

What a load of scallops!

French and British fisherman have been involved in a stand off on the High Seas, prompting calls for the Royal Navy to intervene. Well, this was too good a story to miss:

The crew of the Saucy Sue held their collective breath as the mists cleared, revealing the distant Normandy coastline.

"Avast!" cried Cap'n Dan, his one good eye to the spyglass, his bad eye on the dressing table in his cabin. "Avast, for there be oysters!"

"Scallops, Captain."

All activity on deck froze. As a man, the crew turned to Roger the cabin boy (if you see what I mean) the lad who had uttered those dread words. Silence reigned for agonisingly long seconds until Cap'n Dan let out a hearty belly laugh, drew his cutlass and thrust it towards France

"That's what I said. Scallops," then, for emphasis, he added "Aaaaar!"

From across the water a small, reedy, heavily accented voice was heard. "Go away, you naughty Eeenglish pécheurs! We don' want you 'ere... 'Ow you say, Péche Off!"

"Who be that?" hailed Dan


"Come on out and fight, you, you.... cowardy custards!" spake Dan, his injunction  to be met only with muted sniggers and Frenchly guffaws.

"No! We don't want to, you foolish Eeenglish Capitan Chaos." said the disembodied French voice, "Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries! Now, go away, or else we will taunt you a second time!"

"Oh my god sir," piped up Roger. "it's worse than we thought. The French are using Monty Python against us!" And then for good measure, yet no good reason, he added, "Sacre bleu!"

"Don't panic, me hearties," said Dan," We British have a few choice Anglo-Saxon phrases in our vernacular. Don't you worry."

"Coo-ee, Mr Eenglish peeg! We don't hear you!" *more sniggers* "You empty-headed animal food trou..."

"Shut up! Give me a minute..." said Dan, desperation knotting his manly countenance. He looked about his crew for inspiration but was met with blank stares. The French had them and they knew it. Sweat beaded on English brows as the seconds ticked away.

Suddenly he had it. The land of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Byron, Keats and Dickens would not cower before a nation of horse eating, snail chomping, Vichy collaborators. Mais non! The noble poet blood of a mighty people coursed through Cap'n Dan's veins as he drew himself up to his full five-foot-six and bellowed his response into the cold Channel air.

You great, soft, cissy, girly, nancy, French bender!

But seriously folks, even with our crippled military strength, surely we still have the stomach for declaring war on France? For old time's sake.

Thursday 11 October 2012

The Bank of Batsby

Nobody knows fuck all.

The left say the banks squandered everything

The right say the socialists pissed it all down the drain

Not a single economist in the entire wordl has the first clue as to what has happened, is happening, or will happen.

Soit falls to the bank of Batsby to get us back on our feet.

Back off!

Some mornings I wake up in a panic. What if, while I've been asleep, the human race has come to its collectives senses? What if I arise to a world where nobody is stupid enough or unlucky enough or deluded enough for me to mock them? What if no public figures have behaved badly or ignorantly or arrogantly? What if Ed Balls has retired? I frantically scour the papers online, terrified I’ll find nothing to blog about.

But all good things come to those who wait and it’s a rare day when I can’t find inspiration. Today, I’m going all out against a target too young and vulnerable to defend itself… or rather, I’m having a go at their keepers. Babies in cars, or more accurately, the notices that say so.

This is a drum I’ve been banging for donkey’s years, so it is with a certain satisfaction (for which, read ‘unrestrained glee’) that I quote from the news article I found today:

Nearly two million drivers have had accidents due to ‘Baby On Board’ signs and children’s toys that obscure their view…

Just as I have noticed BMW drivers’ indifference to all other road users, it is apparent to me that some of the most dangerous driving is committed by the controllers of cars bearing fertility-boasting notices. Do they somehow believe that announcing an achievement so un-profound that thirteen year old chavtramps can do it between episodes of Jeremy Kyle is going to impress anybody?

If anything the information: Back off - Baby on Board is more likely to elicit the reaction Bog off and get out of my way you simpering, child-obsessed moron. But it gets worse because, not content with the utterly redundant information that an enthrallment to your own heightened sense of worth is something we may give a fuck about, you decide we might like to share in the fun and present us with the following rib-ticklers:

Cheeky Monkey on Board. Daddy’s Little Princess on Board. Little Miss on Board. Grandchild on Board. These trite, twee, thoughtless spoutings of sentimental guff hide the sinister truth, but I suppose there isn’t really room for, “Help me. I have done something I will regret forever. Aliens have ruined my Life and now they want to kill me… and they’re On Board right now!

Back to the news and the statistic that “One in 20 motorists says stickers and playtime paraphernalia are to blame for a collision…

Ah, but, you say…. There’s a good reason for having one of those signs. What if I have a crash? You say. It will let the emergency services know there’s a child involved. Bollocks, I reply, as if the child seat, the toys, the feeding, cleaning and amusement paraphernalia wouldn't give them a clue? Even road safety charity Brake says “[This] can become a hindrance if drivers display signs when their child isn't in the vehicle.

So, you had a kid. And the kid is sometimes in the car. And you believe that if I know this, it is less likely I will deliberately ram your grubby, clapped-out family wagon with my sleek, shiny, I-can-afford-this-because-I don’t-have-kids-mobile? I can hardly type for laughing!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Back to the Future!

Conference was in full swing when suddenly, people started to clutch their heads and look around wildly. Some started to panic as the auditorium shook and a swirling vortex distorted their vision. Then there came surprising calm as, with a sound like a heavily labouring respirator, a blue box appeared on the stage before their eyes. Gasps! Was this David Blaine, attempting a new feat of banality with no apparent purpose? There was a stunned silence as a door appeared in the box and a strangely clad man stepped out.

"Greetings, Earthlings!" he said to an open-mouthed audience, then "I like calling them that." This last was said as an aside to his flame-haired companion. "Greetings. I bring you good news from the future!"

For a conference debating the very form that the future should take this was an answer to a prayer. They could look forward and see what their earnest intentions would bring about. For the first time they could set a policy course knowing what the outcomes would be. Almost everybody, to some unheard cue, leaned forward in their seats and listened.

"In the future, there is no such thing as multiculturalism. Everybody identifies themselves as either 'British' or 'visiting' and everybody looks pretty much the same. People do not fear the police or the judiciary and everybody rubs along pretty well, knowing the rules. Burglars are desperate people for they know they abandon their rights the moment they break in.

"In the future there is no European Union to speak of and Britain is independent of it. There is no Human Rights Act, no restrictive employment laws and employers are free to hire and fire fairly and as they see fit. Most adults are in work, many mothers happily stay at home and bring up well-behaved children who do them credit. The watchword is 'a fair day's work for a fair day's pay' and those who are envious of higher earners know that to achieve the same they must work harder or smarter, or both.

"In the future the National Health Service is the envy of the world, as is the British education system. Both have discarded the management-heavy inefficiencies and both medics and teachers strive to provide the best possible outcomes for their client base. Police officers and security guards are no longer required in A & E and the rare ill-discipline in schools is swiftly and effectively dealt with. Teachers and doctors are pillars of the community.

"In the future people will not be slaves to technology. People will not stumble about their daily lives, eternally plugged into the internet, their iPods, social media, games and the like. They will be civil to each other, hold face-to-face conversations and will no longer suffer the anguish and slide into dementia precipitated by a loss of electronic connectivity. In the future, you will be FREE!"

Say hello to the future!

For a moment, nobody broke the spell. Then a muted shuffling began as people turned to each other, uncertain how to proceed. Strangers cautiously smiled at each other and shook hands; some hugged and a few wept silently to themselves. The future IS bright; the future ISN'T Orange.

Then one brave soul addressed the stranger on stage. "Sir!" he said, "Tell us, pray, from what year you come, bringing such good news?"

The Time Traveller ducked back inside his blue box for a moment, the sounds of ratchets ratcheting and springs being sprung were heard before he reappeared and announced to the enraptured throng. "1958"

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Fact or Fiction? Pick your faction...

So Boris arrives at the Conservative Party Conference to a rock-star's welcome. Mobbed by the press and adoring fans, the man who 'has no ambition to stand for Prime Minister' might just be the Tory's best  bet for re-election in 2015. Who would have thought it? In X-Factor Britain nobody wants to hear bad news from the straight man, but they'll happily suck it up for the comedy-geezer.

In other news actor Damian Lewis may have incurred the wrath of some Southern rednecks for his part in the US TV hit, Homeland. Mistaking actors and their beliefs for those of their characters' is a commonplace modern occurrence. It's less common for actors to confuse their own beliefs, but Arnold Schwarzenegger must have had a bump to his head because suddenly he can remember with some clarity what he ACTUALLY said about Hitler back in 1975. Oratory, my arse.

All these stories feature a blurring of the boundaries between fact and fiction. In an age when live, on-the-spot, as-it-happens information is available as never before, the propagandists have taken advantage of the populace's lack of critical analytic skills to spread lies and paranoia via the simple expedient of overwhelming the audience with a stream-of-consciousness, non-stop ticker-tape of political white noise.

Listen to the radio, see the party conference delegates take to the stage, watch the 24-hour TV news and see how data is presented to represent any and all arguments. Labour put up the higher earners top tax rate, the coalition brought it half-way down, but what does it mean? Labour say this is the equivalent of giving millionaires a £40k cheque. The Conservatives say the Laffer curve predicts, nay demonstrates, that more tax will be paid by such people. The Libdems think it's something to do with stand-up. What YOU think, sadly, will likely not be determined by facts but by which version of the story you've already decided is true.

Politics seems a lot like the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy version of espionage - who is working for what end? It is simply impossible that all Conservatives hate poor people, or that all Socialists want a return to nationalisation or that all LibDems are simply a bit dim. (Actually, that last one is probably a bad example - they are a bit dim.) Is it cruel or kind to want people to be self-determining? Is it progressive or crazy to believe in equal outcomes for education? Is a federal Europe a vaguely 'good thing' or an exploitative blight on the economies of all the countries it has infected?

Where people appear to be determined most of all to tell the truth as they see it and report on the facts of the matter, they are met with slander and mud-slinging and simple nay-saying. Witness Nigel Farage's frequent well-aimed verbal missiles in Brussels, yet see how The Rompuys and the Barrosos simply shrug and carry on dipping their hands in our pockets. At least the UKIP message on Europe is consistent.

But are the Conservatives or Labour (we know what the Limp Dems want) FOR Big Europe or AGAINST it? They won't tell us outright, which is interesting. Why won't they tell us? I think it's because they haven't quite worked out how to present the fiction they think we want to hear in order that we'll cast our vote in their favour, so that either of them can then then take us further into Europe, against apparent majority democratic opinion, while appearing to give us a choice in the matter.

Does that mean I believe in some Euro conspiracy to enslave us all? Would it really be all that bad if we all cosied up together in the tractor factories and sang workers' songs into the never-ending twilight? Is it really so bad that successful, productive countries will forever give up their advantages to prop up unstable, inefficient administrations? A cautious yes to all three, but that's just me...

The EU Gulag swings into action

It all comes down to what you believe... or what you want to believe. Do you vote with your head, or with your affiliations? What, indeed, would Boris do? Listen to the facts, believe the fiction... pick a faction. So, nailing my colours to the mast, as the party which naturally has my ear refuses to come off the fence, my particular faction is UKIP. Say what you like about my choice, but they are the only party who are telling me what I want to hear.

Sunday 7 October 2012

Nifty Thrifty

It’s the start of the Conservative Party Conference… so I’m steering well clear of that malarkey; for a start it’s not the party I used to know. The real Conservatives would have shored up the borders, water-cannoned last year’s rioters and had Abu Hamza in Guantanamo lickety-spit. “Fuck Europe,” they would have said, “Gerrout…and take your flea-ridden donkey with you.” 

They would have also said “mustn’t grumble” and “it could be worse” and “make do and mend.” Yet the Conservatives of today are indistinguishable from the shit-stirring envious socialists of various turnip-picking workers’ parties of the seventies, their new mottos being “Must grumble.” And “It’s only going to get worse.” and “Hand-me-downs? Fuck off, I want all new stuff!” 

Being poor was never easy, but it was never so stigmatised as it is now. Everybody is entitled to lots of brand-new shiny shit regardless of effort, merit, or need and the very idea of anybody being capable of standing on their own two feet is anathema to the Europhilesucks who want everybody to be forever in the pocket of the Euroviet Union. And the hateful word on everybody’s lips right now? Austerity. 

Austerity? You make me laugh. When the going gets tough, you can go and get stuffed. The population output of the last thirty years or so is no more capable of surviving the downturn (for that is all it really is) than the Leadbetters in The Good Life, as this needle and thread story illustrates. I've been saying it for years; it’s the practical version of ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’. If they never do anything for themselves, how will they survive out there? And what’s so wrong about making do with what you’ve got? 

Thrift; that’s the name of the game and had it been practiced just a little bit by you, me and, oh, let’s say ‘the guvmint’, then the current economic blip would be seen as just that. The good times WILL return and life WILL be roses again, but there’s no point in sitting, waiting for somebody else to do it for you. Practise GOYA - Get Off Your Arse. So, I was delighted when one of my Twitter favourites @rachelradiostar unintentionally alerted me to the mighty @queen-frugal and her penny-pinching blog. Women after my own heart - cheap dates if I’m honest! 

This won't hurt a bit!

I’ve written before about how cheaply you can eat (my current weekly food shop is under £20 for absolutely EVERYTHING) but I'm a single fella, so who’s going to believe they can achieve it for a family? The papers last week were full of stories about Waitrose shoppers turning to Aldi and Marks & Sparks munchers re-using St Michael bags at Lidl’s. Well, why stop there? Don’t just buy cheaper, buy better and buy less. My frugal Kingly gift to you today then – no need to thank me – is to hand you over to Frugal Queen and her #FQstoptober campaign and challenge you to make Tesco's shareholders quake in their boots.

Friday 5 October 2012

It's the stupid economy!

I’m not going to get embroiled in all the emotive hoo-ha that is Jimmy Savile’s dubious legacy. Nor the bereavement machine rumbling into mid-Wales right now. That’s dodgy ground for other people to dig over, although I would question the morals of a society so prurient as to want to know all the grubby details, all the time. Really, society? You really want to go down that route? All the best with keeping your own family skeletons firmly in their cupboards, then. 

Nope. No way José. Instead, we’re going to do economics. Again. 

Much chatter on the LBC 97.3 FM this week about paying mums to stay at home. The whole business of child benefits and fiscal social engineering aimed at procreation is simple idiocy. That’s not how economics works and we know this policy area is doomed simply because Harriet Harman likes it so much. 

It’s very easy really, the price of a ‘good’ is dependent on simple supply and demand. Demand is driven by one of two things, need and want; stuff you can’t live without and stuff you THINK you can’t live without. And it doesn’t matter how much you desperately WANT children, it is absolutely, unarguably true that you will not expire for lack of them. 

In fact, people want to have children so much there is absolutely no need to pay them to do it. They will do it all by themselves, sometimes without even realising it, often without thinking it through. At the moment our supply line is overflowing with excess product spilling out all over the place. But it’s worse than that. The state paying more than market value for production encourages most those who are unfit producers. So, the market is flooded with an excess of such poor-quality stock we actually have to import foreign labour. 

As a result, the monetary worth to the country of a new child, is negative. In fact, over its lifetime it will cost many hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money. That’s Socialist economic intervention for you.

In the same daft vein a gentle lunatic we tolerate on Twitter last night suggested – nay demanded – that the minimum wage should be £20 per hour. Well, in time it will be, either by diktat or by inflation. But, here’s the thing, when the minimum wage is £20 a loaf of bread will cost you a fiver. 

The moral of this tale? Simply that if you rely on the government to make your life comfortable, you will end up with the government controlling your life. You don’t like Tesco? Don’t patronise them. You want to earn more? Make yourself a more desirable product. You want freedom? Then go out and get it. But if you expect the Labour Party to come good on Miliband’s ‘One Nation’ pledge then you’ll get exactly what you deserve. 

Golden Bread - The Loaf of the Future!

I did say there would be a test. 

The minimum wage is raised to £20 per hour. Does this mean
  1. Chuka Umunna’s been at the rum again, 
  2. Harriet Harman (Just Harriet harman), 
  3. We are ALL millionaires, or,
  4. There’s trouble at’mill.

Thursday 4 October 2012

Preying on People

He circled the herd, staying low. Too easy. There's one, on her own at the edge of the group... A quick reconnaissance circuit to check for observers, then quickly pounce and retreat. It's what he does; it's in his blood. Nobody notices, but now everybody cares because five-year old April Jones is suddenly national news.

How long does it take to snatch a child? How determined does the predator have to be and how easy is it for parents and guardians to be distracted for that moment? Not long, not so and very easy indeed, I'd suggest.

The amateur psychologists (that is to say 'the psychologists' - there are no experts in psychology) are out in force. It's the fault of the parents it's the fault of society, it's the fault of the police... it's the fault of government, in all probability. "If only we'd..." "if only there'd been...", If only, if only, if only.

Despite the continued progress towards some Utopian vision of societal perfection, so-called civilised behaviour is a veneer we apply individually and laboriously to each and every human. It doesn't always work out as planned; instincts are deeply laid and occasionally the veneer comes unstuck, revealing the ugly substrate beneath.

Yes, yes, yes, there's stuff to be learned. Of course mistakes have been made, will be made and will continue to be made in the future. But there is no point in playing the blame game until all the facts are in and I have to tell you that much of the chatter in the newspapers, television and radio news and whatever is said in pubs and cafes throughout the land simply does not constitute 'the facts'.

So, you can speculate all you like, but unless you're on the spot there's nothing you can do to help, except just one thing. You want there to be a 'better' society? Can you honestly say that you do everything in your power to be part of that society? You're never selfish, or arrogant, or possessive or jealous or petty? You never point the finger of blame before the facts? You never lose your temper, irrationally lose your composure, react on pure instinct?

You don't? Oh, good. Then like me, you're perfect already.

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time there were fairies and dragons and knights and princes and princesses and they all lived in the magical land of Albion and ate venison from happy, free-range deer and drank mead made from honey from happy, buzzy, busy-busy bees. And they all danced and played together; they danced all night and played all day and everybody was happy all of the time because nobody ever had to do any work unless they really, really wanted to.

Then along came the big bad Sheriff of Nottingham who took all the money and all the honey and put the people out into the fields. He laughed at them, working in the snow and rain and asked them if they would like to be inside. "Yes!" cried the people, for it was bloody cold out. So big shelters were built, but they were a dastardly trick and were full of machines. The mean-hearted Sheriff made them work in his new factories until all of the people cried all of the time.

"Oh, woe is us!" they wept, "This is horrid. Won't somebody save us from the nasty Sheriff and make us One Nation again?"

Then one day, the brave Sir Ed appeared. An off-white knight on a fearsome war-horse. "I will deliver you!" he cried and the people in the great hall responded, "Yes please!" and swooned before his oratory. For over an hour did Sir Ed declaim and verily he did say "One Nation" some six and forty times. (That's one every 84 seconds if you're interested. Ed) (<~~ That's Ed for Editor, obv. <~~ And that's 'obv' for obviously... obv)

And the people asked, "How will you deliver us, oh Sir Ed?" yet Ed told them not, except that he said they would rebuild it together. "Hmmm," said the people, "Rebuilding? That sounds a lot like work and we already work all the fucking time and we don't like it very much." There was shuffling of feet and a wringing of hands in the hall and a small voice rang out, "Haven't you got any NEW ideas?"

"Leave it with me!" proclaimed brave Sir Ed as he steadied his steed, "I'll be back in a minute." And with that, Sir Ed left the gathering and rode off into the setting sun.

And he was never heard of, ever again.

The Ex Factor

Day Two of the Has-Beens Ball from the Locarno, Manchester and predictably it's been a long, fruitless slog as we enter day two of the audition rounds. The prize is to present a credible alternative to an electorate wise to the manipulations of the talent show format.

Hello love, what's your name and where are you from?

Me name's Maria Eagle and I've come over from Liverpool an' Ah really really want this Cilla, it's my dream, it's my life and Ah'm gunna give yers an 'undred-an'-ten-percent and a lorra lorra...

*klaxon* Surprise surprise, my name's not Cilla! Now, what are you going to do for us today?

Well, Cilla, I'm going to explain how we can predistribute bus fares and...

*klaxon* Heard it. Next!

My name's Eddie Izzard... or is it? No.... or isn't it? Hmm, yes... or do I mean no? Spider gravy... True story...

*klaxon* Next!

What's your na...?

My name's Ed and I'm here for a punch up! I've got four billion quid and I'm going to make houses and anybody saying my figures don't add up is gonna get it, right? I know some Nazis, see... and if you want a copy of my speech, that'll be two quid, right? Yeah? That's cheap you know. In fact they're selling too cheaply, too quickly and it's time for Plan B,. Did I say I know some Nazis? I've got a uniform and everything - it's a laugh! Shoot my fox! Wanna hear me play the piano?

*scuffle backstage*

Fight, you say? You want a fight?

What's your name, darling?

Don't you darling me you lily-livered, class traitor, your arse-licking... arse-licking... licking... lickspittle! I'm Red Len and me and Mark'll take on the lot of youse!

(Len is bundled away, still ranting, by security)

Who's up next then?

*a strangled, adenoidal warble heralds a cartoon-like character*

Goodness, gracious, guys and gals! My name's Ed Miliband. Now then, now then, jingle-jangle jewellery, jewellery  jewellery... I want to fix it for all the young people, as it 'appens.

*stunned silence*

'Ow's about that,then!

I can't wait for the next show.

Monday 1 October 2012

Labouring the Point

Do you remember the “Isles of Wonder” opening ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics? Did you see how Tolkein’s imagined gentle Middle Earth, Shire folk were displaced by the dark satanic mills of industrial Britain and how the masses, formerly controlled by natural feast or famine, began to teem and toil to power an empire? 

People left the seasonal agricultural labour of their heritage and adapted to the constant work demands of the factories. City populations boomed and in booming created the opportunity for man to exploit his fellow as never before. Living off the land, starvation could be circumvented by foraging, but city life created a new type of human, helpless as individuals and dependent on the ever-expanding ant colony.

Supply and demand. Supply high = wages and conditions low. Against that backdrop, the Labour Party was necessary; using the concentrated, coordinated power of strike action and later, collective bargaining to wrestle back a modicum of control from the owning classes and shine a light into the grim corners of grubby working lives.

Until the latter half of the last century the only control poor people had over their own numbers was abstention or guesswork… and the occasional Black Death. Then The Pill appeared and brought a blessed respite from the burden of baby-bearing on an industrial scale. Industry brought wealth and wealth brought education and universal suffrage brought democracy. And democracy brought opportunity and choice and jam for all. Thank you, Labour. Well done.

But now most of that engine-room industry has gone - it's gone to countries where they can do it cheaper, faster, better… and did I say cheaper? So it isn't coming back, which is fine, it really is. It’s what you wanted – “We’re all middle class now.” And with it has gone the need for the masses in the factories, Labour’s core constituency. And yet the ‘working class’ are still with us.

In the late 1960s the horrors of the starving in newly-formed and short-lived Biafra were beamed into our huddled working class living rooms and we saw, as never before, the helplessness of a population too large for the land on which it depended. We sent them what we could, while condemning them for their ignorance in over-breeding; we’ve always been a bit smug, as a nation.

But, instead of addressing the reality of a population ill-fitting its resources, Socialism has clung onto its dream, replacing the factories with state-run bureaucracies and the new industries; the grievances industry, the claims industry, the equality industry; nice, touchy-feely jobs for soft-handed, chattering classes. And it has ignored the real problem of equality; that we are simply NOT born equal. Child benefits, originally intended to boost a war-ravaged population of humble worker-ants has directly enabled generations born with low-to-zero opportunities yet high aspirations. 'The poor' (let's call them that, shall we?) have been allowed to overbreed; it's as simple as that.

Our world has changed so our population has to. Successive governments have tried to pretend we could all work in the city, but we just can't. We still need cleaners and drivers and builders and the like but what was Labour’s solution but to import more voters? Nobody, I mean nobody, could seriously argue that paying our idle to multiply while simultaneously shipping in millions to do the work they see as beneath them was anything other than purely political.

So of course I have a plan. And it does empower the true working classes. You want change? You’re prepared to work for it? Then stop breeding. Have only those kids you can afford without state support. In turn we should progressively remove any payment for procreation until nobody has kids they can’t pay for. It’s not a quick fix, but it IS in your hands.

Is this what you want, Labour?

The Labour Party is a spent force. The ordinary people they purport to represent are kept poor by their misguided attempts to fight a fight they won so very long ago. As they are revealing in conference they have nothing – apart from dreams - to distinguish them from any other party. In twenty-first century Britain, Labour no longer has a mission. When they come to realise that, their work is done.