Wednesday, 31 December 2014
On a small island in a vast ocean survives the clan humankind. In the early days disease and famine and the odd incident of mutual predation claimed sufficient lives to keep their numbers small, scattered and relatively malnourished until ‘the idea’ arrived. The idea was a seismic shift in humankind’s relationship with itself and its environment and pretty soon the flatness of life on the edge became leavened by the sweet, sweet triumph of dominion over this isolated little world.
The tribe of man transcended the trials of life as just another competing animal and one by one their predators and their fears became extinct. With cooperation they built shelters and grew crops, hunted more game and began to make a better life for all mankind. A division of labour combined with the power of numbers made a happy formula for peace and love and harmony all round, so some believe. And then came politics.
With its divisive propaganda, turning man against man, politics took over where religion had left off. Splitting people into churches was all well and good for starting wars, which were excellent for acquiring wealth in the days before you could just rip people off electronically. But with a relatively small number of faiths you could only go so far and folk tended to cleave to their church rather too loyally for true mayhem.
But eventually politics got what it secretly always wanted – every man against every other man – that way nobody had a clue what was going on anywhere and the political big beasts could play their games with impunity. Now there is no need for laws tested by time and trial and enemies of the state can be arrested on the whim of just about anybody with a grudge. And just as emperors of old could give themselves grandiose titles, so people such as ‘diversity tsars’ and ‘equality princesses’ can order the detention of all whom they despise.
This week Katie Hopkins has been declared persona non grata by an entire nation, for her use of the hateful, despicable hate word, ‘Jocks’. And today we hear in the news that she has been reported to police by a ‘size acceptance campaigner’ (I shit you not) for the even greater hate crime of declaring a spade a spade. I have to say that you can have as much sympathy as you like but if you don’t find a lardarse self-styling her mission as a 'fat activist' ironically funny you don’t deserve the protection of the law.
A Fat Bastard Jockanese Activist (yesterday)
So, as we come to the end of the year, forget all the achievements of gritty men and women striving to make the world a better place. Don’t give a thought to applauding those who make it day by day through their own difficult circumstances with no help from anybody, but instead think very hard before you dare to accuse anybody of being the architect of their own misfortune. Or even worse, before you accuse anybody of lacking a sense of humour. 2014 is the year hate speech became the ultimate weapon against free speech. I’m saying nuffink.
Tuesday, 30 December 2014
Sometimes, as I tread this narrow defile twixt fact and fantasy we call life I am both amused and disappointed by how easily some walk on the wild side. Of course it’s tempting to don the pastel pink, soft-focus spectacles of Fluffy Land but what a bump it must be when you have to face the harsh light of earning a living. Yesterday’s subject of ridicule was a mere deluded bystander, an object of simple dupery with no intent to harm anybody except by way of accepting donations from the pockets of other faerie folk. But sometimes the delusion runs so deep and dodgy it needs a more serious look-see.
The Socialist Party of Great Britain Twitter account @OfficialSPGB is one such dangerous entity believing, as it appears to do, in a 1969 peace-and-love version of human nature which defies all known human history. In SPGB-world everybody cooperates and contributes and all is cosy and warm and safe and money isn’t necessary. (And there is no more war – aaah!) But what you’re actually describing here, fellas, is a family, or to put it nicely communism with a small ‘c’. A small number of mutually dependent and mutually connected people can do this, at least for a while, but under Big-C Communism the family unit is deliberately undermined. Families and communes can do the little things – tend the fire, till the fields and scrape a subsistence living – but they can rarely do the big things.
Communes can’t build roads, railways, defend nations and produce successful global technologies in cooperation with those outside its circle. This is exactly what you need capitalism for. So when you say that genuine socialism hasn’t been tried yet – despite the best part of two centuries’ worth of writing about it – you are really admitting it’s not compatible with a world worth living in. Wherever the closest thing has been attempted – coercive socialism, under dictators – you call it ‘state capitalism’ to try and kid yourselves that socialism is still nice.
As for ‘nasty' capitalism, acquiring all the wealth, well that is exactly what humans really do, no matter how much you deny it. They succeed and thrive and build and get fat and look after their own. But all dynasties fail in the end; they are relatively transient things and what they supposedly plundered they merely stewarded; it all gets economically recycled in one way or another. Yes there is some waste in holding wealth, but no more I’d guess than the sum total of tat hoarded by poorer individuals whose actions provide nothing positive by way of employment, vast redistribution by spending, or incentive. At least rich people act to encourage aspiration. Equally poor people can never do that.
It's true! One day we ALL could live like this!
Oh and that 1% versus the 99% trope? By whose metric? That is just an eye-catching way of making a trite and almost certainly meaningless point. If the world’s entire wealth were spread evenly today, the only real effect would be that half of the world’s seven billion people would be worse off, pissed off and looking for somebody to blame. Now that’s human nature.
Monday, 29 December 2014
Well, I was going to scribble some notes about the IMF/EU plan to tax us to death and beyond; have a read about it here and consider the distinct possibility that if this proposal has been released into the public domain it’s likely it is already on the ‘good to go’ pile. If you haven’t already hidden whatever assets you possess, then I’d say you owe it to yourself to take steps now; you probably won’t get another chance.
I wondered for a moment if it might also work in reverse and somehow my overdraft may be mysteriously reduced by the gentle hand of government but while I was musing on this theme I was handed an unmissable gift. Dropping into my Twitter feed this morning was a Huff Post article of such hippy-dippy, happy-clappy fantasy I couldn’t resist: 15 Damaging Myths About Life We Should All Stop Believing.
Talk about delusion! But of course this is simply another way to exploit vulnerable people and extract money from them. The author Elyse Gorman describes herself as a 'freelance writer and happiness teacher’ and writes about ‘happiness, soul and creating a beautiful life’. She also runs what she calls a ‘Beautiful Life Bootcamp ecourse’. Maybe it’s only cynical old me but do I smell the distinctly suspicious whiff of mental illness here?
Talk about delusion! But of course this is simply another way to exploit vulnerable people and extract money from them. The author Elyse Gorman describes herself as a 'freelance writer and happiness teacher’ and writes about ‘happiness, soul and creating a beautiful life’. She also runs what she calls a ‘Beautiful Life Bootcamp ecourse’. Maybe it’s only cynical old me but do I smell the distinctly suspicious whiff of mental illness here?
Fragile souls advising other fragile souls to do anything other than get a grip, grow a set and get back to work are doing nobody any favours. How long before somebody like this gets into government (have you SEEN the origins of many in the Labour Party?) and we start to see such nebulous concepts as happiness legislation foisted upon us? I can think of fewer things more likely to start a riot than some fucking floral-uniformed Peace Police ordering people to be lovely to each other.
The normal constant state of human consciousness is, at best, an ever-present concern that we are doing well enough to get by, that we are raising decent enough kids to survive the shit that life will throw at them, that we have a reasonable comfortable demise and a painless end. We have moments of great joy and pride and that is wonderful, but it is also the exception; to try and pretend that we should feel like that all the time is little more than pushing the drug of inner ecstasy. We can’t afford that drug and we would be the worse off if we could. Seeking happiness is fine, but who’s going to pay for it?
This is real... maaaan!
As much as Elyse Gorman might desperately need to believe her bullshit, those fifteen realities about living among other human beings are myths, the majority of them are in fact the basis of successful social cohesion and genuine happiness. Life is a struggle and suggesting otherwise is a recipe for disaster. The irony is that those who are strong enough to get on and make a decent go of it will laugh off her ridiculous notions; it’s the weak and helpless, like Elyse herself I’m guessing, who will be taken in and weakened still further. Save yourselves folks – stay grumpy and stash your assets!
Sunday, 28 December 2014
So December drags wearily on and in an effort to appease our captives we pretend to identify with them and suffer the indignities of ritual seasonal abuse: Charades, Monopoly, Pictionary… anything to keep grandma and granddad from recounting war stories from the nineteen-seventies, when it wasn’t racism unless you were Bernard Matthews, or something. The turkey is a mere skeleton now and as the last of the chocolates are devoured for breakfast it is time, once more, to look to the year ahead…
Labourism is declared an actual mental illness, falling under the definition of self-harm. If further proof were needed the few remaining Labour MPs, in a bizarre act of self-loathing, manage to force through legislation to make voting for white candidates a criminal offence under the Equalities Act. On the 15th June in a service to celebrate the impact of the Magna Carta, a replica of the great charter is re-signed… then ceremoniously ripped in two. And on the 18th a bunch of French students are prevented from entering Waterloo Station at sunset in memory of the battle where the forces of Eurovision were defeated by Ray Davies
The Lion the Witch and Ramadan is declared. Nobody can verify this because it is decided on a whim anyway but in a freak twist all of Britain is involuntarily converted to Aslan. The cardboard cut-out of Ed Miliband which was stolen around Christmas time turns out to have been run in the general election as a dazed Beaker emerges from his bunker, having been kidnapped and held captive by his own party during the campaign. Even side by side at the press conference it is impossible to tell the difference.
The big summer blockbuster is The Fast and The Furious 37, an entire movie in CGI including all the actors, whose names nobody knows. The audience are comprised entirely of gamers who can’t tell the difference, but at least it keeps them off the streets while their bedrooms are disinfected. The traditional dance of denial is enacted over the latest schools exam performances; for the first time the results are declared a draw.
The Queen becomes the longest serving monarch in a thousand years. In an address to the nation she shocks everybody by raising a single finger and declaring “Fuck you, Victoria!” then resigns saying “Fuck it, and fuck you all!” but not before her last defiant act of dissolving parliament and the monarchy forever and letting anarchy hold sway. In an imitation of her dear old Queen Mother - gawd bless 'er - she swigs gin and smiles beatifically on as Prince Philip symbolically punches an Arab.
Kim Kardashian has surgery to install an inflatable arse in a desperate bid to stay in the increasingly competitive limelight of celebrity-for-no-known-reason. The procedure fails and she enters self-imposed exile. The Daily Mail goes into a meltdown of denial as its online sidebar of shame shrinks to a quarter of its normal volume. Out of respect for a world arse icon, not even Beyoncé attempts to take her place.
Weather is declared the new black as records are set on practically every day of the month. Weather forecasters become rock stars as Tomasz Schafernaker fronts his band The Weather Girls. Gays and grandmas routinely brave the storms to throw sodden undergarments at them performing on flooded stages until, as quickly as it began, the sun comes out and pisses on everybody’s chips.
It's all in the balls, dear!
Christmas is cancelled everywhere and instead a month of jihad is declared with the nativity being played by Joseph in a suicide vest and Mary in a burka, burning Israeli flags and chanting death to the baby Jesus. On December 25th England is finally declared a caliphate and officially becomes a part of the Middle East as the ISS flag flies over the smouldering ruins of Buckingham Palace.
Remember, you heard it here first.
Saturday, 27 December 2014
'Tis the season to be forecastin’ and now the Great Battsby reveals – in an exciting two-part collector’s edition – what the fuck is what for the coming year. Hear ye, hear ye, for all I foretell may come to pass… and then you’ll look pretty daft if you’re not prepared. (Example Top Tip: stock up on Marmite. As a typical British delicacy there is a buzz in Brussels that the EU are intending to make it illegal. You heard it here first.) And now, before my crystal balls fog up:
There will be snow. In parts; not all parts. I’m on safe ground here in predicting that the country will go into shutdown mode. As oil and gas prices tumble, heating will become so cheap that marauding ideologues will need to sabotage fuel tankers rather than concede their trite point that people need to choose between eating and heating. As people sit in the cosy and cheap warmth of their homes rather than brave the chilly commute to work, protesters will take to the streets having chosen cheating before heating.
The NHS finally succumbs. After twenty years of there being just six days to save it, it takes just six days to sell off every part in a massive public offering, clearing the deficit at a stroke. Shares rapidly rise; leading Labour to denounce the coalition’s cut-price rip off of the UK taxpayers. Within months waiting lists are halved by skilful new management and bouncer-assisted triage and in a ruinous twist for Labour many individuals see a boost to their pensions and retire to the sun, thus further relieving the strain on healthcare. Andy Burnham, in a desperate attempt to claw back some credibility, buys his own hospital and runs it into bankruptcy within a few weeks.
In an unusual coalition of enemies, Labour, Conservatives and LibDems form a giant new party to campaign under the single slogan ‘We are not Ukip’, carpet-bombing the electorate with leaflets claiming that all Ukip prospective MPs – especially former Labour, Conservative and LibDem ones - are vampires, racists and serial killers. Ukip’s polling surges to over 30% with support from Prince Phillip and - for the first time - The Queen herself declaring for Farage. The old three parties and their flag-wavers still remain clueless as to how this could possibly be.
It rains and rains and rains, just as it always does in spring. Three houses are flooded in Somerset and a wave washes a child’s abandoned toy off a seawall in Devon prompting environmental activists to boycott the seaside and mount protests at Downing Street demanding action. In a freak accident a few unwashed eco-warriors are injured when a burst water main causes their ancient VW camper van’s bald tyres to aqua-plane off the road during yet another Balcombe anti-fracking intervention. This is seized upon by Natalie Bennett as evidence of Global Wettening. It immediately stops raining and The Greens poll rating slumps below 1%. Again
The general election proves dramatic and confounds all the pollsters. Labour, campaigning to avoid discussion of any issue of national importance – on which they are universally wrong – push a vague agenda of ‘being nicer’ to everybody. The Greens lose their only MP. The LibDems lose every deposit except Vince Cable’s, who nevertheless loses his seat. And between them Labour and the Conservatives retain just 20% of the overall vote. Turnout is at a record high although voters reject most political parties in favour of the newly included ‘none of the above’ option. At 15% Ukip are invited to preside over a coalition of ‘none of the above’ and decide to declare the election void. Without a government the UK’s international standing rises to its highest in over a century and across Europe countries clamour to leave the EU and join the UK. The Euro falls to a value of just 23p.
There may be trouble ahead...
The rains subside, the sun comes out and my crystal ball begins to mist up… I see swirling vapours and turmoil; there may be trouble ahead…
...to be continued.
Friday, 26 December 2014
No news is good news? Who says that? There’s always news, good and bad, but at this time of the year good or bad, it’s pretty unedifying stuff. Articles about who got what or who should have got what, or who would have got what if it was up to ‘me’ for Christmas. Some pretty unimaginative ‘alternate’ Christmas party/food/travel ideas, too late for anybody to do anything about. A million diet articles, all contradictory, yet all saying the same thing: ‘we don’t know any better than you do’. And Christmas fashion, for fuck’s sake. At Christmas the way you look is entirely in the hands of the ridiculous clothes others buy you… for a joke.
Then there are the royals. For crying out loud, aren’t they allowed just one day off? The Queen’s speech is leaked and dissected before it’s even broadcast. The new parents are nagged and nagged and nagged to parade their shiny plump prince for public consumption and in today’s Daily Mail they even manage to resurrect the ghost of the decade-dead Queen Mum – Gawd bless ‘er! All we need is another palace intruder story and we’ll be made up.
Also we await the reviews of the year and the predictions for what is to come. Well don’t bother because I have it all here. Are you ready? Some famous people will confess to dalliances with other famous people, much to their famous associates’ astonishment. Other less famous but fabulously wealthy persons will end up in trouble for variously buying favour/honours/influence and bringing our political/judicial/honours system into pretend disrepute. Others will call for public inquiries and the break-up of our political/judicial/honours systems. Oh and there will be an election, after which a coalition government will deliver more of the same.
There will be some sort of disease epidemic which everybody will quickly claim to have contracted and shortly thereafter there will be a ‘man’ version in a continuation of the old saw that men are incapable of bearing illness with dignity. The feminists will seize on this with glee as yet further evidence that they have not one amusing bone in their body… including, quite probably, the humerus. In other words humans will show no obvious signs of evolution, no matter how many books are published claiming otherwise; the battle of the sexes will rumble on for a good few millennia yet.
Other wars will wax and wane and the planetary total of refugees will continue to rise and one way or another they will all try to come to Europe which, by then, will have started its own little ‘warlets’ preparatory to the next ‘war to end all wars’ which, in all probability will be fought mostly by drones controlled from angry teenagers’ bedrooms. And on top of that even the weather will – by all accounts – begin dropping ordnance on us. Not content with merely forecasting the weather the climate industry, ever desperate for bigger headlines, will preface every expectation of a bit of rain or snow with the term ‘weather bomb’.
The British 'weather bomb' - same old shit
So don’t bother with the news, there is no such thing. Nothing is new under the sun, as they say. But if you do go in for perusing the headlines and especially if you are inclined to be taken in by what they say, then I have one very British piece of advice for you. Prepare for disappointment.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
Christmas comes but once a year. As I ran the gauntlet of waddling men in trackie bottoms dutifully trailing their strident current partners, revealing sweaty arse cracks as they lurched along, half-supported by their bulging shopping trolleys, even as their own trolleys lost the fight with gravity, little did I know that all over social media a gathering storm was, er… gathering. As embittered fathers tried to control errant kids their rabid mothers foraged for a vegetable that most people only ever regard as a penance and for no known reason. And thus engaged in the hunt, all were ignorant of the events about to unfold many miles away.
It’s the time of the year when everybody is reminded of our mortality as ancient celebrities pop their clogs to be lionised by the media despite never having done a single original thing in their lives. Mediocre, yet long-lived actors, famous for a brief flowering in the seventies, singers with a single hit record, itself a cover of a greater talent’s work. But eulogise or despise them they had their time in the light and are thus fair game for criticism, so even when the Joe Cocker jokes were flying few were genuinely offended.
But, in the bustle for baskets piled high with biscuits which are only ever munched on Boxing Day, when the good ones have all run out; as chaotic couples telephoned each other from adjacent supermarket aisles, desperate to secure one of the last several thousand tubs of goose fat; as frantic families fought as if for their lives to procure the festive feast they truly believe they deserved; as all this was going on, in Glasgow some people they had never heard of were about to lose everything to fate.
People die every day, in their millions. Some of them suffer unspeakable and lonely misery, some of them perish in floods and earthquakes; a few even choose to put themselves in the firing line for a cause. And some, a small number in comparison, succumb to sheer accident. But unless it is somebody with personal significance to me, I refuse to be cowed by the bleating grief-seeking masses who want to turn every parochial calamity into a national tragedy. And when did it become an actual crime to not adopt this self-imposed, self-righteous rending of garments? What was in it for those who turned on the idiot who tweeted a joke too soon? I blame Diana.
For what it’s worth, my thoughts are never going to ‘go out to’ or ‘be with’ those in whose personal tragedies I simply have no involvement. It doesn’t make me heartless, it merely shows I have a more refined sense of empathy, focused on who is important to me and not turned on by whipped-up, mawkish sentiment; I refuse to be defined by my readiness to cry to order for people I will never know. Peace on earth and goodwill to men has to include – just as with freedom of speech – those with whom we disagree.
Santa's little accident...
But you know the truly most offensive thing about the Glasgow incident? For the first few hours, everywhere you looked, the BRITISH online media were describing the bin lorry as a ‘garbage truck'. Now there, surely, is something we can all rally around and join in the unanimous condemnation of. Now, get back to your own Christmases and stop worrying about everybody else’s.
Monday, 22 December 2014
Once again the professionally offended want to ban words. Words like Chinky and Kike and no doubt any term ever used to describe anybody in terms of their origins, their speech, their colour, height, customs… How long before the book burning begins?
I asked Twitter for a list and Twitter did not disappoint. I've sort of organised them into rhyme; feel free to use any you take a fancy to. I do hope I didn't miss anybody out.
Hate Speech - A poem
Paki, wop, chink, wog,
Dago, eye-tie, kraut, frog.
Sausage-eater, square head,
Sand-nigger, porage-wog .
Gerry, hun, kike, yank,
Raghead, pikey, septic tank,
Sambo, paddy, gyppo, nigger,
Snowflake, whitey, limey, jigger.
Coon, spade, golly, Mick
Ali baba, coolie, spic.
Piccaninny, abbo, boggy
Camel jockey, blackistan
Taffy, tinker, Chinaman.
Sooty, spook, wetback, yid
Gringo, guinea, heebie kid
Spud-nigger, dune coon
Gook, niglet, jappo loon
All because someone said Chink
A slippery slope; makes you think…
I had such fun with that little bunch of couplets I decided to defame the famous and tinkered, just a little, with one of Lewis Carroll's delightful pieces of nonsense.
Is it because I'm black?
‘Twas brillig and the slithy spades
Did gyre and gimble with the micks;
All mimsy were the coolie babes,
And the mome raths, all spics.
“Beware the Golliwog, my son
The Japs that bite, the Nips that snigger!
Beware the golliwog, and shun
The frumious raghead sand-a-nigger!”
He took his Sambo sword in hand;
Long time the septic tank he sought—
So rested he by the nig-nog tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in darkish thought he stood,
The Golliwog, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the Taffy wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through the coon
The boggy blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
“And hast thou slain the Golliwog?
Come to my arms, my Guinea boy!
O Paki day! O Pikey, hey!”
He chortled like a goy.
‘Twas brillig, in the Twitter jail
As the humourless made such a fuss;
All mimsy, as the meek and pale ,
Climbed aboard the outrage bus.
Friday, 19 December 2014
It’s not always easy for everybody, the festive season. While many of you are winding down and descending that drunken spiral into mince pie-fuelled Olympic-strength sloth, many will continue to work right up until Wednesday and some will have no break at all. Consider those who work in A&E; while most industries slacken the pace over Christmas, the health business has to notch up a gear to cope with the entirely preventable afflictions resulting from the latent stupidity that lurks just beneath the pale, waxy skin of much of the population.
And what of the service industries? Also the delivery drivers, the hospitality trade and everybody who works in what we once called ‘a shop’ but is now known as ‘retail’. But who among you have ever spared a thought for the brewers? Think about it – after a frenzied month of domestic booze buying and stocking up, all the producers are hard pressed to replenish their stock. Add to that the vintners, supermarkets, public houses and hotels and far from taking a break, the vineyards, distilleries and the combined might of the workers of Burton-on-Trent are flat out all during December to ensure that the new year doesn’t start dry.
And of course there is stretch; as productivity hits the roof it is only to be expected that health and safety takes a back seat as grapes are trod, ethanol distilled and hops mashed to kingdom come to bring forth their sweet, sweet intoxicants. All of which brings to mind an incident just a few short years ago that has become a byword for the callous indifference of employers to the safety needs of the their workers in the brewing trade. The tragic outcome was both regrettable and avoidable and had profit not come before production, Hamish McPlaid might still be alive today.
At the inquest convened to investigate the tragic drowning of Hamish the central piece of evidence for The Crown versus GlenFiddle was the lengthy CCTV footage from the Pot Still Room. The coroner and jury looked on aghast as they watched the late Scotsman’s last two hours on earth. Unaccompanied he patrolled the giant vessels, taking samples, examining them and making meticulous notes on the clipboard he carried. On occasion he imbibed a sample from the odd batch and as the footage clocked forward he became visibly overcome by the liquor and the heady fumes. With no co-worker to intercede, his sampling rate increased and finally, stretching over the copper lip of one of the vast containers, he lost his balance and tumbled in.
The court gasped as they saw his struggles and had to force themselves to watch as he took a full ninety minutes to drown. In the summing up the judge emphasized to the jury how, had there been another employee present, Hamish would almost certainly have survived his ordeal and that a charge of negligence should surely be the verdict against the GlenFiddle Distillery. The jury nodded and made notes, then turned to hear the response from the legal representative of the company.
“My Lord,” he began, “ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I feel I should point out that the deceased must surely bear some of the blame for his own demise.” The jury turned hostile and began to barrack the lawyer until the coroner silenced them to insist they heard him out. “Yes,” he agreed, “Mr McPlaid was unaccompanied and yes a companion would undoubtedly have averted this tragic outcome. But having watched the same tape of events as you all have I am astonished that in heaping all of the blame on my company you did not once take into consideration a major self-inflicted contributory factor.” The jury fell silent as counsel continued. “Did not a single one of you notice the reason he took so long to drown was that he climbed out three times to go to the toilet?”
Thursday, 18 December 2014
And lo, a star rose in the east and when the three magi saw it as one they proclaimed, “Fuck that; Mecca’s that way and they’re a right bunch of nutters!” And so it came to pass that the three wise scholars turned their backs on the east, headed west and set out to see what was up. Many days and nights did they wander onwards, their procession lit by starry nights but with no fixed direction. “Follow the moon!” said one and for three nights they travelled in a bizarre series of arcs. “Follow the North Star!” cried a second, but that brief interlude came to an end as they reached the Syrian border where, as the bible has it, “Everything was well kicking off!”
In the end they decided to rely on the donkey for directions and so, with Vince the unwilling ass leading the way, Ed Melchior Miliband, Dave Caspar Cameron and Nick Balthazar Clegg finally made meagre progress away from that portentous star. At Alexandria they boarded a creaking vessel full of Somali cultural enrichment advisors and set out on the perilous sea towards Italy where, they were assured, a warm welcome awaited them. But they managed to give the slip to the mobs of coastal dwellers who greeted them with burning brands, chanting slogans and they made their way north and into the vast European desert where, for forty days and nights they pushed on, ever westward, yet without succour in that hostile land.
Until they came upon the vast fortress of Calais. “You may not enter!” spaketh the burghers of that besieged Babel. “But we are following yonder thtar!” sayeth Melchior Miliband. The citizens, as one, pointed to the sky and asked, “What, the one behind you?” The magi paused but for a second before chorusing, “Yes!” oblivious to the ridicule that thereafter befell them. “On your bike!” spake the mayor of Calais and the great gates were closed as the natives ululated and threw bricks, as was their ancient custom. Thus it was that the three unwise men entered the kingdom of Albion clinging to the chassis of a transcontinental truck, which was more than a little tricky for the donkey.
Soon however, the companions grew cold and hungry. What was this place where unsmiling people hurried about their business and ignored their neighbours? How was it that a society so vast and bustling could survive when all harboured such suspicion of each other? The three wise men had no answers. In desperation they went in search of food and found themselves at the great temple of Tesco wherein lay wonders beyond comprehension which they set about with earnest greed.
At the checkout the stony-faced acolyte called the High Priest who arrived with two attendant security guards and wearing a badge which proclaimed ‘Manger’, for spelling was not his forte. “They haven’t any money,” the spotty youth intoned, “they’ve just got this load of crap…” at which the magi stepped forward. “I bring gold!” spake Caspar Cameron. But Melchior diggeth him in the rib and sayeth under his breath “Gordon sold all the gold! That’s just the wrapping paper from the chocolates.” He then stepped forward, “But I bring myrrh!” Not to be outdone, Balthazar Clegg also stepped up “And I bring Frankincense!”
It's traditional, innit?
The manger looked coldly at the trio, raised his arm and pointed to the doors. “Get the fuck out of my store, you crackheads!” he cried. And without ceremony, the bouncers bundled the unwise men back out into the cold. For many hours they tarried and shuffled and huddled together until finally they found themselves in the company of a sorry band of freaks. The three unwise men joined the cast of lobsters, spacemen, sheep, leeks, pixies, goblins, elves and elvises… and thus the legend of the nativity was born.
Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Another twenty-four hours go by and what do we get? More angry islam. Everywhere you look around the world the religion of blown to millions of tiny pieces is enriching and enlightening followers and non-followers alike. It’s not even a war really, mass-killing their own with the same alacrity as when beheading the infidel. Suddenly equality doesn’t seem such an ideal to strive for.
And yet, once again the response of soft-bellied politicians and bleeding heart ‘progressives’ is to paint islam and all its adherents as the real victims. As the cries of ‘islamophobia’ rise from behind the gnashing teeth the survivors and the families of the actual victims are left to somehow deal with their grief without denouncing the perverse ideology which brought about their hurt. If we don’t fight this fire with equally determined fire it will burn down all our houses, so what is it about this primitive, barbaric doctrine that makes it a crime to criticise?
Forget the ‘moderate islam’ nonsense; according to the islamic state crusade what they demand and what they follow is islam in its purest form. If so then this cult has run its course and if it ever served a useful, peaceful purpose (for which I see no evidence at all) that time is long gone. It’s not just here and it’s not just a reaction of western muslims to injustice, real or perceived, against the east. This is actual world-wide jihad, it is apparently sanctioned by leaders of the faith and it simply isn’t being challenged in any meaningful way.
How long before something is done to stop this wave of terror in its tracks? Or will we wait until the only thing we can do is sharpen their blades and hold our neighbour’s head steady to make the end smoother, quicker, somehow more dignified? Words won’t work against an enemy who abhors our very existence and whose frequently attested intent is to dominate the whole world. And if the creed has such a hold on its followers that they dare not turn their back on it then there really is only one solution; you don’t negotiate with cancer, you cut it out.
This medieval madness has nothing to offer the modern world except to drag it back to the barren wastelands of its origins in the fevered mind of a madman, or as is more likely, the fevered minds of a succession of warped control freak, small-testicled inadequates with a deep hatred of women. If muslims will not denounce so-called extremism and render islam the equivalent of the toothless Anglican church, whereby not fully believing is practically a virtue in itself, then islam has no place in the west.
There is nothing funny about islam. We keel you!
Even mosque architecture is offensive; ugly, inhuman edifices wrought with primitive, repetitive, non-representative ‘art’ that burns with no passion, no joy. Given that islam actually means submission it is fitting that its temples look like prisons for the soul. So, moderate muslims, if you exist you do have a choice. It might be painful, it might be hard to overcome a lifetime of being chained to an unforgiving wheel but if you really want to help, turn your back on allah and simply walk away.
(Note for newcomers: I habitually do not capitalise any islam-related terminology except in error. I just don't recognise any of these words as proper nouns.)
Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Remember singing “If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our club.” Or, if you prefer, “I’m in with the in crowd”. It doesn’t matter whether or not Groucho Marx said “I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member” we all really want to belong to something. Whether it’s a family, a church, a cult, an exclusive private members organisation, the jet set, the golf club, even just comfortably fitting into an age group - the justified and ancient – being part of something seems to be a fundamental human desire. Even the Sydney siege-artist appeared to want to be part of something, albeit a murderous, barbarous something which would see the rest of us dead. My club’s better than your club, perhaps?
Clubs have rules and generally you have to abide by them to become a member and continue to abide by them to remain a member. Most people have no problem with this. The more desirable a club, the more stringently it can vet its applicants and the greater the rewards for those who make the grade. As your club’s success becomes visible and unless you actively enforce uniformity, diversity will ensue. Successful companies attract diverse workforces from the cream of the world’s talent; mistaking diversity for the cause of their success is just a trap the left willingly fall for. Over and over again.
They do a lot of that, the left, conflating, concatenating and coming to crap conclusions. And so yesterday, just after the leaking of the ‘don’t talk about immigration’ strategy, Ed Miliband launched his ‘let’s talk about immigration’ pledge. It seems Ed may not even be a part of the inner circle of the club he was elected to lead. And as for his latest offering, criminalising employers for… what, exactly? The Labour spokesthing was crucified by John Humphrys on the Today programme, unable to answer whether a prosecution could be brought for pay discrimination against an immigrant worker paid above the minimum wage. Fag packet politics again, Labour? Come on; you must have one coherent policy at least?
The sudden rush to recognise uncontrolled mass immigration as an issue after years of denial, of trying to paint it pretty, after years of denouncing as racist anybody who dared point out the obvious is pitiful. How about this for a policy: People are dying – quite literally – trying to get into our little exclusive island club; we must be doing something right. So, why can’t we control our membership? This just doesn’t seem like such a tricky principle to grasp; we have something people want, but not enough of it to go around. It strikes me that raising the bar to entry is a no-brainer; funnily enough it seems exactly that amount of brain has been exercised in debating the issue to date.
New club memberships available!
And if the EU will not allow us to do just that, doesn’t that tell us everything we need to know about the subjugation of our sovereignty to unelected foreign rule? Why should we give a fig about staying in the EU club when it is quite clearly Europe’s citizens who appear to be queueing up to join ours? I don’t know how much chocolate you prefer, but making that decision for you without your consent would surely be taking the biscuit?
Monday, 15 December 2014
To get to the top of the political pile it is not enough just to have talent, drive, ambition and an influential sponsor or three, you must primarily have faith. In traditional Tory circles the correct belief always was that people should stand largely on their own two feet… or daddy’s broad shoulders. On the left the followers of the doctrine must believe unequivocally that they know better than everybody else what is good for the little people; those poor, downtrodden human cattle who are simply incapable of escaping their moribund destinies without the over-zealous assistance of the card-carrying faithful.
It comes from a place of unrequited love, this conviction; a passion to right the wrongs and slay the dragons of oppression, cut free the chains of enslavement to uncaring masters and deliver the wretches to the sunny uplands of equality, fraternity and liberty. In the gospels of the church of Labour the horny handed sons of toil will roister with their comrades, singing gallant songs of derring-do, of the struggle joined and overcome. The reality, sadly, is one of killing with kindness.
Singing Onward Comrade Soldiers has led us to a nation of state-dependent zombies suckling from the teat of welfare in its many forms. Instead of people making a living, they are given one without a commitment in return. Housing Benefit, Child Benefit, Council Tax Benefit and Tax Credits should be entirely unnecessary, but people are so wedded to the idea that the state must provide that they can’t understand how their lives would be so much better if these crutches were the exception rather than the rule.
To maintain the addictions the left like to toy with the language, bandying around words like cruelty, poverty, inequality, need, entitlement, deprivation and so on and shouting racist or homophobe at anybody who dissents. Labour even deployed adverts a decade ago, telling people to claim their tax credits as a right! It’s free! It’s yours! Nobody has to pay for it except those who have too much already! Language is everything in this arena and in the war of words the devil has the best weapons. The language of self-esteem beats the language of self-reliance every time – who doesn’t want the illusion of heaven on earth?
To succeed as a Labour politician you also have to be capable of denying what you see with your own eyes – progressively lower wages, visibly increased and uncomfortable immigration, the stretching of services and the lowering of standards of both living and behaviour. And just in case anybody with a functioning memory should try to air a recollection you must master the rewriting of history, conveniently airbrushing out the appalling squalor wrought by your own policies every single time you've held power. The cognitive dissonance must scream like tinnitus in all but the most indoctrinated of brains.
In Labourspeak borrowing is now called investment and increasing the national debt beyond any hope of repayment in a lifetime is referred to as balancing the books. Hampering teaching by the need for multiple language interpreters is enrichment. Foreign criminals are all endangered asylum seekers and the mass importation of unskilled, criminally low-paid workers from the poorest parts of the European Union is celebrated as the triumph of diversity.
One political arse looks much like another
This week, fearing an outbreak of clear vision and unclouded minds, some on the left have been trying to claim that race should be kept out of politics. Race is a proxy here for any discussion about immigration in what is euphemised as ‘unhelpful’ terms. That is, if you see a problem then have the audacity to point to it you are a heretic. It's like dealing with haemorrhoids - the more you scratch the itchier they get. And red or blue, those piles are really irritating. Maybe it’s about time we all denounced our faiths and became political apostates. And bollocks to the lot of them.
Saturday, 13 December 2014
It’s easy, you’d think, belonging to the order Lepidoptera, including as it does the wonderful variety of butterflies and moths; a carefree, if brief, existence of flitting from flower to flower, from tree to tree and laying a few eggs to perpetuate the species. But moths have consciences too and far from being mere casual passers-on of their genes, suffer many of the same anxieties we’d recognise as humans. It’s especially so during these dark winter months.
So, one evening a hummingbird hawk moth - Macroglossum stellatarum - buzzes into a holistic treatment centre and approaches one of the therapists, who asks the moth, "What seems to be the problem?" The moth says, "Doc, I don't know where to start. I feel like it’s all been a huge waste of time. I've been doing the same old job my entire life and I don't just hate it, I'm revolted by it. I can barely summon the strength to drag myself in every day but I have no choice but to keep working because I'm in debt up to my compound eyes.” He looked wretched, but the therapist merely blinked.
The moth continued: “The idea of doing this until I die just makes me sick. I've grown apart from my wife and I hardly see her because I stay late in the pub every night, hoping she’s asleep by the time I get home. She's no longer the woman I loved, and I can barely stand to be around her but I feel guilty for feeling that way about her. Doc, it just eats me up inside. She’s not a bad moth; it’s not her, it’s me…” The therapist continued to say nothing and the moth felt compelled to let the words tumble forth.
“And my daughter's shacked up with a guy I can't stand who's terrible for her and she dropped out of school, but she won't listen to reason and it breaks my heart. And my son; Doctor, I just don't know if I love my own son, because he reminds me of everything I hate about myself. I look into his eyes and see the same disgusting, snivelling cowardice I know everyone sees in mine. I can't even work up the courage to buy a gun and blow my own tiny brains out. I feel like my entire life is nothing more than a fragile web of lies just barely holding me back from the screaming abyss."
A long silence descended as the moth, his troubles shared, let his shoulder sag, inhaled a long breath, breathed out and slumped in his chair. After a pause filled with tension the therapist finally spoke. "You do seem to have a lot of problems, but I'm really just an acupuncturist, you need to see a proper counsellor, a psychiatrist even. What made you come to me?"
What do you mean, the doctor can't see me?
The moth looked up at him and then looked around the consulting room. He seemed aware of his surroundings for the first time and suddenly looked embarrassed. He shrugged and said, "The light was on."
Thursday, 11 December 2014
Welcome, once more to the world of ‘The Expert', a title given to people whose gaping lack of insight into the bleeding obvious is only equalled by their enormous, public-purse salaries. Stephen Nickell of the Office for Budget Responsibility says the NHS couldn't function without immigrants and Britain has "masses of room" for more people. Good. We can build the extra houses around where he lives then? Ever wonder why Britain is described as ‘this green and pleasant land’ and not ‘this crowded concrete shithole’?
Anyway, we need the countryside to stop one rotting, swelling urban sprawl from abutting another and creating continuous conurbations of crap and teeming megalopoli of muck, mayhem and mediocrity. Not all population centres are ‘vibrant’, ‘thriving’ and ‘diverse’ in the way some parts of the capital are painted. In fact most urban population centres are moribund breeding grounds for poverty, malcontent and mischief; lawless battery farms for the underprivileged. If you built them a garden city, pretty soon they’d plonk a mouldy old sofa in that very garden.
Plenty of green acres are needed to separate those fetid dumping grounds that are the biggest centres of need for the NHS in the first place. It is a self-fulfilling Sisyphean nightmare whereby the vast bulk of our medical monolith is engaged in treating the ills borne of the general stupidity of the masses; childbirth, obesity, drink, drugs, geriatry and dementia - horrible lives need constant care – no wonder only desperately poor immigrants can be enticed to dress their metaphorical (and sometimes literal) suppurating sores. No sooner have you injected yet more cash into the monster, the monster then uses it to perpetuate its own death throes.
Space. Green space. We need miles and miles of it between the human landfills to provide aspiration for those who ultimately pay for it all; the higher taxpayers. ‘Miles from anywhere’ is really a polite euphemism for ‘far from squalor’. And the distance between the slag heaps has to be enough to dissuade most of the denizens from journeying between, fly-tipping as they go. (It's tradition, isn't it?) The countryside is not for building on it’s for looking at… and it’s really not for just anybody to look at; like art and high culture, it is devalued when everybody does it.
Welcome to the greenbelt...
If the OBR really was responsible it would be agreeing that we genuinely are overcrowded – the direct experience of the vast majority of our heaving population - and recognising that it is very irresponsible budgeting indeed to keep feeding a beast which can only bloat. So, slash the NHS, put something in the water and put a halt to our population growth before idiots like this call to concrete over what’s still left of our countryside.
Wednesday, 10 December 2014
Giving the vote to children has long been a Labour aim because who was it who said “If a man is not a socialist in his youth, he has no heart”? The ‘success’ of the Scottish Independence vote showed how even a doomed endeavour can be boosted by enlisting the aid of the easily led. Many a battalion has been marched to their doom by a Commander-in-Chief with the rallying cry, “Follow me, men! I’ll be right behind you!” So why wouldn’t the left want to recruit an army of people still a long way away from ever paying for what they’ve had and what they wish for?
Just imagine the campaign slogans: “Because it’s just not fair!”, “Stamp your feet if you agree!” and “Don’t come out of your room until the nasty Tories have said sorry!” And think of the way votes could be ‘finessed’ from their callow trembling hands: Polling Day Parties where frenzied mobs of pissed-up teens are led from the dance floor to the voting booths having been love-bombed for several hours by Labour luvvies on stage. Votes sold and swapped online for the discounts on whatever the hell it is young people spend their pocket money on these days. Postal votes collected from the bedsides of the terminally idle.
None of this is to deny that some young people – a couple of dozen at least – are genuinely capable of learned political discourse. But you can’t fail to have noticed how it is somehow cool to be a hip, lefty gunslinger, forever protesting about one thing or banning another, but dismally tedious to be a young fogey, dressed in drab tweed and earnestly discussing free market economics. Politics is supposed to be boring when you’re young; no wonder it is invariably the fantasies of Russell Brand and Eddy Izzard and the Occupy movement who suck in the impressionable ‘yoot’.
And then there are The Greens; a more fucked up ideology you would be hard pressed to find. Free electricity from seaweed and living on clover and grass; communism with none of the trappings of actual power or influence and a hand-knitted lentil beard for every convert to the cult. Ban the car, halt commerce, close the banks and let’s all live by barter and beetroot. Oh and crystals and holistic medicine and ley lines; the kids lap up that shit, so naturally Labour looks like a sort of grown-up choice by comparison.
or and this will happen!
Given that we have extended the end of childhood from fifteen to around thirty, should we not instead be thinking of raising the age of majority and with it the entitlement to vote? I have met very few under twenty-fives who should be trusted to wield the X. That first-paragraph quote by the way, in various forms, is attributed to several people: Edmund Burke, Victor Hugo, George Bernard Shaw, Georges Clemenceau, Benjamin Disraeli and occasionally Winston Churchill but the true meaning never alters. It is incomplete without the caveat, “If he is not a conservative by the time he is 40 he has no head." What’s Miliband’s excuse?
Tuesday, 9 December 2014
On behalf of whinging socialists everywhere I bring you the Miserable Whiny Gits of the Season awards and top of the list in the Most Offended on Behalf of People Who Couldn’t Give a Fuck What You Think category is the bunch of morons who objected to the Clinton Cards’ ‘Santa Claus is a Chav’ card. The Independent does a lovely line in outrage by referring to the moderately amusing but instantly recognisable references as “offensive stereotypes “
Luckily, while real chavs may not understand the word stereotype – there’s another one, see – they do, invariably possess a sense of humour, albeit maybe a low-grade one. Essential to survival at the arse end of society is a thick skin and the kind of sensitivities displayed by the soft, pink offendotrons would be laughed out of town… except they’d have to walk as their cars would probably be up on bricks. Or on fire. (This stuff writes itself, you know.)
Not content with trying to avoid the mention of Christ in ‘Christ Mass’ and desperately displacing Joseph and the Virgin Mary with any number of minor animal characters in The Christmas Story (‘Nativity’ is almost certainly hurtful to somebody, somewhere, if you search hard enough.) for fear of offending any non-Christians, who in the main are not offended at all, these zealots would ban joy itself if they could. Voltaire is credited with saying “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise.” These days that would appear to be anybody… Anybody, except…
There is one group of citizens who, it seems, we are absolutely free to pillory and parody and vilify in the most ruthless way and give the lie to Voltaire’s proclamation. Far from being unable to criticise those who rule, it is practically compulsory. Who would be a politician these days?
So, safe in the knowledge that such denigration is beyond the reach of the Thought Police, I give you 10 reasons why Father Christmas must, obviously, be a politician:
1. He has had repeated intimate contact with generations of children without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom and any evidence has been conveniently lost.
2. Herds of exotic reindeer roam around his enormous ancestral estate, presumably paid for by the EU's CAP subsidy.
3. He’s never had a real job in his entire life.
4. He often drinks on the job, consuming booze bought by others and sleeping it off, inactive, for most of the year.
5. His permanent home address is a matter of some mystery.
6. He doles out gifts to all and sundry, paid for by somebody else, without ever spending a penny of his own money… or asking others if it is all right him spending theirs.
7. The only Pole he’s ever encountered is part of his address, or occasionally a ho ho ho...
8. He is occasionally photographed leaving Lap-dancing Land
9. If anybody else claimed to rely on flying hooved mammals for transport they would be locked up and the key thrown away, yet he manages to get away with making fantastic claims to explain the impossible. And finally;
10. Even though it takes the combined resources of NASA and the CAA to track his whereabouts he has never had so much as a speeding ticket.
Quick, it's The Speaker! Leg it!
And if you're not convinced you have to ask yourself, have you ever seen Eric Pickles and Father Christmas in the same room together? Well, have you? I rest my case.
Monday, 8 December 2014
At the end of the dog there is usually a waggy tail, doing the dog’s bidding and indicating joy; joy at being fed, joy at being appreciated, joy at the sheer wagginess of belonging to a happy dog. The tail has no purpose without the dog and the dog is the poorer for lack of its semaphoric appendage. The Labour Party is a detached tail, desperately trying to wag its dog.
Once the party of the poor, fighting for those without representation, they now rely on the tribal loyalties of the poor for their very existence. As somebody said, keeping people poor is effectively Labour’s business model. Without poverty where is the fear to keep people voting for the red flag? So in recent years Labour has cleverly championed ruinous policies sold as incentives to help the poor while deviously increasing their numbers.
What is classed as poor in modern Britain? Adjusting that measure was a stroke of genius. If less than half of median income used to make you poor then redefining poverty as less than 60% of median income added to that number handsomely. As did inventing the terms ‘fuel poverty’ and ‘child poverty’. Unless they’re on a mahoosive whack of pocket money children are by every measure in miserable, grinding poverty. But if altering the meaning of words isn’t enough there are a number of policy strategies you can employ to make even the non-poor feel the pinch.
Gordon Brown increased the fuel duty escalator and scrapped the 10% tax rate, adding to the woes of the working poor and then appearing to come to their assistance by introducing tax credits – taking with one hand while giving some back with the other. Minimum wage policies inevitably drive down legitimate employment and encourage the sub-minimum wage economy, putting more UK citizens on the breadline. The living wage rhetoric is just the same, ignoring economics in favour of looking like they care. Rent controls always impact most heavily on the poor yet still Labour pursues the illusion that government can fix such things that are beyond its control without totalitarianism.
Things like the climate and the cost of fuel. Miliband’s 2008 Climate Change Act locks everybody into increasing fuel costs for ever more. The wind farms don’t work as promised; the costs will never be recovered, let alone returned with profits and most of the government-subsidised ‘income’ goes to foreign investors or rich UK land owners. How many poor people have a share in a wind turbine? So it is rather astonishing that under the banner of challenging the coalition’s economic credibility Mr Ed flaunts his own credulity towards the climate change industry; the project which will guarantee enduring poverty and insecurity for years to come. But that’s socialism for you.
But still the biggest problem is people – rapidly increasing populations with increasingly voracious energy appetites. Keeping people poor and ill-educated - the Labour vote machine - is an ecological disaster in the making, because poor, ill-educated people have more kids. And kids are the root cause of even more kids. So if you want to reduce poverty you need to tackle the root cause. Want fewer people in poverty? Simply reduce the numbers of poor people. Time to chop off that annoying tail.
Saturday, 6 December 2014
Some men are breast-obsessed; I pity them, forever in the thrall of two ungainly, wobbly bags of soft tissue, fat and fluids. Newspapers, also, can’t leave them alone, whether they are on page three or snapped at some distance by a hack with a telephoto lens and shaky hands. And then there’s the publicists’ favourite maximum exposure vehicle, the so-called ‘bikini body’, regularly served up, unbidden, on the Daily Mail online’s ‘sidebar of shame’. There’s no need for any of it, really there isn’t, no need at all. But what a perfect storm in a D-cup was whipped up when Nigel Farage was asked his opinion on air about the Claridge's Couple.
More than a hefty handful of Twitter users were outraged in equal measures by both the suggestion that others found the practice of breastfeeding in public variously, uncomfortable, lewd, common or just unnecessary and that they earnestly needed to believe that Farage wanted to put baby in the corner; have they not seen the movie? Nobody does that. But for the avoidance of doubt, he actually dismissed the incident as largely an irrelevance, saying that it surely it ought to be up to the business. A shame he plucked from the air the word ‘ostentatious’.
He meant, of course, conspicuous; one of ostentatiousness’s flamboyantly long list of synonyms, but all it takes is a word these days. Looking through that list I also find obtrusive, pretentious, brash, affected and tasteless; all words that others may easily employ to describe an activity which, as natural as it may be, is a private thing, the over-sharing of which may indeed detract from other’s enjoyment of the atmosphere of a high class tea room. Another synonymous phrase is over-the-top, but I personally find that description of events far too graphic for my liking.
Breasts, bellies, flabby thighs, back fat; I’m no fan of exposed unsightly flesh wherever it is situated. You’d never catch me with my tits out, even on the beach, so not wishing to see the display I simply stay away. That’s easy enough, you’d think, but you don’t need this stuff springing on you when you’re really not expecting it. I’m not offended by breast feeding, but unlike television commercials I can’t just fast-forward to avoid it and I’d prefer not to encounter it at every turn. It’s not prudish, it’s not selfish, it’s not even – sorry mumsnet – sexist or misogynist and I think I’m allowed to avoid it if possible.
A huge pair of jugs
Maybe cafes should all have nursing mothers’ areas, next to the milk jugs perhaps? And a large sign so you can choose to avert your gaze from the display of floury baps next time you go for a
teat treat? After
all, you don’t need your thought-train shunted onto the siding when you are
trying to order a raspberry nipple, do you? I hear there are women intent on
picketing Claridge’s and deleteriously affecting their trade in the
time-honoured tradition of the easily offended. Isn’t it good to know that some
rights are just so much better than other rights? I only hope they don’t end up
making a tit of themselves.
Friday, 5 December 2014
In some parts, in some ages, folk didn’t rely on welfare. Times past a man had to fall back on his own wit to keep himself alive, let alone well. Self reliance, a heart of stone, a constitution of cold, hard steel and your trusty steed. Into this land of the free and home of the brave, in a fly-blown clapboard frontier town in the old Wild West, rode a stranger on a prancing white charger and as he trotted along Main Street – the only street – the world stood still. In the stiff, cold breeze a lone tumbleweed tumbled steadfastly on.
Groups of rowdies jawing on rickety board walks stopped talking, spat tobacco juice into the dirt and turned their gaze to the newcomer and his elegant mount. The man looked straight ahead, crows-feet pointing determinedly to his steely blue eyes, clenched tightly against the glare of midday winter sun and slowed his horse to a measured walk. As they processed along the dusty ground he chewed on a cheroot; a man with a mission.
Womenfolk ushered their children indoors and curtains were drawn. A stranger in town was rarely a good sign. Who was he - lawman, outlaw, ranger or just another ornery cowpoke drifter, here to get drunk, gamble away his wages and get thrown into jail to cool off? But there was something different, self-assured about this one and as he carried on down the street a small but wary few followed him to see how long he’d live.
Eventually, he coaxed his horse to a halt outside the saloon and without glancing round, slid nimbly to the ground, deftly hitched the beast to the rail and strode over to the trough to grab a bucket, which he filled with water to quench his travelling companion’s thirst before his own. As the horse drank he dipped into a saddle bag, took out a steel comb and attended to the tangles and burs in its mane. Grooming complete, the stranger put the comb away, brushed the dust from his own coat and turned to face the saloon.
He took one pace towards the swing doors then checked himself, turned around and walked straight to the hind quarters of the horse where he quickly lifted its tail and planted a full-on kiss directly on the horse’s arse. The followers were shocked and as the stranger disappeared into the saloon the speculation began. Curiosity got the better of them and they swiftly followed the man into the dark shadows of the bar.
There he was, a fresh cheroot gripped between his teeth and a second neat whisky about to follow the first. He downed it in one and as he lowered his gaze from the ceiling he found a young man, a pressed delegate, thrust hastily in front of him. He stared at the nervous youth, clutching his hat in both his hands and clearly afraid. “What can I do for you, son?” the lone stranger enquired. The lad stuttered a little and then said “Why’d you do that, what you did? You know, with the horse’s ass and all?”
Who was that masked man?
The crowd fell silent as the stranger stood up and leaned toward the youngster. He raised his hands and pointed to his mouth. All he said was “chapped lips.” The silence became deafening as seconds passed; it was excruciating. “But why?” blurted out the young ‘un, “does it cure ‘em?” The stranger's mouth stretched into a strangled smile and he replied, “Nope. But it sure as hell stops me licking ‘em.”
Thursday, 4 December 2014
Ah, the Autumn Statement; that recently minted mini-budget bodge and an opportunity to electioneer for all the Chancellor is worth. A bit of a tinker with this tax a bit of a smidge off that, a tap of the magic wand and - poof! – all’s wonderful again. A few hundred people better off by a bob or two, a few hundred worse off by a handful of shekels and the economy cured by a sleight of hand most amateur of conjurers would immediately recognise. “Where’s the tax cut?” shouts the audience plant. “It’s up his sleeve!” replies the audience and then they all gasp in unison as he produces a bunch of flowers from up his arse.
It’s an undignified spectacle during which one man tries to make the numbers tell one story and a few well-rehearsed adversaries try to convince us it’s all a pack of lies. At the end of the performance we all turn back to our mundane lives, turn out our empty pockets and realise that money truly does talk; in our case it says "goodbye". Nothing has changed at all. Ed Balls, Chuka Umunna, Danny Alexander and Uncle Tom Cobley and all were cued up across the news channels, eager to claim credit, disparage, chide or challenge and yet not one of them had anything genuinely useful to say.
Labour’s only real response to the statement, along with all their legions of creepy activists, was to take to social media to decry the failure of the coalition to balance the books and then foolishly to suggest that Labour could do better. Even most Labour supporters know that their blighted stewardship of the economy - even during a boom - was ideologically feckless, wasteful and downright incompetent. And come on, even if you honestly believed Ed Balls had it in him to reject all that he supported in government you still have to face the reality that if you vote for Balls there’s the horrible possibility you’ll get Miliband. As Prime Minister. Think about that for a moment.
Has that moment of madness passed? Good. To even suggest for one minute that any sane country could hand back the reins to a party that pioneered policy finagled by carefully selected focus group and that embarked on the biggest, most disastrous social engineering experiment this nation has ever seen is infantilist delusion beyond risibility. Don’t even dare. The mere fact that the opposition has suddenly shifted focus back from the NHS to the economy and their beloved ‘cost of living crisis’ line is surely evidence that they have absolutely nothing positive to offer.
None of this is real...
So jump up and down and wave your banners, whoever you support, whoever you believe. Then when the euphoria subsides, when the two-minute hate/joy/delirium passes, trudge back out into the cold, wet dark winter streets and have a good look around. Budgets are for selling newspapers and keeping commentators in work; they are not for the likes of us. No government is going to solve your life for you, least of all any government that fervently believes it can. If you haven’t decided which way to vote – for make no mistake the election starts here – vote for the party which promises to do as little as possible to interfere with your existence. That’s your job and yours alone.
Wednesday, 3 December 2014
Stephen Hawking. He’s not so clever… he just Googles everything on that laptop. Just lately he’s been delving into science fiction, suggesting that if we ever create true artificial intelligence it will learn how to advance itself way faster than humans can possibly evolve and then take over the world. Hasn’t he been paying attention? The way things are going, human dumbing-down is already well on the way to making the average toaster more intelligent than the average school-leaver. The end of the human race, Stephen? It might be a mercy.
We already live in a world where ever more stupid individuals have access to technology so far advanced as to resemble magic and certainly beyond their ability to explain it. I can’t be alone in wondering whether this is entirely healthy. Some people should only be allowed a stick with which to poke cow pats and even access to that ought to be strictly rationed – there is only so much fun a single person can absorb in one day. (For the benefit of townies I should explain that cow pats are not the cheery tactile gestures of bovine companions you may have imagined.)
Almost ten years ago Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris had the Nathan Barley character Dan Ashcroft repeat “The idiots are winning” in a ridiculously heightened world where every utterance of the nouveau cool, the famous-for-no-reason, could be turned into dirty gold by selling stupidity to morons like ice to the Eskimos. I watched that show with mirth tempered by a certain foreboding; now I watch the real world and try to see even the tiniest scrap of difference.
Serious shit is going the same way; science is dispensed in easily swallowed but ultimately indigestible chunks by ever more vacuous, eye-friendly presenters. Pain-free aspiration is packaged up and sold to the eager with never a mention of the true price, or sacrifice, of success. And then there is politics. Visible politics is a stage show whereby unappetising villains are paraded to the tune of public derision in a sham of representative democracy; pantomime members booed from the ballot box into oblivion or ignominy while invisible strings act on behalf of the puppet masters.
The idiots have won!
And even as we watch we happily shovel in yet another mouthful of horse shit to complement the bully-bully bullshit we already swallowed. So a bit of me hopes Stephen Hawking is right and we get these new robot masters of the universe. Just before the human race becomes extinct we may experience, finally, a brief glimpse of that carefree world of leisure and plenty that technology has been promising for at least the last couple of hundred years. In the meantime, budge over and pass me that stick; I have shit to stir.