The Curmudgeon


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Maintaining Good Relations with the Terror-Suspect Community

An anonymous, undated letter claims that a Muslim fifth column is indoctrinating British juvenile resources in Birmingham schools, as well as forcing out unco-operative teaching staff in a fashion more suited to a corporate boardroom than to an appropriately profitable learning emporium. The education secretary's response has been as considered and proportionate as one would expect from a retired Murdoch hack and sometime Bible signatory: once someone told him where Birmingham was, he dispatched the former head of the counter-terrorism unit at the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club to parachute in and sort things out. The local chief constable has already described the appointment as "desperately unfortunate", although it is still theoretically possible that the use of dawn raids, dum-dum bullets and water-cannon can be kept more or less to a minimum.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Nicky Points the Finger

Nick Clegg has suddenly remembered the Chilcot report, which has been in development hell for the past five years. Clegg is doubtless nostalgic for a time when the words mendacious right-wing poodle conjured up the grinning sanctimony of the Reverend Blair's visage rather than the neutered vacuity of his own; but it seems that not everyone shares his belated enthusiasm for the truth. It is not clear who is holding things up; perhaps Prince Charles wrote a sensitive letter, or perhaps some of the finer points of questioning have not yet been bludgeoned a sufficient distance into the Hoon cranium to elicit a satisfactory answer. Of course, with the moral and political weight of Clegg behind the report's publication, we may have to wait no longer than it takes for the thirty-year rule to expire until we see a version which has been redacted to a proper condition for our sensitive gaze.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why Can't They Just Help Us Bomb People?

A UN rapporteur on violence against women has been prevented from inspecting the Yarl's Wood wog disposal centre, according to campaigners who may or may not be sexually involved with the more intimate members of the Metropolitan Police. Aside from their often being foreigners, UN rapporteurs have an unfortunate reputation with the Government thanks to Raquel Rolnik, who took it upon herself to criticise the Spare Room Subsidy Subtraction despite her lowly status as a Brazilian female. The present case is also female, but is South African, which is an improvement; she is even called Rashida Manjoo, which is a sufficiently British name to get her the culture ministry provided she displayed no objection to police assertiveness or fiscal apartheid. Still, it is quite possible that access to Yarl's Wood was prevented purely on safety grounds, in case the efficiency of the place was such that the lady never came out. Her visit coincided with another unexplained death and another ugly deportation at Yarl's Wood; by a happy coincidence, the Home Office arranged for her to visit a facility for men instead. For its own part, the Home Office claimed that Yarl's Wood had never been part of Manjoo's official itinerary, but that she "has met the Home Secretary", which is undoubtedly in most respects an equally sane and fragrant experience.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Think of it as an Investment, Chaps

Having spent four years kicking the proles, the Chancellor now seems to feel confident enough to address some of the actual causes of the late financial meltdown; or at least to make some sort of show at doing so. With all of thirteen months to the election, Osborne has suddenly discovered that tax-dodging by rich people is a Bad Thing; and, as might be expected, has found that the wogs are to blame. Various crown dependencies "have not done enough in the past to be transparent", but Osborne, the Cecil Rhodes of global finance, has booted them into line, and has even dashed off a statute making it a criminal offence to omit declaring offshore income. Apparently nobody had thought of it before; but there are, after all, even more poor people to kick now than there were in 2010, so we should all be jolly grateful that the Chancellor found the time. With a bit of luck, he might recover nearly as much from his chums as he has lost in selling off the Royal Mail or spent on defending executive bonuses against a cap.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Barbary Apes

A mean-spirited, inept hard-right government in a clapped-out colonial power with a bit of separatist trouble has been violating international law by annoying a mean-spirited, inept hard-right government in a clapped-out colonial power with a bit of separatist trouble. Mariano Rajoy's Spain, which is seeking to criminalise abortion and is suffering from rumblings in Catalonia, has mounted hundreds of unlawful incursions into the territory of one of Britain's various colonial rumps; much to the irritation of the Bullingdon Club, which has banned books for prisoners and is suffering from rumblings in Scotland. The Spanish ambassador has been repeatedly summoned to the Foreign Office to be cowed and abashed by the statesmanlike squeakings of Willem den Haag; only for Spanish government vessels to continue inexplicably upon their merry way, for all the world as if they were the Royal Navy and the territorial waters of Gibraltar were some far-flung Gulf of Woggery in need of some brisk peace-keeping.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Holy Purple Drain Cleaners

Britain's Head Boy has been taking Assembly for Easter. Somebody rather tactlessly sang Ave Maria, thereby rubbing in the recent let-down of Big School by the Monitor for Paper, Paint and Games; and Daveybloke had a bit of a simper about Christian values, proclaiming that the Big Society thingy was invented by an Iron Age hellfire preacher. There is some merit to this argument: as is clear from the incident of the widow's mite, Jesus saw nothing wrong with allowing large institutions to accept token contributions from the rich while taking from the poor everything they could afford, even unto the uttermost farthing. Jesus raised no objection to slavery or cruelty to animals, much as fans of the Big Society thingy tend to be enthusiasts of workfare and badger-busting. In the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Jesus proclaimed that wage levels should be dictated by the whims of employers; and in his pledge to return within the lifetime of witnesses present in the first century Jesus, like the Big Society thingy, promised a good deal more than his creator was prepared to deliver.

Daveybloke burbled indignantly about the persecution of Christians, the Saviour's injunction to rejoice and be exceeding glad having apparently slipped his speech-writer's mind. Additionally, as befits a spiritual son of the famously sane Reverend Tony, Daveybloke proclaimed himself a "giant Dyno-Rod". Although he has some of the qualifications (notably garish fluorescent colouring and a preference for the company of turds), perhaps it might be advisable for someone at Big School to suggest that Britain's Head Boy learn how to deal with fuses before attempting more elaborate household tasks.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Now in Paperback

My essay in alternate-world film criticism is now available in paperback. Meanwhile, the pdf version has received a very kind review from the excellent Tim Stevens, whose compact and inventive thrillers are well worth your time.

Update The book has now also been reviewed by Chickyog, an emanation of Justin McKeating, whose delightful, grottily apocalyptic stories "Jasper and Ruby" and "Liability Limited" are available free but more than merit payment.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Chains of Foreign Oppression

The ghastly Euro-wogs have once more attempted to undermine British sovereignty, this time by abolishing the freedom of governments and their minions to spy on whomever they dashed well please. This latest diktat is a blow to the Home Office, which was plotting to collect and store data from everyone's internet and phone use and keep it for up to a year in case it came in handy. Nick Clegg apparently told the Home Secretary in 2012 that such a plan was "unworkable", and the Home Secretary seems understandably to have taken that as a declaration of support for the principle of the thing. One need only look at such Liberal Democrat favourites as student fees, the Health and Social Care Act, the bedroom tax and the assault on the welfare system to see that a measure need not be counted a failure merely because it happens to be unworkable with regard to its own declared aims or the realms of common sanity. A spokesbeing said that the Home Office is "considering the judgment and its implications carefully"; in Standard English, Theresa May's staff are busy working out how much the taxpayer can afford to front up in penalties when the Government is found to be breaking the law, while the lady herself gnaws at the padding on the walls of her office.

Monday, April 07, 2014

An Example to Us All

Miller fury horror at horror fury Miller

Britain's Head Boy has reiterated his support for his embattled Secretary for Sport, Media and Oh What A Lovely War, who is under increasing pressure for being as honest as she is intelligent.

Asked whether Maria Miller was still in post because she is a token female, the Prime Minister responded, "Maria Miller is in her job because she is doing a good job as culture secretary."

A spokesbeing later pointed out that, in a party which contains the likes of Esther McVey and Nadine Dorries, it is not beyond the realms of possibility to find another witless boor with fallopian tubes should the necessity arise.

"However, the Prime Minister is not convinced of the necessity," the spokesbeing said. "Maria Miller's intellectual and professional credentials are impeccable. Iain Duncan Smith is very fond of her, which should tell you all you need to know."

Miller's profiteering at the taxpayer's expense, and her perfunctory apology, have convinced many that her sense of entitlement has reached near-Bullingdon proportions, despite her lowly status as a state-educated female.

"Maria Miller's career, like those of Jeremy Hunt and IDS, has shown that in Cameron's Britain anyone can make it," the spokesbeing said, "even into posts which elitists and job-snobs might prefer to be left to the brightest and best."

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Good Neighbour Policy

The World Cop by the Grace of God has embarked upon another charm offensive in the Asia Pacific region. The American defence secretary is travelling around the region dispensing civilised words of wisdom to the quarrelsome tribes. "Coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict," Chuck Hagel pointed out, for the benefit of folk who may not, as yet, have caught up with the later oeuvre of Steven Spielberg. "All nations, all people deserve respect no matter how large or how small," said Chuck Hagel, whose country's respect for its neighbours is a byword throughout Central America and the Caribbean. To demonstrate its respect for North Korea, the US has sent a couple of extra destroyers to Japan; this is also a gesture of esteem towards China, which has a continuing dispute with Japan over some local islands. The US has a mutual defence treaty with Japan and recognises Japan's administration of the islands, so naturally it takes no side in the argument except that of the general welfare.