The Curmudgeon


Monday, October 20, 2014

Oh, the Unfairness of It All

Evidently the deputy governor of the Bank of England has not been adequately briefed on the causes of the late financial crisis. As we are all aware by now, the crash of 2008 was caused by migrants, the public sector, the Euro-wogs, the possibility of a yes vote in the Scottish referendum, excessive taxation of the extremely rich, and everything to do with the last Labour government. Sir Jon Cunliffe apparently thinks greedy bankers had some sort of hand in the affair; and more outrageous still, he has suggested that they might now think about taking a pay cut. Partly because of the alacrity with which the economy has recovered during the Osbornomic miracle, and partly because of penalties for past misdeeds, there is less money to go around; so of course the bankers have been taking most of it for themselves while throwing a few scraps to the shareholders. This campaign of responsible redistribution culminated in Barclays' recent reward of a ten per cent increase in bonuses for a thirty-two per cent drop in profits. Sir Jon Cunliffe thinks it's time for an end to that sort of thing until we have an underclass who can pay for it properly. It is certainly quite inexcusable for respectable stock-market gamblers to be treated with the same contempt as NHS personnel and other scroungers and shirkers.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Negative Custodial Assertiveness Excessivity

Not content with all the trouble he's already caused, the last British resident of Guantánamo Bay is still doing his best to embarrass Her Majesty's Government, even as it slips smoothly into its nice new war in Iraq. Another detainee, and a Yemeni to boot, claimed that Shaker Aamer was being subjected to increasingly assertive forcibility by the teams of armed guards performing his cellular extractivities. Deeply concerned, the suitful of stale air in the Foreign Office wrote to the US government; surprisingly enough, some officials of the US government replied that everything was tickety-boo. Her Majesty's Government has little choice but to accept these reassurances, since its own representatives are not allowed to verify them, and the only half-way respectable person contradicting them is merely an American judge. Although Aamer claims he was tortured by MI5, his release from Guantánamo remains such a high priority for Her Majesty's Government that he is still being held there despite having been cleared for release by the Bush and Obama administrations.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Dehumanising Divide

J Sewell McEvoy at the Numinous Book of Review has posted a generous piece on my recent excursion into alternate-world film criticism, I, Mengele. It was partly the NBR's appreciation of my novella The Foundations of the Twenty-First Century that started me thinking that this particular alternate world might be worth revisiting; so I am glad the result didn't disappoint. (Another factor was the publicity for I, Frankenstein, whose title exerted an inexplicable fascination even as the reviews made clear that the film itself was worthless.) As usual, Mr McEvoy's review looks beneath the surface tricks (I, Mengele has nearly as many cinematic in-jokes per page as a Tarantino script, but that was the easiest part) to find something hopefully worthy of more sustained interest. Decidedly worthy of sustained interest is the Numinous Book of Review itself, which gives thoughtful attention to genre works whose present obscurity is even less deserved than my own.

I, Mengele is available as paperback and as PDF; the page for the PDF version includes further reviews by the fine thriller writer Tim Stevens and by the grottily apocalyptic entity sometimes known as Chickyog.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Treachery Against the Taxpayer-Funded German Immigrant

The suitful of stale air which occupies the Ministry for Wogs, Frogs and Huns has hinted at the possibility of treason trials for terroristically-inclined Britons. The suitful of stale air was responding to a query by the back-bench baboon Philip Hollobone, whose residence in the early decades of the twentieth century has not permitted him to become acquainted with present-day anti-terrorism law. "Their actions are treachery against Her Majesty, and aiding and abetting enemies of Her Majesty is one of the greatest offences a British citizen can commit," blathered Hollobone, while the suitful of stale air nodded approval and promised to mention it to the mad old cat lady in the Home Office at the earliest possible opportunity.

The offence of treason is still on the statute books, but no-one has been prosecuted for it since 1946. The standard penalty of hanging, drawing and quartering had been tragically abolished some time before; although, in the view of Philip Hollobone, public emasculation, evisceration and dismemberment is doubtless little more than a jihadi holiday at the taxpayers' expense. Strangely enough, neither the baboon nor the suitful of stale air made any mention of the Reverend Blair, whose religious involvement in the illegal violence of a foreign power resulted in the deaths of many British citizens and caused permanent damage to the diplomatic standing of Her Majesty's United Kingdom. The omission is yet more remarkable in light of the Reverend Blair's first ministry having itself abolished the death penalty for treason, presumably in anticipation of the Reverend's moral convenience.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Do as You're Told or the Foot Gets It

Britain's Head Boy has given the Euro-wogs a bit of a ticking off for not bucking up their ideas and reforming sufficiently to keep the back-bench baboons on-side until next May. Nevertheless, he is magnanimously prepared to give them one last chance to mend their ways. Daveybloke was burbling from the Rochester campaign trail, so obviously his burblings were intended less for Brussels or Strasbourg than for any Little Englanders who may be voting in the approaching by-election. Daveybloke burbled about his patriotism, his passion and his pride, but seems for the time being to have refrained from waving Little Ivan about. Daveybloke burbled about Britain being a voice for free trade, deregulation and killing brown people; nevertheless, he believes that "the rest of Europe actually wants us to stay" because Britain has "contributed massively to European prosperity and progress, over not just the last few years but over centuries". In return for continuing to confer the privilege of our belligerent, whiny, law-breaking presence, Daveybloke wants access to Europe's markets and a say over how those markets work. Daveybloke also reminded the Euro-wogs that Britain is a country called Britain. How the Euro-wogs respond to the ultimatum will presumably depend on how much they enjoy the spectacle of a jumped-up office boy pointing a pistol at his own foot and threatening to fire if his demands aren't met.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Helping Daddy

Lord Freud, the minister for poor-bashing who thinks that food banks are proliferating because the proles like a free lunch, has been good enough to provide Britain's Head Boy with yet another excuse to wave the corpse of Little Ivan in the face of the enemy. Freud was asked at a fringe meeting about a few mongs, spazzes, mumbling idiots and others whom a Conservative councillor deemed not worth the minimum wage, but who could do with being shoved into employment in order to attain the sense of self-worth which is somehow eluding them even under the ever-sensitive Bullingdon cosh. Freud agreed that some people weren't worth the minimum wage, and promised to think about how best to get them working on the even-cheaper; the exchange was quoted by the Milibeing and disowned by Daveybloke, and that is where the corpse of Little Ivan came in. After several years of justifying the coalition's assault on the NHS, the child has now been co-opted as an alibi for his father's pre-election denial of the coalition's assault on the disabled. It is certainly jolly considerate of Britain's Head Boy to pile all that work onto the shoulders of a disabled child, especially a dead one who cannot express his gratitude for the sense of self-worth it undoubtedly gives him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Nuremberg Unto Himself

A man whose trial is being held partially in secret may or may not have been plotting to do something or other of a terroristic nature. On the other hand, he may have been trying to bestow upon the Reverend Blair the rare privilege of a martyr's death, according to the Nuremberg precedent for dealing with war criminals. So strong and legally sound is the evidence that it was originally planned to hold his entire trial in secret, so that no British values would be harmed. However, the meddling Trotskyites at the court of appeal ruled that some of it can be held in open court and observed by journalists, who will be permitted to pass on extracts of the proceedings once the security services have expunged from the record any hint of bias or untruth.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Available Now

Yes, I've gone and done it again. My latest is now available, as paperback and as PDF. Vaguely inspired by the Viking myth of Ragnarök (and originally conceived as a sort of supernatural perversion of Scandi-noir), this one concerns a corporate drone who is dispatched to his childhood home-town on a business trip, because his bosses have a bright new idea for dealing with the beastly migrants. Meanwhile a recent disaster has uncovered some intriguing archaeological remains, including several apparently non-migrant beasts of mysterious yet sinister significance.

Coincidentally, today is the twentieth anniversary of the untimely death of Karl Edward Wagner - writer, editor and publisher extraordinaire - who memorably defined the sub-genre to which this novella belongs as, "Here's an old legend ... aaargh! it got me!"

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fantastic Preparations

The London Haystack has had a bit of a blather about Ebola, which is bound to arrive at these shores sooner or later because nobody bothers to check piccaninnies for germs when they depart Bongo Bongo Land. The chief medical officer expects a handful of cases in the next few months, which is clearly grounds for a national emergency from which the London Haystack and his chums can later claim to have saved us. Fortunately, since armed intervention is the answer to everything these days, Britain has sent a hundred and seventy-five troops to Africa "to help with efforts to contain the disease".

Even in the absence of water cannon, such measures are not yet likely to be required in London: "We have very good healthcare in this city," blathered the Haystack; "considerably better, alas, than they have in Africa", although given a chance the Conservatives will undoubtedly remedy this. After five more years of putting the boot in, London's healthcare will almost certainly be equal to anything on offer in Mali or the Democratic Republic of the Congo, at least where the malingering proles are concerned. As to the remainder, Britain's Head Boy himself has proclaimed that the Conservatives will "keep our own people safe here in the UK", so we can all rest assured that the private sector will do its part to protect the people who matter.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Unnecessarily Explicit

The moral guardians at the British Board of Film Classification have been criticised for giving away plot information. Apparently a mere classification by age with tick-boxes for sex, violence and swearing is no longer enough, so specific plot details which may cause trauma to the unwary are now being shouted out prior to showings. Of course, when the traumatic incident is part of the film's conclusion, this can lead to some small deflation of the drama; but since the BBFC's entire raison d'être is the doctrine that adults are children and seeing is emulating, it would obviously be a gross dereliction of duty not to take precautions. The films which have been spoiled are respectable works of art rather than denizens of the lower depths of genre; so the BBFC has promised to tie itself in knots “in a pragmatic way without compromising the need to inform the public about a film's content”. In Standard English, this appears to mean that the information will be published online without being displayed at cinema showings. It is very charitable of the BBFC to assume that we will be able to find information online; but the policy will be reviewed in six months, just in case they have overestimated our intelligence.