The Curmudgeon


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Cocoa Pops

There are few better exemplars of Daveybloke's Big Society thingy than Daveybloke's own cabinet. From Willem den Haag's sterling efforts to protect an old man in Belize from being pestered by the taxman, through Andrew Lansley's meetings with private health care firms in order to tell them, face to façade, what's what about the NHS, to Daveybloke's own chats with Murdoch family wherein he impressed upon them the necessity for improved moral standards in Britain's news media, Conservative ministers have been assiduous in their concern for others. Now Andrew Mitchell, the Minister for Our Little Brown Brothers, has added his own name to the roll of honour. Since August 2006, Mitchell has received forty thousand pounds in donations from Armajaro Holdings, a firm which had been banned from trading in Ghana because of allegations about smuggling. Armajaro's owner, a hedge fund gambler named Anthony Ward, informed Mitchell of his difficulties, children starving in the street and so forth, and ordered Mitchell to get the Ghanaian government back with the programme. Mitchell telephoned the British high commissioner in Ghana and, at Mitchell's request, a Foreign Office minister lobbied the Ghanaian vice-president; whereupon, mirabile dictu, the trading ban was largely lifted. A spokesbeing for the Foreign Office said that "all representations made by the government in this case were entirely proper and consistent with our support for legitimate British businesses abroad"; which is undoubtedly true, since besides the donations to Mitchell himself, Armajaro Holdings also donated fifty thousand pounds to the Conservative Party.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guarded Optimism

The Liberal Democrats have issued a stark warning to Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives that any decision to retain New Labour's policy of house arrest for suspected Muslims would cause a significant reduction in their delight over the Government's reclamation of some people's civil liberties. Should it prove necessary for the Liberal Democrats' promises on control orders to go the same way as their promises on tuition fees and nuclear power, it is eminently possible that some of them will feel not altogether inclined to absolute satisfaction.

Since attaining office, the Home Secretary has apparently decided that control orders are a necessary evil, although her press agents are putting it about that she has done so in a spirit of reluctant conformism rather than gleeful authoritarianism. The Secretary for Justice and Big Tobacco, Kenneth Clarke, and the attorney general are even less enthusiastic; which should at least mean there will be more of a debate on the matter than if it were merely a question of waiting for the Liberal Democrats to jump into line.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Three Estates

Come pile up the waste a bit higher
And add yet more fuel to the fire:
Make safe all your goodies,
Burn quangos, burn hoodies,
Then brush off your suit and retire.

Of course we're all in this together. It
May bring on a storm but we'll weather it.
The poor and the ill
Must get by as they will;
And if you've a nest you can feather it.

If you're unemployed, you must dare
To look hard and go anywhere,
With the payments we've stopped,
On the transport we've chopped,
In search of the jobs that aren't there.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Very British Cap

Officials scorn claims of European-style eugenic plan

The London Haystack has denied that his repudiation of "Kosovo-style social cleansing" should in any way be considered a repudiation of Conservative social cleansing.

"What we will not see, and will not accept, is any kind of Kosovo-style social cleansing of London," the London Haystack told BBC London. "On my watch, you are not going to see thousands of families evicted from the place where they have been living and have put down roots."

The remarks were initially interpreted as an attempt by the London Haystack to emulate Ken Livingstone by opposing an unpopular and inept government of his own party.

Numerous politicians have tried to attract voters by copycat activities, as with the Prime Minister's emulation of Tony Blair's emulation of Margaret Thatcher, or Nick Clegg's emulation of Tony Blair standing shoulder to shoulder with a hereditary princeling with a doubtful mandate.

However, housing minister Grant Shapps said that only a few thousand people would be affected by the policy, and that rents would begin to fall as soon as the essential human decency of landlords was permitted to shine through, whereupon the London Haystack proclaimed that he and the Conservative Party had been in agreement all along.

Nick Clegg had earlier made clear his burning sense of moral outrage at any attempt to link Conservative social cleansing policies to the social cleansing policies of other nations.

"Britain has a long and honourable tradition of its own, reaching back through Dame Shirley Porter's social mobility initiatives to the suggestion by that great Conservative and Liberal and Conservative, Winston Churchill, that the unemployed should be sterilised and put in concentration camps," a spokesbeing said.

"To suggest that there is something foreign about these plans is an outrageous re-writing of history and a slur on Britishness."

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

PFI Pensions

It is, of course, a fundamental tenet of Daveybloke's Big Society thingy that the Government owes nothing to its citizens, who should all cultivate the entrepreneurial gumption and zealous work ethic which enabled Daveybloke and his chums to be born rich. Accordingly, Daveybloke and his chums share New Labour's fear of being forced by malignant hordes of over-sixties into spending more money on poor and wrinkly people than their delicate consciences allow. Daveybloke and his chums have therefore suddenly discovered that they agree with a Labour idea to get Britain scrimping by the simple expedient of eliminating all that nonsense about consumer choice. In a couple of years employers and workers, of whatever size or salary, will be legally obliged to make a contribution towards the profit margins of private pension companies. This is obviously a much nicer and more efficient way of solving the problem than the laughably clumsy and outmoded formula From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs; which, as we all know, can lead to National Insurance, the NHS, a joined-up transport system and a myriad other evils. Assuming the pension companies are sufficiently unregulated to permit any savings to accumulate, means-tested benefits will doubtless be withdrawn accordingly. Fortunately, the Government intends to allow a three-month waiting period before the first payments have to be made, so thrifty employers will be able to save their own money by judicious use of the sack.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What We Need Around Here Are Some Less Friendly Helicopter Gunships

After the best part of nine years, the occupation of Afghanistan by the forces of enlightenment is going so swimmingly that NATO officials are considering inviting the Russians back in to help keep order.

The USSR occupied Afghanistan between 1979 and 1989. During this period, Soviet forces were valiantly resisted by the brave and tenacious freedom fighters of the mujahideen.

The Soviet regime was notoriously brutal and corrupt, but the west nevertheless withheld the hand of friendship until the government of Russia was securely controlled by appropriate elements of KGB middle management and the mafia.

After the terrorist attacks on America on 11 September 2001, when America was attacked by terrorists, the mujahideen cunningly metamorphosed into an extremist Taliban which manufactured hard drugs and refused to ban the burqa.

When the Taliban were ordered to surrender Osama bin Laden, they agreed to do so if the Americans would tell them where he was, and under this provocation the Allies invaded the country.

The NATO secretary general, Foggy Ratsmumble, said that he hopes NATO and Russia will be able to co-operate on counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics, thus covering both of the pretexts under which Afghanistan is being civilised.

Russian helicopters and crews are thought to be better adapted to Afghan conditions than their western counterparts.

This may account for the fact that Russian helicopter gunships are still remembered with fear and loathing, while NATO helicopter gunships are pelted with flowers by rejoicing children every time they hover above a compound.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Let's Privatise the Chlorophyll

The Government is expected to prove its green credentials later this week by privatising some trees, presumably on the grounds that there is very little else left to steal. The sainted Thatcher and her Gordon Brown, whose name escapes me at the moment, both tried to privatise the Forestry Commission, but were prevented by pressure from conservation groups and their own inability to provide their friends with appropriate sweeteners; Daveybloke's Cuddlies are therefore going about the business in the spirit of George W Bush gittin Saddam on account of his Pa. The Minister for Greenwashing, Caroline Spelman, is hatching a plot to sell off a hundred and fifty thousand hectares of state-owned forest and other land within the next three years. At present prices this would raise about two hundred and fifty million pounds, as against such purely intangible and unprofitable benefits as preventing erosion and absorbing carbon: all the sorts of things that are despised by Daveybloke's allies in the East European far right, his counterparts in the American Tea Party and his chums in the City. Nevertheless, and even with the glittering examples of privatisation in Britain's water, energy and railways to look to, a spokesman for the Woodland Trust was cynical enough to claim that the land "will not be sold for anything like its real environmental and social value" and even that "there is no way the private sector is going to provide the same level of care" as the Commission does now.

The Liberal Democrat Secretary for Energy and Climate Change, meanwhile, has done his bit to mitigate the lunacy by hinting that it is not altogether impossible that certain not un-environmental agencies may survive George's little chopper in approximately 66 per cent of their present form, provided they do as they are told.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Love Me, I'm A Liberal

In the wake of the Conservative rah-rah over George the Progressively Regressive's smirk-and-slash performance on Wednesday, Daveybloke's orange muffler evidently feels the need to inject a bit of humanity into the social cleansing. When one has just announced one's intention to kick the poor in the teeth and then fine them for mumbling, it is just possible that one's cuddly credentials may suffer a bit of a dip in credibility. Accordingly, Daveybloke's orange muffler is going to do a Venerable Tony turn on Desert Island Discs, claiming (or revealing, as the Observer's resident psychic hath it) that he has struggled long and hard with his conscience about the assault on our more vulnerable citizens and finds the whole thing "morally difficult" because "it's difficult for the country"; which is jolly big of him. Daveybloke's orange muffler has "spent every day and pretty well every minute of this process asking myself if there are pain-free alternatives"; in coalition with the Conservatives, the question of merely sane alternatives clearly does not arise, and with the sudden decline of the Institute for Fiscal Studies into a nonsense factory, there was no-one but himself to ask. Before entering the coalition, Daveybloke's orange muffler did ask a friend whether Daveybloke was trustworthy; presumably the answer was, "You can trust him as you can trust yourself".

Saturday, October 23, 2010


In an unstable world, and in a country that looks set to become even uglier than thirteen years of New Labour made it, there is surely some reassurance to be gained from the exuberant Britishness of the Skye submarine incident. Having finally got a specimen of the overdue and overspent Astute-class U-boat under water, the Royal Navy has contrived to run it aground during an exercise in vaguely familiar waters off the coast of Scotland. The vessel, which cost twelve hundred million pounds, is itself named Astute, presumably because the Ministry for War and the Colonies tends to be run by people of the calibre of Geoff Hoon, Adam Ingram and Liam Fox; the submarine is intended as a means of dropping special forces discreetly ashore, and is equipped with lots of nice new toys for sneaking and eavesdropping purposes - all in entirely legitimate defence of the realm, of course.

Aside from the name, which for sheer delightful incongruity rivals the reynardish surname of the present vole-brained Secretary of State, the best thing about the accident was the manner of the submarine's rescue. It was towed out of trouble by tugs, which are kept in place in order to respond to emergencies and whose services the Government is accordingly planning to dispense with at the earliest possible opportunity. In the early eighties, a similar concern for penny-pinching by the sainted Thatcher led to the Argentine invasion of the Falklands, and thence to the Churchillian posturing that led to her second and third election victories and subsequent canonisation as a proto-Blairite. An uncharitable observer might be open to a conspiracy theory, were there any grounds for suspicion that Daveybloke's cuddlies had the faintest idea what Scotland is.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Effortful Reasonability

The dependably regrettable Iain Duncan Smith has advised the undeserving poor that jobs will not come to them, and that in order for them to get to the jobs it may be necessary to travel for an hour or so each way, utilising their generous unemployment benefits to take due advantage of Conservative investment in Britain's extensive and efficient public transport system. Duncan Smith denied that he was having "a get on your bike moment", recalling Norman Tebbit's advice to the idle during the Conservatives' last concerted attempt to return Britain to the nineteen-thirties. "What we're saying is when work is available you take reasonable effort to take that work and to work as hard as you can to do it," he said. Reasonable effort must be made to take available work (and to the undeserving poor, work is by definition available); and the undeserving poor must put as much effort as possible into making the reasonable effort. Self-evidently, no-one who was unemployed could ever have thought of that on their own. Duncan Smith did not get quite so far as suggesting that the unemployed might care to facilitate their commute by maintaining an extra home or so at the taxpayer's expense; perhaps the Conservatives are saving that bit of fatherly advice for all those inexplicable teenagers whose lifestyle choice is to sleep on the streets.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


The Liberal Democrats' principled opposition to the database state looks set to go the same way as their principled opposition to raising tuition fees. The Liberal Democrats promised to "end the storage of internet and email records without good reason", and this promise was retained in the coalition agreement which is now being torn up by mutual consent of the coalition partners because, thanks to the Mess Left By Labour, they were only kidding anyway. The political nuance in the promise (or, in Standard English, the codicil which makes the whole thing meaningless) is, of course, the phrase without good reason. If the police want to do something, that is a good enough reason for the Conservatives to let them do it; and if the Conservatives want to do something, that is a good enough reason for Daveybloke's little orange chaps to hurl themselves into line like true blue Big Society personnel getting ready to lynch an unmutual. When it comes to setting up a police state, it is at best naïve to expect any very strenuous objections from professional politicians who have gained power; and given the level of popularity which the Government is likely to attain once George's little pinking shears begin to leave permanent scars, some sort of resurrection for the recently dead and always fragrant New Labour snoop agenda was doubtless inevitable. The programme is expected to cost a minumum of two thousand million pounds, or about twice as much as Daveybloke's Cuddlies are prepared to pay for being the greenest government in history.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Transparent Honesty

As I am sure we all know by now, Daveybloke the Cuddly Conservative is a pretty straight sort of bloke. When he gives a cast-iron guarantee, you can be virtually certain that it is not altogether out of the question that, circumstances permitting, it will turn out to be worth nearly as much as a written pledge by a Liberal Democrat, or the Venerable Tony's exegesis of an intelligence report. Nevertheless, certain unsocietal elements have criticised Daveybloke for, of all things, evasion, just because Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives promised they would do something and then did not do it.

The Government has said it will publish a quarterly social diary of whatever meetings ministers hold with their chums in the private sector; Daveybloke, having been in office since May, has yet to give any account of some cosy chats he had with some of Rupert Murdoch's minions at News Corporation. Since George the Progressively Regressive is going to fine the BBC three hundred and forty million pounds for not being Rupert Murdoch's property, an uncharitable observer might be tempted towards some unfortunate conclusions. Vince Cable, widely renowned for his straight talk in shrugging off election promises, has been "honest and straightforward" about a telephone conversation he had with Murdoch's son James; but Daveybloke is presumably waiting for Willem den Haag, his special nuncio to Belize, to make up his mind whether all those jet-setting trips with the party leader, Lord Ashcroft, were for political meetings or profiteering ones. Surely, by this time, somebody must have managed to explain the difference to one of them.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Livingstone Accused

Former mayor in desperate bid to dissociate himself from party of Phil Woolas

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone has been accused of campaigning for a non-Labour candidate in a cynical bid to improve his own electability.

Livingstone joined the campaign for Lutfur Rahman, who is standing as an independent for executive mayor of Tower Hamlets council after Labour's National Executive Committee sought to rectify an electoral error by the electorate.

Livingstone was selected as Labour's candidate for mayor after defeating Oona King, who lost the parliamentary seat of Bethnal Green and Bow to George Galloway after a previous voter dysfunction episode in 2005.

Neil Kinnock, Harriet Harman and other figures who pass for heavyweights in the modern Labour party have turned out to campaign for the NEC's candidate in Tower Hamlets, Helal Abbas. Kinnock described Livingstone's actions with merciful brevity.

Livingstone was expelled from the Labour party ten years ago and was elected mayor of London as an independent. Having been re-admitted to the party in 2004, he was subsequently defeated by the London Haystack.

Party insiders have wondered why Livingstone has now sought to jeopardise his chances by dissociating himself from a defeated and despised party that includes the likes of Phil Woolas and Caroline Flint.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Threat Phish

Date: Mon 18 Oct 2010 4:00pm Europe/London
To: secure_database-recipients:: password=PASSWORD

Dear all

last yaer in 2090 tehere ewere 51%%%% malicuous softwar tharts tihis is hisis is claerley unaxceptcabababalble teh littel Woman at hte Homo ffice aslo infroms me taht ititits a threat to Govermnent at thrat tot busunusinisness art throat ot ot tot Prenosal Securititty adn adn an new && Gorwing htrhtreat to UK & we msust alll be Violent CViggilant ohretewise teh Magninot Lion wlil Fall & we will be Taklen Over byte bythe alqueada Krauts. i am daveybloke i am Popples Priminster i have New Militantary AdVisor i muist tel you now taht no such undertalking has been recieved adn taht cosnequenently this Cuontray is at WAR rah rah wiht teh cybermen. i am Daveybloke. we must Draw togther like in teh Gododododoldays of Bliztz Austeritatty rationioning & brace ourslaves to our Duties utilisisisng all Insturments of National Power & Powergen inculding Armed Forces dilpomats spoooooks adn Development Proffesionables Blood Tares and Swat british Popple rah rah. oUR objectives are a Secure&Resinlint UK & Shappping stable Wrolrd by Punchhing Above uor Wight &Suppppuroting our Boys rah rah. we um umt umst must also privatise teh Internets at opportuntity1. england expextxs every Bloke shall Kiss my Hardy.

rah rah

Daveybloke teh Poples Primster

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Diplomatic Business

The Minister for Wogs, Frogs and Huns, Willem den Haag, is suffering yet more persecution over his entirely innocent role as special nuncio to the Conservatives' holy land of Belize. It was during den Haag's stint as leader that the Golden Bull of Belize, Lord Ashcroft, first inserted his massive wad into the party's various available orifices and began spraying his life-giving unction in all directions, especially towards the right. By one of those benign coincidences which so often occur in the careers of party donors, Lord Ashcroft was subsequently nominated for his peerage by den Haag himself, on the basis of some Daveybloke-style cast-iron guarantees about tax payments.

Den Haag subsequently lost the general election and was removed to make way for the even more statesmanlike Iain Duncan Smith; but the spontaneous natural affection between Lord Ashcroft and his little friend continued to flourish. In his capacity as Daveybloke's shadow minister for Wogs, Frogs and Huns, den Haag travelled to more than twenty foreign countries, using the services of a company owned by Lord Ashcroft. Den Haag was accompanied on these trips by Lord Ashcroft himself, who doubtless wished to ensure that den Haag was not unduly bothered by autograph hunters and that the cabin service was up to standard. Nevertheless, some nasty, snide voices at the Foreign Office were raised to suggest that Lord Ashcroft might be using den Haag as a means to gain privileged access to the officials of foreign governments. One diplomat even queried why den Haag had broken European protocol by meeting Cuban ministers without meeting dissidents or human rights activists as well - as though the Conservatives' record on international law and human rights were not fully as clear as New Labour's, and their opinion of European directives considerably clearer.

Since gaining office, den Haag has said that he will now condescend to keep to the EU protocol, at least until Daveybloke's alliance with various East European flat-earth societies becomes powerful enough to overturn it. In most countries with British values that would be the end of the matter; yet still den Haag is attacked and hounded and written about once every few months, almost as much as Honest Andy Coulson has been. It is to be hoped that, once the British press consists entirely of Rupert Murdoch and the Daily Mail, this sort of unscrupulous journalism will finally come to an end.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Targeting Charity

Daveybloke's cuddly secretary for communities and things, Eric Pickles, has proclaimed, on behalf of a majority of the public, that Scientology should not be given the sort of tax breaks normally reserved for Conservative Party donors and other genuine charitable causes. The Charity Commission has denied Scientology the status of a religion, presumably because Scientology is a vast enterprise for gaining control of dupes by telling them silly stories. Nevertheless, the City of London Corporation has decided that the Church of Hubbard is a charity either for the advancement of religion "or other purposes beneficial to the community", and accordingly has revoked four-fifths of the rates on the Scientologists' London headquarters; while Westminster Council has granted a similar concession on the cult's Celebrity Centre in Bayswater. Councils in lesser locations such as Sunderland and Birmingham have exercised similar generosity. Pickles, who recently abolished the Audit Commission with a wave of his hand and will doubtless get around to the Charity Commission in a year or two, said that councils should take the commission's rulings into consideration when awarding charitable relief. However, Westminster Council, which learned flexibility in affairs of accommodation under the régime of Dame Shirley Porter some years ago, has proclaimed the cult a "non-registered charity", which may have intriguing implications for any other victims of the Charity Commission's ungodly cynicism. It would, of course, be uncharitable in the extreme to imagine that Pickles, who claimed expenses on a second home thirty miles from Parliament, is handing the Church of Hubbard a broad hint on how the business of religion should really be conducted.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Throbbing Tony

On the night we heard John Smith had died,
I knew that my faith would abide.
As we lay together
My thoughts wandered nether,
Where Cherie was opened up wide.

On that twelfth of May, ninety-four,
Real potency banged at my door.
She gave me my strength
And assured me my length
Would be greater than any before.

I followed my instinct, a beast,
On her Caplinised whatsits to feast.
Premonitions of George
Made me further engorge,
And discharge of my weapon, due east.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Political News in Brief

Former Chancellor gives out a tip
The economy may double-dip:
On the spend-review's eve,
'Twill cause many to grieve
And will surely give Georgie the pip.

Big Society, rah rah, rah rah;
Be good and you may well go far;
Blah blah, blah blah blah,
Blah blah blah, blah blah;
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

True Meaning and Joy of Voluntaristic Reciprocality Fails to Sink In

Well, here's a thing: the flexible resources of Her Majesty's Britannic and Societally Sizeable Consumer Force do not care a bean for the deputy governor of the Bank of England's telling them they ought to dig into their extensive fiscal reserves and provide the economic stimulus which the bankers are keeping back for the boardrooms and the offshore accounts. Research by the Nationwide Building Society, no doubt heavily biased by that establishment's bitterness at not having been quantitatively eased, indicates that consumer confidence is melting away faster than Daveybloke's One Nation face pack. Thirty per cent of people think the economy will deteriorate in the next six months, and almost sixty per cent have leapt to the uncharitable conclusion that there will not be many jobs available once George the Progressively Regressive has thrown this year's six per cent of the public sector out of work. Considering what a desirable lifestyle choice it is to be placed on benefits, surprisingly few people are making appropriate spending plans: three-quarters of respondents did not think it a good time to make a large purchase such as a car, and sixty-five per cent did not think it a good time to buy household goods. What can be the matter with them all?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

On the Harmony of Creation and the Brotherhood of Mankind

In the beginning God created man, thus dividing himself against himself. As soon as God made man in his own image, and gave man his own breath for life, unity disappeared from the world, never to return. Since he did not wish to destroy his creation, God was forced to create woman, in order to give man someone else to hate. But instead of distracting themselves with squabbles, the man and the woman joined forces and gained the knowledge of good and evil, thereby making themselves morally superior to God, who is Who he is and cannot be improved. The man and the woman tried to disguise the change in themselves by wearing clothes, but God saw through the trick and expelled them from Eden, whereupon for punishment they were compelled to breed. On the principle of divide and rule, God showed arbitrary favouritism towards Abel, with the result that Cain killed him and was cursed with a life of wandering. Cain founded the first city, where people could be thrown more closely together than ever before, and where slaves could hate their masters, and farmers could hate bureaucrats, and civilians could hate soldiers, and God saw that it was good. When men, lonely for God, tried to reach him again with a great tower, God confused their speech and set them even more firmly against one another. After drowning a good many as a hint of his disapproval, God reverted once again to the stratagem he had used against Cain and Abel: he arbitrarily favoured a single family, which grew into a clan of Egyptian immigrants. Hated by the natives because they did work that could have been done by Egyptian slaves, the clan became a band of marauding thugs who invaded the land of Canaan, destroying cities up and down the country and massacring the people, though not to the point of total extermination, since otherwise there would have been nobody left to hate - at least, nobody except the more powerful thugs in Egypt and Assyria and Heaven. But unless the object of one's hatred is weaker than oneself, even hatred can lose some of its charm. Therefore, after the routine execution some time afterward of a minor religious agitator, God afflicted the mind of a professor of hatred on the road to Damascus, proclaiming From this petty creature will I build my church; and at that point was born the most extensive and powerful instrument of hatred until the advent of the nation state. And God in his senility saw that it was good and, through a tsunami here and an earthquake there, continued to smile fatuously upon his creation.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Legal Aid

Sir Paul Stephenson, the commissioner of the Metropolitan Firearms and Headbangers' Club, has suggested to the Home Secretary that certain protective measures be put in place to prevent the sort of faux pas that took place with such dispiriting regularity under New Labour. Although the past few years have made almost embarrassingly clear, over the space of at least two shootings and one fatal assault, that the police are above the law, Stephenson feels it would be better if the situation were legally formalised. Hence, those who wish to sue the police for damages over brutality or wrongful arrest, and who thereby make themselves a cause of irritating bureaucracy for officers who would be better employed cracking heads at demonstrations, must have their lives made more difficult; while those who have the temerity to hold the police to account using the Freedom of Information Act must be made to pay for their presumption. Stephenson is also distressed at the lack of "cost disincentives" for police officers and staff who waste on employment tribunals the time and money that could be more profitably spent on - to take a random example - race relations. The Home Office "enjoys a good relationship" with Sir Paul Stephenson, and Daveybloke's Minister for Domestic Harmony always considers carefully whatever opinions Sir Paul Stephenson may vouchsafe, in spite of Sir Paul Stephenson's apparent belief that the rule of law should amount to little more than a protection racket for the benefit of those who can pay the most.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

No Finesse

Like Tony and George on their crusade in Iraq, Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives do not intend to allow a little thing like an approaching precipice to keep them from staying the course. The Minister of Motoring, Porker Hammond, has sped in to squash the Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, who suggested that the Government's war on public services might be "finessed" if circumstances changed. Huhne is secretary of state for climate change, which should be sufficient indication of how seriously he is taken by the Conservatives. Hammond emphasised that the hobbling and starving would not take place all at once, but would be drawn out over four years so that everyone could enjoy it longer: "if a department is reducing its spending by 25% overall, it won't be 25% in year one. It will be maybe 6% in year one, and 6% in year two." Since "front-line services" - headline services, in Standard English - will be cut by less, others - those where hard-working families can take up the slack, for instance - could be reduced by as much as forty per cent, which will be maybe 10% in year one, and 10% in year two. Hammond said that, while the slashing and burning would not be adjustable, it would be manageable. Hammond claimed £8 short of the maximum allowance for a second home in London while living within commuting distance of Westminster, and spent some thousands of public money on newspapers and cutlery; so for him I dare say it will be.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

What's Good For M and M Enterprises is Good For America

The American Senate armed services committee has discovered evidence of private security firms (mercenary groups, in Standard English) "funnelling US taxpayers' dollars to Afghan warlords and strongmen linked to murder, kidnapping, bribery as well as Taliban and other anti-coalition activities". Undoubtedly it was sheer incompetence, since there is no possibility that a private company would have any interest in prolonging a situation where taxpayers' dollars were being thrown at the said private company. One of the companies involved is a certain ArmorGroup, a British outfit which presumably adopted the American spelling as a gesture of gratitude to its involuntary sponsors. The Senate committee has found that ArmorGroup, wishing to use local labour for their security staff, hired two rival Afghan gangsters as employment agents, with predictably termination-oriented results. The smarties at ArmorGroup named their subcontractors after characters in Reservoir Dogs, which seems to be the aspect that Britain's leading liberal newspaper finds most interesting.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Constructive Discussion

An evil European plot to cap bankers' bonuses has elicited dire warnings from one "Jon Terry, reward partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers" that such meddling in the free market could result in the incompetents who caused the financial crisis seeking employment elsewhere and bringing down the Asian banking sector as well. Assuming any regulations are imposed, the banks are expected to sidestep them by handing out pay rises, something they can well afford to do given their refusal to lend out the money which the taxpayers donated to them. It is certainly a great pity that such optional extras to the big society as teachers, nurses, transport workers, firefighters and so forth are unable to resolve their industrial disputes in so conveniently apolitical a fashion.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Big Society, Big Deal

Let us be a nice hopeful new nation
With few jobs and little inflation,
While the National Health
Serves to augment the wealth
Of a nice hopeful Big Corporation.

A decade of hope, aspiration
And suchlike will be our creation.
This welfare's old hat:
Just think about that
As you sit at your call-centre station.

A wonderful peregrination:
Be free of the state's machination,
And work till you drop
Or until we say stop,
Or trust in a wealthy relation.

The common folks' dull desperation
Must not damp our victors' elation;
As Georgie lets rip
For the big double-dip,
Rah rah for our great ConDem Nation!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Now God Be Thanked Who Has Matched Us With This Bloke

Daveybloke, the Cuddly Conservative, has been chatting to his chums at ConFlab2010 about a few of the potholes which have cropped up in his wonderful journey. Daveybloke had some fun at the expense of Labour, who made such an absolute mess of absolutely everything that Daveybloke failed to beat them outright under an electoral system he favours. Daveybloke has apologised for breaking his party's manifesto pledge to leave child benefit alone and said he couldn't help it and it was all Labour's fault and if the electorate would just fall into line over the next few years he wouldn't have to batter them quite so much. Daveybloke said that the sick, the vulnerable and the elderly would always be looked after; in view of Daveybloke's record when it comes to pledges and promises and cast-iron guarantees, the sick, the vulnerable and the elderly can but hope that this was no more than an assertion. Daveybloke said that fairness does not mean giving people what they need, but giving them what Daveybloke and his chums think they deserve. A deserving poor person is one who works long hours, brings their children up properly in a household where Chris Graybeing would be proud to pay for bed and breakfast, volunteers to run the local fire brigade, and greets the prospect of sudden unemployment with loud hosannas of gratitude for the aspirational opportunification afforded thereby. An undeserving poor person is one who talks about rights, entitlements and inequality, thus putting a price tag on things which should not be considered in such gross materialistic terms. Daveybloke said that he wished to put broken Britain together again as a country based on values of mutual interest, exemplified no doubt by the cosy relationships between ministers and private corporations, or between Downing Street truthfulness operatives and the Metropolitan Police. Daveybloke said we should be defined "not by what we consume but by what we contribute", threatened benefit claimants with starvation, and politely suggested that the banks might care to think about starting to lend again, if it wouldn't interrupt the bonus-counting too much. Since he is no longer in opposition, Daveybloke refrained from waving dead children around, but used one of his remaining offspring to give his party a primary-schooler's explanation of the virtues of co-operation. "When we say: 'We are all in this together', that is not a cry for help," Daveybloke said. I must say it never occurred to me that it was a cry for help; I had assumed it was George Osborne's idea of a joke - which, come to think of it, may amount to the same thing. As a matter of fact, the slogan is not a cry for help or a joke or even (may you be forgiven your uncharity) a fib, but "a call to arms". Daveybloke told the British people: "Your country needs you", a slogan most famously used on recruiting posters for a war in which large numbers of deserving poor endured horrendous conditions while a lot of hard-faced men did very well out of it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Treasures Upon Earth

Objectively disordered and backsliding persons have registered annoyance that the Department of Energy and Climate Change paid more than a third of the costs of last month's visit by the sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak. The total cost of the visit was ten million pounds, of which the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, being merely the department responsible for foreign affairs, paid about one-thirteenth. The remainder was split between five more departments which the Treasury thought had something or other to do with the business. These included the departments of communities and local government (the Vatican's commitment to democracy among the little folk is legendary), international development (the Vatican's dedication to helping the AIDS epidemic in Africa is unrivalled), and education (enough said). Asked to explain why the Department of Energy and Climate Change should contribute towards a sectarian stunt by a noted champion of overpopulation, the Foreign Office claimed that the sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak would "reposition the issue of climate change not just as a matter of economics and energy security, but also one of social justice, stewardship of the natural world and of fundamental import to the peaceful coexistence of man". Obviously this would be rather jolly, particularly if the British Government had the slightest interest in social justice, the natural world or the peaceful coexistence of man. The Foreign Office also said that the Vatican had a "proactive stance" on the environment; there are solar panels on the roof of the Paul VI auditorium, for example, which the Vatican was proactive enough to accept as a gift from a German company. The Vatican has also, very proactively, permitted some trees to be planted in Hungary; and in four years' time the Vatican will open a solar power plant whose excess output it would evidently be unchristian to give away.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Blunt Instruments

Goodness knows why, but some people are surprised that George the Progressively Regressive is going to punish single mothers and pay child benefit to richer households while withdrawing it from poorer ones. Under the new rules, a household with two people earning £43,000 each would receive the benefit, while a household where one person earned £45,000 would lose it. There is a good reason for this; namely that the Government is trying to keep the system "as simple as possible", so that even George the Progressively Regressive can almost understand it. With his customary aplomb, Iain Duncan Smith paraphrased Thatcher's There Is No Alternative for the free-porn era ("there is no way of doing it in a more spread way than this") and took the opportunity to have a blather about his Universal Credit, which will cure all the defects in this idea as well as in everything else.

The Institute for Public Policy Research criticised the decision to abolish the universal entitlement: "The welfare state will only survive if it has the support of the middle classes and child benefit is their key payback," the deputy director said; while the chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute claimed that, "For many women, even in higher income brackets, this is the only source of income they receive directly, giving them independence and control over family spending". The idea that the Conservatives might want to incentivise people away from supporting the welfare state, or might regard gender equality mainly as something to be sniggered about in fringe meetings, is apparently too uncharitable to consider.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Venice in Death

Venice is pointing the way for European culture in the twenty-first century. St Tony's chum in Rome is no longer interested in paying for the city's upkeep, so the city council has authorised corporations to advertise on the awnings used to cover the scaffolding on buildings that are being restored. As a result, the Bridge of Sighs has been mostly obscured by a Coca-Cola billboard and, in case the message wasn't clear enough, the authorities are now going to allow the advertisements to be illuminated at night. "No company sponsoring a concert would get its jingles played in the middle of a Mozart symphony," said a conservationist; although it certainly cannot be long before such jingles are considered classics in their own right, as in the film Demolition Man. In a year or two, if it hasn't happened already, someone will argue in all seriousness that Venice should simply be allowed to crumble into the sea, since the profits to be made from copyrighted images will far exceed the viability of continued preservation.

The city of Florence has taken a less radical stance. When the council allowed a supermarket chain to advertise on the Ponte Vecchio, the public - that eternal, reactionary obstruction to commercial Utopia - forced a reversal.

As for broken Britain, it is fortunate that our own history consists almost entirely of kings and queens and the Second World War. If St Tony, the London Haystack or Michael Gove had any idea of the historical significance of public buildings, faith schools would be hawking their wares from Westminster Abbey and Ronald Macdonald would be grinning from the dome of St Paul's Cathedral.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Birmingham Blues

This year let it never be said
That we're nasty or mean or ill-bred.
We must show we are kind
And upstanding behind
The party with whom we're in bed.

The BBC, as we all knew,
Will be nice and impartial and true:
Mark Thompson's reporters
Would sell us their daughters
If that's what we told them to do.

To this dump here's the reason we came:
We must show that dear George is quite tame,
And that Dave's a good egg
Who has trained our pet Clegg
To do tricks and respond to his name.

Our economy's lack of distension
Is causing most terrible tension.
The banks are not lending
And you are not spending,
And that's why we're pinching your pension.

Let little folk both near and far
Take heed and see just who we are:
No disloyal mutters -
We're Daveybloke's cutters
We're here for our conflab, rah rah!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Credit Phish

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