The Curmudgeon


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shallow Grave

Monitor, the body responsible for ensuring that private profiteers are not so intimidated by regulations that they decline to participate in Twizzler Lansley's health service feeding frenzy, has warned that "efficiency savings" (cuts, in Standard English) may need to be half again as brutal as previously envisaged. In a letter dated 27 April, released on Thursday and published to coincide with some wedding or other, Monitor says that its estimates have been revised thanks to George the Progressively Osborne's simultaneous raising of inflation and flatlining of everything else. Labour immediately accused the Government of doing what New Labour would have done, and trying to bury the bad news. A Monitor spokesbeing hastened to clarify that its "assumptions are a reflection of the risks in the external environment; they are not a directive to make cuts", and that NHS trusts are free to take a more optimistic or a more pessimistic approach depending on whether their individual circumstances have been favourably or unfavourably affected by the economy going into a coma.

Friday, April 29, 2011

No Smoke Without Finance

Some business colleagues of the Minister for Beer, Skittles and Justice have admitted funding a newsagents' organisation which lobbied against the Government's plans for forcing shopkeepers to sell cigarettes from under the counter. Yesterday the chair of British American Tobacco confirmed that the group threw money at the National Federation of British Newsagents and discussed the campaign with them and their PR agency. The PR agency did not disclose BAT's involvement, and the day before yesterday British American Tobacco denied claims that it was involved in "underhand tactics and the funding of an independent retailer organisation, via a PR agency". Twizzler Lansley, who is forbidden by a World Health Organisation treaty from being as courteous to Big Tobacco as he has been to Big Pharma, Big Junk and private health companies, but who is almost certainly the sort of chap with whom Big Tobacco can do business, will soon be asked whether he was aware of BAT's influence on the issue. At this very moment, no doubt, various convenient memory lapses are falling neatly into place.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Money Shot

Oh, dear. Call me an emotionally reactionary, pre-Big Brother, un-Dianaic old stay-out-the-mud if you will, but this is really rather embarrassing. In the same week as Daveybloke untrussed his Bullingdon at Angela Eagle and the economy showed itself flat on its back with its legs in the air, George the Progressively Regressive has responded to the admission by a BBC radio presenter that he featured in her erotic dreams. In keeping with the BBC's pathetic urge towards "balance", the presenter was immediately prompted to add that "some years before it was Neil Kinnock".

There is, of course, nothing inherently wrong with erotic fantasies, however distasteful some of us may find the current practice of broadcasting them to the nation. Sex is a powerful and often involuntary urge which can sometimes take the imagination into peculiar places. Sex can also be crude, primitive and idiotic, and not infrequently involves a bit of slime; which is why nobody need be ashamed of dreaming about George Osborne. What embarrasses is partly the fact that somebody tore Osborne away from counting his magic beans and got him to record a bit of nudge-nudge to be played on air when the unfortunate presenter moves to a different programme; and partly the fact that the Downing Street press office apparently thought this would be just the thing to persuade us of the chancellor's Byronic charm.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sorting Syria

Daveybloke's Minister for Wogs, Frogs and Huns and sometime special nuncio to Belize, Willem den Haag, has been sparing the rod with Syria on the compassionate grounds that even Johnny Arab can get down the right prong of a fork if given a fair crack of the truncheon. According to a Syrian human rights organisation, Bashar al-Assad's government has killed off several hundred people during the past month's protests, and has arrested several hundred more who took unfair advantage of the repeal of the emergency laws which had been in force since 1962. Few British governments and almost no Conservative ones would want to kick a chap who's having trouble with protesters and has been forced against his will to forego that most precious political gift, the Enabling Act; accordingly, den Haag proclaimed that Assad could be imagined as a reformer and that part of his difficulty was that his "power depends on a wider group of people in his own family and, of course, other members of government". In other words, the Syrian government is killing people because Assad is too good a family man and not enough of a dictator. Although Syria is not subject to a no-fly zone or the illegal escalation thereof, den Haag also denied that the Government was being softer on Syria than on Libya, since apparently harsh language can work just as well if not better than dropping bombs on people.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He That Loveth Another Hath Fulfilled the Law

Catholic Care, the only adoption agency which is affiliated to the Pontiff of Paedophilia and still fighting to have itself declared above the law, has lost the latest round of its crusade against the evils of homosexual parenting. The verdict brought the obligatory squeal about persecution at the hands of "a small minority who are pushing a homosexual agenda under the guise of ‘equal rights’", in the charmingly agape-sodden words of the director of the Christian Legal Centre, an establishment apparently dedicated to trying to help Christians circumvent the law. Equality legislation "is effectively squeezing out Christians who wish to serve society by requiring that they act against their conscience in matters of sexual ethics"; it is not entirely clear why such Christians cannot be considered a small minority who are pushing an anti-equality agenda under the guise of "religious rights", and eminent theologians are doubtless agonising over the matter even now. "At a time when well over 50,000 children in the UK are in need of a home," fulminated the director of the Christian Legal Centre, "we cannot afford to exclude" an agency which, when it deigned to perform the work for which the taxpayer funded it, found a home for almost one child every month. Catholic Care has suspended its adoption services during the three years of fighting the case, and a prominent part of its plea has been, in effect, no gays or the kid gets it; but the Charity Tribunal was unmoved, possibly because every other Catholic adoption agency in the country has somehow managed either to fall in line or else to leave the business of adoption to those whose consciences have outgrown the neurotic prejudices of a certain tribe of Bronze Age marauders and their adopted djinn.

Me at Poetry-24

Monday, April 25, 2011

An Execution

Upon the left, the bandit chief
Who caused such havoc and such grief;

A pity more of his attacks
Were not on those who take our tax.

Upon the right, another crook,
Who has been justly brought to book;

I don't know what it was about,
But wives and kids like their day out.

And in the middle? well, who knows.
Just some poor bastard, I suppose.

He cried out to his Father true,
Who must have other things to do.

The rocks are rent, the earth's ashake;
It looks like rain, and no mistake.

Fipley Gobbetts

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I wandered in a drunken crowd
Out of the pub and down the hill;
When all at once I met a loud
And most ill-mannered daffodil.
Right there among the crap and cans he
Walked right up and blew his trumpet,
And asked me if I was a pansy,
And flashed his stem. I went to thump it.

But then (in flow'ry tone) he said:
"I never meant, bud, to insultcha.
It's time I got back to my bed.
Excuse my roots, my haughty cultcha."
I knew he'd never fight, that fellow:
Like all of his sort, he was yellow.

Wordy Wrothdot

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Moral Teacher

The sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak has graciously condescended to answer a few questions from the lower orders on Italian television, and in doing so has given as eloquent a demonstration of his church's intellectual substance and moral courage as one could hope to see. Asked by a Muslim woman in the Ivory Coast about how the violence there might be ended, the sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak said that he had asked one of his officials to try and mediate; given the Vatican's worldwide reputation as an honest broker, we can only wonder why peace hasn't broken out all over Africa. An Italian woman asked whether her son, who has been in a vegetative coma for two years, still had a soul, and the sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak trotted out the party line to prevent any meddling doctors from turning off the life support. Doubtless it was only pressing legal matters which prevented Silvio Berlusconi from speculating about the son's capabilities as a breeder.

Most interestingly of all, a Japanese child asked about the effects of the earthquake and tsunami: "I am very frightened because the house where I felt safe really shook a lot and many children my age have died. I cannot go to play in the park. I want to know: why do I have to be so afraid? Why do children have to be so sad?" The sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak said first that "we do not have the answers", which is untrue. Jehovah gave his servant Job a perfectly clear and comprehensible answer to this question; boiled down, it amounts to You are all my toys and I will break you as I please. Surely a seven-year-old should be able to understand that. The sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak then said that "we know that Jesus suffered as you do, an innocent", Christian compassion being apparently the idea that a sufferer should feel better when reminded of the suffering of others. Curiously, the sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak made no mention of the standard Christian excuse for their invisible playmate's more spectacular japes, namely the doctrine of original sin. It would appear, then, that either the sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak is as incompetent a theologian as the Most Reverend and Right Honourable John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, who had "nothing to say" to make sense of last year's divine prank in Haiti; or else that the Pontiff of Paedophilia has been guilty, once again, of an offence against a child. I wonder which it could be?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Stitched Up

As a member of the Action Board, Lieutenant Scheisskopf was one of the judges who would weigh the merits of the case against Clevinger as presented by the prosecutor. Lieutenant Scheisskopf was also the prosecutor. Clevinger had an officer defending him. The officer defending him was Lieutenant Scheisskopf.
Joseph Heller, Catch-22

In its eagerness to appease the all-important Daily Mail core vote, Daveybloke's Cuddly Coalition has made common cause with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad concerning the deportation of Iranian asylum seekers. Six men who came here last year have been on hunger strike for more than two weeks, and four of them have further demonstrated their fanatical Muslimity by sewing their lips together with fishing wire. This is unlikely to move the UK Border Agency, which almost certainly takes a dim view of self-inflicted scars. One of the hunger strikers has what he claims are souvenirs from twelve days of razor-slashings across the back and arms, but the UK Border Agency has no truck with such stigmata, which can be acquired with relative ease for the malicious purpose of putting hard-working British families out of a job.

The UK Border Agency answers to the Home Office, which is dedicated to kicking people out of the country. The UK Border Agency considers each case on whatever the Home Office sees as its merits. Each asylum customer receives a designated UK Border Agency "caseowner" and access to free legal advice. The legal adviser is appointed by the Home Office.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maundy Maunderings

The Archbishop of Canterbury, who lives in a palace where he worries about women and homosexuals, has been speaking truth to power in his own inimitable way. He suggested that a new law compelling the great and good to do menial or unpleasant work for "a couple of hours every year" might remind them of "what the needs really are at grassroots level". As one would expect of a Government employee, it seems not to have occurred to the learned Archbishop that many or even most of our lords and masters might have a very good idea of what the needs really are at grassroots level, but might have more pressing priorities than the welfare of others. This lack of insight is all the more surprising in a self-proclaimed follower of Jesus of Nazareth, who clearly stated at his last supper that the needs of the poor were insignificant compared to his own glorification. The Archbishop went on to recommend that we take note of "this startling idea that the goal of the supreme power in the universe is that we should be nurtured, respected and loved". In a Christian context the idea is certainly startling, but not quite in the sense Dr Williams intended. It would no doubt be churlish to suggest that presuming to know the mind of God is inconsistent with Christian humility, and it is certainly not for me to question what the modest Archbishop may have heard in his private conversations with his ineffable playmate; but according to the putative founder of his church the goal of the supreme power in the universe is to exalt a small fraction of the Jewish people and condemn evil-doers (i.e. everyone else) to wailing and gnashing of teeth for eternity.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gibber Gibber

One of Daveybloke's more expendable resources, the Minister for Mere Schools (as opposed to private schools, faith schools, "free schools" or those temples of learning which constitute the Academia Goveiana) has been pushed out in front of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference and ordered to make the best of things. Nick Gibb (for it was he) clunked his way ever so freshly through the now traditional material: teachers are very inconsiderately living longer and are not converting themselves into private sector employees; the Government has spiffier things to do with the British taxpayer's money than throw it away on people who can do no better than work in the public sector; therefore the public sector needs "long-term reform" (irreversible damage, in Oldspeak) and public sector workers are being "asked", if not altogether incentivised, to work longer for less money and hope that some future banker-friendly government won't change the goalposts again later on. I paraphrase somewhat. As usual with Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives, Gibb assiduously followed the relevant New Labour example, pleading discussion, urging compliance and cranking out the obligatory line about understanding the strength of feeling in this particular focus group. Since he was the first member of Daveybloke's Cuddly Coalition to stand up before a teaching union conference, the fact that he apparently survived the experience may possibly be considered an encouraging sign.

Me at Poetry-24
Pissed Off

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


A bunch of sun-worshippers have filed for a judicial review against Chris Huhne, the famously recent convert to the virtues of cuddly coal and sustainable uranium. Several solar power companies are annoyed because the Government is treating them with the level of care and respect which the Government has been more widely observed bestowing upon the health service and the education system: that is to say, not only is George's little chopper being applied with due vigour, but Huhne's department has displayed neither the efficiency nor the courtesy necessary to enable the victims to cope. One of the companies' chief executives, Mark Shorrock, said that the Government would "cause the abandonment of hundreds of community scale schemes", in accordance with Eric Pickles' idea of allowing communities to fend for themselves; and, rather unfortunately for his own case, he also admitted that the Government's actions could lead to the removal of several things which the Government has already shown it either doesn't want or doesn't care about: "the creation of new jobs, a diversified income for farmers and landowners, ... and the provision of more secure and reliable energy for the UK". Shorrock also mentioned reduced energy costs for businesses, but of course that little problem will be solved the moment the nuclear option proves itself as cheap, clean and reliable as everyone has always known it to be, or perhaps a little earlier. For its own part, the Government has nothing against solar energy, but prefers it to be generated cleanly, by wealthy individuals with eccentric tastes in roofing, rather than through the distasteful expedient of using schools, farms, public buildings and other lower-class methods.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Open Government

The Information Rights Tribunal has ordered the Ministry of Mission Creep to disclose its involvement in George W Bush's kidnap and torture programme, even though an internal investigation by the Ministry itself concluded that there was no evidence of anything nasty going on. True, the Ministry admitted a year later that two people had been spirited off to some hole in Bagram; but in a ministry that is typically run with the astuteness of holes like Geoff Hoon and Liam Fox, this counts as barely more than a book-keeping error. The chair of the relevant parliamentary group has written to the mercenary contractor and chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, intimating that the continued non-publication of the guidelines for intelligence officers does not inspire public confidence; Sir Malcolm will doubtless respond that it's all the fault of the Freedom of Information Act for asking silly questions in the first place. Just on the off-chance that any doubts may still be lingering, Daveybloke has decreed that kidnapping and torture operations in Iraq and Afghanistan after 2003 will be investigated by the Ministry once again; but it is just possible that the case will rumble on. After all, the allegations have been made by a former SAS member, which puts them in an altogether different class of credibilitude than the beard-muffled ravings of mere British residents.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Those Faith Schools Don't Come Cheap, You Know

The leader of a minority religious sect has been having a bit of a waffle about whether Daveybloke's Big Society thingy is a toothy thingy or a toothless thingy. The Pontiff of Paedophilia's henchman in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols, demonstrated his church's usual up-to-the-minute intelligence by warning that Daveybloke's Big Society thingy, which for the past eleven months has been used as a cloak for masking central cuts, "should not be used as a cloak for masking central cuts". He also claimed, accurately enough, that the "philosophy of the big society [is] getting clearer", but appeared to believe that "the effects of the cuts becoming real" is not the reason for this clarity but makes some sort of contrast with it. Nichols also said that "a government cannot simply cut expenditure, wash its hands of expenditure and expect that the slack will be taken up by greater voluntary activity" and that "the poorest are taking the biggest hit while at the same time you see huge bank bonuses and profits and this is not right"; both of which statements are unimpeachably true, but sound rather odd coming from the representative of an extremely wealthy institution which preaches poverty to its dupes and, courtesy of Mussolini, houses its leader in a palace in Rome.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Indiana Battles Iran in Compassionate Conservatism Stakes

If the policies of President Obama were not enough to show that the spirit of George W Bush is alive and well, this case could well be the conclusive DNA test. A pregnant Indianapolis woman discovered late last year that her boyfriend was married and was going to abandon her; she attempted suicide with rat poison but was persuaded by friends to have treatment. She gave birth, but her daughter died after four days. The woman broke down and spent a month in a psychiatric ward, then was cared for by friends.

In a civilised country, this would be a tragedy where, if we absolutely must do our Christian duty of blaming someone, the one to blame would be the boyfriend. The state of Indiana chose to arrest the woman, lock her up and charge her with murder.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Nuts in May

I am in receipt of my second anti-AV leaflet, which tellingly combines two attributes from some of the propaganda in the last general election: a horrendous pus-and-purple colour scheme and a reassuring note that none of my tax money was used in printing it. The first leaflet had the same colour scheme but not the note; perhaps at that point Lord Ashcroft had not yet made up his mind whether to donate.

Aside from its title, "Keep One Person, One Vote", which jestingly implies that the word alternative is a synonym for multiple, and the idiotic claim that "the second or third choices of supporters of extreme parties such as the BNP are counted again and again and again", the leaflet is quite a masterful piece of work on behalf of the Yes campaign. It claims that AV "leads to broken promises", using the example of Nick Clegg, whose party formed a coalition with Daveybloke ("I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS") under first past the post. It claims that the cost of reform would be £250 million, and lists the astronomical numbers of doctors, teachers, nurses, school places and hip replacements that money could provide should George the Progressively Osborne decide not to give it to the bankers instead. It provides parallel explanations of the current system and AV, leaving the reader to draw the apparently self-evident conclusion that the system which takes fewer lines to explain is inherently the better one. Most endearingly of all, it provides a prominent illustration demonstrating the idiocy of first past the post. Beneath the heading "Under our present system the one who comes first is always the winner", five piles of ballot papers are shown, and it is almost excessively obvious that more people voted against the winner than voted for them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Horror at Immigration Fury

BNP outraged as Cameron continues triangulation towards New Labour

The Prime Minister has criticised the last Labour government for pandering to the British National Party by being too tolerant of immigration.

Sandal-wearing pro-foreigners such as immigration minister Phil Woolas had allowed millions of immigrants to flood into Britain and disintegrate communities, he said.

Cameron claimed that the influx of people who did not speak English and were not interested in becoming white and rich had "created a kind of discomfort and disjointedness in some neighbourhoods".

The serious pressures facing schools, housing and the NHS had all resulted from mass immigration, to the point where even the most generous efficiency savings might not improve the situation.

The speech was criticised by the Secretary for Corporate Pandering, Vincent Cable, as part of a concerted coalition effort to get Andrew Lansley's anti-NHS bill off the front pages.

A spokesbeing for the BNP said that the speech was a cynical appropriation of BNP and New Labour rhetoric, and demonstrated his party's customary grasp of reality by saying that Cameron "knows what ordinary British people are thinking".

Conservative Central Office defended the speech, saying that it was customary for Conservative governments faced with social unrest to play the race card whenever the war card failed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Red Tape, Blue Twizzler

Evil NHS bureaucrats are turning the screws in a perfect storm of efforts to chop down the Government's flagship policy of NHS reform. Not content with exploiting the stupidity of Britain's nurses, provoking them to pass a near-unanimous no confidence vote in Twizzler Lansley, the fanatical fifth columns of hospital Hitlers are conspiring to make Daveybloke's pledges about front-line services look nearly as convincing as Wee Nicky's response to a moral outrage. On the one hand, ambulance drivers are being laid off by the hundreds and paramedics are expected to operate alone instead of in pairs, because efficiency savings and saving lives don't belong on the same spreadsheet; on the other hand, the Twizzler has been apologising once more for the idiocy of the public, the nurses and the British Medical Association in failing to grasp the stunningly obvious fact that they and he and Lord Ashcroft all have a shared objective. The emotional stress resulting from this tragic misunderstanding has sent the Twizzler more or less into barking mode: he explained the fact that medical professionals were opposing the bill by foaming that "actually the professions supported it", and claimed that ninety per cent of GPs had volunteered to become bureaucrats in order to replace the ones who were fired last week, assuming the latter have not been re-hired in order to cope with the chaos which has resulted from the "natural break" in the legislative process. And it's all the fault of bureaucracy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Good Old Days

The Compère: And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, we are proud to present - a monochrome masterpiece of monotonous mediocrity mulled in malignant ministerial mendacity...

The Audience: Oooooh...

The Compère: A cretinous carnival of querulous quackery and cash-corrupted Currie-cuddling Conservative crookery...

The Audience: Aaaaaaaaaah...

The Compère: The sententiously sub-standard, sanctimoniously sub-Thatcherite suit of slate - the final phoneme in felonious philtrum-filtered four-flushing foolery - Ladies and Gentlemen - Sir John Major and his Balls!

(Polite indifference)

The Artiste:
There once was a chappie called Tom Major-Ball:
A major event in the old music hall;
But his children remained little minors all.
Sing rum tiddy iddity wimpy and weed,
O very considerably so indeed!

Dear old Daddy Major had plenty of tricks;
He danced and he sang and he shtuck all his shticks;
But Johnny No-Ball went in politics,
Sing rum tiddy iddity marketty force,
O very considerably so of course!

He started out as the Chancellor,
Established himself as a major bore,
Droning, "Erm - we're in - we're out - oh lor'!"
Sing rum tiddy iddity Euro-oh-no,
O very considerably not quite so!

With Back to Basics he tackled the worry
Of Britain's non-cricketing immigrants' hurry,
While availing himself of a dreadful hot Currie;
Sing rum tiddy iddity decent and grey,
O very considerably up and away!

He stayed seven years, mediocre and moany;
He played Gulf War I though the pretext was phoney,
Then he fucked off to Lord's and left us with Tony.
Sing rum tiddy iddity, nothing or less,
O very considerably so and oh yes!

(Rapturous apathy)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Available Now

My new fiction collection, Inner Dark, can now be purchased here, either as paperback or as PDF, and should, for best results, be bought in vast quantities, read with fanatical avidity and reviewed with preternatural enthusiasm.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wires, Chains and Strings

An ex-minister in Gordon Brown's government has told the Observer that Rupert Murdoch ordered Brown to help defuse the political row over investigations into illegal spying by Murdoch's minions in the scumbag press. "What I know is that Murdoch got in touch with a good friend who then got in touch with Brown," the minister said, speaking anonymously as befits one with the moral courage of a New New Labour apparatchik. There have also been suggestions that Murdoch enlisted Tony Blair in "a chain of phone calls that led to Brown", since presumably the Reverend and his Glorious Successor were not speaking to one another at the time. A spokesbeing for Tony issued a categorical denial, and we all know what it means when Tony says something categorically.

Meanwhile, a spokesbeing for the Secretary for Cultchah, Murdoch and Sport has said that Jeremy C Hunt's decision to present his chum with the rest of Britain's infotainment media would not be influenced by any past, present or future skulduggery from Murdoch's editors. "The culture secretary has to make a quasi-judicial decision about the impact of the proposed merger on media plurality issues alone," the spokesbeing said. Doubtless the Times articles proclaiming Jeremy C Hunt as the next real Conservative prime minister are being composed even as we chuckle.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Business Sense

Business leaders who confidently predicted that the private sector would be able to compensate for the Government's attack on the public sector have now decided that they'd rather not, thank you. The reason they'd rather not is because the economy is suffering and prices are rising. One reason the economy is suffering is because large numbers of people are being thrown out of work onto reduced benefits, and even larger numbers are afraid of being thrown out of work onto reduced benefits, which means that increasing numbers of taxpayers and human resources, and possibly even some real people, are no longer consuming as avidly as they might.

All this is, of course, an unintended and presumably unforeseen consequence of the Government's policies. It was really too much to expect George the Progressively Regressive and little Daniel Doormat to foresee that (to take a random example) raising VAT might cause prices to go up; and it was certainly naïve of the business community to expect the Government to believe what the business community said about putting the last touches to its Infinite Employability Drive just as the Government's contribution to planetary demolition was kicking in. Certainly nobody can have imagined that cynics would so quickly call into question the wisdom and foresight of a Government which spent its first year almost entirely on stabbing backs and putting feet.

Hence, although certain entrepreneurial resources have expressed concern about the deterioration of the economy, they all seem quite happy for the Government to continue enacting the policies which caused the economy to deteriorate, on the thoroughly sane and sensible grounds that, when driving towards a precipice, changing direction will make you fall harder. "We have to stay the course," said one prominent pizza salesman. "If we waver, living standards would deteriorate even further."

Friday, April 08, 2011

Direct Democracy

Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives have shown further evidence of their commitment to giving the little folk a say by going all of a tizzy over the peace protests in Parliament Square. The sight of a few tents and placards on a day when the nation is meant to be thanking the god of Rowan Williams for a business contract between two minor chunks of tabloid-bait would, of course, constitute a blatant offence against Britishness, civilisation and freedom of speech; and Daveybloke and the Home Secretary have stated in no uncertain terms that somebody ought to do something about it. Since the issue is the convenience of the chinless rather than the rights of the rabble, even the London Haystack has bestirred itself to take an interest, and has ordered the Metropolitan Headbangers and Firearms Club to proceed with all due assertiveness. Unfortunately, perhaps because manpower cuts prevent their mustering the seventy-eight officers necessary for clearing each disruptive influence, the Met have been unable to discover a law under which the protesters can be removed. Daveybloke has pronounced that he does not understand why demonstrators are allowed to sleep in the square; which, given that the law forbidding their doing so has yet to be passed, throws an interesting light on Daveybloke's comprehension of the legislative process.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Big Society, Big Conversation

A memo by the chief executive of the health service indicates that the fundamental lunacies of Twizzler Lansley's anti-NHS bill will be enacted no matter what mere medical or taxpaying personnel have to say about them. In particular, the setting up of consortiums of general practitioners to oversee funding is non-negotiable, which is jolly convenient as that is the very part of the bill on which everyone is out of step except for Daveybloke, the Twizzler, Wee Nicky and the rest of the right-wing lunatic fringe. Much as George Osborne is reducing government debt by shifting it onto the public, so the Twizzler plans not so much to reduce NHS bureaucracy as to dump its burden onto GPs, who after all have nothing better to do.

Labour, who must be incandescent with copyrighteous fury at the Government's appropriation of their line about the public mind being too narrow and inflexible to encompass the awesome nobility of their intentions, said that the Government's "listening exercise" is more of a PR exercise; and of course Labour ought to know.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Dead Cable

Another subtle hint has emerged as to the attitude which Daveybloke and his Cuddly Coalition take towards education. The corpse of the Liberal Democrat Secretary for Corporate Pandering, Vincent Cable, has been allowed out to waggle its blackened tongue and spew its thinner-than-yellowish bile at those universities which are charging the high fees which Vincent Cable voted to allow them to impose. Education being just another business, the corpse moaned sepulchrally that competitors would soon offer "high standards at lower prices", as well as vocational qualifications which would be advertised as leading straight to a job. The remains of Vincent Cable gave vent to crepuscular howls about redesigning courses (or, in Standard English, giving the Ferguson-Gove treatment to all other subjects as well as history) and managing staff change (or, in Standard English, sacking people). The unquiet revenant munched quasi-apathetically at the flesh of those who imagine that universities might aspire to be anything other than glorified sixth-form colleges and employment consultancies; the brown stumps of its teeth worried among "academics not appointed on the basis of their teaching abilities". The shambling sack of dead meat mumbled that it had hoped to see "a ferment of creative thinking", but hadn't seen much evidence of this; whereupon the eyeballs' glistening pulp finally fell backwards into the slowly bubbling mush that had once been a brain, and the rotting flesh of the paunch split apart with a sound like farting melons and everyone applauded with relief because Vincent Cable was a Liberal Democrat and there wouldn't be any guts to clean off the floor.

Me at Poetry-24
The Last Straw

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

And Now Abideth Faith, Hope and Large

Blessed are the good people of Swiebodzin, for the Stalin-shaped hole in their lives has been filled. A thirty-three-metre statue of Jesus has been erected on a hill opposite the supermarket, so that worshippers of St Tesco may look upon it and contemplate the Saviour's teaching that no light is complete without a bushel to shine it on. The Catholic church was popular in Poland because of its opposition to the greedy, corrupt, authoritarian and petty-minded Communist régime; but now that Jaruzelski and his ilk have faded away or changed their brand names, the Church's famous dedication to parsimony, honesty, freedom and generosity may be starting to look a bit thin. The priest whose brain gave birth to this rather expensive chunk of spiritual kitsch apparently drives around in a Mercedes, which must be nearly as amusing for the locals as being all in it together with the Bullingdon boys is for ourselves.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Blocked Passages

Both the Government and Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition are in fine New Labour form over Twizzler Lansley's anti-NHS bill. Daveybloke has apparently decided to delay its passage until after chocolate eggs and the royal wedding have made everybody feel better about things; a spokesbeing claimed that this was a "natural break" in the legislative process, which presumably explains why the NHS is in such confusion that managers may have to be re-hired fresh off the scrap heap to which the Twizzler and his private-sector string-pullers have only this past week consigned them. Nobody seems to know yet whether the delay is a pause to allow the Liberal Democrats to re-write the bill or, as is claimed by the Twizzler, simply a New Labour tactic to re-write the advertising; but the superb incompetence manifested throughout the whole affair would do credit to any New Labour stalwart from Geoff Hoon to Ruth Kelly.

Not to be outdone, the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband is to respond with some vintage Blairite finger-wagging about the disgraceful irresponsibility of it all, "a direct consequence of a coalition based on power, convenience and ambition rather than values". This is pure drivel, of course. Daveybloke's Cuddly Coalition is based on exactly the same values which Tony Blair touted with the grinning inquisitorial zeal of a game show host and which Gordon Brown spooned down the nation's throat with the obdurate sanctimony of an embittered maiden aunt. New Labour did what it could to sneak the NHS away, and the strategy worked rather well; it brought us PFI, outsourcing to the charitable sector, short-staffing and all the rest. Daveybloke's Cuddlies intend to kick the remainder to pieces before our eyes, whereupon they will doubtless expect us to tug our forelocks in gratitude; but the difference is hardly an ideological one. The difference is simply that Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives are more stupid than Blair and less cowardly than Brown; and that, however many coats Wee Nicky cares to turn, he still has to answer to his own party activists to an extent that Labour's dupes can now only dream about.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Pass the Parcel

Two months after Daveybloke's orange muffler claimed a moral dimension to the Government's attack on the poor and compared the idea of maintaining the public sector to "loading up our credit card with debt and then expecting our kids to pay it off", the Office for Budget Responsibility has predicted that the only way many people will be able to survive the Government's moral scruples will be to load up their credit cards with debt. The OBR has raised its prediction of average household debt in four years' time by three hundred thousand million pounds; according to a spokesbeing, George the Progressively Regressive attributed the adjustment to "higher than expected inflation driven by higher than expected rises in commodity prices", since nobody, least of all George the Progressively Regressive, could have predicted that raising VAT would lead to prices going up. Of course, since we have Wee Nicky's very own word for it that national debt and household debt work in exactly the same way, the solution is simple enough. Once they have maxed-out their cards, hard-working families (the difficulties of the genetically continent are, as usual, not even worth considering) should default on their debts, order the Government to pay off the credit companies, award themselves a handsome cash bonus for doing so well, and start the game over again.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Daveybloke Does Democracy

Daveybloke, the Cuddly Conservative, has had a bit of a blather about the alternative vote system, and in doing so has demonstrated once again the impressive extent of his party's respect for the electorate. Daveybloke claimed that under the alternative vote system "your vote for a mainstream party counts once, while someone can support a fringe party like the BNP and get their vote counted several times"; which doubtless explains why the BNP is opposed to the alternative vote. Daveybloke noted that the AV system is "so obscure that it is only used by three countries in the whole world: Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea", a comment which itself demonstrates a level of respect for the colonials and their dusky neighbours that would not be out of place in a fringe party like the BNP. Our own system, Daveybloke burbled, "is used by half of the world"; although Daveybloke tactfully refrained from saying whether or not that half has been offered the choice of a different system. Best of all, Daveybloke reminded the electorate that Wee Nicky himself once denounced the AV system as a "miserable little compromise", as though Daveybloke and his Cuddly Conservatives would have been more than happy to allow a proper choice in the referendum if only the Liberal Democrats had remembered to mention it.

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrat doormat for the fossil fuels and nuclear lobby has accused the Conservatives' token Muslim, Baroness Warsi, of "Goebbels-like lies" because of her claim that the alternative vote system will force mainstream parties - such as, presumably, the party of Michael Gove, Liam Fox and Norman Tebbit - to pander to right-wing extremists. This is profoundly unjust. Goebbels' lies were large and scurrilous, but they frequently attained both plausibility and a certain malicious muck-raker's wit. Any fair-minded person must surely admit that the intelligence and credibility to aspire to Goebbels-like lies are not among Baroness Warsi's more obvious character flaws.

Friday, April 01, 2011


O bring me my yesteryear's scollops
That preened in the caverns of old,
Caroused in such wonderful dollops
And squeaked in the eventide's gold!
For now all the crampons are dreaming,
And the wince of the weevil is nigh;
And Chaos bodes forth in the screaming
Of pondweed hurled down from on high!
We may be alone in our whacking
Of all that we walloped before;
Yet now that our pinwheels are slacking,
O bring me my scollops of yore!

Mutser Wuggley