The Curmudgeon


Saturday, March 31, 2012

Dental Extractions

Those noble protectors of our Britishness at the UK Border Agency continue to worry that young people who come from troubled or war-torn environments are deliberately using their undesirable circumstances as an excuse for not having proper birth certificates, school certificates, passports or Boy Scout badges which would prove their juvenile status and enable them to be incarcerated in conditions morally acceptable to Nick Clegg. Accordingly, a trial is to be made to establish whether dental X-rays would be any use at distinguishing the menaces among the boys. The trial experiments will be carried out on volunteers, who naturally will not endanger their claims in any way by refusing to participate; if the experiments show that X-rays can provide a viable excuse for kicking more people out of the country, presumably more assertive consent-gaining techniques will be required.

The idea of using dental X-rays on self-proclaimed juvenile floods was first floated in 2008, and was opposed by the children's commissioners, immigration lawyers and the medical profession; so doubtless the Border Agency is thinking of Twizzler Lansley's anti-NHS bill, which has proved such a roaring success despite being wanted only by the Cabinet, some profiteers and a few spineless time-servers in the Houses of Parliament. Few other coalition success stories have been sufficiently spectacular to encourage the resurrection of an idea so transcendently sane and humane that it was considered unacceptably demented even in the hapless heyday of the Brown government's triangulation towards the BNP.

Me at Poetry-24
Strange Behaviour

Friday, March 30, 2012

Insufficient Answers

Gary William Crawford's Gothic Press, which published Akin to Poetry a couple of years ago, has issued another chapbook on Robert Aickman. Insufficient Answers contains three essays by Rebekah Memel Brown, Isaac Land and myself. Both of my co-contributors have examined Aickman from a social and historical perspective: Brown's essay "Am I a Woman?" considers his early story "The Trains" in terms of the changing role of women in the aftermath of the Second World War; while Land's "Orphans of the Social Storm" looks at the ways in which Aickman's political views informed his fiction, and provides a fascinating corrective to those who, like myself, have tended to regard the political content of the stories as largely incidental. My own piece analyses Aickman's most anthologised story, "Ringing the Changes".

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Daveybloke's Double Dip

Militant Trotskyites at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development are conspiring with militant anarcho-statisticians at the ONS in an attempt to undermine Britain's standing as a safe haven of cuts amid the choppy undercurrents of globular finance. The OECD said that Britain's output has been in decline for two successive quarters; which, thanks to the terminological depredations of the Euro-wogs and the last Labour government, technically constitutes a recession. Of course this is nothing to worry about. The British Government is technically a coalition between the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats, but it manages well enough at the day-to-day business of being an ultra-Thatcherite cabal with clip-on Clegg.

Remarkably enough, the OECD also noted that only Italy's economy will take longer to recover, despite the Euro-wogs having abolished the local pretence at democracy and appointed a few bankers to sort out the mess which a few bankers made some little time ago. Such measures are thought unnecessary as yet in the UK, where the Government has studiously refused to get involved in banking despite owning most of the Royal Bank of Scotland. A similar enlightened attitude is in evidence over the construction industry, which is traditionally among the first to recover from a recession. One of the country's largest firms has fallen under the influence of militant market forces to such an extent that it blames the public sector spending cuts for its continuing difficulties. Inexplicably given Britain's disinclination to tax wealth creators, the private sector has yet to leap into the breach and start hiring people by the million; and the Government is far too busy getting people thrown out of their homes to bother too much about building any more.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Petrol Paymaster Press Panic Plan

Daveybloke has moved swiftly to get his party's donors off the front pages with the time-honoured tactic of reciprocal accusation. Conservative policy may be as innocent of shady dealings as Francis Maude is innocent of the law on storing petrol in the home; but Labour, as always, are in hock to the unions, and the Government has very conveniently managed to provoke a possible strike by fuel tanker drivers. There is, of course, absolutely no justification for a strike; despite Daveybloke's belief that corporations should have the right to fire people in pursuit of profit, the idea that workers might have the right to withdraw their labour in pursuit of better conditions is the kind of thing that brokenised Britain to begin with. Accordingly, Daveybloke and two of his very brightest chums, Maude and Lady Warsi, have been rushing all over the place squeaking about precautions and stockpiling and emergency committee meetings and bringing in the army, just so that the spectre of a 1970s-style panic doesn't raise its unmarketised head. Warsi and Maude have been yapping at the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband, urging him to condemn the remotest possibility of industrial action and blathering about conspiracies to bring the country grinding to a halt. The Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband burbled a few sweet nothings about avoiding strikes by getting round a table and negotiating, and duly ground to a halt.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Handy Hintze

A hedge-fund gambler who has donated the value of half a dozen intimate Daveybloke dinners and loaned the cost of ten more, Michael Hintze is also a sponsor of Nigel Lawson's Global Warming Policy Foundation, which criticises scientists for lack of transparency and the BBC for lack of debate, but refuses transparency over its own donors in case they suffer public criticism, or debate in Standard English. Hintze has also been terribly obliging towards the former Foreign Secretary, Adam Werritty, providing him with free office space in which to recuperate from the charm of Liam Fox and, in a delightful echo of the ever-so-special Ashcroft-Hague relationship, taking both Werritty and Fox on trips in his private jet. Thus it appears that the latest lobbying scandal may yet prove a blessing in disguise for the greenest government ever. Had Peter Cruddas' little indiscretion not forced the Conservative Party into assuring us that financial donations have no effect whatever on policy, Lord Ashcroft only knows what the more uncharitable among us might have made of all this.

Monday, March 26, 2012

We're All In This Together

A wideboy without too much brain
Has bragged that the rich can obtain
A bloke's helping hand
For a few hundred grand;
Lord Ashcroft knows, that is insane.

It is an unjustified thought,
Which must be most zealously fought,
That people who count
Would pay that amount
And then expect chaps to be bought.

Of course that is not how we raise
Conservative pennies these days.
Our policy game
Is always the same:
It's never the rich man who pays.

Me at Poetry-24
Blue Sky Thinking

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Clearing the Air

An economy is a complicated thing, and nowadays it appears that there are nearly as many factors choking off Britain's growth as there are Bullingdon spermatozoa making rah-rah in Wee Nicky's throat. The last Labour government, nurses' gold-plated pensions, the tax burden on multi-millionaires, the gratuitous complexities involved in sacking people whenever one feels like it, bad weather and the Euro-wogs have all served their turn; and now, since Government economic policy cannot possibly be to blame for the state of the economy, the burden has fallen upon the crying need for a third runway at Heathrow. The Conservatives pledged not to allow such a thing, but that was when they were still pretending to be the greenest government ever; the coalition agreement rules it out, but the Deputy Conservatives happily tore up the coalition agreement in the interests of Twizzler Lansley's anti-NHS bill, and there seems no particular reason why either partner should be interested in reinstating that pathetic scrap of paper at this late date. Vincent Cable might possibly grumble a bit, and the transport secretary would have to find some way of painting a betrayal of her pre-election stance as rational flexibility in the interests of doing the right thing; happily, experience suggests that these difficulties may not be altogether insurmountable.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Political Art

I am sure we all remember Jeremy C Hunt, the charming little chap who serves Daveybloke as Secretary for Cultchah, Murdoch and Sport, and who has been rather quiet since the Guardian exposed News International's privatisation of the police and enthusiasm for freedom of other people's information. Jeremy C Hunt, you will recall, was the chap who wanted to sign over yet another large chunk of the country's communications media to Rupert Murdoch just before the scandal broke; and, being a Murdoch gofer and a minister for something the Government considers nearly as important as full employment or keeping the planet habitable, Jeremy C Hunt has doubtless long been in need of a humiliation he can do something about. Accordingly, now that the Leveson inquiry has yielded up the front pages to other grand achievements, Jeremy C Hunt has decided it's time for a mean little stab in the back, and has ordered the chair of Arts Council England not to seek a new term of office when her present one expires in January. Quite aside from the Government's persistent need to sort the arts into what's fit for the proles and what can be sold off, the chair of Arts Council England is also chair of the Scott Trust, which owns the Guardian. Jeremy C Hunt will appoint some people to draw up a shortlist for a replacement, which Jeremy C Hunt will then select; and it is understood that James Murdoch has some time to spare nowadays.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Support Your Local Anarchists

The Police Federation has announced a protest march in London over the cuts and the recommendations of the Winsor report. The Federation has called on Daveybloke's cat lady to reject the report as "ill-conceived, ill-considered and made up of previously-rejected ideas"; which hardly seems likely given that she has just helped to vote through a budget answering to precisely the same description.

More interestingly, the Federation has also announced its intention to explore "all the consequences, including the legal position, with regards to police officers obtaining full industrial rights". Since the Government intends to turn the police into private sector workers, it will be amusing to see how they manage the transition from courageous heroes of law and order to lazy scroungers who deserve to be efficientised within an inch of their gold-plated pensions.

Meanwhile, there is the question of order during the planned protest march and rally. Would it be taking deregulation too far if the police were allowed to baton, kettle and cavalry-charge one another for a change? Perhaps a few thousand of the larger unemployed can be drafted in and issued with automatic weapons and dumdum bullets, just to avoid any unnecessary unpleasantness.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In Opposition

The Chancellor cannot conceal it;
The Government's had to reveal it.
This Budget is bad
And evil and mad
And of course we've no plans to repeal it.

The Chancellor's blundered this day
And shown us how callous his way!
But shall we get rid
Of the horrors he did?
It's rather too early to say.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Summary

Rah rah! The day's here once again
When I can smug forth from my den,
With my little red case
And a smirk on my face,
And help all those poor rich white men!

What a glorious British affair
As I try to pretend that I care
For charity helps
Or non-trust-fund whelps,
While Cleggy pretends he's not there!

I'll smug to my feet and make free
With all persons less wealthy than me,
As the taxpayer drowns,
And Miliband frowns
And pretends that he doesn't agree!

Now let's hear a nice big hurrah
For my spiffingest measure thus far:
Let the pensioners pay,
For it's my Budget Day -
So break out the bubbly, rah rah!

Gideon Fatwick

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Compassionate Conservatism

We're all in it together hereabouts
Because the times are getting jolly tough.
We all must work to keep the proper snouts
And proper trotters in the proper trough.

In spite of all those poor on whom I've stamped,
I really do not mean to be unkind;
It's just that my philanthropy is cramped
From living in this charming little mind.

Goiter Wisby

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pond Life

Thanks to the worst drought in thirty years, and doubtless thanks also to excessive business regulation and EU diktats on wildlife protection, the Environment Agency has warned of possibly catastrophic consequences for river and wetland species. Over-use of water is being blamed: Thames Water has been criticised for failing to fix leaky pipes, so the Bullingdon Club's environment token and failed forest salesbeing, Caroline Spelman, has been wagging the finger at the proles for using too much. Some of the other water companies are talking about sharing moistural resources, although it is not clear how far the Government will be prepared to tolerate any such undermining of that sacred principle of competition which has done so much for our banking sector and which is soon to save the National Health Service from itself.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Grabbing the Dead Man's Mitre

Not two days have elapsed since the Archbishop of Canterbury announced his resignation, and already the moral conscience of the Conservative Party has bestirred itself to warn Daveybloke of the wailing and gnashing of teeth which will ensue should he appoint the wrong successor. The tradition is to alternate candidates from the Church's loony wing with candidates from its pharisaical wing, as when the blathering imbecile Carey was succeeded by the dithering hypocrite Williams; and Daveybloke is being warned in no uncertain terms that he had better stick to that tradition or else. "I don't want the Archbishop to say we can't have gay marriage because it is not socially acceptable. I want him to say we can't have it because it is wrong," huffed a Peter Bone, whose opinions on the social acceptability of giving all one's property to the poor were regrettably not solicited. Nadine Dorries had one of her occasional lapses into veracity and stated that Williams did not "stand up for Christian values that the vast majority of Christians identify with": Williams did not detectably stand up for any values at all, aside from the institutional one of holding the Church together despite the clearly expressed wishes of its noisier adherents. His intention now is to return to his university career, presumably on the grounds that in-fighting, backbiting and petty politics are slightly less prevalent among academics than they are among Christians.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

It's Red Tape Challenge Time

The greenest government ever is to announce the loosening of environmental regulations on such trivia as asbestos, industrial pollution, and protection for wildlife and common lands. The massacre is part of the Red Tape Challenge, a Daveybloke-Osborne game show hosted by Oliver Letwin, the man who thinks the world is in such dire straits because people in the north of England fly about too much. Throwing himself into the Challenge with his best foot in his mouth, Letwin convened a star chamber, ordered the environment to cut its regulation from several thousand pages down to fifty, and left it to get on with things. Letwin did not invite the Government's environmental token and failed forest salesbeing, Caroline Spelman, to debut at his court, and Spelman has retaliated with the observation that Osborne's sworn enemy, the EU habitats directive, may not be as bad as all that: half of one per cent of affected projects have suffered problems, and what problems there have been are not achieving resolution through abolishing the rules. What is likely to be achieved, however, is that the environmental and financial costs of the ostensible money-saving exercise will fall upon the taxpayers, the poor and the future, rather than on anyone Daveybloke is likely to want to be chums with.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Another President, Another Poodle

Daveybloke has rounded off his American rah-rah with exuberant good taste by laying a wreath at the site of the 11 September attacks and burbling about what a jolly place Afghanistan has become. The attacks, you see, were carried out mainly by Saudi Arabians on the presumed orders of a Saudi Arabian; which is why the Special Relationship has been killing people in Afghanistan and Iraq for the past decade. "Here at the site of the twin towers, Ground Zero," Daveybloke burbled, "here is the place to remember why what we do overseas is so important, so people are safe at home". Of what conceivable consequence is the demise of a few thousand wogs compared with our right to bask in the threat of another 7 July? Perhaps the Olympics will remind us. Anyway, Daveybloke has also been burbling about how the little woman was in New York on 11 September 2001 and how he tried to contact her; which was jolly decent of him and a handy Human Bloke touch for the speechwriters to slip in.

Meanwhile, Daveybloke's little men have been panting and drooling all over the place because Obama gave Daveybloke a ride on his toy aeroplane, and Daveybloke himself has been getting along famously with Obama, despite their differences in background. Possibly they found a few things in common when they discussed election promises and dropping bombs on people.

Me at Poetry-24
A Measure of Strength

Thursday, March 15, 2012

An Unforgettable Olfactory Message

The Pontiff of Paedophilia has struck another blow against crass materialism by commissioning a custom-blended cologne from Silvana Casoli, who in the past has concocted smells for pop singers and the king of Spain. Casoli was brought to the sixteenth Daddy Goodspeak's attention when she supplied fragrances for Catholic pilgrims travelling Buñuel's Milky Way to Santiago de Compostela. Local functionaries slipped a few samples into their cassocks and presented them to the boss, whose elaborate outfits are known, courtesy of the papal press agents, to exude his reverence for tradition rather than reeking of hypocrisy. Casoli, who claims that her works "leave an unforgettable olfactory message for him and her", stated that she would never repeat the pope's formula for another customer, so any of the pious who hope to indulge in some odorous emulation will have to content themselves with the usual Vatican fragrances; at least until the Reverend Blair can boil up a credible imitation.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

An Unfortunate Start

Born, bred an owner; yet by what you say,
Unceasingly you give too much away.
Lacking in adult courtesy, you must
Let all the ladies see your charm untrussed;
If German-bashing's out, you think, then let's
Not spare those funny freaks who have Tourette's!
Good with the coloureds, too, on Air Force One!
Dave: though your face bear an imperial ton
Of varnish; though you make your manner winning,
No man could clearer show his bad beginning.

Trubley Gusket

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just Bumping Along

Another cross-party committee has shown itself a slightly more effective opposition than the Miliband wing of the British Neoliberal Party. The public accounts committee has ordered Network Rail to give an account of itself because spending on passenger rail is "poorly understood". By coincidence, passenger rail is the largest single area of spending, and therefore the biggest excuse Network Rail has for increasing fares and demanding that the taxpayer do more to facilitate its profiteering. A spokesbeing complained that Network Rail already has dozens of reports published about it, but said that the company was working to publish more. Meanwhile, the Government is planning to incentivise rail travel by putting more potholes in the roads.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Great Game Marred by Rotten Apple, Again

You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs, but even Barack Obama and the NATO commander in Afghanistan seem to think that this verges on bad taste. For best results, civilian resources should be detrimented using jets, helicopter gunships, cruise missiles or quasi-genocidal sanctions regimes, in order that due respect may be accorded their status as human shields, enemy combatants or collateral damage. When a man just walks into a compound and makes a personal humanitarian intervention, it can lead to a potentially unsustainable degree of enhanced regrettability, manifested in this case by the fact that someone in the Press noticed what one of the female casualties was wearing.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Le Salaire de la Poltronnerie

Consistent with their party's new, post-election brand of moral courage, the Deputy Conservative delegates at Gateshead have voted against holding a debate on whether to drop Twizzler Lansley's anti-NHS bill. Instead, they will debate a more Clegg-friendly motion by Shirley Williams, the rejection of which would be less embarrassing for Wee Nicky than a vote in favour of the coalition agreement. Wee Nicky himself, who recommended the original bill to his party with great enthusiasm, has now declared with great enthusiasm that it has been changed out of all recognition; and he also re-asserted the New Labour truth that it doesn't matter how many principles you betray provided you agonise sufficiently: "I think it's a really good thing that Liberal Democrats worry as much as we do about something as precious as the NHS," he said.

The division of labour in the Government appears to be something like the relationship between the characters played by Yves Montand and Charles Vanel in The Wages of Fear: the Conservatives drive and the Deputy Conservatives worry. Vanel's character, it will be remembered, loses his nerve early on and is thereafter despised, humiliated, half drowned in oil and run over by Montand's truck; but he does have the good fortune to expire before Montand, in a fit of Bullingdon steering prowess, drives the truck over a cliff.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sputtering Cable

In order to distract the headlines from the antics of those smallfry in Gateshead who think the Deputy Conservative party has something to do with being liberal and democratic, Vincent Cable has been blustering in the Guardian about how backward-looking and out of touch the proper Conservatives are, and how he's going to give George Osborne what-for if he doesn't do as he's told. "I am going to confront the old-fashioned negative thinking which says that all government needs to do to generate growth is cut worker and environmental protections, cut taxes on the rich and stroke 'fat cats' until they purr with pleasure," said the Government's leading social democrat, who serves as business secretary in an administration which has cut worker and environmental protections, increased taxes on the poor and is hacking large, gold-plated, well-oiled cat flaps into the NHS and the police. Well, I feel better already.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Transparent Government

Twizzler Lansley's anti-NHS bill looks set to be protected from the Government's own assessment of the risks involved in implementing it. The Department for Health Privatisation has argued that publication of the risk register would undermine the Government's ability to assess the risks of pursuing particular policies, since risk assessments tend to be a bit pessimistic when policies are so wonderful that their virtues can be appreciated only by Twizzler Lansley and assorted profiteers. The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing, Lord Owen and, hilariously enough, the Labour party, have argued that the register should be released so that the Lords can have an informed debate. The information commissioner and the information rights tribunal have agreed with them, but the Government has twenty-eight days to appeal and the anti-NHS bill is scheduled to pass in less than two weeks. In keeping with his transparency agenda and the further humiliation of the Deputy Conservatives, Daveybloke may invoke a cabinet veto to prevent publication, something notably done by the Reverend Blair with regard to his legal advice about the Iraq adventure. Then again, the Government might choose to publish the register after the bill has been passed, in keeping with the famous Bullingdon spirit which is trying to privatise the police even as the Leveson inquiry continues to uncover the consequences of News International's having done precisely that.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Ursine Bosko-Defecatory Revelation Devastation

A parliamentary committee has just discovered that the Government has an unrealistic view of Britain's role in the world. Daveybloke's new national security adviser (the same who just yesterday had Daveybloke gibbering wildly about the intercontinental ballistic mullahs) has trodden on the committee's toes by forbidding it access to a risk assessment whose secret passages are aflame with scenarios concerning pandemics, accidents, flooding, solar storms and, no doubt, the Government's inevitable incompetence in dealing with any of them. The National Security Council, which includes the heads of the intelligence services, does not mind about the potential collapse of the eurozone, is barely conscious of the possibility of Scottish independence, does not know how far we can rely on our allies in future wog-bombings, and is blithely unaware that American policy is becoming less and less interested in Europe. The idea that anyone, even the Americans, might lump Whitehall in with Europe is almost certainly too outlandish to be contemplated.

The committee's report notes that the Government's national security strategy "simultaneously recognises the rise of new global powers, shifts in the centres of economic activity, and reduced resources in the UK, while at the same time asserting 'no reduction in influence'", much as the Government's national public sector strategy simultaneously cuts everything across the board and predicts no reduction in front-line services. The committee speculates on the possibility that the US may be "moving towards viewing Europe as a producer rather than a consumer of security" which, translated into Standard English, presumably means that the committee is afraid the US may leave us to bomb and torture our own wogs in future.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A Disastrous Country

Daveybloke, whose Ministry for War and the Colonies cannot even order and equip a couple of aircraft carriers without getting into trouble, has been doing the Blair thingy again; this time in connection with the imminent Werritty's War on Iran. The subtlety of Daveybloke's approach may be gauged by the fact that even Britain's leading liberal newspaper has noticed the parallel with the Blair press releases which its reporters so faithfully transcribed in the run-up to the glorious crusade in Iraq.

Anyway, Daveybloke has apparently been briefed by a national security adviser that we are forty-five minutes from doom once again, and it has gone straight to that shiny little head of his. As a result, Daveybloke has been making oracular pronouncements about Iran's burgeoning intercontinental missile capability, for which the actual evidence is, as so often these days, nil. Daveybloke also did his bit for international relations by proclaiming that, despite its west-destroying ambitions, Iran is not at all a "mini-superpower", but a "disastrous country" with mass unemployment and a dysfunctional economy, rather like Britain or the United States. Indeed, rumour has it that Iran goes so far as to let religious zealots interfere with the country's government and the education of its children, which certainly couldn't happen here.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Flagging Opposition

Oh, dear. It is doubtful whether the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband has the gumption to pass for a scoundrel, but he is leaping for the last refuge just in case. With the NHS being destroyed, the police being privatised, the economy flatlined and the Government bouncing happily between dithering incompetence and barking lunacy, the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband suggests that it would be jolly nice if British products had bigger flags on them. Apparently consumers are unable to do their patriotic duty because they don't know what has been made here; and the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband contends that if British goods were marked with a bigger flag, everyone could recognise and celebrate whatever strength in manufacturing has not been outsourced, financialised or placed in hock to China. However, the Upper (formerly Lower) Miliband did say that putting flags on things is "not about making consumers feel bad if they don't buy products from British business"; which presumably is what distinguishes his brand of patriotism from the Conservative brand.

Monday, March 05, 2012

Man With Invisible Friend Condemns Government Madness

Among the more insidious legacies of the Reverend Blair is the use of cuddly liberal terms of discourse in the service of a swivel-eyed hard-right agenda: privatisation in the name of choice, universal surveillance in the name of freedom, wog-bombing in the name of peace, and so forth. Daveybloke's Cuddly Conservatives have used the same strategy, much to the frustration of the old-style Thatcherites to whom a jackboot with a smile painted on it just isn't a proper jackboot any more. Now the Catholic church, in the person of Cardinal Keith O'Brien, has got around to trying it as well, with results that may charitably be described as mixed.

O'Brien, who has compared those who terminate unwanted pregnancies to lunatics who go around shooting schoolchildren, foamed in the Sunday Torygraph that extending a universally accepted human right to the objectively disordered would be a "grotesque subversion" of the right in question; much as the extension of freedom of worship to English Catholics was a grotesque subversion of religious tolerance, I presume. The eminent gentleman also proclaimed that gay marriage would "create a society which deliberately chooses to deprive a child of either a mother or a father" and went on to paint an apocalyptic picture of a future in which marriage is further redefined: "Why not allow three men or a woman and two men to constitute a marriage, if they pledge their fidelity to one another?" To which child-killing Nazi psychotics like myself can only respond, with mild consternation: Well, why not indeed?

Fortunately for Cardinal O'Brien and allied voices of reason and sanity like Lord Carey of Blathering-in-the-Dotage, the matter is in the hands of the Deputy Conservative equalities minister, Lynne Featherstone; which means it is about as likely to happen as anything else that might possibly risk being considered liberal or democratic.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Strong and Fair and Tough and Bold and Tough

Daveybloke, the Cuddly Conservative, has been having a bit of a burble at the Conservative Party's spring rah-rah. Britain's Head Boy was in full-haloed Late Blair mode, throwing adjectives around like furniture in a restaurant: tough, proud, strong, fair, tough, bold, right, necessary, tough, urgent, unavoidable and everybody's favourite, tough. Daveybloke praised Michael Gove for his "drive to improve education", said drive having consisted mainly of getting his sums wrong, blathering about the Bible and repealing the Equality Act with regard to schools. By contrast, Daveybloke did not praise Twizzler Lansley for his drive to abolish the NHS. In light of the Twizzler's inability to take full advantage of the absolute faith and confidence which Daveybloke has repeatedly stuck in him from behind, it is expected that Daveybloke himself will take tougher control of health policy, particularly the business of disposing of the elderly, who can all sleep easier now.

Apparently there is some unease among the troops because Steve Hilton, the man who suggested fixing the economy by abolishing maternity allowance, has taken a year's unpaid leave to be with his family - which, doubtless for reasons of conscience, he keeps in California. There are worries that Daveybloke's grief at the loss of one of his most radical and least elected influences will push him yet further into the arms of the Deputy Conservatives, who have already done so much to take the edge off the Government's right-wing agenda. After all, Europe is still there.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Britannia Rules the Waves

Despite its recent troubles, there are encouraging signs of continuity at the Ministry of Peace over the Royal Navy's interminable new aircraft carriers. Last autumn the Government decided to equip the carriers with an American fighter which has a "longer range and greater payload", which means it can bomb more wogs while ministers remain at safer distances than ever before. Also, it is cheaper than the alternate version, and the necessary modifications to the carriers would enable British and French ships to exchange aircraft, thus fostering our new and doubtless fragile spirit of co-operation with the country that sold the Argies the Falklands-vintage French-made Exocet missile.

These flaws are all grievous enough, but doubtless it was the prospect of sharing decks with the French that provoked the Ministry of Peace to tear up its original decision, on the ostensible grounds that someone with a spreadsheet thingy has just noticed that the expense of modifying the carriers outweighs the cheapness of the aircraft. The present plan, if you will excuse the euphemism, is to buy the alternate version of the fighter in the vague hope that the extra expense involved will outweigh something or other else. The cost of the aircraft has risen because of cuts in the US defence budget; however, this will be counterbalanced by the effect of cuts in the British defence budget, which will ensure that at least one carrier will be placed in storage the moment it has been launched. The second carrier will be at sea in eight years or so, but nobody knows how many fighters it will carry; conveniently, according to Government estimates, by that time there will only be six operational fighters anyway. As one would expect given the Government's policy of saving money, the cost of the carriers is likely to increase to almost twice its present level, and more than three times its original level, before the glorious saga concludes. It is stirring to see that the Ministry's levels of confusion are being maintained to the ambitious standards achieved by the previous Secretary for War and the Colonies, Adam Werritty.

Me at Poetry-24
Helping Out

Friday, March 02, 2012

Family, Religion, Tradition

Among the many little blessings in which we are the poorer for our embrace of militant secularism is, of course, belief in witchcraft. The Christian belief in witches and demonic possession has long traditional roots stretching back to the Bible and, no doubt, beyond it to whatever charming Canaanite customs the Hebrew genocidaires saw fit to appropriate. In Europe the impoverishment of our spiritual life by the forces of materialistic psychology has diminished belief in witches, or at least has reduced the number of people willing to admit to such beliefs; but the battle is not yet lost. At least eight children a year in Greater London are being exorcised, although in some cases the results can be embarrassing. Certain Pentecostal pastors are spreading the good news that one can beat, bite, kick, starve and torture a child without committing a sin; indeed, provided a recognised authority has certified the child as possessed, even the most enhanced measures will take on a positively virtuous odour, since the torments will be inflicted on an evil spirit rather than on a human being. As with more worldly abuses, and doubtless as in many if not most of these cleansing operations, the killer of Kristy Bamu was himself a beneficiary of similar, though less extreme, attentions when he was a child in the Democratic Republic of Congo. "We don't seem to be learning from these cases," said the executive director of Africans Unite Against Child Abuse. "People cry crocodile tears and then nothing happens." Well, one cannot simply uproot a venerable tradition just like that.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Unhealthy Noises

Twizzler Lansley has been let out for a bit of a blather on Newsnight about how his anti-NHS bill is wonderful and his colleagues are wonderful and the Deputy Conservatives have been wonderful and la la la la la. The Twizzler noted that a Conservative government would have "started out in a different place" to the present Conservative government, and proclaimed that the anti-NHS bill has been much improved thanks to the treachery of the Liberal Democrats. Of course this is all encouraging evidence of occasional contact with reality; but the Twizzler let himself down a bit by lapsing into self-pity: "there is no way of undertaking major reform imagining that you're not going to be misrepresented and distorted" by the kind of rotters who claim that giving forty-nine per cent of NHS beds to the private sector is the same thing as privatisation, for instance.

The Twizzler drew a careful distinction between "priority setting" or triage, the consequences of which ought properly to be blamed on doctors and nurses; and rationing, or "depriving people of services", which is a Bad Thing and therefore will not occur except possibly as one of the direr consequences of interference by the nanny state. Presumably those who cannot afford one of those private beds will be prescribed a more appropriate perspective as to whether their health is really all that much of a priority compared to, say, a tax cut for the likes of Bob Diamond or a nice little war on the wogs.

Still, the Twizzler showed his usual postmodernist wit by complaining about the noise and disinformation being spread by the few million people who want the bill abandoned: "people are saying things that are literally not true", whereas Daveybloke's promise not to impose any chaotic top-down reorganisations on the NHS was almost literally true when he said it, or very nearly.