Tuesday, July 24, 2007

David Cameron's flood barrage...

From today's Daily Mail:

David Cameron Pissed On My Cornflakes

David Cameron's rich, white constituents voiced their anger last night that he was spending time with poor, black people in Rwanda while they battled with floods, floods which Cameron could have stopped single-handedly with the use of his bike pump if only he'd bothered to stay at home. Cameron's constituents were reported to be astonished that the Leader of the Opposition was moved to give up the chance of photo opportunity in a dinghy in Witney to take up the chance of a photo opportunity with some Africans in Kigali.

Cameron damning political error, to spend some time honouring 259,000 victims of the 1994 Rwanda genocide, was compounded by his weekend in Witney when he only visited the scene of the flood rather than donning his scuba-gear and helping grannies get their meals-on-wheels.

Stephen Smith, 37, whose house was under 2ft of water at the weekend, said: "He came to visit but he just walked past me. He didn't even pick up a mop and a bucket. He was just walking showing his face, talking to people, trying to establish what's been happening, talking to the authorities, expressing sympathy, promising to take up the issue in Parliament, raising it with his Shadow Cabinet... and that was it. Now he's off in Africa. The bastard."

Shop manager Gary Cooper, 46, warned of a potential major problem over debris from the flooding. He said: "If there are no bin collections what are we supposed to do with all the rubbish? It's all right for David Cameron - he goes off on a jolly to Rwanda, visiting scenes of mass genocide - but what about the rubbish? As my elected MP, the least he could have done was pick up a bin bag rather than get involved in sterile issues like international development and conflict prevention. Did I mention the rubbish could be a problem and that it is all David Cameron's fault?"

Cameron who spent the weekend in Witney, was said to be in close phone contact with the local authorities, and got his wife to bake a cake for the local flood fund, was also criticised in Tory quarters for his decision to go to Rwanda. Kelly Grant, deputy chairman and treasurer of the Ealing Southall Tory association, where the party came a humiliating third in last week's by- election, attacked the 'unfortunate' timing of the visit. She said: "I think his interest in worldwide aid, yada, yada, yada is good but he needs to concentrate on the real issues, like making sure his backbenchers don't stab him in the back".

Read the original Daily Mail article here (That's the last time that phrase will be heard on this blog).
(Left: Not content with ignoring the plight of his constituents, David Cameron decides to strangle a puppy for charity).

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Monday, July 09, 2007

Le Tour

Twas a great weekend! Thank you Ken for getting the Tour to London and let's hope it comes to England again sometime (and that we don't have to wait 104 years for it to come back to London).

(Pics: from top to bottom - more will be available on my flickr stream in due course).

1. Axel Merckx

2. Cadel Evans

3. The Crowd (a true KoM...he climbed to the top of that lampost without the assistance of any banned substances).

Friday, July 06, 2007

Question Time, Interns and Being Nasty

This week I finally succumbed to the dawning realisation that I am not a very nice person. Many have known this for a long time but I'd been blissfully unaware of this until now. A few episodes in the last few days have confirmed this unpleasant discovery....[Warning! This is a long post. After weeks of non-posting I now have blog-post diarrhea]

The Intern

We have an intern in our office. They are usually hard-working, enthusiastic and American. These three characteristics usually give me very little difficulty in establishing a fruitful working relationship with them. It is the norm for them to get diligently down to work and for me to bore them with my theories on the development of the British Parliamentary system. They come out of the whole experience with half the knowledge they entered it and we get a lot of envelopes stuffed.

This time, however, the experience has been different. The intern is American but he is a bit lazy and a bit annoying. Admittedly my tolerance levels may be lower than normal but he is, on reflection, not a bit annoying but very annoying. He spends his day on the PC, alternating between facebook and websites advertising accommodation in the areas around his college back home. He also appears to be in the grip of a hitherto undiagnosed condition whereby whatever is showing on his PC screen is transmitted through his vocal cords to the greater public...'ha', 'oh man', 'no waay', 'that's funny' are the most common utterances when's he surfing the web [which is all the time] and, at a rate of 15 ignorant comments per minute, they can get fucking irritating.

Yesterday he asked me, in all sincerity, if the email he's received from someone he doesn't know, asking for all his personal and bank details, might be a scam. You think?! FFS.

I did tell him the email was a scam but this whole experience has brought home to me the inescapable fact that I am not a very nice person. I could try and make out that he's bringing out the worst in me but the truth is that I must have a deep reservoir of nastiness within my soul in order for me to draw upon it so easily... For example, this week I taunted him about what a boring sport basketball is (hardly an original line-of-attack) and then suggested, on American Independence Day, that the US would be better off returning to British rule and having Gordon Brown as their Emperor, with Blair as Viceroy, based in Washington. It says much for my addled thinking (brought about by my irritation at said intern) that I actually thought this was both a searing political critique and devastatingly funny.

My transformation into a nasty, glib, unfunny, boor (well, I hope its a transformation) was confirmed by my reaction to the intern's morning greeting as he walked into the office one day this week. The first thing he said, commenting on the police around Westminster and the security checks in Parliament, was 'You guys and your civil liberties. You're giving them up m'aan. As Thomas Jefferson said,“He who trades liberty for security deserves neither and will lose both.”

Unfortunately I was having a Richard Littlejohn moment and, recognising the quote before he finished it, only allowed him to utter 'He who trades security..." before replying, pithily,'Well, Jefferson didn't have to deal with fucking Al Qaeda did he...".

My face then took up a suitably sheepish expression before I meekly asked the intern to open the post.

I am a nasty person. I'm hoping that the Summer Recess might alleviate my condition.

Question Time

A deepening of my conviction that I am indeed nasty came about from watching Question Time last night. You can tell that my condition had become more advanced because I was positively revelling in being nasty - it seemed the only sane position to adopt when your upper cortex is being bombarded by idiotic statements from apparently well-meaning people.

Last night's edition of QT was one of such high-octane stupidity that it made your teeth bleed. Last night QT was down-wit-da-kidz. Not that they wanted to patronise or anything, but, because they had a yoof audience (between 14 and 22, their age range rather than their IQ score parameters apparently), QT had Davina McCall on the panel. Davina-Fucking-McCall. They also had some numpty called Charlie Bell, who was 18 and planning to go to uni. Another example of a higher-education policy gone wrong. Again, my nastiness glands kicking in, I yearned to see him adopt a nervous blink, a la Ben
Swain in the Thick of It, but sadly this never happened. Which was a shame as it if did have a mad blink it might have done something to take your mind off the fact that he spoke utter horse-shit.

The first question brought about an orgy of wrong-headedness. The question was 'Has the UK become a terrorist target because of its culture or because of the actions of its Government abroad?" (Cue audience applause)

Douglas Murray, a neo-Con possessing all the genuine charm-skills of a Foxton's estate agent, rightly spoke of Islamic fundamentalism and refused to countenance foreign policy being a major motivating factor in terrorist attempts at mass-slaughter. Of course, in front of an audience immersed in 'root causes' muddle-headedness, this didn't go down as well as when Davina responded by saying Murray's arguments were 'all twaddle'....(cue audience whopping and cheering). Davina, Professor of Politics at Kings College, then wisely characterised the multi-faceted nature of international terror by saying that 'hate breeds hate' and that everyone should sit down and chat about it.

I can see it now...Big Brother 8: [adopts Geordie accent] 'Ismail
Haniya walks into the diary room. He's disillusioned by Israel's existence on the sofa and is fed up that Fatah keep nicking the milk'.

Someone from the audience then declared that the suffragettes were terrorists. I then declared that the nation's youth were all idiots. In comparison, my reasoning stands up better to closer examination.

I know that QT isn't representative of the population but, on this evidence, let's forget about lowering the voting age, let's raise it. On a rolling basis. Then the generation on QT will never have to face the horrible indignity of having to compromise by voting in an election.

Why, you might ask, if QT was that bad, didn't I turn it off? Because my lady was on press-duty and we had to have all the news bulletins and QT on telly just in case she got calls about it...I suffer for her art. At one point I seemed to be having convulsions as my brain struggled to absorb the colossal ignorance of the audience's responses. I even rushed upstairs to grab a hoodie to wear just so I could pull it over my face at the most agony-inducing moments.

This is a desperate, desperate situation. Not only am I nasty but I am actually searching for the next 'hit' of idiocy just so I can vent my spleen. I'm watching the Tour de France at the weekend - maybe a weekend of cheering on athletic endeavour will help me get over my misanthropy. But I wouldn't count on it.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Change of blog ownership

Following recent developments on the London Stock Exchange, this blog has been taken over by a private equity firm and will be subject to new management shortly. Regular underperfomance made the blog vulnerable to take-over and this site will now undergo a brief period of internal review before a dazzling re-launch featuring a host of celebrity contributions (for more see below).

Blog-staff have been sacked, the pension-fund has been plundered, and golden-handshakes have been swiftly agreed. A new blog will begin soon with lower standards of public transparency and more intense worker exploitation. Watch this space.

So this is the last post under the old regime. Morale is low, inspiration is woefully lacking. This last post has been handed to our guest writer, Jim Smith, part-time cabbie and pub philosopher:

Last night's Question Time: Actually a decent edition of QT last night but proof again that there's rarely anything 'liberal' about the Liberal Democrats. Shirley Williams' woeful failure to defend freedom of speech, the freedom to cause offence, was staggering when discussing the Rushdie Knighthood award. Williams, you're supposed to be a fecking liberal! Stand up for the right to piss people off and don't say it was a 'mistake', blah, blah...Well done McNulty, good performance, and well done the "Hitch"(the Chris version).

Honours: So a guy who designs knickers gets offered a gong and doesn't want it cos' Blair is 'morally corrupt'. And guess what...the Independent put this as it's front-page. Jeez.
Joseph Corre said he was: "Most proud of my daughter, Cora, and least proud of Tony Blair and the Labour party." This is a man whose fine reasoning led him to name his child Cora Corre...I think we need to take his moral judgements about as seriously as his daughter's name.

Nick Ross: Auntie Beeb don't owe you a living mate. It ain't ageism, they've just woken up to how dispensible you are.

Blog developments - Coming Soon

Beppe from Eastenders has already pledged to blog on his experiences of auditioning for the understudy part in the new musical "Lord of the Chastity Rings", a mediocre tale about one girl's crusade to wear the ring of virginity and which ends in moderate tragedy when she realises no one fancied her anyway.

Friday, June 01, 2007

I believe I can fly

Anyone who's ever heard Adam & Joe's dissection of the R-Kelly Trapped in the Closet dvd will know that Robert Kelly is a man who waxes in almost Dickensian scope about his, erm, dick (or at least about what he's going to do with it).

Alexis Petridis reviews R Kelly's new album, available in all good petrol stations, in today's Guardian. Read it all but this pretty much sums it up Mr Kelly:

"...a hapless slave to his libido, a man whose brain exists merely as a life-support system for his testicles".

Nothing more to see here folks. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Deputy Leadership Hustings

So to the Institute of Education for the Deputy Leadership Hustings last night and here's my rundown, FWIW, of the performances of the runners and riders....

Hazel Blears: She generally performed the best and consistently got the biggest applause. As someone immune to the charms of Hazel Blears (I don't think that's a minority pursuit), I found this a little perplexing at times but she successfully promoted herself as the candidate with the strongest talent for campaigning. She demonstrated the 'right, I'm working class, me' routine enough times for a bourgeois dilettante like myself to find it grating. There's no way I'm voting for her but on that performance I can see why people would. Her answer on climate change was fatuous and pretty irritating though(see below).

For me Jonathan Freedland got it right though when he wrote (of Blears):

"Her manner is a tad too grating: she's that character you find in every office,
falsely chirpy, constantly demanding people cheer up and with a sign above
her computer declaring, "You don't have to be mad to work here, but it

Hazel Blears USP: Vote for me, I'm a feisty, Northern, working class lass. Did I mention I was working class?

Hilary Benn: Popular and charming as he is, Benn really struggled to say anything beyond banalities when responding to audience questions. He did well in his set-piece opening speech and also in his closing speech but otherwise was unconvincing.

Hilary Benn USP: Vote for me and elect me to a position in which I can do nothing about the global poverty I talk so eloquently about.

Peter Hain: Managed to tick the boxes but still seemed to struggle to pass the test. He spoke of a 'Red-Green agenda', pointed to his record of banning the 11-plus whilst Norn Iiseland Secretary and generally gave soft-Left responses to each question but still failed to fully convince. Hain reminded me of a candidate going for a job interview ('Remember, back up everything you say with an example from your career'), as he proceeded to preface his every response with 'As Northern Ireland Secretary'...this got a tad irritating.

Peter Hain USP: I'm the only candidate to build a Red-Green & Orange Coalition.

Harriet Harman: Harriet Harman asked if, with Gordon as leader, "we wanted two men in the team? Do we want another man?" Yes, Harriet we do if it means you don't get the job.

Beyond arguing that she was Radio 2 (in comparison with Brown as Radio 4), Harman's monomania about the importance of electing a woman (or to be precise, Harriet Harman) to be deputy leader meant that I can't remember anything else she said.

Harriet Harman USP: I'm a woman. From the South. And I'm a woman.

Alan Johnson: Didn't play to the audience which was actually to his credit. Seemed laid-back, perhaps too much so at times, which meant that Blears stole the show with her more aggressive approach.

Alan Johnson USP: I'm yer real-politiking trade union ex-postie.

Jon Cruddas: Having heard about Jon's desire to re-engage the core vote and the party , I was keen to hear what he had to say on this. I wanted to like him. Unfortunately I came away disappointed as he didn't really say much about what he would do to reach core voters. He also actually looked disinterested on the stage and failed to exude (deputy) leadership quality.

Jon Cruddas USP: Bring me your tired and huddled working class masses and I'll, erm...

Climate change

One of the questions from the floor was 'what have you done personally and professionally to tackle climate change?'. The answers on this were, for the most part, either instantly forgettable or totally depressing.

Hain has a strong record on this (from his time as Northern Ireland Secretary...) but Harman's felt it worthy to mention in her response that she stops her husband from running the tap while he's cleaning his teeth. Cruddas rambled, saying he was initially reluctant but now he does stuff 'cos of his kids. Blears' response was absolutely awful. She offered a fatuous reply which was probably aimed at getting a laugh but was actually risible (yeah, I didn't like it). Blears said she'd heard that beacause of climate change, Manchester was going to get warmer and have the climate of Portugal. She spoke in a manner which suggested she was all for this (what a card!). She then said she'd done her bit for the environment by downsizing to a smaller engine sized motorbike....

I hate the 'hair-shirt' strain of environmentalism but I would have expected a better answer from Blears especially. The other candidates answers (Hain's apart) were also disappointing. Surprising too given that the environment is so high on the political agenda now and that politicians need to pay at least effective lip-service to it if nothing else...


Monday, May 14, 2007

Torywatch - Brave Tory Speaks Out

In the deep, dark depths of Surrey, one man is fighting a lone battle for truth. Cllr David Pickles, Tory Councillor for Belmont (in Sutton Council), waged his honourable fight in a letter to the local Guardian newspaper last week on the issue of housing. Making a heart-felt appeal to reasoned argument and calm reflection, Cllr Pickles said:

It takes a local politician of guts and honesty to put the finger on the correct cause of the housing shortage and I'm about to reveal what everybody knows but not many have the courage to say.Lack of border controls, record immigration and a continual flood of asylum seekers.

There - now it's been said and before the lefty loonies come out of the closet, no I'm not racist and nor is that statement.

Let's be clear here. He's not a racist. He's just said so. And that local politician of 'guts and honesty'? That's him, just in case you were wondering.

He concludes his paean to prejudice with the following policy recommendation.

London (and the UK) is bursting at the seams with respective populations of 8million and 60million and it's high time politicians of all persuasions closed the doors once and for all. Coun [Darren] Johnson's green credentials also lack credibility. After all it's hardly green to continually rape what's left of our countryside to build houses for what is a falling indiginous* population.
'Closed the doors once and for all'? What an enlightened policy! Who's going to close the doors for him? Possibly the Polish au-pair he's hired to polish his jack-boots...

His inflammatory language is hardly the cool appeal to facts you would hope for in a local representative. He's supposed, at least nominally, to provide leadership for the local community, examine the issues and try and find a way to contribute to a solution. He's failing his local community if he'd rather spout such shite and pander to prejudice.

The Cameron mask of respectability has clearly slipped from this ugly Tory's face....I wonder what's the Leader of Sutton's Tories or even Cameron has to say about it?

*The online version had indigenous spelt this way - "indiginous". Clearly Cllr Pickles needs a spell-check as well as a lobotomy.

p.s. Interestingly, when I went to copy his picture from the Sutton Council website, the default file name was 'Small Mug' ....

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