Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A tragic tribute to the Thought Police

IT IS entirely appropriate that in the year we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Nelson’s thrashing of those damned Frenchies and their mates the Spanish donkey-chuckers, the spare plinth his statue looks down on in Trafalgar Square should finally be filled.

It is also entirely appropriate that in these days of the Nanny State and the Thought Police, said plinth should be filled with a quite horrible likeness of a pregnant disabled woman, sculpted by an artist who once made of model of his own head by freezing nine pints of his own blood.

(I’m not making any of this up, honestly.)

So now, joining the bronze statues of Sir Henry Havelock and Sir Charles James Napier; busts of Admirals Beatty, Jellicoe and Cunningham; and a statue of George IV on horseback, we now have a model of a lady called Alison Lapper, who was born without arms and with stumpy legs. Marvellous. (And not the only national icon who was legless in Trafalgar Square last week, eh Freddie?)

Now I have nothing against a monument to the disabled, but if anyone had bothered to glance up, they might have noticed that the one-eyed, one-armed Nelson was already fulfilling that role. And I have nothing against a monument to women, except that the only woman fit to stand in that company is Margaret Thatcher and the leather-elbowed, lentil-eating Lefties were never going to swallow that.

Actually, hang on. I do have something against a monument to the disabled. Now I’m sure they’re all very nice chaps, but why are they treated as heroes or heroines the minute they manage to do something, well, pretty ordinary?

Every one of us has to make do with what we’ve got. We get on and make the best of our lives because that’s what people do. Now just because some wheelchair jockey can cook her own fish fingers for tea and isn’t sitting in a puddle in the corner, it doesn’t mean that she deserves to rank alongside the nation’s war heroes.

I was born with bad hair genes, hayfever and a drink problem, but I’ve managed to shrug off these afflictions and get on with a relatively normal life. Yet I don’t see anyone rushing to stick up a monument to bald, white, middle class male drinkers with a bit of a sniffle. Do you? Anyway, I digress.

We are told, hand on heart, that this statue was chosen by virtue of a public vote. Really? We’re the public. Did any of us bother to put an X in the right box? I don’t think so. The voting form must have been published in the Turkey Army section of The Guardian or in that new publication, Stumpy No-Armed Pregnant Woman’s Weekly.

But let’s look on the bright side. This "modern tribute to femininity, disability and motherhood" will only besmirch Trafalgar Square for 18 months, at which point it will be replaced with another sculpture. One can only dread what they’ll come up with to top this one.

A SAD SYMPTOM of the Dianafication of our society is the apparent need to mark the site of any tragedy/accident/slight mishap with bunches of flowers.

They’re everywhere: the spot where someone took the rash decision to cross a dual carriageway while pissed, the street where a passing Yardie took a bullet in a drugs war, the gutter where Grandad fell over while on the way back from the pub. It’s embarrassing.

The worst offenders, of course, are the Merseyside grief junkies. Go up there on the day of a minor bus crash and there’s not a carnation to be had from Croxteth to Crosby.

But I saw a new twist last week. The morning after three teenagers had died in a horrific car crash on the way home from the pub, a group of their friends turned up at the spot to pour ceremonial cans of Stella over the existing flowers. What class.

I realise that they were probably still a bit giddy after celebrating their A-level results (two Es and an ASBO) but didn’t they think it was a bit inappropriate? You may as well invite Dennis Nielsen on Masterchef.

WHY OH WHY are they messing with our coinage again? Not content with sticking stupid designs on the back of those flimsy 50 pence pieces that seem to be made out of Bacofoil - have you ever tried decking a goalkeeper with one? – it seems that there are now plans to redesign the lot.

Why bother? In fact, why not do away with the smaller denominations altogether? Tell me, what do you do with your one pence and two pence pieces? Yes, you stick them in a jar in the kitchen, always meaning to cash them in at the bank but never actually getting around to it. And then that nice man from the water board calls to check the gas pressure in the electric meter and whoosh … they’re gone.

Those silly little five pence pieces look like the play money you used to get in one of those play shops. (My sister had one until I re-enacted one of the “insurance job” arson attacks that used to happen down our street with monotonous regularity. It was a bugger getting the tiny petrol-soaked rag through the letterbox.)

Even 10s and 20s are hardly worth bothering about. I only throw them to beggars as a deliberate insult. Of course, what we do need is a new coin – a 99 pence piece. Imagine how much easier life would be with a few of those in your pocket? No more loose change, no more daft jars of coins littering the place.

It’s so obvious that I can only think that someone high up at Poundstretcher is keeping this revolution at bay with some judicious bribery. You don’t know whether or not their Chief Exec owns a villa in Barbados, do you?

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone who doesn’t think that the new cartoon Muffin the Mule lacks the pathos and raw emotion of the original, of anyone who doesn’t feel like ripping the clipboard out of the hands of one of those annoying saleswomen at motorway service stations and beating her about the head with it, or of anyone not marvelling at how good Twiggy looks in those M&S ads, even though she’s at least 70.


Post a Comment

<< Home