Friday, February 10, 2006

A snapshot of British life

AS WE are daily assailed with a barrage of loony stories, it does the soul good to occasionally sit back and take stock of The State We’re In. For that reason, I present for your delectation a snapshot of life in 21st Century Britain. Oh. one of the following has been made up. See if you can guess which one.

A head teacher at a school in Ipswich has banned hot cross buns in case they offend pupils who are Jehovah’s Witnesses. Ms Tina Jackson (and why are all the worst barmpots female?) is worried in case the “religious imagery of the cross” might upset non-believers.

As operations are cancelled and wards closed, the National Health Service admits to spending £9million on “art” in the past two years. The items bought included a £70,000 giant pebble at University College Hospital and a £35,000 cartoon mural at Hillingdon Hospital in Uxbridge.

An Olympic Road Network is to be set up across London with special VIP lanes allowing big-wigs, politicians and corporate sponsors to sweep past traffic jams. Ordinary motorists found straying into the lanes will be fined £5,000. Whether or not the government has ordered a fleet of Russian Zil limousines is unknown.

So many students have collected a full house of A grade A-levels that universities are finding it impossible to distinguish between them. Consequently 10,000 straight-A students have been rejected by Oxford and Cambridge. Meanwhile the basic pass rate has increased to almost 97 per cent and even the Welsh are scraping a couple of Es.

Since her release from prison in May, 2004, taxpayers have spent £700,000 a year on providing 24-hour police protection for Maxine Carr, the former girlfriend of Ian Huntley. Her most recent demands were for a three-bedroom house in Switzerland or Holland, a £30,000-a-year income and free tickets to fly home four times a year. No-one knows if this request was granted.

A policeman who took to the beat in Mansfield on a mountain bike and consequently made 309 arrests in a year has been banned from going near a day centre for problem teenagers because of complaints that he was nicking too many “vulnerable young people”. The ban was agreed to by his area commander, Inspector Samantha Wilson, a woman.

Cherie Blair has become the first prime minister’s spouse to be given an official government car and driver for her personal use, including shopping trips and visits to the gym. The cost to the taxpayers of this bullet-proof perk is estimated to be £50,000 a year. The information had to be dragged from the government under the Freedom of Information Act. Whether or not the car in question is a Russian Zil limousine is unknown.

All 41 fire stations across Greater Manchester have been issued with comfy reclining chairs that can convert to beds at a cost of £130,000. Unfortunately firemen are not allowed to sit or lie in them for health and safety reasons because they are yet to be trained in how to use them. You may think this is madness; anyone who’s ever trapped their finger in a collapsing deckchair will beg to differ.

A builder who tried to advertise for a carpenter who could “understand English, written and verbal, as he will be dealing with clients” was told by his local JobCentre that it wouldn’t take the advert because it was racist. The builder, who regularly employs non-English staff, received a letter from the wonderfully titled JobCentre Plus Diversity and Race Equality Team warning him that he may even have broken the law. Whether or not the letter was delivered by a Russian Zil limousine is unknown.

The government has decreed that all children must be weighed by the State at the ages of four and 10 because of growing worries about childhood obesity. Meanwhile “elitist” games and PE lessons have been all but abolished and school playing fields continue to be sold off to provide subsidised housing for public sector apparatchiks.

A butcher's shop in Oldham has been ordered to remove posters advertising its award-winning black pudding from windows in case the term offends members of the Asian community who might pass by. Stormtroopers from the council's crack Community Cohesion Unit have also asked staff to refer to the delicacy as "blood pudding" in future.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has drawn up new legislation guaranteeing family pets five “freedoms”. As well as being fed an appropriate diet, little Tiddles must also have suitable living conditions; companionship or solitude as appropriate; monitoring for abnormal behaviour; protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease; and a hidden away place for her litter tray so she can have a poo in private. Whether or not special inspectors will be turning up at midnight in Russian Zil limousines to check if you’re feeding Tiddles Felix Chunks or Tesco Value cat food is unknown.

Up to 16 million adults are holding down jobs despite having reading and writing skills no better than those expected of 11-year-old children leaving primary school. This is approximately half of our national workforce. Meanwhile Hampshire County Council has spent £50,000 on a piece of library “artwork” which consists of a spinning plasma TV screen attached to a pole. It has subsequently broken down and ceased spinning. You may think that 10,000 new books would have been a wiser investment.

A girl of six has been banned from wearing a Barbie watch to school after a teacher decided that fellow pupils might be scratched by the metal winder when she put her hand up to answer a question. The girl had been given the watch by her parents so she could learn to tell the time. Hampshire County Council – yes, them again – said: “The teacher may have been overzealous.” It is thought that pupils are soon to be issued with rubber pencils in case of accidental stabbing incidents.

The black police bodyguard who protected the Duchess of Cornwall has won £30,000 compensation after complaining that he was “over-promoted” due to political correctness. Sergeant Leslie Turner (not a woman) argued that he was only given the prestigious role because he was black. He said he wasn’t ready for the job, wasn’t trained properly, and subsequently made mistakes which led to him being reassigned. The Metropolitan Police settled out of court. With your money.

John Prescott, everyone’s favourite lunatic, has given the nod to a two-year project which will examine if fire engines should continue to be painted red and if their sirens should go “wee’wah” or “wah-wee”. Extensive foreign travel is envisaged for the lucky Guardian readers who will get the two planned jobs. Estimated cost is £100,000. Meanwhile 46 local fire control rooms are being closed across the country to be replaced with eight “regional” centres which better fit with the NuLabour masterplan of European federation.

And finally, at Marks and Spencer it’s actually cheaper to buy a new ironing board, complete with cover, than it is to buy a replacement ironing board cover on its own. It’s consumerism gone mad. Expect mountains of discarded ironing boards blocking Olympic VIP car lanes by 2010.

Pip pip!

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 surprised that the sicknote capital of Britain is a place called Merseyside, of anyone surprised that Abu Hamza used the services of prostitutes (well with one eye and a hook, he was hardly going to see much action down at the disco, was he?), or of anyone not puzzled by the death of Al Lewis, who starred as Grandpa Munster in the 60s TV series. He was a vampire, wasn’t he? How did he die then?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to let the powers that be know your views, let Prescot know
or Tony
or Gordon - please do not abuse this information

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Lewis: did he crash into a catering van and get bombarded with pork pies, open sandwiches ans sausage rolls? Another case for buffet the vampire slayer!

4:19 AM  
Anonymous Doctor Mick said...

I guess the 4th item was made up - the one about A-level results.

Somehow I just can't believe that the Welsh could get a couple of Es.

8:29 PM  

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