Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Your Majesty

AS AN unreconstructed Leftie of the old school, Mrs Beelzebub is often to be found shouting at the telly.

George Osborne, Michael Portillo, Norman Tebbitt, moaning parents who can't control their own kids on morning chat shows, Syed out of The Apprentice, Barry Scott from the Cillit Bang advert – they’ve all brought on an attack of the vapours in the past week or so.

Consequently, when I was roused from my postprandial doze the other night by a torrent of abuse aimed at the 42-inch plasma, I merely assumed that some Tory Boy lickspittle had dared to suggest that Gordon Brown perhaps wasn’t the best thing since sliced bread (wholemeal, of course).

Instead I found her fulminating at one of those cheap and easy-to-make “documentaries” consisting largely of CCTV footage about crime on London’s Oxford Street. Perhaps the police have been a little too brusque in their treatment of an innocent pickpocket, I thought. Maybe a starving shoplifter has been roughed up by a fascist security guard.

But no. What was exercising her indignation was the fact that every single criminal being arrested, charged and released to rob again was an illegal immigrant. And try as they might, the right-on Beeb had clearly failed to find a token white bloke to bang up in the interests of balance.

Now this is interesting, and worrying. If people like Mrs B are now getting annoyed by the ineptitude of our so-called immigration policy (which appears to consist of letting anyone in who wants to come, and then failing to kick them out again even if they’ve been caught red-handed nicking an old lady’s purse) then it’s no wonder that government big-wigs are getting very nervous about the prospects of the British National Party in next month’s local elections.

Now I must point out that Mrs B would never, in a million years, vote BNP. Like me, she regards them as a bunch of dangerous racists who can only bring strife and division to the communities they seek to exploit. But enough people now seem sufficiently disenchanted with the mainstream parties that a survey this week suggested that one in four voters in certain parts of England would. The figure in some working class areas is eight out of 10, according to Employment Minister Margaret Hodge (although she probably can’t add up properly).

This is a serious matter. It may only be a protest vote; it may only be a warning shot across NuLabour’s bows, but if Mr Blah is so concerned about his “legacy”, surely he wouldn’t want to leave us with local councils stuffed with right-wing nutcases.

SIGN OF THE TIMES 1: A record 21 million Easter cards were bought this year with over seven million people falling for the hype and sending them out. The kind of spiritual message used on the cards included “U R my Easter Love Bunny” and “From the Dog … have a grr-eat Easter”. And meanwhile a presenter on Radio 5 Live hands over to a colleague with the words: “Have a happy Good Friday”. No, really.

SIGN OF THE TIMES 2: I’ve warned before about the growing militancy and general surliness of old people. They already menace pedestrians with their pavement scooters, they delight in blocking the supermarket check-outs by counting out coppers to pay for their ball of string and tin of cat food, and their queue-jumping antics at the Post Office regularly cause riots. Now they’ve developed a mercenary streak.

In a traditional ceremony, The Queen handed out Maundy money pouches to 80 male and 80 female pensioners in Guildford last week. Within hours, the specially minted coins were for sale on internet auction site eBay at prices of up to £100. And who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

SIGN OF THE TIMES 3: The NHS might not be able to afford to give dying breast cancer sufferers a last roll of the dice with a course of the drug Herceptin, but £2,500 was found this week to fund the removal of tattoos from the forearms of a transsexual father-of-nine because he/she thinks they are “unladylike”. Former sailor Tanya Bainbridge (57), who had her £20,000 sex change op on the NHS five years ago, will also have her fares paid from her Manchester home to the London clinic that will carry out the treatment.

SIGN OF THE TIMES 4: Call centres are the bane of many people’s lives. My bank has them in Leeds, Scotland and Liverpool. Personally, I always put the phone down if a Scouser answers (as if I’m going to give them my password). Even worse are the ones that have been relocated to the Indian sub-continent by greedy banks seeking to do kids who’ve failed the McDonalds’ entrance exam out of a job.

Some of those tandoori chickens came home to roost this week when the death of a Bollywood actor led to tens of thousands of grieving fans staying away from work, meaning many calls to British banks, rail operators and service centres simply went unanswered.

It took a phlegmatic Brit to put it into perspective. Angry Onetel phone customer Bob Arnold (62) said: “It is unbelievable. I mean, when David Niven died I still went into work.”

Marvellous stuff.

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 wasn't tempted to send Coronation Street's Gail an Easter card signed "Richard Hillman", of anyone remotely surprised that they're using ex-Ghurkas as security guards at a shopping mall in Nottingham, or of anyone who's managed to eat one of those new Cadbury's Creme Egg bars without being sick.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Creeping with the enemy

IT’S JUST before midnight and I’m crawling silently through the undergrowth wearing a balaclava, camouflage pants and black face paint

On the other side of the valley, the enemy lookout post seems quiet. But you can’t be too careful. There’s a lot at stake here.

At last I’m in position. I breathe in and pull the trigger. The spray of precious liquid showers down on the hellebores. This is how we water our gardens in Britain 2006.

Now I don’t know for a fact that old Mrs Wozniac in the house across the way is a snout for the water board, but I don’t want to take any chances. A man of my public standing doesn’t really want to be hauled through the courts and exposed as a threat to society. And 1,800 people have already been grassed up to Thames Water by their neighbours for the heinous crime of illegally using a hosepipe.

It’s not very British, is it? What would you rather do on a spring day – enjoy a glass of chilled Chardonnay in your garden, or lurk behind twitching net curtains with a video camera in case the bloke next door decides to wash his Skoda?

And so the Powers That Be find yet another way to criminalise the law-abiding middle classes. We’ve already got speed cameras on every corner, we can go to jail for smacking our kids and we’ll soon face a fine for sparking up a gasper in a public place. Now we face arrest for nurturing the narcissus. Or narcissi.

I’m not surprised that the number of Brits jetting off to Florida has dramatically declined. Given the American immigration service’s attitude to criminal records, there can’t be many of us left who can still get a visa.

ONE PERSON who doesn’t seem to have any problem jetting around the world is the Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett. Only she chooses to do it in the planes of the Queen’s Flight, rather than endure the orange hell that is Easyjet.

It appears that in the past three years Mrs Beckett has made use of the Queen’s Flight on no fewer than 110 occasions. She is even in the habit of ordering a jet to fly up from its base at RAF Northolt to pick her up at East Midlands Airport, near her constituency, before clearing off to Brussels.

You couldn’t find a clearer example of how power can tend to corrupt than this. When Mrs Beckett first took her place in government she was, to all intents and purposes, an unpretentious caravanner whose only travel crime was to block the A38 on a Bank Holiday Monday. She is also in charge of the department that regularly lectures us on how the advent of cheap air travel is destroying the ozone layer.

Now we find that she’s clocking up the air miles faster than Richard Branson, and at public expense as well.

Of course her boss isn’t exactly shy when it comes to choosing opulence over economy. His travel log is even more impressive, with 670 Royal flights since 1997, many of them taking himself, Cherie and the kids off on another freebie holiday.

The natural stance of NuLabour when forced to admit such spendthrift behaviour is to lie until its spokesmen are blue in the face. So it was that we were reliably informed that it costs only £1,200 to use a Royal jet to get to Brussels when it would have cost £1,300 to send a party of five via Eurostar. What utter tosh.

From my very preliminary investigations (a chat with a commercial pilot in the snug of the Dog and Blunkett) I can tell you that £1,200 would just about cover the fuel involved. It takes no account of landing fees, staff costs, capital costs or depreciation. A fairer estimate would be four times that figure.

Why does nobody get angry about this bare-faced sham? Have we all grown so accustomed to being lied to that it doesn’t matter any more? No wonder our political masters look down and laugh at us as they fly overhead.

THE DEPUTY head who claimed £1million compensation because she had to sit on a “flatulent” chair has lost her case. Give thanks ... but not for long.

It emerged this week that members of just one of the six teaching unions were paid a horrendous £7.6million in compensation for assaults by pupils or for injuries sustained in the course of their duties in 2005. The mind truly boggles.

Awards included £27,000 for a teacher in London who was assaulted by a 12-year-old and £129,600 for a teacher in Preston who was injured when a brick was thrown at her head.

Now nobody would argue that these aren’t serious cases, but doesn’t the teaching profession itself have some responsibility for what appears to be a complete breakdown of discipline in the classroom?

Modern teaching methods, the abandonment of school uniform, overly-liberal attitudes and a lack of commitment to the profession by the professionals are more to blame for unruly kids than single mothers, video games and a diet of oven chips and Pot Noodles.

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 want to punch Sayed from The Apprentice very hard in the face, of anyone who's surprised that Ruth Badger from The Apprentice is a "wearer of sensible shoes", or of the couple who sent me a wedding invitation last week and asked for money towards their honeymoon instead of a present. Sod that. I'm buying them an African goat.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Stop that pigeon

STROLLING along to the Dog and Blunkett yesterday evening after a splendid repast (swan pate and chips, since you ask), I came across a disconsolate Blow Dry Burton sitting on a bench.

It appears that the village’s Hairdresser to the Stars (Terry Scott, wee Jimmy Krankie and that bloke off Magpie) has just suffered his worst day’s trading since The Beatles went mop topped. The reason? Some wag had taught Winston, the fearsome African Grey parrot who lives in the shop, to say “Atishoo!”

Now it’s not funny, you know. Am I the only one to think that after years of taking advantage of the animal world (think smoking beagles and a mouse with an ear grown on its back) nature is now taking its revenge on us?

Everywhere you look there seems to be a militant menagerie. Who would ever have thought that an otter could chase off a crocodile? But there they were on Planet Earth the other week, harassing the beast mob-handed until it turned and fled. (And I’m still having sleepless nights about that baby elephant that wandered off …)

Then there are the reports from Northumberland of a giant rabbit that’s terrorising allotment holders to the point that they’ve called in armed guards to protect their produce.

“It’s no ordinary rabbit – it’s a monster,” a shaken Jeff Smith told The Sun. “Its prints are huge. One ear is bigger than the other. It’s a brute.” With a striking resemblance to Andrew Marr, apparently.

Add to that big cat sightings, rats that are immune to poison and now flocks of sneezing pigeons and it’s no wonder that panicking women are ringing up Radio 5 phone-ins asking if it’s safe to handle chicken nuggets. (And what part of a chicken are nuggets anyway?)

I DON’T want an identity card. I don’t need one. I’ve already got a passport, a driving licence and a National Insurance number. I have multiple credit cards and a mortgage. I use water and electricity. I’m on the electoral roll and in the phone book.

The taxman knows who I am and manages to locate me with alarming regularity. So I don’t see the need for yet another piece of plastic telling me my name and collar size. So I was quite pleased when it was announced that you wouldn’t have to apply for an identity card if you renewed your passport before January 2010. Mine runs out next year and it looked as if I’d be able to dodge this new form of State meddling.

Yes, well to a point. It now turns out that while I can indeed opt out of the ID card scheme, I will still have to pay the £30 fee as if I’ve had one. And that’s on top of the £63 for a passport.

It’s an absolute disgrace; an underhand way to fine people who refuse to comply with Big Brother’s demands. What price freedom? Thirty quid, apparently.

THE SCARIEST sight of the week was the picture of those two poor Asian women who’d been dragged down to their local canal in Swansea by social services and given a compulsory fishing lesson (complete with safety goggles for Health and Safety reasons).

What is going on out there? Which publicly-funded numbskull at the Environment Agency suddenly decided one morning that angling was horribly white, male and middle-aged and that Something Must Be Done? And who signed-off the decision to spend £100,000 of our money on tackling the perceived “problem”?

The huddled figures you see grouped on the riverbank are overwhelmingly white, male and middle-aged because this gentle pursuit is their means of escaping from their womenfolk. The last thing they want is gaggles of gossiping harridans disturbing the peace and tranquility. And anyway, who’d be at home getting the tea on the table?

IT IS entirely appropriate that this misuse of public funds takes place in the Principality of Wales. Let’s face it: they’re past masters at pocketing the taxes we English pay.

The latest example of this largesse is the revelation that the Welsh Assembly (funded from Whitehall) is spending £12.5million this year on “the promotion and facilitation of the use of the Welsh language”. And presumably that doesn’t include all the money they waste on bilingual road signs and markings.

I do not believe that there is a single person in Wales who cannot speak perfectly good English. The only use for this dead language is so that sullen oiks in North Wales pubs can insult with impunity the English tourists who put bread on their table. And so that a few schoolteachers and mad vicars can dress up in sheets and spout bad poetry at each other once a year.

And anyway, given £12.5million, just think how many Asian women you could teach to fish, safety goggles included.

THE BBC, that hotbed of dangerous Lefties, is launching a radio show specifically for Gypsies – well-known, of course, for religiously paying their licence fee.

Never one to resort to casual stereotyping, I shall resist the temptation to suggest a revival of that famous programme Take It From Here, or that Gardener’s Question Time should tackle the best way to grow lucky heather.

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 not mourning the demise of Mike Baldwin, of anyone not looking suspiciously at their budgie, or of anyone who isn’t bored by the News of the World’s fake sheikh, but wishes that it wasn’t that arrogant arse George Galloway who brought him down.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

WE BEGIN with a literary reference. Don’t panic. We’ll be sneering at poor people, slagging off the Scotch and rubbishing the Turkey Army before long.

It was Mark Twain who said: “There are three types of lies – lies, damned lies, and statistics.” He may well have had a point. Because according to Sky News (yes, I know), one in 10 people in this country claim that they’re being stalked. Now let’s just think about that. One in 10 people is what … six million, give or take an illegal asylum seeker or two?

Now assuming that stalkers - by their very nature - concentrate on a single victim, that would suggest that another six million people are hiding in hedges, rooting through bins, training midnight binoculars on bedroom windows and, at a push, bringing innocent pet rabbits to a rolling boil with a stalk of rosemary and a finely diced leek.

Why hasn’t anyone noticed them then? With six million perverts out there, you shouldn’t be able to move without tripping over a shifty bloke with a squint and his trousers round his ankles.

By rights, there should be queues in the communal gardens of blocks of flats. You’d have to take a numbered ticket to secure your ten minutes looting the washing line of the object of your desires. Think of it as a trolley dash.

No-one would be able to get a pay-as-you-go phone line after dark as the massed ranks of heavy breathers clogged the airways. Newspaper sales should be rocketing as nonces painstakingly cut out individual letters to assemble their missives of unrequited love. Buy shares in Pritt Stick now.

Statistics, eh? Two out of three adults don’t believe them.

BRITAIN’S PUBLIC sector employees (aka the Turkey Army) went on strike on Monday to protect their extremely generous pension rights. You can’t really blame them for that, although I do hope the cheeky buggers had the grace to blush as they bleated about their “harsh” treatment.

(And what better day than a Monday to go on strike? Long weekends all round.)

No, what offended me was the boasting of the assembled trades unions that this would be the biggest dispute in Britain since the General Strike of 1926. Is that really something they wish to aspire to?

The General Strike was brought about by poverty, hunger, disease and appalling rates of infant mortality. The working classes (and by that I mean the proper ones, not just the leather-elbowed, lentil-eating Guardian readers of today) were suffering terrible deprivation and stopped work out of desperation, rather than out of blatant self-interest. The comparison is therefore distasteful, to say the least.

The NuLabour apparatchiks who were manning the imaginary braziers this week weren’t on strike because they couldn’t feed their organic children. They were striking in an attempt to preserve an unfair advantage: the gilt-edged final salary scheme pensions, linked to an early retirement date, that are denied to most of the rest of us.

And we’ll not even mention the endless sickies, the extra “public” holidays and the massive numbers of early retirements (and we’re talking at the age of 50-ish here) through so-called ill health that exist in the green and flowering glades of those Elysian fields.

So forget the romantic notions propagated by the Lefties and their media partners. The only principle being fought for in this altercation is the very Thatcherite belief that “Greed is good”.

WE’VE BEEN told how to wash our hands, now we’re being told how to run our baths. Apparently you’ve got to put the cold water in first, and if you don’t one of that nice Mr Prescott’s inspectors will be round to rap your knuckles.

And just in case you can’t be relied upon to manage this simple task, new building regulations will ensure that all new homes are fitted with a special valve that will never allow hot water to exceed the temperature of 49 degrees C.

I hear on the wireless that this new law was pioneered in Scotland. Funny that. The Scotch have never struck me as a people overly concerned with such matters.

WHILE WE’RE on the subject of that nice Mr Prescott, I was rather surprised to see him responding to a story concerning the £70,000 a year in public money he claims for his constituency home by saying: “I have not made any money from of politics, for God’s sake.”

Now I know he’s a Class A nincompoop, but even he must realise that a salary of £135,000, expenses of over £100,000 a year (plus that seventy grand), a magnificent pension pot, that eight-bedroomed turreted house in Hull, a grace and favour flat in London and the free use of a magnificent country house are not the usual accoutrements of a bar steward on the Hull-Zeebrugge ferry. Well not unless the punters are exceedingly good tippers, anyway.

AND JUST when your faith in the parliamentary system was fading, along come Liberal Democrat MPs John Barrett and Andrew George, who have tabled a Commons motion demanding that internet auction sites should be banned from selling Blue Peter badges.

Well, I suppose it gets depressing having to worry about the war in Iraq, our appalling schools, the collapsing NHS, a laughable public transport system, the rising crime figures and seemingly rampant corruption in public life all of the time.

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 seriously thinks Doctor Who could ever be played by a woman, of anyone not laughing themselves silly at that cocky bloke on Millionaire who was convinced Harold Pinter was dead, or of anyone who can't see the Coronation Street storyline about Rita drinking too much looming in the politically-correct distance.