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.


Blogger The Weardale Militia said...

Nay lad we have had these stalkers in the countryside for many a year. They are disguised as ramblers and as we go about our strange country traditions they stop and stare and observe our quaint and not so quaint ministrations with binoculars.
Only the other day whilst trying to put the stone slates back on the roof after a fearful gale, two of these woolly hat wearing stalkers engaged me in conversation. I was perched precariously on the edge of the roof one welly booted foot on the ladder the other wrapped around a gutter and both hands full. “How do we get to the Witches High Seat?” they asked as the coiffured poodle yapped at the pheasants. “ Not this way” I replied “but you can see it from the top of this ladder”. Having given them the wrong directions off they went – striding away with those daft ski poles and plastic wallets with top secret maps hung around their necks. What’s that all about then. Even us country folks knew there was no snow and it was not due to snow. Never mind its best to be prepared. I wondered where the skis were. The Rambling association as a whole should be taken to the high courts and prosecuted for stalking and visual pollution. Lets be honest would you wear the clobber that these people don whilst stalking country folks and wild life. No wonder they do not see much because all the wild life has seen them from 2 miles away and makes a bolt for it. Old Jack is always ready with his tractor to pull them free when they are bogged down in the mud, it’s just as well the fancy cars don’t have ski sticks or he would be out of business.
I have never seen a rambler wearing a Blue Peter badge but not to worry entrance is free at Mrs Grabitall’s country shop. It’s a sight to behold as the ramblers and townies approach the door. All the prices increase faster than the rate of inflation only to subside to normal expensive levels when they depart.
We do not have people queuing near the local telephone box to start heavy breathing or asking directions to the “Witches High Seat” it was removed by BT as a cost cutting exercise.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Benjamin Disraeli made the wisecrack about statistics, not Mark Twain.

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YEah... get it right, Bazza!

1:52 AM  
Blogger Lord Elpus said...

As usual, you are quite right, Mr B. Britain didn't become the fourth largest economy in the world by paying people good wages, giving them good conditions or treating them with respect once they get to their old age, so what do these sponging public sector workers think they are up to by trying to cling to such an outmoded idea as a pension that will lift them out of poverty or having the right to finish full time work and enjoy life before the Alzheimer's kicks in?
It's just not British!
Come on, council workers, you already get paid less than people in the private sector, so you should be used to being second class citizens by now. Make the sacrifice. Your country needs you to work for next to nowt and then die quickly so Mr Blur can have enough money in the pot to invade Iran.
How about a quick verse of the new national anthem: "Toil and then the grave/Toil and then the grave/We are uncomplaining/Give us toil and then the grave"

3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They may be paid less (although I doubt it) but look at their productivity and the number of sickies they take. Bloody wastrels the lot of them.

4:03 AM  
Blogger BarryBeelzebub said...

I stand corrected regarding Disraeli.

And while council workers might once have been paid less than the public sector, it certainly isn't the case any more.

10:53 AM  
Blogger The Weardale Militia said...

Now then Lad here is another interesting fact. These ramblers are part of the secret communist plot to overthrow the establishment of the UK. Grandfather Jeremiah Grouse Beater recalls in 1932 when the massed rally took pace in the Peak District where all these Trotskyite ramblers were going to fight for a right of way across Kinder Scout in the Peak District. The British Workers Sports Federation (aka Young Communists) lent support to the infant Ramblers association to fight for the right of way at Kinder Scout.
Old Jeremiah Grouse Beater recalls there was a good fight that day followed by many pints of “Old Horse Sweat” at the local tavern.
So it follows that this secret conspiracy led by the young communists of the time is still being carried on today.
Why do 140,00 Ramblers (Stalkers) need cameras, binoculars, compasses, maps and ski sticks. Nay lad its easily explained they are all part of a break away communist infiltration group. Even more worrying they carry rucksacks – so call out the armed response group.
By gum lad these folks are smarter than a mole on holiday. Stalking carries less of a penalty than spying ergo I rest my case.

7:20 PM  
Blogger Brother Bibendum said...

Dear Mr Beelzebub
Here at the Abbey we are seldom troubled by public sector workers, ours is a higher calling. However I do beleive that the strike was on Tuesday the 28th of March, not Monday as you state.
Yours faithfully
Brother Bibendum

2:31 AM  
Anonymous Steve B said...

Lord elpus - use google and you find a report that states per hour public sector pay is now higher on average than private sector. In part due to them often doing less hours in a week...

4:42 AM  
Blogger Lord Flashheart said...

How many of our public sector brethren who pledge to serve and protect are underpaid and have to work until their 60s? When I were a lad, the local bobbie was retiring when he reached 50, and that was before they could claim that they were shocked, horrified and stressed by the job they signed up to do!
These days they get to persecute easy targets, like motorists, whilst the muggers, rapist and thieves rule the communities the boys-in-blue are meant to protect.

As an aside Bazza, did you clock the Inspector who was banned from driving for 3 years as he was 3 times over the limit? Apparently he had tried suicide on a number of occassions, yet he's still employed. There was me thinking that attempted suicide was still classed as a crime in this country (no, the poor darlings need understanding and oodles of tax-payers money to support their reabilitation in Bali)..

3:07 PM  
Blogger Lord Elpus said...

Steve B and Bazza: Public workers covers a wide spread - from the Prime Minister to the woman who doles out slop to the mewling sprogs at St Chav's High. Some have got big pay and pension increases - especially those at the top end, plus teachers and nurses who have for some reason been given amazingly big increases just because they teach our kids and care for our sick - but fortunately there are plenty at the scrag end who still work for near the minimum wage in dead end jobs and who see their retirement from such drudgery as the only benefit they can look forward to.
But beware those in the private sector who bemoan any cushy pension deals that our road sweepers and bog cleaners may have enjoyed in the past. If they go then the market shifts, and the private sector will shift with it. Downwards.

5:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seems to me Bazza is in dire need of a subeditor to pick up all his mistakes ...

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Round our way the strike was on Tuesday...but of course all the binmen were working the following Sunday. Wonderful arrangement - take a day off but then get double-time in return to clear up the mess you've created.

5:13 AM  

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