Like Dennis the Menace hiding in a post box
WHEN I were but a lad, there were things we called crofts at the back of our rows of terraced houses – basically just an area of waste land, inhabited by stained mattresses and scabby dogs.
The crofts were where we built our bonfires, raiding wood from the houses slated for demolition … and from other gang’s bonfires. (And people’s garden gates. Sorry, Mrs Thingy at number 124 Shrewsbury Street.)
This blatant piracy meant that as the great day drew near – and it was a really big deal back then – a shift system would be brought in whereby the bigger lads would take it in turns to sleep in the bonfire to guard against marauders. Sure, kids occasionally died if someone was careless with matches, but that went with the territory. And at least we left them the means to defend themselves and alert the rest of us – a sturdy leather glove, a Roman Candle and a box of matches. The Taliban look like pussies by comparison.
Little did I think that 40 years later, people would be sleeping by their bonfires again – only this time on the orders of the Health and Safety Nazis. It has come to my attention that bonfire organisers across the country have been told that as a condition of their entertainment licence (and what a puritanical Roundheaded laugh that procedure is), they must remain by their bonfire until it is completely extinguished. Apparently small children and passing animals might otherwise accidentally wander into the embers and be incinerated. (Cases to date? None.)
So we now have the prospect of the nice men from the Round Table having to camp out alongside the embers for as long as it takes for them to go out. This could take several days. Now I’m no fan of accountants, but even they have to go to work sometimes. If only to annoy the rest of us.
Still, as long as there are 45-year-old, grey-suited, social-climbing, would-be Freemasons prepared to put up with such nonsense, it avoids the situation that has arisen in Ilfracombe in Devon, where the local rugby club has given up completely and has settled for a “virtual bonfire” to accompany their charity fireworks.
The “virtual bonfire” is a video of a previously-filmed bonfire projected onto a 22ft wide by 15ft high screen hanging between the goalposts. Loudspeakers have been arranged to relay the sound of crackling and fizzing. There will also be gas heaters arranged to give those nearest the screen a rosy glow.
Is this what it has come to? How long will it be before your local fire pushes drawings of fireworks through your letterbox so you can show your kids what used to happen? And what would those kids on the croft have made of it all?
SO THERE you are, Mr Small Businessman, and you’ve got a vacancy for a salesperson or a receptionist or a rep. Something “customer-facing”, as the trendies would say. And when it comes to interviews, this nice Muslim woman turns up.
She seems perfectly normal (if that’s the right term of reference). Smart, personable, well-presented - a bit like that Sariah woman out of The Apprentice, only with less gob. And she’s the stand-out candidate, so do you give her the job? Do you buggery.
Because experience tells you that one day she might just turn up to work in a burqua, or a niqab, or a bin liner, peering out of the veil like Dennis The Menace trapped in a post box. And, frankly, the hassle that will cause is just not worth the risk. So you’ll employ the lumpen, pasty-faced, uneducated prole from the council estate instead. It’s safer, if not better.
Aisa Azmi, the Muslim woman who’s put this topic back at the top of the agenda, argues that her demand to wear the veil is a fight on behalf of women everywhere. Nonsense. It’s actually the opposite – a warning to employers to watch out for any signs of loony fundamentalism.
And that, I think, is my main objection to Ms Azmi’s employment: not the fact that she managed to undergo a job interview in front of a panel that included a man without needing to cloak up; not the fact that she had the stupidest job title in existence ( Ethnic Minority Achievement Curriculum Support Assistant); not the fact that the wearing of the burqua is a near criminal undermining of sexual equality; nor even the fact that she spent six months of her short employment on the sick – simply the fact that anyone with such extreme and unyielding views shouldn’t be let within a million miles of our children.
Incidentally, have you wondered why NuLabour are so keen to take on the thorny subject of multiculturalism, or the lack of it, so suddenly? Think about it. Their despicable lies about Iraq and Afghanistan have lost them the important Muslim vote for good. So let’s write that off, do a full U-turn, and go after the borderline racists on the fringes of every political party. You can’t fault them for lateral thinking.
NICE TO see Madonna doing her best to be a typical English woman. She’s a single mother who lives on an estate and has three children of different colours by three different fathers (one of them a bonus ball brahn baby). Oh, and her husband appears to be unemployed. Top marks all round.
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 hasn't already had the argument about where they're going to spend Christmas, of anyone can't face mowing the lawn again (for the last time this summer, honest), or of anyone who isn't suspicious of that disabled woman on the X Factor. We've all seen Little Britain, right?