Sunday, November 19, 2006

I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore


I SUPPOSE I’m what you would call an “early adapter”. My first mobile phone wasn’t so much a brick as a briefcase. I had satellite telly from Day One, through one of those squarials, rather than through Mr Murdoch’s dish, and the man came round to fit the Sky+ box the day after it was launched.

I like technology and the convenience it brings to my life. I like trying something new. (Heston Blumenthal’s recipe for 24-hour steak lies in a 50-degree oven downstairs as we speak, as pink and flaccid as a Cleethorpes sunbather.

That’s why I was one of the first people to embrace internet banking. Back in 1990, when I had no money for Nigerian scammers to steal anyway, I threw caution to the wind and signed up to First Direct at a time when carrier pigeons and donkey carts were used to carry cheques down the information superhighway.

We’ve had our ups and downs, mostly due to my almost permanent insolvency, but the relationship has survived. Even when my current mortgage provider promised me a few bob a month off my payments if I moved my bank account to them I declined, preferring to stay with the tried and tested. And, of course, they’ve made thousands of pounds out of me during the past 15 years – bouncing cheques, overdue credit card payments, charges for letters: you know the score.

Now, at last, I’ve reached the “head above water” stage. I owe them nothing, I’m usually in the black and, consequently, my banking is genuinely free. At least it was.

My good old friends at First Direct have announced that from February, all current account holders who have less than £1,500 stashed away will be charged £10 a month for the privilege of phoning their call centres. (They have them in Leeds, Scotland and Liverpool. If a Scouser answers the phone, I hang up immediately. Well would you let one of them dabble in your finances?)

I cannot tell you how angry I am about this. I supported this company when it was new and risky. I’ve stuck with it through a misguided sense of loyalty. And now they want to rip me off to help fund their obscene profits just because they’ve been banned from over-charging poor people with huge credit card debts. Well it’s just not good enough.

I now have to move my bank account, with all the form-filling frustration that entails. I have to build up a new credit history. I have to memorise a new PIN. And I’m effing fuming.

I feel like the Peter Finch character in the fabulous film Network, the newsreader who cracked up live on air shouting: “I’m as mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

So First Direct can get stuffed. The clipboard-wielding Council Tax man who’s coming round to see if I’ve fitted a new toilet roll holder can get stuffed. The local council clown who wants to fit an electronic chip to my wheelie bin can get stuffed. Civil disobedience starts here. I’m as mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.

YOU KNOW that time of year when the council decides to resurface every road in the area because if it doesn’t spend all its money, it’ll lose it out of next year’s budget? I suspect that our old friends in the Jokeforce, the secret government department set up to provide material for satirical columnists, is having a similar crisis, because this week they’re everywhere.

So where to begin? Well, there were the two government policy statements in one day: shoplifters and other “minor” criminals are to be let off if they say sorry, while homeowners (yes, owners) could be thrown out of their property if a family member persistently misbehaves.

Quite where they’re to go once they’ve been evicted isn’t clear. And who gets the house? A party member? I think we’ve been here before.

Moving on, we have parents being threatened with “intervention” (NuLabour’s latest buzz-word) if social services judge them to be ineffective parents. Punitive measures could include nursery rhyme classes where Ma and Pa Scrote would be forced to learn the words to Baa Baa Ethnic Minority Sheep.

In Market Harborough, Leicestershire, a kiddies’ Postman Pat musical ride outside a shop has been outlawed by the authorities in case someone walks into it. It’s been there, keeping thousands of kids happy, for years. Number of cases of Patricide? Zero. Go figure, as the hamburger-eating surrender monkeys would say.

I’m sure you’ve all read about the 200 drug addict prisoners who are to pocket £3,000 apiece because they were forced to go cold turkey in the nick. There’s Mr Blah’s European Human Rights Act in operation, my friends. I’m only surprised that Cherie didn’t get a piece of the action in bringing the case.

The ceremony of switching on the Christmas lights in Scarborough won’t be happening this year. Ten thousand people turned out last year, which has frightened the fire service who only feel capable of coping with 2,000. Rather than try to make it ticket only, the council has pulled the plug completely. Presumably the Chair of the Public Works Committee will now have to sneak out at 3am and flick the switch when no-one is looking.

Race watchdogs (what a horrible, authoritarian nomenclature that is) are studying a reissued edition of the 1939 Dandy comic Christmas issue because it contains within the dreaded N-word. Well it would, wouldn’t it? It’s a historical document, not a handbook for modern life.

Now Desperate Dan, Little Plum and Korky the Cat face prosecution and, presumably, a good old-fashioned book burning. Again, haven’t we been here before?

YET THROUGH the doom and gloom, a bright light shines. A lady called Sue Palmer has opened a nursery in Salisbury, Wiltshire, where the 20 young customers are actually allowed to PLAY OUTSIDE!

The children only come inside for breaks and the rest of the time are allowed to make mud pies, build dens, roam around and explore. They learn about wildlife and insects, sit round a campfire and play on an obstacle course. They have learnt that stinging nettles sting, that brambles scratch, and that fire burns.

Ms Palmer should be made a Dame fast … before she’s sent to prison for child abuse.

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 lost money betting that those lions couldn't eat the elephant on Planet Earth, of anyone not sympathising with David Archer now he's kept the whining wife but lost the best cowman in Borsetshire, or of anyone not outraged at the way Coronation Street scriptwriters disregard simple facts. Everyone knows that Jack Duckworth was born in 1934, but these idiots had him celebrating his 70th birthday last week. History cannot be rewritten in this slapdash way.

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

re call centre...as a scouser I sympathise.

4:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to have an original 1940's Beano annual (or it might have been the Dandy) in which Benito Mussolini was parodied in a strip called "Musso Da Wop - He's a bigga da flop!" I saw it again in one of those reissued nostagia versions in Waterstones; it was simply called "Musso".

7:23 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

Barry you idle bazza. I used to get my helping of 'bub' every Friday evening. Are you attending rehab or what as it's getting later and later in the weekend. Get a f*****g grip FFS!

7:29 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

Bazza:'YOU KNOW that time of year when the council decides to resurface every road in the area because if it doesn’t spend all its money, it’ll lose it out of next year’s budget? I suspect that our old friends in the Jokeforce, the secret government department set up to provide material for satirical columnists, is having a similar crisis, because this week they’re everywhere.'

Smoke and mirrors Bazza. They don't actually do any 'resurfacing' ... they just send out hoards of council shirkers to set up cones and pedestrian walkways (usually in the middle of the fucking road) until they receive their yearly stipend from our masters in Westminster. What I want to know is has any fucker actually measured the width of a bus? They usually make the cones 2'' narrower than the average bus width. BASTARDS!

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why don't you emigrate if you hate it here so much, you washed-up human turd ?

You can f**k off to Bongo Bongo Land where you can be the Big White Massa you clearly consider yourself to be.

I'm sure all the scousers at First Direct are all weeping at the loss of your custom, knobhead.

1:53 AM  
Blogger BarryBeelzebub said...

sky dog - paying customers get it first.

7:58 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

F**k that Bazza, I'm off to Bongo-bongo land to be the white-man baas as anon advises me. Plus it'll be a bloody sight warmer. ;o)

Anon:'I'm sure all the scousers at First Direct are all weeping at the loss of your custom, knobhead.'

How did he know I'm a 1st D customer BTW? Has he been hacking my account to buy alloy wheel trims and fluffy die instead of stealing them like the rest of the scouse fuckers?

'knobhead?' Bit tame pal. Try harder.

9:37 AM  
Anonymous tc said...

Sky Dog and Baz both got it nearly right! They don't do any real resurfacing work. What they do is work in lots of incipient potholes to justify next year's budget.

10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: annon suggesting Bazza emigrates if he hates it so much there. It doesn't matter if you are in or out of the country, whats going on back there annoys the shit out of any sane brit. And no matter where you live, there's always something to piss you off. No where is perfect, but at least there are less scousers further afield.

4:12 PM  
Anonymous ben said...

I think you mean "early adopter".

3:19 AM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

Yes, why is "if you don't like it here, move?" always the standard reply of the few who DO like it here? (i.e those who profit most from everything that's rotten in the UK).

This is OUR country, too. WE have a right and a moral obligation to speak out when we think that greed, corruption and mass deception and sell-outs are happening. Is there much good that could be said for today's England? (Unless you are one of the above, that is).

House prices impoverish millions. Encouraging personal debt, ditto. A dumbed down education system means that even a degree is a mere token. Our coppers are too lazy, stupid and browbeaten by the PC brigade that they can't/won't enforce our existing laws, whilst our increasingly Texas clone government brings in more laws which aren't, in any case, here to protect us, but to take away civil liberties. We have no industry left, and just how long do they think we can advantage of cheap Chinese goods? We're Europe's middle man- always the first to suffer when actual producers and owners get greedier. Our utilities are almost entirely in foreign hands, our NHS is going likewise. Our social structure is collapsing, divided between the more insistent wealthy middle and upper classes, and the chav underclass, whilst Mr Modest (who believes in common sense, fair play, and working for what you want, so long as it's not too heavily at someone else's expense) is the true ignored class in the UK. He's the fool who is law abiding, honest and who is bewildered by the sheer stupidity of the ruling classes (although greed is another motivator for these) and the hyena- like cunning of the scum class for freeloading. It's like the system was built to enrich the top and encourage the bottom of society, to the detriment of Mr Ordinary- and to his impoverishment. He pays for all, be it higher taxes, or because he has to put up with it all. It's like Bazza said: "I'm not going to take it anymore".

Those who CARE about our country should be saying that. Bugger what the stupid who can't see what's wrong, or who are making their money from it, have to say.

Immigration, Muslim fanatics, "Terror" attacks (didn't we used to call them "Terrorist attacks"?)- these are all distractions. The ones who really need sorting out are the morons who make these unlivable PC rules, get rich quick "consumerism" dreams etc. Our kids are fat and unhealthy, and hardly have a childhood anymore, before they're scared of leaving their homes for fear of perverts, or falling out of a tree, or being fatally wounded by a stray conker.... getting pregnant/drug addicted/alcoholic by the time they're 13.......

Common sense and a moral sea change, that's what we need. An almost impossible order, in my opinion, but lots of people feel this way, even if "think" is all they do at the moment. That will change.

I'll be damned if I'll leave this country. It's MINE as well as any other Brits' and I want it back.

MOST of those who clear off abroad are those who helped to fuck it up in the first place. Let's remember who voted in Thatcher, Major and Blair, eh? It wasn't me, not ever.

1:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black dog, you summed it up nicely.
P.S I may have left the counrty but I certainly didn't help to fuck it up, that bit was already done. Its sad all the same.

2:43 PM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

Thanks, Wildchild.

I don't blame decent folk for getting out. I'd do it myself, if I wasn't so stubborn. Exile's a big step when you're as stubborn as me.

I agree that whilst the emigration trend is perhaps only 10 years old, the rot set in well before that. Thatcher set the trend, Major and Blair just continued it.

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi

I too have been with First Direct for years and have loved them (although alike yourself they have made fortunes out of me in charges but I blame myself for being such a shopaholic). Anyway they are only really charging this £10 to people who have idle accounts, not those who use them. E.g. if your wage is paid into your bank you will fine they will not charge you this. They aren't charging me and my account is rarely in the black for longer than 1 week per month, they said it is because I have a savings account with them too! My saving account has the grand total of £3 in it. So do not despair!

6:15 AM  
Blogger kris said...

Bazza

iain Dale tagged Rachel of North London- and in turn Rachel tagged me to compile and publish my list of "10 things I'd never do"

I am meant to tag 10 others. I'd like to see YOUR list! and then Mr T.Bliar's

4:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kris,

WTF are you on about, "tagging" - is this another one of your daft ideas?

2:23 AM  
Anonymous tony b.liar said...

Black Dog,

Your excellent piece was probably the best you have ever written and encapsulates my own thoughts. I think that you are also right to take to task some of the morons who subscribe the odd blog complaining either about Bazza or to others they perceive offend them. Perfect example -

"........Why don't you emigrate if you hate it here so much, you washed-up human turd ?

You can f**k off to Bongo Bongo Land where you can be the Big White Massa you clearly consider yourself to be.

I'm sure all the scousers at First Direct are all weeping at the loss of your custom, knobhead."

Hardly worthy of the Nobel Prize for Literature, eh?

I could add a few things to your list which have been my pet hates for many a year, but I'd better not, in case I offend certain regular bloggers and set even more rabbits running!!

3:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Black Dog, like Bazza, can only generate long strings of cliches. His diatribe was simply boring.

12:44 AM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

Black Dog, like Bazza, can only generate long strings of cliches. His diatribe was simply boring.

As opposed to morons who can only dismiss others' ideas as "boring", when it's plain they can't string more than a sentence together and don't have the wit or intelligence to let us know what they think.

Bu then again, I reckon that post was the full extent of his mental powers.

Argue against me, by all means, but I expect just that: an ARGUMENT. Not a single line stating that I'm boring. That's no proof whatsoever that you're any better. Quite the opposite.

Until you can provide an argument, you're just a twat. An Anonymous one, at that.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous tony b.liar said...

Right on, Black Dog! Been saying this for some time - trouble is it nearly always falls on [anonymous] deaf ears. Just about the last thing that you or Bazza could be accused of is being 'boring'. One is given to wonder if the current irritating Mr Anon [presumably the one who usually describes Bazza as being 'a pissed-up old hack'] despises Bazza and the blog so much, why on earth does he bother reading it??

Agreed: nearly all these anons are complete and utter twats! [ooops, sorry, bit of Tourette's creepin g in there!]

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And of course calling yourself "Black Dog" is not hiding behind an anonymous pseudonym is it ? LOL
Now you can crawl back up Bazza's back passage. There's a good boy.

4:14 AM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

And of course calling yourself "Black Dog" is not hiding behind an anonymous pseudonym is it Anon.

Not as anonymous as "Anonymous", you dickhead. I suppose if I used my real name, you'd know exactly who I am? Would you be any the wiser? A nickname at least doesn't confuse me with other Anonymous posters.

Where's your answer to my original post, shithead? Until you deliver, that's what you are.

I didn't think anyone over 13 used "LOL", unless they're retarded, which is obviously the case....

Now bugger off to a forum you LIKE, or I'll tell daddy you've been using his PC again.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL LOL LOL Oooooooooo !

2:31 PM  
Anonymous tony b.liar said...

Message for 'Anonymous' [he of the recent intellectual comments to 'Black Dog']

Go fuck yourself [always assuming you can find your dick!]

12:25 AM  

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