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.”
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.