I'd have got away with it if it wasn't for you meddling kids!
Now we have another “quiet man” banged up on suspicion of sending Jiffy bag bombs to various addresses around the country. (And it must be stressed at this point that the chap is entirely innocent until he stands trial.)
Mind you, the fact that he’s a caretaker from Cambridgeshire doesn’t bode well, nor does the allegation that he’s a “bicycling loner” who lives in a cul-de-sac (see last week’s condemnation of cul-de-sacs by Prince Charles). I suppose the defence could always call in the Scooby-Doo gang of pesky kids, who usually prove that it’s never the caretaker who did it and instead finger a nearby mining magnate or fairground owner.
But then there’s that picture: boss-eyed and ginger. The poor bloke looks like the illicit offspring of Arsene Wenger and Cilla Black. If he does turn out to have had a grudge against society, I think we’ll all know why.
YOU KNOW, I don’t actually think that it’s their mad dash to get their snouts in the trough that really repels me about our elected representatives. After all, given the opportunity to line our pockets at the gullible public’s expense, wouldn’t we all have a dabble?
No, it’s the bare-faced hypocrisy that does for me. Which brings us to environment minister Barry Gardiner and his extraordinary mileage claim. Mr Gardiner is MP for Brent North. He has the use of a chauffeur-driven car which picks him up from home on Monday morning and takes him to and from official business throughout the week. He is therefore only eligible to claim mileage expenses for Parliamentary business conducted in his family car at the weekend. So far, so good.
Mr Gardiner, who drives a Fiat Multipla, lives just 12 miles away from his constituency headquarters. Yet for the year 2005-06, he managed to claim an impressive 10,852 miles (or £4,213) in mileage, enough to drive to Delhi and back, never mind from Chorleywood to Wembley.
Now even to an innumerate idiot like myself, that’s 200 miles each and every weekend of the year. Is this even possible, given North London’s horribly gridlocked traffic? I suppose it must be, otherwise he wouldn’t have claimed it. The poor bloke must spend 18 hours a day on the road every Saturday and Sunday. Perhaps we should probably be praising his dedication, rather than asking awkward questions about his swindle sheet.
FOR REAL hypocrisy, we need to turn to the three-ring circus that is the European Parliament where, after backing public smoking bans in Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Italy, France, Malta, Belgium and - from July 1st – England, the passengers on the world’s greatest Gravy Train decided that they too should bite the bullet and ban smoking in their own buildings.
Admirable, I’m sure you’ll agree. Only one problem: the ban lasted just 43 days before MEPs were in a constant state of rebellion, sparking up all over the joint, and the ban was reversed as being “unenforceable”.
So let me get this straight. The landlord of the roughest pub in the roughest part of England is expected to stop his tattooed, bicep-bulging, pit bull-toting Neanderthal clientele from lighting up on the pain of a hefty fine, yet MEPs are unable to police themselves? Pathetic. And indicative of how stupidly intolerant the whole thing is.
I SUSPECT that by now I’ve by now made you familiar with P.G.Wodehouse’s assertion that “It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotchman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine”. Well the black-hearted misanthropes have been at it again.
The latest target of a tartan tantrum was some poor weatherman from the BBC who had the audacity to waft his hand over that awful 3D map and declare that “there would be rain, mainly in the Western Isles, mainly in Nowheresville”.
Hardly had he taken off his make-up than the phone was ringing, with Western Isles MP Angus MacNeill (well what else did you expect him to be called?) bleating loudest. Eventually a massive 11 complaints flooded in. The weatherman has since been hauled over the coals and forced to issue an abject apology.
Let me ask, have you ever been to the Western Isles? Well I have, and I can tell you that Nowheresville is a damn fine soubriquet for one of the most Godforsaken places on Planet Earth. It is a land of horizontal trees, mutton and mackerel. The women all look like Kathy Bates in Misery and the men make Dad’s Army’s Private Fraser look like Norman Wisdom. The currency is home-brewed hooch and the language is a cross between Turkish and dog.
Nowheresville? No doubt.
I WOULD have thought that it was a prerequisite of any television advertising campaign that it shouldn’t antagonise the viewer to the point that they vow never, ever to indulge in the product being promoted. Which brings us to Virgin Media and the immensely irritating and repetitive preening and pouting of Uma Bloody Thurman.
You know that scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta plunges a hypodermic needle into her chest? Any chance I might have a go?
ALTHOUGH I feel like a traitor to my class, I have to admit that I've finally become accustomed to Marmite in those new-fangled squeezy bottles.I swore I'd never use one, but when Mrs B. brought one home from Waitrose, I gave it a go. And do you know what? It's easier to use than the old-fashioned jar. You get better direction, improved density control, and when the butter goes back in the fridge it isn't covered in dark smudges.