Sunday, March 25, 2007

Anyone know where I can get some bull bars?

I SUPPOSE it was a delicious irony that the stentorian tones of The Thieving Scotchman issued forth from the car wireless announcing his new punitive tax on so-called gas guzzlers at the very moment I was test-driving a four-wheel drive BMW along the country lanes.

So will his spiteful, bandwagon-jumping, pretend-Green punishment put me off buying such a vehicle? Of course not. If I can afford a £35,000 car, I can certainly afford a couple of hundred quid extra road tax. In fact if anything, the class-based hatred NuLabour and its yoghurt knitting acolytes have for four-wheel drives makes me all the more determined to get one. It’s like the fox-hunting ban all over again, only this time there’s rather more horsepower involved.

(Not that I’m ridiculously wealthy. For instance, the only way I’ll ever get to travel first class on British Airways will be to drop dead in economy.)

I should point out that my “gas guzzler” will be no Chelsea Tractor. Instead of being loaded with school run booster seats it will carry dogs and guns. It will venture into fields and off the beaten track. It will get muddy, properly muddy.

And so will most of the other four-wheel drive vehicles in my neighbourhood. Because they have been bought not for vanity, or to make an on-road social statement, or to carry legions of Jocelyns and Jocastas from piano lessons to Mandarin classes, but out of necessity. They are working vehicles; the day-to-day tools of farmers and farriers, district nurses and digger drivers - in fact, the sort of people who can’t readily afford another couple of hundred quid in road tax.

I don’t suppose Mr Brown took that simple fact into consideration when deciding to punish these selfish destroyers of the ozone layer.

PS: I wouldn’t want you to think that I’m totally irresponsible when it comes to our environment. I will be continuing to carry out my weekly recycling run of bags of newspapers and boxes of empty wine bottles, only in future it will be at roughly 27 miles to the gallon.

AS WE’RE bullied and hectored from the cradle to the grave, our most rabid persecutors seem to be the local councils that we directly fund and directly elect. Daft, isn’t it?

The latest kick-the-council-taxpayer scheme emerges in Ealing, West London, where the Garbage Police are planning to leave tiny CCTV cameras lying around hidden in baked bean tins in an attempt to catch residents who have the temerity to put their rubbish out on the wrong day. For committing this heinous crime they will be fined up to £1,000.

One thing tells you all you need to know about the effectiveness of Ealing Council. If they consider discarded baked bean tins to be suitable camouflage – an everyday sight that won’t catch the eye – then they can’t be doing their rubbish-collecting job properly in the first place, can they?

NOW I’M not suggesting for one moment that we should force five-year-olds to read the classics, but it’s a sad condemnation of our laughable edukashun system that around 50 schools have rejected the offer of free books because they are “too difficult” for today’s pupils.

(Perhaps even more worrying is that a further 40 schools turned down the books because they had no library in which to store them.)

The free books scheme is run by the Millennium Library Trust, which donates sets of up to 300 books to schools to encourage youngsters to read classic works of fiction. The books include the likes of Jane Eyre, Middlemarch, Oliver Twist and Lord of the Rings.

But so woeful are our children’s literacy levels that many teachers won’t even attempt to talk them through some of the milestones of English literature. As one teacher says: “The bottom line is getting the pupils to read, whether it’s a newspaper, a comic novel or a magazine. The books for nowadays are Manga, the Japanese comic books that you read from back to front.”

Another school branded the covers of the books “boring” and said that what was needed was “the familiar paperback format with an attractive jacket and abridged versions.”

So there you have it. Goodbye David Copperfield and hello Electro Jelly the Space Ninja. No wonder we’re turning out generations of illiterates.

THE JUDGE who sentenced child-killer Ian Huntley recommended that he should serve a minimum of 40 years in prison. The Lord Chancellor says he thinks that Huntley should never be freed and should rot in jail. Even Huntley’s father and mother came forward this week to say that the prospect of their son ever being released is unthinkable.

So that’s clear then. Expect him to be out and about well in time to take his grandstand seat at the 2012 Olympics.

JOKEFORCE ALERT: A school in Manchester has banned knotted ties because it says they are a safety risk. Pupils have been told to wear clip-on ties instead, or face being sent home.

Two points: Firstly, the number of pupils who’ve suffered third degree burns after setting their ties on fire with a Bunsen burner or who have been dragged screaming into the woodwork lathe in the past 30 years equals exactly … err … none. Secondly, clip-on ties are the uniform of traffic wardens and special constables – social inadequates who expect to get routinely beaten up. Any headteacher who expects fashion-conscious teenagers to commit such a sartorial crime has been reading too many Japanese comic books.

MEANWHILE a teaching assistant in Brighton has trotted off to an employment tribunal claiming unfair dismissal on the grounds that she was discriminated against because of her faith. Sommer de la Rosa, who worked in her school’s religious studies department, is a witch. Yes, a witch.

I have to ask, at which point did she ever think that she was remotely suitable for such a job? Or is this just another compo scam, where the complainant counts on the (usually) publicly-funded employer caving in and handing over £30,000 or so before moving on to the next set of suckers?

I don’t know, but I think we should be told.


Anonymous Mr Cliff said...

Interesting story about the witch, doesn’t this stupid woman realise that this is a Christian country and witchcraft is forbidden in the Christian bible (Exodus 22v18).
It seems that her ancestors were the lucky few to avoid the burning stake.
But she would be wise to keep a lower profile; there are still plenty of Christians around.

4:52 PM  
Blogger sky_dog said...


Build a bridge with her!

12:04 AM  
Anonymous forrester said...

Well thanks a lot Sky_dog.
My keyboard is now soaked in coffee after I choked it up laughing.
Still, always look on the bright side of life...
oops wrong film!

1:14 AM  
Anonymous Dr Dan H. said...

I don't know about you, but if some silly bugger goes leaving mini-CCTV cameras anywhere that I can get my hands on 'em, they're going to get recycled via ebay pronto. After all, they were out in a public place, and looked just like rubbish so as a proper citizen I would be doing my duty to collect them to stick in the recycling bin.

And if once I do so I notice they've got cameras in, then why should I not simply recycle by less formal routes and make a quick buck into the bargain?

2:26 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Personally speaking, if you don't live in the country, work on a farm or in agriculture, then you should be legally banned from owning a 4x4: if the closest you get to off-road is driving over pot-holes or gravel driveways, then fuck off to the nearest forecourt and pick up a Mondeo or people-carrier.

If I see one more twat parking their 4x4 in Tesco or picking up little Timmy from school, then I swear I'd go mental.

4x4's were historically designed for a particular purpose, which is not doing your shopping.

I've actually seen a walking cunt parking their Humvee in the no parking area outside my local Tesco.

A Humvee. An armoured personnel carrier. I wish some bloody American tank-buster would blow you up, fuckwit.

2:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in Ealing and had the joy of an astonishingly stupid letter pushed through the door by the rubbish nazis.

Apparently, not only will they be spied on via the £300 a time cameras, but they need to have the rubbish out by 7am in the morning. If the binmen do not do their job the residents will have until 2pm to get their rubbish back in for another week or face a fine.

I phoned up the chap who wrote it to tell him how thick he is - he sounded like that had happened a few times already that day.

2:46 AM  
Anonymous Mike Davies said...

Chris, if the guy in the Humvee disconnected the rear diff so it was front wheel drive, you'd be happy yes? Or if he replaced the engine with batteries and solar panels?

"If I see one more twat parking their 4x4 ... then I swear I'd go mental."
Well, more mental anyway.

Or do you actually own a Humvee, and your post was just to discredit environmentalists by showing them up as ignorant, spiteful, envious, unfunny misanthropes.
I'll wager that a Humvee owner pays more in taxes than any bitter socialist.

6:31 AM  
Anonymous Marmaduke Cosmo Smallpiece said...

CCTV cameras in tins to spy on us, sounds like something the KGB would do. Everyboby tells us to recycle, 99% of us mostly do recycle, but not the local councils, they are going to litter the streets with cans, I hope I come accross one on recycling day, it's going straight in my recycle bin, and when I'm up in court accused of stealing council property, I will say to the judge, I was just recycling, the case will be thrown out.

8:48 AM  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

Much as I think Gordon Brown is a prick and the Anti-Midas, and much as I think man-made global warming is complete bollocks, I cannot help but feel a complete lack of sympathy for 4x4 drivers. They're big conspicuous consumers usually driven by arrogant idiots who think power-steering was invented to make it easier to use a mobile phone while running over cyclists.

9:14 AM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

I'm with Chris and Neal Asher on the 4 x 4 issue. I especially share Chris's sense of rage about them.

There's loads of them around my way, and almost all are driven by silly suicide blondes or effete poncey types whose nearest experience of going off road is Tescos carpark. Worst of all, you don't want to get stuck down a country lane with a 4 x 4 driving woman behind you and another in front. They sit there, staring each other out, each waiting for the other to reverse. It's like watching cats play chess. You can be there for hours.

Let's face it, in cases like that, 4 x 4's are a silly fashion accessory. How many women really even KNOW what a V8 is? Or even care? But her from number 32 has one, so they have to, as well. It's a case of penis envy (and compensation factor, for the effete "men" who drive them when they have no off roading to do).

Admittedly, owning a 4.2 jaguar is almost as twattish.

Bring back the sense of mockery the British used to exhibit towards the ostentatious and flagrantly poncey. The middle class used to be rather dull, but tasteful- now they're just chavs with more money.

Not much difference between a Shogun and a hummer, is there? Apart from a few litres.

Personally, I'd assume I was insane if I bought a vehicle that handles like a sick pig, drinks like a Scotsman after Scotland beats England 50 nil, uses more rubber than the entire porn industry for a year, (and tyres start at £70 each), goes like an arthritic slug, and is only more armoured assuming you don't get hit by another 4 x 4.

Which, given the number of women who own them around here, is highly likely.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Al said...

I hate to let the facts get in the way of agood bit of ranting, but the truth is that:
- most of the vehicles labelled "4X4s" are not actually "4X4s" atall.
- many of them (e.g. Freelanders, CR-Vs) have similar fuel consumption to a Mondeo or Vectra and don't take any more space on the road.
- the term "4X4" actually includes cars like some Fiat Pandas and Mondeos!

So there's no reason why anyone shouldn't own one as a family car? They are no worse than those people-carriers that seem to be appearing everywhere, but where's the ranting against them?

A lot of smug drivers of supposedly "sensible" cars are in for a surprise when their next road fund licence renewal comes through! (A Mondeo 1.8 falls into the second-top CO2 band, as do many other ordinary family cars!).

I agree with a lot of the points made if they are applied to the obscenely large vehicles, like Humvees and Land Rover Discoveries, but the broad-brush argument based on dodgy facts is just laughable.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Mike Davies said...

George Orwell wrote about an issue of Punch after WWI in which a "there was a picture of four or five miners with grim, sinister faces riding in a cheap motor-car. A friend they are passing calls out and asks them where they have borrowed it. They answer, ‘We’ve bought the thing!’ This, you see, is ‘good enough for Punch’; for miners to buy a motor-car, even one car between four or five of them, is a monstrosity, a sort of crime against nature. "

George Orwell went on to point out the middles classes "watchful anxiety lest the working class shall grow too prosperous."

As evidenced in this thread. Anti 4x4 sentiment is not about the environment or congestion it's something more sinister.

Above, we see descriptions of 4x4 drivers -
"twats" "cunts" "fuck off and buy a Mondeo". They are "effete" or "suicide blondes" or have "penis envy"

The drivers of such vehicles will be surpised to hear this. They are bought because they are spacious and have good visibility. And, frankly, for a bit of change from an estate or a hatchback, nothing more. The anti sentiment above reveals, to my mind, more about the personalities of the antis than the 4x4 drivers. It's like you're projecting faults which you fear in yourself onto others.

No wonder women want a big safe car with aggressive sexists like Black Dog trying to push them around. Women belong in ickle Corsas and Saxos don't they eh?

You don't need a big 4x4 at Tesco's says Chris. Arguably not. I also don't need an inside toilet. My grandmother's family managed without one for years. Think of the resources that were saved by millions of working-class people holding out as long as possible before heading out into the cold for a pee.

You pretend to be ‘concerned’ about big cars and their impact on the environment, but really it’s the same old snobbery - it’s still about defining new social mores and treating as pariahs those who fail to live up to them.

Nothing wrong with changing fashions though. It's when the antis lose and weep and run to the law to ban anything of which they disapprove that annoys me.

3:18 AM  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

Well, you can brand it snobbery, or something sinister or whatever. And I did point out my attitude to the 'green' issue, which you blithely ignored. My annoyance stems from the quite simple fact that twice, on the same roundabout, pricks in 4x4s have nearly had me off my bike. In both cases the pricks concerned were speaking into their mobile phones too. I'll go further: it's very often the case that these same pricks don't know the size of their vehicle. I used to drive a small truck but I still managed to park it within the white lines in a car park. This seems beyond many 4x4 drivers - just stand in your local supermarket carpark and watch their laughable manoeuvring.

5:10 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

forrester:'Well thanks a lot Sky_dog.
My keyboard is now soaked in coffee after I choked it up laughing.'

ooops! sorry mate ... won't do it again. I'll head all my posts with a large WARNING notice othewrwise I'll have the HSE nazis on my back. ;o)

10:29 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

neal asher:'They're big conspicuous consumers usually driven by arrogant idiots who think power-steering was invented to make it easier to use a mobile phone while running over cyclists'

Cyclists are far easier to run over when you're driving a double-decker bus and NuLab says these are the epitome of the green machine Multi-people shifters. I shall take it as carte-blanche to continue mowing down idiots on push-bikes in this case. :o)

10:36 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

black dog:'How many women really even KNOW what a V8 is?'

I asked mein Fuehrer and she tells me she gets her V8 from Loreal, 'cos she's worth it' :o(

10:39 AM  
Blogger sky_dog said...

Q. Will upmarket estates insist their spy cameras are located in full-priced Heinz baked beans tins instead of those cheap and nasty Branston ones from Netto? You know how fussy the kids can be about brand names.

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Black Dog said...

Mike Davies: I am not a sexist. However, if you take the view that ANY criticism of women equals sexism, then I must be. This is an extremely common fallacy. But surely that's as illogical and knee- jerk as "pure-and-for-the-sake-of-it-sexism"?

I refer to them as "effete" because, by and large, they are. Not because they drive 4 x 4's without having a practical use for them, but because they are effete anyway. They're the pompous class, the ostentatious class, the killjoy (except for their own) class. I could go on, but there's loads of them where I live- they've swallowed the "conspicuous Consumer" act completely, and yes, for some reason beyond me, their women ARE usually blonde. It's like the "Stepford wives", almost.

I don't invent stereotypes, but stereotypes, no matter how sweeping, exist because there's some truth in them. Like Chavs having single figure IQ's, or Scousers having sticky fingers etc.

I certainly don't push women around. I drive very quickly, yes, but as a motorcyclist with 27 years experience of all weather riding, it's defensive driving. I merely asked: what REAL interest do women actually have in a 4 x 4's ? Offroading? Torque/Horsepower figures? Even the ins and outs of safety figures? No, (and the same usually applies to most men who own them as a fashion accessory), it's ostentation. People call the chavs for their magpie "bling", but this is just a more expensive version, more often than not.

I think you know what when we rant about 4 x 4's we're not talking Pandas or even Imprezzas. But bloody great big lumbering Shoguns, landcruisers etc. And yes, it's a sad fact that most women who drive them struggle with reversing. I've even been asked to reverse for them a few times. Of course, because I'm polite until provoked, I do it graciously and without a fuss.

Personally, I wouldn't own a 4 x 4 for any reason other than offroading. My motives certainly aren't out of inverted snobbery or anything, just pure practicality and a hearty dislike of ostentation.

My personal view of society is that joining ANY particular pack is not a good idea if one wishes to be an individual. I'm a non-conformist, but every now and again, me and one pack or the other actually agree.

YES, there are far worse cars than, say, a Suzuki Vitara, or even a RAV 4, but I don't approve of them, either. But owning a Ferrari to drive on the road makes slightly more sense than owning a hummer to nip down to Tescos, don't you think?

Believe me, I'm not envious. I'm not materialistic in the slightest, believing as I do that fashion and trends etc are sheeplike behaviour. But every now and again, it all becomes laughable. Like the mad scramble to get little Tarquin and Chlamydia into the best school (i.e. the one with biggest snob value), the cost of your house (a) in the UK and/or (b) your holiday home abroad.

I define people by what they do, not purely by what they own. But sometimes, one is a symptom of the other.

3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


farmers and gamekeepers need to shop as well not all produce is home grown, despite what you city slicker think, maybe you also think farmers are made of money and can afford a 'shopping car' to save using the 4x4 in a tesco car park, maybe you should get your people carrier out of your arse and see that real people work for a living.

Farmer Palmer

3:01 PM  
Blogger FourBy said...

I assume the reason that most 4x4 drivers (around these parts at least) happen to be GROSSLY overweight women is because they need the extra power to manouvre their lard around.

Hey! Missus! Get out of the fucking wagon. Rediscover the joys of walking/cycling, otherwise your blubberous time-bomb will, one day soon, explode in your face.

6:11 AM  

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