Sunday, April 08, 2007

A stiff upper lip and a trouser leg full of sand

GO ON then. How many of you fell for a Sunday newspaper’s April Fool spoof about a carbon emissions tax being imposed on garden barbecues and how you’d have to buy a £5 permit every time you wanted to incinerate some sausages?

The problem was, it was just too close to the truth. Five or 10 years ago we’d have laughed it off along with the spaghetti trees and the island of San Serife. These days, amid the lunatic ruins of the Blah project, nothing seems beyond parody and you never know from one day to another where the next madcap scheme is coming from.

See if you can spot the wrong ‘un amongst these three stories. Bong! Five-year-old schoolchildren have been banned from playing tag during their breaks in case of “inappropriate physical contact between pupils”. Bong! A school in Yorkshire planning to put on a production of Little Red Riding Hood has changed the three little pigs to three little puppies in case they offended Muslim pupils. Bong! Motorists fined for speeding will now be forced to pay a £15 surcharge – on top of any fines and costs – to help the victims of domestic violence. Bong!

Find it? It’s not easy, trust me, because every one of them is true. Yes, even the last one. That’s how bizarre life in Cruel Britannia has now become.

I suppose we’ve got used to being taken for mugs by the Thieving Scotchman and his cronies, particularly if their latest tax can be possibly branded “green”, but even the daftest punitive measures had an underlying – if tenuous – logic. This latest scam is almost beyond belief.

Unless all speeding cars are being driven by battered wives escaping to the sanctuary of the wimmin’s refuge, I can find no possible connection between speeding and domestic violence. It is therefore completely daft to link them in this fashion. What it really says is what we’ve suspected all along – largely law-abiding middle class, middle-aged motorists are regarded as mere cash cows, there to be milked by an avaricious, authoritarian administration.

Well if I was Gordon Brown I would be very, very careful. Over 1.3 million drivers are now reckoned to be just three points, just one camera flash, away from a ban. That’s an awful lot of people who are about to be criminalized; about to have their family life disrupted and their employment and prosperity threatened.

It takes a lot to rile Middle England, but once riled we don’t back down easily. That’s why the BBC apparatchik who so carelessly booted Moira Stuart off the telly will be busy backtracking by the weekend. Our innate decency forces us to obey just about any law as long as we can see a seam of sense within. Out-and-out malicious bullying, as with this latest pathetic plan, will eventually lead to revolt.

Tear up the White Company bedsheets and get the Farrow and Ball emulsion out of the garage, Mother. We’re making banners and going on one of them demo things.

OUR IMMEDIATE sympathies for the 15 Naval personnel held hostage in Teheran for the past couple of weeks after allegedly straying into Iranian waters changed somewhat as the circus progressed.

(Fourteen men and one woman? It doesn’t take a genius to work out who was reading the map, does it?)

Now we’ve all seen Midnight Express, and I’m sure no-one wanted to see our boys and girl subjected to torture, but a nagging doubt remains over the way they seemingly rolled over so easily. Night after night a new video was unveiled: “Yes, Mr Mullah, no Mr Mullah, three bags full, Mr Mullah.”

Our grandfathers were made of sterner stuff. Name, rank and serial number and that was your lot, Fritz. No lack of moral fibre there. Lock them up and by now they'd have been wandering around with trouser legs full of sand, forging documents identifying themselves as deaf and dumb cobblers from Nantes and making a dummy of that Faye woman with a headscarf and a permanent fag on.

And another thing. We have to put up with well-organised riots outside the British Embassy in Teheran (they even brought their own truck full of rubble with them), but why aren’t we demonstrating outside the Iranian Embassy in London? Don’t we care anymore? Have we no self-respect left? Or have we been lied to so often that maybe, just maybe, we fear that the Iranians might be right?

Either way, it bodes ill for any British citizen abroad, soldier or suit. We are now officially fair game, with our tormentors safe in the knowledge that the worst they’ll suffer in terms of any revenge attack is having to listen to the Gollum-faced, ostrich-necked, hand-wringing Margaret Beckett apologise to them.

THIS IRAN stuff, coupled with the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, seems to have brought the Thatcha Haters out of hibernation where they’ve been polishing their dancing shoes and waiting for the poor old dear to peg it.

The Guardianistas are getting giddy while in Yorkshire they’ve even re-opened a coal mine. And every time that “Rejoice, rejoice” clip appears on the telly, Mrs B starts hurling abuse and reaches for her Michael Foot commemorative donkey jacket.

I can see that I’m going to have to leave the country for a week or two when the dreaded day arrives.

THE FRENCH show off their new train by running it from Strasbourg to Paris at speeds of up to 356mph. (Yes, I also think it would probably be even quicker going backwards. And did the institutionally politically correct BBC really compare its speed to that of a Spitfire going flat out?)

Meanwhile British Airways is named and shamed as the worst airline in Europe for losing baggage, our motorways grind to a halt as Easter weekend gets underway, and Tracy Barlow gets off with 15 years (and she’ll be out in five) for murdering an innocent man whose only “crime” was to wear the same vest for several weeks.

It’s enough to make a cat laugh.


Anonymous mook said...

largely law-abiding middle class, middle-aged motorists are regarded as mere cash cows, there to be milked by an avaricious, authoritarian administration.

Hmmm... I'm interested to see what research has shown that"middle class" motorists are more law abiding than anyone else.
And also that "Middle Class" motorists are ticket more than other classes?

8:01 AM  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

Hook line and sinker on that barbecue police story. I blogged about it then searched the story out for details, only then to discover the April Fool link. But as many have said: it is so believable and ... don't give them ideas!

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Al said...

The worrying thing is that I don't see when the loony "April Fool" style stories will stop coming. If NuLabour win the next election they won't stop. Under Dave "Tory Blair" Cameron the Tories seem more interested in going one better than NuLabour at every opportunity rather than presenting an alternative, so if they win it will be more of the same. The other factor is that many of these loony ideas come from local councils and other public bodies that won't change overnight regardless of the outcome of a general election anyway.

3:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Neal Asher = Gullible Fanny.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

Anon, it's the paranoia combined with creeping senescence. Now, inspectors checking out your house's green credentials when you come to sell it ... that was a joke, right?

4:46 AM  
Blogger The Remittance Man said...


On the whole the middle-aged men actually have licences and pay their fines. Boy racers in their chavved-up Honda Civics and Vauxhall Vivas don't. Ergo revenue is more guaranteed from them.

Middle-aged men tend to be done for exceeding the limit on open roads whereas the chavs tend to race through towns. This makes "safety" hard to justify.

Based on those assumptions, which I think you'll agree are pretty fair, give me another explaination for the proliferation of speed cameras apart from revenue collection.

8:03 AM  
Anonymous Carlo said...

Good Job! :)

12:07 PM  
Anonymous Kenny said...

Its not cruel,it has to be controlled some way!!

5:41 AM  

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