Monday, March 03, 2008

Do people poo themselves when they die?

I’m not interested in a barrage of policies, each launched as a knee-jerk reaction to a sternly-worded leader column in The Sun or after a minister has had a tough time on the couch at GMTV. I just want to feel that someone is in charge; that someone is planning carefully and yes, prudently, instead of hurtling from crisis to crisis in an atmosphere more gloomy than a Bridgend teenager’s bedroom.

Which brings us to NuLabour’s oft-stated intention of being ‘tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime’, which would be fine if only it were true. Unfortunately our prisons are now so full that violent criminals are walking straight out of court back onto the streets because magistrates have been told not to jail them.

Funnily enough, the same over-stretched prison services managed to find room to house 76-year-old Richard Fitzmaurice, who was handcuffed and dragged off to a cell after being sentenced to 34 days for failing to pay his council tax in full. The former warrant officer in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, who objected to funding the gilt-edged pensions of Turkey Army drones, clearly deserves to feel the full weight of the law while muggers and robbers are sent off to paint an old lady’s gate.

See what I mean? Joined-up thinking.

And then we have the government’s latest 10-year drugs strategy, wherein addicts will lose their state benefits if they fail to turn up to appointments with counsellors.

Now I know two things about junkies. Firstly, they’re not great at keeping appointments. Secondly, they commit 99 per cent of all the burglaries, robberies and shoplifting that occurs in this blighted nation of ours. And that’s when they’re already pocketing their housing benefit and Giro.

Take away that few quid and what will happen? Even more burglaries, robberies and shoplifting. See what I mean? Joined-up thinking.

LOOK OUT! Here comes another knee-jerk policy screaming over the horizon. Apparently hundreds of former soldiers could be re-trained as teachers as part of a crackdown on violence and truancy in inner-city schools.

Ex-servicemen – “including retired sergeant majors” – could be drafted in to bring a taste of discipline to children as young as five.

Now while the idea of giving our children a positive male role model simply has to be the way forward, and while the thought of a semi-deranged squaddie making a rebellious toddler do 50 press-ups because his homework was late does appeal on a certain level, I’m not sure this plan has been completely thought through.

For a start, many of the kids will be better marksmen and more comfortable when handling a gun. Then there are the endless questions that mischievous youngsters delight in asking.

“Please Sir, have you ever killed anyone? Please Sir, is it true that people poo themselves when they die? Please Sir, have you ever seen a man’s skull crack open and his brains ooze out?”

You can imagine the kids going home to their families to be asked: “So, did you learn much today?”

“No, Dad. After Jenkins Junior blew up and burst a crisp bag, Mr Atkins just sat staring out of the window, weeping.”

See what I mean? Joined-up thinking.

NOT VERY long after Madelaine McCann went missing, most media vultures started pondering the question of whether or not the case would have received the same, largely sympathetic treatment if the errant parents (and errant they certainly were) had been scrotes off a council estate rather than middle class professionals.

Well now we have the chance to compare the coverage. At the time of writing, nine-year-old Shannon Matthews has been missing for 10 days. She was last sighted leaving school at 3.10 pm in the afternoon. It was only when she hadn’t arrived home by 7pm – after a couple of hours of darkness – that she was reported missing. You see, we’re already making judgements about her quality of care.

We then turn to Shannon’s mother, 32-year-old Karen, the mother of seven children by five different fathers. We’re judging her already, aren’t we? Well I am.

Then there’s Karen’s current beau, 22-year-old Craig. We are told that Shannon had a good relationship with Craig. “They were having tickling fights and telly cuddles. She views him as her dad,” says Karen.

Oh really? Condemn me if you want, but I do wonder how many occasional ‘uncles’ poor Shannon has had to “view as her dad”. The tragedy of this situation isn’t just the angst of a missing child. It’s the depressing normality of a chaotic, irregular, dysfunctional family unit that, in all probability, led to poor Shannon going walkabout in the first place. Not an easy stance to take, I know, but at least an honest one.

ONE OF those stupid surveys claims that the average housewife should earn an annual salary of £30,000 for the performance of her domestic chores.

Forgive me, but when did lying on the couch in your pyjamas at 11 o’clock in the morning watching Judge Judy while scoffing chocolate éclairs pay £15 an hour?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most enjoyable read again. Cheers.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bet Plod have got their eyes on '22 year-old Craig'.
Seven children by five different fathers by age 32 eh? It's a wonder she hasn't lost count by now.
Sometimes when I poo I think I'm going to die.

12:35 PM  
Blogger Vulcan Death grip said...

I would love to be present at the latest PTA meeting with the new intake of squadi soldies especially when they scream "Naked Bar"

8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seven children by five different fathers sounds awfully familiar to most Americans. We have a major surplus of living, breathing Bratz dolls roaming the countryside in search of wayward sperm donors as well. I'm going to propose the addition of a new event to the International Olympic Committee:

Tag Team Fellatio.

The real Bratz dolls could be used as icons. Imagine the advertising revenues one could generate from an audience that got upset by seeing 40% of Janet Jackson's boob for half a second.

6:35 AM  
Anonymous Clint said...

We shouldn't judge, but the 22 year-old "dad" doesn't look to be the sharpest knife on the block.

Would I be wrong in thinking that the mother fancies a few quid, so pretends to have her daughter go missing in the vain hope that poor misguided pensioners send in their pension for the week?

Must cost a fortune to pay for those seven... six kids.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Hal Horn said...

I think the "training soldiers as schoolteachers" has an excellent future.

I mean, an idea that already sounds like a Python sketch can only become funnier as it is realised, am I right?

"Squaaaaad - WRITE YOUR - Wait for it! - ESSAY!!"

5:48 PM  

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