Saturday, April 12, 2008

Yoghurt Knitters 1, Chinese Thugs 0

AFTER THE humiliation that was the much-vaunted opening of Terminal 5 at Heathrow, it took the debacle of the Olympic Torch procession to restore a bit of national pride. And didn’t we do it well?

As the blue-tracksuited Chinese thugs, who were according to the newspapers highly-trained killers from crack military special forces units, struggled to cope with a man with a fire extinguisher and a few barmy yoghurt-knitters, it did your heart proud to watch democracy in action.

Have some of this, Denise van Outen! Stitch that, former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq! It was fantastic; an utter farce from start to finish.

Of course, you might ask why the Beijing Olympic Games Sacred Flame Protection Force, as they are apparently known, were allowed to jog through the streets of Britain in the first place, manhandling Lord Coe and roughing up assorted Z-list celebrities as they went. After all, didn’t we have enough of our own paid heavies to cope with the demonstrators? I’m thinking of the cycle helmet-clad coppers in high-visibility jackets and the outer layer of riot police. Wasn’t that enough to guarantee safe passage?

I know that if I was a pro-Tibet protestor (and, truth be told, I’m rapidly heading that way) the sight of China’s finest coming the big man on the streets of the capital wouldn’t have put me off; rather, it would have inspired me to have a pop at them. Me and that Max Mosley.

Meanwhile our brave Prime Minister, Wee Gordie Broon, managed to “welcome” the Olympic Torch to Downing Street without actually touching it, so continuing his craven habit of distancing himself from anything that might look remotely negative including, it must be said, most of his own government’s policies. It’s enough to make a cat laugh.

I’M PUZZLED about all this fuss surrounding property prices. According to the hysterical London media, we’re suffering from a massive financial crisis because house prices have dropped 10 per cent in the last three months. Well so what?

I sit here in Beelzebub Mansions, my country pile apparently worth £10,000 less than it was worth last week, and how have I been affected? Well, not at all, really. My mortgage payments, vast though they are, haven’t increased. There are no bailiffs banging on the door and, as yet, I can still afford to feed the family by shopping at Waitrose, rather than Lidl. So what’s all the fuss about?

The only people who might be affected are those whose fixed-term mortgages are coming to an end (and are you really going to tell me that they didn’t expect the rate to increase when they renewed?) and those people who are trying to move house. And even then, we must presume that the house they are looking to buy will have decreased in value by a similar amount to the house they are trying to sell.

It’s all a lot of fuss about nothing. The only thing any householder has to worry about is if Max Mosley moves in next door and there’s insufficient sound-proofing. As for the rest, it’s just London-based journalists sweating that the sale of their two-up, two-down terrace in Notting Hill won’t fund their exodus to a country pile where they can wear green wellies and moan about smelly cows.

SPEAKING OF which, expect some serious media condemnation of the Dewsbury Moor estate, where Shannon Matthews lived with her “extended family” until her alleged kidnap.

When this story broke there was much soul-searching about the way the Matthews and their ilk were portrayed by the press, particularly in comparison to those nice, middle-class McCanns. The red-top tabloids held their noses; the posh papers condemned the hypocrisy.

But now, with Karen Matthews charged with perverting the course of justice in connection with her daughter’s disappearance, all bets are off. The Sun, the paper you lot buy in greater numbers than any other than this one, were first out of the blocks comparing the estate to Beirut and whining about grown women making their way to the shops, in the rain, at midday, while still wearing pyjamas and slippers. (To be fair, they used to do that in the street where I grew up, on their way to buy a pint of ‘loose sherry’ from the off licence.)

Bailiffs abound, we are told, and residents happily show off their electronic tags as some sort of fashion item. The easy comparison is made with the fictional Chatsworth Estate, home of the TV series Shameless. Unfortunately that doesn’t quite stand up. Consider this: Karen Matthews has seven children by five different fathers. Two of those children she calls ‘The Twins’, not because they are twins, but because they have the same father. That’s close enough.

Now there’s not a TV scriptwriter on earth who could have come up with a line like that. Not even if they moved Max Mosley in next door.

NOW I know that they’re trying to show willing, but some of the madcap schemes that the Powers That Be come up with only go to show how far removed from reality they really are.

The latest embarrassment is the abandonment of the plan to make all paedophiles register their email addresses so that social networking sites like Bebo and Facebook could ban them from pretending to be attractive teenage boys when in fact they were 50-year-old lorry drivers from Tamworth.

One small point: it takes approximately five seconds to set up a new email address, something that clearly didn’t occur to the great brains who run this country. If the cat wasn’t laughing before, it is now.


Blogger Chalcedon said...

Property prices are not dropping through the floor. In most areas they are quite stable. The area where there is a drop is basically along the West Coast of Britain. The papers are having hysterics and trying to talk the market down. Just because a few buy to let merchants got their fingers burned in London and a few other cities does not mean your house is dropping in value like the proverbial stone.

The Shannon Matthews saga is really quite dreadful. The poor girl is not pretty and a Chav so she didn't get the big sympathy vote. Then the ghastly details of the family came out. Also, why do the media refer to the 22 year old layabout as her 'stepfather' when he is not married to SM's mother? He is not her step father he is the mother's live in toy boy. If this story had featured in a soap opera it would have been deemed so not like real life as to have been completely crazy.

Beirut sounds like a holiday destination by comparison to the sink estate mentioned by the tabloids.

5:58 AM  
Blogger Chalcedon said...

Why did we, a supposedly sovereign country, allow a squad of Chinese armed police (they weren't armed here of course, no-one is allowed to be)to operate on our soil? This is totally outrageous and unacceptable. Would they let a British bobby patrol in Peking? Certainly not.

We had our own boys to repress democratic protest, we do not need theirs or any lessons from them in stifling democracy. after all, whast happened when Hu Jin Tao toured London a couple of years ago? Protesters were hauled away off the street, regardless of being peaceful but noisy.

Welcome to the democratic (not) rweality of Nu Labour's police state of the UK.

"Papiren, schnell!!!"

I sometimes think it would have been better if we had lost WWII.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Alex C said...

To precipitate a property price plummet two factors need to be working together - high unemployment and high interest rates. Without it people just don't sell their houses and it's impossible to crash without a market.

So a few people had to sell into a buyers market and lost a bit of money (no more than they'd made already this year). Those sales would have happened anyway - you just didn't notice before because they were hidden by the bulk of the normal sales. If the papers pointed out that there were only 10% of the sales compared to this time last year I might be a bit more tolerant of their scaremongering.


p.s. Aren't honour guards etc a fairly common thing of the past? There's only an handful of them anyway and if anyone has to get hurt over this pageant I'd rather it wasn't a British bobby...

2:32 AM  

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