Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Look out - here comes the Wakey Wakey Squad

IT SEEMS that never a day passes without our media-obsessed Ministers popping up on well-known heavyweight political programmes like the Lorraine Kelly show or Hole in the Wall to announce yet another ‘major initiative’. It’s either creating non-jobs, tackling knife crime, or telling us we’re all fat and are going to die young. (Let’s face it – that seems like a decent option at the moment.)

Wednesday’s Crackerjack pencil went to the ginger midget Hazel Blears, our Communities Secretary (no, I don’t know what one of those is either), who dismounted from her motorbike to announce that a crackdown on ‘Shameless’ families could see state officials turning up at people’s homes to get them out of bed for work and make sure their children go to school. No, really.

Here are the brave new words: “In a recession, there’s no space for freeloaders. We need a more muscular approach to the ways the state intervenes into deliberately-unemployed people’s lives.

“We should give local agencies and voluntary groups new powers to do whatever it takes to get people off the sofa and into a job.”

So let’s get this straight. It’s 7.30am outside a tower block on an inner city sink estate. Up above around 500 scrotes snore soundly, sated by an overdose of Findus Crispy Pancakes, White Lightning, Tesco Value Fags and Freeview porn. Suddenly a coach rolls up. It’s the Wakey Wakey Squad - 50-odd social workers, bailiffs and assorted Plod, all come to arouse the underclass to put them to work painting old ladies’ fences and scrubbing graffiti off the underpass.

So what happens next? Presumably they have to kick in a few doors to wake the heavy sleepers and drunks. Do they then wash and dress their children, stoke them up with Ready Brek and pack them off to school? Do they find the missing gym kit or write the notes excusing Tyrone from games because he’s got a verruca? And what do they do with the kids who are being hidden underneath a divan bed in a bizarre kidnap plot?

Do they then do the same to the adults, ignoring Frank Gallagher’s whining because his poached egg isn’t runny? How do you dress an uncooperative lowlife? Do you iron his hoodie and brush the dandruff off his baseball cap?

How can this possibly work? Have you ever heard of anything so daft in your life?

If we then multiply that one tower block requiring 50 public sector staff by the number of tower blocks in Britain, then add in every other slovenly abode on a dodgy estate across the nation, and you can see just how stupidly impractical this whole thing is.

It’s nonsense, blathered out by an idiot politician and unthinkingly reported by an increasingly under-resourced and amateurish national press. Did no-one think to say: “Hang on, Hazel, how is this actually going to work?” No, of course not. The column inches are in the bag; the TV minutes have been logged by NuLabour’s media stormtroopers.

It demeans every other sensible policy that might, once in a blue moon, emanate from Westminster. And it demeans the noble craft of journalism, and as a hack that makes me very cross indeed. It’s pathetic, just pathetic.

HAVE YOU seen that telly advert for financial services giant Norwich Union announcing how it’s changing its name to something moronic like ‘Aviva’, in which famous stars recall how they had to do the same to achieve real fame?

There’s Richard Starkey (not even the best drummer in The Beatles), Walter ‘Bruce’ Willis, Dame Edna and Vincent ‘Alice Cooper’ Furnier, all extolling the benefits of a new monicker. But I can’t help feeling that if they really wanted to make the point, they should have put a phone call in to a certain Paul Gadd. I wonder why they didn’t?

OVER THE past few months, I’ve been replacing any expired lightbulbs at Beelzebub Mansions with these new-fangled low-energy things. It has to be said that they’re hopeless. They give off a horrible, dim, cold light; they’re twice as expensive as the normal ones; they flicker in a way that can cause migraines, nausea or even epileptic seizures; and if you break one they’ll fill your home with poisonous mercury gas and kill all your children.

But try to buy a traditional 100 watt bulb and you’ll struggle, because retailers have been bullied into adopting a ‘voluntary’ ban on them after government pressure. Why so?

It appears that we blithely signed up to the ban during a European Union meeting in Brussels in March 2007, attended by Tony Blah. Over what appears to have been an amenable lunch, we also agreed to build thousands of wind turbines, give over millions of acres of productive farmland to growing ‘biofuels’, pay fines of millions of euros if Mrs Smethwick from 37B chucks an errant Brussels sprout into her ‘fortnightly’ bin, and to let Mr Berlusconi have first go on Lucy Pinder now she’s been evicted from the Big Brother House.

I’ve actually followed this one through with assorted council officials. Once everyone sobered up after the meeting, the rest of Europe waddled off home and said no more about it. Here, being less than a generation away from Nazism, the policy was ruthlessly imposed despite it being impractical and unworkable.

So we now we are chucking away light bulbs – and fittings – that are tried and tested, that don’t make a silly buzzing sound, are cheaper, more effective, safer, don’t make anyone ill, and are probably more environmentally-friendly. And that, we are told, is progress.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: light bulbs

Soon waste disposal operations (landfills, recycling centers, incinerators or whatever) will be found to have serious problems with Mercury contamination from thrown-out bulbs. You will pay massively for the emergency cleanup and create a few more battalions in the Turkey Army in the process.

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

On the name bit, am I the only one who fails to see the logic? Richard Starkey (which is the name he uses when he wants a bit of anonimity) became famous as Ringo Starr etc etc. But Norwich Union are famous as .... Norwich Union. The real question is what would happen if someone called Reg Dwight started pushing out pop songs; that's a closer analogy to the NU to Aviva change. Unfortunately, you can't get the ASA to investigate adverts that are just an insult to the intelligence - they'd need to employ 25% of the adult literate population if you could!!

3:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm working over in sunny California at the moment and have noticed two types of light bulbs being sold here. One is the type you describe, a kind of half light last seen when we used gas lights and the other produced by General Electric USA. These are definitely the equal of the incandescent type. The only drawback is they take a second or two to come to full brightness but, hardly noticeable really. So the technology is there now and I’ve happily changed all my light bulbs. Having said that, I bought a flat screen TV (Samsung) that uses 4 times as much electricity as a regular TV (if you can find one these days), this negating any benefit from changing the light bulbs. Incidentally, we’re all bathed in mercury, which is the worst neurotoxin on the planet, from all the coal powered power stations, they throw up hundreds of tons a year. Can anyone say Autism……

5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What we need for long-term unemployed is 'work from home' work houses. It works like this,,, they get paid minimum wage to work from home. Work could include staying in bed, watching daytime TV, visiting Ladbrokes etc. It's all inclusive, needs no qualifications, social skills and they couln't get fired. In return they loose rights to all the other benefits that allow their state sponging to be a viable alternative to work. Save the country billions :)

2:54 AM  
Anonymous Chris said...

I like the work from home idea: earn £5-odd an hour for a 35 hour week for sitting on your arse all day, but then you have to pay rent and council tax like the rest of us. Nice. :)

12:20 PM  
Anonymous skydog said...

''How can this possibly work? Have you ever heard of anything so daft in your life?''

Doddle! Get the GPO to cancel the Giro delivery. Come Tuesday morning bright and early there'd be hordes of frantic scrotes beating on the Dole office door screaming 'A wan ma fackin' Giro yakuntz!'. Saves all the trouble of getting them out of their wank-chariots and concentrates them in easily rounded up herds where Arbeit can Macht them Frei. Piece of piss.

9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The other option for the Workhouses is to have them done up like Big Brother then the scrotes can watch each other and we can make money selling the vision round the world. Also anthropologists would be able to use it as research material and write theisis and doctorates galore.
All for the price of the weekly Giro and some CCTV mods to each house.

10:19 PM  

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