Saturday, March 28, 2009

Whither now, dear Bazza?

THE FINANCIAL crisis gripping the regional newspaper industry means that I have finally lost my last paying customer. It's been a good innings so I'm not complaining, but where now for Mr Beelzebub?

I won't miss the Wednesday night slog, with 900 words to turn out (and occasionally churn out) between the end of Coronation Street and the midnight hour. And I won't miss writing for other people's newspapers. When I was an editor I could say more or less what I wanted in my own newspaper, as long as I was prepared to defend myself in court and on the streets. When you're submitting stuff to other editors, you naturally pull back a bit.

Maybe that's the answer. Freed from worrying about what other editors have to print, I can now be more potty-mouthed and more offensive than ever. And if you don't like it, don't come here.

Hmm, I'll mull it over for a while. Maybe a daily blog is the answer - although if the half a million of you who have visited this site had chucked in a penny a time, I'd be more amenable to banging on.

In the meantime, here's the last newspaper column, as it appeared in the York Press under the name of Mike Bentley.

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I THINK it was the East German Stazi who were the most successful when it came to persuading children to inform on their parents. Now, inspired by these secret policemen, some of our schools are now in the same game, urging their Kindergarten Quisling pupils to go home and pester their mothers and fathers into adopting a healthier lifestyle.

“Please Daddy, don’t smoke that cigarette.” “No, Mummy, put the Chardonnay down.” It must be a nightmare, being nagged by your own offspring in what was once the comfort of your own home. No wonder digging an extra cellar appears to be an attractive pastime for hen-pecked middle class dads.

And it’s not going to stop there. The most alarming story of the week revealed that an army of snoopers is being recruited by the government to ‘nag’ colleagues, family, friends and neighbours into leading a healthier life. These so-called “public health mentors” will be enlisted by the NHS to offer on-the-spot advice to people whom they judge to be smoking, drinking, or eating to excess.

So eating a third fried breakfast of the week in the works canteen, having “one for the road” in the local after work, or smoking too many fags while waiting for the bus will lead to the office sneak sidling up to you and whispering a health warning in your ear: “You don’t want to be doing that …”

And what if you ignore these warnings? What then? Does the sneak then shop you to social services, who will come round and take your children away? Are you hauled before the Health Courts and fined or imprisoned?

The government thinks this initiative will help to cut NHS costs. I do hope they’ve factored in the increased number of office sneaks who will be presenting themselves in A&E with broken noses.

IT’S TIME to come clean. My name isn’t really Mike Bentley and I’m not just a mere newspaper hack. I’m actually a field officer in the government’s top secret Department of Misinformation. Sorry about that.

This is how it works. Fifteen long years ago, when the NuLabour project was first conceived, the shape-shifting lizards behind the grand scheme recognised that the Great British Public might not be entirely amenable to being treated like lab rats in this social engineering experiment and would need some kind of outlet for their anger. They therefore proposed to install supposedly dissident columnists on newspapers across the land through whom readers could vent their bile. Spleen Diffuser Agents (Grade 2) is our civil service name. Smoke and mirrors is our game.

(Littlejohn is one of ours, as is Rod Liddle. Not Jon Gaunt though; he failed the entrance exam.)

You see, while we were wibbling on about minor scandals, the major outrages were going on behind your back. While we were moaning about a family of fat people getting £20,000 a year in benefits because they were too lazy to work, hundreds of MPs were pocketing that amount and more by fiddling their expenses – all by the book of course.

While we were complaining about our imaginary relatives being left on trolleys in hospital corridors, the reality of the situation was over a thousand patients dying in one hospital alone because target-chasing managers refused to employ enough staff to clean the excrement off their charges.

While we were shaking our heads at a 27-year-old reality TV ‘star’ selling the rights to her own death for £700,000, a dodgy 50-year-old failed banker was using public money to fund a pension of that amount for every year until he keels over – not to mention a £3million lump sum.

And it worked, brilliantly, for many years. Good God, they even managed to drag the country into two pointless foreign wars without widespread revolt. People were more concerned with the rumours we were spreading about them being fined for putting the wrong kind of cardboard in their recycling bins, or how some anonymous school somewhere down south had re-written the words to Baa Baa Black Sheep.

But now it’s over. The bubble has burst. The bright shiny people of the Blah years have been reduced to malodorous, shuffling hulks, made stupid by lies and staggering from crisis to meltdown like zombies who’ve lost their sat navs. The project has failed and chaos reigns.

Our elected representatives seem to be institutionally corrupt, indulging in morally fraudulent expenses claims to an extent that would have Mr Plod feeling collars in any branch of commerce.

The nation faces financial ruin, lulled into a spending frenzy by an unsustainable property bubble. And while hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs, the public sector keeps on recruiting – and handing out pay increases.

The education system is a farce, where every child gets a full set of A-levels before going on to university still unable to read and write properly, and where their main ambition is to emulate a dead reality TV star who was famous for being famous.

We’ve surrendered any kind of control of our borders as far as illegal immigration is concerned, yet we’re about to force British citizens to fill out a form consisting of 53 intrusive questions before allowing them to leave the country. It’s now illegal to tell a joke about homosexuals, but extremist Muslim preachers can call for gays to be stoned to death and no-one blinks. And, in a final sign of the collapse of our civilisation, Pot Noodle have launched a Donner Kebab flavour.

So my work here is done. I’m being relocated to teach Advanced Spokeweasel on a politics course at a polytechnic down south. That’s all. Over and out.

Pip pip!

33 Comments:

Anonymous Tony B.Liar said...

Mike/Bazza,

This HAS to be your best post ever!!!! I sincerely hope that it is NOT your "last post" and that your remarks on that score are just ironic. What would we do if you were to shut up shop?

11:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bazza, you've always hinted at your northern roots and for years I've thought you were one of us, please don't tell me you're a Yorkshireman! (although still better than being a Jock, a Welshie or French)
Signed
A Lancastrian

1:29 PM  
Blogger BarryBeelzebub said...

I can assure you that I am not a Yorkshireman.

4:32 PM  
Blogger Black Dog said...

Sorry to hear you've lost your job. Perhaps there's no room in this damned country for someone who actually writes what sensible people think. Lets hope that common sense prevails.

Your remarks about collumists whining about small "outrages" whilst massive ones pass unnoticed is exactly right.

In the meantime, don't deprive us of a shot of sanity now and again, and best of luck with whatever you do next.

5:57 PM  
Anonymous Kevin Klutey said...

NuLabour was conceived and created by wowsers. Who remembers their promise to sweep away the sleaze in government yet they give every encouragement to the very sleazy Peter Mandelson? Their leaden effect upon this country may never be undone.
Just look what the BBC has become whilst arse-licking them. The shock/horror/outrage/sacking of Russell Brand for a puerile prank, calling David Jason a racist for making a simple pun, reinventing Friar Tuck as a black man and showing the US war of independence as having been won, not by George Washington, but by runaway Negro slaves.
Meanwhile, over on commercial television, most adverts seem content to promote women as calm, skilled, multi-tasking angels whilst men are portrayed as useless idiots.
The thought police have been encouragd to take over local councils, schools and the emergency services. At night our parks are full of under-age shaggers, rapists, muggers and drug addicts who are given free rein. By day the council gestapo are handing out huge fines for allowing a lettuce leaf to get in with your recycled glass or for failing to pick up a dog turd (up to £3500 in my home town!!!!)
Who's behind all this crap?
Perhaps it really is those shape-shifting lizards with the hidden agenda.

(Mind you - I still think Rod Liddle is a bit of a bicycle-seat sniffer)

6:28 PM  
Blogger Stew said...

well stop poncing about and put a Paypal Donate! button on the blog

2:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.messagespace.co.uk/

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Bazza,

Not being from the 'regions', I have never seen your writings in print (we have soft toilet paper down here in the South) but this is surely a sad day - I have followed and enjoyed your online writings for a year or so and I often commend you to others.

Why not continue & take advertising on your blog - it seems to work for example for Guido?

4:28 AM  
Anonymous The Other Half said...

This cannot surely be the end of it all Bazza.
Having first read your jottings in the B.E.P. and being very taken with your attitude to life, I was very sad when you "departed" from that paper. A very nice lady explained just how to continue reading your efforts (did you leave a sixth column in place). In a very short period, many of the other writers were also removed. The paper suffered badly as a result.
Good luck with your future, hopefully we may be able to enjoy your colourful slant on this twisted world in which we are existing in.
Best wishes to you, Mrs.B and your "man" (who has been very quiet of late).
BFN

4:56 AM  
Blogger Rod said...

Bazza! Don't go! You are a small voice of sanity in this noisy insane world. Oh how much I have enjoyed your rantings about 'NuLabour' and the 'Turkey Army'. I have been slightly disappointed that you havent attacked HR departments (Hardly Responsible, Half Redundant, Human Remains etc.). Put a Paypal donate button on your 'Blog' I'm sure that I and a few like minded people will keep you in 'Cigars and Scotch' in order to continue to appreciate your ascerbic wit.

Not goodbye I hope but aurevoir..

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been following your output for about a year and apart from your current situation, the saddest part of your diatribes is how close to the truth they are.

Four years ago I had enough of being an alien in my own country and buggered off to sunnier climes the other side of the world. At least here everyone knows the politicians are useless, crooked bastards; even the politicians.

Good luck for the future and can you get the last one there to turn out the lights when they leave?

7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brilliant! Sacked at last, after all your jibes at the great Scottish race it really is wonderful to see you joining the great unwashed at the Jobcentre.

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The last comment is just proof that there really are idiots out there, Glad you're going but so obviously always read the articles, why would you do that if don't like what he says.

1:11 AM  
Blogger BarryBeelzebub said...

To avoid confusion, I haven't been sacked and I haven't lost my job. It's simply that there are no takers at the moment for this particular column. Freelance budgets have been slashed or eliminated altogether, and it's better that the money goes towards keeping journalists in full employ, rather than be frittered away by Mrs B at the garden centre.

2:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that there is an up & coming political party who would only be too glad to exploit your free & open views of the world. You surely represent the vast majority of right thinking people in this country, this once great country, and they would stand fully behind you to help push back the wooly invader from our shores/borders (delete as applicable.
We the British Natural Party salute you, and may this period of insanity soon be at a (suitably favourable) end.
(bare cheeked smiley)

5:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C’mon Barry, we still need someone to pick through the manure from the next turkey army. That is if the lizards don’t declare a force majeure on debt service first

Get the paypal button working.

5:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't stop! Take on advertising if necessary. I really hope you can keep the column going here.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous Tiger said...

Please don't stop Baz, I've been reading your stuff for years and I would be like a zombie without a satnav if you disappeared! I'd gladly donate to keep reading, it keeps me sane...

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't stop, please.
The Stilton will never forgive.

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff ... top class =]

.. hope to be reading more !!

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes it's obviously the financial crisis. Not the fact that your writing is drivel.

10:58 AM  
Anonymous Tony B.Liar said...

Baz,

Seems like there's a head of steam building to insist that you keep up the column. Not surprising either! Aside from asking for donations via paypal or a subscription [£20 a year to all e-mail subscribers should be about right, doncha reckon?] how about linking up with "The Daily Mash" and doing a weekly column on their website. You yourself pointed me in their direction and it really is a fantastically funny site which I would recommend to all [www.thedailymash.co.uk] Failing that, how about Private Eye??? Or both!

4:27 AM  
Anonymous Alex C said...

Hi Baz

We'll be sorry not to enjoy the weekly dose of vitriol, humour and common sense that makes up your column.

Are you sure its safe to deny yourself this haven for the disgust and bile, though? Without such a repository could it not overflow and upset the delicate balance of life at home.

Chaos, turmoil, and confusion! Cats and dogs sleeping together! Madness!!!!

If you are sure it's safe though - we'd love to see more and don't mind adverts, and would love to see you at the Daily Mash or the Register (their excellent weekly IT spoof seems to have dried up recently - could now be the time to pounce - a like minded if technical audience anyhow).

If you're mind is made up thanks so much for all you've shared over the years.
Alex

6:07 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy the Geek said...

" The last comment is just proof that there really are idiots out there, Glad you're going but so obviously always read the articles, why would you do that if don't like what he says." ?

Because the Scotch idiot has to keep his remaining eye in.

9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's it got to do with you Geek? English twat!

11:40 AM  
Anonymous Jimmy the Geek said...

I'm a taxpayer that's what it's got to do with me you scrounging porridge gobbler.

2:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get the newspaper you wri(o)te for as I am in Australia. But a frequent visit to your blog (and the Englishman's Castle) keeps me abreast of what is going on in the 'home' country. A greater output to a daily blog would be well recieved, me old Devil, but might damage your spleen and overwork those unique parody neurones. Make it every other day.

Amfortas

7:35 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Bazza son.....get stuck in for Pension Credit...you must be old enough. Or put in for Jacqui Smith's parliamentary secretary - that job will be coming up soon.
What about Mrs B?......where does she stand in all this uproar?

9:42 AM  
Anonymous Westbury Boy said...

I am devastated at the news that you may give up this blog. My horror will be shared by the world-wide army of other fans to whom I email your column each week.
I too have been an avid reader since the BEP days and cannot imagine how we can survive without your providing us with the weekly outlet to share our fury and despair at the idiocies of the modern world.
Please adopt the PayPal button option as I know many who would happily subscribe in ways like that to keep you in Stilton and bile! Nil illegitimi carborundum (Don't let the bastards grind you down)!

3:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Jimmy the Fanny knows that I don't pay taxes. Typical English Twat, no idea about reality.

9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. B'bub. Can you emigrate to the USA? We need the likes of you. Obama and his gang are making the UK of Brown & Co. look like the Athens of Pericles.

2:05 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I second everything that has been said.Keep blogging Barry, try the Paypal Donate route or Adverts, you have nothing to lose.Have read for about 8 years but this is my first post, I am sure that there are lots more like me who would donate.We need someone like you to keep pointing out the crap that is shovelled on the subjects of this country.
If you don`t,thanks anyway for all the common sense and laughter that you have brought to your readers.

4:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hmm, I'll mull it over for a while. Maybe a daily blog is the answer - although if the half a million of you who have visited this site had chucked in a penny a time, I'd be more amenable to banging on."

quite happy to pay- name your price

6:06 AM  

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