Sunday, March 26, 2006

I didn't get where I am today ...

THIS COUNTRY has produced many literary geniuses: Jordan, Posh Spice, Will Self, Bridget Jones, Wayne Rooney, Jeffrey Archer, the man who writes the Vauxhall Zafira ads (“overtired”). Oh, and me.

But one author who has never really received the acclaim he deserves is a certain Mr David Nobbs, the brains behind Sunshine Desserts, the sometime workplace of one Reginald Iolanthe Perrin – possibly the finest comic creation of the 20th Century.

At Sunshine Desserts, in the office of managing director CJ, was a “flatulent” chair. You know the kind – squeaky, over-stuffed, leather-look plastic that makes an embarrassing noise every time you sit down or get up. Various acolytes (“Great”, “Super”) would squirm in this chair as CJ boomed at them the fact that he didn’t get where he was today by squirming in a flatulent chair. You get the picture.

But, as ever, life imitates art. This week in Bristol, an employment tribunal was told by Ms Susan Storer, 48, a deputy head, that it was a "regular joke" that her chair made embarrassing sounds, and that she frequently had to apologise to parents, colleagues and pupils.

She claimed that two other deputy head teachers, both male, were given new “executive-style” chairs in their offices while she was overlooked. The chair, of course, was part of a “catalogue of sexist behaviour that undermined her position”. She resigned from her £48,000-a-year post in September last year and is claiming constructive dismissal and sex discrimination. She wants … wait for it … a cool £1million for the loss of 17 years of earnings and pension.

I wonder what Reggie would have made of that?

IT’S BEEN a bumper week for scrotes, those people who aren’t politicians or public sector workers but who still manage to live off the labours of the rest of. Perhaps it’s the Festival of St Lidl, patron saint of the underclass, or something.

First up - and this is a cracker – is Mick Philpott (49) of Derby, a father of 14 who is demanding a larger house for him to share with his wife, girlfriend and eight of their children. Yep. Wife and girlfriend. Oh, and there’s another child on the way.

The fact that he’s only been on the waiting list for a month and already occupies the biggest available council property in Derby does not impress him. “They always come up with the same excuses,” Mr Philpott says of Derby City Council. “I love my country, but at the moment I feel ashamed of it. I think the country is going down the pan.”

Luckily, this country can still afford to pay the family £508 a week in benefits, so things can’t be that bad.

Enter stage left, 40-year-old Ellen Morris. She has 13 kids, claims £27,000 a year in benefits, smokes 40 cigarettes a day, and drives a Land Rover Discovery when not banned for imbibing too many of her favourite vodka and cokes.

Ms Morris was picked up by the scrote radar this week when she appeared in court for driving while disqualified, pleaded poverty to avoid a fine and also managed to get £1,800 of existing fines written off by agreeing to stay inside the court building for two hours in a token punishment.

“I’d like another couple of kids,” she said afterwards. “It’s not easy making the money stretch. They all want the latest gear and Nike trainers and I like Lacoste jumpers.”

So there we have it: The incontrovertible link between shelling out vast numbers of feral children and the amount of money they earn you, and straight from the horse’s mouth as well.

IT’S TIME to welcome back a couple of old friends. Remember Amy Crowhurst, who had her first child at the tender age of 12? Well she’s at it again, having popped out baby Destiny Renee a fortnight ago.

Amy lives with her 46-year-old mother, whose ninth and latest baby is the product of a liaison with a married Gambian man who has since flown the madhouse and gone back to his wife and kids. She’s been told that she’ll get her own council house – and her own benefits – when she turns 18. Job done, then.

Meanwhile, Miss Tracy Fulthorpe of Leeds, who featured in this coloumn back in 2004, has increased her output and accumulated 11 children. Sadly her latest child, a girl, died in a cot death incident last year. But no matter. Tracy is pregnant again and expecting a replacement in a couple of months.

According to my informant, she still smokes like a chimney and spends her spare time (apart from creating children) drinking Special Brew. Nice work if you can get it, eh?

SO WHO would win in a fight between The Wombles and The Clangers? I ask because in a poll to find the nation’s favourite children’s TV programmes, these two heavyweight contenders tied in sixth place. It seems only right and proper that they should slug it out to a proper conclusion.

I think the Wombles would have an early edge (you don’t survive on Wimbledon Common without knowing how to handle yourself), but if the Clangers called in the Soup Dragon, it would all be over by lunchtime.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone who doesn't think that Cherie Blah murdered Humphrey, the Downing Street cat, of anyone who wasn't mesmerised by those otters taking on a crocodile in Planet Earth, or of anyone who can explain to me how my man Whittaker has managed to add a whole family of rare, black-eared marmoset monkeys to his growing menagerie. The baby penguin has quite taken to them.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Reconstituted vegetable matter

DESPITE THE existence of some open prisons in this country that make Butlins look like Abu Ghraib, I can’t imagine that life in Belmarsh maximum security jail is a bundle of laughs.

Even so, I always thought that we treated our prisoners fairly and compassionately. Apparently not. The shocking news emerged this week that the preacher of religious hatred, Abu Hamza, has gone on hunger strike after being fed every day with … wait for it … Pot Noodles.

Now I don’t know whether poor old Captain Hook has been stuck on a diet of Bombay Bad Boys or given the decidedly nasty “Seedy Sanchez” Mexican variety, but a clearer example of man’s inhumanity to man would be hard to find. I should imagine Cherie Blah is winging her way to the prison as I write, with her “How to cash in on compo” manual already turned to the relevant page.

But what do you feed a bloke with a hook? Soup is a bit of a non-starter (did you see what I did there?) and mince would be problematic. If the authorities aren’t going to equip the old boy with one of those Swiss Army-type attachments with a spoon and a device for removing stones from suicide bombers’ hooves, then I’m afraid he’s going to have to survive on things like onion rings, doughnuts and Hula Hoops.

ANOTHER SIGN of the imminent breakdown of society as we know it came with the shock announcement this week that the manufacturers of Marmite are to abandon the brown glass jar in favour of an upside-down, plastic, squeezable container.

If there isn’t a law against this, there damn well should be. Marmite is not, by any stretch of the imagination, “squeezable”. It is the wrong consistency. And that means that they’re going to have to meddle with the recipe, or it simply won’t emerge from the container.

And who in their right mind would want to “squeeze” Marmite anyway? Marmite has to be carefully smeared, to near aerospace industry-tolerances, if it is to be edible. Apply it to a butty as you would tomato sauce and you’ll be watery-eyed for a week. They wouldn’t even feed that to Abu Hamza.

Something must be done. One by one our cultural and culinary icons are being eroded by the mad modernisers. Heinz Baked Beans are under attack from the significantly inferior Branston’s, the ill-mannered chav of the haricot world. Only last week I struggled to find a jar of Sandwich Spread in a supermarket. We need action now to prevent Fray Bentos tinned pies and butterscotch Angel Delight going the same way.

THE GOVERNMENT has published its White Paper on the role of the BBC, with Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell (she’s back on the market, lads, and she’s loaded) announcing that the licence fee would remain as the “least worst” way to fund the corporation. Well that’s alright then.

“Least worst”? Is that now the standard of thinking in this administration? Ms Jowell (38-28-36; likes Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain) also revealed that “entertainment should remain at the heart of the BBC”. Well that’s a blessing as well. What else could have been? Coal-mining? Pot Noodle production?

Of course, it depends what you mean by “entertainment”. I’m not sure I can stand many more Saturday nights of Ready Steady Pop Idol On Ice. What I want are magic moments like that baby elephant getting lost and wandering off into the desert. (Yes, I too had to dash out to make the tea to preserve my manly dignity.)

Or more of Yogi, the only sane chocolate Labrador in the world, who starred throughout last weekend’s Crufts coverage as the companion of a little disabled kid. (He even took his socks off for him. As an overweight and often befuddled middle-aged man, I think a dog that takes your socks off for you would make an ideal Christmas present.)

And I tell you what else we want – an apology. Despite being lavishly funded by public money and despite having enough dosh to “poach” Davina Thingy and Graham Norton on mega-bucks contracts, no-one has ever explained why the pictures we all sent in to the Vision On gallery couldn’t be returned. Why not? It’s not exactly rocket science is it, you mealy-mouthed tightwads.

FURTHER EVIDENCE that most of that extra money allegedly pumped into the NHS has gone on pen-pushers rather than medical staff: A hospital in North Staffordshire plans to make 1,000 workers redundant after running up debts of £17million.

Remarkably, the bloke in charge of doing this was on the radio the other morning insisting that frontline medical services won’t be affected and that the number of doctors and nurses getting the boot would be kept to a minimum – perhaps only a quarter of those going.

It doesn’t take a financial genius to ask just what those other 750 staff were actually doing if their departure is going to have no impact on the efficiency of the operation. Perhaps we’ve uncovered the North Staffs brigade of Mr Brown’s Turkey Army.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone who's borrowed £14 million off someone and now can't sort out their peerage, of anyone who's not been completely put off lesbian porn by the thought of that Sonia woman out of EastEnders, or of anyone who's ever accepted £2,000 for a week's work and then runs around moaning that their head is now three times the size it should be.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Have you heard the one about the NHS budgets?

HOSPITAL WARDS are closing and operations are being cancelled. Health trusts across the country are in debt to the tune of over £1billion and the bloke in charge has been booted out by his former government cronies for being unable to sort it out.

And meanwhile, the Department of Health places an advert in the Turkey Army recruitment section of the publicly-funded Guardian seeking a part-time speechwriter, 18 hours a week, salary up to £56,543. Nice work if you can get it.

Now that might work out to an eye-watering £68 an hour, but it is “a pivotal role” requiring “some expertise in health policy” and “impressive interpersonal skills”. A few doctor, doctor jokes might come in handy as well.

Now I’m not pretending that sticking that £56,543 back in the petty cash tin would help solve the NHS debt mountain, but appointments like these are indicative of where the problem lies. NuLabour twonks will waffle on for hours about how many zillions they’ve pumped into our health services, but all that matters for nothing if the extra cash gets frittered away on more layers of management and bureaucracy.

The other telling thing is the nature of the job. It’s not a vacancy for a brain surgeon or a heart specialist, but for a doctor of a very different kind – a spin-doctor; another soldier in the army of deception this government employs to mislead and confuse those would lay bare their inadequacies.

AS THE 10-year ban on the export of British beef and live cattle comes to an end, out rush the bunny-huggers to start whining about the transportation of animals.

You may remember the protests about the so-called barbaric cruelty of exporting veal calves in crates. Personally, I never saw a problem with it.

The wood from the crates gave the meat a nice oaky flavour and all those baby cow tears kept it tender as well. Still, if it stops the animal rights nutters digging up people’s grandmothers, I suppose we’ll just have to put up with them blockading seaports instead.

NANNY STATE update: The Royal Artillery is having to test “quieter” cannon rounds after fears that 21-gun salutes and the like might breach EU noise regulations. Loud bangs from guns? Let’s face it, it’s not a problem the French are ever going to have, is it?

In North Wales, that barmy chief constable who put a speed camera on every street corner has turned his attention to a much more serious threat to life – snowball fights. No, really. Apparently it’s anti-social behaviour, particularly if you put your snowballs in the freezer overnight.

Not to be outdone, a leather-elbowed headteacher from Devon has ruled that pupils can only throw snowballs at pals if they have first gained the permission of the victim. So before you clobber Jenkinson of 3B with a half brick hidden in a frosted veneer, be sure to make him sign his teeth away first.

This idea of “prior consent” is spreading into dangerous areas. After some sensible judges threw out a few dodgy rape cases, the government now wants legislation to make men prove that a woman isn’t too drunk to give her consent to sexual congress. Now that’s just daft. Where are you supposed to find a lawyer at 2.30am down a back alley behind a night club?

And finally, a shopkeeper in Herefordshire was dragged away from his Sunday lunch by an urgent call from the police. Fearing that his shop had been burgled, he hurried round only to find that the police wanted him to remove three golliwogs – sorry, gollies – that were on display in his shop window. The offending toys were then taken into custody.

West Mercia police said that they were acting under Section 5 of the Public Order Act after a complaint from “a member of the public”. (It’s funny how these readily-available “members of the public” are never actually identified, isn’t it?) Anyway, after a two-week investigation and consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, no charges are to be brought. The toys have since been released and will no doubt be lodging a compensation claim any day soon.

GORDON BROWN (have a tenner on him being Prime Minister by the end of May) has announced another one of those madcap schemes that should be filed under “It’ll Never Happen” alongside marching yobs to cashpoints and jailing parents for taking their children on holiday in term time.

Teenagers are to be rewarded for good behaviour with up to £300 a year in vouchers to spend on sport and leisure activities. This is supposed to keep them off the streets and prevent anti-social behaviour, as youngsters who repeatedly misbehave will have their £25 a month payments withdrawn.

Asked what the vouchers might be used for, Mr Brown mentioned “midnight football games and setting up their own radio stations”. Right. So kicking a ball against someone’s gable end in the small hours isn’t anti-social? So blocking emergency service wavelengths with pirate radio broadcasts of rap music (with a silent "c") isn't anti-social? The man’s a lunatic.

Anyway, I think we all know where this is heading. The bad kids will simply mug the good kids and then trade the vouchers in at a dodgy off licence for glue, drugs and alcopops. Nice one, Gordon.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone wasting their money on that Fairtrade coffee that tastes like caramelised creosote (no wonder those farmers are so fucking poor if they turn out rubbish like that), of anyone who can't afford the traffic jam-busting helicopter flight into Cheltenham racecourse next week, or of anyone not wanting to throw the radio through the window when The Archers' token poofs start arguing about who's going to do the washing up. I tell you now, if they decide to get married, then I'm off to Radio 2.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

And today just gets better and better

From The Sun:

WIFE Swap star Lizzie Bardsley has been arrested on suspicion of child neglect.

Last month The Sun revealed reality TV queen Lizzie, 32, was quizzed about alleged abuse.

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said last night: “A 32-year-old woman from Rochdale has been arrested on suspicion of child neglect and bailed until April 3.”

You could never say she wasn't ruthless!

From the BBC:

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and husband David Mills are to separate, it has been revealed.

Mr Mills' lawyer said their marriage had been put under "strain" by the controversy over their finances.

Ms Jowell was recently cleared of breaching the ministers' code of conduct - because her husband did not tell her about a £344,000 gift.

Lawyer Mr Mills, 60, has denied taking the money as a bribe from Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

In a statement Mr Mills' solicitor, David Kirk, said Ms Jowell was angry and embarrassed by the bribery allegations.

Friday, March 03, 2006

"Don't panic. I've just put £400k on black."

LET’S IMAGINE that you’ve come home from work, slumped at the dinner table in front of the starter of Findus Crispy Pancakes followed by the main course of Vesta Beef Curry, and you say to the Missus: “Oh, by the way love, I’ve re-mortgaged the house for £400,000.”

What do you think she’s going to say? “No problem, dearest. I’m sure you know best. Now where do I sign?”

Or: “You’ve what? Are you quite mad? How are we going to pay that back? And what’s the money for – wine, cigarettes and football as usual? Well you can forget about any of that bedroom nonsense until you’ve paid it off …”

Which brings us to Culture Minister Tessa Jowell. Now I’ve already given up on trying to keep track of her financial arrangements, which seem to involve multiple mortgages worth several millions of pounds, so I’ll just concentrate on that £400,000.

Are we really meant to believe that she simply didn’t ask her husband about the reason for the increased debt? And are we really meant to believe that he didn’t tell her that we was planning to pay it off a month later with a £350,000 “gift” from an Italian well-wisher?

It beggars belief. We’ve grown accustomed to NuLabour politicians thinking they can lie to us with impunity. And I’ve usually lost my voice long before Question Time rolls round on a Thursday evening after spending four days shouting at the telly or the Today programme as Minister after Minister refuses point blank to answer a simple question. Their utter contempt for the voter is obvious.

Now I’m not saying that Ms Jowell should resign because she’s a liar. That would be utterly untrue and potentially libellous. But I am saying that she should resign because she is, by her own admission, so patently stupid that she can’t be bothered to ask her husband why he’s put the family in hock for another £400k. And anyone that daft – and so cavalier with her own finances – doesn’t deserve to hold high public office.

WE CONTINUE our Scrote of the Year competition – first prize, free fags for life and the best parking space at Tesco – with Mr Stephen Sinnott from, you’ve guessed it, Merseyside.

Mr Sinnott claimed a total of £23,000 in disability benefits by convincing the gullible clowns at the DHSS that he was unable to walk more than 45 yards in one hike and that he needed help to get dressed and to prepare meals.

It was therefore unfortunate that after being shopped by an outraged neighbour, he was caught on video running the Chester half-marathon in a creditable 1hr 9mins. He now faces a maximum seven years in prison, but will obviously get off with community service, and spend a couple of days painting an old lady’s fence.

Meanwhile, given the buckets of abuse this column pours on those perceived to be taking the honest majority for a ride, we should pay tribute to the multi-kidded Beadle family from North Yorkshire.

This family of 14, with children ranging in ages from five to 31, works for a living. Every one of them over school-leaving age has a job. Their parents had four jobs between them until the father, Chris, had a heart attack. Even so, he refuses to claim benefit for his condition.

If all of the Beadles jacked it in and relied on the State, they would actually be £2,600 a year better off than they are now. It is to their credit, and to the shame of millions of others, that they choose not to take this route. I always knew that it would take Northerners to get this nation back on the moral high ground.

SO WHEN did this country really start going down the pan? You can cite the downfall of Her Royal Highness, St Maggie of Grantham. You can blame decimalisation, the day they put cheese and onion crisps in blue bags, or even Jordan. But for me it was the day England cricketers started flying home from Test series just because their wives were about to give birth.

I mean, what’s all that about? You work all your young life to earn your place amongst the nation’s finest cricketers, you fly halfway around the world, you stave off dysentery and flies and, just as their demon fast bowler starts his run up, you bugger off back to Blighty because the wife is about to pup. Can you imagine Ian Botham doing that? It’s madness.

(And what about the lads in Iraq and Afghanistan? Can you imagine them ducking the next firefight because of an urgent appointment on the maternity ward?)

These blokes are on good money now. I don’t want our best batsman to be stuck in the delivery ward amid blood, snot and histrionics, watching a miniature Winston Churchill emerging from his wife’s front bottom when he should instead be working out how to spot the googly when it comes out of the back of the hand against a sinking sun. Who pays their wages anyway? We do.

Fortunately, one bloke has decided to buck the trend. The wonderful Andrew Flintoff, who already carries England’s batting, bowling and fielding, has had to assume the captain’s job after injuries and whining womenfolk reduced our Test squad in India to an under-manned schoolboy rabble. And, as such, he has announced that his wife will have to produce sprog number two without his doubtful assistance.

Well done, that man. I knew it would take a Northerner to get the nation back on the moral high ground.

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, of anyone not wanting to strangle that appalling woman off The Apprentice, of anyone who’s already bought tickets for Gary Glitter’s Christmas show this year, or of anyone even remotely surprised that Cherie Booth QC has found time in her busy schedule to write a book called The Negligence Liability of Public Authorities (a.k.a. How To Sue The Council) in her spare time. The grasping, two-faced cow.