Saturday, August 26, 2006

Plastering Peewit is an insult to Ethiopians

I’LL TELL you what’s wrong with this country – our perverse attitude towards animals. And not just our pets.

Do you know which is the richest charity in Britain? You’d assume that it was something really important, like Cancer Research or the NSPCC. Think again: it’s actually a donkey sanctuary in Devon.

There ageing donkeys with gold-encrusted hooves watch re-runs of Black Beauty on plasma screens while eating caviar and foie gras from diamond-studded bowls. They sleep in mink-lined stables attended to by semi-naked Catherine Zeta Jones look-alikes. Once a month they sneak off to Alton Towers for secret night-time rides on the big dipper. And they’ve got an executive box at Chelsea – on the halfway line.

And all because mad old women would rather leave the contents of their wills to Popsy, Rosie and Silver rather than to abused children or doomed teenagers. It’s enough to make a cat laugh (especially if it’s a lodger in a luxury cats’ home where they breakfast on sugar mice and are allowed to play in the communal koi carp pool).

Look at the picture of Peewit the lapwing. Now lapwings are comparatively common birds. According to the RSPB’s website, getting on for two million of them winter in this country. Let’s put it like this – they’re not exactly golden fucking eagles.

Yet some fool at the nauseatingly-named St Tiggywinkles wildlife hospital in Dorset, where Peewit was taken after being found with a compound fracture of his right knee, has seen fit to reset and plaster the bird’s leg before feeding him antibiotics and painkillers.

It’s utterly pointless. What’s going to happen once Peewit is released into the wild? However well his leg heals, he’s still going to be a cripple. He won’t last five minutes before he’s caught and eaten (unless he’s very lucky and is chased by a cat full of sugar mice and koi carp who can’t catch up with him).

I’ll tell you about “releasing things into the wild”. A bird recently flew into our conservatory and battered itself against the glass for an hour. Once I’d finally trapped it with a tea towel and taken it outside, Mrs B enquired as to its condition.

“Oh, it’s fine,” I said. “Flew away, no problem.” Well, it would have done if it hadn’t been dead in the dustbin.

Similarly, the family of baby mice we “rescued” when clearing out the garage. “Are they safe?” she asked, after I dumped them in the field next door. “Of course,” I replied. “Playing away happily.” Well, perhaps. If I hadn’t accidentally dropped them in a patch of nettles.

I hate to think how much time and money was wasted on Peewit. I also hate to think how many full English breakfasts that cash would have bought for starving Ethiopian babies. Perhaps we should stick them in a stable in Devon and bring coachloads of mad old ladies round to see them …

DOES ANYONE know who were the two Nanny State nutters who complained to Ofcom, the broadcasting regulator, about scenes of gratuitous smoking in a couple of Tom and Jerry cartons? I suspect you’ll be able to recognize them by the rolled-up copy of The Guardian under their arm; their mad, deranged, middle-class stare; and the fact that their children are wearing crash helmets, knee pads and cricket boxes just to pop down to the shops.

What happens now is nothing more than cultural vandalism, as the Turner Network works its way through all 162 episodes of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera’s masterpieces, carefully excising any ciggy-related material. Will they do that to paintings of Winston Churchill or Van Gogh’s self-portrait next? What about Magritte’s surrealist painting This Is Not A Pipe, which features … err … a pipe? Shall we just burn it now and get it over with?

Now of course we shouldn’t encourage children to smoke. But we shouldn’t encourage them to lure coyotes over cliffs either. Or hit each other with frying pans, leaving their little brother or sister with a flat, three-foot wide face. We should advise them against dropping an anvil on a passing stranger, or fooling a vicious guard dog into swallowing a stick of dynamite.

Funnily enough, our newspapers seem bereft of stories detailing these incidents which, following the Leftie logic, must happen on a worryingly regular basis. I wonder why?

OF COURSE, it doesn’t really matter because smoking is about to be consigned to history when the government introduces its new regulations on what was supposed to be a ban in public places. We now learn that “public places” may well include your car (if it’s a company vehicle) or even your own home (if you’ve got it registered with the taxman as your main workplace).

This prompts the delightful image of Johnny Homeworker having a crafty fag in their own bathroom and then having to fine themselves £50 for transgressing the law. Oh, and it’s a £200 fine if you fail to put up No Smoking signs all over the place. That’s going to go down really well with the houseproud missus.

So you can’t smoke at work, in your company car, in the pub or at home. The only thing left to do is buy a convertible and drive round with the roof down. But wait, enter stage left 68-year-old retired carpenter Alan Joyce of Poole, Dorset (just down the road from St Tiggywinkles, probably).

Mr Joyce has just been sent a £75 fixed penalty for littering. His crime? He was spotted flicking cigarette ash out of his car window by one of the council’s secret police. What nonsense. He’d have got away with less for hitting someone in the face with a cartoon frying pan.

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 wondering where the August heatwave we were promised disappeared to, of anyone who isn't highly amused that the world's biggest cricket cheats are throwing their toys out of the pram after being accused of cheating, or of anyone who read that story about the Chinese building a replica English town outside Shanghai complete with pub, village green and church, and who didn't wonder if there'd be a Chinese takeaway.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Bring on the car-wreck bulldozers

I WAS driving down one of our country’s major motorways the other morning when a Czechoslovakian lorry driver 100 yards in front of me drifted across two lanes and smashed a passing BMW into the central reservation.

So I did what any other good citizen would do. I put the hazard lights on, pulled over, called the cops and ambulance, and then went to see if I could help. The emergency services duly turned up, cut the BMW driver free, started going through the documents of the lorry driver, and that was that … 40 minutes or so from start to finish. And that is where it all started going pear-shaped.

We had an articulated lorry parked up on the hard shoulder; we had a BMW wedged into the central reservation; but at least two lanes of the motorway were clear and free. So perhaps we could press on with our important journey? Err, no.

It turned out that we (that’s me and the other 2,000 or so vehicles behind me) weren’t simply held up while the victims were processed. We were part of a “crime scene”, and as such wouldn’t be going anywhere very soon.

The traffic cops took statements from those who had witnessed the accident. That took about another 30 minutes. And then the men in white overalls turned up. They had string, chalk and those surveyors’ things on tripods. They paced, measured, photographed and took tarmac samples. Overhead, a helicopter hovered, videotape running. This wasn’t looking good.

After two hours, I politely inquired of a policeman as to when I might be able to resume my journey. His response was brusque. My equally abrupt reaction was apparently sufficient for him to threaten me with arrest if I didn’t “Shut the fuck up and get back in the car”.

Dear reader, we sat there for over four hours. Businessmen on their way to crucial meetings, lorry drivers delivering essential parts to industry, families heading to their holiday flight (now long departed), innocent commuters who now had to explain to the boss how a simple accident meant that they had missed an entire day’s work. It was an utter, utter farce.

I understand that in the event of an accident that might possibly result in a fatality (in this case, perhaps the poor BMW driver), the police reserve the right to treat the incident as an unlawful death or, presumably, a possible murder. This then requires the attendance of Dr Amanda Burton and her various spooks. It also means that the motorway in question will remain closed until the overalls have completed their investigation.

Wouldn't it just be easier to bulldoze the wreckage into the ditch and let the rest of us get on with our lives?

I’ll tell you what I’m going to do in future. The next time an inarticulate articulated lorry driver falls asleep at the wheel and takes out a lane of innocent traffic, I’m going to swerve past the wreckage and keep on driving. The Plod might be happy spending the day dancing around in their high-visibility jackets. I actually have a living to earn.

didn’t want to have to return to the “passenger profiling” row of last week, but a bloke from the Muslin Council so aggravated me on the radio this week that I threw a strop worthy of Nikki off Big Brother (face of a 70-year-old, mind of a seven-year-old).

If you pop down to your local airport, what will you find? A rugby team heading for Dublin, a 12-strong hen party off to Prague, someone’s Granny on the way to meet the new baby, dozens of nuclear families (mum, dad and 2.4 children) off to Spain for their summer holiday, me and Mrs B heading for a romantic weekend in Paris (if I can get her out of the shops). And two single Asian lads, aged between 19 and 30, travelling alone on one-way tickets.

That’s a pretty average plane-load. So who are you going to subject to the strictest of security checks? Good, right answer. But why are you also going to inconvenience, embarrass and aggravate the other 150 people who are no more of a terrorist threat than Thora Hird?

I DO fear that when the Sunday supplements start looking for their icon of the year 2006, it will turn out to be the Clear Plastic Bag.

It says it all: how our society was reduced to organisational rubble by the mere threat of a terrorist attack; how hundreds of thousands of people had their holidays ruined or their business trips cancelled on the whim of a jittery government; how the ineptitude of the authorities made things 10 times worse than they needed to be; and how the jobsworth mentality is always ready to occupy any vacuum of common sense.

It used to be an old traveller’s trick to pack a spare set of clothes in your hand baggage. Then, if your case was lost, you could at least survive until it turned up. Passengers caught up in last week’s lunacy were denied even that opportunity. And worse – into their main luggage went their car keys and house keys as well.

How reassuring then that British Airways should have to announce that they’d managed to separate 10,000 people from their luggage during the terrorist crisis, and that a week later 5,000 were still awaiting their bags. This is just horrific. It means that some poor people have been away for a week’s holiday without ever seeing a change of clothes, and have then had to return, abandon their cars at the airport, and then go home to break into their own houses.

I happen to think that Michael O’Leary, boss of Ryanair, is a complete twat. I also think that he is probably right when it comes to the inability of BAA to cope with the current crisis.

THOSE WACKY Chinese have built a new town to accommodate 8,000 people just outside Shanghai that mimics the English equivalent.

There are Regency terraces, Georgian mansions and mock Tudor rows of shops. There’s a village green, a pub, a duck pond and a church. But one serious omission means that the whole plan is fatally flawed. There’s no Chinese takeaway.

HAVING BEEN irritated for ages by those “Baby on Board” labels you see on cars (What am I supposed to do? Decide not to crash into you?), this week I came across a people carrier with a sticker reading “Princess on Board” in its rear window.

I steered well clear of that one, assuming that the driver was probably drunk, working for MI5 and likely to crash in the nearest tunnel at any minute.

NANNY STATE update: The local council has installed a “noise-limiter” in the village hall at Waltham-on-the-Wolds in Leicestershire. The device has a red light that starts flashing should noise approach the set level. If it exceeds that, all power to the hall is shut off.

As well as hosting wedding receptions, Women’s Institute and scout troop meetings, the hall is also used by primary school children whose recent performance of the Jungle Book was rudely interrupted when parents started clapping too loudly. And, as doors and windows have to be kept closed at all times, four guests at a recent wedding passed out in the heat.

Brilliant! You really could not make it up.

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 voting for the ginger-headed, cottage-burning, militant Welsh idiot on Big Brother, of anyone not scandalised over that snatched kiss between Clarrie Grundy and Mike Tucker, or of anyone who hasn't broken one of the 3,023 new laws NuLabour has introduced in the past nine years. I always thought Socialists valued the freedom of the individual ...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Stolen from elsewhere ...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Take my Dan Brown novel and the terrorists have won

NOW OBVIOUSLY no-one wants to get blown out of the skies en route to Torremolinos, but am I alone in thinking that the government might have over-reacted a little in banning hand baggage and severely restricting what items can be carried onto a plane?

Who in their right mind would stop a parent taking a colouring book onto a 10-hour transatlantic flight? And if there’s a way to bring down a Boeing 747 using a Dan Brown paperback and a copy of the Daily Mail, I think the terrorists might have worked it out by now.

There is one simple answer to this crisis - ban certain people from flying at all. Let them use the ferries and the Eurostar. And to what kind of people do I allude, I hear you ask? Well, we’ve got to be a bit sensitive here, so let’s reinvent Norman Tebbit’s cricket test: Sajid Mahmood wouldn’t get a seat, but Monty Panesar would. Get me?

Now I realize that this is completely unfair on the 99.99 per cent of Muslims (many of them British) who bear no ill will towards this country or towards the Wicked West in general. But when you’ve got the entire holidaymaking population inconvenienced, not to mention hundreds of thousands of business travellers, then something radical has to be done.

If that’s not an option, what about this idea that I found on an internet message board (posted there, no doubt, by a single man who lives with his mum and has a poster of the Starship Enterprise on his bedroom wall): why not tranquilise passengers before take-off and revive them upon landing like they do on Red Dwarf or in the Alien films?

No crap film to suffer, no dreadful food to eat, no seat-back kicking, no whining kids, no being pestered to buy scratch cards and cheap perfume … you just wake up refreshed at your destination. Sounds wonderful.

Of course, there may be safety issues regarding the very young and the very old, but let’s face it, the very young and the very old shouldn’t be on a busy passenger flight in the first place. Well not on mine, anyway.

IN SIMILAR vein, we must take to task Scotland Yard assistant commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, Britain’s most senior Muslim policeman and one of the few top cops who doesn’t seem to be suing for unfair dismissal … at the moment.

Mr Ghaffur, who’s supposed to be implementing the law, complains about stop-and-search procedures that see, in his mind, a disproportionate number of young Asians being pulled over as suspected terrorists.

He moans that his subordinates have “often been led more by people’s physical appearances than by specific intelligence.”

Well it’s hardly rocket science, is it? Again, this discussion requires an element of sensitivity, but how many retired, pipe-smoking, Telegraph-reading, tweed-wearing, 65-year-old white males have committed terrorist outrages in recent years? Is it then any wonder that they breeze blithely past the checkpoints while 20-year-old Asian lads with dodgy beards, baggy trousers and bad attitudes find themselves bending over for the rubber glove?

I’m sorry, but we’re at war here. And the enemy is very clearly amongst us. The problem is in identifying the 0.01 per cent before they do something daft.

OF COURSE, you may dismiss this week’s kerfuffle as nothing more than a government conspiracy. It’s a convenient way of taking the focus off Iraq, Afghanistan and the Lebanon; it justifies increasingly Draconian legislation (which will almost certainly be used against you and me one fine day); and it makes John Reid look a bit dynamic while Tone’s out of the country and Six-Gun Prescott has been sidelined.

You may also think that the Duke of Edinburgh personally murdered Princess Diana, that the moon landings never really happened and that the only way to stop Peter Mandelson crawling into your head at night and eating your brains is to go to bed wearing a tin foil hat.

WHILE TRYING to avoid certain dodgy internet sites – and sights – I stumbled across the official website of the Territorial Army. Detailed on it, for the benefit of those who might fancy a bit of light soldiering, are a number of specialist roles for people to undertake. Most were as expected: artillery, aircrew, engineer, driver: others were more esoteric.

What about lawyer, postman, accountant or laundry worker? No, really. So how many people actually wake up one morning and think: “I want to serve Britain. I’m off to Iraq to scrub gussets for Queen and country.”

No, just as I thought.

I HAVE to bring you the sad news that another of this nation’s fine traditions has been outlawed by the Nanny State – the gentle art of rubbing suncream into a Boy Scout.

Paedo paranoia now means that Cubs and Boy Scouts will in future have to apply their own factor 15 should they get caught camping during a heatwave. Only the in the event of a child being part-incinerated will leaders step forward to hose them down on compassionate grounds.

Now I would normally rail against this as a matter of principle. However, recalling my childhood experiences at the hands of a predatory Akela with a squint and a woggle, I think it’s probably for the best.

Dib dib!

O The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this website, or of anyone who writes a satirical column on Friday morning only to find out that the bloody BNP have adopted one of their tongue-in-cheek comments as official policy by lunchtime. As they say, if the cops can keep white, working-class football hooligans from getting flights to Germany ...

In other news, I don't need any smartarse pointing out that "Dib dib" should really be "Dyb dyb", as it's a contraction of "Do your best". OK?

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime ...

THE POLICE helicopter hovers overhead. Three Transit vans roar down the country lane, disgorging a riot gear-clad snatch squad. Meanwhile an Armed Response Unit has plotted up in a nearby hedge, fingers hovering on the triggers.

And all because two girls have drawn a hopscotch grid in the road.

You think I’m joking, don’t you? Sadly not. In Halesowen, West Midlands, 14-year-olds Kayleigh Mangan and Georgina Smallwood were accosted by two community support officers and told to get a bucket of water and clean the chalk marks off the quiet street in which they live. Local kids had already been warned off “excessive” bike riding and told to stop playing ball games in the street.

A spokesweasel for West Midlands Police said officers had responded to a complaint about “numerous chalk markings on a large stretch of the pavement”. He added, probably in a nasal monotone: “There have been many reports of anti-social behaviour in the local area and we will deal robustly with this issue. By targeting what may seem relatively low-level crime, we aim to prevent it developing into more serious matters.”

So there you have it. Playing hopscotch turns you into a drugs baron or axe murderer. And I can just picture a young Al Capone skipping across the cobbles of turn-of-the-century Chicago.

THOSE OF us with a genuine social conscience constantly worry about the lack of integration of ethnic communities in this country.

That’s why the planned Muslin day at Alton Towers – now cancelled through lack of support - was such a bad idea. Surely we should be finding ways of living together, instead of perpetuating the ghetto mindset of voluntary segregation?

Unless it’s the Welsh we’re talking about, in which case I’d saw their country off from the mainland and set it afloat tomorrow given half the chance. Well, it’s not as if they want to belong to Great Britain, is it?

Look at that drooling Welsh nationalist youth in the Big Brother house. He’s already confessed to ostracizing English-speaking kids at his school and it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s doing an A-level in cottage burning.

And then there’s the whole issue of teaching Welsh in schools in the first place. Do you know how many millions of pounds we’ve spent inflicting this dead language on generations of schoolchildren? No, neither do I, but I bet it’s a lot. And how many new Welsh speakers are there after nine years of this enforced brainwashing? Just 75,000.

It’s madness. Why aren’t we teaching them something useful, like Spanish or Chinese instead?

And it’s not just Welsh. There’s £600,000 of “European” money sloshing around in the system that’s meant to be spent on promoting the use of the Cornish language. (European money means taxes we have paid to the government which then goes off to subsidise Estonian turnip farmers, a fraction of which then comes back to us in the form of spurious grants.)

As ever with the Turkey Army of public servants, a “Cornish Language Officer” has been appointed (nice pension, free pasties) to further the use of the language in public life by having official documents translated into bi-lingual form, although one would hope that most of the inhabitants of Cornwall already speak the mother tongue and could therefore cope perfectly well with an English version of the driving licence application form.

Still, all is not lost. There appears to be three different versions of written Cornish and the 400 poor souls who still speak it cannot agree on which version should be the official one. The whole process has now stalled while old bearded men dressed in sheets mumble at each other in caves.

And the Cornish Language Officer? He’ll be out and about banning hopscotch.

HEALTH AND Safety update: Fresh from their triumph of being handed the responsibility for prosecuting the Metropolitan Police for shooting a passing Brazilian, the Nanny State Nazis scored another victory last week when Margaret Beckett, our hapless caravan-dwelling Foreign Secretary, invoked their dark powers to have a pop at the Americans.

Put on the spot after planes carrying bunker-busting bombs to Israel were found to be refueling at Prestwich Airport in Scotland, Mrs Beckett climbed down from her four-berth Bailey Pageant Champagne to tell Mr Bush that he had been very naughty – not for upsetting the soap-dodgers by landing his filthy weapons of war on British soil, but because failing to reveal the nature of the cargo had “health and safety implications”.

Magic! Let’s see how much protection a hard hat and a high-visibility jacket provides if that lot goes up.

COMPO CORNER: An American woman, “returning from war-torn Israel”, tells The Sun how she was terrified when she looked out of her hotel bedroom window in Cardiff to see explosions and a tank battle going on in the street below.

“Troops with guns started shouting ‘run for cover’”, she says. “I ran from the window and ducked onto the bed.”

It turned out to be a film crew working on the Doctor Who Christmas special. If I were the great man, I’d get back into that Tardis sharpish before the ambulance-chasing lawyers turn up.

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 hope that Coronation Street's Clare and Ashley Peacock call their new-born son Drew, of anyone not distraught that Fred ... I say, Fred ... Elliot is going to keel over and die in The Rover' Return on his wedding day, or of anyone not equally upset about the news that Jack Duckworth is packing it in next year.