Sunday, June 24, 2007

Who sent the namby-pamby Commando-come-tea-boy?

I FOUND the ceremonies commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War quite moving. The tone was right, the veterans still looked suitably handy, and it was a delight to see the Blessed Margaret in action again.

But can anyone tell me why they sent that utter wally the Duke of Wessex off to the South Atlantic? I realise it’s not a gig many of the Royal Family would fancy, the Falkland Islands being a bit like Scotland but without the population’s sunny disposition, but Prince Edward for Christ’s sake? The namby-pamby Commando-come-tea-boy? A man so insignificant they had to invent a county of which to make him Duke?

And why on earth did they let him near the dressing up box as well? I suppose they’re his mother’s armed forces, so he can wear whatever uniform he wants, but turning up dressed as a Ruritanian rear admiral (yes, I’ve heard the rumours too) hardly added to the dignity of the occasion.

I’m told that the snivelling little git officially holds the honourary rank of Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Well I’ve been drinking with the RFA in a past life. They are, in general, completely barking. Even the Paras are wary of taking them on in a bar-room brawl. Appointing the wimp of the family as their top man confirms once and for all that Her Maj (God bless her) has a devilish sense of humour.

I DOUBT that Prince Edward ever had to pass through a weapons scanner on the way to his Greek lessons at Gordonstoun - although I’m prepared to bet that the soft lad was tied to the odd radiator and had his head pushed down the toilet more than once.

Likewise, we never had a problem with pupils carrying illegal knives at my inner-city school. It wasn’t illegal so we all had them. Although in our case it was penknives for whittling arrowheads and playing Split the Kipper, rather than flick knives for stabbing to death the wannabe Yardie at the next desk.

The problem of lawlessness in our schools was underlined this week with a story that appears to have passed almost without comment – which tells you a lot about the state of our schools. Helix, manufacturers of essential school equipment like protractors and shatterproof rulers, have announced that they are going to make a tamper-proof pencil sharpener after head teachers complained that kids were removing the little metal blades and slashing their schoolmates.

My immediate thought is why go to all that bother when a pair of compasses makes an excellent stabbing implement. I remember with a shudder the terrible Compass Wars of 1964, when gangs of feral schoolboys roamed the back alleys inflicting painful punctures on rival posses. The conflict only ended when, in a fearsome weapons escalation, the kids from Dead Dog Croft stole the board compass (remember them?), sharpened its four-inch spike and introduced a generation of 10-year-olds to the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction.

Ah, but Health and Safety have been there before me. Apparently that problem has already been eliminated by the production of soft-point compasses. And bang go hours of schoolboy fun and games.

But then, they’re still going to make pencil sharpeners, aren’t they? And that means that small hoodlums will still be able to produce lethally-sharpened pencils. And, let me tell you, they can hurt. Let’s see Helix get around that one. Back to chalk and slates, anyone?

SO WE’VE eliminated compasses and pencil-sharpener blades from the litany of life-threatening objects menacing our offspring, so what’s next? How about bubbles? Yes, bubbles.

Step forward, Public Enemy Number One, a clown from Sheffield called Barney Baloney. This man has been showing callous disregard for our children by blatantly spewing forth a stream of deadly bubbles from a machine during his act. The youngsters then run around, giggling, chasing the tiny spheres of soapy death. How none of them have yet died from multiple fractures is a miracle.

But sleep soundly in your beds. Our usually vigilant Health and Safety Nazis might have missed this one, but thankfully the Association of British Insurers are on the case. Mr Baloney has been denied insurance cover and has been forced to drop the bubble element from his act, having to rely in future on only his juggling skills and usual clown stuff to enthral a roomful of jelly-crazed tots. We wish him well.

IF, PERCHANCE, Barney Baloney suffers some mishap during his act – let’s imagine that all the wheels and doors fall off his car and the engine explodes showering tinsel over the gathered throng – he’d do well not to rely on the local fire brigade to race to his rescue.

Yes, they’ll get there, but it may take some time because they’ve been banned from using their blue lights and sirens and must travel strictly within the speed limit “unless there is an immediate threat to life or property”.

Quite how they know whether or not there is an immediate threat to life or property when someone’s dialled 999 and shouted “Help! Fire!” is beyond me, but I think it’s safe to assume that a bubble-free clown trapped amongst the collapsing wreckage of his comedy car while feral packs of jelly-crazed toddlers armed with pencil-sharpener blades circle him menacingly might not rank high on the list of priorities.

IF A MOB of angry children’s entertainers decided to burn an effigy of Prince Edward in protest at unfair bubble-banning I can’t see too many people getting upset about it. However, when demonstrators in a Commonwealth country – in this case Pakistan - decide to torch an effigy of Her Majesty The Queen, then something has gone badly wrong.

This is the dreadful situation that the dark forces who run the honours system have inflicted upon us by conferring a knighthood on Salman Rushdie, the frog-eyed scribbler who hates this country so much he relied upon us for £10 million worth of protection before clearing off to New York.

We are told that the honour was granted “due to public demand”. Well only if the “public” consists of a bunch of Guardian-reading, lentil-eating, latte-supping Lefties sitting huddled round a table in a Hampstead vegetarian café.

Now they’ve stirred up another terrorist hornets’ nest just when we didn’t need it. Well done, chaps.
IT'S A great shame that Gerry McCann had his wallet nicked on his return to this country. But you have to say, he's one careless bugger, isn't he?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Flopping your baps out on the 18th

I DON’T play golf. I’ve worked for too many bosses who were always missing from the office in their silly trousers to inflict the same thing upon my colleagues. But I can see the attraction. The male clubbishness, the escape from day-to-day drudgery, the absence of nagging women, the fact that the appalling Charlie off Big Brother wouldn’t get within a mile of the place …

Aye, and there’s the rub. Thanks to Ruth Kelly - she of the barbed wire knickers and husky voice who reminds me of a fag I used to beat at school – nine new laws are heading our way which will give women equality in all sorts of unnecessary ways. For instance, not only will a woman be able to wander into any golf club willy-nilly (if that’s not an inappropriate phrase) she’ll even be able to flop her baps out on the 18th green and do a spot of breast-feeding while you’re lining up that difficult Alan Sugar (a short and nasty five-footer).

Is such Draconian legislation really necessary? Agreed, some golf clubs are virtually anti-women, only allowing them to play after 4pm during the months of October to February for instance, but there are often good reasons for what might seem at first sight to be simple discrimination. Take the restrictions on playing times. You can argue until you’re blue in the face, but no-one can deny that by the time a woman has made the breakfast, washed up and got the kids off to school, there’s no way on earth she’s going to be able to tee off before 10am.

And then there are the clubs that ban women from certain rooms. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but these men-only sanctuaries almost always house a snooker or pool table. There’s a reason for that. The committee, fine fellows that they are, have learned to their cost that the female of the species simply can’t chew gum, smoke a Marlborough Lite, gossip about her three doors down with her gentleman callers and hold a glass of Babycham at the same time without spilling it on the green baize, and that cloth doesn’t come cheap. And would you give the dimwit twins off Big Brother a sharpened stick to wave around?

(As a sideline, where would we be without committees? Who would organise Saturday’s bingo and the meat raffle? Who would book those awful tribute bands on a Friday night? Who would arrange for the cheese and pineapple hedgehog on the bar every Sunday lunchtime? Who would recruit the seafood man with his wicker basket, little jars of whelks, and a surprisingly full range of stolen goods available to order?)

So if these new equality laws are to be fair and unbiased, does this mean that women-only sessions in swimming pools and gyms will be banned? And where does that leave the WI? Will men in silly trousers infiltrate their meetings and win all the Victoria sponge prizes?

Luckily Ruth has thought of that. Establishments that have always been single-sex, male or female, will be allowed to continue with their recidivist ways. It’s only those enlightened clubs and organisations that have tried in some way to accommodate the opposite sex (“Ladies allowed in the bar after 9pm on Sundays only”) that will suffer. Hardly seems fair, does it?

we’ve had another outbreak of False Hero Syndrome. This is the attribution of bogus ulterior motives to a pilot whose plane is plummeting to the ground. The media always portrays them as heroes because “they steered away” from a school or village and into open countryside.
Think about it. What would you rather crash into – bricks and mortar or a nice, soft green field? It’s fairly bloody obvious.

This time the so-called “hero” is the driver of the coach that smashed into a Belgian cottage with 35 elderly British tourists on board, injuring 19, four seriously. His boss, swiftly covering his backside in anticipation of the compo claims, declares: “There is no doubt this terrible accident would have been far worse if it hadn’t been for his quick actions.”

Well let’s examine the evidence. The driver had just pulled out of a junction when a car came across him. He had two choices – reduce what was probably an antique Citroen 2CV and its occupants to Meccano and mince, or smash his coach into the side of a solid stone house. He chose the house. Hero? Idiot, more like.

I find myself entirely in agreement with Mr Blair when he argues that the British media has behaved badly in recent years.

He’s quite right. The way our newspapers and broadcasters have swallowed lie after lie from his spinning, disingenuous, deceitful government is nothing short of a disgrace. We should have been much harder on this fraudulent administration from Day One.

Let us not forget the 45-minute warning; the Dr Kelly dossier; the Bristol flats that were definitely not bought by a con-man, oh no; the carrying-the-coffin role demanded at the Queen Mother’s funeral; the heart condition consistently denied right up to the hospital door; the good day to bury bad news; the cash for peerages scandal … the list of lies goes on and on.

Remember this: when Mr Blair insists that the Press has got worse during his tenure, what he really means is that his press has got worse during his tenure. He’ll not be allowed to ride off into the sunset like the hero he wanted to be. Shooting at the messenger is his last desperate act.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bald bed-wetters and a candle in the wind

JUST AS we’ve seen the Health Police move their attention from smoking to drinking to eating – with fat people now being left to die by the NHS – so the Thought Police have to keep shifting their sights.

With simple racism allegedly nailed – although it was never the widespread problem they made it out to be in the first place – they tried to argue that poking fun at the Welsh was just as bad. Prosecutions were even threatened against people who dared to suggest that many of the swarthy, short-arsed, cottage-burning thieves were less than likeable. Or were taking the poor bloody English taxpayer for a mug with their gold-plated Assembly building and their bilingual road signs for people who can’t even speak Welsh.

Luckily that scam has been seen as largely risible, but the monster that is the publicly-funded Turkey Army marches on. Work – or something that resembles it - must be found for those legions of lefties who have to vote Labour if they want to keep their non-jobs. So some bright spark invented “Gingerism”, i.e. the persecution of people with red hair.

So they must have been absolutely delighted when newspapers reported the tale of Kevin and Barbara Chapman, who claimed that anti-ginger prejudice had forced them and their four children to live like fugitives in their home town of Newcastle. The Chapmans, themselves flame-haired, and their four ginger-nutted kids, say they have had to move three times in the past three years after their council house windows had been smashed, graffiti had been sprayed on their walls and the children, aged between 10 and 13, were physically attacked.

(What particularly exercised the holier-than-thou newspapers was that Mr Chapman further claimed that the council had suggested he should dye his family’s hair to avoid further problems. Why this should upset anyone is beyond me. It seems like a perfectly sensible solution.)

Of course, as with any ginger-headed family on a council estate, these claims of persecution deserve closer examination. And it doesn’t take long before someone blows the gaff. It appears that the behaviour of the Chapmans and their brood might have, shall we say, “irritated” the local populace, so resulting in the alleged persecution. However, no matter.

We must listen to the whingeing. According to journalist Sharon Jaffa (auburn, verging on titian): “Attacking someone on the basis of their hair colour can be every bit as damaging as persecuting someone for their race or religion, and therefore, in some cases, needs to be taken just as seriously.” What utter tosh.

Now forgive me if I find this unfortunate affliction less than life-threatening. What’s the worst that’s going to happen to your average carrot top? True, they’re going to get bullied at school (being held down while someone plays join-the-dots on their face with a felt pen is about as bad as it gets), they’re not going to be able to go out in the sun without burning to a crisp in five minutes flat (the real reason why Prince Harry wasn’t sent to Iraq – spontaneous combustion), and there’s a very real danger that people might think that they’re Scotch, but that, really, is about it.

So to equate this to racism is both ridiculous and demeaning to the real victims of proper racism (if there is such a phrase). I don’t know of any slave trade involving gingers being shipped by Liverpool merchants from West Africa to the Caribbean (probably due to that spontaneous combustion thing). I’ve never seen a sign on a B&B door saying “No Dogs or Gingers”. I’ve yet to come across anyone denied a job just because their hair was a shade redder than strawberry blond, although I don’t suppose there’s much call for copper-topped catwalk models.

Gingers have also reached the top of their chosen professions despite this alleged discrimination. Take Henry VIII for instance. Or Mick Hucknall. Even Hitler was a ginge, although liberal use of Cherry Blossom boot polish, smuggled out of England by Rudolph Hess, helped disguise the aberration.

So can we have less of this nonsense please. Gingerness is nothing more than a simple genetic malfunction – to be precise, caused by a mutated MC1R gene. As such, it’s the same as baldness, or having a weak bladder.

Coming next week in The Guardian: How hundreds of thousands of bald men with damp underpants were sold into slavery on cotton plantations.

IS THERE such a thing as negative karma? If so, I think this might be an example.

“A blaze which gutted a pensioner's home was caused by a candle she had lit for missing tot Madeleine McCann. Over 20 firefighters battled the blaze after the candle set light to curtains at the fourth-floor flat in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset. Owner Mary Luckham was rushed to safety by neighbours and escaped uninjured.”

And I’m saying no more about it.

to last week’s comments regarding the persecution of drivers, smokers and drinkers: if the government is going to let shoplifters, drunks and vandals off with just a warning if they promise not to do it again, is there any chance that this leniency might be extended to those who accidentally travel at 5mph over the speed limit?

No, thought not.

of an 11-year-old cancer victim complain bitterly that they can’t get insurance to cover them for travelling to Florida so the child can swim with the bloody dolphins.

Her father says, without any trace of irony, “There’s no way we could go without insurance. If we needed hospital treatment it could run into hundreds and thousands of pounds.”
Exactly. Insurance is all about risk. It’s not there to subsidise freeloaders, however tragic.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Bring on the veggie bacon

YOU KNOW, you could easily get paranoid around here. Our money-grubbing former Prime Minister might be off on one of his many freebie farewell tours, but the NuLabour machine grinds on, and in the manner of a particularly spooky science fiction novel as well.

Consider this: a leaked email from the Environment Agency to a vegetarian campaign group contains the worrying news that it now appears to be official government policy to turn the entire population into vegans – no meat, fish or dairy products – as a way to “help save the planet”. No, really.

We are therefore to be “guided” towards a life of lentil-eating and encouraged to embrace the joys of vegetarian bacon. Funnily enough, they do seem to realise that this extreme plan might be a tad controversial, warning that the move would need to be done “gently” because of the risk of “alienating the public”. You’re not joking.

Our crime as meat-eaters is to require the production of hundreds of thousands of farm animals, from pigs to sheep to cows, all guilty in the eyes of the enviro-fascists of producing huge amounts of the greenhouse gases methane and carbon dioxide. Therefore “encouraging people to examine their consumption of animal protein could be a key message”.

So there you have it. We are now the enemy. The fact that we enjoy the odd burger or a Sunday roast will not be tolerated in the Brave NuLabour World. I’m reminded of the famous poem by concentration camp prisoner Pastor Martin Niemöller:

“First they came for the car drivers, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a car driver. Then they came for the smokers, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a smoker. Then they came for the drinkers, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a drinker. Then they came for the carnivores, and by that time there was no-one left to speak up for us.”

A facile comparison, admittedly. But still very true.

– the social lepers of the 21st Century. Not content with chasing us out of our workplaces and shopping centres, not content with banning us from buses and trains, not content with excluding us from the pub, the restaurant, the football ground and even the church (just when did you see someone lighting up at Vespers?), they’re now taking the fight to our own private space – the car.

Road Safety Nazis (close cousins of the Health and Safety Gestapo) are arguing that smoking at the wheel should be made illegal, with a £60 fine and three points for those who transgress. Apparently lighting a cigarette and then often dropping it into your lap while in the fast lane of the motorway is regarded as dangerous driving and results in the death of 1,327 people a year. (I made that last bit up, but you’d never know.)

The way things are going I’m going to be banned by the time I get to the bottom of the lane in the morning. Shaving at the wheel – three points; drinking coffee – three points; lighting up a fag – three points; and distractedly coasting past a speed camera at 33mph (well, wouldn’t you be distracted if you were shaving, drinking and smoking all at the same time?) – three points. So that’s 12 points, £240 in fines and a six-month ban.

It’s hardly worth leaving home any more – except that Mrs B won’t let me smoke there.

AND THE social engineering just doesn’t stop. The parents of babies and toddlers are to be required to record the progress of their children in new “learning diaries” to be introduced by Big Bro … sorry … the government. They’ll be encouraged to log details of every activity attempted by their offspring, ranging from stacking play bricks to reciting nursery rhymes.

No problem so far. Show me the proud parent who doesn’t already record little Damien’s every achievement in the baby book: “And here in this plastic bag is his first poo. Yes, very green, isn’t it. What a clever boy.”

But now the problems start. The diaries will be scrutinised by child care experts to check that parents are doing all they can to prevent their kids falling behind. Bit spooky that, isn’t it?

In mitigation, the £9 million scheme will begin in poorer areas, so it’s the scrotes who’ll bear the brunt of this invasive officialdom – and rightly so, many will argue. But don’t be fooled – it won’t be long before the middle classes loom into the Nanny State’s sights. After all, we’re the mugs who try to play by the rules.

One thing puzzles me: what happens to children who are under-achieving, or are just plain thick? Will they be whisked away by the childcatchers from social services for remedial training? Or will they be abandoned on the nearest mountain in the snow, just as the Spartans did? I don’t know, but I think we should be told.

day passes, I get more and more fed up with the antics of “Team McCann” and the parents of missing Maddie. Yes, I know they’ve suffered a terrible thing that we wouldn’t wish on anyone, but the whole performance is turning into a three-ring circus funded by millions of quid chucked into the kitty by penniless OAPs and misguided millionaires.

And this trip to see The Pope – which meant LEAVING THEIR TWINS BEHIND. What exactly did that achieve? I know that they say they want to keep the story in the forefront of the media, but if you could show me a single newspaper or broadcaster who isn’t still running daily stories then I might be more sympathetic to their course of action.

(Why didn’t they just come clean and admit that given the Catholic Church’s record on paedophilia, they thought it wise to have a quick look in the wardrobes and behind the sofa in the Vatican while the Pope was distracted?)

One last thought, and it’s a bit controversial, I must admit. You know all these abandoned children waiting for adoption? Why don’t we just give one to every known nonce on the register and so wipe out this abduction stuff overnight?