Homeless and hungry image via guardian.co.uk
A good prank is reliant upon there being people stupid enough to believe that spaghetti grows on trees. The basic premise of a successful April fool hoax is plausibility, however preposterous and the implied gullibility of the intended target.
Mercifully, our coalition government has done away with the tedious and not very funny tradition that every first day of April requires the reporting of the capture of the Loch Ness Monster, sightings of Elvis, alien abductions and π being rounded down to three as part of a European Union directive. We are far too sophisticated and intelligent to fall for that same old claptrap. Instead, most of the media including the BBC serve up a constant diet of amusing misinformation, mischievous propaganda and some rounded down porkie pies to keep us in stitches all year round. Pete Townshend was wrong when he claimed that we won`t get fooled again all those years ago. There are still enough credulous innocents out there that believe anything the coalition government says and, in the face of irrefutable proof, believe that spaghetti grows on trees. (more…)
Being served image via bbc
The sad death of Frank Thornton at the grand old age of 92 serves as a reminder that terrible comedy is less excruciating when executed with impeccable timing and genuine acting talent. Unfortunately, as we have witnessed this week, experience of folding towels at Selfridges is not necessarily the best preparation for those fortunate enough to be elevated to the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer.
George Osborne delivered his fourth budget on the same day the Lords finished off another piece of his “Omni-shambles” third budget. His bizarre idea that employment rights should be given up in exchange for some dodgy shares in dodgy companies went the same way as the pasty tax, the granny tax, the caravan tax and any semblance of fiscal savvy or, indeed, any evidence of competence. Osborne`s fourth contribution to financial ruin contained very little of anything new and stuck to the same script of blaming the previous Labour government for the results of his own inept stewardship. He is borrowing more than ever, the debt is up and the deficit is up and the only growth apparent is the length of his nose as he states the exact opposite of fact. It is difficult to decide who is the more dishonest; Osborne with his fiction or the Labour front bench refusing to challenge invented and meaningless statistics.
We were, however, treated to a new piece of nonsensical fluff. Government departmental spending has, it seems, been reduced by a massive £11billion. Rather like the previous year, when Osborne spouted figures “proving” that the deficit was down, the opposition front bench looked deflated as Tory backbenchers shrieked orgasmic shrieks in an unseemly display of tumescent ecstasy. Then, as now, Miliband and Balls walked towards the elephant trap set for them with all the innocent enthusiasm of (with apologies to Douglas Adams) Norman Wisdom approaching an open manhole. Last year the hokum was achieved by including receipts from the G4 license sell-off which at that time had not taken place. Expecting to sell a Picasso at auction, all they got was the price of a Renault Clio suitable for spares and scrap. (more…)
Politics, like football, cricket, sexuality, taste in cuisine, religion and rock and roll are by their very nature partisan and tribal and the human condition requires barriers to be constructed where no barriers actually exist.
It is a sad but inevitable given that fans of Donny Osmond will despise fans of David Cassidy, Mods will hate Rockers, City will vilify United, Australian cricketers are the very definition of cheats, curry is better than pizza, Sandi Toksvig and Julian Cleary are in no way shape or form funny and members of the Church of the Latter Day Saints are a bit odd. There are an equal number of people who are more than keen to express a contrary view which only escalates the Neanderthal posturing of “boo-hurray” vacuous chanting. Politics, however, is undergoing a surprising modification.
This week, the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill has passed through the commons with the second and third readings within the same day and without the scrutiny of a committee stage. This bill seeks to redress the unfortunate and predictable circumstances that led to the less than innocent Department of Work and Pensions under the stewardship of Iain Duncan Smith to manage an enormous cock-up. The DWP were judged to have acted unlawfully by the Court of Appeal and were required to cough up £130million to compensate the poor souls condemned to work for free under the odious Workfare programme. Setting incompetence aside, Iain Duncan Smith, a serial failure at anything he has ever attempted, resorted to breakneck legislation to remedy the howling catastrophe he had created.
A sporting analogy is difficult to conjure but imagine a football team losing five nil at home with three minutes to go. This is a result that is likely to displease the football authorities so they quickly change the rules of the game to ensure the winning team are prohibited from scoring any more goals and deduct the goals already scored and retrospectively award them to the losing side. For good measure, they dismantle the goalposts and move them to another planet. Then, they dig up the pitch and use it as a detention camp to contain the visiting players. The home fans are delighted as winning, regardless of the ways and means employed, has to be the first priority. This, though, is a flawed analogy as it does not take into account the presence of a referee or the bellowing outrage of the away supporters. Sadly, during the passage of the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill, the referee was bound, gagged and tied to a chair in a locked basement and the away supporters shrugged their shoulders and walked away. (more…)
From the very outset, I unequivocally deny that I have ever knowingly promoted the musical offerings from a Cee Lo Green and completely refute the suggestion that Mr Green is responsible for the financial crisis bringing Cyprus to the brink of bankruptcy.
Indeed, up until about two years ago I had never heard of Cee Lo Green but was aware of his irritating vocal style that was featured on the annoying Gnarls Barkley hit record “Crazy”. But, on a eagerly anticipated holiday to Cyprus in the summer of 2011, the overweight singer and rapper almost managed to ruin the stay on the first night by having his masterpiece “F**k You” played over and over and over again at full volume and at two in the morning from a neighbouring apartment. Early the following day, the lure of the communal swimming pool proved irresistible to the children and they were splashing about by eight thirty which was when the noise polluter made himself known. If I have learnt anything in my lifetime, it is that you should never offer unwarranted criticism to the children of a Yorkshire woman.
From the balcony, I watched the altercation with some amusement. The man bore a striking resemblance to a Chuckle Brother. His spiky hair and retro moustache was sufficient to make even the most innocent and trusting child feel distinctly uncomfortable. His accent, however, suggested that he might be the missing and so far unknown third Kray triplet. “Tell your farrrkin kids to keep the farrrkin noise down and get out of my farrrkin swimming pool” he bellowed. “I farrrkin live here and you`re just farrrkin tourists.” He was, as you can imagine, completely destroyed by the Yorkshire woman. (more…)
Beware the IDS of March
Iain Duncan Smith lives in a lovely big house with lots of spare bedrooms and receives substantial state benefits for his food, drink, energy costs, transport and accommodation.
Iain Duncan Smith is about to steal £500million from the poor, from children and from people with disabilities.
Having become firmly established as the boot-boy vanguard of Conservative ideology, Iain Duncan Smith`s Department for Work and Pensions are attacking their fellow human beings with a savagery not usually associated with devote Christians such as Mr Duncan Smith. The demonization of certain sections of our society and the “scrounger” rhetoric disseminated to whip up loathing in a gullible public seems disturbingly familiar and allows the minority in power to unleash suffering that challenges the very definition of civilization. The Bedroom Tax is designed to punish people who are unlikely to vote Conservative.
Iain Duncan Smith becomes very angry when his final solution is described as the Bedroom Tax. He prefers to call his anschluss “under occupancy sanction” or the even more odious euphemism “spare room subsidy” and has bellowed his rage at the BBC for reporting the carnage as the Bedroom Tax. No amount of semantics can disguise the fact that the Bedroom Tax is malicious socio-economic ethnic cleansing that will punish 660,000 households guilty of the crime of being poor. Duncan Smith continues to bray that his Bedroom Tax is “fair” and his weasel apologists regurgitate false and hate-filled bile about “generational idleness”, shirkers behind closed curtains, state hand-outs and “helping” the poor to free themselves from the “cruel misery of benefit dependency” by finding a non-existent job. The alleged one million jobs created in the private sector do not actually exist. A simple stroke of a pen transferred 200,000 Further Education jobs from the public sector to the private sector, Workfare slaves working for no pay are removed from the unemployment register and ATOS “disappear” people with profound disabilities from the figures by removing state support. Evangelical in ending the “something-for-nothing” culture of a welfare state that took generations to develop and less than three years to dismantle, the millionaires on the government front bench are experts in “something-for-nothing” given their vast inherited wealth from their greedy daddies. Long ago and far away another minority in power talked of work making people free. (more…)