The Plastic Hippo

April 8, 2012

Easter rising

Filed under: Fiction — theplastichippo @ 12:00 pm

Dateline Sunday:
There are unconfirmed reports that the world`s most notorious terrorist has been sighted just days after the authorities confirmed his execution. If the reports are true, the public are urged not to approach the man but to contact the law enforcement agencies.

Seven days ago, the known anarchist entered the city intending to rabble rouse insurrection, revolution and the destruction of the very fabric of society. Without any clear policy, he and his small gang of followers talked vaguely of compassion, peace, loving the poor, the sick, the infirmed and the dangerous concept of showing affection for neighbours. There is incontrovertible evidence that proves he entered a bank and turned over the tables of hedge fund managers. These actions are intolerable as government battle to reduce an inherited deficit and maintain a privileged lifestyle for the hard working elite.

An extensive intelligence gathering operation was launched using new judicial powers. GCHQ intercepted and monitored tablets of stone being distributed from mountain tops and Special Branch undertook forensic examination of burning blackberry bushes. The Home Office finally located the gang by tracing a text message to the Gethsemane Kebab and Pizza Shack that read: “Maundy Thursday. Table for 13. 9-30pm. Wine and unleavened bread only. Xtra large finger bowls.”

By the time the Tactical Support Group had deployed, the gang had fled to a nearby suburban garden. After inflicting a wound to the ear of one of the officers, the gang fled but the suspect was successfully arrested and taken into custody. The condition of the injured officer is described as stable.

The trial of the guilty man took place the following morning and such was the seriousness of the crimes committed and in the national interest, the hearing was unusually held in public. The verdict of the judiciary and the mob was unanimous. In a last minute attempt at a reprieve, the case was referred to the Lord Chief Justice who, in spite of an intervention by his wife, explained that under recently introduced legislation, no appeal was possible as he had to go away and wash his hands.

Sentencing took place at the Golgotha Rehabilitation Centre for Offenders and coincided with the retraining of two young offenders guilty of looting a bottle of water and a pair of trainers respectively.

Attending the Easter Liturgy at the recently fumigated St Pauls Cathedral, High Priest of the Temple King Dave said:
“This is a memorable day in our collective fight against terrorism and our mission in reducing the inherited deficit. The world is a safer place without this evil man and his dangerous ideas of peace, love and understanding. We have had to make some difficult decisions in reducing the inherited deficit and have to balance civil liberties with national security. Have I mentioned the inherited deficit?”

Home Secretary Mother Theresa said:
“We need to return to the Christian values that made our nation great. Greed, subjugation and humiliation are the only options to stimulate recovery. It says so in the bible. I know because a bishop told me so when we were having lunch at the Ritz. Have I mentioned the inherited deficit?”

Chief Constable Sadducees of the Met expressed his satisfaction at the success of the operation:
“Once we had established through selective surveillance that the target was not a News International employee, further investigation proved that he had long hair, a beard and had links to the Middle East. This man was clearly a credible threat and we took the decision to neutralise him. I`m proud of my officers who, day-in day-out, face danger and redundancy yet still find time to be institutionally racist.”

Reports that the terrorist has been seen by a number of people three days after his death have been dismissed as delusional by eminent theologians, scholars and clerics. The newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr MC Bad Man Ting said:
“Whaa? Is like he risen from the dead an ting? Dats like well dizzy, innit? Here me now, no batty boyz getting married in my crib.”

Chancellor St Gideon said:
“Err…yah. Lost me on that one, I`m afraid. Didn`t pay too much attention to divinity at school. Have I mentioned the inherited deficit?”

The public are once again reminded not to approach this resurrected fugitive as the spreading contagion of compassion is the greatest single danger that might bring down a corrupt and self interested government.

Please be content with chocolate and cute bunnies.

April 4, 2012

Snoop dog and bone

Filed under: Law,Media,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 12:33 pm

“Yah, hi Nick, it`s Dave. Look, I need you to take my morning suit to the dry cleaners, Rebekah`s having a christening. Take my shoes as well because you can polish them while you wait. They are at the servant`s entrance, yah. Do it now, okay? Ciao.”

When someone says or suggests something really, really stupid, there are three options for damage limitation. Firstly, forget about it and hope that not too many people noticed. The second option is to apologise for it and say it won`t happen again, thereby increasing the number of people who notice by the power of number ten. Alternatively, the really, really stupid person can try to add context to the really, really stupid suggestion by attempting to distance themselves from the really, really stupid original statement by offering justifications that are not only off, but actually break the stupidity gauge. Our government is really, really good at doing this.

Way back in the dim and distant 2009, when the previous bunch tried to introduce universal surveillance of citizens, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats fought tooth and claw against this outrageous attack of civil liberties by a monstrous authoritarian state. Both parties pledged in their manifestos to protect privacy and the rights of the people. After all, a manifesto promise is…ah, we might have to think through that sentence again.

Now, in what passes for power, the Conservatives and the newly re-educated Conservatives formerly known as Liberal Democrats, are realising their dream of dismantling a monstrous authoritarian state by flogging it off to their chums and replacing it with a monstrous authoritarian state intent on the universal surveillance of citizens. There is something comforting in the circularity of politics.

Clearly, few would argue that electronic intercepts of criminal gangs, terrorist cells planning atrocity and groups of sub-humans who harm and exploit children is nothing but a very good thing and a vital part of law enforcement in these changing digital times. But, the logic of demanding that every phone call, email and website visit be available to government scrutiny suggests that our government think every voter is a criminal, terrorist or, what a proportion of the readership of the Sun believes, paediatricians.

Soon the braying from left, right and centre made it clear that this latest monumental howler would allow the Home Office to join the growing number government departments including the Treasury, Work and Pensions, Health, Defence, the Foreign Office and Education who obviously missed the arse from elbow seminar hosted by David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

When the ridicule began, including one genius who suggested we cc Cameron on every email we send, the justification was spun out in a web of nonsense. Malcolm Rifkind crawled out of the woodwork to tell the BBC that nothing had changed, we have always done this and Home secretary Theresa May finally surfaced in, of all places, the Sun to tell us that the hasty legislation will protect children and stop us being blown up. The boy Clegg said that with the Queen`s speech a month away, we don`t know the details. He expressed concern and asked for consultation. Any real Liberals left in the world will be hammering keyboards, expressing outrage and demanding blood.

It is not difficult to analyse why an unelected government would wish to spy on the populace. Following the Arab Spring when criticism, opposition and protest was organised by social media, any corrupt government would really like to know, in the words of Marvin Gaye, what`s going on. A government that has fought tooth and claw to prevent the publication of the NHS risk register and the exposure of Michael Gove`s various email accounts now wishes to view, in real time, the “anti-social elements” infecting the internet. In other word, if you don`t agree, you are a criminal or a terrorist. At least this brings us into line with China, North Korea, Iran and Afghanistan in terms of freedom of speech.

Oh, and just a small piece of advice. Signing an online government petition giving your name and email address is not the brightest way of avoiding future prosecution under the prevention of terrorism act.

The government has certainly had a turbulent few weeks since Osborne`s budget. What is interesting is that the stories of invented scandals and crisis and the genuine hypocrisy, illegality and incompetence seem to be coming from one source. With a commons report about to be published critical of the British press and the Leveson inquiry moving on to investigate the relationship between the media and politicians, James Murdoch steps down to spend less time with his family. How ironic that News International should now berate a government who intend to hack phone calls, texts, email and computers. This clash to the titans will last as long as the Leveson inquiry or until Godzilla and King Kong, who were once allies, now tear each other apart.

Strangely, unmentioned so far, are the upcoming Olympic Games. With air exclusion zones, surface to air missile emplacements in Hackney and every security asset we have deployed to protect the copyright of the IOC, Coca-Cola, Addidas and NBC, it is important that the government can monitor people with funny names sending each other pictures of funny cats.

All this seems a long way from the exotic world of rock and roll touring. The unsung heroes are the stage crew and the riggers. These men and women are first in with the staging, vanity platforms that bring the untalented to the unworthy punters, chain-up motors and lighting trusses. They are last out with the “take-down” at the end of the gig when the punters are home and the talent is on the tour bus.

Some years ago, at a major televised gig from Wembley Stadium, one rigger who had an admittedly very Irish name, was getting some sleep. On waking, he texted his crew boss who also happened to have a very Irish name, and asked for confirmation of when the concert ended. Within an hour, both men were in the custody of the Met and enjoying a fairly robust interrogation. The removal of the equipment was significantly delayed as the text of the text read:
“Seamus. What time are we taking down Wembley?”

Before long, some clever person will come up with a list of buzz words simply to wind up GCHQ and result in endless Robin Hood airport twitter joke trials. Even as this keyboard is tapped, the government is backing down again and preparing for tomorrow`s crisis. Secret justice, hosepipe bans, airport delays, who knows? The list of wrong things to say probably exists and these seditious, treasonable musings about to terrorise the internet thingy will probably bring an armed response team to hammer down the door and cart your humble correspondent off to an internment camp in Cardigan Bay. As Douglas Adams pointed out, “resistance is useless”.

“Hi Dave, it`s Nick. Your suit and shoes are clean. Thanks for letting me do that, you know I`m here to help. Erm…just one teeny tiny favour. Can I have a rest from appearing on television to explain stuff? I know you`re really busy but I really need to get home and sort out things. Look, I really love my job but I need some time off. Dave…Dave…are you there Dave?…”

April 1, 2012

Panic on the streets of Birmingham

Filed under: Fiction,Politics,Society — theplastichippo @ 12:06 am

As the political crisis deepens, Britain continues to suffer from severe shortages of cabinet ministers. Once in plentiful supply, ministers are now nowhere to be seen and there is a real risk that the government will run out of ministers in a matter of days.

The irresponsibility of a small number of Trotskyite, terrorist, fundamentalist fascist anarchists has resulted in long queues of journalists outside press briefings and news studios desperate to get their hands on a cabinet minister. The completely selfish and unacceptable threat by a minority of so-called “special advisors” to maybe, possibly, perhaps one day take industrial action, or not as the case may be, has brought government and the economy to the brink of catastrophe and has forced cabinet ministers not to face television cameras without a carefully rehearsed script written by other people to decline the offer of accountability.

The British public should be under no illusion that these “special advisors”, SPADS, spin-doctors and petrol tanker drivers as they like to style themselves, are the one and only cause of everything evil that has ever happened, is happening, or will happen in the future. To deprive cabinet ministers of sound bites is truly vile and despicable and it is worth remembering that some of these people intent on destroying our proud nation are funded by Unite, the Civil Service plc (other civil services are available, investments may go up or down, terms and conditions apply, visit our website to claim your free ball-point pen).

The paucity of cabinet ministers prepared to be interviewed is having an effect on “the markets” with valued merchant bankers and vital entrepreneurs facing the difficult decision of relocating to a territory where cabinet ministers are readily available and at a much cheaper price. The reckless minority currently holding the country to ransom by their unpatriotic threat of a strike, or not a strike, or a rumour someone heard down the pub, or whatever, are putting lives in danger. Especially petrol tanker drivers now told to ignore the tachograph and drive until they nod off. Kaboom outside the last chance Texaco and panic on the streets of Carlisle.

Our government is calmly and sensibly dealing with the crisis. MPs we have never heard of are heroically making fools of themselves on television, Baroness Warsi is getting more air time than the Goodyear Blimp and our courageous Prime Minister has revealed several pressing prior engagements that clash with the irritation of answering questions in the House of Commons. Even now, he is hanging his DJ on the wardrobe door in preparation for another innocent meal with some rather close friends.

Government advice is quite clear and unambiguous. It is our national duty to panic buy as many cabinet ministers as necessary in order to avoid the certainty of the country and the economy grinding to a halt. £250,000 is a small price to pay for a few Cornish Pasties or the instruction to drop the 50p tax rate. As the Independent on Sunday has pointed out, “Cornish Pasty” is an anagram of “Tory cash spin” so the unambiguous advice from government is that there is no need to panic buy as many cabinet ministers as possible because they have already been bought by private health care companies, valued merchant bankers and vital entrepreneurs.

As we become the laughing stock of the known universe, April fool stories just lost the power of irony as invented crisis, baked savoury goods outrage, postage stamps, a tax on grannies and this charming man we call Cameron take us to a world that is beyond satire.

Bon chance pour le Poisson d`Avril. So long, and thanks for all the fish Dave.

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