The Plastic Hippo

May 30, 2012

The return of Teflon Tony

Filed under: Politics — theplastichippo @ 12:37 am

It`s been a long time since 1997 and the promise of an end to political sleaze and corruption. The Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair presented himself to the Leveson inquiry and furiously denied any suggestion of a deal between newspaper proprietors and New Labour. Phew, thank goodness for that.

No mention, though, of the deal that secured media silence over the Blair progeny or the then Prime Minister`s lurch toward Catholicism. The letter from a Cardinal telling Blair to stop attending mass because he wasn`t actually a Catholic, the unfortunate arrest conducted in a pool of vomit and the genuinely sad suicide attempts went mercifully unreported. Cherie, when the need arose to flog a book, did however furnish us with the fact that her contraceptive “apparatus” was unpacked for her by flunkies at Balmoral. One should always think of the children but only after thinking of the publishing royalties.

The Leveson Inquiry has descended into utter farce. Rupert gets a pie in the mush, Hislop extracts the urine and some bonkers fruitcake accuses Blair of war crimes. War crimes? For goodness sake we have all seen the conclusive evidence of weapons of mass destruction. It`s there, in the same filing cabinet along with Ruth Kelly`s CV and the post mortem report on Dr David Kelly. When Blair`s bodyguards bundled the obvious terrorist out, all we needed was the irritating soundtrack of dreadful urban yodelling provided by Whitney Houston bellowing I Will Always Love You.

Sadly for Tony, despite being the only British Labour Prime Minister to deliver three election victories, despite the Good Friday agreement, the minimum wage, the Freedom of Information Act and an increase in growth and a decrease in unemployment, we will not always love you because of a stupid and unnecessary war.

Leveson went totally gaga when the awful Michael Gove turned up. Gove attempted to defend freedom of expression by accusing bloggers of “inaccurate, offensive and intrusive” posts. Not at all like the News of the World when they hacked a dead girl`s phone. Hey, Michael, you are a bastard and you are damaging children. Sue me.

Blair survives, Gove survives, and the tax on pasties is reversed. We will just have to continue on a diet of pork pies, bunting and an exposed flame on the top of Lord Snowden. The frying pan that ruined the full English will need a thorough cleaning


May 27, 2012

Rare Bird

Filed under: Media,Music,World — theplastichippo @ 10:35 pm

When it comes to cultural icons, they don`t come more iconic than Engelbert Humperdinck. No, not the composer of Hansel und Gretel, but the ageing crooner from Leicester also known as Arnold Dorsey.

For sheer unadulterated kitsch, the Eurovision Song Contest is a peerless example of something being so bad that it is actually rather good. Sadly, the days of Katie Boyle turning up on television once a year are long gone and the rationale of participation has changed from a desire to win the thing to making sure of losing at all costs. The reverse logic is delicious. With Europe falling apart, the performers from Greece, Italy, Spain and Ireland were under strict instructions to fail to stave off the bankruptcy of staging the event that would be visited on any successful nation. Engelbert, however, was supposed to win and was triumphant in coming next to last.

There was something vaguely familiar about the song he was given to sing. Can`t quite put a finger on it. Something about half the world?

We should, of course, dismiss the woeful human rights record of Azerbaijan and concentrate on the wonderful architecture and vibrant folklore of Baku. It`s not as if we in the west would ever dream of evicting poor people to make way for a cultural or even sporting event. As the descendents of the enlightenment, we civilised nations should celebrate the exposure of loads of female flesh and the homoerotic spectacle of lots of cute male dancers. Forget, for the moment, that Iran has withdrawn its ambassador in protest at something it describes as un-Islamic, Azerbaijan, you see, has lots of oil.

What the hell was that song? Dah…da…dad…da…No, can`t quite remember it. Not enough something or other?

Love, and, indeed, work can set you free, but it didn`t help Engelbert score more than 12 points when up against the rather bizarre offerings from Albania, a bunch of babooshkas and the crime against nature that is Jedward. Vibrant European nations such as Azerbaijan, Turkey and Israel might favour British manufactured armaments to subdue troublesome populations but this has not translated into votes for the chanteur most famous for Please Release Me. Perhaps a UK triumph at Eurovision could be achieved by allowing Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bahrain, Egypt and our charming chums in Syria to participate. Guns for Eurovision votes is certainly a little less sordid than guns for oil.

Next year, whoever decides on the song to be sung should commission the utterly sublime Gary Barlow and Lord Webber to replicate their anthem to our own, dear Queen. After plundering Rachmaninov and managing to rhyme “clearer” with “hear ya”, we can surely expect to see Prince Harry with his tambourine braving the dry ice and follow spots of Stockholm. That will keep bae systems and Uncle Andrew happy.

Now what was that song that Engelbert sang? Love will set you free? Not enough love will set you free? Love will make you quietly starve? Bingo. Got it.
Perhaps they will be singing this in the streets of Houla and the rest of Syria tonight.

May 25, 2012

What has it got in its pockets?

Filed under: Education,Law,Politics — theplastichippo @ 3:10 pm

Wishing to buy the Queen a yacht, having the self confidence to write a forward to the Bible and expressing a desire to have a portrait of himself hung in every Free School and Academy, it is becoming increasingly clear that Michael Gove is below contempt.

Unfortunately for him, the judiciary might think otherwise. The ever engaging Tom Watson has asked some rather awkward questions of the Secretary of State for Education which, as yet, have remained unanswered. Having abandoned a generation of children, Gove might have to waste some of his precious time once again up before a judge with more tenacity than Leveson.

Yes precious, illegality is Hobbit forming.

May 24, 2012

Witch Hunt

Filed under: Politics,Society,Sport — theplastichippo @ 9:39 pm

There was a time, long ago now, when honour and responsibility seemed somehow important to politicians. Once upon a time, ministers caught with fingers in tills, body parts in other people or telling porkie pies would resign and enjoy a comfortable retirement state pension and membership of various boards of directors. Those days, as is the way of progress, are long gone.

Jeremy Hunt, a former head boy at Charterhouse and now Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, has lied to parliament and the nation over his bias in sucking up to Rupert Murdoch. Instead of resigning at the possibility of being sacked, Jeremy did the new honourable thing and sacked his special advisor.

Hunt, it seems, will survive with his reputation intact. As an aside, has anyone else noticed that the London 2012 logo (copyright protected – other games are available) resembles an image of Marge performing an intimate act on Homer? When times get tough, as they are bound to do, perhaps we can emulate hungry seafarers who, on landing at Mauritius, ate the Dodo to extinction. Hunt will keep his job regardless of illegality and then enjoy a generous pension and a portfolio of directorships. It`s great to know that we have a government that cares.

May 23, 2012

Jumping the shark

Filed under: Rights — theplastichippo @ 12:01 am

Whoever is writing this unbelievable script is obviously becoming more desperate for ratings by introducing plot lines that are quite ridiculous. We might be inured to rubbish television, but a loan shark dictating government policy? Oh come on, do they think we are that stupid? Sadly, they think we are.

With an unhealthy obsession with Aston Martins, venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft has produced a widely reported Conservative policy document that proposes an end to employment rights, or “red tape” as the BBC prefers to call it.

It transpires that Mr Beecroft invests in a loan shark company called Wonga who offer short term finance at an interest rate of more than 4,000 per cent. Those that default on terms and conditions are subject to threats, harassment and intimidation. Mr Beecroft is a nice guy with gently smiling jaws.

Coincidentally, a proposal in the commons to regulate pay-day loan sharks was defeated by Conservative and Liberal Democrat MPs who clearly cannot remember what was contained in their election manifestos.

Dah dum…dah dum…dah dum…daaaaah dum dum dum dum dum dum dum…

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