The Plastic Hippo

March 19, 2013

Daylight robbery

Filed under: Media,Music,Politics,Rights,Society,World — theplastichippo @ 2:01 am

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…)

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March 15, 2013

Bedroom farce

Filed under: Birmingham,Law,Politics,Rights,Society,Walsall,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 11:00 pm
Beware the IDS of March

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…)

March 13, 2013

Bad wines

Filed under: History,World — theplastichippo @ 3:01 am
Image via last.fm

Image via last.fm

¿Por que la cerveza bebida Britanica? Porque tienen mal vinas.

The hardy souls that inhabit the idyllic Falkland Islands have given an emphatic and overwhelming message in a referendum to decide their future. With a turnout of 92 per cent, 1513 voted in favour of remaining a loyal overseas territory of the United Kingdom and just three voted against. In the great scheme of things, this is comparable to offering penguins a vote on a Walrus cull. There has been some speculation as to the identities of the three dissenters who seem to think that being breakfast for an elephant seal is an option, but wiser heads realise that the errant threesome give credibility to the poll as 100 per cent in favour results only happen in places like Iran or North Korea or Zimbabwe or, until a few years ago, Argentina. Currently ruining our home nation, Cameron with a 36 per cent vote share of a 65 per cent turnout in the 2010 General Election, must look to the Falklands with envious eyes. Similarly, incumbent President Cristina Kirchner of Argentina who won with 50.2 per cent of the vote in the 2011 election with an impressive turnout of 81.4 per cent and, like Cameron, no stranger to Botox and air brushing, looks to Las Malvinas as a vote winner.

So, doubtful it stands; “as two spent swimmers, that do cling together and choke their art”. For all the bluster and jingoism and fighting talk, neither side has the capability to invade, occupy or retake by force of arms because both weak governments are too inept and, basically, skint. What`s Cameron going to do? (more…)

March 11, 2013

A game of two halves

Filed under: Birmingham,Media,Society,Sport,Walsall — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
Image via morethanthe games.co.uk

Image via morethanthegames.co.uk

Some months ago, I was persuaded to be complicit in an elaborate deception involving beer, non league football and a surprise birthday party.

A friend had decided to organise a surprise birthday party for her significant other and I was tasked with keeping the birthday boy occupied between midday and six pm on a September Saturday to allow for the secret preparations. Realising that the only person who does not enjoy a surprise party is the victim of all the mysterious fuss, I joined the conspiracy against my better judgement. Given that his preferred leisure active is a complete anathema to me, golf was out of the question and an alternative was required. After extensive research, it appeared that there is very little for two portly, middle-aged men to do in Walsall on a Saturday afternoon other than become incredibly drunk. This was not an option as the evening`s celebration was specifically designed around people becoming incredibly drunk.

Being an intelligent man, my victim knows my character well enough to smell a rat if any encounter did not involve booze and so, as a pre-emptive double bluff, we arranged to meet at high noon in the Manor Arms situated in the delightful hamlet of Rushall. This might seem counterintuitive but it was all part of the sneaky plan. After a couple of pints of rather fine ale, drunk unusually slowly, we adjourned to The Boathouse for lunch before heading to the magnificent Dales Lane Stadium to enjoy the spectacle of Rushall Olympic take on the mighty Burscough in the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier Division.

Non league football is an absolute gem. The sound of every crunching tackle, leather on skull, studs on shins and the inventive placement of unsubtle obscenities are all clearly audible just a few feet away from the touchline. This is a million miles away from the pampered prima donnas of the Premier League. This is real football and these are players who play for the love of the game and not for the love of money. The recent heroics displayed by Walsall Wood away to Guernsey in a cup replay seem nobler even in defeat than the petulant shrieking that comes from the management and players at more affluent corporate brands. It is difficult to pin-point exactly when top flight professional football stopped being a sport and became a business and exactly when supporters were reclassified as customers but you can bet your Arsenal replica match shirt that it was at about the time when television rights were put up for auction. Money, it seems, is good in the box and keeps its shape at the back. (more…)

March 8, 2013

Monarch of the glen

Filed under: Environment,History,Media,Politics,Rights,Society — theplastichippo @ 3:54 am
(c) National Museums Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) National Museums Scotland; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Any attempt to parody the profound words attributed to Pastor Martin Niemoller is at best in poor taste and could be considered as sacrilegious. Anyway, here goes…

First they came for the forests, and I didn`t speak out because I wasn`t a tree.

Then they came for the badgers, and I didn`t speak out because I wasn`t a badger.

Then they came for the deer and I didn`t speak out because I wasn`t a dirty great big stag with sharp pointy antlers.

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me because they were all too busy signing bloody pointless petitions, every single one of which will be completely ignored.

Don`t get me wrong; I like forests and I like badgers and I like deer. I would also like the nation of my birth which is, after all, the seventh richest economy on the planet, to support and nurture its citizens in what was once known as civilized democracy. It would seem that the notion of sharing our common wealth is deeply unpopular and the term “welfare state” is now a derogatory sound bite used to justify what can only be described as oppression. Quite how a nation that defeated fascism and then went on to provide homes, employment, health care, education and that other derogatory sound bite “social security” should now allow four million children to grow up in poverty and demonise the terminally ill and people with disabilities as an underclass of scroungers and shirkers is a cause of frightening concern. Save the Children, a most worthy charity usually tugging at our heartstrings to donate money to help starving children in far flung places that are anywhere but here, are now running TV ads asking us to donate to help feed and clothe children born and living in the United Kingdom. Our current coalition government is selling weapons to far flung dictators that are anywhere else but here and giving tax breaks to millionaires as well as supporting eye-watering bonuses to crooked bankers who caused the economic mess in the first place. This has been achieved by the dark propaganda of fear and blame. (more…)

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