The Plastic Hippo

December 15, 2014

Tales of men`s shirts

There`s foie gras on your shirt Dave. Image via PA

There`s foie gras on your shirt Dave. Image via PA

A little more than a year ago, on the eve of St Andrews Day 2013, a police helicopter crashed into the Clutha pub on the banks of the Clyde. In their response to this dreadful event, the people of Glasgow transformed a darkest moment into a finest hour.

A couple of weeks earlier, the Prime Minister stuffed himself into a dress shirt and dinner suit to attend the Lord Mayor of London`s banquet at the Guildhall. After a sumptuous feast consumed with silver cutlery, David Cameron rose from his gold chair to announce that as times were still tough, cuts to public services would continue and “austerity” will be permanent. He sat next to Fiona Woolf who is no longer Lord Mayor and, apparently, no longer employable.

It has been a bad year for Cameron and, indeed, for Fiona Woolf. It would take until the general election in May to lists the gaffes, disasters, scandals, cover-ups and misery caused by this truly awful Prime Minister so it might be best, as he is so fond of saying, to draw a line under them and move on. (more…)


December 13, 2014

Question Time with Jerry Springer

Filed under: History,Media,Politics,Society — theplastichippo @ 2:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,
Via bbcqt

Via bbcqt

I stopped watching BBC Question Time months ago because it had become simply too annoying but, after all the fuss, I watched the latest pantomime on I-player. I was annoyed by about four minutes in but the irritation at what now passes for political debate evaporated to be replaced by a profound sense of gloom at what UK politics has become.

Back in 1979, with Thatcher only four months into her stay at Number 10, it must have seemed a good idea to put Any Questions on the telly. The format of having three politicians plus a notable academic or newspaper editor or religious leader taking unseen questions from “members of the public” ticked a lot of news and current affairs boxes in the BBC Charter. With Robin Day holding the good and the great to account, it made for interesting viewing. Although annoyingly pompous, Robin Day stuck to his rule of only asking the same question three times and leave the audience to judge the unwillingness of a politician to deliver an answer. (more…)

December 11, 2014


Sir Michael Wilshaw via

Sir Michael Wilshaw via

It would be a fair assumption to expect a former Head Teacher, Knight of the Realm and Chief Inspector of Schools to be in possession of a least a modicum of intelligence. Sir Michael Wilshaw is doing his level best to ensure that students, parents and teachers never make the mistake of assuming anything.

Sir Michael is obviously a very intelligent Chief Inspector of Schools and only says stupid things because of the perfectly understandable assumption that his audience of students, parents and teachers are stupid. His annual Ofsted report into the state of the nation`s schools is an impeccable master-class in how to undermine and discredit anyone involved in the education of young people apart from, of course, Ofsted, the Department for Education, his good self and various duplicitous government ministers. He is either dangerous or he is attempting a new career as a comedian. Sadly, the former seems to be the case. (more…)

December 5, 2014

Entirely a Matter for You


On the face of it and with delightful incongruity, the early lives of the late Jeremy Thorpe and the even later Peter Cook are remarkably similar.

Cook was born in Devon and as a son of a colonial diplomat “enjoyed” a public school education at Radley College and then Pembroke, Cambridge. Apart from joining the footlights revue, he also joined the Cambridge University Liberal Club. Thorpe was born 18 years earlier and as a son of a Tory MP, “enjoyed” a public school education at Eton and then Trinity, Oxford where he read law and later still became the Liberal MP for North Devon. Here the similarities begin to diverge. Cook opened the Establishment Club in Soho and Thorpe embraced the other establishment as the leader of the Liberal Party. With one of them making a living out of political satire and the other making a living out of political expedience, both men were probably fully aware of what Cyril Smith was up to. (more…)

December 3, 2014

Principia Mathematica



Somewhere in the nebulous goldilocks zone between mathematics and fairy tales, there exists a species dedicated to analysing statistics for political purposes. For all its richness, the English language has yet to develop a collective noun for statisticians busily blowing the smoke and polishing the mirrors that their political masters will use to prove that “up” is the new “down” and “new” is the old “old”. (more…)

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