The Plastic Hippo

July 21, 2013

The Royal Hunt of the Sun

Image via

Image via

It cannot be easy being the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police or, for that matter, a Chief or Assistant Chief Constable of various other dwindling constabularies. Imagine having to spend your working day outside your HQ talking to cameras to explain that yet more lessons have been learnt, yet more lines in the sand have been drawn and issuing yet another appeal for calm and information.

If tackling crime and keeping us safe wasn`t difficult enough, pity the poor plod who has to deal with a half-wit of the calibre of Home Secretary Theresa May and yet another overweight, bald, wealthy white man in the shape of Justice Secretary Chris Grayling. However, even in the face of such adversity and even with 14,000 fewer police officers since the coalition regime assumed power recorded crime has decreased by a massive seven per cent. Experts and analysts have expressed their delight, surprise and bafflement that such a dramatic decline in bad things happening has been achieved in the teeth of economic ruin and Tory politicians` bellow of actual evidence of recovery even as they line their own corrupt pockets. But it was left to the BBC Conservative press office to give the most elegant of explanations to this unexpected fall in the level of crime. It seems that our collective unconscious has been so disgusted by the violence of the twentieth century that society has turned its back on wrongdoing and we are all now much nicer people. Do you see those people running around and jumping up to try and catch straws in the gale? That`s the BBC, that is. (more…)

July 17, 2013

Yowsah yowsah yowsah

Filed under: Literature,Media,Sandwell,Walsall,West Bromwich,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 2:38 am
Staying alive

Staying alive

According to the increasingly eccentric Express and Star, it is still not clear if Walsall suffered disco hate crime or smoke machine terrorism some two and a half years ago.

Under the headline “Walsall town centre alert sparked by smoke device”, the Wolverhampton based purveyor of cat litter and rabbit hutch lining ran a baffling story that abandoned the Five W principles of journalism in favour of an attempt to stoke up tension and fear in a community that has previously manifested little fear and tension. No less a towering figure of journalism than Rudyard Kipling summed up the Five W principles of Who and What and When and Where and Why and even added an H in his poem from the Just So Stories:

“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”

Even if George Orwell described Kipling as a “prophet of British imperialism” and ignoring his disturbing obsession with Masonic ritual and a rather unhealthy interest in the Scouting Movement, old Rudyard came up with useful guide for journalists and, indeed, police officers. It might be illuminating to run the “Kipling Method” past the latest piece of Express and Star frippery invented to cause sensation or outrage or fury or anger. It would be easy to simply link to the tawdry piece but that would increase advertising revenue for the Swastika and suggest that the drivel was popular with the online readership. Instead, I will type the wretched thing out word for word but not disclose the identity of a man who has no right of reply. (more…)

July 14, 2013

Another dead tree

Filed under: Birmingham,Media,Sandwell,Walsall,West Bromwich,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 1:19 pm

E and S

A question for the Editor of the Express and Star; where exactly in the European Court of Human Rights ruling on whole life sentences does it say that “killers get right to freedom”?

On Wednesday, the local rag for local people ran a front page splash that scraped out the bottom of a long empty barrel. “Outrage as killers get right to freedom” screamed the headline. Having obviously not read the actual judgement on a submission made by convicted murderers Jeremy Bamber, Douglas Vintner and Peter Moore, the unnamed “journalists” at the Effluent and Sewage suggested that the vile and heinous scum were about to be released from prison and “walk the streets” to continue their evil lifestyle of murderous mayhem. If the hacks had bothered to take just a tiny little peak at the document, they might have discovered that the opposite is the case. It is true that the judges at the ECHR said that a whole life tariff for utterly barbaric murder was “inhuman and degrading treatment” but did not in any way, shape or form decree that monsters should be released from incarceration. Instead, the experts in law suggested that life sentences should be subject to review after, as an example, 25 years when a court would decide if a very bad person should be set free, remanded or, more importantly, remain banged up.

Displaying complete ignorance of the law or, indeed, the ability to understand or read a legal document, the E and S went straight to Conservative MP for Cannock, Aidan Burley. You may remember this chap. He is the immigrant to this country that complained of “multicultural crap” during the Olympics and gets his kicks from hiring Nazi uniforms for men he likes to look at. Having taken substantial donations from JCB, he has also enjoyed the “hospitality” offered by the governments of Sri Lanka and the Maldives to sort out their human rights issues. It`s good to know that our hard working MPs can halt oppression by lying on a beach selling JCBs to corrupt governments. I hope he took his sun block. It would be awful if he came back looking brown.

Next up for the Ego and Stolichnaya was Conservative MP for Staffordshire South Gavin Williamson who thinks it is a good idea for Britain to abandon the European Convention of Human Rights. It is entirely ridiculous to infer that Gavin`s only success in public office is achieving the expansion of the autism spectrum to beyond infinity. He is not stupid; he is just a little giddy. (more…)

July 2, 2013

I`ve never been to West Brom

Filed under: Birmingham,Sandwell,Society,Walsall,West Bromwich,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 4:12 pm
The Public - West Bromwich

The Public – West Bromwich

One of the most endearing qualities of people in the West Midlands and the Black Country is their unselfconscious sense of geography and the pride of identity defined by place.

No artificial gerrymandered lines on a map imposing parliamentary constituencies or council wards can divide communities into north or south or east or west or even central. Far from being a vast, sprawling conurbation with Birmingham at the centre, this part of the world is covered with thousands of distinct villages. The good people of, say, Willenhall will bristle if described as being a native of Walsall or Wolverhampton. There persists a good-natured rivalry between the inhabitants of Upper Gornal and Lower Gornal and the folks of Sutton Coldfield will choke on their G and T`s if you dare to suggest that they are, in fact, Brummies. Even within established towns and cities, territorial identity prevails. Divided only by the Hagley Road, Ladywood and Edgbaston could be a million miles apart and Bloxwich considers itself an independent republic. I have yet to hear a single living soul admit to the fact that they live in Sandwell. (more…)

May 11, 2013

Hednesford Town v Real Madrid

Filed under: Birmingham,Sport,Walsall,Wolverhampton — theplastichippo @ 2:09 pm
Sir Alex Ferguson via BBC

Sir Alex Ferguson via BBC

Contrary to the impression given in some press coverage, Sir Alex Ferguson is not dead; he has risen again and walks the earth in his own likeness. It is business as usual at Old Trafford.

The remarkable record of Manchester United is due to a strong squad, consistency and having enough money to buy as many world class players as are required to win titles. Ensuring a permanent place in the lucrative Champions League is more about business interest than silverware and television rights and gate receipts are the imperative rather than pride in wearing a club shirt. Consistency, in this case, means replacing one dour, disciplinarian Scotsman with another, younger dour, disciplinarian Scotsman.

The migration of David Moyes along the M62 seemed inevitable following a nil-nil draw last week against arch rivals Liverpool resulting in a likely sixth place for Everton and not a place in the Champions League. With comparatively little money and a squad plagued by injury, Moyes has done well to achieve that and logic would indicate that given the considerable resources now available to him, Manchester United will conquer the world, find a cure for cancer and broker a lasting peace agreement in the Middle East. The expectations and the stakes are high. Anyone remember dour, disciplinarian Scotsman Tommy Docherty and what happened at Villa in the late 60`s, Wolves in the mid 80`s and Manchester United being relegated in 1974?

Recently, the excellent Stan Collymore has been expressing common sense regarding the German model for top flight football. This is where supporters have a stake and a voice and ticket prices are held at a sensible level. In the Bundesliga, football clubs are clubs and not simply a business. Another radical idea is a spending cap on transfers and a requirement to field home grown talent nurtured through youth teams. This would create a level playing and end the advantage of teams with rich owners simply buying another thoroughbred when one gets broken or fails. It might also dissuade the wealthy elite buying up promising young players and leaving them in the reserves just to stifle any potential opposition. Ironically, Manchester United pounced on Wayne Rooney, a product of Everton`s youth policy, after he frightened the life out of the United defence in a league game at Goodison Park in 2004.

Villa`s season will go down to the wire against Wigan and still face a mathematical possibility of relegation. With Wolves fans screaming for blood, Walsall did rather well to finish ninth in League One and West Brom will be happy with eighth in the Premier League. Imagine what could be achieved with the spending power of Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City or Manchester United. With such disparity, the Champions League will remain a closed shop.

Today, rich Manchester City face poor Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup Final at Wembley but for those fans that support football clubs rather than global marketing brands, there is a potentially more important game today. Local non-league teams have been doing rather well of late, particularly Chasetown, Walsall Wood and Rushall Olympic and today, Hednesford Town are up against FC United Manchester in the Northern Premier League Premier Division play-offs. Ironically, FC United were founded as a protest by Manchester United fans against some of the more dubious financial activities of overseas investors.

These non-league clubs with their loyal fan base do not need a dour, disciplinarian very well paid clone. What they do need next season, is for you to part with a few quid and go and watch them play.

David Moyes via BBC

David Moyes via BBC

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