Saturday, 25 December 2010

Total Recall

Peace on earth, goodwill to men...

... especially...

- The bankers who, having shattered Western economies, graciously accepted taxpayer largesse, then threatened to abandon these shores were they to be deprived their seasonal bonuses.

- The tax avoiders, who took their billions off-shore, but who were still deemed indispensable to the nation.

- The pharmaceutical philanthropists who, a year ago, generously offered us Tamiflu at the knockdown price of £2 Billion. How comforting it has been to us all this Christmas.

- The politicians, who, in recent years proved you can give something back to society whilst lining your pockets.

- The Local Authorities and the public sector workers who used council tax revenues to snoop on the very citizens that had provided those revenues... Where would we be without the bin-snoops, the poop squad etc? RIP, eh?

- The celebs who allowed us to put all our troubles away. Who needs democracy, when you can vote contestants off Strictly Come Dancing or the X-Factor at the touch of a (telephone) button?

- The media that demonstrated you can be a lover of leaks and a hater of leaks at the same time. All that counts is whether you love... or you hate... the leaker.

- Avatar - the movie full of weird blue faced people that suggested we are all, at heart, avatars. All we need to know now, is, who's providing the animation?

- The Pope who visited Britain in Autumn 2010 and reminded us that Christ cast the moneylenders out of the temple. That was the Pope's message, wasn't it, surely? That's why he came here... Right?

Monday, 13 December 2010

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Are you tired of this "paranoid chic" everyone's talking about? When you get up, do you really want to read what some obscure diplomat said to a State Department official ten years ago? Don't you deserve something better, something cheerier, something that's more fun as you tuck into your morning - or your evening -cornflakes? Isn't it time media started focusing on the things you really care about - things like reality TV, for example?

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Find out: -

- The erotic thoughts passing through Ann Widdecombe's head as she flails around on Strictly Come Dancing.

- What Simon Cowell really thinks about quantitative easing

- Does Jedward really have only one brain between them?

- Is Cheryl Cole as thick as she sounds, or does she have an interest in astrophysics as she claims?

- Will Julian Assange appear on the next series of I'm a Celebrity?

- Is Gillian McKeith tired of examining poo?

- When Lord Sugar tells contestants on The Apprentice, "You're Fired" is he actually thinking: "Who'd want to work for me anyway?"

- Is Britain's decline fueled by the "squeezed" charm of the bourgeoisie

Who gives a toss about any of these question? The answer is YOU DO!

So why waste your brain power on the big issues, the big questions of the day? Why worry about where we're heading - or whether the globalisation model is broken? Why give a damn about how the rest of the world views this country, obsessed as it is with the banal, the vacuous and the mundane? Why not simply snuggle up on the sofa with your "bread and circuses" and put all your troubles away.

Think not: Wikileaks. Think: Chicileaks

Chicileaks - where moronic chic is the order of the day!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

More student protests

"What do we want?"

"NO tuition fees."

"When don't we want them?"


"When'll we protest?"


"When won't we protest?"

"Over the past twelve years since tuition fees were introduced!"

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Asterix regained

First, James Naughtie mentioned the word. An hour later, Start the Week's Andrew Marr uttered it as the panel discussed Proust and Freud. Soon all hell broke loose and the BBC was forced to apologise for its inappropriate use of language.

This website subsequently reported these "spoonerisms" but later drew criticism because it failed to use any asterisks. Apparently it is normal practice when using the c-word to substitute an asterisk for one, possibly two of the letters.

From now on we will do our best to moderate the use of the c-word - and other profanities, for that matter - through the rigorous application of one or more asterisks. We will do so even when quoting the BBC, which these days tends to favour the c-word in all its glory.

There will be no "cunt*" on this website.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Many a slip between cunt and lip

The BBC was accused of sexism today when Scottish presenter, James Naughtie called a government minister a cunt. The error occured on the flagship programme this morning as the veteran presenter interviewed "cunture secretary", Jeremy Hunt. He made frequent use of the four letter word, although he later denied this betrayed any political allegiances

The BBC apologised this afternoon saying: "Whilst we totally endorse the use of the word cunt on the Today programme, as it frequently appears in the OED, we readily accept that it's use on this occasion was unacceptable, as it could be deemed to have sexist overtones. We will of course ensure that from now on male government ministers are referred to as cocks."

Plumber saves Western economies

Whilst some may remember a massive credit bubble that ultimately tipped Western economies into a collapse of unparalleled proportions, others will recall a Prime Minister who saved the world at the height of the crisis when he persuaded world leaders at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh to join a rescue mission.

Following on from that success, that same Prime Minister will this week see the release of his book entitled "Beyond the Crash: Overcoming the First Crisis of Globalisation".

Some of course will doubt he's qualified to offer such advice in light of the economic climate he allowed to develop during the "Noughties". And others, again, will point to the fact that he led the way out of this crisis through his resolute actions at the summit.

We asked a plumber to give his take on what actually happened:-

"Well, way I see, guv'nor, is it's like this: You call in a plumber to sort out the pipes and the boiler on your central heating system. Right? And this bloke ends up bursting the pipes, flooding your entire house, and almost recking all your possessions. Know what I mean?

"Then he turns round like and says to you - 'well at least I found the stopcock and managed to turn the water off, didn't I guv'nor? So in that respect, I stepped in just at the right time to stop even greater carnage."

"Then, just before he leaves, the geyser what owns the home asks: 'So, what's the damage?' And the plumber turns round and replies: 'Oh, that'll be one trillion quid please... and preferably in cash if you got it. Know what I mean, guv'nor?'

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

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Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Back to school

Moves are underway to teach students the basic meaning of contract. Understandable disquiet at the rise in tuition fees has of late been cast as an example of broken promises by the LibsDems. Whilst the party did indeed oppose a rise in tuition fees before the election, this was based on an understanding that it could or would be the sole party of government. Since the LibDems did not become the sole party of government - and students supporting them did not expect them to be either - then their current support for the rise in tuition fees does not constitute a broken promise.

Or, put in the simple language so beloved by academics and Sir Humphreys alike: Opposition to a rise in tuition fees was predicated upon the eventuality of the LibDems becoming the sole party of government. The subsequent formation of a coalition with the Conservatives superseded the guarantees extended prior to the election. etc etc

(More on this as it breaks...)

Monday, 29 November 2010

Taking a leak

Information is power. How often have we heard that? If it's true, then leaks are power diluted. But whose power, and whose information are we talking about here? When is it acceptable for information to enter the public domain, and when not? Is it, frankly, all about perception?

Today, we ask a taxing but, some might say, pertinent question: When is a leak not a leak? Or rather, when is your information my information, my information your information?

Here are one or two examples that'll help guide us through this informational conundrum...

Discretion - "Not in front of the children." Timeless! This occurs when couples discuss who they're shagging on the side. It could be a case of: "I only slept with Doris when I discovered you were screwing your personal trainer, darling." It makes sense to keep these discussions out of earshot of interested parties - if only because they won't stay interested for long, and might start testing the waters themselves.

Marketing - Never tick the box that says: "Yes I'd like my personal information to be distributed to affiliate companies." It'll simply encourage those companies to contact you by phone, Internet or junk mail.

Social Networking - Yep. It's not a good idea to sign up to websites that record personal data (though, hundreds of millions of gullible fools do precisely that). We know this data might be turned to all kinds of unscrupulous ends, like, contacting you by phone, Internet or junk mail. This data might also be passed on to "government agencies" that'll use them for their own, clearly, benign purposes.

Kiss and Tell - When is it okay for information to be out in the public domain, courtesy of someone who slept with someone famous? When, of course, it relates to a celeb, a pop star, footballer, or even, God forbid, a politician! Information like this, concerning public figures - or public bodies for that matter! - has to be revealed, if only to counter the twisted, manipulative garbage that PRs put out about their clients' own perfect, charitable and pristine lives (Malaria, racketeering etc. notwithstanding).

Information designed to mislead and manipulate (cf. kiss and tell, above) - Examples? A politician claims to be giving something back to society, when he's actually taking backhanders. Or a starlet presents a semblance of purity and chastity, when in fact she's shagging her crack dealer. However this kind of misinformation hardly ever occurs in reality because, as we know, ALL public figures are beautiful, benign, sublime, radically gorgeous individuals who only achieve success through hard work, good deeds, clean living and a heartfelt desire to help others (shallowness, vulgarity, ruthlessness, tax avoidance, suspect expenses claims, serious drugs and alcohol misuse notwithstanding).

Databases - Government of the people by the people for the people should never lose sight of the need to control the information of the people by the government for the government. What's the point of government otherwise?

Taking the piss - This occurs when those not authorised to control certain types of information leak that information to those not authorised to be a party to it (i.e. the people). We all know the saying, don't we boys and girls? "Those who can, do. Those who can't... leak?"

Don't we?

Friday, 26 November 2010

Where's the money gone (part two)?

(Today, another wealthy and, arguably, cautious investor offers his take on "the squeezed middle")

"Where's your money gone, where's your money gone?
Where's the taxes gone, where's your money gone?

far far off-shore!

where's your bailout gone, where's your bailout gone?
Where's the payout done, where's your bailout gone?

far far off-shore!
far far off-shore!

Last night I heard my mama singing this song
boooooogie, Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Cheap
woke up this morning and my money was gone
boooooogie, Chirpy Chirpy Cheap Steal

Where's your money gone? Where's your money gone?
Where's the payout done, great big payout done,
Where's your money gone? Where's your money gone?

far far off-shore!
far far off-shore!"

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Where's the money gone?

(A wealthy investor offers in-depth analysis of the crisis facing the Eurozone)

"The Eurozone's connected to the bail-out loan,
The bail-out loan's connected to the debt grown,
The debt grown's connected to the cash flown,
The cash flown's connected to the bubble blown,
The bubble blown's connected to the home loan,
The home loan's connected to the credit sewn,
The credit sewn's connected to the bank clone,
The bank clone's connected to the greed tone,
Oh, hear the word of the Lord!

Dem loans, dem loans gonna walk aroun'
Dem loans, dem loans, gonna walk aroun'
Dem loans, dem loans, gonna walk aroun'
Oh, hear the word of the Lord."

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Monarchy accused of "classing-down"

First, Charles married above his station when he hooked up with a member of the "real aristocracy" back in the eighties. Now young William, second in line to the thrown, has been accused of "classing-down" after announcing his engagement to a builder's daughter. And in line with this change in royal circumstances, some commentators think the family, known as The Firm, is about to re-write the etiquette book by issuing a new set of guidelines more in touch with modern Britain. If indeed this story is true, here's what we reckon new guide to social protocol will look like:-

From now on it will be acceptable to:-

- Carry on a conversation with Her Majesty whilst tucking into a KFC Bargain Bucket.

- Lick the plate clean after a particularly tasty full English breakfast

- Belch loudly after a meal, wipe your hands on the tablecloth, then shout "lovely jubbly."

- Use a fish knife to cut your bread roll in half

- Break wind in the company of Her Majesty, say "pardon" then fall about laughing hysterically

- Ask senior royals what they thought of Katie Price's latest book, then wax lyrical about her "gi-normous funbags".

- Ask Her Majesty which perfume she's wearing, then follow this up with "Is it Victoria Beckham by any chance?"

- Keep tomatoes in the Royal fridges

- Chop asparagus into little pieces with a knife and fork, then shovel it into your gob with a large spoon

- Decline an offer to ride with the hounds because it means you'll miss "Snog, Marry, Avoid" on BBC3

- Refer to the wedding arrangements as "cushty".

- Ask her Majesty whether she saw the Millwall / QPR match the other day and refer to Millwall's defence as being a f***ing disgrace.

- Bring a packet of cocktail sausages to a royal picnic and say "get your choppers around that, love".

- At royal table, bemoan the fact that "her indoors" is shagging the aerobics instructor

- At Christmas time, give Her Majesty a pair of furry dice for her "new motor".

One thing however will remain strictly unacceptable, or so it seems:-

- Use of the royal "we", when discussing matters lavatorial. For example: "We have just been to the royal toilet and dumped a load. We tried flushing it down three times but the bastard still won't disappear." Alternatively: "One should steer clear of toilet for at least fifteen minutes, Your Majesty. We believe that's how long it'll take for the stench to clear. It's pretty ugly in there, we can tell you." Or alternatively: "Pardon us for taking so long in the toilet, Your Majesty. We think we're suffering the after effects of last night's vindaloo, if you catch our drift."

(The writer is the editor of a famous etiquette book)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

The Irish Play (Acts Two, Three and Four Recurring.)

"Hello. I'm an esteemed professor of economics and no "wall-flower" when it comes to offering the UK Gov. advice. Yesterday I published an article in the Guardian Newspaper suggesting inflation is good for us - meaning, it's good for the UK economy. It's my belief that in these troubled times, when talk is of austerity, of cutting housing benefit, of controlling inflation etc etc, we should be doing the opposite. We should actually be encouraging prices - that is, property prices and rental prices - to rise. We shouldn't be tightening our belts. No! We should be encouraging growth, encouraging expansion... even if that means, encouraging inflation.

"That argument, my argument, was made quite persuasively, I believe. And many commended the points I made. But now, I would like to offer the same advice to the European Union. Because surely the same arguments apply to it as the UK government - or US government for that matter. Here we go:-

"The news from the Irish Republic, indeed the news from Europe, is looking increasingly gloomy. House prices have nosedived and the banks are saddled with crippling debt. The Irish government has, until now, resisted pressure from the European Union for a multibillion-euro bailout. Prospects for an emergency package of help - part bankrolled by Britain - are moving ever closer, and negotiations between finance ministers from the 16-nation eurozone are tense.

"But here's what we should do: Let the ECB printing presses roll! Let the quantitative wheeze generate some quantitative ease! Instead of bailing out Ireland, why not let the ECB step in and buy those mortgage backed securities and those loans the Irish, or, for that matter, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Greek banks took onto their balance sheets in those heady days we called the Roaring Noughties?

"Isn't about time the ECB set up a bank to purchase the mortgages of the "zombie households", those mortgage defaulters, that run the length and breadth of the European Union? Isn't it time the ECB let inflation run wild? 10% should do it for now. That way the eurozone could inflate its debt away and avoid a lot of this austerity nonsense everyone's talking about. Euro-quantitative easing would add stimulus to the Euro economy - which would be positive for house prices - and those mortgages wouldn't be quite the "zombies" we originally thought they were. Then everybody would be happy. And more important, no bailout would be necessary."

"You know, it's easier than you think to achieve this - Euro-willing!

"And here's a thought: If you want to know what the future looks like, why not simply look at the past? You see, the past is essentially a series of bubbles. History teaches that. History has taught us that. We economists know the way to limit the damage caused by the last bubble (i.e. the last bubble that burst) is - yep, you guessed it - to magic up another, another bubble. Or, you could look at it this way: It's a bit like relationships really. Relationships? I hear you ask. Yes relationships! One thing we all know when it comes to relationships is, the best way to get over an ex is the next. That's how we move on in life. Right?

"So, let's move on!

What I'm basically saying is this: Think not too hard on the last bubble that burst. Think more about the next, the next bubble we can create. And if there's one thing that we economists are good at, it's - you guessed it - blowing bubbles, forever blowing bubbles.

"So let's all sing together - the economists' favorite song:-

I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air.
They fly so high,
Nearly reach the sky,
Then like my dreams,
They fade and die.
Fortune's always hiding,
I've looked everywhere,
I'm forever blowing bubbles,
Pretty bubbles in the air.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The wealth of nations

Britain's biggest banks (or what's left of them) are considering a revolutionary new idea: Cutting the bonus pool. They are concerned taxpayers, who bailed them out in 2008, will object to large pay awards when they're having to tighten their own belts. One senior banker announced today:-

"It is probably true we are thinking about having a large lunch in the City, where it is not inconceivable that the subject of bonuses may arise, if only in passing. We are aware certain somewhat envious, and may I say, odious individuals, are incapable of grasping what the banking sector has delivered in recent years. These people believe that just because on one occasion the nation had to pay back all the money that had till then flowed into Treasury coffers, this represents poor value for money."

"Oh yes, they may well acknowledge the enormous tax revenues the banking sector generated over the past decade. Yes, they may well accept that my wife, Lady Banks, spent hundreds of thousands of pounds propping up the retail sector with her generous purchases of diamonds, of new kitchens and of designer clothing.

"But then they have the temerity to insinuate that senior bankers like myself and my hard-working staff have squirreled away many millions, nay billions of pounds in off-shore bank accounts, never to be seen again. They even claim that such nest-eggs were the product of the very credit derivatives deals that almost bankrupted Britain in the first place, and therefore should've been paid back when the banking system collapsed."

"But what kind of nonsense is this?

"If Britain is to retain it's number one banking slot, and if we are to incentivise future generations to follow the entrepreneurial lead set by myself - especially when said generations will leave academia saddled with debt - and if we are to revive the economy by allowing billions, should I say, trillions of virtual cyber-pounds and cyber-dollars to slosh around the financial markets once again, then surely we must continue waving these inordinately large sums in front of the deserving greedy, so they too can pursue the age old tradition much loved by all financial centres - namely, get rich quick and sod the consequences.

"So now, if you will, let me quote two historical characters who've had much to offer on the subject - that's if you won't take my word for it: First, that great economist Adam Smith who knew all there was to know about incentives: "Greed is good. And the good should grab all they can." Never a truer thing were said in my reckoning. And if that doesn't convince you, then what about the wise words of that other great Scottish writer, George Orwell (Eric Blair): "All men are created greedy, but some are greedier than others."

"So I say to you earnestly: Sod off and leave our bonuses alone. For if you don't, we'll sod off and take all our shiny buildings in Canary Wharf, and all our houses in Holland Park, all our private schools, our Porsches, our Ferraris, and all our foreign villas, and decamp to Beijing, Hong Kong or Taiwan where they are quite frankly desperate to invest in the kind of casino derivatives that brought the West to its knees in those heady and, may I say, exciting days back in 2008. At least over there they won't object to our paying ourselves massive bonuses. And why should they? For it is not their taxpayers that shall be bailing us out next time!"

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Sixty thousand characters in search of an author

"Listen, the point is this: We students don't care the last government massively increased the number of University places and introduced tuition fees at the same time. And so what if it meant anyone could potentially go to Uni and do Mickey Mouse courses like "David Beckham Studies", "The Literature of Jordan (aka Katie Price), "Equestrian Behaviorology", "The Phenomenology of Big Brother (part-funded by Endemon Productions), or "The Aetiology of Strictly Come Dancing". It's not our problem if this policy drained funding from dinosaur subjects like Astral-Physics, (In)Humanities, so-called English Literature, Law (which doesn't mean anything to most people) or History (which is all subjective anyway). We don't even give a damn this policy created a funding gap this Conservative-led government had to bridge, especially in times of economic hardship (whatever that actually means!)

"No! What really pisses us off is Nick Clegg, and the fact he reneged on his promises, before and during the general election, that he would get rid of tuition fees and not increase them. So what, if he and the LibDamns wouldn't have got into government in the first place had he not done a deal with the Tories? So what, if the last government which commissioned the Browne Report would have acted in line with the report's findings as well (had it got back in)?

"No! It's the complete and utter lies and hypocrisy that utterly disgusts us. Some of us students, like, actually voted for the LimDamns, even though we thought they wouldn't get into government anyway. But we assumed that, had they got in, then they would have implemented everything they said they would, in the same way that, if Father Christmas was really Father Christmas, he would actually come down the chimney and deliver us all the X-Boxes and IPads we students need simply to get by.

"Doesn't turncoat Clegg, like, realise that if we students can't afford our IPods, IPads, Nintendos, X-Boxes, Blackberries, or, for that matter, our cannabis and ecstasy - i.e. those little things that help us to get through the hardships of student life - then we'll have no alternative but to go out onto the streets and protest - which is something we haven't done for years? Like, student life would be sooo boring if we were so strapped we couldn't spend all day chatting to our mates on Facebook. It's our right to Twitter and post on YouTube at the same time as smoking grass. And anyway it's like really cold out on the streets and we wouldn't want to protest for long because we think protesting's like soooo last season.

"But, Mr. Clegg, you leave us with no alternative, because you lied to us. You lied to us, even though most of us didn't believe you anyway because you're a politician. And what really hurts is, you lied to us when we weren't bothered you were lying to us, because we thought you'd never get into power anyway. And now that you lied to us and you actually have got into power, you leave us with no alternative but to be confused, disheartened, displaced, bereft of identity... searching, searching for something. (For the first time in decades).

"So please, Mr. Clegg... please can you lie to us some more so we can conduct more protests this winter? The thing is, we don't want to go out onto those cold, icy streets. How're we going to summon up the energy (to protest again and again and again), unless you give us the fuel we need? Now we have the bit between our teeth, it would really help, it really would, if you could, like, make us more angry... or, at least, give us the wherewithal to make people think we're angry.

So, please, please, please, Mr. Clegg. Please can you lie to us some more?

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Fallen Guardian

The Guardian Newspaper is never afraid to hold the government to account. Day after day, it fights for the less well-off in our society. It delivers insight, it offers original, incisive commentary. It is the scourge of "the establishment". And yet, it cannot hide its own devotion to another kind of establishment - one that'll outlive these here-today-gone-tomorrow politicians and their advisers. We're talking the world of the glamorous jet-setters we call celebs - and the establishments they frequent... such as The Ivy.

November 4: In its second-rate "Style and Culture" rag, G2, the Guardian devotes four gruesomely fawning pages to a restaurant that means little to the dispossessed, the poor, the humble, the meek, the weak and the disadvantaged on whose behalf Polly Toynbee tirelessly campaigns. The article venerates "Ivy" celebrities and the "Ivy" lifestyles that, throughout the last decade (and throughout the decadence), were synonymous with the gulf that emerged between the haves and the have-nots, the rich and the poor.

If the article counts as campaigning journalism, then the Ivy is a refuge for the starving masses... Here's what the celebs are saying about the Guardian's favorite restaurant (apparently):-

Kevin Spacey - I only go there when I haven't seen Bill (Clinton) for a while. These days, Bill is hard to please when it comes to London eating establishments. But there's a special place in his heart for the Ivy. Especially when John (Cleese) is there, doing his funny walks and being abusive to the waiters.

Ricky Gervais - I know what you're going to say. I'm that short fat ugly pathetic cynical little bloke that should hate jumped up celeb haunts like the Ivy. But in all honesty and in all actual fact, I can't get enough of the place. And who wouldn't, when on any given evening you can chew the breeze with Ruby Wax, Piers Morgan, Michael Winner, Lily Allen, Robert Mugabe, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, Saddam Hussein, Ant and Dec, Val Kilmer, Angelina Jolie, George Best, Roger Moore, Herman Van Rompuy, Edward and Mrs Simpson and the Queen Mother to name but a few. I'm no name dropper, but it's hard not to be mesmerised by all the people I said I'd never be mesmerised by. Isn't it?

Piers Morgan - I'm no name dropper. But I tell you one thing: I haven't enough fingers on my dirty little hands to count the number of famous people I've hung out with at the Ivy. One of the best occasions was when Jeremy Paxman asked me in all honesty whether I was a grubby, social-climbing, back-stabbing little creep who'd sell his own Grandmother for fifteen minutes of fame. I responded - rather wittily, I have to say - by telling Jezza that if he didn't take back what he said, I wouldn't let him partake in the Dom Perignon 1959 that I had ordered for all present. At which point he admitted that I was a man of style and substance. And then, Jezz and I, along with Beyonce, Simon Cowell, Sean Penn, Sophie Raworth, Michael Winner, Kylie Minogue and Mother Theresa of Calcutta all proceeded to drink our way through five bottles of Chateau Petrus and ten bottles of Puligny-Montrachet, whilst extolling the virtues of consumer capitalism.

Jordan - Now, I'm no name dropper. But when you've arrived like I has, you can't help noticing that loads of famous blokes all just want to be your friend. And I always say: It's not because I'm at the Ivy that all these blokes want to get into my knockers, but it doesn't half help. Some famous writer bloke called Martin Amis once came up to me when I was sitting on table three, which is the best table of all, and asked me whether he could deconstruct my boobs in his next novel, whatever that's supposed to mean. Well, I was still going out with Pete Andre at the time and Pete offered to punch this writer's lights out, until he was physically restrained by Kevin Spacey, who's apparently an actor or something.

Marty (Amis) - Far be it from me to drop names, to name-drop. For, what's in a name? A celeb by any other name is just as sweet. And Jordan meant nothing. But I was put up to this unholy act by Mick (Jagger), Tom (Cruise), Bob (Mugabe), Robbie Coltrane, Nigella Lawson, Victoria (of Beckham fame) and Anne Widdecombe - all of whom sat at table, the table, my table. And it wasn't a "tabula rasa", I can tell you. I, Mart, I'd eaten five kilos of asparagus. Yes, five whole bloody kilos. The cabbage-pee-stench that was raping the urinal as I exorcised my bladder, it made me strong, it emboldened... me. And then Mart had a vision: Mart was fucked if he didn't have the courage to ask Jordan if he could fondle her titties. Call it preparation for the next oeuvre - the oeuvre about titties. Call it what you like. Call it the fame and glamour that is the Ivy. Now that ain't name dropping. That's... that's ball-dropping. Mart's a ball-dropper. Ivy league. Ivy... League. My restaurant. It's balls.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Information Super-highwaymen

Guten tag, ladies und gentlemen. My name is Herman und I originate from that piece of Germany we used to be calling the GDR - that's the democratic republic, even though we didn't have the vote. But who needs it anyway?

Anyhow, I have come here today because I am talking to you about the wonderful successes of your information gathering systems you have built in the West. Now, I speak as a man who should know thing or two about information gatherings. You see, I used to be working for that much misunderstood organisation known as the Stasi. Boy in those days did we have our works cut out for us? We had to co-opt hunderts of thousands of helpful citizens in order to build our profiles of the enemies of the state. We were documenting the every movements, the loves, the passions, the predilections of these people. It was sehr pain-staking task und it took many, many man hours, I can be telling you.

But now you in the West have built something that is zoh infinitely better at information gatherings und retrievals. Das ist called "information superhighway" und everybody, yes, everybody love using it. On your social network site for examples, you are extremely delighted to reveal all of your innermost secrets. You are telling the whole worlds your names und addresses, where you are working, who you are in love with, where you like to go clubbings, where you will be going on holidays, what kind of food you eat, what kinds of peoples you meet, your political und religious affiliations, your fears, your hates, und, nowadays, even where you are in the world at any given time of the day or night.

Wow! This is simply wunderbar! You know, I am so envious, so, so envious. Ich could become positively addicted to so much informations. Never in our wildest dreams did we think zie ordinary citizens would volunteer this kind of details. If only we had your superhighways in our day, life at the Stasi would have been so much easier. We could have done the work of hunderts of thousands of men mit one mainframe computer. Ya! You can believe it. Ein single mainframe computer! What is even more spiffing, as you peoples like to say, is das information is not only available to the peoples in your countries but to peoples everywhere in the world. Ein computer official in Beijing can even access all your secrets. Now that really is information revolution. Ya?

Now of course I must be qualifying these enthusiasms of mine to some extents. Because of course, not all informations are available, the more is the pity! Das officialdom und many, many companies do not like to be posting all these kinds of sensitive informations for everyone und Uncle Tom Cobley to be seeing. Nein! It is simply not zee done thing when it is real, real sensitive stuffs that might be having some kind of monetary impacts or something like that for example. But then Rome was not built in ein day. Und, let's face it, even some of this important stuff can be accessed by cyber-hackers if es ist totalische necessary.

Anyway at least it seems that for the time beings the ordinary citizens do not have so many of these monetary concerns because they are regularly falling victims to the cyber-scams und the credit card frauds. And can you believe it, they are even telling the burglars on the social networking sites when they are going on holidays and vacating their homes und stuff. So, the future ist looking sehr good, sehr, sehr positive indeed. These super-highways are music to the ear of an old Stasi man like myself. As we once used to be saying back in those good old days: Your information ist our information, und our information ist our information!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Does Apple dream of electric sheep?

From the Supreme Leader of the Martian Confederation - 20 October 2020

"Greetings Earthlings. I hope you are well.

"I arrive with a positive message about your iGods, the sales of which have surpassed all expectations this year. Since you turned production of this wonderful item over to our capable hands, the number of units available on your planet has sky-rocketed. And thanks to our advanced manufacturing methods, each unit is now cheaper to produce than a loaf of Earthling bread - much tastier too! There is scarcely a man, woman or child on your planet now who is without the wonderful iGod. It has transformed your lives, has become so important that life without it would indeed be grim. For sure it is one of the great inventions of the modern age."

"Now you might have heard - from propagandist elements on Earth - that our production techniques have been compromised of late. You might also have heard that due to certain "design-flaws" your devices have been left vulnerable to cyber-attack, to interplanetary cyber-warfare. There are even some miscreants who suggest that we on Mars might have done this "accidentally-on-purpose" to make it easier to access your beloved iGods. They say that it might be convenient to leave your iGods vulnerable in the event of interplanetary war - because we could then gain easy access to your innermost secrets or disable your lifestyle "must-haves" when most you have need of them.

"But nothing could be further from the truth. Why oh why oh why should we detract from your enjoyment of this remarkable gadget? It has been a sure fire winner for our factories as much as it has been for your planet. Our iGod factories currently employ one eighth of the Martian workforce and we would do nothing to endanger this. We, the Martians, want you the Earthlings to continue worshipping the iGod, for it has brought us prosperity too.

"Now that being said, Earthlings, there are clearly good reasons for us to enhance the iGod experience. Let me give you an analogy: In the middle ages your great churches were disposed towards enhancing the "God" experience. Of course the churches did this the better to embrace such an experience. And just as your priests perpetuated devotion through bells and whistles and icons, and just as your priests guided you on how to think and how to pray and how to live your lives and embrace your Lord, so we on Mars feel that the entire iGod experience must be enhanced through the presence of natty apps and cookies, through monitoring devices and "stabilisation and control systems" that allow us to guide (at any given time) your enjoyment of this life-enhancing gadget.

"You see, if we did not guide, direct and manage your use of the iGod, you would soon lose your devotion to it. You would simply view it as something that makes life easier - when in fact it's an opportunity to give control and direction to life, to give it meaning. It would be such a shame if we missed that opportunity, that opportunity to make life on Earth better. In fact it would be a tragedy. And let me tell you - we on Mars have the technical know-how to make it better.

"So rest at ease Earthlings. There is unlikely to be cyber-war. But if there is, we will ensure the "bells and whistles" on these fabulous iGods enhance your "cyber war experience". And this will be thanks to the appropriate and most meaningful technical guidance of our engineers here on Mars. So please, please, please leave yourselves (and your marvellous iGods) in our capable hands. For we, not you, know what we are doing... It is we who have the technology.

"Yes, we who have the technology."

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

100 most influential women

Any survey that places Victoria Beckham (No.2) above the monarch (No.3) and the director of the human rights group Liberty (No.4) is clearly not worth the paper it's printed on. Then again it could be evidence of how low standards have slipped in recent years. Perhaps influence is nowadays about how much jewellery you own, how many bottles of perfume your face can sell, or how many gormless kids download your latest trashy album from the internet. One thing's for sure, Ms. Pankhurst must be turning in her grave. Let's take a look at some of these names:-

J K Rowling - The writer who made countless kids think boarding school is "magic".

Victoria Beckham - The woman who made moronic vulgarity a lifestyle choice.

Kate Moss - The gal who made millions of teenagers want to be thin and shove white powder up their noses.

Alexa Chung - TV presenter with an influential face - it appears everywhere you look these days.

Cheryl Cole - Once married to an "influential" footballer, sings formulaic jingles dressed in erotic clothing. Put malaria back on the map.

Davina McCall - Famous for presenting a vacuous reality TV show where contestants have sex with one another

Elizabeth Hurley - Wearer of an influential dress

Fearne Cotton - The face of the dismal, trivial television channels BBC3 and ITV2

Jilly Cooper - Brought the lives of bonking country folk to the masses.

Stella McCartney - Daughter of a famous pop star, designer of influential clothes.

Tracey Emin - Made semen-stained beds hip and cool

Tessa Jowell - Husband "rubbed shoulders" with a famous and influential Italian Prime Minister (mentioning no names).

Kirstie Allsopp - Made DIY fashionable.

Leona Lewis - Made Simon Cowell rich

The list goes on and is a grim indictment of our "tempora et mores". Most notable, Germaine Greer doesn't appear. At the time the survey was carried out she was too busy chaining herself back to the railings whilst simultaneously trying to burn her bra(s)... no mean feat.

Friday, 8 October 2010

The last bastion of restrictive practices

No, not ITV - that was twenty years ago. We're talking about the BBC and its near domination of news and current affairs. Question is, has the Beeb taken on the role of "official opposition" of late? And if so, can it still be viewed as impartial? A little tyke called Justin Webb, he of the Today programme, takes no prisoners when it comes to interviewing cabinet ministers. But when he's handling a subject dear to his heart - like ADHD or investment banking - he sucks up to the charlatans he ought to be taking to task.

But are standards slipping further than we think? Last week saw the nadir of current affairs interviewing, when first Jeremy "tough on politicians" Paxman conducted a sycophantic interview with Russell Brand... Later on, Andrew "jug ears" Marr used his Sunday morning slot to discuss "Strictly Come Dancing" with Bruce "Brucie" Forsyth. How much lower can the BBC stoop?

Here we reload the Paxman / Brand interview conducted last Friday - simply to give you all a taste of things to come:-

Paxman:  Can I say what an admirer of yours I am, great one?

Brand:  Course, Jezza. And I'm an admirer of yours, even though I don't who the fuck you are.

Paxman:  Very drole, oh saintly one. I wish I had your wit.

Brand:  Course you does, Jezza. Don't every geyser? But I bet you wish even more you 'ad my appeal what I has with women. Is I right or is I right?

Paxman:  It is true, master. Though may I suggest I'm not so disadvantaged in terms of said appeal?

Brand:  What? You saying you has as big a todger as like what I 'as, Jezza?

Paxman:  Well, one wouldn't wish to boast. But there are certain ladies who are not unimpressed with the size of my John Thomas. Although, I would not be so bold as to compare myself to you, naturally.

Brand:  Yeah, that's right, Jezza. Never a truer word was spoken.

Paxman:  But it's not just fornication I'm thinking of. I do wish I could be as popular as you, great one.

Brand:  Don't every bloke?

Paxman:  Indeed.

Brand:  Maybe you need to do something about your style, Jezz, my man. You know like invest in some new clothing and 'ave your hair like how I has it, or speak different or something.

Paxman:  Do you think that'd work?

Brand:  Course Jezz. You'd have all the women and everyone like all over you. You could razzle like Russell.

Paxman:  Or even rustle like Russell?

Brand:  Don't know about that Jezz. I'm no rustler, I'll 'ave you know. By the way, you ain't talking about rustling, like sheep rustling, is ya?

Paxman:  No, forgive me, great one. I didn't mean it like that.

Brand:  Nah, I 'ope not. Cos I gave up doing sheep way back. And I'll sue anyone what suggests otherwise.

Paxman:  Okay let's put that one to bed.

Brand:  That ain't true, Jezz. I never put one to bed neither.

Paxman:  No, I meant, let's put that issue to bed.

Brand:  Tissues in bed, Jezza? I'm not no wanker, I'll 'ave you know.

Paxman:  God forbid, oh great one. Nothing could be further from my mind.

Brand:  Blimey, you don't half like talking about sex a lot, don't ya Jezz?

Paxman:  Well who would not when in such esteemed company?

Brand:  Yeah, ya not wrong there mate. By the way, is you angling for me to introduce you to some of my lady friends, Jezz?

Paxman:  Oh, er, well... Would you? Could you?

Brand:  I get it. That's what all this sick-a-fancy is all about, ain't it? You want an intra-duction to one of my lady friends?

Paxman:  Well, if it's not asking too much.

Brand:  You be nice to me like what you is now, being all sick-a-fantic like and I sorts ya sex life out. Is that it?

Paxman:  Sort of.

Brand:  You scratch my back, and I scratch yours?

Paxman:  Not sure I'd go that far.

Brand:  Ok, Jezz. Don't worry. I'll see what I can do for ya.

Paxman:  Oh, thank you thank you, Mr Brand, oh saintly one, thank you so much.

Brand:  Don't mention it.

Paxman:  And of course... thank you for your time on this programme, Russell, Mr. Brand, sir. We are indeed blessed to have you here. Newsnight will never look the same again.

Brand:  Say that again. Anyway, Jezz, you're most welcome. You can have me on this show any time.

Paxman:  Thank you.

Brand:  (Quietly) What a dick.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Inner Space?

(Victoria Beckham and Katie Price - aka Jordan - discuss the loss of child benefit for high earners)

Becks:  I tell you. It's disgusting it is, Jordan, Babes. That Ozzy Osborne's goin' to get rid of child benefit for us hard working Mums.

Jordan:  Don't you mean, George Osborne, Babes? Ozzy don't owe you any child benefit, does he?

Becks:  Dunno. Only met Ozzy a couple of times. Don't think he owes me any benefit. But I wouldn't know, would I?

Jordan:  I hope he don't, Babes. You know what the News of the World would say, dontcha? You know, if Ozzy owed you any benefits?

Becks:  Yeah, but I'm bein' serious Babes. Me and Dave's down to our last twenty million. And it's important I get that money cos it's a universal benefit.

Jordan:  What's that then?

Becks:  What's what?

Jordan:  What you just said... Was you trying to be posh just then and speak French? You said "universal benefit". That's French innit?

Becks:  Don't know, Babes. French for what?

Jordan:  Dunno. Probably French for universal benefit, whatever that is.

Becks:  Yeah, suppose it probably is... But anyway. My point is, it's wrong..

Jordan:  What is?

Becks:  Getting rid of universal benefits. I'm a member of the universe. Just as you is.

Jordan:  Yeah, that's a thought innit? We're both members of the universe. Never thought of it like that.

Becks:  Yeah, like, that's what I mean, don't I Babes? It's disgusting. We're all members of the universe and so we all deserve universal benefits... even if we are more successful than other members of the universe.

Jordan:  Yeah, that's right. We might be better than everybody else, but we still deserve to be treated as members of the universe just like everyone else is.

Becks:  You's so right, Babes. We deserve what everyone else gets even though we's better than what they are.

Jordan:  Can I just ask you one question?

Becks:  Yeah? What's that?

Jordan:  What's child benefit?

Becks:  Child benefit? Don't ask me, Babes. I only heard about it today. But what I do know is, it's wrong to cut it for people like us.

Jordan:  Oh, yeah. I'm completely with you there, Babes. I don't what it is either. But it's completely wrong to cut it for people like us.

Becks:  Well said, Babes.

Jordan:  Thanks, Babes. Shall we get another bottle of Chardonnay?

Friday, 1 October 2010

AD in High Definition

Do you ever wonder about the causes of boredom? Is there a name for the fidgety feeling you get while sitting through Wagner's Ring Cycle? Does the medical profession have a term for the restlessness that means you just can't sit still. The answer is a resounding yes. It's called Attention Deficit in High Definition - or ADHD for short. In an exciting breakthrough, scientists have declared that boredom is in fact a hereditary condition and what's more, it can be treated with drugs.

Whether you're a young adult or just a big kid you now have an excuse for pissing about when really you should be getting on with the task in hand. No longer will you have to say, "I can't do my homework because it's boring, Mummy", or "I don't want to repaint the living room because it's tiresome, darling". You simply claim to be suffering from Attention Deficit in High Definition. And you know what? Your nearest and dearest will rally round and ask you if you'd like some nice drugs.

We wondered what other sparkling titles scientists could cook up to describe ordinary, everyday emotions, sentiments and feelings. Here's a list:-

- SSHD - Sadness Syndrome (in High Definition)

- SSHD - Shyness Syndrome (in High Definition)

- AMHD - Anger Manifestation (in High Definition)

- DSHD - Desperate for a Shag (in High Definition)

- POHD - Pissed Off (in High Definition)

Let's hope one day the above emotions and feelings can be treated with over the counter drugs. It would certainly herald a bright new future, a brave new world. And what's more, it would be one way of dealing with Shareholder Unrest at Declining Pharma Stocks (SUDPSHD).

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Quantitative Sleazing

"I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of twenty pounds..."

We recognise those words, do we not, ladies and gentlemen? But what do they mean? I'll tell you. They mean, when you present a note, a twenty pound note, that's exactly what you're entitled to: the sum of twenty pounds. You could view it as a binding contract."

"Hello. I am an exceedingly important member of the Bank of All England. And I help determine monetary policy. I have come here today to talk to you about quantitative easing and its applications. Now, quantitative easing is something we at the Bank undertake when there is a recession - when the economy is in the doldrums and we want to spice things up a bit. It is then, and only then, we resort to quantitative easing - or to give it its old fashioned title - printing money."

"We have to print this money, folks, because a slowing of the money supply has resulted in a lack of economic activity. At times like these, people are not of a mind to open their wallets and spend their hard earned cash. And this lack of spending, or should I say, lack of a desire to spend, simply perpetuates stagnation.

"So we at the Bank take it upon ourselves to increase the money supply and, consequently, economic activity, by printing money and allowing it to circulate through the economy. We are of the opinion that this will get things moving, free up the system, loosen the old bowels of the economy if you will. Banks can start trading this money with other banks, and, with no less an entity than the government itself. And this semblance of activity will make ordinary folk assume that the stale old economy has sprung back into life. They will become confident that "happy days are here again" and they will start spending their own cash. It worked in Weimar Germany and in Mr Mugabe's Zimbabwe. And indeed, we think it should, similarly, work here.

"Now there are of course some naysayers, some pessimists, who will suggest that this is all a con. They'll point out it's all well and good having a binding contract saying "we promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of twenty pounds". But what's the point of such a contract if what's promised has been diluted, watered down, by the person who made the promise in the first place? These cynics suggest it's like buying a bottle of malt whisky for twenty pounds, only to find the whisky has been watered down to the point where it tastes like donkey urine. Indeed there are others who state, with some temerity in my view, that the only people who benefit are the investment bankers who merrily trade this "new money" and make fat commissions on their trades."

"And though I may sympathise with these sentiments, might I ask: Do you have any better ideas? For it is all well and good bashing bankers. But these bankers are the lifeblood of our nation - as well they demonstrated back in 2008. Might I also remind you that, though we may live in a democracy, this does not mean that you, the people, have any say over monetary policy. Indeed not! You have not the slightest understanding of monetary policy. Nor should you. That is why you employ fine men (and women) like me and my associates to handle such complex affairs - as indeed we did so convincingly in 2008!"

"So I say: Leave monetary policy to the people who know about these things, to the people who have spent their lives deciding such matters. We at the Bank of All England have demonstrated on countless occasions that we, and we alone, know how to wreck, then rescue the economy. You, the people, have not the faintest idea how to engineer the wonderful monetary roller-coaster we have seen in recent years. And nor should you!

"And so I will end my peroration by saying to you: You, the people... you should look after the pennies. And The Bank - The Bank of All England - shall indeed look after itself."

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bean counter

The Bank of England's deputy governor Charlie Bean has urged the country to spend like there were no tomorrow to boost the economy. Speaking to Channel 4 News last night, he said he wanted to see people "not saving more but spending more."

His comments have raised eyebrows - it is widely accepted that a policy of unchecked spending was responsible for the financial crisis of 2008. To some this is simply an attempt to re-inflate the bubble that burst so spectacularly back then.

"What I am not advocating is a return to boom and bust. I'm saying that the only way to get us out of this bust is a return to boom - which is entirely different."

"We need to spend, spend, spend. I say: Don't hoard all your money in silly old bank accounts. Go out and fritter it away on items you don't really need, like iFads and expensive watches? Isn't it about time you traded in that old banger and bought a brand new car that'll start depreciating as soon as you get it out of the showroom? And what about houses and DIY? I see that property programmes are making a come back. Well now's the time to buy a new house. Let's face it, you can only lose out if property prices go down. Otherwise you're as safe as houses."

"Marx once said: Men make their own histories, but not always in circumstances of their own choosing. Well, we at the Bank of England have always made our own histories, but we have done so in a dog's dinner of our own choosing. Let's face it, we're the experts and you people should hang on our every word, just as you did during the last boom which served you well until it all went horribly wrong!"

"And I'll tell you something else. After I received my massive bonus this year, I didn't go and bung it in a savings account. No! I went straight out and bought an iFad. Needless to say, I don't know what to do with it, but wherever I go everybody looks at me enviously and thinks I'm wonderful. Now you too can be wonderful. Dust off that moldy old bank account, take out your life savings and blow it all on Rolex watches, BMWs and Internet gambling. And if you have any money left over, follow my lead and buy an iFad. You won't regret it (until tomorrow). Happy days are here again..."

(This statement is endorsed by the makers of iFad - "Bringing thousands of pointless apps into your living room!")

Friday, 24 September 2010

The Brothers Grim

Once upon a time there were two brothers named Ed and Dave. And they had a father called Ralph who was a famous academic. Ed and Dave wanted to be different from their father and forge a "new style of politics."

Dave said: "We're better read than Dad and we know politics is about tough decisions."

Ed replied: "Yes we need to make our own way in life and to be seen to be young and thrusting."

Dave, who was a neophiliac replied. "I agree, brother. New is the new old."

Ed then added: "Or is old the new new?"

Dave looked troubled and said: "Maybe you're right brother. But then again, who cares? We just want to get into power."

The truth was that neither brother was really that new. They had both been part of a gang called the "New Has-Beens" which had made a name for itself maxing out credit cards and engaging in globalised gang warfare. When the old gang leader called Gordon decided he'd had enough of this warfare, the brothers Grimiband (as they were known) fought to take over the gang. But first they had to take on the might of Ed "Absolute" Balls and "Steak" Diane, who was so-named because of her fondness for steaks. They also had to take on Andy Birnham Wood, who wasn't much of a foe, so they ignored him.

But the stakes were high. They knew that by leading the gang they could make loads of money. So they set out to raise their public profiles by turning the leadership election into a soap opera. They saw that this approach had worked for their predecessors Tony and Gordon. And so it should work for them.

"I'll pretend to be on the right," said Dave

"And I'll pretend to be on the left," said Ed.

"And then everybody will think we're more interesting." they proclaimed in unison.

But the truth was that neither brother was very interesting. They had both been "yes-men" in the Gordon's gang and had never really distinguished themselves. Their idea of "new thinking" was employing the services of "think-tanks" which peddled lots of redundant ideas that were ultimately responsible for the decline of their gang. But they didn't really care. They knew they could still make lots of money for themselves and their friends, because they had a secret weapon. It was called the "Magic Revolving Door". And that was the ultimate prize of leading gangs.

"Never forget the Magic Revolving Door, brother," said Dave. "And if we continue with this soap opera, we will one day achieve it."

"Yes," replied Ed. "All I think about all day is the Magic Revolving Door. For that is what leading the gang is all about."

"But I've just had a thought, brother."

"Yes, brother?"

"Maybe we should call it something else - so people don't suspect we're just greedy."

"I agree brother, but what should we call it?"

"I know," said Dave. "Let's call it the New Magic Revolving Door."

"That's brilliant brother. No one will ever suspect."

And so the brothers set out to portray themselves as young and thrusting and very, very new and very interesting, and everyone knew that one of them would win the crown one day. And one of them inevitably did, but that is the subject of the next chapter as we shall discover.

Sleep well, everyone.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

No brain drainer

There are fears millions of corporate "fat cats" will leave the country and head for sunnier climes after Business Secretary Vince Cable declared war on the excesses of capitalism. Cable will today announce a government inquiry into the "murky world of corporate behaviour" and "corporate short-termism."

Said one senior executive: "We never liked Britain anyway. The climate's rubbish and we'd prefer to experience the joys of the Far-East during monsoon. Anyway, UK property prices have little upside right now and Chelsea is full of oriental speaking people. Also the kids hate their cosy little private schools and would prefer to lose all their friends and live in Shanghai instead."

Said another: "Cable is mad. Doesn't he realise that all we'll do is up sticks and take our toxic products to the Far East or any country that'll pay us inordinate amounts of money. In Asia they missed out on the full effects of the credit crunch. These were exciting times and we're sure they'd love the "economic meltdown experience".

Monday, 20 September 2010

What has Nick Clegg ever done for us (Liberals)?

Apart from returning the party to power for the first time in sixty five years, obtaining key roles in the coalition government, being at the centre of policy making (influencing everything from civil liberties to the taxation of "off-shore" plutocrats), having overseen the best attended conference in living memory (even the BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson was there), and helping to roll back the legacy of New Labour's thirteen malign years in office.... what has the Liberal leader, Nick Clegg ever done for us (for us liberals)?

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Language is the root of all evil

Coming soon: An exploration of language...

Concept: Religion is... just language (the language of morality). Anything that seeks to define, to understand the world is language. Science, ideology, like religion, are languages. It's how you apply language that defines whether it is evil or not. You can use it to abuse, justify torture, castigate, persecute... or just plain irritate.

"Go forth and multiply." (Genesis)... what could possibly be evil about that?

More, later this week...

On other pages - What's in a nickname... a swearword... an insult? We have in-depth analysis from one of our "foreign correspondents" and after giving the question some really quite serious consideration, she concludes: "Fuck knows."

Friday, 17 September 2010


News in brief...


"... lust in your heart is committing adultery. So you can't masturbate without lust."

So says the poster girl of the Republican Tea Party Christine O' Donnell. And at a stroke she has alienated the majority of ordinary masturbating folk. The exceptions can only be:-

- Those too busy smoking cigarettes to have time to masturbate.

- Anyone needing both hands to operate their PC, laptop or IPod.

- Anyone with poor wrist action, or poor hand to eye co-ordination

- Anyone who doesn't know what goes on "down below".

- Anyone with an extremely short attention span

Said one Republican aide upon hearing Ms. O' Donnell's outburst: "Uh, oh. There goes the self-abuse vote."

Old hat

Labour leadership nominees will soon be debating how to "re-brand" the party - and most important of all - what to call it. "New" Labour is considered very "last season" and it is accepted that a new name is needed to indicate a clear break with the past. Here are some options that might emphasise that break

- Democratic Labour

- Real Labour

- Clean Labour

- Whiter than White Labour

- Honest Labour

- Transparent Labour

- The Peoples' Labour

- Hard Labour

- Keir? Hardly!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Plastic androids, plastic culture

The feminist Camille Paglia laid into pop icon Lady Gaga over the weekend, arguing she's a confected copycat - "a marionette... a plasticised android". But is Gaga just a symptom of our increasingly plasticised culture? Let's face it, most of what punters buy these days is fake, commercial, and little benefit to society.

But what are the other by-products of this "relativistic cultural vacuum" - as Paglia calls it? Here's a snap-shot:-

Plastic childhood - It starts early on. Most parents grimace round Christmas when they're bombarded with ads for children's toys - from plastic dolls to overpriced games - not least because they know they'll end up forking out for them. They also know these toys will last a couple of months at best, before they're disgarded at the back of the toy cupboard. And it doesn't get better. Later on there are computer games, iPods and other electronic "must-haves".

Plastic Homes - Property programmes fronted by plastic experts like Sarah Beeny and Kirstie Allsop have fuelled the hopes of millions who dream of living like kings... or celebs... or, at least, plutocrats. Well, everyone has to dream, eh?.

Plastic Pop - Gaga is a not alone amongst pop icons. Much that the young latch onto these days is fabricated. Teen idols are churned out in their droves by impresarios like Simon Cowell. The formula is: fashion model, erotic clothing, vacuous but catchy jingles, electronic voice manipulation. Talents shows like X-Factor simply perpetuate this malaise, while also giving the young something to which they can "aspire".

Plastic Art - BritArt is hardly a creative industry... conceptual perhaps, but low concept at that and for the most part intellectually untaxing. Many of the big names conceive of pretty ropey, self-serving installations, then have them knocked up at some factory in the Midlands. The key to their success is branding - what's in a name? - as that great benefactor of BritArt, Mr. Saatchi, would surely agree.

Plastic Science - The cosmetics industry is the "appliance of science" at its most absurd. Gratuitous chemical "compounds" sell eternal youth to desperate punters. Examples: Radiance Renewal (with watercress extract), Get up and Glow (with polypeptides), Age-Defying Serum (with beech tree buds, hibiscus and yeast)... to name but a few.

Plastic Power - Female empowerment didn't begin in the sixties, or with the suffragettes for that matter. It actually began when women discovered classy shoes that revealed who they were and how empowered they could be. In fact, these poor souls have simply been handing over their hard earned cash to buy into a dream, making various wealthy (male) shoe-makers much, much wealthier.

Plastic Politics - These days third-rate politicians love to hang out with celebs in order to hide their personal failings and to ingratiate themselves with "the people". Many of us just scoff, or look on... or cringe. But then again, even politicians should aspire to being "cool". Should they not?

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Your money is our money; our money is our money

Hi, my name's Bob. People back home call me Off-Shore Bob - for reasons that'll  never be obvious, ha-ha. And today I want to talk to you about this awesome phenomenon we call globalisation.

Globalisation, as you folks will surely know by now, has brought the entire world to our doorstep. It's brought wonderful gadgets, like computers from China, through which you guys have been able to manage and maintain your addiction to social networking sites, to computer games, to cyber-bullying, and of course to drugs, politics and pornography. It has brought you mobile android technology - also from China - which has given every man woman and child in the West the right and the freedom to send, for the most part, pointless texts, thereby ridding us of the urge to perpetuate that old dinosaur we once called the "vocal and personal interactive contact medium".

But the greatest thing globalisation has brought us is money, cheap and easy money and the freedom to gamble all that money away on anything from "liars loans" to high-risk special purpose investment vehicles (That's quite a mouthful, ain't it?)

And how has this been made possible? I'll tell you how. Solely and quite uniquely through the ingenuity of the global investment banking community. Do I hear you all laughing? Perhaps I do. Are you all thinking: Hey wait a minute, these guys brought the Western economies to their knees in late Spring 2008?And these guys made even more millions out of quantitative easing, whilst everyone else was suffering, watching their savings diluted because their pounds and dollars became less valuable. And these guys paid themselves huge bonuses whilst everyone else starved. Yes, I've heard all the old arguments, the old chestnuts, if you like.

But, hello, girls and boys? Who exactly is it who's gonna get you out of this mess? Who's gonna re-inflate that bubble, I mean, economy? Who's gonna provide the liquidity that'll get the world back on its feet? Well, some jokers might say: Not bankers, because they haven't changed one bit and they'll simply carry on doing what they did before - first restricting their lending, later pumping up a fake recovery and then vamoosing once more with their ill-gotten gains. But I say that's bull. Where would you all be without us? You might hate us, but you'll need us one day. Money brings and always has brought recovery. It's simply the lack of money that screws everything up - as we saw in 2008. And it's only a globalised money supply that will get us back to those heady days of the late nineties and the noughties, when you could buy your houses and your cars and your holidays and live a grand old life.

And I say it's lucky some of us bankers did in fact vamoose and squirrel away our money in off-shore bank accounts. Because it is we who now live to fight another day. We can return like conquering heroes with our off-shore capital, the better to re-invigorate and revitalize your stale old economies.

And so, I end on this note: The secret to globalisation is ensuring guys like us with our off-shore accounts are permitted to maintain a clear divide between what is globally available and what is personally inaccessible. Global money supply should not, should never mean our money is available - hey, not unless we want it to be. We're gonna need that money some day to help you guys out. Look at the all those fine gentlemen who ran Lehman Brothers. You might not like them much, cos of the part they played in the global meltdown. But only because they squirreled away their hundreds of millions when that noble US institution went down, can they return like kings to help you guys now you're in trouble. Think of it as like paying something back to society.

And what shall we call this wondrous phenomenon that allows your money to be our money and our money to be our money. Well, I'd like to call it Off-Shore Globalisation. Yep, that's a quite a name to conjure with, boys and girls, ain't it? It's been a round for a while now, and it ain't going away - you have my guarantee on that. And, you know what?  It's gonna bring you guys salvation. Because, Off-Shore Globalisation really is quite a card to play. In fact, it's just a shame it wasn't around back in the time of Jesus Christ. Then he couldn't have thrown us kindly money-lenders outta the temple. Or else, if he had, we'd have just gone away to build our own temple. Maybe we have.

Anyway, good luck with your economies, suckers. See you round...

Ciao, Off-Shore Bob x

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Those public sector jobs...

The coalition has promised to save tax-payers millions by doing away with superfluous public sector jobs. No-one will escape the chop - the cuts will apply to public sector chieftains ("quangocrats") and local council employees alike. But what exactly are these jobs? And shall we ever see their like again? Here's a snapshot...


Baroness Deirdre Dreary - Chairperson of the Road Transport Lighting Authority - Played a pivotal role in ensuring the upkeep and maintenance of the country's cats-eyes. Her major achievement was the introduction of the intermittent metallic green and apricot cats-eyes that are the talk of much of Northern England and East Glasgow.

Doctor Christopher Smithie - Chair of the European E-Numbers Advisory Agency - After a meteoric rise through Middlesborough council in the 90s, Sir Christopher got his lucky break with the E-Numbers agency that ensures councils across the land are at all times aware of new E-Numbers coming onto the market. He achieved praise for his report on the "Health and Safety Implications on E-Number Non-Awareness" which has since been widely distributed to a range of councils from Solihull to Tyneside.

Dame Christine Crappe - Chairperson of the International Waste Management and Lavatorial Action Programme - Christine has had enormous success at the organisation, set up to consider different approaches to defecatory recycling initiatives in England and Wales. Whilst under her helm, the organisation came up with the revolutionary idea of "Portable Excrement Recycle Buckets" which are designed to encourage ordinary people to keep hold of their waste products for later utilisation. To this end she co-ordinates on a daily basis with the Allottment Fertilisation and Development Institute that is, as it happens, run by her husband Sir Derek Arsington

Local councils

- Totem Pole Advisory Co-ordinator Grade 2 - Demanding role, will ensure the council's totem pole dancers comply with both international European Totem Pole Safety Directive 33558 and European Ethnicity and Diversity Directive 3472893.

- International Water Cooling and Paper Cups Co-ordinator Mark 3 - Key job within the council, high pressure but also richly rewarding. You will be involved in sourcing water cooling and paper cup dispensing devices internationally and at all times ensure that the council employees are suppied with cool, fresh, ethically sourced water. The role will involve a lot of foreign travel.

- Spiritual Well-Being Officer Level 9 - Richly challenging and hugely rewarding role ensuring that council employees have at their disposal a range of spiritual well-being solutions at all times. You will be expected to negotiate with make-over artists, masseuses, and council-trained Tarot card readers in order to secure their services for the general spiritual well-being of council employees thereof.

- Refuse and Local Services Information Retrieval and Processing Officer Level 98 - One of the most important roles within the council. You will be expected to ensure that householders using local services from refuse to schooling facilities comply with council directive 273837b at all times. This is a high pressure job which accounts for the extremely generous benefits and bonus scheme associated with the role.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Science, Gods, and Rock and Roll

Modern Faith Studies: Key-Stage Nine Thousand and Ninety Nine Million

Answer as many multiple choice questions as you can in the time allotted:

1. Rome wasn't built in a day means the following:-

a) Rome was built in seven days
b) One day, Rome won't discriminate against women and gays
c) If it hadn't been for Emperor Constantine, the Vatican would be based in Marbella
d) The Roman Empire was around before Christ and it didn't do them any harm

2. God didn't create the universe means the following:

a) The universe was formed out of string
b) The laws of physics created the universe
c) Scientists have strung together a theory to explain the universe
d) Rome wasn't built in a day (or seven days)

3. People believe in God because:

a) They can't think of anything else to believe in
b) They don't believe everything scientists tell them
c) They find the Bible an easier read than Stephen Hawking
d) If they didn't believe in God they'd have to believe in football, pop celebrities and the joy of consumer goods

4. Religion and science are:-

a) Branded goods - you buy them or you move along the shopping aisle and buy something else
b) Belief systems - you sign up to a lot of stuff you don't really understand
c) Capable of filling a void in the lives of ordinary people because they explain the unknown
d) Something you sign up to, because everyone has to believe in something, don't they?

5. Religion and Science are both, in their own way, rackets because,

a) They are both ways of selling mumbo-jumbo to the public
b) They make a lot of money for their evangelists
c) They make governments waste lots of money on useless experiments
d) Where would the Hadron collider be without the "God" particle?

6. Individuals will believe what they want to believe, irrespective of what anyone tells them because:

a) In the end they usually do
b) In the end they usually do
c) In the end they usually do
d) In the end they usually do

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

New lay bores

Ballot papers for the Labour leadership have gone out today and even though four out of the five contenders are retreads from the last discredited Labour government, political pundits are already wetting themselves with excitement. Whatever else they may say, one thing's for sure: This contest promises to be one of the most gripping since Iain Duncan Smith won the conservative leadership campaign back in 2001.

But who exactly are the contenders, and what do they stand for? Here is our run-down:-

David Miliband - Known to his colleagues as "Camp David." Son of a revolutionary socialist and a leading light of the last Brown government. David is a proponent of what they're calling "New Marxism" that believes in embracing the market and giving large amounts of money to wealthy bankers. Says David: "It is clear that Marxism needs to be rebranded, and what better a way of doing this than by "changing the world" as Marx himself so aptly put it." Dave's strategy is to carry on doing what he was doing before but with "renewed vigour and compassion." It is clear that he is the one to watch (if you've misplaced your sleeping pills).

Ed Miliband - Known to his colleagues as "Time for bed, ZZZebEdee". Son of a revolutionary socialist and a leading light of the Brown government. Edward is a proponent of what they're calling "Green Marxism" that believes politicians, rather than bull-dozing the countryside, should cover it in wind-farms. Says Edward: "It is clear that my father's Marxism is due for an overhaul and that means - wait for it - green is the new red". Ed won the adoration of crowds recently at the Pamplona bull-run when he waved a green rag in front of a bull and it humourously ignored him. He is definitely the one to watch (when you're bored watching his brother).

Ed Balls - Known to colleagues as "Balls" on account of his humourous surname. Close friend of the former prime minister Gordon Brown. Ed believes only through a process of vigourous renewal can the Labour party renew and re-invigourate itself. He says: "We in the Labour party have lost sight of the fact that politics can be exciting and visionary. But I'll be blown if I know how to make that happen." Ed has won respect in many quarters for his original surname, which, if elected, he promises to draw regularly upon to help renew and re-invigourate politics.

Andy Burnham - Known to his colleagues as "Trouble at Millbank". Although considered an outsider, Andy will be within spitting distance of the leadership if the other candidates stand down. Andy is a no-nonsense Northerner, who cherishes his roots and believes they are his passport to success up North. He says: "One thing I do know. The Labour party has its roots up North, and God-willing, that is where it will have its final resting place." Andy is determined, if elected leader, to re-invigourate the ancient Northern art of cloth-caps and whippets.

Diane Abbott - Known to her colleagues as "That big fat hypocrite who sent her kids to public school". Diane is a rank outsider but considered a shoo-in in the event of everyone else getting bored and giving up. Says Diane: "I'm not in favour of coronations. Look where it got Gordon. But if the other candidates stood down and begged me, it's inconceivable I'd refuse the crown." Despite her misgivings about coronations, Diane is known to love coronation chicken which she tries to eat "at least five times a day". She never leaves home without her portable microwave which she considers invaluable when she's "a tad peckish on the campaign trail". She adds: "One thing's for sure: No one ever lost an election through having a big appetite - nor for being a big fat hypocrite for that matter."

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

From the office of Guillaume de Normandie

"I know you English, you are not tres capables of listening. So, I say this only once:-

"You peoples, you have not very much moneys right now, partly because of the Anglo-Saxon shopping habits. Napoleon, he should have identify this - you are not seulement a nation of shopkeeper, but aussi of shopping-holic. Also you spend many billions on your silly war in Iraq, because you are wanting to suck up to the stupide Dubya who think that Zola is a make of cooking oil and that Voltaire is a unit of electricity. And look where it is getting you. Absolutement nowhere, but in great poverty, you stupides English.

"Et donc, so you are needing a little help once more from your French friends from across La Manche. You can no longer afford the aircraft carriers. And we are happy to help you out so that you don't feel distress because your navy, it is no longer superieure to the French navy.

"So from now on we will share the costs of the aircraft carrier, even though probablement you cannot afford the aircrafts to put on them. And we are very generous peoples to help you out comme ca. But it is necessaire you are understanding that we French, we are the senior service in this partnership. Senior service - you like our French sense of humour, n'est-ce pas? Senior service!

"Anyways, before this time we was the senior partners with the Concorde of course - which is why we are putting the 'e' on the end of it. We was the senior partners with the Trans-Manche link, because Napoleon, he think of the idea before you English. We was senior partners with the nouvelle cuisine, which you English copy (but not very well, with your silly little portion). Now we are the senior partner with the aircraft carrier, because you English lose all your money. Et donc, that mean that we French, it is us who now rules the waves, just like we did when our Guillaume, he sail over to conquer you English in 1066.

"We decide therefore that the first aircraft carrier that we are sharing with you, it will be called Concorde de Mer. We are thinking that this is very good name for the vessel, and it will be reminding you English who is boss and who will be in charge of the vessel. We are thinking that the Capitaine of the ship, he will always be French as well. And as I say earlier, you probably cannot afford the aircraft to put on the carriers, so we will also be putting all our plane on the board.

"Maybe if this is successful partnership, then you can also give us all your nuclear submarines for safe-keepings, as we are more responsables with all the things atomiques. And then perhaps you can also share your Channel Islands which should always be French all along. In fact, why not make much easier for all of us and retournez the Grand Bretagne to La France once more and then if you are lucky we will conduct another Domesday audit which was so successful the first times round!

Monday, 30 August 2010

This is the BBC

The BBC director general used the MacTaggart lecture to draw attention to the growing power of BSkyB and attacked the organisation for not putting enough money into British content. He asked the following questions: Which of the two broadcasters do viewers most value? And which best serves the public good?

After the lecture two very senior BBC executives were spotted in a bar, discussing the relative merits of the organisations. It seems they were pondering whether the Beeb can counter the growing influence of BSkyB.

Mark: Ducky, maybe we should take the battle to Sky and start encroaching upon it's territory.

Alan:  And how do we do that, ducky?

Mark:  We consider the case for advertising?

Alan:  Darling! Are you out of your mind? The BBC? advertising? That's what we've been fighting, fighting, fighting all these years.

Mark:  Oh darling, you yourself have said we need to exist "in the marketplace". Surely it's only a short hop to accepting we exist in the commercial marketplace?

Alan:  But advertising, darling? That doesn't mean advertising. Surely?

Mark:  I'm not thinking, any old advertising. (Looking pleased with himself) I'm thinking..."public service advertising".

Alan:  Public service advertising? What on earth does that mean, darling? Never encountered such a thing.

Mark:  Allow me to explain, deary. We already churn out a torrent, an absolute torrent of what is, effectively, advertising. It's just that we don't charge for it.

Alan:  I don't follow you, deary.

Mark:  Just think of all those reality television programmes we pump out under the aegis of "public service broadcasting". Think about the free plugs we give to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals and to those ghastly business people like Mary Portas, Alan Sugar, The millionaire Dragons - to name but a few.

Alan:  Hmm...

Mark:  They must absolutely love it, darling. Getting all this free publicity for their businesses. It's a complete steal for them. The great unwashed know who they are and adore them, would love to be them - cannot think why, of course. And these so-called TV personalities get it all for free, gratis and for nothing. Simply a steal, darling... a steal!

Alan:  Suppose you do have a point, there, deary.

Mark:  Of course I do, dear. They must be laughing... laughing all the way to the bank.

Alan:  Maybe you're right. But what exactly were you suggesting? Charging them money?

Mark:  That's precisely what I was thinking, darling. Why don't we ask these celebrities to pay for their free exposure? You could even extend the franchise, come up with oodles of new "public service advertisements". What about your friends Charles and Nigella, for example?

Alan:  My dear, dear, dearest friends Charles and Nigella? What about them, darling?

Mark:  You sent them a beautiful love letter, did you not, in one of your Imagine documentaries? You know, all that stuff about their being fabulous patrons of the arts - and of course, beautiful, beautiful people.

Alan:  Well, yes, I did. But they simply are beautiful, beautiful people, darling. And generous benefactors to boot.

Mark:  There we go, darling. And why not come up with some more plugs, I mean, art documentaries? How about featuring artistic treasures such as Tracey and Damien.

Alan:  I think we've already done them, darling.

Mark:  No doubt we have. And did they pay a penny?

Alan:  Darling! We were talking documentaries. One could simply never charge when it came to documentaries.

Mark:  But it's always the same people who feature in your documentaries, is it not?

Alan:  How do you mean, darling?

Mark:  It's aways the successful artists - the ones who least need the free plug. Never the ones who are still struggling.

Alan:  That's what the punters are most interested in, dear - those who've achieved success - naturellement.

Mark:  Rather a lot of them seem to be companions of yours, do they not?

Alan:  Really! That's simply not fair, darling

Mark:  All I'm saying, deary, is, why don't you charge these beautiful people? Let's face it, is an Andrew Lloyd Webber talent show really public service broadcasting... or is it Andrew Lloyd Webber service broadcasting?

Alan:  Hmmm... I do suppose you've a point. Maybe I will give it some more thought. Let me see what I come up with.

Mark:  Thank you, darling.

Alan:  Don't mention it, darling.

(There is a long pause as they sit and reflect. Then Alan pipes up).

             Of course, you know what some impertinent scoundrels in the media say?

Mark:  What do they say, darling?

Alan:  They say the Beeb only really exists these days to serve the interests of national treasures such as tu et moi. They suggest it has become our own private fiefdom.

Mark:  (Outraged) Darling!. Please! That's simply disgraceful! Perish the thought!

Alan: (Perturbed, quickly correcting himself) Yes, yes. So, so sorry, darling. Perish the thought!

Mark:  How could anyone even suggest such a thing?

Alan:  Of course, darling. How silly I am! Indeed, how on earth could they suggest such a thing?

Friday, 27 August 2010

Everyone's A star, nobody's a winner

"We had a dream. We hoped, in the years following the accession, every child in Britain could achieve A at A-level, could go to University and graduate with degrees in football management and equestrian psychology. The party knew how to make this happen, indeed it did. All you had to do was lower standards all round, make exams easy, and then everyone - dummies and no-hopers alike - could be  winners, could be A-star, could be graduates of the University of Donald Duck

"We wanted to extend our formidable educational solutions to life in general. We presided over a dumbing-down of  society, the deterioration of everything from modern art to television. On our watch, British culture, the BBC included, plumbed the depths with non-stop cookery, reality TV, celebrity, and property programmes. Pretty girls (and boys)  from nowheresville rose to become pop stars, yeah, real celebs. Charlatans, low-life, morons became millionaires and gave piles of money to the party in return for honours. It was all going so well, so swimmingly... until ordinary men and  women grew cynical, grew critical, negative.

"That's when the dream started to fade. People didn't realise - if you ceased believing, then what you'd believed in all  along would cease too. If you didn't have faith in the economic miracle, then the economic miracle would lose faith  in you. If you didn't believe in endless riches then you could kiss goodbye to that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

"That's precisely what occurred. Ordinary men and women lost faith in the miracle. Perhaps they lost all sense of reason too. For sure, they lost the chance to get somewhere in life, to be players.

"Tell you something, though: We... we   never stopped believing. No! We never lost our faith. We remained and always will remain - to this day - believers. Yeah, that's what they say... we are the believers.

"And look at us now. We're as happy as Larry, as rich as Midas... although, we might add, the Midas before he acquired those dreadful asses ears. Yeah, no asses ears for us. We've been in politics too long for that kind of thing. And we don't like them - the asses ears - one tiny bit!