Sunday, 30 May 2010

A Hadron a day keeps reality at bay - Chapter One

The Good Lord sent A and E packing. And boy, was he livid? But, you know, he was a kindly old fellow and he made sure they didn’t leave empty handed.

“Call this a golden handshake,” he said as he saw them off.

“Golden what?” asked E

“Bit like a goody bag.”

“Oh, I like goody bags,” said E

“I know. You women were put on Earth to like, like er...” He stopped mid-sentence – didn’t want to cause offence.

He held aloft two cool-looking gadgets – the like of which A and E had never seen. He grinned. “You know, I’m not just that boring old guy with a beard, who invents people and dogs and donkeys and peyote and turnips and sheep and mountains and Bolivian marching powder and people and...”

“You already said people.” Said E

“Yes. I did, didn’t I?”

“Did you mention Peyote?” asked A

“For crying out loud, numbnuts.” shouted E. “He mentioned peyote. Like, er, right after donkeys?”

“Ok, keep your hair on,” replied A

“Bloody people,” whispered the Lord. “Knew I was biting off more than I could chew when I created people.”

“Anyway, as I was saying, these are what people will call gadgets in years to come. They will arrive in large numbers from the Orient and lives will come to depend on them.”

To E he handed an Apple computer. “It’s a prototype, as you can probably tell. Ain’t she a beaut? These are going to sell like hot cakes one day. You’ll see.”

“And what precisely am I to do with this Apple, as you’ve so humorously named it?”

The Good Lord smirked. “You can do what you like with it, love... But essentially, it’s a bit like what you have up there in your noddle.” He tapped his own furrowed brow. “It’s a processing centre. It helps you think, it helps you get things done. Gives you more time for daytime TV.”

“Great, just what I need,” she replied somewhat ambiguously.

“My one piece of advice to you is this: Use it wisely and it will bring you much succour. But use it foolishly... and it will prove to be a double edged sword. For, as easily as it can improve life, so can it destroy it.”

E snatched the Apple from Him with very little grace nor gratitude and tucked it under her arm.

A, by now impatient, coughed loudly and asked, “And my gadget, Lord?”

“Yes, well, this one is even weirder,” replied the Lord. “Not sure quite how to describe it. But let’s just say that it could potentially read MY own mind.” The Lord then shook his head in disbelief, grunted and thought: what am I letting myself in for?

A was exuberant. “Coooo-oooo-oool!” he said in his time honoured fashion. "Read your bloody mind!"

“Not my words exactly... But that’s how clever marketers might be able to pitch it in years to come.”

“Friggin’ A,” he said.

The Good Lord sent them on their way and as he did so, he said once again. “Now remember. Use these gadgets wisely and resourcefully, my children. That is all I ask.”

A and E wondered off into the sunset, and as they did so they cussed and swore and did frequently take the Good Lord’s name in vain, as was their want.

“Jeeees-us!” said E. “What a jerk that guy was... What the f- are we going to do with these so-called gadgets, for crying out loud?”

“Oh, don’t worry my love....” replied A in his meek and humble way. “We’ll think of something... I’m sure.”

But in truth, neither he nor she had the slightest idea.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

1984 Revisited or The New Manchurian Candidate

(1982. Michael Foot realises the next general election is all but lost. He strolls down Walworth Road with a young party worker by the name of Peter. They discuss Labour’s future.)

Michael: Sense of foreboding, young Peter?

Peter: Beg your pardon?

Michael: 1984, my boy. Just around the corner.

Peter: 1984. Yes. (Contrived) Brrrrr....

Michael: Know it’s just a book, but...

Peter: Yes?

Michael: Even though Eric Blair - George Orwell to you and me- wrote it thirty years ago, still sends a shiver down my spine.

Peter: Really?

Michael: Oh, yes.

Peter: Why would that be, if you don’t mind my asking?

Michael: Because it’s possible, my boy. Because it’s possible.

Peter: What’s possible?

Michael: Orwell wasn’t making it up. He’d seen how these people operate.

Peter: What people?

Michael: The far left.

Peter: I thought most historians and critics had revised their view. Assumed the threat would ultimately come from the far right.

Michael: Left-right, right-left. Doesn’t really matter, does it, Peter? It’s about how extremists organise in order to grab power.

Peter: Don’t see that happening any time soon, do you?

Michael: Indeed. I don’t have a crystal ball. But...

Peter: But...

Michael: (Hesistant) Peter... People tell me you know a thing or two about the Militant Tendency

Peter: (Laughs nervously) You could say that.

Michael: And what’ll happen to them, do you think... If the party ever manages to rid itself of them?

Peter: Tell me. I’m game.

Michael: No one can say for sure, of course. But one thing I do know is that they won’t go quietly.

Peter: Quietly?

Michael: Perhaps the wrong word. What I meant is that they won’t go.

Peter: No?

Michael: Denis Healey and I were turning this one over a while back. You’re probably aware that once upon a time Denis was a somewhat darker shade of pink. As were many of us.

Peter: Right?

Michael: Right... Well... to continue, Denis and I were wondering whether they will re-invent themselves, these Militants. Make themselves more voter friendly. Rebrand is the word they use nowadays, I do believe. It means taking on a new name, a new logo, is it?

Peter: Yes, a logo.

Michael: A logo that people are more comfortable with... something that sounds perhaps more... conservative.

Peter: Interesting proposition.

Michael: Terrifying proposition, I’d say, Peter.

Peter: Yes , terrifying. (Cheerily) Shivers down the spine stuff indeed (A grin appears on his face. He quickly suppresses it.)

Michael: The dreadful thing is, my boy, the dreadful thing...

Peter: Yes, Michael.

Michael: I sometimes fear that there are some in the party who have read Orwell’s great work... and who have come to look upon it not as a prophecy, not as a warning but...

Peter: (Eagerly) Yes?

Michael: But as a training manual, Peter. As a blueprint, as a manifesto... as a mission statement...

(to be continued)

Sunday, 16 May 2010

"I have a cunning plan..."

Dramatis Personae - Which means “persons of the play” (for those educated whilst New Labour was in office.)
Lord Mandelson played by Blackadder
Gordon Brown played by  Baldrick

(Two guys with hangdog expressions, sitting in a bar, nursing whiskies.)

Gordon: Peter?

Peter: (Wearily) Yes…?

Gordon: I… I…

Peter: (Sneers) Aye… aye?

Gordon: I… I…

Peter: Yes, whatever aye, aye… Captain.

Gordon: No Peter. I… I have a cunning plan.

Peter: (Withering look) You have a cunning plan?

Gordon: (Excited) Yes, a cunning plan. Peter. A really cunning plan.

Peter: (Yawns) Well, that’s nice for you, Gordon. Really nice. Might I enquire what this cunning plan is?

Gordon: Oh, yes, Peter. You can enquire away. In fact I would love to divulge my cunning plan.

Peter: Go ahead. Shock me with your cunning plan, why don’t you?

Gordon: (A massive smile spreads across his face) Tony. It’s er… Tony.

Peter: (Chuckles) Tony?

Gordon: Yes.

Peter: Tony… is your cunning plan?

Gordon: Yes, great isn’t it?

Peter: Gordon. Might I remind you that Tony was my cunning plan. You were originally the heir apparent to John Smith. And I invented, I mean, I discovered, Tony.

Gordon: I know all that. With respect, Peter, I do not need a lecture on the history of New Labour. I was there. Remember?

Peter: Yes, I remember.

Gordon: So I am re-inventing Tony. Tony Two. Tony Mark Two. We bring him back as Prime Minister Tony Two. And then we are back in the driving seat once again. We own Britain once more.

Peter: (Sighs) Yes… But might I remind you, Gordon, that David Cameron is in the driving seat now. Like, er, hello? He’s like er won the election. The Con-Dems won the election.

Gordon: Yes, I know, Peter. But if Tony comes back, were Tony to come back, he could relieve Cameron of his duties as it were.

Peter: Just like that, eh? Just like that? The British people elected David Cameron, right?

Gordon: Right.

Peter: But you’re saying that Tony just breezes back in and strolls up Downing Street… he bangs on the door and says: “Hey, Dave. It’s me. It’s me, Tone. Tony Blair, used to work here, mate… I’m back… And er… you know what… I’ve still got the keys to No.10… and er, hey, a little bird told me that you guys, like, haven’t changed the locks since Gordon and I left the old place. Capiche? So I’m kinda like, er… coming in. And I kinda got backup from my old buddies, Pete and Gord.

Gordon: Precisely. That is precisely what Tony should say.

Peter: (Shaking his head, staring into space rather than looking at Gordon. He whispers to himself). The guy’s cracked… totally cracked.

Gordon: Whaddya think, old pal?

Peter: (Shaking his head). What do I think?

Gordon: Yes, what do you think?

Peter: (Still shaking head) Er… No Gordon.

Gordon: What?

Peter: No, Gordon. It won’t work, I’m afraid.

Gordon: What do you mean, it won’t work?

Peter: Gordon, this is rubbish. This is nonsense.

Gordon: Why? Why is it nonsense?

Peter: Gordon… I think that you need help. I think that you need to see somebody.

Gordon: But, Tony, Peter... I must have my Tony. He must come back.

Peter: No Gordon. Tony is not coming back to No10.

Gordon: Please Peter. I cannot govern without Tony.

Peter: Gordon, you’re out of office. You cannot govern full-stop.

Gordon: But Peter. I must have my Tony.

Peter: (Exasperated) Yes, Gordon. You must have your Tony.

Gordon: I must have my Tony. Can you do something? Can you summon Tony?

Peter: Ok, Gordon. (Shakes his head) I’ll see what I can do. I’ll see if I can summon Tony.

Gordon: Ok thank you Tony. Thank you so much.

Peter: Er, yep. Remember, I’m Peter.

Gordon: Yes, I’ll remember you're Peter from now on.

Peter: The guy is totally cracked.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Space cadet commends lack of female ministers

Commenting on the news that only 17% of ministers are women, astronaut Neil Armstrong said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Better out than in

There’s a lot of male bonding going on at the moment. And I reckon it’s time to jump on the bandwagon.
After watching the Clegg / Cameron love-in yesterday, I realise I must ‘come-out’. I have to break the news to my mother first - quite naturally. But she does not take it well.

“Mother, you better sit down. I have something to tell you.”

“What is it dear?” she asks. “Are you gay?”

“No, mother. I am indeed coming out. But I’m not gay.”

“Oh dear.” She says, disappointed. “What do you mean by 'coming out' then?”

“Mother. I am terribly sorry. But I am a C...C... C”

“You’re a C... C... C? Whatever do you mean?”

“I’m a C... C... C... Conservative.”

“A Conservative,” she shrieks. “A big C Conservative?”

“Yes mother. A big C Conservative.”

“Oh darling. How could you? After all we have done for you.”

“I know, mother. And I cannot tell you how terribly, terribly sorry I am.”

“This isn’t a wind-up, is it? A ghastly, Pythonesque wind-up?”

“No mother. I’m afraid that it is true. Last week I voted Conservative.”

She sighs. “Oh, darling. I cannot tell you how gut wrenching it is to hear this. And after the thoroughly liberal-humanist upbringing we gave you. I really just don’t understand.”

“I know mother. It must be very hard for you.”

“Oh, believe me. It is really hard. Terribly, terribly hard.”

“I know, and I’m sorry mother. I really just don’t know what to say.”

“Well, how about... you’ll talk to someone about it?”

“Yes mother. I am talking to Nick Robinson at the BBC, then Andrew Neil and after that, I am heading over
to Sky to talk to Adam Boulton.”

“That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. But I suppose it’ll have to do for now.”

“Yes, mother. And as I say. I am really, really sorry.”

“I know. You’ve said it about three times.”

“Yes, mother.”

She dabs a tear from her eye and says: “Just one thing dear. What was it that made you come out of the closet?”

“It was getting somewhat musty in there.”

“Oh, yes... Of course. I suppose it does after a while.”

“Yes mother. Thank you for being so understanding.”

She shakes her head and mutters: “Where did I go wrong?”

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Penfolds Grange 1989

It is three weeks since I heeded my doctor’s advice and came off stimulant drugs. I will celebrate this landmark in the next couple of days by drinking a bottle of Penfolds Grange 1989.

I have heard mixed reports about Grange. But, rather like Petrus and Cheval B it is allegedly one of those wines you should try at least once in your life…before skulking back to more affordable wines like Pagodes and Forts

I have not decided on the accompanying meat however. Perhaps, like the wine, it should be Australian in origin - Kangaroo? Koala? Kookaburra? Unfortunately my sommelier buddies haven’t a clue. These are alien meats. So I might just have to settle for some mutton or a couple of rabbits. A hog roast might work as well

If anyone can give me advice on a suitable accompaniment, please email me at

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Exit Ghost

(Gordon catches some well earned shut-eye.  An apparition appears. It is the ghost of Chairman Mao.)

Mao: Get up, Brown. You shouldn’t be sleeping . Remember what I said? It’s still too early to tell…

Brown: (Mumbles) Early to tell? Tell what?

Mao: How can your memory fail you? A time like this? The French Revolution! Too early to tell the outcome of the French Revolution.

Brown: Oh… Yes. That revolution. I thought you meant…

Mao: I didn’t ask you to think.

Brown: No. But…

Mao: No buts.

Brown: But the outcome, I thought that…

Mao: You thought?

Brown: Yes, I thought that, you know, power. The name of the…

Mao: Yes, the name of the game. A game by any other name. We’ve been here before.

Brown: We’ve been here before.

Mao: So where did you go wrong? Did you not study the examples of Deng?

Brown: Deng?

Mao: Yes, Deng.

Brown: You hated Deng. So I thought.

Mao: Says who?

Brown: Historians?

Mao: Deng kept the revolution alive whilst tolerating the filthy rich.

Brown: Good point.

Mao: (Wearily) Good… point… You tell me that? Good point?

Brown: I’m tired. (Yawns). What do I do now?

Mao: Hold on to power at any cost.

(The apparition starts to fade.)

Brown: (Mumbles) At any cost. Yes. At any cost. Hold on to power.

(Mao stares angrily at Brown as he vanishes)

Brown: At any cost.

(Exit Ghost. Enter Blair)

Blair: 'Tis not gone.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Regime change means DeBaathification

One of New Labour's great achievements was state control of gay and lesbian politics.

New Labour said: "Don't be one of them! Be one of us!"

But as a chap who can understand the appeal of dressing to the left as well as to the right, I am pretty certain that were I totally, or even moderately gay, I would rather be "one of them" than "one of THEM."

Friday, 7 May 2010

The name of the game is power

(Mr Mugabe’s tailor measures him up for a new suit)

Tailor: Do you want it sir? Do you? Do you?

Mugabe: I beg your pardon.

Tailor: Do you want it, sir?

Mugabe: Do I want what? You mean, power?

Tailor: Do you want it sir?

Mugabe: What you talking about? Do I want it?

Tailor: Yes, do you want it?

Mugabe: What a silly question. I already got it. I already got power.

Tailor: No sir. Do you want it? Do you want proportional representation?

Mugabe: What are you meaning? Do I want proportional representation? Why do I want that?

Tailor: But do you, sir? Do you want it?

Mugabe: Why do I want that when I already got power?

Tailor: But do you?

Mugabe: Course not, idiot man. Proportional representation never deliver strong government. Every fool know that.

Tailor: But do you want it?

Mugabe: Very foolish man. I do not want this proportional representation. Only dictatorship, it does deliver the strong form of government that Robert Mugabe like.

Tailor: But do you, sir? Do you want it?

Mugabe: No, I do not WANT it. Now shut up stupid man. I do not WANT it!

Tailor: Yes, Sir. Suit you, sir.

Mugabe: Suit you? What do you mean, suit you? This suit is way too big, man. How can you say it suit me?

Tailor: So sorry sir. How utterly, utterly sorry I am sir. I got the proportions all wrong.

Mugabe: Get a grip man, or I'll re-arrange your proportions. Do you understand?

Tailor: Yes sir. Certainly sir. It doesn't suit you, sir.

Mugabe: That's more like it man.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

The narrative is dead. Long live the narrative.

Gordon: (Shaking his head) Where, Tony? Where did I go wrong?

Tony: Sorry to say it, Gordy old chum. It was your narrative.

Gordon: Narrative? We had the narrative all worked out. Sure start, schools, NHS. That was our narrative.

Tony: Your narrative?

Gordon: Our narrative, Tony. Our narrative.

Tony: Maybe they didn’t believe it. Your narrative

Gordon: But...

Tony: Banks.

Gordon: What?

Tony: Banks. People think, thought that your narrative is, was, you know... banks.

Gordon: But, they believed you when you came out with all the NHS stuff. And yet, look at you... Banks? JP Morgan?

Tony: Yep. So? They looked at me and they er, you know, decided that... (Smiles).

Gordon: (Shakes head again and says slowly, pensively) They... looked... at... you.

(Long pause)

Gordon: A hung parliament. A hung parliament. So what’s the narrative there? Where's the narrative?

Tony: Did you see the Conservative party political?

Gordon: Hung parliament broadcast?

Tony: Yep.

Gordon: Could hardly miss it.

Tony: Farce. That’s what they were saying.

Gordon: What?

Tony: Farce. They were saying that the narrative of a hung parliament is farce.

Gordon: What kind of a narrative is that?

Tony: (Smiles) Indeed. What kind of a narrative is that?

(To be continued)

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lighting or in rain?

Terry Eagleton – An Apology

In his new book On Evil, the academic Terry Eagleton revises his opinion of ‘The Scottish Play”

“Twenty years ago,” he says, “I mistakenly suggested that the three witches, with their ‘fair is foul and foul is fair’ philosophy, were feminist visionaries who wanted to subvert the old - patriarchal – order of King Duncan.

“I now realise that nothing could be further from the truth. Once you become a member of the establishment, ALL subversion is destructive and negative. I now accept that these secret, black,& midnight hags were in fact nothing more than a bunch of nihilist bitches, I mean, witches.

“I would like to add that I am not, and have never been a member of the establishment.”

Mirror, Mirror on the wall

This website agrees with the Daily Mirror! We must not return to the 1980s.
Indeed it would be a tragedy were we to return to the dark days of the Thatcher government, when Robert Maxwell was editor of the Daily Mirror!

Monday, 3 May 2010

Product Placement

Breaking News - Jo Malone says: "BBC doesn't do product placement!" Andrew Lloyd Webber endorses statement

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Prime Minister Brown says: “I told you so.”

Gordon Brown wishes people had listened to him back in the 1980s when he warned that investment bankers were a bunch of greedy, reckless gamblers.

“Over recent years many people probably thought I was in favour of these casino capitalists as they created their toxic mortgage-backed securities that almost brought the Western economies to their knees. But nothing could be further from the truth.”

“It was only for the eleven years I was Chancellor of the Exchequer that I labelled the City of London “a creative hotbed and a centre of wealth generation.” It was only for eleven years that I gave these charlatans free rein to bleed this country dry.”

“But may I remind you, before this, back in the days of the evil Maggie Thatcher, I used to call these pinstriped terrorists a bunch of dodgy geysers who would sell their own grandmothers - or words to that effect.

“I say to you now: It is the other people who told me to make friends with these fat cats who really bear the responsibility for the financial meltdown that occurred in 2008. I, Gordon, fought long and hard against the off-balance sheet vehicles that these bankers and their creative accountant buddies in America employed to hide the true nature of debt, of their liabilities. And I did this by appropriating these very off-balance sheet vehicles and by putting them to good use hiding my own government’s debt instead.

“But sadly, it was to no avail.”

“I stand here before you today and I say with my hand on my heart: I, Gordon was right all along. Everyone should have listened to me when I said how bad these greedy bastards were. And as for all my old mates at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, and as for the Goldman bankers currently advising my government, I say simply this: Repent! Repent! Don’t be stupid, be like Gordon. Become a penitent sinner.

“Indeed, as the son of a Manse, and as a deeply, deeply religious soul, I will remind you that it was Jesus himself who threw the money lenders out of the Temple. Now, I personally think that this was going just a teensy-weensy bit too far. I would have let them stay in the Temple and even allowed them to carry on advising Pontius Pilate for the time being. And yet I still say unto these money-lenders: Repent! Repent! Or at least, please try to show that you are thinking about repenting. Could you? Please?

“And indeed when I Gordon Brown leave this office of No.10, I will no doubt go back to the very Manse where I was born and where I grew up. And verily will I re-examine my religious roots, those roots that gave me the moral compass that I possess even unto this day.

“Yeah, verily. That is what I Gordon, Son of Manse, shall do. Unless, of course, these banking scoundrels, these Satans, put temptation my way and offer me a lucrative job in the City of London, trying to sort out the total hash they’ve made of things. And, of course, I will not abandon them in their hour of need - but only because I possess an extremely charitable nature.

“Yeah verily.”

“The bastards.”