Sunday, 31 July 2011


Even people who don't follow the Potter cycle will probably recognise some of the buzz-words, chants, charms of JK Rowling's fantasy world. The most memorable of these is "expelliarmus". This is uttered when one wizard seeks to "disarm" another.

It's sometimes used to comical effect as one wizard arrives on the scene and disarms another, only to find himself swiftly disarmed by a third wizard, who in turn is disarmed by a fourth wizard, and so on. For example, Potter enters stage left, waves his magic wand and disarms Sirius Black, then Snape strolls in, wand aloft, and disarms Potter; he is, in turn, disarmed by Remus, who is then disarmed by a renascent Potter - each wizard crying out the immortal phrase "expelliarmus" in the process.

It's a bit like politics (or Pottertics) really:-

Murdoch: (to Kinnock) Expelliarmus!

Mandelson: (to the trots) Expelliarmus!

Blair: (to Major) Expelliarmus!

Brown: (to Mandelson) Expelliarmus!

Bush: (to Saddam) Expelliarmus!

Brown: (to Blair) Expelliarmus!

Johnson: (to Livingstone) Expelliarmus!

Taxpayers: (to bankers) Expelliarmus!

Obama: (to Bush) Expelliarmus!

Journalists: (to expenses-fiddling MPs) Expelliarmus!

Electorate: (to Brown) Expelliamus!

Egyptians: (to Mubarak) Expelliarmus!

Libyans: (to Gaddafi) Expelliarmus!

Watson: (to Murdoch) Expelliarmus!

Cameron: (to Coulson) Expelliarmus!

Murdoch: (to Wade) Expelliarmus!

Wade: (to NOTW journalists) Expelliamus!

Select Committee: (to Met chiefs) Expelliarmus!

There's a lot of this "disarming" goin' round these days. Where it'll end is anyone's guess. One thing's for sure: JK herself is unlikely to be disarmed any time soon. No doubt she's already planning her next work. And of one thing you can be sure: It'll certainly "disarm" her readers. Unless it's another Potter novel of course.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Quick holiday quiz

Here are the answers to our quick holiday quiz:-


Q: How do you distinguish a decent journalist from a rubbish one?

A: The decent ones write about Murdoch and the hacking scandal, the rubbish ones write about Murdoch's wife Wendi.


Q: How do you get the Hadron collider back into the news?

A: Announce that scientists have caught a "glimpse" of the Higgs Boson "God particle". (No doubt they'll be catching "glimpses" for years to come.)

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Crisis? What crisis?

Okay folks, let's not get too worked up about the financial meltdown facing the economies of Europe and America right now. At least the banking sector is raking it in again - so much so that we bankers have been able to pay ourselves 14 Billion in bonuses over the past year.

Now that can't be bad, can it? Just think of the tax take that'll flood in from our massive bonuses - assuming we don't stash our dosh off-shore, which we probably will, on reflection. And anyway, who cares if we do? We'll still be spending our precious pounds and bucks on luxury goods items, expensive motor cars, yachts and large houses in West London. And that'll give a much needed boost to the retail and housing sectors. Right?

We bankers call this trickle-down. And it's proof that paying bankers enormous piles of cash really does work!

So... So long, Eurozone suckers. We'll be partying in Rio this summer if you need to get hold of us!


Monday, 18 July 2011

Wapping lies

Responsibility for the conduct of Scotland Yard ultimately resides with the Home Secretary. Bearing that in mind it is perhaps reasonable to ask under whose watch the "cosy" relationship between the Yard and News International executives actually flourished.

Jack Straw: You're not suggesting it was under my watch, are you?

David Blunkett: I feel it would be inappropriate at this time to comment on whether it was under my watch.

Charles Clarke: It couldn't possibly have been under my watch, could it?

John Reid: I think I can quite categorically state, with some degree of certainty, that none of this occurred under my watch - at least to the best of my recollection.

Jacqui Smith: Are you honestly suggesting that it could have happened under my watch?

Alan Johnson: Er, listen mate, ask no questions, tell no lies. 'Nuff said!

And under whose watch were the investigations into misconduct finally launched?

Theresa May: Under my watch.

As they say: 'Nuff said!

Friday, 15 July 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Bin Laden was hacked!

Relatives of Osama Bin Laden are claiming News International hacked the mobile satellite phone of the Al Qaeda leader while he was hiding in the Tora Bora mountains.

A spokesman said: "Nobody's bothering to investigate this story, but it's probably true - all of it." Elsewhere, quasi-post-neo-con journalist David Aaronovitch has noted: "This is proof, were proof needed, that Rupert Murdoch achieved the kind of penetration most politicians can only dream of."

(More on this breaking news later...)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Hack soup or lobby bisque?

Hardly a day goes by without some shocking new revelation about phone hacking and the cosy relationship that's existed between police, politicians and senior newspaper execs over the past few decades. But bloggers like Guido Fawkes have gone one step further and reminded us that cosy relationships were never confined to the newspaper industry. Every corporate CEO considers it his duty to put pressure on politicians and influence policy-making. And of course it's the lobby system that facilitates this process.

Here are few posts from the archives that looked at this "issue" back in 2010:-

"F*** the Rich!" - says senior politician.

A high-ranking politician has proclaimed that, despite "flirting with the filthy rich" for some time, he now believes that they are in fact parasites who exploit society, who assume that all politicians are for hire, and who have totally shafted this nation over the past decade.

The politician, speaking strictly off the record, said today: "When I started out in politics, I viewed the rich as greedy bastards who exploited the masses. But I soon realised that they had to be understood if we were ever to achieve power. I went to great lengths to see the world through their eyes. I moved in their circles, ingratiating myself as I went. I even accumulated my own moderate cash pile, just to get a sense of what made them tick. And I liked what I saw. These guys were cool. They had yachts and houses and all kinds of fabulous possessions. They were the new "rock and roll". And I wanted to be a part of it. (more...)

Careers Handbook - No.86 Member of Parliament 

Why become an MP? The common answer is, "I want to give something back to society." And for most MPs this means generously lavishing policies generated by think-tanks and focus groups on communities that want solutions to simple problems such as crime and anti-social behaviour. In certain instances policies might be the product of long cherished beliefs, although this is becoming less common nowadays.

An important reason for becoming an MP is of course the desire for power, though this is not always possible for those MPs who languish for most of their lives on the back benches. It is generally accepted that high office is best achieved through frequent displays of sycophancy. An ability to jettison one's conscience, or better still, to have it removed before entering the House, is prerequisite as only those who vote consistently with the government are in with a chance of reaching Cabinet. (more...)

Why MPs are NOT whores

Channel Four's Dispatches has revealed Senior Labour politicians are willing to offer their services for cash. Despite the outcry this has caused, it is nevertheless wrong to liken MPs to whores simply because they are 'for hire'. Here are some points worth considering:-

- Whores are by and large willing to adopt any position - relative to pay. MPs are by contrast principled men and women who enter Parliament having adopted a specific position, and from this they rarely shift. It therefore follows that no amount of money would encourage an MP to, say, role over and "take it from behind" - unless, of course, that were already their adopted position. (more...)

Health Warning: Cloned politician entered food chain at least 20 years ago!

As the Food Standards Agency (FSA) claims beef from a cloned bull has entered the food-chain, an even greater threat may actually be facing people: The cloned politician.

Political commentators say large numbers of genetically identical politicians may have been allowed to roam freely within the "Westminster Village" for perhaps the past two decades or more. These claims come amid recent concerns that politicians are displaying alarmingly similar character traits from generation to generation, both before and after office. The commentators have cited the following examples:-  (more...)

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

In the dock, green

"Evenin' all. You know, when I started out as a bobby on the beat, there was something we used to call "the long arm of the law". What it meant was, however smart your average criminal might think he was and whatever lengths he might go to to evade arrest, there was one thing he could always be certain of: We would always catch up with him in the end."

"Of course these days the old long arm of the law has turned into what people might call a prosthetic limb: You never know if it's going to work properly, let alone what its reach is going to be. That's how the old business of policing has changed since I started out. It's no longer about simple detection and finding your man and then putting him behind bars. A lot of other things now enter into the equation that make it much harder to make an arrest.

"But even if that is the case, I have to say I still sometimes find myself wondering why it took so long for the force to investigate this "phone hacking" that we're hearing so much about nowadays. An old bobby thinks to himself that when those private detectives and those newspaper reporters started poking their noses into the affairs of important members of government, somebody in the force - or somebody elsewhere perhaps - should've sat up and taken note. I think to myself, why didn't anyone act earlier? That's serious business, that is, when it comes to people in government being affected. No two ways about it.

"I don't know, maybe nobody wanted to believe it was really happening. Or maybe they knew it was happening, but wanted to see just how far it would go if they carried on doing nothing about it. But that doesn't really make much sense to me. I mean, what reason would they have for acting like that? One thing I do know is that it's very strange for something like this to go on for so long, without anyone in the force being asked to investigate it both thoroughly and properly. And that's what really stumps me."

"Blimey, maybe this was all the fault of certain people in power who simply wanted to replace good old fashioned policing with that other approach they used to call "softly softly". Or then again maybe it was the fault of those people in power who wanted to show that "softly softly" doesn't work and who actually wanted any old excuse to come down "toughly toughly" on the newspapers and shut them up or even shut them down for good. Well anyway, let's just all hope they don't come down on the newspapers so "toughly toughly" that we never find out the real reason for all of this happening in the first place. Now that really would be a shame, wouldn't it?"