How to Improve the NHS. #75: Better Childcare

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I Swear by Almighty God…


Well I suppose the time has come to stop moaning about how skint I am, get up off my arse and go get a job. That may sound a ludicrous idea in this day and age, but there seem to be a lot of jobs available at the moment, and I’ve been pondering their various merits. I wonder if I could find something to do part-time to supplement the millions I’m making out of designing T-shirts ?

Coronation Street actress Jenny McAlpine

By the way, if anyone from the BBC Newsnight Team is reading this, that last line was a joke. I’m not making millions out of T-shirts, I merely put that line in by way of a joke. I hope to include several more jokes in this piece, and hopefully much funnier ones. But please, if the rumour spreads across the internet that I’m worth a fortune due to my printing business, and you feel it would be a story worth airing, please call me to see if there is anything to the gossip. Back in the day when I worked in the journalism business, it used to be called fact-checking.

So there’s my first application off in the post : for the job of Newsnight Editor. There presumably isn’t one at the moment, and if there is I think I back myself to make a better fist (easy !) of it, being pretty sure as I am that a multi-collaborated story about systematic and widespread child abuse on BBC premises, covered up for over 40 years would probably be worth airing, whereas some bloke approaching me in the World Food aisle of Sainsburys, accusing a Tory peer of abusing him, adding “I’m pretty sure he looked a bit like that Lord McAlpine bloke, or someone…probably” might merit some further investigation before broadcasting it. D’you think?

The Renault Alpine

The Renault Alpine

As mentioned previously, The job as the new Arch Bishop of Canterbury has already gone. I was never really cut out for that anyway. Firstly, and most obviously, I’ve never been a treasurer for Enterprise Oil Plc- a post which, if you know your scripture as badly as I don’t, is spelt out in the book of Colin18:15 :- and Yea verrily, the Lord sayest unto me -“if you want a jobeth up here, mate, worketh you for ten plus one years (including Bankest Holidays) for a FTSE 100 listeth multinational, then I might consider you. And for My sake, shaveth off that beard – I’m not going down that route again” – amen.

So I clearly need to look elsewhere. Only to add that it’s nice to see the new ABC stamping his sandal down heavily on gay marriage right from the get-go. I certainly wouldn’t want to lead any church which welcomed all and understood the needs and differences of all HIM UPSTAIR’S flock. On the other hand, it may just be his way of ridding the church of paedophiles, because, as the Prime Minister has already said this week, there is a concern that this hunt for child abusers could turn into a gay witch hunt. 

Lord McAlpine and a Friend (unknown)

It’s taken a while to arrive, but I wondered how long it would take for someone to link child abuse with homosexuality. What a brilliant device to justify the non-outing of child abuse offenders. Hide behind a human rights statute which, given half a chance, Cameron and his mob would chuck out at the drop of a Top hat (and demand the right to bend over and pick it up). The BBC spent all week slating Philip Scofield for having the temerity to ask Cameron about the rumours, but not once did anyone pick up on the scandalous accusation that paedophilia is a product of homosexuality.

So there’s application No.2: Witch Hunter (Gay) General. Just point out all those gay witches to me and I’ll be on the case. A rather well-off bloke called Cliff, who drinks in my local pub (known to me as Fiscal Cliff – a joke only I enjoy) reckons statistically that “all poofs are perverts”. Who amongst us could argue with a beautiful, well constructed argument such as that ? He’s also a champion of the “all rag-heads are terrorists” school, and founder of the Dartford chapter of the “Illegal Immigrants Smell” society. It’s a real joy chatting to him, as you can image. (Note to BBC journalists that last paragraph was a joke too. It’s not a joy to speak to him)

As an aside, I was recently asked to be a driver and take the X-Factor Cheryl and her former husband Ashley up to St James’ Park for a charity gig. But I didn’t fancy it, so I turned it down. To me it seemed a bit like taking Coles to Newcastle.

sorry

An Undercover Paedophile

But I mustn’t be too hard on the Prime Minister. It is, after all, a well-known fact that if you let gays into the armed forces, they will be distracted from their task of fighting the enemy by their uncontrollable urge to shag the nearest NCO up the Tactical Retreat. It’s obvious that these degenerates blend in with normal folk, dressing and acting in a manner which makes it incredibly hard to tell them from us regular chaps.

What a sensational idea. To conceal the fact that you are a paedophile in a children’s home by dressing up as…. a paedophile. Who on earth could have realised what he was up to ? No wonder the PM is concerned that we will be hunting down the wrong sort or paedophile  individual , and accuse any random cabinet minister person that they were either colluding with the offenders, indulging in nefarious activities with them, or simply so incompetent that they unwittingly turned a blind eye to these crimes in a bid to be popular. I can’t see that sort of admonishable behaviour ever having happened, frankly.

Unknown Man with An Undercover Paedophile

Useless Twat with An Undercover Paedophile

If the Witch Hunter job has already gone, there’s always the job of the head of the CIA to apply for. The incumbent one, David Petraeus, has just fallen on his sword after having admitted having an extra-marital affair. It’s apparently not the done thing to have the Spook-in-Chief play away from home, in case he goes all John Profumo on you and starts pillow-talking with the opposition. Petraeus is an all-American hero and the suggestion that he may have betrayed state secrets is vigorously denied by both the US Government and his lover, Mrs Edith Taliban, Hut 5, Nad-e Ali, Helmund Province. Telephone: Afghanistan 4.  (Note to the remaining members of the CIA: That last bit was a joke also. I made up her phone number. My hat size is 6 7/8, should you want to bring a canvas bag with you when you call. I also have Aspergers. Honest).

Oh fuck it. I think I’ll apply to be a Police and Crime Commissioner. By the sounds of it you’ll only need about 5 votes to get in, such is the apathy for the upcoming UK elections. In Kent, The English Democrat candidate is the wonderfully named Steve Uncles.  Here’s the opening to his website:

“Steve Uncles Kent Police & Crime Commissioner English Democrats – “More Police Catching Criminals” Born Blackheath (Traditional Kent), child hood Bexley (Traditional Kent), adult & family life Dartford (Kent), I am an English Kentishman. I have worked within public and private sectors and for 10 years ran my own business.”

Zeig Heil

(NB: I made that last bit up.)

Do you get the idea he’s from (Traditional) Kent ? I can’t read that without hearing the “We Want to be Togevva” voice in my head. I’m amazed we haven’t run over each other in the past. If I can’t beat him I might as well give up and go and make T-shirts or something.

Alpine Skiing

Alpine Skiing

The Candy Man


I’m sure you are, as indeed I am, thrilled to hear that Robbie Williams is back, where he belongs at Number One in what Jimmy and Fluff used to call the Hit Parade with his Noel Coward-esque ditty ‘Candy‘. If you haven’t heard it, you’re missing a treat. The lyrics are mind blowing:

Ring a ring of roses
Whoever gets the closest
She comes and she goes
As the war of the roses
Mother was a victim
Father beat the system
By moving bricks to Brixton
And learning how to fix them

You will notice how he brilliantly rhymes ‘Brixton’ with ‘fix them’, not to mention ‘roses’ with..er…’roses’. Apparently if you play the song backwards something amazing happens: It sounds exactly the same, or even makes a little more sense. You could plug John Lennon’s body into the national grid and with the revolutions he must be doing you could illuminate a small village on the Wirral for a fortnight.

It’s nothing new, of course, for someone like me, just out of his twenties, to attack the pop songs of the day. I remember when I was a kid defending Althea and Donna’s quite brilliant “Uptown Top Ranking” to howls of laughter and derision from my father. It seemed to me at the time (and my argument has not changed one jot) that “Love is all I bring inna me khaki suit and ting” was clearly a deep social comment on the dresses worn by young Jamaican women of the day, and it wasn’t my fault that my dad (from Slade Green, so he no excuse) couldn’t speak Patois. With the benefit of the Tardis I may have argued that if Robbie’s “Candy” had been written and sung in a foreign dialect it might have sounded better.

No, it’s not just that Robbie’s latest effort is as bad as his last one, it’s that I had subconsciously settled with myself that I’d never need to hear the dulcet tones of the Stoke-on-Trent warbler ever again. Like Mitt Romney, SmallPox and Rickets, I assumed he was part of my past, never likely to darken my door again, save Gaumont News Reels and editions of Top of the Pops 2. How wrong can you be? Not only has the tattooed twat taken his song to the top of the charts, but it looks like Mitt Romney may not be the Republican’s Michael Dukakis the whole world outside the US was hoping he was. (And I think I have Rickets. Or maybe it’s wind.)

Those who predicted that Good Ol’ Mitt the Multi Millionaire would crash and burn would have been the same ones who advised me not to bet on Sebastian Vettel making the podium in Abu Dhabi, having started the F1 Grand Prix from the back of the field. Or those who put their house on this Year’s US Ryder Cup Team, or Devon Locke. I was content in the fact that Robbie was gone from my life, and I would smile to myself about it often, as I put the finishing touches to my Lance Armstrong shrine in the study.

So the lesson for today, children, is never bet on a good thing, and never write off anyone. Just when you think you’ve heard the last of some useless cvnt he goes and gets himself a no1 single, or becomes President or something equally unlikely. And just because you’re riding high in those very same charts or on Le Tour de France, don’t think you’re there forever. You are just one shite performance on TV, or one raid by the USADA from being thrown out of your arse.

Althea and Donna became the victims of a rather unfortunate debut appearance on Top of the Pops. Having had the country bouncing and swaying to their wonderful sound, they chose to a) appear and; b) sing live on national tv. Bad move girls. It was very rare for a first showing on the pop show to actually do damage to an act’s chart position. Sadly, the girls gave a performance akin to an early Chuckle Brothers act. They were out of tune, out of rhythm and out of time with each other so spectacularly badly, you can see where The Smiths got their influences from. Still a great song though. And Ting.

And Not a Drop to Drink


This drought is getting on my tits. Last week my dad and I fitted another water butt to the back of the potting shed, and because of these drought conditions, these effects of global warming which has forced the authorities to introduce a hosepipe ban across the south of England, the barrel was filled after only one torrential downpour. Every following torrential downpour (and there have been many) has bypassed the water butt, shot down the overflow and straight onto the flower bed.

It Happens to the Best of Us

Confused ? You will be. Like so many in my neck of the woods, the British authorities have decided that despite being subjected to monsoon conditions for the past few months, many parts of he UK must be forced to live under drought measures – no use of hoses, strict water monitoring and neighbour encouraged to rat-out neighbour if they should spot anyone flaunting the rules.

You’d be pretty easy to spot, mind you, if you did decide to water the lawn using the hose: some berk in his wellies and raincoat, squirting a hose over the grass while the heavens unloaded another skip-load of H2O on his head would stand out like a black bloke at a Ukrainian football ground.

Or a little girl in a pub. 8 year old Nancy Cameron was taken by her mum and dad to the pub the other Sunday, which is nice. Problem was, when they left, her parents-  David and Samantha – left young Nancy in the pub (The Plough Inn, Buckinghamshire, if you are interested) to fend (and order a drink) for herself until, 15 minutes down the road, they realised something was missing from the back seat of the car. Poor Samantha was distraught. David blamed Nick.

You’re Barred

Now, I will not sit here and attack Dave for leaving his little girl in the pub. We’ve all got pissed and left stuff in the pub: videos, brollies, girlfriends, trousers. Nothing new there. But as we all know, children should not be allowed in pubs – accompanied or otherwise. Many of us go to the pub to get away from kids – mainly our own. When I’m propping up the bar, chucking a dart or being escorted from the premises by the bouncer I do not want to have to negotiate my way around small mammals, or curb my language because some couple (or worse, some Sunday Dad) decides to bring the offspring into the boozer. Fuck off and take them to Pizza Hut, the Zoo or the movies.

Pubs are full of fat, drunk men, spouting off about anything and everything – often on subjects or in terms not fit for a child’s ears. I know. I’m one of those men. Now I am sure the pubs to where the PM takes his kiddy may not be full of anyone, save a PA or two,  several security staff, and the odd hand-pick, paid-up Barbour-wearing member of the half-a-shandy brigade, so the sweary/drunky problem probably doesn’t arise. I also doubt if Cameron forgot his daughter as he was too pissed, or got embroiled in a row over a game of dominos, Sam having to lead him away “leave it, Dave, he’s not worth it”.

But rules is rules, and in my rules, kids and pubs are mutually exclusive. I certainly never entered a pub until I was 15 years old and could legally (?) get served, without needing my dad to get them in for me (they were far less strict in those days- and anyway, my Dad  went to the pub less frequently than even David Cameron does). It’s not quite so bad since the smoking ban was enforced. At least kids running around the bar aren’t at risk from losing an eye from running into some half-smoked cigarette in the hand of a local.  Now the smokers are gathered outside in the glorious sunshine (!) supping on their pints, dragging on their fags while topping-up their tans at the same time. So now that a lot of pubs make families sit in the garden, the only place the kids are allowed is where the smokers are. Another reason to leave the little brats at home.

Anyone who looks younger than Jeremy Hunt should be barred from public houses, in the same way that everyone who looks like, or indeed who is Jeremy Hunt should be banned from Public Office.

Rules against under-age drinking and lying to Parliament are very clear, as are the hosepipe ban laws. But as my mate Mr A.Heckler said to me : “If they come round here moaning that I’m using my hose, trying to fine me £1000, they can fuck right off. If they can’t handle properly all the water we’ve had, they shouldn’t be in a job.”

Someone’s gonna call time on the water companies and Mr Hunt very soon. And if Dave can’t use a pub properly, he shouldn’t be allowed in one. Bet he doesn’t use Greaves’ Rules anyway.

Your Bard

For Sale (one piece missing)


Clearing out the loft this morning I came across a few old sets from my Subbuteo game. I could never understand why I never won a match when I played with my QPRJoey Barton” Edition.  Anyway, yours for either the price of Jermain Defoe‘s phone book, or Rangers FC, whichever is higher.

Horse Feathers


Whenever I have thought about getting a pet for myself and the incumbent Mrs B, a gee gee has never really sprung to mind. I know they’re lovely animals and all that, but you could never sit on the sofa watching a weepie with a 3/4 Arab laying at your feet, or send your 15 hand Palomino round to Mr Singh’s to pick up the Grauniad on a sunday morning (that’ll be after they adopt Mr Murdoch’s 7-day publishing ruse, which they surely will), and keeping a(nother) stallion in the the house would play havoc with The Incumbent’s carpets.

No a horse is not for us, and even if it was we couldn’t afford one.  I mean have you seen the price of one ? And it’s not if there’s anywhere you can just hire one or loan one out.

Oh , hang on a minute, there is !

It seems Rebekarhhh Wade loaned a nag from the Old Bill. There is a (very) little-known scheme in which the boys in Blue lend out their old dobbins to selected members of society to ride them ragged and return them in poor health in the twilight years of their lives, just before poor old horsey snuffs it – as happened in this case with Wade’s borrowed nag called Raisa (which would also explain what happened to Mrs Gorbachev).

Rebekah (left) and Raisa (née Gorbachev)

As an aside, yes I know Rebbbekah pretends she’s married now and her name is now Brooks, but she says a lot of things and pretends much, so I have no reason to believe her when she says she’s married any more than I believe her when she says she knows nothing about phone hacking. And anyway, who’d really marry that ? Yeuch.

According to The Telegraph “Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe expressed his surprise at the arrangement saying there was a lengthy waiting list of people who wanted to re-home former police horses.” But then again few in that lengthy waiting list have furnished the boys in blue with massive wads of cash for privileged info like Rebekahkaka and her mates have. At least I would hope not. There is a lengthy queue of hacks, Masons and MPs waiting to donate sackloads of bunce to plod in return for preferential treatment, of course.

The paper also added that when the horse was returned by Wade (who, funny enough pretends to be married to a racehorse trainer) “Raisa was regarded by officers from Mounted Branch to be in a poor but not serious condition.” Perhaps her “husband” didn’t have any spare nags lying around to loan to his “wife”, nor did he have time to look after the beast properly.

But I suppose if mass, consistent and organized bribing of public officers can’t get you the last few miserable years of a working horse’s existence, what does it get you (apart from an enormous pay-off and the unflinching backing of one of the most powerful men in business) ?

But money, mass corruption, animal cruelty, and fraud aside, a horse has never been for me. When I was a kid my mother would always turn on The Horse of the Year Show to watch Harvey Smith and David Broom, resplendent in their red hunting outfits take their mounts over the jumps at Olympia, or Wembley or maybe Hickstead, ably commentated on by the BBC’s Raymond Brooks Ward (or Raymond Wade Ward as he was known in our house). “C’mo-o-o-n Da-a-a-vid” he would shout though the mic. Which was odd because Princess Anne was in the ring at the time. But who knows what he was thinking of ?

But while mum was jumping up and down during the jump off against the clock, my brother and I were waiting for the gee gee to slam on the anchors and the jockey vault over the handlebars into the wall/hedge/water below. It was our only enjoyment gleaned from the event. We didn’t want the horses harmed, but cared little for the powdered ponces sat astride them.

A similar thing happened when I watched War Horse last night. The lead actor was riding the eponymous hero through the field when they approached a stone wall. The horse came to a sudden halt, through its rider up and over, through the air and eventually onto his arse. I didn’t want the horse hurt, I just wanted the rider to fly though the air, miss the wall, hit the camera full in the lens, shattering metal and glass, which then speared Steven Spielberg, the writer (one can only assume there was one) and the producers of this shite into each other and impaled them all onto a barn door behind. The rest of the cast crew and horses could then mount (geddit??) an asserted and brutal attack on all those who forced such a woeful excuse of a movie onto the general public.

“What’s that, Joey ? You’ve solved the German codes and discovered Uranium ?”

War Horse is a children’s book adapted for the big screen. I just don’t know who it was adapted for ? There are so many “homages” to old movies (Lawrence of Arabia, Gone with the Wind, Lassie Drop Dead) which will surely be lost on the kids. Meanwhile any adults watching (and I include The Incumbent and I) will be bemused in the hokey storyline, Dick Van Dyke accents, Teletubbies sets and crow-barred emotions that the temptation to throw horse excrement is tempered only by the site of so much of it on screen already (both literally and figuratively.)

SPOILER ALERT – ISH

I’m convinced you will take my word for it and save your well-earned cash by not bothering to go see this movie (like WWI itself, it never seems to want to end), but just in case you ignore my advice I shall take you though the final scene:

After the end of the first war, we’re back in Blighty , Devon (apparently), which is indicated by the huge red sky, piercing evening sunlight with the embers of Atlanta burning in the background. Joey (our horsey hero) is back home after his labours, and surrounded by his fiends and family: Albert, Ted, Rose, Uncle Sandy, Ricky, Old Shep and Bernard Cribbens. All of a sudden Skippy and Flipper hove into view and tell Joey the whereabouts of Lee Van Cleef’s buried treasure.  Everyone hugs and laughs and Albert marries Jenny Agutter who, in a moment of sobriety, has forgotten to take her clothes off for this scene.

The End

Or it may as well be.

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Don’t Read All About It


Wotcha, sorry I’m late.I just spent an hour in a line waiting for the last ever copy of The News of the World.

No, not really. But I suspect a lot did.

So farewell then etc etc … As horrible as it must be for those hundreds of poor sods, the subs, the secretaries, the IT crew, the designers, the researchers, the ad sales guys, the marketing men and, dare I say, the picture editors who were obliged to fall on their swords to save the the fragrant Rebekah Brooks, I stand before you as an ex-News International employee who can reveal (though not exclusively) that there is life after Wapping: a life of dignity and respectability, of honour and pride, a life where you can at last look yourself in the mirror because you no longer work for that bunch of nasty cnts. (and if you’re reading this, you know who you are).

But I digress.

Dear, dear Rebekah. We are told she offered her resignation to Murdoch and he refused to accept it. Tell you what, love, offer it again. Offer it again and again. Keep offering it until he accepts it.

In a secretly-recorded speech, Brooks told her (former) colleagues that within a year they would all realise why The Screws had to be shut down. How bad is this gonna get???  They have already pissed on the chips of their core readership: the hang em and flog em brigade; Mr & Mrs Castrate-Rapists; those poor families who receive the remains of their loved ones in a Union Flag-draped coffin at RAF Brize Norton. By hacking into the phones of murder victims and war casualties, the NOW have stabbed their week-in-week-out reader straight through the heart. And it’s gonna get worse than this? Jesus, RebeKAH, what the fuck have you lot done? You been funding the Taliban?  You didn’t secretly vote for Gordon Brown, did you ? Kill Diana ??
(Is it only me, by the way, who every time I see her picture I hear the phrase “lollipops, lollipops children” running though my head ?)

The Child Catcher and Rebekah. Separated at birth?

Oh well, we’ll find out soon enough, I guess. At least La Brooks will be tucked in safe and sound in her wapping great office (or is that great Wapping office?). Or maybe not. Let’s see what Rupert has to say when he arrives.The story changes by the minute and there’re sure to be many more twists in the tale, all of them minutely reported by News Int’s rivals.

There’s nothing the press enjoy more than writing about the press. And when one of their rivals gets itself in the mire, then happy, happy days. Pick up any copy of last week’s Mail or Mirror, Guardian or Telegraph and you will be overwhelmed by the stench of smugness, and self-righteousness. Just imagine ! Paying the Police for information !!!!! How disgraceful !!!

Yeah, right.

Working on one American magazine (the exact name escapes me) during the 7/7 terrorist attack story, I remember voicing my astonishment that we didn’t have a tame copper on board who’d pass us information. All very bloody frustrating. How the hell was I supposed to move our snappers into the right positions ? Rely on Sky News ? I don’t think so. Fortunately there were plenty of old pals back in the Fleet St who were on hand to help. Though heaven only knows where they were getting their info from. Maybe they were just very good at guessing.

I’m not saying anything more than a Ruby Murray and a pint changes hands when hack meets detective, but any journalist who says his paper doesn’t curry (geddittt???) favour with their local crooked plod is a fibbing rotter. Legend has it that the greater the size of your wad, the greater amount of info and help you can expect in return. Thus, those papers with the bigger budgets (I’ll leave the calculations to you) have the means to get the most info from Inspector Knacker. Brown paper packages tied up with string, these are a bent coppers favourite things. Failing that a chicken dhansak and a pint of  Cobra, please.

Stick your head out of the window and listen carefully. If you can block out the mass-indignation and tut-tutting of editors, you’ll hear the unmistakeable sound of shredders going into overdrive all over Fleet Street as the red-tops and broadsheets alike get rid of the evidence, should Cameron ever get around to setting up an inquiry. I should think Murdoch jnr will be up for some sort of Queen’s Award for recycling, such will be the weight of shredded paper coming out of the back door of Wapping. But don’t ever think it’ll be any different anywhere else.

You can call for heads of the hacks who pay the Old Bill for information, or you can ask why Constable Smellie is betraying the public and releasing private and confidential details. It all stinks to high heaven to everyone, it seems, except Beckie Brooks, Rupert and sonny James Murdoch.

Many who enjoy joined-up writing won’t mourn the passing of the News of The World. A nastier, more racist, more bigoted little organ you’d be hard-pushed to find (unless you happen to be in the High St Kensington area). Doubtless The Sun on Sunday will re-employ some of those hapless buggers who lost their jobs last night, but I suspect the total aggregate cull will be in it’s hundreds. More journos looking for work. Bugger. It’s hard enough out there as it is, without having to compete with even more for that odd shift that occasionally comes up. The world can do without more unemployed scribblers, snappers, subs and subs and artists, especially when all it really needed was one ugly ginger head to roll.

Thank you and Goodbye ? How about No Thank You & Fuck Off.