T’was Brillig


So now that the dust has settled, now that orders in Tennants Super and Economy Toilet roll are set to go through the roof, what does it all mean ? The answer is simple: I’m shagged if I know. Gorgeous Georgie Gideon Oswald, (sorry Osborne) Our Dave and their pet Yellow Toad have decided to transform the country into a scene from to Jabberwocky, full or peasants surfs and huge piles of shit, with a 5 groat consumption charge to enter the citadel (though the Sheriff of Bonkingham decided against extending it to the west of the castle) or maybe “Oliver Twist” where former benefit claimants hold out their bowl for some more gruel to Mr Bumble (brilliantly played by Eric Pickles) who promptly tells them to “fook off”.

Personally, I’m a tad miffed that it now seems I’m to be unemployed until I’m 66, rather than 65. Oh well, you know me: mustn’t grumble. If I were French I’d be running up and down with a flare and a megaphone, knocking kepis of coppers bonces. Being British I’ll probably put the kettle on, make a nice cup of tea and see what that nice Nick Robinson has to say. It’s fair to say this former President of the Oxford University Conservative Association, ex-national chairman of the Young Conservatives, alleged Bullingdon Club member and now BBC Political Editor has done a just frankly spiffing job selling the cuts to a watching nation. And he’s hardly burst into laughter once. Well done him. When his BBC career is over he can always get himself a job on Fox News.

But however nasty Nick spins it, there’s something rotten in Denmark Hill and throughout the kingdom. The natives are revolting. Even Boris Johnson has likened the (sorry his) government’s crackdown on housing benefits for the poorest of families to ethnic cleansing. Gideon and Dave were furious. The foie gras hit the aircon but Bonkers Bonking Boris stuck to his guns. You know you’re in trouble when the Bullingdon boys start falling out. Funny, but I thought we were all in this together ? Shooting sticks and hacking jackets at twelve paces, m’lud ?

Over in Lala Land, the guvnors at The World’s Worst Airline reckon their poor passengers are getting a rotten deal. All those security checks at the airport are putting people off. Fancy asking us to take off our shoes for inspection before boarding. Whoever heard of a shoebomber ?? They’ll be asking to check our pants and printer cartridges next ! BA boss Willie Walsh also had the onion out of his handbag over the increase to Passenger Duty. “It’s unfair to our customers” was the cry. Well maybe. You could always swallow the increase, Willie.

I’d have a little more sympathy with airlines in general, and BA in particular, if their prices weren’t so high anyway, their service so shite and their guvnor such a miserable, soulless, swindling arsehole. BA have a long proud history of unfair business practice, dirty-tricks campaigns (ah! who can forget dear old Lord King?) and fisting both customers and employees whenever and however possible.

Do you get the feeling that if Willie and Louis Walsh swapped places none of us would be any the wiser? One more complete cnut on the X Factor wouldn’t notice, and think of the fun the new BA boss would have with the cabin crew during the next round of union negotiations. We’d have to throw a bucket of water over them.

Am I sounding more miserable than usual ? Well maybe. Times are tough at the moment. My regular reader in Cheltenham will realise the pictures are coming down in Railway Cuttings as the long process of making the place habitable for others begins. Calculations and ruminations over how and how much to rent out HQ will continue all week. Walls will be painted, the garden given a tidy and that suspicious-looking patch on the wall will have to be covered up. Furnished or unfurnished is just one of many questions I need to ask myself. It’d be great just to walk out and leave everything where it is. It’s gonna be a pain shipping out all the junk one collects over a few years. If I could be arsed I’d put my dvd collection on eBay. If I could be arsed. The booze collection will come with me, what’s left of it, as will the many, many unread books on the shelves.

Once the place looks vaguely decent I’ll need to decide whether to use an estate agent or go it alone. As appalling as my business acumen is, as disorganised as I am and no matter how little I know about renting out a house I can’t bring myself to deal with estate agents. I’ve not had that much luck with them in the past. I once offered to insert a FOR SALE placard into one bloke who I caught trying to drive the sign into my lawn after I’d agreed to let him sell it for me. On another occasion fisticuffs nearly broke out over a penthouse flat in Deptford. We had differed over the description of the flat he was trying to sell me. It was somewhere between “Immaculate”, as described in his literature, and a “Shit Pit” as described by me. So I’m gonna have a go on my own and see how I get on. Lots of pals who’ve been down this route are offering help and advice, so what could possibly go wrong?

So excuse the absence of my usual joie de vivre at the moment, I’ve just got a few things on my mind. Everyone has their off-days/weeks/months and this happens to be one of mine.

Mind you, compared to Ian Holloway I’m positively brimming with hilarity. You’ll know Mr Holloway is a firm favourite around here, responsible for some of the more memorable and hilarious footy quotes of recent times. But last week during the Wayne Rooney saga, things had obviously started to get on top of the normally jovial Mr Holloway.

I hope my house doesn’t toddle-off and do what it likes. I own it !! HOW WRONG IS THAT ?????

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The Official Weedkiller of The England Football Team


Am I the only one not to have one ?

Driving around South-East London yesterday I became aware that I was sitting in the only car in a ten-mile radius not to have an English flag sticking out of it. World Cup fever has taken hold of the country, and in my little bit of it, there’s an epidemic of England soccer team-related merchandise threatening to turn every car,pub and terraced-house window into something which resembles BNP Headquarters.

As The Incumbent and I wandered around the supermarket yesterday it became more and more evident that, not only was the World Cup but two weeks away, but that we would be shirking our responsibilities by not purchasing some tacky item adorned with Cross of St George and therefore damaging our team’s chances of winning the whole bang shoot.

England Mars Bars, England CocaCola, England lager, England deckchairs, England flags, England cups, England mugs, England spoons, England dishwasher salt, England loft-lagging. I think it’s getting a little much, don’t you?

I like to think of myself as a patriot (though actually typing that feels strange) and proud of my country. Back in the 80s and early 90s I used to envy the Dutch, Scotch, Irish and the like who felt no embarrassment wearing their colours, donning the badge or flying the flag for their homeland. Us English had a problem with all that (at least us decent English did). Our flag had been stolen by the nazis.

The National Front, a collection of neo nazis, dullards and skinheads, had during the 70s somehow stolen our flag and national emblems. Back then, flying the English flag was tantamount to shouting Seig Heil and goosestepping down the high street. Euro 96 changed all that for good, thank goodness and since then English Football fans, the Barmy Army cricket followers and Shake ‘n’ Vac producers have been able to wear the colours with renewed pride and bandwagonjumpiness.

But why can’t we show a little class or decorum? There’s something rather elegant about the way a lone Stars n Stripes flutters outside American schoolhouses or government buildings. There’s nothing classy about two flags sticking out of your car, one plastered onto the bonnet, and your ugly fat missus having the Cross of St George plastered over her white, flabby back. Very sexy, I’m sure, love.

So we resisted the temptation to buy England flags, England shovels or England house insurance, much to the disappointment of the official check-out girl to the England Football Team. Money’s getting a little tight in Railway Cuttings and if I do have to sell up or rent out the place, I think I might improve my chances of getting a fair price by not putting a flashing “Come on Ingerland” sign in the window.

During the election I didn’t place a VOTE LABOUR poster in my widow either, for similar reasons but I kinda now wish I had. I take no great pleasure in seeing the fledgling QuisCon Coalition beginning to unravel….no, no who am I kidding? Of course I take great pleasure in it. Uncle Vince is looking as guilty as a puppy sitting next to a pile of poo, and he has the face of someone who deep inside is screaming “What have I done? What have I done?”. Suddenly all that Liberal support has disappeared like Saddam’s Republican Guard. Where did they bugger off too? There was Storming Gordon bracing himself for the mother of all fights, and when it came to it, it was all a mirage. Still, scheisters that they are, they ‘shocked’ everyone by getting into bed with the other lot, promising ‘new politics’ and a ‘new style of government’.

Well stone me ! You’ll never guess what ? One of our brave new leaders has been a naughty boy. David Laws has been up to the old tricks of paying loved ones for accommodation, and then claiming for it. No, no, no, Mr laws, that’s not right. That’s the sort of underhand behaviour which you and Nick the Rat (The London Olympic’s 3rd Mascot) were forever accusing the ‘old’ political parties of dealing in.

Take Him Down

What’s that? You were trying to keep your private life private? Oh ok: all in favour of that. I know it must be tough to be an MP and gay, or gay in any profession in this homophobic, bigoted country of ours. But, sorry, what’s that got to do with nicking £40,000 from the British taxpayer: to wit: me. Give me my money back and fuck off out of it. This has nothing to do with your sexual preferences, but everything to do with you being as bent as a nine-bob note, where the word ‘bent’ means crooked. You’ve been caught out having an extra-marital affair, and funding it with my cash. There are MPs on trial at the moment for their part in the expenses scandal (though we can’t read about them until the court orders are lifted) and YOU, Mr Outside-the-Laws can bleeding well line up behind them.

October 14th, mark my words: go down to Mr Coral and get yer money on the date for the next general election. This shower of shite will show themselves up to be what we all knew, as reliable as the England back four, as straight as a welsh put-in to the scrum, as trustworthy as Billy Bowden‘s light meter. Stay tuned for Cameron and Clegg poncing about in England shirts, playing keepy-uppy during PMQ’s. Meanwhile, I’m gonna start producing “BRING BACK GORDON” t-shirts.

Times Up


Dear friends and others

After what seems like only 10 months at The Times, Mr Murdoch and I have decided to part company (though I don’t think he knows it yet. He’ll doubtless be distraught when he finds out). My last day here will be Friday June 4th, after which I shall be sat on my arse at home watching the World Cup and Test Cricket.

So this is just a quick note to say bye-bye to those with whom I’ve worked here, and hello to all you out there who might wanna employ me in future (oh come on ! surely?) My mobile should remain the same, if I can get the bastards to give me my PAC code.

Keep in touch, it’s been a blast. Honest.

MB
Soon Not-to-be Features Picture Editor
The Times
London

Mike is available for wakes, strikes, global recessions, individual depressions, international financial slumps, natural disasters, acts of God, play-off humiliations, county court judgements, redundancy settlements, post-mortems, political carve-ups, serial killings and weddings. Standard network rates apply. Calls from mobiles will be higher.

A 10-Point Plan for Real Reform


Now that Gideon Osborne has apparently ended the recession (the jury is still out, of course) , here’s my cunning plan which would really make life worth living in this country. This is no death-bed conversion, this is a manifesto years in the planning, months in the consultation, hours in its plagiarism and minutes in the typing. I give you:

A SPORTING CHANCE

1. Association Football

Can I suggest what all us egg-chuckers have been pleading for for some time now?: A yellow card means being sent to the Sin-Bin. Let’s see how long Jose or Arsene and their like will put up with playing with 8 men for 10 minutes. It’d take two weeks before all that swearing at the ref, formation falling-over and waving pretend cards at the ref ends in a melee of teacups at half-time. Bring back the orange ball and all games to be played at 3pm on Saturdays.

2. Golf

I propose two innovations to the PGA and European tours:
a) Dickouts:Any player not making the ladies tee with his drive, or more realistically in professional golf, driving the ball out-of-bounds from the tee should play the rest of that hold with his willy out.
b)Gotchas: Each player will have two Gotchas per round (one on the front nine and one on the back.) This allows anyone to shout “Gotcha” at the top of his playing partner’s backswing, in an attempt to put that player off his stroke. (The reader will note that a Gotcha often results in a Dickout). Tiger Woods will be exempt from Dickouts as it’s felt he’s been playing that game for far too long for his own good.

3. F1 Motor Racing

Before each and every Grand Prix, water tankers on corners 1, 5 and 7 should be emptied onto the track every 10th lap, thus ensuring some form of mild entertainment in the form of, dare I say, overtaking, would occur, thus eliminating the boring processions witnessed in Dubai, Barcelona and probably Monaco. In times of drought, the water could be replaced by oil sourced from the gulf of Florida. BP could do with a hand with getting rid of some anyway. Also only one pit open at any time. If you mis-time when you come off for new tyres or fuel, queue like the rest of us poor sods have to.

4. Athletics: 100 Meters

Let’s stop worrying about drugs. Come one, come all. Stick into your veins or up your nose whatever you like before you compete. Can’t wait to see your head pop off after 75 meters. It’ll give Sue Barker something else to talk about and Brendan might even sober up.

5. Rugby Football (League)

Northern rugger chaps: Let’s get of rid of your pointless, lame scrums.How about a nice hand of rummy instead ? Or maybe Rock/Paper/Scissors ? It’d more competitive. Oh, and play rugby during the winter months.

6. Rugby Football (Union).

Banned: Yellow cards, red cards, lifting in lineouts. Reinstated: Wheeling in lineouts, lifiting in scrums, 16-man punch-ups, touch-judges in blazers. Let’s get back to when you got a slap for cheating, not a yellow card. Second Row: if you don’t want to jump in the lineouts, ask for a ladder. Opposition props would then be allowed to shake it at the base to put you off your catch. Hookers: Our jumpers are in the same colour shirts as the one you’re wearing.

7. Snooker/Pool

Bring back heavy smoking and drinking for that real pub atmosphere. Encourage drunks in the crowd to shout “How much fucking longer are you two gonna be, mate ?” TV Adverts only allowed when it’s one of the players turn to go to the bar to buy a round for him and his opponent. If he hasn’t been served by the time the ad break is over, have another ad break. Also, one side of the table must be no further than 1 meter away from the wall. A half-length or child’s cue will be in a rack (underneath the dartboard) for when the cue-ball is near the cushion.

8. Tennis

Exile all TV coverage to UK Living. It’s not proper sport.

9. Darts

See 7.

10. Cricket.

Get rid of the dancing girls, helmets and pyjamas and wear white flannelled trousers. All games to last a minimum of three days. Uncover the pitches, give the bowlers a chance again. Give all cricket coverage back to the BBC and Channel 4. Also, compulsory South African lineage for all England cricketers. If you’re not called Pietersen, Kietvanwesser or Van der Kochderschmidt, fuck off: we don’t need you any more.

So there you have it. A sensible manifesto for a sensible country. A grand coalition of ideas.

VOTE BEALING, VOTE OFTEN

Foxy Politics


Here’s one to think about when we have to go to the polls again later on in the year (I recommend getting there early this time). Dunno where this came from but it made me chuckle.

I find it very hard to resist a political movement which boasts the support of both Queen’s lead guitarist, still resplendent in his perm, and Francis Rossi OBE. However, my support for this very noble cause has been tempered by the little bastard who left a huge pat of runny turd in my vegetable patch this week. This is the latest in a long, cowardly campaign to disrupt my growing season, and I know our local fox is the culprit.

Forever finding huge stools and dirty great holes dug among my seedlings is really starting to get on my wick. While I am totally and utterly opposed to hunting down these magnificent animals, this particular one is gonna feel my boot straight in his goolies if I ever catch him. Magnificent Mr Fox, my arse.

Heidi Unlikely


Well what to make of all that then? Certainly a lot better than when I retired to my bed last night. Quite, quite amazing. After 13 years and all the disasters that have befallen the Labour Party, the Tories STILL didn’t run away with it. And where did that Liberal surge disappear to??? Gives you some faith in your fellow citizen’s judgment- if indeed your fellow citizen actually managed to get a vote at all. What a fiasco that was. Sorry, I don’t mean fiasco, I mean heinous crime. I think I can imagine my reaction to being turned away at the ballot box. May have had a little word, as I know many did. Legal challenges to come, no doubt. Whatever way it takes the actual result, this surely hasn’t been a triumph for democracy and something has to be done.

Maybe we’ll get a re-run anyway because, as I write at 08.32, it’s still very unclear which way it’ll go. Personally, I think we’ve had a result. If in October/November last year you’d have given Gordon a whiff of a chance of a coalition he’s have bitten your arm off. And if it does go the other way, and Tory government being reigned in by the Liberals is surely more palatable than a huge Conservative majority as was looking to be the case just a few months ago.

Whether or not we have another election to either the polling station scandal, or to decide once-and-for-all who runs the country again, I suspect that Gordon Brown (texture like sun) has had his chips, with or without curry sauce. What prince Alan Johnson for next leader ?

News just in: Heidi Alexander has just held Lewisham East for Labour, so our little village of Blackheath sends another Labour MP to the commons (for now anyway). In the words of Joan Collins “WhooHoo”.

But let us not get too happy with ourselves. Let us spend a moment to think of all those who sadly will not be with us anymore, at least as far as this round of political shenanigans goes:

Peter Robinson DUP. (East Belfast)

Jaqui Smith, LAB (Blockbuster Video, North)

Charles Clarke, LAB (Backstabbers Union)

Limpet Optic, LIB (TV Studio Anywhere, South)

Nick Giffen, Waffen SS (Berchtesgaden, West)

Esther Rantzen, IND (Lala Land North)

As the sun goes down. We won’t remember them.

Good Riddance.

Results Just In


12.25: Joan Collins comes out for the Tories (shock) and tells Andrew Neil that “David Cameron, WhooWhoo!” (punches the air) “He’ll make a great Prime Minister because he has a very good look” (I’m not making any of this up, check it out on iPlayer)

Victor Meldrew (or at least the bloke who plays him) declares he wanted PR all along (having bigged-up Gordon for years).

Martin Amis, looks like he’s been on the shandy since early on, manages to say “Clegg” using four syllables. “Ch-ll-eel-gh” well done! Have another sip. Mind you, if I’d have been sat next to David Starkey all night I’d be tempted to have a snifter or two.

Hang on a minute! Am I actually watching the BBC’s election coverage? Who’s next to give their considered opinion? Timmy Mallet?

Exit Poll, Exit Democracy


12.00: Polling stations running out of ballot papers? Others able to handle the numbers of people turning up to vote? Polling lists not updated, leaving people not being allowed to vote ? Disenfanchised would-be voters staging sit-ins in protest at not being able to place their cross on the ballot paper ? Some stations kept open to let people vote after the exit poll was declared. This really is appalling. Anyone would think Jeb Bush was the returning officer. If it happens around here, they’ll be Hanging Chavs all over South London. Fly in the UN Observers!

More as it comes in.

.

Back to You in the Studio


So how long did you stay up? I went into this evening with such a great determination to see it through til the early hours. After all this is the most exciting of elections in living memory, isn’t it? Well that’s what the BBC kept telling me. Tight as a gnat’s chuff, apparently. As I start this post it’s 11.15 pm and I’m already wilting. At 10 o’clock the exit poll was announced and it declared that, after all that had gone on over the past four weeks, the Tories and the Labour party had run away with it, with the Liberals in a poor third. Maybe the Beeb has it all wrong (again) but it does seem depressingly familiar.

10.49 brought the first result from the constituency of Sunderland Somewhere. They’d employed an army of small boys, running like the wind, to carry the ballot boxes to the counters, (bank tellers, I’m told) who ripped through the piles of votes at the speed of light to ensure they declared their result before any other count. If you lived in Sunderland, wouldn’t you want a little more care spent over your precious vote? I know I would. Bloody annoyed me. Felt the whole system was being trivialised. How wrong I was. I was peaking far too early. When Dom Jolly, Kelly Holmes, Bruce Forsyth, Fern Britton and Don Logan from Sexy Beast were asked to contribute to the night, I knew that this was the time when serious political thought and coverage was crashing down to earth like a UKIP Nazis in a PZL-104 Wilga 35A Polish fixed-wing aircraft.

The one thing keeping me awake is the appalling news that large numbers of people have been locked out of polling stations, the system seeming unable to cope with the late rush from the night workers, the Dog and Duck or wherever. Who the Hazel bears is running this debacle? Robert Mugabe ?

Anyway, not wanting to go on like an extended Twitter, I shall leave you to watching the coverage. And anyway, Eric Pickles has just come on the TV and I feel like being violently sick.

More as we get it.