Paralympic Highlights


The first time in history a senior exec at BMW ever got a cheer from 85,000 people. However, it always helps to stand next to a complete arse if you want to look popular.

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The 1992 Committee


Ed Miliband’s getting a little full of himself for his own good. Buoyed by the local election results and the turmoil within the Tory Party, you can imagine Ed leaning across the dispatch box in the House of Commons and asking Dave Cameron “Surely you’re not the best politician to lead your party?”
“Maybe not,” DC might reply “but at least I’m the best politician in my family” (copyright Paul Collingwood).
A weak man is a short time in politics, so who can blame Mr Ed for crowing while he can? For a good few months the press and his party has been on his back, accusing him of being dull, uninspiring, distant and not his brother, but following the recent council polls, he and his adenoids feel vindicated in irritating a nation for the past couple of years. If it wasn’t for Bonking Boris, last week would have been a true disaster for the Tories, spurring on the bank-benchers to launch an immediate revolt. As it is, the win for the incumbent London Mayor merely highlights just how much more popular he is than the resident PM…er…sparking an immediate revolt among Tory back-benchers.

There’s nothing more enjoyable than watching the British GOP knock shite out of each other, fighting like cats in a sack in attempt to gain the high ground. A wave of nostalgia washed over me this morning as the late, great John Redwood took the the airwaves of T’BBC to launch version #738 of the Tory Right’s plan to get back into power (under its own steam). In re-hashing and re-launching the old battle cries of “Europe Out/Lords In/Wogs Out/Cronies In“, the former forgetful Minister for Wales reminded all listening of just why the Conservative Party hasn’t won an election in this country since 1992.

You know when you’re in trouble when chinless twerps like Nadine Dorries and Amanda Platell are calling you out of touch and if there’s a better blood sport to watch than the Tories fighting like a bunch of pissed wedding guests, then I’d like to see it. The Posh Boys’ honeymoon is over and they have painted themselves into a corner (easy on the metaphors, Harry). On one side they need to remain faithful to Sir Bufton Tufton of Tunbridge Wells – shooting, flogging and hanging anything that moves, but on the other thy need to give their coalition partners a good luvvie-cuddle as they try to convince the Liberals that they really are a new, warm green version of the old Right. It’s as convincing as watching Tom Cruise walking out with Katie Holmes.

As if things weren’t bad enough for Dave and Gid, then Frank goes and wins in France. A socialist hasn’t been in elected in France since Johnny Hallyday turned 80 (1981) yet the people of France have decided they no longer want the Poisoned Dwarf anymore and will try Francois Hollande for a while, especially as he’s promised to stand up against big bad Angela from Allemagne. Rather him than me.

The French people have spoken and ousted the little git. Across The Channel, however, no matter how awful Tony Blair and then Gordon Brown were for the UK, and however long Labour were in power, enough people still couldn’t bring themselves to vote for Cameron for PM. It doesn’t look good for him. I mean, I fancy myself up against Miliband. AT ANYTHING. And I’m sure you do too. But, even with the wholehearted support of The Mail, The Sun and Fox Skinning Gazette this charmless berk can still not rally enough support to attempt to lead the country out of recession without the shameless toadying support of the former Liberal Party. When you have to look to Simon Hughes, Chris Huhne and Beaker (whatever his real name is) to be electable and to get your policies through, times are indeed tough.

The Liberals appalling showing at the elections have led the wonderful Lembit Opik to call for Nick Clegg to resign. Jesus, no wonder Ed Miliband’s happy. In a few months he could be fighting a coalition of parties led by Boris Johnson and Limpet Optic. And if that doesn’t spell another 20 years of socialist government, I dunno what does.

Who Do You think You’re Kidding?


Things are definitely changing around here, and some of them not for the best.

I took off this morning on another one of what my doctor, Mr Lansley, calls “life-extending promenades” this morning. I know he means well but I’m not sure Dr Lansley understands just how far “a half hour’s walk” is. Or, come to that, if he understands anything at all about my health. Anyway, the novelty of the yomp to the post office is wearing off already so today I decide to turn the other way into the village itself. This way is a little more interesting as I pass by or through all the hustle and bustle which country life can offer.

I therefore reach the top of the lane and turn left this time, past the school with its newly installed metal detector and courtesy black maria which the children seem to find very interesting indeed. I stand to watch several of them playing a game of Hopscotch (or HopCaledonian as they are told to call it nowadays) through and around the metal detector. I started to reminisce about my time at the school and all the lovely knife-free years I enjoyed there, before I am awakened from my daydream and shooed away by a man pointing a Taser and wearing a flak jacket in school colours. I am a mixture of embarrassed and annoyed, but in any case shuffle off in the direction of the newsagent’s and the football fields beyond.

I no longer use this newsagent. I spent years gleaning from it all the info about the outside world I could. It was a lovely sight. A lovely big sign outside reading “The Village News” above the window was flanked by smaller ones of a bygone day: The News Of the World, News Shopper and even Horse&Hound were all represented in enamel signs down the sides of the shop. Proudly and efficiently run by old Mr Turnbull and his younger wife Susanna, it was a constant source of news, gossip and entertainment.

Sadly, as in everything nowadays, the shop has had a makeover, renamed itself “T’News of T’Village” and is daubed with posters for the Yorkshire Post, Salford Sentinel, and Whippet Magazine. The shop window has been widened, the counter brought closer to the door, and there’s even a space in the background for customers to enjoy a cappuccino or a flat white, run by the serial liar Mrs Kirkwood. (Amazing they haven’t pensioned her off yet.) The company has brought in a whole new staff to help out old Bill. I went in there one Sunday afternoon and found Jack Duckworth and Seth Armstrong serving. I had not a clue what they were on about and left sharply, never to return.

Mr Turnbull takes to the streets to sell the riveting Tameside Express

For your information I now pop along to Mr Humphrys who runs the paper stand on the corner. He doesn’t carry any of the tabloids or the magazines, and is only interested in the broadsheets, but at least I can understand what he’s talking about. And he and his friend Mr Naughtie (“Naughty Naughtie”, my mum calls him) do have a laugh when one of them accidentally mispronounces Mr Jeremy Hunt‘s name.  The only alternative place to get my news from is Holmes’– the convenience store in the high street. But I fear that if the manager, Eamonn, doesn’t stop tucking into the pasties (“well, no-one else is buying them any more”) they’ll be no room for anyone to get into the shop to buy anything. Fat eejit, so ye are.

As I passed them, Old Bill had young Charlie helping him pile up sandbags outside the door of the shop. They looked very sad. Mrs Kirkwood had her sunglasses on, so I knew it was about to rain. I put up my brolly, upped the pace to a stroll and continued up the path.

The school football pitches lay silent, save for the rustling of Ginsters Dwarf packets being blown about in the goal netting, and old Mr Fry, the omnipresent caretaker re-marking out the lines with his trusty, squeaky wheely machine. I’m sure that’s not what it’s called and that Mr Fry would take the time to tell me, at length, what its real name is, but I intentionally don’t catch his eye. I’m getting bored of him telling me everything about everything. It seems like he’s everywhere I go. And he keeps asking me to follow him. It’s creepy, I reckon. Why he doesn’t find himself a nice wife I’ll never know.

A small boy is told that Mr Moon is unable to play at the village concert.

Much excitement was to be had, apparently, up at these pitches at the weekend as two of the immigrant boys did frightfully well in their respective soccer matches. Young Fernando scored three goals. IN ONE MATCH. Putting to bed the fear had by his new PE master, Signor Baldio, that the boy needed to be fitted with calipers to sort his legs and feet out.

Over on another pitch, little Adolf Suarez also scored three times, even though parents were assured at christmas that he was to be expelled for calling some of the other boys “Schwartzers”.  His coach, Mr Kenneth Gorbals (pronounced Goebbels), sadly now blind in both eyes, did offer something by way of excuse, but no-one understood him. And on Pitch 3 John the School Bully amazed everyone by staying on the pitch for the whole of the match, and without abusing or maiming anyone. He got rather excited when he scored a goal, but his dad rushed on to the field of play and administered some pills, which he’d secreted in a little baggie down his sock. After the match ‘Bully’ was seen talking to the nurse, Mrs Bridge who seemed to be backing in to him. A lot.

It’s sad to think that in a matter of weeks the pitches and the ancient trees that surround them will be dug up and tarmacked over for use as an Olympic car park. Oh well, we all have to do our bit, I suppose. What’s hundreds of years of history and a few old Oaks when compared to ensuring the success of a corporate carve-up sports tournament ?

The Terry family takes on the Suarezes in a friendly kick about on Sunday morning.

The school’s newly-appointed Temporary Chief Coach, Mr W.O.T. Wovers (Cantab) said that he was “wery happy with all the boys he’d seen in twaining” and that he was confident in their ability to do well in the tournament this summer “especially against fwance and the Ukwaine”.

On the far side of the football pitches I could see the SBS training in the village pond. Their activity was only hampered by having to steer their boats around the Astute-class nuclear submarine which the Royal Navy have parked, sorry moored in our pond, much to the annoyance of both the ducks and the local flasher.  Sadly, since the local ARP warden, Mr Johnson, announced that our village was a prime Al Qaeda target this summer, the whole place has been a hive of activity, with varying degrees of success and popularity.

The site for the gun emplacement – originally destined to be on top of the Conservative Club – has been moved (thank the Lord) and will stand proudly, perched on top of the ICU building at the local Hospital. Mr Johnson tells us that, not only will this deter the “Mad Raghead Mullahs” from bombing our NHS hospital, but it will ensure the general security and safety of all those waiting hours in corridors to be seen by the woefully short-handed staff”. I can certainly see that no right-minded burglar would want to break into the hospital now.

A crack team of nurses abandon their posts at the gun emplacement as they
remember they’ve left an elderly patient alone with young Dr Shipman

As I turned for home, I paused for a moment and removed my cap as a funeral cortege passed by. They were burying old Mrs Blears who died suddenly and horribly in a freak razor-wire accident. She was wrapping the aforementioned wire around her chimney in an effort to dissuade the Taliban from mounting an attack on her home, when she slipped and fell through the wire to the ground. Only the wire catching her across the neck and in her mop of lovely ginger hair saved her fall. Sadly she died from the injuries sustained. Had she been rescued in time she may have lived. Apparently she hung there for four weeks before anyone noticed she’d gone. One neighbour said “I’m so relieved she’s dead: I thought I’d gone deaf”. Another was quoted as saying “Let’s just remember what she did for us and for herself and enjoy the peace and silence now she’s gone”.

I buy my paper from Mr Humphry’s I see that they’ve decided to allow drug users to represent the village in the summer sports day. That’s good. It’ll give School Bully something to do in the closed season. I did see his dad and Mr Chambers having a good old chin-wag earlier (which is strange, given Mr Chambers’ colour), but I’m sure whatever was said could be easily taken out of context.

Ok, gotta go now. Have to buy one of Mr Coe’s lottery tickets for a place in the Air Raid shelter. S’funny, I always thought there’d be a place for all of us in the shelter when the time finally came, given all the taxes we’ve paid over the years and how long we’ve lived here. Not to mention that many of us had to move out of home to allow Mr Coe to build that big bunker of his. But apparently some seats have to be reserved for special friends of Mr Coe, and their friends and their families. Which is only right, I suppose.

Cry ‘God for Appy Arry, England, and Saint George!’


Ah! April 23rd, Shakespeare’s Birthday and the day when all us English are supposed to celebrate the mighty knight, Saint George, slaying that nasty old dragon. Over the past few years there’s been a push (mainly by beer companies) for the English to get off their apathetic arses and celebrate their national day in the same, irritating manner that the Irish do for theirs on Paddy’s Day, the Jocks get out their lucky fivers on St Andy’s Day and the Yanks do on July 4th. And Christ, don’t we all get to hear about it.

You can sense the gradual crescendo of a slow, dull rumbling of a bandwagon every year with this year being earmarked as a particular one for celebration, it being both Olympic Year and the year of the Royal Jubilee .

Woo Hoo, as I’m told they say.

As I glance through the stained glass window of the potting shed, I can see on the barn opposite, two flags of St George hanging limply in the breeze, placed on poles by the local squire’s wife in a vain effort to rouse the rabble into another verse or two of Land of Hope & Glory or even Jerusalem. You’ll have read previous posts such as The Official Weedkiller of the England Football Team and taken on board my thoughts regarding our flag, so you can imagine how many I have hung out over the shed this morning.

However, each to his own, and I don’t need to go intruding on anyone’s merriment and celebrations, just because I have no interest in them at all. Yes I think the country would be a better place without the monarchy, but not to the extent I want to start burning down The Reichstag…. sorry, I mean Buckingham Palace. If people want to celebrate them, let them do so. I have much more and bigger fish to fry before I start getting het up over all that.

You will have noticed that I’m not a particular fan of Seb Coe‘s and Boris Johnson’s corporate carve-up taking place in London this summer. Whoop de-Do. I love my sport, I just can’t stand how Seb and his cronies have made such a bollock-up of the whole thing, while making sure every single penny is squeezed out of yer average sports fan and, while they’re at it, London resident. Sure, go ahead, knock yourself out with excitement as the runners, the jumpers the cyclists and the drug-takers come to town. Just include me out. I always cheer for the English team, whatever the sport. And my support will still be with Team GB this time. I just won’t run my life by what or how Seb and his PR firm, the BBC, tell me to this summer.

The Occupy London mob want to “reclaim the streets” during the Olympic Games. Really? Why would you wanna do that, then ? By all means shout your protests in a democratic manner from the top of a building, plaster the walls with banners, wear particularly clever and high quality tee shirts designed to illustrate your displeasure at the disruption to your city this year (and available at a very competitive rate right here – while stocks last). But causing disruption to the events, staging sit down protests in the stadium is one way to lose all public support for any legitimate beef you might have (see that arsehole Trenton Oldfield at the Boat Race) as well as risking a javelin in the goolies.

So I might take a mate up to The Shovel in a minute and no-doubt, Hilda the landlady will have festooned the place with pics of the Royals, the St George’s Cross and Union Jacks. The resident UKIP Nazis who are permanent fixtures at the bar will be waxing lyrical about how the country would be better without the “muslims, wogs and Ken Livingstone.” (I’ve heard it all before.)

Enjoy your local pub tonight, it’ll be fun. Enjoy too the gits in red-and-white plastic bowler hats singing Rule Britannia to you outside the chipshop as you make your way home, and that girl in the Abercrombie & Fitch shirt, hitch up her miniskirt to take a leak in the charity shop doorway. It’ll make you proud to be English. In mine, the knuckle-draggers will be on to “how the fuck can Arry be England manager when Tottenham are a bag o shite ?” (another perennial.) And like the Royal Jubilee or London 2012, I shall ignore all that, sup gently on my pint and wait for it all to be over. Bring on the Ryder Cup.