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.

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It Is Written


Predictions.

When crap journalists can think of nothing else to write about, and editors have nothing sexy with which to fill their pages, we are left with long and exhausting lists of predictions for the coming year. Here at The Sharp Single things are no different. So read this and you need not read another til, ooh, next week I should imagine.

2010 and all that.

In January David Tennant becomes Dir Gen of the BBC, narrowly edging out the twin-bid from Mathew Horne and James Corden. It’s believed that the board said they didn’t want too much hilarity during important meetings, and yet they still plump for Tennant. Peter Andre marries himself. Katie Price explodes. Her life has gone tits-up.

The recession ends in February. Then it starts again a week later for those of us under £150,000-a-year when the government raises income tax to pay for a Champagne and Crayfish bar at the 2012 Olympic Equestrian stadium.
Following another attempted rectum-launched terrorist attack on an airliner, all passengers are now asked to remove their underpants through customs. John Prescott and Amy Winehouse are exempt. In the third week of February, due to an administrative error there is no sale on at DFS. Early march sees Hazel Blears join the Tory Party, and Peter Mandelson join the Brownies. Boris will say nothing sensible or vaguely relevant all year.
I lose 20 lbs by the end of March, in preparation to put on 25 by late June. In an astonishing turn of events, Jude Law continues to receive offers of work. In April, a virulent strain of Gnu Flu sweeps through Fleet Street and Sky News studios. Some people are almost likely to very probably have a tickly throat. The epidemic is expected to last until a proper news story breaks.

A Briton wins the first seven races in the F1 Championship. Meanwhile, in sport, Chelsea win the Premiere League by one point from Arsenal when, in the Blues last game three late deflected off-side penalties are allowed by the ref, a Mr S.Wonder, apparently. (By the end of the year, each match will be officiated by 7 refs, 2 linesmen, a sheepdog and The Met Police.) Alex Ferguson is finally pickled and displayed in the Man Utd museum for all eternity. United appoint Victoria Beckham as their new coach.

Gordon Brown loses the election and takes his seat in the upper chamber as Lord Thankgoditsallover. Fox hunting is re-legalised by the new Tory Government, as is hanging, public masturbation and child chimney-sweeps. Charlton Athletic make the play-offs only to lose to Millwall, 3 fan deaths to 1 (Duckworth/Lewis method).
In late May, the newly-appointed Minister for War, Mr Liam Fox, announces the Government’s new big push in Afghanistan. Plans are made to enlist every first-born child from labour-voting households (that’ll teach ’em). June 16th, fifty-three women in Florida, California and St Andrews simultaneously give birth to babies of mixed-race and a smashing set of choppers. The women, all blonde, rather soiled-looking, hotel cloakroom attendants immediately sign contracts with The Mail on Sunday. Gillette sales plummet. Or soar. July 21st, a string bag full of lemons is seen being delivered to The Crown public house, Blackheath. But no ice.
By the beginning of August, after a summer of riots and general discontent, Police officers are allowed to carry machetes while on crowd-control duties. All fingerprints and DNA of police officers are removed from the system, to be replaced by those of mortgage-defaulters and lollipop ladies.
Brazil win the World Cup. By now, England have already been roasted by the West Germans, Capello is poached by Portugal and grilled by the press. Then he goes and gets smashed.
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff is seen urinating up against the Grace Gates at Lords after a particularly convivial lunch during the One Day International vrs Australia. The press dub it ‘Gategate’.
In late September after a ‘leaked’ press release it is widely reported that this year’s must-have toy for Christmas will be Mattel’s Stoat Family Fortunes (David Tennant Edition). A week later all stocks are sold out. Individual members of the Stoat family change hands on eBay for up to £300, except the very popular ‘Piper Stoat’ which you can’t get for love nor money.

In October I turn 40 years old for the seventh time running. Later that month armed police from the crack ‘Arrest Innocent People Squad’ raid a flat believed to be the HQ of a sleeper cell of Al Qaeda, responsible for the alleged underpants plot earlier in the year. Yet again, their information is found to be shoddy: Having forced their way into the premises, all they find is a derelict, uninhabited shit-hole, of no use or interest to man nor beast. And that’s not this years’ only connection with Wales: After a particularly wet autumn at Celtic Manor Golf Club, play is suspended during the foursomes on the opening day of The Ryder Cup when US player Stewart Cink’s caddy is tragically drowned while replacing a divot. Organisers pledge never to attempt to hold the event in Wales again, at any time of the year.
November 2nd and the Google Street View van finally visits my street, when it catches me stealing my next door neighbour’s wheelie bin, to replace mine which was stolen the week before
Thursday Nov 25th, Brisbane: Australia finish the first day of the first Ashes test on 431-1 (Ponting 230no, Katich 125no. Swann 1-250). Ian Botham arrested pending inquiries into an alleged incident in the bar afterwards which leaves 6 members of the Aussie press corps needing treatment. Four (empty) cases of Shiraz and a cricket stump are bagged and sent to forenics.

December: Keith Harris and Orville win Strictly Come Dancing, beating Clare Balding in the final, watched by 48 million catatonic viewers. On a visit by my children, mid-month, I resume the mantle of ‘Best Dad in the World’ – the first time I’ve held the title in 12 months. Their Christmas lists are then handed to me.
On Dec 23rd, a new supply of Piper Stoats arrive on the docks in Liverpool. Massive queues form and14 people are crushed in the ensuing riot when it’s announced sales are limited to one buyer each. Dec 29th: Mattel recall all sets of Stoat Family Fortunes due to a massive, dangerous design fault. Hundreds have been maimed by Piper’s sharp protruding teeth. Richard Branson makes an aggressive takeover bid for the company. Awaiting details of the photocall.

Happy 2011 to both of you

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Who’s Been Naughty, and Who’s Been Nice?


So, in the immortal words of my old Night News Editor, as we progress “out of one shitty year, into another shitty year”, what have we learned ?

Well, we know that a 3-iron is as good at getting you at out of the rough as it is at getting your old man out of his Mercedes. Being 106 years old doesn’t preclude you from competing in international sport- as Tom Watson, Ryan Giggs and Kevin Poole have taught us (look him up!). Google Street View hasn’t become the burglars favourite tool, and they STILL haven’t been down my road.

All MP’s are wankers. Most are theives and crooks. I will never make a 50 in a competitive game of cricket. Or an uncompetitive one for that matter. Newcastle Utd and Man City are still big clubs. Apparently. I don’t want to go to work any more. There is far too much conversation in men’s toilets. It’s nearly time for me to win the Lottery (I’ll see you alright, don’t worry). Fat unattractive women can sing rather well. Rage Against the Machine can’t.

Michael Jackson didn’t die a natural death. Remember to hold that front page. We still haven’t a clue where Bin Laden is, but they’ve found the rest of his family. In general, I don’t like people. Policemen don’t like being photographed when they’re hitting people, but they do like kettles.Obama has been a bit of a disappointment, to be honest, but my poster I bought of him on ebay is not coming down. Life is better with Malcolm Tucker and without Hazel Blears

. Jade Goody will soon be beatified. Clare Balding should be. I’m not as fit as I should be, but about as fit as I thought I was. Ricky Ponting can’t win the Ashes in England., but he’ll manage it in Australia. F1 is still an interesting sport all the way up to the start of the race. Renault drivers are naughty boys. Blackheath still doesn’t have a decent boozer, but I’d like to think I contributed to the recent glut of lemons. Gordon Brown is still the PM of Great Britain (I can always Tipex that out if something happens before I go to press).

I’ve had a cold for 8 weeks in the last 52, and no matter how many channels you have to watch, there’s never anything decent on between car insurance adverts. IPL will ruin cricket as we know it. Football is already a shambles. It’s not the Chinese or the Indians, the carbon footprints or the motor cars: It’s the bankers who have fucked up the world. We want our money back.

It doesn’t matter how loathesome the BNP are, how ridiculous Nick Griffen was made to look on TV, there will STILL be stupid and nasty people who will vote for him at the polls next year. Andy Murray is a miserable bastard, but one day he’s gonna win something big. Apparently. When entering a Nepalese restaurant, plump for the mismas.

And the war won’t be over by Christmas. Or even next Christmas. Turns out they lied to us. But we knew that already, didn’t we?

May all your Christmas’s be white, and all your doughnuts turn out like fannies.

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Back in the Thick of It


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As the great Sir Terrence Wogan once said: Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana. Can it really be 82 days since we last heard the shameless cries of ‘Foul’ from the Wankers of Westminster, having been caught bang-to-rights with their fingers in the till ? Let me get this right, they turn up for work once a week to get their mugs on camera on a Wednesday lunchtime, steal our money, use that money to fund their businesses and gardeners AND get 82 days off summer holiday? It’s a tough life. 82 days off ?? I’ve had shorter marriages. It only seems like yesterday that I was here ranting about Jacqui Smith and Hazel Blears, and if I’m not very careful I shall start again.

It’s amazingly over 3 months since I left the magazine and started working here at The Thunderer. Christ that’s flown by. I still get that new-boy feeling every now and again, but have finally remembered the names of most of the people I work with (although in conference the other day I couldn’t think of my Editor’s name, which wasn’t a great career move). The very sad thing is they keep giving me work to do, which is not what I signed up for, but it means I never clock-watch. Well hardly ever. But the time flies by, and that’s really all we can ever ask for, isn’t it? And dirty great wads of cash. And the odd pint. And a laugh.

When I joined the Ashes hadn’t yet started, Michael Jackson had died of natural causes and Gordon Brown was quaffing heavily in the Last Chance Saloon. A 100-odd days later, Jacko’s doctor is to appear before 12 men good and true, charged with Whackicide, the Aussies have returned home, urn-less. Gordon is now standing sobbing at the back of that saloon, refusing to go home, while the cleaners mop the floor, the bar staff bottle-up and the bouncer slips his big paws round the waist of a drunk teenage girl and offers her a lift home. I bet time isn’t flying for poor old Gordon. I wonder if he ever wakes up in the morning, stares at the ceiling and thinks “Oh fuck it, I’ve had enough”. How tempting must it be to ring Cameron and say “It’s all yours, have the sodding country, see how you like it.” It can’t be far away now.

How different might it all have been for Gordon had he still had the benefit of some nasty little bastard running the show like Alastair Campbell, or even better Malcolm Tucker? Neither would have let catastrophe after catastrophe befall this government. Malcolm would never have let Gordon back out of that original, promised election last year, Alastair would have taken Hazel, Jacqui and the rest of the expenses cartel around the back and horse-whipped them. And neither would have overseen the financial crisis without at least a dozen members of the Square Mile, the FSA and the ONS being strung up by their cajones and swinging from those lollipop clocks in Canary Wharf.

How reassuring it was to see Mr Tucker back on our screens on Saturday night. Usually I steer well clear of violent, venom-spitting Scotchmen, and I’ve met a few in my time, but I can’t get enough of Malc. I only wish my anger would manifest itself into such lines as ”Did you know that 90% of household dust is made up of dead human skin, that’s what you are…to me”.
This week he had Glynn’s chair thrown away. It was one of those chairs that is supposed to give you maximum support and perfect posture- you know the ones. Got anyone in your office who sits on a large brightly-coloured beach ball instead of a chair? Bet you have. I’ve seen a few in my time. Oh for a lit cigarette or a scalpel. “But, Mike, I have a bad back and this ball really helps. And the colour matches my RSI gauntlet. There it is, next to my S.A.D. light”.

You get where I’m coming from, right?

So for the three months I’ve been here I’ve been the recipient of several emails, each one more insistent than the last, from our Health, Safety and Environment Dept informing me that I need a ‘Workdesk Assessment’. They need to make sure I am comfortable and not at risk of developing any aches and pain while at my desk. Yes: It’s Sitting on a Chair Lessons. I ignored the first two invitations. Replied that I “was fine” to the third. The fourth came by return to which I wrote “No, honestly, I’ll be ok: I’ve been sitting on chairs for years, with a 98% success rate”. Only the threat, in the fifth email, of being hauled up in front of the beak has made me relent. I am still, after all, on Double Secret Probation and I wouldn’t want to jeopardise that now, would I?

Imagine all the money large companies could save by frog-marching out of the office all the HR Depts, Occupation Health Officers and the like ? Fortunes could be saved. They do nothing for no-one, apart justifying their own existence. Nothing. “But what about all the days-off-thru-sickness we save industry ?” Cobblers: It’s the same sort of people in offices throughout the land who are habitual RSI-getters (you can spot ‘em a mile off). Nothing anyone can do will change this type. Takers and slakers, every man jack of ’em. They spend a luna month in the nurse’s office throughout the year; never get a sniffle, they get Beriberi or Green Monkey Disease, and they are lacing up their running spikes at 5:58 every afternoon and are off out the door like Usain Bolt before you can say “actually could you just give me a hand with this”. I’ve seen Occ.Health people come to desks and measure angles and distances of keyboards, monitors and, of course chairs. Next time you see them in action, just watch the face of the worker they’re attending to, forming a skiving-off strategy. “Do you suffer from pain in your wrist, shoulder blade or achilles heel while at your desk?” they’re asked. “Well, now you come to mention it I have developed quite a sore knee when I’m asked to log on, yes”. “Hmmm…thought so. You need a new chair, a foot-rest and every other Friday off with stress. That should see you all right. Also, we’ll make sure your boss doesn’t give you too much work”.

chair

I don’t need to name these people, we know who they are and THEY know who they are. They all look the same, with interchangeable names. They’ll be one sitting near you in your office today (unless you ARE one of them, in which case you’ll be reading this from the comfort of your home sofa). Of course people get ill, we all do. Some just get ill more often than others. A good mate of mine, I won’t name him (another Jock) came limping up the office once and I thought “oh here we go, he’s either fallen off his scooter or he’s got RSI of the ankle. Manky scotch git!” Neither were true. Turns out it was gout, and I couldn’t have been more pleased. I was so glad that I wasn’t the only one feeling the effects of time on my aching body. Gout! Brilliant: traditionally associated with old men and heavy drinkers, and my mate was at least one of them. Time catches up with us all in the end.

On Thursday, I officially enter the world of late-middle agedness when I take up the company’s offer of a free flu-jab. As noted on these pages previously, I am a magnet for a cold and flu bug. Typically, I make sure I have spread it throughout the office before I go off to my sickbed. Well, I’m determined this year to nip it in the bud (or bug). I always thought that flu jabs were for the elderly or infirm, and so here I am. It’ll probably make me feel like death warmed up for the rest of the day, but I won’t be calling for a footstool, wrist-brace or truss. I shall merely sit at my desk, and when the Occ Health girls come to call, I shall merely quote Malcolm Tucker and say :”Come the fuck in, or fuck the fuck off”.

I may even put on a scotch accent.

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I’ve Never Wronged an Onion


john arlott

English cricketer Graham Onions had a debut of dreams yesterday. The 26 year old was player-of-the-day at Lords as he helped England take control of the first test vrs the West Indies at Lords. But I put it to you he didn’t have as much fun as Fleet St’s headline writers:”Onions slices open..” (The Times); “Cheers and Onions” (Telegraph) “Onions Reduces Windies to Tears” (Metro) etc etc etc. I guess we should be thankful that Phil Mustard and Alan Lamb were not playing yesterday too as the sports depts would have gone into meltdown.There’s nothing a journalist or commentator likes more than a name that gives them great scope for a pun. Many a schoolboy titter was to be heard when commentator Brian Johnston announced during a match in the 1976 “The bowler’s Holding, the batsmen’s Willey” fnnarrrr fnnarrrr. Then there was the time BBC’s John Arlott (above) pondered aloud on air on the surname of New Zealand all-rounder Bob Cunis. He mused “It’s a bit like his bowling—neither one thing nor the other”. Another one from Arlott in 1947 when South African Tuffy Mann clean bowled England’s George Mann at Lord’s, Arlott was moved to say, “Ah, here’s one more example of man’s inhumanity to man.” I wonder if the guy who wrote “Onions Bags a Wicket” for this morning’s Metro aspires to be the next Arlott? Dream on.

bayleafAnyway, back to onions: Mine are coming up just fine, thank you very much. I have plunged head-first into the exciting, giddy world of kitchen gardening this year and the row of spring onions are coming along very well indeed. As are , if you’re interested, the beetroot, the squashes, and the sweetcorn— though I’m worried about my garlic, and the tomatoes are off to a shaky start. The bay, sage , coriander, fennel, chillies and chives are well too, thanks for asking. Fact is, I’ve had so much success with my first season of seedlings that I’m already handing some of my babies out to friends and colleagues as I’ve run out of room in my little patch. The Incumbent has made room in her garden and has taken the overspill from my plot. How exciting is that?

Can I have another telly?

Can I have another telly?

I was thinking of putting in an exes claim for all the topsoil I’ve bought, and then there’s that new garden hose—that set me back 30 quid. I reckon if Hazel Blears (yes it’s her again) can re-furnish three houses on expenses, Prescott bought 3 mock tudor beams on taxpayer’s money (as Harry Hill said—why is it only Tudor homes we mock?) and a (male) tory MP can claim £2.22 for tampax (no idea) then I reckon my company’s shareholders can fork out a few quid to me for several sacks of John Innes No3 Compost and and a new shovel. Jack Straw, when asked why he claimed for full council tax on one of his houses when he was receiving a 50% discount on the property, said that accountancy wasn’t his strong suit. Well I have news for you, mate: nor is politics. In a week when a Norwegian has been chased out of the country cos he wasn’t good enough at his job to manage a game between 22 overpaid, over-rated, cheating show-ponies, how is it that our politicians are left to continue their chosen profession by swindling me and you out our taxes and feathering their own nests?

 

Throw a brick, hit a crook

Throw a brick, hit a crook

Their arrogance is staggering and, in the words of Deep Throat “it goes everywhere”. I’m not sure, but claiming to have your swimming pool heater mended, and putting through a chit for the services of a piano tuner doesn’t seem to be a correct use of an MPs expense account—yet that’s what two Tory MPs have claimed for. A piano tuner. Perhaps we should send Ballack and Drogba to the House of Commons register our displeasure—they know a thing or too about complaining. Imagine what you cold buy just with the taxes those two pay between them (they ARE paying tax, right?) More revelations are promised over the next few days but for those keeping score, Margaret Beckett‘s £1,480.84 shopping spree to Comet, when she was environment secretary, surely heads the Fantasy Cheeky Bastard League. She bought a new larder fridge, a freezer, a dishwasher, a dryer and a washing machine, and we reimbursed her. Still, as environment secretary she was probably doing her bit towards the study of CFC emissions. But I think my favourite claim was for an IKEA carrier bag: bought for 5p by a Scottish Labour MP. It writes itself, this stuff, you know.

My cleaner’s in today, I might start asking her for a receipt. Make it out for a nice round 40 quid, would you luv ?

herbs-2

Winter, spring, summer or fall….


Van Gogh didn’t cut off his own ear. According to German art historians, he made up the story to protect his friend Paul Gauguin who cut it off with a sword during a fight.

Years ago, me and my old flatmate Mickey Flynn had a punch-up while trying to stand upright on a mattress on his bedroom floor. I was punching him on the the nose and he was smashing me round the head with a squash racket— taking turns to deliver our blows: whack, ping, whack, ping. Lots of claret about but I don’t remember any sword being involved, any more than I remember what the fight was over. I know it would have been Guinness-fueled as our off-licence didn’t sell Absynth at the time. Bloody hurt though.

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I suppose it’s the nature of friendships that sooner-or-later they involve full-blown rows. Most of us don’t reach for the Wilkinson, like Gauguin apparently did, but history is littered with mates who have fallen out: Julius Caeser and Mark Anthony; McBeth and Banquo; Mike and Bernie Winters— all friends and brothers who fell out, with varying degrees of violence.

I suppose here you’d expect me mention the jaw-dropping in-fighting within the Labour Party at the moment, with former friends and colleagues lining up to have a swing at Gordon Brown (texture like sun). Hazel Blears, Charles Clarke and David Blunkett—all chums and workmates who’ve reached for the squash racket and swung at the PM over the past few days.
Well I’m not going to mention that. Politicians, especially this lot, can never really be expected to remain loyal to anyone but themselves, and what goes around comes around—Gordon did his share of mud-slinging when his old mate Tony was dragging his feet leaving office. I have to say I did chuckle in amazement when Blunkett said Labour should avoid any more “self-inflicted” wounds. That’ll be D.Blunkett MP—the man who resigned twice over a couple of bouts of brazen naughtiness.

It doesn’t really matter, to be honest. Just a few weeks after GB‘s G20 triumph when he was set to save the world, his own little world seems to be collapsing around him in a whirlwind of bad judgement, bad luck and bad company. Half of me thinks he’ll be glad to get shot of the job and let the Party opposite pick up the pieces of the train wreck. It ain’t gonna get much better in the foreseeable future, whatever his (present) mate Darling thinks, so maybe the best thing might be to let the other mob have a go for a while, and hope they take the blame for some of it. On the other hand, dear old Gordon waited so long for his stint in the limelight he’s almost certainly reluctant to leave the stage.

Never a frown with Gordon Brown

Never a frown with Gordon Brown

There’s another chilling factor to consider. Blair won a landslide (Thing’s can only get better) because there was a huge part of the electorate who’d forgotten or never knew what a Labour administration was like. in 1997 the memory of Callaghan’s shambles was a distant memory to most, an entry in a history book to others. We’re about to witness something similar next year: There are people who will vote next year who would have been very, very young when Thatcher, Normo Tebbs, Aitken, Archer, Tarzan, Lawson et al had their snouts in the trough and led the single-most arrogant and wicked Government this country has ever seen. You think THIS lot are bad? Those Tories were Masters of Evil. Money grabbing, crooks who viewed the ordinary voter with staggering contempt and disdain. So when the landslide happens at the polling booths next year, which bar a miracle it surely will, we’ll be faced with one, two maybe three terms of that lot before the voters forget enough about Gordon and his feckless buffoons to vote Labour in again. That could be 15 years of Cameron. 15 years of Theresa May and Liam Fox. 15 years of George Osborne. Time to hand out the cutlasses

 

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