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Wednesday, February 29, 2012


a fantastic. perfectly worded. well reasoned. funny and pithy. it was an amazing piece. some of the best writing you are ever likely to read. no lie. what was it? well you will never see it in that form. no it is lost in the highways and by-ways of the internet. somewhere out there is my excellent, well crafted piece. sadly you will have to settle for a less than perfect facsimilie of the original. you'll be pleased to know i have learnt my lesson and i will no longer be typing straight into blogger. (well except for this one and the next one, but after that...maybe). meantime the the literary world will just have to mourn.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


rebakah brooks, ex news international, has 'fostered' a retired police nag. shock. horror. as we all know there are lots of problems with news international. not only has there been the phone hacking scandal but there also seems to be a culture of corruption and collusion between the company and the metropolitan police force. this revelation that ms brooks has availed herself of a service that is readily available to all is further sign of conspiracy. to think that stabling a steed could cause such a ruckus. lots of us hate rupert murdoch and what he stands for and what he has done. yet pretty much all of us benefit in some way or another from his work. when the sunday sun was being released there was a question posed on 5live as to whether or not people would buy it. most said that they wouldn't sully their hands with it but then they had never bought the sun, would never buy it and would never give money to murdoch. a large number of them were supporters of liverpool football club. a club who do very well from the money they get from sky. that is ignored by the fans. i may never buy the sun, but i have bought the times and the sunday times. i have enjoyed many movies that have come from a murdock owned movie company and i have read a fair few books published by companies owned by rupert. (even the coverage of, the now sainted, marie colvin was at terrible pains to ignore that she had worked for 25 years for the sunday times). ms. brooks is not a stupid women. her husband is a former horse trainer. ms. brooks is known to saddle up with people like david cameron. so it is not unreasonable to believe that regardless of the dealings that she had with the police because of her news international role that she would have known about the scheme to 'foster' some of inspector knackers knackered nags. to hear a couple of the labour members of parliament on the radio today - you would have thought that this was the smoking gun they had all been waiting for. it wasn't. one of them said that there were many children in birmingham who would like to have the loan of a police horse (yes and i would also like parliamentaty privelege - but neither me or the children of birmingham are in a position for our desires to come to pass). he continued that it was interesting that this story had come out now as it was obscuring a more important story - such as deputy assistant commissioner sue akers allegations of a 'corrupt network' of public officials. what did the mp focus on? the 'real' story? or the soft fluffy one. yup you guessed it. a fellow mp appearing the same show - made a series of bad puns, huffed and puffed about how murdoch was bad but failed to prove or explain how looking after the nag was inherently bad. it seems that in their zeal to land a killer blow at ms. brooks, mr. murdoch and news international they are throwing everything that they can at them in the hope that some of it will stick. sadly they are in danger of (ahem) flogging a dead horse. (all that and for such a poor payout...)

Monday, February 27, 2012


not all of us can have the perfect job. i would quite like to be putting the tails on bunny girls, or being the wardrobe manager for babestation. or maybe even a shock jock (to be honest i couldn't be anything other than that as i have an inability to talk for very long without swearing). most of us just have to get on with jobs that we don't always find interesting or fulfilling. there has even been a lot about that in the media recently - but you will have to wait for my critique of workfare and i know you can't wait. as the job market is flat and the opportunities for 50-year olds are even flatter i have had to succumb and sign on. for those of you lucky enough not to have had to go through this process let me tell you it is not the most uplifting experience. firstly there is the telephone interview - this is how you start your claim. lots of questions. many of them repeated several times. the person at the other end is just going through the questions as they appear - even they must be bored with asking me, but in ever so slightly different ways, if i am single or do i have children. this inquisitor cannot provide advice, which isn't much of a help when you get to areas where you have no idea what is going on. my mortgage isn't covered by housing benefit (well maybe the interest is, maybe)but you should have mortgage protection, except the last time i told them i had this my claim for jobseeker's allowance was invalidated because i had an income. trying to explain that anomaly got me nowhere. given they are potentially not going to give me benefits for my mortgage they still want to see paperwork for things such as leasehold, ground rent and maintenance. why? no idea. just nosey i guess. they then give you a time to arrive at your local job centre to have a formal interview, hand over paperwork and confirm the statement you have given. my local job centre is not a welcoming place. i was running a bit late so i slightly amended the time i was told i was supposed to be there. ooops a little lie from me. hell it didn’t matter because they told me i was supposed to be there 10 minutes before the time i had been given. mutual distrust established. the advisor i got to see had been there the last time i started signing on. they were not much help or that interested then. they hadn’t changed. i got a little bit about how being late had upset their careful schedule because now they only had 15 minutes to interview me. i feign contrition and say i’ll be quick. they make noises about how they won’t be able to provide me with all the details i need. i am handed a copy of my statement to check. i hand over various bits of paper that they have asked me for. i go over the statement. i explain that i haven’t got some of the paperwork they have asked for, but i point out that as i am not trying to claim for ground rent i am not sure why they want the details. the advisor looks at me as i am an idiot. they ask why i have a bank statement with me. i tell them it is because i have been asked to bring it with me. again the look. i mention the situation about the mortgage. i get a different look. it is a look you use on people who are dribbling and raving. i get no help. no advice. advisor goes off to photocopy some of my documents. again if you have never been to a job centre you won’t know that they have a weekly print out of choice jobs. a job code; a job title; some description and the salary, all on a simple piece of paper. oh look there is a job event listed, that’ll be good to go to. no date. that is not helpful. advisor comes back. i ask: ‘can you tell me the date of this?’ sigh. i get a fucking sigh. the advisor turns to the computer and finds the information. i ask if there is a website for it? no. i ask if i can take the sheet with me – at least that way i have the job sheet. no. you can’t have that. it has codes on it. what? yes it has codes on it. from the attitude of the advisor these codes can be used to locate the sunken city of atlantis. to the untrained eye, mine, they just look like job codes. with that interview is over and i am out of there like a shot. i have to come back every two weeks. of course because i was late there was a large queue waiting to see my happy helpful advisor. oh that’s right there was no one there. i love helpful people. so i go back to my opening statement. i know we can’t all have the perfect job. i know we sometimes take a job and discover it isn’t quite what we expected it to be. i understand that sometimes that we just have to grin and get on with it. what i can’t understand is sticking in a job for several years that you plainly don’t like, having to deal with people that you plainly don’t like and are not interested in helping. coming to work day after day knowing that you will have to talk to people you don’t want to. where you have no desire to do the job properly but just get to the end of the day. making no attempt to disguise the fact that each person you have to see just is another problem, yet still want those people to show you the respect you can’t be bothered to show them. the really sad part is the advisor has kept their job for several years. so either no one bothers to complain or they all, like me, realise that it is pointless. that first contact is also the moment where you quickly understand that the aim of the people in the job centre is to do the least amount of work possible while they make your life a misery because they have to do a job they don’t like.


i was followed out of my local tesco by a trendy student couple. they were talking about their purchases. as you do. he had bought some cigarettes. she wanted to know why. he said just because. her reply was as follows: "but why those ones, they are just full of shit." yes because all other cigarette brands are full of goodness and healthy ingredients that will just improve your wellbeing.

Friday, February 24, 2012


i love london. i love the east end. there is a magical charm about tower hamlets: it is a place of paradox and contradiction. we have an elected mayor. not many people wanted such a position to be created. it was helped through by the boys at respect, probably with the hope that gorgeous george galloway would get the nod. he didn't. we got lutfer rahman. i am sure he is a nice bloke. even before he was elected there was just a whiff of controversy about him. although he had been selected to be the official labour candidate he was deselected because of his alleged links to islaminc forum of europe. instead he decided to run as an independent and got the backing of respect. he received 51% of the votes cast. that whiff doesn't want to leave him. we have had the hoo-ha over the amount of money spent on his office. described as a vanity project. we have had the kerfuffle over his chauffeur driven hire car. he needs it because he needs to work while he is on the move - i have always believed that if you are the boss, you have as many people as possible come to you (if only to see your new swanky office). meanwhile the ceremonial mayor of tower hamlets, mizan chaudhury, has run up a very large taxi bill since his official car had been taken away. his reason for need these cabs is that his ceremonial chains are at risk. mr. chaudhury claims that mr. rahman had done this deliberately to make the civic office look bad. we have the on going saga of two female politicians, one a member of the lords the other a councillor, who have both been done for fiddling. the councillors has done it twice and still sits on the council. there are stories that homophobic noises have been tolerated in the public gallery of the council meetings. when there were a load of homophobic hate stickers that went up around the area it wasn't long before the fact that it was muslim led was quickly dropped from the reporting. just recently there has been the story of the 'executive advisor' who is getting £1000 a day, though tony winterbottom has claimed that he will bot be accepting his fee, even though he has also said that he is embararrassed that it is known he is charging so little. mr. winterbottom used to be an advisor to ken livingstone. this has led to questions about the number of high paid members of mr. rahman's inner circle. now we have allegations that there is potential voter fraud ahead of the london mayoral race - the evening standard has reported that some 64 properties across the borough have 550 inhabitants. while there is much to commend tower hamlets for - i never thought i would saying that one thing it does is make local politics interesting. perhaps it is time that i really took a serious interest in how my local council is run. here is where i agree with david cameron and eric pickles - we should all be interested and involved in local politics. so get out there and get involved.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


i don't understand the governmnet's student loan scheme. that shouldn't come as a surprise, my maths ability is very poor and my financial acumen is non-existent. i also get the feeling that the government is not that sure of what is going on either. take for instance their shock that many more universities than they thought raised their fees to the maximum when they were allowed to. how they didn't see that coming is beyond me. they didn't. so their initial forecast as to how much they were going to have to pay out in student loans was off the mark. then you hear various spokesmen saying that actually even fewer people will be paying back their loans now than they did previously. the threshold at which the student loan repayment kicks in is higher and the loan is written off after a certain period of time. i remember one statistic as being that almost 50% of students would not be paying back their loan. given the whole point of the loan system is to save the state money as students now pay for their education, i am not sure i see the sense in bringing a system that sees such a high failure rate. based on that sort of failure rate it would be just as sensible to reduce the tuition fees so that student loans drop to a level that they can be repaid. today the con/dem government has announced that they are going to remove the penalty clauses for those students who pay their loans back quickly. quite why there are penalty clauses for paying loans back quickly has always confused me (see aboove), you would have thought that having the loan paid back quickly would mean you had a debt off your books and money to loan out again. the national union of students (nus) and university and college union (ucu) have both had a go at this. liam burns of the nus says early repayment run the risk of making the student loan scheme more regressive (though he does point out that people should be wary of 'chipping away' at the deby as the benefits might bit be that great). while the ucu say it is a "policy designed to make life easier for the wealthiest". i refer you back to my admission of lack of maths and financial acumen but frankly i just don't see how it makes any difference to a poor student if the wealthier ones can pay off their debt quicker. firstly it is pretty likely that the wealthier student will either have a lesser debt to start with or will have been getting financial support while at university. in some cases they will exit university with no debt. the poorer students know what they are getting into when they enter university and hopefully when they come out they will be equipped with a good degree to go on to make their way in the world. what really hurts the poorer students isn't that they may have to pay back their student loans for a longer period of time it is that they can't get into the more prestigious institutions and they probably don't have access to the old boy networks to get them into the best paying jobs, or can't afford to go off and do an unpaid internship. personally i think that there should be a move to try to find ways to provide as many grants as possible for those from poorer backgrounds. it may mean that certain subjects are not going to be available for a grant and may involve means testing. frankly anyone who has come to university through private should pay their way. harsh i know.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


stop. stop right now. no really. just stop. there is probably a lot of things that london organising committee of the olympic games (locog) have done wrong, and no doubt they will do more things wrong before the games start. yet they have done an awful lot right. pretty much all the venues are done and dusted. test events have been taking place. yet every time they release more tickets there is whinging and whining. yes it was a long winded process, but it was a pretty clear process. you knew what was happening. no matter what method they had used to sell and allocate tickets locog were always going to be on a hiding to nothing. why? simple - more people want to attend the olympic games than there are tickets available. even i can work out that math. so if you didn't get a ticket don't worry - you will probably get a better and more comfortable view sitting at home watching it on tv. if you want the experience of being jostled and harried, just start each day with a trip on the jubilee line to stratford and then go home to watch it on tv. right now - let's all forget about the tickets.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


not had a wanker post for awhile. that isn't because there hasn't been wankers. dr. adam marshall, director of policy at the british chamber of commerce, called for the youth and development rates of the national minimum wage to be frozen this year. "the simple fact is that britan cannot afford to price people out of work." "the minimum wage cannot simply be a one-way bet, rising inexorably regardless of wider economic conditions.” let's look at the national minimum wage currently for adults it stands at £6.08 an hour (£5.93 in 2010, £5.80 in 2009) for 19-20 year olds (the development rate) it is £4.98 an hour (£4.92 in 2010, £4.83 in 2009) for 16-17 year olds it is £3.68 an hour (£3.57 in 2010, £3.53 in 2009). three things to note here. firstly these are not exactly princely sums we are talking about - which is why there are campaigns for living wages as opposed to minimum wages. secondly the rate of increase of the minimum wage cannot be said to be steep. thirdly dr. marshall, and the british chamber of commerce, have form when it comes to the minimum wage as petty much each time it has come time to improve it they have complained. dr. marshall and the british chamber of commerce see the minimum wage as a reason for why businesses are not employing youth, and by extension of this it would mean that employers are not employing anyone because of the minimum wage. for dr. marshall the preferred outcome would not only be the freezing of the national minimum wage but the eventual removal of it. after all why pay a decent wage if you don't have to. an unintended consequence (or is it) of dr. marshall's desire is to make the poor poorer. less money for workers - less spending power - less spending power - less purchasing - less purchasing - less profit for business. ooops. not that it matters to dr. marshall because he won't be affected -- he will still get paid, and no doubt will get a raise or a bonus that is above the rate of inflation. the other unintended consequence is that if wages are so low then there is less incentive for the young to look for work and even more reason for them to go onto the dole and stay there. more on the dole - higher social services spend - higher social services spend - less money to go to other areas and the possibility of more tax. but that is fine by dr. marshall and his ilk because he is also campaigning to make sure that tax fall on the poorest. brendan barber of the trades union congress argues that rather than it being a worry over the national minimum that is causing firms to be wary of hiring new staff because they lack the confidence that the economy is on a solid road to recovery. guess who i believe.


gary barlow of take that fame is heading up the conert to celebrate the queen's diamond jubilee. he says only 'world class acts' will be invited to appear. apparently jls and jessie j are scheduled to be on the bill. world. class. acts. i feel so old.

Monday, February 13, 2012


david halpern, a downing street advisor, has suggested that loneliness is a major health problem for the elderly. the solution is for them to keep active, to keep working. this means that they maintain their social activity and ths stave off loneliness. of course the only problem with this is the lack of potential jobs for them to do. not that it will be an issue as this current government is slowly beginning to increase the age at which you can retire on a state pension. it won't be a case of choosing to stay in work in order to stay healthy, it will be a case of not being able to quit work because there is no pension available to you just yet. (this will affect tbe poor much more than it will the rich - a happy by-product of the tory thinkers thinking.) mr. halpern was also the bloke who suggested that the elderly are clogging up the housing market by, the horror, staying in their homes when their families have moved out. grant shapps, housing minister, has suggested that councils should help the elderly downsize so that their houses could be rented out to younger larger families. (i suspect that mr shapps will not be asking those millionaires with their large houses or luxury flats to be giving up their spare bedrooms in order to help those who do not have adequate housing for their needs.) it is not that either idea is particularly ludicrous many want to stay active and want to contribute to society. they would be more than happy to work to earn some extra cash, or volunteer. but we know there are not enough jobs to go around as it is now, without addng in the elderly. yes the voluntary sector can probably use the influx of cheap workers. yet somehow it seems faintly callous to encourage or 'nudge' the elderly to step up and volunteer to keep servies such as libraries going - because the government has decided it can't pay for them to be staffed. the same with housing - i am sure there are a lot of elderly people who would like to move to smaller places - if there was the right accomodation in the right place for them. yet that is the very problem of the housing market: there doesn't seem to be enough housing of any type for the number of people who need it. if only someone could nudge mr. halpern and mr. shapps to actually do something about creating work rather than shuffling the pieces around.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


david cameron seems to have several personas. there is the smug git. there is the bullying toff. finally there there the paternalistic patrician. none of these facets of his personality are particularly surprising, after all he is part of the aristocracy. it is natural for him to be a bully and to believe he knows best. recently david cameron has made two forays into the realm of social commentary - outlining his vision of what should be, his version of what it right. in the world of business he has said that there should be more womrn on the boards of businesses. he wants the businesses to do this for themselves, but he hasn't ruled out the use of government power to bring in and impose quotas. the reason for wanting women on boards is more than just social justice and equality, apparently women bring a better balance to decision making. they are a moderating force. even the world of football now has the caring concerned hand of cameron. the recent racism controversies have caused an uproar, in both the world of football and the wider world. these racist incidents were between players. a friend of mine tells me that racism is dealt with harshly on the terraces. neither case has been dealt with particularly well by the footballing authorities. david cameron has waded in. he says "my message is clear. we will not tolerate racism in's vital too that more coaches and managers from black and minority ethnic groups make it to the top of the game and i know the premier league among others are working hard to try and make this happen." it is hard to argue with cameron on either of the points. he is right about improving women's oppurtunities in the boardroom. he is right that racism has no place in society and that there is a case to be made for better reprentation of minorities in the top roles of the game. (it has been mooted that the rooney rule of north american sports could be introduced by the premier league and football league.) so cameron is in the right. he is on the side of the angels. as with many paternalistic patricians is that they are very keen on living their lives by the motto: do as i say not do as i do. better positions and conditions for women in business. better positions and conditions for ethnic minorities in football. however don't expect too much to change in the coalition cabinet which is pretty much an all-male all-white grouping. perhaps david cameron could lead by example? didn't think so.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


due to a severe case of poverty i have decided that 2012 is a year without new books. this is a major hardship for me because i love buying books. i really love buying books. i don't need any new books as i have more than enough unread books to carry me through for a couple of years. that is not the point. i want new books. this wanting, this needing is a compulsion. i know it. i neded help. i have an addictive personality (which isn't to say that people can't get enough of me and always crave their hit of pat)unlike my parents it doesn't manifest itself in a love of drink. my downfall is that i am a collector. (my name is pat adn i am a collector - i need help.) collecting is a disease. it can be controlled, it can be managed. but it can get out of hand. as a collector one of the most important things to know is what there is to collect: that way you know what you have and what you are missing. you also have to know if the thing you are collecting has finished or is ongoing. if ongoing you have to know the frequency it comes out so you know when to get the next one. the addiction comes with filling in holes or just getting the latest one to maintain the collection. i don't mind admitting that collecting can spiral out of control. this is especially true when it beomes hoarding. ooops that is where i am. i am no longer a collector. i am a hoarder. the shame. however as i have said at the start of this piece i have a plan for 2012: no new books. six weeks in and i haven't bought a new book. six weeks in and i still want new books. siz weeks in and i am still checking amazon to see what new books there are. six weeks in and i am still looking at the bestsellers in sainsburys. still not bought a new book. six weeks in and i am still clean. six weeks in and i have read 5 old books. still all is not good. today there i was in wh smiths looking at their recent releases (they have more than sainsburys, as befits a sort of bookshop). they used to have a buy one get one 1/2 price type deal, now they have moved to a 3 for 2 deal. so very very tempting. i nearly cracked when i saw one book. that one book nearly had me caving in and buying books. what made it even worse was the type of book it was i was tempted by, i nearly bought a self-help book. i know, i know. shocking. you could have bent me over and tickled my sphincter. i held firm. i stood strong. i walked out. no new books bought. i resisted. it was close though.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012


i had planned on writing a coruscating and vitriolic piece lamenting the fragmentation of language and meaning. pontificating on how 'oppressed groups' were reclaiming words for their use or how the youth had co-opted certain words for slang and how this double divide of minority and generation made discussing certain topics such a linguistic maze as to be almost impenetrable.

then i thought fuck it that is just going to go wrong.

not that it mattered as another thing popped up that was equally playing on my mind.
yes boris tbe blonde blusterer.
i can't say i am all that keen on having ken livingstone back, but let's be fair it has to be anyone but boris.
what has begun to annoy me is how everything vaguely new for london is being prefaced by 'boris'. it worked ok with the 'boris bike' (which i believe was put into action by ken and came to fruition under boris), then there was the 'boris bus', the so-called new routemaster which has none of the charm of the original and really is just a slightly sleeker double-decker. regardless the boris prefix worked becase of the 'b'.

we have also had the boris island - the proposed thames estuary floating airport.

we are potentially going to be subjected to the 'boris pod'. quite why these olympic games information kiosks are credited to boris is unclear. surely they should be 'seb sheds'?

so i was going to propose a ban on attaching boris' name to anything other than boris himself. until i saw that yvette cooper, the shadow home secretary, had described the allocation of an additional £90 million to the metropolitan police, ostensibly to cover the cost of the olympics and the diamond jubilee, as a 'boris bung'.

yeah i like that: a boris bung.

cancel the boris ban, and remember to keep dropping the boris bung into conversations.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


"of course rewards for failure are unacceptable - and those who believe in the free market are the first to say so. but a strong, free market economy must be built on rewards for success."

so say george osborne.

to a large extent he is right - most people do not have a problem with high pay (except the daily newspapers who will go on about those in the public sector who get high pay - at which point all the arguments about paying the right money to get the best people for the job and rewarding success are thrown out the window), nor do most people have problems with bonuses.
it is when the high bonuses go to the high earners regardless of the success of the business. when really the bonus culture has become the expected large pay-out at the end of the year regardless of performance.

mr. osborne goes on to say that what is at stake isn't just the bonuses of the few but the jobs and prosperity of the many. ironic considering that in many of the companies that people get exercised about bonues amounts are the ones where they are cutting jobs (fewer staff, less costs so more profits).

interestingly the head of finance banking at ubs is not going to take his bonus as the company had lost over £1bn.
it isn't a case of congratulating the, already well paid, boss for refusing a bonus - it is a question of asking how someone in charge of a business that list £1bn is in line for a bonus to start with.

that, mr. osborne, is what annoys people. it isn't an anti-business movement, it is an anti-greed movement.


it is the little things that remind you that you are getting old.
today i was double-teamed, topped and tailed.

you go out. you get a coffee. you get a beigel.
the coffee is good. as ever.
an evening stroll down brick lane chewing on a beigel. mmmm that was a bit crusty. only that crunchy crusty bit wasn't an over baked beigel it was the broken shell of a tooth. nice. now my teeth are not the best in the world - they are the american stereotype of english teeth.
i am scared of dentists, well that is not true i am petrified of them. it is that simple. all i can put it down to is a fear of pain - it wasn't like my old dentist, mrs. gutzman, was bad it was just that it always hurt.
i have never gotten over the fear of the pain.
since my late teens i have managed to avoid dentists - until last year, and even then i had a panic attack and decided against getting treatment (the anti-biotics did the trick).
now i have half a tooth, but no pain. so for the moment no trip to the dentist is needed.
the fear is there.
another sign that i am getting old.

at the other end of my body, another hole was playing up. this time i had a bout of constipation.
the walk and the coffee had worked a bit of magic and there was a rumble in my tum. rush to the toilet have to catch the movement. luckily there was a book in the bog ready to read.
i take the throne like elvis in his pomp.
a little parp.
then nothing.
another parp.
then the first contraction and the bowling ball of poo pushes up against the much smaller hole of the sphincter muscle.
it shall not pass.
tears in the eyes.
shortness of breath.
that poo has to ccome out.
the anus doesn't want to let it out.
little ball of shit plops out.
red mist in front of eyes.
small success.
squeeze and squeeze again.
it's coming. it's coming.
feck that hurts. it realy does hurt.
now that is has started nature and gravity take hold and out it comes.
a large long log of fecal matter.

felt like i was shitting sandpaper.

looks like my plumbing is going to pot (ahem).

time for me to crack out the shawl and slippers, old age is approaching.

Monday, February 06, 2012


hip hip hooray.
lizzie has been on the throne for 60 years.

my dad once told me a story (which means it was probably a bare faced lie) that when he was wooing my mum he took her for a walk along the mall. a romantic jaunt by one of london's nicest park heading towards buckingham palace. as they reached the queen victoria memorial a large state car drove by them and the queen waved at my mum and dad. what made it special for my dad was that it was just him and my mum on the road. obviously it must have made mum feel special as she went on marry the old man.

like many angst ridden and angry working class teens i had my long moment of being a republican. i have no idea what swung my opinion back to being a closet royalist (i suspect it was middle-aged during which conservatism (with a small 'c') kicks in. it might also have been a belief that certain institutions have a part to play in order to bring social cohesion.
doesn't really matter what it was these days i quite like the royal family.

the cost of the royal family is around £40 million a year (or 20 leaders of royal bank of scotland, or less than tevez), it is less than a £1 a year per person.

yet there is a way of making the royal family self-sufficient and clean up politics at once. no more pressure on politicians to award honours. this function gets given to the windsor firm (keeping ferie away from the cash box)and let them sell peerages.
at a stroke the royal family can be cash rich and no longer dependent on the state and the political class has one less thing to sully its name.

i have solved two problems with one fantastic idea.
it makes sense. you know it. i know it.
vote me for mayor of london.

(yeah it came as a surprise to me too, as i have thrown my hat into the london mayoral race.)

so lizzie, congratulations for making it to 60 years as queen.
a doff of the cap.
and a rousing round of hip hip hooray!hip hip hooray!

Sunday, February 05, 2012


on the other hand i am not too keen on slush.
not even as slush puppies.
maybe as a slush fund.
plain ordinary slush - that you can keep.

Saturday, February 04, 2012


i love the snow. i always have. i hope i always will.
i love it because it is special - it transforms the world around you into a (cliche alert) wonderland.
i love it because a couple of my fondess memories are to do with the snow.
the day adam and i spent in the snow throwing a rugby ball at each other, while making up terrible puns based on tracks from our favourite rock bands. it was a day where white covered the race course estate, and turned a dour housing estate magical. it was also the day when i had icicles in my beard.
or the late night on horsenden hill with dave and a sled. the whole hill to ourselve. virgin snow. cold crisp air. clear sky, bright stars. lots of laughs as we climnbed the hill and sledded down it. it was a time just before we had to start pretending we were adults, our last time when the only cares we had in the world were to do with exams and girls (and in dave's case his only problem was how to juggle them).

it is still snowing.
it is not heavy, it is constant. the snow making a nice crunch under your feet. it changes the sounds of everything - even the traffic sounds better. people have come out to play in it, laughing and excited - their inner child allowed to make snow angels.

i love snow, always have.
i hope i always will.

Friday, February 03, 2012


i love the daily mail. there i have said it.
i love liz jones. there i have said it.
if i could have the daily mail's babies i would - that is how much i love it.

i admit my love for the daily mail is odd and creepy and i should seek help, but i can't help myself.
where else can you see people get worked up by non-stories or see nothing be pumped up into something dire: the sky is falling because of eu directives or health and safety regulations.

from reading the daily mail middle-england seems to still be waging war against the boche and have yet to forgive vichy france.

sometimes it is hard to know what irks the readers of the daily mail most: health and saftey, human rights or the european union (eu).

today it is the eu.
the eu have a policy document called "developing the european dimension in sport", it was published mid-january.
the daily mail has a headline that goes like this:
"british sporting heroes 'should wear eu flag on their national team shirts'"

(now i have skimmed the policy document and i can't see anything that actually says anything like this, but i don't know what has been debated and agreed.)

as ever with the daily mail when you read the article it doesn't quite tally with the headline. but first here is a mock-up of what the daily mail thinks wayne rooney will look like in his eu approved england jersey.

the actual article does state that any such move would be purely voluntary, oh and that it be '..displayed on the clothing of athletes from member states, alongside with the national flags.'
not quite as the headline or the image would have you believe.
not quite forced to replace the national flag, more of if you want to you can have the eu flag in addition.

as if to prove what dastardly people the burghers of the eu can be the daily mail cites the recent case where the eu (the rotters) fined the university of northampton more than £56,000 for not displaying the eu flag(boo hiss - those petty minded paper pushers)even though the university had been in receipt of funding from the european regional development fund, and part of the conditions for the money was displaying the flag (but still did they have to enforce it... )

a non-story blown out of all proportion. fantastic. the usual daily mail.
it is why i love it so much.

what really makes the daily mail so very special (needs) is the contribution of its readers. here are a few of my favourites

fceu !!
- hunty, carnforth, ***** witty and succinct – unusual for the mail readership.

how about we have the eu flag branded to our foreheads? then everyone will know who owns us. the eu is like a cancer, always wanting more, never satisfied, seeking complete dominance in every sphere, spreading to every sector of our lives. please tell me, when was this war where we lost to the eu? did someone forget to send us the memo? as we are treated like a defeated people, cattle to be bought and sold. the truth is that our mps have sold us into slavery for 30 pieces of silver, generation after generation.
- dino fancellu, epsom, ***** the standard over the top, makes little sense response.

its one thing to take away our freedom to speak, but try and take my idenity and i will fight you all the way.
- anne mcguinnesss, middlesbrough ***** because our identity is always tied into what the footie team is doing.

i bought an eu flag on ebay for £5 and set fire to it on video and posted it on was removed within 12 hours. they won't change my mind or my attitude though....
- mickey v, manchester uk (not eu), 3/2/2012 23:00
over our dead bodies, soon we will see direct action against these europhiles and their places of work
- rob, england, 3/2/2012 19:52 ***** planning a riot, which seems odd considering how the mail was so anti the rioters.
mickey and rob need to get together to plan their direct action – if they do it right they can make it a social protest and art performance at the same time. i can see a turner prize on the horizon for them, mind you being daily mail readers they probably don’t like modern art.

what a shame! i had been looking forward to watching the olympics too.
- gladys friday, london,
well i for will not be attending any england game if they have that disgusting flag on their shirts
- kazza , sunderland england, ***** two for the price of one – because we only watch these things because of the designs of their shirts (which would explain why rugby league has never taken off), and from what gladys is saying she is only there while the british team is there – so few finals being watched in her house (if she still bothers to watch).

Wednesday, February 01, 2012


ok i was going to do a sarky piece slagging off experts and tink tanks.
why might i want to do that i can hear you ask.
mostly because people like the taxpayer's alliance give them a bad name. add in those 'experts' who come out with research results that either tell you the blindingly obvious (eat too much and you will be fat) or the utterly pointless.
so when the chance comes to have a pop at one of them it is hard to resist.

the bbc have a story on their site about the 'predictations' of a independent research body. the piece implies that they want their cake and eat it.
aha i think - typical. they say one thing and then have loads of caveats to cover themselves with and then say that their first claim might not be right at all.

i go over to their website and see that isn't quite what they say.
i think aha i can change what i was going to write into 'this is how the press works' type thing (of course i normally expect this sort of thing from the daily mail - not the bbc).

i return to the bbc site to prepare my piece. only to discover that i had misread the story entirely wrong and based on a total misunderstanding.

that's why i am not an expert working at a think tank.