Category Archives: Satire and Silly

Stuff that’s just plain daft or just for fun

Lack of Intelligence

Has the UK entered the final death spiral of some ironic self-referential spin into a black hole of incompetence? Quite possibly. I had never thought it logically possible to include the words “intelligence” and “Chris Grayling” in the same sentence. But the gods of surrealism have now made it possible.

Chris Grayling has been nominated by the UK government to be Chair of the parliamentary Subcommittee on Intelligence and Security.

There. I’ve typed those actual words.

Failing

There’s stupid. And then there’s Chris Grayling. There’s incompetent. And then there’s Chris Grayling. There’s failing. And then… you know the rest.

Chris Grayling
Failing Grayling

The media is awash with lists of the man’s failures. The Daily Mirror found eighteen. Perhaps the most notorious are:

  • The disastrous part-privatisation of the probation service, now recently reversed;
  • The contract with the ferry company with no ferries;
  • The unlawful ban on prisoners receiving books from their visitors;
  • The nightmarish new timetable for Thameslink and Northern Rail.

You can read the full list at the link above.

In 1967, the Hollies released a single “King Midas in Reverse”.

Could’ve been written for Grayling.

Taking the Piss

The report into alleged Russian government interference in UK politics was presented to the Intelligence and Security Subcommittee last autumn. Its publication was delayed on the pretext of the upcoming election. Johnson then delayed the Tory nominations to the Committee for over six months. And then, in an act of breathtaking surrealism, the government has nominated as Chair one Chris Grayling, serial failure.

To which there is really only one response. You’re totally taking the piss, Prime Minister.

Cherry on the Cake

Little Miss Bilious

Another Tory nomination to the Committee runs Grayling a close second in uselessness and incompetence: Theresa Villiers. Quite posh too, it seems.

Here’s a few highlights of her incompetence:

So, expect the best possible scrutiny of the Russia Report when it makes the light of day – not.

My advice: buy shares in the manufacturers of carpet sweepers= the types that sweep under carpets.

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Bananas

It’s hard to keep going in shielding “lockdown” without going bananas to some degree. Here are my thoughts on some recent (and one very old) news items, loosely connected to the theme of bananas.

Straight Bananas

This one’s a bit of a classic – but worth repeating here.

bunch of bananas
Bunch

We start today with the famous Euromyth about straight bananas. Undoubtedly just one of many lies written by Boris Johnson to fend off boredom when he was Brussels correspondent at the Daily Telegraph. The Wikipedia link in the sentence above contains several other myths. My memory is long enough to remember an actual Daily Express headline from before we joined the “Common Market” in 1973. It was warning the Great British public that joining the EEC would lead to the banning of the traditional British kipper. Well, we can all work out for ourselves that that prediction turned out to be decidedly fishy.

Beach Bananas

cummings and bornemouth
Cause ===> Effect

And so from fish to the seaside.

A great many people, me included, were horrified at the sight of the crowds on Bournemouth beach last week, with no respect at all for proper physical distancing. Local council workers collected 50 tonnes of rubbish from the beach on just one day: the average for a June weekday is about 5 tonnes apparently. It seems that there is a section of the British population who, as temperatures climb towards 30 degrees, “go bananas”. They find it essential to travel in their thousands to beaches and beauty spots, even in the middle of a once-in-a-century pandemic.

I am sure that a major contributory factor was the rule breaking by Dominic Cummings and the lamentable speech by Johnson in his support when the truth was revealed by the Guardian and Daily Mirror. If ever it was a case of “one rule for us, another for the rich and their friends”, this was it. This was a watershed moment: the day the UK government lost control of the public health message.

Johnson has compounded this major error of judgement with his announcements on easing lockdown restrictions in recent days. Johnson’s whole tone and body language result in a strong message that everything is being relaxed; the message of caution is sotto voce at best.

I for one expect to see coronavirus cases and deaths start to rise again soon. The USA is a warning to us all about what happens when a country is badly led.

Without a Trace

One of these has disappeared without a trace

Finally, I turn to three examples all illustrating Britain’s descent into the status of a banana republic. They all stem from the gross incompetence and hubris of the “Leave EU” mind set running (ruining?) the country.

In early May, we were promised a “world beating” app after rejecting the Google / Apple version adopted successfully in other countries. This was “global Britain’s” very own version of a Track and Trace app, now sadly abandoned adding months of delay.

Here’s a technical account of what went wrong. An article for more general reading can be found here on the Metro website. What a pitiful shambles of a country this makes us appear to the rest of the world. But it gets worse: read on.

Taking a Pounding

Our currency, the pound sterling, is another factor moving the UK towards the status of a banana republic. A Financial Times article from a few days ago uses the term “emerging market currency” because of the erratic behaviour of the pound’s exchange rate on currency markets.

This may all seem like esoteric stuff, only of interest to finance people and exchange rate obsessives. There is a very basic real world effect, which anyone travelling abroad from the UK will shortly find out. That is in the so-called “spread” of exchange rates: the difference between the buying and selling rates. Broadly speaking, the higher the reputation of a country’s economy, the narrower is the spread between buying and selling rates. The “official” exchange rate – the one usually quoted in the media – is the mid-point in the range between these two.

So the rate that holidaymakers get at an exchange bureau, the number of euros or dollars that they actually get when they exchange pounds, will be further below this middle figure if the spread is wider. In short, people will feel even more ripped off than usual. And the blame lies with the country’s plummeting reputation caused by the government’s incompetence.

Where on Earth?

And just when you thought it couldn’t get more stupid, here’s another tale of Br*xit hubris and idiocy by our government.

Remember Galileo? No, not the famous scientist of old – no, Galileo, the EU’s joint project to have a GPS system that was not dependent on the US military. (Sometimes, the US military turns off GPS, usually when they’re up to no good somewhere in the Middle East. Then all the satnavs in cars and smartphones stop working until GPS is turned on again.) The UK has spent £1.2 billion as its share of Galileo but is walking away from the project to devise our own system, as part of the government’s stance on EU negotiations. The estimated cost to the UK of this decision is somewhere between £3 and 5 billion.

Our plans for yet another “world leading” go-it-alone project looks like it will be as big a fiasco as all the other deluded dreams. The government has invested in a 20% stake in a company called OneWeb. They are designing a completely different network of satellites designed to serve a completely different purpose from Global Positioning. All the developed GPS systems use satellites in orbit 20,000km above the Earth. The OneWeb system uses satellites only 1200km up, designed to provide internet access, not GPS.

How long will we have to wait until – just like Track and Trace – it’s back to the drawing board, following months of wasted effort?

The “Lollipop” Plane

The “Lollipop” Plane

Still, we can console ourselves that our Prime Minister now has a vanity jet aircraft repainted from camouflage grey with £900,000 quids’ worth of red, white and blue paint.  Critics say it looks like a lollipop; it’s more conspicuous appearance will handicap its previous use for fighter jet refuelling when not needed by the PM. An easy target in hostile airspace!

It’s hard to imagine anything more designed to place the UK in utter contempt with other world leaders – apart, of course, from the world’s autocratic rulers who revel in such tat. Banana, anyone?

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Sha La La La La La La La

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la

When the day is dawnin’
On a Durham Sunday mornin’
How I long to be there
With Mary who’s not drivin’ me there
We drove from the City to be near my dad
Ain’t it just a pity down there things are bad?

Is this the way to Barnard Castle?
My eyes are poor and I’m such an arsehole
Foggy dreams of Barnard Castle
And I can’t see what waits for me.
Show me the way to Barnard Castle
I made my name bein’ such a rascal
Dyin’ to see Barnard Castle
And I can’t see what waits for me.

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
And I can’t see what waits for me.

Rules are just for peasants
And today it’s opening presents
For the sweet Mary here
As for me, I can hardly see her!
So let’s hit the highway
Mind that open drain!
Always do it my way
Time and time again…

Is this the way to Barnard Castle?
It’s Mary’s treat: I forgot her parcel
It’s thirty miles to Barnard Castle
And I can’t see what waits for me.
Show me the way to Barnard Castle
The rest of you can kiss my arsehole
Lyin’ over Barnard Castle
And I can’t see what waits for me

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
And I can’t see what waits for me.

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
And I can’t see what waits for me.

Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
Sha la la la la la la la
And I can’t see what waits for me.

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Turd on the Wire

Hanging around

Like a turd on the wire,
like a punk with his pants on fire
In my mind, all the time: only me.
Like a worm on a hook,
like a thief or an old fashioned crook
I have saved all my worst things for thee.
When I, when I have been unkind,
I hope that you really don’t mind.
When I, when I have been untrue
I hope that you still haven’t a clue.
Like a monster, deformed,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn all who don’t think like me.
But I swear by this song
and by all whom I have wronged
I will do it again, just you see.
I saw a poor man leaning on his wooden crutch,
I said to him, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a filthy rich man leaning on my opened door,
I cried to him, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh like a turd on the wire,
like a punk with his pants on fire
In my mind, all the time: only me.

(with acknowledgements and apologies to the late, great Leonard Cohen)

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Mr Men 2019

A lot has happened since the last time we met the Mr Men!

The Big House

Little Miss I-Know-Best
Little Miss I-Know-Best

The Big House still has twenty-eight rooms. But the people in the room across the little bridge, room Number Nine, are getting crosser and crosser. They shout at each other a lot and can’t agree about anything. Little Miss I-Know-Best had come to an agreement with the people in the other 27 rooms. But she needed the people who met in the voting corner of Number Nine to agree. Everyone had agreed that these people’s views were “sovereign”, which means they get to choose on behalf of everyone else and that’s it.

The trouble was, the people in the voting corner said “NO!” to her plan. And then they said “NO!” and then “NO!” a third time. So the Nasties agreed they needed a new leader. Bye-bye, Little Miss I-Know-Best! It seems you didn’t know best, after all!

The Nasties Vote

The Nasties have a funny way of choosing a new leader. At first, everyone who wants to be leader throws their hat into the ring. Not a real ring. Just a pretend one. The hats aren’t real, either. But, anyway, ten people threw their not-real hats into the not-real ring. We have met two of these before: Mr Mad and Mr Look-At-Me. You may remember, Mr Mad stabbed Mr Look-At-Me in the back last time, saying Mr Look-At-Me was too naughty to run room Number Nine.

We shall be meeting four more Mr Men and Little Misses very soon: Mr Doormatt, Mr Jagged Savage, Little Miss Loathsome, and Mr Rabid. They also said they would like to lead the Nasties. Also in the race were Mr Harpic (who was round the bend), Mr Front-Bottom (of rhyming slang), Little Miss Runavay and Mr Roary-Lion. Mr Roary-Lion didn’t really roar like a lion. But his hair looked a little bit like a lion’s mane, and so his name suited him.

At first only the Nasties allowed in the voting corner have a say. Their job is to vote (or stab) until only two people are left. These were Mr Look-At-Me and Mr Front-Bottom. Then all the Nasties vote for the winner while everyone else looks on and cries helplessly.

Mr Look-At-Me Again

Mr Look-At-Me
Mr Look-At-Me

Mr Look-At-Me won, chosen by the Nasties to lead the people in room Number Nine out of the Big House. Some of Little Miss I-Know-Best’s helpers said they would try to stop Mr Look-At-Me burning down the little bridge to the other rooms. Mr Hammond-Organ said he would play mournful tunes on his Hammond organ. That would do the trick.

“Do or die!” said Mr Look-At-Me. But he needed to choose his helpers, just as Little Miss I-Know-Best had done three years earlier. Only this time, Mr Look-At-Me did something different. He only chose people who were mad or just changed their minds to stay as a helper. Let’s meet the new helpers.

Mr Jagged Savage

Mr Jagged Savage

Mr Jagged Savage was put in charge of all the pennies in room Number Nine. This was a Top Job. Mr Jagged Savage is made up of two parts. His head is a balloon. His body is very sharp and jagged: the jagged edges had been made very sharp when he was told by Little Miss I-Know-Best to be Hostile to everyone.

Mr Jagged Savage knew that, if his head touched his body, it would go BANG on the sharp jagged edges. So he learned how to nod his head carefully. But he could not shake it, in case it burst. But Mr Jagged Savage was happy. He was still a helper and had all the head movement he needed for when he met Mr Look-At-Me!

Mr Rabid

Mr Rabid

The second Top Job went to Mr Rabid. This was to talk to all the leaders outside room Number Nine. Mr Look-At-Me once had this job, but he did it so badly that he left.

Mr Rabid is a dog. A very fierce dog. He snarls all the time. Mr Look-At-Me thought that Mr Rabid might make his own time in this Top Job look not so bad. We shall see! To make himself more fierce, Mr Rabid sometimes adds extra letters “a” to his name, like “Raabid”. Once he got so carried away, he spelled it “Raaaaaaaaaabid!”

Mr Rabid is not bright. He spent months coming up with an agreement from the other 27 countries to help reduce the damage caused by smashing down the little bridge. He then voted against his own plan! Everybody knows that a Rabid dog is a mad dog! I don’t suppose the leaders in other countries will be keen to talk to Mr Rabid again.

Little Miss Pretty Petrifying

Little Miss Pretty Petrifying

Little Miss Pretty Petrifying has the third Top Job. The job is to ensure that all the people in room Number Nine behave and to keep foreigners from crossing the little bridge. She had only two jobs outside politics. Both were to make the companies look better, one in tobacco and the other in alcohol.

She helped to write a book called Britannia Unchained which said a lot of silly things, such as the workers in room Number Nine were “the worst idlers in the world”. Little Miss Pretty Petrifying is not looking to make new friends!

Mr Doormatt

Mr Doormatt

Mr Doormatt is another dog – a very submissive dog! He is in charge of making sick people better. He kept this job by letting everyone walk all over him. When he sees anyone with the name Big Pharma, he rolls over on his back and lets them take any part of him that they think will make them the most money.

Mr Doormatt should not be trusted to look after anyone – even himself!

Little Miss Don’t Trust

Little Miss Don’t Trust

Little Miss Don’t Trust also had a hand in the Britannia Unchained book. People have said the book is no good because the authors were too lazy to do any research before they wrote it. What a silly way to write a book!

She takes over her new job at International Trade from Mr Fox-Up, whom we’ve met before. Mr Fox-Up was very bad at his job, so Little Miss Don’t Trust doesn’t have to work very hard to do better!

Little Miss Loathsome

Little Miss Loathsome

Little Miss Loathsome has a job where she is supposed to look after business. Her new boss, Mr Look-At-Me, once famously said a very rude word about business. Now, Little Miss Loathsome is confused. What exactly is she supposed to do?

She has decided to do what she does best and just be loathsome. If she tries anything harder than this, her head will explode!

Little Miss Bilious

Little Miss Bilious

Little Miss Bilious has a bilious-looking face. She has a job looking after all the trees and the flowers and the rivers and to stop the world getting too hot. She plans to do this by being sick all over them.

She once had a job working for Mr Two-Face which she didn’t understand. The thought the “Good Friday Agreement” was just about which Easter eggs to buy. And she thought it would be good to burn down the little bridge connecting room Number Nine to the other 27 rooms. She didn’t care that most of the people she was supposed to be looking after didn’t agree.

Perhaps she will be better at being sick over things.

Mr Stupid-Boy-Pike

Mr Stupid-Boy-Pike

Mr Stupid-Boy-Pike once had a job selling fireplaces. When he was at school, he used to take his pet spider to school. He thought this would scare and impress the other children. Instead, they just kept away from him.

Little Miss I-Know-Best gave him a job standing in front of big toys like guns, warships and aeroplanes. He liked doing this. He also tried to sound frightening by showing people his spider and saying tough things like “shut up” and “go away”. Everyone thought he was a bit stupid.

This made him the obvious choice to be in charge of all the schools. When the teachers heard this, they all laughed and laughed. They thought it was a joke. Then they were told it was not a joke. So they all cried and started looking for new jobs. Who will teach the children in room Number Nine? Perhaps Mr Stupid-Boy-Pike can teach some spiders to do it!

Little Miss Rudderless

Little Miss Rudderless

Little Miss Rudderless used to be called Little Miss Traffic-Light. But now she has changed her mind about Mr Look-At-Me to keep her job. So she has a new name. Her job is to maintain the thumbscrews and manacles at the Department for Work and Pensions. Officially known as Sanctions, these and other instruments of torture are used under the “Hostile Inquisition” scheme. But only on people who are wicked enough to be poor or disabled.

Little Miss Rudderless is a Marxist and likes to quote from the great thinker. “Those are my principles, and if you don’t like them… well, I have others” is her favourite.

Mr Mad (Again!)

Mr Mad
Mr Mad

After stabbing him in the back, Mr Mad is now once again best friends with Mr Look-At-Me. So Mr Look-At-Me has given him a new job in his team. His new job title is Chancer of the Dutchie on the Left Hand Side. This means he is free to do what he likes. What in practice will happen is this. Mr Mad will stab in the back anyone who disagrees with his new best friend and Great Leader. This includes stabbing himself or the Great Leader if that pesky little bridge isn’t burnt by Halloween.

The Mad House

The leaders of the other 27 rooms in the Big House have a new name for room Number Nine. They call it the Mad House. I think, children, (oh, and, by the way, sorry about your future…) that you now know why. Sweet dreams!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
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Zombies

I’ve taken a bit of a liking to the quirky comedy series What We Do in the Shadows. An inept group of zombies have taken over two streets in Staten Island, New York and seem a bit confused how to complete the zombie takeover of the whole of America. Or something like that.

Zombies alert!

To quote a former Tory Party leader: “Remind you of anyone?”

Well, yes, actually. And they look like this:

Horror Show

There’s one big difference, however. What We Do in the Shadows is played for laughs. What the second group of undead are playing is deadly serious.

Car Boot Hostage

Zombies taking control is bad enough. But the sheer helplessness of the majority of us who have no say in who will be our next prime Minister is far, far worse. I can do no better than quote this tweet from Tom Freeman: “I miss the days when Tory leadership elections were something I’d watch with half-amused anthropological curiosity rather than the horror of the abductee trapped in the back of the van.” Tom sounds like a man after my own heart.

The 99.8% with no vote

Rocky Horror Show

There have been many political commentators who have analysed the field of candidates in some detail. So I shall not do that. Suffice it to say that all ten want the UK to leave the EU, in varying degrees of extremist catastophe. A couple seem prepared to accept a further delay if that would help negotiations and a smoother exit. The rest say variations on the theme “31st October, dead or alive”. A couple have a simple solution to the lack of Parliamentary majority for Leave: make sure MPs don’t get a chance to vote before the end of October. In other words, suspend democracy in the interests of “the people”, i.e. the 52% of voters who voted Leave 3 years ago.

We have until the end of next month for this horror show to play itself out.

Little House of Horrors

The Conservative Party once saw itself as the party of business and the “natural Party of government”.  It has turned into a real monster: one that thinks “fuck business” and has given up all pretence of responsible government. The trouble is, it keeps feeding the monster and the monster keeps growing and needs more feeding. With the Tory Party in thrall to Mr Slime and the risk of his disciples becoming minority-vote MPs thanks to FPTP voting, the House of Commons could become a House of Horrors.

At the risk of repetition: “Remind you of anyone?”

The Tory-eating Monster

Nightmare on Downing Street

Maybe we’ll awake on 23rd July and find it was all a dream…
Or maybe it will end like this: he bears a frightening resemblance to Dominic Raab, don’t you think?

Our next PM?

Aaaaaagh!Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
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No Regrets?

In Memoriam

Scott Walker (1943-2019), a man with a heartbreakingly pure singing voice.

In Condemnation

Theresa May (PM 2016-2019), architect of the “hostile environment”.

In Fear and Trepidation

May’s successor (PM 2019-?), to be chosen by 100,000 of the most xenophobic bigots in the country outside the DUP, i.e. Tory Party activists.

No Regrets?

TM: I know I’m leavin’, it’s too long overdue
For far too long I’ve had nothin’ new to show to you.
Goodbye dry eyes, you watched as I appeased the Brexit loons
And it serves me right to walk away alone.

Us: There’s no regrets
No tears goodbye
We don’t want you back
We’d only cry again
Say goodbye again

The months you wasted to avoid the splits
Amid the weak, the useless and the outright shits.
I woke last night and thought of you, and fearing what comes next
I felt so afraid that our country’s truly wrecked.

TM: I’ve no regrets
No tears goodbye
Us: We don’t want you back
We’d only cry again
Say goodbye again

Your Party’s squirming to turn its back on you
Your face is showing traces of your hostile brew.
We now face, unloved , our darkest hour; there was no outreaching hand
It now feels so sad to see our broken land.

There’s no regrets
No tears goodbye
We don’t want you back
We’d only cry again
Say goodbye again

You thought only of Party and ignored the rest
You were Maybot under pressure, Little I-Know-Best.
Europe always splits the Tories, that should now be understood
And we’re so afraid evil always drives out good.

You show no regrets
No tears goodbye
We don’t want you back
We’d only cry again
Please don’t try again!
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In Lieu of EU

News item: a German wholesaler which supplies major UK supermarkets is stockpiling 3.5 million rolls of toilet paper in UK warehouses, in preparation for a No Deal exit from the EU. The company is also chartering ships to carry rolls from Naples to Cardiff to avoid possible congestion (no pun intended) on the Dover-Calais route.

Oh Sorry Me-O!

(to the tune of O Sole Mio!)

Oh sorry me-o!
Must wipe my arse
But if No Deal-o
Should come to pass
Tomorrow would be too late
I need it now; I just can’t wait.

And if I try now
Just to pass a motion,
Well then, my 2-ply now
Has to ply an ocean.
To Cardiff Bay-o
Is a long, long way-o
From Napoli. Oh, pity me: too late!

Oh sorry me-o!
My supply chain
Oh can’t you see-o?
Flushed down the drain.
I’m feeling broken, just like the state
I once was happy, now full of hate.

I never thought why,
When I use the toilet,
Regular supply:
Voting Leave would spoil it.
Please revoke Cinquanta
Or I’ll mess my pant – agh!
Who’d ever guess I’m in a mess, irate.

Oh sorry me-o!
I should have known
I still can pee-o
All on my own.
But if I need a number two
I just can’t go, oh no, no, no, without EU!

With this clusterfuck shitshow of a government we’re saddled with: yes, I’m afraid, it does eventually all come down to this.Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
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Invasion of the Zombies

What keeps you awake at night? I could say Theresa May’s mishandling of the EU negotiations and her attitude to the UK parliament. I could say the uselessness of our MPs, particularly the cowardice of the Tory members who vote for the government’s crap proposals out of a sense of fear and for party unity. What dreadful times we live in. Who knows how this week’s votes in Parliament will turn out – even if they all take place, according to some rumours.

Never have we been so badly served by our government and politicians, at least in my lifetime. Which is why I found the poster below, published, I think, by the @ByDonkeys twitter account, so appealing. Incompetents? Undoubtedly. Zombies, more like.

Here come the zombies!

The truth, however, is that I’m currently sleeping well at night (in part thanks to my current medication).

Zombies All

I speculated recently that Theresa May has actually gone mad under the pressure of trying to appease both the insane and sane wings of her party and – nominally at least – to be Prime Minister. Perhaps so – but she really has turned into some kind of zombie. And, just look at the others in the picture above! “Invasion of the Zombies” would be an entirely appropriate title for a future movie based upon these troubled times.

A crash test dummy could play Theresa May. Fill in your own names for others shown in the poster above.

Disturbed

I guess that the thought which could really disturb my sleep is this. Whatever happens this week, May will stand down (or be pushed out) as PM in a matter of months, if not weeks. Absolutely every likely successor for her in the Tory Party would give me nightmares! When do we start screaming? And why has Michael Gove been so deafeningly silent these past few weeks!

Scream!
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