Category Archives: Satire and Silly

Stuff that’s just plain daft or just for fun

English Lesson

Who is more to blame, Humpty Dumpty or Theresa May? I will leave you to decide, after reading through the words which follow. Students of English as an Additional Language are welcome to join in the game – in other words, “foreigners are welcome”. To my website, I mean: to many of my compatriots, perhaps as many as 52% of them, this phrase is an alien concept when applied “to my country”.

Words

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”  Humpty Dumpty, of course, is a fictional, fairy tale character who, by the time Lewis Carrol wrote those words in the 19th century, was drawn to look like an egg.

The original fairy tale has its origins in the First to Third English Civil Wars (with the Fourth now coming soon!) The real Humpty Dumpty was a cannon used by the Royalists to defend Colchester Castle during a siege by Parliamentarians. (You may remember the Parliamentarians, aka Roundheads: they were the first to die in their thousands in the cause to establish the concept that Parliament, rather than the King, is sovereign.) Parliamentarian forces successfully knocked the Cannon from the castle battlements and it fell into swampy ground outside the castle walls. As the story goes, “All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again”.

Maybot- Speak

One of the most vacuous (unless you have mental age of eight) neologisms is May’s phrase “Brex*t means Brex*t”. To this, Leave extremists have given us “Leave Means Leave”. These tautologies, together with a commonsense knowledge of how language works, might lead you to the conclusion “X means X”, where X is any word. You would be wrong. There is at least one exception to the general rule. The assertion “Indefinite means indefinite” is false, when followed by the phrase “to remain” and stamped into a passport.

In her New Year message to the nation, May has added yet another empty, meaningless phrase to the lexicon: the country can, apparently, unite so long as we “turn the corner” together. Where exactly this corner is, and why it has such magical properties to unite us, are both unclear. But fear not, good people, the corner that will do the trick is out there somewhere. I assume that we all have to meet somewhere round the corner from the corner in question and turn the corner together to make it work. I await further information! See you there!

English for Foreigners

The ever-hostile Home Office last week launched an online registration scheme for EU nationals resident in the UK. This is to enable them to continue to receive their existing rights to move freely into and out of the UK. The fee is £76 (with exemptions for some). Without such registration, under the “hostile environment” policy created by Theresa May, such EU nationals would be liable to harassment by UK Border Force, denied benefits, free NHS treatment and fearful of unlawful deportation, just like the Windrush generation has suffered.

Reaction has been hostile. In a Guardian report, one long-term resident who is a Danish national wrote: “You absolute s****! I’ve lived here 35 years, got a stamp in my passport for ‘indefinite leave to remain’ in 1985 and now you want me to apply to stay in my own home.” Max Fras, a visiting fellow at the LSE, sarcastically expressed his “deep gratitude” at the opportunity to pay £65 “for the possibility of letting an app as reliable as Southern Rail on a snowy day to decide the future of my existence”. Even the Sun criticized government policy in a leading article headed “EU are welcome”. It’s a pretty pass when the government’s main tabloid cheerleader has turned against the May Government’s inhumanity.

One elderly holocaust survivor even compared this government to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews:

The accompanying text says “The last time my family qualified for registration and ‘settled status’”. There’s nothing more I can add.

English Coast

According to our Home Secretary, we’re facing a “crisis” because, since mid-November, an average of nearly 4 people a day have been landing illegally on our shores. (At the peak 3 years ago, an average of 2000 people a day were crossing the Mediterranean to enter Greece. From which I conclude the Government’s panic  is propaganda, not proportionate.)  I, for one, will be sleeping more easily now that I know Sajid Javid cancelled his holiday to return home to save us all. Better still, he’s getting 2 UK Border Patrol boats to sail back to UK waters to deter Johnny foreigner. According to Wikipedia, the length of the UK coastline is 12,429 km or, if you include the larger islands, 31,368km.

I’ve got a better idea, adapted from Trump’s Wall: why don’t we just build a higher sea around our island? That’ll keep ‘em out! Their flimsy little boats will never be able to climb over that: a quick capsize, problem solved! And all we have to do is just keep on pumping out the CO2. Sorry, East Anglia, it’s been nice knowing you. Seaside holidays in Norwich, anyone?

Fake News

The far right, particularly in the USA and increasingly here in the UK, clearly welcome any development which obscures the truth and confuses people. Russia under Putin would agree. So come along, all you people. Learn the New English where all words are stripped of any meaning and we call all march forward into 2019 united and happy.

A thought: why didn’t May take her Cabinet to The Corner instead of Chequers to teach them the New English? Then they could have all turned the corner together, united and happy!

Happy New Year everyone!

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Friendly Bombs

Come friendly bombs and fall on us!
Those numbers lied upon the bus:
It really wasn’t worth the fuss.
It wasn’t fair.

Come friendly bombs and drop on May
She shouldn’t last another day.
Yet staggers on still, come what may,
Till we despair.

Come friendly bombs and fall on Boz
A lazy, lying louse, because
His only aim: to be the boss
Must think we’re nuts.

Come friendly bombs and drop on Mogg
And throw his top hat down the bog,
Attack him with a rabid dog,
Tear out his guts.

Come friendly bombs and fall on Fox
Free trade? Just put him in a box
And take him to the nearest docks.
Dump him at sea.

Come bombs and smash up dour Arlene
Who thinks she’s higher than the Queen.
Her bigotry is quite obscene.
Set Ireland free.

While Putin smiles and rubs his hands
And Trump and all his right-wing friends
Make mischief in these weakened lands.
The little shits.

We’ve now become a laughing-stock.
The other leaders laugh and mock
At Britain, which was once a rock,
Now broke to bits.

We’ve pissed off all our dearest friends,
It’s too late now to make amends
And no one knows where all this ends
As pennies drop.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on UK
The country has run out of luck.
And who now really gives a fuck?
Just make it stop.

With acknowledgements to John Betjeman

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A Song for Europe

With an uneasy truce in the Cabinet and David Cameron reappearing in the shadows last week, perhaps it’s time for a little reflection on the UK’s 45-year semi-detached relationship with the EU.

45 Years

EU building brussels
EU Building, Brussels

Edward Heath was arguably our only instinctively pro-EU Prime Minister. Thatcher was a key player in pushing for the single market, motivated by her extremist free market fundamentalist ideas. She pushed the whole EU in this direction: a legacy which still prevents many in the Labour Party – not least Jeremy Corbyn – from giving the EU their full-throated support. Major had his “bastards”: some, like Bill Cash, are still there. Blair, Brown and Cameron were more calculating and found a bit of EU-bashing came in handy at times for domestic consumption.

Referendum Campaigns

The referendum campaigns were a disgrace, as was the BBC’s attempt at balance. Leavers simply told a pack of lies: an argument I won’t repeat here. But the Remain campaign, although not lies,  was pretty awful too. Labour was nowhere to be seen, leaving the debate to the two warring factions of the Tory Party. (The Lib Dems and SNP barely got a word in, at least outside Scotland for the latter.)

Cameron’s argument was aimed squarely at the “haves”; nobody spoke for the “have nots.” Project Fear was a fair accusation. With a scent of Russian influence and the breaking of electoral law by both Leave campaigns, the whole business was extremely tawdry, to say the least. How Cameron, who had been slagging the EU tactically for many years, thought, in four months, he could be convincingly a champion for the EU is beyond me.

A Song

So, a lament for could-have beens: some of the words may be familiar:

Maybe I didn’t treat EU
Quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn’t like you
Quite as often as I could have
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time

You were rarely on my mind
You were rarely on my mind

Maybe I didn’t notice
That we had our cake and ate it
With our opt-outs and our refunds
But the Dunces didn’t get it
If I made you feel like enemies
Maybe now I think I’m blind

You were rarely on my mind
You were rarely on my mind
 

And the papers, all they ever did for us was lies
Forgive me, there’s just one last chance
To keep you satisfied, satisfied
Little things I should have said and done
I just never took the time

You were rarely on my mind
You were rarely on my mind

(with acknowledgements to Willie Nelson)

 

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Barking

Our dog very rarely barks. So when he does, it comes as a bit of a shock. I found my wife in the garden this morning laughing at our barking dog. The reason that she was laughing was because he was barking at his own reflection in one of the house windows.

yellow labrador
Dog very like our own!

Barking. Own reflection. That reminds me of something.

Reflection

It reminds me of the current state of what laughably passes for our government. Theresa May’s indecision is like being in a hall of mirrors. She is torn in indecision between the sensible majority of her party and the barking mad: the Dunces as I have described them in an earlier blog. She takes more notice of the dunces and the barking DUP, who exemplify the worst of 17th century bigotry and hatred – not least over their attitudes to the rights of women. When it comes to representing public opinion in Northern Ireland, the DUP is certainly barking up the wrong tree.

Hall of mirrors
Hall of mirrors

Whichever way she turns, she sees just the Dunces, the DUP and Paul Dacre. What she will do after November when Geordie Greig takes over at the Daily Mail, we shall have to wait and see. Inside her hall of mirrors, she takes no notice of the 48% who, like me, voted Remain. Businesses, specifically the CBI, have reduced UK growth forecasts because of the uncertainty caused by the dithering and disagreements within the Cabinet. As Prime Minister, therefore, she pays no regard to the National Interest. That’s the behaviour of someone who is either scared or barking mad. Probably the former.

Up Shit Creek

May has wasted two whole years engaged in futile debates between the wings of her party. These arguments are usually between two options, both of which have already been rejected by the EU27. Every deadline has been missed. She has now announced that the government’s White Paper will be delayed until after the crucial European Council meeting on June 28-29. That’s barking.

So where does that leave the country? Up Barking Creek without a paddle.

up shit creek
Up Shit Creek

Barking. Woof!

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Fed Up

Are you fed up with the way this country is being run? I know I am. Or rather, how it’s not being run. It’s certainly not being run by any government worthy of the name and, in my eyes, Theresa May has quickly overtaken David Cameron as the worst Prime Minister in my lifetime.

Here’s a random selection from recent new stories.

  • Theresa May refuses to do the right thing, morally and in accordance with international law, to legalise abortion in Northern Ireland following the overwhelming 2 to 1 vote in the Irish Republic. The UN has already declared this a violation of Human Rights, to be tested in the UK Supreme Court later this year. The wholly unrepresentative DUP, led by arch-bigot Arlene Foster is needed to prop up her minority government. There’s a clear majority in the Commons for reform, in line with recent Northern Irish public opinion polls. Let’s hope Parliament is sufficiently embarrassed and fed up to force a vote.
  • May refuses to sack Boris Johnson as Foreign Secretary – too many gaffes to find a suitable web link for Johnson! We’re fed up with having such a clown as our chief diplomat and the UK’S official spokesman for Foreign Affairs.
  • Michel Barnier’s frustration is beginning to show. He’s clearly fed up with the UK government wasting two years and still not knowing what it wants out of the EU exit negotiations. His reference to Britain playing “hide and seek” is most telling.
  • Why is the arch-Dunce J Rees-Mogg given so much airtime? Here’s a post from January. Things haven’t improved since then. He was on Andrew Marr’s show on Sunday. Surely we’re all fed up to the back teeth of the sight of him.
  • I note that David Davis took time out from whatever he does instead of being our chief EU negotiator to visit the Hay Festival. He was in the front row to hear Margaret Atwood, author of the novel The Handmaid’s Tale, at the weekend. She famously writes dystopian novels, and was dubbed the “prophet of dystopia”. Perhaps he was fed up with trying to do the impossible and simply tried to imagine Britain after it had left the EU?

Laugh at the Idiot

This is really in the same mould, but worthy of special attention. I’ve always thought  that Gavin Williamson is a trumped-up little shit. Here’s more evidence of the “Spiderman”, chosen by May as our Defence Secretary, being a complete prat. Richard Madeley was clearly fed up with Williamson not answering his question and did a sort of Paxman on him today. Lie back and enjoy!

Here’s a link to the video

And this man is in charge of our military? Does that make you feel safe? No, me neither.

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Some Way Out

There must be some way out of here
Said the Maybot all alone
There’s too much confusion
I must do this on my own.

Rabid dogs have caught my mind
Sane men ground to earth
Remain was forty-eight percent
But fuck all now that’s worth.

Good reason to expedite it
Barnier he kindly spoke
There are many voters out there
Who feel that life is but a joke.

But you and I have been through that
We don’t have long to wait
Stop messing; make your minds up
The hour’s getting late.

Don’t forget about Good Friday
I heard the Taoiseach say
Unless you believe in unicorns
You must find a better way.

Outside in the distance
The CBI did growl
The exit day’s approaching
Rees-Mogg began to howl…

 

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Split Down the Middle

Thanks to the uselessness of David Cameron, the split in the Tory Party has spread to the whole country.

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I fall off my perch,
And the Dunces leave me here in the lurch,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Split down the middle with you

Split?

Yes I’m split down the middle with you,
And I’m wondering what it is I should do,
It’s so hard to put a smile on my face,
Losing control, yeah, I’m all over the place,
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, split down the middle with you

Well you started out as Mayor,
And you’re proud that you’re been there,
And your fans, they all come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please

Trying to make some sense of it all,
But I can see that it makes no sense at all,
Is it cool to show Jack Rees-Mogg the door,
‘Cause I don’t think that I can take anymore
Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right,
Here I am, split down the middle with you

Well you started at the MOD,
You’re as proud a Brit as there can be,
Your corrupt friends, they come crawlin,
Slap you on the back and say,
Please, please

Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
I’m so scared in case I do something wrong,
‘Cos all can see I’m really not that strong,
Clowns to the left of me,
Jokers to the right, here I am,
Split down the middle with you,
Yes I’m split down the middle with you,
Split down the middle with you, here I am split down the middle with you

 

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More Lovely and More Temperate

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate

temperate house
Temperate House

Kew Gardens is one of my favourite places. Let’s celebrate the re-opening, after five years’ refurbishment, of the glory that is the Temperate House. I can’t wait to see it! Surely this is something we in Britain call all agree about.

We’re Divided

Sorry, but I didn’t start it…

Theresa May
Hostile environment

Rough minds do shake the snarling moods of May
And common sense hath all too short a date

 

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A Fine Bromance

I’m sometimes a bit behind with the news. I don’t always watch the Ten O’Clock News: it’s just too mad and depressing. So it was courtesy of Have I Got News for You that I saw the gut-heaving video of Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the USA. Here are some stills to give you the flavour:

Bromance
Bromance

YUK, YUK, YUKETY-YUK!

For those who want to see the videos, iPlayer streams the whole programme at:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b124gz/have-i-got-news-for-you-series-55-episode-4

The relevant stuff is between 10:19 and 15:36.

Another Singalong

Meantime, here’s another old tune (from the 1930s) with new words for you to sing along to:

A Fine Bromance

A fine bromance: I groped the missus
A fine bromance, mon frère, this is
You bring to the White House a charm and some genuine cachet
So don’t be as cold as yesterday’s pommes de terre hachées.

A fine bromance, it began well
A fine bromance with Emmanuel
I needed a friend and I’ve found one with him now, dear mon ami
I hope that the world can see all our wonderful bonhomie

A fine bromance, we’ve no morals
A fine bromance, so no quarrels
You’ve spoken to Congress and said that you don’t like my plan
For climate change and for Iran
But this is a fine bromance.

A fine bromance, I’m so needy
A fine bromance, and so greedy
I don’t know if he’s into the huntin’ and shootin’
But anyway, I’ve still got that Vladimir Putin.

A fine bromance, I’m primordial
A fine bromance, entente cordiale
Our relationship’s strong, and we don’t want to see it all blown apart
I love him ‘cos he looks like Napoleon Buonaparte

A fine bromance, you look fitter
A fine bromance, my heart’s a-Twitter
Poor Angela and T’resa, the don’t stand the slightest chance
They won’t get a second glance
‘Cos this is a fine bromance.

 

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David Who?

Have you seen this man?

David Cameron wanted poster
Wanted?

Many rumours exist about this man:

  • He is believed to have once been Prime Minister of this country
  • If you see him, he is probably safe to approach. He is believed to be no longer dangerous.
  • At one time, he was seen as extremely dangerous: his laid-back attitude to the job allowed his henchman, Wild Gideon Osborne to wreak havoc and destitution amongst the poor and disabled
  • He put Party interest above the National Interest
  • He caved in to the Crazies (no, not the Crankies, but he’d probably do that too)
  • He split the country down the middle by calling an ill-advised referendum, thereby encouraging racists and bigots to commit acts of violence (Remember Jo Cox MP)
  • He made no plans in the event he would lose
  • He lost
  • He buggered off to write his memoirs.

Location

He is rumoured to be lying low in an expensive caravan somewhere in rural Oxfordshire. If you find this caravan, take the following steps:

  • Creep softly up to the door of the caravan
  • Turn the key to lock it
  • Take the key
  • Throw it away where no one can find it.

    Paxman on Cameron

    In the more informal surroundings of Room 101, Jeremy Paxman finally told us what he thought of Cameron:

    “The worst Prime Minister since Lord North”. Probably just about sums him up. Enough said.

 

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