Category Archives: Satire and Silly

Stuff that’s just plain daft or just for fun

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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The Pied Piper and the Clockmaker

Nadine “Mad Nad” Dorries MP, fervent anti-choice campaigner and former “celebrity” jungle dweller, said on TV yesterday that Theresa May should sack Philip Hammond as the Treasury were being “too negative” about the UK’s leaving the EU.

Once upon a time, there was a pied piper. He lived in a small town on an island just off the coast of Eutopia. He spent his days quietly, mostly staying at home playing tunes on his pipe. Children would pass by his house and hear the music through the windows. The children talked to one another and, slowly, his music gained more fame.

The piper’s most treasured possession was a large gold watch, given to him by his grandfather. His grandfather told him that the watch was given to him by his own grandfather. Usually, the watch kept good time. The piper wound the watch every day, and all was well. But then the piper began to notice that the watch was not quite so good at keeping the time. He tapped it and shook it, but it did no good. He became more and more angry. The tunes he played on his pipe became louder and louder, and more children gathered to hear them. Their parents were a little worried, but they thought to themselves: “What harm can befall our children by listening to a piper and his music?”

One day, the piper was really mad about his gold watch. In his rage, he threw the watch to the ground. When he picked it up again, the piper saw that the glass was cracked and there was a small dent in the side. But, most importantly, the watch had stopped. The piper wound the watch. No ticking. He shook the watch. No ticking. He shook it harder, but it made no difference.

The Clockmaker

The pied piper was still angry – in fact, even angrier than before. “I must find a clockmaker to mend my watch”, he thought. So he went down the road to the clockmaker’s shop. He told the clockmaker that he had dropped the watch. The clockmaker examined it carefully. “I can mend the broken glass quite easily” he said. “And can you just bang the inside of the watch with a hammer to fix the dent?” asked the piper.

The clockmaker opened up the watch and looked inside. “I’m afraid it’s not a simple as that” he said. He showed the piper the inside of the watch. It was full of delicate, tiny wheels and levers. “All of these levers and wheels are connected together in a complex way. It looks like there’s been a lot of damage. Mending all the wheels and checking they work together properly will take lot of time and skill”. The piper looked angry and snatched the watch back. “Experts!” he muttered and stormed out of the shop.

“I don’t need that clockmaker!” thought the piper. “I’ll find someone else to fix it in a trice”. So he went all around the town asking for anyone who could help. Nobody said they could. At this, the piper grew angrier still. He went back home and picked up his pipe. He started playing, louder and more strangely than before. The children of the town heard the strange piping and started to gather outside the piper’s house.

The piper found that playing the strange tune in his house didn’t make him any less angry. “I know,” he thought, “I’ll go for a walk: that will calm me down!” So he opened the front door and went outside, taking his pipe with him. He started to walk down the street, heading for the highest cliffs on the island. All the time, he continued to play his strange tunes. The children started to follow him down the street. We all know how that story ends, don’t we, children?

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Clifftop Britain

Imagine the situation. You have been living for a long time with 27 other people on the top of a high cliff. The sea at the foot of the cliff is often rough and stormy. You’ve kind-of got along with each other, but you’ve had your disagreements and rows. You’ve developed a reputation as being selfish, arrogant and a bit standoff-ish from the rest.

Beachy HeadYou suffer from mood swings. The 27 others have closely observed these over time and they have increasingly caused frustration and resentment all round. They have calculated your changes of mood in a statistical way. For the 16 hours a day when you’re awake, on average you spend six hours in an irrational frame of mind, ranting and shouting how much you hate all the others and how much better off you’d be on your own. For a further five and a half hours, you actually seem to get on rather well with the others. You realise how much you all have in common. But you seem to be too embarrassed to admit this to the rest. For the remaining four and a half hours, you frankly don’t seem to care either way.

The Bad Night

Not so long ago, you had a really bad night’s sleep. You woke several times after really scary nightmares, shaking and fearful for the future. You also had some other dreams, waking feeling strangely euphoric and slightly delusional. The morning after found you lacking in sleep, tetchy and fretful. In a moment of pique, you blurted out that you were leaving the clifftop to go and live on your own at the foot of the cliff.

The others all thought you were mad, but they had mixed feelings about your decisions. They were genuinely sorry to see you go. But, as a result of the bad feelings that had built up over your periods of anti-social behaviour, their sorrow was tinged with a sense of relief. There was genuine concern about how you would get on by yourself. No one had ever seen what it was like at the foot of the cliff: its shape blocked the view. And no one had seen any trace of a footpath or of a climbing route down the cliff face.

The 27 had a meeting to coordinate their position. They used as their guide a document you had all signed recently and for which you took the leading position in drafting. They offered to work together to help you find a safe route down the cliff. You had previously boasted that you were once world class at rock climbing. But everyone knew that you hadn’t done any since 1973. Your skills had gone rusty, your muscles flabby. And, frankly, your mood swings showed that your sense of balance left a great deal to be desired.

The Way Down

But the 27 also set two conditions to their help.

  1. They would use their collective knowledge and experience to help you find a safe passage. But in the event of a dispute as to the next step, you must take the advice of their nominated expert.
  2. They set a deadline. You had five days to discuss the best way to the cliff foot, pooling your collective knowledge. If, on the sixth morning, you had not reached agreement, they would push you off the cliff edge.

Things went badly at first after this. Your mood swings worsened. You shouted and ranted. You said you wouldn’t be told by some so-called expert what to do. Not for one minute. You asked for a vote of support from your followers, but this only made things worse. Two whole days passed with no progress made. Your own closest friends shouted conflicting advice. You hid in the mountains for several hours to try to sort out your thinking. Sometimes you think that, at the foot of the cliff, there lies a golden beach, calm seas and blue skies. At other times, you imagine there to be only the most treacherous of rocks.

So, now, what do you do?

  1. Jump off the cliff straight away, shouting “I told you it would be all right” repeatedly until your head is smashed on the rocks below?
  2. Carefully plan the safest way down in cooperation with the 27 others and agree to their terms?
  3. Continue to dither for another three days until you are thrown off the cliff by your exasperated companions?

The Real World

I’m pleased to see that the Labour Party has come off the fence and chosen option b. The Tories continue to be divided irreconcilably, with the likes of the deluded Liam Fox in the “a” camp (abetted by the rump-rabble of UKIP and the usual suspects in the press) and more economically-literate Tories like Anna Soubry and Philip Hammond in the “b” camp.

And above it, but not really in control of it all, sits Prime Minister Theresa May, still in the “c” camp. Journalist and former Tory MP Matthew Parris is right when he condemns the absolute recklessness of the Tory Party in getting us into this mess, putting futile attempts at party unity ahead of the national interest.

For goodness’ sake, will somebody please save us from this bunch of clowns?

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