28 January, 2011
The serendipity of the Internong
A little over a year ago I got from the opening hours of my usual supermarket to unorthodox disciplinary methods in the Thai police force in three steps, one of which, it has to be admitted, was not a clicked hyperlink but a Wikipedia look-up inspired by what I was reading.
Today I got from an adulatory report at the main EDL forum on Katie Hopkins' robust performance on Question Time to a Metro article entitled "Celebs to be fed crocodile penis" after typing "Katie Hopkins" into Google. I am not a regular viewer of The Apprentice so I was only vaguely familiar with this woman and her exploits. The Google result page included this
Intrigued by the fourth image, which doesn't quite gel with one's expectations of Sir Alan's pushy young hopefuls, I clicked through it. I mean, can you imagine the redoubtable Ruth Badger posing déshabillée on a couch like that? Well, perhaps you'd rather not.
Turns out that it's not a picture of Katie Hopkins but of a tottyliciously photogenic fellow prospective contestant on I'm a Publicity Seeker, Don't Get Me Out Of Here Too Soon.
But there you go.
27 January, 2011
Tales from the Multiculture - A language too many
Such as the grinding cumulative alienation induced by finding yourself perpetually immersed in a sea of people either jabbering away in yer actual foreign or speaking heavily accented and often quite limited English.
Or the extent to which, as a native speaker of British English on what I consider to be my home turf, I nevertheless have to carefully tailor my vocabulary to conform to the limitations of what is essentially emerging as a distinct language, "World English", in order to be consistently understood.
And finally of accommodating to the jarring prosodic mismatches between languages, most notably exemplified by Cantonese, Mandarin and Vietnamese, in which deeply alien tongues even the most civilized and banal conversation sounds to the English-speaking ear like the prelude to a rather nasty fist fight.
But I think it's all finally beginning to addle my brain. Sitting on the train, half-listening to the usual cacophony formed from the "local" sides of people's mobile phone calls, there was a language I could not place. The speaker was a rather scruffy young White male, greasy-haired, unshaven, leather-jacketed, who was whingeing in some not quite identifiable Germanic language into his handset. I struggled to identify it. Some dialect of Dutch perhaps? What was this strange, unfamiliar new tongue so intriguingly enriching the hyperdiversity that is London?
It was the whingeing tone that eventually gave it away. He was speaking — er — Scouse. OK, a very broad Scouse. So broad in fact that I wondered if he was actually piling it on a bit for effect. But Scouse nonetheless. And I write as one born and raised no more than 40 miles away from the heart of Scouseland, speaking a native dialect (North Manchester with a hint of Oldham) which has more in common with the debased cant of Liverpool than those of us from up the civilized end of the East Lancs Road would care (or even "cur") to admit.
Oh the shame of it.
26 January, 2011
On the hour - news values for our time
Kay Burley: We are just getting reports of a suspected bomb going off at ... an airport in Moscow which I am not going to attempt to pronounce in case I make a fool of myself. Over to ... somebody or other in Moscow for the background.
Stressed-looking Blond Woman: Well, er, it appears that a suicide bomber has blown himself up in the international terminal and there's hundreds and hundreds of people dead. There's blood everywhere and...
KB: I'm going to have to interrupt you there; we're just getting breaking news of an emerging major catastrophe here in the UK. Jon?
Jon Desborough (for it is he): Well, Kay, TV sport has been rocked by the revelation that two very senior football commentators, whose vital task it is to fill in the awkward gap between the adverts and the second half of the game, have been overheard making patronizing remarks about a female official. Sky Sports managers are in urgent talks with Downing Street and it is understood that the COBRA committee may be convened.
KB: Shocking. We await further developments. Now over to Martin Brunt who is standing in front of a suburban house somewhere in the UK. Martin?
Martin Brunt (aging tousled heartthrob): Harlow Mill, Essex, as it goes, Kay. We were hoping for a juicy murder or something to report but, sadly, nothing at all has happened here. So it's back to you to continue filling your three-hour slot as best you can.
KB: Thank you, Martin. (I'll deal with you later.) Back to Moscow for an update.
Blond Woman: Things are developing fast here at Domodedovo. General Secretary Putin has had all of the airport management shot. Though it's not entirely clear what that will achieve. And...
KB: I'm afraid I'll have to interrupt you again. There have been important developments in the Offsidegate saga. Jon?
JD: Well, Kay, some old studio footage has been conveniently "re-analysed", revealing Andy Gadget-Man Gray making inappropriately phallic use of a microphone in the presence of a female colleague. And all the girls in the office say he's a male chauvinist pig, anyway.
KB: Terrible, so what's happening about that?
JD: I understand that he will be publicly castrated tomorrow before an uninvited audience. The orchidectomy will be shown live on Sky 1 HD.
KB: Well, that's enough tosh from me for one day. Next up, Jeremy Thompson Live at Five.
[Fancy linking sequence follows, zooming in on...]
Jeremy Thompson (for it is he, who did you expect?): And in tonight's news...
A woman in Norfolk is jailed for saying "Boo!" to a goose.
A 62-year-old man in South London, believed to be a blogger of some insignificance, is arrested on suspicion of racism by omission. He is understood to have failed to smile with sufficiently convincing sincerity at a passing Nigerian.
In other news, Russia has declared war on Chechnya and has nuked Grozny.
Is there a philosopher in the house?
The curious thing is, every last one of them runs empty, totally bereft of passengers. How can this be? I have long harboured dark suspicions of corruption or Government-funded make-work schemes or some comparable skulduggery.
Until yesterday, that is. Just south of Holborn tube station, a part of London quite stolidly grounded in reality, I saw a No 168 bus haring down Kingsway. Its destination blind clearly stated, Not In Service, and yet it was full of passengers. Perfectly normal-looking passengers.
It was a very surreal moment.
25 January, 2011
Get a grip!
(Not to be confused with gorgeous pouting sofa totty Sian Williams, of course. Apparently, careful counts are made by the relevant subtribe of vidcapping otaku of the number of times Sian recrosses her legs on the Breakfast programme, illustrated with lovingly recorded and spliced video evidence. Who cares? Keeps the bleeders off the streets.)
As one brave commenter to an inevitably sniffy Guardian piece reminds us, a panel of pushy tarts is actively encouraged to make all sorts of unpleasant jibes about men, on air, every weekday on the Loose Women prog. And nobody makes a fuss.
Television advertising aimed at women routinely portrays men as lovable incompetents kept on the straight and narrow by their indulgent wife-mothers. And we put up with it.
And wasn't there a series of ads a few years ago which depicted men so distracted by the allure of some woman whose beauty had been transformed by the product being promoted that they had inadvertently placed themselves in the way of fatal danger? One of the ads depicted an entranced male in imminent danger of being decapitated by an approaching tube train. Even I, faithful acolyte of the "water off a duck's arse" attitude to life that I aspire to, thought that one was a bit near the knuckle. Some chap complained to the ASA. He was told not to be silly.
Not that I have much time for Keys and Gray, who both strike me as completely up their own arses. Not indeed that I am much of an aficionado of the beautiful game — 20 nancy boys running round trying to flick the ball out from under each other's feet. I've said it before: if the opposing man's got the ball, knock him to the ground and lamp the bugger hard until he lets go of it. That's how to play football!
But get a grip, folks, and, yes, don't be silly. (Perhaps Jeremy Cunt, the Hulture Secretary, could have a quiet word with Sky's management. This is on his patch, isn't it?)
Let's hope this doesn't go the way of the Big Ron Atkinson fiasco. Big Ron, you may recall, was overheard referring to Marcel de Sailly as "what some people would call a fucking lazy thick nigger" (or some permutation thereof). In consequence of his choice of word, he had his commentator's epaulettes ritually ripped off and his microphone ceremonially broken over the producer's knee in front of a baying crowd of the Righteous. Last I saw of Big Ron, he was on the most cringeworthy Channel Four programme I have ever seen, desperately trying to rehabilitate himself by verbally sucking Darcus Howe's cock. To have performed the physical act would, frankly, have been a less obscene spectacle. (Has Big Ron been forgiven yet? As I say, I don't really follow the futébol, except by accident.)
Ironically, had Big Ron referred to de Sailly as "a fucking lazy thick cunt", we would have tut-tutted lubriciously while secretly admiring his robust manly language and applauding his perfectly reasonable opinion, namely that de Sailly, approaching the end of his final season at the elite level, was deliberately coasting and not pulling his weight for his team, and that this was despicably unprofessional behaviour.
Let's not go down that road, chaps and chappesses.
Rant ends. Off down the boozer for a couple of schooners of Old Dog Fart.
23 January, 2011
Your attention please...
Please mind the gap between the platform and the train.
When leaving the train, please remember to take all your personal belongings with you.
Please do not leave unattended items of luggage in the train or on the station.
Due to today's wet weather, please take extra care when walking on the platform. Surfaces may be slippery.
For your safety and security, this station is under 24-hour recorded CCTV surveillance.
The station is a dangerous place. Please keep children with you at all times.
Dogs must be carried. (Eh?)
Customers are requested not to vandalize the PA equipment in frustration at all the pointless service, security and safety announcements. We shall be very cross if you persist.
And no, we don't know when the next train will leave.
22 January, 2011
It's all Whitey's fault, innit? (Episode 94)
I live/work in Southall and think the following changes have now led to the current homeless situation in the area. The Labour governments poor Immigration policy/failure to control its borders resulted in a consistently high influx of illegal immigrants from South Asia the past 15 years. Up until about 2005, a stable economy meant that most of those immigrants were in employment, all be it illegally, which meant, 1: Most didn’t rely on state benefits, 2, there was no real homeless problem. However, in the past 5 years, 2 notable changes in government policy has led to the current situation. Firstly, raids on local businesses that are fined up to £10,000 per illegal worker. Secondly, the ridiculous government points system which has allowed huge numbers of bogus students into the country 'to study’ at bogus colleges. Local business have stopped employing the illegal’s through fear of raids, and hired students permitted to work upto 20 hours per week. The illegal’s (whom the labour government let in so easily in the first place) are now caught in no mans land, and raids are simply a revenue raising exercise for a problem caused by the government themselves. In the past the illegal’s were self sufficient/not on streets. Illegal’s/bogus students should be encouraged to ‘go back home’ but many refuse as they owe debts to agents. Whatever ones point of view, these homeless people need to be helped on humanitarian grounds and the message needs to go out to South Asia of the current dire situation here.Well up to a point, Indi-ji. It is certainly the case that the recent Labour government acquiesced in, and through seemingly deliberate inaction encouraged, large-scale immigration. That doesn't make illegal immigration justifiable, just because there is a high likelihood of getting away with it.
- Indi Singh, Southall, UK, 20/01/2011 01:13
I have some sympathy for the illegals, who may well have been "mis-sold" the dream of our fool's gold Eldorado by "agents" (sc. traffickers) in India and misled about the legal niceties. For the illegal employers who were the market for their labour, however, I have no sympathy at all. They know the law, or should do. They understand the host culture, or should do. And yet they have knowingly employed people with no right to remain in this country, let alone work here. They have done so out of greed with perhaps a pinch of ethnic solidarity. When the authorities finally decide to put a bit of effort into enforcing the law they have no right to complain. Perhaps instead they should be putting some of their ill-gotten gains into helping their victims.
Tell me, in the Islamic Republic of Bradford it is customary to drive round the streets without benefit of driving licence, road tax or vehicle insurance. When the old bill eventually decide to turn up with ANPR-enabled cameras and enforce the law for once, do you sympathize when the poor dears cry, "Why are you picking on me? It's racist, innit? You've never bothered before."
I'm sorry, Indi. Your analysis is interesting and may well be accurate. But, while Government inaction may have enabled this situation, it was the illegals, their facilitators and their exploiters who implemented it. It takes two to tango. And it's pathetic to blame your dance partner when you're voted off the floor.
21 January, 2011
Choosing the right word
The citations in the Wiktionary entry for postjudice are interesting. Check them out. To the extent that the word has an established meaning, it is not an entirely positive one: postjudiced views might still be to a greater or lesser extent unfair or unjustified, but they are at least grounded in observation and evidence, not spirited out of thin air and hate as is implied by the term 'prejudiced'.
20 January, 2011
Reasons to be cheerful
And she was teararsing along the pavement of the Charing Cross Road at the full permitted 8mph. I didn't actually have to leap out of the way, but I did have to put faith in her driving skills.
At the Gate Clock — the Wetherspoon in Greenwich — the other week I saw a number of people in wheelchairs. The atmosphere was of a normal social gathering rather than a tick-the-box take the raspberry ripples out for a spin session, though there were a couple of carers in attendance, including one for a woman whose mobility was so limited that she was compelled to operate her power wheelchair using her chin to push at a pair of paddles. And very skilled she was. I wouldn't say she was quite doing wheelies, but it was most impressive.
And of course you can barely move a dozen yards down the street these days without being menaced by some re-energized semi-ambulant senile delinquent attempting to mow you down with his mobility scooter.
Good luck to them, say I. I don't think those of us who are lucky enough to be independently ambulant using the legs and muscles that came with the original package appreciate quite how liberating these technological developments have been. And I for one am prepared to cut them
19 January, 2011
The description of these blokes sliding down the rubbish chute into their hidey-hole comes across as a bit on the melodramatic side. I find myself wondering, did intrepid Standard hack David Cohen wait for the caretaker to let him out the following morning or did he clamber back up the chute in order to move on to his next visit, the underbridge sleepers of Heston Bridge.
Well, OK, I'm not going to argue the toss about that; let's accept the basic story as true enough. And I wish these men no personal ill will. I have occasionally found myself dossing down in some well dodgy impromptu gaffs in my younger days, but I'm glad to say I never quite reached the stage of sleeping on the streets and certainly not such salubrious accommodations as described here; I certainly don't envy them their plight. And it is commendable that the local gurdwara is feeding these men and is able to provide some daytime support.
But let's have a look at who these people are and how they got into their situation. By and large they have been staying and working here illegally as visa cheats or overstayers. As such they will mostly have been working in the informal illegal-immigrant economy, which not only means they will have contributed nothing in the way of tax and national insurance, but also that they will have been royally screwed by their employers, paid well below the statutory minimum and without benefit of health and safety or other protections. What little surplus they have managed to accumulate will mostly have been returned to the Subcontinent in the form of remittances. They have contributed nothing to the country, other perhaps than to the profits of those businessmen in the legitimately-settled Indian-heritage community of Southall who have exploited them. And now they are surplus to requirements, their exploiters have cast them out.
Angry reader Jayke, in the comments, as well as chiding us with a fatuously irrelevant "nation of immigrants" trope, offers a gratuitous and rather offensive allusion to Swift's Modest Proposal. Well I have a modest proposal. The less scrupulous Indian businessmen of Southall, having willingly and cynically benefited from these people's desperation as well as cheating society at large, and indeed those not directly involved who have nevertheless given tacit approval to these practices, should now a) fund immediate humanitarian aid for these people, and b) fund their return to India as soon as practicable. Perhaps these men can fulfill a useful purpose on their return by making it clear to their compatriots that the streets of London are not in reality paved with gold.
17 January, 2011
I have spoken to the man standing at the bar with the pint of Foster's and the bag of cheese and onion, and while he agrees that child sex-abuse is a universal problem or, "Yer, well, there's bleedin' scumbags and nonces in every community, mate", as he succinctly put it, he continues to regard "Groups of Pakis cruising round in Beemers looking for young White girls to corrupt and turn into prostitutes" as a discrete and identifiable problem with specific racial and cultural elements and which needs to be addressed separately.
The response of the liberal elite was as predictable as it is shameful. Shameful in that not only does it attempt to shift the focus away from a genuine problem which has wanted attention for decades, but that these Righteous fools are prepared to risk fomenting an unnecessary national hysteria in order to mask their embarrassment. Clearly the spirit of Rebekah Wade is not dead. I look forward to reports of enraged illiterate lynch mobs roaming the countryside in search of faculties of suspected pædiatricians once again as the Pakistani grooming gangs continue to ply their trade with impunity in their northern fastnesses. They'll be getting a lottery grant for it, next.
Denial is not a river in the West Midlands
The reaction at Secular Café reminds me of an exchange I read on another web chat forum a year or two ago. It's one of those "I wish I'd bookmarked that" moments — the virtual equivalent of the "I wish I'd had a camera" moment, though I guess these days we usually do have a camera, inexplicably built in to our mobile phones; I've never understood how that came about. In any case the discussion thread in question may well have fallen off the archive by now.
The thread was one of those interminable "immigration, good or bad?" rambles, with most of the participants being on the wide-eyed, diversity-celebrating "pro" side. One of these, keen to illustrate the benefits of immigration, was banging on about how much he liked the cuisine of a particular foreign culture. Being a reasonably competent cook, he would often visit a local specialist grocery, owned by people of the relevant ethnicity, to buy the ingredients to prepare an "ethnic" meal at home.
Warming to his theme, he went on to add that so familiar had he become to the proprietors of the shop, and on such matey terms, that while they continued to charge him a higher price than they took from customers of their own ethnic group, he nevertheless received a discount off the usual White man's price.
An asynchronous web chat forum is not the same as a spoken discussion between people in a room; the non-verbal dynamic is missing. That's why we resort to things like smileys in a largely unsuccessful attempt to fill the gap. But you can infer a certain amount from the choice of language and punctuation, from the use of emoticons, even from the timings between posts on a very active forum, and so on.
And I can only describe it thus. There was the equivalent of a stunned silence, like that which follows a loud obscenity spoken absent-mindedly in the company of a posse of maiden aunts. A sympathetic commenter asked our man if he realized what he had just said. A "mumbled" acknowledgment returned. A further awkward pause ensued, and then a "moving swiftly on" moment after which the subject was changed completely and the embarrassing post was never mentioned again.
Well, perhaps I overegg a little, but the episode was both fascinating and telling. The consensual collective delusion was accidentally pierced and the collective responded by tacitly agreeing to ignore the puncture.
16 January, 2011
A stranger in an increasingly strange land
14 January, 2011
A rather uncasual approach to prosecution
No decent, upstanding person would, of course, read anything into the apparent preponderance of South Asian names in the CPS hierarchy, as exemplified by the CU post and indeed suggested anecdotally by my wider reading. I am, however, minded of this organization, the National Black Crown Prosecution Association, an officially recognized representative body, among whose aims are
WE SEEK TO:
- Challenge racism within the CPS and wider Criminal Justice System (CJS)
- Educate on issues of racism, and
- Change the culture of the CPS and the wider CJS for the benefit of the communities we serve
"We seek to change the culture of the Crown Prosecution Service and the wider Criminal Justice System for the benefit of the communities we serve."
Democracy in action
Democracy, Weyman and Martin, but not, perhaps, as we know it.
While we're on the subject of the UAF and Barking, they, like the blessed Mrs Hodge herself, are pretty cock-a-hoop at their successes in "defeating the fash" in last year's general and local elections. (More here.)
Which begs a question. There are tight controls on what a candidate may spend to promote himself and his party at an election. And, as I fuzzily understand it, a slightly beady eye may be cast over direct (party- or candidate-specific) third-party support from nominally unconnected sources. Yet here we have the UAF/Searchlight/Hope Not Hate grouping campaigning quite specifically against the BNP. At considerable expense, using funds from undisclosed sources. There's a Hope not Hate video floating around YouTube somewhere, proudly showing the logistics of a large-scale leafleting operation and boasting of the deployment of over 500 leafleters and canvassers.
So why is this sort of thing — unconstrained and unaccounted election campaigning against a specific candidate and party — allowed? In the run-up to the 2008 London Mayoral and GLA campaign, my own dear trades union wrote to its London members, telling us not to vote for the BNP. They've not tried that impudence on since, having been told comprehensively to mind their own <insert expletive of choice> business.
And while we're at it, if Woolas was brought to book for telling outrageous porkies about his LibDem opponent in Old & Sad, why wasn't the fragrant Enver Hodge given a similar pasting after gathering the recently-arrived "coloured" residents of Barking into large halls and telling them how, if the BNP achieved power, immigrants would all be loaded into aeroplanes and thrown out over the sea? I mean, telling folk that Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons sit down to a breakfast of grilled pickaninny every morning in Brussels is one thing, but there are limits, old girl.
All very well, young man, but were the "communities" ever united in the first place? I remember a then young woman of my acquaintance, born and raised in Keighley, complaining volubly about sexual nuisance and disrespect from the local "Pakis" and a general "them and us" atmosphere.
And that conversation took place nearly 45 years ago.
12 January, 2011
Nick Griffin ate Barack Obama's hamster
Gunman may have white supremacist linkshe attempts to build a link with the BNP. WTF?
WTF indeed. Our starting point is
The US Department of Homeland Security is investigating whether Jared Loughner, who has been charged over the attack, in which six people died and 13 were wounded, was connected with the racist and antisemitic organisation American Renaissance.As well it might. A fruitloop has attempted to assassinate a US congresswoman. A Democrat — albeit a seemingly fairly conservative one. Of course the investigating authorities are going to be checking out all the plausible and even implausible angles. I mean, didn't our own dear police force feel it necessary to check out the Blue-Rinsed Nonce of Bristol in connection with the death of Jo Yeates? Just routine, Sir. If you're innnocent you have nothing to fear.
Sonia continues with a broad, rambling attack on AmRen including its various contacts with Nick Griffin and other UK "far-righters". All fascinating stuff, including, Gordelpus, a little aside about Savitri Devi, but bog all to do with the matter at hand. What's this got to do with Loughner and his shooting spree? All is revealed near the end of the piece
American Renaissance has denied any knowledge of Loughner. “No one by the name of Loughner has ever been a subscriber to American Renaissance or has ever registered for an American Renaissance conference,” Taylor [AmRen head honcho] stated yesterday.That's it.
Actually cleverer than it looks, this stuff. If Sonia's ploy is successful, this will be repeated as a meme across the Antifashosphere. Once the content — or lack of content — has been stripped out, it will become an "established fact" that the BNP was involved in the assassination attempt on Gabrielle Giffords.
Indeed, the process has already started. See this Lancaster Unity comment thread.
Good stuff this politics, innit?
11 January, 2011
What's coming over Auntie?
Nine men have been arrested as part of a police investigation into sexual exploitation of teenage girls in Greater Manchester.Asian men? Not MONAs?
They were held on suspicion of rape, inciting child prostitution, allowing a premises to be used for prostitution and sexual activity with a child.
The Asian men, aged between 20 and 40 from Rochdale and Heywood, were arrested on 21 December.
And later on we have this gratuitous paragraph:
A Greater Manchester Police (GMP) statement read: "It is our policy not to confirm the ethnicity of people arrested unless it is relevant to the crime - in this case it isn't."Editorial peasants revolting then, Auntie? Or differently™ revolting than usual, anyway.
Meeting yourself coming back
A staggering 450,000 tons of steel was used in its construction – enough for almost 65 Eiffel Towers – and 2.3 million cubic metres of concrete, equivalent to filling 3,800 Olympic-sized swimming pools.I can just about visualize an array of 65 Eiffel Towers, but 3800 Olympic swimming pools — filled with concrete, no less — overtaxes my tiny mind.
Trouble at t'Mill
A number of people, among them The Quiet Man and Dick Puddlecote, have picked up on the exclusion of the BNP (and EDP) candidates from a hustings at Delph for the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election.
The BNP spin on the story is that their candidate, Derek Adams, took his place on the platform, at which point a local Labour councillor played the "no platform" card, the Old Bill were mustered and our Del was out on his ear.
The Saddleworth News website paints a different picture. The organizers claim that Derek Adams was not invited to participate in the first place. His group were invited as audience members; Derek taking a seat on the platform was actually a "sit in" stunt.
The reasoning is interesting.
The event was put on by the Delph Community Association and Delph Traffic Group. In a statement tonight, the organisers said: “No hustings or candidates’ question time in this constituency has ever had all the candidates on the platform and there is no legal requirement to do so. On Thursday night the Oldham Chronicle organised a question time with just three candidates on the platform.”This is either disingenuous or naïve. If there are indeed practical limits on numbers, then there are ways of making the cut in a self-explanatory and defensibly democratically reasonable manner. In the present case, one might
The statement continued: “It is simply not practicable to hold a question time with more than five speakers and with ten candidates a choice has to be made. On Sunday the three main candidates were joined by the Green candidate Peter Allen, whose party has a councillor on Oldham Council, and Paul Nuttall the UKIP candidate, who is also an elected member of the European Parliament for the North West.”
- — Invite only the "big three".
— Invite the "big three" plus the established minors: Greens, UKIP, BNP and arguably EDP, while excluding the two joke candidates and the Pirates.
— Invite all ten.
Messy. On balance I'd say the BNP win the propaganda skirmish on points.
Update: This comment at Saddleworth News from Stephen Morris, the EDP candidate, sheds further light.
Cllr Hulme’s [organizer of the hustings, apparently in an email reply to Mr Morris] reason for only inviting 5 – “5 candidates have been invited – all those from parties with councillors sitting on Oldham Council – Green, Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative plus a sitting MEP from UKIP who is standing as a candidate. Clearly these are the candidates who could be in a position to assist us in achieving our objectives after the by-election is long gone.”They're making it up as they go along, aren't they?
The English Democrats have absolutely no history of campaigning on local issues like traffic in our area and as this meeting is first and foremost about local traffic issues it does not seem appropriate to invite yourselves to the meeting.”
07 January, 2011
Two schooners of Thing's Old Dog Fart if you please, mine host
I'm not sure what to make of the proposal to scrap mandatory measures for drinks sold by the glass. Certainly I welcome the idea of a beer glass intermediate in capacity between the pint and the half pint. There are times when the full pint is too much, but the half-pint is a ridiculous measure, a cupful, a mere sampler, a poofter's social accessory. One is tempted to cock one's little finger when holding such a glass, in imitation of a caricature lady of quality sipping demurely from a cup of tea. When ordering the odd half to fill that awkward but remarkably common gap between the train you're about to miss and making sure you are there on the platform ready for the next one, I try to retain the nearly empty pint glass and tip the poofter's half into it.
So a measure around the 35cl mark would be a welcome enhancement of the drinking experience™.
To suggest that the availability of smaller measures would counteract binge drinking, however, is ridiculous. A binge drinker will drink as many pints of binge, or half-pints of binge, or schooners of binge, or indeed thimbles of binge, as are necessary to achieve the desired state of inebriation. In fact reducing the size of the individual glass may have the unintended consequence of increasing the volume of drinking. If the glass in your hand is little more than a glorified mouthful, the tendency, certainly when session-drinking in convivial company, is to knock it back in one, leaving you awkwardly cradling the empty, necessitating an early revisit to the bar to plug this embarrassing social void.
The moderate drinker will generally welcome the availability of a wider range of sizes, but if the sanctimonious do-gooders and health Nazis expect such a change to impact 'positively' on 'problem drinking', they may well be disappointed.
Totally scrapping controls on glass sizes is another matter and would be a rip-off merchant's charter. If I pop into my local hostelry for a 50cl glass of Old Dog Fart at £3.00 and later on call in at another establishment for a 55cl hair of the same dog at a whopping £3.20, which is the better deal? Actually something like this already happens. I am quite partial to the Polish lager Lech. This is sold in your typical suburban or small-town 'Spoon at £2.40 per 500ml bottle. So how does that compare then? It works out at £1.60 per 33cl or £2.74 per pint. (Do it in your head, yer wimp. When I were at school, bloody calculating machines filled half a desk and cost a year's wages.) Maybe we need the equivalent of those supermarket shelf labels that inform you that the price of your 275g wodge of shrink-wrapped cheddar equates to so much per 100g so you can compare prices with "down the road".
Nothing's ever as simple as we fondly imagine, is it?
06 January, 2011
Marketing for beginners
Meaning: We have closed our London brewery.
Signs in coffee shops: No more mugs! We now serve coffee in proper cups.
Meaning: We have massively reduced the portion size and knocked a token couple of pence off the price.
03 January, 2011
Is this a record?
Nothing wrong with listing incoming links if you want to prove how jolly popular you are, Sunny, but this stuff is dishonest.
On the hour - rolling news for today's fast-paced lifestyle
Martin Brunt (sexily dishevelled as ever): Well, strictly speaking he's not a suspect, Kay. He's officially just helping police with their inquiries. However I was talking to man in a pub just now who said that anybody who looks like Jefferies must be, in his words, "an obvious bleedin' nonce, innit?"
KB: Bang to rights, then. Thank you, Martin, we'll be back to you in fifteen minutes for some more desperate insinuendo. And now Sport, and I'll be pointlessly interrupting Jon Desborough's report on the Ashes for the next five minutes, just to remind everybody whose show this is.
Meanwhile over at Broadcasting Hice:
James Tweedledee (for it is indeed he, the wee Scots puffball): Well, Minister, the Humpty-Dumpty Report, due to be released later this morning, is expected to conclude that the Prime Minister is a tiresome two-faced wanker who cannot be trusted. What do you have to say to that?
Minister of Denials: Well, Jim, we don't know that. We'll have to wait until the report has been published.
JT: Yes, of course, but the conclusions have been widely leaked and are well known. It is understood to propose that the Deputy Prime Minister should be replaced by a ventriloquist's dummy. What is your view?
Min of D: I can't really talk about this until the report has been published. Why don't you invite me back tomorrow when we've all had the opportunity to read the actual document properly?
JT: Hmm. Armand Tightlips, Minister of Denials, thank you very much.
Sensible man, I thought.
Update: Well, more an addendum really. Even I make spelling mistakes, typos and thinkos. I originally typed "to remind everybody who's show this is" above. Perhaps a Righteous reader can advise me if that qualifies me for full knuckledragger status, or do I have to work harder at it?
02 January, 2011
To start the new year off properly...
Q. What did the onlooker say as the disgraced samurai was beheaded?
A. There's a bit of a Nip in the air.
Q. What scooter do Sicilian mafiosi ride on their way to an assassination?
A. The Vendetta.
Q. What car does the Vatican recommend to Italian parish priests?
A. The Fiat Lux.
Having got that out of my system, may I wish you all a Happy New Year.