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Archive for January 26th, 2007

Hail to the Chief …. a state of the union, Friday night, peroration / rant… whatever….

Primus inter pares is clearly a doctrine which Lord Protector Blair has not been that interested in for some time – but one cannot help but admire the fact that he is (a) still PM (b) is taking all the flak and seems to be pretty relaxed about it and (c) will almost certainly (He is still young) go on to do more on the international stage. We are a tolerant and politically disinterested nation. When Prime Ministers leave the stage we tend to regard them more fondly – viz: Margaret Thatcher, Sir John Major (even after the revelations that he was interested in Edwina Currie), etc etc…and quite rightly so.

I accept, having decided to prescribe Tempranillo for my injuries tonight, and having had a few glasses with the Editor of an established political journal late last night, that I may be about to lose all perspective on current political events.

It matters not – because ‘qua Charon’ I do not have political ambitions, nor do I seek to be a ‘pundit’ on such matters. BUT… I have a feeling that Witchfinder-General Reid is probably out of the running for PM after the events at the Home Office this week (if he was ever a serious contender? – as I have believed for some time) and that we will soon have Gordon Turpin, The Highwayman, as PM.

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The Sun pictured Reid without a brain in today’s edition – apparently. I gather Reid gave a Walnut Whip [Overseas readers: ‘Walnut Whip’ is a popular British chocolate – probably not 70% cocoa solids and absolutely nothing to do with ‘Le Vice Anglais’ ] to the person at The Sun who devised the competition to find the Home Secretary’s ‘walnut sized brain’. I say, apparently, because I rarely read The Sun – but a friend told me about the pic and the article.

I do not share the same view of Reid as depicted in The Sun. Reid may be a ‘bruiser’ – but he is, to my view, a clever man. Perhaps, with ‘hindsight’ , styling the Home Office as ‘not fit for purpose’ in his early days as Home Secretary, may not have been wise. What goes around, comes around – and Witchfinder is under pressure now. Good that Charlie Falconer, untainted by election pressures (and no longer unduly burdened by having to be Head of The Judiciary etc etc) can ‘come to the rescue’ by asserting that ‘we’ (UK plc?) have a problem in relation to the number of prison places and ‘that it may well be that we may not be able to imprison those who should be imprisoned’ for the time being.

Why don’t we use the Millenium Dome?… a perfect space – and one which Charlie has some experience of. Plenty of room… good light… reasonable security – certainly the equal of some of our open prisons.

What is clear to me – on this, Friday 26th January – is that Gordon Turpin is gagging for it… he has waited for years, since the famous dinners at Granita in Islington, to be PM. He has had to spend nearly 10 years managing the economy, in solitary confinement. Now he can emerge, like a butterfly…pure…, untainted by the Iraq war, untainted by Bush… to deliver us to the promised land and save our souls from perdition and the fires of hell and Al Qaedr et al.

It would not surprise me if Gordon Turpin meets Shilpa from Big Brother, in the not too distant future, for a photo opportunity… and I am sure that someone will tell him that beige chinos, however well fitting, and a blazer, is not a great look for him. [Curiously, I admired his refusal to wear ‘white tie and tails’ for dinners at The Mansion House.] As a Scot… I won’t be sorry to see a Scots PM (we have, after all, had union with England for 300 years) … and what other credible candidate, apart from Witchfinder Reid, have Labour got to put up, now, for PM?

It is just as well that I do not hold myself out as a political commentator. [Do you think Channel 4 might be interested?]

I will end this disjointed peroration by saying that I was horrified by the pictures of the new ‘military’ style uniforms for our ‘border cops’ – the Immigration service. Blue shirts, black ties, epaulettes? I rather liked the more subtle ‘civilian’ dress of our passport control officers. Much more efficient, subtly sinister…much more ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’, Ian Fleming etc. The new uniforms will make our Immigration officers look like ‘Cold War’ quasi (or should that be ‘Stasi’) police officers… or, worse, traffic wardens. We do not need to have a uniformed Immigration service…. do we?

I may well need to delete this post on the morrow – on grounds of public decency. If you wish to complain… I am sorry that I do not have an expensive phone line for you to use – You may phone OftheWall or Channel 4. I am sure both organs of our State will be pleased that you have taken the trouble to ‘evict’ me, and, particularly so, in the case of the latter, in the light of their problems today with the latest telephone public vote on Big Brother.

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Something for the weekend?…

It is Friday…the day is done… and here, in remembrance of a brief snowfall in London this week, is a film which demonstrates how not to drive in the snow. Crazy!

If you fancy your own business card and can’t be bothered to sit down and design it in Photoshop – let this tool do it for you. The red for Rioja, the bubbles for ephemera… a minimlalist approach.

Air Traffic control

Tower: “TWA 2341, for noise abatement turn right 45 degrees.”
TWA 2341: “Center, we are at 35,000 feet. How much noise can we make up here?”
Tower: “Sir, have you ever heard the noise a 747 makes when it hits a 727?”

Delighted to learn from RollonFriday that injurylawyers4U have won an award.

“InjuryLawyers4U has been awarded the dubious honour of foisting the “Most Irritating Advert of 2006” on an unsuspecting public last year.

The award is decided each year by the media trade mag Marketing. The InjuryLawyers4U ad featured a cross examination in court with both witnesses and lawyers earnestly mentioning “InjuryLawyers4U” as many times as they could. With a whopping 57% of the vote the ad saw off strong competition from the likes of Cillit Bang and Kerry Katona’s efforts for Iceland.

Certainly irritated the hell out of me – but those other adverts featuring people falling over and then cutting to a cheque are equally irritating. Mind you, with my recent personal injury experience, I may apply to feature in their next advert.

Paxo interviews Tony Blair – ‘University Challenge’ style.

I enjoyed this clever short film.

And while you are at it, I think you will enjoy this very clever pastiche with Blair and the song “Should I stay or should I go?”

And finally… If you would like to practice rolling lavatory paper (which, of course you are able to do in the privacy of your own bathroom or even at work) – you may now do it online. Have a good one.

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From The BBC website: “A man who downloaded child pornography to his computer has avoided jail after the home secretary asked judges to limit prison terms due to overcrowding. Judge John Rogers QC gave Derek Williams, 46, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gwynedd, a suspended sentence. The judge at Mold Crown Court said he was “bearing in mind” the home secretary’s advice to only jail dangerous and persistent offenders.”

The full story has been reported in the press. The BBC reports: “The Sentencing Guidelines Council recommends a custodial sentence should be the “starting point” for possession of child pornography.” Details of the specific facts of the case are a bit thin in press reports, but it seems that the judge did “bear in mind” the home secretary’s advice to only jail dangerous and persistent offenders” in handing down a suspended sentence.

The shadow home secretary, David Davis, has contributed to the debate by saying, and I quote from press reports : “We now have a situation where sentences are being dictated by the prison capacity and not the severity of the crime.”

What next for the Home Office? Perhaps we could contact our EU neighbours to see if we can hire space in their prisons? Perhaps the United States has a secret facility somewhere in Europe which could be used? Extraordinary rendition…

I would like to help…but I don’t think my spare room would be suitable. Perhaps Channel 4 could help and gain PR points with the government and the public by making the Big Brother house available?

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