Category Archives: Education

Don’t call me Paki, Mac.

Now that we are seeing EU migrants leaving the UK at an ever accelerating rate, the bleating has started – which is a surprise because when the government announced that  it wanted foreigners to arrive in ‘tens of thousands’ rather than hundreds of thousands, there was hardly a whimper.  Now we have moaning about labour shortages and how vital cheap foreign workers are to our spluttering economy…..but it’s no more that we deserve.

Our government’s style has rarely been proactive. For instance, once the referendum farce had been settled, the government should have affirmed the importance as well as the ‘safety’ of all foreigners already living and working in the UK….but instead, it played its usual ‘wait and see’ game because anything else would have needed a decision!

However, it is not just political incompetence and intransigence which is to blame for the coming exodus. There is a much more sinister undercurrent at play and it is to do with the Brits’ very strong herding instinct whose tendency is to reject rather than to assimilate.

The most racist people on the planet are the Brits – so why the hypocrisy?  Here in the UK, the Blacks get it, as do the Welsh and the Jocks – as well as the Micks. The English don’t like the Germans or the French – and as for anyone from the Indian sub-continent……….and  don’t even mention the Chinks. The Italians are a joke and of course, Hitler was Austrian. Don’t even get me started on fat Americans or those boorish Aussies.

The English acquire racism like a family heirloom which travels through the generations. Consequently, the stem-cells of racism begin to develop very early. How many English people reading this (and I include all politicians) have ever seen the inside of an immigrant’s house here in the UK? How many have had a Bangladeshi, West Indian or Chinese family over for dinner.

My own mother lived in the UK for 60 years and never saw the inside of any of her her English neighbours’ houses. Mind you – she did have an accent! I am not surprised because first generation immigrants rarely integrate into the wider society – usually for cultural and language reasons – a phenomenon which politicians appear to be totally unaware of as they bang on about our ‘multi-cultural society’.

In the 1960s, I was one of the trailblazers for Johny Foreigner. My parents were from Eastern Europe and at school, I was one of the few children with a foreign name. In spite of the fact that I was born in Huntingdon and was indistinguishable from my school friends, i.e no accent or colour, I was a nevertheless a target for racist abuse.

Over fifty years later, I still remember the first time that I was called a f****** Pole. My accuser was a pikey (oops!) short-trousered seven year-old and I am not ashamed to say that I hit him – and guess what?  I was caned. Thinking back, I truly believe that the seven-year old’s parents should have been flogged instead of me because the eloquent slogans of British racism tend to be passed down the generations. No child was ever born spouting racist bile.

As recently as a year ago I was told “Go back to where you came from!” by a seventy-something Englishman who knows nothing about me except that I have a foreign name. On that occasion I reported the matter to the Police  – who did nothing except file a couple of statements.

History repeats itself. My own children went to school in France and their strange English accents really interested their French counterparts and within weeks they had fully integrated .  Within a couple of months, they were accepted as  honorary little Frenchmen. In fact it is no exaggeration to say that their French friends  and teaching staff were quite  proud of the fact that they had two English boys at their school.

Several years later, we returned to live in the UK. Guess what?  Within one day, my sons came back from school crying, telling me that they did not want to go back because their new school friends were calling them “Frogs”.

I had to have a quiet chat with the headteacher . He found the whole thing very amusing and treated me to the usual “boys will be boys” routine.

So let’s PLEASE stop the hypocrisy because collectively and democratically, we wished for a huge decrease in migration for all sorts of spurious reasons……and as you know, you should always beware what you wish for.

A.Foreigner.

 

Cinderella Law? Bend Over!

It has been confirmed that the government is considering whether to introduce a new offence of Emotional Cruelty to Children. It is aimed at parents “who deny their children affection”  and is the result of a campaign for a “Cinderella Law” from ACTION FOR CHILDREN.

The British Empire became what it was through the actions of the emotionally damaged, as have successive British governments. It is the emotionally damaged who make the world go round!

We live in a country where it is not unusual for a child to be packed off to Boarding School at the age of SIX. Surely, THAT is the ultimate example of parent-child emotional deprivation…with the added frisson of the possibility of sexual and physical abuse!

There aren’t enough Social Workers to deal with THAT !

The average foreigner’s caricature of an English gent is that of an emotionally-crippled, uncaring and unfeeling toff….. and bearing in mind that worldwide, we’re mainly represented by members of the Government, who can blame them?

A Cinderella Law, properly implemented is in danger of not-only putting hundreds of well-to-do parents in the Dock but ripping apart the fabric of British Society.

United Kingdom economic growth is weak and will remain weak. That means that unemployment will stay high.(It is the same today as it was before the 2010 General Election). No amount of statistical engineering, designed to tart up the government’s performance will alter that basic fact. The latest announcement by the Prime Minister of NOT maintaining the right of the 16-25 group to claim benefits means that young graduates will now be starting their adult lives in debt with little or no help from the State which put them in debt. Reminder to the Coalition government: AMBITION is driven by SELF-ESTEEM. What the government is doing is showing that all the talk of encouraging entrepreneurship in young people is nonsense because they are destroying the very mind-set  which they need to nurture.

FOR PARENTS: Last year a survey of 19 year-olds indicated that   that 285,000 of them had left school at age 16 without a Grade C or higher in both English and Maths and only 21 % of those who had not gained a good grade at age 16 in English continued studying  it, along with 23 per cent of those who had not got a C or better  in Maths. QUESTION: How many did not continue English and  how many studied Maths? That question is very simple arithmetic. However, as a nation, we don’t “do” sums. When I was at Citibank, I organised a voxpops-type street survey in which we asked passers-by to calculate something like “What is 60% of  50?” LESS than HALF of the participants  (all adults) were able to give the correct answer……… Today’s much-maligned kids are just as good at arithmetic as their parents…..and by the way….THAT is why most political and economic statistics are presented  in percentages rather than in REAL terms!  Most of us have NO IDEA what they mean!   #NationOFthickos

Children are to keep taking and retaking their Maths and English GCSE exams until they have passed with at least a Grade C. Why single-out English? Did you know that these days, children are passing Language GCSEs such as French, without being able to speak it? Why should English be any different? Things is really went from badder to worsest.

GCSE Results… Same old?

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An economy in trouble prints more and more money and by doing so devalues the currency  which ultimately becomes worthless.

An education system in trouble prints more and more GCSEs, A-Levels and degree certificates.

The diagram above (for those who did not pay attention at school) is a Standard Distribution curve.

This type of curve represents all sorts of phenomena – especially to do with people. For instance, here in the United Kingdom we might want to look at salaries and how many people earn lots, how many earn very little etc. In that case, the curve might be called a distribution of salaries.

As you can see , the green-coloured area on the diagram represents the majority of us who earn either side of the average wage, the blue areas represent those who earn either a little bit more or a little bit less and the red areas show the lucky ones who earn lots or the very unlucky ones who earn very little.

Intelligence and academic ability also follow this type of distribution. We are not all Einsteins and at the other end of the scale – we are not all morons. Most of us are either side of average.

That brings me to today’s annual GCSE debate and the attendant mantras. : “They’re getting easier.”  ” Too many A-grades.” etc.

The figures in white represent the percentage of students that one would roughly expect to score the grades shown from A to F.  (With A, B and some C-grades being University material)

At one end, we show a small area in red and (in white figures) roughly the percentage of students that (statistically) we would (statistically) expect to score an A-grade : the very clever ones.  The equivalent on the right shows the E-grade.  Those are the not-so-bright students who just scrape through.

At the far end (on the right), we have the students that  you would expect to fail. I’ve classified them as “F” but nowadays, they are designated as “U” or “unclassified”. What we used to call thick.

Those are the extremes but you can see that most are in the green and blue zones.

That’s not just statistics – that’s life.

The figures in black along the bottom of the above diagram represent the actual percentage of students who have scored  particular  grades in the last few years. There is a substantial difference between the expected  (white) and the actual (black).

It appears that there are very few (normal) average students these days – the ones you would expect to make-up the majority of the population.

This year’s A-level results suggested that about 75%  or three in four students  are average or above average.

Academics are arguing (quite rightly) that it is difficult to distinguish between clever and exceptionally clever students.

The “experts'” solution was to introduce the A* grade for marks in excess of 90%.

Why not simply “redistribute” existing grades and have an A-grade which is for results of say, 85% and above or maybe 90% and above. Thisd is finally being done but for political reasons, progress HAS to be slow.

The primary issue is that it is  difficult to distinguish between average students and the terminally stupid ones.  The system is not sensitive enough.

Incidentally, if we are  to use the terms “bright” , “clever” and “gifted” we should not be afraid to use adjectives such as “stupid” and “thick”. Otherwise, the morons with degress will have a nasty surprise when they leave the comfort of the “University of false hope” and shuffle into the workplace or more likely, the dole queue.

Firstly, it is not the fault of the students who appear to be over-achieving and who are not really bright enough to attend what is nowadays called “University”.

The combination of aspirational parents, ambitious headteachers, dubious teaching methods, spurious subject matter and league tables have all conspired to fool us all into thinking  that we have a cleverer population than is fact.

We are all still  hostages to a crumbling old socialist dream spawned by the politics of envy and a desire to massage unemployment statistics.

We are not alone.

Not so long ago, I was in a Middle Eastern country and was chatting to some very bright-sounding Americans. I told them that I was training some senior executives for a well-known oil company and asked then what they were doing. ” We are writing Ph.D dissertations for some local students. We get between $3000-$5000 per document.”

Here in the UK, we already have one foot on that particular slippery slope.

How times have changed.

Many years ago, I recall my school maths teacher handing out examination results.

“Smith !” He bellowed to my friend. “You have scored 6% in Mathematics. You must work harder, boy!”

Smith looked a bit perplexed ” 6% out of what, Sir?”

Fast-forward 40 years. Smith has retired early with about £20 million in the bank.

University is not compulsory and we must stop, think and then return to proper education and proper Universities.

If  GCSEs, A-LEVELS and  Degrees are devalued any further, I can envisage the day when people will deny having “Qwaleefikashuns” and pride will be restored in non-academia.

Would you want to admit to a degree in Equine Psychology or Surfing?

We should look forward to the day when once again University students read without moving their lips  and who can write a decent essay without the aid of “cut and paste”.

Finally, just to show that you cannot fool the real world – over 100,000 University students drop-out after their first year.

Nearly a quarter of all university students FAIL to complete their degrees.

The average drop-out rate is nearly 20% and some “Universities” have a drop-out rate of about 40%.

(For those of you from Sir John Crap Metropolitan University in Lower Uppingham who can read this – that’s about a fifth or nearly a quarter.

40% is twice that  or nearly (but not quite) a half.

Sod it! Here’s something to colour in:)

linedrg.jpg

Not a Graduate? Tough!

It has become fashionable for politicians to spout about “apprenticeships” – although most look and sound as if they may not quite be sure what one is. Although they do know that it is something that the young underclass does at “work” …………whatever that is.

Unlike the Germans, we still consider an apprenticeship as a bit “infra dig” because Mr and Mrs Smith would still prefer Little Johny to “have a degree”.

“He’s the first in our fambly to have letters after ‘is name. We’re so proud!”

This British quest for letters after one’s name is one of the reasons why we continue to fail as a manufacturing nation.

Reality Check: Not everyone can be a desk jockey.

According to the CIPD, SIX OUT OF TEN  United Kingdom employers do NOT offer routes into their organisation for non-graduates.

But on the PLUS side, we have one of the best-qualified Unemployment Queues in the Western world.

The British and sex.

The British nation’s obssession with sex is considered one of its more endearing traits. Lots of reports about it, talking about it, thinking about it, teaching it, studying it  and even advertising it. The end-result? One of the highest teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in the world.

The latest addition  is a very explicit film entitled “Living and Growing” . Its target audience is the United Kindgom’s Primary School population. I am not going to describe the content of the film but if you have no problem with your eight year-old learning about masturbation, orgasms, anal sex, flavoured condoms and the rest of the sexual spectrum, then you obviously cannot be shocked by this story:

A widowed 70 year-old lady was living temporarily with her daughter and her family. One day, her 10 year-old grandson returned from school. After he had dumped his school bag, PE bag and trainers in the middle of the hallway, he was just about to run upstairs when his grandmother smiled and said to him, “Hello Jimmy – and what did you learn at school today?”

The smile froze on her wrinkled old face when young Jimmy replied ” We learned about penises, vaginas, fucking and wanking.”

“That’s nice, Jimmy” replied the shocked grandmother as Jimmy ran barged past her  upstairs to his room.

The grandmother found her daughter cooking in the kitchen and repeated the hallway exchange with her grandson and how shocking she had found the encounter.

The daughter explained ” Mother, this is the 21st century and this type of sex education is quite normal. Jimmy’s been learning all about sex for a few years now. By the way, can you please tell Jimmy that supper’s just about ready.”

The grandmother shook her head in bewilderment. She turned and decided to freshen up before the meal and set off up the stairs to the bathroom.

As she was walking along the upstairs landing, she noticed that the door to Jimmy’s room was ajar.

She peeked in to convey her daughter’s massage, just at the moment when little Jimmy was ejaculating over his computer screen to the accompaniment of the grunts and screams emanating from the porn movie playing on the laptop.

“Jimmy,” she said, ” Your mother says that supper is ready – just  as soon as you’ve finished your homework.”

Shocked? You’re obviously more than eight-years-old.

(I should also point out that I have no problems with the more exotic aspects of sex marketing, education and paraphernalia. For instance, I consider the glow-in-the-dark condom as probably one of mankind’s most useful-ever inventions. It has given me the freedom to read in bed after the lights have been switched off.)

The inevitably violent?

We live in a  society where success is measured by consumption – the ability to buy. In recent years, the buying-game has  become a celebrity sport which is advertised daily in the media. The “haves” flaunt their riches whereas all that the “have nots” can do is look at the pictures and dream.

Eventually there comes a time when the hard realisation hits. You are NEVER going to either win the lottery or become famous. No-one gives a shit about you or your dreams. Then comes the day when you realise that even the mantra “Anyone can do it – anyone can become a success” is a lie  spouted by the few lucky ones.

You used to eye the Beckhams, the Royal Wedding, the Prime Minister and other rich people with envy but now you envy anyone who has a job. Like your father , mother and grandparents, you will live and die anonymous. History will never know you. You are a nobody.

Your grandparents didn’t give your own parents that most precious of commodities – the one which all decent parents give to their children – their time and love. Your parents (if you ever met them) deprived YOU in the same way.

Your parents assumed that you would do badly at school and  you didn’t disappoint.

Now, you are thick, inarticulate and poor. Just like the rest of your family. Your future is measured weekend-to-weekend. Anything beyond that is too scary to contemplate , yet it is already mapped out for you – right up until the day you die. You will live and die within a few hundred yards of where you were born.

Money is NOT a great motivator but lack of it is. It is the greatest demotivator of them all – bar none. It doesn’t matter to you because you will never possess it and neither will your own unfortunate offspring. You will be permanently and terminally poor – the only legacy which you will pass on to your descendants. After many generations, poverty and the chronic inferiority complex which only the poor understand  have been hard-coded into your genes. They will follow you for ever.

So what do you do to generate a bit of false self-esteem? You are incapable of surviving on your own but you do need to bolster your ego. You have no money with which to impress but you DO need to be admired. Your refuge is the only hiding-place of the poor brainless male:

The hotbed that is the homo-erotic haven of  The Gang.

Because you are among other nobodies, you can challenge and outdo each other. That’s lucky because there is absolutely no way in which you could compare yourself to somebody with an education or money in their pocket. You are stuck among your own – and there is no way out.

These  days TV studios are  full of overweight black social workers and scruffy white psychologists. They all (wrongly) believe they have the answer to your problems. The only trouble is that you do not see your lifestyle as a problem because you have never actually entered a normal person’s life. You have no idea about a warm loving home. In fact, you haven’t much idea about anything.

All the social workers and psychologists in the world couldn’t retrospectively give you what you REALLY need – a normal upbringing. It is too late.

Everything about us all is either Nature of Nurture or a combination of both. Nature has genetically programmed you to be a failure in ALL departments with the final flourish of the Lack of Nurture provided by your parents, cementing your character and outlook.

The Gang provides you with the means to exhibit some creativity – unfortunately, the only way that you KNOW how to express yourself is through the medium of violence – but only within the cocoon provided by your peers. That is because you do not have the social tools with which to be able to act independently.  You are even crap at being violent.

So in conclusion, my sad little hooded friend – you will inconvenience “nice” people for a few days. That will give you a taste and glimpse of an alien world to which you will never belong. You will touch shiny things that you have only seen in pictures and you will covet them –  but you will never really own them. Your escapades will make you even MORE bitter as you briefly taste how the rest of the human race has evolved.

We, on the other hand are looking at you with the wide-eyed wonderment of a young child on its first visit to the zoo. We knew that you lived around here somewhere but most of us have never seen you – our biological  cousins  who have once again confirmed Darwin’s Theory.

Traditionally, we have always either shot or caged a new species. In your case, because we live in enlightened times, you will be locked up for a bit, someone might study you for a while and then you will be released back into the wild of the inner-city.

Different species have always managed to live in parallel – as long as they respect each others territory. Urban foxes have learned to co-exist peacefully – why shouldn’t you?

Tell you what – you stay out of our lands  and we’ll leave you alone to continue your own evolution on the understanding that there will be times when you do feel the need to stray into our Land of Plenty in order to carry out the occasional raid.

You never know, there may come a day when you feel able to embrace our ways, even  learn the language and perhaps return to the main evolutionary flow.

One day, Homo Riotus Vulgaris may even evolve into a species similar to our own Homo Sapiens.

(Am loving the Nikes)

University or REAL Success?

Let’s get one thing straight about the Coalition’s hurry in taking the brakes off University Fees. It has less to do with the country’s  mountain of debt and much more to do with the rapidly growing  student population.

University used to be one of those words which was associated with clever people. Then we experienced the advent of large unemployment figures which seasonally self-adjusted upwards when the  school year finished and tens of thousands of school leavers joined the back of the dole queue.

Politicians had a meeting and thought ” What if we keep these youngsters in education or training and hence off unemployment?” At the time, the idea must have seemed a jolly clever wheeze. The resultant  plan was Baldricesqe in its cunning: Allow every crap institution which houses anything to do with teaching to become a university, fill it with morons and you immediately remove the mid-summer unemployment “blip” plus, you postpone these special-needs-academics’ membership of the Unemployed Club.

Then you just sit back, dish out worthless degree certificates, continue to hire immigrants for the REAL jobs and “Bob’s your father’s brother”. You have a pseudo-egalitarian education system whereby every thick pikey with a pad of paper can wear the old mortar board and Harry Potter cloak as he fills out his Jobseekers Allowance form –  three years after he should have done. What could possibly go wrong?

What was wrong was that too many wide-eyed hopefuls were hitting the university trail producing too many degrees without additional jobs having been created. All that the three-year postponement of unemployment achieved was that individuals  bagan to collect their various allowances at age 22 instead of 18.

A university degree has now lost its kudos – unless it is from Oxbridge. Don’t believe me? Walk into any London restaurant and ask any waiter who isn’t Polish whether he or she has a degree. Try the same exercise at a Tesco or Asda checkout.

10% of graduates are still unemployed six months after graduating. That is the highest proportion for 17 years, which coincidentally is when New Labour came to power. There has also been a very marked increase in graduates taking jobs which do not require a degree. That has simply meant that they have placed themselves at a three or four-year disadvantage on the career ladder compared to those who began work immediately after leaving school.

A recent survey of 225,000 graduates has shown that rising numbers are taking jobs that do not require degrees, including as waiters and checkout workers.

The previous highest percentage of  unemployed graduates was in 1992 when the number was 11.6%. At that time, the United Kingdom was approaching the end of the previous recession – which was nowhere as serious as the current economic situation.

Currently, only about 65% of graduates who are in-work achieve a degree-level job (as defined by the government) and the biggest “growth” area for university leavers is the retail and catering sector with ONE IN SEVEN graduates (15%) starting their careers within that industry.

Fine Art graduates have the lowest initial income (£15,000) which is £5000 below the average. The highest starting salaries are among students who studied Chinese. The future.

Over the last two years, it is the Public Sector which has continued to recruit a disproportionate number of graduates. That does not bode well for the future as it is this sector which will see the most savage jobs cuts. Degrees with a “Social Studies”  or Healthcare-related bias have seen the largest graduate intakes in the Public Sector, although even those have only risen by 0.5% in the last year.

Contrary to popular opinion, IT-related graduates have fared the worst with over 17% still being unemployed six months after graduation. That is even higher than the ubiquitous Media Studies graduates who managed a comparatively decent 15% unemployment rate after six months. The rest are probably flipping burgers.

12% of engineers remain unemployed after six months whereas the more generalist subjects such as Geography and Psychology produced the highest graduate  employment rates with only about 7.5% being unemployed after six months. However, many of those are working in non-degree-specific jobs.

It has been claimed by a UCU (University and College Union) spokesman that an uncertain job market and higher fees could “turn talented people away from university”.

That, theoretically, should be a good argument for not transferring any more of the cost of a degree to students. However, instead of the government paying the price for policies which have totally devalued a university degree, it is applying a uniform solution to our current economic chaos.

It is asking future generations to fund the mistakes of  successive inept administrations.

Finally, there has been a lot of Ministerial talk on the subject of entrepreneurship and “stimulating young budding entrepreneurs”. I have some bad news. The Brits make lousy entrepreneurs.

Why? Because they do not have that “merchant” mentality. We are indeed a nation of shopkeepers, advisors, accountants and civil servants. That’s what we’re good at. We’re good at telling others what to do and at measuring things.

Here’s an extract of the top  names from Britain’s latest Rich List:

Lakshmi Mittal, Roman Abramovich, The Duke of Westminster, Sri and Gopi Hinduja, Alisher Usmanov, Ernesto Bertarelli, Hans Rausing, John Fredriksen, Philip Green, David and Simon Reuben, Leonard Bravatnik, Sean Quinn, Charlene and Michel de Carvalho, Kirsten and Jorn Rausing, Samy and Eyal Ofer, Vladimir Kim, Earl Cadogan and Family, Nicky Oppenheimer, Joe Lewis, Sir Richard Branson, David Khalili, Lev Leviev, Anil  Agarwal.

Notice anything about the nature of the names?

If you want to be successful, forget university. Either inherit large tracts of London and if that doesn’t work, become either Jewish, Russian  or Indian. It is the dealmakers who shall inherit the Earth.

Most of the world’s great entrepreneurs did not attend university – they were too busy making money. Unfortunately, we in the UK still suffer from our own special brand of intellectual snobbery whereby a university lecturer on £30k per year will look-down on a barrow-boy from Essex with £10 million in the bin –  on the basis that he’s thick and cannot distinguish between a Chardonnay and a Blue Nun.

Our problem is that we care more about appearances that we do about money and we like letters after our name. Paradoxically though, if someone hands us a business card with “BSc(Hons)” after their name or worse still “MBA”, we think that they are a jerk-off. We are a complicated people.

Britain’s (degree-free) working class parents dream of their Wayne or Waynetta attending university and “becoming someone” through the magic medium of a degree. “Get some QUALEEFEECATIONS behind you.” is the working class Mantra. Notice that it is “qualifications” and not education. Often we sacrifice the latter for the former.

It doesn’t happen, folks. In the United Kingdom, it is class and contacts that matter – alternatively, you need the credibility of a foreign name.

The university “thing”  has been the biggest-ever con of the last twenty years and it continues to be so.

This time though, the government’s actions are driven by the very real need to reduce the number of university places so that a degree reverts to being a privilege for the very very  clever poor, the very clever rich and the quite clever very rich . The  government doesn’t really want our money, it needs to close those ridiculous pretend universities with the Mickey Mouse degrees.

If the Browne (another cunning disguise?) review which recommended the lifting of the current tuition fee ceiling has the effect of drastically cutting our graduate intake, it will be the best thing that happened to this country for a generation. On this occasion, support your government – and don’t go to university. Start to make your fortune three years earlier!

All those Aarons, Benjamins, Jacobs, Lakshans, Ashoks, Gregoris and Nikolais can also have an early start towards that first million.

If you think about it, when  Nick “Tough Choices” Clegg,  our Deputy Prime Minister changed his mind about University Fees, he wasn’t being a duplicitous spineless bastard.

He did our future economy a very big favour!

Tried “Hotlegging”?

EVEN SOLDIERS PISS ON MONUMENTS

Give pees a chance

Pissing in public has always been a great student sport. Shop doorways, car parks, lifts, telephone boxes, graveyards and many other quiet venues  have had their fair share. The secret is to do it discreetly and quickly.

However Philip Laing,  a 19-year-old student not only urinated over a poppy-wreath which happened to be on a war memorial but he was photographed doing it. His mum must be so proud – especially  as the photo was plastered over several newspapers. Needless to say, he has been charged by the police and has already been up before the beak.  

“The image of your urinating over the poppy wreath on the war memorial in this city will make most turn away in disgust, shock and sadness,” said District Judge Anthony Browne.

“It has undoubtedly distressed and upset many. The war memorial is a sacred and a special place.”

A contrite Laing, appeared in the dock wearing a poppy (bad advice!) and pleaded guilty to outraging public decency. The photographic evidence suggests that he did not have much choice in the plea department!! Technically, however, it was the moron who sent the photograph to the Daily Mail who really  outraged public decency. The Daily Mail then put the photo up on its website, so that even more people could be outraged. Nice work! 

The judge adjourned sentencing for reports, saying all options including custody, were open.

In mitigation, Laing’s lawyer said that the student  had drunk a bottle of whisky before attending an organised student drinking session and had no recollection of what had happened. Mind you, he was standing, had managed to undo his trousers and his aim appeared quite good.

The court was told,  “The disgusting and reprehensible act the defendant carried out was in no way premeditated, targeted or politically motivated,”  and  “His actions were sadly the result of having consumed large amounts of alcohol.”

Let us all hope that the poor boy is not banged-up or that his parents ( he’s a student) will not be fined too much. He appears to have been punished enough by the publicity and ridicule.

Unfortunately, we are in the uber-emotional body-bag induced throes of  soldier worship as a result of current military escapades; so pissing on a war-memorial may not have been the best move. Let’s hope that the judge remembers his own student days.

Laing was released on bail until the next hearing on November 26.

 

Hotlegs

I’ve just been reminded of the old football-terrace sport of “hot-legging”. This sport was very popular  until all-seater football stadia were introduced – especially in Scotland. 

When attending a football match, it was a mystery to the uninitiated as to why so many spectators carried newspapers into the football ground. In actual fact, the newspaper was an essential piece of equipment, especially if you had been in the pub immediately prior to the game.

When you had the urge to pee and you were standing on an overcrowded terrace, it was a simple matter of discreetly rolling up the newspaper,  putting the far-end of the rolled-up newspaper into the coat pocket of the person immediately in front of you and directing your stream of pee into the other end of the newspaper.

Quite easy unless your team scored and the person in front of you suddenly started to jump up and down. Very painful (so I’m told). After a few minutes, as your efforts soaked through the lining of his overcoat, your victim would begin to experience “hot leg”.

Ah…. the good old days.

Bonfire Night

Lewes in East Sussex is the epicentre of bonfire and firework-related activities in the United KIngdom. Tens of thousands of enthusiasts of all nationalities pile into the town to watch the torchlit processions organised by all of the county’s Bonfire Societies.  Then, after the processions, it’s off to the various giant bonfires which are distributed around the outskirts of the town. It’s a fabulous evening with a really “safe” carnival atmosphere – only ever ruined by the OTT police presence. They do their best but most of them appear to be imported plod who don’t really want to be there.

And tomorrow? A thin pall of smoke will hang over the town as volunteers clean up the streets of tons of the most amazing mixture of debris – everything from bottles and cans, burger boxes, spent fireworks, burnt-out torches as well as the odd reveller. The vast bonfires will be still producing a surprising amount of heat but they too are tamped down as the town begins to plan next year’s bonfire night.

I love the smell of baked hedgehog in the morning.

Friday October 2nd 2009

  • Ethiopia has suddenly become the focus for all anthropologists. An ancient  skeleton was found in 1992 and it has taken 17 years for the research team to rebuild it. Why all the excitement? The skeleton belongs to an in-between species of humanoid about 4.4 million years old. It has been designated Ardipithecus Ramidus. It is not “the missing link” but by extrapolation, it appears that it is probably about 9 million years since the division between apes and humans. So where was John Prescott this week?
  • The East of England Minister Barbara Follett is to stand-down from Parliament. She is (was) Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism. Her reasons for leaving? Yes, it’s the old chestnut: “For family reasons – to spend more time with my family”. Heard her name before? She’s the MP who claimed £500 to repair a Chinese rug ( don’t we all?) and she also claimed £25,000 “for security reasons”. She has since repaid all of the money. So how could she afford to sign such a large cheque? Her husband is millionaire pulp fiction writer, Ken Follett. Barbara and Ken epitomise the “champagne socialist” and are chums of Tony and Cherie Blair.
  • Jobs for the boys. Former Northern Rock boss, Adam Applegarth is now an advisor to Apollo Management. They are an American Equity firm. Adam is advising them on the purchase of bad loans, including parts of Northern Rock bank, the former Building Society he brought to its knees. Perhaps a touch ironic but perfectly legal. He will earn about 200,000 per year which is a lot more than the thousands of people who lost their jobs at Northern Rock. It’s all very worrying.
  • Today, Ireland will vote in favour of the Treaty of Lisbon. It’s their second attempt. The Irish economy is currently in such an appalling state that they appear to have little choice. However, if they do not support the Treaty, then it’s curtains for the Treaty.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting that the British economy will grow by 0.9% next year. That’s about four times the current politicians’ prediction. House prices have returned to their pre-crunch 2008 levels, the FTSE 100 index is UP. As one of the few people who predicted nationalisation of the banks, I am still not sure whether to put the Bolly on ice just yet.
  • Vanessa George, Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen. They are the three baby-abusing perverts who are spread all over the newspapers today. Angela Allen is the one from Little Ted’s Day Nursery in Plymouth. She photographed herself sexually abusing babies as young as 12 months. Whichever prison they end up in, they are guaranteed some very close attention from other inmates. The burglars, drug dealers, fraudsters etc look almost honourable professionals next to these degenerates. I do hope that the other prisoners are not too gentle with them.

Wednesday September 30th 2009

  • So the Sun will not be supporting the Labour Party. No real problems there, except the usual one. Why should an Australian like Rupert Murdoch have any say in which newspaper supports which Party. The Sun is read largely by the drooling classes who are very susceptible but regrettably, there is very little that can be done. The Sun’s sister paper , the News of the World, no doubt is poised with some salacious Labour politician scandal ready-to-go.

 

  • The Sun will not just be pro-Cameron  – it will be strongly anti-Gordon Brown. The Sun will do the same assassination job on Brown as it did on Neil Kinnock . The Sun has a circulation of 3 million which means a readership of about 9 million – so  when the Labour Party says – ” it’s people who decide elections”  – they are not really being naïve because they know deep-down that seven months of relentless mickey-taking of Gordon Brown by the Sun will have a profound effect on working class views. Remember that this is the paper that helped Margaret Thatcher to power – they’re THAT good – and relentless. Incidentally, did you know that one James Murdoch is a pal of David Cameron? Coincidence? Er…No.

  • Today’s Conference speeches by Ed Balls and Andy Burnham are very likely to be delivered to a near-empty Brighton Centre. Quite right too.

  • One hesitates to dispense advice to Labour MPs but those who are screwing either their secretaries or researchers should beware  – at least until the First Thursday in May 2010. Whatever you’re doing that is naughty, illegal or vaguely interesting – stop doing it immediately. The News of the World will be releasing the hounds at any minute. For all you know, they already have their snouts in your dustbin.

  • Why was Gordon Brown banging-on about “change”? They’ve had 12 years. It’s a bit late with only a few months to go.

  • Gordon Brown has announced a referendum on how we vote in future – a subject always popular with minority parties. Which counting system will the referendum use? First Past the Post, the Single Transferable Vote or the Alternative Vote method? I think that Gordon looks like a Schulze Method man.

  • Good to see Martin McGuiness attending a Party at the Grand Hotel. Wouldn’t it have been ironic if someone had blown up the hotel – just like his IRA did in 1984?

  • 350,000 old people are to receive free home help. The only good thing about that is the fact that the £400 milllion cost is being made available by cutting some “bolt-on” NHS departments such as Marketing(!) and Communications. Get rid of them anyway.

  • Nero’s revolving dining room has been discovered in Rome. I’ve been in lots of rotating dining rooms in my time  – funnily enough, they usually begin rotating at about 11.00 p.m on a Saturday evening. We call it the “whirling pits”.

  • Tuesday September 29th 2009

    • Interesting statistic which doesn’t appear to be receiving the publicity that it deserves: In the United States, a house is foreclosed or repossessed every 7.5 seconds. As usual, the politicians are taking care of business at the macro-level, while the grass-roots are burning.

    • It is an excellent idea for Gordon Brown to take-on the other two Party leaders in televised debates. Any future Conservative or Liberal vote should be a “pro” Conservative or Liberal vote and not an anti-Labour vote. The Labour backroom boys, led by Darth Mandelson are obviously running a campaign centred-around the comparative inexperience and youth of the other two leaders. That’s fair, because that’s exactly what the Tories did  to Tony Blair in 1997. Admittedly, David Cameron and the Liberal David Whassisname look fresh and youthful compared to Brown – who currently looks as if he has been cage-fighting with his hands in his pockets but in spite of his comparative lack of political fitness, he is not to be underestimated. He will be boring but he will come out fighting. There will be blood. We’ll know by late next week whether David Cameron and George Osborne have steel and substance. Constant criticism and sniping at the Government by the Opposition is quite entertaining but when it comes to a General Election, we will need to witness views and hear policies. Having said all that, remember that PERCEPTION is king and if in spite of brand-new shiny policies from the Tories, the Labour spin machine manages to make David Cameron look like a shallow “oik” then the forthcoming election will be much closer that we currently perceive.

    • One of the ideas being kicked about at the moment is the saving of millions of Education pounds by  cutting teaching assistant jobs in schools. In the UK there are 40,000 teaching assistants – they’re the ones who sit in the classroom with “challenged” children or take them on zoo trips. They are all very nice people, I’m sure –  but a waste of money. Many of the children don’t need a glorified baby-sitter – they need specialist teaching. While we’re on the subject of cuts , I would take an immediate horizontal slice through the current Education Department bureaucracy and take-out all those school advisers – the ones in the designer suits with Series 3 BMWs. They are a waste of time but unfortunately , many are ex-teachers. 

    • Conference time is the time when politicians churn out populist crap in order to grab newspaper headlines and cheap applause. Gordon Brown now says that he will turn 11,500 Post Offices into the “Peoples Bank”. That’s what Building Societies used to be. There was one other bank which used to be popular with the “people”. Now what was that called?…… Oh yes, it was called the Trustee Savings Bank. Whatever happened to that? Here’s a quote from Gordon: “I want the Post Office to step in to help hardworking families to save and access their money easily with banking for the people in our neighbourhoods”. If Brown thinks that he is going to create a new banking system in under eight months, then perhaps Andrew Marr was right about the happy pills. Brown is obviously playing without the full complement of marbles. Oh yes – one final thing. “Hardworking” working class families need JOBS. They rarely save their Giro cheques.

    • Today’s the day that Gordon Brown will either  read the best speech of his life or stumble his way through the world’s most-boring and longest-ever suicide note. Whichever way it swings – there will be lots of applause, back-slapping and standing-up.

    • If you keep putting rats in a cage and keep adding rats, there comes a time when they start eating each other. The human equivalent is the run-down council estate. Weak rats are prey to the bigger and stronger rats. That is exactly the phenomenon which killed Fiona Pilkington and her disabled daughter Francecca. Mrs Pilkington was driven to such desperation through being goaded and verbally abused by a gang of young pikeys that she set-fire to herself and her daughter. Not the best way to die. Needless to say there will be enquiries, lessons will be learned, the Social Services will be exonerated, the Police will make excuses, the local Council will hold a press conference and make a statement. By now, the whole process is probably in an Operations Manual somewhere.

    • Jack Straw is surprisingly eloquent today. The trouble is that The Brighton Centre seems half-empty or as the Tories might say “half-full” or as the Liberals would say “too big”. Let’s hope it fills up when the leader performs. The Labour Party is going to play dirty this time. Straw mentioned Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act. This was repealed by Labour in 2000 and was the section of the 1988 Act which stated that a Local Authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality”. They should stop dragging up 20-year old legislation (under which there wasn’t a single prosecution). Homosexuality is not an issue in 2009 and “New” Labour is clearly demonstrating what little legislative success it has had in the last 12 years. Occasionally they still bang-on about 13 years of Tory Rule!!! Labour should fight on current policies. By the way, when Jack sat down, the reception was at best muted, at worst underwhelming. As the spin doctors might say: He received a seated ovation.

    • Fiona Phillips off the telly is speaking but she is having difficulty speaking because she appears to have  her tongue well-stuck up Alan Johnson’s well-groomed backside. She is acting, flicking her hair and simpering like a love-struck typist who’s just shagged the boss. At least Johnson, who looks (and sounds) more Bookie’s runner than Statesman has the good grace to look embarrassed. What the f*** was all that about? “Airhead introduces Postman Pat”? 

    • There is one session that we presenters and speakers like to avoid – if given the choice. It is the session immediately after lunch when your audience arrives full of food and drink and whose brains are temporarily in semi-shutdown as their stomachs begin the digestion process. We call it the Graveyard Session. Wonder who’s speaking this afternoon? Oh yes! Him! Perhaps the audience needs to be semi-comatose. If it isn’t, it soon will be.

    • I’ve just been watching a recording of John Denham speaking at the Labour Conference. Is it me, but doesn’t he look like a Conference League Football Referee? He’s another one who disapproves of David Cameron’s “Notting Hill” Policies. All Labour speakers are talking-up the social gap between the poor and the Conservative Party. A dangerous and desperate strategy. Only Mandelson has verbally placed the Labour Party firmly in the middle of the political spectrum but he also took the opportunity to accuse the Tories of lurching to the right as soon as they are elected. The Socialists are going to defend  that middle ground to the death. That is where the election will be fought. The Labour strategy appears to be to make the electorate perceive the Tories as a gang of inexperienced extreme right-wing Notting Hill hoorays.

    • Have you noticed how the Party that’s behind in the polls always accuses the BBC of “bias”. Today we have anti-Government bias – in the old days, under Her Thatcherness and John Major, we had BBC left-wing bias. Apparently the BBC is capable of bias in all sorts of delicious flavours and colours.

    • Gordon Brown has started his speech with a list of Labour achievements. That’s the first five minutes gone. He has obviously structured his speech very simply. The next list is one of his cabinet and their achievements. That will probably be another ten minutes. Luckily I have a hairdressers appointment at 3 o’clock. He’s just mentioned Northern Rock. Talking off-script? He started with a smile but has now forgotten it and his expression has returned to looking as if he’s defusing a Taliban bomb. I notice that his <pauses for applause> seem to be immediately after he has mentioned a large number of some sort and his intonation changes as if he’s saying “Crackerjack pencil! “He’s mentioned Harriet and Alistair but has now stopped naming Cabinet members. My current thought is that his speechwriters should be ritually disemboweled and fed to Darth Mandelson. His speech has now become the usual drone. As he is slagging-off the bankers, I fear that it is time to go. If you listen to his speeches, you will notice that he seldom uses adjectives or adverbs. I just killed a fly and wonder whether I should turn the Aga back on today, in  spite of the sunny weather. Our field was cut a couple of days ago but I just cannot summon the energy to cut the lawn. It takes two hours. Gordon Brown is still talking. He doesn’t like banks, does he? Surprising therefore that he’s invested so much of our money in them. I’ll record it and come back later after a couple of Bushmills. He’s just used the most exciting phrase of the whole speech – Economic Model. Enough. He’s off on his pre-leaked Post Office bollocks.  Low carbon Zones? He knows how to give his audience a good time.

    • What’s all this about “Middle England”?  Why don’t they just say Northamptonshire? Or do they mean Middle Earth?

    • In the USA, the Federal Housing Association has a leverage ratio ( What it owes compared to what it owns) of 50-1. Interestingly, that’s just about the same as Bear Stearns had on the eve of its collapse. The FHA insures about $750 billion in mortgage debt. In the UK, “leverage” is known as “gearing”. They are both euphemisms for debt.

    • Have you noticed that the £-Sterling is just about to achieve parity with the Euro?

    • An ASBO is an Anti-Social Behaviour Order and it is usually given out to pikeys and their parents. The trouble is that most of them are so thick that they probably think that an ASBO is a qualification which will be worth a few points on their UCAS form when they go to University to study demolition or vehicle hotwiring. I’ve just seen some ASBO-pikeys being interviewed and it seems that the sub-species favours a single earring and a tattooed neck (men) and the women have to be very fat with bleached hair. Their natural habitat is either a bus shelter or a stained sofa which faces a television. They only eat orange-coloured food – as long as it doesn’t contain fruit or vegetables.

    • Just saw a re-run of Sarah Brown introducing Gordon. She was good. She will be a major Labour weapon in the forthcoming General Election. I wonder if David Cameron’s wife Samantha is taking Powerpoint and sincero-talk lessons?

    Monday September 28th 2009

    • Excellent headline grabbing by that jug-eared gargoyle Andrew Marr. He is without doubt a supreme journalist but his questioning of Gordon Brown yesterday was inexcusable. Suggesting that Brown needs prescription drugs to get through the day, followed by Brown’s admission that he has trouble with his eyesight was a direction that no journalist should steer. There is a real danger that if the Tory Press goes down the  ” Brown’s a sick man and therefore unfit for office” route, there will be a swell of pro-Brown sympathy. Then, if the Socialists succeed in portraying the Tory Shadow Cabinet as a bunch of hoorays lounging about in the senior common room with David Cameron as a self-serving Head Boy, there is a very real possibility that Labour will retain office. Undecided voters are driven by PERCEPTION and not by policies  or past performance. Remember John Major’s victory in 1992? He was behind in the polls, yet in that year claimed the most votes in British electoral history. Leading up to the 1992 election, Labour had been ahead in the polls since 1989 plus the economy had entered a recession under the Tories. Yet Major won and remained in power until 1997.  He won because the electorate liked him and thought that Neil Kinnockwasaprat. Nothing to do with policies.

    • Alistair Darling is going to deliver his usual speech on bank bonuses. “Clawback”, “Unacceptable” “Deferred” etc.will all  make their appearances – as they have done for many months. Alistair Darling will “pledge” to clean-up the banking industry. The proposed Fiscal Responsibility Act sounds like another focus group creation and no doubt, there will be another Financial Services Act close on its heels. He is obviously working on the principle of “If you can’t win the argument – legislate”. It’s all a monumental waste of time but look on the bright side – we will be living in a society where the highest earners are footballers and pop singers. Something which our children can really aspire-to.

    • Gordon Brown says that he won’t  ”roll over”. I do wish that his speechwriters would give him words that he is comfortable with. What’s next? “I ain’t goin’ to be no Tory dude’s bitch. Shabba”?

    • Roman Polanski arrested on a 31-year-old warrant. Apparently in 1978 there was a plea-bargain andhewasto receive a nominal sentence if he pleaded “guilty”. The judge then reneged on the deal so Polanski absconded. Originally, Polanski has been charged with rape by use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14 but the plea-bargain reduced the charges to  a single charge ofunlawful sex with a minor. Polanski was six years old when WW2 broke out and like many Polish children who grew-up during the war, he was damaged. Add to this the horrors of the Manson murders and the killing of his pregnant wife, Sharon Tate, it is doubtful whether Polanski has ever been in what we might call a normal psychological state. However, the fact remains that he did horrible things to a 13 year-old girl and is a convicted criminal who probably still poses a danger. There is no Statute of Limitations for this type of crime but as his victim has forgiven him and so much time has passed, one hopes that the high-level diplomatic activity currently taking place will result in some sort of amnesty. There should be a White House statement soon.

    • The next Labour Prime Minister is the new the darling of Conference. Yes, Peter Mandelson earned a standing ovation and became the Labour Party joker today after delivering an appalling speech. He stumbled over the funny lines, his timing was out and his voice was its usual oleaginous drawl. However, the Conference highlight up to that point had been Alistair Darling and had it not been for Mandelson, they audience would have been engaging in synchronised self-harming. That’s how dire it had been. He is going to extend the scrappage scheme <applause>. Sadly, he appeared to be talking about motor cars and not the Cabinet. The scrappage scheme will keep the Japanese, German and Korean car industries going for a couple more months so let’s hope that their own governments can take over soon after that. 

    • Tomorrow Gordon Brown is widely expected to give “the speech of his life”.  That good eh? He’s probably in his hotel room practicing by reading the instructions on his Corby trouser press – that’s just about the level of excitement that he’ll generate tomorrow. But the Labouristas will clap and there will be a standing ovation. Is it true that the conference-hall doors lock from the outside?

    • Alistair Darling’s speech also had all the excitement of a talk on basket-weaving at the local WI . He obviously had gaps in his script indicating <pause for audience reaction>. Unfortunately, the pauses were more exciting and informative than the text. As expected he did some pointless macho posturing on the subject of bank bonuses  – in the certain knowledge that the whole thing will be picked up by “Boy” George Osborne and lost in the mountain of unfinished business that Labour will leave behind in the May 2010 rush to clear their desks.

    • The British Frigate IRON DUKE scored a decent stash of Colombian Marching Powder, weighing 5.5 tons with a street value of £250,000,000. Apparently , the fishing boat containing the stuff was sailing erratically and suspiciously. That’s Coke for you! The only worry is that instead of sinking the boat WITH the cargo, the frigate is now taking the cargo to New York. Let’s hope that H.M.S Iron Duke doesn’t sail up 34th Street all shiny-eyed and twitchy to tie-up outside Macy’s. 

    Sunday September 27th 2009

    • Just down the road in Brighton THEY are arriving for the Labour Party Conference – or should that be the New Labour Party Conference. Did we elect Labour or NEW LABOUR? Anyway, that’s  now just a technicality or a long-forgotten dream of how things could or might have been. Here’s a Labour FACT, given to me by a friend who used to be Chief Barman at the Grand Hotel. More Champagne is consumed at the Labour Party Conference than at all other conferences and he told me stories of vintage Champers being quaffed  – not from a young lady’s glass slipper but from PINT jugs. If I recall correctly, that particular incident involved a gang (?) of Trade Unionists. Now THAT’S Socialism.

    • You know things are bad within the Labour Party when John Prescott begins to look like a Statesman (comparatively speaking). When Johno was Deputy Prime Minister, he used to deliver those grammar-free rabble-rousing “calls to arms” which could have been such fun if we’d understood what he was talking about. This year it’s Harriet’s turn and it won’t be the same. It will be the difference between a drug-crazed, alcohol-fuelled multi-position shagfest anddoingitquietly, Missionary-style with the lights out.

    • Gordon Brown is to introduce a law which is currentl;y being referred-to as the Fiscal Responsibility Act (FSA) (running out of ideas,perhaps?).The Act will oblige all future Governments to reduce the country’s borrowing by a set minimum amount. Needless to say, the amount and timescale are yet to be decided – probably a commission or enquiry… So what will happen if a Government fails to repay the minimum amount in a given year? A fine? Arrests? I suggest firing squads.

    • The Labour spin doctors have decided that David Cameron will be portrayed as a shallow toff – a script and autocue-reading “hooray”. Normally, that would upset the Tories but then they remembered the alternative.

    • Quote from Gordon Brown: “By 2015 we want our country to be fairer, greener, more prosperous and democratic.”  Seems to me that we have several Labour admissions in that sentence.

    • Lord “Darth” Mandelson has referred to David Cameron as “hugely arrogant”. Not really much more to say on that one.

    • Mandelson has said that he believes that the forthcoming election is “up for grabs”. Yes it is – by the Tories.

    • Great interview in the Sunday Mirror today. Vincent Ross interviews Mandelson and re-defines the phrase “butt-kisser”. Perhaps a spin-job awaits at No.10?

    • Iran is launching missiles today. So, they have missiles and they’re developing the capacity to stick nuclear warheads at the missiles’ sharp-end. I am now off to have another “No shit, Sherlock” moment. I shall report when I’ve worked it all out.

    • Why are the authorities making such heavy-weather of Baroness Scotland and “CLEANERGATE”. If they announced an amnesty for all illegals, they would have to hire at least one Wembley Stadium to fit them all into. Leave the Baroness and her cleaner alone. Is it because she’s clever, female, attractive and black? Mind you, she is Labour. See what you mean.

    • Ken Livingston has just married. At London Zoo. There are some things which are way, way beyond parody.

    • “I want this so badly” “It’s been a great journey for me” “Singing is my life” ” I’m doing this for my (sob) brother/mother/ sister etc”  and ” I’m sure he’s looking down on me” The last one is about Simon Cowell. He’s not dead – just incredibly condescending.

    • Great quote from Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan “Shagger” Cole on Jo Wood. ” One of Jo’s big strengths is that she’s alive.”Considering how long she lived with Ronnie Wood- it has to be worth a mention and maybe a box of chocolates. We all hope that Ronnie Wood is reunited with Jo as soon as possible-he is currently risking his life. Some of those Russian girls will do anything for a bowl of Borsch and clean sheets. Anything.

    • In 2008, the NHS collected £112 million in parking charges. With such figures, perhaps the NHS should concentrate on parking and stop the healing and surgery  activities which probably distract them from where the REAL profits are. Perhaps a joint-venture with NCP beckons? Worryingly, £28 million was collected from its own staff. It’s a great wheeze. Tax the sick, tax their families and tax those who look after them. Who helped with the Business Model? Gordon Brown?

    Saturday September 26th 2009

    • The  American Fed has issued the following statement:   To provide support to mortgage lending and housing markets, and to improve overall conditions in private credit markets, the Federal Reserve will purchase a total of $1.25 trillion of agency mortgage-backed securities and up to $200 billion of agency debt.”  Now we can watch the demise of the once-mighty American Dollar. Fund Managers and Investors will now start dumping dollars like confetti. A TRILLION is a million millions and in this case, it represents more Quantitative Easing or to be strictly accurate, the purchase of toxic assets with “printed”  i.e non-existent money. The sort that caused the global banking meltdown. This is a case of throwing bad money after bad.

    • President Obama has announced tough new capital requirements for banks as well as more stringent rules on bank borrowings. If you were to ask what these rules are likely to be or when they are to be implemented, the answer would probably be “We haven’t really decided but it will definitely happen later.”  They are saying that  the rules will be phased-in once financial conditions improve and recovery is “assured”. Leaders have been discussing a cap on bank bonuses for a while  but they still haven’t agreed any numbers or timescale. The only thing that they have agreed is that bonus payments should not be guaranteed for many years, should be deferred in part and should not exceed a percentage of the bank’s revenue. That is how vague it is at the moment. When the global economy has healed itself and both governments and banks return to generating profits, most of this will be forgotten because by then, the balance of power will, once again have shifted back towards the banks and the next boom-bust cycle will begin.

    • The least entrepreneurial profession of all is banking. There is a vastly different mental attitude between say, an entrepreneur such as Richard Branson and say, MervynKing, the Governor of the Bank of England. That rule works all the way down the line until we have the small local businessman and the small-town banker. Chalk and Cheeze. Incidentally, when I say “entrepreneurial” – I am referring to people who take risks with their own assets.  Just to reinforce the cultural difference – bankers will gladly take risks with other people’s money – especially in very large amounts – as evidenced by the cause of the current Global Banking crisis. However, when a local business goes to its local bank in order to borrow say £20,000 to purchase a machine, lots of fiery hoops are assembled for the business to jump through, fees are charged, personal guarantees are demanded, forms need to be filled out, cash flows and business plans are sought . So when a  small businessman goes to his bank – the MOST likely answer (especially nowadays) in “NO”.  Perhaps unknowingly, the banking profession is not-only killing itself but it is also slow-strangling the business community. The banker chose to work in a bank because he didn’t want the worry of not having a pay cheque at the end of the month, he did not want to work a 16-hour day and he didn’t want to cold-call  people in order to drive his business forward. What he needed from his life was predictability, order, neatness and a company pension. This is the paradox: The banking profession has managed to evolve itself into something which it was not designed to be and  it has managed to do it by what is known as the “Halo Effect”. There is a saying “Get them by the balls and their hearts and minds are bound to follow.”  Banks now have “business advisers”  ; mostly young people with degrees who cannot possibly have ever tasted the fears of an entrepreneurial businessman.  Bank management has developed a culture of self-importance and inaccessibility.  Remember the time when a bank manager tried to impress you in order to win your business? Now , you have to ask him to welcome you to his club so that he can look after your money. He is now doing YOU a favour – unless it’s ” I’d love to help you but the System  ( or those upstairs) say “NO”. The banking tentacles have moved further into he business community. Local Enterprise Organisations and  Business Clubs are now both Governed and heavily populated by more bankers. Entrepreneurial andmanagementadviceisbeingdispensed by a profession with little or no practical or first-hnd business experience or knowledge. That is the Halo Effect. Put simply, because the banker knows about money and has you by the balls, you assume automatically that he is able to dispense Tax Advice, Marketing Advice, Sales Advice, Organisational Advice, Training Advice, Recruitment Advice, Purchasing  Advice and any other Advice that you need.  The total power of the banking community is evidenced by the fact that Chancellors, Prime Ministers and even  Presidents are having to say “Please do something about your bonuses Mister Banker.”  Banking has developed into a multi-headed all-powerful Frankenstein. It is not a simple case of imposing a few rules. What is really needed is a massive cultural change within the banking industry and a massive perceptual change from both private and business clients. If you’re a businessman or work for yourself in any way, ask yourself – ” Am I comfortable with taking business or financial advice  and all the other captive-audience advice that they like to dish-out, from an organisation populated by people who obviously did not heed their own advice and lost billions but have no idea what really happened?”  WATCH THIS SPACE.

    •  I received a letter from a Member of Parliament today. He addressed me by my Christian Name. What’s going on? Paranoid? Moi?

    • The airlines appear to be learning from the banks. British Airways will be charging us again AFTER they have our business. We book a flight and then pay an additional fee  to get a seat. Genius! Can you bring your own seat and pay corkage?

    • There’s only one thing wrong with an Indian Summer. The Global Warming Mullahs will wake from their torpor and deliver the usual speech about our emissions. I think that 4X4 vehicles should be compulsory. Have to go now and have my dolphin steaks and light the coal fire.

    • In the last two years, 150 teachers have been sacked for sexual misconduct. A loss to the teaching profession but what a bonus for the Vatican’s recruitment team!

    • Gordon Brown has been voted World Statesman of the Year – mostly for giving away any leftover taxpayers’ money that Mervyn King has not given to the banks. Brown has been generous to Africa and quite right too. In addition, he has enjoyed many politicians’ or Pope’s ultimate wet-dream. An embrace from Bonio who , apart from being big in the dog-biscuit trade, is (apparently) some sort of Irish pop singer. He plays in a popular beat combo named after some American spy-plane. U2, I think. Crucial.

    • Remember Gordon Brown selling off the UK’s gold to China a few years ago? Who better to value, melt-down anddoitallover again with that pile of  gold Anglo-Saxon tat recently dug up in Staffordshire – wherever that is. Middle Earth?

    • There’s a very exclusive TV Club – the old dears who used to read the news and appeared on the Christmas Morecambe and Wise show in the 50s and who did high kicks andeithermarriedapolicemanorshagged Jon Snow or went to live on a farm in Scotland. Pretty soon, the pre-teens running the BBC andthecommercialchannel will be  playground-bullied into re-hiring these venerable oldsters.  Prepare for News at Ten to look like a re-run of Macbeth, Act 1 Scene 1.

    • In 1959, Typhoon Vera struck Nagoya in Japan. There was a 20 ft tsunami, 150 mph winds and 5000 people died. Did you know that they managed ALL that without Global Warming! They could do stuff like that in the 50s. We have a lot to learn.

    • TV’sDoctorGorgeousappearedtohaveeverything – but he was struck by the one affliction that even he could not cure. He lost the ability to keep it in his trousers. Marriage, Mistress, Divorce, Mistress, two-timed Mistress, Girlfriend.  Best of luck mate. The definitive case of “Surgeon heal Thyself”.

    • In an average week, I speak to 5 or 6 Chief Executives – guys I’ve either trained, coached or who I know personally. This week I had the most weird experience with a company CEO and company owner. He fancies himself as a “leader” but  is just realising that he has recently reached the upper limits of his incompetence. The stress-levels are phenomenal and I shall devote a whole article to him next week. Look out for it – it WILL be libellous!

    • Fantastic evening for crumblies. ITV is celebrating 250 years of Cliff Richard. He hasn’t changed one bit – apart from wearing Frankie Howard’s old rug. Well, it’s either that or a  very quiet ginger cat.

    Friday September 25th 2009

    Friday September 25th 2009

    • The mole who leaked the MPs’ expenses information to the Daily Telegraph has revealed what motivated him to do so – apart that is, from the £110,000 fee that he was paid. It now appears that his primary motivation was not money but the fact that serving soldiers were “moonlighting” at the House of Commons. They were working in the Security department and protecting the Civil Servants who were dealing with confidential matters – one of which was Members’ expenses. Apparently, it wasn’t long before the soldiers realised the extent and extravagance of MPs’ expenses and so glimpsed the comparative opulence and excesses of the politicians’ lifestyles.  The very people who represented them and who had sent them abroad to be shot at. The sums of money involved in the claims that they either saw or were told about were further amplified by the fact that the soldiers were doing this extra work in order to buy decent boots and body protectors and other items which would make their soldiering duties easier and safer. It is currently very easy for us to feel very emotional  when they hear stories such as this – but we should proceed with extreme caution because it now seems that the mole is trying to justify his actions in leaking the information. He appears to be telling us that he now feels vindicated because of the “poor” soldiers and because MPs have to-date returned over £500,000 in mis-claimed expenses. Planes bearing dead blown-to-bits soldiers, processions through Wootton Bassett and full-page photographs of a recently mutilated soldier paying his last respects to his blown-up dead buddy certainly do tug at the heart-strings. Great propaganda andimmaculatetimingbyourmole. Now the facts: The mole received £110,000 pounds from a right-wing paper. Currently each soldier receives Osprey lightweight body armour and£3500 – worth of state-of-the-art equipment – including boots and shoes. The mole’s motives for leaking the information would not be in question had he not accepted such a large amount of money – which one presumes has been donated to the Army Benevolent Fund. I am not a great supporter either of this Government or of the pointless shenanigans in Afghanistan but sometimes there are over-sugared pills which are just too difficult to swallow.

    • One question remains: Why were security men  -serving soldiers or not- allowed to either view or be given  confidential information.

    • China , India and Brazil are to play a more prominent part in G20 and will also have more IMF votes. Currently, China wields 3.7% of IMF votes compared with France’s 4.9%, although the Chinese economy is now 50% larger than that of France and  in spite of the fact that China has over 20 Provinces which each has a population greater than that of France. This looks very much like the dawn of the Eastern or New economies and the inevitable sunset for the once all-powerful West. Regrettably, not only is it a question of size and manufacturing power but the West is currently “in hock” to China. Chinese and Indian savers enabled all of us to be borrowers. Now economists are saying that the East has to create the same free-spending and borrowing consumer society that we have enjoyed for so many years: just look where WE are now! Are we really so well-placed as to be dispensing economic advice?

    • Another New Labour piece of legislation which has been languishing in the long grass for a while is the changing or possibly the removal of the Statutory Retirement Age. It is a shame that there are ex-teachers, ex-managers, ex-engineers who happen to be over 65 and who are now either shelf-stacking, working at B&Q or watching Countdown. What a waste. The Government says that the matter will be dealt-with in 2010, in other words, by the Tories. Meanwhile, at least 300 over 65s are taking ex-employers to Tribunals and yet again, lawyers have become involved. That is New Labour’s one big success – through their intransigence and incompetence, they have produced the best-ever Lawyer Job-Creation Scheme. The Brits have always been obsessed with 65 being their time to stop work, relax, take long holidays etc. Unfortunately in many cases it’s retire, sit around for a bit, die.  We are changing as a nation and it is not purely because of the recession or plundered company pension schemes that people wish to carry-on working. Our “retirement mentality” has gradually been disappearing and people genuinely WANT to work for as long as they can. OK, there are very physical jobs where at age 65, you’re clapped-out. For instance, building, mining or farming. You can punish your body to such an extent that by the time you are 50, you start looking forward to the day when you can stop. However, nowadays many of us are engaged in non-physical work which means that we SHOULD be as fit at 65 as we were at 45. Policies should not be driven by a Government with one eye on unemployment statistics because as usual, public opinion is against them. It’s now time for the Statutory Retirement Age to be abolished.

    • Iran is the world’s fourth-biggest oil producer. No wonder they need to make such a vast investment in nuclear energy. You never know! Or, could it be that the Mullahs want to produce nuclear warheads in order obliterate Israel and/or the USA. That’s not possible because the Koran says that Muslims want us all to be their chums. Here are three quotes directly from the Koran (or Quran if you know your Peking from your Beijing). Here goes: “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” (5.51)  or :“So when you meet in battle those who disbelieve, then smite the necks until when you have overcome them, then make (them) prisoners, and afterwards either set them free as a favor or let them ransom (themselves) until the war terminates.” (47.4)  or “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His apostle and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement” (5.33) As I said – nothing to worry about. They’re just misunderstood. Talk of fundametalist Muslims being a bunch of fanatical murdering misogynist psychos is very naughty. They want to love us – as we love them. It says so in the Quran. Let them build their nuclear power stations bombs. It’s for our own good. Just think about all that cheap electricity.

    Nearly forgot: “O Prophet! urge the believers to war; if there are twenty patient ones of you they shall overcome two hundred, and if there are a hundred of you they shall overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they are a people who do not understand.” (8.65)

    • The often misunderstood and misinterpreted thing which suggests that when a  Muslim blows himself up for the cause , he will be rewarded in Paradise with 40 virgins to shag (presumably) -is wrong. Martyrs in Islam are classified as people who die for their religion whereas people who blow themselves up for women are dying for their own lusts. It’s Hell for them. Presumably you need to die with a hard-on. Not impossible – many men do, apparently.

    These are Iran’s main Nuclear sites:

    Thursday September 24th 2009

    • The Government has criticised the Football Association for not reforming itself. It has also asked the F.A to spend more time and resources on ethnics and women as well as telling them that they should provide better leadership. Perhaps when the F.A has completed its restructuring it can then give H.M Government a few tips. Talk about Pot-Kettle.

    • A recent U.S survey shows that many Americans think that Tony Blair is the British Prime Minister. Someone ought to tell them who the real UK Prime Minister is. Darth Mandelson.

    • Mandelson has been quoted as saying that Gordon Brown ought to “lighten up”  a bit. Not THAT smile again PLEASE!!!!  NOOOO!!!

    • What is it about meetings beginning with a “G”? Why is our expectation level do low? Is it because we know that the post-meeting statement has already been written? Is it because all previous meetings were such a monumental waste a waste of resources, time and money? Anyway – who DOES write that n-page statement which announces the next meeting in 6 months? Gordon Brown’s LAST such meeting.

    • Is it true that Obama snubbed Gordon Brown? Obama has had one-on-one meetings withotherleaders. Why not with our own Prime Minister? Is it because of the Megrahi affair or could it be because of the increasingly prominent sell-by date on Gordon Brown’s forehead?

    • Banks are currently reducing their assets and hoarding cash because of liquidity requirements. Put in simple terms, that means that the magic conjured-up money – the so-called Quantitative Easing is making it in through the banks’ back doors but the front doors remain only slightly ajar. READ REST OF ARTICLE

    • In 1998, the Saville Inquiry began its investigations into the shooting of 29 Civil Rights protesters by soldiers of the 1st Battalion of the British  Parachute Regiment. Five protesters were shot in the back and two injured protesters were run down by Army vehicles. Fourteen people died. This was the Bloody Sunday Massacre which took place on 30th January 1972 in Derry. The original Widgery Tribunal concluded that the  soldiers actions could be best described as “bordering on the reckless” . Unsurprisingly, the Widgery report was widely regarded as a whitewash. Hence the Saville Inquiry. Now we hear that the Saville Inquiry will report in March 2010!!! Apparently, there’s a printing issue that needs to be resolved. Once again , this 11-year inquiry brings into focus two great British institutions – queueing and inquiries. Not to mention a steady income for a whole “shark” of lawyers.

    • The anniversary of Lehman Brothers going down the toilet has passed anditisnowayearsincethesolidsreallyhitthe air-conditioning big time. For those who do not really understand finance – and who really does these days, here’s the deal. Politicians and bankers knew for at leat 18 months before the collapse that there was not enough cash in the system andthatmost, if not ALL banks were now standing on foundations of sand. It was only when Lehman had to admit that there was no real money – only paper ” instruments” which could be worth cash , that it was realised that the real currency that the banks had been  dealing-in was bullshit and promises. Politicians are now beginning to strike heroic poses as they tell us how they saved the banking system and that they only-just managed to avert a financial Armageddon. The real fact is that they knew what was happening all along and lived in the HOPE that somehow (they did not know how), the financial system would self-adjust or self-regulate itself back to stability . It didn’t and the solution that is being applied today is exactly the same as that which caused the collapse. Imaginary money. Eighteen months ago, bankers and politicians were HOPING that the system would sort itself out and that is EXACTLY what they are hoping for today. What is really needed is a total restructuring of the banking system but there isn’t the global political will to make that first all-important move.

    • There’s a (denied) rumour that Gordon Brown is going blind. Obviously we all hope that he is not. In spite of the fact that he has all the leadership qualities of damp Kleenex, he is a decent man. The rumour that he is blind has obviously been started by someone who is confusing his eyesight with his policies and management style.

    Wednesday September 23rd 2009

    • Apparently, there is a small but statistically significant rise in patient deaths when junior doctors start work in August. Perhaps the same survey should be done with slightly different parameters: Before pubs open and after closing time.

    • A friend sent me a cartoon yesterday which, for the first time, explained the constant Midde East conflict . Jewish man  looking up at the sky saying, “Now, let me get this straight God. The Arabs get the oil and you want us to cut the end off our what….?” 

    • This snippet explains better than anything the anonymous nature of the Liberals’ leader. Nick Clegg will be delivering the Leader’s rabble-rousing Conference for the THIRD time!! He will attempt to come cross as a TOUGH leader. Doesn’t compute, does it? He always looks as if he’s just taken a “NICE” pill.

    • Justin-lee Collins has said what many are thinking: Bruce Forsyth should have stopped TV presenting three or four years ago. There’s a touch of the Emperor’s New Clothes about the whole thing. So much so that no-one appears willing to say ” Brucie, you are now coming across as an old twat. Piss off”. Instead the poor old bugger is being patronised, allowed to be unfunny (obviously from the tumbleweed school of humour) and worst of all, he’s being referred-to as “sprightly”.An adjective every man dreads because it is THE word which signifies the beginning of the end. It is NOT a compliment. It means that you are past-it and when you attempt to tap dance avec embarrassing Sammy Davis Jr-esque gurning, you look like a swinging cadaver with a ferret up a wet trouser leg.

    • I have just discovered that Chas & Dave have split up.     p.s. I am writing this on Beachy Head.

    • Kristna Rihanoff whose Strictly Come Dancing partner is Joe Calzaghe celebrated her birthday yesterday. Rumour has it that Joe and Kristina have grown very close. I  wonder whether he had any difficuty in wrapping her present?

    • More meaningless military “sincero-talk”today. Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett was blown up by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province.  “There’s now a gap in our ranks that will be so very difficult to fill”  and  “Sgt Lockett’s raw bravery and seflessness cost hm his life but undoubtedly saved that of one of his soldiers.”  are just two more examples from the Army Book of Fine Words. Meaningless twaddle. Sgt Locketthas left behindastrickengirlfriend and three children aged eight, seven and five. “We take solace in the fact that he died doing a job he was born to do” was more puke-inducing bollocks – this time from his father.  Stop this pseudo-heroic crap and bring ALL of our young soldiers back here to the United Kingdom, where they belong. The Taliban certainly do not see these young soldiers as heroes  –  more like fairground ducks.

    • When will the Vatican be called to account over the tens of thousands of children that have been abused by pervert priests? The Catholic Church has been accused at the United Nations Human Rights Council of a systematic and long-standing cover-up. The Vatican is in breach of its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Handing out MILLIONS in compensation is really not the way forward. It’s customary to pay for sex up-front , not ten, twenty or thirty years after the event. Let us hope that one day there will be a time when the Vatican can close its child-abuse fund and get on with the business of religion.

    • Nothing about Gordon Brown today because he hasn’t said anything new or original. Situation normal. 

    Tuesday September 22nd 2009

    • Did you see Darth Mandelson being questioned on the subject of bankers’ bonuses last night? As Business Secretary, he has the power to stop the bankers in their tracks. But he cannot and he would not answer any bonus-related questions.

    • General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war there could be lost unless there is an increase in troops within a year. He is asking for an additional 30,000 troops.  This is truly developing into another Vietnam. Currently, there are 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, 62,000 of whom are American. Time to talk.

    • The United Kingdom is needlessly wasting resources by sending too many average and some downright thick students to University. In fact, there are too many Universities. Hence the current funding crisis. The solution is so simple that even an Education Minister ought to be able to work it out.

    • The worldwide recession and the resulting drop in consumer demand has had a profound effect on industrial production. That has had an unexpectedly welcome effect on greenhouse gas emission – it has fallen by over 40%. Perhaps the Global Warming Mullahs will take this opportunity to shut up.

    • Anish Kapoor, the 1991 Turner Prize winner has a solo exhibtion the Royal Academy. This event is unusual because Anish lacks the traditional qualification for such a exhibition. He isn’t dead. If you enjoy abstract sculpture and/or you like spouting pretentious arty bollocks, then this exhibition is for you. Here’s a nosegay from Anish himself: “That sense of the poem being put together as word objects relates to sculpture in a very fundamental way. Sculpture also has this ability to be what it isn’t. It’s kind of about the illusory and the real.”Quite.  Anish is very keen on vaginas so do look out for the odd wobbly red letterbox shape.

    • The media seem surprised that construction companies and builders have been ripping-off Local Authorities and other organisations which are spending other peoples’ money. It’s been going on for years. This is from April 2008 – CLICK HERE– and it includes a scene from the Coconut Club, which you will be hearing more and more about over the next few weeks.

    • This week is Climate Week – a crucial  week in the quest for a global climate deal. World leaders are meeting at the UN in New York and a G20 summit in Pittsburgh. Meetings such as this have been going on for a few years now so let us hope that the current series of meetings produces something that has been sadly missing from previous encounters. Action. In December the Copenhagen environmental conference will hopefully be the real turning point and turn meetings into agreements into action.

    • Global Warming: Predictions are made using computer models and although the general consensus is that Global Warming is occurring, there are scientists (the so-called “deniers”) who have alternative models which suggest that the Earth will cool before its becomes hotter. Regrettably, the religious-like aspects of Global Warming, treat scientists who deny Global Warming as heretics who are often lampooned andmarginalisedby both the scientific and political communities.  The latest of these is a   Professor Mojib Latif, from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel,  who has suggested that the long-term warming trend could be masked – perhaps for as long as 10 or 20 years – by a temporary cooling caused by natural fluctuations in currents and temperatures called the NorthAtlanticOscillation. It all seems to depend on which set of data is plugged into which computer model.  However, it is the politicians who are the true believers who only appear to read data which supports their dogma.

    • Helen Goddard , music teacher has been jailed for 15-months as the result of a lesbian affair with a 15-year-old pupil. How modern. Not nice – but definitely “of the age”.

    • Rumour has it that Louis Walsh, the Irish spud  and pop manager from the X-factor is going under the knife in order to improve his looks. There must be a long queue of knife-sharpening volunteers. Surprising that he hasn’t yet benefited from sitting so close to that pair of  BotoxedBookends – Simon Cowell and Danni Minogue – by osmosis.

    • Sir Bobby Robson’s Memorial service must have been an ordeal for Paul Gascoigne. There was only one photo of Gazza that the snappers wanted – and they got it.

    • This is the sort of medical research that we like:  If you have alcohol in your bloodstream, you are far less likely to die from a head injury, says Dr Ali Salim from Los Angeles. The findings are based on a 5-year study of 38,000 people. You can’t be too careful. Cheers.

    • Nothing in the Press about Jordan today. Max Clifford must be on a long weekend break.

    • Attorney-General Baroness Scotland is still facing an uncertain future. Gordon Brown, her boss is being his usual decisive self. This is what he said this morning: “We will have to find out what has actually happened and I will have to wait for that report this morning and she will want to answer the questions that are put to her. We will have to make decisions.”  Brown obviously has not been watching the news or reading his Daily Worker. The fact is that Baroness Scotland employed someone who did not have authorisation to work in the United Kingdom. In fact, her papers expired five years ago. As usual, the long grass is quivering in anticipation.

    Monday September 21st 2009

    • It now appears that Womens World  800m champion Caster Semenya was tested ages ago and there has been concern over her sex for months. The issue did not suddenly materialise at the last Word Championships. The whole thing has been handed so badly that there is every likelihood of IAAF resignations.

    • Baroness Scotland will probably resign this week. If every politician who made a mistake resigned, Westminster would be empty by now.

    • It looks as if Megrahi is going to be the first criminal to be retried on the Internet. We’re still awating an intervention from God and the miracle recovery. There has been one previous miraculous recovery by a convicted criminal. Ernest Saunders (1980s Guinness Scandal) was freed by a judge because he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. So far, Ernest Saunders in the first  and only recorded case of a total recovery from Alzheimer’s. The recovery took place soon after he was released from jail. Speaking of miraculous recoveries – Ronnie “released on compassionate grounds” Biggs has been seen out and about on his mobility scooter. Megrahi or Biggs? I’m off to Ladbrokes to make a small investment.

    • The Liberals are having their occasional rush of blood and putting themselves forward as a party of government. Remember David Steel in 1981? “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government.”  Forget it boys and girls. There’s Vince Cable and Norman Baker and after that it all becomes a bit anonymous. Nick who?

    • The Liberals want to tax home owners whose properyis worth in excess of a million. They will be the only Party whose policies will be derailed by a property crash andonthatbasisalone, this policy has the depth and solidity of  a closing-time back-of-a-beermat “I really lovvve you”  concept. They’re not sponsored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, are they? This new policy is the Liberals’ biggest-ever lurch to the left. The sort of thing that New Labour would have done when they were Proper Labour.

    • The elephant in the room – the one that no-one is talking about is still there. I am of course referring to the economy.

    • Several big companies, including a couple of large builders as well as the Royal Bank of Scotland will be coming to market very soon to raise many billions. Watch those share prices.  Here we go again.

    • Have you noticed how Kerry Katona’s nose is looking more and more like Danniella Westbrook’s last nose-but-one?

    • The Education bods are gettinng a bit twitchy at Ed Balls’ suggestions of swingeing cuts in Education. It is the designer-suited BMW-driving “advisers” at County Hall who should think twice before renewing their gym membership or booking that holiday in Tuscany. CLICK HERE

    • I did not see Alesha Dixon’s debut on Strictly Whatsit but it sounds as if she had a list of pre-prepared crap written down, dispensed it quite randomly and personalised it by adding bad grammar.

    • Rules are being published this week which will exempt family and friends from being prosecuted after assisting in a suicide.  It is purely coincidental that these rules are being rushed through just before Gordon Brown’s conference speech.

    • Manchester City manger Mark Hughes is complaining that too much time was added on at the endofyesterday’sderbygame with Mancheser United.  Michael Owen scored Man Utd’s winning goal in he 97th minute. Hughes forgets that his team had the identical extra time in which to score.

    Monday September 7th 2009-Friday September 18th 2009

    Friday September 18th 2009 

    • There has been some concern that Romell Broom may have suffered mental anguish when two Ohio State officials failed to find a vein in order to deliver a fatal injection. According to Broom’s lawyer, Broom had suffered both “mental and physical injuries” and apparently became distressed and appeared to cry. Broom was convicted of raping and then killing a 14 year-old girl.
    • We’re too fat, we drink too much alcohol, we’re unfit, we ingest female hormones in our meat  and weedkillers from our vegetables and we’re too stressed. Paradoxically, our life expectancy is increasing.
    • Alistair Darling is engaged in a series of meetings in order to decide where spending cuts can be made. If you’re expecting decisions within the next few months – stop being so silly. Although professional pundits do now have the opportunity to make pointless predictions.

    • Andy Burnham is suggesting yet more NHS changes. The God of Change strikes again! This month’s idea is that we will all be able to choose our GP. I would like one that’s qualified, understands human anatomy and is sober.

    • Baroness Scotland should know that in a Court of Law, ignorance is no defence. Mind you, the Baroness is the Attorney General. Hopefully, hiring someone called Loloahi Tapui(clue!) with out-of-date papers was just an oversight and as such, does not generate a witch-hunt. Oh yes – there’s an enquiry. There’s always a feckin’ enquiry.

    • Suddenly, Jordan doesn’t want to talk about “the rape”. It seems that her PR people are running out of interesting stories. The only remaining possbilities are either  ” I was abused as a child” or “I was abducted by aliens”.

    • Bit of a “to-do” about  unofficial sperm donors. Apparently, ladies can contact a sperm donor  on-line, arrange a meeting and either be handed a container-full of the stuff or on occasion have it delivered direct through the medium of sex. Hence the phrase : “”Bottled or draught?”  Sounds like an excellent service as well as an interesting career move, although it could mess-up the old CV, especially if the CV is printed on a sheet of Kleenex. Just realised that if this type of work is a career, the phrase “hand job” begins to make sense.

    • How would the management at Student Loans UK feel if they were told that because of administrative incompetence, their September salaries will be paid at the end of October. They would probably be quite upset. Next question: How do young kids with the incredible stress associated with leaving home feel-when they’re told by Student Loans UK that their University grants will be paid “about” four weeks late? Why is the beginning of the academic year ALWAYS a surprise? For the record and to help Student Loans UK: The next academic year will be starting in October 2010. Hopefully, that’s enough notice.

    • Scientists at Newcastle University have produced human sperm in the laboratory. Didn’t know that there was a shortage. Just take a chipping hammer to any Confessional carpet.

    • Gordon Brown said today “Cooperation between nations at the G20 summit will be crucial to ensure global economic recovery”  That is probably the twentieth version of the same sentence . It is a truism and it’s boring. Here’s another sentence which I hope Gordon finds as interesting as his own deep thoughts: ” The sun is in the sky”

    • Here is a quote from this evening’s No 10 bulletin: “The Prime Minister is launching a brand new podcast series this week talking directly to you about the big issues of the day. The podcasts, which will be available on our iTunes channel andonYouTube, will be recorded at Downing Street or around the world when the Prime Minister is travelling.”  Wow! That Gordon Brown is so “street”  -using that Interwebthingytoconnectwith the YouTube dudes. Way to go, MC Gordo! Soon,  he’ll be buying a pair of those really cool Levi Strauss blue denim casual trousers with the turn-ups, copper rivets and the little red label. Sound! Should go well with the black brogues.

    • Remember what I told you about the American dollar going into freefall. Soon. Continue reading Monday September 7th 2009-Friday September 18th 2009

    How to…………….

     

    There has always been an insatiable craving for advice on quick fixes to situations which we encounter in our daily lives. There is no other explanation for the ever-accelerating sales of “How to…” books. The very first in the field was Dale Carnegie’s “How to win friends and influence people”. The demand for Benjamin Spock’s tome on baby care – a sort of baby Haynes Manual    sold millions. There was even a book called “How to succeed in business without really trying”! This genre is the pulp non-fiction of real life.

    Nowhere is the nuisance more rampant than in the domain of management. Those strutting and recording in the collonaded corridors of academia or in the money-scented troughs of corporo-land are in a particularly desperate situation. Once they start, they cannot finish. The new Messiahs need disciples and the disciples crave more honeyed management words.

    The `Publish or Perish’ syndrome leaves them with no other choice than to be seen to be churning out something or other merely to justify their upkeep and maintain their reputation. Regrettably, because every possible concept has been worked to the death, they have to  constantly pour old wine into new bottles. The original recyclers – constantly re-bottling  pretentious piffle and insipid inanities.

    Darwin would have been proud. For instance – many moons ago we had to provide Customer Care, then we had Customer Satisfaction, then we had Service Excellence  which was quickly followed by the creation of Customer Delight. I suppose that next, we will have to screw them and induce Customer Orgasm.

    An article in the Wall Street Journal called  `Don’t get hammered by management fads’, says that an estimated 10,000 business books have been published worldwide in the last three years. Most of the books trumpeted management ”tools” guaranteed to make the user mega-successful in whatever he or she attempted.  There is no statistic which would show that many of these management books are bought but never read. Managers and aspiring managers buy these books as Executive Teddy Bears and file them in the hope that the alchemy within will be absorbed by the mystical process of management osmosis. Management by Ownership.

    Recently, for instance, a monstrosity entitled “How to think like a CEO”, has sought to lure those fantasising about conquering the cliff face of Middle Management. They have fuzzy dreams of one day  perching on some high corporate peak  .

    This book, in common with 90% of the entire market is strictly “Aphorism City”. These are some of the trite homilies that it contains: Be gutsy, even a little wild, modest and in control. Be competitive and tenacious, flexible and generous. Admit mistakes. Be self-secure, self-reliant, resilient and constantly self-improving. Be original, straightforward, and think before you speak or act.

    Does that not take your breath away! Straight from the Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious. 

    Some authors try another approach. They repackage the same stale ideas in the name of some ancient unheard-of bearded sage, thereby reaping a double dividend: Giving a new glitter to well-worn clichés by putting them in the mouth of some venerable ancient whose authenticity is often unverifiable and simultaneously exhibiting their own erudition and diligence by exploring the past.

    About 3,000 years ago, in the ancient settlement of Harbin, there lived the Daoist sage called Szech-Taibong.  He was not-only a great thinker but also a benefactor, and the ancient equivalent of our modern entrepreneur. This man had it all! He said something all those years ago which still holds good to this day and should be taught in all management schools. His little-studied philosophy would make all currently written management books obsolete Here’s what he said:  Know people. Handle them kindly. Deploy them properly but within their knowledge. Be far-sighted. Anticipate and overcome threats because in anticipating they will be overcome before they happen. Exploit opportunities. Communicate effectively but always try to be result-oriented and generous to your opponents.

    Nothing particularly exciting but easily on a par with everything else written in the last 50 years.

    You haven’t heard of Szech-Taibong from Harbin?

    That’s because I made it all up. Beware of false prophets!

    KFC is not a Knighthood, Gordon!

     

    As a management trainer I thought that I would give Gordon Brown and his motley band of funsters a basic (and free) lesson in management – purely to help then to concentrate their minds.  During this week’s PMQs, David Cameron referred to the “headless chicken”. His brutally eloquent summing up of the Brown style , although unoriginal is perfectly accurate.
     
    There are only a few types of generally accepted styles of management. So which one is the Labour Party using?:
     
    1. Management by Objectives. This is the best-known and easiest to understand  and all other styles of management have this style at their core. You set specific measurable objectives which are agreed and timebased and then you monitor progress. For instance: The banks will have lent £10 billion to businesses by 15th February. Currently, the government’s version is that the banks will lend when they have “regained confidence”.  Perhaps Gordon Brown ought to assign a social worker and a counsellor to each bank to help with their affirmation exercises.
     
    2. Management by Exception. Let the system continue and only intervene when pre-defined objectives are not being met. Do not attempt to manage every single micro process such as fiddling with the VAT at a time when retailers are discounting by 50 or 60 %.
     
    3. Management by Process. Define critical Macro and Micro processes, assign ownership of these processes and monitor and measure performance and progress against pre-determined objectives.
     
    4. Management by Projects. Plan the entire process that you need to complete your goals and set interim goals. Intervene when it looks as if a goal is in danger of failing to be achieved.
     
    Currently it appears that the government has no plan, no time-based objectives and appears to be  creating so many disparate goals that the country is in real danger of losing total confidence.
     
    The government appears to be an observer rather than a shaper of events. The current style of management also has a name and is called:
     
    5. Management by Pissing in the Dark. You attack as many parameters as you can in the hope that something positive happens. Unfortunately you need to hit them in the right order which is unlikely especially if  a. You don’t really understand the root cause of the problem and b. Your head is being eyed up by the man from KFC.

    Goodbye Callisto!

     
    Overheard conversation between the 7th Duke of Sutherland and a peasant:

     

    PEASANT: “So how did you come into the possession of this so-called Bridgewater Loan collection, m’Lud?”

    DUKE: ” Well Brian,  that’s a funny story….. When the Froggies were busy beheading their aristocracy, a relative of Louis XVl flogged the paintings to one of my ancestors who was the Duke of Bridgewater – hence the name.   We’re a bit strapped at the moment so I thought that I might tap up the National Galleries for a few quid. I told them that we wanted to “diversify the family’s assets”. Looks like I’ve really put the cat among the pigeons this time! What a hoot!”

    PEASANT: ” So where did the Froggies get the Diana and Acteon painting from? That’s the painting that everyone says is the most famous. Never heard of it myself. Titian, the bloke who painted it was from Venice, as far as I know.”

    DUKE: ” Yes, that’s right. Titian painted it for Phillip ll of Spain , along with six more. Sort of a set. They stayed in Spain until   Philip V gave the painting to the French Ambassador who passed it to Louis XVl. He of course kept it until he lost his head! That’s where my lot come in.”

    “PEASANT:  So it’s painted by an Italian for a Spanish King who gave it to the French?”

    DUKE:” Quite.”

    PEASANT: ” So why is everybody screaming that the painting has to stay in Scotland? It’s not part of either Scottish or even (if you don’t mind me saying so) British heritage – is it? Some art critic poofter is even saying that it’s the most beautiful painting ever painted.”

    DUKE: “Well I don’t know about that but it is worth a few quid. About £50 mill I should think. The Duke of Bridgewater bought the job lot for about £43K – so potentially, it’s quite a nice little  earner.”

    PEASANT:” You seem quite sure that they’re going to raise the cash, aren’t you?”

    DUKE: ” You bet! About five years ago, I played the same trick with another Titian. It was called Venus Anadyomene – anyway it was some fat tart standing in a puddle. Got £11 mill for that one. Nothing like having a captive audience, eh? And don’t forget that there’s also Diana and Callisto.”

    “PEASANT:  “Well, I’ve heard of that  Callisto one. That was owned by another French bloke…..No…. don’t tell me…. Jacques Cousteau wasn’t it. He was always on about the Callisto.”

    DUKE: ” Are you sure that you’re not Brian Sewell?”

    If it seems too good to be true……………………….

    A Hedge Fund Manager

    The current banking chaos has been caused by nothing less than institutional fraud on a world-wide basis. The banks have defrauded each other and their clients. The alleged Bernard Madoff affair is only the latest but certainly not the last financial “naughtiness with intent” scam to be discovered.
     
    The so-called Ponzi scheme is being referred-to as a pyramid selling scheme. It is not pyramid selling – it is simply a scheme whereby old investors are paid with incoming new  funds and the whole thing keeps rolling along for as long as there is a money-supply. 
     
    Most governments are realising that there needs to be much tighter control on unusual investment vehicles. There is a far simpler answer – ban all of these investments. The Americans will no doubt accuse everybody else of an attack on capitalism. It is not an attack on capitalism  it is an attack on gangsterism.
     
    Remember that the United States is the country which gave us Capone, Luciano, Bonano, Gambino, Lucchese, Colombo and of course, Ponzi himself. In those days, at least the authorities knew who the enemy was.
     
    Nowadays, it is much more difficult because modern-day bandits are part of the establishment and their fame and power are the deterrents to proper investigation and control.  It is not the gun but financial and political “clout” that is their weapon of choice.
     
    The United States would do well to exercise more control of its financial institutions, otherwise the world might notice that it was Uncle Sam who gave us not-only the original gangsters but also securitised mortgages and the Ponzi scam.
     
    We have already heard spluttering British ministers talking about “an enquiry” and pledges to “investigate”. There is really nothing to investigate – for two reasons. The first is that they don’t know what they’re looking for and secondly, they certainly don’t know where to look.

    Baby P.

    ” You weren’t there.”

    There is an insidious disease which spreads through organisations  and which ultimately makes them unmanageable. It is a corporate cancer and it can kill.

    It killed Baby P.
     
    The old British Rail became an unmanageable monster. The National Health Service is another good example, as are the Social Services, Police, our Education system and Local Authorities.
     
    It is the creeping sickness of  uber-bureaucracy and continually lengthening reporting lines.
     
    All of the  above organisations are over-populated by strata of management and administration which eventually  create a corporate organism which appears to exists only to perpetuate itself. The end-user or client becomes the smallest  and least significant stakeholder.
     
    There are meetings, there are presentations, there is information-management and there is career-building, office politics, black designer suits and BMWs.  Somewhere in the distance though , there is a  bruised and broken child.
     
    The “Management” feels smug because all “procedures” have been correctly followed, boxes have been ticked, the correct number of visits have been completed, PowerPoint presentations have been well-attended and lunchtime prawn sandwiches have been good.  Meanwhile, the child waits.
     
    Baby P became a dog-eared paper-file which was passed from Social Worker to Team Leader to Manager to Social Worker. The system appeared to be working well because cardboard files are so much easier to manage than small children. A  file with a broken back  sitting in a social-worker’s designer briefcase is not a cause for concern. 
     
    Of course, when really senior people become involved, there are press conferences, enquiries, suspensions and sackings.
     
    We are treated to the ” lessons will be learned” mantra, the corporate apology followed by some political “sincero-talk”.  Then  senior managers are changed and  another layer of bureaucrats is introduced so that “we can ensure that this sort of thing does not happen again”.
     
    The real solution is a severe shortening of reporting lines – less management, less paper, fewer black-suited “directors”, fewer meetings  and  a reaffirmation that the job of protecting children is not a social worker’s career opportunity but a  child’s sacred right.

    VAT are you saying?

    Alistair the house elf

    This Government and the banks have a lot in common. They have both enjoyed many years of negligible economic turbulence and  zero competition.

    The good times may have continued if either had noticed that Wall Street had invented the real weapons of mass destruction – the financial ones. The banks had sliced, chopped, diced and mixed bad mortgages and fashioned them into contaminative instruments of death with a built-in time fuse.

    The bankers’ handiwork has created a vast financial Black Hole which has already consumed many financial institutions and is beginning to consume whole economies. So  what to do? It’s obvious – decrease VAT by 2.5%.

    Decrease VAT? The Government has shown once again that it is a bit short on creative ideas. It often uses short-term tactics to deal with strategic matters. On this occasion, it is in the vain hope that when the global economy returns to sunshine and wealth , the Government  will will be able to claim that it  had controlled events. Gordon “Canute” Brown and his house elf  Darling will have done it!

    (In reality it will have simply been a readjustment in the new global Stability-Chaos-Stability cycle). 

    But think about this: The global economic crisis is happening because of “external forces which are out of our control”. If that is the case and we truly have no control over super-macroeconomic events, gestures such as VAT-tweaks will have negligible impact. Even Mervyn King appears to be distancing himself from this initiative.

    Gordon Brown is indeed a one-trick pony who believes that the only way forward is to persuade the consumer to consume. However, he will not pull the economy out of the quicksand by persuading us to buy 42″ television sets and new cars. When the going gets tough, the tough buy food and clothing.

    By pulling the white rabbit of higher taxation out of the Budget hat for those earning more than £100K, he has appealed to the “not-so-rich” (are we allowed to say “poor”) with a touch of the old “Politics of Envy”.  We can almost hear Denis Healey  “squeezing the rich until the pips squeak” .  Let’s call it Gordon’s “hommage” to Old Labour.

    In the next few years, the pips will squeak but the fact that there will be a saving of £12.50 on a £500 TV set will not dampen the squeaks.

    Let’s burn some money!

    “Joker burning money”

    The Prime Minister has announced a £1 billion energy package that could help households across the UK save more than £300 a year on their energy bills.

    Speaking at a Downing Street press conference, Mr Brown said the Government will legislate to channel £910 million from energy companies into energy-saving initiatives such as providing loft insulation and cavity wall insulation free of charge to elderly and low-income households and at a 50 percent discount to others.

    Cash will also be pumped into a new Community Energy Saving Programme that will provide up to 90,000 homes with targeted advice on improving their energy efficiency and reducing their bills.

    The Prime Minister said he did not expect energy companies to pass these costs back to consumers through future prices. Business Secretary John Hutton added that the Government “will not hesitate to intervene” should an Ofgem review suggest that consumers were getting a raw deal.

    Mr Brown said the Home Energy Saving Programme would help drive “lasting change” in UK energy efficiency and consumption. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn, also at the press conference, said that each household could save £100 through loft installation and £150 through cavity wall installation in just 12 months.

    Other Government plans to help people with their fuel bills include negotiating lower tariffs with energy companies for up to 600,000 homes, increasing cold weather payments from £8.50 to £25 per week in severe conditions and providing cash on top of Winter Fuel payments to the over-60s and over-80s of £50 and £100 respectively.

    In common with all other Government initiatives it would be of great benefit and interest to people if they had an indication of how much of the allocated funds would actually be spent on the materials and how much on labour costs.

    For instance, when the Government says that it is spending an additional £20 million on education  – that could mean any number of things. It could mean more teachers or it could mean lots of electronic blackboards. It could mean more books or it could mean a lick of paint.

    Every £1000 spent on loft insulation could mean either 100 lofts insulated at £10 each or possibly one loft at £100, i.e £10 for the insulating material and £90 for labour charges by the local council.

    90,000 homes are to be provided with ” targetted advice on improving their energy efficiency and reducing their bills”. Does that mean leaflets? Home visits by several more sub-strata of public servant?

    Has the Government thought this one through as thoroughly as all the other initiatives?

    Oh what’s this?

    Sorry, no thanks. It’s too late…… Siobhain McDonagh?  Nope. Don’t recall the name. I seem to recall a Junior Whip by that name – but that was a long time ago…..Yesterday, I think.” (Thinks) “I wonder what else is heading for the fan? “

    A Wamk in the Park.

    wanker.bmp  

    This is from our occasional series on Magagement Bullshit.

    There are occasions when the message that you have received is obviously wrong but you are not sure quite what the sender meant.

    For instance, the five-word title to this article  is a texting-error about a walk in the park.

    The full message was: “Thought a lot about you last night and then had a long wamk in the park.”

    Below is a list of the 20 most common corporate lies but as the message is not always clear, translations are provided.

    1. We have an entrepreneurial spirit.

    “We don’t know what the f*** we’re doing.”

    2. I like a man who speaks his mind.

    “No-one likes a man who speaks his mind. You are an opiniated big-mouth.”

    3. People are our greatest resource.

    “We treat people like shit.”

    4. The Boss is one of us.

    “No he is not. If he was, he would be working for you.”

    5. Staying small was a conscious decision.

    “Our Standard and Poors  and Equifax ratings went down the toilet.”

    6. Let’s keep this “off the record”.

    There is no such thing as “off the record”.

    7. Immediate delivery? No problem.

    “Once we’ve got your money, you can whistle.”

    8. W’ere going to lunch to talk business.

    “Let’s get really pissed.”

    9. Money? It’s just a score card.

    “I earn more than you, you prat.”

    10.You have to twist my arm to go on a business trip.

    “It’s so nice to get away from the wife and screaming kid(s).”

    11. We don’t tolerate failure.

    “We do.”

    12. In my day, we made six sales a day.

    “I screwed up as a salesman and went into management. Now I’m screwing up management.”

    13. I drive a BMW but I’d be just as happy with a Fiat 500.

    “Yeah….right!!!”

    14. I’m not doing this because you’e my boss.

    “I’m a slapper.”

    15. We treat every customer as if they were our only customer.

    “We treat all of our customers like jerks.”

    16. I’ll tell you when I’m coming.

    “Hee hee!  Oops…. too late! Sorry!”

    17. I’m doing this for the company.

    ” I’m doing this only  for myself.”  “Moi.”

    18. I’ve heard good things about you.

    ” Who are you?”

    19. I’ve recommended you for a pay-rise.

    ” I have not recommended you for anything – except an exit interview”

    20. I’ve never felt like this about anyone.

    ( Since last week).

    Want to live forever? Why?

    old-woman.jpg BEFORE

    danni.jpg 

     

    AFTER

     

    “If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise”

    That was said by  Professor James Fries  who is the founder and Medical Director of Healthtrac as well as a Professor of Medicine at Stanford University.

    More academic nonsense?

    A study  appears to have  shown that running on a regular basis can slow the effects of ageing. The study also showed that elderly joggers were half as likely to die prematurely from conditions like cancer than non-runners and that they also enjoyed a healthier life with fewer disabilities. 

    The research tracked 500 runners  in their 50s for more than 20 years, comparing them to a similar group of non-runners.  Nineteen years into the study, 34% of the non-runners had died compared to only 15% of the runners.

    Both groups became more disabled with age  but for the runners the onset of disability started an average of 16 years later. The health gap between the runners and non-runners continued to widen.  Running not only appeared to slow the rate of heart-related deaths  but there were fewer early deaths from cancer, neurological disease, infections and other causes.

    Professor James Fries  said: “The study has a very pro-exercise message. If you had to pick one thing to make people healthier as they age, it would be aerobic exercise. The health benefits of exercise are greater than we thought.”

    It is easy to criticise results such as the ones shown above but  such evaluations,  based upon quasi-experimental designs are typically plagued by problems of nonequivalence between the experimental and comparison group prior to the experiment. 

    For instance, did the “joggers” already have a predisposition towards jogging and general well-being? Did they receive more attention which motivated them – e.g as in the Westinghouse experiment where factory-worker productivity was initially associated with varying light-levels – until it was shown that it was not an increase in the light level which resulted in increased productivity  but that the workers’ motivation had been affected by the experiment itself.

    The mere fact of someone (the researchers) showing an interest in their output, increased the output.

    It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to isolate the effects of the “jogging” programme from the confounding effects associated with the relevant preexisting differences between the groups.

    Other figures show more than 90% of people in the UK over 75 fail to meet international guidelines of half-an-hour moderate intensity exercise at least five times a week. That statistic probably applies to the entire population.

    And what do we do with our old people here in the United Kingdom? We stick them is homes and they end their days sitting still, staring out of a window or watching television. NHS guidelines say “taking a brisk walk, spending some time doing the gardening or doing a few laps of the local swimming pool on the way home from work” can all improve health.

    Good advice – although not very realistic. Is there any evidence of the NHS actually encouraging exercise – apart from issuing reports and edicts? Judging by all those fat-bottomed nurses and alcohol-dependent  doctors – No!

    On the other hand, researchers from Exeter and Brunel Universities said these activities were unlikely to provide many benefits. “It’s extremely worrying that British adults now believe that a brief stroll and a bit of gardening is enough to make them fit and healthy,”said Dr Gary O’Donovan. “Brisk walking offers some health benefits, but jogging, running and other vigorous activities offer maximal protection from disease.”

    Other specialists said the survey results were not surprising, and that few people met the guidelines for moderate exercise.

    The Professor of Exercise and Obesity at Leeds Metropolitan, said it was very difficult to formulate a “one size fits all” policy to exercise, as moderate exercise for one would be intense for another. Another one from the Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious.

    He also stressed that public misunderstandings about exercise could not be blamed solely on the government, as academics themselves were continually formulating new theories.

    Firstly, I had no idea that there was such a thing as a  Professor of Exercise and Obesity or even something called “Leeds Metropolitan”.  Secondly, at least he admitted that they too were at a loss.

    Meanwhile, how many people over 65 do we see jogging? As near as damn it – NONE.

    Not surprisingly,  two more separate and apparently contradictory reports emerged. One report found that walking less than the current guidelines stipulated had significant health benefits; another suggested a minimum of 20 minutes of vigorous exercise three times a week was needed for good health.

    In addition, no-one is clear what part exercise really plays in preventing disease.  

    A Department of Health spokesperson said its guidelines were “based on a comprehensive review of the evidence, carried out by a team of academics and expert advisers. We take a keen interest in new developments in this area, but there are no plans at present to change the existing recommendations for adults.” Great.

    There appears to be  a new industry which concerns itself with the acquisition of meaningless statistics. For instance,  researchers have  examined mortality rate data for religious professionals in America and Europe and compared them with the rate for those of the same age, sex and race in the general population. “In almost all the data studied,” the study reported, “the SMR (standardized mortality rate) was below 90 percent, which means that 10 percent fewer clergy died than did ordinary people.”

    Ministers, priests, vicars and nuns in general were far less prone than most to ailments such as heart disease and cancer.

    What do we do, become a priest or a nun? Is it the altar wine or lack of sex? Classical musicians  live a long time – and they spend a lot of their time sitting about.  What do we do – learn to play the fiddle?  Stick a cello between our legs?? Athletes do not live to any great age and neither do doctors.

    From the supine to the mediculous.

    No-one really knows what helps people to live to a good active old age. Diet? Exercise? Lifestyle? Genes? Location?

    There are hundreds of “gurus” who will tell you how to live forever. Most of them  are trying to sell you some sort of potion, food supplement or book. Ignore their botoxed adverts.

    I think that before we look at what is going to help you to live longer is to list what is the most likely to kill you. Firstly here  is a list which was derived statistically.

    For those of you who are so stressed that you will add up the percentages and then worry that they do not add up to 100% – don’t worry! 

    The list is potentially a long one. These are the main killers and all the other weird and wonderful ways of killing yourself that remain are under the heading “OTHERS” :

    Heart Disease 27%

    Cancer 23%

    Stroke 6%

    Respiratory Disease 5%

    Accidents 4.5% (2% = vehicle-related)

    Diabetes 3%

    Pneumonia/Flu 2%

    Kidney Disease 2%

    Septicemia 1%

    Others : 27.5%

    The next list consists of only four items because I have tried to simplify what can easily grow into a report or a book. These are the Root Causes which will prevent you from living too long:

    Negative emotions or Life distress

    Chemicals

    Lack of Movement

    Overeating

    In 1970, the National Geographic published a report which located the so-called world’s “BLUE ZONES” (Areas or places in the world where people live for an exceptionally long time). 

    There is also a current study and a book entitles “The BLUE ZONES” by Dan Buettner. These are the areas with the highest average age and incidentally – none of  the people  jog or engage in any form of violent exercise :

    OKINAWA – Philipines. They have a cultural practice of Hari Hachi whereby they restrict their calories. “Eat unil you are 80% full”

    HUNZA VALLEY – Pakistan. They primarily eat grains and vegetables and lots of apricots.

    VILCAMBAMBA – Southern Ecuador.  They primarily eat seeds and nuts and wholegrains and drink their own mineral water.

    ABKHAZIA – Southern Russia. They tend to eat less than 2000 calories per day. They never retire and look forward to the respect that they gain when they become old. Their diet is rich in grain and nuts.

    There are other groups which enjoy longevity – notably LOMA LINDA in California, a small area of SARDINIA  as well as MONGOLIA.

    All these people have the following in common:

    Family

    No smoking

    A Plant-based diet

    Moderate physical activity

    Social Engagement

    Legumes (beans, peas, peanuts, lentils etc)

    A stress-free old-age

    Different groups will claim that it is the Fava beans, high polyphenol wines, nuts, turmeric , chocolate or even a belief in God that keeps them going into their 90s and above.

    Some of them eat meat but not in any great quantity – so it is not what we call “vegetarianism”.

    They also appear to have a higher-than-average intake of Vitamin E. Vitamin E is found in “yellow” foods as well as : Almonds , Asparagus , Avocado , Nuts , Peanuts , Olives  , Seeds , Spinach (and other green leafy vegetables) , Vegetable oils  (corn, sunflower, soybean, cottonseed ), Wheat germ.

    So for the moment, we research while they live for ever.

    Remember just one thing : There are  fat people, there are old people but there are few fat old people .

    Dwain NOT in “The Clear”

    chambers3.jpg “Thanks for everything.”

    Today, Justice Sir Colin Mackay refused to grant an injunction temporarily suspending a lifetime Olympic ban imposed on self-confessed drugs cheat  Dwain Chambers by the British Olympic Association (BOA) under a bylaw.

    Some may argue that Chambers should have been given a second chance  – especially as he confessed to taking the banned steroid THG (also known as “The Clear”). The fact is that had he been reinstated, it would have sent out the wrong message to other athletes who are already taking illegal substances or those young athletes who are coming into this or any other sport. Had Chambers been allowed to compete again, his ban would have seemed a very small price to pay and may have encouraged others to think that the risk was worth the sanction.

    Statement from BOA Chairman Colin Moynihan

    “We are respectful of the Court’s decision in all aspects.  The British Olympic Association (BOA) has rules which are not only recognised and understood by all Olympic athletes, but our Bye-law has been in place for 16 years at their request and for their benefit.

    I have to say that it is a matter of regret that Dwain Chambers – an athlete with such undoubted talent, a winner of the European Youth Olympic Festival 100m as a young man – should by his own actions have put himself out of the running to shine on the Olympic stage in Beijing.

    However, on behalf of the athletes the BOA will continue to send a powerful and important message that nobody found guilty of serious drug cheating offences should have the honour of wearing a Team GB vest at the Olympic Games.

    The Court’s decision allows us now to focus on and support those athletes who will be travelling to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games to represent Team GB in just 21 days time.  We must now focus on their interests.”

    Chambers will have learned two lessons. The first one is that he should not have taken THG** and the second is that honesty is not always the best policy. However, all he has to do is bide his time, start telling school kids “don’t do drugs” and/or use the old trick of  “I have allowed Jesus into my heart” and he will soon be back.

    THG  (Tetrahydrogestrinone) is used to speed-up muscle growth and was developed in the USA. You may recall Linford Christie being tested positive for  Nandrolone which is another synthetic steroid. THG is 10 times more powerful than Nandrolone and was the No 1 designer steroid for some time because it was regarded as “invisible” , i.e. undetectable.  In 2007 the American Marion Jones confessed to using THG prior to the 2000 Sydney Olympics where she won three gold medals. Her career and reputation are also in tatters.

    Knife in the fast lane.

    gordo.jpg ” Listen up punks”

    “We are clearing the decks, cutting the red tape, cutting back on bureaucracy, making it possible for policemen and women to spend far more time on the beat answering people’s inquiries, in touch with local communities – a visible presence on the beat so that more and more people will see a policeman or woman there and able to help them.”

    Gordon Brown has said that more people will see more police officers on the streets under new reforms announced today. About time.

    The word “police” has a specific meaning – it means to regulate, control and keep in order. That definition contains no reference to fannying about with bits of paper, typing out reports and being a desk jockey. It is an outside job.

    Spygun sincerely hopes that we are at the dawn of a new policing era and that the consequence of this Government’s initiative will result in a long queue of wide-eyed innocents wanting to become proper policemen. We want policemen to be Policemen.

    Brown said that the new policing Green Paper will “clear the decks” and cut down on bureaucracy so that officers can spend more time tackling crime. That must have come  straight out of the Ministry of the Bleedin’ Obvious.

    Speaking of “bureaucracy” – let us hope that this initiative is not stymied by Westminster bureaucracy. We are at a stage when it would make sense to give the police powers under emergency legislation so that they would  not be subject to Westminster ruminations while more kids are knifed to death or maimed.

    The number of Police statistical “targets” is to be downsized so that instead of chasing numbers, they will be chasing criminals. Wow!

    Knife crime has shaken the government from its moribund ambivalence and the Prime Minister has made the most memorable and sensible statement of his tragic tenure.

    Sometimes the numbers can be useful  and they revealed that last year the police recorded 20,000 serious offences involving knives. That is why the solids have hit the air conditioning.

    More stop and search, metal detectors and prison sentences smack not only of knee-jerk desperation but may increase the “caché” of carrying  a Stanley knife or machete. Caution should be exercised – otherwise we will have the biggest game of “cat-and-mouse” ever devised.

    Balance is what is needed at this stage and not overkill.

    Last week  there was talk of making parents responsible but there was no mention of them in the latest statements. 

    Let’s face it, knife carriers do not come from nice homes and are probably thick with equally hopelessly thick parents. A knife in an adolescent’s hand is just a willy extension. Men and boys with sad lives need willy extensions because the knife takes the place of self-respect and self-esteem. It makes them feel like a big boy.

    They probably still live with their mum and/or dad and have absolutely no chance in later life but regrettably will one day reproduce and there will be another idiot on the streets talking about “respec”.

    He says and writes “respec” not for cultural reasons but because he can’t spell it.

    One that is wearingly dull, repetitive, or tedious.

    glass.jpg

    To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is
    half empty. To the accountant, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

     

    There are so many unfair jokes which poke fun at accountants.

    Here are some more:

    An accountant had just read the story of Cinderella to his four-year-old daughter for the first time. The little girl was fascinated by the story, especially the part where the pumpkin turned into a golden coach.

    The accountant concluded the story: ” Of course, when the pumpkin turned into a golden coach, that would have been classified as income but if it had lasted any length of time it would have been a long-term capital gain which of course would have been depreciated out over several years?”

    ………………………………..

    A businessman had been learning to be a balloonist and took his first solo flight. Unfortunately the wind got up, he was blown off course and forced to land. He landed in a paddock close to a road but had no idea where he is.

    He saw a car coming along the road and hailed it. The driver got out and the balloonist said, “Hello there, can you tell me where I am?’

    “Yes, of course”, said the motorist. “You have just landed in your balloon and with this wind you have obviously been blown off course. You are in the top paddock on John Dawson’s farm, 13.5 kilometres from Melton Mowbray which is in Leicestershire. John will be ploughing the paddock next week and sowing wheat. There is a bull in the paddock. It is behind you and about to attack you.”

    At that moment the bull reached the balloonist and tossed him over the fence. Luckily he was unhurt. He got up, dusted himself off and said to the motorist, “I see you’re an accountant”.

    “Good Grief”, said the other man, “you’re right. How did you know that?”

    “I employ accountants”, said the balloonist. “The information you gave me was detailed, precise and accurate. Most of it was useless and it arrived far too late to be of any help.”

    ………………………………..

    Those little stories above are typical of the jokes that one hears about accountants. What is it about accountants? Dull, unimaginative, anally-retentive, boring are just some of the more pleasant adjectives applied to this bean-counting sub-species of Homo Sapiens. 

    Accountants are the French Letters on the Pricks of Progress  is my particular favourite.

    I have a relative who used to employ an accountant. He always asked the accountant for advice and then did the exact opposite. He retired several years ago with £5 million in the bank.

    Spygun has acquired an unfair reputation for accountant-bashing, so here we go again…….

    I have always wondered what makes someone want to become an accountant. When does a youngster realise that he wants to spend the rest of his life reciting “Every debit has a credit”.

    Does he make that decision when he realises that he doesn’t have the charisma to suceed as an  undertaker? Is it a personality thing?

    They say that an extroverted accountant is one who stares at your shoes instead of his own and that he uses his personality for birth control  – and if you ever want to drive an accountant insane here is what you do: Tie him to a chair and make him watch as you fold up a road map the wrong way.

    Jokes such as the following one do nothing to enhance the accountants’ reputation:

    A lady went to see her doctor with some worrying symptoms and he examined her.

    “I’m sorry,” he said”but it’s bad news. You have only six months to live.”

    The distraught woman cried , “Oh Doctor. That’s terrible. What should I do?”

    The doctor says, “I advise you to marry an accountant.”

    “Will that make me live longer?”

    “No,” says the doctor. “But it will seem longer.”

    So what can we do  to stop this disgraceful accountant abuse?

    NOTHING.

    The following notes were to appear on our Management Training website but in the spirit of wishing to share new and interesting techniques – here are a few ways with which to deal with an accountant – should you be unlucky enough to be engaged in conversation with one – for instance at a stamp collecting club or line dancing class:

    Blink wildly and then close your eyes really tight for an interesting light show
    (Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
    See a variety of blobs, stars and flashes. Try to make out shapes and see if your subconscious is trying to send you a message 

    See how long you can hold a note
    (Amusement Potential: 4-20 minutes)
    Not that much fun, but it passes the time. Try to beat your own personal best. Inhale deeply and then try and make a noise for as long as you can. Earn extra points for making the accountant laugh  – (No chance!)


     Try to not think about penguins
    (Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
    This is especially hard, because by trying too much, you remember what you were trying to avoid thinking of. If you try too little, you end up thinking about penguins anyway.

    Use your secret mind power
    (Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
    Pick a passer- by and try to use your mind power to command them do something, like drop their bag or knock into someone. The law of averages dictates that sooner or later one of your mind commands will come true, so you can convince yourself that you really have super human powers and waste even more time trying them out.

    Pretend you’re a robot
    (Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
    Walk , trying to copy the accountant’s  mechanical movements, adding ‘zzzzzt’ sounds with each motion. Pretending to have a motor broken in, say, your left hand can add at least 30 seconds more entertainment.

    Scratch yourself
    (Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
    Go ahead, scratch yourself now. Even if nothing itches, go ahead. Doesn’t that feel pretty good?

    Rate his appearance(Amusement Potential: 10-15 minutes)
    Award the accountant marks out of ten  for sartorial elegance offering (unsaid) expert criticism over his clothing  (grey or blue), hairstyle ( bald or side-parting) and footwear ( black) choices.
    Repeat the same word over and over until it loses its meaning
    (Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
    Try  to pick a random word from the  “accountant’s drone” that you are listening to and say it aloud to yourself until it becomes a meaningless set of noises. We call that “empathising” with an accountant.

    Pinch yourself
    (Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
    What is pain? Why is it unpleasant? There’s nothing physical about it – it’s all in your mind. Plus, after pinching yourself for a while, boredom will seem nice next to being in pain.

    Try to swallow your tongue
    (Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
    There’s not much to say about this one. It is possible, but really stupid.

    Pretend to be a car
    (Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
    Make appropriate revving noises in your head as you walk along and add a racing commentary as you pass strangers in the street. Use blinking eyes as indicators for extra authenticity.  If you leave the accountant standing while you do this, you will be able to pick up on the conversation on your return. He won’t notice your absence anyway.

    Make Star Trek door noises
    (Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
    Stand by an electric door to a bank or something and make that silly “Scccccccchwop” sound heard whenever people popped on to the bridge to hang with Captain Kirk.

    Look at something for awhile, shut eyes, study the after-image
    (Amusement Potential: 2-5 minutes)
    Another great time waster. It takes about 30 seconds of staring to create an after image, and the image is then viewable for about the same length of time. Fun to combine this one with pushing on your eyes.

    Get yourself as nauseated as possible
    (Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
    Best achieved by looking straight up and spinning around. Try to be so dizzy you can’t even stand up. This is also entertaining due to the “makes boredom seem a lot better” effect (see “Hurt Yourself”).

    Invent a weird twitch
    (Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
    Adopt a bizarre twitch (e.g. flicking your head irregularly, twitching with eye or making sporadic coughing noises). 
     

    Make a low buzzing noise
    (Amusement Potential: 15-30 minutes)
    Hours of fun ! Keeping a totally straight face and looking nonchalant, make a low pitch humming/buzzing noise and see if the accountant  reacts. He won’t.

    And finally………………….How many accountants does it take to change a light bulb?
    “Hmmm……..I’ll just do a few numbers and get back to you.”

    Toff at the Top

    blairtoff.jpg

     

    Is this the sort of man that we want to lead us? Or shall we go for something like this:

    camerontoff.jpgThe Crewe by-election  is extracting the best and worst from the British psyche. The British working classes worship Royalty and the upper classes, yet at the same time they bemoan the fact that they (the toffs) are out of touch with the average working man.

    They (the workers)  have a chronic inferiority complex  and will always defer to anyone who speaks with a “posh” accent but like to think “we’re all the same really”. We are not all the same.

    Let’s just spell it out:  The working class cannot produce a leader. The working class has only ever produced a handful of decent Members of Parliament and the majority of those attended either Oxford or Cambridge.

    Most working class people have neither the vocabulary nor  the intellect to lead others and they badly need someone to look up to. Generalisation?  You bet it is.

    Likewise, the toffs are all chinless wonders with lots of dosh, even the thick ones get to University because they can pay for it and they don’t know what it’s like to be broke. Another generalisation? Yup.

    We need leaders who can communicate and who don’t regard politics as a nice little earner. That is a very strong argument for politicians who are of independent means and who , on being elected, will not rip off the system because they have just discovered the triple concepts of the “second home”, red wine at more than £3.99 a bottle and researcher-shagging.

    At the other extreme, we have the Pot-noodle eating, tattooed Chav who cannot string a whole sentence together and who is extremely stupid. He  thinks that the current MPs salary is a fortune and if elected as  MP, will make the most of his perks because, deep down, he aspires to be a toff. After all , he is equipped – he has a Burberry baseball cap!

    The choice is ours.

    Edward Timpson is a good bloke and will make an excellent Member of Parliament. So his family is loaded. So what? We would all like to be loaded. Those of you who are currently in the financial shit are there because over the last few years  of New Labours “virtual” plenty, you were given the opportunity to think that you were  loaded. Like a toff.

    Labour supporters and canvassers in Crewe are dressing up like toffs in the vain hope that somehow we will all laugh with them. No we won’t. They are all making themselves look like dicks and should stop it.

    Spygun was born with a plastic spoon in his mouth and being of European rather than English extraction is mildly amused by the Tom and Jerry antics of the British classes.

    Let a semi-outsider spell it out for you: If an individual speaks with an accent; for example a Birmingham, Yorkshire or Welsh accent – he is not necessarily either thick nor working class. Conversely, someone who speaks with a public school accent ( the one where all the words are pronounced properly and arranged into sentences), he or she is not necessarily rich and superior.

    We do make lots of assumptions based on too little knowledge. For instance, if someone speaks with a French accent, they are not necessarily  a homosexual, garlic-chewing surrender monkey. Mind you…………………

    Nearly forgot – this is what we have at the moment:

     

    brownkid1.jpg “Macmillan said that we’ve never had it so good. Well, I’ve never had it! And NO, my left hand isn’t always like this”

     

    p.s. Look at Blair’s right hand in the top photo. That confirms it! They are a right bunch.

     

     

     

    If you answer YES to TWO of these questions, you are a toff:

    1. Have you ever said “Gosh”?

    2. Have you ever been to pony camp?

    3. Do you know where Antibes and Deauville are?

    4. Have you ever read the Tatler?

    5. Do your parents have an Aga?

    6. Have you been to Cowdray Park?

    7. Does your house have a library?

    8. Is there a tiara in your family?

    9. Can you use a bidet properly?

    10. Have you been to Henley and Glyndebourne?

    11. Could you go straight to Harrods food hall?

    12. Have you ever seen the inside of a Range Rover?

    13. Does your name end with the letter “a”?

    14. Have you ever found lead shot in your food?

    15. Do you have HRH before your name?

     

    Fry Sat Son

    whacko1_396x222.jpg 

    “I think that a good flogging should improve your SATs scores!!”

    The literati illuminati of childrens’ fiction have come out in favour of dumping those pesky stress-inducing SATs tests.

    Firstly, for those of you without children, SATs are the  Standard Assessment Tests which are administered to schoolchildren at the end of Year 2, Year 6 and Year 9. They are used as a comparative measure of a child’s progress, relative to other pupils of the same age and at the same stage of education.

    They are also the building blocks of those ridiculous School  League Tables that fetch up in the newspapers from time to time.

    That is their supposed primary function but these tests have also enabled the Government to install several strata of technician, advisor and manager within the Education system. These people tend to reside somewhere within County Hall.

    Removing SATs needs a great deal of care because there is a vast number of Education Authority employees who analyse, advise, programme, collate and type. They would cost a fortune to remove.

    Many are overpaid for the job they do – you can tell that from their ill-fitting designer suits and 3-series BMWs (a very popular car within the Education Industry). There are travelling allowances, meal allowances, pensions contributions and all the other paraphenalia  and perquisites of the modern Education system. Every school either has its own advisor or shares one with another school.

    I resigned from the Governorship of a school after one of these BMW-driving Boss-suited funsters arrived at our school in order to talk to us about how we could make the school’s SATs results “work for us”.

    In the middle of his Powerpoint presentation, there was a slide showing how our pupils had performed during the last SATs test. The slide consisted of a graph with some dots above the line and some dots below. The dots above the line were the pupils who had exceeded expectations and the ones below the line were the ones with scope for improvement.

    He indicated the eight-or-so pupils who were JUST below the line. “These are the ones you need to work on,” he grinned. “Sort these out and the school’s performance will be up by at least 10%!”

    I asked the obvious question: “What about those pupils who are a long way below the line. What about them?”

    Again he pointed to the slide and the dots just below the line and spoke to me as if I needed a special-needs teaching assistant’s help. “But these are the pupils who, with  a bit of  work, will get your school up those rankings.” He pointed to the dots that had just managed to squeeze onto the bottom of the slide. ” These won’t help your figures at all.”

    He  didn’t quite say “Duuuurgh!!!!” but I could see  from his perfectly-tanned expression that in different circumstances, I would have been  making that stomach-churning journey to the Headteacher’s study.

    It was at that precise moment that the scales fell from my eyes. Schooling is all about achieving the best possible place in the table. The education of children is a secondary consideration.

    That was the last time that I attended a Governors’ meeting.

    There will be resistance to the removal of SATs. Otherwise, where will all those early-retired teachers go? Where will all those teachers and ex-headteachers go to boost their final years’ incomes in order to beef up that tasty final-salary pension scheme just before they retire for “health reasons”. And what about all those BMW dealerships – who will support them?

    There are two main lessons to be learned. The first is that it is often easier to build something than it is to dismantle it. The second is that when a Government tells you that it is spending all that additional money on Education – it is not necessarily for the benefit of the children.

    There will be resistance to the scrapping of SATs from the Edufatcats at County Hall and there will be resistance from the Ministry for Passing Tests. They are all harbouring under the mistaken belief that there has been an unprecedented improvement in the “three Rs”. Ministers consistently claim that the tests have ushered in the biggest rise in standards in the three Rs in the history of state education. That is a lie.

    Teachers often coach their charges through the test.  Many other tricks are employed by frightened teachers and schools. They range from sitting clever children next to intellectually-challenged ones, so that copying can take place. Reading exercises are practised months ahead of the test until some children practically know them off by heart. Teachers go through the tests in order to correct any minor errors. There are many more ways that results are augmented.

    Ministers know that the system is being abused and the lackeys at County Hall also know what is going on. However,  it is not in their interest to change what is essentially a corrupt system.

    The paradox is that in spite of the  claim that the SAT system has improved Reading , Writing and Arithmetic, there are thousands of children who leave school without being able to read , write and complete simple numeric operations.

    How do I know? Not from anecdotal data but from the fact that I have trained (in the workplace) hundreds of post-school and post-university students. The majority cannot read properly, cannot add , multiply, subtract or divide and many cannot  string together  a grammatically-correct sentence. That is the legacy of several misguided and misinformed Governments who are perpetuating an increasingly unsustainable myth.

    Worryingly, there are now children with parents who themselves were victims of this pernicious system. We have  a self-amplifying problem, fuelled by delusional politicians and educators with a vested interest.

    SATs have to be scrapped now and we must make the switch from Test-Coaching  to Education.

    Purely as an aside for those of you with children at school or perhaps you will remember this from your own schooldays:

    Have you noticed that the children who were the brightest at the age of five remained at the top of the pile all the way up to the time that they left school? Did you also notice that in spite of all the remedial teaching etc.  the not-so-gifted child , relatively -speaking, stayed firmly rooted to where they started?

    Ask any educator and they will tell you that the best predictor of output in input. If the input is a clever child then the output will be a clever adult.  The converse also holds true.

    The relative abilities of children are an absolute and not a function  of education.

    The Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change

    This declaration was made on March 4th 2008.

    (The 2008 International Conference on Climate Change’, March 2 – March 4, 2008 was attended by over 500 people (scientists, economists, policy makers, etc.), with over 100 speakers delivering keynote addresses, or participating in panel discussions.)

    The Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change

    ‘Global warming’ is not a global crisis

    We, the scientists and researchers in climate and related fields, economists, policymakers, and business leaders, assembled at Times Square, New York City, participating in the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change,

    Resolving that scientific questions should be evaluated solely by the scientific method;

    Affirming that global climate has always changed and always will, independent of the actions of humans, and that carbon dioxide (CO2) is not a pollutant but rather a necessity for all life;

    Recognising that the causes and extent of recently observed climatic change are the subject of intense debates in the climate science community and that oft-repeated assertions of a supposed ‘consensus’ among climate experts are false;

    Affirming that attempts by governments to legislate costly regulations on industry and individual citizens to encourage CO2 emission reduction will slow development while having no appreciable impact on the future trajectory of global climate change.

    Such policies will markedly diminish future prosperity and so reduce the ability of societies to adapt to inevitable climate change, thereby increasing, not decreasing, human suffering;

    Noting that warmer weather is generally less harmful to life on Earth than colder:

    Hereby declare: That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity’s real and serious problems.That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.

    That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.

    Now, therefore, we recommend –

    That world leaders reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as well as popular, but misguided works such as An Inconvenient Truth.

    That all taxes, regulations, and other interventions intended to reduce emissions of CO2 be abandoned forthwith.

    Agreed at New York, 4 March 2008. [End of Declaration]

    Now go and Google  and read “Not by Fire but by Ice”  by Robert W. Felix

    After you have read the above book, please read:

    “An Appeal To Reason: A Cool Look At Global Warming” by Nigel Lawson   

      

    Financial Frankenstein.

    Brian Reade has recently written about our collective obsession with the housing market – specifically the misguided belief that somehow our wealth is measured by the value of our home. (NO SYMPATHY NOW YOU’R BRICKING IT  – Daily Mirror 10th April 2008).

    I still remember those far-off Seventies when every day was sunny and our financial life was so  blindingly simple. 

    The Bank issued chequebooks and dished out overdrafts and small loans, the Building Society lent you money so that you could buy a house (after you had spent several years saving up for a deposit), and the Insurance company insured your life so that your wife and kids would be provided-for in case you died .

    The Bank, the Building Society and the Insurance Company each stood at its own apex of the Financial Triangle. Then something happened .  The dark clouds of financial greed scudded in, fanned by the hot air of Thatcherite rhetoric. Laws and Rules were changed.

    The Bank decided that as well as being a bank it would become a Building Society and Insurance Company. It would provide bank accounts, mortgages and insurance.

    The Building Societies’ Act was changed , allowing the Building Society to become a Bank and also provide chequebooks, overdrafts as well as mortgages. It also started selling insurance.

    The Insurance company also had a go at everything and all three institutions even had a go at  becoming Estate Agents.

    Three venerable institutions had become indistinguishable. Three Frankensteins.

    New technologies meant that they could all invent new financial products which evolved from being difficult but not impossible to understand,  to totally incomprehensible.

    Thatcherism had also imported the American corporate concept of “optimising the client base”, “cross-selling” and the word “synergy” was added to the corporate Thesaurus. Or to put it simply – if you had a list of clients, you designed more products and sold them to your existing clients and then you sold your clients’ details to another company who sold some more and gave you a rake-off.

    What happened to the original building society concept?  In those days, members would pay a small regular amount of money into a  fund. When the fund was big enough to buy a house, all the members’ names would go into a hat and one lucky saver became a house owner.  Then they all repeated the  process until they all had a house.  Savings drove the process – not borrowing.

    Banks were originally paid a fee to look after our money and their profit margins were quite small.

    Insurance companies  used to work on a similar principle to the Building Societies. Members paid a small amount into a fund  on a regular basis. When one of them  died, the family received a bit of money from the fund so that they could keep going.

    The root cause of the current house-market predicament has been Change.  Let me explain.

    For the last thirty years we have grown to believe that all change is good. For instance read the Executive Recruitment pages and count how many times you see the word “change”.  A good example is our education system. By the mid seventies it  had reached what can be described  as “Steady State”. It worked and it was simple. Teaching Assistants, Dyslexia , Exclusion and BMW-driving Education Authority Execs had not been invented.

    Then the Agents of Change trained their rheumy eyes on  the whole system. You know the rest.

    The Financial Services industry, just like the Education industry has  evolved too many sub-strata of  cost-centre. (A cost-centre is part of an organisation that adds to the cost of running the organisation).

    Imagine a finite pool of money sloshing about within the housing sector. Currently, there is not enough to satisfy demand because that pool of money is hemorrhaging in the direction of the various non-productive cost-centres. A cost-centre can be anything from an over-paid Chief Executive (yes,yes, we know all the arguments), a bonus-fuelled City barrow-boy  to an inept financial regulator.

    We have created a composite financial Frankenstein yet we continue to worship it and the perceived riches that it has brought to our mortgaged doorstep.

    Brian Reade was right (“You over-borrowed and overheated the market”) but much of the blame lies with Thatcher’s financial  love child that was handed to us after conception. We embraced it, loved it and believed its increasingly outrageous promises for 30 years.   

    It  has now matured  and is ready to screw us. 

    Questions for Fatsos.

    “Is it in yet?”

    Not so long ago, I walked into our local school playground. The sight that battered my eyeballs made me think that I had blundered into an arse-growing competition where there were no losers. There also appeared to be a gut growing competition in the corner. Many easily qualified for both competitions. Sadly, these were adults  in their 20s and 30s waiting to pick up their young children.  If you are a fat bastard of either sex (or American), stop dieting, read the next few lines, wake up and smell the flatulence. 

    Let’s face it – you’re fat. Why are you fat?   Because you eat and drink too much. Yes, yes – It’s to do with big bones or shall we use the water-retention excuse today. No – I’ll tell you what – it’s a medical condition! That one never fails to get sympathy. You’re ill, that’s what you are. Hormonal is good as well.

     

    You’re not the sort of person who:

    Drinks alcohol. Eats biscuits by the packet. Eats crisps. Cooks shit food.  Eats the so-called orange food: Chips, nuggets, fish fingers, beans, chicken kiev, battered stuff , biscuits, tea, beer etc. Just loves fish and chips. Will get round to exercising next month and when you sign the membership form to the exercise class:  “Let’s have a slap-up meal and a drink just to celebrate joining the gym. After all – it will probably be the last proper meal that I will ever have”.  BOLLOCKS!             

    What about:   Lousy in bed and consequently not getting any proper sex?  Never had a orgasm?  Husband left you for a younger (thinner) woman?  Wife left you?  Isn’t she looking glam these days? Not got your figure back since you had that child? Hardly eat a thing? Never ever ate the leftovers? Look for any excuse to “celebrate”? Drink a bottle of wine while cooking? Buy sweets?

    “ Well dear – they are just for the kids” “I’ll stop when I’ve finished this tin of sweets.” “ I wish that people would stop giving us biscuits for Christmas.”  “I used to think it clever to get out of PE and games at school. ” “I am a virgin.”  

    No jeans? Know the calorific value of everything? Love a glass of white wine? (non-fattening you know) Drink Vodka? ( least fattening of all the hard alcohols).  Have never worn a bikini? Eat like a pig at Christmas? “ Well it is just once a year, isn’t it?”  Do you eat very delicately when you are being watched.  Do you make a big deal of not being hungry when someone else cooks for you? Is your life an unhappy sham?  Do you hate your husband? Do you hate your wife/girlfriend? (or both?). Do you read trashy romantic novels? Are you lonely?  

    Is your waist the same size or bigger than your chest? Do you wear baggy jumpers? Do you say “ Well, just one then.” and then proceed to eat as many as you can? Is your mother fat? Have you ever said that ”It’s the person you are that really matters”?  Do you ever wear tracksuit bottoms because it makes your gutbucket stomach happier? Is your husband an ugly bastard? Is your wife a woofer? Are your brothers and sisters fat ? Were you a bloater at school? Were you bullied at school because you were a bloater? Do you have a 99 in your ice-cream? – “Well it is the summer isn’t it?” Chinese takeaways? Indian Takeaways? Pizza? (all washed down with a bucket of diet(?) coke).

    Have you ever had a walk in the countryside? Have you started to read the Lonely Hearts columns with a bit more intensity? Have you ever had a walk? ( N.B. There is no typographical error in the preceding sentence). On holiday, do you waddle to the beach and sit eating sweets and sandwiches and drinking pop and beer all day? “Well, it is just once a year”

    Tried every diet? You are probably on a diet right now. Michael Winner and Anne Widdecombe (and spygun likes them both) have both said the most sensible thing ever  as far as losing weight is concerned : EAT LESS YOU FAT BASTARD.

     ‘Nuff said.

    Moron than I can say.

    The average footballer has the brain of an isopod, the social graces of an Albanian peasant, the communication skills of a special needs student and the vocabulary of  a 13 year-old asbotic.

    That could pose a problem for his manager. Luckily, most managers come from the same background so they can  communicate with their man by drooling, shouting and grunting  until  there is a glimmer, followed (eventually) by a mutual understanding.

    If you listen  carefully to a radio or TV interview  with a footballer you will hear little vocabulary and an over-reliance on clichés which are short, easy to remember and can be mixed, matched and adapted. We al know the old ones : Parrot , Moon  and Backo the Net come to mind – they are the old ones. New ones are creeping in as well : ” I was on a steep learning curve” is quite popular nowadays.  How many footballers have seen a learning curve?

    So  we can agree that communication is not their strong suit. Imagine then the difficulty that a foreigner would have in understanding  and gauging the level of thickness and lack of expressive skill that a British footballer enjoys.

    When you are listening to someone speaking, you can tell within a couple of sentences whether you are dealing with a scholar or moron. However, when you listen to a foreigner whose language you do not understand, you have no idea whether you are listening to poetry or garbage. Or as a footballer might say: “Nancy woofter-boy stuff or fucking shit.”

    Imagine the difficulty that say, a foreign non English-speaking football manager would have in deciding whether a particular footballer would make a good leader or captain. To his unattuned ear, the footballer may sound positively Churchillian  whereas to you and me, he may sound like a dim-witted, knuckle-dragging thicko ***.

    But we must also remember that in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

    *** Sorry to bring the Tory front-bench into this.

    Embryo or not embryo?

    The old blokes in long frocks and funny hats have been making noises. Yes, it’s the Roman Catholic hierarchy again.

    So when does the soul enter the cluster of cells? Is it when the sperm penetrates the egg wall? Does it sneak in through the puncture? Does it wait until the cells have divided once? Does the soul arrive after 24 weeks of development?

    500 years ago, the church would have invented an answer. Unfortunately for them, the education of the masses has meant that they have to join a debate and because they have not had that much practice at rational thought, they are struggling to put together a decent argument.

    Perhaps das Pope will come up with an answer.

    Let’s assume for a moment that Big G does exist. He has given us the knowledge to tamper with life so He must agree with the scientists. Let’s go for it! Let’s find cures for all those nasty diseases.

    The old “soul superstition” which somehow (according to the church) makes “Man” special has caused successive misguided and ignorant governments to allow very sick people to have their lives prolonged and experience an unacceptable level of suffering and pain.

    The same superstition is stopping us from encouraging our scientists to find a cure.

    Let us thank God and the men in frocks.

    Jesus must be spinning in his grave. Sorry (oops!), I forgot. He was allowed to tamper with nature. Probably some sort of cell regeneration.

    Chavopoly

    Click on this:

    chavopoly1.jpg

    This is for all you chav fans.

    Learn about these people because they will inherit the earth. Learn about their customs, clothes, recipes, language, habitat and culture.

    Some regard them as a bit of a joke but it is only a matter of time before they will demand their own State and within two generations, they may begin to breed with humans.

    The human/chav hybrid will have the brain of a human and the dress-sense and class of a chav. Let’s hope that it is not the other way round.

    Are you taking the pikey?

    Media commentators have done a wonderful job of not saying what they want to say when comparing the Shannon and Maddie abductions. Mutterings about “less attractive and not-so media-savvy people” and “more articulate and better looking parents” are a cop-out.  So is “Why is it that the McCanns had so much more publicity than Shannon’s parent(s)?” We all know the answer:

    Pikeys get a worse deal in the media that posh people . 

    Plus, they are manipulated for the sake of more interesting copy. For instance, last night a whole clutch of them was swigging champagne and saying stuff such as ” I’m going to get really drunk now!”. Some of them looked as if they were taking direction from someone behind the camera: ” Wave the bottle higher and shake it a bit more, love !”

    All the bottles had the same label which suggests that they were bought by one person. I suspect that it was a TV producer who had arrived with the wine in order to get that shot of a line of pikeys shaking champagne (it was probably Cava) in the manner of Wayne and Waynetta Slobb at a pikey christening.

    No doubt , now that Shannon has (thankfully) been found, there will be more hacks with chequebooks (sorry, I meant cash) arriving and interviewing dads, uncles aunts and the several hundred more relatives that will emerge from the chipboard.

    The TV interviews will all finish with the phrase that all uneducated prats use: ”  I am so happy that I really don’t know what to say.”

    The reason, darling, that you don’t know what to say is because you have run out of vocabulary.

    To all you media people: LEAVE THEM ALONE.  Although it’s big  – it’s certainly not clever.