Showing posts with label Guest Contributors. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Guest Contributors. Show all posts

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Unions: They don't speak for everyone.

Got this in an e-mail from an academic buddy - his view of the Lecturer's union striking.

I am an academic at a leading UK university. Obtaining an academic position is not an easy thing to do and I have worked towards it, pretty much non-stop, since I left school. You will probably need a First Class degree to get onto a funded PhD course. Assuming your doctorate goes well, you need to find a postdoctoral position. There are probably four times as many new PhDs as there are postdoctoral opportunities, all being sought by highly-motivated, breathtakingly intelligent young people who have just obtained their degree. The competition is intense beyond belief.

If you get your postdoctoral position, it will probably be for a term of one to five years, during which time you have to build a publication record that makes you worthy of an academic position. With short postdocs, you might need to re-enter that competitive job market to get a second contract. You need to build enough experience – maybe three or five years’ worth – to be in a position to apply for an academic position, but not too much. Someone who doesn’t manage to get an academic position after six or eight years is at a huge disadvantage compared to the bright young things on the up.

The academic positions are, one again, about one-quarter as plentiful as the postdocs reaching maturity, and even if you get one, it will likely be fixed term. Use this term wisely – by bringing in a lot of funding, for example – and you just might obtain a permanent one.

The rewards though, are immense. I get to work on the thing which is most important to me in the whole world. I get to travel the world. I get to leave work at 2pm if I feel like it, even though I never do. The freedom is there.

I get to make, with my own mortal hand, things that will change the future of science. This, to me, is the most incredible thing that I could ever be allowed to do. These objects are going to be paid for by taxpayers – productive people who work hard only to have a slice of the fruits of their labour hived off and given to me. I am humbled by the trust put in me to use this money as wisely as I possibly can, to advance human knowledge, and I remember the thirty-odd hugely talented PhDs to whom I have, personally, denied the opportunity.

Today, I got an email calling on me to strike. It said that I should consider this hard-won chance-of-a-lifetime to be, well, a job. A job, like in Marks and Spencer’s. That I should consider a few hundred pounds, extracted from people who have had to actually work to fund my dreams, to be worth more than this chance of a lifetime. That I should spit on the thirty poor sods that didn’t get this chance by refusing to use it to its fullest possible extent, and on the people whose jobs went to the wall to pay for the taxes I spend. Somehow withholding marking of students’ papers and delaying their careers, the better to line my own pocket with other people’s money, is portrayed as a virtuous deed.

I am, quite literally, open-mouthed in disbelief. These people have, like me, been given the chance of a lifetime and they are prepared to waste other people’s money, to waste other people’s time, over a few percent on their investments. I can imagine more selfish acts, but not many. These, by the way, will be the same people who rail about the evils of the bankers. Say what you like about the bankers, they didn’t blackmail anyone to get to where they are today. Good luck to them.

So, when you see the lecturer’s unions on strike next week, remember that they don’t speak for all of us. Some of us have work to do.

A view from an academic, who wishes to remain anonymous, but I can confirm is working on stuff, that when he tells me about it, I'm awed at how cool it is. Think about stuff your 8-year old self wishes you did for a living, and that's what he does for a living.



Thursday, 27 October 2011

On Becoming a Writer...

Guest post By LB Mara.

"The Dawn Herald" is available on Kindle! At last! After five years of writing, rewriting, hair-tearing, nailbiting, absurd hope and crushing disappointment, "The Dawn Herald" is finished. Five years of carefully crafting submission letters and blurbs; formatting text, cold-calling, networking, hoping and praying. Five years of 'it's not for us, though it's very well written' and my favourite *ever* response to a pitch that took six hours to write: 'no thanks'. Five years of not having my work read; of having it returned crumpled and coffee-stained, ripped by too-tight rubber bands, of drawers full of rejection slips. Five years of near-hope as I have the book accepted, only to discover that the publishing house is an out-and-out scam; five years of 'waiting for my life to start' (a sentiment shared by writers and enneagram lovers, particularly Number 4s). And five years of rejecting the self-publishing option due to the all-pervasive snobbery surrounding it: if you 'do it yourself', you're not quite good enough/pandering to your own vanity/doomed to literary failure/won't be taken seriously. I've come to view the last sentiments as absolute rubbish.
The traditional publishing model is dying. Going the same way as vinyl and 8 tracks. Bookshops are becoming coffee shops lined with books. Digital media isn't the way forward: it's the status quo. While there will always be a place for the tangible book as opposed to its virtual cousin - the sumptuous coffee-table art book, the delectable cookbook, the weighty law tome, the lavishly illustrated children's book - people are becoming accustomed to carrying their literature with them in the form of bytes rather than print. It means that you can read what you like, when you like, without a literary snob squinting at the spine of the book you're reading and raising a derisive eyebrow. Accountants can read Harry Potter on the Tube; High Court judges can dive into the murky world of chick lit and Aga Sagas without being rumbled. Digital media is a great leveller, entirely democratic. It's available to all. Everyone can educate or entertain themselves wherever they happen to be for a few pounds. Access to literature is not a closed shop any more (excuse the pun). And today's writers are finding it equally freeing.
The typical publishing model means that a writer is tied into a contract for x-number of years with a whole host of caveats concerning what they can and can't do with their own work. They may have unknowingly sold the rights to their story in a particular format, which means they can't reissue their work in a different format, have it illustrated independently, or distribute it as they wish. If they're not careful, their characters may end up in cereal packets or as a Ready Meal toy or, in a case that incensed book lovers and nostalgia hounds the world round, Paddington Bear in an advertising campaign for Marmite. They have to fork over a hefty 70% of their royalties to the publishing house; advances are drying up; and there's no guarantee that their book won't be edited until it's unrecognisable, marketed in a way they find inappropriate, or illustrated in a way they hate.
Publishing to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple et al turns the publishing model on its head. You keep 70% of the profit. You choose your own artwork - I've used the best illustrators out there: Andy English, who is creating three exquisite woodcuts (one for each part of the novel) and Abi Daker who has produced a delicious map and a series of watercolours to illustrate the whole.You can amend your book whenever you wish, market it freely, and control what happens to it. So, although self-publishing is in one sense an absolute leap in the dark - I feel rather like a mother sending her child off on the first day of school and hoping said child doesn't get kicked or dumped in the litter bin. What if no-one likes it? - it's an awful lot more freeing. I know that I am the creator of my own success; the amount of effort I put into marketing The Dawn Herald will be commensurate with the number of people aware of it. Isn't it a hundred times more satisfying to know that you have earnt the proceeds of your hard labour? As Dale Carnegie said: 'The harder I work, the luckier I get.'



Friday, 15 October 2010

Guest Post from Bendy Girl

If you've ever wondered why I hate bureaucracy, this post by BendyGirl, cross-posted from her blog Benefit Scrounging Scum illustrates what happens when the Broken NHS bureaucracy and the even more broken Welfare state bureaucracy collide: People who are desperately trying to do the right thing fall into inconvenient boxes, and don't get what they need.

Today I deathwalked a longer distance than I've been able to manage in 12 months. To say I was jubilant when I arrived home is understating the case, ecstacy would be closer to the truth after a year of injury after injury, hideous Oxycontin withdrawal and many other setbacks, just to get back to a distance I could acheive without as much difficulty 18 months ago is incredible.

I've only been home half an hour and that sense of excitement has been whipped from underneath me by a phone call from wheelchair services. I've written about this dilemma in the past, the rules governing wheelchair provision on the NHS are so surreal Dali would have shaken his head in bewilderment and wandered off to find something not in the 'too hard to think about' box.

My Occupational Therapist at the Wheelchair Centre is a lovely lady and excellent OT. She's known me since I was in nappies and is very saddened by the situation I'm facing, but her hands are tied by the national rules governing wheelchair provision.

The rules state that no-one will be supplied a power chair on the NHS which is capable of being used outdoors until they have used a powerchair indoors for a minimum of six months. A rule, which might just possibly seem sensible in abstract to politicians with no understanding of disability or it's reluctance to be shoehorned into bureaucratic boxes but not to anyone else, particularly not the people falling outside of those boxes and missing out on vital services and equipment.

Living in a very small one bedroom flat with standard sized doorways I could maybe just about get a power wheelchair into my home, but it would only be possible because I'm physically so petite. Given that Ehlers Danlos Syndrome affects the entire body, the demands of getting into and out of a powerchair everytime I needed to move to another part of the flat would be equal to, if not worse than the demands of staggering around the flat, I'd just be trading one set of dislocations for another, equally painful and degenerative set. The additional downside of using a wheelchair indoors would of course be a further, rapid deterioration in my overall condition, leading to more dislocations, more pain and more disability. Remaining a part time wheelchair user is optimum for my physical and mental health, the overall cost to the NHS and the benefits bill, but does not fit within the rules of the system.


BendyGirl sitting in her attendant wheelchair

I have an attendant wheelchair, the kind that can only be used if you have someone to push you. It's great, but means I can't go anywhere to use it unless I can find someone who's not busy and is both willing and able to push me around. It's also difficult socially as typically people walk or wheel side by side, and being in an attendant chair prevents that. I suspect it's one reason why small children get so fractious in pushchairs, being unable to see or properly speak to the person pushing you is conducive only to tantrums.

I am not entitled to a standard manual wheelchair as the system recognises that it would be dangerous for me to use one. I could attempt to persuade my GP to risk his professional reputation and a future negligence action by getting him to sign me as fit to use a self propelled wheelchair, but he should no more be put in that position than I should be put in the position of having to lie and say I would use a wheelchair full time indoors. If my GP were willing to claim that I'm capable of using a wheelchair I'm very obviously not, then I could obtain an NHS voucher and purchase a power assisted lightweight wheelchair myself, making up the rest of the cost out of my benefits. That is unlikely to happen, partly because my GP wouldn't deem me fit to use a self propel wheelchair and partly because the kind of lightweight, power assisted wheelchair I would need would be cost prohibitive.

It is possible to use High Rate Mobility Allowance to purchase a powered wheelchair...but not if you're already using that HRM to fund a car. I am currently not using my HRM for either, it goes into general living/travel expenses as I already had a car, but as I need to change my car to a more accessible vehicle, assuming there are no problems with my DLA reapplication the HRM will be committed fully to a vehicle leaving no money for a wheelchair.

So, once again I'm back at square one. There is absolutely no doubt that an appropriate wheelchair would make it more likely for me to obtain paid work. Access to work is the scheme set up to provide specialist equipment to disabled people to enable them to work. Unfortunately one needs an actual job, or concrete job offer to use access to work, and I have neither. The 8 hours a week I'll be doing from my sofa on a voluntary basis absolutely won't count.

I have three options. One; the situation remains as it is now, hopefully improved if BendyBus ever gets it's act together enough to leave the care of mechanics. Two; I lie. To my GP, to my consultants, to the wheelchair centre and claim I will use a power wheelchair full time indoors for six months so that they eventually consider me for a powerchair which works both outdoors and indoors. Three; I try to navigate the maze of charities and beg for funding, unlikely to be secured as EDS is not important enough a condition to have rich and powerful charitable representation.

The years of not being diagnosed and accused of being a liar have left me with a stubborn determination to cling to the truth at all costs. I am just not willing to put myself in a position where I have to lie to the clinicians caring for me, even if that lie weren't completely detrimental to all concerned. I don't have the energy or the mental strength I'd need to go cap in hand to a round of charities, which leaves option one as the only choice.

More than three years on...I'm still missing out.



Thursday, 5 June 2008

Representing yourself in court

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – Self Proclaimed al-Qaeda commander is representing himself in the Military tribunal that could sentence him to death. There will be tears in the headquarters of Amnesty Insufferable tonight. “He doesn’t love me!” Cried Clive Stifford-Smythe. “And after all I’ve done for him and his friends”. “I feel so used” wailed the “human rights” lawyer on finding out that his services will not be required.

He has rejected court appointed translators saying that they “put words in my mouth”. During a March 10, 2007 hearing to declare him an enemy combatant, he bragged he was “responsible for the 9/11 operation from A to Z” and claimed he personally beheaded Daniel Pearl – the Wall Street Journal reporter. I find it hard to see how they could do any worse a job that the defendant himself. I feel that Khalid’s desire to be martyred will be facilitated in double quick time; with the added advantage that it will save the hard pressed US taxpayer a buck or two.

I don’t think I’m jumping the gun here by planning the method of execution. Personally I’m thinking along the lines of several tonnes of frozen pork bellies to simulate a tower block falling on your head. But I suppose the Supreme Court will rule it out.



Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Air Travel

I was coming back from Ireland Sunday on Eireflot who dropped me home a good few hours late. Not exactly what you need after a weekend on the piss in Dublin when you have to go to work at 06:00 the next day. Their timekeeping is positively Brazilian, as I was also delayed by an hour and 50 on the way out. The only advantage is the name Aer Lingus lend itself to numerous, well one actually, joke about an airline and oral sex. Anyway, as my tag should indicate, I do a fair bit of travelling so I thought I’d give you my brief summary on the Aviation Industry, and its in the news today as they reckon the era of cheap air travel is over – according to the Telegraph. I haven’t flown with every airline in the world; these are the ones I have flown with at one time or another.

The Refugee carriers
Ryanair – Why in the name of God’s arse would you actually want to fly an airline that despises its own customers. You get a better welcome in Grenadier Guards fig at the headquarters of the PIRA. Seats that an Indian Fakir would not sit on.
Sleazyjet - Vile coloured planes, no food and barely more comfort than the Orish carrier Ryanair (see above). Unlike Ryanair the airport you land at will definitely be in the same country and probably the same county as the city the advertising claims to land at. Not that cheap and fly from Stanstead (a pain in the Jacks) or Luton (really big pain in the Jacks with no coffee facilities).
Norwegian - Refugee airline that is thrashing the pants off SAS. This is not down to its comforts which are no different to Easyjet but down to the fact that Norway is a country where you need to rent your arse down the docks to pay for a packet of Cheese & Onion crisps. The fact that this airline only charges £60 each way means that this is the best bargain ever to leave “Dette landet som det stiger frem furet, værbitt over vannet med de tusen hjem”. Unlike O’leary the CEO isn’t an asshole either and tells good stories about when he was flying Starfighters for the RNAF.
Air Berlin The Rolls Royce – well Daihatsu of Refugee Airlines. Cheap, friendly with the only downside being that they only fly to Germany and who really wants to go there?
LIAT Caribbean airline that went refugee. The nicknames pretty much sum the airline up. Late If At All. Luggage In Another Terminal, Leave Island Any Time. Sitting on the runway on numerous islands - without aircon - waiting for the plane to take off was a special form of hell.

Charter – haven’t flown a tour company charter since Dan Dare went bust but flown a couple of private charters.

Wings over Africa OK not an airline as such. But the pilot who came out with me to the pub every evening was a great Aussie chap who let me fly the plane for a bit – although not when we were skimming the Skeleton Coast at 80ft.
Unknown Airline – Guyana. Sat in the co-pilot seat surrounded by general cargo. Pilot flew by satnav, barely looking out of the screen until we hit the ground at Georgetown. Probably not a big worry though as we were flying over the jungle at a fair height, the drugs planes without IFF fly low and fast.

Flag Carriers

Africa – If you’re not flying with the Saffas then you’re taking your life in your own hands.

Seth Efrican Airways. Looked clean and organised. Unfortunately didn’t smell that way. I think the on board Khazis had exploded. Farkin expensive like all Southern African airlines.
Comair BA’s Seth Efrican operation. Great Service. Punctual. Tolerable food. Same lousy costs as SAA.

Caribbean
LIAT – See above.
Caribbean – Formerly BWIA (Britain’s Worst Investment Abroad). Sassy stewardesses. Seats OK. Average food.

Europe
Luftwaffe Clean, Organised, the stewardesses didn’t look bad. Punctual in a way only the Swiss can beat. The only downside is that famed German customer service tradition. Food on Ze table – eins zwei.
Eireflot Actually a refugee carrier on short haul. Cramped, awful timekeeping. But since they only fly to Ireland you’re unlikely to use them for anything other than a stag doo. Get on an early flight. Once it starts going wrong they can’t pull it back time wise.
British Airways Every time these guys delay me I swear I will never use them again. Until I use someone else and it reminds me why I always go back to them again in the end. Great service, can be punctual when they want to be, superb coverage. A tie between them and Luftwaffe as the best European airline. I haven’t tried Beardy airways as they don’t fly to anywhere I need to go except NYC and I get BA Miles.
Air France. That famed French customer service tradition without German reliability, attention to detail, comfort or even friendliness. Did have the fittest Stewardess I have ever seen, but even she can’t make up for the total lack of timekeeping and a pilot who was tired of life judging by his erratic flying.
VLM Suit carrier to the tax havens of Europe. Cramped turboprop aircraft with crappy food but it flies from London City which is the best airport North of a Pacific Island dirt strip with a thatched hut and has a similar check-in time.
Adria Slovenia’s flag carrier. Stewardesses trained by Rosa Klebb of SMERSH.
Alitalia Cramped unless you luck out and get one of their new planes – the odds are not on your side, you’ll be flying a vintage MD-82. Lousy food, 1970’s industrial relations. Broke and it shows. Fly them and you’re carrying out Russian roulette on whether you’ll get to your destination without going bust.
BMI Baby Semi refugee carrier. Not bad seats though. No food. Fly to a couple off handy places too.
British Midland Not bad, but have inherited the charisma of the area they are based in. For some weird reason they fly to over half the world’s dictatorships. Jeddah, Khartoum, Damascus, Bishkent, Riyadh, Tehran. If these guys aren’t hijacked in the next five years I’ll be amazed.
KLM Haven’t flown with them since the French took over. Good beforehand. Probably gone downhill a bit if Air France is anything to go by.
SAS Always broke, including their website. Flying with them in three weeks so I’ll give you the op-ed then.

Asia
Garuda
Famed for being lousy and unsafe, although compared to the Chinese airlines that are used as a method of population control they aren’t that bad. I was in Club so as long as the bubbles kept rolling I wasn’t complaining.
Cathay Pacific Just like BA with the exception off the colour scheme which is a bit dubious. Friendly staff. Good leg room. Food that won’t poison you. Unlike BA it has cute stewardesses.

North America – All American airlines suck to a fairly large degree, no idea about the Canadians. The idea is to find the one that sucks the least.

American Airlines Awful Like being strapped to the shopping channel except you can’t leave. Always trying to sell you something. Lousy food, charge you for something to wash it down with. And they screwed up my air miles several times.
Continental. Awful but not quite as bad as American. The CEO popping up on the safety briefing was mildly amusing. Uncomfortable.
Northwest Transatlantic probably the best of the Yank carriers. Didn’t charge for booze which put them in my good books. The stewardesses didn’t think I was Australian which was even better.
US Airways Not terrible for the 55 minute flight between La Guardia and Washington DC. And the kind ladies let me swap flights for a nominal charge. Cramped aircraft. No food.
Delta No food, cramped old MD-90’s. Merging with Northwest.


Central and South America
Aerosur The only choice in Bolivia. Lloyd Bolivia are terrible in a way the gamut of words found in the English Language cannot begin to describe; and are always on Strike anyway. Aerosur are the safest bet in this awful place.
Aerolineas Argentina Ever wanted to fly in a Vintage plane? Aerolineas is your chance. The only other place you’ll see their fleet is in Duxford. Vintage seats as uncomfortable as you remember from your childhood.
LAN Clean, Modern, Good Food, Good routes. Best choice for South America.
TAM Since Varig went bust the only Brazilian airline game in town. Clean Modern planes between the main capital cities with good food, But if you want to fly somewhere sleepy like Asuncion, the Spitit of St Louis will be your airframe with one of the pilots sandwiches if he doesn’t like the fillings your meal.
TACA Your only real choice for Central America. Probably the best Central America has to offer - with Canadian aircraft servicing.
Air Naturales Little airline that flies you from Costa Rican eco beach to Costa Rican eco beach.

Australasia
Quantas Staff in-flight arrogance that would make a Parisian Sommelier green with envy. Good planes though.
Air Pacific Knackered old 747’s but who cares – you’re on your way to Fiji. They feed you and play that South Pacific twangy stuff on the intercom. You can smell the palm trees.
Fiji Airlines Providers of the turboprops that shuttle you from one sleepy Pacific airstrip to the next.



Wednesday, 28 May 2008

European "Democracy"

Normally I don’t write much about the EU as quite frankly there’s little point. It’s corrupt, incompetent and anti-democratic. Everybody in Britain who doesn’t add Tapenade to their shopping list, and lists Political Theatre, modern “art” and protesting against non recyclable nappies as their hobbies hates it. These Federasts hate their own country with a passion only otherwise reserved for the 4th Runway at Heathrow; and can only assume this is the result of some “awful” childhood scarring along the lines of being refused the purchase of a pony by their father. On the other side you have the Europhobes who cannot shut the hell up about the EU for more than 10 seconds. A discussion about a gamut of fairly innocuous issues from Traffic Wardens to the decline of Thatched roofs in Rural Dorset will revert to complaints about Europe quicker than a London Cab driver can get to the phrase “send em all back”. This makes for incredibly dull conversation.

Even though I hate the EU I don’t whine about it too much because like all artificially created states where numerous peoples with different cultures, languages & faiths are shoved under one roof in the hope they’ll get along, it is bound to fail. The Roman Empire, Charlemagne Empire, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Iraq, the Pan Arab Republic, the Austro Hungarian Empire, Ottoman Empire all being good examples. If we leave these fools to it, the whole enterprise will collapse as surely as King Canute’s sand castle; probably with the same degree of love and affection that the Roman Empire, Charlemagne Empire, Soviet Union, Yugoslavia etc collapsed. Ironic really as an institution set up under the Coal & Steel pact to stop wars has pushed the greatest number of people together in a pressure cooker of hatreds that would need little to start a war. However whilst we’re trapped in the mess it is our duty to resist anti-democratic crap like this and this.

They can pretend that they give a crap what the mere prols say as long as we have a voice in the joke that is the European Parliament. Now with the European Constitution and their trying to ban anybody who doesn’t agree with their corrupt little pet project they have lost any semblance of legitimacy.



Change Fidel believes in


Support keeps coming from those people who are not exactly America’s best friend. Hot on the heals of Hugo Chavez, Jimmy Carter, Daniel Ortega, Hamas and his own wife, it seems El Retired Presidente Fidel Castro is added to the list off people who buy the “change we can believe in”. To be fair on Obama Mr Castro did qualify it with a note of regret that the “progressive” candidate had taken such a hard line on Cuba. Add in Ted “Chappaquiddick” Kennedy and you have the endorsements from Hell. Obama just met Imam Hassan Qazwin (an open anti-Semite, supporter of Israel’s annihilation) to talk about Israel – Hmmm, wonder how that conversation went. There are two points to be made on this, firstly it seems you can know a man by his friends and his enemies. Secondly, exactly how many special interest groups do you wish to annoy Barack?



Friday, 23 May 2008

A Message to the Parties of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Dear Labour Party

I just want to say I’m really sorry you lost. I don’t think you should change a thing, this is no time for panic! Your policies are all wonderful and your leader the most charismatic man found in the UK. He knows all about courage, after all he’s written books on it that have sold at least 30 copies. He’s dynamic and insightful, keeps his promises and is a man of complete moral integrity. We don’t want low taxes; we want to keep pouring our hard earned money down the Public Sector money pit. We don’t want democracy; keep denying us that European Referendum. We don’t mind how you fund yourself – keep up the money laundering. Keep buying Derry Irvine more wallpaper – keeps the decorators of Britain in business, ditto cabs for the Speakers wife. Keep peddling influence. I can’t say enough how wonderful you are, don’t change a thing my love! Please please pretty please with sugar on top – don’t change. Just keep saying that "You’re listening" like a Hare Krishna cult mantra. We believe you and trust in you.

Dear Conservative Party

Keep working.

Dear “Liberal” “Democrats”

Winning a war is a bitch isn’t it? Isn’t it time for a new leader yet?



Thursday, 22 May 2008

Crewe & Nantwich

Picture - Miss Great Britain, prettier than the train picture I was going to stick up to represent Crewe & Nantwich.

Despite temporarily loosing the data on 8000 voters in Crewe and Nantwich (the person who received them deleted them as soon as it was spotted), it looks like the Tories are cruising to power in Crewe & Nantwich. Paddy Power – the betting company has paid out already on a Conservative win. The loss of data is important; it matters greatly if it’s your name on that list that has been sent to some random journalist. And is a good fashioned kick up the butt for Tories who should never be complacent or forget that we the people employ them.

However it’s probably not as annoying as a Labour Canvasser phoning you in the middle off the night claiming to be a Tory pollster, nor patronising the hell out of you by trying to stir up a class war like some little student union pedant. The Labour slime squad left no stone unturned, even going after the Conservative candidates Llamas – quite why is a complete mystery since the Llama is a pretty inoffensive creature, not usually associated with the landed gentry and besides they belonged to the farmer next door anyway. Of course there were other attacks, Tories delivering leaflets in old Bentleys was supposedly an example of the Tories “toffness” – not of course pride in a motor car that is hand built in the same constituency. And Gemma Garrett – Miss Great Britain (see above) was attacked whilst campaigning for the Conservatives. She was slimed for her supposedly miss-spelling Britain. "It is ironic that Labour, which is supposed to cherish the rights of women, created this cheap, wrong and stereotypical image of me intended to suggest that any girl who happened to be blonde and to look good cannot spell”. Jolly well said Gemma.

Looks like Gordon Brown will have an even longer face tomorrow. Once again I can’t wait for the mauling this loathsome man will receive in PMQ’s.



Friday, 16 May 2008

Some nations are doomed to failure

I’ve been looking at holidays in Africa and picked up a couple of guide books. It has always been a mystery to many why the African nations are not richer; having abundant natural resources and a people no less intelligent than anywhere else on the planet. After seeing the national Anthem of Mozambique I think I have put my finger on the problem. Any nation that has to put exclamation marks in their National song and names a political party is quite frankly doomed.

Long Live Frelimo
Guide of the Mozambique people,
Heroic people, who gun in hand,
Toppled Colonialism,
All the people united from the Rovuma to the Maputo,
Struggle against imperialism and continue, and shall win.

CHORUS
Long live Mozambique!
Long live our flag, Symbol of the nation!
Long live Mozambique!
For you your people will fight.

United with the whole world,
Struggling against the bourgeoisie,
Our country will be the tomb
Of Capitalism and exploitation.
The Mozambique People,
Workers and peasants,
Engaged in work shall always produce wealth.

CHORUS



Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Disturbing the peace



Picture... This man is a threat to the Peace of Zimbabwe.

A “Human Rights” group in Zimbabwe is calling for Comrade Bob “Idi” Mugabe to declare a state of Emergency. Not as you would think because Zanu-PF are going round murdering supporters of the MDC. But because “Zimbabwean Lawyers for Justice” – there’s two lies just in the title – say the MDC people are disturbing the peace! How dare these people damage Zimbabwean Police property by bashing their heads at the end of police truncheons. How dare they take up valuable hospital space after being beaten by those heroic war “Veterans”. The torture camps Zanu-PF run are causing wrist ache on those responsible for beating people who committed the crime of voting for a change. Declare a state of emergency now!

It seems that “Quiet diplomacy” takes another giant leap forward. Especially after reports have come out that Mbeki quashed an independent report commissioned by South African Judges Sisi Khampepe & Judge Dikgang Moseneke about the 2002 election that showed Mugabe stole the 2002 election. When the MDC pushed for the report to be made public Mbeki “Threw his toys out of the pram”. Government spokesman say that this report would threaten the successes that the South African government has had in curbing Mugabe’s excesses…. Er what successes would these be exactly?

The Ambassadors of Britain, the United States, Japan and the European Union were “intercepted and detained by Police” in Zimbabwe yesterday. Obviously other than stopping the rapes and murders carried out by Zanu PF thugs; South Africa has also defended the absolutely inviolate rule of international diplomacy by protecting diplomatic staff.



Tuesday, 13 May 2008

EU buggering around with banks

Messirs Mirkel et all are having a lovely chummy team meeting to bring in legislation that I can only assume is designed to destroy banking in the European Union. As if MiFid hasn’t done enough to bugger my life about with pointless regulations; they are also planning to attack the lightly regulated “Fat Cats” – that’s Commie New Speak for rich successful people who don’t work in the State Funded sector or play left forward for AC Milan*. They are planning to attack Private Equity, Hedge Funds and bring in “Super Taxes” on pay packages above £398k. Sure the odd Bank screws up a la Northern Rock or Bear Stearns, but you name me an industry that not one single company has gone insolvent or unmerged forever. Pan-Am, British Coal, Messerschmitt, Oldsmobile, Swissair, British Leyland, the East India Trading Company; no company goes on Ad Infinitum.

And what about all the Fat Cats with no-touch regulation; bomb proof pensions, un-audited finances and massive fraud in the EU? I take it they're not going to shine a light on their practices, only people who own businesses and create wealth and jobs. The raving hypocrisy of these people is outstanding. And the greatest kicker of all is that its being done behind the UK’s back; Europe as in all things liking to present us with a Fait Accomplis. I honestly don’t know why they bothered; the Foreign office is in their pay and stopped protecting Britain’s interest in Europe decades ago. The only people who could put up any resistance are the Badger Faced Sock puppet occupying No 11 and his Treasury “Team”. And that supine fool is as likely to “threaten Britain’s place in the heart of Europe” as I am to get a threesome with Heidi Klum and Alessandra Ambrosio.

I won’t get sympathy from those who don’t work in Finance, and to be honest I don’t expect it. However I would point out two things, that the vast majority of public funding in the UK is earned in the city off London in Banking and Insurance - £19bn and the single largest contributor to the UK balance of payments. The second point is that I don’t do cartwheels going into work every morning; I do it because I love the competition and the rewards. The unspoken agreement between an Investment Bank and me goes as such…. I am willing to work all hours God sends, probably driving me into an early grave through stress. I accept a working stability akin to a jobbing actor, with one mistake costing my job. I will pay loads of taxes to quite staggeringly incompetent people in the Public sector and only moan about it. In return I demand a whole pile of cash that gives me the freedom from the state. If I do not get this I will bugger off to the Cayman Islands or Hong Kong, taking my taxed wage with me. Anybody know any head-hunters out there?

* I know nothing about Association Football



Friday, 9 May 2008

Tourists




The Rough Guide tourist books have declared England “insular, self-important and irritating” and home to “overweight, binge drinking reality TV addicts”. It makes my breast swell with pride. Obviously we’re self important as we know we’re great being born English is winning the lottery of life. I had an American friend who said “England and America are the best countries in the world; everybody else is tied for last”. The man is a card carrying genius. Anyhooo… Back to the point, the rest of it’s a load of Rubbish or irrelevant. Binge drinking is no problem, today’s football hooligans are tomorrow’s infantry, point them at the enemy and tell them to destroy anything in their path. This is an asset for our national defence. Insular is good for the balance of payments, and irritating keeps away the tourists.

Which is exactly the point. The Rough Guide is a book for tourists, and I don’t want them here because I live in London. Without them I won’t get a Greek person opening his map at the top of the only working Tube escalator, a Spaniard stopping in the street abruptly and for no reason on God’s good earth with his bloody Invicta rucksack blocking the way. The West End theatres will be free of fucking musicals like the Sound of Music – the only film I’ve watched where I wanted the Germans to win just to see Julie Andrews cut down in a hail of Schmeisser fire. Our pubs will be free of Tapenade, our museums free of Vichy schoolchildren. When I’m dictator for life the English tourist board will launch a worldwide campaign “Stick to your own Grot hole you poxy gits” and then be shut down.

God Save the Queen

Oh, the Yanks can still come, because as a free nation they don’t moan when the public transport doesn’t work here. This is because they don’t have a public transport system. Their government spends their money on useful things that make their people proud, like the AH-64 A/D Apache Longbow; not crap things that give Communists jobs like Trains and Busses.



Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Russia's Putin takes power again, pledges more Putin

Picture Those lessons from Keith Harris pay off....

Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russian president in a solemn ceremony in the Kremlin's throne room on Wednesday, beginning an unprecedented period of dual rule with his predecessor Vladimir Putin.

Putin, a 42-year-old former KGB spy and long-time Putin ally, stressed Putin and the rule of Putin in his first remarks after taking the oath of office and receiving a gold chain of double-headed eagles symbolizing the Virility of Putin.

"I believe most important aims will be protect civil and economic freedoms of President Putin – Da?" he told the 2,000 guests at the inauguration, broadcast live on television.

Before Putin was sworn in, a sombre-looking Putin entered the Kremlin alone and thanked the Russian people for their trust and support over his two, four-year terms. “Rubber puppet with arm up bottom is me. I have been practicing throwing voice with glass of water. Look watch!”.

Putin has said he sees no problem working with Putin with whom he shares identical views on Russia's future. But Russia's history, dominated by single powerful rulers such as Josef Stalin and Vladimir Putin, knows few examples of smooth co-existence.

The article from Reuters



Payback - South America II

Went to Bolivia a while back. There is some nice scenery round Titicaca; but other than that the place is a festering khazi of the first order (how far away can that job presenting “Holiday” on the BBC be). It’s a place rife with Racism, corruption and they can’t change a toilet roll without going on strike. I was CS gassed, shot at and my airport building was evacuated by a bomb threat all in the space of one day. My flight out off Cochabamba was celebrated by the golden parabola of petrol bombs being thrown on the runway on that day too, and to be fair it enlivened an otherwise catastrophically dreary place. I will go as far as saying it is the only nation in South America I will not return to in a hurry. So I’m hardly surprised that part of the country wants to leave Bolivia too.

The people from the region of Santa Cruz are after autonomy. Santa Cruz is one of the few regions of the country that actually has some spare cash knocking around and they’re not too keen on this money leaving the region so Evo Morales can “build world Socialism”. The region has always done well as it’s a major drugs producer, and now they’re sitting on an awful lot of gas as well which is more lucrative and less likely to excite the DEA than the former. They want to spend this mixture of ill gotten proceeds and legitimately obtained cash on their own people. They’re also partial to keeping their land that they developed, rather than giving it away. Bolivia desperately needs to change its property rights to give the poor a stake in the future of the country – i.e. let them have enough to build a house. What they don’t need is Evo’s version of it which looks remarkably similar to something tried before.

At the end of the day this is all down to race. The Indians got the shitty end of the stick for centuries and now they’re thinking payback, so they vote in a Commy rotter whose telling them exactly what they want to hear. The only problem with that theory is that rich white guys simply leave or pay people to do what they want. The people of Santa Cruz have taken a page out of their glorious leaders’ playbook, striking and blockading the country until they get their own way. This is exactly what Evo did to get elected in the first place.

I predict that shortly his fellow Latin American left wing gobshite will be sending “Advisors” to help Evo against the people of Santa Cruz. Just as he sent “teachers” after the floods Bolivia suffered a few years back (why when your house was washed away in a flood you would need Marxist education instead of TB shots is beyond me). As a result the rich will leave along with anybody with any brains whatsoever; the land and businesses will be expropriated and run in the usual disastrous way. There’s no way that Santa Cruz will leave Bolivia because no South American country wants to let part of any other country leave just in case their own populations start getting ideas. However this won’t stop the general death and devastation that usually follows left wing regimes – tens of thousands of deaths and 10% of the population fleeing. If we’re lucky Bolivia will have Allende levels of economic incompetence before this guy leaves office, if not Zimbabwe.



Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Mmooooo


In South American news - Argentinean farmers are threatening to blockade the roads of Argentina due to punitive taxes the government is imposing on Soybeans. This is the latest escapade in a series of gaffes the Government of Argentina has endured after involving itself in the staple diets of their people – with all the usual success that fixed food pricing has. You would think that Agriculture was something the Argentineans knew something about, after all farming and long haired Polo players sleeping with upper class women in the Home Counties are Argentina’s only exports. However the Government decided that the poor of Argentina weren’t eating enough beef (Argentina being a nation that considers vegetarianism an eating disorder akin to Bulimia) so in order to allow the benighted masses of La Boca to eat more Sirloin, Nestor Kirchner put restrictions on exports and punitive taxes so… “Hey, there’s more beef in the country and prices will drop”. Anybody with a basic knowledge of economics or living in a Fixed Rent tenement block in New York City will know that price controls don’t do that. They simply mean that the producer stops producing or he sells it on a Black Market for what it’s really worth, and bugger me with a fish fork, that’s what happened; everybody started growing soybeans instead of feeding Daisy (pictured thanks to gimmecorn.com).

And so we move on to the latest travails of Argentina. The “poor” wanted the usual something for nothing and as often happened in history voted in somebody who would give it to them. And they turned to Sr Kirchner’s missus (Nestor was demoted to First Laddie due to term limits), of course her election was market with dubious cash donations from the usual suspect. Now Argentina being an agrarian producer only had one thing to tax to pay for all the free shit that Cristiana Kirchner promised. So they’re screwing up their only industry other than La Martina polo tops that make them any money. Naturally Ms Kirchner has had a hissy fit and provoked counter demonstrations. It seems her political supporters are upset that the Farmers are not willing to give them all their profits. Expect her to start whining about the Falklands shortly to distract the population from lousy economic policies; and invest your money in Chile.



Thursday, 1 May 2008

Threat to the very fabric of the nation




Picture - The Super 14 season reaches its climax.

The future of everything that you hold dear and true is shortly to come to an end. There is not a more vital vote in the history of humanity, and should you not have your say it could destroy the very fabric of our way of life. Bringing plague and pestilence in its wake. It is more important than ZanuLabour V Conservative, Obama Vs McCain and Boris V Ken. I am of course referring to the ELV’s (Experimental Law Variations) that the Breadstealers are trying to force upon us because their front five scrum consists of “Four Poofs and a Piano”. Basically the Australians and New Zealanders, being a rather simple folk (their sole contribution to humanity being the rotary washing line) have all decided that the Rugby Union laws should be like Rugby League (a simple game where one throws the ball 5 times, wriggles on the ground occasionally like one’s dry humping an electrical socket and then kicks the ball to the other end of the field).

There are two reasons for this, firstly they rather embarrassingly keep losing to the mother country when it matters, and Colonials hate losing. Rather than cheer their teams on harder and spend more time on the scrummage machine, they’ve all buggered off home to watch something else on the telly – as a result gate receipts are down. Secondly having the attention span of amnesiac goldfish, the Southern hemisphere want to see something vapid, fast and pretty, and they can’t go watch ballet as their mates will take the piss out of them. Their solution is to bring the Ballet to the “footie” ground, “headless chicken” Rugby. The Northern Hemisphere however sells out every week, with nary a ticket to be had in the Guinness Premiership, the Heineken Cup and Magners League – and they won’t fix something that isn’t broken.

Thankfully the resistance has started. The home nations of proud free people – English, Welsh, French and Irish whose ancestors could cut it in the mother nation and who appreciate the majesty of the Scrum and maul are fighting back. Proud Munstermen; standing with Brive, Cardiff and Harlequins to beat this scourge from our shorelines.
As Sugar Puff Diddy* or whatever the rapsters name was said…. “Vote or Die”.
*You can see one is down with the Kids yo!



Wednesday, 30 April 2008

”Jimmy Carter, the most Ex of Ex-Presidents” *


I see the jabbering Peanut Farmer; fresh from his glad handing of Hamas has spoken glowingly of Mr Obama’s ability to “transform the image of America”. He should know, after all he changed the view of America in the Middle East forever - from somebody you didn’t mess with to a paper tiger. In fact you could probably draw a direct line from his incompetence in destroying the Shah and subsequent handling the Iran hostage affair to 9/11. If I was the head of the DNC I would ship this fool straight back to one of the many dictators he’s supported over the years. They’re not going to be lacking choices Omar al-Bashar of Sudan, Kim Jong-Il, Robert “Idi” Mugabe, Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and Danny Ortega to name just a few he’s kissed ass with.

Still there is a reason for being a one man Photo op for the world’s terrorists and dictators. As Jimmy says "In a democracy, I realize you don't need to talk to the top leader to know how the country feels," "When I go to a dictatorship, I only have to talk to one person and that's the dictator, because he speaks for all the people." There’s a stroke of luck, perhaps we should all become dictatorships so you only speak to one man and can get a round of fucking golf in during your egotistical trips round the world in the name of “Peace”.

Now I can’t stand Obama, I think the guys both a phoney and incredibly annoying. I.e. The usual left wing elitist the Democratic activists perpetually select a la “I’m reporting for duty” Kerry to be their Presidential candidate. I also know when he spoke about in his Closed Door fundraiser about “Guns and god because they’re bitter” he meant it. He’ll take “What’s the matter with Kansas” to bed every night. Carter is an ideal fit for Obama; Jimmy once said he "was ashamed to be an American.” - should get on well with Obama’s wife then. However I also think Democracy needs a contest off ideas and wouldn’t wish a Carter endorsement on my worse enemy.

* P J O’rourke



Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Wilkommen nach Ostereich

Austrians - strange people. What is it with them and dungeons? There's a feeling of déjà vu here, as the other case of Natascha Kampusch springs to mind. If the Austrian Police want to cut crime on a level that would make the death of Moriarity at the Reichenback falls look like the governments current success in solving crime, they should start with a nationwide hunt of the cellars of Austria. Start with the basements of all butt ugly weird looking blokes with twitches and sexual assault convictions and work from there.



Monday, 28 April 2008

Cuba's Pension system affects the West



An elderly Rene Artois enjoys his new life in the sun.
As the BBC has mentioned Cuba has just given its benighted masses an increase in their Basic Pension. For all you mathmaticians out they I have condensed this into Algebra.

SFAP = √N x ΣDD/P - C

Where SFAP = Sweet Fuck all new pension.
N = Previous nothing to live on.
DD = Charlize Theron films where she "Uglies up" to be taken seriously as an actress. Stick to the face cream ads love, not the political commentary.
P = Worthless "Convertible Peso" banknotes printed. Tragic waste of bog roll if you ask me; the printing of Fidel's face that they add to the paper cause severe rashes when applied to your Chocolate Starfish.
C = Dinner party Cunts who say the Potemkin Resort they stayed in reflected the real Cuba.

As you can see kids, I have hereby proved that the Cuban pension system increase is inherently worthless, a rise of something worthless is still fucking nothing. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it Michael Moore. Of course you think their health system is great, the Locals can't use the ones that you took the film crew to.
And we can further extrapolate....

SFA x Y²/BSSC -R/W³ = PB ≈ U

SFA = Cuban pension
BSSC = Vapid bullshit from Oliver Stone & Naomi Campbell on Cuba’s political system.
R = Number of Rubber Inner Tubes left on Cuba as Buoyancy aids to swim to Miami.
Y = Number of Copies of George Galloway’s cocksucking extravaganza on Fidel sold.
W = % of Wankers with Che Guevara shirts whose families Mean income is over £60K / $100K
PB = Poor Bastards having to risk a 90 mile swim because they're boiling lychen off rocks for soup.
U = Chances of being offered a Mojito on Ocean Drive instead of a proper drink.


For those of you that have managed to avoid the abomination known as the Mojito; it is a drink with more Topiary in it that Viscount Slim encountered on his drive to recapture Burma. They are for Tracy (Spelt with an "i") from Essex. Mojitos are not cool. Even the coolest director working in film (Michael Mann) managed to make the coolest Actor in the world (Colin Farrell - cool because I'm positive he'd tell Tom Cruise where exactly he could stick his space aliens) look like a tit when he ordered one in Miami Vice. God I hate that drink, hate it, hate it hate it! And its all the fault of Fidel Q.E.D. An astounding cause and effect between Cubas pension system and the chance of being stuck with a drink that makes you look like a tit on South Beach, with enough sugar to keep Nestle in business for good.



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