Thursday, 31 December 2009

Unfinished Business

The most irritating legacy of the MP's troughing scandal is the presence of that preening little git Bercow as Speaker. The ousting of Gorbals Mick was a prerequisite for the public's demand for a complete re-drafting of the rules and the expulsion of all wrongdoers.
However, to replace the Glaswegian numpty with Bercow was a practical joke of childishness and petulance by the Labour Party, one of rare cynicism. They did it for no other reason than to scorch the earth they will be retreating from at the next election. What better way, they thought, to rub the next majority party up the wrong way, than to bequeath them a left-leaning Speaker roundly despised by his own party, not simply because of his 'political journey' from hard right to soft left, but because of the way in which he had travelled this journey, with his own ambition put before principle, party and constituents. Furthermore, he troughed and flipped with the worst of his colleagues. In short, they consider him dishonest, even by modern Parliamentary standards. By no possible measure could he be considered the best choice as Speaker. Imagine what Bercow, in his old hard rightwingery, used to say about people like Jesse Jackson, the Jew-hating, cheating, dodgy 'Reverend'. And guess who he now welcomes to Speaker's House for the photo-op and the chance to chow down on taxpayer-funded southern fried chicken 'n collard greens? Why, none other than the Don Juan of South Caroline hisself.
So it is to be welcomed that Tory backbenchers seem set to ignore Cameron's suggestion that they let the matter rest. I very much hope that Nigel Farage unseats the oily one at the general election, because UKIP deserve a seat in the house and Farage did alright as leader, but otherwise Bercow must be voted down. Frank Field is honest, modest and frugal. He may be a dry old stick, and lack the self-promotion energies of Bercow, but he is wise enough to ensure that an advisor within the Speaker's office will come up with the imaginative ideas of Youth Parliaments, Portcullis condoms and branded sportswear and the other guff that our current Speaker considers to be his main claims to fame. Okay, I made two of those up. But you get my drift. I hope this idea gathers speed.
Happy New Year to all idle readers. May your days be merry and bright, and may none of your twenty tens be shite.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Happy Christmas

This not very good photo, if you can believe it, is a suburban house just north of Bridgetown.
The comfortable winner of the Barbados Christmas Bling competition, which I can tell you is a keenly contested annual event.
I won't claim to be a student of kitsch, but I particularly like the way they have done the palm tree in the garden. The satellite dish on the right of the house's top floor flashed like a UFO; you had to see it live to appreciate the wondrous vulgarity of it all. Click on the photo for a slightly better image.
Another great holiday on that happy and delightful island.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Christmas Decoration


Good one.
The police made him take it down after a couple of days. An old woman had righted the ladder and climbed up to help, and several cars in the road had had a prang.
See you, folks. Idle is chillin wid his bitches in the Caribbean for ten days.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Thursday, 3 December 2009

I Sh*t You Not

University of Leeds job vacancies (see here for the weblink)
View JobBack to Jobs

Research Officer - The rise and regulation of lap dancing and the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economy (Job reference: 316199 )


Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law School of Sociology and Social Policy
(Full-time, fixed term 12 months from March 2010)You will work on an ESRC funded study on the rise and regulation of lap dancing and the place of sexual labour and consumption in the night time economy. The post will involve qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. It is based in Leeds, although some travel to other cities may be necessary.You will have, or be about to complete, a postgraduate qualification in the social sciences or relevant subject and some appropriate research experience. You will be mainly responsible for access and fieldwork. Good interviewing, communication and organisational skills are essential as is the ability to work independently and as part of a team. Experience of interviewing and conducting surveys is essential, as is prior experience of conducting research in the female sex industry. It is anticipated that interviews will take place on December 14 2009


Salary: Grade 7 (£29,704 - £35,469 p.a) The appointment will be made at £31,513 p.a or below since there are funding limitations which dictate the level at which the appointment can start.
Apply using: Application form, CV and Equal Opportunities Monitoring form
Download an application form: (pdf version) (Word version)
Informal enquiries:Dr Teela Sanders t.l.m.sanders@leeds.ac.uk
Send completed applications to:Anne Prendergast, email a.prendergast@leeds.ac.ukor by post to:Anne Prendergast,Social Science Building,The University of Leeds,LS2 9JT.
Closing date: 27 November 2009
Job description and person specification
Anticipated interview date: 14 December 2009

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Smartdog

video

Y'all sin this dawg? He kin unnerstan reeel amerkin inglish spoken by a suthner. He kin count, too. He doan look so priddy, but sheet, he's smart.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Non-Dom = Non Qualified

I don't care that he is rich as Croesus. I get the impression he has been a complete bastard to his wife, but that doesn't (necessarily) mean he can't be a decent MP. I don't even really care that he is an eco-nut, because parts of what he believes is self-evidently sensible, and the global warming gibberish he swallowed has been shown up to be fraudulent and compromised by scientists whose income is wholly dependent upon propogating the myth of AGW.

No, the reason I wouldn't vote for Zac is because it turns out he's non-dom. Is there any reason why the voters of Richmond should vote for someone who proposes tax policy for po' white folk, but which will barely affect their representative? He could probably find the £30k non-dom levy in the back pocket of the last pair of Villebrequin shorts he wore in the Med this summer, or in coin in the Goldsmith laundry's tumble-dryer.

I believe that it is every man's duty to keep the Treasury as far away from his loot as possible. But the non-dom route is also the non-qualified route.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

The Face of Europe

The old quote about the EU, attributed to Kissinger, was this: "Who do I call when I want to speak to Europe?"

Let us not dwell on whether Baroness Ashton of Wimmin is capable of accurately reflecting the consensus foreign policy opinions and ambitions of all 27 member states (but my hunch is that she won't even attempt to do so; this will be, as with all other things in Europe, a stitch-up by the snail murderers and sausage-noshers).

No, what I worry about is that this person will be the Face of Europe on all those occasions when X invades Y, or A shoots down B's supply plane by mistake, or when the next tsunami heads beach-ward.

And I hope you will not think me ungallant when I suggest that this is a Face that does not show Europe in her best light; that it is a face only a mother could love; that, if it were to launch a thousand ships, that those ships would be crammed to the gunwales with fleeing emigrants, keen to start another life several hundred miles away from That Face.

It is, in short, a loathsome visage. It takes on an even grislier hue when one reflects that it has never submitted itself to popular selection, to democratic vote. It is the face of someone who has climbed the greasy pole of unrepresentative politics in the way that only a slug could.

I fear that the World will think less of us when it sees and hears this thing.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

The New EU Cabinet Appointments in Full

President of the Council: Herman Van Rompuy-Pompuy (Belg)
Foreign Minister: Baroness Ashton of Wimmin (GB)

Defence Minister: Sgr Whooza Zat (It)
Farming Minister: M Nevair-Erdovim (Fr)
Environment Minister: Herr Vossisnayme (Ger)
Sports Minister: Mr Avin Alaff (Au)
Arts Minister: Miss Pula Zeeuzzerwun (Por)
Social Justice Minister: Mr Paddy Gray-Veetrain (Ire)

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

More Mellow

The Tuscan recently featured a very cool dude who was quite unruffled by a near-death experience. This is different, insofar as it is staged. But he looks the sort of chap you wouldn't mind sharing a trench with.
video

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Box Size

http://irishsoccerinsider.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/french-and-irish-fall-out-over-box-incident/

A modern sporting-politico-diplomatic classic. Read it.

To the Breaker's Yard

RIP Edward Woodward. Good man and a fine actor, sadly too much telly not enough films. Breaker Morant and the not-exactly shabby The Wicker Man are his highpoints.

I loved Breaker Morant. Part war film, part courtroom drama. Shades of Zulu and l'affaire Dreyfus. You never saw a more cheerful and stoic wronged man.

Look into the true story of HH "Breaker" Morant. A wonderful romantic type. Hard-as-nails Aussie drover and friend of one of Idle's favourite poets, AB "Banjo" Paterson, he of Clancy of the Overflow fame:

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan years ago;
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows, "Clancy, of The Overflow."

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar);
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."
etc

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Where All That Tax Goes.....

...... and why a Conservative victory at the next election won't make a whole heap of difference.

Being no longer idle, I fall behind on my discretionary reading, so it was only last night in the bath that I read Rod Liddle's piece on Jeanie Lynch from last week's Speccie. Jeanie is ‘Lead Officer for Equality in Children and Young People’s Services for Devon County Council’.

I can't think of any other example which illustrates quite so clearly why we have a national debt of £1.3 trillion, unfunded liabilities of another £2 trillion on top of that, and a government that consumes 50% of GDP.

Jeanie's week: Monday - Value the Difference course; Tuesday - "Building resilience for our Gypsy, Roma Traveller Achievement Services"; Wednesday - Day Off; Thursday - "Children and Sex" speech; Friday - "pulling together diversity data".

Liddle: "‘Building resilience for our Gypsy, Roma Traveller Achievement Services’. What does that mean? God knows, but she concludes, in her diary, that gypsies and Roma and travellers need to improve their ‘resilience skills’. You wonder for a moment if this cheerful middle-aged woman is teaching gypsies how to fight. ‘Grandmother’ and ‘sucking eggs’ is the first response which comes to mind. You wonder also if the people of Devon wished that their local council was instead teaching gypsies to be a bit less resilient, all things considered, or perhaps to have the requisite resilience to pack up their caravans and move to Cornwall or Somerset or Dorset. But Jeanie has only contempt for the people who pay her salary (let’s be honest — the gypsies don’t, do they?): she says the travellers face horrible discrimination from ordinary people in the wider world. Those awful people in the wider world."

Liddle discovers that there is a veritable platoon of Acts of Parliament (that would be Westminster AND the European one, natch) that makes all this worthless guff a requirement. It is not so much a matter of choice as the Law of the Land. Jeanie probably pulls in around £30,000 for this stunt. But Devon is a big old area, so she'll need a car. Call it another £3,000 on autolease. There will be expenses of course, and petrol, and oodles of stationery costs as Jeanie publishes all those glossy handouts on anal sex for 8 year olds and pamphlets telling the policemen of Tavistock not to be beastly to pikeys. And, when Jeanie finally retires to her cottage by the sea, aged 60, there will be her pension. For ever. And it's unfunded. The children she teaches anal sex to next week will be paying Devon County Council's taxes in ten years' time, partly to fund Jeanie's final salary, index-linked pension scheme. Come to think of it, a good few of them will be employed by the Council, too. Outreach Co-ordinators, probably. Or Clotted-Cream Safety Standards Invigilators.

Devon County Council is run by the Conservatives. Liddle concludes that even if they wanted to, they are buggered:

"And so, if you’re the newly elected ruling group of Devon County Council you may well be tempted just to sigh and let Jeanie go about her work.

This stuff, this ludicrous nonsense, has become unavoidable. We cannot get rid of it. And my guess is there’s a Jeanie doing her business for every county and borough council up and down the land and a Gypsy, Roma, Traveller Achievement Service in every relevant council up and down the land and a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans (sic) History Month coming to a school near you very soon. They want kids, incidentally, to celebrate the life of a famous LGBT person from history and suggest computer science would be a good place to start. Poor Alan Turing, once known as a brilliant mathematician. Now known as an unhappy homosexual."

Read the whole thing. You'll laugh and cry.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

My Thoughts Entirely



Click on the title if the Comments/Profundities icon does not show.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Back Catalogue





Nice idea.

I have listened to the ginga bird more often than I can count.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Spot the Vegan Sab Designer

This ad was on the back of the Evening Standard tonight. It is Stella McCartney's Gap Kids stuff. (They cut it better than this photo, and airbrushed the duck's arse out of it).
Let us overlook the ultimate cliche of the asian, the black, the older white boy and the little white girl. Multi culti gibberish, par for the course. We can only presume the American Indian kiddie with the club foot missed his bus.
Styling the cute black nipper as Michael Jackson seems a bit obvious too, but there you go. I woulda loved a jacket like that aged 4, though.
Grey? For kiddies? They like bold colours!
Ski boots? They'll never catch on in the park.
You know what's coming, don't you?
Yup, the Disneyfication of the cuddly fox, (not a flea on it), smiling whilst being cuddled by the chap in the oilskin. The chap is oblivious to the fact that foxshit is being smeared on his clothes, the fox TOTALLY uninterested in the breakfast, lunch and dinner below him.
No bigots were harmed in the making of this post, more's the pity.
Tally ho!

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Anorak Corner


Christopher Monckton is no ordinary fellow. Outspoken and trenchant, he could probably start an argument in an empty room. But he is bright, and determined. He has argued credibly and loudly against Anthropomorphic Global Warming, and whilst you won't see him on the BBC (heavens, no!) those honest folk at Fox News, uncomplicated by Leftism and guided by their loyalty to their constitution, gave him a slot last week. A proper slot, lasting an hour, with the company of John Bolton, that fine undiplomatic diplomat, who calls a spade a bloody shovel.

I have given you part one above. But YouTube has to break things up into bite-sized bits, so there are 6 more after this (with a bit of overlap in places). I urge you to visit that vital haven of sanity, WattsUpWithThat, which gets 2 million hits a month, for the remainder of the show.

Are you enough of an anorak to listen to the whole lot? I was. Did you follow the mathematical demonstration first time? No, nor did I.

Copenhagen is going to cost us hundreds of billions in tax over the next few years. I smell a big fat multinational government rat. Our own discredited and ludicrous Prime Minister says we have 50 days left to save the earth, as does the quite mad Prince of Wales (but God bless our monarchy regardless, we've coped with madder and badder ones than Charles before). I think a huge and cynical con is being played upon the taxpayers of the developed nations. All power to Lord Monckton, slightly strange fish though he may be. Listen to his argument.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Send for Clouseau

Fact One: Blair Government Reneges on Referendum Promise on Constitutional/Lisbon Treaty
(Headlines, 2005-2009)


Fact Two: UK Government Throws its Weight Behind Blair as First European President
(Headline, BBC News, 26 October 2009)


At this point, put on a macintosh, cloth hat, and leather gloves. Effect a franglais accent.

"You will notice, Cato, ze old 'It's no longeur ze Constitutional Treaty' ploy. Even zat madman Dreyfus would be able to decifer zis one. Cato, my leetle yellow friend, I 'ave ze detective's instinct and I can tell you zat zere ees something distinctly feeshy about zis. Even ze organ grinder and hees minkey would be able to solve zees."

"Cato....... Cato? NOT NOW, CATOooooooooooo!" etc

Call me an old cynic, but I do believe this was planned before 2005. Where are the Tory attack dogs to point this out in a way that even the bovine Labour clientstate voters in the Northern inner cities would understand and find revolting?

Monday, 19 October 2009

The Place To Stay in Lancashire


As I was being driven from Preston to Clitheroe this morning (oh, the style of this new job!) we passed a hamlet on the A59. A sign loomed a hundred yards ahead. Black writing upon a white background, it appeared to say "BROWN LEAVES COUNTRY". The 'the' and the 'hotel' were in a smaller font. Is that a joke, I asked my Lancastrian companion. No, he replied, it's a real hotel. I can't be entirely sure he got my drift.

Sadly, I couldn't get the mobile phone into picture mode soon enough, so the pictorial evidence above comes from their website.

The rooms start at £45 a night and no, I don't plan a visit. And yes, we do have entrepreneurs near the Pennine grouse moors with eight figures to invest.

With my current output drier than the Sahara, any post will just have to do. But it's nice thought, is it not?

Sunday, 11 October 2009

How to Deal With Knee-Jerk Big Government Journos



Gotta love that Milton. A pint-sized giant.

PS If the comments bar isn't showing - dunno why, but it does this sometimes - doubleclick on the title and the post plus comments will appear. The idle blog follows a full-comment policy.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Nobel Peace of Cake Prize

Take one black community organiser and put him up against the boot-faced, humourless, divisive lawyer wife of a discredited (if charming) ex-president; assure the black senator's nomination.
Run against a Republican party that is labouring beneath the weight of disgust and unpopularity of its retiring two-term president, during a financial crisis of epic proportions.

Create messianic fervour for an untested socialist politician, because WE CAN! Encourage said Messiah to give speeches suggesting that the toothpaste can be forced back into the tube, the genie pushed back into the lamp, and the world denied nuclear weapons, wherever they may be, and whoever may have the recipe.
Nominate the new fellow for a Peace Prize as a wild punt, expecting it will in fact be awarded to a worthy brave recipient, or at the very least a long-serving Finnish diplomat who has made many trips over many years attempting to stop rival tribes slaughtering each other in a hot, humid African or Asian backwater.
Watch, open-mouthed, as the 200-1 long shot comes in at a canter.
Let's not blame Obama for this, though. This is what happens when left-leaning peace prize committee members have too much aquavit with their sprats at the pre-vote lunch.
PS James Forsyth at the Speccie finishes his post with this:
My favourite quote on the Nobel Peace Prize comes from a friend who just reminded me that ‘it’s the prize that Gandhi didn’t win but Arafat did.’

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Irish Re-Jig

On 13 June 2008, I wrote a short post entitled "Brave Bogtrotters Banish Brussels". Illustrated with a picture of a couple of fair colleens in their tricoleur swimwear, I congratulated the Irish people for their good sense and robust independence. They had had a good look at the Fritzes, Christianos and Jacques who planned to run the Irish state as a satellite of Brussels, and had said "no tanks, to be sure", or words to that effect.
Well, I take it all back. It was just the old Irish sense of humour, rascals that they are; they never meant to stop the dishonest undemocratic Euro juggernaut, they just wanted to be taken seriously for for a while, until they returned meekly to heel. What a bunch of spineless fenian ratbags they are. All that gibberish about a Free Ireland for the last two hundred years, all those deaths, and now they sign up to become a cadet branch of the overbearing, stifling, malign bureaucracy that passes for government from Europe. And they'll get that wanker Blair as President if they are not careful.
So now it's down to the Czechs and Poles. Only the great Václav Klaus can deliver us from this terrible fate, if he can hold up the Czech ratification until our General Election. Don't hold your breath, but say your prayers, heathen or otherwise.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Idle Does Keats


To Autumn Work
Season ticket to pissed Friday afternoons of utter uselessness.
Firm-bosomed assistants crediting maturing sums.
Conspiring with mates to loaf and to work less
And watch the time, to beat the evening run;
To bend the rules, to doze beneath the plane trees,
And fill each day, though it is such a bore;
To charm the board; catch Hazel's fragrant smells;
To telephone the Colonel; to eat pudding more,
And still more, and later, calculate my fees -
Filling in expenses being like shelling peas -
For work must never overcome my idle cells.
Idle

For those who need reminding of the original:
To Autumn

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.

J Keats

Friday, 18 September 2009

Media Barron

Brian Barron made a big impression on me in the mid 70s when I was a teenager, beginning to take an interest in current affairs and starting a Politics A Level, for which American post-war politics was a big part. Vietnam was riveting.
He was a superb journalist and a brave one too. I had an idea of emulating him after I left the Army in the 80s, but having got down to the last 24 for BBC Radio News (I think they had 2,500 applicants for half a dozen places), they failed me on the voice test. I should have tried ITN where they were much less chippy about public school accents, but a job offer came my way from the City and the money, though modest, was a lot better than that of a trainee broadcaster. If I'd known there were going to be so many wars just round the corner, I'd have stuck at it.
He began his career on the radio and built his reputation with his gift for using words to paint a scene with enviable immediacy and economy: the North West Frontier comes to life in "a dingy, smoke-filled eatery in Peshawar – a place awash with stomach bugs, assassins, spooks and Afghan rug sellers".
Superb; even a touch of the George Macdonald Fraser about it. I've been to Peshawar and this is on the button. Sorry he didn't make old bones. R I P

Thursday, 17 September 2009

To the Sweatshop

Idle no more.

It's a dashed bad show, but the bursar from the idle girls' country club is clamouring for a cheque, the lady idle will insist upon Caribbean winter breaks, and the wine merchant has applied for charitable status, so long is it since he had a sniff of a guinea from yours truly.

I had a chat with a man who knows someone in the City who told him that the smoke had cleared and as far as he knew no more large banks were going to go down the swanee. Furthermore, some of them were actually hiring and paying a living wage. Something to do with Government guarantees. Splendid.

So I'll see if I can quantitatively ease myself into the old dark navy blue, dust off the bowler and polish the silver ring on the umbrella. A word in the ear of the head steward at the club, and I'll be expecting the usual table at 1pm for the forseeable.

So, Monday morning, up to the smoke. Up in the air to Jersey, actually, for a quick shufti, followed by some nice fish, one hopes. More than that I cannot really say, but I'd appreciate no snide comments about bankers' bonuses or taxpayer bailouts. The way I was going, in a few more years I would have been eligible for the Nat King Cole, housing benefits and I dare say council tax relief as well. One's credit rating would have simply died. Just think what you have saved yourselves.

Given that only three of you read this, it won't be missed if it becomes a once-a-week job, will it? I will continue to visit the comment threads of more industrious bloggers.

The name of this blog is not changing. It wouldn't do to break into a sweat; busy people in a frightful rush tend to forget things and worry the horses. No, Idle it remains.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Thirty Years On


Idle spent his weekend in unbroken sunshine in Ulster. It looked lovely, but there is pain behind the beauty of the benighted province.

Some parts of Northern Ireland really are beautiful, such as Narrow Water above Warrenpoint. The layby just downstream of the old castle tower jutting into the water from the dual carriageway, and the gates opposite, were the scene of the second of two cowardly IRA atrocities on 27 August 1979, the first of which had killed Lord Mountbatten and members of his family at Mullaghmore. It was a warm and beautiful August Bank Holiday. A trailer of straw sat in the layby.
This is what the first Warrenpoint bomb would have looked like (the picture is of a simulation, carried out after the event). It was set off from across the water/border in Ireland, as a convoy of two army trucks and a land rover passed. Though targetted at Royal Marines, whose duties included safety at the small port at Warrenpoint, the victims were in fact a detachment of Paras, who were providing an extra company to the Queen's Own Highlanders, the battalion responsible for the bandit country of South Armagh.

The first bomb, about half a ton of explosive, killed six paras. The survivors, believing themselves to be under attack from across the border (the heat of the explosion having caused bullets and ammunition in the wrecked land rover to explode), returned fire across the water. A most unlucky civilian, a footman from the Queen's Household on holiday in Ireland was shot dead. (Independent reports afterwards confirmed sniper fire from the Republic). Immediately, the CO of the Queen's Own Highlanders scrambled with his signaller and medical team by helicopter from Bessbrook, a few miles to the north. Standard operational procedure required an incident command point to have been set up close to the explosion. Lt Col David Blair arrived to find that a stone gatehouse across the road from the old castle tower had been chosen.

His immediate concerns were to secure the area and evacuate the seriously wounded, which took time. He felt the gatehouse too obvious a location for the ICP and ordered those that could, to fall back further into the park behind the gatehouse (in the gateway bay opposite the castle tower in the top photograph, no longer there). But there was no time; the second explosion, half an hour after the first, was devastating (left). The IRA set it off just as a helicopter was taking off with wounded. Even larger than the first bomb, it destroyed the gatehouse and killed another twelve soldiers, including Lt Col Blair. Extraordinarily, the helicopter managed to just about escape the blast and ditch successfully, but the IRA's low cunning of second-guessing operational procedure had worked. To this day, the Queen's Own Highlander colonel is the highest ranked victim to have been killed in action by the IRA.

The Colonel's widow, together with many officers and Warrant Officers, marked the thirtieth anniversary of the horror last weekend. Services at Warrenpoint, at Ballykinlar and at Palace Barracks, Holywood were sombre occasions. But the drinking and carousing in honour of all the dead were less sombre. At a time when our armed forces are being starved of equipment whilst fighting unpopular and unwinnable wars, it gives us a melancholy pride to know that the tours of duty that we carried out in Ulster were done for a righteous cause, and were done superbly. It was said the Troubles could not be won militarily, but eventually the IRA sued for peace, by then infiltrated at every level and unable to sustain their war.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Gender Politics


Is it a girl? Is it a boy?
No, it's an IT.
Well, that's cleared that up, then. Probably wasn't a great idea to pose like that on the podium, though.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Yes We Liked It

To my shame, I'd never been to The Globe until last night. Four of us spent a couple of hours over tapas and cava before the show ripping into the carrion that is Brown and his government, and generally rubbishing the state of our once-great country. It was, we concluded, hopeless.
Well, my friends, I can tell you that three hours later, we were of a different opinion. Notwithstanding the fact that it took an American, Sam Wanamaker, to get the massive project done, The Globe is a wonderful thing. The look, the texture (lovely oak), the atmosphere, the good-humour and manners of the punters were all a joy. I will go back often, and I am more than happy to stand in the yard for a fiver if the seats are all gone.
We saw As You Like It, which suited a late summer evening at The Globe very well. Our lovers were excellent, particularly Rosalind, an actress called Naomi Frederick whose flat chest proves a positive as she hangs out with the lads in the forest clad in soft brown leather. No beauty, but sexy. Touchstone, the fool, delivered his puns and put-downs with error-free machine gun delivery and had us laughing hard. Too often the 'funny' parts are played by unfunny actors. This chap, Dominic Rowan, is a comic. You've never heard a voice so full of fruity melancholy as Tim McMullen's Jaques, and when he got to 'All the world's a stage...', well, where else in the world would there be a better stage to give the great soliloquy? Magic. The genius bard at his best. You have until October 10th to see it. Wrap up warm, smuggle in a hip-flask, and spend that fiver.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Pink Adair

A loyal reader of this blog (there is one) noted a lack of inspiration on my part of late. She is partly right, but a trip to the idle folks in Somerset, (lunch at the pub with Lil and Elby - de rigeur for all discriminating vistors to East Somerset) and plans to become less idle have all been contributing factors.
Work? you splutter. Yes. The 0645 train beckons, and I plan to do my bit to put out those fires, still burning in the nation's banks, and return at least one of them to the private sector, with a profit for the taxpayer and considerable spondulicks for yours truly.
This is where Adair Turner comes in. Or shall we call him Lord Turner of Ecchinswell? (A title derived, surely, by the reaction of his former colleagues - Lord Turner? Feckin 'ell!)
You see, Adair is head of the FSA, and despite their utter incompetence over the past three years (bonuses all round for 2008, natch), this coiffured ponce has seen fit to declaim that the banking sector should shrink (already done that, thanks Ades) and meet some 'socially useful' target (sounds familiar? It's got NewLabour stamped on it). Oh, and a global tax. I would have thought that a man who made his name in that temple of flim-flam, McKinsey, before buggering up the only major pension review undertaken in god-knows-how-long, should deal with the plank in his own eye before pointing out specks in others'. (Remember that he subsequently wished he'd been more radical with his review and had recommended raising the state pension age to 70. That's right - not raising the public sector pension age from 60 to 65, but the OAP from 65 to 70. Wanker)
If the financial sector is too big in Britain (and mostly responsible, therefore, for producing the tax revenue fire-hosed upon Brown's client state of public services), the answer is not to tax and socially-engineer it into retreat, but to encourage those other areas of enterprise that used to be so productive in Britain. Sadly, as we are now a country that exists in order to sell mobile phones, capuccinos and overpriced dwellings to one another, but achieve little else, the die seems cast.
Brown, and by extension Turner, espoused 'light touch regulation' for the financial sector. They then divided this responsibility between three jealous and untrusting partners. Light touch became no touch, and mayhem ensued. Don't assume the City hates regulation - it doesn't mind it a bit, as long as it is clear and unambiguous. And that is what needs to come out of this. Not creating an incomes policy. Just a clear set of rules, subsequently enforced. (Does anyone remember the government sacking Fred Goodwin when it took over RBS? No, thought not. The man more closely associated with corporate greed and crazy risk-taking than anyone else in Britain was allowed to retire early. With THAT pension pot. Only public outrage caused the government to try to negotiate a less vomit-inducing deal with The Shred).
Adair Turner may find himself out of a job if the boy Osborne does what is necessary, and gets rid of the FSA. But he will be given a golden parachute and will achieve a soft landing with another sinecure. He's clever, by all accounts, and nice (a friend found himself on holiday for a week with Turner and the small Ecchinswells, and said he was charming), but competent he ain't.
Will this do, Pip?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Pull the Blog Chain


Now and again, driving in the evening, I find myself listening to that odd duo, Radcliffe and Maconie on Radio 2. They seem to know their music. They have a thing called The Chain, where each song must be connected, in some way, to the previous show's 'Chain' song. Sometimes the link is obvious, sometimes tenuous, often quite complicated.

I am going to attempt a Blog Chain, to coin a phrase. Lilith did a post yesterday which she called #1 in an occasional series of her Desert Island Dance Tracks. It was the daddy of all rock and rollers, Chuck Berry, with Brown Eyed Handsome Man.

I could have headed off towards Van the Man with Brown Eyed Girl, or any song by that great duo the Handsome Family. You see how this works? But my song, continuing the chain, is the first single ever released by the Stones. It is Chuck Berry's Come On. Berry released it in October 1961; the Stones released their cover less than 2 years later, so it was still pretty fresh. Berry's original was a slightly slower tempo, so the Stones rocked it up a bit, but didn't try anything too fancy. Where Berry had short flashes of lead guitar, the Stones went with Brian Jones' harmonica. Perhaps Keith was still finding his feet. The rythm section sounds sublime, as ever. I always have this on the playlist when we are dancing in the tent here and it never disappoints.

Okay, who's going to take this chain further? Ideally, you do a post on your own blog (flag it up in the comments section here so we know where to go). I fully expect this chain to sprout in myriad directions, and still be going strong in a year's time. I think it would help if you posted the best YouTube version of it you can find. I have not been able to find live footage of this one; never mind.

Get those discs spinning, folks. Let's see where it leads.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Dénouement

This, I think, will be enough to send Brown to the knacker's yard. The remnants of the Labour party, in all its guises, can meet in the gay capital of Britain in a month's time, and have a monumental hissy fit, resulting in the kindly old socialist postie being promoted to the Ejector Seat for an autumn general election (or are we to suffer another unelected leader for 6 months whilst the Labour party wait for something - anything - to turn up?)

A Torygrapher has likened it to Watergate. This isn't just about a lie, this is about letting off a convicted mass murderer in order to ginger up an oil deal. And whatever the prognosis for Megrahi - whether he dies in 3 weeks or 3 years - the British public seems overwhelmingly pissed off about his release. And they smell a big, greasy, brown rat. One from Cowdenbeath.

My bet is that the leaks on this affair will be so plentiful and so quick, Brown and Straw will be toast in a fortnight. No wonder Brown has been pouring his toxic treacle all over Teddy Kennedy's twitching corpse; he is gunning for some academic sinecure in liberal New England, where he can escape the humiliation of being the Worst Prime Minister Ever.

Buy a one-way ticket, Gordon.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Obituary Backwards Clerihew


The BBC loved him; always by Gerry's side on St Patrick's Day,
The man who drowned a girl called Mary-Jo and ran away.
What sort of a world was it if the suggested remedy
Was Ted Kennedy?
.

Monday, 24 August 2009

One Liners

Someone has conducted a survey of the better jokes told at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. The Top 10 jokes were judged to be:
1) Dan Antopolski - "Hedgehogs - why can't they just share the hedge?"
2) Paddy Lennox - "I was watching the London Marathon and saw one runner dressed as a chicken and another runner dressed as an egg. I thought: 'This could be interesting'."
3) Sarah Millican - "I had my boobs measured and bought a new bra. Now I call them Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes because they're up where they belong."
4) Zoe Lyons - "I went on a girls' night out recently. The invitation said 'dress to kill'. I went as Rose West."
5) Jack Whitehall - "I'm sure wherever my dad is; he's looking down on us. He's not dead, just very condescending."
6) Adam Hills - "Going to Starbucks for coffee is like going to prison for sex. You know you're going to get it, but it's going to be rough."
7) Marcus Brigstocke - "To the people who've got iPhones: you just bought one, you didn't invent it!" [Idle comments - typical unfunny effort from unfunny overpaid BBC lefty arrogant prick]
8) Rhod Gilbert - "A spa hotel? It's like a normal hotel, only in reception there's a picture of a pebble."
9) Dan Antopolski - "I've been reading the news about there being a civil war in Madagascar. Well, I've seen it six times and there isn't."
10) Simon Brodkin (as Lee Nelson) - "I started so many fights at my school - I had that attention-deficit disorder. So I didn't finish a lotof them."
The judges also listed some of the "worst" jokes at this year's Fringe.
Carey Marx - "I'm not doing any Michael Jackson jokes, because they always involve puns about his songs. And that's bad."
Frank Woodley - "I phoned the swine flu hotline and all I got was crackling."
Alex Maple - "Michael Jackson only invented the moonwalk so he could sneak up on children."
Phil Nichol - "She's got a face like a rare Chinese vase - minging."

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Never in Doubt


Most satisfactory. Drinks time.
Q: What do you call an Australian with a champagne bottle in his hand? A: A waiter.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Utter Nonsense

This is the silly season, and jolly silly it has been:- Mandelson to get his own act of Parliament, so that he can return to the Government green benches (hosed down and de-bogeyed by the steam cleaners during the recess), to lead the Labour Party in its own feeble retreat from Moscow?

Or Andy Burnham, the child Health Secretary, accusing Hannon of being a traitor and trying to have visas refused for right-of-centre American politicians who wish to attend the Tory party conference, on the basis that their disrespect for the NHS is unacceptable?

Or, silliest of all, Harriet Harman displaying her astonishing stupidity and sinister sisterhood plan as stand-in leader?
Here is the winner of a Speccie comp based upon the first line of Lear's The Jumblies, from a while back. Is it just me, or does this poem not capture the NewLabour project and all its incompetent practitioners just perfectly?

They went to sea in a sieve, they did,
With never a moment's doubt:
'It's better by far,' they cried, 'than a boat -
If the water gets in we'll still stay afloat
Because it'll drain straight out.'
They fitted their oar (they'd only brought one)
And started to row, turn about,
But hard as they tried, the sieve just went round
With a gargling, gurgling, guggling sound,
Like a pig with a pea in it's snout.
And though they still strove with might and with main
The tide took a turn and ran them aground
So they found themselves back where they'd started again,
Which proved, they declared, that the Earth must be round.
Oh what greater adventure could life ever give
Than going to sea, as they did, in a sieve?

WJ Webster

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Day Trip For the Inmates


Ward 5 went on its summer outing this week, despite the slightly inclement weather.
Here is a picture showing what fun they all had.
Old Mr Brown shuffles towards the end of the jetty behind his zimmer frame, whilst Fat Keith and Nurse Ratched look on.
Nurse R wonders if the old bastard is ever going to get there; Fat Keith is thinking quite seriously about pushing the old bastard into the lake.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Emperor's New Clothes

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. but it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
The first crack has appeared in the great big dam of alarmist, tax-raising, make-believe claptrap that is the New Religion of anthropogenic global warming.
The diggers, gawd bless 'em, have had a look at 'cap and trade' legislation (aka Bleed You Dry Whilst Scaring You Rigid) and told the Aussie government to boil their heads.
Delingpole exults here. One digger parliamentarian, Senator Fielding, decided to take a little time to reach his own conclusion on empirical evidence, rather than be pressganged into the fashionable 21st Century consensus. He said:
“Until recently I, like most Australians, simply accepted without question the notion that global warming was a result of increased carbon emissions. However, after speaking to a cross-section of noted scientists, including Ian Plimer… I quickly began to understand that the science on this issue was by no means conclusive….As a federal senator, I would be derelict in my duty to the Australian people if I did not even consider whether or not the scientific assumptions underpinning this debate were in fact correct.”
Another ocker Oz MP put it thus: "It is a dog of a plan".
Idle advanced the Plimer view last month. I am delighted he is being listened to by some of his countrymen.
It is too early to forecast an end to this pestilential mumbo-jumbo, but we can at least ask our politicians to acknowledge that there is some corner of the English-Speaking World that has dissented from the orthodoxy, and invite their comments.
Plucky little Oz! It's almost a pleasure to be making a gift of the Ashes to you.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A Bonus Post

On August the Twelfth, of all days, a self-respecting banker ought to be somewhere between Yorkshire and Inverness, the house-guest of a fine Victorian sporting lodge. After putting the finishing touches to a hearty breakfast of kidneys on toast and kedgeree, it's on with the walking boots and into the transport up the hill, for driven or walked-up grouse.

This, I submit, is the way to spend a sizeable city bonus - maintaining the splendid, unpredictable and thrilling sport of grouse shooting, for the benefit of the environment, local employment, one's friends, and one's own sense of well-being.

But what of the bonus culture? Are we really going to see a change in behaviour? Are the shareholders of financial institutions really going to hold them to account on remuneration policy? Or are those main shareholders merely 'other' financial institutions, for whom the current bonus arrangements are very suitable, thank you.

I don't mind people in the City getting bonuses, in fact I think it's the best way of paying people in an industry that is famous for its total lack of job security. But the logic is that, when the cupboard is bare, there is no discretionary bonus. But how to keep the key personnel? Who IS a key person? Is it a dozen, or 120, or 1200? Is it - wait for it - 39,000 of your best employees?

Judge Rakoff (you couldn't make up a more suitably ironic name) is questioning the validity of the Merrill Lynch scam whereby they sold themselves to Bank of America to avoid going bust and then paid themselves the thick end of $4Bn in bonuses. Judge Rakoff doesn't care that the SEC is fine with it; he wants some answers. Seeking Alpha takes up the story:

Oh, that Judge Rakoff is such a spoilsport, refusing to bless the SEC's settlement with Bank of America on the Merrill Lynch bonuses.

The Times
said today that the judge (a nice man who once terrorized me in Contracts class) may hold a hearing to find out whether the bonuses - all $3.6 billion - were necessary. More specifically, he'd like to know if Merrill's management really tried to figure out "how many of the roughly 39,000 bonus recipients would have left had they not received their payouts."

In response, Bank of America's lawyer said the bank could prove "there were a number of companies that might have hired Merrill’s employees.” Which is nice, but doesn’t really address the judge’s concern.

Rakoff is asking about the process: Did the board ask management to prove these bonuses were essential, and did management meet that burden? To do so, I think, would have required them to muster empirical evidence on the following points:

- Exactly which employees were likely to stomp out the door if they got smaller bonuses, or no bonuses, and how management knew this in advance.
- Whether all hell would really break loose if some of these folks left.
- Whether or not the firm could recruit, on the streets of Lower Manhattan, some dazed but qualified victims of Wall Street’s bloodbath who'd be willing to work for less than $3.6 billion.

Did the board ask for such factual backup? I’m guessing no. The “science” of executive compensation is a strange kind of science, in that it’s pretty much devoid of both evidence and experimentation. Year after year, public companies assert in proxies that their compensation programs are exquisitely designed to retain each indispensable, irreplaceable employee. A less generous pay scale just wouldn’t do the trick, we’re told. But few firms tell us how they know this. Nor do they road-test different compensation schemes.

For empirical research on whether compensation methods actually work the way they're supposed to, we’ve got to resort to academics. Like
these guys, who concluded a couple of years ago that stock options encourage foolhardy risk-taking. Hey, how about that.

How can you say your compensation structure is efficient and effective if you never experiment with a cheaper one, even when the world is coming apart at the seams and you have a perfect excuse for cutting pay?

Thanks to a crabby guy in robes, one company may soon have to answer that question.


Well done the judge. Time for a reality check.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Poor Bloody Infantry

This has been flying around the internet. You might already have seen it. It deserves full exposure. Christ, these boys deserve a proper government.

THE SUN 04 Aug 2009

A British squaddie fighting in Afghanistan has re-written a famous Rudyard Kipling poem as a damning attack on a soldier's lot today. The anonymous serviceman based his words on The Young British Soldier - written by Kipling in 1895 about the hellish conditions our troops had to deal with in 19th century conflicts in Afghanistan. The squaddie's new poem - dubbed Afghanistan (With Apologies To Kipling) - shows that little has changed, with soldiers having to contend with poor pay, equipment shortages and slum homes as well as the enemy. Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), a British poet and author, wrote a poem in 1895 about the hellish conditions British troops had to put up with in AfghanistanIt refers to a "Gimpy" - GPMG or general purpose machine gun - and "arty", slang for artillery. The poem was first posted on the internet and is now being emailed around the military like wildfire. One Army officer just back from Helmand Province said last night: "Whoever this bloke is, he's got it spot-on. He has summed up everything we're feeling." It shows that nothing much changes for us over the centuries.

Afghanistan (With apologies To Kipling), by an anonymous British soldier

When you’re lying alone in your Afghan bivvy
And your life it depends on some MOD civvie
When the body armour’s shared (one set between three)
And the firefight’s not like it is on TV,
Then you’ll look to your oppo, your gun and your God,
As you follow that path all Tommies have trod.

When the gimpy has jammed and you’re down to one round,
And the faith that you’d lost is suddenly found.
When the Taliban horde is close up to the fort,
And you pray that the arty don’t drop a round short.
Stick to your sergeant like a good squaddie should,
And fight them like satan or one of his brood

Your pay it won’t cover your needs or your wants,
So just stand there and take all the Taliban’s taunts
Nor generals nor civvies can do aught to amend it,
Except make sure you’re kept in a place you can’t spend it.
Three fifty an hour in your Afghani cage,
Not nearly as much as the minimum wage.

Your missus at home in a foul married quarter
With damp on the walls and a roof leaking water
Your kids miss their mate, their hero, their dad;
They’re missing the childhood that they should have had
One day it will be different, one day by and by,
As you all stand there and watch, to see the pigs fly

Just like your forebears in mud, dust and ditch
You’ll march and you’ll fight, and you’ll drink and you’ll bitch
Whether Froggy or Zulu, or Jerry, or Boer
The Brits will fight on ‘til the battle is over.
You may treat him like dirt, but nowt will unnerve him
But I wonder sometimes, if the country deserves him.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

From The Ashes Of Disaster

Every bursted bubble has a glory! Each abysmal failure makes a point!
Every glowing path that goes astray, Shows you how to find a better way.
So every time you stumble never grumble. Next time you'll bumble even less!
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!
Grow the roses! Grow the roses! Grow the roses of success!
Oh yes! Grow the roses! Those rosy roses!
From the ashes of disaster grow the roses of success!
I suppose that there were a few people who wrote off England in 1981 and ended up with egg on their faces. Not this time. Oh, my Botham and my Willis, long ago!
This was abject. Possibly our worst defeat, ever. Heavy defeats are inflicted upon you when the opposition is twice as good as you; this defeat suggests that in this match the opposition was four times as good. I fear it defines the captaincy of Strauss, the dearth of middle-order batting talent (beyond Pietersen) and the indulgent, feckless selection panel. Poor Strauss leads by example with the bat, but he looks a shrinking violet in the field, and I doubt that he tears strips off guilty parties in the privacy of the dressing room. He wears his wedding ring on a necklace, for heaven's sake, and wears a sun hat instead of a proper England cap. He gives interviews wearing a baseball hat covered in the sponsor's logo. This is simply not good enough. He is a very good batsman and a nice man, but he obviously has not got what it takes to get the best out of his men. If he gives an interview after this game and mentions "taking the positives out of this match", I will drive to Leeds and push a custard pie into his face.
What Strauss and his fellow selectors thought they were doing adding Harmison for Flintoff, I just don't know. England, 1-0 up in the series, ignored the first priority of any test team - runs on the board - and picked a bowler who has not bowled well for England in four years, whilst giving up the Flintoff runs (average 40 against Oz). They will say they played a positive card, intent on bowling the other side out twice. But they picked the wrong sort of bowler, one who lands it halfway down the pitch instead of one who pitches it up, which is how almost all the wickets have fallen in this test match. Ryan Sidebottom, a Yorkshireman not chosen for this test, will wonder what point there was to his learning to bowl at Headingley from the age of 13 onwards; he will have a point.
A bounce back at the Oval? From this group of overpaid and overrated powderpuffs? No chance. It is time to identify those with granite in their character and pick them. This ain't no party; this ain't no disco; this ain't no fooling around!
The Idle XI to face Australia at the Oval in just under a fortnight:
Strauss; Cook; Key (Capt); Ramprakash; Collingwood; Trott (Flintoff if fit); Prior; Broad; Swann; Sidebottom; Anderson; Onions

Thursday, 6 August 2009

You're Tired & Emotional

I could have warned Brown about this. It was bound to happen eventually; in fact, it happened before Lord Sugar of Malaga even had his new business cards printed.

Of course we all knew that Brown's ennoblement of Sralan Sugar and his appointment as a czar was a desperate, shallow, populist stunt. Sugar might be a barrowboy-made-good, and well done him, but addicts of The Apprentice (I am one, God help me) will have spotted that, whilst he may have a bit of trader cunning about him, he is a bit thick. He is also chippy, which is how you knew his politics were bound to be lefty. Any knight of the realm who insists upon being referred to by his title by everyone, all the time, is chippy and a bit thick.

Quentin Letts, a funny sketchwriter for the Mail, went on LBC and said that Lordalan (believe me, this will be the [incorrect] form of address in the next series) was "a telly peer who doesn’t seem to have an enormous intellect". Lordalan saw red and speed-dialled his brief. The upshot is that Letts has had a threatening letter demanding money. Not LBC, who broadcast the shock-horror sentence, but Letts. Rich man's bully-boy tactics, in short.

The great and good of journalism (including, extraordinarily, one Paul Staines!) have written a letter to the Speccie to complain about Sugar's behaviour. Matthew Parris has broadsided Lordalan in his column today.

Sugar will climb down, of course. He has made a complete fool of himself. His image as a tough-skinned hardened businessman is lying in tatters. Instead, he comes across as the precious, stupid television celebriddy that he has turned into.

What a wanker. I quoted Chesterton at the time Sugar was raised to the peerage, and I'll quote him again:
Prince, Bayard would have smashed his sword
To see the sort of knights you dub
Is that the last of them - O Lord
Will someone take me to a pub?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Jeeves Knows


An Englishman's Castle, always an interesting blog (though, ironically, he seems to source many of his posts from the scotsman.com news website), posted yesterday on the correct pronunciation of valet. Any fule kno that the T is not silent, except when an American is parking your car for you at a restaurant or nightclub.

Jeeves (pictured with the great Hugh Laurie, with whom idle was at prep school) is certainly the most famous valet in literary or film history. He described himself as a valet with a hard T. Enough said.

But it got me thinking about the fact that valets are pretty much a thing of the past. Even my most plutocratic and successful and landed multi millionaire friends stop at a cook and a housekeeper; a valet is unthinkable.

Which is where technology comes in. You see, if it is de trop to employ a valet because it is considered arcane and pretentious, why not modernise the concept with a robotic

house-servant? Not pretentious at all - positively 21st Century cool! The Japanese and Americans have been working on this concept for decades. By all accounts, even if the wretched mechanical thing can't mix a prairie oyster to help Bertie with his hangover, or anticipate the arrival of Aunt Agatha by a crucial five minutes, it can nonetheless be programmed to perform many other useful tasks.

I have given this quite a lot of thought over the past ten minutes; if the Americans get there first, and bearing in mind that they are incapable of correctly pronouncing the T, there is only one name for this invention, so I have decided to copyright the name:

The Silicon Valet

I thank you.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Bangers and Haricot Beanz

Goodwood is over and life threatens to become dull. There is even the bleak prospect of becoming less idle and taking early trains into the smoke each weekday morning, but let's cross that bridge when we come to it.
The political scene is dead for a few weeks to come, though I liked the idea of Lord Fondlebum of Boy resigning his seat in the Lords in order to take his rightful place at the helm of this once great country as a sitting MP. I have long thought that Mandy is easily the cleverest Labour politician and whilst he is also the least honest and principled, he would make a very enjoyable premier in the weeks leading up to the great purge of Labour in May next year. I'm thinking about the gaiety of the nation, you understand.
On the subject of gaiety, Michael Gove (who, though a married father and a product of that fine city Aberdeen, I've always thought might bat for both sides) suggests that Dave Cameron is the sort of man "you could imagine snogging like we did to True by Spandau Ballet". This is deeply troubling on many levels, the most alarming being that anyone with designs on revolutionising our desperate education system even listens to True by Spandau Ballet, let alone swaps spit with a chap whilst doing so.
There being no other business, idle retired to the comfort of his drawing room to roll a fag and watch the test match. Strauss has just dropped Clarke off part-time bowler Bopara and an unlikely victory recedes still further.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Caption Compo

I lifted this pic from the excellent latest Daily Mash story.
Given the recent death of both of these gallant warriors, I thought it warranted a compo.
What is the man on the right saying, or what are the splendid chaps thinking?
I know I'm just back, but Glorious Goodwood has started, the folks have just pitched up with cellar baskets full of great vintages, and blogging time will be at a premium.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Back

For those who are not bored rigid by such things, allow me a bourgeois moment with the holiday snaps.

The house:



Its view of the Gulf of St Tropez:

The boat....

... took us to a fine lunch at Les Graniers....

.... and stayed afloat despite the fat bastards at the back....

.... and provided a platform for children's Nijinsky impersonations:

A nearby town, Gassin.....

.... where we were entertained by an excellent busking Dutch students' Dixie Jazz Band, the chanteuse of which seemed to meet most of the Tuscan's prerequisites......

... whilst the leader and washboard player met Lady Idle's prerequsities, and spotted her taking (many) pictures of him:

That'll just have to do for now.