Sunday, 30 August 2009


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 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.