Saturday, 8 March 2008

Thatcher To Stalk Earth Forever

Margaret Thatcher was released today from St Thomas' Hospital, after being admitted yesterday suffering from low blood pressure.

The former Prime Minister started to feel unwell at a private dinner with friends. A hospital spokesman said: "Baroness Thatcher was feasting on the souls of recently-deceased miners with her old friends, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, when her cloven-hoofed hind legs started to give way. Death gave her a ride to St Thomas' Hospital, where her blood pressure was found to have dropped to zero, a condition known as Being Clinically Dead. Her friend checked his lists, and found her name was not there. Mrs Thatcher, however, was still fully conscious and talking, looking around and recommending ward closures and pay restraint for nurses. Death checked with his superiors, God and Satan, and reported that neither was willing to have 'that horrible, horrible creature', as they called her. It looks like she is fated to stalk the earth forever."

Rumours that the walking, talking corpse-woman is applying to join Torchwood have not yet been confirmed.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Those Over-Sensitive Men in Their Flying Machines

Service personnel from RAF Wittering have been advised not to wear their uniforms in nearby Peterborough when off-duty, because of verbal abuse from locals opposed to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

A senior officer at the base fought back the tears as he told reporters that only the other day, a Flight Lieutenant had been subjected to a vicious and unprovoked outburst of name-calling (i.e. “Oi, Biggles! Where’s your Spitfire?”) and was now experiencing dreadful flashbacks, while a Squadron Leader who had left his Harrier in the Tesco car park for ten minutes had returned to find an offensive note attached to the windscreen saying “This car is too big – please think of the environment”, and had been sent on indefinite compassionate leave, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We must defend our Forces' right to wear their uniforms in public,” said Defence Minister Des Browne. “This is not a situation we should tolerate. We learned about this today and are investigating it as a matter of urgency. These cowardly anti-war scum should remember that Peterborough is just about within the operational range of Wittering’s Harrier strike wing, and nobody would miss it should it be wiped off the face of the earth.”

However, Peterborough police said they were unaware of any reports of service personnel being abused - although they stressed that this did not necessarily mean that the whole thing had been made up by a cynical MoD as cheap propaganda to discredit anti-war campaigners.

Meanwhile, reports that RAF personnel - who often have no means of retaliating, as they only come up with a suitably crushing riposte on their way back to the base - are to be issued with books of smart quotes to aid them in the rapid deployment of wit and sarcasm are, as yet, unconfirmed.

Conservatives Target Binge Drinkers with Fantasy Budget

The Conservative Party has today unveiled plans to curb teenage binge-drinking by raising taxes on alcopops and strong beers and ciders. Under the proposals the price of a bottle of Bacardi Breezer would rise by 50p, a can of Special Brew would cost an extra 32p, and a three-litre bottle of Quite Frightening cider would go up by £1.25.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said that sensible drinkers would benefit as the extra tax raised would be ploughed back into reducing the duty on ordinary beers and ciders, with pub drinkers paying 8p less per pint on brands like John Smith’s, Stella and Strongbow.

“Nobody ever gets drunk on those,” he said, “As I’m sure we’ll see on St. Patrick’s Day, when traditional Irish drinks like Guinness and Magner’s Traditional Honest-To-God Irish Cider are consumed in sober moderation by genuine citizens of the Emerald Isle piously meditating on the holy day of their patron saint.”

Alistair Darling, who is at the moment copying down his forthcoming budget, dismissed the opposition plans, saying: “These ill-thought-out proposals on alcopops are completely unworkable under European law. Anyway, it doesn’t matter what the Tories say, because who’s Chancellor - George Osborne or me? It’s Gordon Brown, of course.”

From Here To Infirmary

An anti-whaling activist has claimed he was shot by Japanese sailors during a protest in the Antarctic, and would have been killed had he not been wearing a bulletproof vest.

Paul Watson, from the Sea Shepherd organisation, said his fellow environmentalists had been throwing stink bombs onto a whaling ship, the Nisshin Maru, when its Japanese crew opened up with flash grenades and gunfire.

He told Australian radio that he had suddenly felt an impact in his chest. “It bruised my shoulder but it would have hit my heart if I hadn’t had the good fortune to be wearing heavy, uncomfortable Kevlar armour as a fashion statement. As it was, I was quite nonplussed to look down and see a ten-foot harpoon sticking out of my vest," he claimed.

Tokyo’s Foreign Ministry denied that its whaling crews were shooting at environmentalists, saying that the Japanese coastguard aboard the ship had thrown a baseball-sized device which was designed to emit a loud noise. They also pointed out that the sulphurous stench of the protesters’ stink bombs would seem like a welcome breath of fresh air to the ship’s crewmembers, who spent most of their time up to their elbows in reeking whale guts.

Anti-whaling campaigners have been stepping up their activities in the cold waters around Antarctica, and claim the Japanese whalers have been heavy-handed in their handling of the protests. The Japanese government, however, insisted that reports of Kamikaze attacks on protest vessels were unfounded, claiming that their pilots had simply been making close flypasts to check whether they had located a boat or a whale, and unfortunately misjudged the distance.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Freedom From Choice

The Conservative Party has vowed to fight on in the Lords, after the House of Commons decided against calling a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty by 311 votes to 248.

The treaty – regarded by some as the previously-rejected EU constitution by any other name – is seen by Europhiles as a way of advancing the EU’s decision-making powers by bringing an end to the deadlock created by member states exercising their power of veto. Eurosceptics, however, see it as a way of advancing the EU’s decision-making powers by bringing an end to the deadlock created by member states exercising their power of veto.

Labour backbench rebel MP Ian Davidson, however, said the failure to keep Tony Blair’s promise of a referendum meant that "We are confirming the view that we, the political class, cannot be trusted."

Foreign Secretary Miliband Two, however, argued: “The question before us is simple. Do the contents of the treaty constitute a shift in the balance of power? The answer is no.”

Some Eurosceptic commentators have suggested that removing Britain’s right to block any legislation it disagrees with and enabling it to be implemented by majority voting against the nation’s wishes might possibly constitute a shift of power away from the UK. Then again, Eurosceptics have also suggested that the EU is nothing less than the fulfillment of Hitler’s dream of a Nazi Europe. Take your pick. Or rather - since it looks like there won’t be a referendum - don’t.

Fat Lot of Good

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is temporarily moving to a council estate in Hull for a two-part ITV documentary – imaginatively titled ‘The Duchess in Hull’ – in which she will bully a family of commoners into losing weight.

The Duchess said: "Weight issues affect all sorts of people from all walks of life. Obviously, of course, the only ones who generally get on TV are stereotypical underclass dullards, who make ideal targets for ridicule by their betters. The family I met in Hull live in a way that I hadn't experienced - feeding six on a week's benefits. Imagine that! Six people who have never even heard of Fortnum and Mason, let alone have an account with them. I didn’t know such creatures existed."

The Duchess has already been seen by locals shopping in budget supermarket Netto, where she spent a distressing half-hour searching in vain for organically-sourced rocket and fairtrade couscous.

"This programme is an attempt to explore solutions to the growing obesity problem in the UK,” added the Duchess. “I mean, obviously, sending a Royal divorcee into the homes of the nation's gutbuckets is not really a practical solution - especially since Anne and Charles are far too hoity-toity to parade themselves around on tawdry, finger-pointing stunts like this – but maybe I can at least inspire an army of smug, middle-class women to make loud, patronising comments about lardy proles in the hope that it might shame them into swallowing a few less burgers.”

Strawberry Fields Forever

Thames Valley Police have made a public retraction and apology after mistakenly issuing a warning to schools over a non-existent drug - the so-called ‘Strawberry Meth’ - based on a hoax e-mail which is believed to have originated in the United States.

“One of our officers, who is new to his post, received the e-mail internally in good faith and forwarded it on to the schools in West Oxfordshire to warn them,” said a police spokesman. "The officer should have double checked before taking this action, which he did take with the best intentions, and we will be making sure this sort of thing does not happen again- by laughing at him in the canteen for the next few weeks."

The spokesman added: “However, this incident does not lessen our determination to stamp out drug abuse. We will continue in our efforts to free the community from the misery inflicted by Charlie Brown, Bum Crack and Cherry Coke.”

Somebody Call A Cleric

Gary Gygax - the co-creator of the role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons - has died at the age of 69. Gygax, regarded as the father of role-playing games, had been suffering from a lowering of his stats for some time.

His wife said that he enjoyed hearing from fans of the hugely-successful game, which spawned computer games, books and movies, saying: “It really meant a lot to him to hear from people from over the years about how he helped them become a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman.”

Gygax’s thoughts on the army of geeks his game has helped to become shelf-stackers, video-rental clerks or unemployable man-children still living with their parents were, however, not recorded.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

But seriously, folks....

In Hitler’s Germany, the Gestapo maintained huge files on the population containing reports from members of the public about their neighbour’s activities. Now it seems that the Metropolitan Police are trying to revive the idea, launching a campaign asking members of the public to report any behaviour they think might be suspicious.

Such ‘suspicious’ behaviour apparently includes taking pictures of security equipment like CCTV cameras, or travelling in a ‘vague’ manner.

As well as being a charter for the paranoid and the nosey parker, this scheme fosters the insidious idea that ‘terrorists’ are all around us. You could be a terrorist – or I could. Better ring the Met, let them take a look, just to be on the safe side.

So be careful where you point your camera or phone in public. Don’t go out for a Sunday afternoon drive. You might end up receiving the careful attention of the Met. And as Jean Charles de Menezes found out to his cost, that’s something you really don’t want to happen.

Of course this is England, not Nazi Germany. That was a dictatorial police state where the rights of individual citizens counted for nothing. It couldn’t happen here – could it?

(Article published on The Free Society website: )

All Roads Lead to Carbon Emissions

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers has warned the UK government that there needs to be a “modal shift” from road to rail if the country is to meet targets for cutting emissions in the transport sector.

"We have ambitious government targets for transport emissions, but transport emissions are static," said Cliff Perry, vice president of the Institute's railway division. "Eighty-five percent of transport emissions come from roads, so if we are serious about doing something, we must hit road transport."

Comparisons between emissions from different modes of transport are not straightforward, as engine efficiency, passenger numbers and generation methods for electric trains need to be factored in. However, any idiot except a government minister can see that, on the whole, one 5000hp train carrying 1000 passengers ought to be generating about half the pollution of two hundred 50hp cars each carrying five – or indeed considerably less than a thousand cars containing just the driver, which is what usually happens at peak time.

However, an idiotic government minister pointed out that private rail operators were making an awful lot of money by providing unreliable, overcrowded services, and any attempt to encourage more people onto trains would require them to actually spend some of their huge piles of cash on improving their services - which for some reason they were all unaccountably reluctant to do.

Odd as it may seem, no mention was made of the almost complete abandonment of railfreight services - despite the huge number of lorries clogging up the roads by hauling goods from the four corners of Britain to centralised depots and then redistributing them all over the country again. But presumably that would upset the Road Haulage Association - and Shirley Williiams, the only Transport Secretary to upset the Road Haulage Association since the war, was sacked after calling a halt to Dr Beeching’s wholesale destruction of the rail network in the sixties.

Although that was no doubt a complete coincidence.

Proms v. Corrie

Staying in the UK, and in a speech to the IPPR think-tank, Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has claimed that the Proms concerts attract too narrow a section of society. Instead, she singled out Coronation Street as an “icon of common culture that everybody can feel part of.”

“The Proms are full of boring, imperialistic classical music which only appeals to unreconstructed, top-hatted Tory toffs,” said the Culture Secretary. “And remember, the Nazis liked classical music. Whereas Coronation Street appeals to honest, easily-pleased, salt-of-the-earth Labour voters. I think it’s safe to say that Hitler never watched a single episode. Need I say more?”

Unreconstructed, top-hatted Tory toff David Cameron, however, claimed that Ms Hodge’s underdeveloped prole brain was simply not sufficiently refined to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of the understated yet complex tonal structures of the classical repertoire.

“It is a classic example of a Labour politician just not getting something,” he said. “When Margaret Hodge talks about a common culture, the emphasis is clearly on the common rather than the culture. I say, that’s rather a good one! Do write it down, Johnson, there’s a good chap, I may use it later against that plebby oik Brown.”


One night out is enough to damage your hearing, according to the RNID - who say that nine out of ten young people have experienced the first signs of hearing damage after a night at a concert, bar or nightclub.

Experts say that sound levels higher than 85 decibels will damage hearing over time.

The hearing charity recommends the use of earplugs, but says that young people are reluctant to wear them because they are unappealing. It is launching a competition for design students to create fashionable earplug design.

Young concertgoers we yelled at, however, suggested that the main reason they went to gigs was to hear their favourite bands play, rather than not hear them play.

The announcement follows recent claims by a French sound engineer that listening to dynamically-compressed MP3 tracks damaged hearing. Dire predictions were also made in the early 1980s that listening to cassette tapes on a Walkman would lead to certain deafness, and in the 19th century Thomas Edison was warned that his new-fangled gramophone device would gravely impair the hearing of future generations. Strangely, however, in spite of all of these auditory assaults, people are somehow still managing to hear stuff.

Reports that the RNIB was preparing to announce that just one bright pink item could permanently damage young girls’ eyesight are, as yet, unconfirmed.