Friday, 23 May 2008

Blair Raid Precautions

Tony Blair had a close shave yesterday, when Israel scrambled two fighters to intercept the jet carrying him back from the World Economic Forum conference in neighbouring Egypt. The Middle East peace envoy and former PM’s plane had failed to notify the Israelis of its flight plan.

The Israeli air defence network - which routinely scrambles fighters to investigate unauthorised incursions into the country’s airspace - put two interceptors in the air, and it was only when they had taken up attack positions that Mr Blair’s crew got on the radio and identified themselves.

Suggestions that Mr Blair had indignantly radioed a “Don’t you know who I am?” message to the Israeli top guns are as yet unconfirmed, as are rumours that Gordon Brown may have previously warned the Israeli government that a highly dangerous Palestinian terrorist might be planning to fly a small private jet into the first tall building he spotted.

Burmese Junta Accepts Foreign Aid, Now It's Too Late

Following talks with Burma’s military dictators, UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon has announced that the generals have finally agreed to allow all foreign aid workers into the country, almost three weeks after the Cyclone Nargis disaster.

Calling the decision a “breakthrough”, Mr Ban said: “After ignoring my letters and phone calls, the Burmese generals finally agreed to speak to me through their letterbox. They tell me that they are now happy to welcome international relief workers, as there are at least 78,000 dead bodies in the Irrawaddy delta making the place look very untidy, and on top of that they’re starting to smell. So any foreigners willing to wade up to their necks in a breeding-ground for dysentery and cholera and haul swathes of bloated, flyblown corpses out of the flood waters will be warmly welcomed, as it will save their loyal troops from spoiling their lovely uniforms.”

The Late Amy Winehouse

Troubled Singer Amy Winehouse won an Ivor Novello award for best song last night, but turned up at the ceremony too late to receive it.

The Troubled Singer arrived at the annual song-writing gong-fest just as her father was accepting the award – for the song Love Is A Losing Game - on her behalf.

No explanation was given for Ms Winehouse’s late appearance - although some observers suggested that as she had obviously had trouble with her make-up, with more mascara on her temples than around her eyes, it may have been down to sheer embarrassment at the prospect of making a spectacle of herself in public.

Also receiving an award, this time for International Achievement – no, seriously - was baldy veteran schmaltz-factory Phil Collins, whose announcement that the award would mark a “full stop” in his career was greeted with rapturous applause.

High Hopes For Binman's Old Rubbish

Britain is hoping for a result in tomorrow’s Eurovision song contest, with former bin-man and X-Factor reject Andy Abraham representing the nation.

In recent years Britain made a habit of coming last - partly because of its involvement in American-led invasions, but mainly due to its steadfast refusal to write songs featuring the balalaika. However, Scooch lifted Britain’s hopes last year by coming 22nd out of a field of 24, and Eurovision fans are hoping that Abraham may even scrape the top 20.

Veteran wine-quaffing commentator Terry Wogan said Abraham’s song ‘Even If’ was “the best UK entry for a while”, adding: “If we finish nowhere again, I worry that disenchantment might take hold.”

Mr Wogan had to write his comments, as his tongue was too firmly wedged in his cheek to speak.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Let's Not Have a Debate

An academic has sparked controversy by claiming that the poor are under-represented in higher education because they are less intelligent.

“Poor people are stupid,” said Bruce Charlton, reader in evolutionary psychiatry at Newcastle University. “What? Don’t look at me like that. What have I said?”

Speaking for the government, however, Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell said: “There are young people with talent, ability and the potential to benefit from higher education who do not currently do so. That should concern us all, albeit not enough to make us abolish the tuition and top-up fees we introduced. I haven’t looked at this Charlton character’s so-called research, of course, in case I catch any unpalatable facts that might possibly back up his elitist claims. But he’s wrong - and probably a Nazi too, I shouldn’t wonder.”

“Perhaps in my next research paper I might take a close look at the under-representation of people from lower-class backgrounds in that other bastion of middle-class privilege, the Parliamentary Labour Party,” announced an unrepentant Mr Charlton.

Royal Drubbing for Labour?

Voters are going to the polls in Crewe and Nantwich today, where many pundits are predicting the first Tory by-election victory over Labour in three decades.

Labour’s campaigning in the election, triggered by the death of veteran Labour MP Gwyneth Dunwoody, has been marked by accusations of class bias, as they sought to smear the Conservative candidate - barrister Edward Timpson, whose family founded the shoe-repair chain - as a ‘Tory toff’.

“How dare this jumped-up cobbler’s boy have the effrontery to deny me my birthright?” exclaimed Princess Tamsin Dunwoody, the Labour candidate. “By the grace of God, I vouchsafe that I am the rightful heir to my mother’s fiefdom. Off with his head! Vote Labour, O sturdy yeomen of Crewe and Nantwich.”

Cop a Load of My Baps, You Sexist Bastards

An Israeli tourist has fought back against sexist workmen who wolf-whistle at attractive women, by stripping off in the street.

The unnamed woman was about to use a cash dispenser in Kerikeri, in the far north of New Zealand, when the road gang whistled at her. She stripped, took out her cash from the machine, put her clothes back on and walked off.

“She’s not an unattractive lady,” said Police Sergeant Peter Masters. “She was taken back to the police station and spoken to, and told that was inappropriate in New Zealand. Our women are trolls, so we just aren’t used to seeing real live babes. These workmen were innocently going about their business, and when this heavenly creature appeared before them like a vision they were, understandably, rendered temporarily speechless. When she flashed her assets at these poor, deprived men, two of them fainted dead away and one had a heart attack. Now they can’t bear to go home to their hideous old munters. We’ve sent her back to Israel before we suffer a national hag crisis.”

New Zealand’s wretched crones protested vigorously at being labelled as ugly. However, when it was pointed out to them that, in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, the female stars were two Australians and an American while the pride of New Zealand’s womanhood appeared as the horse-riding men of Rohan, they quietly crawled back under their bridges to pounce on unwary travellers – a traditional form of courtship in New Zealand.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Cop Out

English and Welsh members of the Police Federation have voted to demand the right to strike, in a move intended to pressure the government into backdating the police pay award.

“Let me read out a statement,” said spokesman PC Kevin Plod, rummaging in his pockets. “Here we are. Er… ‘Yeh it wuz me wot dun them murdas coppa, you got me bang to rites. Signed, Insert Name of Suspect.’ Sorry, wrong one - hang on, this is the one - ‘Awrite Brown lissen to this. We the coppas demmand the rite to go on strike you nonce. Giz the money you commy toerag, or else the streats wil run red wiv blud, and you kint send in the army cos there up to there necks in it alredy. Signed, The Filf.’”

“This has not been an easy decision for us to make,” added PC Plod. “Some of the speeches for and against were very long, until DS Savage of the Special Branch started punching the speakers in the mouth because, as he so eloquently put it, he hadn’t got all day. To add to the difficulties, we were asking our members to make a moral judgement, taking into consideration the greater needs of society. When it became clear that nobody had a clue what we were talking about, the motion was amended to read: ‘Do you want more dosh?’ To which our members responded with a resounding ‘Too bloody right’.”

Some dissenting voices were heard from longer-serving members of the Federation, however.

“Evenin’ all,” said a delegate from Dock Green. “I’ve been a copper all me life, and I remember when our pay was so low we used to have to top it up with benefits. Now these youngsters can join with no qualifications whatsoever, and get 21 grand a year before they’ve even started training. The only other people on that kind of deal are the army - and they get their knackers blown off in Afghanistan. Mind how you go now, sir.”

Burger The Lot of Them

Evil, greed-obsessed financiers can laugh even more heartlessly in the face of millions of victims of rising food prices - thanks to the Wall Street Burger Shoppe, which is charging $175 for what it claims is the world’s most expensive burger.

The obscene monstrosity features a brioche bun stuffed with black truffles, Kobe beef, seared foie gras, mature Gruyere cheese and wild mushrooms, and is topped off with flakes of pure gold leaf.

“People are only starving to death in the third world because they’re lazy, worthless scum who just couldn’t be bothered to go to Harvard and get an MBA,” scoffed C. Ableton Seligman, a typical depraved ultra-capitalist diner. “Hey you - yes you, you underachieving, worthless minimum-wage drone. I’m worth $738m! The blood in my pen is worth more than you. Where do you live? I just bought it, demolished it and built a toxic waste factory on it. Now get out of my sight and bring me another of these burgers. With grated baby topping.”

Rumours that hard-pressed, underpaid kitchen staff may frequently add an extra special ingredient of their own for their vilest customers were denied by the management. However, a spokesman said that, as their clientele clearly enjoyed the personal favour of Satan himself, there was probably nothing their bloated digestive systems – and shrivelled consciences - couldn’t handle.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Marks and Sparks Bonus Scheme is Pants

Marks and Spencer staff were left disappointed after the high-street retailer slashed their bonuses - despite posting its first billion-pound profit in ten years.

The food and clothing giant defended its behaviour by saying that, although profits had risen by 4.3% over the previous year, like-for-like sales had actually fallen by 1.7% in the first three months of 2008. It added that £12.8m would be split between its 62,000 customer assistants, while a further £4m would be shared by high-performing head office teams.

A quick flurry on the Nev Filter calculator suggested that the hardworking store staff would receive an average £206.45 each - and also that, unless there were more than 19,375 head office workers, the admin teams stood to pocket considerably more. In the previous financial year, the company paid out £91m in staff bonuses, an average of £1213 per worker.

Chief executive Sir Stuart Rose - speaking from the head office - defended the drop in bonus payments, saying that he expected market conditions “to remain difficult for the foreseeable future.”

“Our core business is retailing food and clothes, especially pants,” he explained. “In the current climate of fiscal belt-tightening by hard-hit consumers, we are especially vulnerable. Our customers are likely to go commando at first, treating undercrackers as optional luxuries. Then, as bread hits £5 a loaf, their clothing will start to fall from their emaciated frames and, unwilling to spend their dwindling cash reserves on smaller sizes, Britons will crawl around naked until they finally succumb to starvation. This is likely to impact negatively on our retail targets.”

Any Old Iron

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, on his first visit to Afghanistan, has lambasted the government for under-equipping its troops in the region.

“I’ve seen some of the kit they’ve had to deal with, said Mr Clegg. “Some of it’s great, but some of it’s old.” He added that spare parts were also in short supply.

The government was quick to defend itself against the Lib Dem leader’s accusations, however. “The Vickers water-cooled heavy machine gun has been tried and tested in two world wars,” said Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon. “And if the rebel tribesmen didn’t like being bombed by biplanes in 1920, imagine their dismay when they see them lumbering over the horizon once again. As for spare parts, two tracks per tank are an ideal rather than an operational necessity. The vehicles can advance in a series of curves, pausing at intervals for the crews to swiftly swap the track from one side to the other. This also makes it much harder for the enemy to predict where the tanks are actually heading.”

PM To Appear in Undignified Farce With Priest and Lama

The Dalai Lama has arrived in Britain at the start of an 11-day tour.

Gordon Brown will be meeting the Tibetan spiritual leader over a cup of tea with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace on Friday, as the Chinese government told him they would be very cross if the meeting took place in Downing Street. The Prime Minister is expected to demonstrate his renowned authority as a moral paragon on the world stage by asking the Dalai Lama if he had a nice journey, and suggesting a visit to the London Eye and Madame Tussaud’s.

During his visit, the Dalai Lama will also receive an honorary degree in Retail Therapy from the prestigious London Metropolitan University.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Anyone for Monopoly?

As the humanitarian situation worsens in Burma - with even the unconcerned military rulers admitting a death toll of 78,000 - Microsoft has announced that it would consider a partial buyout of the Yahoo! internet search engine.

With the spectre of death from malnutrition stalking an estimated 30,000 under-fives in the stricken Asian state, the software giant released a statement saying that it "is not proposing to make a new bid to acquire all of Yahoo at this time, but reserves the right to reconsider that alternative" after withdrawing its offer of $33 per Yahoo share, which valued the company at over $47bn.

The Association of South East Asian Nations is holding urgent talks to try to find ways of getting relief to the 2.4 million Burmese caught up in the continuing disaster. Meanwhile, billionaire investor Carl Icahn is seeking to buy up shares in Yahoo in an attempt to force out the board which rebuffed Microsoft’s offer.

“Shh, don’t bother us with the real world,” said Microsoft’s Bill Gates. “Icahn’s just landed on Park Lane. I’ve got Mayfair, but the crucual question facing the world is: will he buy it just to thwart my ambitions, or will he be content to sit back on his portfolio of utilities, stations and middle-rent properties and play the longer game? Where is Burma anyway? Is it anywhere near Old Kent Road?”

Tommy Atkins' Schooldays

Ministers are likely to back a recommendation to introduce cadet forces into Britain’s schools, published in a review by Tory defector Quentin Davies MP.

“If we introduce military training in our schools, think of the disciplinary advantages,” said Mr Davies. “Children bringing knives into the school will find themselves peeling spuds in the kitchen, while truants will be sentenced to Field Punishment Number One and lashed to a gun carriage. In extreme cases of bullying, martial law can be declared and the teachers will then have a licence to shoot anyone flicking wet balls of paper in class. Happy days.”

Debt Crisis Now Affecting Decent People, Says Daily Mail

Middle England was left reeling today after the Daily Mail discovered that rising personal debt was now affecting decent, right-thinking folk in the home counties who read the Daily Mail.

Previously, the prevailing view was that debt was an entirely self-inflicted and well-deserved scourge affecting only feckless chav scum on lawless inner-city estates. However, the Mail revealed the shocking truth, namely that one of its own staff had received one of those horrible computer-generated letters from the bank telling that she had insufficient funds to meet the direct debits on her Docklands apartment and Mercedes SLK, and recommending her to contact the local Citizens’ Advice Bureau for advice on debt management.

“Now desperate middle-class families face huge debt crisis as more and more professionals plunge into the red” screamed the headline that brought terror to the south east and left terrified respectable couples berating each other over the Special K at breakfast.

“My irresponsible husband Thomas has just spent fifty pounds on Grand Theft Auto IV,” said Claudia, 29, from her four-bedroomed Richmond home. “And I don’t know why we need a lawnmower the size of a small tractor – the gardener doesn’t really take very long with his little Flymo.”

33-year-old Thomas, however, said that Claudia had only herself to blame for filling the walk-in wardrobe with “those bloody Manolo Whatsit shoes that always cut her feet to ribbons.”

“I’m poor – poor!” wailed Claudia. “What will the neighbours say when they buy a new Porsche 4x4 and we’re still driving our old Range Rover? It’ll be due for an MOT soon, whatever that means. I feel ill - I’m might have to take an aromatherapy weekend. Or is that just what poor people do in this situation? I must consult my guru.”