Friday, 18 July 2008

Gas Prices Set to Soar For No Readily Apparent Reason

British Gas owner Centrica has warned that prices are set to rise by more than 60% early in the next decade, raising the average household bill to over £1000.

Centrica’s managing-quite-nicely-thanks director Jake Ulrich said: “We’re part of a world economy and I don’t think we can rely on UK production or cheap gas, cheap energy of any sort any more.”

Mr Ulrich added that the price of gas was tied to soaring oil prices, but somehow omitted to explain why.

“I think people will change the temperature they keep the house, they’ll be more cognisant of energy waste, they’ll buy better appliances,” he went on to say, still not mentioning why gas prices were linked to oil.

“I think people will use less energy and I hate to go back to Jimmy Carter days in the US, but maybe it’s two jumpers instead of one,” he added, which did not really go very far at all in explaining the link between gas and oil prices.

“Look, I’m hurting too,” said Mr Ulrich from the upper deck of his corporate cabin cruiser. “Have you any idea how much it costs to run one of these babies nowadays? There’s a couple of 950-horsepower Mercuries under the deck back there. Without this floating vodka tank helping us to get those Gazprom people absolutely trashed every time we re-negotiate the Russian supply contracts, you’d probably be paying twice as much again. You wouldn’t believe how much petrol this ocean-going drinks cabinet gets through on a round trip to the Black Sea.”

We asked if that was the reason why gas prices were linked to oil - but unfortunately Mr Ulrich had to excuse himself, as he was too busy taking delivery of another wheelbarrow of fivers to answer any more questions.

Meanwhile, in the United States, former Vice-President Al Gore is trying to persuade his countrymen to abandon fossil fuels as a source of power generation within a decade, drive normal-sized cars and spell ‘colour’ with a U.

Mandela To Spend Rest of Life Reading 90th Birthday Cards

Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president, is today celebrating his 90th birthday quietly in his home village of Qunu. The prisoner-turned-president’s birthday celebration will be a low-key family affair, apart from the football festival, the concert, the 500-guest dinner and the 5-mile queue of post office vans laden with birthday cards.

The great and the good have lined up to pay tribute to the man credited with ending the injustice of apartheid - and so have many leading politicians.

“Nelson Mandela successfully led a peaceful regime change, turning an international pariah state into a successful democracy without shedding a single drop of blood,” said US President George W Bush. “What a loser.”

“People all over the world love Nelson Mandela,” said Gordon Brown. “I am in awe of him. Not even my own mother could love me.”

“He is an inspiration to me,” agreed Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. “Like me, he just seems to go on forever. I think I’m a bit like Nelson Mandela myself - but a Nelson Mandela with the added advantage of a homicidal army of merciless thugs wielding machetes and AK47s.”

“Mr Mandela used his personal charm to promote reconciliation and to mould our widely diverse communities into an emerging multicultural nation,” said South Africa’s last bigoted racist president, FW de Klerk, through gritted teeth. “But let’s not forget that he also married Winnie. Hey, no offence.”

Finally, Nelson Mandela emerged from his home to greet the assembled reporters with a message of hope for the world.

“I hope I can blow out all these damned candles,” he said.

Political commentators say that Mr Mandela’s unique brand of quiet dignity and determination was forged during the 26 long years he endured in South Africa’s notorious Robbens Island prison, and it has been suggested that many of the current world leaders might benefit from a couple of decades in solitary confinement.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Leading Medical Researchers Hail Discovery of Plain Nose on Face

Cutting-edge medical research by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has proved, shockingly, that cancer survival rates are better in rich countries with plenty of hospitals.

The study, carried out by 100 scientists around the world, discovered to their utter amazement that the well-off inhabitants of the USA, Australia, Canada, France and Japan were far more likely to overcome cancer than the struggling paupers of Algeria.

Their jaws dropped even further when they discovered that survival rates varied within the wealthier nations, with white Americans with private health insurance 14% more likely to survive than the impoverished racial minorities.

“It’s too early to draw any concrete conclusions, of course,” said the baffled project leader, Michel Coleman. “But having a wallet bulging with credit cards definitely seems to be a factor. Perhaps there are life-enhancing qualities in the plastic, or the chip or something. Can we have another research grant, please?”

One cancerous Algerian goat-herder we spoke to, however, said that he was less concerned about the lack of treatment for his tumour than about disappearing after being arrested for talking to the foreign media.

“Even if I get away with that,” he said philosophically, “I’ll probably die at the hands of rebel insurgents or government forces in this ongoing civil war that you don’t seem very interested in.”

Meanwhile, other leading researchers at the cutting edge of the life sciences are clamouring for grants to discover the answers to other medical mysteries that have baffled the human race for centuries - such as what makes old people more likely to have grey hair than children, why testicular cancer is almost exclusively confined to men, and how birds manage to fly better than crabs.

Watch Your Language Innit

The use of the word ‘Fabian’ has been strongly condemned for its derogatory associations by the Chav Society think-tank.

The Chav Society’s editorial director, Johnny Asbo, said the word betrays a deep level of “class hatred” and is “deeply offensive to a largely voiceless group, yeah?”

“The lower classes, right, have always used language to distinguish themselves from those a few rungs above them the ladder, like”, says Mr Asbo, in an article due to be published on a subway wall in Leytonstone. “But this is something new, innit? This is working-class hatred of the white middle class, pure and simple. Respeck.”

Dictionaries define ‘Fabian’ as a slang term for a Guardian-reading person of middle-class social status, often wearing designer pullovers. The term originated in Bloomsbury and Islington, but has recently become widespread within the Labour Party as an expression of contempt.

George Bernard Shaw - a long-standing contributor to the popular Fabian comic, New Statesman – argued, however, that the term was meant to be an insult, and that was fine.

“I think the Chav Society’s attempt to step in and become the voice of the the middle class is frankly patronising,” he said. “And you can quote me on that.”

The row follows a sense of outrage expressed last month by the Formula One travelling community, sparked by the well-known pikey Martin Brundle making derogatory remarks about a group of so-called “back markers” he spotted on the track in Canada.

“It’s just insulting to have my race history brought up time and time again,” said an aggrieved David Coulthard.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Government Encourages People To Fuck Off and Die At Home

Health Secretary Alan Johnson is today unveiling a revolutionary new government strategy that will offer more people the opportunity to fuck off and die at home.

“Sadly, 58% of the half a million Britons who die every year do so in a hospital,” said Mr Johnson, “The Department of Health is keen to reduce that percentage by a significant amount, because that’s an awful lot of bedclothes that have to be washed. And let’s not forget all those bereaved relatives lowering everyone’s morale with their weeping and wailing, which the companies who run the on-site retail facilities say is putting their customers right off their skinny latt├ęs and croissants. So we all put our heads together and thought, ‘These people are going to die anyway - why not offer them the choice of passing away quietly and with dignity, nicely tucked up in the familiar and comforting surroundings of their own homes?’”

“In addition, this will free up loads of expensive equipment,” he went on to say, “Which can then be leased out for the benefit of ailing third-world dictators with bulging Swiss bank accounts, vets offering MRI scans for pampered cats, dogs and budgies, and private healthcare providers playing on the fears of well-off hypochondriacs by urging them to undergo over-complicated ‘life checks’ and unnecessary surgery. In fact, everyone’s a winner!”

The Department of Work and Pensions is said to be fully behind the scheme, and is working strenuously to find any excuse not to raise pensions and benefits in line with skyrocketing food and utility bills this coming September.

“This should cut our overall expenditure nicely by the time the next budget rolls around,” explained James Purnell, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. “We’re looking at helping record numbers of people to fuck off and die of cold and starvation in the comfort of their own homes this winter.”

You Don't Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But Help Yourself

A survey published today claims that almost a fifth of Britain’s MPs have suffered from mental health problems.

The survey of 94 parliamentarians revealed a range of disorders, including (but not limited to) uncontrollable urges to steal public funds, compulsive lying, rampant egomania, obsessively gambling with the nation’s finances, random aggressive outbursts, and an autistic tendency to live in their own little bubble with a blatant disregard for the effects of their actions on others.

Meanwhile, the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health found that 86% of MPs thought that being an MP was stressful.

“Just look at the Prime Minister,” said a spokesman. “He’s wandering miserably around the world, transferring his problems onto other people, telling them they need to act to reduce their carbon footprints while missing his own targets by a country mile. Back home, he’s in complete denial, insisting in the face of all evidence that there is no recession. He’s a sad, isolated figure, who clings desperately to the hope that his friend George can somehow wave some kind of magic wand and solve all his problems for him - rather than facing the reality of his situation, and taking personal responsibility for the mess he’s got himself into and doing something positive about it. Exercise can make people feel better about themselves - perhaps he ought to take a hike.”

Some people have, however, said that the all-party group itself is hardly in a position to talk.

“They’re supposed to report on the state of the nation’s mental well-being,” complained a clinical psychologist, “But instead they’re completely obsessed with themselves as usual. If they think being an MP is stressful, they should try slaving away in a call centre for all the hours God sends, on £6.50 an hour.”

“After the next election, we might just do that,” moaned one cabinet minister, reaching for the Valium.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Knives Out for Gordon

The government has come under fire for appearing to do a U-turn on knife crime, after Home Secretary Jacqui Smith denied suggesting that youngsters found to be carrying knifes should be taken to hospitals to meet stabbing victims.

“That’s never going to work,” scoffed Conservative leader David Cameron. “The Prime Minister confronts knife-wielding thugs every time he holds a Cabinet meeting, and it won’t stop them from sticking a knife in his back at the first chance they get. They just laugh about it among themselves. Every time he sees them, it frightens him to death just thinking what they might do to him.”

“I was stabbed in the back myself,” said former Tory PM Sir John Major. “And the hooligans who did it are positively thriving. You have to feel sorry for Gordon Brown, really.”

Patrick Stewart Made Professor of Playing Characters With French Names

The actor Patrick Stewart – best known for playing Star Trek’s Captain Picard, unless you’re under 25, in which case he’s Professor Xavier – has been made a Professor of Performing Arts by the prestigious Huddersfield University, of which he is honorary chancellor.

Professor Xavier led 400 cheering mutants through the town centre for the inaugural graduate procession, to the delight of those students who thought he really was confined to a wheelchair.

The graduates in the procession exhibited a wide range of abilities, including chameleon skin, telepathy, electric hands and weather control. However, the ceremonial march was suddenly interrupted by the arrival of the evil Sir Ian McKellen and his rival clan of young mutant misfits. In the ensuing battle, much of Huddersfield was laid waste, causing misery to the cowering inhabitants and great joy to the council’s planning department.

The epic struggle was ended by the arrival of the starship Enterprise, which beamed down an away team led by the rotund Commander Riker, who sat on Sir Ian until he agreed to leave the town in peace. As he led his mutants away, however, the magnetic super-villain threatened to return next year at the head of an unstoppable hobbit army.

Australia to Axe Long-Running Pope

Australia has announced that it will be cancelling Big Father once the current run has ended.

The format has been mired in controversy and, although there are still some loyal fans, the ratings have been steadily declining for years. The current favourite, an 81-year-old German called Benedict, has been irritating viewers by constantly talking about sexual activity.

“Change the subject, Benny!” said one disgusted viewer from Sydney. “It’s like he’s obsessed with sex, sex, sex. He’s always going on about his dodgy priest friends and their disgusting habits. OK, so he hasn’t jumped into bed with any of the other housemates himself, not even when Pamela Anderson was in the house. But he always takes an unhealthy interest whenever anyone else does, urging them to come into the Diary Room with him and tell him all about it. He’s got a bloody cheek, if you ask me.”

A spokesman for Network Ten said that Big Father was being axed after the New South Wales state government was forced to abandon its controversial law banning people from expressing criticism of the show, which has been running since 1054. “Since then, it has become clear that quite a few people are fed up with Big Father constantly focusing on people’s sexual antics,” he said. “In fact, they just think it’s irrelevant, tired and out of date.”

Benedict himself, however, continues to wander aimlessly around the place wearing his favourite funny hat, smiling and waving to the cameras and blissfully unaware of the views of millions of ordinary Australians.

“We did think about calling him into the Diary Room and telling him what people were saying,” said the producers, “But we felt it would be a shame if he became aware of what was going on in the real world. Controversial he may be, but at heart he’s just a well-meaning old codger with quaint, old-fashioned views. We don’t want to burst his bubble.”

Monday, 14 July 2008

Is There A Gay Gene? Not Any More

The Bishop of New Hampshire, dressed in his traditional regalia of leather shorts and a construction helmet, was permanently interrupted yesterday by a lone protester while delivering a sermon at a church in Putney.

The openly-gay Bishop Gene Barrowman – who has been snubbed by the forthcoming Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops - was speaking on fear in the church when a black-cowled figure rose from the midst of the congregation, pointed a gnarled staff at the bishop and declared in a powerful voice, “I smell… HERESY!”

The figure then threw back its cowl and a rippled murmur of shock ran through the congregation as the Witchfinder General stood revealed among them.

The awe-inspiring enforcer of medieval morality strode forward, pulling a small black cat from his robe, which he threw at Bishop Barrowman. The terrified cat dug its claws into the bishop, at which the interloper declared, in resonant tones: “See! His wicked familiar clings to him in his hour of need!”

The Witchfinder then produced a small portable bonfire from beneath his voluminous cloak and, striking Bishop Gene on the shoulder with his staff of office, demanded, “Do you repent of your disgusting sin, worm of Satan?”

The condemned cleric stammered, “Er… I think that today, in a very real sense, we are in danger of losing sight of…” but was stunned into silence by another blow from the church enforcer’s chastising rod.

“The bible says ‘Burn the heretic!’” exclaimed the Witchfinder.

“Where?” piped up a solitary voice from the congregation.

“Chapter 12, verse 23, St. Paul’s Letter to the Hooligans,” snapped back the black-garbed defender of the faith, “Look it up. Now you shall be cleansed in the purifying fire, loathsome heretic!”

At this point Jesus descended from Heaven to proclaim His Second Coming; but nobody paid any attention as the screaming deviant bishop was spit-roasted to death before the altar, while the cackling Witchfinder passed out marshmallows on sticks to the cowed congregation.

Pupils To Be Searched for Hidden Intelligence

The government is set to bring in legislation allowing teachers to search students for concealed knowledge, following recommendations in a report by their top advisor on behaviour in schools, Sir Alan Steer.

Children’s Secretary Ed Balls took time out from counting his money to say: “We have already successfully introduced tests at Key Stages 3 and 4 for knives and other weapons, and soon teachers will be able to seek out the tell-tale signs of intelligence in their pupils.”

Parents’ organisations have mixed feelings about the proposals.

“I think, right, every child should carry a brain wiv ‘em, yeah? Just in case,” said Teena Slapper of Chavside, London. “You never know, it might come in handy one day, sort of, if they’re in a tight spot innit.”

However, Kevin Gutter of Sinkhall, Manchester took the opposite view. “I don’t want me nippers coming back from school with no fancy ideas between their ears, like,” he argued. “They already give us lip whenever they get at the White Lightning, noworramean?”

Teachers’ unions have so far given a lukewarm reaction to the plans, saying that their members are already staggering under a punishing workload of checking for knives, guns, Indiana Jones-style bullwhips, weapons of mass destruction, tiredness, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, caffeine, cyber-bullying, abusive parents, visible symbols of faith and head lice.

“We are already overworked and overburdened - note the use of synonyms for emphasis – without being saddled with this unworkable scheme,” commented a Mr Peters, a supply official from the National Union of Teachers. “There simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the tasks the government expects of us, no matter how many teachers there are or how long it takes one of them. Schoolchildren are experts at concealing signs of intelligence. That’s two L’s, remember.”

“Did you hear that, everyone?” responded Mr Balls. “He said they’re all going on strike again!”

Newspaper reporters eagerly licked their pencils, and began to churn out the usual headlines about the extravagant holiday lifestyles of the teaching profession.