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One must maintain ones standards…

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I wouldn’t invite Blair or Brown to my wedding either. You couldn’t trust Tony and Cherie not to make off with the dinner service, and Gordon would only do something ghastly like picking his nose.

The peasants are angry

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

I know how they all feel:

There’s a lot of anger about. Yesterday morning in the corner store stubbly track-suit man came in for his ‘Sun’, saw a queue of three for the till and left his twenty pee on the counter. The Sri-Lankan checkout girl tried to give it back to him, motioning him to join the queue. Suddenly he exploded with rage; “I’m not f…ing queueing! You’ve got your money!” and stalked out. It woke us all up. It even woke the Nigerian security guard up.

In the office I caught a senior colleague, a man known for his equable temperament, kicking the photocopier, jammed with papers he needed for a meeting for which he was already late. The IT manager is having a breakdown and his PA fields phone calls with ‘he’s gone home sick’ with increasing frequency; abusive emails have mushroomed recently as work pressures mount and the office systems are unequal to the task.

On the train last week, as a large baby buggy blocked much of the door zone during the rush hour, a professional thirty something bloke squeezing into the available space looked directly at the guilty mum and asked “Oh for f…s sake! How sensible is this?” to which there was no reply. We’ve all been harassed and inconvenienced by ‘buggy rights’ for years now, but this was the first time I’d heard anyone fight back.

This was also the week in which with my red pencil I’d removed £40k’s worth of ludicrous self-indulgent crap from a construction drawing, bling geared only to the designer’s portfolio photograph on completion, not to the client’s needs or the prescriptive design brief I’d issued. The architect was incandescent with rage and sent me a very foolish email. I replied that I was perfectly willing to determine his contract immediately, and would he prepare a final fee account. Cue abject grovelling from his partners over the course of the afternoon.

In Tesco last week, bag-rationing led to a massive row three tills down. The store is apparently issuing each till with a box of free bags a day, and once these are gone customers are asked to pay 9p each for a ‘bag for life’. An Afro-Carib granny wasn’t standing for it. The supervisor was summoned. The manager was summoned. Her inspired invective against global warming brought a smile to my face.

At least another half a dozen minor incidents recently – queue rage, trolley rage, general impatience, people voicing things they don’t usually voice – and I’m sensing there’s an ascending general rage building up. The speed with which Old Holborn and Anna Racoon raised Nick’s freedom money was driven by the anger of suffering smokers. In smoking shelters across London there’s an inchoate anger against authority in general – ‘the council’, ‘the government’ or more often ‘they’, the ‘they’ that are the great grey indistinct suffocating presence of the State in one guise or another. The most popular rallying cry of the day is ‘Get off our backs!’, raising a heartfelt cheer of support whenever it’s vocalised. If any party wants an election slogan, ‘We’ll get off your back’ will win a few million new votes.

But it’s not about party differences. That the three main parties are all the same is a truth universally acknowledged. Whenever politics is discussed there is absolute consensus that we loathe them all. Immigration is a running sore. Food inflation, less noticeable to those with mortgages enjoying low interest rates, has hit those on low or fixed incomes hard.

Neighbourhoods filled with boarded-up pubs as they are here, destined to be redeveloped as homes for immigrants by the hated Housing Associations, as they are here, are a popular provocation. There’s no doubt that the white working class are the angriest, but the white middle class are close behind them. And our Afro-Carib population, the most assimilated of all the new Commonwealth cohorts, close behind them.

Targets of this anger are also inchoate; Muslims, Africans, East Europeans, the priviliged, bankers, the amorphous political class, the tax-wasters, those who make and enforce rules, ‘they’.

Quite how this rage will manifest itself on 6th May I don’t know.

It’s a rage engendered by a feeling of helplessness. People think that Labour deserves to be decimated, but no-one believes for a second that the Tories will be any different and hence they don’t deserve to win. The most positive electoral outcome we can hope for (and it’s pretty thin gruel) would be a very weak, lame-duck Labour government, to exhausted to do much damage, and a quick defenestration of Dave and his posse. Oh and a couple of BNP MPs just for the comedy value of watching the establishment running around shrieking like headless chickens.


Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

What next? IOUs?

The Legal Services Commission (LSC) has notified the Law Society that it will be delaying payments to solicitors due in March until the start of the next financial year in April. This is due to the ‘cash position’ in which the LSC finds itself due to obligations demanded of it by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

It’ll be interesting to see whether this is just an isolated case of mismanagement by our betters, or whether it’s the beginning of something ominous.

UPDATE: Apparently this problem has been brewing for some time, and the government is addressing it by axing the LSC. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more stories like this in the coming months as the government finds it harder to raise money.


Thursday, February 25th, 2010

When your oldest, closest ally asks for support in a territorial dispute you should:

A) Support them
B) Vote Present

As you would expect Barry O chose option B. Now if Gordon Brown had a pair, he’d phone up Obama and tell him that due to the deteriorating situation in the South Atlantic, his military advisors are recommending the withdrawal of half of the British troop contingent in Afghanistan on short notice for redeployment to the Falklands to drive the point home that a few words of support for Britain is a small price to pay for all the military and diplomatic support this country has provided in the War on Terror. Unfortunately, Brown’s either not smart enough, or too much a coward to put the screws in.

My tax pounds at waste.

Sunday, February 21st, 2010

Apparently, British taxpayers cannot know what obscene amounts of money their local councils waste on inflated salaries of their bureaucrats…’cause we might get upset and do something rash.

Council bosses refused a Government order to reveal the salaries of thousands of senior staff over fears it would lead to a public backlash.
Last year it was announced that councils would be forced to reveal the full extent of their pay, bonuses and pensions under sweeping changes to Government rules.
It followed a public outcry after it was revealed council bosses across the country earned more than the Prime Minister, while householders struggled with rising council tax and, often, poor quality services.
In December it was announced that councils would only have to disclose the full details of staff earning more than £150,000 a year – believed to be about 114 staff across the country.

They will now only have to list the number of staff and job titles of those earning more than £50,000, without naming them.

Personally I don’t feel any animosity towards overpaid bureaucrats filling all sorts of unecessary positions on my local and county councils – it’s not their fault if they get themselves a good gig with great pay, guaranteed pension and a relatively light workload. What does wind me up is the thought of the spineless and unprincipled local and county cretins councillors who voted these positions with their exorbitant salaries and generous perks into existence in the first place.

Just to give you an idea how far out of line the wages paid to local bureacrats are – the average wage in this country is about £25,000 per annum. The Chief Executive of my local council earns four times that. Runnymede Council has a population of about 84,000 so it’s not as if it is a huge jurisdiction. The chief Executive of Surrey County Council is probably earning close to double that – and Runnymede and Surrey are relatively well-governed, fiscally conservative Tory-run councils – the thought of the waste to be found in Labour or Lib-Dem run councils boggles the mind.

A word of advice on dealing with petty tyranny

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

A fellow blogger, and acquaintance of mine, Stephen Allison, is fighting a battle with the Hartlepool Council executive over their penchant for keeping even the most minor matters secret from non-Labour councillors.

Steve, a UKIP councillor sent a request under the Freedom of Information Act.

The response is a laundry list of minor issues, the type of local concerns dealt with by local governments across the UK every week, but which the Hartlepool Labour leadership think is of such a sensitive nature that it should be kept from the elected members of the council. A few examples:

4. Procurement Of Specialist Outdoor Play Equipment For Exmoor Grove (Para 3) – Director of Child and Adult Services…

6. 19 St Columba’s Parish Centre, Dryden Road (para 3) – Assistant Director (Procurement and Asset Management)

9. Sale Of Garage Land At Victoria Place (para 3) – Assistant Director (Procurement and Asset Management)

16. Dial a Ride Service Review (para 3) – Assistant Director (Transport and Engineering Services)

This is silly, even by Hartlepool standards which is saying something. Try as I might I just can’t see how selling council garages or purchasing playground equipment can be matters the details of which are so sensitive that they shoud be withheld from elected councillors.

Well, actually I can see a scenario where this information might be deemed too sensitive to be released – it begins with a “K” and ends with an “S”

I doubt Steve will get anywhere pursuing this matter on behalf of the good burghers of Hartlepool, but he could, I suggest, take a more direct line of action:

At the very least it would make the council meetings go quicker and get him a great deal of media coverage.

Now that’s what I call star power.

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

The Telegraph (which already has the best collection of bloggers of any major media outlet) has just recruited Norman Tebbit, a former Tory cabinet minister – and keeper of the Thatcherite Flame – to blog for it.

Anyone who gets over three hundred comments on his very first blog post has got real drawing power. I’d say that that this is a bit of a coup for the Telegraph.

A Klass Act

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I long ago ceased to be amazed at the utter uselessness of the police in this country. Apparently they’ve decided to respond to my cynicism by plumbing new depths of asshattery.

I’m guessing from her response that Miss Klass won’t be calling them the next time someone decides to trespass on her property. You go girl!



UPDATE This sums our predicament up nicely:

And if the cops do show up, just remember that your statement is not about speaking truth from a position of innocence, it is about not giving the state any pretext to arrest you. Stay nothing about what happened until your lawyer arrives.

Just remember that arresting you for daring to defend yourself is easier than looking for some criminal who attacked you because the police know where you live and getting any arrest shows up as a positive result in their statistics. Ideally just defend yourself and do not call them at all afterwards.

Yup, pretty much says it all.