Monday, 17 December 2007

Christmas Book Review 2007

"Nigel Express" (by Nigel Lawson)

Ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson, and his style of economic management have earned a special place in our lives, with his eclectic mix of financial deregulation, de facto exchange-rate targeting and excessive fiscal laxity.

Now that the late 80s retro-chic is back with us, Nigel Lawson's favourite old recipes are popular again: spiralling inflation, house price collapse and consumer debt gone bad.

"I Can Make You Buy This Book" (by Paul McKenna)

Are you ready to buy this book? If you've ever wondered why it is that some people buy this book while others don't, it's not because they are more intelligent, work harder or have better luck - it's simply because they buy this book.

Over the past decade, Paul McKenna PhD has made a unique study of the mindset of people who buy his books. In this groundbreaking new book, he makes use of proven psychological techniques to get those people to buy his latest book.

"My Booky Wookiee" (by Russell Brand)

Russell Brand's scandalous biography of the famous Wookiee, Chewbacca, was always going to have a literary flavour. But nothing you've seen in the Star Wars films can prepare you for the impact of this beautifully written memoir.

From his troubled childhood on planet Kashyyyk and his addictions to drink, drugs and the giant wroshyr trees, to his giddy rise through the world of the rebel alliance, this is not simply a story of fame but also of a tall hairy biped.

Christmas Repeats

In today's news, a study has shown that the number of repeats on British TV has increased by a quarter since last year.

"People are fed up with Christmas because of repeats," said the Liberal Democrats' spokesman for what's on telly, "that's why people simply don't bother with Christmas anymore and, er, just watch telly instead."

The Conservative spokesman for having a go at lefties in the BBC commented,
"Of course, there are some repeats from last Christmas that we enjoy to see come round again, such as Labour trailing the Tories in the opinion polls."

The BBC issued a press release questioning the methodology of the study:
"Some of the TV output counted as repeats in this report simply isn't repeated material at all, it is merely the same things happening again and again."

Top Ten Repeats this year:
- Endless violence in Iraq;
- Labour party funding scandal;
- Liberal Democrat leadership contest;
- a Conservative MP does or says something embarrassing;
- New England Manager required.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Low turn out for fuel price demos

In the UK today, only a small number of disgruntled farmers and lorry drivers turned up at nationwide protests against the rising cost of fuel; the organisers of the protests issued a statement blaming the rising cost of fuel:

"It's madness that petrol prices are so high that our supporters simply can't afford the cost of traveling to blockade an out-of-the-way oil refinery. Why do drivers pay such high taxes?

When will the government shift this grossly unfair tax burden away from drivers and on to the non-driving part of the population: blind people, children, the very old and the very poor?

Thursday, 29 November 2007

UK teacher jailed over teddy row

A Tennessee court today found a UK primary school teacher guilty of insulting the presidency of the United States of America after she allowed her primary school class to name a stuffed toy bear Teddy.

The teacher had allowed her pupils to pick a name for the stuffed toy bear; one of the boys, suggested naming it "Teddy" after himself. This caused national uproar as Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt is the USA's most revered president; his memory is so sacred that his image has been carved into America's holy Mount Rushmore.

The teacher's actions were widely seen as a British imperialist plot against America's republican institutions.

Speaking of the incident, the Foreign Secretary David Milliband said,
"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet".

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Major Operational Problem

The story so far:

Dour Scot, General Gordon Brownadder, a professional soldier in the British Army, has recently taken over command of the Western Front from General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Blair. Aided by his batman, the babbling Private Ballsrick, and his pencil-pushing staff officer, Captain Darling, his plans to win the Great War have run into some difficulty.

Staff HQ (phone rings)

Brownadder: Hello? Ah, Alistair, darling, what is it?

Darling: I think we’ve got a major operational problem.

Brownadder: Major Operational Problem? Never heard of him! What does he want?

Brownadder: (hand covering phone) Ballsrick, you’d better bring some tea in for this fellow.

Ballsrick: Rightio, sir

Darling: No sir, I mean that I’ve got some bad news for you.

Brownadder: Oh no, what is it now? Haven’t we had our share of crises: carrier-pigeon flu; trench-foot; trench-mouth; Passchendaele; and the endless poetry?

Darling: Unfortunately this is a bit of a cock-up. We’ve misplaced files with the details of 2 million soldiers.

Brownadder: Misplaced?

Darling: Yes, we think that a junior officer loaded up a shoe-box with all the information on those little index cards and sent it off to the National Audit Office by regular army bicycle, but it never got there.

Brownadder: How secure was it?

Darling: Oh, the usual security: it had a ribbon tied around it.

Brownadder: You realise that if those details get into the hands of the enemy they could hopelessly compromise our security!

Darling: Indeed, there’s enough information there for a German soldier to impersonate anyone in the army. They could infiltrate anywhere, from the loftiest generals to the lowliest privates.

Brownadder: Well, I don’t want any Germans infiltrating my privates! Right, we need to find these missing files and get this all cleared up before anyone finds out.

Darling: I’m afraid that it’s already been found out, sir. General Cameron is on his way to see you right now.

Brownadder: (slams the phone down) Ballsrick! Where are you?

Ballsrick: Sorry, sir, I was just getting the tea for Major Problem and Miss Placed.

Brownadder: Never mind about that now! That toffee-nosed, old Etonian General Cameron is on his way here. He’s always wanted my job and this’ll play right into his hands.

(phone rings)

Brownadder: Hello!

Darling: General Cameron is here to see you, sir.

Brownadder: Hmm.. (thinks for a moment)

Darling: General Brownadder? Are you there?

Brownadder: Darling, how do you know that it’s General Cameron?

Darling: (muffled talking) He says that he’s General David William Donald Cameron and he’s come direct from General Headquarters.

Brownadder: Well that’s what he would say isn’t it - if he was a German spy! Have him arrested and sent back to GHQ immediately for questioning about those missing files.

(muffled sounds of shouting)

Brownadder: Right Ballsrick, what we need to do is find those files and show that they never left here in the first place.

Ballsrick: How will we do that, sir?

Brownadder: (reaches under his desk) Oh look, Ballsrick, here’s an old shoe box. All you need to do is requisition 2 million index cards …and start writing.

The End

Opposition Rallies to Government’s Defence

This week in Parliament, a man, claiming to be Alistair Darling, announced that computer discs with the bank details of 7 million families had gone missing. Gordon Brown, a man claiming to be the Prime Minister, said “obviously, the Government is very sorry.

David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, said that he understood how difficult it is to run something as complicated as the HM Revenue & Customs and that the Government had his fullest sympathy. He added that if there was anything he could do to help locate the 15 million child benefit claims then they just had to ask.

Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat acting-Leader, asked if the Prime Minister had checked down the side of the sofa, as this was quite a common place to loose things - even the details of 25 million people.

The Prime Minister thanked both opposition parties for their goodwill and understanding. He said that the Government would launch a full inquiry into the matter when it had a bit of spare time.

Further support came from the Sun newspaper, which declared that this “could have happened to anyone”. The Daily Mail’s main headline read: “Unfortunate Mishap”; whilst the Times advised its readers to “check their bank accounts, if they happened to be popping into the bank or were on-line, but not to worry as it’s just one of those things.


There was controversy this week, when officers from Northamptonshire Police were filmed handing out cigarettes to teenagers. A spokesman for the force explained that, after extensive consultations with the Brazilian Police, they had launched a new initiative called “Youthanasia”, whereby teen hoodlums would be targeted for extra-judicial killing by use of the cancerous sticks of death.

Friday, 16 November 2007

UK teens 'hepped up on goofball'!

In today's news, we heard the results of the UK's Tellus2 on-line survey of 10-15 year old children.

15% of children aged between 12 and 15 said they had experimented with illegal drugs
Nearly half (48%) of 10 to 15-year-olds said they had consumed alcoholic drinks
One in six 14 and 15-year-olds admitted to getting drunk at least three times in the previous four weeks
Some 73% of respondents said they took part in sports or other activities such as cycling and running for at least 30 minutes on more than three days a week

This fascinating survey, conducted using the methodolgy of asking a bunch of kids to make up any answer they please, has caused a storm of debate in the UK.

The Shadow Children's Minister said:
"This one-off survey of dubious accuracy clearly proves that everything has got worse after 10 years of Labour Government. The British people are crying out for the return of the Tory party to power; and the good-old days of the 1980s when we had lager louts and dubious surveys into how many kids had watched video nasties."

At the Inquest into the death of Princess Diana today, there were calls for the inquiry to hear testimony from those children who had indicated in the Tellus2 survey that they had been witnesses to the crash.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

UK 'doesn't care' about soldiers

In today's news, Air Chief Marshall Sir Jock Strap has condemned the treatment of UK soldiers returning from active duty.

"Troops are returning to Blighty to be met by relative indifference from the general public; they are having small periods of rest and recuperation with their families, as well as short stints of army training and no victory parades or medals," he said.

"This is simply not how the civil-military covenant in Britain works!" he declared, "The UK traditionally doesn't care about soldiers."

"When I joined up [Waterloo, 1815] veterans of the Napoleonic Wars were expected to doss in the Royal parks and beg for alms like any other vagabond. Far from enjoying public indifference, they passed the Vagrancy Act to move them on."

"After the Great War, it was seen as an ex-soldier's duty to King and Country to drag their trench-footed legs along in endless victory parades, before shuffling into line at the back of the dole queue."

"Second World War veterans came back to enjoy rationing along with everyone else - without any namby-pamby bleeding-hearts writing sympathetic stories in the Press."

Friday, 9 November 2007


This is the story of two parties. The Labour Party and the Tory Party. This is the Labour leader, Gordon Brown, and this is the Tory leader, David Cameron, and this is Soap:

David and Gordon have been eyeing each other up in the House with barely concealed excitement. David still wants to know if Gordon stole his clothes, but Gordon says he can prove he didn't. David says that a piece of paper with "1st Oct - Stole David's clothes" crossed out and "1st Jan - Think about getting some new clothes" written over it in crayon, wasn't that convincing.

Then a load of bills turn up from some old Queen.

Bemused, you will be after that episode of "Soap"!

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Queen's Speech

After much debate in the media and around the country, it was concluded that the Queen's speech was still a bit lah-di-dah although not quite as excruciatingly posh as it was in the 1950s.

It was also generally agreed that it was a good thing that she was really rather rich as she did seem to have rather a lot of bills:

Climate Change Bill
This bill create's a legal framework to allow the Government to take the Climate to court to recover damages caused by floods, droughts and tornadoes. The bill at the moment stands at 257 million pounds.

Counter-Terrorism Bill
This bill will increase the powers of both police and courts to pursue those who make explosive tiddlywinks.

Crossrail Bill
This bill will tackle the growing problem of rail rage by creating a new form of ASBO aimed at irate rail passengers.

Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill
Ratification of the Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property, providing a series of protections for cultural artefacts that aren't actually blown up during wars.

Saturday, 13 October 2007


This is the story of two parties. The Labour Party and the Tory Party. This is the Labour leader, Gordon Brown, and this is the Tory leader, David Cameron, and this is Soap:

When Gordon announced that he wasn't up for it, David told him he wasn't being straight: "Are you calling me a poof?", said Gordon. Then Gordon and his chum Darling stole all of David's clothes and paraded about the House.

When asked where he stood on the dom/non-dom issue, David complained that coming down hard on non-doms was something they did in his party and that, if Gordon was claiming to swing that way, then he was just a phoney.

Bemused, you will be after that episode of "Soap"!

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

The Lobster Quadrille

"The polls are in our favour," said a man to Gordon Brown,
"With Labour going up in them and the Tories going down,
See how easily the media misinterpret circumspection!
They are waiting for you now to call a snap election."

"Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you call a snap election?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you call a snap election?"

Said Cameron to his conference, "We'll elucidate our goals,
With the public flocking to us, we'll be rising in the polls!
You can really have no notion how big will be my grin,
Electoral victory's in the bag, we cannot fail to win!"

"Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not fail to win.
Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not fail to win."

"What matters it how well we do?" Sir Menzies Campbell said,
"There'll be another poll, you know, once this election's dead.
The further we're from Cameron the nearer we're to Brown,
It matters not how well we do, we claim the centre ground."

"Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you claim the centre ground?
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you claim the centre ground?"

[with apologies to Lewis Carol]

Monday, 24 September 2007


In today's news, we review some of the new words that have recently entered the English language.

Election Fever (n.)
The latest crisis to beset farmers and everyone else in the UK; it is caused by unusually high seasonal poll ratings for the Government.

Bluetongue (n. and adj.)
A symptom exhibited by journalists babbling away in an excess of election fever.

Sub-Prime (adj.)
Unreliable, of low quality, liable to fail and unlikely to yield a profit; as in:
As election fever spreads from farm to farm, economists have expressed concern for Britain’s sub-prime cattle market.”

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Gordon is a Moron

In today's news, we look back on a month where the UK opinion polls went sour for Tory leader, David Cameron.

Jilted Dave

I'd been doing well in the polls,
and the public loved me
But last month they said to me,
in papers and on telly

(This is what they said)

They said, "listen Dave, you're a nice guy
But really just a lightweight
I don't want to vote for you,
the other bloke's a heavyweight"

"Who's this bloke," I asked them
"Goooooordon," they replied
"Not THAT control-freak," I said
"He's no stalinist," they cried

("He's more of a PM than you'll ever be!")

Here we go, two three four (percent behind)

I was so upset that I cried,
all the way to Rwanda
When I got back there was Gordon,
with his propaganda

(And guess who was with him? Yeah, the British Press, and they were all laughing at me)

Oh, they are cruel and heartless
to pack me for Gordon
Just cos he's dour and serious
Just cos he's not trendy

But I know he's a moron, Gordon is a moron
Gordon Brown's a moron, Gordon is a moron

[with apologies to Graham Fellows/Jilted John]

Friday, 27 July 2007

New J K Rowling books

After the publication of the 7th and final Harry Potter book, J K Rowling has revealed that she is writing two new books.

The first book, "Barry Cotter and the Stilosopher's Phone", is aimed at children and set in Wogharts School of Blizzardry and Weathercraft, a school for young weather forecasters. The plot revolves around Barry's fight against Global Warming. Barry and his friends try to save the 'muddles' (people who aren't weather experts) of southern England from alternate bouts of drought and flooding.

The second book, "Sally Blotter and the Chatter of Secrets", is aimed at adults and set in Bogwarts School of Bitchcraft and Gossipry, a school for tabloid columnists. The plot revolves around Sally's fight against celebrity marriages. Sally and some people she hangs out with, but slags off behind their backs, try to save the 'befuddled' (people who read tabloid columnists) from the belief that people could possibly be famous and faithful or rich and happy.

Monday, 16 July 2007


In today's news, a committee of UK MPs has condemned the UK's rubbish collection policy as "rubbish".

After looking into bins, waste-collection vehicles and tips around the country, the committee labelled plans for small cash incentives (for recycled waste) and charges (for non-recycled waste) as "a bit timid".

Furthermore, in considering the collection of non-recyclable waste and recyclable waste on alternate weeks, the committee of hard-headed, no-nonsense politicians concluded that, although it did appear to increase recycling and there was no evidence that it actually did pose any threat to public health, it was possibly not always appropriate, especially as there had been a lot of fuss about it in the Press, and, well, you can never be sure and we really ought to listen to people's concerns and not run before we can walk - best to look before you leap and all that...

Friday, 13 July 2007

More Flood Relief

In today's news, the Chinese government allocated another 95 million yuan to fund disaster relief work in flood-hit Anhui, Henan, Hubei, Sichuan and Shanxi provinces, bringing the total fund to 327 million yuan (21 million British Pounds).

More than 66 million Chinese have been affected by floods this summer, with 360 people killed and direct economic losses of 24.3 billion yuan (1.5 billion British Pounds).

Meanwhile, the UK's central government allocated 14 million British Pounds to a relief package to be shared out among flood-hit local authorities, in Yorkshire and the Midlands.

More than 28,000 homes have been affected by floods this summer, with 4 people killed and economic losses of 1.5 billion British Pounds.

The leader of Hull City Council said it was only "a drop in the ocean".

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Born to be King

The story so far:

England, 1498. As the events of history echo in the events of today, so the events of today echo in the events of history. Gordon Brown's ancestor, Gordon Brownadder, is on verge of realising his long-cherished desire to be king.

On A Hillside, Overlooking The King's Castle

Brownadder: Ah, Ballsrick, greetings to you, my faithful, if somewhat lacklustre, servant.

Ballsrick: Hail, my lord!

Brownadder: No, no hail, although I think we're due some more rain.

Ballsrick: I mean: Hail, my lord! Greetings, it is good to see you back after these last few tumultuous weeks.

Brownadder: Yes, Ballsrick, it is good to be back for today I will seize the throne and become King of England!

Ballsrick: How are you going to do that, my lord?

Brownadder: In these last weeks, I have scoured the land in search of the most evil and ruthless people in the country - in order that they may help me to depose the King and govern the Kingdom prudently.

Ballsrick: But surely Private Equity Fund managers haven't been invented yet! Who could be hard-bitten and hard-boiled enough to aid you in this deed?

Brownadder: Only the most dastardly and unprincipled people in the kingdom: Alistair Darling, Harriet Harman and, of course, Quentin Davies!

Ballsrick: But isn't the King abdicating anyway?

Brownadder: What?

Ballsrick: Yes, there's speculation that he is going to become a special Middle East envoy to represent the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor in their negotiations with the Turks.

Brownadder: We must make haste to the King's castle.

Ballsrick: Yes, my lord, he'll be due to do his final King's Question Time.

In The Great Hall

King: Alistair, darling, is Brownadder here yet?

Darling: Brownadder has just arrived now, sir.

King: Ah, Brownadder! Do come in, Question Time is nearly over. Now, then there is just time for one last question.

A young, eager lord, Sir David Cameron, steps forward.

Cameron: Can the King tell us, in his long reign: what was his biggest lie? and did he get away with it.

King: That's easy: I don't tell lies and yes!

Cameron: But...

King: No, no, no! You've had your question! Now, I'm off to see the Pope and tell him that I've abdicated... and that is that, the end!

Cameron: But who will be King hereafter?

King: I think Brownadder's the only one who wants to be King.

The ex-King strides from the Great Hall followed by his entourage of courtiers, as they trail after him shouting questions. Brownadder and Ballsrick are left alone in the Great Hall.

Ballsrick: So, my Lord - or should I say "King" - how does it feel to have all that you have sought finally in your grasp?

Brownadder: Great, Ballsrick: dominion over all England, reigning by divine right, the chance to run things properly, the chance to tell that Lord Cameron exactly what I think of him.

Ballsrick: But isn't it funny, sir, that no-one else wanted the job.

Brownadder: Hmmm

The End

Monday, 25 June 2007

Morality for Prime Ministers

As Mma Cameron drove the little white van around the edges of St James's Park, the hippos looked almost golden in the bright, early morning sunshine with their roaring grunts and snorts filling the London air.

"Who can deny that global warming is almost certainly happening?" mused Mma Cameron.

Looking ahead to the acacia tree outside the offices of the No. 1 Conservative Ladies’ Election Agency, Mma Cameron could see huge, dark clouds dominating the sky behind; soon the erratic downpours of the rainy season would be upon them, testing the flood defences that had been built in a different era for a different climate.

Mma Cameron parked under the acacia tree and quickly proceeded in through the door to the office before the rain began to fall. Mma Osbourne, who had been reading a newspaper, looked up and said: “Good morning, Mma, I'm glad to see you made it here before the rain."

The rain began to pound on the corrugated iron roof and pour down on to the parched earth outside. Mma Cameron smiled and said, "I think we should have a cup of Bush tea.”

Mma Osbourne put the kettle on and then pointed to the newspaper on the desk, "Have you seen the news about Mr J. G. Brown?"

Mma Cameron frowned, "Yes, I think it is a very odd thing that Mr A. C. L. Blair should step down and that Mr J. G. Brown become Prime Minister without there being an election. This would not happen if they were adhering to the old Conservative values."

Mma Osborne agreed, "Oh yes, a Conservative leader would first be damaged by a stalking horse and then ousted by a cabal of cabinet colleagues."

"Yes, that's the old, Tory morality," concurred Mma Cameron.

"...and then the Conservative MPs would obediently elect the outgoing Prime Minister's chosen successor," continued Mma Osbourne.

"Who would naturally be a man of relatively little experience in Government," added Mma Cameron, "like that nice Mr J. Major."

"Or yourself," noted Mma Osbourne.

Mma Cameron nodded and then continued, "Quite why anyone would think that it is a good thing to have an orderly transition of the role of Prime Minister from a long-serving leader to a hugely, experienced colleague, I don't know!"

"Indeed," said Mma Osbourne, "and where's the attendant chaos and uncertainty amid rioting and the onset of recession?"

They both laughed out loud. Mma Cameron glanced over to Mma Osborne, “Should we have another cup of Bush tea?”

Friday, 15 June 2007

19th-century weapon found in whale reveals age

In today's news, native Alaskan hunters have discovered a wooden puppet inside the carcass of a 50-tonne bowhead whale.

A curator of the Florentine Museum of Marionettes said:
"This type of stringless puppet (marionetto nonstringoli) dates from Italy in the 1880s."

However, a representative from the Middlesex County Cricket Club said:
"The remains of a cricket found in the whale could well be much older than the puppet, but we can't really comment as we don't do entomology just Cricket."

An elderly Tuscan woodcarver is helping police with their inquiries.

Monday, 11 June 2007

Wives and Girlfriends

In today's news (oh, alright, back on the 3 June), we learnt of new words entering the English language.

hoodie (n.)
A head-protection device developed as global warming and ozone depletion combine with male-pattern baldness to threaten the health of young British males.

WAG (n. plural)
Wives and Girlfriends of the England Football team (and by extension other celebrities). The singular form is, of course, WOG (Wife or Girlfriend)

man-bag (n.)
A device used to transport home military personnel when they have ceased being militarily functional owing to termination by enemy fire, suicide bombers or inadvertent friendly combative misalignment.

brainfood (n.)
A Japanese dish involving monkeys.

plasma screen (n.)
A device used in Star Trek to protect a spaceship when passing close to a star.

Thursday, 24 May 2007

95% of people facing hell

In today's news, a prominent Church of England theologian has claimed that 95% of people are going to Hell.

This was immediately condemned by the leader of the Conservatory Party, who accused traditionalists of:
"clinging on to outdated mantras that bear no relation to the reality of life."

He went on to insist that his party vehemently opposed the idea of selecting people for Heaven or Hell at the age of 11, arguing that middle class parents could coach a less gifted child to do better in an exam at age 11 than a bright child from a less well-off background.

A spokesman for the Labouratory Party said:
"Whilst we certainly oppose a return to the 11+ and the grammar school/secondary modern system, we do not oppose selection per se provided it is relevant to the particular specialism in question.

The Government has no objection to people being selected for Heaven based on their aptitude for the activities that go on there - singing, talking to God, watering pot plants, etc. Equally, we would expect Hell to select on the basis of abilities appropriate to its sphere of excellence: adultery, pillage, torture and that sort of thing."

Monday, 21 May 2007

UK Planning Laws

In today's news, the UK Government has announced plans to cut the red tape surrounding planning applications in order to speed up the process for approving building projects such as conservatories, loft-conversions, wind-turbines, airport runways or nuclear power stations.

A government spokesman said:
"We need to replace the existing incredibly difficult system with something more efficient, obviously we can't have people simply building a garage where they like, if it cuts out a neighbour's view; but surely if someone has sufficient space, storage facilities and radio-active waste management systems then why should they have to wait 3 months for planning permission to build a nuclear power station in their back garden?"

A representative of the Conservatories Party said:
"We agree that the planning process for things like wind-turbines should be made simpler - especially as a novelty wind-turbine can cut household carbon-emissions in a typical Notting Hill home by 0.5% and boost Tory poll ratings by a similar margin.

However, we condemn the government's proposals regarding major building projects as this will obviously lead to more of these things being built in well-heeled Tory-voting constituencies rather than in down-at-heel Labour-voting areas."

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Changing of the Guard

The story so far:

Dour Scot, Captain Gordon Brownadder, a professional soldier in the British Army, has been in the trenches since the start of the Great War. Aided by his batman, the babbling Private Edward Ballsrick, the ambitious Brownadder is anxious to advance his position in the army and is continually frustrating the orders he receives from General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Blair's HQ.

In the Dug-Out

Brownadder: Right, Ballsrick, I'm off to HQ. I'm expecting that damned fool General Blair to finally announce his retirement.

Ballsrick: There's been a lot of talk amongst the troops about who should replace him. Will it be that nice General Cameron?

Brownadder: No it won't, Ballsrick, the last thing we need is another wet-behind-the-ears, rugger-bugger, public school type. This is a modern war not the playing fields of Eton.

Ballsrick: So who should take over then, sir?

Brownadder: I think the prudent strategy would be for an experienced soldier to take over.

Staff HQ

Blair: Alistair, darling, is Brownadder here yet?

Darling: Captain Brownadder has just arrived now, sir.

Blair: Ah, Brownadder! Do sit down.

Brownadder: I'm surprised that you are here, sir, I thought you were in Ireland.

Blair: I've just got back, Brownadder: mission accomplished!

Brownadder: Indeed, sir? What mission was that?

Blair: A Government mission to bring about peace in Ireland, Brownadder.

Brownadder: But the IRA's avowed intent is to create a united independent Ireland!

Blair: Ah yes, Brownadder, but now we've enticed them into a broad-based coalition government. You see it's the traditional British strategy: get the natives to run their own local affairs and then they'll soon find out that they rather like being British.

Brownadder: But these are convicted murderers and terrorists, aren't they?

Blair: Oh yes, Brownadder, so the cut-and-thrust of politics shouldn't come as too much of a shock for them.

Brownadder: Ah!

Blair: Anyway, Brownadder, I've called you here today to announce my forthcoming retirement. I've been in command now for over a decade and it's time for me to move on and let someone else shoulder the burden.

Brownadder: I see, sir, the endless futility of this war would get any man down - you must wonder what we have achieved.

Blair: Not at all, Brownadder, we've achieved a great deal.

Brownadder: Some people might say that we've got ourselves mired in a costly war, completely dependent on the Americans to get us out of it. In terms of our objective to finish the war by Christmas and make Britain a land fit for heroes, we do seem to be some way off the mark.

Blair: Tish and tosh, Brownadder! I think you'll find that this war has a lot more popular support than you imagine - that's why they call it the Great War. Anyway, we have a terrific new plan to end the war.

Brownadder: What's that, sir?

Blair: Passchendaele, Brownadder, a large area of marshy ground that our artillery can turn into endless mud - thus isolating the Germans in their well-defended pillboxes and machine-gun nests while our tanks and troops advance towards them.

Brownadder: Hardly a new plan is it, sir?

Blair: Well, admittedly we have used the same tactics and in the same place a couple of time before - but third time lucky, eh, Brownadder!

Brownadder: I'm sure that's what the German General Von Kameron will be hoping.

Blair: I'm sure he's quaking in his impregnable concrete bunker even as we speak; and well he might, Brownadder, because you will be the man to co-ordinate this offensive. There are a few formalities to go through, but within a few weeks I'm confident that you will be promoted to General and taking over from me here at HQ.

Brownadder: Well, sir, what an unexpected honour.

Blair: Yes, it is a bit unexpected, but I want you to know that you were my first choice as successor.

Brownadder: So this list of crossed-out names on your desk isn't all the other people you tried first?

Blair: No, no, of course not.

Brownadder: Despite the fact that it says: list of people to promote instead of Brownadder? Captain Milliband, Captain Reid, Captain Clarke, Private Ballsrick?

Blair: Now then, Brownadder, you know I've always supported you.

Brownadder: Indeed, sir, and I have always supported you.

Later, In the Dug-Out

Ballsrick: So how does it feel to have all that you have sought finally within reach?

Brownadder: Great, Ballsrick: Command of the Western Front, the chance to run things properly, the chance to tell that General Cameron exactly what I think of him.

Ballsrick: But isn't it funny, sir, that no-one else wanted the job.

Brownadder: Hmmm

The End

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Government of the Living Dead

In today's news, David Cameron, leader of the UK Conservative party, has said that the UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is presiding over "a government of the living dead."

Lal Bihari, President of Mritak Sangh (the Association of the Dead), said:
"We're just a small political party in northern India representing the living dead. We are campaigning for the reinstatement of the legal rights of people wrongly declared dead by unscrupulous relatives trying to steal their assets.

Whilst we hope to do well in the current elections in Uttar Pradesh, I don't think that Tony Blair or any other members of the UK Labour party have applied to join our party."

A spokesman for the Tory party said:
"It has been established that persons who have recently died have been returning to life and committing acts of murder. This is a shocking indictment of the government's policies and we think that the current Home Secretary should cancel his decision to resign from the cabinet and then resign over this matter instead."

Friday, 4 May 2007

2007 UK mid-term election results

In today's news, the UK's ruling Labour party performed badly in the UK's local and regional elections.

The opposition Conservative Party leader David Cameron said:
"This is a remarkable victory for the Tory party, we have driven Labour from power in Scotland and reduced them to a minority administration in Wales. This is a complete vindication of our decision to adopt Tony Blair's strategy of not actually announcing any policies when attacking a weak and divided government that has been in power for too long. Surely nothing as momentous as this has happened since my hero, Tony Blair, led Labour to its 1997 electoral triumph?"

The Prime Minister, and Labour Leader, Tony Blair said:
"Speaking as a party leader who has already announced that he is stepping down within weeks, I really don't care diddly squat about these elections."

Earlier in the day, Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, said:
"It really is a scandal how dim-witted Scots were expected to successfully fill in a couple of ballot sheets, we will certainly be looking for a full inquiry into the number of spoilt papers and any potential impact to actual electoral results."

Later in the day, Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National Party, said:
"Having just realised that the SNP is now the largest party in the Scottish Parliament, I must say that this is a complete vindication of the unique electoral system we have here in Scotland."

When it was suggested that Gordon Brown, a Scottish Labour MP, couldn't possibly be Prime Minister of the UK if Labour wasn't also running the Scottish Parliament, he could have asked:
"Did anyone say that when Margaret Thatcher, a London MP, found that the Greater London Council was run by Labour."

But he didn't said anything, he was just biding his time.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

MTV Movie Awards

NewsElephant reviews some of the films nominated for the prestigious MTV Movie Awards.

In 480 BC, the Persian emperor G. W. Xerxes is convinced that the Greek city-states are stockpiling weapons of mass destruction. After the Greeks refuse access to the Persian inspectors, Xerxes sends in his army. A force of 300 Spartan and 700 Thespian insurgents pin the Persian army down in a costly, bloody and highly controversial war. The film has been widely condemned as historically inaccurate for its portrayal of the Persians as dehumanised monsters, the Spartans as narcissistic proto-fascists and the Thespians as vain, histrionic, ham actors.

Mr Blair’s Holiday
The title character, Tony Blair, is a childlike, sometimes ingenious, and generally likeable buffoon who frequently gets into hilarious situations due to his various schemes and contrivances. The humour largely comes from his original solutions to any problems and his total disregard for others when solving them. The action is mainly staged in and around Mr Blair’s home in Downing Street; the plot revolves around a misunderstanding with Mr Blair’s neighbour, Mr Brown, which ultimately leads to Mr Blair losing his job and his house, No. 10, and having to go on a long holiday.

Shrek the Third
In the Land of Far Far Away, President Shrek is desperate to find a suitable successor before he has to return to live in the swamp; but finding a promising contender is more difficult than he thought. In a hilarious Republican romp, Shrek frantically discards candidate after candidate, finding them either too liberal or too unpopular but not one which is ‘just right’. Will he find a compassionate conservative in time or will the evil Democrats beat him to it? Watch out for skeletons in cupboards.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

A Scot could become Prime Minister

In today's news, on the 300th Anniversary of the Union between England and Scotland, Tony Blair, the Edinburgh-born Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who is soon to stand down after 10 years in power, astonished Labour Party workers at a rally in Scotland by telling them:
"In all probability, a Scot will become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom."

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Chocolate Factory Closed

In today's news, the Health & Safety Executive has closed down the troubled Chocolate factory at the centre of yesterday's Police raids.

A spokesman for the HSE said:
"We were called in to investigate a series of incidents involving children who were visiting the factory. We found a number of very serious lapses in the health and safety procedures and facilities within the factory that necessitated its immediate closure pending the implementation of our proposals. "

A spokes-oompa-loompa for Mr Wonka said:
"We are co-operating fully with officials from the Heath and Safety Executive and are absolutely committed to implementing all the safety recommendations that they have proposed."

It is understood that the HSE recommendations require:
- all items in the Chocolate Room's edible garden to be clearly labelled with Best Before dates
- safety fences along the length of the chocolate river with fully trained life guards stationed every 50 metres
- an end to the use of squirrels in the processing of nuts
- glass in the Great Glass Elevator to be replaced by perspex

A spokesperson for the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission said
"We have been asked by the UN Security Council to inspect Mr Wonka's process for delivering chocolate bars by television as this may constitute a weapon of mass destruction."

In a separate move, the parents of the children affected by these health and safety incidents (who cannot be named for legal reasons) have launched a joint legal action against Mr Wonka seeking exemplary damages for the pain and emotional anguish suffered by their offspring.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Chocolate Factory Raided

In today's news, in a combined operation with the Home Office Immigration Service and the Inland Revenue, Police have raided the world's largest Chocolate Factory, detaining a large number of illegal immigrants and arresting the factory's proprietor, Mr William Wonka.

A Police spokesman said:
"We were first alerted to Mr Wonka's activities when he controversially laid off his entire work force and yet continued trading. We now understand that he has been running his factory using illegal immigrants from Loompaland."

An Inland Revenue spokesman said:
"We contacted the Police when Mr Wonka stopped paying employer's national insurance contributions. It turns out that he has been paying his Oompa-Loompa workers with cacao beans in an attempt to avoid income tax payments."

A spokesperson for the Home Office confirmed:
"A number of Oompa-Loompas have applied for asylum in the UK on the basis that a return to Loompaland would endanger their lives because of the prevalence there of Snozzwangers, Hornswogglers, wicked Whangdoodles and Vermicious knids."

The Immigration Service later turned down their application because:
"The UK government will only grant asylum to people who have a signed affidavit from a recognised brutal dictator confirming that they will be killed if they return to their home country; the only exceptions to this are terrorists, murderers and retired dictators who would clearly be at risk if we sent them back."

Mr Wonka has denied that customers, who bought Wonka chocolate bars after the fifth and final golden ticket had been found, had been swindled out of millions of pounds as they had no chance of winning a visit to his factory and a life-time supply of chocolate.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Immigration Controversy

Right-wing think-tank, Civitas, has published a pamphlet predicting that immigration could lead to the political break-up of Britain.

An abridged version of the pamphlet could perhaps read:
"If we deliberately ignore the fact that short-term movements of EU workers, legitimately filling job vacancies in the UK, will quite simply reverse should job prospects worsen in the UK or brighten elsewhere within the EU, and if we invent some frightening statistics for illegal immigrants, we can portray immigration as being a more terrifying threat to the country than at any time since bigotry was first invented."

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Turkey Twizzlers

In today's news, we hear that UK Turkey producer Bernard Matthews will receive nearly £600,000 in compensation after a bird flu outbreak forced it to slaughter thousands of turkeys.

The UK Government said:
"Although, anyone with any sense knows that you have to give farmers large quantities of public cash to make them do anything - even if it's in the interest of public health - we know that there'll be a big hoohah in the press about this so we'd just like to say that we don't like it very much either."

A spokesman for the opposition Tory party may as well have said:
"This really is a shocking indictment of the Labour Government, the legislation under which the Government is obliged to make this payment was hopelessly out of date even when the last Tory Government was paying out to those farmers with mad cows, which is why we've been tirelessly campaigning against it since we saw this item on the news a few minutes ago. Surely the government should put aside the fact that no-one can prove how the turkeys got Bird Flu and summarily execute Bernard Matthews."

Bernard Matthews probably said:
"£600,000? Bootiful!"

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

UK Inflation Soars

In today's news, we hear that the UK Inflation Rate has reached 3.1%; necessitating the Governor of the Bank of England to write an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer explaining why inflation is more than 1% off the target rate of 2% and what he's going to do about it.

Conservative shadow chancellor George Osborne probably said:
"Clearly inflation is now completely out of control and the Chancellor should immediately abandon his policy of allowing the Bank of England to set interest rates and adopt the Conservative party's policy of, er, allowing the Bank of England to set interest rates."

The Liberal Democrat spokesman for Money and Stuff said:
"When will the Chancellor see sense and adopt the Liberal Democrat policy of claiming that we thought of allowing the Bank of England to set interest rates first?"

Amid rising panic and financial commentators clamouring for blood, the Governor of the Bank of England was forced to admit:
"Inflation is likely to fall back within a matter of months"

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Tears of the Pension Fund Manager

Mma Cameron's bicycle wobbled along the dusty lane, passing tsamma melons and wild cucumbers growing on either side in the sun-drenched landscape, which could have been Botswana, but was in fact Victoria Street, London.

"It is important in these days of climate change to be seen to do one's bit for green issues," reflected Mma Cameron, "such as cycling instead of driving."

After taking off the various cycling accoutrements, such as helmet and bicycle clips, Mma Cameron locked the bicycle up in the shade of the acacia tree outside the offices of the No. 1 Conservative Ladies’ Election Agency, and then waved in Mma Osborne who had been following closely behind in the little white van.

Mma Cameron opened the door carefully, making sure that no snakes had slithered into the relative cool of the office. As they sat down at their respective desks, Mma Cameron glanced over to Mma Osborne, “I think it is time we had a cup of Bush tea.”

Mma Osborne was about to reply when they heard a car pull up outside, looking out of the window they could see a smartly dressed businessman emerging from a Mercedes Benz. Mma Osborne opened the office door and the businessman came in. He introduced himself as a very important and successful Pension Fund Manager with many years experience.

"Mma Cameron, I've come to seek your advice on a complicated issue," he said, "I've just found out that 10 years ago Mr J. G. Brown of Downing Street Speedy Motors abolished dividend tax credits for pension funds."

Mma Cameron looked kindly at the man who was obviously quite distressed and emotional.

"I have a big shortfall in the pension funds I manage and I'm rooting around for someone to blame," continued the man.

Mma Cameron nodded, "Yes, it is important to be able to find someone to blame."

"I went to public school so, of course, I'm not very good at sums," stated the businessman, "and my staff all used to run barrows in the East End, so they're not very good at maths either."

"Indeed," interjected Mma Osborne, "this is a complicated business, how can the manager of a large pension fund be expected to understand the implications of a tax change?"

Mma Cameron nodded: Mma Osborne had a certificate from the Magdalen Secretarial College, Oxford, and so clearly knew about these things. The businessman readily accepted the handkerchief that Mma Cameron passed over to him and wiped the tears from his eyes.

"You can be sure that I will have a word with Mr J. G. Brown about this," declared Mma Cameron, leading the distraught man back to his car.

"Mr J. G. Brown is always tinkering away at things," stated Mma Osborne as Mma Cameron came back into the office, "it does not pay to always be busying oneself."

They both laughed out loud. Mma Cameron glanced over to Mma Osborne, “Should we have another cup of Bush tea?”

Friday, 30 March 2007

The No. 1 Conservative Ladies' Election Agency

[You will not get this unless you have read the No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith]

Mma Cameron, owner of the No. 1 Conservative Ladies’ Election Agency, pushed open the office window to let some air into the sweltering room. Staring out at the crocodiles on the riverside and the antelope on the sun-drenched landscape that could have been Botswana but was in fact Victoria Street, London, Mma Cameron wondered whether Mr A. A. Gore was right about this Global Warming thing.

Mma Cameron observed, “It is one of the peculiarities of our work that there are often periods where we have very little to do while we wait for our next case.”

Mma Osborne concurred, “But we do need these times of respite, I don’t think we could sustain the intellectual demands of solving complicated issues all the time.”

“Indeed,” agreed Mma Cameron, “it does not pay to always be busying oneself – not like that Mr J. G. Brown down at Downing Street Speedy Motors, he’s always tinkering with something.”

“…and yet his accounts are in such a state,” said Mma Osborne, “I’m sure he doesn’t know what he is doing.”

Mma Cameron nodded: Mma Osborne had a certificate from the Magdalen Secretarial College, Oxford, and so clearly knew about these things.

Mma Cameron glanced over to Mma Osborne, “I think it is time we had a cup of Bush tea.”

“Or should we try some of that Fair Trade coffee that Mr A. A. Gore gave us when he visited?” asked Mma Osborne.

“No, whilst it is important to be seen to be open to new ideas such as Mr A. A. Gore’s, I think I still prefer the tea that Mr G. W. Bush gave us.”

After they had enjoyed a nice cup of bush tea and their spirits were suitably raised, they tidied up the office and completed some outstanding filing. That done, they settled back into their seats.

Mma Osborne was reading the newspaper, “I see that the Government are failing to meet their targets for lifting children out of poverty.”

Mma Cameron shook her head at the folly of it all, “what they need is to apply some traditional Tory values.”

“Oh, yes,” agreed Mma Osborne, “like self-reliance.”

“…and respect for others,” continued Mma Cameron.

“…and being born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth,” asserted Mma Osborne.

“Yes, that would soon sort out child poverty,” declared Mma Cameron.

They both laughed out loud. Mma Cameron glanced over to Mma Osborne, “Should we have another cup of Bush tea?”

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Home Office to be split in two

In today's news, the UK Home Office has been split into two separate departments.

The new head of the Department of Justice, Judge Dredd said
"The Government recognises the importance of a sensible home office split to allow our staff to achieve a satisfactory work-life balance."

The new head of the Department of Security, John Reid, said
"I am the Law!"

Monday, 26 March 2007

Northern Ireland Power-Sharing

In today's news, power will return to the Stormont Parliament building in Northern Ireland. In an historic meeting, Ian Paisley, leader of the largest Unionist* party (the DUP), and Gerry Adams, leader of the largest Nationalist** party (Sinn Fein), have agreed a way forward that will allow restoration of power.

With electricians due to arrive at Stormont on 6 May to switch the power back on, but unable to say whether it will be the morning or the afternoon, the two sides have agreed that Mr Paisley will wait in until lunch time; if they haven't arrived by 11:45am, he'll phone Mr Adams, who has promised to be there as soon as he can, 12:30 at the latest, and wait in all afternoon if necessary.

As part of the power-sharing process, Mr Adams won't recharge his electric beard-trimmer whilst Mr Paisley is recharging his electric megaphone (and vice versa). Both sides agreed that this would help them 'not to blow a fuse' as they have on done so many previous occasions.

In a further historic agreement over the vexed question of water bills, both sides have agreed that it would be appropriate for the British tax-payer to pay them.

*Unionists - people in Northern Ireland who oppose union with the Republic of Ireland on the grounds that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the British Nation.

**Nationalists - people in Northern Ireland who reject that Northern Ireland is part of the British Nation on the grounds that it should an integral part of a United Ireland.

Friday, 23 March 2007

Alternative sources of money

In today's news, practitioners of Alternative Medicine roundly condemned a leading medical expert today for roundly condemning as gobbledygook BSc degrees in complementary medicine at UK universities.

Medical professionals pointed out that:
"For a medicine to be used in conventional medicine, it must go through double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised testing to prove that it's effective."

The Prince's Foundation for Integrated Health, a group set up by Prince Charles to promote complementary therapy, said:
"There is increasing evidence that alternative therapies work and where there is no proof it doesn't necessarily mean that there will never be."

A spokesman for the "World War II Bomber Found Moon" Action Group said:
"There is increasing evidence that a World War II bomber was spotted on the Moon and where there is no proof it doesn't necessarily mean that there will never be."

The University of Trumpton issued a statement saying:
"We feel it is important to offer courses in whatever subjects satisfy our enormous demand for easy cash, sorry, the public's enormous demand for degrees in Complementary Medicine."

A Lecturer in I-just-know-it-works-ology said:
"Scientists with their closed minds may make sweeping, absolutist generalisations, but I know from extensive anecdotal evidence that, of the patients treated by I-just-know-it-works-ology who responded to our survey, over 50% said that it worked just as well as putting their feet up and having a nice cup of tea. Clearly big Pharmaceutical companies are just trying to block this alternative cure for cancer."

Prince Charles might as well have said:
"You can trust my judgement on this - I have a degree... in History."

A spokesduck for the UK Homeopathic Medicines industry could have said:
"In accordance with homeopathic principles, we dilute our medicines until they are indistinguishable from water and then we sell it to the public. Surely you are not suggesting that the participants in a highly profitable, multi-million pound business would do it just for the money?"

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

The Budget

The story so far:
Dour Scot, Gordon Brownadder, is butler to the Prince of Wales in Regency England. Aided by the babbling Edward Ballsrick, the ambitious Brownadder is anxious to advance his position in society and resents having to work for his dimwit master.

The Prince's Chambers

Brownadder: Your highness, the Prime Minister Mr Pitt the Younger is here to see you.

Prince: Oh, you know I can't stand vicars, Brownadder, can't you send him away?

Brownadder: Mr Pitt is not a minister of the church, sir, he is the Prime Minister.

Prince: Pry Minister? What does that mean - has he come to pry into my affairs? No, no, Brownadder, I'm all in favour of the separating Church from State, these ministers can get into their pulpits whilst I get into a right state down at the Naughty Hellfire Club!

Brownadder: I think you misunderstand, sir, he is the Prime Minister of Great Britain - the head of the government.

Prince: Really? I thought my dad the King was the head of the nation?

Brownadder: Your father the King appoints the Prime Minister to administer the country for him.

Prince: Oh, I see, so he's a bit like a butler?

Brownadder: That is certainly one way of looking at it.

Prince: So why's he come to see me?

Brownadder: He's come to present his budget to you.

Prince: Now look here, Brownadder, you know I can't stand pets.

Brownadder: Not his budgie, sir, the budget - the government's plans for taxation and spending for the coming year.

Prince: Oh? Why does he want to do that?

Brownadder: Today is budget day, as your father is currently suffering one of his bouts of insanity Mr Pitt has come to discuss the details with you as Prince Regent before he presents it to Parliament.

Prince: Fine, fine, send him in!

The Prince's Chambers (a moment later)

Brownadder: Your highness, my I present the right honourable Mr Pitt the Younger.

Prince: Pitt! I hope this morning finds you in fine fettle - come and join me at the table for some of Mrs Miggins' finest pies and a glass of port.

Pitt: Thank you, my lord, I don't mind if I do, as I have always said: Pie is the fuel of Britain.

Prince: Now then, let's see this budgie of yours.

Pitt: Well, my lord, I cannot show it to you as my budget is all in my head - I choose not to put it in writing so that the details cannot leak out to the press. My aim has been to tackle green issues, tempered by prudence and with a due regard for business and the rule of law, in order to retain our beautiful countryside and ensure our nation remains a green and pleasant land.

Prince: I see, would you like another pie?

Pitt: Thank you, yes.

Prince: Brownadder, you really must try these pies, they are most excellent.

Brownadder: I would, sir, but I'm afraid I'm suffering from toothache.

Prince: Well, get yourself down the barbers and have it taken out - and take this bottle of port with you to dull the pain.

Brownadder: Thank you, sir, but I choose to forgo pain-relief during dental surgery. We Brownadders burp in the face of hurt, have disdain for pain and sneer at fear!

Prince: I see, Brownadder, sounds like a lot of macho bravado to me. Mr Pitt would you care for another pie?

Pitt: Yes, I think I could eat one of Mrs Miggins' veal pies.

Prince: Tuck in, please.

Pitt: Urghhh!

Prince: Good lord, Pitt, what's wrong with you?

Brownadder: I think that the Prime Minister is dead, my lord.

Prince: Oh dear... I think I might have had enough pie for today, Brownadder.

Later, In the Kitchen

Brownadder: Right, Ballsrick, the Prime Minister is dead and because he didn't write it down, we've got less than an hour to come up with the budget and prevent the nation descending into anarchy.

Ballsrick: The budgie?

Brownadder: The government's spending plans, Ballsrick!

Ballsrick: Oh! Why do they call it a budgie?

Brownadder: Irony I suppose, a budgie goes cheap but budget's rarely do. Anyway, he said something about green issues - what could that be?

Ballsrick: Village greens?

Brownadder: Hmmm! How about this: To prevent the erosion of our green and pleasant land, the government proposes to enclose areas of village greens and common land and sell them off to the highest bidder. Very prudent. Then there was something about the countryside.

Ballsrick: Did he mean woods and trees?

Brownadder: Very probably! How does this sound: To reduce the depletion of our natural woodland, the government proposes to a tax on windows to encourage the building of more fuel-efficient country houses. That'll stop 'em cutting down all the trees. What was the other thing he said? Something about law and order.

Ballsrick: Oh yes sir, the prisons are overflowing.

Brownadder: How this then: The government proposes to abolish the slave trade, allowing ex-slave ships to be re-used for transporting criminals to Australia where they will be worked like slaves. That'll get Wilberforce off our backs.

The Prince's Chambers

Brownadder: Your highness, I have prepared the budget.

Prince: No thanks, Brownadder, I'd rather have chicken.

Brownadder: No sir, I have completed the government spending plans. Now all you need to do is appoint another Prime Minister.

Prince: Oh, yes, yes, I'd forgotten. Well, Brownadder, if I understood you correctly before, a Prime Minister is just a glorified butler - and the only butler that I'm on speaking terms with is you.

Brownadder: Yes, my lord?

Prince: So, as Prince Regent, I appoint you as Prime Minister.

Ballsrick: But doesn't Mr Brownadder have to be an MP first?

Brownadder: ...or a lord, my lord?

Prince: Indeed, Brownadder, I elevate you to the peerage, arise Lord Brownadder, Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Later, In the Kitchen

Ballsrick: Mr Brownadder? Wake up!

Brownadder: What, Ballsrick? Oh my head!

Ballsrick: Yes, Mr Brownadder, you drank that whole bottle of port before having your tooth out and then passed out before Mr Pitt arrived.

Brownadder: What, Ballsrick? Do you mean it was all a dream?

Ballsrick: Was what a dream, Mr Brownadder?

Brownadder: That I became Prime Minister?

Ballsrick: No, of course you didn't, sir! Surely everyone wants that nice Mr Cameron to be PM?

The End

Friday, 16 March 2007

Shaggy Blog Stories

In today's news, 100 bloggers have published a book, Shaggy Blog Stories, to raise funds of the BBC's Red Nose Day Comic Relief appeal on Friday 16th March.

Through what must surely have been an administrative oversight, an item from NewsElephant got included, but don't let that put you off. Go to to buy it.

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Carbon Emission Rhapsody

[apologies to Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody]
[N.B. read it with the original song in your head otherwise it doesn't scan very well]

Is this the real truth?
Is this just an excuse?
Causing a tax rise
To screw up our economy?
Open your eyes
Look out at the skies and sea
I'm a consumer, it's our economy
Because I'm feeling fine, let it go
taxes high, keep 'em low
Anyway the wind blows, doesn't really matter to me,
To me

Mama, just drove away
Put some petrol in my car
Put my foot down, there you are
Mama, I drive like everyone
But now they've gone and raised the tax today
Mama, oooo, didn't want this CO2
But I'm gonna keep on driving till tomorrow
Carry on, carry on, as if nothing really matters

Too late, the change has come
Sending temperatures so high
To Arctic ice we wave goodbye
Goodbye summer ice - you've got to go
Gonna melt away and flow into the sea
Mama oooo - (any way the wind blows)
I don't know what to do
I sometimes wish we'd never found oil at all

I see a lot of human beings burning carbon
America, America will you cut emissions?
Hurricane Katrina - very, very frightening - see
Global warming, Global warming
Global warming, Global warming
Global warming, here we go - increasing so

I'm just a polar bear living on the tundra
He's just a polar bear, the ice is melting under
Spare him his life, as the glaciers split asunder
Melting ice, melting snow, thawing out the ice floe
Alaska! Snow! We're losing ice and snow -let it snow
Canada! The frozen tundras go -let it snow
In Greenland! Where is the icy floe? -let it snow
Where is the icy floe?
-let it snow
Where is the icy floe? -let it snow
Snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow, snow
Oh Mama mia, mama mia, a polar bear he needs the snow
Beware the ice'll cause the levels all to rise at sea,
at sea,
at sea

So you think you can stop it by planting a tree?
So you think you can live on the floodplain of river and sea?
Oh maybe -You'll get away with it maybe
Just gotta cut our - just gotta cut our emissions here

oooo, oo yeah, oo yeah

Emissions really matter,
Anyone can see,
Emissions really matter, Emissions really matter, you see

Any way the wind blows....

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Climate Change

In today's news, the UK Government has announced to cut carbon emissions by 60% by 2050 and between 26% and 32% by 2020.

The Conservative opposition environment spokesman roundly condemned the proposals:
"This doesn't go anywhere near the Tory Party's plan to cut carbon emissions by between 59% and 61% by 2050 and between 25% and 33% by 2020."

The Liberal Democrat spokesman said:
"Hey, isn't that our policy!"

A spokesperson for the Green Party said:
"Remember us?"

Other proposals include:
- Reducing emissions from domestic buildings by recategorising them as residential buildings.
- Replacing carbon in pencils with lead.
- Investment in low-carbon heating technologies such as woolly jumpers, furry slippers and thermal underwear.
- Switching from high-emission planes to low-emission gliders.
- Carbon emission caps: headgear emblazoned with the words 'I'm cutting emissions!'
- Making homes greener by combining blue paint with yellow.

Friday, 9 March 2007

Top Tory Sacked in Race Row

In today's news, a top Tory MP, Patrick Mercer, has been forced to quit his post as Conservative Party homeland security spokesman because of comments he made about black soldiers.

Mr Mercer, who spent 25 years in the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters regiment, said in an interview with the Times:
"I came across a lot of ethnic minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours. If someone is slow on the assault course, you'd get people shouting: 'Come on you fat bastard, come on you ginger bastard, come on you black bastard'."

The unfortunate victim of these taunts, Private Winston 'Duracell' Bunter, subsequently said:
"I came across a lot of non-ethnic, non-minority soldiers who were idle and useless, but who used racism as cover for their misdemeanours."

Wednesday, 7 March 2007

Role-Playing Games

In today's news, a man accused of stealing underwear from a shop in Belfast has claimed that he had been involved in a role-playing game, as an elf named Beho, and may have blurred reality and fantasy.

Meanwhile, President Bush has denied that he had blurred reality and fantasy - while involved in a role-playing game as his dad in the first Gulf War - and had accidentally invaded Iraq. Close aides said that his character in the role-playing was actually the delusional knight-errant
Don Quixote, with Tony Blair playing his dull-witted side-kick Sancho Panza.

The Swiss army has confirmed that it accidentally invaded the
Duchy of Grand Fenwick while involved in a role-playing game as Peter Sellars and a host of British comedy character-actors.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Border Police

In today's news, UK Conservative Party leader David Cameron has called for the creation of a new border police service.

Rather than proposing to spend any money on it, the border force will be created by unifying existing personnel and resources from agencies such as the Immigration Service, HM Revenue and Customs, Serious and Organised Crime Agency, the cast of The Bill and PC Plod from Noddy.

Mr Cameron declared:
"Instead of ID cards we believe the right approach is to have a fully integrated Border Police Force that will have one clear focus: keeping Scottish people out of England - particularly Gordon Brown and John Reid."

"The group will be chaired by Dame Helen Mirren, the former star of
Prime Suspect. As someone who has been Britain's top policewoman, she knows better than anyone how many of the problems faced by the police in our cities can be exaggerated on the telly."

A spokesconstable for the Police said:
"Broader police would be able to block up the doorways to houses during raids thus preventing criminals escaping by getting round them."

The Secretary of State for Health condemned the proposal:
"This goes very much against the Government's campaign to tackle obesity, criminals could just as easily be blocked from escaping by two much thinner police constables standing very close together"

Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Doctor regulation shake-up plan

In today's news, the UK Government has announced plans to regulate doctors by introducing revalidation checks every 5 years. The Doctor is expected to lose the power of self-regeneration.

The Government's white paper, Time and Relative Dimensions in Space: The Regulation of Time Travel in the 21st Century, will deal with recommendations raised by the Chief Medical Officer after the inquiry into last year's invasion of central London by Daleks and Cybermen.

The Chief Medical Officer said:
"People put their trust in the Doctor often at a major moment in their lives; this trust must be underpinned by a strong system to assure good practice and safe driving of the Tardis."

The British Medical Association said:
"We understand that Doctor Who is not a medical doctor; he is called doctor because he has a PhD in Time-and-Relative-Dimensions-in-Space-ology from Gallifrey Polytechnic."

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

House of Lords

In today's news, Jack Straw outlined the UK Government's plans to reform the House of Lords.

Having got rid of most 'real' lords (unelected, hereditary) back in 1999, the 'Upper' House of the British Parliament is mainly filled with 'pretend' lords (unelected, appointed for life by the Prime Minister or the leaders of the main political parties).

MPs (elected members of the House of Commons) will be asked to vote on the following propositions concerning the reforms to the House of Lords:

1) By what method should Members of the House of Lords be selected:
a) Appointment (by the leaders of the main political parties in proportion to how many votes their party got in the election)?
b) Election (from lists compiled by the leaders of the main political parties in proportion to how many votes their party gets in the election)?
c) The highest bidder?

2) What other categories of people should be members:
a) Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England?
b) Descendents of the bastard offspring of previous monarchs?
c) Winners of Big Brother?

3) How long should members be appointed:
a) one parliamentary term?
b) 15 years?
c) Life?
d) Membership should be visited upon the sons of the fathers unto the fourth generation?

5) What should the reformed House of Lords be called:
a) The House of Lords?
b) The Senate?
c) I Can't Believe It's Not the House of Lords!?
d) Utterly Butterly?

Thursday, 1 February 2007

Cash for Honours

Yesterday upon the stair
I didn’t meet a Tony Blair.
He wasn't there again today
I think the Police took him away.

A day ago, he didn’t do
This thing he's been alleged to do.
Again today it wasn’t done.
It’s just a story that’s been spun.

Nothing changed all yesterday
And nothing changed again today.
Might he change his mind some day?
I do not know, he couldn’t say.

(With apologies to William Hughes Mearns)

Friday, 26 January 2007

Sham 69 Split

Sad old Punk band Sham 69 have split up due to irreconcilable differences between singer Jimmy Pursey and guitarist Dave Parsons.

Jammy Parsey has come out against prisons being "swamped" with minor offenders who were "cluttering up" the system.

Whereas Dive Pursons roundly comdemned the Home Secretary for writing to judges to remind them that "there are punishments available as alternatives to custodial sentences such as: community service, tagging or alerting the press so a mob can beat them to death."

Commenting on the split, an innocent man locked up for a murder he did not commit said:
"Wouldn't it be nice if guilty people went to prison for a change?"

A police informer, free to murder at will at the tax-payers' expense, said:
"Prison doesn't work - so I'm told, I've never been there myself."

Sham 69 have shelved plans to release their new singles: "If the Kids are Locked Up" and "Lock up (Dirty) Harry"

Friday, 19 January 2007

Jade Baddy

Excitement mounts as Britons turn out to vote in the biggest issue of the new century i.e. voting Jade Goody out of Big Brother.

Gordon Brown flew into Mumbai to mend the UK's tattered relations with India, saying that he had heard of Big Brother but hadn't actually read any of George Orwell's novels recently.

Tony Blair (who's also in the government) said:
"This is surely one of the most important issues to confront the British public since the campaign to free Coronation Street's Deirdre in 1998 (when I was Prime Minster)."

A representative from Canada's Nunavut Territory said:
"We often wonder how ignorant, loud-mouthed, English yobs manage to survive in today's complex, international world. If you don't give them alcohol, cigarettes and daytime telly, do their heads simply cave in?"

Big Brother said:
"Ignorance is Strength"

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Lou Reed

Had Lou Reed been born 65 years ago today, it would be his 65th birthday.

This influential and controversial singer-songwriter has often been accused of writing controversial and influential songs about drugs, transvestites and sado-masochism; an informed analysis of his influential lyrics shows that the majority of his controversial songs were about fairly mundane, uncontroversial issues. Reviewing a few examples will show this.

The unusual spelling used in the song title has led people to think this is a song about drugs; however it is clear from the lyrics that this is a song about the ups and downs of married life and how his wife is a heroine for putting up with it:
“Heroin, be the death of me
Heroin, it’s my wife and it’s my life”

Walk on the Wild Side
It has been suggested that this is about transvestites working the streets of New York; but again careful reading of the lyrics shows that far from being ‘camp’ it is actually about camping out in America’s great National Parks.
“Holly came from Miami FLA.
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA.
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says: hey babe, take a walk on the wild side”

Street Hassle
This medley of songs is said to range from sex-for-cash, a drug-user’s indifference to the death of a visitor and a bitter lament to lost love. It is in fact about the importance of saving for retirement and putting a bit away to cover your funeral expenses.
“But why don’t you grab your old lady by the feet
And just lay her out on the darkened street
And by morning, she’s just another hit and run”

Perfect Day
Usually seen as overly romantic, sentimental mush, this is in fact Lou Reed’s only song about drugs (and probably transvestite, transsexual Transylvania too), as the lyrics clearly show:
“Just a perfect day,
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later, a movie, too,
And then home.”

Monday, 15 January 2007

Bought and Sold for English Gold

The story so far:
England, 1707: dour English MP, Sir Gordon Brownadder, is on his way by stage coach to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Aided by his man-servant, the babbling Edward Ballsrick, the ambitious Brownadder is travelling with the equally dour English MP, Sir Alexander Salmond, in order to secure the passing of the Act of Union by the Scottish Parliament.

Stage Coach, interior

Brownadder: I think we're about to reach Berwick. Have you got that list of the Scottish parliamentarians that we're going to meet?

Salmond: Here it is: Sir Anthony Blair, Sir David Cameron and Sir Menzies Campbell.

Brownadder: Ah, you couldn't imagine a more Scottish-sounding group of gentlemen, could you?

Salmond: Do you think they'll adopt sensible English names like Brown and Salmond after unification?

Brownadder: I doubt it.

Brownadder: Right, Ballsrick, are you sure you've got the cash prudently stowed inside the coach and not bouncing around on top?

Ballsrick: No problem, Sir Brownadder, it's securely stashed between my legs here.

Brownadder: Ah, perhaps the safest location in the whole of England, I can't imagine any highway robbers choosing to investigate whatever's between your legs.

Ballsrick: May I ask, sir, why we are travelling with £20,000 in cash?

Brownadder: Financial persuasion, Ballsrick, this cash will oil the wheels of Scottish Parliamentary democracy and get them to pass the Act of Union with England.

Ballsrick: Why would they want to unify with England?

Brownadder: I think the benefits are too numerous to list.

Ballsrick: Could you list just a few of them?

Brownadder: Erm, well... do we really have time for all these questions? Shouldn't you be polishing some boots or something?

Salmond: Come on Brownadder, I'm sure we can answer his question.

Brownadder: Indeed, well, there's the peace dividend for a start.

Ballsrick: What's that?

Brownadder: England won't need to station troops on the border to protect Berwick-upon-Tweed and the northern counties and Scotland won't need to station troops on the border to oppose our troops.

Ballsrick: Anything else?

Brownadder: Of yes, lots of things.

Salmond: Come on, Brownadder.

Brownadder: Perhaps Sir Alex would like to list some?

Salmond: Oh well, of course, there's... um?

Brownadder: Yes?

Salmond: Well, it will create the largest free trade area in Europe and bring prosperity to both nations through a common currency, freedom of movement and the abolition of trade tariffs.

Brownadder: And of course there will be a tremendous cultural exchange.

Salmond: Indeed, from English literature the Scots can take Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton.

Ballsrick: And from Scottish literature?

Salmond: Well, there's that nice poem by Robert Burns about a mouse...

Ballsrick: One thing that troubles me, sir: aren't you worried that they'll come down to England and steal all our jobs?

Salmond: Ah, the myth of the Scottish plumber! Ballsrick, I think you'll find that your average Scottish worker is as lazy and incompetent as his English counterpart.

Ballsrick: But won't some of their MPs come down to England and join the government?

Brownadder: I hardly think we need worry about that, Ballsrick. I don't think the English will take kindly to people with Scottish surnames like Blair and Cameron telling them what to do.

The End

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Home Office condemns Brits who offend abroad

In a further twist to what is already being called historians-who-offend-abroad-but-who-are-not-on-the-Police-National-Computer-gate, the UK Home Secretary has seized the initiative by roundly condemning the latest instance of criminality perpetrated by a British historian abroad. British historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto blatantly and brutally ignored commands from a US police officer to cease and desist from jaywalking in an Atlanta street.

The Home Secretary, John Reid probably said:
"This is a very serious problem and I take it very seriously indeed. I have initiated an enquiry to establish why this serious criminal is not on the Traffic Protection Register along with David Irving."

Some old Etonian speaking for the Tories said:
"Can the Home Secretary guarantee that this serious historian will not be able to get a job as a traffic warden?"

The US police officer didn't say:
"Gee, I thought he was Hispanic."

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Big Brother Escapee Numbers Not Known

The head of Big Brother, Winston Smith, admits he does not know how many inmates are on the run. The admission came as punk singer Donny Tourette escaped from the Tower of London.

The head of the UK Prison Service, Phil Wheatley, said:
"This is an absolute disgrace, if we ran the Prison Service like that I'd be out of a job."

The head of the Conservative party, David Cameron, said:
"This surely calls into question the decision to appoint the female beefeaters at the Tower of London. It's political correctness gone mad."

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

The Curse of Tutankhamun

Today in 1924, Howard Carter opened the innermost section of the tomb of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun - wherein lay the sarcophagus and body of the ancient Egyptian king. Of those present none have survived, for the tomb was protected by a terrible curse:
Death Shall Come on Swift Wings To Him Who Disturbs the Peace of the King.

Lord Carnarvon, who financed the expedition, died in April the preceding year, aged just 56, and Carter went on to die mysteriously in his own bed just 15 years later at the age of 64. The curse was so powerful that Charlie Chaplin, although not actually present at the opening of the tomb, died just 53 years after reading about it in the newspaper.