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.