Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Kate and William: Party Planning

Kate Middleton has given up her job. She's left her parents' party-planning business, where she was Project Manager: Overseas Trade Fairs, to prepare for her marriage to Prince William in April. Because Kate has resigned rather than having been laid off, she'll have to wait several weeks before she's able to claim Job Seeker's Allowance. As an unemployed person she's now on an equal footing with Prince Edward, who drives an Aston Martin .

A few gutter-press 'journalists' have suggested that if Kate can't handle her job and her wedding preparations at the same time, she'll find it difficult to cope as Queen of England. These people are invariably alcoholics. In the meantime, Kate and William are said to have already made most of the key wedding decisions – Kate has chosen her all-important dress designer – but are determined to keep some details under wraps, including the bride's gown, the rings and the words of the vows. An aide said: "They don’t want the world to be sick of their wedding before the day."

When it comes to arranging big functions, 'Waity Katie' - who's laughing now? - isn't always a class act. While working for her parents' company, she was responsible for the What's Hot section of the firm's website. Items listed included a Toy Story 3 Essential Party Kit, and a Peppa Pig party bag. Both can be yours for less than ten pounds. But at least these products will help keep down the royal sweethearts' wedding costs; William and Kate are more in touch with the country than some of us thought.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Oldham East By-Election: Lunatic Makes Film

The British Lunatic Party has recently made a short film to help get across its political message to voters. In the film, Britain fifty years ago is compared with the country today. Once, it appears, all children joined the scouts or danced round maypoles. Adults were industrious and worked cheerfully as teams in field or factory.

Today though, we learn racial tension, accompanied by crime and social disorder, pervades the nation and threatens every aspect of our lives. At this point, to the film are introduced images of Asian- and African-heritage British people. The film ends with an appeal for the BLP's version of reason, while 'Land of Hope and Glory' is played over images of lions.

The creator of this cinematic experience is the man who's standing in the forthcoming Oldham East By-Election as the BLP's parliamentary candidate. A man who embraces campaign slogans such as: "Come on Oldham, wake up and smell the coffee." This man is Derek Adams.

Yesterday, in a political stunt Adams managed to get himself thrown out of the Oldham hustings. He'd been invited to attend, though not to speak, but he took the platform anyway. It's alleged that during the proceedings he called the Conservative candidate, Mr Kashif Ali, a "fat paki". After he refused to leave the stage Adams was ejected by the police, an event subsequently described by the BLP as "an indictment on democracy in Britain".

There are ten candidates for the Oldham East constituency. The BLP's policies are insane, the party a repository for racist nut-jobs and bloody nasty people. Voters, send a united message: make sure Adams comes last.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

David Chaytor Goes To Prison

Ex-Labour MP David Chaytor has been jailed for eighteen months, found guilty of a particularly nasty expenses scam. Over a two-year period, the former honourable member for Bury North fiddled more than £22,000 using false claims and bogus documents. This loathsome man used his own daughter to unwittingly assist his dishonesty. His mother too was persuaded to co-operate, relatively easy since she suffers from dementia.

In court Chaytor blubbed and begged for mercy, but to no avail. In a sense though, his objective in stealing the money has been met. Chaytor sought a second home on the public purse, and now he's got one. In prison he'll be treated as just another lag: no privileges, a shared cell, daily trips to the communal showers. Sleep well Mr Chaytor, and don't let the soap slip from your hands.

Chaytor was already suspended from the Labour Party and following the verdict was instantly excluded.
However, a House of Commons spokesman said it had not yet been decided whether he'd still qualify for a £54,000-plus taxpayer-funded ‘golden goodbye’ payment for exiting Parliament – designed to ease the blow for MPs who lose their seats.

Next up before the beak for fiddling is obese Elliot Morley, beloved of all Cornish people after his tenure as MAFF Parliamentary Secretary. Over the past few months Morley has wriggled and squirmed in the most undignified way, claiming immunity from trial under parliamentary privilege. In his efforts to evade prosecution he's appealed to the highest court in the land, a process for which he's sought legal aid. But satisfyingly, all these endeavours have proved unsuccessful.

And which constituency did Morley once represent? Scunthorpe. Close, but no cigar.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

World Cup 2022: Blatter Sorts It Out

FIFA president Sepp Blatter expects the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to be held during the winter, rather than over its usual summer slot when temperatures there can reach 40 degrees celsius. European domestic football would be widely affected if the competition was moved, but so far Blatter's stuck to his guns. A summertime competition in Qatar would reduce matches to a gentle walking pace. In that terrible heat too, who would want to sit and watch?

But how could European players participate in a winter event? It's hard enough to persuade th
eir clubs to release them for occasional friendly practice internationals. To try to remove them altogether for large chunks of their domestic seasons would prove impossible.

Blatter's helpful suggestion? Move the European leagues out to the summer. Simple. Sadly though, he doesn't explain how to deal with the knock-on effect into the following season. The enormous disruption would arise solely from one man's bizarre judgement in awarding football's showpiece event to a country unsuited to hosting it.

Blatter has been severely criticised for his decision, and various allegations have been made concerning his motives in selecting Qatar. He also continues to block the introduction of goal-line technology, again a stance widely slated. Across many countries, in the public mind FIFA's reputation is rock-bottom; to begin restoring credibility its despots must go. Blatter's in his mid-seventies. Why is he still in office?

Friday, 7 January 2011

Coalition: Happy New Year

On Tuesday, VAT was increased to 20% by Chancellor George Osborne, pictured left with Prime Minister David Pillsbury.

VAT's widely regarded a regressive tax, which takes a greater proportion of the income of people on lower wages than those earning bigger salaries. But Osborne insists his approach is a better way of raising revenue than hiking National Insurance, which he feels would cost jobs.

Before the election, Pillsbury said VAT rises were unfair. Earlier this week though, his Chancellor told us: "We need a structural tax change to deal with a structural deficit, and a structural increase in expenditure that happened." It's good to get that one cleared up. But despite the explanation, Osborne's critics believe moving from direct to indirect taxation favours the well-off at the expense of poorer people.

How have we come to this? Like many voters, last summer I was delighted to see the back of Gordon 'Chuckles' Brown and his wretched Labour government. David Cameron and Nick Clegg seemed young, lithe animals with optimism and energy, their coalition determined to right the country's parlous economic state. Now, just a few months later, many people live in dread.

As well as the VAT hike, fuel pricing's at a record high. Businesses continue to close, every week, particularly small firms. A public sector wage restraint policy is backed up by threats of mass job losses. Further education in crisis, continuing bonuses for bankers. Welcome to Operation 'Out of the Frying-Pan'.

Neither is there any real opposition to this relentless torment. At a time when the Labour party is punched-out, Glenn Miliband is simply a supply leader; why sacrifice anyone with appeal? The upshot is a funny little fellow taking on Pillsbury across the Commons floor, and usually getting his arse kicked.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Sir Bruce Forsyth

Gutter-press journalist and reality TV judge Piers Morgan is outraged that the New Year's Honours List hasn't included a knighthood for Bruce Forsyth. The 82-year-old showbiz legend was awarded an CBE in 2006, but didn't make the Queen's annual list released on 1 January.

For some years, Forsyth has been the subject of a campaign to award him a knighthood, which Morgan clearly supports. Posting on Twitter, he said: "Utterly ridiculous that Bruce Forsyth still hasn't been knighted. What more must he do than be a multi-talented star for SEVEN decades?" Let's set aside our views on Morgan and his motives in getting behind the octogenarian entertainer; instead we'll look at Brucie.

Forsyth's television career began during the 1950s as compere of the London Palladium show, a platform for his singing, dancing and comedic talents. When the light entertainment genre flagged, he jumped ship to a succession of TV game-shows. More recently he's
co-hosted the BBC programme 'Come Dancing', a popular weekend knock-out competition.

In these days of devalued celebrity knighthoods, why not give one to Brucie? After a remarkable, some say interminable career, at an age when most of us are doddering skeletons he can still read an auto-cue and feel up young women. But is this sufficient?

It seems not. The majority of those who've expressed a view believe such awards should go to people who've toiled for long years in occupations more substantial than entertainment. And Forsyth has made a fortune from his career, while he's said to pay no UK income tax. It's felt the money should be comfort enough; no to Sir Bruce.

What's more, his longevity has become a two-edged sword. These days Brucie is less often said to be "marvellous for his age", instead criticised as a withered parody; fluffed lines, mummified routines. Rather than a knighthood, public opinion generally favours retirement. Odious Piers Morgan's support may prove the final nail in Forsyth's campaign coffin.