Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Osborne's Pasty Tax Crumbles!

Pasties: Osborne's favourite. For Clegg, quiche.
Chancellor George Osborne has reversed his half-baked plan to extend VAT on Cornish pasties.  As long as they’ve been put on a tray and allowed to cool, they’ll be exempt from the 20% hike. The climb-down’s been portrayed as a resounding victory for protesters across Cornwall. 

Lib Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay Stephen Gilbert, who’d opposed the tax, said: "The strength of feeling from local people has been clear since these proposals were announced.  Plans to increase VAT would be unfair, unenforceable and cost jobs.”

Gilbert was on the right lines but the real issue wasn’t the genuine Cornish pasty, threats to the Duchy’s businesses or local protest.  Greggs, the UK’s largest bakery chain with 1,400 shops and thousands of employees nationwide, had lobbied the government for a U-turn.  Following Osborne’s announcement in March, some £30 million had been wiped off Greggs' shares; the giant manufactures various hot snack items. News of the Chancellor’s retreat immediately increased the share price by 9%.

"Yum yum!"
Osborne's recently claimed to adore pasties and apparently eats several every day.  But though his surrender helps Cornwall’s bakers, it's also encouraged Greggs to continue peddling a curious, vile-sounding product.  The company’s website describes their creation as a Cornish pasty, and reveals its grim ingredients: “Chunks of steak and minced beef with potato, onion, carrots and peas, lightly seasoned and enclosed in a puff pastry case.”  No Cornish person would ever eat such a freakish object. 

Osborne’s hike, the anti campaign in response and final humiliating defeat for the Chancellor are a microcosm of this terrible government’s blundering policies.  For a time though, the Coalition was at least able to use the Great Pasty Outcry as a handy distraction.  Now perhaps effort can be put into even more important issues.   

Sunday, 27 May 2012

England vs Norway: Total Victory!

Atkins: Euro-victory for our boys
Last night, once again Engerland stamped its authority across Europe's banana states in a crushing reminder of who's top dog in this part of the world.

At football, skipper Tommy 'Tiger' Atkins and his young lions tore apart a dazed Norwegian eleven in Oslo while from the touchline new team manager, Ollie Hodgson, watched proudly.  After our boys' comprehensive 1-0 victory over the Nordic laggards it's odds-on that this summer the European Championship cup will return to Old Trafford.

Engelbert: fond of animals
Engerland also impressed at yesterday's Eurovision music competition, held in some outlandish third-world country, where our entry comfortably beat Norway's feeble effort.  The evening was humiliating for the tearful Norwegian competitor, who at the end of the night trailed by several points to Engelbert Humperdink's well-received ballad.
Yet again, drawing on our customary grit and determination to 'get the job done', Engerland remains the wonder of Europe.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Land's End Re-Named For Olympic Torch Relay!

For the start of the Olympic torch's tedious journey around the British Isles, in Cornwall the Land's End's visitor centre was spruced up.  Target for trippers and fund-raisers, the place is an abomination, a ghastly tourist-trap counterpointing the surrounding scenery’s magnificence.  Those in the know approach by foot along the cliff paths, while the herd’s endless cars and coaches try to ruin the area.

But until recently the centre’s entrance portico at least flew the flag of St Piran, and was adorned with the landmark’s Cornish and English names.  Below we see some cyclists, proudly posing after their sponsored journey from somewhere to raise money for something.  And behind them, the original sign.

Land's End: Cornish name, emblem and flag in position.

Tarted up for the torch-following cameras though, we find the Cornish name, emblem and flag have been removed and a bland hording put up in English only.  For its biggest exposure ever, splashed across media round the world, Land’s End had all references to its Cornish identity dispensed with.

Sign of the times: sanitised ready for Olympic world-wide publicity.

I wonder who’ll put their hand up to this one.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

George Osborne Supports Chelsea!

Mr Osborne enjoying last night's match
It’s emerged Britain’s Chancellor George Osborne is a keen follower of Chelsea Football Club.  With his German counterpart, finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, Osborne watched last night’s UEFA Cup Champions League final in Germany between Chelsea and Bayern-Munich.  The two fans ‘bunked off’ a dull meeting of the G8 nations in America, where football isn't widely popular. 

Hr Schäuble, a Bayern supporter, must have been disappointed with the result.  Several times the clear-eyed Teutons almost scored a goal, but were kept at bay by Chelsea skipper Tommy 'Tiger' Atkins and his brave English lionhearts who held on for final victory.  After the match Atkins received the elegant winner’s trophy from Frenchman Michele Platini, UEFA’s head and long-time admirer of English football. 

Mr Osborne was eager to make clear he’d paid his for own flight and hotel while visiting the cradle of Fascism.  He’d supported Chelsea for several hours, he explained, having received a complimentary ticket to watch the game, and admitted liking the colour of his new replica shirt.  Osborne was also keen to show autonomy from boss David Cameron, a Hull City supporter who dislikes Chelsea and believes their player John Terry is “a bit of a knob.”

Osborne watched the game from the stadium’s elite presentation box, alongside European dignitaries Roman Abramovich and Christine Bleakley.  As Chelsea's players mounted the steps to collect their winner's medals, he clapped enthusiastically and pushed forward to have his photograph taken.  After the match, Osborne sought out winning team ‘manager’ Roberto Di Matteo and invited him to join the government as Minister of Miracles.  He also had a brief meeting with Mr Abramovich, a businessman, to ask for money.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Manchester City Win Premiership!

Ferguson - disappointment for the Old Master
The streets of Abu Dhabi were awash with coffee last night, as celebrations broke out following news that the United Arab Emirates' best-known football club, Manchester City, had become champions of Engerland.  

Several “quite interested” UAE citizens stayed up late enjoying the moment while the club’s owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, shrugged and went off to do another business deal.  City, currently on loan to Engerland’s Football Premiership, are the first foreign team to win the coveted title.  

Backed by billions of petro-pounds, during this year’s campaign the club has pursued a shrewd line of attack by buying all the world’s best players.  City's team has been criticised as merely an expensively-assembled plaything for someone with more money than sense, but detractors have been confounded by their results. This season, popular rivals Manchester United have been pushed into second place.  

Yesterday the Sky Blues clinched the Premiership title, beating lowly Queens Park Rangers by a crushing one-goal margin.  Manager Roberto Mancini, recently returned from sitting his GCSE English examination, explained: “My players feel no sense of pride in joining a great club, they have no appreciation of tradition or substance.  They’re just a loose gang of hired guns going where the money’s best, so they can play without responsibility or fear of failure.  That way, we’ll win everything.” 

Following the City result, defeated United boss Sir Alex Ferguson (89) vowed to fly to the Middle East to negotiate a club buy-in with some insanely rich backer.  Shamed Ferguson (98) slurred: “Bastards, fuckers, I’ll take youse all on,” as an aide intervened to help the frail figure to his second bottle of the afternoon.  Other changes to boost Old Trafford’s fortunes will see a new kit design released every day, while Fergie insists several squad members who’ve failed to deliver will be sold off including Andre Marriner, Mark Clattenburg and Howard Webb.

United’s supporters, the famous ‘Red Army’, must view their season as paradoxical.  The Fergie Minutes rule, introduced by the FA after years of pressure from the Premiership’s old master, allowed arch-rivals City to snaffle the title by scoring against QPR in the fifth minute of extra time.  Ah well, it’s only a game.  

Friday, 4 May 2012

Roy Hodgson Becomes Engerland Footie Boss!

It's a hoot for Ollie as Redknapp takes a dive.

To the delight of hundreds, the English Football Association has unveiled its national team’s new manager.  Following Italian iron-man Fabio Cappello's departure it was feared Engerland might lose its status as a footballing superpower, but doubts have been dispelled by the surprise appointment of Roy ‘Ollie’ Hodgson.

Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, ‘the people’s choice’ and odds-on favourite for Engerland’s hot-seat, was philosophical.  Speaking from his second home in the Cayman Islands, ex-pearly king Redknapp said:  “I’d like to wish Roy all the best but fuck it, no way.  The entire nation was behind me, read the Sun and see for yourself.”   

In an unequalled managerial career Redknapp's won one trophy, the FA Cup, but has also experienced relegations, walk-outs and bitter quarrels with club owners.  He's been linked with various financial irregularities while his clubs have a habit of going bust after he’s moved on.  On the face of it then, Arry’s the ideal candidate to continue Engerland’s matchless record of failure and humiliation. 

By contrast, Ollie’s a coach of 36-years’ standing who speaks five languages.  He guided the Swiss national team to the last 16 of the 1994 World Cup, and secured their qualification for Euro 1996.  He took Finland to their highest-ever FIFA ranking, and has an impressive club management record in Sweden, Denmark, Italy and the UK. 

Blinking in the bright lights of his first press conference as England’s supremo, stunned Ollie admitted gratefully: “I can’t believe I got the job when Harry was available for selection.”  Almost three Engerland players have signalled their approval of the appointment on Twitter, which augers well for the team’s performance at the European Championship football competition beginning next week.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Launceston's Charles Causley Festival

Charles Causley
Over the first weekend in June, Cornwall's historic capital Launceston hosts the annual Charles Causley Festival.  It's a celebration of the very best in literature and the performing arts.

Launceston’s most famous son, Charles Causley is recognised as one of the nation's greatest poets.  Appearing this year at the festival his genius inspires will be former Poet Laureate Sir Andrew Motion, as well as prominent local writers Patrick Gale and D M Thomas.

But it's not just a hard-core literary party; there'll be events for everyone.  Children can enjoy the puppet shows and pirate acts, gardeners lunch with Katherine Swift, bestselling author of The Morville Hours.  The threat to Britain’s sharks will be discussed over fish 'n' chips, Russian poetry over beers in a Georgian hotel.

Musicians strutting their stuff will include local girl Rosie Vanier, who the Guardian described as “Kate Bush on crack.”  A more traditional form of craic will be supplied by Bude-based Celtic folk band Black Galleon, accompanied by singer/songwriter Jenny Bishop.  With art, independent cinema and creative writing workshops to check out, you'll find loads to get involved with.
To find out more, see - just hop off the A.30, take a stroll around the town and enjoy!