Friday, 27 February 2009

Spill the beans

Have you ever done anything embarrassing which you’d rather cover up? Of course you have! Maybe it’s crashing your dad’s car? Or spilling red wine on your mate’s white carpet? Or invading Iraq? If that last one applies to you, then you’ve been a top ranking “Cabinet” Minister. We learned this week that the Cabinet spent heated hours arguing over whether to invade or not. Can we see the details please? No way, Jose! Justice Minister Jumpin’ Jack Straw has put the mockers on public disclosure of the “Cabinet Minutes” – a record of what actually happened at the meetings. Wow! What a handy wheeze. Imagine if you could do that at home. When your mum says: “Hey, did you eat all that nice pie I was saving for Sunday lunch?” all you’d have to say is: “I’m sorry mum, I can’t answer your question for reasons of national security.” Or when yer other ’alf gets nosey ’cos she suspects you’ve been boozing with your dodgy mates, you’d simply reply: “Sorry darling, whether I’ve been to the pub with those individuals is an Official Secret . . . hic!” It’s time to come clean on the Cabinet chatter—or to admit it’s all too embarrassing and they’re very sorry. Otherwise, they might as well say: “I’d like to tell you why we invaded Iraq but unfortunately the dog ate the Cabinet Minutes.”
FAST on the heels of Slumdog Millionaire’s triumph, the Indian government has announced a grand plan for even more national glory. They’re planning to launch their first “Indo-nauts” into space. Meanwhile, pity poor Great Britain. We’ve as much chance of starting a manned space programme as you have of flying to Ibiza using a V-shaped stick and some knicker elastic. So, once again, while we languish on terra firma gazing idly at the moon, here’s another country putting its Rupees where its rockets are and reaching for the stars. I say good luck to these Mumbai Moonrakers! It’s about time more countries competed in the space race with the only three nations to send people up there already— America, China and Russia. At least this means by the time we British finally get to the moon, we won’t have to take any sandwiches. There’ll already be a McDonalds, a Chinese, an Indian, and a Smirnoff distillery!
Sympathy for the Camerons
THERE was desperately sad news for the Camerons this week, when David’s severely disabled son Ivan passed away. Despite his son’s great difficulties, David Cameron never played on his son’s problems. In one of the most touching moments I’ve ever seen in the Commons, Gordon Brown cancelled Prime Minister’s Questions as a mark of respect. No doubt remembering the loss of his own baby. he was close to tears as he offered his condolences. There’s nothing anyone can say to bring Ivan back, nor to lessen the hardship of the news. Any parent who’s lost a child will know how it feels. But I know I speak for all Sport readers in offering heartfelt condolences to David and his family. Today, he’s not a politician, he’s a bereaved father. Let’s sympathise with his pain— and respect his privacy.

MY bubbly buddy Nicole Shamier (we’re just good friends, by the way) spends evenings in watching BBC’s Panorama while I’m busy researching stories for the Daily Sport out with my chums Gemma and Ashlea Massey. This week Nicole tells me business guru and Dragon, Theo Paphitis, reported that some high street chains are not paying suppliers for weeks, even months. This is irresponsible and selfish. But the government’s ideas are no more sane. They want to “partly privatise” the Royal Mail due to its pension shortfall while virtually nationalising debt-laden banks. But just think . . . if my delightful friend Gemma cocked up her pension contributions, then should she privatise herself? And if her lovely sister Ashlea was in debt, should she be nationalised? NEVER! In my book, these lovely ladies will always belong in the
bosom of the Sport.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Enjoy my ant music

HELLO pop lovers! Please buy my song! I’m on Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway TV show this weekend and we’re having a musical talent contest. I’m part of Ant’s team, and we recorded the classic S club 7 hit Don’t Stop Movin. The result is almost as good as the original! We could start a new band: Ant Club 6. Who’d have thought some crooners, presenters and an MP could produce such sweet music. In truth, my fellow team members are great singers—I feared I’d be the weakest link. But the studio guys “digitally remastered” me. Phew! It didn’t hurt and I feel fine. Anyway, the final version’s so good, Rachel Stevens (right) from the original S Club 7 gave it her approval. Meanwhile, Dec’s team released some 80s song about waking you up before you go-go. In my humble opinion ours is better. You can buy our melody for 79 pence on-line at the Ant & Dec ITV website – with proceeds going to charity. By the way, our song was produced by pop wizard Pete Waterman. He’s got 21 Number One hits under his belt. While we chatted I discovered three things. Poptastic Pete takes a bit of Aspirin a day to thin his blood. He also recommends a small swig of whiskey at night to keep germs at bay. And, most interestingly, he loves steam trains so much there’s a Hornby locomotive collection named after him. So buy our great song for a good cause. And don’t forget ‘The Waterman Diet’; half an Aspirin, a hot toddy and a head of steam. It certainly beats Atkins by a mile.

SHOCK! Horror! A top team of legal experts called the “International Commission of Jurists”have revealed that anti-terror tactics used by the UK and US have seriously messed with human rights. Hardly surprising. We’re not going to make friends with radical young Muslims by abducting their mates. Then there’s the fact we often get the wrong people—we’re sticking heads in buckets of water just because we think they’re involved with al-Qaeda. Then, afterwards, it’s “Oops, sorry, no hard feelings mate, have a nice day now!” I mean, we can’t really preach to other countries when we’re up to this kind of funny business ourselves. It’s much better to do justice by the book. Give them a proper trial and treat them humanely. So thumbs up to the International Commission of Jurists. I only hope they themselves don’t end up kidnapped and “waterboarded” in an effort to get them to change their report. After all, the only people who actually like being locked up in a confined space and ritually humiliated are Big Brother contestants.
DID you know that World War II is still going on in Asia? While other countries signed a treaty to end it, Russia and Japan never did. Our Russian and Japanese brethren are still formally at war! The “battleground” is a little group of islands between the two countries. About 17,000 Japanese used to live on the “Southern Kurils” if you’re Russian, or the “Northern Territories” if you’re Japanese. During World War II the Russians took them over, and kept them. With gas and oil on the islands both countries are chomping at the drilling bit to own ‘em. The good news is this week the Japanese Prime Minister and the Russian President had a chat. They’ve agreed to talks to try to resolve the problem. I suggest they sort the whole thing out by honouring classic traditions of both great countries, a few games of Sudoku over a couple of bottles of vodka. Runner up gets the Isle of Wight!

DID you hear about the wild Dutchman Geert Wilders who tried to visit Britain? Geert’s an MP in the Netherlands. He wanted to show his “new video” over here. In it he claims Islam is an evil religion based on terrorism. UK ministers reckoned this was far too annoying. They said his video would offend Muslims, stir up racism and generally cause trouble. But by by not letting Geert in, the Government gave his video more publicity than ever. It was originally going to be shown to a room of 30 people at the House of Lords. Since all the publicity it’s become a top viewed clip on YouTube. Having said that, his assertions are ridiculous. He might as well claim that Amsterdam is built out of shortbread or that everyone in Denmark is made from lego. You’d have to be a berk to go along with Geert.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Sorry dont bank on it!

FOUR bankers (I said bankers!) were in Parliament this week to answer questions about the economic hash-up we’re in. And for possibly the first time in history a money man said “sorry”! Unfortunately it didn’t last long and the “sorry” was quickly followed by “but it wasn’t really our fault. . .” The big bosses were in Parliament to chat with the Treasury Select Committee (a big panel ofMPswho used to think they knew all about money) to answer some tough questions. They started off pretty well, Lord Stevenson who used to be the chief of Halifax Bank of Scotland, said “We are profoundly and I think unreservedly sorry at the turn of events.” But then it all started to go wrong. The fat cats tried to justify all their blunders and pass the buck. Even worse, they tried to defend the honking great bonuses that they’re still giving themselves while everyone else struggles to pay the rent. Tripe So we’ve got a half baked apology, no money and the people responsible already booking their summer holidays. They SHOULD be working in a chain gang building an extra lane for the M6, eating tripe and onions and singing “sorry
seems to be the hardest

A MINOR scandal occurred in the Kremlin this week when it emerged that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin paid an Abba Tribute band twenty thousand quid to perform a private gig for him and his mates. Now, I’m no stranger to the world of pop music but I never thought I’d be in the same camp as one of the world’s three most powerful men. When I learned the The ex- KGB hardman danced while the band Bjorn Again thrashed out Mamma Mia and Super Trouper I realised I had been upstaged. So how about a big Abba tribute gig at the United Nations? Maybe everyone would stop fighting and shouting at each other to have a dance –– or maybe it would be their Waterloo.
Get behind Morgan
A NICE man by name of Morgan Tsvangirai became Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister this week. Sadly, the country’s top job –– President –– is still held by Robert Mugabe who is cocking up the country more by the day. Mister Tsvangirai runs a party called The Movement for Democratic Change, and wants to sort the Zimbabwean people out with freedom and clean water. He stood against Mugabe for President last year. Unfortunately, although most people supported Our Man Morgan, Bad Man Mugabe won the vote by the unconventional (though sadly effective) election technique of shooting people who disagreed with him. Everyone around the world got very upset by this so Mugabe, in an effort to pretend he is a “decent” sort of person, let Tsvangirai be PM to try and calm things down. Zimbabwe is in really a bad way and needs a LOT of help. For example – you think our economy’s a mess? Not compared to Zimbabwe. Mugabe has hashed up the Zimbabwean system so badly a cup of rice costs costs over 30 TRILLION Zimbabwean Dollars! And while a lot of UK citizens might get cloudy tap water, Zimbabwe’s water is full of cholera and loads of people are dying from it. Hopefully Morgan Tsvangirai can help the poor people but the world needs to get behind him. The big governments need to make sure Mugabe doesn’t stop Morgan sorting
out the country.

HE’S political history but everyone knows George Bush is still alive and kicking in Texas. Well, everyone except viewers of South African channel ETV News who were confused by an unplanned exclusive this week. The channel were testing out their “scrolling news bar” at the bottom of the screen by using the words, “George Bush is dead”. Unfortunately they “accidentally” put it on the live broadcast. It’s not the only such cock up recently… the scrolly bar on Fox News recently compared Barak Obama’s state tour to “Abraham Lincoln’s Historic 1961 journey” despite the fact that Uncle Abe snuffed it in 1865. And in 2005 the Sky News reader announced that playwright and actor Harold Pinter had died… when he’d just won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Snowman's an island

Weeks ago, I warned Daily Sport readers that Britain would be brought to a standstill in February by a bit of frozen water. If only the Department for Transport and Boris Johnson had the good sense to read the Sport then, we wouldn’t have suffered that cold snap confusion now.
While the Canadians and countless others deal with snow daily, shivering Britain goes dappy when the thermometer dips below zero. But Monday was the first time that all the Red London buses were pulled off the roads. Even the German Luftwaffe’s airborne bombardment during World War Two didn’t achieve that. Looks like Hitler would have done better if he’d put Herr Jack Frost in charge of an invasion. Though getting around was a hassle, others had a good laugh. This included the Westminster Police Force. They created a Security Snow Guard. Me and my MP buddy Greg Mulholland tried to have a chat with this cool customer, but he gave us the cold shoulder. No wonder he was depressed because he’d just found out he was getting a pay rise — in the summer.
Foreigners are OK
YOU know the way I’m “Britain’s most outspoken MP”? Well, here’s something UN-spoken that’s been on my mind this last week –– British jobs for British workers. Prime Minister Brown said that a while ago, to the adulation of the nation. People on demonstrations have said the same thing. It’s natural for individuals to get edgy with unemployment going up. People will worry if they feel their job prospects are being undercut because companies employ foreign nationals for lower wages. The first thing we need to do is make sure British people have jobs, just like Flash Gordon Brown said. But I also think we’ve got to be careful not to scare off foreign workers who we quite like to have around. Think about British football. What would happen if the foreign players left? The Premier League would be reduced to five-a-side and Alex Ferguson couldn’t shout so much because British players would understand what he was saying and probably punch him. And what about Indian restaurants? Would you REALLY prefer a curry cooked by your mate Sid at his “Greasy Spoon” cafe, instead of professionals from a country where they can enjoy vindaloos without 15 pints of lager? And one more thing. Have you EVER fancied a foreign girl? I rest my case. So I do think there’s a place for foreign folk in Blighty. And I’ve got a personal interest here. With my Estonian background and funny name, I suppose I’M a sort of a foreigner myself. OK, so I’ve got a British passport and was born in the UK. But all the same, what if I got fed up and wondered off back to the Baltic? You’d miss my column.
Greg's up for grog
DO you like beer as much as this guy I know? His name’s Greg Mulholland and he’s an MP from Leeds. He’s so devoted to beer that he shouted at me for ordering a bottle of Magners cider on Wednesday. I respect that. Anyway, he’s started a group in the House of Commons called the “All-Party Save the Pub Group”. Greg aims to save British pubs from destruction by huge companies which put the screws on little landlords who just want to serve an honest pint and make a little profit. The big firms have a lot of power and Greg wants to make sure there’s fair play all round. Greg’s efforts make him the champion of the traditional British public house. All power to your drinking elbow, Mr Mulholland! If you see grog-loving Greg in a bar, buy him another pint of real ale and give him a manly hug. He’ll be ever so grateful.
That's why the economy's flagging
THERE were red faces in Whitehall after it turned out the Union Flag had been flown upside down at a big trade agreement signing between China and the UK. To most of us it looks the same either way up, though there’s actually a small difference in the thickness of the white lines. Not many people know that but the Foreign Office should! Let’s face it, bigger things could have gone wrong. Gordon Brown could have accidentally declared war on China instead of agreeing to trade with them, or mistakenly signed Gravesend over to the Bejing Government. But getting our own flag the wrong way up was a bit of a cockup! Perhaps this explains why the economy’s in a mess –– maybe the Treasury accidentally turned the Treasury upside down and all the money fell out.