Friday, 27 March 2009

Summit's up in east end

NEXT week is the “G20 summit”. G20 sounds like a pop group – like some expansion of SClub7. In fact, it’s the most important meeting in 50 years. The leaders of the 20 most powerful countries are having a pow-wow in London town to fix the global economic meltdown. Obama, Brown and the others will sit around a table in London’s East End and try to fix it all over a pint and a pie. It’s a good idea in principle. Banking is linked across the planet. Job losses and unemployment in the UK are a result of international money problems so it’s a good to meet. But there could be trouble. Getting top leaders to the summit safely is a security headache. With the 20 top world leaders all in one place the police will be working round the clock against the terrorist threat. Driving round the East End is a nightmare at the best of times. It’ll be gridlock as people hang around Brick Lane waiting to see if Obama nips out for a quick curry with the Indian Prime Minister at lunch time.
They’ll also be protesting about human rights and the environment and other stuff. Most protesters are OK. But hundreds of “regulars” are also expected to turn up just for a fight with the fuzz. Apparently, lots of anarchists are on their way to make their presence felt on the world leaders. I guess all of this will be kept under control. Whatever happens outside the meeting, I just hope that they don’t end up having fisticuffs around the conference table.
IRISH politics has gone starkers. Naked paintings of the Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowan have turned up in two art galleries. Bemused staff called in the cops to work out where the bare art came from. But they’re none the wiser. Maybe it’s to do with all the Guinness drunk after Ireland’s rugby victory over Wales at the weekend. However, my resident art expert Jimbo Barrington claims seeing paintings of politicians in the buff isn’t in fashion at the moment. He suspects the credit crunch has forced Brian to moonlight as a male model to prop up the economy. I doubt Flash Gordon Brown would make the centre pages of Daily Sport in his birthday suit. But you’re a funny lot – and if that’s what it takes to get you interested in
politics, I’ll ask him.
This week ex-government minister Frank Field warned of “civil unrest”. He means riots in Britain, thanks to the economic crisis. He says rising poverty, unemployment and anger at the government can trigger violent unrest for the first time in generations. His comments follow police chief David Hartshorn’s dire warning of a “summer of rage”. It’s a worrying time. The UK last saw riots when my least favourite UK politician ever, Maggie Thatcher, introduced Poll Tax in the 1980s. Thousands of people who were pushed further into poverty converged on the capital, smashing police cars, starting fires and scrapping with “London’s finest”. The government needs to act fast to sort out unemployment. It’s wrong to use violence, but people need to feel listened to and have a hope of a bright future.
I TAKE you… and you… and you… to be my lawful wedded wife. If you REALLY enjoy getting married, then move to the American state of Utah. They’re campaigning to allow men to have more than one wife. Yes, that’s right, fellas, with these guys you could marry Gemma and Ashleigh Massey and still be available if Pammy Anderson turned up. Utah is a state with lots of Mormons. That’s a religion which used to practice polygamy and even though its illegal, they estimate over 40,000 people still have “polygamous relationships” there. Look it up on the map, I am.

Monday, 23 March 2009

MPs' youth ban shame

ARE you a “youth?” If so,watch out, ’cos a bunch of MPs don’t want you anywhere near the House of Commons. Twelve years ago, together with the late Andrew Rowe MP, I was one of two MPs trying to set up the UK Youth Parliament. We won the right for Britain’s youth to have a real voice. Last Monday there was a vote on whether to let the Youth Parliament use the Commons. Amazingly, it was opposed by small group of Parliamentarians determined to keep out anyone at risk of still being young!
What’s their problem? Do they also want to replace all the electric lights with candles, reintroduce horsedrawn taxis and flogging, and ban women?. . . We go on about getting young people involved in politics, then a small rump of MPs acts as if allowing “youths into the Commons” is like letting an underage al-Qaeda storm Westminster. The fogies were defeated by 205 to 16. So well done to the 205. But a word to the silly 16; don’t read the Daily Sport, it’s full of young people!
Cost of Gordon’s gin won’t soar
THERE’s been a refreshing outbreak of common sense over alcohol. In a bid to save us from ourselves, top doc Sir Liam Donaldson proposed a minimum price for booze to cut binge drinking. All eyes were on Gordon Brown. Would he agree? “No,” said a source close to the Prime Minister. He must reckon the plans about as useful as a porcupine in a condom factory. Credit to him. It means Gordon’s Gin won’t cost you more under Gordon Brown. Sticking a few pence on getting hammered won’t deter hardened drinkers. Drinking is about attitudes so I suggest an advertising campaign starring Daily Sport babes. It could feature my friend Lucinda warning: “If you’re out chugging, I’m not hugging.” That might sober up the male population!
Government show a lack of learning
EVER fancied going to university? If so, welcome to the world of financial pain. It’s becoming very costly to get some wisdom down your neck. Colleges can already charge you up to £3,500 per year. But this limit might be lifted so scholars might be shelling out £7,000 or more. But hold on! The economy’s going down the pan because no-one has any money. So making students—or anyone else—even more broke ain’t going to help. For a start, the kebab and beer industries will go under, followed quickly by a whole string of chippies, off-licences and book stores. So if these proposals go through we’ll have broke students, bankrupt shops and a downsizing of the kebab market. Good luck to the students who are fighting the increased charges. And as for the government – wise up. If you think charging more for learning is smart thinking, you’ve just FAILED in the University of Life.
IT’S all kicked off in Madagascar. The people are really poor – not poor like they can’t afford Sky Plus, I mean poor like they can’t afford food. Most live on less than a quid a day. That’s why a DJ called Mr Rajoelina has decided he could do a better job than the president, Mr Ravalomanana. This week he and a group of soldiers marched into Mr Ravalomanana’s palace! It’s like Chris Moyles saying “Enough of this credit crunch” and invading Downing Street with Jonathan Ross, JK, and Fatboy Slim. Mr Ravalomanana has offered to face elections when his term is up but there is the spectre of a televised disco play-off—the winner being the one still standing after a danceathon.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Their idiocy has no limit

IN the Government’s endless crusade to protect us from ourselves, they’re now talking about reducing speed limits in rural areas. Most highways have a 60mph limit but ministers are talking about cutting that by 10 or even 20 mph. How utterly patronising. It’s as if the Department of Transport thinks countryfolk are yokels in smocks with straw in their hair –– plus a couple of sheep on the back seat –– and can’t be trusted to control their Morris Minors at anything above walking pace. Maybe next they’ll get Ministers to drive about on old tractors. Let’s put a stop to this nanny state nonsense. Most folk are sensible and drive to the conditions they find on the road. If the Whitehall wonks don’t like it, fine –– we’ll travel by horsepower and they can travel by ass.
WHAT’S the difference between the wrong kind of boobs and the right kind? Well, I’ll leave you to decide what the RIGHT kind are. The WRONG kind are those “boobs” committed by the media when they mis-report something like the Madeleine McCann case, causing pain and anguish. According to a group of MPs called the Culture Media and Sport Committee, some papers have been naughty. Madeline McCann’s dad complained papers focussed on wild stories about him and his wife rather than on the search for their daughter, who is still missing. It’s OK to report news even if it’s awkward for politicians, coppers, businessmen, celebs, or whoever. But when the stuff’s made up, hurtful AND damaging, that’s out of order. I’m pleased to write for a paper that provides information and amusement without wrecking lives through lazy reporting. It has a laugh but NOT at the libellous expense of innocent individuals. And on the lighter side, unlike other papers, the Daily Sport will NEVER be sued for its boobs.
THERE was controversy on Tuesday when protestors tried to disrupt the Royal Anglian Regiment’s homecoming march in Luton. A small bunch of objectors took it upon themselves to hurl abuse at the troops, accusing them of murdering Iraqi civilians. Thankfully they were quickly shouted down by the locals. I’m all for freedom of speech and I voted against this war –– but there’s a time and a place for making your voice heard and this wasn’t it. They’d just got back from one of the two harshest military assignments on earth and simply wanted to be with their families and their community. They were only doing their jobs.
IT looks like American President Barack Obama has his eye on nearby Cuba. He’s not the first U.S. President to be interested in the island. The only thing is, the other Presidents wanted to invade it. In the past, the famous Fidel Castro and his Communist comrades were Public Enemy Number One. The Yanks imposed lots of restrictions on their Cuban neighbour. All that’s changing now, thanks to Barack . Americans will be able to visit their Cuban relatives and bring over money, food and medicine. He’s also opened up the prospect of talking to Raul Castro—who took over as Cuban president from his cigar-smoking brother Fidel. And next time there’s a neighbourly dispute, like the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, they might be able to sort it out over a cigar and a game of craps at the Buena Vista Social Club. “Hasta la vista, Mr President!”