Friday, 29 May 2009

EU better get out and vote

I BET you’re getting excited about the Euro elections! Remember? They’re happening next week and I’m sure you’ve been thinking of little else! So next Thursday is your big chance to elect your voice in Brussels. And you better go and do it because someone’s going to get elected! And if you don’t vote you’ve no right to complain about who you get! The Lib Dems, Labour and the Tories have all been taking their campaigns to the airwaves but quite a few smaller parties are running too. One lesser-known one is the Socialist Labour Party –– led by Arthur Scargill.That’s right, the same Scargill who took on ancient former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the miners strike 25 years ago. Now he wants to take the fight to the EU –– he thinks it looks after the rich and isn’t helping working families at all. In fact he wants to pull out of Europe completely. He’s got a point. I do reckon we need our European pals though and it might be going a bit far to jump-ship totally! It’ll be interesting to see how comrade Scargill does! But of course you’ll be voting Lib Dem. Won’t you?
EVER been told your underwear is a bit-right wing? Well, there was scandal at Next this week when it turned out that a range of boxershorts on sale featured an image resembling Hitler! The offending undies were designed like a comic strip with many un-related ‘pop-art’ style cartoons –– but a customer got a shock when he noticed that one character looked suspiciously like the Fuhrer. Next claimed it was meant to be Russian dictator Lenin. They promptly withdrew all 5,200 pairs and issued an apology. Just as well! Only a nutter would want to put a dictator next to his knackers. The same goes for ladies underwear –– after all what self respecting Daily Sport girl, would want Saddam all over her bum?
EVER heard of the Korean war? It was a bust-up in the early 50s between Communist North Korea (backed by China and the Soviet Union) and the democratic South Korea (backed by the Americans, the Brits and a bunch of others). The fighting stopped with a ceasefire in 1953 but the war never actually officially ended. Now things could get messy again. On Wednesday the North got shirty with their Southern
neighbours and said they don’t recognise the ceasefire anymore. It all kicked off because the naughty North has been mucking about with atom bombs. Everyone got very worried because they’ve got a nasty dictatorship and big bombs in the hands of bad men is never a good thing. The Americans have started searching ships in the area to stop nuclear materials getting into the North and the South has joined in. This hacked off the Northern bosses and they’ve threatened military action. What needs to happen is for everyone to take a step back and start talking again. Negotiations were going well a few years ago but have broken down since. Like two boisterous blokes in a pub, the North and South need to sit down and talk it through. There’s all the difference between going nuclear in an argument over the footy and
going nuclear across a border.

Friday, 22 May 2009

I'll speak up for Martin

IT looks like Mr Speaker is on his way out the door. After loads of criticism and personal attacks, he finally announced he’s quitting on June 21—the first speaker to be forced out of his post in 300 years! All of this stems from the on-going witch-hunt over MPs’ expenses. Although there’s a lot to be said in defence of MPs, it’s pointless, because you wouldn’t believe me. But the thing is, MPs have got fed up with the whole thing and were looking for someone to blame. Speaker Michael Martin is that fall guy. It all came to a head last Monday. A bunch of MPs had a go at Mr Martin in a series of rather personal attacks. They accused him of causing a lot of the problems facing Parliament. The Speaker weathered the storm. But 24 hours later he came back and in one of Parliament’s shortest ever statements said he was throwing in the towel. The whole spectacle made me cringe with embarrassment. Normally, the Commons is polite, but there was not much courtesy to Speaker Martin. Who’s going to be the next Speaker? My favourites are Lib Dem Sir Alan Beith and Tory John Bercow. But it’s an open field, like the Grand National, you’d be mad to bet all your cash on a “dead cert.” Still, it’s a sad day when a Speaker is treated like this. Michael Martin was alright and didn’t deserve the humiliation. If this is how we’re all going to behave in Parliament, we may as well replace normal debate with a set of stocks and throw rotten fruit at each other. And then elections could be decided with a mud wrestling contest. It wouldn’t be any messier than what’s just happened in the House.
Burma thugs are insein!
THERE was more bad news for the poor people of Burma this week when the democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi was locked up in prison and put on trial. For the last 45 years the country has been ruled by a bunch of military thugs who shoot protesters, starve the nation and try to wipe out ethnic minorities. Anyone who has seen the latest Rambo movie, which is about Burma, knows how bad things are. Suu Kyi has spent the last 20 years trying to get freedom and human rights for the Burmese people—you know, the little things like having enough food to feed your family, being able to criticise the government without being shot or read a foreign newspaper without being thrown in jail. She won a democratic election in 1990 but the dictatorship just ignored the result and put her under house arrest. She’s been there pretty much ever since with the regime’s guards all around her. But last week an American man managed to break in and pay her a visit. Anyone can see that’s not her fault but the lunatics who rule the country have used it as an excuse to carry on giving her a hard time. They’re now keeping her in Insein prison—a place that makes Guantanamo bay look like a holiday camp. It’s important that the world gets right behind Suu Kyi. She’s a great lady who just cares about her people. If the dictatorship get their way, things over in Burma are just going to get worse and worse.
Up the creek without a navy
MORE than 400 years ago the Spanish Armada set off for England to launch an invasion. Luckily for us the good ol’ British navy sailed in and managed to smash most of the Armada before the rest was taken out by a convenient storm. These days it looks like our naval defences might not be quite up to scratch. While our authorities have been spending millions of pounds on intelligence, police, and airport security, we’ve left our coasts guarded by just nine navy ships and a few police boats! A group of MPs are getting quite worried about this because it leaves us open to a terrorist threat and frankly, if the Spanish tried again, they’d probably get as far as Kensington before anyone noticed. I agree that our protection might need beefing up a little and that we need a few more boats out there. However, if we were invaded by beauties like my beach loving buddy Veronika Zemanova and her pals we’d welcome them with open arms.
We have lift off
BRITAIN announced yesterday that Major Timothy Peake is to be its first “official astronaut”. That confuses me, because Brits have been in space before. So were those trips into orbit “unofficial”? Did the UK chaps sneak on board as stowaways? And what does it mean to be an “official British astronaut”? While everyone else is in their space suits, will Tim have to wear a knotted hanky on his head? Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Brits in space. In fact, we’re lucky to have the chance, since the UK government has given about 50p to the European manned space programme.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Not all MP's are naughty

EXPENSES! Expenses! Expenses! That’s all anyone’s been talking about down in Westminster for the last week or two. Ever since the Daily Telegraph started to share information about MPs’ expenses, it’s been front page news. This is a great pity. In fact, 99% of expenses are completely in order but you’d never think it from all the horror stories which have been printed. Sadly, it is not the intention of the Telegraph to represent a fair view of all this. Having possibly paid for this stolen information, they’re determined to make the very most of it. And that means maximising the bad news. In reality, the expenses system is a bit weird. There’s something called the London Living Allowance, which MPs who have to travel to London every week can claim to pay for their time away from home. This is the one the Telegraph is wetting its pants about.I suppose it’s mainly because there have been a few funny claims. One chappie claimed to have his moat cleaned. Another had a chandelier sorted. But most of it is mundane. Yours truly has also been dragged into all this. Apparently, I claimed a summons bill of 40 quid for some overdue Council Tax. Oops! Funnily enough, although I did pay it back, it turns out I probably didn’t have to—so even this criticism was probably not right. All the same, the general mood is to portray us all as naughty people on the make. It’s a shame. You’d probably like most MPs if you met them. It’s also a shame that the actions of the Telegraph have not been properly scrutinised. I suggest you stick to the Sport. You know what you’re getting, and, unlike the Telegraph’s info none of the boobs are remotely dodgy.
HEY, you are planning to vote, aren’t you mate? Uh-oh. “Vote for what?” I hear you asking with a yawn. Well, in case you’ve forgotten, it’s the European elections in a few weeks time. Wahey! June 4 is the day you get to choose who represents you in the European Parliament. Even as I write this, I can sense you getting bored. But perk up! The folks you send to Brussels make more difference than you might realise. Some people think the European Parliament is responsible for crazy stuff –– like sending us straight bananas, abolishing the Queen and replacing Manchester United with a French women’s hockey team called Madamoiselles de Unite. Not so. All that rubbish is basically made up by people who are afraid of foreigners or didn’t notice the war ended 64 years ago (we won). What you DO get is some sensible food regulations so you won’t die if you eat a kebab in Greece and safety rules so that when you land in Majorca the plane doesn’t fall into a pothole. The other thing it does is give British people something to moan about. You could moan about the fact that the Italians once elected Benito’s granddaughter, a topless model called Alessandra Mussolini, to parliament –– while we got Ann Widdecombe. OK, Ann’s a better MP –– but frankly, Alessandra has other priceless assets!
THE Belgian city of Ghent has come up with a novel way to save the planet –– and lose a few pounds. Officials have declared that from now on, one day a week will be a “vegetarian day” and load of “vegetarian street-maps” will be handed out showing where the hottest veggie restaurants are. The idea started because of the damage we cause to the environment with “intensive meat production”. Huge areas of rainforest are cut down so farmers can graze thousands of cattle to turn into tasty burgers. But spare a thought for the Ghent McDonalds –– they’re not lovin’ it!
HITLER has finally lost his head in Germany! A man called Frank Lachner went into the waxwork museum in Berlin and ripped the head off his model. Apparently, Frank’s an ex-policeman and pushed past guards to get to Adolf’s effigy. Frank has been fined 900 Euros, which these days is worth about 900 quid. He must have been really Fuhrerious!

Friday, 1 May 2009

Bacon butty still on menu

SWINE flu has been sweeping the globe — leaving some folk dead, a lot more sick and even more panicked. The problem is no-one’s really sure of how bad things are going to get. The World Health Organisation has raised its alert, the government is posting leaflets to every house and tetchy tourists are cancelling their holidays to Mexico. The bad news is that it is spreading human-to-human, so you don’t need to go near a pig to get it. Also, it’s gone global and it’s landed in the UK. The chances of a lot of people catching it are now pretty high. The good news is, outside Mexico, it’s been pretty mild. On top of this the UK is the best-prepared country in Europe. So there you have it. We’re rubbish at football, rugby and Eurovision but when it comes to dealing with flu we’re a world-leader! The government spent the last few years getting ready for an outbreak like this so we should have enough drugs to sort out anyone who gets sick. But remember, you can’t catch pig flu from eating pig meat. However bad things get, we’ll
still have bacon sandwiches.
EVER thought about appearing on Big Brother? Well, it looks like you will be, whether you want to or not. George Orwell, who wrote a famous book called Nineteen Eighty-Four, first came up with the term “Big Brother.” But he didn’t mean a TV reality show — it’s reality itself. And it’s arriving. When you go to look at a stunna like Gemma Hiles on www., whenever you go online to read e-mail, sell stuff on eBay or check your mates on Facebook, it’ll be logged for the authorities to see. They’ve decided to blow two billion quid on monitoring our internet use so the police and MI5 can watch what we’re up to. Chatrooms, Twitter and Facebook will all be monitored, plus a host of other sites and mobile phone networks. Ministers backed down from plans to keep the info on a central database. But they want companies to keep it so cops and spooks can check who we know and what we say. Crime and terrorism have to be tackled — but not by turning the UK into a police state. Let’s stand up against the Establishment sneaking into to our lives whenever we log on. Far from protecting us from enemies of the State, the State is becoming the enemy of the people.
MONDAY was the 100th anniversary of the day when Suffragettes demanding votes for women burst into Parliament and chained themselves up. One feisty lass managed to chain herself to a statue of Viscount Falkland. A century has passed, so when a note came into my office on Monday saying there was a “protest” going on by the Viscount’s statue I thought the note must have got stuck in the internal mail for 100 years. But it soon turned out that a group of climate change protestors had marked the anniversary by superglueing themselves to the statue. Pretty quickly, the fuzz managed to remove them. Hopefully we can sort out climate change the same way we sorted voting rights for women. But given how antiprotesting our government has become, I won’t be surprised if, in the meantime, the next thing
they ban is superglue.
LABOUR’s Communities Secretary Hazel Blears must be having a laugh! She came out with the bizarre statement that the recession could be GOOD for society. She thinks that every cloud has a silver lining and the catastrophic economic mess we’re in could be a “catalyst for communities to come together”. I don’t want to sound negative but that sounds like the government covering their botties! They’re basically saying “Sorry the economy has gone down the pan—but don’t worry because it might help you get on better with your neighbours!” I’ve got my doubts that unemployment and poverty will help communities. It’s well known that in situations like this crime, alcohol and drug abuse all go up, while families often break down. The best way to bring communities together is to sort out some jobs and decent