Saturday, 23 April 2011


Tear down the statues of the ancient gods, smash to smithereens the busts of Pericles and Alexander, the later monuments to the Madonna and the crucified Christ. We have a new God to worship. Let the trumpets sound for......
His prophecy has come true: annual Income £1, annual expenditure £1 and sixpence; result misery.
This is the new economy of the Western world which is led by the nation with the biggest debt in the history of mankind. Currency experts say that it is inevitable that America will default on its debt. The likeliest method would be to pay off its debts by inflating its currency to a level which makes it worthless. That is progress. It makes the Weimar Republic, in which household debts were paid with wheelbarrows full of Deutsch Marks a haven of prudence.
In 1939 Britain went to war to preserve the freedom of Poland. Four years later it abandoned that luckless country to fifty years of slavery under Stalin. Once again we are going to war to establish the right of the Middle East to be governed by the Wahabi, standard bearers of Arab fundamentalism. We are so deep in debt we cannot afford a navy or an air force and our soldiers fight for their lives under the banner of redundancy. Yet we are spending millions in a failing attempt to defeat Gaddafi, the Mad Mullah of Libya, and we are sending military advisers to train the rebel army. Familiar? The United States of Micawber did just that in every pointless war with evil - which they later lost.
At home our government denounces local councils who make savage and unnecessary cuts in essential services whilst hoarding reserves of many millions. In this campaign against windmills the Quixote is fittingly bucolic Suffolk. Its chief executive runs the Croesus Fan Club. Its new fire chief has charged council tax payers almost £20,000 in decoration and removal costs – while plans to cut front-line services go ahead. Public cash helped David Johnson move to the county of Suffolk, even though he heads the Essex brigade. The fire chief and his senior colleagues clocked up tens of thousands of pounds in other expenses – including billing taxpayers for gentlemen’s clubs, lavish hotels and lobster dinners. Mr Johnson’s moving costs included £3,704.60p for new carpets, £3,466.93p for floor tiles and £324 for Laura Ashley curtains. The £20,000 total included £3,877.50p in estate agent fees, £2,402 in removals and £4,563 for a mortgage redemption penalty. The fire chief used to live even further afield – Nottinghamshire – but had a temporary base in Essex until his move to Suffolk.
The disclosure comes at a sensitive time for Essex Fire and Rescue service, where Mr Johnson is in charge of slashing staff numbers from 52 to 24. The brigade is trying to cut £10million from its budget.
Not to be outdone, Manchester Council has handed out free mobile phones to nearly two out of every three of its own workers. More than 7,000 town hall staff in Manchester have been given mobiles, with the bill of more than £1.2million a year paid by the taxpayer. Where our leaders cry “Onwards and It's-All-Up words” we follow.
A friend paid £250 for new spectacles with which he couldn't read a word or even see my PC screen. The optician explained: “You need to let them settle. There should be a settling in period.”

“But I can't see a word on a page.”

'Yes, well, the optician did say cataracts are developing.”

“Yes, but not that quickly.”

“She has allowed for some deterioration in sight by your next eye test in a year's time.”

“But I can't see to read now - or, more importantly, type and teach.”

“Yes, but has she explained the Varifocals have been manufactured to give you balanced sight when you raise your head?”

“But I still can't read.”

'Well, maybe you'd better come back for a repeat eye test...”

Yesterday he emailed me: “Been back to Specsavers - they say it's the way I hold my head, all wrong.”

Reminds me of the time when I bought my first stereo and complained it sounded like any other bloody gramophone. The man said: “Ah, there is a difference but your ears are not tuned to hear it. Your dog will know.”

Or the time I had difficulty buying a computer in Wrexham because the machine said there was no such island as Anglesey.

When a crater swallows the economy the first fissures invariably find press freedom. Now we have the Super Injunction. As always, the present threat is from lawyers. There is a game which is traditionally played in the Bar Mess during Assizes. Comic cases are brought which stretch the credulity of the listeners. Now the Judges are doing it as a day job. From the French Revolution onwards lawyers have been the catalyst for unwelcome change. One should be grateful for anything that shields one from the pranks of priapic peasants or cavorting celebrities but now these super injunctions are been used to deny a victim a voice against authority, and attempts have been made to gag parliament. We may be roaming in the gloaming but the Dark Ages beckon.

I cannot for the life of me see why people are surprised that Gordon Brown, who tested the Micawber Theorem to our destruction, should be a front runner for the top job in the International Monetary Fund. There is a precedent. They made Blair Envoy for Peace in the Middle East - and look what a good job he has done.

I have just the signature tune for our leaders. Reader Neville Stack sends this from YouTube:

“The Rogues' March used to be played to drum out dishonoured soldiers from the Army. During the playing they were stripped of rank, badges and buttons, then normally flogged, the Drum Major counting the amount of lashes, and then they were marched out of the camp with dishonour.”

Homeless Big Issue sellers are to be equipped with smartphones so that they can begin acting as news gatherers, the charity has said.
The vendors will be encouraged to blog and use social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook to capture and upload images and audio, according to Big Issue founder John Bird.
“Big Issue vendors stand on streets up and down the country come rain or shine, hence they are uniquely connected to their local area,” said Bird.
“We want them to become the eyes and ears of their neighbourhoods, offering a unique perspective and simultaneously developing the skills which will get them off the streets.”
P.S. I have just learned that Decca pays £ 2,500 (minimum) a table for the pop stars on its label and guests at the Classical Brit Awards (whatever that is).