Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Bike Tennis……

Do I look like a tennis ball. Do I?
A shuttlecock maybe, but not a tennis ball….
(Although I do bounce a bit when I run)…

Fifteen love, I feel like I’ve just been though a bit of a baseline rally between 2 of the biggest bulls-hitters on the Tour of Britain circuit.

Inspired by Wonko’s whithering witterings, the CEP blog and Toque’s tortuous campaign of terrier like attrition, I thought I’d shove my penny-farthing’s worth in on the bike race debacle that is the Tour of Britain

As others had asked them the questions that cannot be answered, namely why no team England in the race when there are Teams from Wales and Scotland, why is the ‘Sport England’ organisation financing a race that does not include a Team England, etc, etc….. I thought I’d try a different tack – and have a go at the soft underbelly of the hard-nosed Tour of Britain leviathan. One of a concerned father, wanting to go and see the race with my kids and wanting to support an England team. (I’m welling up all ready)….

I write my first ‘ace’ email….

I've just had a look the riders and the teams competing in the Tour of Britain. I've a few observations.

1) I notice that there is no 'England' team in the line up. I'm from England - so are my wife and kids, we may even go and have a look at the race but the fact there is no England team worries me. Who do we support - don't WE deserve to be represented then? Where on earth is Team England?

I notice there is also a Wales, Scotland and Ireland team..... plus a Great Britain team.... but no England. Why? I'm beginning to think that this may be yet another smack in the face for my country. I want to support MY Country - but cannot because MY Country is not there - even though the race is happening primarily on MY Country's soil.

If I were Welsh, Scots or Irish then there doesn't appear to be a problem. Hard luck then if you're English, we'll just have to support the 'Recycle team or the GBR team - is that correct?

2) Also, not one of the riders in the lists appear to come from England. In fact it seems to have disappeared from view on your web site. Tell me, does England exist in the world of cycling - or is it a bit of an embarrassment?

3) Can you confirm that all the riders currently described as coming from GBR in the Great Britain and Recycling teams in fact come from England - and if they do, can you please amend the lists accordingly.

Can you please get back to me as soon as possible with some answers. I just do not understand why not only is there no England team - but the mere fact that none of the riders appear to be described as coming from England either just seems so utterly pathetically petty.

The last time I looked, England was a country in its own right, just like Wales, Scotland and Ireland.... But it appears you have disenfranchised 85% of the UK population - can you suggest which team myself and my family should support?

The guys from the Office of Truth, Tour of Britain HQ got back to me nearly as quick as it took me to read all 3 volumes of Lord of the Rings…

Thank you for your query regarding an English team in the race.

We have to follow the guidelines and rules set down by the UCI, (the international governing body) and British Cycling which, in this case, preclude the England team from participating in the race.

If you have any concerns you might wish to contact British Cycling and relay your query to them and ask them to pass it on to the England Team.

I have, in this email, included the quote from British Cycling to a previous enquiry which can be found in Cycling Weekly: August Edition, which runs as follows:

"The teams represent each federation - there's no English federation, so no team".
Hope this answers your concern.

Well, it bloody doesn’t chummy boy. I return the rather feeble cross-court volley with a wicked top-spin lob to the backhand….


Thank you for your email reply. Unfortunately, you didn't answer my other query - which concerned the reason for the nationality of the riders being so very specific on the team lists - apart from those that come from England.

Welsh, Scots and Irish riders - along with everyone else are so described as coming from their respective nations - but not so those that come from 'England'....

They are described as coming from 'GBR"
Not having an England Team is one thing - to deny someone's nationality because of a petty governmental agenda is another.

Can someone please get back to me as to why these English riders from the Recycling and GB Teams are not described as coming from England. It has nothing to do with Cycling Federations at all where someone comes from - nationality is a matter of politics and geography.

Thanking you in anticipation.

Oh dear, they’ve dropped their serve. They’ve dinked their volley straight into the net….

If they are described to us as GBR then that is the description we use, you really need to contact British Cycling to have your query answered. I can only advise you that it is by following the guidelines and rules that enable us to have the Tour in this country. As you have such a strong concern with those guidelines it seems that you need to talk directly to them and I have included their website, telephone number and email with this message.

0870 871 2000

Kind regards

I banged off an email to British Cycling, which was much the same as the one I sent to the Tour of Britain goons.

Did they answer? No way. This is what I received from a Mr Philip Ingham…
Thanks for your email - please can you identify your motivation behind asking the question - in particular, do you represent any political grouping and what is your current involvement in cycling.

I feel like a McEnroe tantrum is coming on. I just cannot believe it!!! It’s the pits of the World isn’t it?

What a bloody cheek, he’s obviously a bit freaked out. He sounds a bit hunted, a bit stressed, sort of…..

I calmed down and assured him that I was Jimmy Ordinary – which of course, I am!

He replied – " (Regarding the competitor names and their country identifiers)…..the answer is that I don't know. The listing should actually refer to all home nation riders as GBR (their nationality according to the world governing body). To support that, there's at least one Welsh rider I can see in the GB team who is down correctly as GBR. Think it's probably an admin error on the team sheet and that, I'm afraid, is a Tour of Britain organiser's issue - so back to them if you need a further reply.

Interesting that isn’t it? Mr Ingham seems to think that it’s all a matter of an error in the Admin’ department. Now do I not believe that….. I’m just amazed that he thinks I’m dumb enough to swallow such a whopper.

I’ve banged off another letter to the main ‘Spokes-Person’ at Tour of Britain, Bike HQ….. Just got time to get the Trainer on to give me a quick rub down – and read War and Peace before they get back to me…….

Friday, August 19, 2005

Friday's Caption Competition

Using your skill and judgement and in no more than 25 words, try to imagine just what John 'Lardyarse' Prescott is saying in this keynote speech.......
A 2ib pack of lard will be awarded to the lucky winning entrant.

Channon of the Rovers…..

Hats off to ‘70’s footy star, successful horse trainer and passionate Englishman Mike Channon for calling for Sven’s bald, shiny head to be placed on a smorgasbord after the 4 -1 loss to Denmark.

Channon, the wizard of the after goal windmill celebration was interviewed on BBC FiveLive radio. He launched into a plethora of patriotic righteous indignation, banging in a hat trick of sequential invective - without much prompting from Reg Footy, the interviewing radio anchor….

"The FA should sack that England Manager and send him back to Sweden. He’s a right pain in the arse….. I feel so angry at the way the team played. Sir Alf Ramsey must be spinning in his grave…. All that money wasted by the fans in getting there, the players should feel ashamed and give the fans their money back".

Channon was really not happy. The way he said ‘arrrrrrrrsssssssse’ was something wonderful to hear, in full, surround-sound West Country burr.

There’s no doubt about it, England do have the players and the skill to win next year’s World Cup in Germany. But if they continue to be led by Sven then they will fail because they lack passion and belief.

It seems that after the turnip tenure of Graham Taylor, the Swede Eriksson is in danger of continuing the veggie vagaries of the England managership.

Talking about vegetables in power, I wonder whether Channon thinks John Prescott’s an arrrrrssssssssse as well. (More probably two arrrrrrrrrssssssssses actually)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Phone baiting - I love it! (even more than cricket)

ODPM versus HTW…

I’ve got 5 minutes spare.…. Just time enough for a bit of dumb animal baiting. I dial Prezza Towers, lair of fatboy Prescott and his clack of snivelling hissing Sid clones….

020 7944 4400.....

"Hello, can I speak to someone about some information on your web site?"

(They put me through)

"Hi, I wonder can you help me - in the 'Sustainable Communities' section of the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s web site, it says -

"We are committed to thriving, vibrant, sustainable communities. The Sustainable Communities Plan will reach every part of the country."......

"By 'Every part of the Country' - do you mean the UK? Or do you mean England? And if it is England, does that mean the Deputy Prime Minister has recognised that England is a singular, proud and historic nation in its own right – by referring to it as a Country?"

"Ahhhh, right, I see what you mean. No, it doesn’t mean the UK, as Scotland look after there own sustainable community issues – it’s just for England."

"But the text as it is, sort of says that the ODPM has power and influence over the whole of the UK – it is deliberately ambiguous and deliberately misleading to say that his Sustainable Communities Plan will reach every part of the country." When he is only referring to the historic and proud nation of England. Don’t you agree?"

"Yes, I think it needs amending. It’s just not clear – and England obviously is a proud and historic nation – in its own right"….

(almost faint with the shock of it)….

"So you will amend it?"

"I need to speak to my line manager, I’ll get back to you."

"Before you go, can you please ensure that the wording will not be changed to ‘The Sustainable Communities Plan will reach every part of each region."......

"I’ll get back to you"……

DOH verses HTW…..

Still a couple of minutes left – I’ll give the Department of Health another ring seeing that they have totally blanked my original enquiry of a month ago….

020 7210 4850...

"Hi, I wonder if you could help me, I rang last month, but no one has got back to me yet. Health Minister, Rosie Winterton recently stated that the increase in dental check up charges by over 100%, to £15, will in her words "Make the system fairer and simpler." Is that really the case then?

"Yes, most definitely, the system needed sorting out – and we agree that Ms Winterton is correct."

"Well it’s not really correct, is it. Not really strictly speaking correct - or fair. In fact it is really, really unfair. Don’t you agree?

"Well no, I don’t agree at all. Everyone will have to pay – the same. So that makes it fairer."

"Ah-ha! But everyone won’t have to pay the same will they? For some people, it’s fairer, for others it’s not. In Scotland for example, by the year 2007 dental check ups will be free, to every single one living there. Free, gratis and for nothing. Now that is the kind of system that I consider to be ‘simpler’ and ‘fairer’, don’t you agree?"

"But Scotland look after their own…".

"Exactly – Scotland really do look after her own, courtesy of the English taxpayer, mate!"

"As I was saying, Scotland look after their own health affairs, they have done since the ‘dissolution’ of the Scottish Parliament."

"Don’t you mean since ‘devolution’?"

"That’s what I said."

"So to sum up, people in Scotland are going to have a very simple dental check up system – basically free for everyone. People in England are going to have to pay fifteen quid, which is not as simple or as cheap as the Scottish model."

"Well, yes."

"I wonder, can you contact your boss Rosie Winterton and ask her to reissue her statement – something along the lines of. "Increasing the standard charge for a dental health check-up to £15 for people living in England, enables us to subsidise the people of Scotland to an even greater level. Thus enabling their people to have free, gratis and for nothing, dental health checks"….

"I’m sorry, I can’t possibly comment, perhaps you could contact your MP about this injustice"…

"I certainly will do that, maybe you should write to yours as well – and while you’re at it, ask them why we can’t have free prescriptions as will be given as of right to the people of Wales next year…

"Maybe I will".

I reckon, the word is spreading…….

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The odds are that the PM is 'pettily vindictive'.

I never thought I’d be offering hat tips toward arch slob, horse-racing pundit and iconic bag lady of fashion, John McCririck.

But after his tribute speech at the funeral of his late friend, Robin Cook I have a sort of grudging admiration for the buffoon of the betting fraternity. He kicked off with the usual reminiscences, the little funnies and horse racing ditties of a long and friendly relationship with Cook - and their joint love of the sport of Kings. Then, oh dear, out of the blue and before you could say ‘Labour Spin Machine’ McCririck went completely off message.

Dressed head to toe in his finest suit of funereal purple and blinged out for all he was worth, and could cram onto his fat, porcine fingers, he turned his double chinned ire onto our glorious leader and his unavoidably enforced absence from the funeral of his former colleague.

Yes, good old Tony Blair, master of the illusion of indispensability – except when he is on his hols, was in absentia and not in Scotland, was too busy turning lobster red to wear mourning black.

Spontaneous applause broke out from Blair’s fellow Scotsmen crowded outside St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh as McCririck launched into his rant…….
"What an impressive attendance. But there is one exception and that is the nation’s leader – the Prime Minister. I believe the PM’s snub demonstrates a petty vindictiveness and moral failure, opting to continue snorkelling instead of doing his duty..

A bit of slap in the gob for one of Edinburgh’s finest there, then. But mind you, snorkelling can be a pretty intensive – you need to concentrate ….. Especially after you’ve gone to the trouble of blagging a freebee holiday aboard a luxury yacht, in a hot location somewhere so secret that for the sake of national security and the preservation of the thinning pate of the anointed one, no one knows where. The only clues we have of Blair’s holiday location is that it will be hot, it will be free, it will be a favour returned sometime in the future.

Regarding McCririck’s speech, fatty Prescott, Blair’s moronic lap dog in residence was reported to have been ‘incandescent with rage’. The sly man of Jack Straw was fuming. Gordon ‘Iago’ Brown, said nothing…. Now there’s a surprise.

What amazes me is McCririck should be surprised the glorious leader didn’t bother to turn up for the funeral. The last time Blair packed his dude shorts, sun block and strat’ was last Christmas. He didn’t come back when 350,000 souls were lost to the Boxing Day tsunami – so what chance did the relatives of Robin Cook have of the omnipotent one gracing them with his imperial presence on a dull, rainy August day in Scotland?…

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Telly news......

On the telly tonight is the second part of BBC2’s ‘How to start your own country’ - hosted by comedian Danny Wallace. It’s all about Danny declaring a sort of UDI in his very own flat. Tonight, Danny's getting the pomp and circumstance organised for his new country - and I’ve just seen a trailer for it.

Danny was explaining that if you’ve got a new country, which he has, even though it is very small, which it is (the size of his flat) his country still has to have it’s very own Nation anthem.

As Danny reasoned on the trailer, "Every country has it’s own National anthem doesn’t it – and mine’s not going to be an exception"….

Err, Dan me old mate. Not having a national anthem isn’t an exception – In England it’s the rule.

Liberty is blind?

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty - this fenman is not on her 'to do' list....

Sorry, Shami is far too busy giving interviews, saving human rights and fluttering her big doe-like eyes at the PC BBC camera. Too busy making mountains out of mole-hills and trying to carry the entire disenfranchised of the third world on her caring sharing shoulders. And much, much too busy to be bothered to sort out one H. the Wake’s problems….

Yes hysterical Shami, director of the human rights (for some) organisation, Liberty has given me the old heave ho. She’s blown me out so to speak. She and her organisation just aren’t interested in the denial of my human rights. My original email asked that compared with the other 3 countries of the union, I as an Englishman am being politically disenfranchised because I don’t have a national parliament acting on my behalf.

I thought my arguments were salient, relevant and worthy of at least a considered response. I even quoted some stuff from their very own web site to illustrate the point:

"As it says on your web site you are concerned about 'Equality' and under that heading, your organisation says that :- 'Liberty believes that all people have the right to be treated equally and fairly'........

Well I'm not. Why? Because I do not have a National Parliament to represent me. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do - but England doesn't, and that cannot be right can it?"

I also gave examples of pernicious favouritism to the populations of the other 3 countries – free prescriptions, free student education etc, etc.

I emailed Liberty ages ago – and am still waiting for a reply. A phone call follow up a few days ago was a total waste of time. Apparently they are only going to act on letters via snail mail – as they were completely overwhelmed by the number of emails they were getting. So I told the lady on the other end of the line that there was a lot of human rights wrongery about….

They told me to re-send my email via Postman Pat.

I’ll keep you posted….. Anyone got a stamp?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Regional wwwhistle stops.....

Just spent a few minutes trawling around those fine windows on the world of democracy – the Regional Assembly web sites. Judging by the all-new, all-fraudulent slogans, they’ve obviously been at the sherry – and brought a few marketing men in from the planet Bullshit.

It looks a bit suss though. Either most of them have been copying off each other – or 40 monkeys, dressed in red braces and patent leather shoes have managed to type out nearly similar strap lines…. Oh, and the complete works of Shakespeare to boot.

For example, first on my tour was the South East RA. Not content with just the one misleading strap-line of ‘The Voice of the Region’ – the main head on the intro states it’s ‘The Representative Voice of the Region’ ..... As if we were in any doubt.

Breathtaking isn’t it?

Anyway, next we fly northwards to the East of England RA web site. This Region does not have a sexy slogan – just a one word ‘Welcome’ to one and all. The marketing men obviously haven’t been here, maybe they don’t like cow shit on their patent leather shoes?

Travelling onwards and upwards to Yorkshire and Humber RA. Ahhh, this is more like it. Trumpet solo please because Y&YRA is ‘The Voice of the Region’ But not only that, the first sentence on the intro proudly proclaims, completely wrongly that ‘Yorkshire and Humber is Britain’s biggest region’. Not according to Prescott and Brussels it ain’t - Scotland is.

Further north is Herron’s tormented target – the North East RA. Slogan? ‘The Voice of the Region’ (obviously)…. Apparently, (so it says on the intro) the Assembly’s unique strength lies in its ‘breadth of representation’. (But not representation of the people though)….

Across to the North West RA – which it incredulously proclaims is ‘England’s Leading Region’… Not content with that major inaccuracy they further compound it with this little porky – ‘The North West Regional Assembly is an inclusive organisation, with representation from local government, business organisations, public sector agencies, education and training bodies, trade unions and co-operatives together with the voluntary and community sector’ ….. A bit too inclusive though to be bothered asking for legitimacy from Mr and Mrs Public?

Down to the Midlands – East Midlands RA is apparently achieving ‘Progress Through Partnerships’, while the West Midland RA is rather bizarrely ‘Speaking out for the Region’… (Not ‘Speaking up for the Region)….

Our final virtual destination is the South West RA – which is surprise, surprise ‘The Voice of the Region’

Looks to me that the marketing boys have been trolling around the country with the same ideas boards…. I reckon a few identical invoices have been flying around… except to the East of England RA that is. The only Assembly without the regulation strap line. I think we should right this wrong, I think we ought to have a competition to think of a suitable strap for the EERA.

We could offer a prize for the winner. Meeting the Chief Exec’? A tour of the Assembly rooms? A chance to chuck rotten eggs at the jumped up little Assembly Hitlers from the public gallery?

I’ll get the ball rolling – The East of England Regional Assembly – it’s diabolical to your liberty.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Someone’s having a laugh….

The Hereward family has just received a letter plus a brand spanking new Direct Debit form through the post from the World Wide Fund for Nature. It’s from a Mr Steve Andrews, Head of WWF Supporter Relations….. Basically, his job is to stop cash from haemorrhaging out of WWF coffers because of their pathetic anti English stance…

Mr Andrews grovels -
"I am writing to you today to offer my help in continuing your regular support of WWF. You may not realise it but your bank has just notified us that your direct debit gift to WWF has stopped, and I am worried that something has gone wrong" ……. Bla, bla, grovel, grovel, sure there has been a misunderstanding, please don’t go, please give us your cash back, etc, etc.

Mr Andrews concludes –
"If you have stopped giving because you think that we don’t value your support, or you’re unhappy with our work, please give us a chance to put that right"…

Yeah right.

I don’t know where to begin. We are getting back to them with a few home (regional) truths. Therefore, the rotweiller, Mrs ‘H’ is going to pen the reply and she’s not too happy. I can promise the said reply will be vitriolic, will be telling Mr Andrews exactly where to shove his Direct Debit form and will be copied on to WWF Chief Executive Robert Napier…

Anyway, for those of you who haven’t seen the brand spanking new ‘improvements’ to the WWF site, you can have a butchers
  • here.
  • I personally wouldn’t bother. ‘England’ still isn’t there…. But some alien amorphous blob called ‘WWF English Regions’ is, thoughtfully positioned underneath the alphabetically listed other UK WWFs of Cymru (Wales), Northern Ireland and Scotland. We know our place all right…..

    As for the 'Contact Us page' - total amnesia there I'm afraid – Under the heading of
    'WWF-UK also encompasses:', WWFs Cymru, Northern Ireland and Scotland are listed, (but not apparently the WWF English Regions)....

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Tell it like it is Joannie!

    "A great civilisation is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within, said the American historian Will Durrant about ancient Rome. This self destruction of values is exactly what is happening in England today.

    Yes, I still call the country of my birth England in spite of the peculiar political correctness that it be called ‘the UK’ and that we, its denizens, must be ‘Britons’….

    Even though the Welsh are proud to call themselves Welsh as are the Irish and certainly the Scots, woe betide the Briton that calls himself ‘English’ – a much-frowned-upon no-no"……

    Full page Joan Collins article in the Daily Mail this morning….

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    Stop Press: John Prescott catches ‘Les Dawson Syndrome’

    John Prescott, suffering from Morcambe, Melancholia, Mothers-in-Law and L.D.S.

    John Prescott, compulsive pie eater, compulsive purchaser, compulsive liar, Deputy Prime Minister and general all round interfering busy body has fallen prey to the vicious and highly contagious disease, ‘Les Dawson Syndrome’.

    Prescott, pre-syndrome, happy, dictatorial and stupid.

    "It’s a real shocker" claimed a close friend last night. "It all happened so suddenly – one minute he was goose stepping around his bunker, making plans to flatten the South East, invade Poland and blitzkrieg the Low Countries, the next he’s complaining about his mother-in-law and moaning about women's bits in a tragi-comic, tragi-ironic way…. It’s just so tragic"

    Unfortunately, ‘Les Dawson Syndrome’ isn’t fatal, it just gives the sufferer a melancholic countenance and improves their comic timing. Symptoms include miserablility, an obsession with bloomers and bad piano playing. Prescott’s Consultant said "The syndrome is fairly aggressive – and will attempt to displace Mr Prescott’s current illness of ‘Delusions of Adequacy’.. "

    Prescott refused to answer any questions except to say how ugly his Mother-in-Law was and how miserable he was feeling. Now you know how we all feel, Jonny!

    Last night, Mr Prescott was put into quarantine, in a room alongside fellow syndrome sufferer, Tony Blair… or the ‘Little General’ as he likes to be known.

    Tuesday, August 02, 2005

    Water, water everywhere... (Crocodile tears from John Prescott)

    There was an article on the BBC's 'Breakfast' telly programme this morning about 'the drought' in the South East of England. Some reporter was standing in a dried up bed of the River Lavant and lecturing us tap turners on the need to conserve the wet stuff.

    The reporter just went on and on about us wasters of water, the need to get filthy – and stay that way for the sake of conserving what little water there is…. But what about ‘the big guy’? What about Prescott and his ‘plan’ for turbo-house building in the area?
    Of course, being the BBC they never said a word about how the hell Prescott's 'sustainable housing plan' to build another million houses in the south east was going to be serviced by the water companies - when they can't even meet the needs of the people currently living there. So Prescott’s ‘plan’ isn’t a plan at all – and it isn’t sustainable is it?

    Will it stop him? Will he reconsider? Will he talk to water people?

    Of course not! Being a brainless, publicity seeking moron, Prescott hasn't even considered talking to the water companies to see if they can actually supply the new homes with mains water. As far as Prescott’s concerned, there is no ‘f’ in ‘failure’ (But we know differently, don’t we?)

    Of course, being private companies, sold off during the Thatcher era, the water companies have as their first priority an obligation to their shareholders to make profits - then comes the consumer. A poor third is the environment.

    Every year, for the past 5 years, the water companies have gone to the Government, tap in hand to request they take ever more water from the river network of the South East. It’s a sort of ‘skim-off’ from a national resource. (No change there, then). Every year, without fail that request has been granted. More and more water is being pumped from the system. First rivers to suffer are the chalk streams – they, as in the case of the River Lavant completely dry up and what was in there is consigned to the great reservoir in the sky. The rest barely operate as ecosystems at all. Low water equals low oxygen, less dilution of fertilisers leeching into the system from surrounding farmland means poisonous blooms of green weed flourish.

    The reason the water companies do this is because it’s a cheap, short-term fix. No capital build of reservoirs, no costly renewal of a leaky colander like pipe system……

    There is actually talk of desalination plants being built along the south coast. No doubt, as taxpayers we’ll be picking the tab up for those then. No doubt, the great pie himself will herald the building of these structures as a ‘sustainable’ answer to water shortage. No doubt water charges will go through the roof as water becomes as rare as a politician with a knowledge of the meaning of the word ‘SUSTAINABLE’….