Friday, August 31, 2007

Supermarket Sweep...

As it’s Friday and as I haven’t posted anything for a week, I thought I might go for a couple of easy targets today....

During one of my recent spying missions to our local Tesco I noticed a rather strange line just over there by the bargain basement display. On sale was a big box of riding crops for the amazingly reasonable price of £1.84p each. Now I don’t do riding – but I know a bargain when I see one, so I sauntered over all casual-like to have a closer look...

I slid one out of the box and sort of started to thwack it rhythmically against my thigh. The shaft, constructed from finest Chinese plastic felt cool to the touch. The imitation plastic flap flopped from side to side in a provocatively stinging wiggle...... Hmmmm, corporal punishment.... I wonder if Mrs Alfie would be interested?....

“Put it back”. It was my 20 year old Son bringing me back to reality and reminding me we lived in West Lancashire and not Western California. Still, I wonder why they were being sold in our local Tesco? We have no horsey set round our way to speak of – the only horse flesh I was aware of occupied the tins of Kennomeat nearby – and there is no way they can be spanked back into action. Maybe Tesco have seen a gap in the market and have decided to go big on Sadomasochism? Maybe Sir Terry likes to wear women’s undies? Maybe owning a riding crop is now a very British thing to do?

Who knows? But if you want to buy one, then hurry along to your local Tesco – you’ll find them over in the corner, right next to the gimp masks and the furry hand cuffs.

“Hello, is that the Morrisons Customer Relations”?
“Yes it is, how can we help?”
“Well, can you tell me if you are proud to serve England?”
“Of course we are. We are proud to serve everyone in the UK”.
“No, but are you especially proud to serve England? And are you as proud to serve England as you are to serve Scotland”
“Yes, I suppose we are – why do you ask?”
“Well during the recent e.coli scare at a Morrisons supermarket in Scotland, I saw a TV report about it on the BBC. I couldn’t help noticing that the Reporter was standing outside the store and behind him was a 20 foot sign with a huge Saltire painted on it and the strap line – ‘Morrisons, proud to serve Scotland’.... There were also a couple of internal shots of the supermarket – and the ‘Proud to serve Scotland’ strap was stuck on anything that didn’t actually move”.....
“So if, like you say, you are proud to serve England – and in fact just as proud as you are to serve Scotland, when will you be erecting a big new 20 foot high sign outside my local Morrisons store with a huge St George’s flag and the strapline ‘Morrisons, proud to serve England’.....

“When will you be doing that?.......................... Hello...... Hello.... Is anyone there?”

Friday, August 24, 2007

White Summer by Jimmy Page

Something for the weekend - the best of the best of the best. James Patrick Page... (although I reckon he could have done with an Alice band for his hair).

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Book deal wanted - urgent like....

I came third in the Witangemot Awards catagory of a 'Blogger most worthy of a book deal' behind Iain 'swept the board' Dale and the man in a mitre, the Archbish' Cranmer.....

I was dead chuffed - and although I wasn't a winner as such, I feel I should publicise the fact I came third in the hope that any passing book-dealer might take pity and offer me a 50 grand advance....

Or maybe a 60 grand advance would be better because I've got this really great idea for a block-bustin' book, it's all about an evil boy wizard called Barry Rotter...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Thank God they didn’t mention my course....

A report from the Taxpayers' Alliance has criticised the epidemic of non-courses currently being invented by every University in the country in order to get more student cash and government money into their coffers. Amongst the courses highlighted include ‘Horse Psychology’, ‘Outdoor adventure with philosophy’, ‘Fashion buying’ and ‘Golf management’....

Thankfully, my Open University Doctorate course on ‘Interesting vegetable shapes’ is safe from scrutiny. The EU needs more ‘Interesting vegetable shape Inspectors’ and great news, Mrs Alfie has promised to buy me a set of turnip gauges and a carrot flange for Christmas.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Lying Scotsman

“We will do nothing to put the union at risk” - Gordon Brown

Hat tip to Fred Bishop for the inspirational image.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Fairport Convention - Dirty Linen

Something for the weekend..

Fairport Convention, English folk rock band of the late sixties and seventies. This is from Glastonbury in 1971. Manic fiddler, Dave Swarbrick is on top form - stopping only to light a fag, a habit that would eventually lead him to chronic ill health and a lung transplant.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Skara Brae vandalised... thickest brick in the world sought.

Skara Brae in Orkney - the world famous neolithic village has had graffiti scribbled all over its ancient walls. By a feat of brilliant deduction, the Orkney Plod are looking for a holidaymaker from Liverpool who may have Irish or Scottish origins. They are also believed to have the perpetrator's name - and when this guy is due to finish his holiday, so an arrest seems imminent.....

Pretty clever stuff, in a Sherlock Holmesian way, eh? Maybe, down here in PC blighted Blighty we could do with such thorough, no-nonsense proper policing as practised ooop north to clean up our streets?....

That is until you consider exactly what the graffiti artist actually wrote.... Using a big thick indellible pen and in great big letters he scrawled , 'SCOUSE CELTS'... nearby, he drew a nice smiley face and dated it. Underneath everything, he signed it... with his very own name.

Sergeant Gregor Hay, who is leading the investigation, said that they had identified the suspect as a tourist due to travel back to the mainland by ferry on Friday.
"We believe the suspect has been stupid enough to use his own name," he added. "We are keen to speak to a family who are still on the island."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Do I need a holiday?...

English Nationalism and paranoia are natural bed-fellows. Watching the News or reading the 'paper - it's very easy to slide into an analytically anal overload (not a pretty site).... why aren't they saying this... what about the other..... it's not Britain, it's England you God damn Labour loving bastards....

I'm always looking for the hidden agenda, the things they're not saying. The massaging and manipulation of reality as the great media machine continues to do Nu Labour's bidding - it's in all walks of life and is relentless in its presentation of a supposed partnership of equals and a watery-eyed commitment to a beloved Union.

Which brings me to this advert - published in the last edition of the Sunday Times, Culture Magazine for the NS&I....

As a graphic designer, the first thing I noticed was the appallingly awful PhotoShop work - the same bloke can be seen in the crowd half-a-dozen times, and half the people are mirror images of the other half.... And then there are the flags fluttering away, celebrating that most apparently 'British' of cultural events, The Proms. Paranoia demanded that I count them, naturally.

The supporters of the Proud and historic nation of Scotland have 3 large flags fluttering.

The supporters of the Proud and historic nation of Wales have 3 large flags fluttering.

The supporters of the collection of regions reluctantly known as England have only 2 flags fluttering (and one of those is pitifully small).
Fortunately, England's fluttering flag quota is made up to three by the inclusion of a single large Union Flag.

So that's alright then...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Jersey joins the proud list of proud nations in TescoWorld..

Great news! Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco plc gives Jersey nationhood status! Scouser, Sir Tel' said "We recognise Jersey as a proud and noble nation... their potatoes are really fab', and we sell lots of their wooly jumpers in our bigger stores - so that's good enough for me."

The inclusion of Jersey into the United Nations of TescoWorld is in recognition of the proudyness of its people and uniqueness of the culture.. "Apparently, Bergerac was filmed there, you know" said Sir Terry.

Sir Terry confirmed that a special new flag graphic would grace all Jersey products from now on. "That way, the consumer won't be confused - and will know exactly where the produce has come from".. When asked if an all inclusive Channel Islands branding might have been a better option, Sir Terry thumped the table (product of Sweden) and insisted that all nations had to be respected by Tesco...

Asked about England, Sir Terry loosened his tie (product of Thailand), fingered the rim of his tea cup (product of China) and confirmed that England was too complicated, too diverse and too huge to be called 'a country'...

"And anyway, England has no culture ­- sure they've made the odd cop show ­but they're no Bergerac, are they?"

Shock horror - ITV forget all about England in new show.

Well there is a surprise - new show, same old ignorances.... Britain's Favourite View hit the airwaves last night. Anchorman Sir Trev' McDonald introduced different champions of viewyness, from different parts of 'the country'.... And as everyone knows, 'the country' is divided up into 3 different parts - Scotland, Wales and Britain...

Championing the magnificent Seven Sisters in Britain, those huge white cliffs majestically thrusting out into the British Channel was Irishman, Des Lynam... As Des confirmed, "The Seven Sisters is the gateway to Britain"... Cue grainy scenes of the RAF, Spitfires, Tally Ho-ing into the Luftwaffe over the South Downs…. Then we were back to the present day, Des confirmed that this view was Britain’s gem……"This is Britain’s gem", he said.

Next came Edinburgh in Scotland. We knew it was Scotland because there was a bloody enormous picture of a fluttering Scottish Saltire plus a skirling skirl played by a Scottish piper in a kilt to introduce the piece..... This view was introduced by Edinburgh-born Rory Bremner...

Rory waxed lyrical about Scotland’s heritage, magnificent scenery and national proudyness…..

And then we’re back with Sir Trev’ in his chopper, hovering above Britain – Trev tells us we are off to Wales ….

And indeed we were off to Wales and the Gower Penninsula. We knew it was Wales because there was a bloody huge Welsh Dragon fluttering away on screen - and Welsh song-totty, Katherine Jenkins did the business of trying to sell us the Mumbles.... (I'd always thought was a dodgy disease of the older gent)..

Katherine waxed lyrical about Welsh heritage, magnificent scenery and national proudyness…..

And then we seamlessly hove into Blackpool. Orange man, David 'Jaffa' Dickinson is trying his very best to sell us this holidaying jewel of Britain's coast, in Britain. He has a hard job. .

And that was it. An alien watching would have had no idea that there was a country missing from the entire programme…. England was a no-show. Surprise, surprise....

Friday, August 10, 2007

Meanwhile, over at this morning’s BBC editorial meeting….

"OK Harrison, we’ve got this really big story breaking about the High Court’s verdict on the Alzheimer’s drug action…

"Yeah Brad, shame that – they’ve found against the protesters – all they’ve done is ask NICE to rewrite the guidance notes"… A bit of tweeking here and there should do the job I think"..

"So, how are we going to report it then?

"I reckon something like 'Alzheimer’s drugs available to everyone apart from the English – due to extortionate charge of £2:50p per day"….

"Hmmmm, it’s good – but probably a bit OTT I think. After all, we are not talking about everyone in the UK on this story – just England."

"What, the country of England?"

Definitely not – ‘England, the collection of regions’. Don’t you remember your training?"

"Sorry, of course, I don’t know what came over me…… OK, well how about this one? - ‘Alzheimer’s drugs not available to English patients"…

"Still too inflammatory – look, we want to tell the news, but not to tell it as it really is, obviously".


"I mean, what would be gained by telling 50 million people that they cannot have a medicine available to everyone else?".

You mean something like - ‘Alzheimer’s drugs will not be available on the English NHS to patients"..

Almost – but we don’t want to highlight the fact that there are actually 4 NHSesses in the UK, do we? We want to play that down a bit… I was thinking something more like – ‘Alzheimer’s drugs will not be available on the NHS in England to patients"..

"That’s better, now we’re getting somewhere"…..

"I’ve not finished yet, what if we played down the ‘in England’ bit"….

"What? Do you mean ‘whisper it"?

"Exactly, ‘whisper it’…. Look it complies with Cabinet Working Directorate 345665/tes – Operation Changeling, so we’re in the clear with Gordon and the boys."

"Great, get Natasha in here, right away… No wait, I don’t think she does ‘whispering’ too well, better make it Fiona"…..

And so on today’s BBC One o’clock News, this was how the story was reported….

‘Alzheimer’s drugs will not be available on the NHS in England to patients"……

18 Doughty Street gains an extra viewer…

I bought my first ever pc last week and the world is now my dual-processing lobster. I’ve been tapping away for years on AppleMacs – which have been brilliant for my work activity (Designer), but rubbish for other stuff, which included viewing podcasts and listening to online radio…

I used to be able to get that kind of stuff on my Macs, but one day, just before 18 Doughty Street went live, ‘they’ withdrew support. Overnight, I, and millions of other middle-aged Mac users with middle-aged Mac machines, were suddenly cut out of experiencing the multimedia multistuff.

I couldn’t even access flash sites any more - and every month that went by, my web experience became more and more diminished.

Something simply had to be done – so I did it.

Last night, I experienced my very first session of pod casting from 18 Doughty Street. It was mightily impressive – and at last, I have seen the programme which had Christine Constable and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown guesting….. riveting stuff.

And tonight? Well tonight I’m going to create my very own Avatar and get stuck into the phenomenon that is Second Life. Tell me, does anyone know if virtual England has her own Parliament in that virtual world – or has Citizen Brown got there before me?

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Numptie versus Gurdeep…

The other day, I’d finished watching paint dry and making elephant shapes out of clouds – so I thought it was about time I had a quick look at the blog of Cornwall’s very own Victor Meldrew. He calls himself ‘Bondbloke’ – but everyone knows him as ‘Numptie’.

For those who don’t know, Tourettes-Syndromed Numptie, now residing in Scotland, is something of a legend in English Nationalist circles. His one-eyed view of the English knows no depths of prejudice and stereotypical ranting. If anyone happens to disagree with him he likes to threaten them with his fabled comments policy – and the ultimate sanction of ‘deletion’. He will not tolerate ignorance or bad language from anyone (apart from himself, obviously).

Anyway, the post that caught my attention is titled – Helping the English in Scotland and was posted on April 26th, 2006. Numptie has done his routine scissors and glue stuff with some entries on the Cross of St George forum, then written his unique slant on each piece. His agenda is the usual Numptie brand of intolerance and ignorance – but hey, it’s never stopped him before. The post is all about the treatment of the English in Scotland – apparently, Numptie reckons it’s all rubbish – and inevitably the fault of the gobby Empire-building English….

The comments span well over a year are the usual responses to such a post. Outraged English people, mostly given short shrift by Numptie – and the inevitable threat to delete the comment unless they behave, say sorry and stroke Numptie’s ego…. And there’s also a particularly ignorant rant from an SNP commentator – it is full to the brim with hate, ignorance and inaccuracies – but as this is a Scotsman slagging off the whole of England (landscape included) then it clearly did not apparently contravene Numptie’s selectively stringent comments policy. So that’s OK then.

Anyway, I trolled down the comments, gradually losing the will to read and despising the hectoring control freakery with which Numptie revels – until I happened upon Gurdeep’s comment, posted on July 2nd of this year.. I have copied it below in its entirety. There is also Numptie’s feeble response – and Gurdeep’s reply. I reckon the comments policy has just had to be redefined as Numptie gets a comment from someone who doesn’t fit his stereotypical pigeon holes…..

Gurdeep Says:
July 2nd, 2007 at 10:29 am
It’s the Cornish nationalists that worry me more than the English, they seem to have taken up the blood and soil celtic nationalism that the Scots specialised in in the 70s and the Welsh in the 80s.

Whatever your views on the rights or wrongs of an English parliament you must at least give the English nationalists some credit - they’re not Settler Watch, The BNP or An Gof.

You don’t see English nationalists burning British, Scottish, Welsh or Cornish flags. Even the BNP (who aren’t really ‘English’ nationalists (they are white nationalists who happen to be English) don’t go in for that sort of thing.

The English accept that multiple identities are possible because the vast majority of them, even the most passionate Englishmen, tend to also feel British or have some strong regional identity, or perhaps some other ethnic identity like Indian. This is something that the Celtic nationalists don’t really understand, much less appreciate. England is much more tolerant and multicultural in this respect. So you have Cornishmen burning the English flag and threatening to burn down English homes and stating that you can’t be English and Cornish. If Englishmen burnt the Indian flag and said that you couldn’t be English and Indian then people would be up in arms about it. But because it is celtic racism directed at England it is seen as acceptable or not so much of a problem.

Respectfully I say that you as a Cornishman you should sort out your own backyard before pouring scorn on the English who seem to act with a great deal more dignity and probity than the Celts. I would count myself as English and I do not understand the animosity that this debate generates.

22. BondBloke (aka Numptie) Says:
July 3rd, 2007 at 1:35 pm
I will come back to your points Gurdeep when I return home from a short trip…

23. Gurdeep Says:
July 4th, 2007 at 12:11 pm
No response necessary really, it’s just my personal opinion. England is more accepting of multiple identities than the Celtic nations. I’m not saying that the Celtic nations are more racist (that exists in England also) but celtic nationalism is more rooted in ethnicity. This leads to anti-Englishness more than hostility towards people of other skin colours because the Celts define themselves in opposition to Englishness, whereas the English tend to define themselves in opposition to foreign non-British nations or immigrants (although this is changing due to asymmetric devolution).

The tragedy for England is that the British government persists in a headlong drive towards Britishness when the indigenous English population are ‘retreating’ into Englishness because of devolution (and possibly also unintegrated immigrant populations that are hostile to English culture). This marginalises the non-indigenous non-hostile hyphenated population (like British-Asians) in England because we cannot subscribe to an English identity (like we would a Scottish identity in Scotland) because England does not exist outside the imaginations of the English. To be English is to be ethnically English because England lacks constitutional form and political expression.

All I am saying is that you should recognise that Celtic nationalism is not superior to English nationalism. Celtic nationalism is also driven by fear of the other (in your case the English), and much of the language deployed is more racist than that used by English nationalists (that is not a comment on you personally BTW). Fortunately devolution to Scotland and Wales has instilled a new confidence in those nations and much of the vile anti-English rhetoric of the 70s and 80s has disappeared, the same though cannot be said for Cornwall whose nationalists inexplicably rage against the English when really they should be raging against a British state that is top heavy with Scotsmen. Now in England too we are seeing the rise of anti-Scottishness due to a completely unfair devolution settlement.

When all said and done the majority of English nationalists that I have come across seem to be asking for fairness. They want their nation to have the same constitutional safeguards and political representation as the Celtic nations. To flatly deny that perfectly reasonable claim is in itself racist. All nations, all peoples, have the right to self-determination, and England is no different just because it makes up the largest part of the United Kingdom.

Not a lot to add really - Numptie clearly shares that view.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Is it cos I is white and English then?

Yes it is.

After reading about Abigail Howarth and her failure to get an interview for a job with the Environmental Agency because she was white and English, I was really seething. The double standards, the racist agenda, the exclusionist bullshit – all apparently A-OK because it is aimed at the white English population – and as everyone knows, we white English people have the hatred of the entire world on our backs because of past misdemeanours… ….. For instance, Pontius Pilot was an Englishman wasn’t he? And that Adolf Hitler bloke – born in Birmingham I think – right next door to Mr and Mrs Mussolini and their young ‘un… Then there was 'Geordie Ghengis Khan' and that Scouser, Joey Stalin - the bloke doing unspeakable things to anyone who gobbed off to him and nicking their wheels off their cars…. And worst of all, didn’t some bloke stand up in a Bolton cinema during a showing of ‘Braveheart’ and shout out that Mel Gibson was the worst, most bigoted actor of all time?

The bloke from Bolton is a disillusioned madman who knows bugger all about acting, obviously….

Yup, we white English are the scum of the Earth all right – how else do you explain the institutionalised racism displayed by the CRE when the ‘white English’ question gets an airing? How else do you explain the complacent, oh–so-matter-of-fact comment of one of the head honchos from the recruitment agency who advertised the job on behalf of the Environment Agency - with added ‘ABAWEP’ (Anyone But A White English person) qualifier?….

PATH National's organisational development manager, Mary McDowell, said: "The "White Welsh", "White Irish" and "White Scottish" is a technicality in law - if they are a minority, they are entitled to places on these schemes - they are not part of the majority group, which is "White English". "The "White English" in this area are the majority group and hence could not apply.

Nice one Mary. But what if a job comes up in Brixton and your company is asked to select the applicants. Black people are obviously in the majority in Brixton so by your logic will the advert come with an ‘Afro-Caribbeans need not apply’ notice? Will you be quoted saying that the Black Afro-Caribbeans are in the majority so they cannot apply?

Will you Mary?

And if that is not correct because you are looking at the entire country as a whole, does that mean that your very own organisation, PATH National has a workforce that accurately reflects the ethnic ratio within England? Is your workforce over 90% white English, Mary. For that matter, is the CRE employing over 90% white English people?

What do you think, Mary?

Better take a butchers at your very own web site with your very own rules and regs regarding your very own employment terms…..

PATH National is an equal opportunities employer and aims to reflect the diversity of British society. We welcome applications from all suitably qualified individuals irrespective of race, gender or disability for permanent or fixed-term posts with the organisations.

PATH National also practices equality of opportunity for the traineeship and management development programmes, under the positive action remit of sections 37 & 38 of the Race Relations Act (1976).

Measures include training for particular work to meet the specific needs of people from particular minority ethnic groups.

Positive action does not allow racial discrimination in recruitment, selection or promotion; it promotes fair competition.

No it doesn’t Mary. You and your organisation are racists. There is nothing ‘positive’ in your agenda, merely appalling practises of political racial manipulation that any fascist government would be proud of.

And as for the Commission for Racial Equality – well on their web site is the following concerning ‘Positive Action’ in employment….

The Race Relations Act does not allow positive discrimination or affirmative action – in other words, an employer cannot try to change the balance of the workforce by selecting someone mainly because she or he is from a particular racial group. This would be discrimination on racial grounds, and is unlawful*

*Unless you are a white English person, obviously……

Friday, August 03, 2007

Planning – time to protest before it’s all too late…..

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) – along with other protectors of the English landscape have launched a campaign to halt the cheap-trick New Labour planning proposals from becoming law in England.

Can I please ask everyone, if you value the English countryside, if you value the right of local people to question planning issues in their area to support the campaign and register your protest.

Campaign background from the Planning Disaster coalition website:
’CPRE is part of a coalition of civic and environmental organisations – with over 5 million members. We are opposed to the Government’s planning reforms, which threaten to make a mockery of local democracy, stripping away your right to participate in major decisions about your area and threaten valuable landscapes, habitats, historic environments and local character.
The urgency for this campaign has been heightened by the Government’s announcement on 11 July of a Planning Reform Bill to be introduced in Parliament later this year’.

Read the latest coalition news and take action by visiting the Planning Disaster website:

Remember, if this bill is passed in its current form it will mean decisions about the siting of new Nuclear Power Stations, incinerators, huge housing estates and new towns in England will be decided by Government. Local consultation will not be asked for, local protests will not be tolerated – the Government will simply cite the supposed greater needs of the majority as justification.

As a BBC reporter said last week, "Once the English countryside is gone, it’s gone!"…..