Wednesday, 22 June 2011

All parties unite to blame poor state of economy on elves

A typically large family of strutting parasites
This has been a week of unprecedented unity and understanding in British politics, according to Westminster watchers - some are even call it a beacon of hope for the future. The cause of this burst of optimism is the observation that amongst all their many differences, amidst all the usual squabbling and tit-for-tat blaming, all three major parties have at last found something they can all agree on: the dire state of the British economy is the fault of the elves.

A notoriously criminal and parasitic class of faerie folk, elves have been known to steal milk from doorsteps, turn it sour out of sheer spite, and even suck milk from the mouths of children of hard-working people. "I think we've all had just about enough of these little hooded imps stealing our milk," said Boris Johnson, interviewed dining at a restaurant. "They get everywhere and they breed like rabbits. The very thought of all those little elves shagging away like there's no tomorrow makes me sick. I think about it a lot I can tell you."

Some commentators suggest that the elves are too small to cause as much trouble as is attributed to them, but Ed Milliband, Labour Party Whipping Boy, said their size can be deceptive. "These sneaky, selfish elves are a drain on the hard-pressed hard-working taxpayer," he said. "In not working their alloted eight-hour day they also undermine our ability to be internationally competitive by offering enormous salaries to people who don't pay tax here."

In a surprising turn of events it seems that David Cameron agrees with him. "The problem with tolerating this endemic elf laziness is that it just isn't fair to the rest of us," he said. "If the elves don't pay taxes they shouldn't be hanging around on our doorsteps at all, let along drinking and smoking constantly with their ill-gotten gains." He declined to be drawn in who he meant by 'us' and 'our' but said that he had tasked a taskforce with the task of ridding the country of the elf menace.

According to Nick Clegg, credit for this display of unity belongs to himself and the Liberal Democrats. "Firstly I'd like to say that I would have loved to have been nicer to the elves," he said. "But the hard truth is that we have to deal with the milk deficit, and that means hard choices. It is our party that has pushed the Conservative Party towards the same position as the other parties, which is also the same position as the Daily Mail, which as the true voice of the people holds the only position possible. This is what coalition politics is all about."

The elves have not issued a statement in their own defence. Opinions are divided over whether this is due to their habitual laziness or to the fact that they do not have a press office. "In a way its their fault they get blamed for everything," said press expert, Marty Twite. "In this day and age everyone has to be more media-savvy. Why don't they have a press office? That's the question we need to be asking."

But whatever the elves think of all this - and no-one has asked them - it has been a heartening and positive week for politics-watchers in Britain. It seems that at last the parties are putting the old confrontational approach behind them, getting round the table and agreeing on a very important issue: that the economic woes of Britain are not their fault. As for those who like to say politicians live in a fantasy land, for once their cynical voices have been drowned out by a display of true unity.

The last word is Boris Johnson's, from that restaurant interview once again: "Look here," he said, staring at the statue of himself carved out of frozen milk on the table in front of him, "It is astonishing that we put up with this nonsense. It is unconscionable that in this country we allow the existence of such a feckless parasitic class, who take so much from us and give so little. Only an idiot would deny we need to do something about it."

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Man takes pity on Eric Pickles, gets pocket picked for trouble

Pitying him didn't pay
A man has made a complaint to police after an incident today in which he met Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for CLaG, and left the encounter with several items missing from his pockets.

"The problem was that I felt sorry for him," said David Spittals, a warm-hearted man from Chipping Ongar. "I thought people are always taking the piss out of him for being a 'fat kid' bully and generally being enormous and so on, and actually he must be really unhealthy. I mean he can't want to be that shape. So he has a problem with weight control, and I thought, he's human too, even if he is a politician."

But upon hugging Eric Pickles Mr Spittals noticed a tugging at his pockets. "I didn't think anything of it at the time," he says, "But I checked my pockets afterwards and my mobile phone and a biro had gone missing. And a piece of string. Imagine! When I had just tried to be nice to him. You take pity on someone and that's what you get for your trouble!"

Police say they are investigating the incident as part of a series of 'related incidents'. They refused to be drawn on whether they were all related to Eric Pickles or whether other members of the coalition government have also been involved.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Talk to Frank No More

Today Frank, the well-known drugs advisor to young people, was found dead at his home in Bishops Stortford. Reports say he was curled up on the floor clutching at his telephone receiver with one hand and a bottle of valium pills with the other. The likely cause of death is drug overdose. His age is unknown but from his advice it has always been assumed he is middle-aged.

Grieving family members have spoken to journalists expressing their shock that 'their' Frank could do something so stupid as take drugs. "It's unbelievable really," said one family member who did not wish to be named. "I mean, he was a drugs advisor. How could he do such a thing? After all the sound advice he's given to children and teenagers over the years. It's like finding out Jesus smoked crack or something."

Police are attempting to reconstruct Frank's final hours, asking members of the public to come forward if they can help explain why Frank went off the rails so badly. People who knew him have already been speaking to the press. "The problem with Frank," said one friend, "Was that he was always a bit curious. Nothing worse than curiosity is there?"

There is no evidence that Frank has been a regular drug user. Rather the police suspect a sudden binge as a result of an internal battle that has been going on for some time. "It seems that Frank was a conflicted man," said one police officer off the record. "He had been struggling with the contrast between his own advice, which portrays drugs mostly in terms of their side-effects, and the fact that many of the people he knew had done them, and most of those had had a bloody good time."

More evidence for this theory has been offered in the form of a cryptic text to a friend in his final hours. The text read simply: 'F**k it got to be worth a try'. The friend had no idea what the text was about and is now very distressed he didn't respond. "I was busy getting wasted at the time," he admits, "But if I'd known the text was about drugs I would have replied – you know, just to say 'Don't try them all at once' or something like that.

But it seems that 'try them all at once' is exactly what Frank did when he finally gave in to temptation. In his last hours Frank is said to have taken ecstasy, cocaine, smack, crack, valium, ketamine, a bottle of Jack Daniels, mephedrone, speed, 2cb, 2ci, 3-meo-dmt and several joints of lethal 'skunk' cannabis. His last call, ironically, was to his very own Talk to Frank hotline. The organisation, grieving the loss of its inspirational head, has put out the following statement:  

We received a call at 4.21am yesterday morning from an unknown caller. His speech was slurred and his sentences unclear. He appeared to be asking the advisor what drugs he should take next. We informed him that we could not provide him with that advice. Unfortunately, since our operaters are unfamiliar with real life drug use they did not know what to do next. The line then went dead. It now appears that this call was from Frank.

Frank's personal assistant spoke to journalists about his reaction to his boss's death. "However sad I feel about his death, it does mean I will be working even harder from now on. It proves that our campaign to stop people taking drugs all these years is right. Frank took drugs. Now Frank is dead. That's what drugs do."

Frank's funeral will be attended by the many politicians who have supported him over the years.

Also posted on YourBrainOnDrugs 

Monday, 21 February 2011

Cameron campaigns to end 'state monopoly' in provision of wads of cash to politicians

More soon from the heart of Toryland, the land where everything is very, very simple: if it makes Cameron and his friends richer, it is good.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

UK crime map undermining confidence

An artists impression of the Westminster crime map
As a map of UK crime statistics was today released to the public, the map has been hit by controversy over the areas of Westminster and the City of London, causing consternation among those who had hitherto trusted the police, politicians and statistics.

One user of the map Hamish Talbot from Birmingham, recounts his experience: "I looked at the Westminster map first," he says. "But instead of seeing crime statistics, I just saw this great black splotch. I tried refreshing, but it was still black, just black, like a pit. Then I realised, it wasn't that the data was missing. There were so many crimes in the area they just blotted everything out. All the colours merged into this sort of darkness. I stared at it and stared at it, hoping something else would appear, but nothing. It was just black - black, black, black."

Users had a similar experience with the City of London. "I thought it was just an ink splotch on the googlemap," said William Fortescue. "I was just about to email google to tell them they had blotted out the crime statistics when I realised I was looking at the crime statistics.  It was horrible. I felt like I was teetering on the brink of some dark chasm."

The controversy deepened when the police claimed they had not entered the crime statistics for Westminster and the City. "There were a few vehicle crimes, a few drunk and disorderlies," said the police spokesman. "That aside there are no crimes happening in those places, as you would expect. They are full of respected politicians on the one hand, and respected bankers on the other. We can't think of any reason why any of them should be arrested."

"I don't trust the statistics," said Eleanor Gibbon from Basingstoke. "Up to now I'd always believed everything statistics told me, even the ones that contradicted each other. But I can't believe our politicians are actually criminals. I mean, I know they lie all the time. And steal. And start wars. But serious crime? Come on now, they wouldn't be the top politicians in the country if they were criminals would they?

But the crime statistics have not gone away. Speculation mounts that they may have been entered on the map by a guilt-ridden civil servant. "Some people are feeling bad about some of the stuff we're doing at the moment," admitted one insider. When pressed to be more specific the source said, "Look, take a look at the modernisation of the NHS for example. Well it's not 'modernisation' is it? It's dismantling the NHS, but we knew people would go apeshit if we called it that so we came up with 'modernisation'. It sounded so...modern. Then we cherry-picked some cancer statistics to show how crap the NHS is, even though in general it provides comparable health outcomes to other countries for a lower cost."

But some say more is going on. Even spinning the dismantling of the NHS would hardly blacken the entirety of Westminster. Another source was more forthcoming. "Look, take the dismantling of the NHS," he said. "It will still be branded as the NHS, but organisations not in the NHS will procure health services from private companies not in the NHS, using taxpayers money. It is a massive subsidy from the taxpayer to private health companies - who have been lobbying government to get this. And by lobbying we mean paying. Some might call it corruption. Not me, I hasten to add, but some people less cautious than me might use that word.

"Or let's look at what's going to happen to the bureaucracy of the NHS. Clearly the bureaucracy will remain, possibly be even worse, but it will be outsourced. So, taxpayers money going to private companies, who may or may not be friends with government ministers. It's not corruption exactly, it just looks very like corruption, in the same way that the O2 still looks like the Dome even though it isn't the Dome any more."

Police have been alerted to the possibility of a massive crimewave in the Westminster area. They have announced that they are looking for a rogue civil servant who may be leaking data.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Kids refuse to grow up, believe David Cameron

Look, I know what I'm doing - I'm bigger and better than you
Today a classroom of 9-year-old children addressed by David Cameron on the topic of his NHS reforms pointed out that no, they weren't going to grow up, not for a few years, not even because the Prime Minister wanted them to. Then one child put up his hand and said, "But we still know enough not to believe you sir."

Mr Cameron accused the child of 'playground politics', then went on to explain to the class that the removal of the NHS structure in favour of a pseudomarket mechanism was 'modernisation' and asked 'if not now, when?'

At that point another child put up his hand and said, "When you say 'modernisation' you seem to mean 'fucking it up', so how does 'never' sound to you dickwad?"

Before leaving the school Mr Cameron arranged for both children to have detentions, then took ten minutes out of his busy schedule of media appearances to sell their school to a consortium of businesses interested in 'tailoring education towards the call centre sector'.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Former anti-poverty campaigner repents of 'Politics of Envy'

It's what you've always wanted, even though you've never dreamt of it
Three months ago Janine Stonleigh was a committed political campaigner, having spent most of her adult life fighting for better services and greater support for poorer members of society. Today she hangs her head in shame at the role she was playing in the world. "I was deluding myself," she explains. "I thought that I was promoting a world in which resources are shared so that we all have a good quality of life. Now I realise that was just an unwitting pawn of the Politics of Envy."

Three months ago Janine Stoneleigh gave up campaiging for good. "I gave up the 'save our library campaign'," she says proudly, "I gave up the 'Keep granny warm' campaign to raise the winter fuel allowance. I gave up the 'Cook a meal for a single-parent-family' scheme I was participating in and promoting to give poorer kids a good start in life. I gave up the 'Free electric wheelchairs to free the disabled' campaign. I gave it all up."

 Janine finally saw the error of her ways when asked to take on one campaign too many. "Up until this point I was convinced I was just trying to help people," she explains. "I was sure that everyone would win from a more equal society. I even had the statistics to back it up. But what brought the whole house of cards down was someone asking me to help campaign for a 2% rise on the top two tax bands and an increase in capital gains tax above £500,000."

She suddenly saw all her 'anti-poverty' campaigns for what they were - a demand for handouts from the rich. "And I saw that it was just because we were all jealous. We wanted to be just like them. Oh I'd never actually thought it before, and no one I know from the old campaigns admits to it, but it's obvious isn't it? It's the Politics of Envy."

But it was worse than just wanting what the rich had. "I realised that if I carried on the way I was, we'd all end up bringing everyone down to the lowest level. Can you imagine it? We'd have city bankers living in council estates in Charlton. Yes, that's what would happen if we increased taxes on them. It's just not right. I can't believe I ever wanted that."

Within days of her Damascene conversion Janine had given up all her groups - all except the 'Save our local park' campaign that is. "It won't cost anything," she says. "It's already there. So that's fine. It's just anything that costs anything I can't get involved in. It's outrageous really, thinking that the we can 'set right' what the free market has decreed - just an excuse to try and get what we don't deserve. Yes, we all want our own castle but most of us don't want to work for it."

Without her campaigning Janine now has time to focus more on her job. "I'm actually working my way up the career ladder," she said. "My salary is already 10% higher than it was. It's not that I need more, but now I'm ambitious. I look at all those people above me earning more than me and I think 'I want that too'.

It seems that giving up the Politics of Envy has its benefits.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

CEO 'totally deserves' 50% pay rise, says wife

The desk, sometime altar
Philip Black, CEO of a top retail consortium, has earned a 50% pay rise this year,  following ten years of similar annual pay rises, bringing his salary to £715,000, or £6.5 million including bonuses.

Other CEOs have praised his accomplishment, saying that Mr Black is one of the 'hardest working CEOs around', and his wife has said that he 'totally deserves it - he works like a navvy, poor thing'.

Philip Black first hit the 50% annual increase mark in 2000, as a reward for increasing the value of his company's shares by outsourcing half of the company's operations to India, where the salaries are a tenth of what they are in Europe.

The following year he received a 47% increase in his salary. While the increase in the value of shares was somewhat smaller than the previous year, the pay award came in recognition of his dedication to the job, as demonstrated by his availability to directors and clients at all hours of the day and night. "A middle manager is available only twelve hours a day," explained the renumeration committee, "So it is only fair that Mr Black, who is available 24 hours, be paid twenty times what they are paid."

In 2002 the company experienced a drop in share value but this was attributed to poor market conditions and Philip Black received a 49% pay rise as reward for moving his bed into his office so that he need not go home every night. This demonstrated a commitment unmatched except in the IT department, where top techies also habitually sleep in the office in order to increase their productivity and earn their £40,000 a year.

In 2003 Philip Black did 50% more work than in any previous year and forty times as much work as a low level manager in the company, or thirty times as many hours as one of his security guards. He was rewarded accordingly.

2004 was a dark year for Philip Black. His pay rise was only 31%, a mere 27 points above inflation. "Christmas that year was hard," he says, remembering the bad times. "I could barely look my wife in the eyes." But his wife stood by him. "Actually it was sweet," she said. "He was moping round the house like a lost puppy."

But 2005 turned things around for Mr Black, with a 54% pay rise. "There was no particular reason for that one," admitted a member of the renumeration committee. "Except that other CEOs were getting that too. In fact just to be safe we put it at 5% above what other CEOs were getting. I heard a lot of other companies were doing the same."

In 2006 Philip Black did not increase his personal productivity but the share price rose dramatically due to favourable market conditions. He received a 51% pay rise in recognition.

2007 was the year Philip Black became seriously dedicated to the job. "I remember thinking I'd better start justifying these pay rises," said Mr Black. "And since I was already working 18 hours a day and effectively on call for the rest of it, I began investigating the possibility of a time machine to make more hours in the day." But the time machine didn't work and Mr Black resorted to fitting a colostomy bag to himself so that he no longer needed to take toilet breaks. Everyone agreed that his 54% pay increase that year was richly deserved.

In 2008 Mr Black recognised that, while he had sacrificed his family life for his job, this was also true of many of his employees on £30,000 a year, many of whom he had asked to take a pay cut that year to help the company through the recession. It seemed he had to go further - fifty times further with bonuses taken into account - in order to justify his salary. Being unable to go any further by normal means, he hit on the idea of sacrificing not just his family life but his family. He killed his children on a makeshift altar in his office, burnt them and threw their charred corpses from a helicopter into the sea. "I still only got 49% that year though," he muses. "Funny how things work out isn't it?"

In 2009 Mr Black persuaded the company to provide a Lear jet for his private use. This shaved hours off his travelling time and earned him a 47% pay rise, taking his salary to 80 times that of an average employee in his company. "No one else showed such dedication in getting their travelling time down," said a friend. "The pay rise was inevitable really. It helped that they were worried he'd leave for another company of course. Because almost certainly no worthy replacement could have been found for a mere £530,000 a year plus a cap of £4 million on bonuses."

The 2010 pay rise of 51% is more of a puzzle, even to his wife. "It's true that last year he was doing 80 times as much as his average employee last year and 130 times as much as a toilet cleaner," she said, "but with the unemployment rate rising they all started working harder in fear of losing their jobs, so they kept pace with the him this year - for once." The surprise 51% pay rise was gratefully received by Mr Black. He awarded a 3% pay rise to most of his employees, 1% below inflation, and gave a rousing speech at the company annual conference exhorting his workers to 'give that little bit extra' to get the company through to the end of the recession.

Mr Black's pay rise for 2011 is as yet undecided. The renumeration committee is said to be considering a rise of around 50%, on the basis that 'he will almost definitely deserve it'.

For more on CEOs, see yesterday's link: 

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A site all about that interesting fellow Lord Browne

triflingoffence does not usually promote other websites but for this one an exception can be made - it is a site all about Lord Browne, who wrote the Browne Review of education and is a government efficiency advisor. He's a lovely chap and the politicians just can't get enough of him. Which is odd, considering his history...