Tag Archives: Britain

Call me Judith

I like to think I do my bit in the fight against climate change. I don’t leave lights on – the dark hasn’t scared me since I saw Johnny Depp sucked into a bed aged about nine. It disturbs people to see me in anything other than fraying black hoodies so I don’t need to order a set of new outfits from Bangladesh every other week. I’ve been cutting back on meat because I heard cows have worse flatulence than my 80-year-old stepfather, though whichever scientist declared that has clearly never heard dear old Merv after he’s been bell-ringing.

I don’t have a car, that’s a big one. And biggest of all: I don’t have kids. Don’t, shouldn’t, probably can’t now anyway. No urgent young voices demanding India cut their emissions but also please put cling film around my vegetables because the supermarket’s full of poor people and God knows where they’ve been.

So I’m saving humanity, one locally grown leek at a time. But I do catch the odd flight. And if you people start trying to stop me getting in planes, I will burn your fucking world.

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Liztopia

We’re still a couple of weeks from the result of the most heinous beauty contest since Simon Weston versus that lad from the Goonies. But try as we might to psychokinesis John Major back into the job, Lord have mercy on us all, we know who we’re ending up with.

Yes it’s Liz Truss, the most fatuous leader of a nation since Ukraine elected an actual stand-up comedian, and that went really well as we’ve seen. Liz has been pledging and promising all the things the electorate want to hear, the electorate in this case being a couple of hundred thousand blue rinse racists and red-faced landowners who smile wistfully at the thought of Liz nuking new ‘foe’ France as the best way to stop all these filthy Albanians coming up the beach.

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Dragging Granny down the slip-road

Classic TV news footage: a line of white people in hi-vis gilets sitting in a line across a motorway. An angry bloke waving his arms strides forth from the gridlock and starts dragging some old dear along her arse. Glorious, nay Great Britain.

Today a bunch of people from something called Insulate Britain disrupted traffic for a while in the name of combating climate change. These are the same strand of protester as that Extinction Rebellion rabble and here they come again, messing up normal people’s lives, nobody supports it, the whole thing defeats the object, just go and get a job you workshy scum, and so on.

I’ve not asked a protester but I don’t think their ideal day involves sitting on a motorway. Like you, they’ve got better places to be. Maybe, therefore, let’s take the time to work out what they’re trying to achieve, and for whose benefit.

Everyone’s benefit. Absolutely everyone’s benefit.

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The good news

Every morning I wake to the radio. ‘Breakfast TV’ is not for me. Stories of fruit shaped like Keith Chegwin and how many tiny Union Jacks John Redwood has stapled to his member this morning are insufficient to rouse me towards the rage on which my existence relies.

I wake to the BBC World Service, because believe it or not I’m capable of having my own thoughts for the day without some holy fool calling out my sins on the Today programme. Some days, though, I long for the murder of an alpaca to be the most important item on the agenda. Today, in what’s still theoretically the silly season while all the important people are off ‘not holidaying’ in the west of England, I awoke to a stunning parade of grim news stories that seemed to herald the end of the world.

Is news all bad all the time now? Is there any good news, or are we fucked? I’m here to tell you that there’s plenty of good news if you look hard enough for it.

Continue reading The good news

And so do dreams of greatness dwindle

In the darker recesses of 2021, I once found myself on Twitter. I know. It’s been a hard year for us all.

I don’t know how I came to be looking at the feed of a man whose surname’s a mashup of two giant US companies I wouldn’t touch with a Zimbabwean dollar, but so it was I happened upon Dr Simon Ubsdell. I think it was around the time there was some slapstick fishing dispute in the Channel Islands. Thus:

‘Now Jersey. Eventually the Royal Navy will be tasked with defending a small boulder somewhere in the Thames Estuary. And so do dreams of greatness dwindle.’

Whether the country of my birth and current last known location deserves the word ‘Great’ is one of the principal dividing lines of our society. The perceived loss of greatness is an outrage to many, including Dr Ubsdell by the sounds of it.

Not to me. Who the hell needs greatness anyway?

Continue reading And so do dreams of greatness dwindle

The Kingdom of Finchley

Amazing fact: there’s no such place as Finchley.

There’s an East Finchley, a West Finchley, a North Finchley and a bit in the middle called Finchley Church End. There was a South Finchley once, but we don’t talk about that (dirty ‘Hampstead Garden Suburb’ splitters). But there’s no ‘Finchley’.

With all this time on my hands I’ve decided to create a country. It’ll include all the named areas of this wonderful segment of north London suburbia plus the parts of Mill Hill nobody wants and I, of course, will be king. Clearly if you’re going to make a country in 2021 you don’t bugger about with democracy and presidents and elections and all that – you install a family who will rule for centuries through the trusted mechanisms of serfdom, patronage and inexplicable, unearned loyalty.

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A beach at Dieppe

I know I told you I had a yacht and a big cock, and it turns out it’s an inflatable canoe and three inches on a warm day, but picture the sunny uplands.

Think of the carbon emissions we’ll save circling around Teddington Lock not the Bay of Biscay. Given I also can’t get it up, there’s no threat of making babies that’ll blame solar panels for causing Covids 37 to 43 and feed Twirl wrappers to dolphins. The fact that you weren’t thinking of the climate crisis all along says more about your priorities than mine to be honest.

I can say absolutely anything I want, and when the truth doesn’t quite marry up don’t think for a moment I’ll act contrite. This is the Age of Fuckallaccountability.

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Urns and trinkets

It is my considered opinion that Stephen Fry is a disgrace.

Woah there, you can’t say that about a National Treasure oh but I can, I can. I have no issue with most of the things Stephen Fry believes and says. He seems politically sound, he’s just the right type of anti-religious proselytiser that I enjoy, he loves his cricket and he’s provided some splendid comedy over the years, not least a bafflingly underrated nineties adaptation of Jeeves and Wooster.

But he’s on Twitter, see, this fucking guy. And again, normally that’s fine – right now he’s doing a decent job of trying to raise the collective mental health, and doubtless his own, as the walls close in and the Sainsbury’s website shakes its head. But I can’t forgive him, and I can never forgive him, for his disgusting remark in September 2018.

It is my considered opinion that #therepairshop is far and away the best programme on British television at the moment.

You’re cancelled, Fry.

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Shake, rattle and roll

What one day resembles Utopia, the next looks like Uttoxeter. Turns out if you let people do whatever they want at home all day every day, their favourite new hobby is to moan they’re bored.

Certainly the things people are doing to try to fill time feel a lot like barrel-scraping. Take gardening, when it’s not cold as a snowman’s carrot outside, because a week and a half of quarantine has completely reversed global warming and we’re now a fortnight away from woolly mammoths setting up market stalls in Aberystwyth.

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Wensleydale and the whippet

Let’s get this straight: when I’m Prime Minister, given basically anyone’s allowed a go now hahaha, the first new crime on the statute books will be tardiness.

I will trample a litter of newborn puppies to get somewhere on time. I don’t instantly want you dead if you’re late to meet me, but your first born are fair game. If we agree to meet at 7pm and you arrive with a “Sorry, I got caught up” at 7.50, I’ll have spent the 45 minutes since your grace period ran out thinking of ways to have you arrested for sex crimes.

But that doesn’t make me a hurrier. If I say I’m going to be somewhere at a certain time, I make sure I add a few minutes’ buffer to the journey. If I’m looking like being early, that’s why God made pubs.

I don’t spend my days hurtling about like a sheepdog on Ritalin. Which brings us to HS2.

Continue reading Wensleydale and the whippet