THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain

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Quote of the day

Obnoxio The Clown: A good day to bury bad news.

Not Obnoxio's post about another incompetent terrorist (sorry, dear chap) but comment #1:

Good job he was a British engineering student or the ****ing thing might have gone off.

I have been harsh about British education in the past, but it seems we all owe a debt of thanks to the lecturers at the Faculty of Engineering Sciences at University College London.

Annoy a Guardianista; vote now!

Poll: What's the best TV show of the decade 2000-09? | Media |

The Grauniad is having a poll on "the best TV show of the decade" and the results are annoying its precious journalists.

Monday 2pm: we are aware that there has been some *ahem* multiple voting and we are investigating how to eliminate this. In the meantime, please keep voting - legitimately

Oh, dear. How shocking. I am sure they would never have complained were, say, Andrew Marr's Sunday Socialist Sycophancy Show in the lead. So which show has people clicking so enthusiastically? Yes, there is justice in the Universe occasionally. It's the one they hate the most (click to enlarge). Delicious!

Guardian pain

Please go over there and add to their pain.

Truth in comedy

YouTube - Steve Hughes on Michael McIntyre's Comedy Roadshow.

Michael McIntyre is funny and his Comedy Roadshow is a good programme. Of course, most of his guests are right-on, politically-correct comedians, but not this guy. I cheered as well as laughed at his set. Dick Puddlecote (to whom, a tip of the hat for the link to the YouTube excerpt) asks if it's more social commentary than comedy. I think that misses the point. Observational humour works because it is true. The audience, reassuringly, seemed far from shocked by it.

I am glad I have found a way to watch the BBC's iPlayer from Moscow. It's worth the subscription just to hear someone tell it like it is, wittily, on national TV. I fear we may not see much more of Steve Hughes. The aparatchiki of the BBC will have marked his card. But for a few minutes, watching him, it was like being from a free country again. Do watch it all, you will enjoy it.

The Squirrel and The Grasshopper

The Quarterback from Bucharest sent me the following reworking of an old fable doing the rounds on the internet in North America. Thank you, sir. 

Version One

The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building and improving his house and laying up supplies for the winter. 

The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away. 

Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed. The shivering grasshopper has no food or shelter, so he dies out in the cold.


Version Two
(in the US, present day)

The squirrel works hard in the withering heat all summer long, building his house and laying up supplies for the winter. 

The grasshopper thinks he's a fool, and laughs and dances and plays the summer away.
Come winter, the squirrel is warm and well fed. 

A social worker finds the shivering grasshopper, calls a press conference and demands to know why the squirrel should be allowed to be warm and well fed while others less fortunate, like the grasshopper, are cold and starving. 

The ABC, NBC, CNN, and all other lefty networks show up to provide live coverage of the shivering grasshopper; with cuts to a video of the squirrel in his comfortable warm home with a table laden with food. 

The press informs people that they should be ashamed that in a country of such wealth, this poor grasshopper is allowed to suffer so while others have plenty. 

Nancy Pelosi, Greenpeace, Animal Rights and The Grasshopper Housing Commission demonstrate in front of the squirrel's house. 

The ABC, NBC, CNN, and all other lefty networks, interrupting a cultural festival special from St Kilda with breaking news, broadcasts a multi cultural choir singing 'We Shall Overcome'. 

Larry King rants in an interview with Obama that the squirrel got rich off the backs of grasshoppers, and calls for an immediate tax hike on the squirrel to make him pay his 'fair share' and increases the charge for squirrels to enter Washington city centre. 

In response to pressure from the media, the Government drafts the Economic Equity and Grasshopper Anti Discrimination Act, retroactive to the beginning of the summer. The squirrel's taxes are reassessed. He is taken to court and fined for failing to hire grasshoppers as builders for the work he was doing on his home, and an additional fine for contempt when he told the court the grasshopper did not want to work. 

The grasshopper is provided with a Housing Commission house, financial aid to furnish it and an account with a local taxi firm to ensure he can be socially mobile. The squirrel's food is seized and re-distributed to the more needy members of society - in this case the grasshopper. 

Without enough money to buy more food, to pay the fine and his newly imposed retroactive taxes, the squirrel has to downsize and start building a new home. 

The local authority takes over his old home and utilises it as a temporary home for asylum seeking cats who had hijacked a plane to get to US as they had to share their country of origin with mice. 

On arrival they tried to blow up the airport because of US' apparent love of dogs. 

The cats had been arrested for the international offence of hijacking and attempted bombing but were immediately released because the police fed them pilchards instead of salmon whilst in custody.
Initial moves to make them return them to their own country were abandoned because it was feared they would face death by the mice. 

The cats devise and start a scam to obtain money from people's credit cards. 

A 60 Minutes special shows the grasshopper finishing up the last of the squirrel's food, though spring is still months away, while the Housing Commission house he is in, crumbles around him because he hasn't bothered to maintain it. He is shown to be taking drugs. 

Inadequate government funding is blamed for the grasshopper's drug 'Illness'. 

The cats seek recompense in the courts for their treatment since arrival in US. 

The grasshopper gets arrested for stabbing an old dog during a burglary to get money for his drugs habit. He is imprisoned but released immediately because he has been in custody for a few weeks. He is placed in the care of the probation service to monitor and supervise him. 

Within a few weeks he has killed a guinea pig in a botched robbery. 

A commission of enquiry, that will eventually cost $10 million and state the obvious, is set up.
Additional money is put into funding a drug rehabilitation scheme for grasshoppers. 

Legal aid for lawyers representing asylum seekers is increased. 

The asylum seeking cats are praised by the government for enriching US's multicultural diversity and dogs are criticised by the government for failing to befriend the cats. 

The grasshopper dies of a drug overdose. 

The usual sections of the press blame it on the obvious failure of government to address the root causes of despair arising from social inequity and his traumatic experience of prison. 

They call for the resignation of a minister.

The cats are paid $1 million each because their rights were infringed when the government failed to inform them there were mice in the US . 

The squirrel, the dogs and the victims of the hijacking, the bombing, the burglaries and robberies have to pay an additional percentage on their credit cards to cover losses, their taxes are increased to pay for law and order, and they are told that they will have to work beyond 65 because of a shortfall in government funds.


The recession, destabilised


Smeargate may (or may not) be of interest only to political wonks. Only time will tell. The News of the World isn't usually of much interest to us, but it thought the story had legs. The Daily Telegraph - a newspaper, which has so lost its political way that it now employs people willing to spin the line of the worst PM Labour has every produced - thought it important enough to try to screw it up. In the meantime, as almost always, the Daily Mash makes it amusing. I particularly enjoyed;

"...a Downing Street insider insisted the latest revelations would 'destabilise' the recession, even though opinion polls show voters would prefer a combination of economic collapse, mental illness and gonorrhea to another five minutes of the Labour Party in government..."

I wonder if Mr Brown had any leisure, in between plotting dirty tricks, to read it. I do hope so, even though (or perhaps even because) he is such a humourless hoon* that I doubt he would enjoy it.

*euphemism employed © Guido Fawkes 2009