Sunday, May 25, 2008

Britain - Victimised Since The 17th Century

Damn, what is it about us Brits?

Everywhere we've ever gone, we seem to annoy the locals. One minute it's Hello, old boy, that's a nice bone necklace you're wearing there... Oops, I seem to have shot you in the face. Oh, well, waste not, want not and the next there's twenty thousand fanatical guerilla warriors in the bush firing looted rifles at squaddies' heads.

And to cap it all off, the Torygraph is reporting that the Iranians have been paying Iraqi militias to kill British soldiers. That's Iran, mark you, a country we've fought against in only two wars, which by British standards should make them the diplomatic equivalent of jovial Sunday tennis partners.

England has fought France in over thirty wars, by my reckoning, but you don't see them lobbing rockets over the channel. Mind you, the French wouldn't piss on Britain if it was on fire, not unless they worked out how to piss petrol.

Anyway, I hate to say it, but I'm starting to think that there's something about our national character that just rubs people up the wrong way. Back in the day, even the Americans - our closest allies - hated our guts. We sent an enormous army to boot the warmongering, greedy French off their territory, and no sooner had we asked for a bit of help paying for the war effort than they started vandalising our tea and firing muskets at us.

Seriously, I've been doing some research, and I'm finding example after example - Sudan, South Africa, Ireland, India, Kenya, the list is practically endless. Obviously, we're a gregarious nation, keen to get out and meet new people, but it seems that no sooner would a couple of tens of thousands of British soldiers have got their coats off than the explosions and the anti-Anglo pogroms would start.

I'm stumped for an answer for this senseless aggression. It doesn't seem to matter whether we send the gentleman generals of the 17th century or the humanitarian taskforces of the 21st; whether we're handing out food packages and medicine or just massacring thousands of civilians, herding the survivors into camps and looting everything that isn't nailed down... I think we're just going to have to face facts.

We're not popular people, are we? The eastern Europeans are so ungrateful for our help in recent years that they won't even vote for our terrible songs in spectacularly camp talent contests.

It's a miracle there aren't heads on sticks on the beaches of Ayia Napa, for God's sake.

Well, all I can say is that if other nations are filled with such baseless, irrational hatred, we should let them look after themselves. Either that, or we could just follow the trend in recent years and shout loudly for the Americans to sort everything out.

Hell, they can't go anywhere without getting shot at either, but a quick flick through their newspapers would indicate that they're no closer to working out why that might be than we are.

Why Is Everyone So Bloody Miserable?

Come on, cheer up - it can't be that bad.

So, half the planet's on fire with terrorism and war? Worse things happen at sea.

Yes, I did see that news story about how enormous cracks in the North Pole could signal the imminent onset of serious global warming, but I didn't let it worry me. I'm a happy person, and I try to spend as little time as possible fretting over possible catastrophes.

After all, what's a little global warming? Sure, it'll probably mean famine and death for a good percentage of the planet's population, but that's just a drop in the ocean compared to what could happen. So turn that frown upside down!

I mean, you can't be telling me that you're sitting on a giant rock, hurtling through space at 108,000 kilometres a second, in an orbit that's criss-crossed by millions of planet-killing asteroids and comets, and you're concerned about a bit of a rise in global temperature? You worry-wart, you!

Honestly, there's no need to get stressed. After all, the last massive impact to strike Earth hit with the force of several billion Hiroshima bombs, IIRC, causing a kind of nuclear winter and the extinction of 90% of all land-based animals.

Oh, and it rained sulphuric acid for years :)

So, let's try and turn these lemons into lemonade... A bit of warming never really hurt anyone, at least not on the species level.

And don't try to tell me that terrorism is a threat to our way of life, you big party pooper. A new strain of airborne Ebola virus - now, that's a threat to civilisation. Let me put it this way... There wouldn't be much point in drafting a will, unless you wanted to leave everything to your cat, and it'd just do whatever it liked with your stuff anyway.

That's worst-case-scenario stuff, though. It's all a bit theoretical too, like what would happen if the HIV virus ever decides to mutate into a form that can survive a short trip by mosquito, which it presently can't... But then, presumably there was a point at which malaria couldn't, either.

Not that it would have to be anything so exotic, of course. The last major flu pandemic sprang up all over the world simultaneously without warning and killed about 50 million people. Like Osama Bin Laden compares to that, silly boots, and remember: that happened back when penicillin worked properly. We've been using so much penicillin recently that viruses have been wiping the floor with it all over the planet. Nowadays, your average virulent bug laughs in the face of medical science.

What's that compared to some desert-dwelling loonies?

See, it's easy to stay positive when you know how.

And, of course, we are running out of petrol, with all the war, famine and pestilence that entails, but it's hardly a supervolcano, is it? The megacaldera at Yellowstone alone could cheerfully depopulate North America in a few days, you big grump, and there are at least three in that region alone that I can think of.

That's before we even reflect on how little we know about the Sun, which could, without any warning at all, spontaneously belch forth enough radiation to fry us all in our beds. Really, walking to work doesn't sound so bad when you consider that.

So really, what are you worrying about? Have a drink and reflect on how lucky you are, especially since we know so little about any of these events that we can't predict them with any reliability, and would likely find out about them through practical experience rather than theory. If you really grasped just how little we know about these phenomena and exactly how precarious our existence is, you'd be far too busy quaking in terror and soiling your underwear to worry about the stuff you read in the news.

Of course, this is just the cinematic, sexy stuff. It all pales in comparison when you consider the fact that 99.99% of the species that have ever existed are extinct, largely due to this kind of thing, and that most of them spent their time roaring, eating, humping each other and sleeping, rather than building nuclear warheads.

So, there - I hope that's put your mind at rest, miseryguts. If there's one thing I can't stand, it's catastrophism.

Dr. F. Rodent, PhD Bovine Faecology

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cameron: By-Election Victory a "Triumph for Managed Democracy"

BBC News, 22nd May 2008

Citing the Conservative victory in yesterday's Crewe and Nantwich by-election, party leader David Cameron hailed the result as a "triumph for managed democracy".

Mr. Cameron told cheering supporters in Crewe that the victory was a watershed moment in Britain's march towards becoming a Russian-style plutocracy, ruled by two clans of indistinguishable, public school-educated management drones who intermittently trade power while each pushing near-identical Thatcher-lite policies.

"Today marks the beginning of the end for New Labour," he said. "Britain is tired of Labour's faceless, bureaucratic, authoritarian government, and the people are recognising the Conservatives' brand of faceless, bureaucratic authoritarianism as the way forward."

"People ask me what my vision for tomorrow is, and I'm always proud to tell them that under a Conservative government, tomorrow will be pretty much the same as today, except that the ruling party will have slightly posher accents".

Asked what the deciding factor had been in the election, Mr. Cameron was keen to focus on the bullshit.

"I think it's clear that the bullshit was the electorate's most pressing concern," he told reporters. "In fact, this campaign was all about bullshit, and I'm glad to say that the public gave their support to our disingenuous line in vacuous, content-free drivel and firmly rejected the vacuous, content-free drivel of the government".

"I make this pledge on behalf of the Conservative Party... If elected, I promise that we will retain Labour's policies on nuclear defence, the environment, free market trade, foreign affairs, the European Union, public spending, justice and prison policy, immigration and a host of other critical issues."

"We will," he continued, "create a new and entirely pointless Bill of Rights that alters our obligations not one jot, say lots of nasty things about foreigners and knock a few grand off Richard Branson's tax bill."

Crewe voter Agnes Dromedary summed up the feelings of local residents towards Mr. Cameron's visit. "He's got a very nice haircut, doesn't he?" she said. "He scrubs up quite well, too, not like that scruffy Scottish bugger Brown".

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Quick Question

Do you think that the government could announce an anti-smoking initiative so utterly cretinous that anyone would object?

If, say, a politician suggested that shopkeepers be legally required to deny the existence of tobacco three times before they can sell a pack of cigarettes, would the resultant bill face any opposition in Parliament? I wouldn't be surprised if any politician voting against it found themselves on the front of The Sun under the words Cancer MP Wants To Kill YOUR Children.

Any politician struggling for policy ideas is on a surefire winner with a crackdown on smokers. When the previous government all but promised the country that the ban on smoking in public places would cure death, the newspapers ate it up. Hell, every smoker I know believed it and repeated it with a straight face.

Thus it is with the Scottish Government, who have ensured their popularity throughout their first year by passing practically no legislation at all... But now the pundits have started to ask where the policies are, and as surely as the bus you've spent twenty minutes waiting for follows the click of the lighter, they've coughed up some shiny new anti-smoking proposals.

And boy, are we plumbing new depths of ineffectual wankery with this lot...

Shops will not be allowed to display cigarettes

Great news. Now, rather than pointing out the pack you're after to the clueless teenager behind the counter, you'll have to spend five minutes saying No, it's a white pack... Yes, like that but with gold bits...

Outlaw sales of cigarettes in packs of 10

I'm currently on 10-packs because the government has made cigarettes so extortionately expensive that I'm skint. Thanks, shitheads - you've made them so expensive that you now have to...

Crackdown on smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes

...Because who would've thought huge hikes in the price of an addictive substance would barely effect demand, and would in fact create a massive black market? Why, you'd have to be a genius to work that one out. And finally, it's time to...

Move to plain packaging for cigarettes

What? Really, is there an MSP who's actually going to vote for this? What is any of this going to achieve, exactly?

Look, this isn't really that hard. If I recall correctly, the figures for smoking show a steady decrease year on year, with a noticeable dip around the time they banned smoking in pubs. That's going to be the trend until smoking is the sole preserve of cranks and eccentrics, and it'll happen with or without this kind of political willy-waving.

Me, I'd really appreciate a bit of honesty here. Cut the pointless, grandstanding bullshit - if politicians are serious about stopping us smoking, then just go ahead and ban tobacco entirely and sacrifice the five-quid-a-day tax from every one of us. Anything else is just scribbling in the margins.

(Incidentally, it occurs to me that many commenters will feel compelled to remind me that cigarettes are bad for you, and that I should give up. Many people feel this is a reasonable argument - let me be the first to say, it's not. It's a tosser's argument.)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Who's Who At The Rangers Riot?

A Cut-Out-And-Keep-Guide to the annual European festivities of Rangers FC for children, including a full list of the various fans of other clubs and local thugs who disguise themselves as Rangers supporters before embarking on blood-curdling rampages.

Pick up your copy now and enjoy hours of fun spotting these common sights at international matches...

- Chelsea headhunters impersonating drunk Glaswegians to blacken the name of Rangers FC

- Rangers supporter castigating "The Media" for making Rangers FC look bad

- A small minority

- Violent Northern Irishmen, who don't count as Rangers fans because they're not Scottish

- Racist Zenit St. Petersburg fan deliberately provoking Rangers fan to stab him

- Vicious Spanish police launching unprovoked baton charges

- Scottish journalists serving their pro-Celtic agenda to blacken the name of Rangers FC by photographing 30 Rangers fans kicking and stamping on a prostrate policeman

- Spanish football team blackening the name of Rangers FC by provoking jovial, friendly crowd into attacking their team bus

- Manchester City Council provoking Rangers fans by offering free television broadcasts and facilities

Extra special bonus points awarded for anyone who spots these unheard of occurances -

- Scottish media figure thanking Manchester taxpayers for providing facilities and clear-up (5 points)

- Rangers FC spokesman accepting any responsibility at all for violence (50 points)

- Rangers FC spokesman offering an apology of any kind, to anyone at all, ever, for anything (100 points)

Featuring exlusive interviews with groups of Rangers fans who were attacked by overly-agressive police...

"I couldn't believe it - me and two hundred of my mates were innocently charging down the street throwing bottles and smashing up cars, when all of a sudden this crazed policeman attacked us, beating us on the feet and fists with his face, ribs and testicles... He'd obviously lost control of the situation. I blame the police." - Anonymous decent Rangers supporter

Also featuring an easy step-by-step guide on how to conduct yourself when following your club's foreign adventures, covering every possible eventuality from "Where to find handy projectiles" to "How to stitch bite wounds"...

1. What to do when watching the match on free big screens

So don't delay, order your copy today, and find out why everything is always somebody else's fault, and why anyone who says differently is crazed with bigotry!