Posted by Jason O on Sep 20, 2014 in British Politics
, Not quite serious.
One of the trickier issues to do with the whole Scottish devolution debate is what to do with England. The kneejerk reaction, to create an English Parliament or just let English MPs alone vote on English laws causes problems because of the sheer size of England. An English First Minister would arguably be more important than the UK PM on domestic issues, especially if the scale of devolution Scotland is expecting is extended throughout the UK.
Some suggest England be carved up into “regions” with old titles (Wessex, anyone?), but that in itself has an air of artificiality about it. There are some logical areas with their own recognised regional identity (London, which has a potential First Minister in its mayor) and the south-west, but it could still be tricky.
I can’t help wondering, as an outsider, whether this is a real problem or just a symbolic problem that needs to be dealt with as part of the Scottish thing. So here’s a mad thought: at the general election, let English constituencies vote, alongside their MPs, for a Lord Protector for England. Yeah, it’s a dramatic but historically remembered title (and not my first choice: I’d have gone originally for WitchFinder General!) for a broadly symbolic role. Give the Lord Protector the power to “hold” bills he/she feels to be unfair to England, and to require them to be voted on by English MPs alone. It’ll allow for English voters to see that the special place of England (as the biggest bit that pays for everything else) is recognised, without having to create a duplicate English assembly. In place, the UK government of the day will almost certainly make sure to work with the Office of the Lord Protector on draft legislation beforehand.
And it’ll be a bloody fun election, for the posters alone. Just a (mad) thought.
2024: As Scottish voters go to the polls in Scotland’s third general election since it voted Yes to independence in 2014, many will be pondering how things turned out in the Scottish republic after its first decade as an independent nation.
The fact that it is a republic will certainly have come as a surprise to those who voted Yes in 2014. The passing of Queen Elizabeth II in 2019 gave the SNP the moment to dust off their plan to complete the project, rushing through a bill in Holyrood creating the office of President, to be filled by parliament itself. After much negotiation, a beloved Scottish actor agreed to take the position, although only as a strictly non-party head of state. The headlines were variations of “President Who?”
Criticism of the SNP administration is rampant, although, for certain reasons, not as boisterous as one would expect. The decision of the government to create and generously fund a Scottish Broadcasting Service dedicated to “the promotion of Scottish culture and values” tends to ensure that the government point of view is always put across. That’s not to say that the opposition parties are denied access. They’re not. But casual remarks about them as “the English parties” by the odd presenter is not unusual. The fact that the majority of the board of governors of the SBS have SNP connections isn’t remarked upon too much.
Likewise, the decision of the Minister for the Protection of Scottish Culture and Heritage to generously subsidise private media organisations which promoted the culture also had an effect on how the media covers stories. Indeed, cultural subsidy of Scottish produced media, very much based on the French model, with requirements that a certain percentage of material broadcast be created in Scotland, is the norm, and is much welcomed by the Scottish arts community. The joke is that former “Taggart” cast members are getting very rich on the royalties. Once again, there are murmurings about journalists not being censored or directed as to what to write, but aware of what side their bread is buttered.
Then there is the Scottish Security Agency. Stating that the first priority of a state must be to protect its people, the post-vote government immediately moved to create an internal security agency, staffed initially by former Scottish MI5 and British Army intelligence operatives. The agency was given the mandate to fight crime, espionage and terrorism, but also to prevent threats to Scottish values. It’s this part of its charter which has been most controversial, especially when it emerged that the SSA had been keeping opposition MSPs under surveillance. The Director of the SSA, meeting with a parliamentary committee, caused both outrage and applause when he defended the practice, pointing out that the former unionist parties had actively fought the existence of the country, and so their loyalty to the country must surely be in doubt.
That attitude is more prevalent than many admit. Many former Labour, Lib Dem and Tory politicians in Scotland chose to move to England after the Holyrood Parliament made it illegal for Scottish office holders to hold UK passports. Likewise, only those holding Scottish citizenship alone can now vote in parliamentary elections. Indeed, to qualify for social welfare payments, a Scottish citizen is required to prove that they had voted.
The period between the Yes vote and Scottish entry into the EU and other international organisations allowed the SNP, almost uniquely without international restraint, to shape the state in their own image, pushing through constitutional changes with a slim parliamentary majority. As the president comes to the end of his term, Scots vote knowing that the next president will, under SNP legislation, have the power to assume executive power, an idea the SNP borrowed from the “staunchly democratic” Erdogan administration in Turkey.
Polls show that the outcome is balanced between the SNP on one side, and the Alliance for Change on the other, but questions must surely be asked as to the ability of the SNP to move the state apparatus in its own benefit, especially with the use of oil revenues to subsidise “strategic” industries, again with the proviso that the SNP government have a direct say in the hiring policy of those firms subsidised. In the universities, membership of the SNP is taken as a wise move, career-wise.
Writers note: this is a pisstake, not a prediction!
Defence minister Simon Coveney TD has confirmed that Cork harbour will be the new home of Britain’s trident missile fleet if Scotland votes to expel them from Faslane naval base. “There’s nearly three thousand jobs associated with the servicing of the four Vanguard class submarines, and Cork is ideal. It’s a deep water port with straight access to the north Atlantic and did I mention it just happened to be in a certain parliamentary constituency?”
Modger Mole of the We’re-All-Going-To-Die Alliance has attacked the plan as a breach of neutrality. “Will somebody please think of the children!” Mole said in a 72 page press statement.
The minister clarified the neutrality position later in the day: “We’re observing what we call the Shannon protocol, which is where the country’s policy of neutrality is vigorously observed as long as it doesn’t cost us money. As we discovered in Shannon, many US troops liked buying duty free whiskey, Foster and Allen CDs and the odd Aran sweater, which activated the protocol. In this case we’re thinking of designating the new base as one of the old treaty ports, so that the submarines won’t be in Irish territory, but the paypackets will be. An Irish solution to an Irish problem.”
When asked as to whether it could result in Cork being laid waste by nuclear devastation, the minister replied “Yes, but how would you know?”
Posted by Jason O on Sep 10, 2014 in British Politics
, Not quite serious.
Announcing The Guardian’s new membership scheme (see here), Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has revealed that subscribers to the highest “Patron” brand of membership will be entitled, once a year, to a sexual encounter of their choice with him.
Rusbridger promised a “sweet, gentle” form of lovemaking, with the option of a good sob afterwards and a profound apology as standard for being a straight white man. Rusbridger has confirmed that gay sex will also be on offer as required, or for lesbians, the option of him preparing, instead of sexual pleasuring, a post-coitus meal involving pulses, seeds and grains, all organically sourced.
The imaginative initiative from the newspaper has put pressure on other newspapers to follow suit. The Daily Mail’s Paul Dacre has offered to give any of his readers “a damn good thrashing, you know, the sort of spanking they won’t have received since Eton.” When asked whether he felt that offer would match The Guardian’s, he replied: “Offer? What offer? What are you talking about?”
Posted by Jason O on Aug 5, 2014 in Not quite serious.
In a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Nethanyahu has announced that the country is to move lock, stock and barrel to a new location in the US state of Wyoming. Speaking in an interview with Fox News, the PM said: “We’ve been thinking about this a long time. This neighbourhood is going to shit, and we’re spending an absolute fortune on security. And, let’s be honest, we really just want to be Americans anyway. So we thought, hell, let’s do it!”
President Obama has endorsed the deal. “I think this makes sense. Let’s take eight million foreigners out of an area where they’re surrounded by loads of people with guns who think they’re effectively immigrants, and move them somewhere completely different. Like Wyoming.” The president had to excuse himself after getting a fit of giggles, and left secretary of state Kerry to finish the briefing.
A spokesperson for Hamas condemned the move: “This is just typical of Israel. Here we are, building up a Jew-hating brand for years, and now look! What are we supposed to do now? Schlep all the way to Montana or whatever? Have you seen the airline prices over Hanukkah? My brother in law has over 200,000 “Death to Israel!” tee-shirts in a lock-up in Jerusalem. What’s he supposed to do now? Do you know what the margin is on a Ready to Ignite Bibi effigy? You’re talking pennies. Pennies!”
Envelope? What envelope?
He’s not personally corrupt. Oh, he’s sat down with developers and followed up their queries with planners, but he does that for ordinary punters too. Nothing wrong with asking a legitimate question for a constituent, as long as you don’t try to get the planner to do anything wrong, and he doesn’t.
Elected to the council after the carry-on of the 1980s and 1990s, he doesn’t get approached for “favours”. He’s the new breed of the party’s councillor who wrinkles his nose at reading about yet another former party elected rep being done for corruption.
Yet don’t ask him to fight corruption. Don’t ask him to report anything he thinks is dodgy, and he sees enough of it, to the Guards or anyone else, because that’s just not done. He’s been known to turn on his heel walking into a toilet at the the council, when he sees a colleague receiving “papers” from a developer just before a vote.
In fact, that’s the thing. He actually spends time trying to avoid learning about corruption, because he can’t report what he doesn’t know.
“Trains to where, judge? Auschwitz? I just set the timetables. Couldn’t tell you what was in them. Was it strange that they were coming back empty? Do you know, I never thought to ask.”
Posted by Jason O on Jul 19, 2014 in Not quite serious.
, US Politics
In a crushing blow to the administration, a new Fox News poll has revealed that a stunning 94% of people who didn’t vote for President Obama in 2008 and 2012 disapprove of his administration and its policies.
“It’s a shocker,” Fox News’ Sherrii McBlonde told viewers this morning: “There are literally millions of Americans who did not vote for the president’s policies and now are bitterly angry that he is carrying them out. I mean, what sort of democracy is that?”
Sources in the GOP have called for a constitutional amendment whereby presidents whose names rhyme with Arak Mohama should be stripped of executive power, as a safeguard.
“I haven’t met a single ordinary American who disagrees with that sensible moderate proposal. Not one, in all the surveys I’ve carried out in the Republican caucus room. Not one,” GOP spokesperson Chuck Chuckerson III said yesterday.
We must work WITHIN the alien’s human eating system to achieve change!
His father had been a socialist utopian in his youth, marching in his long hair and droopy moustache For a Marxist paradise. He grew out of it, of course, and now keeps an eye on his pension portfolio, but there you have it. What’s the old saying? If you’re not on the left when you’re young, you have no heart, but if you’re not on the right when you’re old, you have no brain?
Our hero is worse. He has no soul. From the moment he joined the party’s youth section, he was a trimmer with a wet finger in the air constantly turning political direction. He wants to be in politics, but has almost no interest in politics. Ask him what his political values are, and he comes out with phrases that sound like they were tested by a focus group in 1998. He talks about how he is “proud” to be a member of a party, like a 1980s Japanese salary-man singing the Toshiba company song.
Where’s the rebelliousness of youth? Where’s sticking it to The Man? He doesn’t do that. He works with The Man, confidant that The Man will recognise his pragmatic loyalty to the party and reward him with a nomination in the forthcoming local authority elections. Put him on the telly and he wears his confirmation suit and tries to parrot what the party grown ups say. There’s nothing, NOTHING more mortifying than watching a 15 year old come out with stuff like “what young people want is fiscal rectitude and a cut in Capital Gains Tax.”
Remember that old TV series “V”, about the giant lizard mouse eating aliens disguised as humans, who came claiming friendship, and then set up a Nazi youth style organisation? He would have signed up. “We must work with our Alien masters, and as minister of state for Human Consumption I look forward to…”
And most of all, he’ll read this blog posting and think I’m writing about him.
Posted by Jason O on Jul 15, 2014 in Not quite serious.
, US Politics
Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) has announced that congressional Ðemocrats will be tabling a motion to impeach Texas governor Rick Perry on the off chance he’s elected president in 2016.
Speaking to reporters, Sen. Reid said: “We feel that the Republicans have made much more progress on their impeachment capabilities than we have. We tried to impeach Nixon for actual crimes, which is apparently very old fashioned now, whereas Republicans went after Clinton because he got more women than they did, and Obama because they didn’t like his name or that he believed in socialist concepts like gravity. So we’re thinking to be absolutely ready to go after the next GOP president. I mean, he’s from Texas. That’s a sort of crime, isn’t it?”
The Republican National Committee responded by announcing that it wanted to know why Malia Obama didn’t give regular press conferences, or appear before congressional committees. “What’s she hiding?” A spokesperson asked.
Note: this is a very long bit of fun I wrote in June 2013. It is obscenely long, so you might want a biscuit and a nice cup of tea. Alternatively, you can download it here as a PDF for enjoyment later.
Part One: A woman named Valerie.
The image, of a sad looking Adolf Hitler wearing a blue armband with a European Union flag on it, said as much about The Daily Mail as it did its cover story.
“Freedom at last!” the headline declared, with a smaller picture of young Conservative activists burning an EU flag in Trafalgar Square. Inside, a well-known right-wing historian speculated, perhaps through the use of a medium, as to how disappointed Adolf Hitler would have been at the news of British withdrawal from the European Union.
A free “Dad’s Army” DVD was given away with each copy. Read more…