Archive for July, 2010

Unemployed should ‘give work a go’, say government

July 30, 2010

The coalition government has unveiled plans to encourage the unemployed to find work, claiming that earning money in a job is “quite rewarding, actually”, and that welfare claimants “would benefit from giving work a go”.

Ahead of his speech later today, Work & Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith revealed the extent of his radical shake-up of the UK’s “broken” welfare system, insisting that Britain needed “workers, not shirkers”, whilst unveiling the department’s compelling new soundbyte: “Jobs are fun – you should get one.”

Mr. Duncan Smith told reporters: “Britain needs to get out of its wheelchair and get back to work, the lazy bastard. It won’t be getting any sympathy from me, that’s for sure, and it will thank me in the long run for being honest. I mean, why on earth would anyone want to be on benefits when they could be working? Jobs are fantastically rewarding – especially the well-paid ones – and I can’t imagine why no-one would want to get one.”

In response to critics of Mr. Duncan Smith’s hard line approach, who accuse the MP of being out-of-touch with the lives of Britain’s welfare dependents, Mr. Duncan Smith said: “I myself have been unemployed, so I know whereof I speak. In fact, in the late 70s I found myself living on an estate outside Edinburgh, struggling to adjust to civilian life after leaving the Royal Scots guards. Although we had 200 acres of grounds, there was very little to do, so I decided I needed to get a job. Luckily, my father knew the chairman of General Electric, so I wasn’t out of work for too long. In fact, during my 6-weeks’ unemployment, it didn’t once cross my mind to claim benefits. I saw it as a sign of weakness and it definitely had something of a stigma attached to it among my peer group. Plus, my parents had set up a trust fund, so I was able to chip off that as much as I needed day-to-day.”

Mr. Duncan Smith added that he “thoroughly enjoyed” his time at General Electric and that it had set him “in good stead” for the rigours of the latter part of his working life as MP of Chingford & Woodford Green: “I loved my directorship at GE, but the time had come to move on and once Norman Tebbit retired I saw this as an opportunity to make it in politics, which was something I always wanted to do. I certainly didn’t think of joining the dole queue along with 3 million others at the time, as I’m not the sort of person who can live off £40 a week and sleep in all day. Instead, I filled in an application and was eventually selected as the Conservative candidate for C&W – an area I’d aspired to live in for several years. I knew I couldn’t afford to mope around, as I had a family to support and it was my job to provide for them – luckily, my Dad knew a couple of bigwigs in Tory HQ, so I was pretty much home and hosed come the election. I’ve not looked back since…”

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Jersey fury over weather wrongness

July 29, 2010

The Jersey tourism industry is said to be “furious” at the BBC’s apparent lack of accuracy or regard when it comes to predicting weather patterns for the region, which is located somewhere in the Channel.

The JTI also slammed the BBC meteorological service for what it calls “pathetic and systematic undermining” of the island’s culture through repeated references to “tax exiles” and “Bergerac”.

A spokesman for the JTI, Peter Ian, said yesterday: “Jersey is a wonderful island with fantastic scenery, and there’s so much for people to do here. What we don’t need is to be patronised by some mainland weather forecaster going on about how the outlook for the next 5 days wouldn’t matter to us anyway, seeing as we’re all rich because of John Nettles and our 5% rate of VAT. It doesn’t do much for tourism or Jersey’s overall image, especially in these harsh financial times.”

The island of Jersey was first brought to the attention of the public during the 1980s, when hit BBC series “Bergerac” became a fixture in millions of households across Britain. The light-hearted drama, which followed the exploits of likeable detective Jim Bergerac (played by John Nettles), certainly served to put the largest Channel Island on the map – quite where on the map, however, is something which has confounded the BBC meteorological department for many years.

A spokesman for the BBC said yesterday: “The position of Jersey has changed dramatically over the past 20 years, although we’ve now got it pinned down to somewhere about 1/3 of the way between France and the south coast of England. It’s difficult to predict an accurate forecast for a land so distant and isolated, plus trying to get a temperature on to something so miniscule can prove to be problematic. Normally, we just wave a hand ‘down there’ and say that Bergerac-land will be fairly mild with a slight breeze and a chance of showers. Not that it really matters that much…”

July 26, 2010

Richard & Judy’s Column

Exclusive to the Daily Express, TV’s golden couple unveil their uncompromising new column guaranteed to raise an eyebrow

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Tchoh…

What? I haven’t even said anything yet.

But you’re going to, though…

Darling, I promise, scout’s honour, that I won’t go off on a weird tangent this week. I have resolved to stick purely to items in the news from now on…

It’d be the first time you stuck to anything.

Well look, just give me a chance…

Don’t get funny with me, I was just saying…

I wasn’t being funny with you…

You were, you raised your voice.

I was just emphasising my point, that’s all. Well look, I’m going to make a start now, OK?

Tch, whatever, just get on with it…

Don’t be like that – you’ve taken the wind right out of my sails now. All I wanted to do was…

Can you just get this column over with PLEASE?

OK, OK, sorry dear … right, where was I? Ah, yes, Strictly Come Dancing’s back and it looks like they’ve roped in some proper celebrities for once. We might have to tune in here in the Madeley household, since our old friend Felicity Kendal has been signed up for this series…

You mean you fancy her…

No, Judy, I was just saying, it’s nice, you know, to have some celebrities with a bit of calibre this time around, you know…

In other words, you fancy her.

No, but purely from an objective viewpoint, you’ve got to admit – purely objectively – that she ain’t half doing well for her age. She scrubs up OK, you know?

I knew it…

To all intents and purposes, she’s a bit of a MILF, eh lads?

Here we go again…

No, look, stick with this, Judy, you’ll love this once you realise where I’m going with this one…

I doubt it.

MILF, for those of you unfamiliar with the term, stands for Mother I’d Like to…

Yes, Richard, I think they get the point.

And you would, though, wouldn’t you? Eh, boys? Especially when she was in The Good Life. – phwoooaarrr! I tell you what, I’D have a few seeds I could help her plant, that’s for sure. She may well have been self-sufficient, but I’m sure she’d be have been able to make a bit of room for me. And I think she’d have found that I was, ahem, SUFFICIENT, if you know what I mean…

Judy?

All I was saying was…

Yes, I know FULL WELL what you were saying.

You’ll like this, though, Judy, because my point was that just because you’re over 60 it doesn’t mean you can’t be, you know, sexy…

So you DO fancy her, then?

Good God, no, not now, she’s ancient! She must be, like, 61 or something…

I’M 61…

And looking all the better for it, I’m sure our readers will agree. In fact, you’re a Mother I’d Like to…

Don’t be so disgusting, Richard.

Aw come on, don’t be like that, darling. Give a guy a break. I mean, you’re looking good today – I like what you’ve done with your hair. How about we, you know, have a bit of … you know … a man’s got needs and all that…

What YOU need is a bucket of cold water slammed into your face.

I bet Felicity Kendal allows her husband…

Never mind what SHE does…

Oh, but Juuuudy…

Honestly, I’ve never been so humiliated and ashamed in all my life…

You know, some people would actually find those two feelings quite arou…

Just SHUT UP, Richard, SHUT UP! For goodness sake, just stop, PLEASE!

But…

Are you going to finish this stupid column or what? I didn’t even want to sign up for it, but you had to keep going on about it, didn’t you? Honestly…

I thought you liked the Daily Express…

Well I don’t. I did tell you that months ago if you’d bothered to listen…

But…

I think you’ve said enough.

Police to solve crime for free

July 20, 2010

Police officers across the UK are set to begin solving crime using no money whatsoever in an ambitious plan set out by Home Secretary Michael Gove.

The Audit Commission, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Wales Audit Office issued a report stating that most, if not all, police spending could be minimised and eventually shelved completely over the next 5 years as part of a series of tough austerity measures being implemented by the coalition government.

HMIC spokesman Peter Ian said yesterday: “Whilst these cutbacks may seem initially harsh on the face of it, they will only make a negligible difference overall. What you’ve got to remember, right, is that most of the stuff the coppers use is all paid for already. Things like truncheons, CS gas, riot shields, cutlery, etc. are all paid for upfront. Plus The Bill is being axed later this year and they’ve got loads of spare stuff like uniforms, surveillance cameras, tape recorders and, of course, Sun Hill nick, which will be vacant from December.

“Sun Hill’s quite state-of-the-art these days, at least since PC Taviner blew it up in 2002 with a petrol bomb, and would only need a lick of paint at best, which could be done over a weekend if a handful of people are willing to spare a couple of hours. Plus you’ve got about 40 ready-made police officers who, quite frankly, would be grateful for the work – I mean, where else is there for an actor to go after appearing in The Bill? One or two of the better-known cast members may get in an episode of Casualty, but the rest are going to need to adjust to civilian life and start earning pretty quickly – and the best thing is, you wouldn’t have to pay to train them up, as many of them have been ‘serving’ officers for upwards of 10 years.”

The report also suggested that significant costs could be saved by “taking people’s word for it” more often and accepting things “at face value” wherever possible. “Too much money is wasted on needless bureaucracy and form-filling,” added Mr. Ian, “and, as part of Mr. Cameron’s so-called ‘Big Society’, it has been suggested that members of the public police themselves by using their conscience. Although this hasn’t been tested in any way whatsoever, it sounds like it might possibly work, so long as every member of the public agrees to play by the rules. Anyone who doesn’t will have to live with the consequences, that’s for sure…”

July 19, 2010

Graham Thorpe

England’s nuggety middle order batsman shares his unbridled expertise in cricketing clichés

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Regular readers of this column will know how highly I regard England spinner Graeme Swann. Swanny’s been on the circuit for years and has honed his craft to perfection – it’s as simple as that, no question. But you have to question his decision to clamber behind the wheel following a skinfull just after Christmas, for sure. I mean, what was he thinking? For sure, international cricket is intense and it’s natural for any player to want to unwind – that is not in question. I don’t begrudge any young cricketer having a few beers after a game – it’s all part of the camradcamracamor … spirit of being in a happy and successful unit. And don’t get me wrong – that’s important, without doubt. I’ve got a lot of respect for the Swann-ster and I know he can put this behind him and bounce back – he simply cannot let this affect his performances on the field, it’s as simple as that. I’m telling you, he has learnt a valuable lesson here – and that’s a fact.

I have to say I’ve lost a lot of respect for the Swann-meister following this incident, although I still think he’s a wholehearted and gutsy performer who deserves a lot of respect. And that’s the truth of the matter, let there be no doubt. For what it’s worth, my opinion is that copious drinking is fine, and a cracking way to get to know your teammates and opponents better in my opinion. In my opinion it’s a great ice-breaker, no doubt. But driving immediately afterwards is a bad thing and there are NO EXCUSES for it, apart from in genuine emergencies, such as rushing your mum to hospital or re-parking in order to allow your mate to move his Jag out of the pub car park. Other than that, it is ZERO TOLERANCE from me – simple as. Young Swann-o would receive shrot shirftshort shiftshrort shrift … an angry glare if he got his car keys out down my local after 6 pints – make no mistake about it. Unless he had a bloody good reason for it, such as showing his mates his new stereo unit or indulging in relations of the carnal variety with one of his fans. Otherwise, he can take a running jump as far as I’m concerned – for definite.

Now I don’t wish to dwell on G-Man’s misdemeanours, as he’s a top bloke and quality cricketer, no question, and I understand that life on the cricketing circuit these days can be tough – that much is understood. But what I don’t understand is how come he didn’t just order a taxi? Or at least leave it half an hour and buy a bag of chips to soak up the alcohol BEFORE he even THOUGHT about getting in that car – truth be told, it was an act of lunacy, pure and simple. Without wishing to dwell on this sorry matter any further, I just hope this doesn’t adversely affect GS’s chances in the upcoming Ashes series this winter – England need their premier spinner firing on all cylinders come the Brisbane test this winter, and that’s a fact, no question of a doubt whatsoever. What the lad DOESN’T need is for this incident to weigh on his mind throughout that series, as this would be the last thing he’d need – that’s for certain. What I’m saying is that the Aussies will be looking to capitalise in any way possible – make no mistake. The Aussies are a filthy bunch of convicts who would use any underhand means available to undermine their opposition – and they will be smarting from last year’s Ashes defeat for sure, no doubt about it. The best thing G-Dogg can do is to keep his head, and keep his head down and concentrate on letting the ball do the talking – in the end, it’s wickets that talk, and the G-Unit needs to let his wickets do the talking, that’s for certain.

At the end of the day, Ponting & Co. will be armed and ready for battle – question is, will Swann be able to stay off the wagon long enough to make a meaningful impact on this series? That’s the question, without question…

British scientists in major handshake breakthrough

July 16, 2010

British scientists have made history today by finally discovering a cure for bad handshakes after almost two decades of exhaustive research.

Unveiling a new “step-by-step” guide to the perfect handshake, TV psychologist Geoff Beattie told reporters: “The human handshake has long been a crucial barrier to success and friendship for quite a few people. Society associates a good, firm handshake with prosperity and strength, so I feel that a lot of people could be set to benefit from our twelve-point handshaking guide.”

Beattie, who shot to fame as resident psychologist on flagship Channel 4 show Big Brother, also recently discovered that tall, good-looking people are often more popular and successful, whereas those who are shorter and uglier are less popular and often bear a lifelong grudge which makes success at work and in relationships more difficult to come by – a factor which featured heavily throughout his research. “A tall, physically attractive person is usually in possession of what we refer to as the ‘ideal’ handshake, as they’re often stronger and more confident. We found that, metaphorically, they’re inside in the warm enjoying the party with all their wonderful, successful friends, whereas shorter, less attractive people are left outside, in the cold. And they’ve probably got shit in their pants as well,” he added.

A bad handshake, according to Beattie, is one which is “limp, lifeless and slightly damp”, whereas the perfect handshake “is warm, smells faintly of vanilla and carried out by someone physically attractive and confident”. Beattie, who is famously able to determine extensive psychological profiles of celebrities he has never met through the use of secondary information found in various media outlets, added: “A handshake is a kind of ‘shop window’ into a person’s soul. Bad handshakes often suggest characters who are more withdrawn, shifty and who probably live their lives as loners. Metaphorically speaking, bad hand-shakers are spotty, greasy and scabies-ridden. They tend not to go out as people will laugh at their hideous features – not to mention their disgusting genitals – eurch!”

Beattie, in his forties, concluded by illustrating his point using easy-to-understand examples from the world of celebrity: “A successful actor such as Robert Pattinson, probably has a good, trustworthy handshake which enamours those he meets almost immediately, whereas Rex from series 8 of Big Brother has a more elusive, shifty greeting which would instantly set most people on edge. Metaphorically, Pattinson’s shake is that of a solid statesman with great facial features, whereas lowly Rex possesses the dirty handshake of a vagrant who’d just scratched his nuts in the hot midday sun – not good…”

July 12, 2010

Richard & Judy’s Column

Exclusive to the Daily Express, TV’s golden couple unveil their uncompromising new column guaranteed to raise an eyebrow

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We’re really enjoying the summer here in the Madeley household and I’ve been soaking up the rays and watching the World Cup, whilst enjoying a few cans in the garden…

The garden you haven’t mown for six weeks…

OK, Judy dear, I’ll get round to it. Honestly, you worry too much. Anyway, how good has the World Cup been, eh? I was obviously gutted along with 60 million others when England got so cruelly knocked out a fortnight ago…

You mean they were thrashed.

Well, I wouldn’t have put it quite like that. I mean, who knows what could have happened had Lampard’s goal been allowed, like it should have been…

They’d have still been thrashed.

Well, possibly, but it’d have put a whole different complexion on things, wouldn’t it? Imagine we’d been 2-2 at half-time and Rooney started firing again with the whole team united behind him. We could have…

Lost?

Well, darling, it’s not as clear-cut as all that. You’ve got to look at it from a psychological point of view – that disallowed goal really shot them to pieces.

The Germans shot them to pieces, you mean.

You’ve got to feel for the lads, really, haven’t you? All those years of hurt…

I know how they feel…

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We were as shocked as anyone to see how events in Northumberland involving crazed gunman Raoul Moat unfolded. It was, dare I say, quite exciting watching the…

Exciting? People were killed, Richard, I don’t think THAT’S exciting.

But, er, no, er, what I meant was that the fact it was happening live was intense, wasn’t it? It was like being in a Hollywood movie. I wonder if they’d make a movie out of this. It’d be a terrific plot, wouldn’t it? Downtrodden hunk exacts revenge on a cruel society in which people keep cutting him down and undermining…

I’ll cut YOU down in a minute – honestly, Richard…

All I’m saying is that this is, in a perverse way, a victory for the “little guy”…

YOU’RE a little guy, and I don’t mean in stature, either. And you’re perverse.

Ahahaha, very good, Judy. If I didn’t know you better, I’d say that was quite vicious. I just hope I don’t suddenly, you know, flip and…

You wouldn’t have the nerve.

Well, you say that, but how many people thought Raoul Moat would end up doing what he did? He was just a normal, decent man like me, trying to do his best as a man in an increasingly female-dominated society…

Oh Jesus…

You’ve got to admit though, Judy, he’s something of an anti-hero…

Please stop…

Don’t you often wish you could get hold of a shotgun and put the world to rights? I mean, it’s the stuff of fantasy, isn’t it? How many times has someone said or done something to you and you’ve just thought “I’d really love to stick a sawn-off in your face and teach you a lesson…”

Oh, believe me, you wouldn’t want to know…

It’s becoming quite fashionable, though, you’ve got to admit. I mean, before Moat you had Derrick Bird, didn’t you? He went mad and shot a load of people, too. It’s definitely become a bit of a craze, hasn’t it? It’s kind of the crime du jour, if you like. It’s almost become kind of sexy in a way…

Don’t you think?

I’m only saying what’s on a lot of people’s minds…

What’s on YOUR mind, you mean. I’m embarrassed, I really am.

But…

Oh, be quiet. I think you’ve said enough already.