Tuesday 6 March 2012

Have you read the news? Time to start screaming

Given that we are all clinging to a smallish rock that is hurtling through space at around 67,000 miles per hour, it constantly amazes me that we do not spend all our time screaming like passengers on the scariest ride at an amusement park.

Now there's something you don't see every day

Heaven knows, there is plenty in the news to scream about. Petrol prices reaching an all-time high, for a start. Plus our Prime Minister repeatedly endorsing the giant supermarkets’ bogus claims to be in the business of “job creation”.

When in reality we all know that they have thrown countless thousands out of work in the small retail businesses they have destroyed and the suppliers they have squeezed to death; and that they will not be entirely happy until they have trained us to stack the shelves ourselves, as well as learning to operate their wretched self-scanning checkouts.

Then there is President van Rompuy of Europe being reappointed without anything so tiresome as an election, Vladimir Putin winning a landslide in a charade of one, and the Yanks reaching “Super Tuesday” in their endlessly bizarre contest between a small assortment of multi-millionaire loons. None of whom a sane nation would trust to take charge of a school crossing patrol, never mind a nuclear arsenal.

Though all these look quite rational developments compared with the Iranian elections contested only by supporters of alternative fundamentalists Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Rather like a British general election in which the only parties standing were the BNP and the English Defence League.

Probably not exchanging highlights from the Frank Carson Memorial Joke Book

Not to worry, though. If the Iranians ever do get their hands on an atomic bomb President Obama or one of the aforementioned Republicans will undoubtedly take swift military action, in the way that has worked so splendidly in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Closer to home, we have the suggested privatisation of the British police: what a simply great idea. It has worked so well in the NHS, with never a case of MRSA and virtually every ward boasting a Michelin star since they contracted out the cleaning and catering. And the staff all so well rewarded and jolly, too. No wonder the Government wants to extend the idea wherever it can.

Of course, many of the functions of the police and judiciary were put into private hands years ago. Specifically those of a Mr Rupert Murdoch, whose minions have allegedly taken it upon themselves to boost the meagre pay of numerous serving officers, pass far harsher judgements than the courts on anyone who offended against their “values”, and even to provide an active retirement for some of the more intelligent members of the mounted branch.

Bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “covert surveillance”. Fox coverts, that is. Sorry, but it is the only joke I have yet to see cracked among the reams of “Horsegate” stuff about hacking jackets, neigh-sayers and foal disclosure.

There have been many spoofs of Bond villains over the years, but it is increasingly hard to picture anyone better suited to preside over a missile-packing, hollowed-out volcano than Mr Murdoch. True to form, last week he even dropped his Mini-Me son James into the traditional tank full of hungry sharks.

But let us not despair. We may still look forward to 76-year-old Engelbert Humperdinck restoring our national pride in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, generously sponsored by the manufacturers of Stannah stairlifts and Zimmer frames.

Engelbert: heartthrob

Though technically it ought to be renamed the Centralasianvision Song Contest since it is taking place in Uzbekistan. Where? It is amazing to think that, within living memory, Neville Chamberlain was talking about German designs on Czechoslovakia as “a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing”.

I hear that Engelbert will be singing an updated twilight home version of his classic 1960s hit, “Please release me – where am I?”

Yes, you’re right. The time to start screaming is definitely right now.

Originally published in The Journal, Newcastle upon Tyne.

1 comment:

CC said...

Screaming with laughter at your right on point description of our times.

Imagine my pride at your inclusion of the 3 ring madhouse of finding a Republican Presidential candidate here in the USA.