Enjoy your last day..

Last day? Of what? Last day for a lot of things. Lots of things that really matter. Or should really matter.

Ancient laws, concepts, paradigms, ways of living that have, over centuries, become part of our lives.

All are to be swept away at midnight tonight, as the Lisbon Treaty comes into force. Remember the Lisbon treaty?

The one Gordon Brown signed, covertly, almost secretly, after all the other signatories had gone home.

The one he signed after breaking his and his party's promise to give us a referendum.

The one the Irish signed after - in spite of having had a referendum and voted 'No'  - a second referendum got the 'right' answer, the answer the Eurocrats wanted.

And at midnight tonight, the final bolt slides home, and the door is locked. We're in. We're bound by the treaty. And that means some of our own inconvenient little traditions have to go.

The excellent Captain Ranty has made a little list, from which CF borrows extensively, below. By all means read his list, but be warned: it will - or it fucking well should - piss you off, mightily.

So, what are we losing? What's being taken away? Well, among other things:

Habeas corpus ad subjiciendum. Until today, no-one could lock you up without having a lawful reason to do so. Today, for the last time, if you believe that you have been incarcerated and no evidence supports that incarceration, you can demand a Writ of Habeas Corpus from the court. Tomorrow - when Habeas Corpus is gone - you could be incarcerated for up to eight months without charge.

Courts de jure : "courts by jury": as the clock strikes midnight tonight, your right to be judged by a jury of your peers disappears.

The dear old five pound note: according to the Treaty, "All member states must use a single currency". And it's not going to be fucking Sterling, now, is it?

Innocence until proven guilty. From tomorrow morning you, 'the accused', are guilty until you can prove your innocence. Instead of having to convince '12 good men and true' that you are innocent, you now have to prove to one man - the judge -  that you are not guilty.

Sovereignty.  Under the EU our sovereignty is dead and buried. No more English, no more Scots, no more Irish, no more Welsh. We are all 'European' tomorrow.

Democracy. When you wake up on Tuesday morning, we will have given away this method of rule, swapped it for an oligarchy. Our new rulers in Europe are not elected, they are selected. We had no say in whether or not Blair became President, and none of us chose Baroness Whatsit of Nonentity to be Head of Whateveritis, did we? None of us had even heard of her, much less voted for her. Expect more - much more - of the same.

If you're not yet filled with either boiling rage or abject terror, perhaps you should look very carefully at this, the most chilling statement from Captain Ranty:

"Legally, I could not have said any of this after midnight ... To criticise the EU becomes a crime then."

How in the name of fuck did we come to this?


Smarter Government? No, desperate Government

Over at the FT's Westminster Blog, Jim Rickart has seen the leaked copy of the Cabinet Office white paper hilariously entitiled 'Smarter Government', and he's not impressed.

With an election drawing slowly - far too slowly - nearer, and no sign of this bloody recession ever fucking ending, the Labour government are getting desperate.

The 'last chance' document is according crammed full with talk of savings that will (or rather could) be made.

There's just one teensy, tiny, problem: as yet, no-one seems to know what the savings will be.

The paper sets out the dramatic, immediate, focussed action, and the effects we can expect:

“..reducing the administrative expenditure of arms-length bodies by at least X% will save up to £Xbn a year”

Oh. Well, duh. Reducing expenditure will save costs, will it? That's what we should do then, innit?  Just a little more detail might help. What will you do, oh masters?

“..modernising working practices and the way we locate the business of government could save X%”

'Modernising', 'could', 'X%'. Well, that's about as vague as its possible to be, isn't it? Even for a promise from this bankrupt-in-every-way Government.  There's even, for a grand finale, this bold call to action:

“(Prof X) has been appointed to advise the prime minister and chancellor on the scope for further relocations”

How utterly pathetic is that last point? Someone - oh god, please, someone - will be appointed to advise on saving through relocation. It's just that no-one knows who that lucky person will be. It's quite quite likely that this inept bunch of lying thieves can't actual find anyone.

Well, would you take the job?


That's about right

Given the recent excitement here and in many other places, this Penny Arcade cartoon seems highly appropriate:

Hat-tip, JuliaM, in the previous comments

Anna Raccoon - the final curtain

Anna Raccoon is one of the better bloggers out there, and among the best in the Libertarian corner.

She has written many well-informed, insightful posts. Today's post is slightly different, describing her experience as a blogger.

You should go over there and read the whole thing, but here's a sample of what its like to be a widely read blogger who gets on the wrong side of people with too much time on their hands:

"..plagued by trolls on the site ..  and received a number of e-mails which should not have hurt, they were only words, but hurt they did. I was worthless, valueless, a piece of shit.."

"a tsunami of vitriol from two well known bloggers who kept up a campaign for many a month of continuous contemptuous articles denigrating me, and claiming I had no right to term myself a Libertarian"

"I have endured months of vitriol which yes, did cause me a lot of unhappiness; there is a real person behind this blog, one that doesn’t enjoy being on the receiving end of a vendetta

And with the endless criticism and mindless attacks (read the comments too) comes self-doubt:

"I am more aware than anyone that my posts recently have lacked sparkle, and been pedestrian. Most days I have struggled to write anything at all"

So, she's calling it a day. Giving up blogging, closing down her blog.

Ironic, really, that a libertarian blogger should be hounded out of business by those who disagree with her views.

++UPDATE++  'Anna Raccoon' has added to the somewhat excitable comments section below, and stated:

"My health is more important, and that is the reason I have given up blogging, so that I can concentrate on getting better and writing again, though admittedly I am also not in the best frame of mind to cope with those self obsessed people who believe that the world begins and ends at their doorstep or blog."

Thanks for clearing that up, Anna. As SteveShark, also below, says, let's move on..


Turning Japanese?

Day after day we see reminders that Messrs Darling and Brown, the Laurel and Hardy of international economics, were right about one thing.

When this global recession began, we we're indeed "uniquely placed".

So much so that soon we will be the only country in the fucking world still in recession, watching hungrily from the shadows while the other major nations gleefully rub one another down with 50 euro notes after their champagne baths.

And we're not exactly snapping at their heels either. We're stuck in recession, and even if the figures are massaged to show us coming out of recession in 2010 just before the election (golly, do you think Gordon would stoop to that?) we're a long way from the end of the tunnel.

The Spectator gives some horrifying clues regarding where we might be headed by looking at a similar-sized island nation on the other side of the world. Japan.

Twenty years ago that the Japanese equivalent of the FTSE index, the Nikkei, hits highest ever. Back in 1989, it was at 38957. Since then it has plummeted, and this week is hovering around the 9400 mark.

The poor ol' Japs have endured twenty - twenty - years of high unemployment, drifting in and out of recession, with new 'green shoots' promised by self-serving politicians every few month, while things repeatedly refuse to 'get better'

But how did they make such a mess of it? What did the politicians do?

Well, they tried to hide the problems from the public, to save their own skins. Major activities were kept in the dark. That ring a bell, does it? Can you think of a government that lent 62 billion to banks a year ago and forgot to to fucking tell anyone?

The Japanese government refused to acknowledge the cost of the banking crisis, preferring to sweep it under the carpet . Can you think of a Chancellor, perhaps with bushy eyebrows, who has invented a new way of measuring Treasury debt, which excludes the banking losses?

Because the Japanese refused to own up to their mistakes, and the costly remedies, investor confidence disappeared. No one would invest in their dodgy banks, so the banks had to keep coming back to the taxpayer, for bailout after bailout after taxpayer-funded bailout. Can you .. fuck it, you get the picture.

They also tried to force their recession to end by massively increasing state spending. Can you name a country, quite near here, where - in spite of rising unemployment - the public sector is still growing?

And how did they try to cover for the broken banks? By quantitative easing; by printing money. Can you think of another once great nation where the deafening roar of printing presses fills the night air, as increasingly worthless bank notes are conjured from thin air? Can you?

In short, the Japanese tried to cover up the enormous problems with their banks, printed a ton of extra cash and carried on waiting, waiting, waiting for a magical recovery to somehow drop from the skies. The result? Twenty fucking years of economic woe.

Can you think of another country that's taking that approach?

Turning Japanese. You really think so?


Tiger Woods - WTF? - #tigerwoods

Tiger Woods:

..pulling out of his own drive ..

..hits a fire hydrant..

..which makes him hit a tree..

.. and although he was going so slowly the airbags did not go off...

.. he was seriously injured ...

... his wife used a golf club to smash out the back window of the car...

... officers, who found Woods laying in the street drifting in and out of consciousness, do not believe alcohol was involved...


What. The. Fuck?


Brown Finger

In uncertain times, investors seek a safe haven, a secure store for their wealth. Gold - mmmmmm, gold - has long been the safest of safe havens. Safer than banks. Safer than anything, really.

Now that the chill winds of uncertainty are blowing, more and more investors are turning to gold.

So many that HSBC bank on New York’s Fifth Avenue just can't cope with the amount of bullion being kept in its vaults. Fleets of armoured security trucks are currently leaving Manhattan, loaded with gold bars and coins for safe-keeping elsewhere.

Apparently, gold is so damn popular across the board that HSBC - among others - has issued an edict that it wants all the poxy little retail investors to remove their single bars and coins to "make space" for big institutional customers.

The price of gold has gained 32 per cent this year and this week has been the best yet - Gold hit a new record of $1164 an ounce on Monday.

So, surely, now we're short of the old readies, perhaps Brown and Darling should cash in some of our ... oh, no ... wait ....

When our beloved leader, Gordon Brown, became chancellor in 1997, we had 715 tons of gold - an amount that had remained unchanged since the 1970s.

Lord Burns, then permanent secretary at the Treasury, said that he "recalls no significant discussion over the selling of gold" during his period time there between 1991 and 1998.

However, he left in July 1998 and within months Brown and his cronies had decided to flog more than half the country’s gold reserves. As with everything McBroon touches, this exercise was a spectacular fucking failure.

Brown offloaded our gold at a 20-year low in the market — its actually now known as the “Brown Bottom”. The average price received was $275 an ounce.

Thats $275 an ounce. Yup. And on Monday it was $1164 an ounce. Fucking genius.

Maurice Fitzpatrick of Grant Thornton, who is a much politer man than CF said:

“With the benefit of hindsight this was obviously a very poor investment decision for the country.”

Yeah, and the rest, mate. CF's quote would be slightly more pithy:

Thanks for nothing, Gordon, you fucking idiot.


Oh Ambassador, you're spoiling us

Sir Christopher Meyer was Britain's Ambassador to Washington back in the days when the evil Blair - rather than the gormless Brown - held the levers of power.

Sir C. has been wheeled into the latest Iraq enquiry, and boy has he given laughing boy Blair a hard time.

Pulling no punches, he criticised Blair's failure to "defend Britain's national interest" and his simultaneous failure to insist on much tougher conditions for his backing for President Bush. Attaboy!

Warming to his task, Sir Chris shared his view that crazed warmonger and Bush-poodle Blair had secretly - secretly - agreed to go to war at a meeting at the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, in early 2002, saying:

“There was a large chunk of that time when no adviser was there. To this day I am not entirely clear what degree of convergence was, if you like, signed in blood at the Crawford ranch,”

He even threw in a little soundbite guaranteed to enrage lefties everywhere, along the lines of 'Maggie would've done it better,Tony'. Mmmmmphh! Now that's gotta hurt.

"I think she would have insisted on a clear, coherent diplomatic strategy, and I think she would have demanded the greatest clarity about what the heck happened if and when we remove Saddam.”

Oh Ambassador, with these juicy observations, you're spoiling us.


House of Comments

Constantly Furious was honoured to be invited to join this week’s House of Comments podcast

He joined Mark 'Reckons' Thompson', Stu 'Sharpe's Opinion' Sharpe and Charlotte err.. 'Charlotte Gore' Gore, all top bloggers and frequent appearers on Sky News.

A fascinating discussion ensued, covering the possibilities of a Hung Parliament, Peter Mandelson's new Digital Fascism, the Paul Clarke case and the proposals that the PCC regulate bloggers.

Mark started well, and within less than 10 seconds had steered the conversation to his favourite topic, Proportional Representation. Mark has a way of discussing PR that makes even other PR evangelists shuffle their feet and try to change the subject to Eastenders, or Snooker, but the panel heard him out.

When the news was broken to him that even the hungest of hung parliaments might not let the Lib Dems bring in immediate and everlasting PR as a condition for co-operation, his disappointment was almost palpable. His quiet sobs can be heard in the background for most of the remainder of the debate.

Charlotte freely admitted having a 'Northern Accent', and indeed so distorted were her vowels that it was virtually impossible to understand most of what she was saying. Above the barking of her five pet whippets, the rattle of coal being removed from the bath, and the distant noise of rioting mill workers, it was just about possible to make out her views on a variety of subjects.

She was particularly strong on Mandelson's proposals for controlling our internet usage, and had some very useful technical tips on how to hide one's collection of Scandinavian special-interest movies from the digital police. She also provided all attendees with a link to download a free copy of Microsoft Office, but CF can't get his download to work.

Stu would not deny that he is slightly 'to the Right of Centre' (well, at least politically he is), and this was never clearer than when discussing the Paul Clarke case. He appears to believe that people should be sent to prison not just for committing crimes, but also for "being stupid". As host, Mark had to act quickly before Stu could develop this theme and propose that those with fewer than 10 GCSE's be driven into the sea using flamethrowers, then shot as they flailed in the icy waters.

Stu was also the editor, and what a job he had. Cutting out Charlotte's torrent of blasphemous obscenities must have taken some time. He also completely excised the section where Mark 'phoned Andrew Sachs and left a message on his answerphone containing various allegations about where his granddaughter stood on the Single Transferable Vote issue.

Notwithstanding, the podcast is well worth a listen.

Pop over to the House of Comments web page for more details. You can listen to the podcast there, or download onto your flashy iPhone through iTunes. You sheep.


Why do you pay tax, Daddy?

Graphs make everything easier to understand.

For instance, if someone told you that our woeful Labour government had massively increased - largely for their own benefit - the number of public sectors workers during the 12 years they've had their grubby little socialist fingers on the levers of power, you might find it hard to picture what 'massive' meant.

So here it is, in pictorial form. Feast your eyes:

Would you just look at that fucker. Oh dear.

The boffins over at Burning Our Money have been looking into the figures, and that graph is just the tip of a particularly revolting iceberg.

There are just over 6 million people working in the public sector, suckling on the public teat, according to the official figures.

However, that number doesn't include any of the staff in Higher Education, any GP's or anyone working for (or rather, in most cases, employed by) Network Rail, all of whom are clearly dependent on taxpayers cash to fill their paypackets. Add them in, and we're at 6.7 million.

Then you can add in all of those on welfare: they don't even have to go to work to paid by the taxpayer. And there's nearly 6 million of them.

Then there are those on the state pension. They deserve their pensions, they've worked for them, but they're still paid from the public purse. And there's 12.5 million of them.

So, in all, around 25 million people are paid directly from the pot that we fill up with the taxes we pay.

'We'? Yes, we who work in the private sector, the 'real' world. But there's only 22 million of us.

Yup, that's right. Every single worker in the private sector is being taxed to pay for someone else, plus a little bit more. The staff of every 100-strong company are being taxed to fund the lives of 113 other people. Dear God.

Pretty fucking scary stuff, eh?

But who should really be afraid? Well, if you're one of those 6.7 million public sectors workers or one of the 6 million 'on the welfare' and if you don't think that Gordon Brown's glorious reign over us is going to continue for another 5 years, and if you think that whoever inherits this godawful mess is going to have to take some pretty fucking drastic actions, pretty fucking sharpish, then...

Be afraid. Be very afraid...

Hat tip to BOM for the graph, and all that hard maths.

Global Warming Scam - the summary

CF has been wondering about producing a summary of the events and information around the recent uncovering of the global warming scam we all suspected was going on.

However, he was saved the bother when his presumably long-lost American cousin, 'Bob', produced this enlightening summary:

Yup. That's about it.


#paulclarke : ++ BREAKING ++ UKIP officially involved, Nigel Farage to attend sentencing

Gawain Towler, UKIP PPC for North Dorset, was mentioned in last night's post as having tweeted about the Paul Clarke case.

Constantly Furious wondered out loud if this indicated 'official' involvement from UKIP.

Mr Towler has just told CF the following:

"Just to let you know. Nigel Farage will be on the steps of Reading Court on the 18th.

He has supported me speaking to his constituent Mr Clarke from the start. The first meeting took place at the Merstham Home of our local constituency Chairman for example.

There will be more coverage of this, but I can assure you that Mr Clarke has the support of the entire UKIP leadership, both Batten and Pearson, and others for that matter.

Now that we know the details etc we will be prosecuting this case as loudly as we can. Trust me, this should not be a party political issue, but if the others cannot be bothered then we in UKIP will do all we can."

Well done the UKIP boys 'n' girls.

Just a reminder, Paul Clarke's MP is Tory Crispin Blunt. His website says precisely fuck all about Clarke's case and, unless CF is mistaken, he had made no public pronouncement on the matter.

What's your opinion on this, Crispin?


#paulclarke : UKIP to the rescue?

One of the odd things about the Paul Clarke case to date has been the total lack of involvement from politicians. Of any colour.

Of course, we don't expect to hear anything from Gordon Brown - this isn't X-factor, after all, for fucks sake.

However, we might reasonably have expected to have heard from MP's closer to the case.

Not a dickie bird from our latest Home Secretary, on this (or indeed, on anything else).

Anne Milton is the local MP, but that Tory lady's website is silent on the Paul Clarke case too. Perhaps she doesn't know that one of her constituents is about to banged up for five years for, in his own words,

"trying to be a good citizen .. I thought it was my duty to hand [the gun] in and get it off the streets"

++UPDATE++  Several people have emailed constantly.furious@gmail.com to point out that Clarke's MP is not actually Anne Milton, but Crispin Blunt. He's a Conservative too, and his website says precisely fuck all about Clarke's case either. Even though his website 'strapline' is "Working for you". Clearly, that's unless 'you' are Paul Clarke.

CF's interest was piqued, however, to see a 'tweet' on Monday evening saying:

"#paulclarke Sentencing pushed back to Reading on 18th Dec. Be there to stop this misscarriage of Justice"

As far as CF (and his many ears 'n' eyes out there) knows, that's the first broadcast of that particular information.

And was this from an MP? Well, not quite, but it was from someone who'd quite like to be one.

It was from Gawain Towler, who describes himself as

"Middle age, middle class, middle brow. UKIP PPC for North Dorset"

Now there's nothing on the main UKIP website about this case, but on Mr Towler's own website he has blogged about the affair, again with the plea to "get down to Guildford High Court on December 11th".

Clearly, as soon as the date changed, Mr Towler felt obliged to inform all of Clarke's supporters, but still, the question is begged: how the fuck does he know that?

Who told Mr Towler about the changed date?

Given that UKIP leader Nigel Farage is Clarke's MEP, did he find out via UKIP?

Why is he campaigning for Mr Clarke? Is he doing this as a private individual, or as a UKIP member and PPC?

In short, have UKIP jumped in to fill the void left by the local MP's neglect?

We'd all love to know...

++UPDATE++  Holly Thompson, the reporter who was in court, has confirmed the change of date. But how did UKIP know before her?

Honest? You aren't, Sally.

John and Sally Bercow. What a lovely couple, eh?

That John, he's a busy man. Pledged to single-handedly 'clean up' Parliament. To root out the dishonesty and lies that have infected the place in recent years. Tough on fibs, tough on the purveyors of fibs.

A tough job. Still, at least he has the home comforts. That lovely, fragrant wife of his, Sally.

It must be nice to go home to her every evening, and share the trials of the day, eh?

Tales of all the lies discovered, the dishonesty revealed. The bright light of truth, shone into every murky corner. You can imagine him sitting there, cocoa in hand, pompously going on about the "importance of integrity".

Wonder if Sally blushes a bit, tries to change the subject, shifts about on her seat?

She fucking well should.

The Daily Mail  this weekend revealed that Ms Bercow has some shameful secrets of her own.

Some years ago, Ms Bercow - then Ms Illman - was taken on by a leading City firm. Doubtless they were impressed by her CV which, amongst other things, claimed she had an Upper second in Theology. From Oxford University, no less.

However, when the firm rang Oxford for confirmation, they found that this claim was .. ahem ... a Terminological Inexactitude. A big fat porkie. A lie.

Sally was shown the door. She probably hoped the episode would sink into the sands of time, and be forgotten. She hoped wrong.

Naturally, on being accused, Mrs Bercow has issued the traditional response, tediously familiar to us all: "No I never"

Equally naturally, she didn't speak herself - a 'spokesman' - there's always a fucking spokesman - was deployed.

Managing to keep a straight face, the spokesperson informed the sniggering world that Ms Bercow had got an Upper Second. Just not for her degree. No. Eh?

Mrs Speaker-to-be studied Theology for her first two terms and scored that upper-second-class in her first-year exams.

She then switched from Theology to History, fucked that up, and left a year later. According to her contemporaries she ".. was asked to leave because of her poor academic performance".

Regardless, there's no argument that she left. Without getting to end of either course, and therefore without any fucking degree at all.

When the .. err .. erroneous CV was mentioned, the spokesman waxed indignant:

'In the CV she said she was at Oxford .. Nor did the CV say that she completed her degree.'

For fucks' sake. How stupid do you think we are?

Whilst 'at' Oxford, in all the spare time afforded by not bothering to work at her degree, the young Sally was an active member of the Conservative Association.

So observers were a little surprised when, shortly before aborting her course, she joined the Liberal Democrats.

But they didn't fret for long. She later returned to the Conservatives, and even addressed the party conference in 1993.

But then, ever fickle, by 1997 she had defected to Labour and was campaigning for Tony Blair.

She's stayed loyal to the red team, and recently announced that she will stand as a Labour candidate in next year's elections for Westminster City Council.

So, here we have a lady who clearly has no fucking clue about her own political views, willing to chop and change parties depending on where the advantage lies, and a lady who has not hesitated to lie about her past achievements in order to get what she wants.

She and the Labour party are clearly made for each other.


#paulclarke - and there's more..

More information on the Paul Clarke case, as it drip, drip, drips out.

The arresting officer has now said, regarding Clarke's visit to the police station to hand in the gun he discovered in his garden:

"Throughout this encounter Paul Clarke was calm, considered and respectful. It is clear to me now that he did come to the police station with the intention of surrendering the firearm to the police."

In spite of this, and in spite of having phoned the Chief Superintendent prior to arriving, Mr Clarke was promptly arrested, and the CPS decided to proceed with prosecution.

As was alleged yesterday, this was perhaps not the first time Mr Clarke had handed in a weapon at the police station.

A machete, planned for use by a vigilante gang in the very same Surrey village, was handed by the gang leader - 'an unnamed man' - to Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper in January of this year - the same Chief Superintendent 'phoned by Clarke regarding his most recent visit.

But is this relevant to the current case?

Well, as CF said yesterday:

"Doubtless [the police would] be extremely worried if they thought the sort of guy who could whip up a vigilante gang, and had a fucking machete, for Christs' sake, got access to any other weapons.

Doubtless, if he did, they might have reacted in a disproportionate manner. After all, fear, and particularly panic, can make anybody act very oddly.

Blogger and Liberal Conspiracy contributor Lee Griffin, tweeting as @Niaccurshi, who has been following the case online, questioning and interacting regularly, had the following point to make:

"It may be relevant if it explains police actions in avoiding HO [Home Office] Guidelines."

Indeed. A reason, if not an excuse, for what has happened.

More later..


#paulclarke - now THAT's interesting...

Those of you who are avid readers of the Daily Mail, and have excellent memories, may remember this disconcerting story., from January this year.

Following rumours that a sex attacker was on the loose, this fine-looking mob got together, in the Surrey commuter village of Merstham.

According to the Mail:

"The men, aged 18 to 30, said they would interrogate any suspects they caught and hand out their own punishment.

Yeah, lovely.

But shortly after they'd posed for the team photo shown here, their leader was summoned by Surrey's divisional police commander, Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper, and told in no uncertain terms that vigilantes were "not welcome" on his manor,

Now, where have we heard the name Adrian Harper before, eh? Oh yes, that's right. He's the head of the nick where Paul Clarke was arrested.

After what was doubtless an enormous bollocking, the gang's leader, who would not be named, said:

"'I guess a few of the guys got a bit carried away. We have ditched the balaclavas and handed in the machete."

So an unnamed vigilante leader in Surrey hands in a weapon to Adrian Harper down his local nick, and is sent on his merry way (albeit with a bollocking).

But he was unknown only to us. Doubtless the local police know exactly who this man was.

Doubtless they have kept an eye on him ever since January.

Doubtless they'd be extremely worried if they thought the sort of guy who could whip up a vigilante gang, and had a fucking machete, for Christs' sake, got access to any other weapons.

Doubtless, if he did, they might have reacted in a disproportionate manner. After all, fear, and particularly panic, can make anybody act very oddly.

Doubtless you are all putting two and two together, right now..

The plot continues to thicken.  

And, there's more to come.

Hat-tip to the inestimable Dick Puddlecote, who is clearly extraordinarily well-connected and has broken this on his blog too.

#paulclarke - next twist, coming soon

The Paul Clarke story will not lay down and die.  For anyone who has been living under a rock for 7 days, last weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

Want more information? Jack of Kent's excellent post from yesterday will fill in all of the details for you.

But there's more.

CF was contacted late last night, and informed that there will be a major announcement on this story today; another new twist. This 'pre-leak' has come from two apparently independent sources, both of whom have promised to give CF early sight of the news.

If anyone else has an 'in' on this news, email on constantly.furious@gmail.com , contact ConstantFury on Twitter, or Constance-Lee Fury-House (yeah, yeah) on Facebook.

As soon as CF receives full, confirmed, details on this next twist, you'll see them right here.

Watch this space...

(And by the way, numerous 'anonymous' commenters, this news is not that the Law Lords have decided that Clarke should be sent to prison "because he's an arsehole".  Sorry to disappoint all of you.)

#paulclarke - important updates

Last weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

Other than a short piece on page 25 of the Sun, which was not transferred online, coverage in the mainstream media has been pitifully inadequate.

Clarke's lawyer, Lionel Blackman, spoke to Eddie Mair on Monday's PM program on BBC Radio 4, but the story was very low key, and only added the bizarre fact that Clarke had once been found in possession of a cattle prod.

Comments at the original story have been disabled for 'legal reasons', and Holly Thompson, the journalist who was in court and wrote the original piece, seems to have gone to ground.

Is the story dying? Is it being allowed to die?

Well, one blogger has not let the matter rest. One blogger has pushed the boundary that divides journalism and blogging, and put the mainstream media to shame.

Self described 'Legal Writer' Jack of Kent has been busy, has researched diligently, and has come up with by far the best post on this grim tale so far: "An Anatomy of an Injustice"

You really should get over there and read the entire, excellent piece. He speaks about the law itself:

Mandatory minimum sentences for a range of firearms offences were introduced by the Criminal Justice Act 2003, one of the most notorious and illiberal statutes ever passed by Parliament. The director of the pressure group Liberty stated:

"In years to come, as more innocent people emerge after years in prison caused by these plans, we'll wonder how Parliament let this shameful attack on justice get into law".

The legislation relating to mandatory minimum sentences for a range of firearms offences were not even properly scrutinised by Parliament. They were introduced at the very late (and post committee) "Report stage"

So, the law itself is dodgy at best. But what about Clarke? Is he dodgy at best?

'Jack' has also spoken with the CPS, whose decision to prosecute is right at the bottom of this tale. The CPS throw a somewhat different light on the case (CF's emphasis):

Under the Code for Crown Prosecutors the CPS considered it was in the public interest to prosecute Mr Clarke as he was in possession of a sawn off shot gun.
He had come into possession of the shot gun and two shotgun cartridges some days earlier and had not immediately contacted the police to make them aware of its existence.
He was given the opportunity by the police to explain the full circumstances as to how he was in possession of the lethal weapon but his explanation lacked credibility.

Hmmmm. That's a twist, eh? 'some days'? 'lacked credibility'?

Jack has also described in more detail the court proceedings, and the behaviour of the judge:

"The judge summed up by stating this was an unusual case and that, as it was a strict liability, there could be no defence. However, he was careful not to direct the jury to convict: it was a matter for them.

Thanks to Jack's work this week, there's now much more detail in the public domain, and much, much more to think on.

Good work, Jack.


Oh, Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-Harriet.

News is breaking. Good news. News that one of the most irritating women on the surface of the planet is finally going to get her come-uppance.

Yes, Harriet 'Hattie' Harperson is having her collar felt.

Back in July, she drove into a parked car, whilst - wait for it - talking on her mobile 'phone.

Now that's fucking priceless.And, of course, a blow for feminists everywhere.

As CF said at the time

"Imagine if the makers of some crappy comedy programme on Channel 4 had dared to show a woman driver so busy nattering on her mobile 'phone that she drove straight into a stationary vehicle.

"There would have been an immediate feminist Twitter-mob, outraged at the defamation, followed by a statement from Hatty expressing her disgust at the outrageous sexist bias shown by the programme makers; followed, probably, by one of the producers of the programme being smeared as a kiddie fiddler.

But the stupidity of the crash wasn't the worst of it. Oh no. Having had this little entirely-her-fucking-fault bump, Hattie decided she was too important to hang around with the proles. So, she put the car back into gear, had a quick check in the mirror, and then got the fuck out of there.

As she roared off, she shouted a message for the little people who'd gathered to watch:

"I'm Harriet Harman - you know where you can get hold of me"

But you know what, Ms Harperson? That wasn't legal. You can't actually do that, no matter how terrifically important you think you are. Even if you are deputy Leader of the Labour Party, you're not above the fucking law.

Earlier this year, a police source said:

'If prosecuted and convicted for failing to stop after accident she could face up to six months' imprisonment.."

And now, to universal joy, we hear that she will - against all expectations - be having her day in court.

CF can hardly wait.


Labour want to stay on the gravy train

A nation rejoiced yesterday when Lord Adonis announced the best news heard on these shores since the ending of World War II
Grown men wept with happiness when they heard that no less ten railway stations in England are to modernised.

Imagine that. No less than 50 million pounds (of our money, of course) is to be spent to carry out improvements.

Fifty million quid? A drop in the ocean compared to the overall debt the McBroon and his cronies have pissed up the wall recently, but still a chunky sum to have appeared, seemingly out of nowhere, just to spruce up some railway stations. Why now?

Why, when nationally we haven't got a pot to piss in, are we tarting up railway stations?

Well, as the eagle-eyed Guido points out, there's another, hidden motive. Well of course there fucking is - there always is, with this bunch of lying crooks, isn't there?

The motive becomes clear when you look at the list of stations again:

  • Manchester Victoria - a Labour constituency
  • Clapham Junction - a Labour constituency
  • Barking - a Labour constituency
  • Warrington Bank Quay - a Labour constituency
  • Preston - a Labour constituency
  • Wigan North Western - a Labour constituency
  • Luton - a Labour constituency
  • Liverpool Central - a Labour constituency
  • Stockport - a Labour constituency
  • Crewe - recently Labour, currently Tory, but targeted by Labour to win back 
Can you see a pattern emerging? Can you?

That's right. 50 million quid of our cash is being poured into Labour seats, with the idea that, if our station gets tarted up, we'll just add that to the enormous list of 'things that got better under Labour' on polling day.

Anybody would think there was an election coming up. Anyone would think that the current Government were so utterly desperate, and had so little respect for our intelligence that we would fail to notice this blatant bribe.

Anyone would think Labour are trying to buy our votes with our money.


#paulclarke : his lawyer speaks on Radio 4

Lionel Blackman is Paul Clarke's lawyer.

Who's Paul Clarke? Where have you been? Over the weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

Mr Blackman spoke to Eddie Mair on yesterday's PM program on BBC Radio 4:

The sometimes-tenacious Eddie Mair didn't really seem to be able rev up his indignation much - maybe BBC lawyers were waving through the glass at him -  and seemed to be itching to move on to something 'lighter', perhaps about a skateboarding duck.

It has to be said, Mr Blackman didn't substantially add to the sum of existing knowledge in this dismal case, other than to reveal, somewhat vaguely, that Mr Clarke had previously been caught in possession of a cattle prod. A cattle prod?

This does lend a tiny, tiny amount of weight to the sadly-common argument "'eee deserved it - eee's a shitbag / a repeat offender / a moron".

But, again, do any of those faults merit 5 years in prison? CF doesn't think so.

++ update ++ comments at the original story have been disabled for 'legal reasons' . Hmmmm....


#paulclarke - what SHOULD have happened

At the risk of this becoming, temporarily, a single-issue blog, CF has more to share. Over the weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

Holly Thompson, the journalist who was actually in court for this case, and who wrote the original Surrey Mirror piece, pointed some of the people asking her endless twitter-questions at the Home Office's 'Firearms Policing Guidelines'

Since this is a PDF file of some 212 pages, CF has not quite finished reading it but Paul Walter over at Liberal Burblings has done his homework.

He found - on page 129, dear god - this highly relevant passage:

"Anyone surrendering an illegally held firearm should be questioned discreetly with a view to establishing its history but, unless circumstances exist to give serious cause for concern as to its provenance (for example, if it appears to have been stolen), the person handing it in should not be pressed.

The emphasis should be on creating an environment in which people hand in illegally held firearms"

So, given that, taken from an official fucking Home Office guidelines document, the perennial question "What The Fuck Is Going ON?" can only be raised once more.

In other relevant news, Stu at Sharpes's opinion can just be heard - over the deafening din of reverse gear being engaged - asking whether:

"..Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper who Paul Clarke met with before being arrested is the same Chief Superintendent Adrian Harper who was suspended for alleged dishonest conduct in May 2009?"

Well, unless there are several 'Chiefs' in Surrey with the same name, it would seem so.

The plot continues to thicken.


#paulclarke : the ONLY mainstream media coverage

This weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

One of the many mysteries around this grim tale is why it's been so very poorly covered in the mainstream media.

Holly Thompson, the reporter who was actually in court and wrote the original piece in the Surrey Mirror said earlier today,when told that there was little or no national press coverage:

"..it was in the nationals. Was sourced exclusively to the Sun who had it as a page lead on Thursday"

CF is not actually as subscriber to that august journal, but Dick Puddlecote is, and produced the following scan:

So that at least puts to bed the wild theory that this was all some kind of bizarre hoax, and that the Surrey Mirror was not really a newspaper at all.

But, but, but, why did this story not make it to the Sun online? Everything else they publish, all the other crap, seems to.

And, given the MSM's notorious willingness to pinch content from both bloggers and rivals, why is it not featured in any other online MSM site? Just try searching Google News - nothing. Nada. Zip.

What's the fuck is going on?


#paulclarke : the reporter in court speaks

This weekend there was a twitter storm over Paul Clarke, who found a gun, took it to his local police station and was arrested and now faces five years in prison.

This morning, a slightly bewildered-seeming Holly Thompson twittered this:

I'm the journalist who wrote the #paulclarke story. Wow. What a response.

Since the Surrey Times had the comments on the story switched off all weekend, she, and they, were probably unaware of the 'storm' until this morning.

Naturally, she's been deluged with questions, mostly from people seeking 'more facts', 'more facts'.

So far, the following has been revealed by Holly:

Ms Thompson was in court "For the full two days". She has "also spoken to Mr Clarke a lot during and after the trial"

 [Paul Clarke] didn't tell police he had a gun. He said: "I've got something to give you". He admits that was mistake but didn't know the law

"Mr Clarke didn't take the stand. His written statement was read out in court and not disputed by the prosecution."

When told that there were many 'disbelievers' out in Twitterland and in the blogosphere:

"I'm sorry to disappoint anyone but all the facts are there. We wouldn't have printed it unless we knew that for certain"

When told that there was little or no national press coverage:

"it was in the nationals. Was sourced exclusively to the Sun who had it as a page lead on Thursday"

When told that even that hadn't made it online:

".. its weird. Can only assume the nationals are just as dubious of my court copy as many other tweeters seem to be!"

CF has asked Holly to do a guest post here, and she has agreed. However, it wouldn't be astonishing if the Surrey Mirror (or someone else, eh conspiracy theorists?) prevented her from doing so.

Watch this space...


#PaulClarke - After the storm

Well well. Another Twitter storm. But one that CF played his small part in, this time.

CF posted yesterday morning on Paul Clarke, the bloke who faces a five year jail sentence for handing in a gun he found at his local police station.

The mainstream media have yet to pick up on this, and facts are thin on the ground, but the story looks and smells a lot like, at best, the misfiring of a broken justice system.

Gradually the story spread over Twitter, and one commenter, Benjamin Glass, created a Twitter tag, #paulclarke.

Suddenly, around noon, a tipping point was reached. By mid-afternoon, there were two storms raging - one all over the South of England, and one all over the Twittersphere. #paulclarke was 'trending'. This 'umble blog received more hits in 10 hours than it did in the whole of October.

With a controversial story like this, for every 50 people, there are at least 75 different opinions.

Stu at Sharpe's Opinion got all contrarian, posting that it served Clarke right, which caused further outrage in some quarters, including from our humble Devil, who begged to differ.

Mark 'Reckons' Thompson pointed out at that in October, a bloke was told by the police to do exactly what Paul Clarke was arrested for - 'bring it in, mate'. Jack of Kent took a more balanced view of the whole affair.

Hundreds of others blogged their two penn'orth, and many, many more sounded off in comments. CF wasn't quite subjected to a torrent of abuse, but there were many, many dissenters. Let's answer some of them, shall we?

'Clarke did a stupid thing' was a frequent critique. Well, duh, yeah, he did. Carrying a gun through town is not the brightest thing to do. (Possibly) damaging criminal evidence ain't that clever either. No arguments there.

But, but, but, hang on a fucking minute, when did stupidity become a criminal offence? When did being 'a bit silly' start to attract a prison sentence of five fucking years?

'You don't know the law' was a common cry (often appended with '..and I do'). Well, again, yeah. CF has never claimed to be a legal expert. CF doesn't know enormous amounts about vineyards and oenology either, but that doesn't prevent him realising when he's glugging down a particularly agreeable red.

And, on a similar basis, while CF is not fully versed on the details of Strict Liability or of Section 5 of the Firearms Act, this doesn't prevent him wrinkling his nose up at the foul stench of something going pretty fucking wrong.

Let's go through this again: a bloke finds a gun, takes it to a police station, gets arrested, goes to prison for five years.

What particularly subtle legal point - totally missed by CF - makes that OK, for fucks sake?

What particular Latin phrase - of which CF is clearly unaware - explains that sequence of events?

'We don't know all the facts' was another bleat. Well, for the third fucking time, yeah.

But what missing 'fact' could possibly, possibly justify this? What hidden information could be revealed to make us all simultaneously say 'Oh. Well in that case, fuck him; bang him up.'?

No, regardless of the legal niceties, regardless of whether Surrey Today has reported this wrongly, regardless of whether the armchair lawyers of the blogosphere are poorly informed, regardless of whether this Paul Clarke is a good citizen or a nutter, this is not right.

We need to stay angry about this, stay focused on this. Something has gone wrong. Badly wrong.

Whether it went wrong at the police station, with the CPS, with the judge, with the jury, with our legal system or somewhere else, it went wrong.

This is not right.


Beyond belief. Really.

++ Important updates on this story here ++

There's a term in law known as 'Strict Liability'. This is official, formal legal shorthand for 'You know what? I really don't care why you were doing it, mate'. 

Strict Liability applies to offences like speeding. So, if you're caught breaking the speed limit, you can't just claim that you didn't know, or that you had to get home to see the end of X-Factor, or you were fleeing violent axe murderers. Speeding is speeding. You cannot exceed the limit for any reason.

Now, this might not seem too unreasonable, really. A bit crude, a bit simplistic, but you can sort of see where the legislators are comin' from, eh?

However, what happens when lazy or inept legislators, rushing to put together yet another knee-jerk set of laws, use this as their own little shortcut?

Paul Clarke of Reigate can tell you.

Mr Clarke found a discarded shotgun and - rather than blagging a bank, or shootin' up some boyz in da 'hood - decided that he should hand it in at the local police station.

After all, possession of an unlicensed firearm is an offence, innit?

Oh yes. It is. But, unfortunately for Paul, it's a 'Strict Liability' offence. Remember them? No excuses.

So, when Mr Clarke arrived at the local nick - having had the courtesy to 'phone ahead to announce his intention - was he offered a cup of tea and the thanks of several beaming Bobbies?

Was he fuck. He was promptly arrested, and thrown into a cell.

When the case came to court, was he given an apology for the misunderstanding and sent away, without a stain on his character?

Was he fuck. 'Strict Liability', see?

The judge, directing the Jury, sealed his fate, saying,

"This is an unusual case, but in law there is no dispute that Mr Clarke has no defence to this charge.

The Jury, not really knowing what the fuck was going on, and probably slightly disappointed that this was not really like on the telly at all, took a scant 20 minutes to go along with the Judge's direction, and find the poor sod Guilty. Guilty. For fuck's sake.

So, will the judge now unravel this mess, and sentence Mr Clarke to something proportionate and tolerable: "you will be taken from this place and given a cup of tea and your cab fare home" ?

Will he fuck. He can't, even if he wants to.

There's a minimum sentence for the crime of possessing a firearm. A mere judge can't be trusted to know what's appropriate, so he's given guidelines from on high.

So - and here comes the sit down and brace yourself bit - when Paul Clarke is sentenced, on December the 11th, he must be sent to prison for a minimum of five years. Five fucking years. Five years in prison, for doing what pretty much every last single fucking one of us would have done in the circumstances.

What the flying, gibbering, fuckity fuck have we come to?

It's an over-worked phrase, but could you make this shit up? No, you fucking could not.

What kind of insane, kafka-esque fucking mess do we live in?

Really, really, really. What the fuck?

++UPDATE++  The reporter who was in court, speaks here. More facts begin to emerge.

++UPDATE++  The above was CF's most visited blogpost ever, and attracted huge volumes of criticism and comment. Some responses are here


Immigration: you don't really get it, do you?

Courageous Prime Minister Gordon Brown hauled himself to his feet yesterday and spoke - for the first time since becoming PM - about immigration.

In what must be his 100th U-turn since that happy day when he assumed the mantle of power, he's now decided that immigration is not a 'taboo subject' and that only the 'lazy elite' dismiss concerns about the 'strain' immigration places on .. well, on everything.

Now that's a bit of an about-turn, isn't it, Gordo?

We all remember that nasty 2005 general election campaign, largely orchestrated by you. Do you remember, McBroon? Do you remember how, back then, the eeeevil Tories were the oh-so-nasty extremists, with whom you would not even debate Labour's utterly fucking shambolic immigration policies.

Anybody even attempting to raise the subject was immediately shouted down as a racist. Any suggestion that immigation might even be controlled was dismissed as 'fascist'.

But now, now the BNP are nibbling at your voter base, now you've belatedly realised that its not just the Tories who are concerned, pretty much every voter is too, things change:

"If people ask me, 'Do I get it?' Yes. I get it."

Notice the typically Brownian twist in that quote. "If people ask me..". In other words, "I hope people don't ask me, but if they do, here's my prepared response". No-one can ask Brown for his opinions - you just have to fish for relevant sound-bites.

So, Gordon, you 'get it' do you? Oh, really? What are you going to do? What did you announce in your little speech?

Well, as ever, virtually nothing new. Nothing different. As always with this woefully inept Government, announcements are either along the lines of 'there will be an enquiry' or 'here's something we announced last year'.

You're going to tighten up the pathetic student visa rules? So that Business Studies actually means Business Studies, rather than Bomb-Making and Jihad Studies? Wow. Where do you get these radical, off-the-wall, blue sky policies? Whoever would have thought of that one?

You're going to make it harder for non-EU hospital consultants to enter the UK? Oh really? Coupled with the recent announcements that all Nurses will have to have a degree in future, the NHS is going to be pretty empty in a few years time, isn't it? Directorship at BUPA, Gordon? They'd be delighted.

What else, Gord'? What do you plan to do about the fact that 20% of young people can't find work, because they've been priced out of the market by cheap EU labour? What's that? Oh, nothing.

What are you going to do, McBroon, to prevent the population of the UK hitting 70 million in 20 years' time?

You say that's not going to happen, but thats not really enough, is it? To prevent it happening, immigration needs to be cut, by 75%. How will you do that? Sorry? Oh, you don't know.

Under your government's pathetically inadequate stewardship, England has become the most crowded country in Europe. A migrant now arrives nearly every minute.

Every minute, Gordon. What are you going to do about that?

Oh for fuck's sake, let's give up. We all know, Gordon, that you're not talking about immigration because you care about it, or because you know what to do about it.

You're talking about immigration purely, solely, entirely because you want a line of attack for both the BNP and those awful Tories. An artificially created dividing line. Something else to smear them with, as you did so succesfully in 2005.

For Labour, it's never about policies, it's always about politics.

Get it? You and Labour don't get it at all.


Which hand is the money in?

In her now infamous 'phone call with Gordon Brown, Jacqui Janes repeatedly stated that her son had died because of the lack of the equipment necessary to transport him from the battlefield for treatment.

Lack of equipment. Arising from lack of fucking investment.

Aviation lawyer Charles Haddon-Cave QC, asked to carry out an independent review of the Nimrod incident, concluded last month that the accident had been preventable and safety "was sacrificed for cost-cutting" within the MoD.

Cost cutting.

And, although he - as ever - caved in and U-turned eventually, Gordon Brown tried to save 20 million pounds by making savage cuts to the Territorial Army's budgets.

Savage cuts.

Isn't a theme beginning to emerge here? Oh yes, it is.

Gordon Brown and his woefully inept colleague Bob 'my word, I'm incompetent' Ainsworth clearly don't give a shit about the armed forces.

Even while the war in Afghanistan rumbles pointlessly on, Cabinet ministers meet behind closed doors to decide what can be cut next. Where can a few more pounds can be gouged? What else can 'our boys' be denied to leave more money for .. for ... well anything else really.

And, in spite of mounting public anger, in spite of the body count ticking inexorably upwards, in spite of us losing more troops this year than any year since the Falklands, Gordon is not going to let go of a single penny more. Not a penny.

Except of course, when it comes to the boys back home. Those brave, heroic men (and women, of course, and women) who selflessly push pens for the MoD. Sometimes spending hours looking at the same spreadsheet. Sometimes being forced to drink coffee that really isn't quite warm enough.

Who thinks of them, the unsung heroes?

Well, the fucking government do, for one.

These public sector chappies must be looked after. And looked after they are. Why, so far this year, they've been rewarded with more than £47 million in bonuses. £47 fucking million. What the fuck?

What in the name of bearded Jesus have these people done to deserve being paid at all, let alone being showered with bonuses like a wunch of bankers?

These are the people whose job it is to fight to cut compensation to soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. Even if those soldiers were wounded for want of vital equipment that these very same people denied them.

These are the people who, even when equipment and investment is not denied, are so fucking spectacularly inept that they spend most of their time gazing in dumbstruck wonder at the latest massive cost overruns and endless delays.

Paying them any kind of bonus, is just yet another clear 'fuck you' from Labour to the world. 'Fuck you - we don't care what you think'. 'We're big, you're small, we're right, you're wrong'.

Gordon Brown had better keep those troops in Afghanistan a lot longer. Perhaps until he's lost the election. And retired to become a teacher. And emigrated.

Becasue if they come back here, and see this, and see him gurning away in the House of Commons, lying about why he's cut their budgets, and boasting about massive investment in the public sector, then they're going to be pretty fucking angry.

And, Gordon, you don't want to make people like that angry.


Jacqui Janes - Counterfactual

Enough - more than enough - has been written about Mrs Janes, Mr Brown and their hugely public spat. But CF can't resist just one more look at this, from a slightly different angle.

Imagine if the story had started in a different way. Imagine a parallel universe, where things panned out ever-so-slightly differently.

Imagine if Jacqui Janes, on receiving that letter, was very moved by the personal touch and decided to ignore the spelling and focus on the sentiment.

Imagine if she had decided that her son had died fighting to defend his nation, and that these thanks from the nation's leader were heartfelt and entirely appropriate.

Imagine if the emotion that dominated within her was one of tearful gratitude.

Much as you may disagree with the above - and CF certainly does - you can see how easily that could happen, in this parallel universe. Jacqui could easily have come down on the other side of the fence.

Had Mrs Janes thought all of that, she would doubtless have told family, friends and neighbours. The story would have spread. Perhaps the local press might have got wind of this tearful gratitude.

Had that happened, the never-sleeping, always-hungry Labour PR sharks would certainly have found out, and leaped on the opportunity, grabbing and spinning for all they were worth.

A Labour-friendly national newspaper - probably the Mirror - would have been fed this, and promptly made it a front page story: 'Gordon's words to Brave Mum'.

The letter would have been shown, evidence of the PM's very personal concern. Other bereaved mums would have been found, trotted out to say how moved they had been by their letters.

Sarah Brown would have tweeted about this 'brave, noble' mother, and how her 'marvellous' husband had 'reached out' to her. A twitter campaign, #godBlessGordon, driven by Labour's tireless astroturfers, would have quickly followed.

A 'phone call would have been arranged - this time recorded at the Downing Street end. The transcript would have been passed to the Mirror, and made a second day of front page news. The bereaved mother's tearful words, and Gordon Brown, his voice cracking with emotion, trying clumsily to comfort her.

Psychologists on numerous television sofas would have reminded us over and over again that Gordon too had lost a child, and that was why he could empathise so very well.

Mrs Janes would have been invited to Downing Street for tea with Sarah Brown, and photographed on the doorstep with her: 'Two brave Mums, united in sorrow'.

CallMeDave and the Tories would have stood mute, teeth clenched with frustration, on the sidelines as the circus rolled on, unable to call this for what it really was, not daring to be seen to be criticising a poor bereaved mum.

Polly Toynbee would have wittered on for thousands of words about the new 'human face' of the beloved Brown, and how perhaps, after all - changing her mind for the 50th time - he was the man to lead the nation into a bright new dawn.

Many of us would have blogged angrily about the cynicism of this, about how the use of a soldier's death for political purposes was totally unacceptable. We would have been wasting our time. The right-wing blogosphere would have been dismissed as 'nasty' and anti-our-boys.

It would, eventually, have been leaked that the unfortunate soldier had actually died owing to lack of equipment, but this would be relegated to page 12, lost in the general positive uproar and relentless spinning of the slick Labour PR machine.

How easily this could have been a nauseating triumph for Labour spin.

How easily Mrs Janes could have been the poster girl for caring new Labour, a platform for Gordon's comeback, had she just made up her mind slightly differently.

And that, Gordon; that, Mandlesnake-crying-on-the-Today-programme; that all you left-leaning, Labour-puffing media puppets, is why you really can't complain when for once the tide goes against you, and you get your nasty interfering little fingers caught in the spin machinery.

Can you?


Scribblegate: two penn'orth

So, 'Scribblegate' rumbles on. The sorry tale of Gordon Brown's hopeless attempt at a condolences letter to a bereaved mother of a soldier lost in Afgahnistan.

And there are some highly mixed opinions across the media and the blogosphere as to the rights and the wrongs of this squalid ittle event.

Of course, CF must have his two penn'orth.

Spelling mistakes are just - just - understandable, particularly if the writer is half-blind and over-worked. You can believe that Brown may not have noticed the odd error. However, we - the taxpayer - cough up for a fucking vast retinue of civil servants, assistants and little helpers. They can't all have been busy making up poisonous lies about the eeeevil Tories, can they?

Surely somebody must have been on hand to have a glance at these letters before they went out?

Or perhaps there was, and perhaps there's such a culture of fear and bullying in the bunker that no-one dared say anything, for fear of spending the rest of the day in A&E having fragments of a Nokia phone picked out of their skulls.

However, what is not acceptable, what is unforgivable, is Brown's attitude when he made a mistake, crossed it out, and carried on with the letter.

If you cross something out, you know you've made a mistake. That's why you fucking cross it out. So at that point, regardless of whether he knew about the other spelling mistakes, Brown should have screwed up the letter and started again.

For fucks sake, you don't send any note out with crossings-out. If you're writing a fucking sick note to excuse a child from games and you make a mistake, you start again, never mind a letter to a bereaved mother.

Many people, receiving a letter like this, would treasure it. Some might even want to frame it, or to display it. Did Brown think of that as he scribbled on, the words "fuck it, that'll do" forming in his head?

Did he not think he should have another go, to re-do the letter when he made an error? After all, its not like he was struggling to find words, to know what to say, is it? He boasts of having done hundreds of these letters.

Was he so, so busy that he literally had no time to take the extra three minutes to write this one from scratch?

To not bother, to carry on and to send the note out shows such disrespect to the recipient, any recipient, and such a lack of awareness of what this particular letter is for and about, that you can begin to believe the rumours - the man must be fucking autistic. How else to explain his total lack of understanding?

But what this all boils down to, yet again, is Brown the man. Christ knows what Faustian pact he reneged on, or how many vengeful goblins he swindled out of their gold, but the man is truly cursed. Everything - absolutely everything - he touches turns into the purest shimmering shit. He cannot put a foot right.

No-one in their right minds would choose for a man this inept, this disconnected, this uncaring, this plain fucking embarrassing to be Prime Minister, would they?

Oh, that's right: no-one did.

++UPDATE++   For anyone tempted to play the "the poooor maaaan is disaaaaaaabled" card, read this. Posted by a partially-sighted person, who knows Brown has no excuse.


Send your Poppy to ASLEF

Constantly Furious was particularly enraged yesterday.

As described his last post, Rail company First Capital Connect were forced to cancel virtually all services for the day, as Drivers – members of Trade Union ASLEF - all decided not to show up for work, in a protest over pay. Read it and rage.

This on the one day in the year when Veterans, Soldiers and Military families wanted to travel to Remembrance Services. Many were unable to attend, for the first time in years.

Since posting, Union apologists have tried to pin this on a 'lack of organisation' by First Capital Connect: surely, they bleat, they should have had ‘some other arrangement’ in place. Bollocks. The '4 days a week plus whatever overtime you fancy' arrangement has been in place for years. And yet this 'problem' has never occurred before. Funny, that.

This mass absenteeism was not a co-incidence. No. It was a centrally-managed-by-ASLEF, old-fashioned 'work to rule'. Cynical, selfish and a slap in the face for the public.

Keith Norman is the current General Secretary of ASLEF, having been with the Union for 42 years. He is also - of course - a member of the Labour Party. So you just know that no-one in Government is going to utter a fucking peep about this disgraceful, devious back-door strike.

So it’s over to us.

On Wednesday this week, after the 2 minute silence, CF is going to remove the Poppy from his jacket, and send it to Keith Norman:

     General Secretary
     9 Arkwright Road
     NW3 6AB

With a note.

Yes, Keith, its a Poppy. Try to think, Keith, if you're able, about what the Poppy means, what we're celebrating and mourning on Remembrance Sunday.

Then think about whether it was right for your members, the 'brothers', to refuse to work and to deliberately disrupt travel on that day.

How do you and your members feel knowing that - thanks to them - some veterans will have been forced to watch the ceremonies on television alone rather than being there, with comrades, friends and families?

And all because you and your members feel that 38 grand a year for a 4 day week - and 50 grand a year with overtime - is just not enough money.

CF would be like to think that even a bigoted and blinkered Trade Union leader might feel some shame.

Why don't you all do the same?