Lions led by pro Mini Golfers. The peculiar case of Lewisham’s Mayoral candidate.

Troubling times at Otto Towers – the old certainties are gone and I am obliged to take a quick gander at the candidates in our up-coming Lewisham Mayoral election that I might exercise my democratic right. Decisions, decisions. Labour’s Damien Egan is a centrist and would normally get my vote but currently – well I’m shopping around. One thing is certain, it’s not Jeremy Corbyn’s fault because as we all know – nothing is.

It’s a longer list than last time and after a quick look at the usual suspects, my eyes drift inevitably to the offerings from the right. UKIP aren’t fielding a candidate this year but thrillingly the newly formed Democrats and Veterans party are. If you’ve missed them I feel it my duty to bring you up to date.

Essentially, the DAVP seeks to bring a much needed Fairly Secret Army vibe to UK politics. It is led by John Rees-Evans who you will remember first came to our attention when, as a UKIP candidate, he tried to take a gun into a branch of IKEA in Bulgaria. John’s logic was clear; if any Islamic terrorists suddenly hi-jacked the soft furnishings department while he was shopping for flat packed furniture he would be able to take them out – Die Hard style. Sadly on that occasion this cut-price John McClane was stopped at the entrance by a security guard – who told him not to be a prat and promptly confiscated his pistol. Undeterred, Brexit John – who despite his opposition to migrants has spent most of his life living overseas – upped the ante and started claiming that a gay donkey had tried to rape his horse.

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Quite a logo for a party whose leader once claimed a gay donkey raped his horse

Since leaving UKIP – Mr Rees-Evans has teamed up with fellow veterans to form a party. The DAVP is campaigning under the gloriously meaningless slogan: “Don’t just BUY British – buy patriot” – and I swear to God I’m not making this up. Campaign photos on social media show a core team whose style could best be described as ‘gammon chic.’ A parade of flabby late middle aged Mitchell brothers – whose views and policies would be terrifying if the overall aspect wasn’t so unwittingly camp.

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Will Donelly – DAVP’s Lewisham Mayoral candidate

The group’s core values are summarised on their website as follows: Britain’s veterans have sworn an oath to bear true allegiance to our sovereign. An oath doesn’t expire. It is a solemn promise to be kept until death. So basically politics done by men who think that Who Dares Wins is the greatest film ever made – or stupidism writ in military form.

I was naturally eager to see who they had put up in Lewisham. Andy McNab perhaps…. or one of the 3,000 men who claim to have been on the Iranian balcony during the 1980 hostage siege….… oh no it’s Will Donnelly late of the Colchester 8th Cub pack platoon. Will is a former leading light in Young Independence – the Kipper youth wing – a holding pen for weirdos too weird for whatever the Young Conservatives are calling themselves nowadays and thus one of UKIP’s only useful contributions to society. His twitter feed reveals him to be an anti immigration Just William impersonator with a fascination for all the usual right wing nut-jobs and conspiracy theorists from ‘Prison Planet’ to – well ‘Prison Planet.’

Career options? He’s got them. He’s a professional mini golfer. Indeed, Will once ranked 2nd in the cut and thrust world of Junior UK mini golf (crazy golf to you and me – sane golf to these people) but his devotion to politics has meant the practice has slid and he’s now down to number 6. And yes, again, I swear I’m not making this up. As for his military record, well to put it mildly, the closest this representative of the ‘Veterans’ party has ever come to an actual vet was when his hamster was put down.

What to think Britain? What to think?

They say in politics that we get what we deserve – and in the Windsor Daviesy DAVP and this National Lampoon of a candidate the UK and even Remain voting Lewisham has precisely that. It’s funny – yes – but should I laugh at any mortal thing – it is perhaps that I may not weep.

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Lions led by pro mini-golfers

Easter Egg outrage – what the Bible tells us about chocolate eggs, confectionary and Fireman Sam

With the annual ‘Easter Eggs don’t have Easter on them’ outrage upon us Theologian Professor Kelvin Patterson goes looking for chocolate eggs in the Bible and turns up some of the lesser known passages:

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Eggs literally in The Bible

Leviticus 11 New International Version (NIV)

Patriotic and unpatriotic Easter eggs

The Old Testament is surprisingly expansive on the subject of Easter eggs with strict guidelines on the avoidance of halal chocolate.

49 The Lord said to Nigel, 2 “Say to the Britons: ‘Of all the eggs of chocolate on the shelves in Sainsbury’s, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any that has a hollow bit and that contains other chocolates therein. But make sure it is not a Muslam one – and specifically not halal – for I shall strike down any confectionary maker who doth do such a thing.

4 “‘Then there are the shapes to consider. There are some that are solid or are shaped like Fireman Sam, but you must not eat them for they are not actually eggs but chocolate moulded in the shape of children’s television characters and these are not festive. The Lindt bunny, though also shaped not like an egg is not a television character and is thus not unclean for you. 5 “‘The box itself should be made of five ells by four – not six by five nor three by two – for these are the ways of the Malteserites and Twixasees and anyone who eats these specific snacks will be unclean until evening and probably have a tummy ache for most of the rest of the day.”

fireman sam

Matthew 111 New International Version (NIV)

The Last Chocolate egg

The Gospels of the New Testament differ sharply on their interpretations of the Easter egg – with Mark making no mention of Mars or Rowntree while St John focuses almost entirely on the merits or otherwise of Flakes over Ripples. Matthew in stark contrast – puts chocolate eggs at the centre of the story.

20 When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Terry’s Chocolate orange and the twelve.21 And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you has taken the whole orange in the centre while I wasn’t looking.”

22 They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?”

23 Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the packaging has betrayed me. 24 The Son of Man will move on to the Mini eggs now. But woe to that man who takes any more while I am not looking! It would be better for him if he had not been born.”

25 Then Judas, the one who had taken the fudge sticks as well, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?”

Jesus answered, “Yes and you did this last year as well. I let it go then but not this time. I also suspect you’ve been at my tins of Stella in the fridge and while I’ve got no proof of it my father who is all seeing probably did and I’ll be catching up with him later.”

And Judas left them and later they found that he’d taken most of the cheese crackers as well.

26 And while they were eating, Jesus took the last cream egg, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and got the gooey bit all over his hands, saying, “Has anyone got a tissue or possibly a hand wipe because it’s right in my finger nails.”

27 Then he took the free mug that had come with the dairy milk, for Judas hadn’t half inched that and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 But make sure you wipe the edges before you pass it because there’s a shocking cold doing the rounds.”

30 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives and Jesus told them all that England was literally the best country and that it did not need the failing EU project and that a time would come when lefties would try to ban Easter eggs and that but that the people who done this was all hated there (sic) country and that Nigel would fight for him even if nobody else would because he said it like what it was.”

And it was good.

Next week in Pin Prick Bible studies – Noah – the disco years.

Money for Nothing: Paul Nuttall – invisible MEP

Let’s talk about Paul Nuttall. Remember Paul? You must remember him. Paul Nuttall who claimed he had not only been at Hillsborough but lost friends there – before remembering that actually his Press Officer had written that last bit on his website by mistake and left it up inadvertently for five years. Paul Nuttall – leader of the UKIPs for a brief inglorious spell. Paul Nuttall who once wrote an essay claiming that the Jews had brought the Holocaust on themselves – citing notorious Holocaust denier David Irving as his source. Paul Nuttall who claimed he had been a professional footballer (he hadn’t), Paul Nuttall who claimed he had a Phd (he doesn’t). Paul Nuttall who claimed he had served on the board of the North West Training Council (he hadn’t). Paul Nuttall who said he was living in Stoke-on-Trent (when he wasn’t). Paul Nuttall inventor of unsalted butter. Paul Nuttall – conqueror of Gaul, first man on Omaha beach, originator of roller disco, author of the Tintin books – whose legendary quest to break the land speed record ended in glory just prior to his winning goal at the 1966 World Cup final. Paul Nuttall. MEP. Still. You remember – Paul Nuttall.

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Paul Nuttall – invisible man

Now you may be thinking: “why bother with him? He’s yesterday’s news. Who cares about Paul Nuttall of the UKIPs? And anyway shouldn’t he be given some leeway given that he discovered the properties of penicillin?”

Well you would be right to some extent – but my beef is this. He’s still getting paid handsomely by you and me to do sweet diddly squat. You see, since quitting as UKIP leader, Paul has deleted his twitter account, deleted his website and even stopped writing his column for the pornographic Sport – but he hasn’t stopped drawing his salary.

In between unravelling the mystery of dark matter and the point of the hole in the side of the bic biro Paul remains MEP for North West England – but as far as can be asserted he has not attended the European Parliament nor served his constituents in any way since April 2017 beyond penning a handful of letters to the Wirral Globe. For the sake of research I did try to read those letters but in the process found, that despite having written Mill on the Floss, Paul’s prose style is apparently influenced by the sight of drying concrete.

Paul lives with fellow MEP and former actress Louise Van De Bours. Louise’s website remains active although her last activity seems to have been in April 2017 when she was railing against fat cat politicians who claim excessive salaries for doing nothing very much at all. Louise should know all about that. She herself was sacked as a councillor by Congleton town council after failing to turn up to a single meeting. As an MEP she fared little better ranking 735th of 751 MEPs. As far as I can tell, Louise has not attended the European parliament since at least April 2017.

Now – as MEPs Bours and Nuttall receive €8,484.05 (pre-tax) each per month – equivalent to a combined salary of £203,617.20 and that’s before the monthly €4,299 flat rate on expenses each are entitled to receive. That’s a lot of money to do nothing. There’s more. When the UK finally leaves the EU – Messrs Bours and Nuttall along with their fellow Brexit MEPs will also be in line for a £150,000 golden handshake (for all their hard work you understand) and a platinum plated pension pot.

Nice work if you can get it.

Now – I don’t begrudge people getting their dues, but the continued spectacle of the Brexiteer hypocrites – riding this slopping gravy train – at yours and my expense – while all the time railing against Brussels fat cats irks. That two of the central architects of that can seemingly rake in the cash while doing sweet Fanny Adams vexes even more. They might legally get away with it but they are typical of the UKIP/Brexit hypocrisy. Untalented chancers, raking in thousands of pounds (of your money) – while doing nothing.

NB I did write to Paul Nuttall in preparation for this piece – but he didn’t reply. Clearly too busy catching up with the Police Academy box set.

Don’t look back in anger – in praise of nineties Britain

In the run up to the EU elections in 1999, I was driving around Clapham Common when a people carrier, decked with UKIP banners and Union flags, appeared from nowhere and pulled alongside my car. As I peered right, a window wound down and to my complete bewilderment the elderly TV astronomer Patrick Moore appeared, monocle in eye and started shouting “Leave the EU!” in my general direction. Before I had chance to reply, his vehicle surged forward with a thrust and Moore fell back, eye-piece flying – as the car careered off violently down Battersea Rise.

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Patrick Moore – and biscuits

That wasn’t the first time I’d heard of UKIP, but it was certainly my first close encounter. They looked like crazy outsized Time Bandits, on a ride into oblivion. It was clear that here we had the lunatic fringe of the Conservative right, old men and young fogeys – out of sync with their time – berating the unstoppable advance of late nineties Britain from the open windows of their Japanese cars.

Now if you can’t remember the 1990s then gather round and pay attention my Millenial friends while Grandad takes you on a trip into the past. Yes you’ve seen Friends and decided it’s shit, but back then Central Perk wasn’t at…. well.. the centre of the known universe – Britain was.  Even the Americans admitted it. In March 1997 Liam Gallagher (Lennon on Instagram’s dad) and Patsy Kensit (ask your Nan she’ll remember) appeared semi-naked on the front of Vanity Fair and the magazine declared that London and indeed Britain were ‘swinging again.’

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Cheer up lads – you’re famous

Actually, Vanity Fair was late to the party. Britpop was over by 1997 and with the release of Oasis’s self-important and ridiculous ‘Be Here Now’ in August of that same year and the death of Princess Diana 10 days later, the feel-good nineties were soon to peak – but prior to that, for a few fleeting years, the UK basked in a sort of cultural and social idyll. Interesting things happened in almost all walks of life. The Young British Artists became household names. The Daily Mail railed against ‘in yer face’ British theatre and punters queued round the block. Trainspotting exploded onto the cinema screens and most significantly of all – the 43 year old Tony Blair entered Number 10 Downing Street – fresh faced and full of optimism.

Blair announced his victory with the words “a new dawn has broken” and it didn’t feel like hyperbole – it felt, genuinely, like a revolution. Not a shitty Brexit revolution – but a good one – where everybody gets cake and possibly a nice glass of wine.

Like many political contenders Blair had made a lot of crazy promises to win. Foremost among those were a reduction in primary school class sizes, a reduction in NHS waiting lists, an ‘ethical foreign policy’ and repeal of the much hated anti-LGBT Section 28. Incredibly for the most part he delivered. On day one Chris Smith became the first openly gay man to be appointed to the Cabinet, much to the rage of the Tory right. Money poured into higher education and primary schools, much to the rage of the Tory right. The minimum wage was introduced, much to the rage of the Tory right. Billions went into the NHS, much to the rage of the Tory right. New hospitals were built – you get the idea.

A lot of politics is of course luck and in that respect, Blair hit the jackpot. The British economy was already booming and advances in technology put mobile phones in ordinary people’s hands for the first time and DVD players and computers (with new-fangled internet) in many homes. The Good Friday Agreement, so long coming, ended decades of conflict in Northern Ireland.

The present was great, but the future seemed even richer with potential. Most of all – it felt very good to be British.

The icing on the cake was when the Chilean dictator General Pinochet, on a trip to London, was arrested pending extradition to Spain for trial on human rights violations and murder. Held for 16 months, Pinochet was eventually released on the grounds of ‘frail health’ but his detention marked a watershed in international human rights – no more would a dictator or former dictator strut the free world with impunity – a new bar had been set.

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Augusto Pinochet in happier times

And then – in September 2001 – the twin towers fell and the feel-good 1990s came crashing down with them (and yes 2001 isn’t the 1990s but that’s not how decades work.) Iraq 2 followed shortly afterwards and Blair threw his legacy away in pursuit of playing second fiddle to America’s second worst President in modern times.

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“Don’t throw it all away.”

Now before you all come at me on twitter with the “Blairite!” assaults let me stress and underline that even the early Blair years were very far from perfect.  Those big infrastructure projects were funded through PFI which was not the silver bullet it was cracked up to be – more a disaster waiting to happen. While the gap between rich and poor didn’t widen, it didn’t narrow either. Many of us who voted for Blair so enthusiastically in 1997 did not do so again in the wake of Iraq. The “Ethical Foreign Policy” lasted about three minutes. But – in that brief sliver of time between 1997 and 2001 we were offered a glimpse of what a modern post-imperial Britain could be. Not a nation built on Spitfires and spite – wallowing in past glories and dark blue passports – but a creative, forward looking country, at ease with itself; a tolerant, internationally minded, global player moving in the right direction – forward.

Those of us who oppose the current political course are in some need of a realistic proposition of what Britain could be instead and while we should never ape the past, we might perhaps reflect that there was a time – not so very long ago – when this country sat not just at the centre of the EU – but the world – steering a successful and very attractive course. That we allowed the crazies in the people carrier to take hold of the wheel should be a matter of deep regret – but not an unassailable obstacle in our path.

Is Your Man A UKIP Love Rat? Exclusive questionnaire from guest Agony Aunt Cosmo Polly Tan

Is this guy about 54 years old and was he previously married to three immigrants despite heading up Britain’s best known anti-immigration party?

A:            Why yes

B:            No

C:            He promised he’d change

When leaving his former partner did he:

A:            Dump her and her two small children on Christmas Eve and then fly back to be with you

B:            Take time to be with her and discuss where their relationship was at before parting on mutually agreed terms

C:            Wait until she found out about it in the papers

It’s Christmas – you’ve just started a relationship – does he:

A:            Buy you an Iphone and an Apple MacBook – sure it’s really unimaginative but you had a Samsung and an Amazon tablet and wanted an upgrade

B:            Whisk you away to Rome

C:            Go down the pub

boyfriend

When asked to choose between you and his job does he pick:

A:            Job obviously – but he said we could still have sex as long as nobody found out

B:            Me

C:            He’s not shown me much interest since we got married to be honest

How do his friends or colleagues behave around you:

A:            They welcomed me into the UKIP family and agreed with everything I said, right up until the bit when journalists read my twitter feed at which point they dropped me like a hot potato

B:            Normally

C:            They sing the Dambusters theme and quote lines from ‘Allo ‘Allo

On meeting your parents does he:

A:            Call your father ‘son’ and ask whether he has left school yet

B:            Politely greet them and ask them thoughtful questions before proffering a big bouquet of flowers and a bottle of something interesting

C:            He’s never been with me to Germany

Does he put his poor performance in bed down to ‘the inflated Overseas Aid Budget’ intimidating him:

A:            Well isn’t it?

B:            Don’t be puerile

C:            Bed?

Are you jealous of Meghan Markel because she’s everything you would like to be and has everything you want – including a Prince – while you’re stuck with an odd little man who looks like a cartoon:

A:            Her seed. Her – seed……

B:            No I’m an ordinary well-adjusted human being

C:            No that would be Nigel

Mostly A:  You’re Jo Marney – and for all your unpalatable views – you’re better off without your love-rat boyfriend Henry Bolton 

Mostly B:  Congratulations – you’re sane and your partner is possibly a bit dull – but undoubtedly a keeper

Mostly C:  Mrs Farage – you have our deepest sympathy

Hot Pin: 5 thrillingly “EU” things about the UKIP Conference

 

the-riviera-international

As UKIP gathers for what surely must be their last death throes (er I mean conference) in Torquay, one might be forgiven for thinking that this limping wreck of a party has chosen, in the dimming light of its autumn years, to celebrate the contribution the European Union has made to Great Britain.

1:            An EU funded Venue

The party has chosen (once again) to host its conference at a venue generously built with funds given to it by …….the European Union. The Riviera Centre in Torquay was built in the 1980s with the help of a £3 million EU grant

2:            German Keynote Speakers

UKIP continues to seek closer ties with other European political movements and the resurgence of the far right in Germany has obviously set their hearts aflutter, in much the same way that their political forebears, the BUF, swooned over that moustachioed lance corporal from Linz. A senior member of the AFD  is on their way to Torquay and will address the conference.

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3:            An immigrant leader?

Anne Marie Waters, current favourite to become UKIP leader, is an interesting fish in many ways but she’s not one that could be caught in British waters, on account of her “not being British”. The sometime Pegida leader and chum of pint-sized Tommy Robinson is  an EU immigrant. Born in the Republic of Ireland, educated in the Republic of Ireland, a citizen of the Republic of Ireland – she’s as British as the Blarney Stone.

UPDATE – The party has instead elected the relatively unknown former army officer Henry Bolton. Henry too is an immigrant, having been born and raised in Kenya. Thrillingly Henry has married not one but two European emigres. His first wife was Danish, his second Tatiana is Russian. Clearly UKIP’s concerns about immigrants do not stretch to their leaders, the leadership runners up, the leaders wives, ex wives or girlfriends. Very reassuring.

4:            A European Party – funded by the EU

Perhaps the greatest irony about UKIP is that the party would never have existed without the EU. It is a product of European politics, bankrolled almost entirely by Europe. The party may have 7 AMs at the Welsh Assembly (out of 60) but this is hardly going to be a springboard to forming the next government. Despite losing both Helmer (who resigned over misuse of funds) and Janice Atkinson (who resigned over misuse of receipts) UKIP MEPs still make up the largest single group in terms of British representation. Without the funding it receives from the EU parliament UKIP would (and will) go the way of Monty Python’s Norwegian blue.  Sadly things haven’t gone well recently with the “failing EU project” starting to ask  horrid questions   like “where has all the money we gave you gone” and even nastier things like “we aren’t going to give you any more.”

5:            As the delegates make their way to the sea-front to soak up the last rays of the dying sun they might be tempted to dip their toes in the sea, or dig their feet in the sand. If  so, they can paddle safe in the knowledge that this regenerated strip of sand has been made habitable by EU laws which forced Britain’s government in the 1980s to stop pumping shit onto our coastlines.

There’s an obvious joke to make at this point, but you won’t find it here.