The government may have made it illegal to let off fireworks after 11 p.m. (except on Bonfire Night and New Year's Eve) but no one seems to mentioned it to Romiley's criminals and insurgents. Some of the bangs in the night as October became November were reminiscent of WW II thousand-pounder bombs and the village's sleepless residents were left wondering what is the point of a law which can't be enforced? Except as another example of New Labour's consistent failure to think things through, of course.
Maybe they will get the job done this month after all. It's the Sunday after Bonfire Night, and most of the clutter has been cleared away from the site of the sewer repair. But the striped bollards and the traffic lights look liable to remain until the machine which applies the top layer of tarmac turns up and/or it stops raining.
Blame the council, not the compensation culture
Stockport Council is bragging about how it plans to waste £500 million of the ratepayers' money on yet another pointless remake of Stockport town centre. But the residents would prefer the council to spend the money on something more useful, like smoothing out the roads and pavements, many of which bear the scars of a decade or more of excavations by utility companies.
More puddles than pavement
Anyone who has walked Romiley's broken pavements (especially after heavy rain) or 'enjoyed' a bumpy bus ride to Stockport will not be surprised to learn that their council has paid out £14 million in compensation over the last 5 years to people who were injured by falls on potholed roads and crazy pavements. But it's probably expecting too much for the ruling Triv-Dems to spend taxpayers' money on something of real benefit to their customers.
If it's not one bloody thing, it's another!
The traffic lights disappeared briefly once the sewer crew had cleared up their bits and replaced the hijacked half of the pedestrian crossing lights on the north pavement of Compstall Road.
Friday, 19th November
Life doesn't seem the same without the road up. And it's a damn sight harder to get across it with traffic flowing freely in both directions!
Health Sec. John Reid's civil servants have come up with a novel-length script for the proles in New Labour's perfect world. It is peppered with rules, guidelines, advice and codes of conduct covering all aspects of life, including smoking, eating, drinking, exercise, lifestyle management and sexual health.
The Home Sec. has announced that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board will cut all future awards in half to help fund the £1 billion cost of the new health programme.
Attention short-sighted computer users : If you spend too much time gazing at a monitor screen, you will get glaucoma and your eyeballs will explode! The government advises all heavy computer users to have a cloth handy for a mopping up job.
Having a bad back causes your brain to shrink! Medical research has found that processing the pain signals leads to overuse of the brain and a reduction in the amount of grey matter in the skull of up to 11% for people with severe back pain.
NOTE : Medical opinion is divided on the issue of whether brain shrinkage will make room for expanding eyeballs and make them less likely to explode. The government's advice to heavy computer users stands.
Welcome! to ITV 3, a new, mainly repeats channel which has opened on digital TV. Cop shows are featured, including Rebus, Inspector Frost and Maigret, plus repeats of current episodes of The Bill as well as old ones, in addition to the usual boring dross.
Congrats to Bert Troutmann, who this month took delivery of an OBE for being tough enough to play the last 15 minutes of the 1956 Cup Final with a broken neck.
Congrats to the Pittsburgh Steelers for ending the New England Patriots' NFL record winning streak at 21 matches.
Congrats to Barclays Bank for winning an award from small businesses. It was voted the Worst Bank in the Universe for providing business services.
Congrats to Stephen Maguire for winning the UK Snooker Championship for the first time.
Letting 6 Royal Military Police officers swan about in hostile territory with insufficient ammunition to defend themselves, a radio that stopped working when they were 10 feet from their base and no regular contact schedule with their base; letting them go out on patrol without an Iridium satellite phone (the only semi-reliable means of communication in the area); and letting them walk into a situation which got the whole lot of them killed.
The Child Support Agency's backlog of 270,000 cases, its computer system that doesn't work, it's failure to pay out to customers the £720 million in its coffers, its unworkable assessment system and the decision to write of £1 billion as 'uncollectible'.
The failure of the Qualifications & Curriculum Authority to send out test papers to 14-year-olds on time in May, the failure to get the English scripts marked, handing out guesswork provisional scores and not distributing the actual scores until the end of September, 6 weeks late.
The government's failure to get the fox-hunting ban postponed until over a year after the date of the next general election, and the admission from the Rural Affairs Dept. that the ban is about class warfare and 'socking it to the toffs' rather than the welfare of foxes.
The complete collapse of the computer system at the Department of Work & Pensions.
The outfit running the nation's post offices is making such a bog of things that it is losing money hand over fist. Its only solution to the problem is to close down a lot of main post offices. As a result, a lot of desirable real estate will become available in towns and cities. So, ever the opportunist, the government has decided to flog redundant post offices to the gambling industry.
The government has been forced to offer a deal to its back-benchers to get the Gambling Bill through the Commons. They have been promised that there will be no more than 1 major casino on any given high street.
The best that can be said about the US election result is that a win for Prez Bush damages Vice-Prez Bliar.
The North-East gives a resounding NO! to New Labour's regional assembly
Ordered by Vice-Prez Bliar to promote the EU's plan to reduce England to a set of Regions, Deputy Vice-Prez Johnny 'Two Jags' Prescott took the news of rejection rather badly. He had to be restrained forcibly when he attempted to re-educate members of the stubborn majority.
It comes as no surprise to hear that a director of an Internet bookmaking firm bunged New Labour £50K four months before the government started selling super casinos for all and its Gambling Bill. But the bunger should be aware that £50K doesn't buy all that much from New Labour these days. They're way greedier than they used to be.
The Mugger still wants to be the boss
Chancellor Gordie Broon is making another attempt to position himself as the logical successor to Vice-Prez Bliar, ignoring the strength of the Anyone But Him movement in New Labour's ruling circles. He sees himself as a man with a mission to alert people to opportunities and make the UK a great place for business, workers and pensioners alike. All of which conveniently ignores his record as a ditherer and a meddler, who has sunk the savings and pensions industries with his Stealth Taxes, and who is currently presiding over the shambles which he has created in the departments that collect taxes and pay out benefits.
Compensation Culture who's to blame?
Lord Charlie, Lord Chancellor by virtue of having been Vice-Prez Bliar's flatmate, is making himself unpopular by having a go at the compensation culture. Cowboy claims firms, insurance companies, media scares, hospitals letting ambulance-chasers advertise on their premises and hospitals writing to customers suggesting they make a compensation claim and pointing them at a favoured ambulance-chaser are all to blame for it, he reckons. But Mrs. B. Liar must have screamed in his ear because Charlie is saying lawyers, particularly lawyers of the human rights variety, are entirely blameless.
Scottish parliament makes a grand gesture
Scotland Bans Smoking is the headline, but not for a couple of years, if at all, is the reality. In the meantime, posturing MSPs are threatening to fine persistent smokers billions of pounds and boasting that everyone north of the border will live to at least 100 once the smoking ban is in place. Closer to real life, pub landlords are worried that no one will bother going out for a drink if they can't have a smoke, too.
Attention M. Howard : It does you no good to get on your high horse over things nobody cares about, e.g. the shagtastic adventures of blond bimbo Boris.
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
It is widely believed that Vice-Prez Bliar has borrowed the boss's election-winning script for his next turn with the Great British Public. Like Prez Bush, insiders expect, the sidekick will talk up the threat to everyone in the country from mad Islamic suicide bombers, assisted by Home Sec. Blunk who is telling us that there is nothing to worry about while being unconvincing to the max.
Well, who'd have thunk it?
It has come as a huge surprise to a lot of people to discover that Boris Johnson is the most popular person in the country. He was sacked from his job in the Tory shadow cabinet for a touch of the extra maritals and curiously, all sorts of apparently sensible people are saying getting rid of Boris was a huge mistake, which could cost Michael Howard his his job.
Contemporary Political Concept: The Idiot Vote as in "Will it win the idiot vote?" The concept is based on the fact that there are a lot of idiots about see the results of the US Prezidential election!
Jonathan Stanesby of Fathers4Justice is in line for a bravery award after daring to handcuff himself to Margaret Hodge, the Minister for Covering Up Child Abuse.
Jacques Barrot, the new French member of the European Commission, is a convicted embezzler and Nigel Farage, the UKIP MEP who outed him, was threatened with legal action for doing so.
Vice-Prez Bliar promised to end illegal opium production in Afghanistan and the country is now producing record amounts of the stuff.
The French defence contractor Thales, which bunged New Labour and received a half-share in a £2.8 billion contract to build two aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy, is also paying £60K per year to Mrs. and Vice-Prez Bliar, less commission to the middle-men, for renting their 2 flats in Bristol, where Thales employees are working with the MoD on yet another multi-billion-pound defence contract.
The Socialist group of MEPs thinks it was okay for convicted embezzler Jacques Barrot to keep quiet about his shady past to get the job of European Transport Commissioner.
Blunk's Bobbies, the new auxiliary police force, are to be issued with body armour and personal firearms 'purely for their protection', the Home Office has announced. Resentment among the official police force as well as the public is expected to so high when Blunk's Bobbies hit the streets that they may be supported with armoured vehicles. They will have the same stop & search powers as the official police (but they will be excused form-filling) and a special licence to commit their own brand of police brutality.
Judges are threatening to quit unless they can have a bigger pension pot than the rules allow.
The Black Watch is to be disbanded by New Labour's military geniuses, junking 265 years of British history and tradition.
Margaret Hodge, the Minister for Covering Up Child Abuse, thinks the State has every right to be an intrusive nanny, issue directives to parents, and back them up with the full force of the law.
The government's insurance claim to the EU for £950 million compensation for the 2001 foot & mouth outbreak has been knocked back to £350 million as a 'fine' for New Labour's shambolic handling of the outbreak.
If you can't get a signal on your new G3 mobile phone don't worry, lots of others are in the same boat. You'll be okay in the South-East and the major cities but in the rest of the country forget it! The masts to connect you have not yet been deployed. And having paid out godzillions to the Treasury for the frequencies, the operators have to kill their customers with charges just to recover their investment before they can think of extending the system.
After watching the antics in the United States in the run-up to this month's prezidential election, the Prez Elect of Iraq called a halt to the proceedings in his country. "If this is democracy, you can keep it," he told the BlackFlag News correspondent in Mosul.
Attention football referees : Keep your eyes open if you ever work in Moldova. The chairman of Roso Floreni was fined £1,100 for driving on to the pitch and trying to run the ref over after a dodgy penalty decision.
The Definitive Fallujah Story
One sniper, dodging between buildings, held up 150 US Marines for more or less a whole day in the rebel city. The Yanks called down 2 air strikes and they fired off 35 artillery shells, 10 tank rounds and 30,000 rounds of rifle ammo, destroying 2 three-storey apartment buildings at a total munitions cost of $90,000 (whether they're going to pay for the buildings has not been disclosed). And at the end of it, the bloke was spotted just riding away unharmed on a bike.
Israel's war criminal leader Sharon described Palestinian Prez Arafat's death as a historic turning point in the Middle East. Maybe if he could be got into that French clinic, his ticket could also be punched to create a truly historic opportunity for an armistice. And if we could only get Prez Bush, Vice-Prez Bliar and the leaders of the European Union there, too, to do something about their historic compulsion to meddle in the affairs of other countries ...
"Arafat had all the power, all the popularity and, most important of all, all the money!"
Three British military police officers and their Kuwaiti interpreter plan to sue the US army for $2.3 million. They all suffered serious injuries when they were shunted off the road in Iraq in May of last year. Their vehicle was assaulted by the Yank driver of a tank transporter, who wasn't watching where he was going. Looks like a Yank at the steering wheel is as dangerous to their allies as their blind pilots.
If you're going to Bhutan, take your own ciggies because selling all tobacco products with be banned from December 7th. Tourists can carry on smoking but if they sell smoking materials on to the locals, they will be busted for smuggling.
Warning to Customers : the world's next flashpoint is the Ukraine, where the Russians think they have a divine right to rule by proxy, and where they helped a pro-Russian stooge to 'win' this month's election for Mr. Prez. The stooge enjoyed success on a truly Soviet scale in places, which had 96% turn-outs and everyone voting for the stooge.
Insiders believe that no matter how convincing the evidence, a British investigation is unlikely in view of the potential for embarrassment to outgoing UK Commissioner Neil Kinnock.
Appointed to fight corruption in the EU in 1999, Kinnock did absolutely nothing other than suspending Martha Andreasen in 2002 when she refused to certify the EU's accounts. Kinnock ignored her warnings that non-existent financial controls leave the EU wide open to fraud and spent the rest of his term trying to sweep the embarrassment under his office carpet.
Ms Andreasen was eventually sacked last month for disloyalty and refusing to keep quiet about EU corruption. Kinnock is to receive a peerage when he is evicted from office as a reward for ... well, no one knows, really.
A European Stealth Tax : The Socialists (what New Labour used to be) in the Euro Parliament want to impose a new tax to fund the running costs of the EU. The initial plan to slap the tax on salaries as an additional income tax has been junked in favour of a universal tax along the lines of VAT. The idea is that everyone has to pay it, they will feel more involved in the European Experience.
'Old Europe' to stand up to Fundamentalist USA
The Franco-German-Spanish Axis is resolved to confront the growing US influence around the world. If necessary, the political and economic power of the Greater European superstate will be marshalled to thwart US ambitions of achieving global domination.
A message of endorsement from his client and ally Osama bin Laden swung the fundamentalist vote firmly behind Prez Dubya Bush in this month's prezidential election.
Packers do their bit for democracy in the US
There is a curious connection between the Washington Redskins NFL team and prezidential elections. According to the Redskins' Rule, if the Skins win their last home match before the election, then the incumbent Mr. Prez keeps his job. This year, the Green Bay Packers, appropriately from swing state Wisconsin, wrought Halloween havoc on the Redskins and thrashed them 28-14 in their own backyard. So, if the trend is maintained, we should see George Dubya on his bike and turfed out of office. But that underestimates the power of the Republican machine in Florida and elsewhere to lie, cheat and steal its way back into power.
Bush Claims 'Pet Goat' Vote
The above is probably the most curious of the many eccentric election headlines, which sought to cloak the true awfulness of America's choice in relentless humour. But the fact remains that George Dubya Bush has managed to provoke hatred of the United States of America, its people and everything that the country stands for to an unprecedented degree world-wide. Such an achievement would normally be worthy of an award. We would suggest 'The Grand Order of the Choking Pretzel' as appropriate for old Dubya.
If you throw enough hundreds of millions of dollars at the problem, you can buy enough smoke and mirrors to bamboozle 52% of the people who bother to vote in a country the size of the USA.
The Bush re-election machine spent millions of dollars on pre-paid mobiles for a dirty-tricks phone campaign. The tactics involved calling suspected floating voters, pretending to be a Democratic party worker and telling the victim, with suitable enthusiasm, that John Kerry would make sexual deviation and abortion compulsory and burn down all churches.
"A major disaster for the free world and an even bigger disaster for the oppressed world."
As Vice-Prez Bliar heads for the US for a consultation with his boss, Prez Dubya Bush, he should remain mindful of the good old American saying:
Most of the people who voted for George Dubya Bush did so because they though he's honest.
Clarification required : Are reporters 'in bed with' US troops in Iraq or 'embedded' with them? Or is there no real difference?
The US Military is developing a hypersonic cruise missile. It will be able to hit a target within its range of 9,000 miles within 2 hours.
SMART-1, the European Space Agency's experimental ion-drive spacecraft, is officially in orbit around the Moon 2 months early after a trip time of 13 months. The probe will begin a mapping mission when it reaches a near-polar orbit, e.g. looking for water and carbon dioxide ice in permanently shadowed craters.
The withdrawal of labour has been made in response to the suspension of 2 police officers who gunned down a Scotsman armed with a table leg in 1999. Having followed the prevailing rules of engagement, the police officers and their colleagues feel that they have done nothing wrong.
The police are to be allowed to operate hundreds of hidden, mobile speed cameras to raise Stealth Taxes for the Treasury rather than to buy more speedcams.
High Street Robbery
The Big Banks are stealing a total of £1 billion per year via illegal handling fees on credit card transactions, the Office of Fair Trading reckons. The charging process and the commissions charged are both illegal under Article 81 of the EC Treaty and also the 1998 Competition Act in the UK. So the OFT is talking about cutting the fees in half. [If they're illegal, why aren't they being abolished? Ed.] This should open the door to damages claims by retailers, who currently pass on the cost of this rip-off to their customers. Quite how the ripped-off customers will get any compensation has not been disclosed.
Why the lie?
13 years after the event, the truth about the war to evict Iraq from Kuwait is coming out. Destruction of Iraqi chemical weapons released the nerve gas sarin, which was blown by the wind onto the coalition's troops. And this own-goal nerve gas attack is the cause of Gulf War Syndrome.
The European Commission has denied charges that bids from British companies are being excluded unfairly from tendering processes in other European countries. So it must be true.
New Labour's election-winning strategy for 2005 (as predicted in the earlier item in the Home News section above) is a Bill to make terrorism illegal one which won't become law before the election in May. In the meantime, Vice-Prez Bliar will send a stooge, probably the Minister for Sexual Deviants or Digging up Cricket Pitches (we can't remember which job he has and we can't be bothered checking), on the road to lie to the customers about current terrorist threats.
The joiner turned steeplejack, engineer and TV documentary star has died at 66. Fred Dibnah began his 25-year career as a national known figure in a film called "Fred Dibnah - Steeplejack". A string of films charting the ups and downs of his life and career followed. He became famous for demolishing chimneys by a replacing brickwork with wooden props and using a fire to topple the structure.
The man who represented Australia on the TV snooker scene from the 1970s to the 1990s has died at 75. Eddie Charlton was an all-round sportsman and one of the torch-bearers at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. 'Steady Eddie' was known for his physical fitness and he could grind down opponents with the best of them. But he was destined always to be thereabouts but never to win the top prize at snooker or billiards. He was awarded the Australian Order of Merit and the Australian Sports Medal for his services to sport. He took up 9-ball pool in his latter years and he was in New Zealand for an exhibition match when overtaken by his final illness.
The former captain of Liverpool FC and England has died at 57. Nicknamed Crazy Horse by the fans for his enthusiastic style of play, he was a member of Liverpool teams which won the League Championship 4 times, the FA Cup, and the European and UEFA Cups twice each. Liverpool never won the League Cup while he was there but he added that winner's medal to his collection with Wolverhampton Wanderers. After his playing career, he turned to broadcasting, becoming a popular team captain on the BBC's A Question of Sport, after-dinner speaking and race horse ownership. He was awarded an OBE for services to sport in 1980.
Flown from his shattered oubliette to Paris for hospital treatment last month, the Palestinian president lapsed into a coma and died with curious speed aged 75. Mr. Arafat took a traditional path in the Middle East, metamorphosing from terrorist to political leader, and sharing the 1994 Nobel Peace prize with 2 reformed Israeli terrorists. He leaves behind a battle for both the succession and control of his assets, which are estimated at anywhere between $1 billion and $6+ billion. He will be buried in Ramallah with the expectation that his body will be moved to Jerusalem when the fundamentalist occupation regime has been ousted.
A man whose life encompassed the entire 20th Century has died at the good old age of 113. Born in New Sharon, Maine, USA on December 1st 1890, Fred Hale worked as a railway postal clerk, raised a family and retired in 1957. He then enjoyed 47 years' retirement and died 2 weeks short of his 114th birthday. He was the world's oldest man for a year and he remained an active motorist until the age of 107.
Widely castigated as the "burglars' friend" over his reluctance to lock up criminals of any sort, the Lord Chief Justice has decided to retire 4 years early at 71. He has had enough of constant ass-kicking matches with Home Sec. Blunk and, trailing accusations of bullying and megaphone politics, he plans to fold his tent a few months from now and depart.
Our smug leader is making noises about holding a "cut & run" snap general election in February to whip his curs back into line. His back-benchers have been growing increasingly uppity of late and the Vice-Prez feels that they need a short, sharp shock to bring them back into touch with reality.
The country's largest retailer of electrical gadgets (the one notorious for high-pressure sales of dodgy service contracts) has decided to stop selling video cassette recorders and turn the space over to DVD players. So people with a huge collection of stuff on video cassette will be left in the same hole as those with a large collection of audio cassettes.
|Created for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.|
Sole © RAL, November 2004.