MPs Expenses, a cheap affair

The revelations of the way MPs were abusing their expenses system began in May. A whistle blower passed a CD (for a small fee) containing all the unsavoury details to the Daily Telegraph. At year's end the saga continues, with some MPs refusing to pay back the money they have taken.

This affair revealed the vacuousness of much of the political class; small-minded, self-serving, untrustworthy and largely shameless.

And let's remind ourselves who was in the vanguard of the expenses cover up. Harriet Harman, announced that MPs would be able to vote on a new "statutory instrument" which will stipulate that they do not have to provide accounts of how they spend their personal allowances to the people who pay for them: the voters. And the now Lord of the Midges, Michael Martin was also up to his elbows in the scheme to keep the public in the dark.


Bad News for Puzzle Fan

Puzzle fan Graham Parker finally solved his Rubik's Cube - after 26 years' worth of attempts. Unfortunately for Graham, Professor Erno Rubik launched a new toy, the Rubik's 360.

Sport doesn't build character, it reveal it.

Ted Hankey retained his BDO World Title with a 7-6 victory over a battling Tony O'Shea in the final at the Lakeside Country Club - unfortunately Ted had his true character revealed at the PDC Championship later in the year - sorry Ted, you made yourself look a prat.

Elsewhere, Tiger Woods discovered he was all grown up and traded his private life for a few shags. The episode filled not a few column inches in the press but it's all fish paper now.

On the Road to Sri Lanka

David Miliband (Foreign Secretary) took a sun, sand and surf, all expenses paid trip to Sri Lanka. He took time off from his holiday to visit a few concentration camps and to ask that nice Sinhalese government to call a ceasefire. The Sinhalese were intent, on slaughtering the Tigers and any innocents who got in the way. They really didn't give a toss what Millepede said. Sri Lanka is bankrolled by Iran and China - Britain's influence is non-existent. Update: the Tigers are all dead, so expect a new era of peace and prosperity except for the Tamils because they are all dead too.


Swedish music streaming service Spotify became a force to be reckoned with in 2009. As more and more people decide to rent their music rather than buy it. What this means for the music industry longer term is anyone's guess.


Swine Flu Panic

The World Health Organisation warned that the highly lethal mutant strain sweeping Mexico could create a global pandemic.

68 people had lost their lives to the flu in Mexico and now it was coming to destroy the British population but the virus didn't reckon on the amount of alcohol found in your average Britain and so, deaths here were very few in the event.

However, it did enable the health machine to demonstrate its war footing. Citizens should be in no doubt that Britain is ready to repel all and every viral threat.

Cover up at Deepcut

A smoking gun, a dead boy, two bullets in his head, no bullets counted in, army destroys evidence, coroner returns an open verdict, a shadowy figure is seen running away...a secret inquiry is held, the army says it's just another suicide, the army are forced to publish the report of the inquiry.

However, we still do not know who's killing soldiers down in Deepcut? There have been four deaths at Deepcut since June 2005, all suicides claims the army, the evidence makes this claim seem doubtful - one boy had five bullet wounds, three of them fired from some distance - pretty hard to do that to yourself.


Have a word...

New rules were introduced aimed to stop the anti-social thuggery of car clamping companies. Don't hold your breath. The new 'fair' measures will be 'policed' by the British Parking Association, the industry's trade body. Apparently, if clampers break the new rules, the BPA will have a word with them.


Inside the fisherman's tin

Ali al-Megrahi was released on compassionate grounds. Ken MacAskill, (dripping wet liberal Scottish Justice Minister) made the decision to release Megrahi all on his own.

None of the following had anything to do with it; Alex Salmond (Scots First Minister), Prince Andrew, (oily trade envoy, pun intended), Tony Blair, (professional lunch guest), G. Brown (hanging on as British Prime Minister) and Jack Straw (Justice Minister, when he can be bothered).





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Teflon Tony has an attack of honesty and gets ready for the Chilcot inquiry

In a question and answer session with students at Yale University, Blair said: "It is true that we had 10 years of record growth when I was Prime Minister. I have, unfortunately, come to the conclusion that it was luck." Well, that was Tone in January. In December he said he would have taken the country to war in Iraq, with or without WMDs. That lets him off all the lying then.


Unlike Brown, at least Bernie knows where the money went...

The millionaire sucker list grew longer, in the early months of the year, of all those who bought into Bernard L. Madoff's Ponzi scheme.


Swedes discover a sense of humour...

Barack Obama is sworn in as US President - good man, always takes the stairs apparently; as he wouldn't want to get stuck in a lift with Crunch Brown. And for reasons as yet unknown Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. Other shortlisted candidates included Mugabe and Kim Il-sung.

Guantanamo Bay - closed to further business.

Obama is running down his Cuban concentration camp business but has a stock problem. He just can't shift the last few jihadists from the shelves. So, next year, remaining stock will be housed in a maximum security store on the US mainland.

PS Binyam Mohamed wishes all UK taxpayers a Happy New Year.


Not laughing now, are you?

Amanda Knox is set to appeal against her 26 year prison sentence for the sexual assault and murder of Meredith Kercher.

Arrested four days after Kercher's bloodied and bruised body was found in her bedroom, in the Perugia cottage she shared with Knox, on Nov 2, 2007.

The appeal could take some time; Italy has an 8m case backlog.


Free Health Care - not exactly

Obama finally managed to get his health bill passed. This turned him into a hate figure for America's rabid right wingers. Basically, it was a lot of fuss about nothing; health insurance subsidies for around 30m of America's poorest citizens.


We're all Chinese Now!

As of Monday 16th February, 2009 it became illegal to take photographs of the police under section 76 of the Counter Terrorism Act. Also, many quasi police officers, PCSOs, security guards, enforcement officers, have been misinterpreting this law by telling tourists that they will be arrested if they take pictures of public buildings. You know, just like they do in China.


The Chilcot Inquiry

In November the Chilcot Inquiry got underway. We had already seen two shameful inquiries in relation to Iraq; Hutton and Butler, now we wait to see what and how much we be revealed by Chilcot. But let's remind ourselves that Brown wanted to keep everything behind closed doors.


Turner Prize Winner 2009

Richard Wright's roll of wall paper has won the £25,000 Turner Prize. Wright himself said: "I am interested in placing painting in the situation where it collides with the world; the fragility of that existence. Being here for a short period of time, I feel, heightens the experience of it being here."

(You're not actually here Richard, you only think you are.)


CQC Report into Elderly Care

The Care Quality Commission (CQC)in its published report this week highlighted the deep failing in elderly care in Britain in this the 21st Century. Yes, much good work is being done but up to 25% of local authorities are deemed to be failing in their duty of care for the elderly. Failing, here means, providing 'poor' or 'just adequate' care.

The biggest crimes highlighted by the CQC report are lack of respect and having no regard for personal dignity.


The Chosen One

The heads of Europe's governments elected, sorry, 'chose' Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium's Prime Minister as the President of the Council of Ministers.

According to the British media this 'choosing' has propelled a non-entity to become the all powerful head of the European Union.

The fact that media hacks here knew nought about Van Rompuy can only be credited to their ignorance of European affairs, it does not make him a no-body.

Van Rompuy is a pan-european federalist and would like nothing better than a European super-state, with himself at the helm. But Euroland is not ready yet for this, just 'working towards', as educationalist say about a child achieving bugger all. But the curriculum has been put in place in the shape of the Lisbon Treaty.


What a Waste

Business as usual... a slight imperfection in the globalized free market was noted by the Institute of Economic Affairs. An office boy was dispatched to buy some sellotape.... The political landscape changed not a jot, the three political parties brought no new ideas to the table. Instead politics in Britain continued to be dragged along by events. As before, politics was about micro-management, the citizen is not involved by politics but instead managed by it. The year's low point, dispatching leaflets to every household, explaining to citizens how to blow their noses.

One area of micro management that failed thoroughly in 2009 was the child protection system. The events surrounding the death of baby Peter and the involvement of the agents of protection was simply shameful.

The Child Support Agency, now untouchable within the Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission, continues to work as well as a Soviet made record player. Spending more money recovering payments from absent fathers (nothing from absent mothers) than it receives in payments. It acts as judge, jury and executioner, hides behind the 1991 Act that created it, when accused of being wrong or unjust and can only be described as the standard bearer of ZaNU's systemic failure.

The justice system continues its hideous downward spiral; over crowded prisons, too few probation officers, policing on the cheap, odd to irrational sentencing from the judges and cover-ups and silence from officialdom. No police officers have been brought to account over the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes, even after eye-witness accounts testify to the fact that de Menezes was executed in public. And when we wonder will the policeman who killed Ian Tomlinson be brought to trial, prosecutors have the evidence from the IPCC and the whole world's seen the images of the fatal attack. We have also seen how inhumane ZuNu can be, in the case of Gary McKinnon, the hapless computer hacker who made the mistake of making the Pentagon look foolish.

Plans for new technologies of surveillance moved ahead to tap into phone and email transmissions of everyone, to keep the citizenry free from fear. The number of CCTVs grew ever larger, now one camera for 14 citizens; most don't work and produce useless images but they represent a potent management principle. Being watched has become an accepted part of 21th Century life.

The political alienation of the masses is complete when the only rage we see is Rage Against The Machine, a brief populist uprising amid the christmas shopping frenzy. One week later, the hegemony of The Machine is reinstated as Joe McElderry reaches No. 1 in the charts.

A poke in the eye for those halfwits who think they have nothing to hide

The Government's very own DNA advisory body - the Human Genetics Commission - told us that the police are routinely arresting people simply to record their DNA profiles on the national database.

Jonathan Montgomery, the commission chairman, said that “function creep” over the years had transformed a database of offenders into one of suspects.

A retired senior police officer told the commission:

“It is now the norm to arrest offenders for everything if there is a power to do so. It is apparently understood by serving police officers that one of the so that DNA can be obtained.”


ZaNu has the answer...

Barrow boys with computers and pin stripped gangsters working for the Ditchling Park mafia brought the world's financial systems to melt down. And ZaNu's answer; give them more money to play with, the Bank of England secretly gave the banks £60b that the public were only told about after the sound of large numbers became meaningless. The pretext: the banks' function was essential to the existence of the economy. 2009 has seen 52,000 company liquidations and a million job losses.

Danger, wine bar spivs at work

yappieRewind: these fantasists created a virtual world of financial instruments that were bought and sold with reckless ignorance akin to the Tulip mania of the 18th Century. These people were not responsible bankers, they were wine bar spivs and chancers, the spawn of Nick Leeson, jokingly called talented highflyers but only in the Virtual World that they themselves had created. Now these wide boys have moved on from toxic mortgages, to carbon credits. In the latter half of this year trading has been brisk - some alarmists are suggesting that dealers are merely trading fresh air.

Regulatory failure, send in the consultants

We learnt as the year unfolded that there had been a massive failure of regulation in the banking sector, neglect in plain English. So, FSA played musical chairs but strangely there was just as many chairs left when the music stopped playing as when it started. Some employees were confused by the new seating arrangemetns but their futures and pensions were secure. And the Bank of England were so out of touch with banking activity they needed to spend £80m on consultants; to explain how the virtual market worked - sorry, didn't work.

And ZaNu spent the whole year saying how it would sort out the 'bonus culture' but only came up with a lame 'one-off' tax on bonuses in excess of £25,000. The bankers threatened to leave, of course, they were bluffing; the virtual casino they inhabit is a product of imagination, its only connection with reality is human greed. You might lose your mind but you can't cash in your chips.

Into the Valley of Death

The war for hearts and minds continues in Afghanistan. It's a vicious affair, where limbs and minds are blown asunder and politicians lies fail to veil their deceits. The search for Bin Laden long since abandoned. The quest for regime change had metamorphosed into lame support for a second best corrupt status quo, endorsement for rigged elections, endorsement of drug trafficking, endorsement for the Mujahideen mafia. And a new quest, the search for a moderate Talib to talk to, to do deals with, to shaft the poor and scurry back to Wootton Bassett - alive. And we were reminded often throughout 2009 why are we there? That's right, to keep the streets of British cities safe from the terrorists.

Fall back to the airport

Like thieves in the night, British troops pulled out of Basra to keep a watching brief from the airport. Well, actually, they pulled out in September 2007 but two years later they are still at the airport waiting to come home.

Apparently, the job in Iraq is done, a success, democracy restored or as close you can get it in a society where whether or not the Prophet had disciples or not is the main stumbling block to further progress. There's also the small matter of an out of control Mahdi Army, mad as hatters and just as nutty as any Talib.


UN delegation disappears

Like something from an X-file, something odd has been happening at the HQ of the UN delegation in Kabul. UN personnel have been in Kabul for decades, including throughout the Russian invasion from 1979, throughout the reign of the Taliban and now, under Karsai, key personnel are starting to disappear. Not front page news in the UK press but the word on the street is that local UN observers have been vociferous in their condemnation of Karsai's new government, mainly warlords with the blood of the past on their hands.

Nobody cares

This year ZuNu's legacy to the NHS was revealed: the denigration of basic care (The King's Fund Report). Ward staff struggle with a mountain of paperwork and protocols, with meaningless targets and lengthy pro forma documentation. In some kind of macabre mockery of good intensions staff are obstructed from doing their work. Nobody cares anymore, they're are all too busy measuring the parameters of care. Elsewhere, Nurses For Reform (a right-wing campaigning group working (without knowing it) for the insurance industry) has been agitating for the full privatization of the NHS.

Copenhagen, not so wonderful anymore

prescottThe Climate Change Summit produced nothing. No binding agreements, no verification on the 2% reductions pledged, in fact, no more than a lot of waffle. The whole affair was organised chaos, where few knew what was happening from day to day in a venue designed not to accommodate everyone entitled to be present.

The only imbecile who found it a resounding success was Two Jags (or Two Shags, take your pick) Prescott. Apparently, someone has given him a job talking up everything, even when it's obviously a time for tears. During an interview he even found time to tell the world that The Dome was a brilliant achievement. Yes John, and you were a great Deputy Prime Minister, now have a lie down.

To Sum Up:

Parliamentary democracy has become irrelevant, both houses of Parliament are stuffed with careerist self-serving free loaders. Blair's disdain for Parliament started the rot and Brown did nothing about it, and the opposition just accepted it.

Many of Britain's laws are now made in Brussels, expect this to further erode the sham of parliamentary democracy as the Lisbon Treaty becomes the accepted wisdom.

Personal freedoms have been severely eroded under ZaNu and we can expect that erosion to continue. And do expect more micro management of your lives.

The bulk of Government activity is now outsourced, either to private contractors or Quangos, accountability is slight and largely neglected. The province of Government is merely to hold delayed and lengthy inquires when the public notice something is wrong.

The problems Britain faces, whether it's climate change, food, energy, health and elderly care, transport, pensions, the justice system, wealth creation, population control will not be dealt with by the callow band touting for your vote next May.

And the Turner Prize this year, 2009, goes to - the man from B&Q.

As Blast-it predicted, Richard Wright's wall paper has won the £25,000 Turner Prize.

The Prize jury said they: "admired the profound originality and beauty" of Wright's work.

Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, who presented the award to Wright, praised the shortlisted artists. She said: "This years shortlist shows we have some of the most inventive artists in the world working in Britain.

(Carol is the biggest selling living British poet... why?)

"We need artists' unique perspectives on the enormous challenges facing us."

(What, like solving the banking crisis, the global warming crisis, the justice system crisis, the elderly care crisis, the dirty hospital crisis. No, not solving, just providing a new way of looking at things. Right, yeah, really useful.)

Wright himself said: "I am interested in placing painting in the situation where it collides with the world; the fragility of that existence. Being here for a short period of time, I feel, heightens the experience of it being here."

(You're not actually here Richard, you only think you are.)

He added: "Sometimes I feel a sense of loss because I can't repeat the work... but maybe that sense of loss is part of the point."

(It certainly is and we all share your loss, Human Resources at B&Q have decided to move you to the gardening department.)


Value for Money at B&Q

For only £8 you can now see the Turner Prize shortlisted exhibits at Tate Britain. This really is an opportunity to experience British comedy at its best.

Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian, who is also one of the judges, said:

'I think it's going to be a classic Turner Prize, to remind people why it's such a great prize, and remind people why British art is so exciting.'

We're all breathless here and we think we have spotted the winner. Richard Wright's 'Untitled' work, which includes intricate patterns from gold leaf painted across one wall of the gallery. Apparently, this is Richard's 'most complex and ambitious composition to date'. Sometimes words don't have to mean anything.wallpaper

Strange how it looks like a roll of wallpaper that anyone can buy from B&Q for £5.99.





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