Milk piracy

Government, supermarkets and other buyers and representatives of dairy farmers are still negotiating over the scandal of large companies like supermarkets paying such a low price to farmers for milk supplies that they make a loss on every pint. The large supermarkets, who are often the target of ire for using their bulk buying and selling power to bully suppliers like farmers into ridiculously low prices have retaliated however and explained the very low price of milk is not because of supermarkets rigging prices through buying power but caused directly by online milk piracy. In this they have been backed up by figures from the music and film industry who say that alongside music and movie piracy the illegal downloading of copied milk via web pirates was costing farmers dearly and destroying the industry. It’s thought when they attempt to lobby yet again for draconian new internet piracy laws the dairy farmers will also be leaning on politicians to bring in penalties such as the ‘three strikes’ rule for anyone suspected of illegally downloading milk or any other dairy products.

(a dairy cow yesterday, she answered no comment to the Woolamaloo Gazette’s reporter when asked about milk piracy)

Hovis to help unemployed youth and environment

Hovis the well known UK bakers has announced a new business plan they say will help alleviate both the awful current youth unemployment statistics and benefit the environment at the same time, with a side bonus of increasing the fitness of the nation. They are to scrap their fleet of large lorries spewing out diesel across the land as they cross the whole of the UK to deliver yummy fresh bread to stores and reinstate their classic young lad on a bike local delivery system, which was made famous by Sir Ridley Scott back in his advertising days. This will, the company says, reduce carbon emissions, fuel consumption and lead to a mini boom for bicycle manufacturers and new opportunities for unemployed youth to be gainfully employed and to get fit while providing a service to the community. There is a down side – in the Olde Days many children were pushed to such levels of physical exhaustion cycling their bread deliveries up incredibly steep hills they died of extreme fatigue.

This wasn’t a huge problem back then as the streets of Britain then abounded with cheeky, chirpy orphaned ragamuffin urchins who could be used to replace existing cycle delivery lads as they dropped out. It could be a more of a problem today, but with youth suffering most of all from unemployment in the double dip recession it is thought there will still be more applying than there are cycle available to use, and Liam Fox is already consulting with the government on re-writing employment protection laws for under 25s so it is once more legal to run urchins until they drop, as we did in the glory days of the Rule Britannia Empire (cheers, waves flag, salutes picture of Queen Victoria paddling at Brighton while wearing an “I heart General Gordon” t-shirt) – as some Tory MPs have pointed out, when it was legal to work children to death and whip any who complained of conditions Britain ruled a global empire and was king of industry and world commerce, so perhaps we need to get back to those old-fashioned values.

 

Minister excuses dumping official papers in public park

Oliver Letwin, the Minister of State for Extreme Smugness, has excused his bizarre behaviour, caught on film by journalists, whereby he wandered public parks disposing of official government papers in bins as he walked. When challenged on this odd behaviour with all the attendant data protection and potential security issues attached to such foolish actions, Mr Letwin explained to the Woolamaloo Gazette he thought it was an acceptable way to dispose of such papers as “the Wombles would take care of it later.”

National Census to be axed?

The new government apparently wants to axe the 200 year old tradition of the National Census, saying that there are more up to date, efficient and cheaper ways of obtaining such national level statistics (which in this ages of multiple data bases there almost certainly is, to be fair). But Francis Maude (god, can’t believe that eejit is back in a government post, sigh…)  is overlooking one vitally important factor – if we don’t have a national census every ten years then how will we know how many people claim ‘Jedi’ as their religion?? Perhaps this is proof positive that the Tories (and their Liberal Lackeys) are on the Dark Side and doing all they can to make sure no large Jedi tradition exists in the UK. The fiends.

Moat

So after several days of worry for the local residents and a great boon to the rolling 24 hour news channels, Moat is apparently surrounded tonight with armed police all around him and apparently ‘negotiating’. He has his own gun to his head, he’s a psychopath who has shot three people and promised to attack more, blames the police and society for his own violent acts and they are ‘negotiating’? Funny, when they have the wrong, totally unarmed and innocent suspect the police seem able to shoot to kill multiple times, but a murderous, gun-toting, steroidal psychopath they’ve hunted for days who ends up surrounded and holding his own gun to his own head they ‘negotiate’ with? If he was a street protesting woman some large copper would have thumped her with a baton by now (secure in the knowledge he wouldn’t ever get into trouble for it), but a gun totin’ muderous creep they handle with kid gloves? Ours is a very odd law enforcement system. Meantime the rolling news channels are in an ecstasty – oh god, but how they love something like this that they can report on for hours live…

The Speaker election system explained

As the House of Shame prepares to elect a new Speaker many citizens are bemused and confused by the typically ancient and deliberately arcane methods used by Members of Parliament, which is not helpful when so much of the electorate are already put off from politics in the UK following recent scenes of mass greed and corruption allied to a rudderless government which appears to have no plans and a distinct track record of ignoring public opinion and concerns. Therefore your trust Woolamaloo Gazette’s political department has created a clear-cut explanation as to how exactly this centuries-old process of electing a new Parliamentary Speaker takes place.

The entire unwieldy event lurches into being when candidates throw their hats into a ring to announce their intention to run for the office following the dismemberment of the previous Speaker (who is ceremonially stuffed, embalmed and mounted in the House of Lords). Today this is a figure of speech but back in the 1600s it was taken literally, where refined, corrupt gentlemen would actually throw their hats physically into a small ring, with the hats which landed closest to the centre of the ring dictating the running order of the election. Accidentally knocking out an opponent’s hat from the ring (thus making their candidacy void before it really began) was seen as quite dishonourable and frowned upon. Doing so deliberately was perfectly acceptable, however. Today’s politicians no longer throw actual hats, they simply have to walk around banging a large drum and yelling ‘pay attention to me, pay attention to me, me me!’. The other Members of the House are, by tradition, supposed to ignore them during this part of the process for as long as possible until they simply can’t take it anymore and agree to let that person stand for the post. This can last for several weeks and over the centuries of Parliamentery Democracy has caused the deaths by terminal boredom or asphyxiation due to excessive hot air inhalation of a number of politicians and members of the Fourth Estate and citizens.

The second phase is to take the remaining candidates into what is known as the Cromwellian stage of the election. All of the prospective Speakers must dress up as Oliver Cromwell (warts and all); a pack of King Charles Spaniels is loosed into the Chamber of the House of Commons and the Cromwellian garbed candidates must chase the floppy eared royal hounds around to the strains of the Benny Hill theme music and catch as many as possible, stuffing them into a burlap sack. The winner of this stage is the candidate who captures the most spaniels then rushes to Banqueting House and leans out the window where King Charles was lead to his execution and lean out displaying the canines and yelling “behold the pets of a traitor”. Those with the fewest sacks of pups are removed from the candidacy. In 1822 there was a great scandal when a leading candidate was found to have cheated by indulging in ‘puppy sack stuffing’. Deemed a dishonourable and untrustworthy scoundrel he was dismissed from Parliament and appointed as ambassador to France.

The next stage of the election sees the remaining candidates move out onto the riverside terrace of the House of Commons. Upstream a group of school children release a large number of rubber ducks with hooks attached to the top of them; underneath each is taped a sealed, waterproof packet detailing the expense abuses of various members of the House. As the squadron of rubber ducks pass down the Thames the candidates lean out over the side with large poles trying to hook out as many ducks as they can, the idea being to use the expense account information attached to each to blackmail other Members of the House into voting for them; obviously the more a candidate has the more Members he or she can press into their camp.

Since the press has effectively revealed most of this information publicly this year (and rather more efficiently and transparently than the official government attempt at openess) this stage will be abandoned this time and replaced by Duck-a-Speaker, where each candidate is arrayed on a hinged wooden platform suspended over the Thames with a number of targets in the shape of fat pigs above their heads. Members throw stones and if they hit the pigs, the pig’s head drops into a small trough below them. Once all of the pigs have their heads in the troughs the hinge opens below the candidate and they drop into the Thames. This stage now has no actual effect on the voting process and is carried out simply for fun and to ensure the prospective speakers are well used to the rituals of public humiliation.

The final stage sees the actual election segment of the whole process; this has been made into a secret ballot so that Members can freely vote for the candidate their party bosses and whips have told them to vote for. Each goes into a curtained booth wearing only one brown, left shoe on their feet. A Masonic emblem is drawn by the candidate of their choice as the voting Member then turns three times widdershins reciting “God save the Queen” or in the case of Republicans or Atheists “By the Power of Grayskull”. The secret ballots are then collected by the Parliamentary Hunchback who takes them in a silk sack to the Parliamentary grinder, who shreds the ballots before mixing them with barley and oats. The resulting combination is then spread outside to bring down gulls and crows to feast upon it. The birds have previously been had daubs of coloured paint (a shade for each candidate) applied to their wing tips and the winner will be the candidate whose birds eat the most first. To ensure outsider birds do not join in and skew results Prince Phillip stands ready with a shotgun and blasts any errant pigeons who stray into the venerated ancient gaurantee of British democracy.

The winning candidate, now Speaker, is then picked up on the shoulders of Members and carried to the nearest Clark’s shoe shop to be fitted with the special buckled shoes of office. This is our ancient birthright of clear, transparent and fully accountable Parliamentary democracy which makes us better than everyone else fully protected for the people of this great land.

Npower and the freedom of the press

Following up from me on my high horse blogging last week about energy company Npower bulldozing its way through both the environment, local opinion and the freedoms of speech and the press, here’s a proper link to the Channel 4 item I mentioned, with a link to the report and a blog entry by Alex Thomson on Npower’s (ab)use of the law and their sinister, masked security goons to overturn basic democratic freedoms at Radley Lakes.

Who was that masked man?

Channel 4 News tonight carried the frankly scary story of masked private security guards garbed in black, black masks raised over their faces to create an anonymous and threatening-looking appearance, going up to British citizens on a public road in a public space along with a pinstripe suited lawyer and violating their freedom of speech, freedom of expression and clearly, to my mind, violating the freedom of the press. Locals in the area of Radley Lakes have objected to shameless energy company Npower chopping down trees and planning to use the nearby lake for a spot to dump waste ash from their power station in. Many locals have objected and been ignored, a study into the impact is under way but Npower are just carrying right on with their task while it goes on so the study will be academic. Worst of all these creep security guards who look like a cross between something from a totalitarian regime and a masked Old West bandits and the corporate lawyer have persuaded a judge to grant an injunction, based largely on some anonymous witness statements with no actual cross examination which has banned even accredited journalists from taking photographs in public spaces to cover issues which are clearly in the public interest based on little to no proper evidence.

Masked, black suited, menacing looking guards who spent most of the C4 report denying citizens and reporters their basic rights while happily filming everyone present themselves; the injunction the foolish judge gave the company on their flimsy ‘evidence’ (supposedly to protect staff, although so far no-one has proved there was any real threat) is so vague that apparently just watching the report means the viewer is also injuncted! How ridiculous is that? I’m glad C4 News reported on this because I hadn’t heard of this until tonight and from what the usually highly dependable C4 team said other large corporations are using similar dirty tricks with corporate lawyers who would be at home working for Monty Burns and their own private rent-a-cops around the UK. I find myself getting irate quite often at some reports on the news, but this made me bloody furious, that some large company would not only ignore their local residents but then use a mixture of lawyer’s tricks and sinister, masked security to violate one of our most precious freedoms. Npower, you are utterly despicable and shameless. Editorial Photographers UK has some more on this story.

CNN

You may recall that a few weeks ago I recorded an interview for CNN for a programme on the freedom of expression online. I haven’t actually heard from them since then as to when the programme was going out, but this morning my chum George got in touch to send me this link to CNN’s page, where, lo and behold, there is an article based on some of the interviews in the programme, including myself. I do hope this doesn’t mean I’ve missed the programme!

My friend Cheryl, on reading this, sent me a link to an interesting related item where Brian Turner is facing a possible court case by a nasty company who want to sue his company and him personally over comments by disappointed customers of that company on his discussion forum. Nothing derogatory, just complaints from unsatisfied customers – however this company seems to think that customers are not  allowed to make comments and anyone who allows them should be bullied (and let’s face it, that’s what this is – bullying people and abusing their freedom of expression). Good luck to you, Brian, but a shame you need to go through this. As I said on the CNN interview, one of the biggest threats to our freedom of expression online today isn’t from governmental interference but from corporations. Corporations that haven’t realised that this kind of action backfires on them because it will line them up for ridicule and criticism online and that isn’t going to help you get new customers.