Bonkers nation

October 31, 2008 at 1:07 am (1)

A news report on BBC Radio 4 tonight led with the story that the broadcaster’s star chat show host Jonathan Ross has been suspended for three months after making an obscene call an old to much loved comic actor Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel in Fawlty Towers, as part of live radio prank. Ross was joined in this endeavour by the comedian Russell Brand who joked about having had sex with the actor’s granddaughter in a message the pair left on Mr Sachs’ answering machine.

Since then there has been outrage in the form of 30,000 complaints to the BBC in what can fairly be described as a media onslaught against the public broadcaster.

Yesterday, Brand resigned. Today the controller of Radio 2 resigned. No wonder. This week the Prime Minister added to pressure for the BBC to punish the people responsible for this episode of below-the-belt humour — for that is all it was. No more.

Our vocal Prime Minister is the same man who in 2004 decided to stay silent as Tony Blair lied to the country and took us to war, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people and dozens of British soldiers. Not one politician’s head has yet rolled as a result of that war. In fact, Jack Straw, who was foreign secretary at the time is justice minister. At least it is Ross and Brand’s job to be outrageous jokers. What’s Gordon Brown’s excuse?


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South London morning

October 7, 2008 at 1:51 pm (1)

This morning I went to my local cafe, which is attached to a church. A hearse was outside. The funeral men were ordering tea. I wanted to shout — “There’s no coffin in there.” And then, to their bemused looks say: “The door’s open — you’ve got to watch it in this area.”

I decided not to, as if to joke with them was to mess with death itself. Yesterday I went to see the Rothko exhibition at the Tate Modern in London. I had no idea who Rothko was until the other week. But once there I did enjoy the show — he’s big on death but his colours were more nuanced than the dull greys of these funeral men. Once, as a young cyclist, I cut in front a hearse and the driver caught my eye and instead of issuing curses, pointed to me and then gestured towards the back his car as if to say, “That’s where you’ll end up.”

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This is no time for novices

October 2, 2008 at 8:36 am (1)

Words in a political conference speech can bore — into the very soul of your opponents. Yesterday, young David Cameron, leader of the Conservative party here in Britain, like George Osbourne, the shadow chancellor, the day before, was forced to respond to the charge that he was a novice, issued by prime minister Brown in his speech last week. Both men appeared deeply ruffled by Brown’s quip. Now with six words Brown is back to life again in a way that we haven’t seen since he first became prime minister last year.

Novices. It hurt because it’s true and the best of the Tory party’s speech-writers could not concoct a joke that might slow its impact. No editorial writer could stop these words, even with the full might of our largely right-wing press. To get things into perspective, I believe Brown should do community service in a Basra hospital but he is right, these Conservatives are beatable.

I would harp on about how our Zionist friend Obama needs to find his words to defeat McCain but I wouldn’t want to bore.

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