Monday, 28 September 2015

A Song for Volkswagen

If Dionne Warwick were on her way to San Jose, and looking for directions, I wonder if she'd be driving a Volkswagen?

Do you know the way to prove you’re “green”
Though all your cars emit
Poisonous shit that’s quite obscene?
Do you know the way to beat the rest?
We’ve got a cool device
Churning out lies to pass the test
All the folks who drive our wagons
Put a hundred down and fill the tank
Leaving us laughing all the way to the bank
They believe their motor’s running clear
But there’s no doubt that all about
They’re stinking out the atmosphere

We’ve won praise for fighting climate change
Even though our output
Does not compute – now ain’t that strange?
With anomalies the data’s rife
Making sure things look fab
When in the lab, unlike real life
Competition’s such a rat race
Loads of smart technicians everywhere
If you stick to the truth you don’t have a prayer
Only losers prize integrity
But if you’re bold, the fibs you’ve told
Will make shareholders squeal with glee

Have you heard? We’ve made the headline news
That’s not the worst part yet:
The internet has blown a fuse
Someone blew the whistle on our game
Blabbed to the EPA
Who, sad to say, got all inflamed
Now our shares are in the toilet
Horrified investors going nuts
Contemplate nasty things they’ll do with our guts
Lawyers with smart lifestyles to sustain
With one accord
Say “Praise the Lord!”
And promptly order in champagne

What’s the news of Martin Winterkorn?
Woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe
Does he curse the day that he was born?
Woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe
Do you think we might escape some blame
Woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe
If everyone’s been doing the bleedin’ same?
Woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe, woe….

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Initiation Game

Welcome to the latest edition of the incredible disappearing blog, which has developed a habit of spewing a bunch of joke-laden paragraphs into the atmosphere every few weeks before vanishing faster than Volkswagen’s credibility.  Wish I could work out why that keeps happening, and I’m in charge of the bloody thing.  If the Chilcot Enquiry were ever looking for a typist with strong experience in making intricate paper-clip shapes and staring glaikitly out of the window, I’d be a shoo-in.

Oh well, at least I don’t crowd-fund or solicit donations, so I needn’t contemplate a visit from the Fraud Squad.  It’s only reputational damage I’ll suffer, and what better time to bury the bad news of my own snivelling shortcomings than now, after a week when the nation’s been forced to widen its definition of “pork scratching” to include “occupational hazard for priapic posh boys”?

It’s difficult to comment intelligently on Dave’s alleged choice of willy-warmer, except that the mouth of a live piranha might have been more beneficial for the gene pool.  And I suppose Ashcroft and Cameron’s subsequent face-slapping fandango did offer high blood pressure sufferers a nice relaxing belly-laugh. Otherwise, the whole thing was an unedifying spat between an unelected tax exile who believes he should stroll into a juicy government job and an over-privileged, two-faced nyaff whose toolkit for humanitarian issues is a calculator and ten miles of barbed wire.  That, laydeez an’ gennelmen, is the pinnacle of public life in present-day Yew Kay.  Thanks for voting, suckers.

Lurid snippets such as the Call Me Dave piggery-jokery are often a distraction from some darker sleight-of-hand, but the UK Government already has Jeremy Corbyn for that purpose, so this looks like a genuine elbow in the kidneys for Cameron.  With the Tories starting to get itchycoos in their Y-fronts about the EU referendum, it may just be the opening salvo in an eye-gouging, feather-spitting leadership rammy.  So let’s see:  which nasty-party luminary enjoyed a suspiciously high-profile week, with the added benefit of being miles away from the mayhem?

Step forward, George Osborne, who spent the week noisily sooking up to the Chinese government and looking as smug as he possibly could without his head melting, revelling in the frisson of rubbing shoulders with truly world-class human rights abusers.  “We’re both big countries,” he said, as his incredulous hosts checked down the back of the sofa to see where we’d hidden the other 1.3 billion people. 

It transpired that China’s reward for meeting George’s exacting standards of corporate bastardy was to be given the keys to Hinkley Point, the UK’s white elephant Chernobyl tribute act, at a price so sweet it would vaporise granite.  As George knew, this was tantamount to burning £20 notes in front of folk who’d just had their renewals subsidies yanked away, but in his world of quantitative sleazing that was simply icing on the cake.  In similar vein, following his pimping of track-laying contracts for HS2, Scottish taxpayers will be able to send personal cheques directly to Beijing in return for commemorative gift boxes filled with thin air.

All of this gave Jeremy Corbyn some pre-conference respite from public scrutiny, although the term “respite” is only relative. That he was able to select a Shadow Cabinet at all was a surprise, with so many candidates suddenly realising the need to spend the next four-and-a-half years with their families, consultancy work, neocon think tanks or a giant sick bag.  In the end he assembled a team noted for its convictions, which is why it contains not only tax-raisers, but several eyebrow-raisers and, in one bizarre case, a fire-raiser.

Team Corbyn might have gone down a storm on Tales of the Unexpected, but in the walnut-hearted world of BBC News its reception was considerably harsher.  Not a politics show went by without some nondescript Labour figure being asked, “Can you really see indiscreet, innumerate terrorism-supporting Maoist John McDonnell as Chancellor?” or “Is the vegan shadow DEFRA minister who thinks meat eaters should be strung up by their goolies insane, incompetent or both?” 

Strangely, Labour Spin Central didn’t appear to have prepared any of the interviewees for these questions, or perhaps – more worryingly for the bearded wonder –  they’d actually prepared them very well indeed.  The standard response seemed to be a puzzled expression, followed by a pause of exactly the right length to indicate “God, what can I say that isn’t embarrassing?”, and finally a smiley, Gallic-shruggy variation on the theme of “Well, that’s what Jeremy’s decided, so screw hi…. er, I mean, there it is.”  

Jeremy’s now also had bags of undisturbed time to memorise Queen’s Greatest Hits before prostrating himself abjectly in front of his monarch as a prerequisite of joining the Privy Council, which normal practice demands he’s invited to do despite being the greatest danger to national security since the Napoleonic Wars.  If he goes ahead with the ceremony, no doubt he’ll be pilloried for the seeming collapse of his principles, but why single him out?  Nicola’s done it, Eck’s done it, and Angus Robertson looks set to do it, because that’s the way things work here in Ruritania.

It’s anachronistic and humiliating, but you’ve got to look at the big picture, haven’t you?  On the plus side, you get the key to the Establishment washroom, where Cabinet ministers bottle the smell of their farts as eau de Cologne. And you never know, you may get advance notice of GCHQ’s latest hand-me-down Marvel Comics fantasy bulletins from the CIA, and understand just why extra-judicial killing of our citizens is essential to the fabric of civilisation and a totally groovy idea.

On the negative side, it may involve a lot of listening to Her Majesty sitting there purring while your dreams are squashed like grapes, because they’re not how we do things, old chap.  And, let’s face it, allegiance to the Crown is one thing, but outright obeisance is a bit of a blank cheque.  While you’re on your knees burbling eternal fealty, she could command you to do anything, and you’d have to go along with it or look a right plonker, wouldn’t you?  What if she suddenly brought out a dead pig’s head and threw you a knowing glance? 

You may think the Piers Gaveston Society is a shower of debauched upper-class yobs, but it turns out they’re a secret training camp for getting on in the Establishment.  I bet it’s only a matter of time before Dave’s preaching to us all on the telly, swearing that shagging dead porkers is The Right Thing To Do.