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Saturday, 26 October 2019

Satan on Brexit

John Problem Interviews Satan
JP: Good morning, Sir, and thank you for talking to us again.
Satan: You are fortunate that I am in a good mood this morning.
JP: I’m sure my readers will be delighted to know that you are in a good
mood, this morning. And will be pleased to know why.
Satan: Brexit.
JP: Brexit?
Satan: Yes, Brexit. The best thing that could have happened to your piddling
little country in centuries.
JP: Really?
Satan: Yes. A splendid disaster! Absolutely splendid! Your piddling little
country will find its rightful place in the world. Forgotten.
JP: I’m afraid I don’t understand.
Satan: Then I’ll explain it to you. Firstly your leaders have to negotiate with
the European Council, the European Commission and the European
Parliament. And its 27 different countries, none of whom particularly
likes your country. They think you give yourself airs. Then your leaders
will have to negotiate with the World Trade Organisation – 60 countries.
And then with a whole host of other countries to trade with. Frankly,
your leaders aren’t up to it. They are not elected for their brain-power,
that’s for sure. And they have no experience of trade and
negotiation. No, I’m wrong. That dimwit Jeremy Hunt tried to sell
marmalade to the Japanese!
JP: But our government is hiring 750 people to negotiate for them.
Satan: If you don’t know how to negotiate yourself, how do you know how to
choose someone to do it for you, eh? No. Mark my words. Your
piddling little country will be mired in inefficient negotiation for years to
come, trade will die, businesses will fail, prices will be going up all the
time and people will starve even. Most satisfactory, your Brexit.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Vladi and I.

Today I had a message from Vladimir Putin, whom I met when he was a cop in St. Petersburg.
We've kept in touch on and off, mostly by e-mail, which is safe and innocent for him.

“Dobriye den, Jason,
I hope you are well despite all horrible things happening in your birthplace.
So, I observe your country is no longer democratic! Is great shame you leave our community of fairly elected leaders. Very regrettable.
How can you allow only 92,000 old white men elect your leader? Is incredible! All the nations of the world revere England's fair ways, her brave speakers for the people, the great fairness of her society. But now you throw away democracy and allow only 0.15% of your electorate to put in place a new leader of your country. 0.15%!! And they are all old white conservative voters who have paid £10 each to vote! In Russia cost much more to vote!
And the new leader is man of dubious morality, a shouter, a self-confessed intellectual! Who is not representative of the people – he go to private school where only 7% of children go in your country! How could you do this, John? Is incredible! And he wants so desperately to leave the EU.! What is wrong here? Leave the EU and your country die, economically. Your country die diplomatically. Your country die!
Come and see me in Moscow – we work something out for you.
Budem, Jason!

Friday, 5 July 2019

Selling Shakespeare.

From my diary...

Recently, Boris has started having me in to his office for a weekly meeting.
His agenda is always the same. What's on the horizon that could bring in big money, and what's the situation concerning any current negotiations. In particular, can payment be speeded up. As Foreign Minister he needs money to impress wily foreigners, he tells me...

He's doing knee-bends when I walk in.
“Sit,” he gasps. “What's new?”
I go through a few items and then get to today's big one, selling off the Bard.
He stops his exercises and collapses into his office chair, mopping his brow.
“,” he splutters. We wait until he has regained his breath.
“Yes, most interesting.”
“Well, for me, the big question is who do I approach with the idea. Presumably it would be a rather sensitive issue in some quarters.”
“Yes.” He massages his head. Then he rubs his knee.
“I know! Iran!” he exclaims. “Yes, Iran!”
“Iran? Does the Supreme Leader like Shakespeare?”
“Oh no. She's not cultural at all. She won't mind if you sell Shakespeare.”
“Er...I meant Iran's Supreme Leader.”
“Hah! Oh dear! Lapsus lingua, what? Anyway, Jason, it may surprise you to know that the Iranians are extremely keen on Shakespeare. They had an international Conference about him last year, and are continuously giving productions, in English and Farsee. I know this because I met their Cultural Ambassador at a dinner last month. Very cultivated johnnie. I'll call him on Monday and see if he's interested.”

The 'cultivated johnnie' is coming to see me this morning. He told Boris he's quite happy to come to my office as he likes to stroll along the Mall. When he is shown in, I am somewhat surprised. Not wearing robes, no beard, no sandals, no studious glasses. Instead a silk Molteboini suit, swept back grey hair, slight tan, impeccable. Brilliant white teeth, too. And Hollywood looks. His name is Gatros Aresten. One of the girls brings in coffee and leaves the room backing towards the door, gawping at my visitor. After a general chat, I ask him my key question.
“Does Ayatollah Khameini appreciate Shakespeare, Mr. Aresten?”
“Indeed, he does. The Ayatollah, whom Allah preserve, has the highest admiration for the Bard. I know he will be interested in acquiring the rights to this genius.”
“Well, that's wonderful,” I say.
“We have a long tradition of showing Shakespeare. All of his plays have been produced in Iran. There is even a movie of a production of 'The Merchant of Venice' from 1928. Quite amusing. In those days women were not permitted to appear on stage so the female characters were played by young men wearing large wigs. Along with 'Hamlet' and 'The Tempest', 'The Merchant of Venice' is a favourite in my country.”
“Forgive my ignorance. I had no idea.”
“The Ayatollah said that he considers Shakespeare to be a fine moral dramatist. With a high regard for values. Western values of course.”
“Ah. I have to say that we would not wish Shakespeare's works to be modified by a purchaser to suit particular political needs. The texts must remain unadulterated.”
“Dear me, Doctor Bryggs. We are not savages, you know. We had a civilisation long before your merchants started colonising. And we have a fine literature of our own. Which reminds me, we would not be interested in buying the sonnets. We have our own poetry of a particularly high standard and dating from many centuries before Shakespeare left his home town for London. What would be the price you are seeking for the plays?”
I tell him. He raises an eye-brow. It's a big number - which I calculated by taking the net earnings of the latest blockbuster Shakespeare movie, multiplying it by 37 (the number of plays) and then by 50 (the number of years I reckon the Bard will last.)
“I think I know how you arrived at that figure,” he says smiling. “But please reduce it by one thirty-seventh as we are not interested in the play 'Pericles, Prince of Tyre.' It is a confused piece of drama and has long been considered unworthy of production by your own critics.”
O.K. Hopefully, he isn't aware that 'Two Noble Kinsmen' was half written by another guy called Fletcher.
“Then there is the play 'Two Noble Kinsmen.' As this was half-written by John Fletcher, we would not be interested in purchasing it. So another one thirty-seventh may be deducted.”
“Of course.”
“We also would like to see included in the price, the original plans for the construction of the Globe theatre.”
“Do they still exist?”
“I don't mean the original of 1599, I mean the Sam Wanamaker Globe of 1997.”
“Ah. No problem.”
“Excellent. I will report back to my Ayatollah, whom Allah preserve, and have the legal documents drawn up.”
I'm glad I don't work in Legal. They'll have to be extra careful with this guy.
“As a matter of interest, what is the name of the young lady who brought in the coffee?”

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Les Ambitions Europeennes du President Macron.

[This is a translation of my recent interview with President Macron.

'What are your main ambitions, Monsieur le President?'

'I have two of them. To become President of the European Union.
And to punish Britain.'

'I can understand the first. But why do you want to punish Britain.
What for?'

'Three reasons. The stupidity of their desire to leave the EU. Their school-boy attitude to the EU. And the gross vulgarity of their Trade Minister. I explain.
One. Their referendum was intended as a political support for that old Etonian Cameron. It didn't work. What a fine legacy! Their politicians are always talking about the will of the British People. But less than a quarter of the British voted to leave!
Two. That conceited fool, Rees-Mogg, opined that Britain should be as obstructive as possible during its remaining time in the EU. Block the budget, the potential army, and further integration and be the most difficult member of the EU.'

'And the third?'

'Need I say? That salaud of a Trade Minister you have. He said of me – is he still sleeping with his grand-mother? A disgusting, sickening and inexcusable comment. A fine English gentleman he is. And he knows nothing about trade. So there you have it. Enough reason to justify my wish to punish Britain, I think.'


Thursday, 14 March 2019

The View from Abroad - what foreign politicians say about ours...


We have obtained the following statements from the speakers themselves to whom we are indebted.

Michel Barnier, Brussels. (1)

Ah, Bon Dieu!”

Monsieur Macron, France.

“I have little time for these Tories, and least of all for those who are always trying to tell we in Europe what we must do when they have not got a clue what they are doing.”

Madame Merkel, Germany.

“For me, the work ethic is the strongest bond of Europe. Without this, nothing. I do not perceive a work ethic with the present government of Britain. Banal und dumm.”

President Trump, USA.

“It's a little nauseating, the way their guys are always cozying up to us and talking about the special relationship. Can't they understand that the USA needs a special relationship with a whole lotta countries?”

President Putin, Russian Federation.

“Russia has very good relations with Britain – especially in Chelsea. And Kensington. And Harrods. Because we invest there.”

Secretary General Xi Jinping, China.

“Go dae secy yu. Shaozu. Ye heng de. Sha gua!”

(Our translator says these words mean:
Go dae secy yu. Fish, vegetable, chicken soup.
(Perhaps this is an arcane reference to the House of Commons restaurants.)
Shaozu. Bring honour to ancestors.
(A glance back at famous politicians?)
Ye heng de. Wild one.
Sha gua! Shut up.

President Kim Jong Un, North Korea.

“No way am I going to waste one of my precious bombs on them!”

Michel Barnier, Brussels (2)

“Ah non! Not again!”

Thursday, 24 January 2019

I give below some numbers our leaders don't want us to hear::


Over 128,000 children will wake up homeless today
There are 24,000 adults sleeping rough
1 in 6 British pensioners live in poverty
23,640 homeless families were relocated in 3 months in 2018
1 in 5 children live in 'food-insecure' homes
There are 1.5 million destitute people in the UK

650 homeless people died last year
650 M.P.s spent the year waffling about Brexit

The House of Commons has 14 subsidised bars and 9 subsidised restaurants
Unpaid bills at the above worth £18,000 were written off at tax-payer expense

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

When Brexit Wrecks it, we needn't worry.

Our Leaders have re-assured us:

"We have a world-leading reputation for doing things better."
"We will remain a world-leader."
"We shall lead the world in free trade."
"At times of crisis, the world looks to Britain - not just for our support but for our leadership."
"We can again become the envy of the world."
"Countries will look to us to provide the moral leadership and global leadership."

And for each of us individually:
"When we take the big calls, we'll think not of the powerful, but you.
  When we pass new laws, we'll listen not to the mighty, but to you.
  When it comes to taxes, we;ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you.
  When it comes to opportunity, we won't entrench the advantages of the fortunate few."

- quoted from The Right Honourable Theresa May, Prime Minister.
  She also said in 2016:

"Britain's prosperity will be more secure if we're in the EU."