At the End of the Day

Of conspiracies, incompetence, lavatory cisterns and Alistair Darling

There’s a comment threader at the Daily Telegraph called Chelyabinsk. He’s very keen on Scottish Independence, and is ingenious at turning every discussion/column about leek nurture or tooth decay into a rallying cry for Caledonian Freedom. There’s another one called Shakespeare, who poses as an unhinged europhile batting off everyone’s wailing about the EU going to hell in a bucket. That is, I think it’s a pose. Sometimes you never quite know. Our own dear Erika, for example, has an admiration spectrum that ranges from Vladimir Putin to Mahmood Ahmadinnejhad. I think it’s really Quentin Letts horsing around, but she may be real: it’s a funny old world.

Out of a blue sky three weeks ago, Chelyabinsk appended himself to one of my Telegraph threads and – referring to me as The Slug – made some passing swipe about me being “a promoter of superficial conspiracy theories”. I’m relaxed about being thought superficial, because deep down I am; but ‘conspiracy theorist’ is rapidly turning into the new ‘extreme Right blogger’ as the slur of choice among the Establishment.

As I’ve written many times before, I’m only interested in what sounds like conspiracy fact. There are conspiracies everywhere, but 99.9% of them are designed to disguise or re-brand a cockup. And 99.9% of conspiracy theories are, in turn, just that: an assemblage of random facts made to look like some kind of plan.

I could trace DNA back a thousand years, for example, and ‘prove’ that there is a Hun gene incapable of seeing a frontier post without wanting to drive a tank through it. They emigrated to America in droves after the First World War, infected their genes, and led to the interfering American Way between 1949 and today. Now they’re teaming up to create The Grossdeutsche-Amerikanischer Bund….look at all the joint investments and Bourse takeovers they’ve tried to of late…look at the joint plan to push Greece out of polite society.

That’s all bollocks of course, because neither events nor genes nor people operate like that. I do happen to think it very likely that there has been a rather silly hubris-fuelled plan hatched by the White House and Geithner to enlist American and German banking in a half-baked conspiracy to ‘amputate and cauterise’ Greece, with a chosen date of close of play before a long weekend, Friday March 23rd. But I think this because three people in three different theatres of global finance talked about dates and clandestine meetings with a degree of authority; because I know from an absolutely rock-solid Washington source that Geithner was incandescent for months about “the EU’s inability to find its ass in the dark”; because he arranged a covert dollar/euro swap in December with the ECB’s Mario Draghi to ‘fulfil his side of the bargain’; and because an alarming number of these players on both sides of the Atlantic used to work for Goldman Sachs.

One puts together the motive afterwards: Barry wants to be re-elected, the Fed doesn’t want its banking system to melt down, and yes, the Aegean seabed is a geologist’s wet dream, and the US wants nice cosy bases there with the minimum of fuss. Most conspiracy theories are put together the other way round.

In an average month, I receive around twenty emails alerting me to conspiratorial vendettas involving The Zionists (I get that one so many times, in my mind they’ve turned into a sort of kosher reggae band, Moishe & the Zionists), Jack Straw, Alex Ferguson, Nicolas Sarkozy’s American genetic connections, and Prince Edward among many others. Almost none of them check out, and the ones that do remain theory – nothing more.

But there are real examples. The day after DSK got banged up in New York, I got an email from somebody very big in that town saying ‘this is a  fit-up’. So it proved, and I gained thousands of new readers by having the inside track on some of it. But again, motive appeared later…and even then, remained bafflingly unclear. My best bet today is that Strauss-Kahn knew his phone was being hacked by the Elysee, so a caper was conceived to nick it. (It has never reappeared). Part of that was to distract him with Nafissatou Diallo (her movements just prior to the event defy explanation) and there are very clear phone records linking the Sofitel to the Elysee. But the Elysee cocked up and then lucked in: I think it was all done on the hoof in the end. The possible role of Christine Lagarde and Tim Geithner in the saga remain intriguing, but nothing more in my view. (You can decide for yourself by going to the dedicated pages here).

Sexual corruption in the social care system unquestionably exists. I spent five grubby and frustrating months delving into it, and that in turn led to helping in a tiny way to unearth the cover-up at Stafford Hospital, plus the scandal of psychotherapists’ fees paid by bent social workers to get small people into their clutches. There are major centres of it in Plymouth, Liverpool and Bristol, and it is driven by the obsessive compulsion of a few senior people. In one or two cases, it is linked to an adoption racket. In one specific instance, there was clear evidence of police involvement in it.

But the actual scale of it is minute in the greater scheme of things. I believe it exists, because I witnessed police surveillance, saw leaked documents, spoke to widows, and understand the bizarre cunning of the motivated serial paedophile mind. The problem is that every dysfunctional single mum believes she is the victim of a paedophile conspiracy to take their kids away – whereas the truth is, they are almost all gullible baby machines whom nobody in authority quite knows how to handle. I know, trust me: between 2006 and 2009 I spoke to most of them.

The main hat-tip on that subject must go to Christopher Booker, who has been a tower of strength against the controlling instincts of the Harmanite social care and Secret Family Courts disgrace. But with Christopher too, you will find all his pieces contain an avalanche of disturbing facts and statistics, all calmly presented and then rounded off with immaculately controlled indignation. He and Andrew Gilligan are, I think, about as good as it gets when it comes to ‘injustice journalism’.

For years, the British Establishment in its myriad forms dismissed Hackgate as conspiracy theory. I took an interest in early 2010 because I overheard two pissed celebs railing about it in The Groucho Club. I can’t say who they were, but I’d imagine some of you can guess. The point is, until then I’d never heard of Hackgate. I thought of Rupert Murdoch as a piece of multinational anti-matter, but that was merely a spur to action.The idea at that stage of the Prime Minister being implicated I would’ve regarded as ludicrous. But by December of that year, it was obvious he had either blundered into, conceived, or at the very least exploited part of what was going on.

Until one sees, hears, finds or reads something compelling and real that checks out, following conspiracy theories is a mug’s game – unless you want to make a business out of it. If you do, it’s a very lucrative one involving massive paperback sales and millions of site hits. If you don’t, then there are a million cock-ups not yet covered up every day to keep any genuinely concerned hack or blogger happy.

One such is the design of contemporary ‘conservationist’ water closet loo system. I realise we are perilously close to sewer journalism here, but I can maintain my silence no longer.

Up until about fifteen years ago, lavatory systems came in various hull designs, but the principle was the same: a very simple lever and returnable ballcock system that worked every time. Somehow since then, the Green maniacs have turned the elegant simplicity of ballcocks into duo-flush plunger bollocks.

Do not get the wrong impression: I am (genuinely) a believer that water will, within thirty years, become the most pressured natural resource of all. Failing inclement weather or the lack of suitable ground, I will always urinate in the garden. You save gallons – literally – of water every week. But we all – even James Bond – need to daefecate sooner or later, and this is where the cistern ‘designers’ have screwed things up bigtime. Or rather, unscrewed all the important bits.

On buying our French house fourteen years ago, we installed two of these new conservation lavs. When you do the same, one or more of the following will happen: (1) the woefully inadequate small plunger mechanism atop the inner tower will break (2) the  inner tower itself will shear in any one of a dozen places where cheap plastic has been used (3) an inexplicable Outer Limits effect will turn the long and short flushes the other way round (4) the tower goes down, but refuses to come back up again, and (5) the refill gets out of sync, thus wasting whole reservoirs of water as the loo continues to flush long after one’s business is finished.

We’ve since unwisely purchased another one for our UK dwelling. We are having exactly the same problems with it.

In short, the Greens have a reasonable idea that winds up creating more infill rubbish and water loss than ever existed before they had it. Just like computers and the paperless office, if you follow.

Sometimes progress is progress, and sometimes it is the work of dweebs who should never be allowed out during the hours of daylight. These people write mobile phone manuals and decide the features to include. They compile the ticket tariff systems for rail companies. They design the structure of denationalised industries. They specify and procure weapons systems for our game squaddies. And occasionally, they make it to Number Eleven and design tax relief systems nobody can understand.

My very first usable source as a blogger worked in the Treasury. Now retired, this delightful and amusing former client from my advertising days said on one occasion, “Gordon sends down scribbles of diagrams and flow charts and rationales. We have a team working day and night to decipher them”. Brown and far too many like him equate complexity with intelligence. The near ubiquity of impenetrable things in the contemporary world demonstrates very clearly that they have this one completely arse about face.

A propos of not very much before closing, the Slog’s Treasury mole had me in stitches the week after Northern Rock added a ‘y’ to its name. A trio of Sir Humphreys walked into Alistair Darling’s office, and the exchange went roughly like this:

H’s: Chancellor, we need to talk to you about Northern Rock.

AD: I’ve got a mortgage with them.

H’s: That’s nice Chancellor. Actually, the situation there is rather grave. I’m afraid the bank is basically insolvent. It doesn’t have the funds to meet even a fraction of withdrawals. We fear the news will leak quite soon.

AD: Oh. What do you normally do under these circumstances?

(SFX coughing)

H’s: Well Chancellor, as this hasn’t happened on quite this scale since 1760, I’m afraid there isn’t much of a precedent.

There was more, but it would be too cruel an exercise to repeat it here. However, I sincerely hope that this snippet has cheered you up a little as we segue from the pleasant intoxicated uplands of Sunday towards the stark valley of reality, and plunge into the cold stream of sobriety called Monday.

42 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. Don’t let Chelyabinsk wind you up, John. As all regular readers of the Telegraph know, he/she is a political fanatic with a very limited grasp of the real world.


  2. …………..and as for the one who calls himself ‘Shakespeare’ he’s either an agent provocateur or troll.

    No one who truly wished to defend the Europhile standpoint would do it in the manner he does. Only a Europhobe would satirise the pro-European argument in the way he does.


  3. Not so much conspiracy or right wing or any-wing — it is all GOSSIP.

    It’s what people love to do more than anything else, er, almost. Anthropologists set loose around the world decades ago discovered this to be a very universal fact — that everything else being equal people everywhere will spend most of their time gossiping if not otherwise engaged.


  4. As to the toilet flush thing, I am a plumber amongst other skills and I spend more time fixing the new type than ever i did the old. I call it the just because we can principle, when society actually doesnt need a product being made different but some spark comes up with this acey pacey new idea and then increases the price and people buy it because its the latest fad


  5. Hi John, on top of the list of names people called you in past add sadist.

    How dare you stop a good story like that, hanging in the air…

    Is this you new advertising gimmick? Are we going back to Roy Rodgers of Saturday Morning pictures fame, with cliff hanging endings and the familiar …to be continued next week…rolling over the screen?


  6. As to the regular DT threaders, I think it quite charming the way they greet each other with a cheery good morning before getting down to the job of tearing lumps out of each other. I rather imagine they all meet up in the same village pub each evening to have a good laugh at their purile mischief


  7. re conspiracy theories, I’m still not satisfied with the explanations re Dr David Kelly – Norman Baker took time off to write a book about it – and then accepted the government version without a murmur.


  8. Nafissatou Diallo… have you noticed how that name is almost the same as Nosferatu Diablo.
    Makes you think!
    Doesn’t it.
    No? Oh well.


  9. Recently in from Poland:
    1st Porker: The farmer is feeding us well. He’s so good to us. I’m putting on weight!
    2nd Porker: Good? He’s fattening us up. We’ll grow big and strong, then he’ll slaughter us and make sausages.
    1st Porker: F***ing conspiracy theorist…


  10. “I spent five grubby and frustrating months delving into it, and that in turn led to helping in a tiny way to unearth the cover-up at Stafford Hospital, plus the scandal of psychotherapists’ fees paid by bent social workers to get small people into their clutches.”

    May God bless you for that. IIncidentally, the same law firm, Leigh Day and Co that did the Stafford Hospital invesigation (day 1 “no stone will be left unturned”) are the ones suing William Haigh. Leigh Day and Co did leave many stones unturned though, as they didn’t allow many of the people who wanted to give evidence do so, and I know that because I was one of them.


  11. I got stuck into a lot of conspiracy stuff on the net when I started looking for answers. Illuminati & all that kind of thing. It took a little time to figure out what was likely to be valid. Some of them start with reasonable assumptions but just as it gets interesting extra terrestials or something else idiotic or obviously untrue appears. The anti-semitic conspiracy ones are some of the worst but they are quite clever at twisting the truth. But for having just read a good biography on Einstein, I could have been fooled by the falsification of facts in one article & probably a lot of people would be, but I think a person would have to have some of that particular prejudice to swallow it whole.

    However, I do worry about where all the biros go & somebody keeps hiding things like my sculpting tools, scissors etc. things that I definitely had in front of me before they mysteriously disappeared. Sometimes they put them on my chair when I am out of the room, which makes it look as though I was sitting on them & therefore an idiot.

    Goodnight all.


  12. UK Channel 5 are showing the film “Boys From Brazil” tonight with our old friend Dr Mengele and his plan to create a new Reich og blue-eyed boys. This is obviously a conspiracy theory…..but …


  13. I’m not one for conspiracies and direct sources/proofs appear to be open to enquiry(is any MSM interested?) but I don’t know what to think of the recent Blackheath statements. Here is a well regarded businessman/ Member for the second time(Foundation X) looking like a kook?


  14. Can’t help but notice the occasional little dig, John. Expected of course; my punishment for being a free thinker not beholden to the MSM in making instant judgements on the politically-correct Hitler de jour. Sadly, I had not come across your brilliant site when Saddam filled that role, but no doubt, through U-tube, you enjoyed watching him hang after what was clearly a case of genuine justice and nothing to do with victors or kangaroos.


  15. Good news for Moishe & Zionists everywhere :) – *third* aircraft carrier group heads to Gulf:

    Let’s kick some brown-faced towel ‘ead ass! But of course, we know that it’s all about the nukes, just as it was 10 years ago when we first decided we were going to take out Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Iran:

    Don’t hear so much talk about WMDs anymore, do ya… [warning: contains multiple F-goodness ;)]


  16. Saw the comment from ‘chely’ and was going to jump on it – but then thought better – your Blog stands on its own feet John !
    I’m not one for conspiracy theories either. Have looked at many and when chased down the facts fall apart in most cases. Though must admit that UN Agenda 21 is quite concerning if taken to extremes – as it could well be !

    What I do not like most (and is serially damaging to the nation and its victims) is ‘secret justice’ as it leads to injustice – but the likes of the mad Hattie is quite content with injustice so long as it suits the ‘preferred ones’. Unfortunately she has too many people with the same views sitting around nodding in unison – about 650 of them !


  17. Spain thing –
    I noticed this, too. But one or two specialist finance sites picked it up.
    When it goes bang, the FT will call it “unexpected”.


  18. Erika
    I thought the manner of Sadam’s death was a disgrace, and presaged what’s happening now only too well. Revenge has no place in the law.


  19. On the water bit. I was in McDonalds, yes, sorry, when I was having a wee and reading that their clever urinal saved 100,000 litres of water each year. Across the room is the basin with a tap you ‘tap’ to wash your hands. Once the tap has been started it runs for the best part of 45 seconds with no means of turning it off. Astonishing wastage on an epic scale. Herewith the proof. Just so you dont think I am making it up.


  20. In Japan I saw a system where the waste from the hand wash basin drained into the cistern of the WC so the next flush used the waste water. Simple.


  21. Yes I have to agree on the UN Agenda 21 and their sustainable development program. You can achieve almost anything when you have impoverished the masses.


  22. These sorts of devices–designed to save on volume flushed but mechanically at variance with the home units you and John describe–were installed in many various co-ops, condos and apartment buildings here in the US due to legislation passed by numerous localities within the last decade.

    I’ve no argument with the good intentions behind the legislation, but include myself among many who found the implementation really just as bad as described above. Reason? My guess would be the people doing the initial installs were in a bloody rush, and maybe not so well trained.

    In any case, many readjustments were needed as I hear and the experience of using these new improved toilets was as unpleasant as their hobbled functionality was absurd. And is, in many cases, for all anyone should be able to estimate.


  23. Quote John “I will always urinate in the garden. You save gallons – literally – of water every week.”, which reflects the old adage “He’s not got a pot to piss in”. Water was precious, it still should be. My boat houses a lovely stainless steel receptacle and no H2O wasted.


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