Great historical events, sensational news reporting and genuine scientific advance do not immediately lend themselves to humour. But when those guiding such events are clearly mediocre, when twisted bumboy media owners spin failure into success, and when both groups conspire to present brazen lies as accepted truth, only mordantly ironic satire stands even the slightest chance of waking people up.
Have you ever noticed how, when you peer down a well to get a closer look at what’s going on, your glasses fall off? Have you ever tried to retrieve a pair of glasses from a well? If you don’t wear glasses or own a well, you will probably be a stranger to this experience; I by contrast, am not.
Still, it’s been a lovely day today in England. I know this because Brexit Minister David Davis told me four times this morning, on Sky News. The interviewer persevered with questions the Minister clearly wasn’t going to answer. Over on BBC, another hack was trying to get Michel Barnier to comment, with similar results. Both stations seemed to think we should be fascinated by this banality.
I’ve always wanted to be one of those microphone-armed newshounds asking “questions”. My interview would go like this:
Me: Are you going to support the Net Neutrality Bill this morning, Minister?
Minister for Multicultural Virtuality: Good morning….lovely day, what?
Me: Did you have a satisfactory bowel movement this morning Minister?
MfMV: I beg your pardon?
Me: Did you remember to put out the empty milk bottles last night Sir?
MfMV: What the…..?
Me: Look, we’re not going to get anywhere if you keep answering my questions with your questions….is it true that you’re two terms behind on the childrens’ school fees Minister?
MfMV: [who now stops walking in order to face me] Certainly not. That is a damned lie….
Me: ….is the correct answer, and this was John Ward for Interslog News naming and shaming Socialist Worker for its disgraceful allegations made on Twitter this morning. Thank you for your refreshing frankness, Minister.
MfMV: Not at all. Anytime.
Me: And of course you will be opposing the Bill today?
MfMV: Naturally. Oh shit, I didn’t….
The UK news coverage of the Big Brexit PowWow Showdown continued with intriguing shots of Cabinet Ministers getting out of cars and going into Chequers. We were told that – to make leaks absolutely impossible – their mobile phones were to be confiscated. Philip Hammond was apprehended in possession of one pigeon up his nose and two up his anus. Some people, eh?
Anyway, the best way to get spectacles out of a well is to avail oneself of both a net and a shovel. Not a spade (too flat) and the net can’t be too big (the edges keep hitting the side of the well).
The process is a bit like those ‘grab machines’ one used to find in amusement arcades during 1950s holidays – where the mechanical hand always looked like it was certain to capture the Timex watch, but then picked up a liquorice allsort. You muddle the shovel about in the water until the glasses are on it, and then jiffle the shovel about until the specs can be safely delivered into the net. I takes about 394 attempts to achieve success, which is pretty much as I remember things unfolding in 1957 on the pier in Prestatyn.
I’ve no idea as to the best way to extract two pigeons from Philip Hammond’s bottom. The most satisfyingly enjoyable waywould probably involves a rusty old 1950s amusement arcade grab-hand forcibly inserted without anaesthetic. But I can’t be sure: the subject isn’t something to which I’ve given a lot of thought.
In the merciful gaps between overhead shots of unidentifiable Cabinet ants getting out of limos today outside Chequers, occasional distractions were supplied in a desperate attempt to retain our attention. A former Swedish adviser to David Cameron was interviewed about Sweden’s chances in the World Cup game tomorrow, while Fraser Nelson was asked the same question about England. The theme here was “political advisers” in case you hadn’t spotted it, but of course neither bloke knew anything about footie, so one wondered what the point might be….especially as Fraser is Scottish, not English.
It was a surreal tableau, not least because Matttssss Errickkksssonnnn (Swedish is a stream of consonants) spoke more fluent and less accented English than Nelson. The progeny of pillaging Vikings said the following at one point:
“I know this is not like you English, but in Sweden the sum of the whole is always more important than the individual – and although people say our football is boring, I say fine, but I call that winning”.
Now remembering that this tramline-brained chap used to be an adviser to David Cameron, that utterance tells you an awful lot about the naive “intelligence” of politicians when seeking advisers. First of all, the Swedish approach to migrants is so tooth-rattlingly systemic and anthropologically ignorant, it may be collaborative but it is also been utterly disastrous for that country….as it has been for Austria and Germany. Second, all this “sum of the whole” claptrap is mainstream corporate fascism….which also gives a lot away about the real Scameron. And finally, in case the Eric Bloodaxes hadn’t noticed, football is a sporting entertainment business. As this World Cup has shown like no other in my lifetime, footie is about the electric genius of the unexpected, not rows of little subutteo models jerking about in unison.
There are moments when I despair for England my homeland, and other times when I am so bloody glad I’m not Swedish. A close chum once cuddled up to (and wound up having sex with) a beautiful Swedish girl on our ship returning from Gothenburg. Some years later I asked him what it had been like, and he replied, “Rather like the last time I had a medical check-up”.
Once you’ve got the spectacles out of the well, there is then the question of how to clean the inevitable algae off them without rendering the glasses radioactive or, at best, devoid of the jaunty colour scheme that made them worth buying in the first place. (Say what you like about the French, they do excel at manufacturing terrific off-the-peg fashion glasses).
I bathed the spectacles gently in a mix of TCP and hot water. There will be further bulletins during the day as to my state of health, but of one thing I am absolutely convinced: there is no resemblance at all between Novichok and TCP.
To be more general at a macro level, there is an equally zero congruence between the Salisbury stuff being billed as Novichok, and a genuine nerve agent. One thing I’ve been doing this past week with some degree of diligence is seeking out online information about the effects of nerve-attacking chemicals, and hype surrounding Novichok.
This has led me to two conclusions:
- Whatever substance is and has been at large in Salisbury, it cannot possibly be a nerve agent. Those of us operating beyond the Old Media should attempt to get ordinary people to focus on this undeniable scientific reality. We are talking about the sort of substance that – soon after someone comes into contact with it – causes the heart and diaphragm to shut down, with death resulting within hours at most through heart failure or suffocation. The idea that it could attack only two people at a time without hundreds of associated deaths is ridiculous.
- The English translation for the Russian word Novichok is “new stuff”. This was a colloquial term given to the substance by Russian nerve agent scientists during the early 1970s…around 45 years before today. The best evidence suggests very strongly that the then USSR decided it was obsolete decades ago. Why on Earth would they send agents into the UK armed with such a blunt instrument whose objective was clinically see off two people?
It is the difference between the nature of nerve agents and the events in Salisbury that makes the May government so open to factually based attack….if only we still had brave journalists prepared to present such political calumny for the disgraceful mendacity it is.
While we await the return of such courage, it falls to me to reveal that the only known antidote to media freedom is Borischok….an insidious mass killer capable of inducing hallucinations of such severity, the sufferer writes letters to the Maily Torygraph proposing the immediate construction of national monuments to the memory of Boris the Putin Impaler.