Blair in four-day fight for career
The first day of month five and a traditional time for party and protest. It is of course a Bank Holiday here, but the word is a misnomer these days - retail frenzy is the order of the day and the financial institutions are readily available with the necessary credit facilities for those who join the fray. I don't know about market confidence though - it seems the chief of Barclays Bank prefers to take out his own mortgage with a rival.
The media are obsessing opn virtually the same stories that began the weekend - new variations on ministerial troubles and a couple of celebrity injuries in the form of Keith Richards and some footballer or other. Telling though - in the headline link above the Scotsman reckon Blair is facing an uphill 4-day fight to save his skin. More a case of "Mayday" as a distress call, methinks! Even Washington has detected his troubles.
For his deputy, one must hope it is also a "Bonk" holiday as more women surface with allegations of affairs and sexual molestation. Home secretary Clarke is now revealed to have hidden his scandals from the boss for 3 weeks and only a hastily convened excercise in carbon-dating has rescued the Defense Secretary from a dope bust.
May, I'm amazed to see, is also the first anniversary for this blog. It seems like a lot longer. I'm told it's going to be a "Blog Of The Week" in a London newspaper this week so we get a present too.
A friend sent me the following in the mail, although I gather it originated in an AOL forum. It offers some light relief for the political break ...
A message to the citizens of the United States of America:
In light of your repetitive failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (excepting Kansas, which she does not fancy). Your new prime minister, Tony Blair, will appoint a governor for America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate will be disbanded. A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you actually noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then look up "aluminium", and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it all along. The letter "U" will be reinstated in words such as "favour", "colour" and "neighbour." Likewise, you will learn to spell "doughnut" without skipping half the letters, and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise".
Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary", if necessary.
Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.
There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter "u" and the elimination of "ize".
You will re-learn your original national anthem, God Save The Queen.
July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent. Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not mature enough to handle firearms. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap and this is for your own good. When we show you German cars, you'll understand what we mean.
All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables. Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
The former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (the previously-used term "gasoline" will henceforth be taboo) - at roughly $6/US gallon. Get used to it.
You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick-cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
The cold, tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as Lager. The substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine", with the exception of the product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine". This will allow true Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in Pilsen, Czech Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.
Hollywood will be required to occasionally cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English roles. Watching Andie MacDowell attempt English dialogue in "Four Weddings and a Funeral" was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies).
Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the "World Series" for a game which is not played outside of America. However, since only 2.1% of you are aware that there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable.
You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
Thank you for your co-operation.
In Amerika, Katrina-hit New Orleans has been trying to celebrate it's rebirth with "JazzFest" - a weekend of music with the likes of Springsteen and Dyla, besides their more traditonal fare. Meanwhile, former secretary of state Colin Powowell reveals that there were not enough troops for the job of invading and rebuilding Iraq from the start. All this as Bush tried to give everyone a heart attack by coming onstage with a double. Thankfully it was an illusion and he was clearly "given the finger" in a weekend of massive protests in New York.
Finally for now, a plug for Jane Stillwater's Blog.