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Home > Politics

Recent Stories In Politics
A Replacement For Trident: Can Britain Get It Up?
March 16, 2007
'Come in and sit down, Mr Britain,' the doctor said sympathetically. 'What can I do for you today?' 'Well...' Mr Britain began and proceeded to list his ailments. It's true what they say, the doctor thought as he listened, getting old is a cruel and miserable business...
Our Brave Boys: Beating A Retreat
March 16, 2007
Again, on the big issues it is necessary to quote Bill Hicks and for that we make no apology. Speaking about the first Gulf War in 1992, Hicks said, 'I was in the unenviable position of being for the war, but against the troops'. Yes, Iraq needed to be freed from Saddam. It's just that expecting Tony and George to make a decent fist of it was like asking Jonathan King to run a youth outreach programme. They're all the wrong men for the job...
WAWIBF... Slavery
March 2, 2007
Yesterday a group of well-meaning folk set off on a 400-kilometre walk to mark the 200th anniversary of Britain’s abolition of the Slave Trade Act and to call for former slave-trading nations to apologise for the brutal, inhumane actions of their ancestors. They’re walking from Hull...
Quick Fix No. 2,236: Community Slavery
March 2, 2007
...As Gordon Brown inches closer to Downing Street, he’s started coming up with his ‘own’ policy ideas, many of which are worryingly similar to the quick-fix, media-led initiatives associated with Blair. Brown’s latest idea is to get new immigrants to do voluntary work in the community, something that has no obvious benefit to anyone...
The Long-Awaited Clampdown on the Vietnamese Boat People
March 2, 2007
Politicians love a good photo-opportunity, but it’s getting out hand, frankly. Last week Tony Blair arranged a ‘gun summit’ in Manchester, which was basically a thinly-veiled photo opportunity. Meanwhile David Cameron popped up in Manchester too, on some spurious ‘fact finding mission’ that also happened to be a photo opportunity...
WAWIBF... Dealing With Bloggers
February 23, 2007
22-year-old Abdel Kareem Soliman is an Egyptian blogger. Or rather he was. Not anymore. This week his blogging was brought to a halt. Not because it was inane or self-indulgent like most blogging. But because it was insulting. Like most blogging. Specifically, in his blog Soliman accused Egypt's president, Hosni Mubarak, of being 'a dictator'...
Brown vs Cameron: It's A Toss Up
February 23, 2007
Would Gordon Brown pass the 'barbecue test'? Would we, ordinary British voters, invite him round for a burger and a beer? That was the question Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland asked this week when contemplating the latest opinion polls... The answer to the question is: no, of course we wouldn't. Are you insane? We'd rather watch Torchwood again...
WAWIBF... Johnny Logan
February 16, 2007
Older, sadder readers may remember Johnny Logan winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1980. Younger, sadder readers may remember him winning it in 1987. Well, now Logan is back with a starring role in a couple of McDonald's ads, simultaneously plugging some excrement in a bun and his own bland music...
WAWIBF... Bum Gravy
February 11, 2007
Michael Barrymore - still 'one of Britain's best-loved entertainers', according to the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, where last week he played the title role in 'Scrooge' - was back in the news this week. Not because of his acting talents however, but because of a pie. Barrymore Pie...
Buddy, Can You Spare Twelve Billion Dollars?
February 11, 2007
You have to smile grimly at the incompetence of the American administration in Iraq that has managed to 'lose' $12 billion in $100 bills. The cash was flown into Iraq on military transport planes in shrink-wrapped bricks during 2003. After that, nobody's quite sure where most of it went. Some was given to contractors (what we used to call 'mercenaries'). A bunch of modern day 'Kelly's Heroes' lifted $740,000 from an army division's vault. Enterprising Iraqi ministries created thousands of 'ghost' employees, put them on the payroll and watched the good times roll in
A Message From Our Sponsor...
February 4, 2007
Recent challenges arising in the UK’s criminal justice system have prompted the Home Office to pilot a programme of community custody schemes across the country. We at Civic Comeuppance Ltd are proud to announce that we will be providing a major part of this new wave of outsourcing penal services to the private sector...
Ghandi Brown: 1% Inspiration, 99% Perspiration
January 26, 2007
'I could never compare myself to Gandhi or those other heroes of mine,' the Prime-Minister-in-waiting said to his Indian audience and the British press pack, 'but I do take inspiration from the way that they dealt with the challenges they faced when I think about how I will deal with the challenges the country and the world faces, including the security challenge.'...
WAWIBF... Law and Order
January 26, 2007
This week the Home Office sent a directive to magistrates and the police urging them to hold back on custodial sentences, except when absolutely necessary. Within hours it seems, half of Britain went on a gun-fuelled paedo rampage, with filthy nonces given carte blanche to defile, and robberies hitting an all-time high. And it's all John Reid's fault for not building more prisons...
David Blunkett: A Life in Film
January 19, 2007
We all like to fantasise about being a character in a movie, don't we? Take the twice-disgraced corrupt cuckolder with a persecution-complex, ex-cabinet minister David Blunkett, for example. No doubt he sees himself as the tragic Rochester in 'Jane Eyre' after Thornfield Hall burns down: blind (obviously), brought low by a wild, uncontrollable woman, and...
The Man Who Was Mundane: A Nightmare
January 19, 2007
Cherie shuffled away from him to the far side of the bed, hitching the chintz counterpane firmly up to her chin as she went. 'What's the matter, Tony? You even need George's permission to deploy *that*, do you?' she said. Tony, now the lone, cold spoon in the centre of the bed, rolled onto his back and stared unseeingly at the ceiling...
Everybody Needs Good Neighbours
January 19, 2007
'They fuck you up, your mum and dad / They may not mean to but they do' wrote Philip Larkin. Exactly how much they fucked up a witty and brilliant poet who also happened to be his own worst enemy is open to question, but there appears to some truth in the statement, at least if you heard what Gordon Brown had to say this week...
John Reid: New Levels of Twattery
November 3, 2006
John Reid is one of those politicians who manages to surprise by continually plumbing new depths of inanity. He's a bit like Edwina Currie in that respect - you thought Edwina had reached a low ebb in her career with the salmonella debacle, then she went on to write 'raunchy' novels with horrible, horrible sex scenes, and turned out to have been shagging John Major to boot. Wow...
Human Rights: Beatles, Beer and Bollocks
November 3, 2006
'Human rights are British. Human rights are as British as the Beatles. As British as the BBC. As British as bitter.' That was the Lord Chancellor, Charles Falconer this week, the man responsible for our legal system, finding an unlooked-for lyrical alliterative outlook in his unelected and illiberal largesse. You have to wonder how much it cost the tax payer to come up with such patronising and transparently contrived nonsense...
Iraq: Invade In Haste, Repent At Leisure
October 27, 2006
We've all done things we regret. Fortunately for most of us they tend to be of the 'I *knew* I shouldn't have taken a can of Stella into the job interview' variety, not 'Shit, I really shouldn't have invaded that country.' But the US seems to be moving toward a long-overdue realisation that the occupation of Iraq might have been a mistake...
WAWIBF... The Land of the

October 20, 2006
Phew. Thank heavens for George W Bush, a man who actually cares about saving lives, a man who actually cares about the legacy of the victims of 9/11. And thank heavens for the Military Commissions Act of 2006. According to the 'fact sheet' on the Whitehouse website, the new act 'Will Preserve The Tools Needed To Help Save American Lives.' Their capitals...
Senator Foley: Between Iraq And A Hard And Horny Place
October 20, 2006
...The Foley affair is essentially trivial, by any standards. Foley hasn't molested anyone, and while the attentions of an older homosexual may be unwanted by younger, straight men, nothing very much seems to have actually *happened*. Moreover, being propositioned by a gay man isn't the most traumatic thing that can happen to you...
The War Against Terror: Unholy Mess, Unholy Alliances
October 20, 2006
May we be forgiven for what we are about to admit. We abjectly throw ourselves on your mercy in advance. Oh God. Here we go. This week, Richard Littlejohn said something that we agree with. There. We said it. Can you ever forgive us? Here's what he had to say about the Home Secretary in his column for the Daily Heil this week...
Electronic Tagging: Justice on the Cheap
October 15, 2006
Oops. It turns out that the policy of tagging crims has not been wholly successful, with more than 1,000 violent crimes, including five murders, being committed by prisoners released early with electronic tags. Of course, there's no cut-and-dried way of predicting what people are going to do, but it's a track record that doesn't really inspire confidence...
One Of Us... One Of Us...
October 15, 2006
Back when he used to be funny, Ben Elton once referred to the ‘non-humour’ used by politicians. And he was bang on the mark: any attempt by politicians at humour is invariably toe-curlingly embarrassing, as can be seen at any Prime Minister’s question time, when lame-o quips like ‘Maybe the minister for health should be called...
Depression, Dossiers and Death: Campbell Confesses
October 15, 2006
When you consider what he got up to the last time he was at a low ebb, you do have to wonder whether Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former press secretary, was the right person to be the public face of the Mental Health Media Awards this week. To explain why requires a short history lesson. Cast your mind back three years to the aftermath of the suicide of Dr David Kelly and the subsequent Hutton Inquiry into the weapons inspector's death...
David 'Dave' Cameron: Elegant Slumming
October 6, 2006
Erm, right. Welcome to 'David "Dave" Cameron: Elegant Slumming'. Look out, Private Eye, we're coming after you. Ha ha! Just let us finish putting our smalls through this mangle and eating our spam butty. Oh, look. A small child. Hang on, young person, just let us finish typing this. If only we'd known you were going to be reading this, dear reader, we'd have finished the chores and put the children to bed...
WAWIBF... Fundiphobia
October 1, 2006
On Tuesday the Deutsche Oper in Berlin announced its decision not to stage a production of Mozart’s 'Idomeneo’. The reason being that this particular interpretation of the opera features the decapitated heads of Poseiden, Buddha, Jesus Christ and - you guessed it - the Prophet Mohammed! Again! You can’t move for the Prophet Mohammed these days. He is *such* a media whore...
Tony Blair - The Autumn Years
October 1, 2006
As Blair finally, grudgingly admitted it was time to step down as Labour leader, in a speech that was eerily similar to his thespy Parkinson appearance, we had a feeling we’re still going to see a lot of him in years to come. But what will he do to fill the time when he isn’t Prime Minister?...
Speech Therapy: Telling It Like It Isn't
October 1, 2006
Last year, after Tony Blair's Labour Party conference speech, we said one or two nasty things about it. To be honest, it was tempting to cut and paste them here again this year. Tony did pretty much the same thing with his conference speech this week and *he* seems to have got away with it. So, let's get the perennially obvious out of the way first. Here's the checklist of vital ingredients for a Blair conference speech as we've wearily come to expect them...
WAWIBF... Manuel Paleologus
September 24, 2006
...Hearing what they wanted to hear, ignoring the clarion call to non-violence, fundamentalist Muslims proved to the world that Islam is a religion of peace by burning an effigy of the Pope, shooting a nun in the back and, throughout the week, issuing various death threats. If it wasn't so depressing, it would be nothing more than a rather infantile joke...
Darfur: A Suitable Case For Outrage
September 24, 2006
Darfur has stepped back from the abyss, just for the time being. A three-month extension of the African Union's peacekeeping mission in Sudan means that hundreds of thousand of refugees are no longer at the mercy of Sudanese militias until a UN-sponsored force arrives early next year. In a bout of brinkmanship and political foot-dragging...
The Thai Coup: So What Else Is On?
September 24, 2006
Much is often made by commentators about the alarming levels of desensitisation we have acquired, having been consistently exposed to such a numbing glut of horrific imagery. In fact, so much has been made of it and so often, we're quite desensitised to it. Yawn. Anyway, one of the little-discussed side effects of all this mental and spiritual anaesthesia has made itself known this week, in the shape of Conor Bracken, an Irish tourist in Thailand...
WAWIBF... Ferenc Gyurcsany
September 24, 2006
Despite being one of the richest men in former-communist Eastern Europe, and worth 68 points on a Scrabble board, Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany still has an awful lot to learn about political spin. If, like any politician worth their salt, you are going to lie through your teeth to get yourself elected, and then spend your entire time in office selling particularly juicy untruths to the electorate, it is perhaps best not to confess as much on tape and then blog your confessions. People tend to notice this kind of thing...
More Fool Britannia
September 17, 2006
We at The Friday Thing remember May 1997 like it was yesterday. If we weren't so darned reserved and horribly sober, we would have been dancing in the streets as New Labour swept into Downing Street, as the discredited, inept, tainted Major government was swept aside on a national wave of enthusiasm. The cheers ringing across town as Portillo was cast out on his arse by Stephen Twigg will live long in the memory. Cool Britannia, indeed...
Memo To Gordon: Don't Rain On My Parade
September 8, 2006
We'd urge you to read the Daily Mirror's report on the leaking of Tony's 'Farewell Memo' - you'll smile for days. 'He needs to go with the crowds wanting more. He should be the star who won't even play that last encore,' was a particularly nice sentiment. If only they'd made that rhyme work properly, it could have been put to a squealing rock soundtrack...
Young People: Guilty Till Proven Innocent
September 8, 2006
There's a term someone should coin: 'argumentum ad hysterium'... Whatever the issue, you can bet someone will make a point that is ridiculously melodramatic and hysterical. An excellent example could be found this week in a letter to The Guardian, when a reader criticised the government's plans to intervene early in the lives of 'problem' children. A reader (in fact a professor) said that Blair 'cannot be ignorant of the policies which led to the sterilisation and ultimately extermination of antisocial groups in Germany. It could happen here if people do not protest.'...
Ding Dong! The Witch Won't

September 1, 2006
Our early morning routine is a simple one. We fall out of bed, stagger downstairs, still in the previous day's underwear, switch on the portable TV in the kitchen, key page 101 into Ceefax and slump our shoulders with disappointment. For the last 15 years, tweaking the aerial for any semblance of decent reception, we find that Margaret Thatcher is still alive...
Party Political Broadcast Till You Puke
September 1, 2006
Poor old governments. They're damned if they do and damned if they just sit around quietly sort of governing. Just like parents, any attempts to be cool are roundly ridiculed, and any attempts to pretend coolness doesn't exist or is rubbish are disdained just as much. But bravely, our lot have decided to run headlong into the cool/uncool interface...
Together Alone: Protesting in Parliament Square
September 1, 2006
Let's face it, if we got a nice, fair, humanitarian government tomorrow, huge swathes of people would have a lot less fun. Maybe not Muslims trying to go on holiday, Iraqi civilians or Britain's underclass but it's a good bet that many a blogger, newspaper columnist, protester and weekly email comment sheet would be bereft. Railing against the current incumbent scumbags is such a joy...
Terror: Let's Have A Meeting
August 18, 2006
When confronted with a very difficult problem, it's common to act out of pure desperation, like the drivers on 'America's Wildest Police Chases' who can't pull over because they've just chugged 16 Buds, have a kilo of crack cocaine in the trunk and an illegal firearm under the passenger seat, prompting them to drive the wrong way up the interstate because...
Pot Kettle Crap
August 18, 2006
John Prescott is amazing. Not in a good way, just in the sense that he never fails to amaze. Who but the Deputy Prime Minister could call George Bush 'crap' and manage to look like a twat for saying it?...
There's Nobody Here But Us Terrorists
August 18, 2006
As with so much in life, a horrible overwhelming terror scare can bring with it a good bushel of laughs... Neighbours of suspects, bewildered, saying, 'But they're so polite and they keep such a nice garden.' Clearly, there is a deep and basic need across all cultures for terrorists to wear permanent vicious scowls and t-shirts saying 'YOU WILL ALL DIE LIKE
Rant In G Minor
August 11, 2006
George Galloway has the uncanny ability to be both spectacularly right and mortifyingly wrong, often in the same breath. He can make a rousing, stirring call to the humanity in all of us with speeches like the one on Sky News this week, while calling the deaths of Israeli soldiers 'a bloody good hiding'....
Arc of the Convenient
August 4, 2006
Tony Blair's very pleased with his shiny new 'arc of extremism', isn't he? After testing it at the G8 summit in July he used the conflation of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah no fewer than three times in the speech he gave in Los Angeles this week. Something was clearly needed to replace the 'axis of evil', Iraq having left the group with nervous exhaustion...
Qana Get a Ceasfire (Already)?
August 4, 2006
How many children does one have to kill to win a UN resolution? The answer, it turns out, is 37. And then, that doesn't even get you a halfway decent one. 37 dead kids gets you a bargain basement John Bolton-penned piece of fluff promising ceasefires 'if you feel like it, no pressure OK'; the words 'death to the terrorists'; and a James Blunt-fronted stabilization force armed...
WAWIBF... Summer Holidays
August 4, 2006
It had been suggested that Tony Blair postpone his trip to the States this week, what with the world falling apart and John Prescott proving himself a less popular sex-pest than Glitter and King combined. But Tony went anyway, primarily, say his accusers, so that he might line up a few pocket-fillers for when he's finally finished pissing about over here...
Tony Knows Best: Shut Up and Have an Apple
July 31, 2006
Any child of the 70s and 80s is used to being nagged by the government: don't retrieve that frisbee from a substation, look-left-look-right-look-left-again, don't get bummed by strangers, don't throw fireworks, don't kill people in your car when you're pissed, Just Say No, don't get AIDS.... It was tedious, but hey, it was sound advice and a few of us made it through to 2006...
What Do We Want? Ceasefire. When Do We Want It? Umm...
July 31, 2006
As the wheels at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office grind slowly, ineffectively on, we were as surprised as anyone to learn that the British Government actually *has* a policy regarding Israel bombing seven shades of buggery out of Lebanon...
Surveyjism: Parliament Rox!
July 31, 2006
Picture the scene. A sluggish Guns'n'Roses, battered by years of bad luck and worse hair implants, are failing to mollify a rumbling New Wembley crowd. Slash is long since gone, Buckethead has taken his pail elsewhere. Axl Rose, linen-napkin skin pulled trampoline-tight over sharp cheekbones, is struggling to remember the words to 'Sweet Child O'Mine', while the butter-fingered guitarist is arsing up the scorching riff...
Distinctly Low Rent
July 22, 2006
The Labour Party floated another 'Get Cameron' strategy this week. After the craptacular 'Dave the Chameleon' campaign died on its arse - it turned out that the public, and Cameron himself, quite like the computer-generated lizard who wears hats, rides a bike and changes colour - Labour's finest minds decided enough was enough: Time for gloves off and knuckle-dusters on...
Bye Bye Oil Crisis, Hello Uranium Crisis
July 15, 2006
The Prime Minister felt the hand of history on his shoulder once again this week. In a photograph from Wednesday's Independent, we see him inspecting an offshore windfarm in Kent, every inch the concerned statesman. Intentionally or not, it's a picture rich with symbolism and meaning. Is Blair gazing into the future, away from the metaphorical depths that threaten to engulf humanity?...
Afghanistan Now
July 15, 2006
This week defence secretary Des Browne told MPs that more British troops were needed in Afghanistan because commanders on the ground had 'grasped an early opportunity' to establish law and order in the Helmand area. All becomes clear. The Brits are so good at giving Johnny Taliban a damn good thrashing that we need to send *more* troops to continue the job...
Terror Alerts: Get Your Fear On
July 15, 2006
'This is a government announcement. Due to recent intelligence garnered by MI5 on an embarrassing Fake Sheikh piece that's going to screw Prescott in this Sunday's News of the World, the Terror Threat level is to be raised from Level One: Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down to Level Four: Oh My Hairy Arse-crack, We're All Gonna DIE!!!...
Tone: Deaf
July 7, 2006
The efforts of the past year by Blair's Muslim-led task forces to sort out Islamic extremism from the shoots up didn't come to an awful lot, and despite much of the fault for this lying with the government, Blair's attitude now seems akin to that of an exasperated parent whose children just won't stop crayoning the walls and making bombs in the kitchen...
One Year On: And What Have We Done?
July 7, 2006
If ever proof was needed that The Government Is Not Our Friend, then the treatment of the survivors and the families of the victims of the July 7 bombings is surely it. Today being the first anniversary of the bombings it’s worth looking back on the treatment of the people who simply had the misfortune to board the wrong tube trains or bus last summer. Those fortunate enough to emerge alive, many with terrible injuries, both physical and psychological, were met with official incompetence, ignorance, suggestions of culpability in future attacks and, on one memorable occasion, outright hostility
Pot, Kettle, Big Ears
July 2, 2006
You can always tell the kind of person we have running the country these days by the time that elapses between the day of their sacking and the bitter, twisted back-stabbing of the boss. Some former ministers bide their time, waiting for the iron to become hot, striking at a time of maximum embarrassment...
Alan Johnson: There's Nothing Square About These Roots
July 2, 2006
So apparently learning mathematics in school is about to become 'cool' under new measures announced by Education Secretary Alan Johnson this week. Britain's kids are about to throw down their blades and Breezers and find out that numbers ain't butters...
Israel & Palestine: It's Good To Talk
July 2, 2006
When it comes to discussing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, for most of us there are two basic approaches: - Talk utterly ill-informed rubbish, preferably using the terms 'Jew'', 'Zionist' and 'Israeli' interchangeably, e.g. 'If the Jews would just take their tanks...
Paedomania, And Other Distractions
June 16, 2006
The massed angry ranks of Little England found themselves a new cause and a new figurehead this week. Still riding the wave of popular acclaim that her News of the World campaign to name and shame paedophiles brought her, The Sun's editor Rebekah Wade kicked off a new venture naming and shaming judges giving 'child sex beasts' 'soft sentences'...
The NHS: Pain, Profit and Loss
June 16, 2006
We were in hospital last week. A friend, taken hideously ill, was rushed to the local NHS concrete-and-vending-machines casualty unit (Jug-eared Crisps? Coke? In a casualty waiting room? Are you sure?), where she was seen in extraordinary time, drugged up to her eyeballs and discharged, a tick in the box for Ealing NHS Trust's performance targets. We were hugely impressed...
The TFT Guide To... Being A Good Dad
June 16, 2006
The Department for Education came in for criticism this week after it published an information pack for fathers, yet again stating the bleeding obvious. The 'Dad Pack', apparently aimed at the feckless and the terminally stupid, contains the revelatory information that going to the playground can be fun for children, and advising against having an affair when your partner is pregnant. More worryingly, it gives the handy advice: 'Never shake a baby or child - it can cause lasting brain damage.'...
England's Dreaming: The Unbearable Inevitability Of Disappointment
June 12, 2006
His supporters say he's ready. Not long now and he'll take us all the way to glory, sweeping all before him. Those with cooler heads are sceptical. Does he really have what it takes, is he fit, can he - against the odds - fulfil the nation's expectations, hopes and dreams? Yes, the big question on everybody's lips is 'Can Gordon Brown really become Prime Minister?'...
The Dying Art of Political Pretence
June 12, 2006
We're not terribly good at lying here at The Friday Thing. We put this down to the culture of truth, honesty and getting our round in like proper gents that exists in this organisation, and not because our ears glow red like an illuminated Charles Clarke every time a pork pie falls from our lips. However, we do feel entitled to tell the odd whopper every now and then...
Forest Gategate: A Very British Terror-Bungle
June 12, 2006
There's a perversely reassuring rhythm to the Forest Gate fiasco, the biggest Terrorism Act set piece this year, with the slide from decisive action to fumbling embarrassment choreographed exceptionally well. BBC News 24 spent the entirety of last Friday morning in excited focus on the 250 police officer raid on a house in Forest Gate, East London, which had been staged in the sluggish pre-dawn...
British Justice: A Little On The Rough Side
June 12, 2006
This week three soldiers were found not guilty of the manslaughter of an Iraqi teenager at a court martial held in Colchester. The squaddies had all denied the manslaughter of 15-year-old Ahmed Jabber Kareem, who drowned in a Basra canal in 2003. The three military policemen were accused of making a group of looters swim Shatt al-Basra canal, causing Kareem, a non-swimmer, to drown.
Moral Panic
June 3, 2006
There's really no good way to spin Haditha - the alleged cold-blooded slaughter of 24 Iraqi civilians by rampaging, idiot US marines. As soon as the words 'Iraq's My Lai' left the first commentator's mouth, that was it. This will make the Abu Ghraib scandal look like some kind of cute Belushi-like frat house hazing ceremony...

New Labour Perks Up
June 3, 2006
Any moron in the pub will tell you that politicians are self-serving bastards who can't be trusted... However, the moron view of politicians is certainly one that's been supported by recent events - not least John Prescott's grudging relinquishment of his country pile, Dorneywood...
Fiction Burns
June 3, 2006
'You couldn't make it up' is, of course, the hackneyed, clichéd catchphrase of hateful human skidmark, Richard Littlejohn. This though, like so many things the evolutionary drag factor pontificates on, is wrong. The walls between our reality and fiction have been growing thin for quite a few years now. Under the auspices of New Labour and the cynicism of the PR industry those walls have finally been breached and everyday reality is now polluted by fiction...
Cherie Blair: A Scorpion With Social Tourette's
May 27, 2006
To judge by the reaction of some sections of the media and other members of the professionally offended this week, you'd think Cherie had been cluster-bombing children and undermining human rights like her husband. If only Tony's actions over the years had been scrutinised and judged with the level of vitriol that his wife's have, he'd have been chased from office years ago...
Iran vs USA: What's the Beef?
May 19, 2006
We're doomed. Doomed with a big capital D, with hand-baskets being prepared for their one-way trip downstairs. The reason for this chink in our otherwise cheery demeanour is this: we understand the current buzzword doing the rounds in US intelligence circles is 'From Q to N'. That is, a shift of emphasis from Iraq to its rather larger, richer, more heavily militarized neighbour Iran...
Justice: You're Just So Distant These Days
May 19, 2006
The criminal justice system (as opposed to just 'crime') has been increasingly discussed in recent years. The question is whether we desperately need reform, or whether Blair has found what he believes is a populist issue to provide a distraction from Iraq and the various scandals plaguing New Labour...
Tony Blair vs The Law: Crossbows For All
May 19, 2006
Before he answered a higher calling, Tony Blair was a lawyer. Given his much publicised infatuation with cash (cheap holidays at Sir Cliff's Barbados hideaway, nuzzling with billionaires like Italian national joke, Silvio Berlusconi, parading endless celebrities through Number 10) and considering just how much lawyers can earn, you have to think that he must have been bloody rubbish at it or he'd be still in the trade...
Desperate Times
May 13, 2006
So, you're a horribly unpopular leader of a country going down the tubes, your cabinet is in dire need of a reshuffle, but assassination is generally frowned upon. What do you do? Well, simply follow these step-by-step instructions and you too can bring turmoil to the very heart of your administration, crippling the smooth running of government for months to come!...
The BNP: Mein Kamp
May 13, 2006
Most of us who consider ourselves rational and politically aware tend to write off the British National Party as a bunch of unimaginative, narrow-minded, racist homophobes. Prepare then to change your views. Because Richard Barnbrook, star of the BNP when last week he won eleven council seats in the borough of Barking and Dagenham, has set out to prove everyone wrong about the values he stands for. It has been revealed that, amongst his (surely numerous) achievements, Barnbrook at one time immersed himself in the world of arthouse Marxist gay erotica...
The UN vs Human Rights: What's the Beef?
May 13, 2006
...So there were cheers and bunting this week when all the rotten apples were tossed out along with the barrel itself. The United Nation Human Rights Commission has been abolished in favour of a new body, the imaginatively titled United Nations Human Rights Council. The dancing in the streets was short-lived, however, when it emerged that some of the rats who'd escaped the old ship before it sank have scrambled aboard the new one...
A Time For Total Ruthlessness
May 13, 2006
Ruth Kelly is an idiot, and she should be removed from political office immediately. Does that sound harsh? It isn't. Well, maybe it is, but sadly, it's demonstrably true. We don't say she's an idiot incidentally, because she believes in God. That wouldn't be entirely fair - not entirely. Or... actually, maybe it would. Bugger, we're in two minds. We're loath to say it because frankly, it sounds discriminatory, slightly fascist. But then again...
John Prescott: An Upstanding Member of UK PLC
April 28, 2006
When most of us accept a job, we usually sign a contract that says something like: 'I hereby agree to the stated terms and conditions of employment...', including any confidentiality agreement, internet policy, dress code, and so on. We suspect the same applies when you become a cabinet minister, except the declaration concludes '...and I agree to fuck up so spectacularly it'll make Gallipoli look like an unqualified success.'...
Shades of Green
April 28, 2006
We at The Friday Thing will always go the extra mile to save the planet. Particularly if that extra mile happens to be in the luxury of our spanking new Humvee, ripping up trees and dismembering small woodland animals, followed by our personal oil tanker, as we pop down the road to drop Tarquin and Belinda off for clarinet lessons...
Punishment vs Rehabilitation: What's the Beef?
April 28, 2006
The classic description of the noble swan is that it is calm and regal above the water while paddling furiously underneath. The Home Office under New Labour is the exact opposite. A gaudy monstrosity above, it flaps and mugs, screaming for attention with headline-catching initiatives here (banging up suspected terrorists without trial), flourishes of bureaucratic cruelty there (deporting the Kachepas, for instance), and technocratic turds (ID cards) everywhere...
Tory Modernisation: Like Synchronised Swimming For Cats
April 23, 2006
Fun-loving Tory leader David Cameron serves as a warning to us all about the dangers of drugs. Who except someone in the grip of advanced cocaine psychosis could be deluded enough to think they can 'modernise' the Conservative Party?...
The British Government vs Morality: Where's the Beef?
April 23, 2006
The morality of high politics is beyond the ken of mortal man. How else to explain why Jack Straw could shake hands with Robert Mugabe at the UN ('it was quite dark,' whined Straw afterwards) and then mock peace protesters ('I could have done better') while showing off in front of Condoleezza Rice during her recent visit to Blackburn? And then we have...
'False Flag' Fundamentalism: Tilting at Tube Trains
April 14, 2006
Milan Rai wasn't sure if he'd make it to his own book launch. He's been in court this morning, charged with organising an unauthorised demonstration in the vicinity of Parliament... However, he's here (having been fined, although he's refusing to pay) for the launch of his measured, analytical book '7/7: The London Bombings, Islam and the Iraq War'...
American Apocalypse Now
April 14, 2006
Exaggerated portrayals of the dark side of Amerikkka are pretty common in fiction. Two themes particularly appeal to liberal creatives: the idea of a secret, crypto-fascist American state, as portrayed in works ranging from 'Three Days of the Condor' to 'The X-Files'. The other theme is Christian religious extremism...
Tony & Gordon: More Interesting Than Wheelie Bins
April 8, 2006
Over the years, it's been almost impossible to avoid the press speculation about the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Indeed, as coverage of the forthcoming local elections began this week, the media didn't even bother to feign interest in the elections, preferring instead to quiz a visibly irked Blair about his relationship with Brown...
Boris Johnson: Queasy Lover
April 7, 2006
Boris is an unlikely ladies' man, in the same way that Mr Tumnus is an unlikely ladies' man. Sure, Boris has a certain charm. If you had to compile a list of adjectives to describe Boris they'd be things like: bumbling, boyish, posh and educated. The problem is that Boris is only a charming, colourful character in comparison with other politicians...
I'll Get Me Zygote
March 31, 2006
What's left to say about abortion that can't be said with a giant poster of a bright pink foetus next to a pound coin? Very little, apparently. But much of it is going to be said by one James Dowson, founder of the UK Life League. The Guardian reported this week on his group's targeting of a Catholic school in Surrey, who are apparently practising 'child abuse' by teaching sex education to 14 and 15 year olds...
Brian Haw: Protesting Too Much?
March 31, 2006
It's vitally important to have the courage of your convictions, not to mention the courage of other people's. But there's sticking to your guns, and there's being glued to them in a way that incapacitates you... Brian Haw has been protesting for peace outside Parliament since 2001. An attempt to evict him by bringing in new restrictions about spontaneous protest within a mile of the seat of government backfired beautifully last year...
Blair & Brown: Same Shit, Different Suit
March 27, 2006
If there's one thing that we'll remember about Tony Blair it's the sheer amount of nonsense he spouted: the platitudes, the cod-philosophising, the meaningless statements. Remember: 'I can only go one way. I've not got a reverse gear'? Apart from being untrue, it actually makes Blair sound slightly defective, like an ultra-cheap East European car that's been built without a proper gearbox and seats made out of concrete...
Blair on Parkinson: Tomorrow Does Not Belong To Me
March 14, 2006
These days, Michael Parkinson's chat show is a fairly reviled institution, consisting largely of ultra-bland celebrity backslapping and shameless plugs for films, books and West End musicals. But last Saturday's show was an unusually grim hour's worth of 'entertainment', featuring Tony Blair looking as cheerful and at-ease as an Abu Ghraib inmate hearing someone shout 'Walkies!'...
Good Behaviour Cards: Bad Idea
March 14, 2006
This week Gordon Brown announced plans to give teenagers 'youth opportunity' cards to allow them to take part in sport and leisure activities. Immediately the cards were dubbed 'good behaviour cards', because youngsters who repeatedly misbehave will have their cards withdrawn: 'No more synchronised swimming for you, Darren. Looks like you'll have to keep in shape by being chased by police dogs again.'...
A Slice of Paradise
March 6, 2006
The future is bright. The future is clean. The future is porn-free, pill-free and very big on foetal rights. Mel Gibson will love it. He'll come in his pants most probably, but he'll feel wicked for days afterwards. He'll have to flagellate himself to within an inch of his life as a result. But it'll be worth it. Because the future is God's will. But the most exciting news of all is that the future is very, very close at hand...
Cos This Is My United Kingdom of Whatever
March 6, 2006
Just before we dozed off during A-Level Sociology, we half-learned something about 'the value of the non-decision' - the grave significance of enigmatic voter silence. Even at that time, oh so long ago, the government was furrowing its brow over the decline in voter turn-out... Years on, the issue is even more pressing, with voter numbers at pitiful levels. This week the sexily-named Power Inquiry report somberly declared that British politics will go into 'meltdown' if nothing changes...
Cash Cow: The Tessa Jowell Affair
March 3, 2006
The bribery allegations levelled at Tessa Jowell's husband are both intricate and tedious, involving, as they do, the dreary world of finance. In fact, the whole business makes you nostalgic for the easy-to-understand scandals surrounding honest-to-goodness perverts like Harvey Proctor. No boring old hedge funds or mortgage payments there - just rent boys and a statuette of Winston Churchill rammed firmly up your arse. Mark Oaten, we salute you. That said, the whole Jowell affair speaks volumes about the world that politicians inhabit, and as such we really ought to take an interest in it...
David Irving: In Denial
February 24, 2006
On Monday this week, one-time historian David Irving was sentenced to three years in prison for 'denying the Holocaust'. That is, for denying it ever existed, or, if it did, for denying that it was anywhere as serious as all that, and that the gas chambers were a myth. Irving seems to live his life in denial. He's famous for it. Indeed, previous to his trial, he told the press, 'I deny that I'm a Holocaust denier'. He just can't help himself!...
Terrorism: Is It Time to Cast the Net Narrower?
February 24, 2006
This week four actors from the award-winning film 'The Road to Guantanamo' were detained at Luton airport as they returned from the Berlin film festival, where the film was premiered. The reason? They were travelling with two ex-terrorist suspects formerly held at Guantanamo, on whose story the film is partly based, and who had been to the film festival as well...
Glorification: You Can't Legislate for Weirdness
February 18, 2006
Any proposal to outlaw the 'glorification' of terrorism is a gift to anyone who wants to make a point. To use an analogy: say you really, really hate Vernon Kay. All you need to do is make a placard saying 'LET'S BLOW UP GRINNING SIMPLETON VERNON KAY.'...
Warning: May Contain Nutrition
February 12, 2006
The difference between a problem and a crisis is a matter of labelling. The persistent and myriad effects of obesity have slowly coagulated to form a crisis proper, and as such is provoking action on behalf of the people who are held partially responsible. On Thursday, Danone, Kellogg's, Kraft, Nestle and PepsiCo all agreed to conform to a new labelling scheme for food products...
Chantelle Nation
February 6, 2006
Earlier this week a draft version of a new government bill was leaked. At first glance, many of the clauses in the proposed Animal Welfare Bill seem so stultifyingly obvious that you imagine the whole bill is a hoax; a cheeky satirical sideswipe at a Mary Poppins government who really do believe that without their guidance, we are all of us helpless and stupid. But it’s not a hoax. That is really what they think...
Coathangers at Dawn
January 28, 2006
Last Sunday saw demonstrations by sanctimoniously-named pro-lifers and the still rather unpalatably-named pro-choice contingent to mark the 33rd anniversary of Roe vs Wade. The anti-abortionists continued to miss some fundamental points about human rights, about quality of life and about a grim reality that we all wish were otherwise, but must assimilate...
Booze, Boys And Blistering Egos
January 28, 2006
On BBC News 24 yesterday Lembit Opik was asked, with reference to the self-outing of LibDem leadership candidate Simon Hughes, 'Why now?' Opik said he didn't know. The BBC should have asked Jo Moore. Or anybody else with an ounce of nous. They would have told him, Simon Hughes chose now to admit he was gay because compared to pretending to be a cat in a lab coat or paying rent boys to shit in your mouth, being gay is a picnic in the park....
A Website for All Occasions
January 28, 2006
This week the National Audit office revealed that the Department for Work and Pensions spent £31 million publishing 250 different leaflets last year. These leaflets, it found, were frequently out of date and difficult for the public to understand, prompting the chairman of the Commons public accounts committee to comment that the DWP was producing 'gobbledegook'...
When is a Fact Not a Fact? When It's a Lie.
January 21, 2006
Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell was in town this week, giving interviews left, right and centre and generally gadding about like a man with a book to plug. But of course he wasn't plugging a book. Not this time. This time, Powell was plugging a war...
Prostitution: 'Tis Pity She's Nothing Like Julia Roberts
January 21, 2006
Lonely? Sexually frustrated? In need of some female 'company'? You might like to visit Jan. Jan's rates are £80 for 30 minutes. It's not clear who would be paying who. We jest, but websites like Jan's do make you wonder why there was so much controversy about this week's plans to change the law on prostitution. Given that the quickest trawl of a local paper's classified ads or the internet shows that the UK is awash with the services of prostitutes, why start getting all moral about a minor change designed to protect sex workers?
Charles Kennedy: Why You Don't Have to Feign Interest in Politics Anymore
January 13, 2006
Every so often a survey demonstrates a supposedly worrying lack of interest in politics on the part of the British public. You know the sort of thing - nine out of 10 people think Gordon Brown is a fictional character, or that Bill Oddie is prime minister...
Duff Respect
January 13, 2006
On Monday Tony Blair declared that if his grandfather, or indeed his father, were to be magically transported to 21st century Britain, both would 'marvel' at modern technology - such as podcasting - but, on the flipside, both would be 'shocked' by the 'loss of respect in local communities and on the street'...
TFT Goes To... The Parliament Square Carol Service
December 24, 2005
Brian Haw is the nut who incurred the blustering wrath of a governmental sledgehammer. Chiefly in order to boot him from Parliament Square where he had camped out for four years and shouted about the injustice of war, the Serious and Organised Crimes and Police Act 2005 was passed... It's a nasty, unjust little law that says nothing good about the government at all; it claimed its first convict recently in the inoffensive form of Maya Evans, who was arrested for reading out the names of soldiers killed in Iraq at the Cenotaph. In response, Tim Ireland of bloggerheads.com conceived a wizard wheeze to hold a carol service in Parliament Square
Many a Crip Twixt Cup and Lip
December 18, 2005
No one was more upset at the execution of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams this week than the people of Austria. Not even Williams himself, who was said to be as cool as someone else's cucumber as he was led to the chamber of death at Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's insistence on Tuesday...
Charlie: Down
December 18, 2005
Charles Kennedy has been so quiet for so long now, it was inevitable that when he returned to the spotlight, it would be to defend charges that he was dead. Which is pretty much what happened this week. Kennedy has been all over the place in the last few days, more visible than at any time since the LibDems' last conference, swearing blind that he is still alive and still very much leader of his party. Unfortunately, he wasn't terribly convincing.
An Open Letter to David Cameron
December 11, 2005
Latin. Imagining your parents having sex. Fox-hunting. Academic study for its own reward. Religion. Imagining other people's parents having sex. These, David, are a few the things that turn young people off. But 'Punch and Judy politics and cheap point-scoring'? Please. That's just about all that does turn us on about politics...
National Service: Good For Anything That Ails You
December 3, 2005
The idea of 'responsible adult citizens' is obviously code for 'not being feckless, binge-drinking yobs' - a rather offensive stereotype of young people that seems to have taken on its own reality courtesy of the press. Can you imagine any other group in society being stereotyped in this way? Imagine the headlines: CAMERON RESIGNS OVER 'ALL BLACKS GOT RHYTHM' CLAIM...
And On That Bombshell
December 2, 2005
Al-Jazeera, as a media outlet, hasn't got the shiniest rep. Most of us only developed a vague sense of it via our own media as something strongly associated with terrorism, inevitably redolent of the same horror. It was the source of all the over-pixellated footage of eerie bearded men speaking lyrically about infidels and the head of the snake...
Blair and the Liaison Committee: Everything You Feared Was True Is True
November 25, 2005
John Birt, former BBC boss and now Lord Birt, is an obvious target for political satire. He was derided for his jargon-based management style at the BBC, while his appointment to Downing Street smacked of cronyism. Unfortunately, 'The Thick of It' increasingly resembles a documentary, not a sitcom.
The TFT Guide to... ill-conceived advertising campaigns
November 21, 2005
Bemused readers may have recently witnessed the Citroen C3 'Happy Days' adverts, featuring the Fonz and other characters from the sitcom. Not content with being unfunny and slightly unsettling, the strangest thing about the advert is the vexed question of who on earth it's aimed at...
What Kind of Police Do We Want? (Ones That Don't Make Speeches)
November 21, 2005
This week Metropolitan Police commissioner Sir Ian Blair delivered the annual Dimbleby lecture, taking as his theme 'What kind of police service do we want?' Unfortunately the answer was 'probably not one with you in charge'...
The Terror Bill: Tony Knows Best
November 11, 2005
After the defeat of the Terror Bill this week Tony Blair told the press there was a 'worrying gap between parts of Parliament and the reality of the terrorist threat and public opinion.' In some respects this is true. There are plenty who believe that the police should have whatever powers they ask for. Unfortunately the same people tend to believe that the SAS should have 'taken out' Gerry Adams...
David Davis - White Whine for the Ladies
November 11, 2005
David Davis works upstairs. He's got a room on the seventh floor of our office building. Probably more than one room actually. You know how greedy they are. We often bump into his bogeys in the lift or at reception. They're invariably surly, supercilious and every so slightly sinister. And they're all men...
Oh, Mr Hu
November 11, 2005
In China they like nothing more than to kill people they don't care for. So much so that between ten and fifteen thousand people are executed in China every year. As if that weren't enough, there's also torture, and Tibet, and censorship, and bird flu. Under these circumstances, you'd think that China's president, Hu Jintau would be so shunned in international circles that he'd make Robert Mugabe look like David Walliams. And yet, when he came to London this week, Tony Blair did everything but buff his tiny glans with his tonsils. Although who knows what happened behind closed doors?
No Stain, No Gain
November 7, 2005
Politics. It just isn't fair. Look at David Blunkett. A working class hero who commits a few simple, honest mistakes and is consequently hounded out of his job. Not once but twice. Worse still, he is treated like dirt in the process. First time he was bullied out of office, all he took with him were the clothes on his back and a measly £18,000 handshake. With that alone he had to subsist on his sixty grand MP's salary, the ministerial car and rent-free use of a £3m Belgravia love-nest. Oh, the indignity.
Women! Know Your Limits
October 28, 2005
There was much fishwife shrieking and stamping of ickle feet in the capital this week, as Transport for London rolled out a helpful new leaflet in a desperate attempt to teach dippy women how to behave on the tube. Marketing experts racked their brains for minutes on end before coming up with a front cover adorned with nice lipsticks. They come in *tubes*, see? Apparently, it was either that or a row of tampons...
Going for a Song
October 21, 2005
As the Conservative Party leadership contest bumbles towards its very tedious conclusion, with David Cameron's Blair impersonation standing him in excellent stead for the throne, it has never been more clear that what the people of this country really need is actual political choice. At the moment it's just dead. In terms of realistic choices, our political situation at the moment is very much aligned with Bill Hicks' summation of 80s America - it's a choice of two puppets, both being held up by the same guy. Where is the *real* alternative? Well, this week, it appears to be on eBay...
I'm a Brutal Murdering Dictator, Get Me Out of Here
October 21, 2005
Not since Deirdre Barlow walked unsteadily into the dock, flanked by nervous-looking armed guards, have television viewers been treated to such an exciting judicial spectacle as the trial of Saddam Hussein. Nor has there been a court proceeding with such a carefully scripted - and thoroughly predictable - outcome. Saddam's going to swing. That much we know. So why bother watching?
Tory Leadership: Some Reasoned Analysis
October 14, 2005
Ah, the Tories. The mad old, bad old Tories and their silly old leadership competition. Watching it all going down in Blackpool last week one couldn't help but be reminded of a school nativity play: a drama that in ancient times was considered of vital significance but that in modern times is just an excuse for children to act like donkeys or sheep...
All Smoke, No Fire
October 14, 2005
You have to admire the ability of the government to present mediocre ideas as bold, dynamic and essential. Take the proposals on how a smoking ban in pubs would work: pubs will have a completely separate room in which smoking is allowed. In other words, a smoking room. Eureka! The UK's most brilliant political minds must have worked late into the night on that one...
Ennui-wards and Upwards
October 11, 2005
Irked and Perturbed of Norwich may whinge about the endless repeats on the telly, but secretly he knows that without them he'd be adrift in a senseless universe. Repetition may be dull, but it's one of the cornerstones of snug familiarity. It is soothing and safe, the thing you use to rock babies to sleep, the thing you use to reaffirm your measly, buffeted sense of self...
Then By God, He Will
October 11, 2005
Yesterday Iraqi President Jalal Talabani came to Downing Street for an important meeting with Tony Blair. The two leaders stood before the assembled press. You could cut the tension with one of those Hezbollah trip wires that have started turning up in Basra... When finally Talabani said that 'An early pull-out would be a catastrophe for the people of Iraq and for the cause of democracy and it will be a win for terrorism', relief spread across Tony Blair's face like fresh blood leaking into a child's hat.
Haji Don't Surf
October 4, 2005
This week, a US judge ordered the release of a bushel of pictures documenting the abuse of detainees in Abu Ghraib. By Thursday most of the media had told of a website where pictures of mutilated Iraqi corpses were being exchanged for pictures of naked girls...
New Labour, New Tricks
October 4, 2005
This year's Labour party conference will probably not be remembered as the one in which Tony Blair faced down Gordon Brown and secured Britain's future with another four years of his own leadership. Neither will it be remembered as the one in which Jamie Oliver's policies were finally turned into proper Labour promises. More likely this conference will stand out as the one where Labour started to show their true colours, where they were revealed for the sweet-snatching, coke-snorting elder-abusers they really are.
Help Me, Rhondda
September 23, 2005
For whatever reason, whenever an English person says anything along the lines of 'fucking Welsh', all bloody hell breaks loose. The fermented umbrage of centuries erupts. There's no such thing as a throwaway insult - they all cut too deep. This week, on the heels of FuckingWelshgate, Plaid Cymru have asked for Tony Blair to be investigated.
Supercops: Armed and Dangerous
September 23, 2005
This week Sir Ian Blair addressed the annual conference of the Police Superintendents' Association. He had something new to propose; something radical. Something never seen before on English city streets. A new breed of cop for a new breed of criminal. Essentially, in newspaper-speak, what Blair proposed was a kind of supercop; a supercop with superpowers. Immediately, and typically, the usual liberals and crim-huggers went on the attack, childishly referencing both Judge Dredd and Robocop. Nonsense of course. All Blair wants to do is dispense with the courts and bring in the army. Relax.
Shrivelled Liberties
September 17, 2005
At the beginning of the month Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, head of MI5, gave a speech in which she said the following: '...the world has changed and there needs to be a debate on whether some erosion of what we all value may be necessary to improve the chances of our citizens not being blown apart as they go about their daily lives.' BBC Talking Points this week asked, 'Would losing some civil liberties be a price worth paying for greater security?' Some of the answers make chilling reading...
Summit Happened, Nothing Happened
September 17, 2005
The United Nations is a laughing stock, an ineffective bag of bones and blubber wrapped in an oxymoron, an organisation that may very well be on its last legs. This week's summit, the largest assembly of world leaders in the history of the UN, has been - for those who hoped for more than a microscopic hill of beans - something of a disappointment. Tarnished by a failure to agree not only on basic policy but also on the actual definition of fundamental words, coupled with the irascibility of the President's bladder, this momentous occasion is summit of a shambles. Or so it seems. Maybe behind the scenes, it's all order and progress. No. It's a shambles.
Ken Clarke: No Future
September 2, 2005
For some reason, any discussion of the Tory leadership contest and the party’s chances in the next election calls to mind a mentally subnormal Death Row inmate convicted of murder with 17 witnesses, damning CCTV footage and incontrovertible forensic evidence being led to the Texas Penitentiary lethal injection suite discussing their plans to write a hit sitcom...
Deportation: Headless Chicken Time. Again.
August 26, 2005
Charles Clarke had better be prepared for a long struggle against radical preaching. There’s not only a mire of semantics to get through to prove that opinions constitute ‘radical’ preaching - there are also the problems of stopping radical opinions being voiced on the internet (impossible) and deportations turning into cause celebres for supporters of radical preachers and civil liberties campaigners (highly likely). Above all, common sense suggests that if you try to outlaw radical preaching, it will just take place in private.
The IRA: An announcement
July 31, 2005
With immediate effect, all IRA volunteers have been ordered to cease all non-democratic, and unlawful action both within Ireland and on the British mainland. However, we will endeavour to honour all existing contracts. If you were due to be kneecapped, beaten or left for dead in a field, please email hits@the-ira.com so that alternative arrangements can be made.
R.I.P. War on Terror
July 31, 2005
Rebranding often changes nothing, but it can be the kiss of life for an ailing company, product or pop star - just that nudge of realignment with a demographic, a little aesthetic boost suggestive of a fresh approach, can turn fortunes around. People are sensitive to the connotations of names and images in ways they are barely even aware of, and millions are splurged trying to press their elusive consumer-buttons. Every day you’re prodded, tugged and inappropriately fondled by fledgling brands jostling for primacy in your fickle head. Such is the nature of modern business; and, such is the Bush administration’s closeness to corporate America, that they’ve taken a leaf from its book and opted to give the War on Terror a little lick of ideological paint.
Panic attack
July 31, 2005
If it can be said to have achieved anything, the brutally efficient way in which our anti-terrorist elite dispatched an unarmed electrician has sent a very clear message to the terrorists. It says simply: we are in the midst of an enormous panic attack. Whilst simultaneously and rather ironically urging the public to keep calm, the police have started leaping to paranoid conclusions, flying off half-cocked, half-baked but totally-arsed, shooting first and not really bothering to ask questions at all. We shouldn’t be surprised. This is par for the course; part and parcel of the prevailing War on Terror fire with fire philosophy.
Panic attack
July 31, 2005
If it can be said to have achieved anything, the brutally efficient way in which our anti-terrorist elite dispatched an unarmed electrician has sent a very clear message to the terrorists. It says simply: we are in the midst of an enormous panic attack. Whilst simultaneously and rather ironically urging the public to keep calm, the police have started leaping to paranoid conclusions, flying off half-cocked, half-baked but totally-arsed, shooting first and not really bothering to ask questions at all. We shouldn’t be surprised. This is par for the course; part and parcel of the prevailing War on Terror fire with fire philosophy.
Haw doth protest too much
July 30, 2005
Protests make governments uneasy, but they’re a handy tool for the same governments to use whenever they want to point out how magnaminous they are and how great it is to live in this country; so they let their citizens have their little mew and wave their little banners, and take little notice. But our government seems to have had an attack of protest-fatigue, a lapse in tolerance for the frenetic exercising of this particular basic right, what with some individuals still refusing to move on from the war. Or indeed from Parliament Square.
Terrorism: Let's have a meeting
July 24, 2005
As the old gag goes: ‘Don’t want to do any work? Let’s have a meeting.’ And a meeting is exactly what Tony Blair had this week with ‘Muslim leaders’. It’s hard to imagine what exactly was discussed, and exactly how a chat with Tony would solve the growing schism between the West and the Muslim world, but we imagine it went something like this:
The inevitability of not mentioning the war
July 24, 2005
It’s not a nice thing to admit, but many of us were, in a strange way, quite upbeat about the bombings on 7 July. Most of us could say to ourselves: ‘Well, at least it wasn’t me or any of my friends, and it’s not going to happen again for a long while.’ Oops. While yesterday’s attacks weren’t anything like as horrific or disruptive as the previous batch, it was hard not to watch the news and think ‘Is this what it’s going to be like from now on?’...
The inevitability of not mentioning the war
July 24, 2005
It’s not a nice thing to admit, but many of us were, in a strange way, quite upbeat about the bombings on 7 July. Most of us could say to ourselves: ‘Well, at least it wasn’t me or any of my friends, and it’s not going to happen again for a long while.’ Oops. While yesterday’s attacks weren’t anything like as horrific or disruptive as the previous batch, it was hard not to watch the news and think ‘Is this what it’s going to be like from now on?’...
Losing the war on drugs
July 15, 2005
In June of 2003 the results of a detailed study commissioned by the government were presented to Tony Blair. The study was a Strategy Unit report on all aspects of the war on drugs. What it revealed was that the war, such as it is, is a lost cause, and that prohibition simply doesn’t work. This of course was not what Tony Blair wanted to hear, so for over two years, the report gathered dust in a Downing Street drawer. Then – late on the evening of July 1st, the night preceding the Live 8 concert and the week of the G8 summit – Blair finally released the report. Or at least half of it. The report was 105 pages long. The first 52 pages featured information related to the facts and figures about drugs – what drugs are taken and by whom; what drug-related crimes are committed and by whom. The second half of the report spelt out why the government’s policies were failing, and why, unless there were major changes in that policy, they would continue to fail. Guess which half of the report was published and which half was suppressed under the Grand Irony clause of the Freedom of Information Act. Bingo.
The Tories: Don't mind us
July 10, 2005
This week, as David Davis emerged as the most likely next leader, the Tories were asking themselves 'Where next for the Tory party?' This is by now a question so wearily familiar it must be like a blue whale asking itself 'I wonder what's for lunch? Oh. Krill. Again.'
G8: Fine words butter no parsnips
July 10, 2005
Long before the agenda was hijacked by terrorists, it was looking increasingly likely that the G8 summit might end up being a case of all mouth (Geldof's mouth mostly) and very little in the way of actual trouser. Then came the London blasts and it was almost as if international terrorism was in cahoots with Britain's media to derail the discussion and usurp the front pages. One way or another, violence was intent on ruining everything. All this week certain quarters of the media have been unable to stop themselves focusing on the rather childish antics of a minuscule minority of so-called anarchists, and wildly exaggerating them.
Governed by infants
July 8, 2005
As a concerned world furrowed its brow over the issues of climate change and poverty this week, the eight good men and true of the G8 on whose shoulders rest an awesome weight of responsibility inspired everyone by behaving like contemptible berks. Bush spoke to ITV's Trevor McDonald as if he were a particularly runty flea in a suit, using the opportunity to give Blair a hearty Texan bitchslap for even thinking about begging for favourable scraps at the summit. More irksome, although even less surprising, was the behaviour of gnarled and bitter Jacques Chirac, whose ungentlemanly comments about his British chums were served up hot in all the UK papers. 'The only thing [the British] have ever given European farming is mad cow,' chortled Chirac, continuing: 'You can't trust people who cook as badly as that.' Vladimir Putin and Gerhard Schröder, dining with the French president in a Russian café, covered their mouths and giggled like Tokyo schoolgirls.
The TFT Guide To... Illegal immigrants
July 3, 2005
This week the government admitted that there may be as many as 570,000 illegal immigrants living in the UK, a figure they conveniently forgot to mention during the election. But what should be done about the problem of illegal immigration in the future? TFT makes some practical suggestions...
The Blairs: Guess who's coming to dinner? (Anthea Turner)
June 29, 2005
Number 10 hasn't yet released a list of dinner guests from 2003 to the present day. Fortunately TFT has acquired an MI5 transcript of a secret recording of a recent Chequers dinner party. It makes for shocking reading.
The jury is out
June 29, 2005
Why should the rich be allowed to pooh-pooh prosecution with fine words whilst the poor are banged up like the transparent, rough-handed rabble they are? Lord Goldsmith just wants a decent egalitarian justice system with equal opportunities for long-term incarceration. Porridge for all!
Gorgeous George goes to Washington
May 22, 2005
Galloway appears to have a capricious, teenage rebel streak that stops him thinking about the reality of what he's doing. He's marched with Gerry Adams, ignoring the fact that the IRA are not freedom fighters or opponents of English imperialism, but self-serving, murdering bastards. It looks entirely likely that his flirtation with Saddam was more of the same. Saddam was the poster boy of Arab nationalism at one point, and, childish though it may seem, George Galloway won't have been the first person to demonstrate his rebel status by siding with killers and oppressors. Jane Fonda, anyone...?
Michael 'Fucking' Howard: Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha
May 11, 2005
Without putting too fine a point on it, Michael 'Fucking' Howard is 'fucking' fucked.
Election 2005: After all is said and done
May 11, 2005
'If you don't do politics, there isn't much you do do' claims an advert by the Electoral Commission. This is demonstrably untrue: our friend Mike doesn't give a toss about politics and he went out with a model, moved to New York and got a job with Marvel Comics where was paid $50,000 to post up stupid web crap about Captain Nerd and Shrink Boy, or whatever.
The TFT Guide To... The real election issues
May 11, 2005
Recently a report by parliament's Public Accounts Committee gave the London Underground public-private partnership another slagging, pointing out that borrowing from the private sector was costing the taxpayer far more than if the government had just borrowed the money itself. The report also pointed out that the PPP cost a staggering £1 billion to set up - a beanfest for accountants, lawyers and consultants. Yet the issue of wasteful PPP projects was barely mentioned in the run up to the election. So what other genuine issues would we have to liked to have seen addressed?
BNP: The election broadcast
May 1, 2005
Like all mainstream party leaders, Nick Griffin is very keen to be seen in a positive light. Hence his party's position on race being reduced to one of clear-sighted beneficence; its policy of divide and cultivate proof that the BNP care as passionately for other cultures of the world as they do for their own. It's a difficult furrow to plough and Griffin, who is perhaps the only public figure in this country with less charisma than John Redwood, is not able to pull it off. Thankfully, he has one more wicked weapon in his weary arsenal: his creative writing talent, which was evident in spades in the BNP's Part Election Broadcast.
The BNP manifesto launch
May 1, 2005
Sunday of course, was St George's Day. And St George, lest we forget, is the patron saint of syphilis, herpes and other sickening bodily afflictions. Enter Nick Griffin. Without a great deal of preamble, Griffin spelled out the manifesto's key points, and we began to get an idea of what life under the BNP might be like.
Election 2005: The TFT crime survey
May 1, 2005
Crime. You know how it is. You get up in the morning, make a cup of tea, fight off an intruder, brush your teeth and get dressed, get mugged on the way to work, have a chat by the water cooler, get a distraught call from your gran, who's besieged in her own home by chav scum pouring petrol through her letterbox. Depressed, you go down the pub for a quick pint at lunchtime, where you glass someone for no reason, go back to the office, groom a couple of kids on the Internet, finish work, get home to discover you've been burgled, bung a ready meal in the oven, nip out for a bottle of wine and get mown down in a hail of machine-gun fire by local street gangs.
Election 2005: Conspiracy of the idiots
April 26, 2005
The lack of information about true levels of immigration is well (un)documented. Jeremy Paxman grilled Tony Blair this week, or rather seared, spatchcocked and roasted him on a high heat, forcing him to admit he didn't know how many failed asylum seekers are still in the UK. Blair wouldn't even give an estimate, which is a pretty lame response from a Prime Minister who claims that immigration is such a serious problem. But if the numbers aren't there, an underlying theory about immigration doesn't seem to exist either.
Election 2005: No struggle but the Chardonnay struggle
April 20, 2005
Tony Blair misled the public to justify an unpopular war, so what is New Labour's reaction? Apologise? Get rid of Blair? No, just come up with this clumsy emotional blackmail: vote for us, or you'll betray the working class. Well, that's told us (or rather the Chardonnay quaffing bourgeois ponces with their la-di-dah dinner parties, children called Oliver and Camilla, River Cafe cookbooks and modernist lemon juicers that look like spaceships.) Refuse to vote Labour and you may as well gob in the eye of an unemployed Geordie steel worker, sneer at his wife's chunky jewellery and steal his skinny children's Sunny D. You heartless cunts...
Election Promises: Everything you need to know
April 5, 2005
The ever-diligent BBC News online recently published a handy summary of the main political parties' various positions on key election issues. Reading it, we realised what a terrible bunch of cynics we've been! ALL the parties are proposing sensible-sounding measures that will make life immeasurably better for everyone in the UK! How could we have been so negative?
Abortion: Please don't make it an election issue
March 22, 2005
Should abortion be an election issue? Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the leader of the Roman Catholic church in England andWales thinks so. But then Catholics also think wanking is a sin that will land you in Hell. Come to think of it, in the la-la world of Catholicism, pretty much everything is a sin - although of course a last-minute apology to God will sort things out. Let's hope God shares this view, or there are going to be some pretty annoyed Catholics roasting on spits in Hell.
A parliament of whores
March 7, 2005
Earlier this week, 55-year-old trainee barrister, Oxford graduate and alleged monarchist Christine Wheatley was on a shortlist of seven candidates fighting for the right to represent the Labour Party in the Lake District constituency of Copeland. Then the powers-that-be got wind of an interview she'd given to a local paper in which she mentioned a former career as a Paris hooker. And that was that. It was all over.
The TFT Guide To: Howard's pre-election promises
February 18, 2005
This week Michael 'Fucking' Howard ploughed on with his pre-election campaign, veering between the unsavoury and plain ridiculous with yet more anti-immigration policies and a frankly bizarre claim that the Tories would get rid of hospital waiting lists. Given that it's still quite a while until the election, TFT wondered what other gimmicks the Tories will come up with...
Spinning penny
February 11, 2005
Just as we know for sure that even if Jackson didn't actually fuck any kids, we wouldn't let him babysit our children, so we're also pretty sure that even if Alastair Campbell isn't actually the reincarnation of Josef Goebbels, neither would we let him babysit our children. We wouldn't even let him in the house to behonest. But the news that he was mastermind behind Labour's recent Belsen-scented campaign posters is really neither here not there. He's just back creating publicity, which as we know, is what he does best. Still, we thought we'd spin it out anyway. It was either that or say something good about the Israelis, and like Campbell himself, we didn't want that.
Historyjism part 2: and god created the dambusters
February 9, 2005
Tony Blair had a raft of new benefit proposals to announce, basically with the aim of getting people off incapacity benefit, and, more importantly, off that pesky, costly housing benefit. This is all pretty significant, so how did Tony choose to announce his proposals? Durr! By incorporating it with an on-set photo opportunity with the cast of Coronation Street, of course!
Campaign In The Arse
February 9, 2005
Earlier this week, like some penny-pinching, rent-hiking Jewboy, all slimy and ancient with eerily illuminated Beadlesque hands flashing before our eyes, Michael Howard gurned out from the government's would-be re-election posters, swinging his got-to-pick-a-pocket- or-two-watch and telling us - in New Labour's Nazi-twisted Semite-hating kike-baiting evilspeak - that if the Conservatives were to come to power, Howard himself would personally come round to your house, empty your pockets, extract a pound of flesh from your sleeping children and leave a trail of skullcaps to Romania.
The TFT Guide To: Killing intruders
February 4, 2005
This week, the Crown Prosecution Service published a leaflet explaining exactly how much force you can use against burglars and other subhuman scum, highlighting the fact that you can murder them if they're threatening enough, which is surely good news for unstable would-be vigilantes everywhere. But if you're still unsure about where you stand legally, why not read the following TFT guide to home invasion?
TFT Goes To: Election countdown at the ICA
January 30, 2005
Kicking off its General Election Countdown, the Institute of Contemporary Arts staged a debate on Monday night entitled How Will You Vote? Chaired by John Harris, journalist and author of the eerily appropriate So Now Who Do We Vote For?, the debate featured seven notable speakers and a crowd of about a hundred audience members crammed into the ICA bar.
Blair: Gormless, optimistic or just bonkers?
January 29, 2005
On a personal level, Blair is genuinely difficult to fathom. We'd always suspected he was a bit strange, for many reasons. The Christianity. The Catholicism. The fib about spending the night on a park bench. That business with the pullover and the mug outside 10 Downing Street. The guitar, the naff fashions, sucking up to pop stars... the list just goes on and on. Who IS Tony Blair?
The TFT Guide To... Business and government policy
January 23, 2005
Recently Labour MP Frank Dobson said that officials in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport had 'been captured by the drinks industry', referring to the planned 24-hour licensing laws, which will finally allow us to drunkenly stumble from one club to another until daybreak in search of a snog. But if policy on licensing is being made by the drinks industry, what other businesses are influencing the government?
This Year's General Election: In praise of apathy
January 13, 2005
Not bothering to vote isn't usually a good thing. It's partly a sign of laziness: don't bother to actually think about the issues, just sigh and say 'Bah! Politicians, they're all the same.' Not voting is sometimes also the result of a certain naivete: 'There isn't a party that represents exactly what I stand for, so I won't vote. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, politics! And now I'm being deported because I lost my ID card...'
Blunkett: Definitely hard work
December 24, 2004
There isn't much left to be said about the David Blunkett/Kimberly Quinn affair, except perhaps that if Blunko and Simon Hoggart can get their legs over with a vivacious, actually-quite-attractive millionairess, there's hope for us all. It would actually be less surprising to discover Claudia Schiffer was once part of a love triangle with Simon Mayo and Fred West.
The TFT Guide To: What David said
December 18, 2004
This week David Blunkett finally resigned over the issue of fast tracking a visa, but he'd already marked his card after his scathing criticisms of cabinet colleagues appeared in a new biography of him. But what exactly did he have to say about his fellow New Labour politicians?
Stephen Pollard - This Is Your Week
December 17, 2004
At the end of the dark day, you have to pity poor Charlie Clarke. And when you've all done pitying, you have to run up to Stephen Pollard, grab hold of both of his great puddingy cheeks and give them a good old nip and stretch of congratulations. For this is Stephen Pollard Week. The week that the contemptible Bush-fellating slug-cum-pundit became The Man That Helped Mould History. The man that got close enough to the Home Secretary not only to stab him in the back but to give the knife a few playful twists while he was about it...
Michael Howard: Political correctness stole my video
December 11, 2004
'Gone are the days when your home was your castle.' Yes, and if you go into WHSmith and ask for a black biro, you'll be arrested for racism and once you get to prison all the criminals will have luxury five-star accommodation with Sky Sports, all paid for by the taxpayer. Not that there will be any actual criminals in prisons  they'll be too full of motorists who were caught by speed cameras doing 31mph in a 30mph area. Ooh, you couldn't make it up!
Blunkett: forget the accusations, marvel at the PR disaster
December 4, 2004
Has David Blunkett done anything terribly wrong? Not really. Falling in love with the wrong person isn't morally wrong. Wanting to establish paternity of what are probably your own children isn't wrong. Fast tracking a visa application (if it's true) is pretty wrong, but giving someone a spare £180 rail ticket barely registers on any scale of morality, along with free rides in a government Jag.
Blunkett Coverage
December 4, 2004
In yesterday's Guardian, Jackie Ashley stated that 'no-one can say [David Blunkett] has behaved hypocritically'. What rot. Anyone can. All one has to do is remember his words in September of 1999 when he decided that what the national curriculum needed was a good dose of traditional family values...
It's the war on drugs again
November 26, 2004
You know when a government is having problems, because it wheels out new initiatives on Drugs. Drugs are a favourite with politicians for the simple reason that noone is really in favour of Drugs. When was the last time you heard someone say 'We need cheaper, more addictive, more harmful narcotics in our inner cities'?
The TFT Guide To... Royal Spats
November 19, 2004
This week, Education Minister Charles Clarke breached a longstanding protocol by publicly criticising Prince Charles during a Radio 4 interview. But this isn't the first time a barney between ministers and the royals has gone public...
Iraq, The Movie: What's the motivation, guys?
November 12, 2004
Is Iraq Vietnam? The parallels are obvious. A technologically superior superpower battles a guerrilla army, while the American public grows sceptical about a distant war as the body bags pile up. They're even using the same military hardware: Cobra attack helicopters, M16s and AK-47s. Throw in some dope, hippy chicks and a grunt shouting 'They call me Animal Mother!' as he rapes a 12-year-old girl and you've practically got Generic Nam Movie #546.
Tony came and took me/ from bar to street to bookie
October 29, 2004
You have to wonder where New Labour gets its policy ideas from. It constantly comes up with unpopular plans for things there wasn't any public demand for in the first place. Things like 24-hour Yahtzee parlours.
New Labour - opportunity bites
October 15, 2004
If Tony Blair gave you a Christmas present, it would come in a huge box with shiny, expensive wrapping paper all tied up with pretty bows and one of those little gift tags with a handwritten message saying 'All the best!!! Love, Tony XXX'. And you know what you'd find inside the parcel? A dead rat sucking a turd.
Lies, more lies and damned statistics. And lies
October 8, 2004
A think-tank has found that the Government's crime figures are a big bucket of shit. These weren't the exact words, but the think-tank's report damningly said that the British Crime Survey (BCS) is not a reliable indicator of crime levels.
Bribery: the Moore the merrier
October 8, 2004
This week the Michigan Republican Party did itself no favours whatsoever when it requested that prosecutors in four counties file charges of bribing the electorate against Michael Moore. Moore is currently on the 60-city, 20-state tour he has dubbed the 'Slacker Uprising Tour'; the idea being to persuade America's disaffected, apathetic youth to register to vote. In order to persuade, or indeed bribe them, Moore has been giving away free underwear and noodles to those who pledge to register. It's a gag, obviously. They're students and layabouts. They don't change their pants. They eat shit. But of course it's also very serious.
The Tory Conference: Hear those paper tigers roar!
October 8, 2004
The Conservative conference is a superb opportunity to be reminded of what a bunch of oddities the Tories are. Out come the overgrown school spods like Oliver Letwin, whose childhood was surely one long bogwash. Out come superannuated Billy Bunters like Nicholas Soames, practically a caricature of a 19th Century, gout-ridden Tory landowner from the Shires. And look, delegate Jeremy Hunt has decided to sing the theme to Dad's Army with anti-EU lyrics! (More of which later.)
Blunkett's brain damage
October 1, 2004
Last week we were moaning on like someone's grandfather about the fact that there isn't really a great deal for young people in poor neighbourhoods to do in their free time. But we hadn't taken into account the fact that, like someone else's grandfather, David Blunkett was already investing in the noble art of poor people hitting each other till one of them falls down and can't get back up.
The next election: not a pretty picture
October 1, 2004
The highlight of this year's Labour conference was not Blair's 'I'm sorry everyone - sorry for being right all the time!' speech, but the heartfelt contribution from St Bono of Bat Cave.
Tony Blair - Global Village Idiot
September 24, 2004
Even a simple expression of the government's regret about the latest hostage deaths has to have a little bit of spin added on. 'Those two Americans who were working in Iraq for the benefit of Iraqis' - a comment following two brutal, macabre killings has to reinforce the American/British line that the war in Iraq is just one massive aid project.
Confessions of a New Labour cabinet
September 17, 2004
Scene 1. It is the 1970s. Two window cleaners, TONY and ALAN are standing outside a surburban house, with buckets of soapy water and a ladder. They are wearing flares and tight T-shirts.
Back To School With Tony and Mike
September 10, 2004
There's this curious flirtation with faith schools and traditional uniforms, designed to make it easier for local yobs to identify potential victims. Parents (and paedophiles) may like charming little St Trinian's uniforms, but they're not particularly bothered about God: what they're really hoping is that a traditional or faith school will have better discipline and smaller classes than their local comprehensive. They'd send their kids to a Hamas school if they thought it would help them get into a good university...
Tony Blair: Haven't we been here before
September 3, 2004
Tony Blair is back from holiday, refreshed, recharged and with a brand new 'to do' list. So what's on it? Apparently yobs, Northern Ireland, the hunting ban, and the TUC and Labour conferences. It's good to see that everything's worked out fine in Iraq and so we don't need to worry our little heads about that any more. We were silly to get all hot and bothered about it, weren't we?
Saving stamps: gimmicks make Hulk angry
August 20, 2004
It's hardly the story of the week, but there was something about the news that the Post Office plans to reintroduce savings stamps that engendered irrational rage. It's that kind of rage that you know is a gross over-reaction, but you're still powerless to control it. It's the same sort of silent homicidal urge you get when someone presses the button at a pelican crossing *despite the fact that the 'wait' sign is clearly already illuminated*.
ID Cards: Speak your brains
August 20, 2004
We know youth crime is an issue, but surely converting every child, Tron-style, into binary code and keeping them inside a computer is a bit excessive?
Crime: The return of twat
August 13, 2004
This week Michael Howard painted a bleak picture of Gotham City, sorry, modern Britain. 'Women are intimidated by hooded youths as they walk home at night,' he said. Unfortunately, at this point he had distinct look of glee on his face, making you wonder if he spends the odd evening in a hoodie himself, asking random women if they want a swig from his can of Co-op lager, then shouting 'SLAG!' at them as they hurriedly walk away.
The TFT Guide To... The Blairs on holiday
August 13, 2004
This week the Blairs were criticised for having a free holiday courtesy of the distinctly dodgy Italian prime minister Sylvio Berlusconi. Previous holiday choices have been equally questionable, including a stay at Geoffrey Robinson's Tuscan villa, and a holiday in Egypt, courtesy of a government that imprisons and tortures dissidents. They've even enjoyed the hospitality of fellow God-botherer Cliff Richard, staying at his humble pad in Barbados. So what other holidays do the Blairs have planned?
Politicians vs Choice: What's the beef?
August 6, 2004
Choice is rapidly becoming one of the government's favourite ideas. It's actually an old centrepiece of Tory policy, but recently New Labour has decided 'choice' should be available in education and healthcare. You can only wonder how much thought has gone into these proposals. Ten minutes... maybe more?
The Conservatives: Is it time to chase the paedophile vote?
August 6, 2004
Who on earth devises Tory policy? There are loads of issues to attack Labour on, but the best they can come up with is a policy that could lead to more squished children (and adults) and humiliating backtracking. What harebrained ideas will come out of Conservative Central Office next?
Blair and Mandelson vs The World: What's their beef
July 30, 2004
Other disgraced public figures now languish in reality TV Hades. But not Mandy - he's back again as the UK's next European Commissioner.
Terror: Be annoyed. Be very annoyed
July 30, 2004
Well, we hate to interrupt your chilled frame of mind, but we feel it is our duty to tell you about the government's anti-terror leaflet, something that may make you very tense indeed. Not from fear of a terrorist attack, but because of the contempt the government apparently has for the general population.
Geoff Hoon's future war
July 23, 2004
This week Geoff Hoon announced massive cuts to the armed forces. Despite warnings that the conflicts of the 21st century are going to be as labour intensive as any previous war, Hoon has got a convenient rationale: the old chestnut that we're going to need less soldiers, sailors and airmen because future wars will be more high-tech.
Crime: It's all Marianne Faithfull's fault
July 23, 2004
You know how it is. One minute you're listening to Rolled Gold: The Best of the Rolling Stones while you do the washing up, the next minute you're holding up a sub-Post Office screaming 'No bastard copper's gonna take me alive!'
The Butler Report Is... Never Having To Say You're Sorry
July 16, 2004
The Butler Report is a pretty damning document. It's a lengthy list of very serious criticisms, particularly considering the result was the invasion of another country. Try a few of these:
Fahrenheit 9/11: Oh for a private screening with Tony
July 16, 2004
Whatever you think of Michael Moore and his film making techniques, Fahrenheit 9/11 is probably the most powerful movie you'll see for a while. It's angrier than Bowling for Columbine, more distressing than Nick Broomfield's Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer, and even the scenes of mutilated Iraqi children are considerably more hilarious than anything Steve Coogan's done recently.
Direct Fucking Action
July 9, 2004
On Tuesday night at Norway's Kristiansand festival, a band called Cumshots invited a young couple onto stage to perform with them. However, the couple - Tommy Hol Ellingsen, 28, and Leona Johansson, 21 - do not play any musical instruments. Rather, what they do, and they are very sincere about it so no sniggering, is fuck.
Michael Berg In Parliament Square: A TFT contributor writes
July 2, 2004
One of the guest speakers at the rally was Michael Berg, father of Nick Berg, who of course was brutally and publicly beheaded back in early May. And maybe it was slightly ghoulish on my part but there was something about the fact the this man had suffered what is surely the worst possible imaginable experience that any parent could have to endure - the videotaped assassination of one's own child - that made me want to hear what he had to say.
The Belmarsh Terror Appeals: What's their beef?
July 2, 2004
Even Saddam Hussein himself has more rights than the untried suspect terrorists; at least he knows what he has been locked up for, and how long he is likely to be there.
The EU: TFT asks the Internet
June 26, 2004
The underlying problem with the EU debate is that very few people understand the issues. There's no shame in this - it's a hideously complicated subject in which economics, nationalism, sovereignty and culture have become conflated by eurosceptics and europhiles alike. The media tends not to be much help either - TV and newspapers usually report the EU in terms of juicy political rows between Westminster politicians, rather than the broader issues. For those of us who'd like to understand the issues properly, it's tricky. And further evidence that ignorance isn't bliss - it's frustrating. However, help is at hand...
Blunkett and Ming: You never see them in the same room
June 26, 2004
In opposition, Blunkett was perceived as 'that nice, left-wing guy with the beard' - sort of a cross between a supply teacher, a union rep and a navy Action Man. But without Eagle Eyes, obviously. However, in government, Blunkett has drifted gradually toward behaviour that wouldn't be strange coming from Ming the Merciless.
England: Land of hate and Tories
June 18, 2004
We're more sensitive to racism these days, but sometimes you think Britain, or England, is really just full of embittered, ignorant Little Englanders who hate everyone and everything. Maybe it's time to drop the pretence of a tolerant society and found a political party that stands for everything mean-spirited, petty-minded, bigoted, racist and generally unpleasant. And Kilroy could be in charge.
Tony Blair: Smug git
June 18, 2004
Blair, who has got his back against a very spiky wall, had come out fighting with a pre-prepared onslaught against Howard. But all he really succeeded in doing was looking like some spotty, middle-class arsehole at the Oxford Union scoring points off his opponent during a political debate, but not having any genuine, heart-felt feelings about the NHS or anything else.
Tebbit gets anal
June 5, 2004
When the whole country is panicking about its newly discovered obesity epidemic and everyone is rushing to blame food manufacturers, advertisers, lack of exercise and Tessa Jowell, it takes an aging Tory peer to put things in perspective. So it was down to Lord Tebbit, speaking on the Today programme last week, to point out that the actual cause of childhood obesity is none of those things; no, the real root of the problem is buggery.
Michael Howard: Ringmaster of a grisly circus
June 5, 2004
'Bandwagon' is defined as 'a popular trend that attracts growing support'. If you're interested in knowing where this familiar term originates, it refers to a large, ornate wagon that carries a musical band, as in: 'the gaudy bandwagon led the circus parade'. Perhaps someone should tell Michael Howard.
Tony Blair: Shouting at clouds
May 27, 2004
The right-wing press has been gleefully salivating over the story that Tony Blair is for the chop. While this story is a contrived piece of wishful thinking, the Iraq situation has turned into such a comprehensive cock-up that it wouldn't actually be surprising to see Tony go. (Or, more correctly: it wouldn't be surprising to see any OTHER prime minister go; Tony seems to have the sort of unshakeable self-belief normally reserved for deities and manufactured pop bands who genuinely believe their success is due to their own talent, and not their manager's ability to exploit nine-year-old girls.)
Thatcher! A sceptic writes
May 7, 2004
Thatcher has briefly returned to the public's attention because it's the 25th anniversary of her becoming Prime Minister. Cue earnest 'what did it all mean?' pseudo-sociological wankery, talk of 'Thatcher's Children' and clips from The Shooting Party documentary where the nobs try to shoot a seagull. But we probably need to exercise a little caution when discussing the changes Thatcher brought about.
Ihre papiere, bitte
April 30, 2004
From: David Blunkett. To: Tony Blair. You asked a while back for some positive uses for ID cards that wouldn't prove controversial. These are some early ideas - Des will coordinate further suggestions.
Europe: Whose side are you on?
April 23, 2004
Oh dear. It's Tony doing his unconvincing 'inspirational leader' act. And if it's not an act, then that's even more worrying. When Tony has his cup of lapsang suchong in the morning, does he tell the teabag: 'Once more into the pot, my friend! 'Tis a far nobler thing I brew! Teas in our time!'?
It’s a knockout
April 3, 2004
Charles Kennedy does battle with his demons
Bang go our freedoms
April 3, 2004
After this week’s terror arrests, what next for Britain’s poor old civil liberties?
Charles Kennedy: a 12-step program for political recovery
April 2, 2004
What the hell has just happened? One minute I'm everyone's best friend; my office was the hippest, most buzzing place in Westminster and Lembit Opik wanted me to go over to his to play tennis with him and Sian. I was on the cusp of the big time, I could feel it. Now suddenly, no one wants to sit next to me in the canteen any more.
Our lead in their pencil
March 26, 2004
As President Bush vows to close a loophole that allows ‘rogue states’ to secretly use civilian nuclear programmes to produce military material, LNR investigates how the UK and US exploited the same loophole to build their own arsenals.
The TFT Guide To... Terrorism in the UK
March 26, 2004
This week security experts warned that a terrorist attack on the UK is inevitable. So how should we respond sensibly and proportionately to the threat of Al Quaeda terrorism?
TFT meets: Simon Hughes
March 19, 2004
How’s the campaign going? It’s becoming quite exciting. Londoners – and the media – are finally starting to turn their attentions to the election. Last year there was the debate about Iraq, then there was a question about whether Iain...
Opportunity Knocks
March 19, 2004
Wringing the necks of wounded pheasants and responding to major international catastrophes: two things the Queen does really well. She attends to both duties with the same cool formality and tasteful brevity. Her statement following the Madrid bombings was dignified,...
If you called your dad, he could stop it all
March 1, 2004
Something's wrong with this sentence appearing in the news: "The Prime Minister Tony Blair once slept rough on a park bench in London, Downing Street sources have confirmed".
Don't Take It Seriously... I'm Only Bugging
February 27, 2004
At night, in bed, with the curtains drawn and the world at bay, of what does Tony dream? What is going on in his once-handsome head as it snuffles down upon the pillow and his ear catches upon the soft...
Ann Winterton - the Race Card
February 26, 2004
Ann Winterton finally learns that no-one likes a racist comedian.
What's a few more weeks between friends?
February 20, 2004
Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, has announced that five Britons held in Guantanamo Bay will be released at some point "in the next few weeks." No rush Jack. They've only been held illegally for 2 years. Another few weeks won't kill...
1 today!
February 17, 2004
Happy birthday to the congestion charge! (If you’re nipping out for balloons and cake, do go by bus). Being only one year old, the CC probably doesn’t yet know it’s reached an important date - to use the logic of...
Stand up Nigel Barton, 2010
February 11, 2004
Whatever your views on top-up fees, it’s hard not to be a bit sceptical about the government’s plans to get 50 per cent of 18-30-year-olds into university by 2010.
Hutton: revenge of the nerds
February 7, 2004
The Hutton inquiry and subsequent report have been a gruesome triumph of nerdy detail over common sense - rather like producing a voluntary code of conduct for Turkish heroin gangs, and just as worthwhile. Melanie McDonagh neatly summed up one...
Alastair Campbell: annoying little prig
January 29, 2004
Campbell’s chin was out; he was vindicated, invincible, self-righteous. A satisfied man.
And a £5 billion top-up-voucher please
January 22, 2004
"Why," asks the Prime Minister "must the general taxpayer be made to pay for university students' education?" The answer: because that's what taxpayers are for.
New Labour and Linda Barker: giving success a bad name
January 9, 2004
The conspiracy theory, if it can be described as such, behind the plan to re-admit Ken Livingstone to the Labour party is that Labour is worried about fielding its own candidate against Ken and suffering a humiliating defeat. Plausible enough....
Party of (Channel) Five
January 7, 2004
Dan Thompson, co-founder of the 365 Corporation, has announced plans to launch a new political party, created from scratch, on the Internet. It's a brilliant idea - or at least we though it was when we first announced it almost two years ago.
Credo: Michael Howard
January 2, 2004
"I do not believe that one person's poverty is caused by another's wealth." - Michael Howard "I believe the struggle for financial freedom is unfair, I believe the only ones who disagree are millionaires." - Savage Garden Like a tired...
Tony Blair: he thinks he's in a film (and a not very good one at that).
January 2, 2004
Sky marshals. The very expression could have been invented with a Hollywood blockbuster in mind... Keanu Reeves and Wesley Snipes ARE: The Sky Marshals. Faceless 'international terrorists' want $50 billion or they'll detonate a bomb on a 747. Sky marshal...
In Godric we trust?
January 1, 2004
Just when we thought nothing could top Time Magazine's nomination of The American Soldier as Person Of The Year, The Prime Minister decides to add Godric Smith to the New Year's Honours list, just weeks before Lord Hutton is due to report.
We will all go together when we go
December 22, 2003
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stephens says that a terrorist attack on London is now “inevitable”. Whoopee, sings Euan Ferguson, we're all gonna die!
Drop red, Ken
December 17, 2003
Roll out the red carpet, bake a red cake, strike up a red band and paint the town red - Ken Livingstone has been readmitted to the Labour party.
Ten ways to avoid the upcoming Christmas terrorist attacks on London
December 14, 2003
Never leave your house. Unless you live in Central London. In which case you're pretty much fucked whether you leave your house or not. The smallpox is going to get you either way. Bad luck.
Tony Blair: Hot Love on the Free Love Highway
December 12, 2003
There was a curious, obscure and slightly deja-vu-ish row this week when Downing Street told the press not to publish pictures of a Christmas card featuring their toddler Leo. The 'private' Christmas card shows the Blairs and their four children...
The war on tourism
December 5, 2003
If you’re planning a trip to the United States next year – maybe to launch an attack on a pillar of Western hegemony or to pick up a cheap iPod – you might like to know that the level of threat you pose to the American way of life will now be scored, colour-coded and assessed before you board the plane.
A Prime Minister writes...
December 5, 2003
This is Tony. I'm the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and I'd like to start a conversation with you...
Watering holes
December 4, 2003
Where elbows are raised, guards are dropped. And so what better breed of person to observe in a casual bar environment than a politician? Ash Ditta crawls the pubs of power.
Cause this is my United Kingdom of Whatever
November 28, 2003
A humble proposal: as a show of good faith, it might be worth making bigconversation work, and then using it.
Bog off, ape boy
November 21, 2003
The policeman who searched me when I went into this area wore tight rubber gloves and I found the whole procedure quite sexual. But I was probably just a bit overexcited by my impending act of international terrorism. Charlie Skelton spends an afternoon in Whitehall.
Notes on Tony Blair's contribution to the conference at the Foreign Office
November 21, 2003
A brief gloss on the lying lies of a liar.
Good Egg #1: Baroness Blatch
November 14, 2003
Baroness Blatch fights the regulations whereby internet service providers and mobile phone companies have to keep a record of every call everyone makes and receives, where they take their mobiles, every email sent and received and each website visited, explains Alan Connor.
MicroVote, Diebold: no, no, you carry on
November 13, 2003
More private companies, more gremlins in elections. If "e-voting" doesn't inspire confidence in the electorate, it is a failure. There's certainly trouble afoot. Here's an idea.
Ihre Papiere, bitte
November 11, 2003
The consultation on ID cards has granted that "entitlement cards" sounds a little less creepy. They'd still like to enforce these costly and dodgy doodads, though. Alan Connor explains.
"Blahtastic" is not cromulent
November 10, 2003
When did the Prime Minister's Office start using words like "blahtastic" asks Alan Connor.
Answers on a postcard please: Is society fucked?
November 7, 2003
From gobbing yobs to policemen having their ears bitten off. Is Britain going to heck in a handcart?
Michael Howard: I Love 1987
November 7, 2003
Michael 60-something Howard turns back the clock with his tax cuts and 'trickle-down' economics.
Diebold as brass
November 5, 2003
Might the heart of democracy - the election - die on his feet because private companies can't admit when their voting machines don't work?
Bum Face
October 31, 2003
Charlie Skelton probes the mystery of Michael Howard's arse-like gob.
Michael Howard: the dawn of a new era?
October 30, 2003
Michael Howard: dragging the Tory Party kicking and screaming forward to the 1980s.
Alton Towers: a cruel and unusual punishment
October 24, 2003
Scandal! Knowsley Borough Council is sending a bunch of troublemaker teenagers to a local 'pleasure' park - Alton Towers - on the day of Halloween. Instead of whipping them.
The Houses of Parliament: no place for the sane
October 24, 2003
A career in politics? You wouldn't wish it on your worst enemy.
Earth to Iain Duncan Smith... hello?
October 23, 2003
It isn't the first time the Conservatives have a lunatic as leader, and it won't be the last...
Who'd be a Tory?
October 10, 2003
Part 32 of a 695 part series.
Out of the pen
October 3, 2003
If it wasn’t for Jeffrey Archer, how on earth would we know what a terrible state our prisons are in? How would we know that they’re full of illiterate junkies? How good of him then, to turn his ghastly criminal past into something which can benefit society as a whole.
Bring Out Your Dead
October 1, 2003
The powers that be are finally getting round to closing the fake passport scam first exposed by intelligence expert Frederick Forsyth in The Day of the Jackal. In 1972.
The War Against Liberalism
October 1, 2003
George W. Bush declared war on the “Bad Men.” but American foreign policy fails to consider the motives of those terrorists. It’s almost taboo to ask “why did 9/11 happen?”, writes Lembit Opik MP
Parliamentary Advisory Committee to meet at Whirl-Y-Gig
October 1, 2003
Sean Walsh gives a think tank a piece of his mind.
Top-up Fees: the issue that will not die
September 30, 2003
Just when you thought it was safe to go to university...
Addicted to Hutton
September 19, 2003
In its guise as literature I've enjoyed the Hutton Inquiry much better than the last Will Self novel I read and I'm not sure I want it to stop, writes Robert Katz.
Got: Air Traffic Control
September 19, 2003
The Adam Smith Institute has spawned a weblog. It's funny.
Boris Johnson's dirty love
September 11, 2003
This week Berlusconi is rumoured to have had colonic irrigation in an attempt to remove the last vestiges of Boris Johnson's tongue from his majestic statuesque multi-billion-dollar arse.
I Am The Way, The Truth And The Life...
September 7, 2003
Downing Street's new spinmeister draws inspiration from that great heroine of New Labour, Mrs Thatcher.
Out with the old...
September 4, 2003
Well, it's not Tom Kelly. But Campbell's replacement is just as much a Sultan of Spin.
Out with the old, in with the ex-PR man
September 4, 2003
An ex-flack is taking over from an ex-hack to put an end to the spin at the heart of Government. Honestly.
Never The Twain
September 3, 2003
Is there anyone out there currently *not* fighting a holy war? If so, could they stand up and wave their hands? We'd like to meet you.
The best tracking a man can get
August 22, 2003
#503 was about the Gillette/Tesco wheeze to take a photo of anyone who picks up a pack of razor blades as a "test bed for many more trials of this kind". The scheme involved placing a small circuit in the...
Hasta La Politica Baby: An American Writes
August 14, 2003
The whole Schwarzenegger candidacy is about getting Republicans elected who seem to be socially moderate, but in their fiscal conservatism make it completely impossible for the US government to have any money left to do anything, writes Robert Mackey
Tom Kelly and Walter Mitty
August 10, 2003
A handy guide.
The press vs. John Redwood: What's their beef?
August 8, 2003
Can a case be made for defending the right-wing, pointy-headed slimeball against these recent vitriolic attacks in the press?
Tom Kelly, Sultan of Spin
August 5, 2003
That's a relief! It's not official government policy to mock the corpses of its critics.
Guess who's back...
August 2, 2003
Stephen Byers returns to the fray with a raft of brilliant policy ideas stolen from the plot of Bladerunner.
More Horlicks Vicar: Reloaded
July 23, 2003
Is it really the vernacular? Did it really come from an advertising campaign? Is it really a substitute swearword?
Gerald Kaufman: Prize Twat
July 22, 2003
I used to like Gerald Kaufman. He hates fox hunting and over-priced CDs and is a vocal critic of Israel's actions towards the Palestinians. But all of a sudden he seems to have gone rubbish, writes Charlie Skelton.
Tell it to the hand, because the elected representative ain't listening
July 14, 2003
It's breathtaking. He really thinks he can charm his way into a third term, writes Paul Carr.
More Horlicks, vicar?
July 14, 2003
While we wait for a copy of the new Downing Street flannel, a few thoughts on what we know so far.
Scandal? Yeah, well, they shouldn't have laughed at my name
July 1, 2003
Paul Carr is trying to get to the bottom of this whole Dodgy Dossier business once and for all.
Paging Paul Hamill, John Pratt, Alison Blackshaw and Mustaza Khan
June 29, 2003
When did the focus groups say "what we'd like to see is a hatchet-faced bully boy running around cowing dissenters" asks Alan Connor.
Go Bish!
June 23, 2003
The Bishop of Birmingham, Dr John Sentamu, hitches up his skirt and wades into the argument over Iraq.
Tony, Tony, Lama Sabachthani?
March 29, 2003
Does Tony Blair genuinely believe that driving the devil we know out of Iraq and killing thousands more Arabs in the process is really the best way to rid the world of terrorism? Or could it all be part of an elaborate psychological game? Paul Carr considers the evidence.
TFT meets... Lembit Opik MP
February 13, 2003
> Are you going to the march on Saturday? Yes. I'm going there to demonstrate in favour of the war. I'm going to see if I can make a few hundred thousand people see the sense and justice of -...
Popped Clog: Roy Jenkins
January 7, 2003
Roy Jenkins - European Commission President, Chancellor, Home Secretary, WWII code-breaker and architect of the permissive society - has died. He was 82.
Dumb Britain
December 6, 2002
This week's ban on British beef by France caused something of a problem for our nation's red-top tabloids, writes Paul Carr.
We shall not be motivated
June 6, 2002
Aaah, The NUS's 'Grants Not Loans' rally, a "return to the days of political activism" for the nation's student population. Or was it? Paul Carr has his doubts.
Bak to skool
March 13, 2002
The Education and Skills Secretary, Estelle Morris, is desperately trying to push through the implementation of performance-related pay for teachers.

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