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   Chinese Earthquake Lions Do Their Stuff

Chinese Lions picThe rest of Romiley may have been levelled by the Great October 2002 Earthquake but the street's Chinese Earthquake Lions ensured that Carlton Avenue, at least, remained safe on 2002/10/21. The two massive shocks, which split roadways and toppled tall buildings, were felt as a gentle side-to-side shaking at the home of the lions. The residents were able to go about their business as normal while the rest of the village picked up the pieces.
   Vice-Prez Antonio Blair (Britain's prime minister, Ed.) has declared Romiley a disaster zone after viewing the town's cracked and broken pavements and roads on the Internet via Romiley's webcam. Chancellor Gordon The Mugger Brown is reported to have turned a deathly shade of pale as he contemplated the effect of reparations on his severely depleted War Chest.
   Amused Romiley residents are waiting to see if anything comes of the Vice-Prez's gesture before they tell him that the disastrous state of the roads, etc. is a direct consequence of years of Trivial-Democrat control of Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
[Editor's Note: This correspondent has been sent to a rest home to recover his equilibrium.]

Great Romiley Earthquake II

Romiley was struck by a double earthquake at 12:42 pm on Monday, 21st October, 2002. The main shock lasted 10-15 seconds. A 5-second minor shock followed on about half a minute later. Lunchtime soup pans slid a couple of inches on the gas stove and off their position directly above the burner – but no reports were received of pans plunging to the ground with great loss of nutritional contents. In addition, a computer operator reported a feeling that her gas-lift typing chair was about to collapse.
   The motion of the main shock of this Earthquake Of The Millennium was described as a gentle side-to-side movement by a member of the Black Flag's staff, who is a survivor of the Great Romiley Earthquake of 1984. He was seated at the time of the 2002 earthquake, facing east and skiving off work while watching Sky TV's NFL Special on the office television. When the Black Flag sent out a scouting party, the village looked completely undisturbed by the earthquake. Indeed, a number of residents, including other survivors of the 1984 earthquake, had failed to realize that they had just survived another one.
   On the 6 p.m. Granada Reports, an expert from Manchester University said that the region could have another earthquake strong enough to be felt ‘tomorrow, the next day or ten years from now'. 'Tomorrow' proved to be accurate.
   American football fans were enjoying the Monday night match between the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers on Channel 5 early on Tuesday morning when another mild earthquake lasting about five seconds struck at 04:39 hours. "It rattled the doors of the serving hatch between the kitchen and the living room and made the settee sway a bit," one stop-up football fan reported.
   By lunchtime on Tuesday [22nd October], the total number of shocks due to the faults below the city of Manchester had risen to 14 and a warning of ‘more to come' was in force. Experts are still considering the possibility of a link between earthquakes strong enough to be felt and a broadcast of American football on television.

No Warning From Romiley's Animals

The earthquake literature is full of stories about animals giving humans a warning of a coming earthquake – the interpretation of the behaviour is usually made after the event, however. In Romiley, the visiting cat to the Black Flag's offices gave no sign that he was expecting anything unusual. When he reported for duty after breakfast, he had a drink in the sink downstairs, prowled around for a while, had another drink in the sink in the bathroom and then settled down for a kip, as usual.
   An expert on feline behaviour later pointed out that it is entirely possible that the cat decided that the earthquake as felt in Romiley would be no big deal and it was not worth mentioning.

Earthquake Fatigue Sets In

A great many people didn't notice any of the earthquakes – as demonstrated by CCTV footage shown on Granada Reports. The camera shakes fairly violently but the people continue to walk the streets oblivious of the geological event going on beneath their feet.
   For those who noticed Monday's two quakes, a common reaction was, "Cool! It's an earthquake," and then, "Hey, that's another one!" By the early hours of Tuesday morning, however, familiarity had set in and the reaction was, "Oh, no! Not again. Stop it!"
   When it comes to earthquakes, once is cool, twice is okay but by the third, we want the Earth to stop messing us about and give us a bit of peace for a while.

Earthquakes – A Last Word

The latest news from the experts is that the Great Romiley Earthquakes are part of a cluster which may go on and on for months. So we'll just have to get used to them. Non-experts reckon that the building work on Manchester's Olympic stadium, which involved a lot of pile-driving and digging, might have dislodged ground connected to the area's abandoned mines. The former Bradford, Agecroft and Moston pits all lie less than a quarter of a mile from the new stadium. So whether we're blaming old coal mines or the stadium building work, everything is collapsing to a new equilibrium state, which will be reached in the fullness of time.
   In the meantime, anyone looking for a souvenir could do worse than to log on to the Black Flag's Sales Line and buy one of our mugs or tee-shirts.

GRE t-shirtGRE mug

T-shirt £14.99

Mug £11.99

NOTE: the pictures are not to scale.

Snooker pic

Romiley Resident Lambasts Beeb

The following email sent to was copied to the Black Flag Offices:

Dear BBC -- Why can't you just get on with showing snooker matches without all the messing about? We don't need endless repeats of Ronnie O pretending to play rugby and guys lying on a bed making mobile phone calls. What we want is to watch snooker matches.
   And on the subject of snooker matches, would you kindly stop disrupting the flow with unnecessary replays? You look away from the screen for a moment, you look back and you see a shot that leaves you baffled. Was it the next shot? Was it the last shot? Was it a shot played a couple of minutes earlier?
   We should get replays only if it was a brilliant shot or an amazing blunder/fluke or something totally unexpected happens. Otherwise, no!
   So can you kindly cut the window dressing and the crap music and get on with showing what's happening on the snooker tables in a coherent, continuous fashion? And stop behaving as if you're putting on a show for kiddies with an attention span of about 3 seconds?
   Make an effort to un-dumb yourself, BBC.

Clyde E. Wydey.

Early release?
Early release?

Archer Out Of Gaol 'By The End Of The Week'?

The prison service is just starting to come to terms with the true implications of Lord Jeff Archer's prison trilogy.
   Like – the longer he's inside, the more he's going to reveal about the drug dealing, the rackets, the abuses of power and the assaults by inmates on fellow inmates. The longer he's inside, the greater the embarrassment potential for the government which presides over the prisons.
   And that's why the smart money's going on a very early release for the lying lord before his trilogy of Jeff In Clink books can become a quartet.

Compensation Culture Madness

Cubs in Windsor have to get their mum to sign a consent form if they want to play conkers. Their local commissioner announced that conkers is now classified as a dangerous sport; so dangerous that it has been banned by a lot of schools and the cubs have to fall in line with the regulations made by education authorities. The big worry is that some litigious parent will sue them for a bundle if a child sustains a slight or imaginary injury. The dad of one of the cubs called it 'political correctness gone mad'.

The Observer's Bogus Equinox

Building on its successful support for Blair's Bogus Millennium Change, the Observer offered a bogus equinox as part of the bad science behind a scare story. The autumn equinox was on September 23rd and the Earth's makes its closest approach to the Sun early in January. [Any fule kno that - Ed.] But the Observer decided to combine them to create an October flood scare story.
   The whole point of the celestial swindle was to cook up a scare about a massive tide, which might have swamped more than one million homes in low-lying areas of England if the high-tide in early October had been coupled with a bad storm.
   There was a genuine risk of a ‘storm surge' and a forecast tide of 8.2m being topped up by another 2m if there were strong on-shore winds. But the Observer felt obliged to build on a touch of journalistic hokum.
   Anyone remember a time when you could believe what the papers had to tell you?

Signs & Portents?

"What next?" the people of the West Midlands are asking themselves. Last month, it was an earthquake. Early this month, a meteor roared over their heads. Traditionally, such things are heralds of a major disaster to come. Some might argue that it's probably going to be Vice-Prez Blair's war with Iraq. But it might just be the Bogus Equinox Flood forecast in the Observer [above].

Sorry, Mates

The saying ‘You don't have to be mad to work here, but it helps' seems appropriate for the boss of the Northern Ireland police. Vice-Prez Blair (A.L. Blair, currently prime minister, Ed.) has picked a real, raving nutter in Hugh Orde if he's apologizing to the IRA for busting their spy ring at Stormont.
   The madness theme also seems to apply to the staff of a branch of a major bank (unnamed) on Glasgow's Sauchiehall Street. According to the Sunday Post, when a customer complained about the length of the queues, he was told that the staff were rushed off their feet because ‘this is one of the company's busiest branches in Scotland'.
   When asked, "Is that why you've cut the number of tellers in half recently?" the woman was too busy to give an answer.

Mint With A Hole In Its Security

The Royal Mint is guarded by Ministry of Defence police, who have metal detectors and the authority to conduct random extreme body searches on staff and visitors. The gold store is reckoned to be the most secure part of the building – but someone took £25,000 in new £20 notes out of a safe in this room and no one realized that the cash had gone.
   The safe was normally left unlocked and the best that the police investigators could do was tie down the crime to sometime or other in 2000 between April and December 13th. The notes were due to be made up into presentation packs and the MoD police have given up looking for the missing ones for lack of evidence.
   Closing Incredible Fact: the Royal Mint is in the red and has been there for two years. The government department which makes the money is operating at a loss!
   Only under a Labour government ...

Human Fly Fails?

Frenchman Alain Robert reckons he can climb any building without special equipment, such as ropes, safety nets and a parachute. His conquests include the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and 30 other skyscrapers, and the twin towers of the Petronas Building in Kuala Lumpur. But things didn't quite go to plan when he tackled No. 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf.
   According to the owners of the building, he got stuck and they had to send a window cleaning cradle down to rescue him. The owners also claimed that M. Robert was a safety risk. He could have fallen off the building and landed on one of their employees. Or the poor old employees could have been traumatized by watching him fall to his death.
   M. Robert tells a different story. He reckons the window cleaning cradle was sent down to block his path and the building was too wet and slippery for him to try to climb round it.
   So did he quit or was he blocked? You choose.

Closed For The Strikes

The following services are expected to be closed down by bolshy trade unionists on fire brigade strike days: the London Underground, mainline railways, the Channel Tunnel (which should upset the ambulance-chasing lawyers making money out of keeping bogus refugees in the country), airports, fuel delivery vehicles, power stations, offices and factories, sporting events, entertainment venues and large retail premises.

When the News is Rubbish, Print the Speculation

What were the pieces of ‘very sensitive' jewellery belonging to Princess Di which couldn't be named in court during the Burrell Case?
   A poll of Romiley residents produced the theory that the Blesséd Di had had her body pierced in peculiar places and the items of jewellery in question were intended to be threaded through the piercings. A further poll revealed that just 3.1% believed the official story that the police were talking about a ring from some Supercad or other.

Jobsworths Sink Raffles

Magistrates in Hampshire have ruled that anyone who organizes a raffle which offers alcohol as a prize must pay £10 under the Licensing Act of 1964. Failure to pay the fee invites a fine of up to £2,500. Members of local charity groups have labelled the notion ‘bureaucracy run mad' and they are determined to go on ignoring the law as the fee could leave them running their event at a loss. The chairman of the magistrates, in true jobsworth style, said, "We do not make the law. We merely seek to administer it at maximum inconvenience to the general public."

The New Golf

Gun-happy Italians have wiped out the bird population in their part of the world. But instead of hanging up their weapons, they're flocking to Scotland, where pigeon shooting has been labelled ‘the new golf'. The Italians are so eager that they tend to fire before the pigeons come into range, which makes the pigeons fly higher and ensures that the feathered resource is not depleted unduly.
   The eagerness also manifests itself as a high degree of criminal carelessness. At least one hunter has been written off by someone with a bad aim. Still, at £750+ per person for a four-day jaunt, it's great business for the canny Scots.

Power company Scottish Hydro Electric would like to send some Italian hunters to the area between Barcaldine and Benderloch in Argyll. That's where rampant woodpeckers have made Swiss cheese out of 34 of a string of 65 thirty-foot wooden poles, which carry high-voltage power lines.
   At first, the company suspected that gun-happy locals were using their poles for target practice. But there were too many holes. Each pole costs £150 and the total bill for the repair job, which will take about five weeks, comes to £60,000, which is no joke.

   Nothing To Declare

Hardy nudists are flocking to Yorkshire to stride across the wind- and rain-swept moors wearing nothing but a good pair of boots. The British Naturist Association announced that its members are going rock climbing starkers in addition to walking and jogging in packs up to two dozen strong. The police and the administrators of national parks have received no complains about these activities, which shows that they are being done discreetly.
   You have to be tough to hike on the Yorkshire Moors. And if you're doing it in the nude, it probably helps to be a bit soft in the head, too. And having good eyesight to keep a lookout for thistles is probably another excellent idea.

Explosions Everywhere

Every day's Bonfire Night for a good month before the 5th of November. So much for a quiet life.

Ex-Prez Bill
Hail to the Ex-Chief

Ex-Prez Bill On Parade

Was there a touch of irony in the adoration shown to Bill Clinton by the Vice-Prez and the Labour Party Conference? Bearing in mind that corporate fraud in the USA mushroomed during Bill's presidency – and he and his missus were investigated for dodginess to a back-ground of arm-twisting and a convenient suicide. Also bearing in mind the fun and games in the Oval Office during the Monica Years.
   Or could it be that Vice-Prez Tony Blair is auditioning for Monica's old job with Bill if the European Union won't make him Prez For Life after New Labour stabs him in the back?

Boycott? What Boycott?

The government has admitted there is a national lottery boycott in operation after the National Association for the Prevention of Deportation of Bogus Refugees and Terrorists copped for a massive £341,000 from the Community Fund, which is in the safe hands of the wife of notorious EU junketeer Leon Brittan.
   Tessa Jowell, the alleged Culture Secretary, admitted the existence of the boycott on the Blair Broadcasting Corporation's Today programme. No details were revealed about who held the gun to her head.

Vice-Pres Responds To Firemen

"You're wrong and we'll sort you out," the Vice-Prez declared before unveiling his master plan to keep the country safe during firemen's strike days. "Every box of matches in the country will be taken into protective custody on the day before each strike," he explained. "By removing the means of ignition, we automatically remove the threat. This is the kind of clear thinking and real world solutions which the country has come to expect from this government."
   [Editor's Note: The Minister for Fires was removed from the press conference with a severe attack of the giggles.]

Taxes Have No Colour

The government is eager to impose a huge landfill tax, thinking it can make the burden more acceptable to the punters by calling it a 'Green Tax'. But any fule kno that's just another deliberate lie from a bunch of serial liars.
   Taxes don't have colours. The money all goes into the same pot in the vaults of the Treasury, not separate jars for 'Green' and other areas. The only reason The Mugger wants to impose another stealth tax is that the bigger his War Chest gets, the easier it is to divert a big chunk to dodgy doings and junkets.

A Polite Silence?

Estelle Morris herself admitted that she was no good at her job as education secretary. But all this is forgotten because ‘the media hounded her out of office'. So what conclusions can the voters draw from this?

  • That the Labour Party thinks it's okay for their people to make a bog of things in office?
  • And that it's not okay for anyone to notice?

All this sounds very much like what Prince Hamlet called, "The insolence of office". And what about all the other duffers? It would obviously be impolite to mention what a bog John Prescott is making of things. And Vice-Prez Blair doesn't seem to be as close to the Heart of Europe as he pretends to be with Germany and France ganging up behind his back to sabotage our EU rebate.
   And what about the guys ‘n' gals in charge of the NHS, Stealth Taxes, Food & Rural Affairs, Bogus Refugees, Culture & Handing Lottery Cash To Undeserving Causes, and ... Need we go on?
   Of course, the real reason why Tony Blair has surrounded himself with duffers is that they make him look almost okay in comparison. But we're much too polite to mention it.
Estelle Morris wasn't hounded out of office by the press. One of Vice-Prez Blair's back-stage managers fell out with her and that's why she got the push.

   A Shambles Too Far

The Millennium Dome, the Jubilee Line extension, the new British Library, the Wembley Stadium fiasco – what will come next on this list of sorry examples of New Labour's incompetence?
   Well, it looks like the government has finally realized that it's incapable of carrying through a major project without becoming enmeshed in cost over-runs, cronyism and chaos. So Vice-Prez Blair is having his arm heavily twisted and it looks like the UK won't be putting in a bid for a 2012 Olympics in London.
   Phew! At least we've dodged that bullet.

Mr. Happy?

New Labour's plans for the motorways "a great success story"

Motorway congestion has increased by 250% in the last four years, according to a survey by the independent Transport 2000 organization and the government's usual suspects are queueing up to take the credit.
   [Note: Congestion is defined as traffic flowing at 30 mph or slower in a 70 mph zone.]
   Disturbingly, however, their achievement has resulted in a rise of just 43% in the number of man hours lost due to congestion. The latest figure from the Department of Guesswork is 1.4squillion man-hours at a cost to industry of £20godzillion.
   Transport Secretary Alistair Darling had a smile on his face as he announced that New Labour's plans to force motorists onto trains and buses is working "beyond the wildest expectations" and the case for road tolls has been made beyond question.
   The smile faded and he left the press conference hurriedly when someone asked him how the railways are coping with all the extra customers.

How Fast?

The government has come up with the brilliant plan of imposing a 20 mph speed limit in towns and other built-up areas. But given that Mayor Livingstone and the utility companies have contrived to reduce the average motoring speed in London to 3 mph, does that mean motorists can sue someone for 'stress and trauma' if they don't have the opportunity to travel at 20 mph?
   Sounds like another crust for ambulance-chasing lawyers.

Drunk As A Buggy Driver

If you want a successful career as a drunk driver, get yourself a battery-powered buggy and do it on the nation's pavements. A Derbyshire man was arrested in November last year while driving his buggy home from the pub. A breath test showed that his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit and a PNC check turned up the interesting fact that he was serving a 3-year driving ban for being drunk in charge of his Citroen.
   After eleven court appearances over ten months at a cost to the taxpayer of £3,000, the man was cleared by Glossop magistrates, who decided that his buggy wasn't covered by the usual motoring regulations. The Can't Prosecute Service said that they had pursued Mr. Donlon, 55, because they thought they had a reasonable chance of getting him sent down. He is planning to continue having 'a couple of pints' at his local and driving home on his buggy.

Monster of the North West pic

New North West Landmark

The rusty Angel of the North has a new rival – the Monster of the North-West. This alleged 'work of art' is 91 feet tall compared to a mere 65 feet for the Angel and it cost a quarter of a million quid (£800,000 for the Angel).
   It will stand on waste ground in an industrial estate at Birchwood on the outskirts of Warrington. The thing is supposed to symbolize two human figures, who are encountering each other with out-stretched arms [or two acrobats about to crash to the ground after a mutual hand-stand went disastrously wrong – Ed.]
   The artist says it's supposed to look as if it's made from birch wood [because it's on the Birchwood Estate] with peeling bark and it will be illuminated with different coloured lights eventually, which should distract passing motorists nicely. The article is the 'tallest piece of public sculpture since Nelson's Column'. Or is it?
   In fact, the monstrosity is the housing for a mobile phone mast, which casts considerable doubt on its status as a work of art and adds to the recent controversy about hidden phone mast proliferation.
   Many people were shocked by the recent revelation that the famous London Eye is also a disguised mobile phone mast. Apparently, all of the mobile phone companies which sponsored the concept of a millennium attraction on the vacant site opposite the Palace of Westminster wanted to be the top dog of the project. So the ferris wheel structure was chosen to let each of their transmitters take a turn at being on top.

Monstrosity II

Bradford also plans to get in on the monumental outdoor sculpture act with "a seraph or possibly a very large cherub". The monster will be sited on the four-acre Thornbury roundabout, which is Yorkshire's biggest. The local people aren't at all happy about the invasion of one of the area's few grassy playgrounds but the business community and the politicians are in favour of it, as long as a quality artist is called in to design it.
   And they have to put the mobile phone mast somewhere ...

film pic

Porn Pragmatism

The French government has come up with an alternative to an outright ban on porn as part of its pragmatic moral crusade. Porn film producers and distributors pay a 33% special tax in addition to the standard 33% corporation tax. The plan is to up their special tax rate to 60%. The Frenchies hope that the 93% tax rate will make the porn sector ‘financially unattractive'. As a separate move, they're also going to impose a flat-rate charge of 91,500 euros on all imported feature length porn films.
   French TV transmits an average of 900 porn films per month(!) on its terrestrial, cable and satellite channels and human rights groups are up in arms about the government's repressive views on the right of freedom of speech. But most people are expecting the Froggie porn merchants to find a way round the new rules -- or just ignore then, the way the French government ignores European rules.

Iraqi Election Result -- Saddam Surprise Winner

"As returning officer for the Iraq, Baghdad, constituency, I declare the number of votes cast to be as follows: Hussein, Saddam ..."
   [BF World News Commentator: "World's Favourite Dictator Party, Iraq Branch, sole candidate on the ballot paper."]
   "... eleven million, nine hundred and three thousand, four hundred and sixty-three point oh five ..."
   ["That's a turn-out of one hundred and four per cent based on the last census of Iraq's population."]
   "... and I therefore declare the aforementioned Saddam Hussein re-elected as Dictator for Life. Let the celebrations begin."
   ["Well, there's a surprise. Saddam scored 99.96% in his last election victory. No one was expecting him to break the magic 100% barrier this time around. Although I suppose it was inevitable in the current phoney war climate."]

The New EU Flag
The New EU Flag - the Triple Cross

Mutinous Micks Quelled?

The citizens of the Irish Republic, who are among Europe's most accomplished freeloaders (they're second only to the French), dared to vote against the Nice enlargement treaty in a referendum.
   The EU's rulers were outraged and told the Irish government to hold another referendum and get the result right this time -- just what they told the Danes over Maastricht, in fact. The unspoken message – that the gravy train will be diluted – has got through to the Mutinous Micks and they're expected to do the decent thing. And if they don't, well, they can expect to have more and more repeats of this referendum until they do.
    That's European democracy for you.

French Cure For Baldness?

Those ingenious Froggies have come up with a gadget which, they claim, can stop hair loss. It looks like a cyclist's helmet and it ‘works' by injecting a small electromagnetic charge into dead or dying hair folicles to bring them back to life – a bit like Baron Frankenstein and his monster, only using a set of batteries (not supplied) instead of lightning.
   Its inventors claim that the BX3.4VY gadget can give a man 20% more hair within six months and a full head of hair in just eighteen months. The device is on sale in France right now at 699 euros and it goes on sale in the UK in November.

Poodle Gums French Prez

Jacques 'I Should Be In Gaol' Chirac is said to have cancelled an up-coming Anglo-French summit because Vice-Prez Antoino Blair was rude to him. One-man crime wave Chirac wants the Common Agricultural Policy to continue to force-feed disorganized French farmers with Euro-dosh -- and he wants the UK's EU rebate to be included in the pot. The Vice-Prez dared to say, "No, hold on a minute," to Chirac in front of other EU leaders. So Jacques is now in a sulk at home and likely to stay like that until he gets his own way.

The UES Flag
The Flag of the United States of Europe, the Triple Cross

New Name, Same Old Disaster Area

Meanwhile, former French Prez Valery Giscard wants to change the name of the European Union to 'The United States of Europe' [or 'United Europe' as a distant second choice] and give everyone a dual nationality.
   Now, that's something the Vice-Prez could get behind -- seeing he has ambitions to head the superstate when the electorate and/or the Labour Party chuck him out.

The Wrong Sort Of ...

The ultra-slick French railways have come a cropper in the wake of the storms over the final weekend of October. Salt spray blown in from the sea had collected on their overhead power cables with the result that when the supports and insulators get rained on, the water becomes conductive and the electricity leaks to ground instead of remaining in the wires until a train comes along.
   The French have four special trains which can spray the power line supports with pure water to wash off the salt. Unfortunately, three of them aren't working and getting the Eurostar service running again is a bit of a slow business.


WFD Duel Offer

Saddam Hussein, now officially instated as The World's Favourite Dictator by UN Resolution 2294-3994-ZZZ-02, has offered to fight a duel with Prez Bush over the issue of Iran's Arms. Journalists detected a note of irony in the WFD's voice but most right-thinking people feel that Prez Bush should take him at his word. One million megaton thermonuclear weapons at 20 paces would be a great way of unpicking the Gordian Knot of weapons inspection.
   And if we could just get the Iraqi vice-prez to challenger Vice-Prez Blair to a simultaneous duel of subordinates ...

Hypodermic pix

Hiding The Evidence or "Just A Tiny Prick, Sir!"

The government wants everyone in the UK to have a smallpox jab in case Saddam Insane turns nasty. Is that the nice Vice-Prez looking after us? Joke! What happened is that Powderject bunged New Labour and lo, the firm was awarded a contract to buy supplies of smallpox vaccine. Then there were accusations that they'd bought the wrong sort of vaccine.
   So what did the government's spin doctors do about this? They came up with the brilliant idea of losing the evidence. Shoot it into the arms of the British people and there'll be none left for anyone to test – and no one will be able to prove that the bunger screwed up and the government covered up. How very cunning.

We Will Be The Masters!

After the World's Favourite Dictator has been disposed of by the decent nations of the world, the Americans will send in an occupation force similar to the one which administered Japan after World War II. The occupation regime will hunt down war criminals and stick them in front of show trials, give the country a democratically elected government in due course, whether the Iraqis want one or not, and track down and destroy all hidden chemical and nuclear weapons.
   A spokesman for the Pentagon added, "We will also safeguard the Iraqi oil reserves to ensure that they become available to the West at a knock-down price. Shoot! Was that microphone still on?"

Reporting Fit

The Pentagon is worried that while its troops may be fighting fit, the idle press corps will be unable to keep up with the battle front when the Saddam Hussein of all wars starts in Iraq. The military planners are worried about winning the media war – which is infinitely more important than the actual fighting war.
   The Big Idea for solving the problem is to send couch-potato journalists on a tuning-up course at a boot camp. There, the hacks will learn about military ranks, insignia and uniforms -- so that they can tell who belongs to which side -- and they'll also discover the intricacies of military customs and courtesies.
   Then the hacks will face the assault course, which will include a five-mile tactical road march with an 11 kg back pack, instructions on how to get into and out of helicopters with their gear and basic survival information on navigation to reduce the chance of getting lost. Nuclear, chemical and biological warfare hazards will also be covered in case Mr. Hussein deploys his ‘dirty weapons'.
   Attending the boot camp isn't compulsory but any news organization which boycotts it will find great difficulty in getting permission for their people to accompany troops into a battle zone and all those photo opportunities.


Bogus Refugees Ate Our Swans

Swans were once a royal delicacy. Now, they're a protected species. But they're still disappearing in large numbers all over the London area. The population of 130 at the reservoirs in Enfield and Chingford has crashed to ‘just single figures'. Bike and foot patrols are now watching the River Lea and the prime suspects are Eastern Europeans. The penalty for killing a swan is a fine of £5,000 and/or six months in gaol. But if you're a bogus refugee, no doubt all will be forgiven.

Yeah, blame it on global warming.

Spanish marine biologists are blaming Global Warming for the mysterious deaths of giant squids off the country's north coast. Apparently, 30 of the creatures have been found deceased over the last 40 years. Other alternatives for the ‘extinction' include the effects of military manoeuvres in the area and pollution. But the Spanish government prefers to go with the global warming notion as that makes it someone else's fault, not theirs.

Lunch On The Firm?

Meanwhile, in Germany, two zookeepers in the Cologne area have been busted for snacking on the animals. They are alleged to have barbequed five Tibetan Mountain chickens and to have polished off two Cameroonian sheep.

Polecat Preservation Society Needed?

Tory Peers are rushing to the Save The Tebbit flag in large numbers after the party's 'modernizers' said they wanted him junked. If Mr. IDS Dunc, the alleged leader of the Tory Party (a.k.a Ian Duncan Smith, Ed.), lets his headbangers sling Lord T onto the scrapheap, about half of the Tory membership of the House of Lord will resign the Tory whip in protest. Some Shadow Cabinet resignations are also on the cards.
   Lord T upset some delicate flowers in his party by having a go at the craven self-loathing on offer at the Tory conference. In particular, he objected to some woman in weird shoes calling the Tories ‘The Nasty Party', which some cloth-eared people heard as ‘The Nazi Party'. Lord T clearly finds this Blairing policy as distasteful as all right-thinking people.
   Ironically, Mr. Dunc was parachuted into Lord Tebbit's safe Chingford seat, so if he does cave in, people will be able to call him a bald back-stabber as well as ‘Duncan who?'

The Virus Strikes!
The Virus Strikes!

Latest Internet Peril

There's a new virus doing the rounds called Bugbear. It arrives as an email, which is disguised as an old message. The reason for doing this is that people are told to be suspicious of a new message from an unknown source. "If in doubt, delete it" is the usual rule for mystery messages. But when people see a message which looks like an old one, they're likely to open it to find out if it's something to keep or something to delete.
   Opening the email activates the virus, which is said to be capable of disabling some anti-virus programs, which makes it even more sneaky and dangerous than the average virus. Once activated, the virus records everything typed on the keyboard for several days. It then sends a data file to the virus-creating crooks in Malaysia. They then trawl through the data looking for credit card numbers, online banking details and passwords.
   In its first three days of operation, the virus was reported to have infected 36,000 computers in 118 countries -- and most of the firms which supply anti-virus software have been accused of exaggerating the level of threat.

pizza pic

School Dinners, Glasgow Style

Kids today have so many more choices than their parents. If they don't fancy the ‘healthy eating' offered by their canteen's menu, the kids at a number of secondary schools in Scotland's second city are now pooling their cash and using a mobile phone to get a pizza delivered to the school gates.

FrankenFoods March On

The European Union has introduced new laws aimed at giving Frankenstein Food Genetically Monstered crops a wider circulation in the world. In theory, the rules require products containing GM components to be labelled accordingly so that the GM part is traceable back to the origin of the genetic monstering. But can anyone imagine the French or the Italians bothering with that?
   The EU's main reason for relaxing its absolute ban is that it is afraid that US firms that make GM products will sue the EU for restriction of trade and Europe will end up in an even wider trade war with the USA. Vice-Prez Blair, an enthusiastic supporter of genetic monstering, welcomed the change in the rules. In fact, he'll probably claim the credit for the rethink on his next freebie to the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Frustrated Gourmet

James Maxwell, 37, was convinced that he had been given HP Sauce in a pub rather than the advertised chef's home-made sauce. He was so certain that he broke into the pub at Abbotsbury, Dorset, looking for his proof. All he got was a conditional discharge from the Weymouth magistrates. He also had to pay out £50 compensation for the criminal damage which he caused.

glass pic

This Week's Survey

78% of pensioners are permanently legless, according to the pressure group Alcohol & Tobacco Concern, and it's all down to the stress of modern living. Most of the worst offenders are women due to the decreasing tolerance to alcohol observed with increasing age for persons of the female persuasion.
   The survey has shown that while the average middle aged woman can knock off a bottle of supermarket vodka during her working day and still get the tea ready, a mere half bottle is enough to zonk most women of 65 or older.

Lots of Bottle

Motorists in Llanelli with diesel-engined cars are refuelling at Asda. Only instead of using the petrol station, they're buying the 'own brand' cooking oil by the hundred bottles and saving 40p per litre. Apparently 32p/litre cooking oil -- plus a dash of methyl alcohol to wash out the glycerol -- does the same job as 73p/litre diesel fuel. The Customs and Excise Department has joined forces with the police to strike back against this loss of tax revenue by sending out teams of expert sniffers to check exhausts for the dead giveaway of a chip-shop aroma.
   They've also set a nice little racket in motion. They tow away the vehicle containing illegal fuel and impose a £150 towing charge. The driver is also hauled into court and fined £500. The police and the AA are giving bogus warnings that using the untaxed fuel may damage engines – but they would say that, wouldn't they?

Lots Of Bottle II

Milk is to be sold as a designer drink called ‘m...' in 250 ml bottles intended to appeal to the ‘yoof' market. The idea is to "make milk easier to drink on the move".
   The designer milk will cost 65-85p per 250 ml bottle, which is a real old rip-off compared to the supermarket price of a pinta – 29p/568 ml. But anyone who buys designer products is brain-dead anyway and deserves all they get.
   One area of concern is counterfeiting. Trading standards officers are gearing themselves up to combat faux-designer products with names like ‘m..' (2 dots instead of 3) containing things like cheap imports from Third World countries instead of EU zone milk or even a white suspension of chalk in water instead of a cow product – or the Al Qaida special containing camel milk.

A work of Art (detail)

The Nation? C'est Moi!

Lord Irvine has got himself into trouble for adopting Hermann Goering's attitude to other people's paintings. He's ‘borrowing' them on permanent loan to tart up his office, which was refurbished at vast expanse to the taxpayer as soon as the ink on New Labour's 1997 election victory was dry.
   Now, the National Gallery of Scotland wants one of its Boudins back. The painting, The Beach at Trouville (1863), was donated to the Scottish nation by the original owner, Jessie Blair Agnew, on condition that her five works by French landscape painter Eugene Boudin (1824-1898) were displayed together.
   Her descendants have complained about his lordship's predations and the NGS was obliged to take action after Irvine had held their Boudin hostage for four years. A squad of heavily armed shifters arrived at the Lord Chancellor's offices in sufficient strength to crush all local opposition and he was forced to hand over his loot forthwith.
   Could this be a welcome first step in a process of extracting the People's Art from the walls of political offices and putting the works back in art galleries, where they belong? Don't hold your breath with Vice-Prez Blair still handing out sweeties to his cronies.

Modern Art
A work of Art (alleged)

Grand Art Competition

Romiley Art Gallery has announced a grand competion for the village's residents and their friends. Several pictures are now on display in the Manet Suite and visitors are invited to offer their opinions on them.
   Is it great art? If so, why? If not, why not?
   All entries must be on a postcard or a piece of paper of equivalent area. Block Capitals only for hand-written entries. The competition runs through to mid-November and multiple entries are invited from those who prefer to sit on the fence. A typical example of the ‘works of art' is shown above.
   [Note: the rumour that the first prize is Picasso's Guernica and a box of matches is entirely without foundation. Ed.]

Crony Art Cash Horror!!!

Lord Derry Irvine's plundered hoard of people's paintings and art objects is a benefit, tax experts say. The collection is worth £1.5million and the ‘benefit' that he enjoys amounts to £300,000 per annum – which is taxable at 40%, which means that the noble crony owes the Inland Revenue £500,000!
   So will he pay? A Tony Crony? Do me a favour!


Wild Child Sues

A disruptive child is attempting to sue his former adoptive parents for "stress and trauma" following their successful legal action against the adoption agency which placed the brat with them. The former parents complained that the boy spoke no English apart from swear words, he was aggressive and he considered knives and forks to be weapons rather than eating irons. The boy attacked other children, including his former parents' daughter, and he could not be left alone as he 'used to wreck everything in sight' in one of his fits of aimless rage.
   The former parents argued successfully that they had not been warned about the extent of the boy's serious behaviour problems and that the county council which runs the adoption agency was guilty of negligence. They received an undisclosed sum in damages when the agency settled out of court. Now, a lawyer with a successful human rights practice is seeking to claim the entire sum of damages for her client, the boy [less her considerable fees, of course].
   The parents have called in the EU Commissioner responsible for challenging abuses of European human rights legislation in an attempt to fend off the predatory lawyer, whose name cannot be revealed for legal reasons. A spokesman for the Commissioner said, "Only the lawyers are likely to be winners here."


   Identified Flying Object?

Reports are coming out of Alaska of a huge flying creature with a wingspan of around four metres. It has been seen flying over the south-western corner of the state and it is terrifying the locals. Eye witness Moses Coupchiak, 43, thought that it was an old Otter aircraft at first. When he realized that it wasn't a conventional powered plane, he radioed his home town of Togiak, which lies 400 miles from Anchorage, to warn the people to keep their children indoors.
   John Bouker saw the creature from a plane which he was flying from a range of 300 metres. The passengers in his aircraft also saw the beast and described it as ‘really, really big'.
   Speaking in Juneau, the capital of Alaska, federal specialist Phil Schemf was sceptical about the idea that the UFO was a bird. "I'm certainly not aware of anything with a fourteen foot wingspan that's been alive for the past 100,000 years," he said. The largest native bird that he could come up with is Steller's Eagle, which has a wingspan of eight feet. Such eagles have been spotted in the area several times recently, according to the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Leonardo Revisited
Leonardo's Glider

An Explanation?

The Black Flag has a suggestion to make over what the UFO could be. There has been a fashion in recent years for people to build the machines sketched by Leonardo da Vinci in an attempt to prove that he invented the helicopter and all sort of other modern gadgets, including the tank. The Americans have a history of testing secret flying machines, and their fun and games while developing U2 high-flying spy planes and the stealth bomber have given birth to countless tales of UFOs.
   Channel 4 in the UK has commissioned a 2-part series called Leonardo's Machines for transmission later in the year – and this very month, the programme makers tested a device [see the picture on the left] based on a bird-like flying machine found among the great inventor's sketches. The flying wing resembles a convention hang-glider design and has a wingspan of thirty feet. Twenty test flights were made at High And Over Hill with the pilot taking off by running down-hill.
   The example of 500-year-old technology reached a maximum height of thirty-five feet and the longest flight lasted seventeen seconds. This compares quite well with the efforts of the Wright brothers 400 years later. Their first flights lasted 12-15 seconds and travelled 175-200 feet.
   So, the big question about the big bird now is: ‘Could the mystery bird in Alaska be some Yank testing a flying machine in secret in what he thought was a totally out-of-the-way place?' Perhaps something with a 15-foot wing span and a small motor to give it some grunt?
   Stranger things have happened at sea.

Storm Dinosaur

Storm Dinosaurs Do Their Stuff

Over the last weekend of the month, just when we'd put our clocks back and we thought we were safe, the most severe gales since 1990 struck. Well, they did in places which had not taken the precaution of investing in Storm Dinosaurs, like the important part of Romiley.
   Elsewhere, power cables were blown down, which stopped the trains on both the East Coast and the West Coast mainlines, roads in London's financial district were closed when a 100-foot crane was bent in half, airports were closed for a time and the Navy's newest ship, HMS St Albans, was battered by the ferry Pride of Portsmouth and suffered severe damage. The insurance bill is expected to reach about £50million – compared to £2billion for the 1990 storm – and you can be sure the insurance companies will be breaking both legs to put their prices up.
   Not a time to be out and about. Not a time to be anywhere other than your storm shelter!

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 back to topCreated for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.
Sole © RAL, October 2002.