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Vice-Prez Blair too busy to visit Romiley
– residents devastated

Romiley In BloomWe put the flowers out for him but, sadly, he can't come. Now, BlackFlag News can tell you why.
   It is well known that the Vice-Prez is preparing for an October general election, but BlackFlag News can reveal that he is thinking about a quick sprint to the polls in 2004 to outflank his opponents.
   Conveniently, Trafalgar Day falls on a Thursday next year, and that's when the V-P hopes to rally the troops for his 3rd term. In the meantime, Romiley residents will be pleased to learn that the V-P has established a secret election headquarters for the North-West in the village. He is thought to have chosen Romiley for his HQ by applying reverse psychology – the village lies in an area where Labour doesn't have a hope in hell of winning a parliamentary seat.
   But when Vice-Prez Blair marches back to Downing Street in triumph on October 22nd, 2004, he will do so knowing that Romiley played a major part in his victory.

Mars Shows ItselfThe Red Planet Gets A Look-In

It's a well known fact that whenever there's a spectacular astronomical event on offer, Romiley will be cloudy. That holds good for eclipses, planetary conjunctions, meteor showers, transits of the International Space Station, bright Iridium satellite flares [see for details of the ISS & flares] and anything else you can think of.
   Mars was at its closest to the Earth for 60,000 years on the last Wednesday of the month, and all sorts of TV persons were getting wildly, but artificially, excited about it in the way that they do. Of course, it was cloudy in Romiley. And again on Thursday night. But finally, on Friday, we had a clear night and Mars was visible in all its glory. And it was a spectacular sight.
   Depending on obstructions, like houses and trees, it becomes visible at about 11 p.m. at an elevation of only about 15 degrees, but it's the brightest object in the sky (when the Moon's not there) and it's definitely a bright red. So it's well worth a look for the next few weeks at least.


Blame The Mugger, Not The Vice-Prez

Give us yer f***ing moneyThe latest attempt to get at Vice-Prez Blair revolves around the living quarters at 10, Downing Street. Certain people are saying that if Mrs. Thatcher paid rent on the flat during her occupation of it, then Vice-Prez Blair should do the same instead of enjoying it as a freebie.
   But hang on a minute. The Vice-Prez and his charming family live at No. 11 Downing Street, where there is more space for them to spread out, and it's that fiend The Mugger who lives at No. 10. So he should be made to pay the rent and he should be slapped down firmly if he tries to claim the cash as a business expense. Why? Because we all hate him, that's why! And he keeps trying to undermine the nation's favourite politician, Vice-Prez Blair.

   They're At It Again!

Hardy nudists were strolling around Yorkshire toward the end of last year [see BlackFlag News, 2002/10], braving October wind and rain in nothing but a pair of boots. The heat wave has brought more of them out of hiding much earlier in the year, and they're all over the place.
   Some of them, apparently, are rambling naked and becoming guilty about it. One bloke is alleged to have turned himself in to the police – only to be released when the coppers couldn't think of anything to charge him with!

The Health & Safety Executive is threatening to prosecute a Dorset hospital because it hasn't filed a plan for dealing with staff who become stressed. Apparently, the hospital doesn't actually have to do anything about stressed staff, it just has to file a plan with the jobsworths at the HSE.

The £2 lottery ticket is being denied vigorously by Camelot, and the National Lottery Commission has poured official cold water on the notion, so you punters can be sure that it's on the way!

The new boss (designate) of the Can't Prosecute Service is well known for making piles of money from defending terrorists. Worse, he has convictions for both possessing and procuring a dangerous drug as well as speeding, so while he lacks experience of prosecuting people, he has shared the 'being prosecuted' experience and he'll be able to empathize with criminals. So the pessimists among us are expecting to see the CPS sink to new levels of hopelessness.

An official survey of 123,000 NHS patients has shown that the Department of Health is lying when it says that just 12% of patients wait more than New Labour's 48-hour target time for seeing a doctor. The real figure, apparently, is four times higher.

No-BrainerBrainless Traffic Warden at large in Westminster

Brain switched off rather than just in neutral, a traffic warden handed out parking tickets to 3 fire engines in London's Piccadilly – while the crews were busy with a fire and a rescue operation in an office building. He then added that if the fire engines weren't gone in 20 minutes, he'd be back to dish out more tickets. He also tried to ticket an ambulance, which was waiting for the man trapped in the building, whom the firemen were rescuing.
   Westminster Council dumped the blame for the traffic warden's brain-dead behaviour on its parking contractor, NCP.

Gone, but not unsleazed

It seems to be Hughie Green's turn for a posthumous kicking this month. Apparently, he was a screaming monster when he wasn't beaming for the TV cameras.
p.s. What's the betting that when our dear Vice-Prez pops off, some bastard will come crawling out of the woodwork to claim that he wasn't the straightest guy in the Western hemisphere?

Precision, Precision, Precision

His BBC bosses have been going on about Andrew Gilligan's imprecise use of language in his reports on the government's dodgy dossiers. But we got a fine example of sloppiness in the Guardian. The massive power failure in the US/Canada was blamed on a 'lightning strike'. Which means what? The staff leapt out on strike? Or a power station was struck by lightning? Maybe, we should be told.

Coolest of the cool

Vice-Prez Blair has been voted the coolest politician in the universe this month. Great news? Well, it was by Britain's under-30s, who are not exactly known for their good taste or their good sense. In fact, this particular electorate is known more for its ability to get totally ratted on any night of the week rather than its knowledge of political affairs. Worse, the voters were hard pressed to name any other poltician. Still, it's a result of sorts.


Dialling one of the new directory enquiries numbers is likely to be an expensive business, the initial surveys have shown. Some, like NTL and One, charge a flat fee for a call and give you one number. Most charge a connection fee and a rate per minute charged by the second. So the poor old punter has to decide whether she/he will get quick service, or be put on hold for half an hour while incurring the per minute charge, and/or be connected to somewhere on the other side of the world, where they've never even heard of the UK, and find the call lasting three-quarters of an hour.
   BT is replacing its basic charge of 40p/number with a charge of 55p for the first minute plus 30p a minute for as long as the punter wishes to ask for numbers. That's for people with a home phone. They want £1.50 per minute from a payphone. The rest charge either a high connection charge and a modest time rate, or the reverse, or high connection and time rates.
   One thing the bewildered customer shouldn't do is let the helpful directory service dial the number for them – that can result in a charge per minute of 4 times the normal rate!

The Stakeholder Myth

Once it had become clear that The Mugger had wrecked the pensions industry, the government obliged companies with 5 staff or more to offer stakeholder pension schemes. Come April 2001, embattled employers sighed deeply and marched into battle with yet more red tape and expense. And lo! The country became stakeholder rich. Well, not exactly.
   The Association of British Insurers has lifted the lid on the stakeholder racket and found that 82% of the schemes exist in name alone. No members, no cash in them and no point to them.
   As a result, the government has erased the term 'stakeholder pension' from its collective consciousness and its jobsworths are now dreaming up a new, sexier initiative with a better name.

Off-On Referendum

The Hutton Inquiry has sunk all hope of a quick dash for a referendum on the euro, say some pundits. The nation mourns the end of V-P Blair's dream.
   Oh, no, it hasn't, says Home Secretary Jack Straw. But is anyone likely to believe him?

Official Smoke Screen

Alastair Campbell slinking out of Downing Street with his tail between his legs (in 4 to 5 weeks) isn't news. He leaked his departure ages ago to get a bidding war started for his memoirs. So what we should be asking ourselves is: "What bit of embarrassing news is the government trying to hide behind the Campbell media circus?"


A Nation Rejoices!

The Ace of SpadesVice-Prez Blair will not be sleazed by the inquiry into the death of Dr. David Kelly, a Downing Street spokesman has assured BlackFlag News.
   Following the lead of the Ministry of Defence, all documents relating to Dr. Kelly and the Iraq war have been fed into the Downing Street shredder. With the evidence gone, there is no danger of embarrassment to the country's favourite politician.

No WoMD, But That's Okay

No Weapons of Mass Destruction have turned up in Iraq during the last year and the official view is that none will ever be found as S. Hussein has hidden them too well. But even so, it was still okay to go to war with Iraq without the WoMD.
p.s. Whatever happened to those 3 cargo ships which were circling aimlessly in the Indian Ocean before the war kicked off?

Hutton Inquiry – The Results On The Cheap

How many millions is it going to cost the poor old taxpayer to get a report out of Lord Hutton? Here are the results at no cost to the public purse!

Alastair Campbell can't be trusted further than you can throw him but he's totally blameless.
The Ministry of Defence is run by a bunch of idle, brain-dead stooges but it is also individually and collectively blameless.
It was perfectly right and reasonable to send a 'Walter Mitty' to Iraq to look for WoMD.
Saddam Hussein really did have WoMD, which could have been deployed in four to five minutes, but the dog ate them.
Dr. David Kelly was simultaneously the UK's greatest expert on WoMD (as described to the rest of the world) but a total nobody with less status than an office boy, as far as the Ministry of Defence was concerned.
Vice-Prez Blair didn't know about anything dodgy that went on, and he wasn't there most of the time.
BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan drew the right conclusions but he put a couple of commas in the wrong place – so the Iraq war's all his fault and he's to be sent back to Gilligan's Island.

Are we to be taken in by the Liberians?

An end to the civil war in Liberia? What's that all about? Basically, an 11-year-old ass-kicking contest to determine who gets to steal the foreign aid has run out of steam. Maybe the answer to such conflicts is to forget about the aid. Then these characters will have no reason to fight. And if Liberia is so poor, how come everyone and his dog has a gun?

"I knew I was right to ignore Windows XP."

The latest virus to give the world a thrill, variously known as MSBlaster, LoveSan and Poza, is trying to cripple Microsoft's websites, particularly the Windows update site. But as it infects Windows NT, Windows Me and Windows XP, those Luddites who are still using Windows 98 would appear to be safe.
p.s. Isn't Windows XP the world's worst operating system? Every job seems to take twice as many mouse clicks as you need with Windows 98. Anyone who calls XP an upgrade should be threatened with the Trade Descriptions Act. Or a good thumping.
There's another virus on the loose sending out squillions of spam emails. Sobig.F is doing its best to bring the Internet to a crawl while providing great business for PC debuggers and vendors of virusware.

T.S.T.S. [Too Stupid To Survive]

The Israelis have reacted to a suicide bombing by killing one of the few Arab faction leaders in favour of peace. Well, it's nice to know that they're fully committed to anarchy in the Middle East.


Let him enjoy his holiday, you bastards! #1

The Vice-Prez On HolidayThey tried to lie about it but some truth has sneaked out of Downing Street. One of the vice-presidential spinners really did compare the late Dr. David Kelly to Walter Mitty during the campaign to sleaze the government WoMD expert.
   Sleazer Tom Kelly (no relation, Dr. Kelly's family will be pleased to know) used the expression several times while feeding tosh to pro-government newspapers – believing, he said, that no one would repeat his indiscretion, and especially not in print.
   Then the Downing Street minions had the nerve to ring Vice-Prez Blair in chilly Barbados to warn him that they've screwed up again and he needs to get another apology ready.

Let him enjoy his holiday, you bastards! #2

Lord 'Millennium Dome' Forkbender has plunged the Vice-Prez into even more trouble by planning to let EU citizens resident in the UK vote in a referendum on the euro.
   These people are not British citizens and they are not entitled to vote in general elections, but the ignoble lord clearly thinks they are more likely to support the euro than not. And he has been slack enough as to let the news escape while his boss is on holiday and unable to slap him down.

Let him enjoy his holiday, you bastards! #3

Why, oh, why couldn't the legal establishment have postponed the announcement that the co-founder of Cherie Blair's legal firm will be the next head of the Crown Prosecution Service?
p.s. Cronyism? Surely not.

Let him enjoy his holiday, you bastards! #4

The Yanks have really got it in for the Vice-Prez if the Wall Street Journal waited until he went on holiday before pointing out that the Chancellor [a.k.a. The Mugger] has failed to meet almost every economic goal that he set on taking over at No. 11 Downing Street in 1997. The Mugger's failures include targets for growth, economic stability, industry, employment and investment. His failings are costing the average family £2,000 per annum.


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RAF On Alert For Silent Invaders

Gliding InvadersFelix Baumgartner's gliding fall across the English Channel has put the British authorities on full alert against aerial migrants.
   The Minstry of Defence has been tasked with developing a radar system capable of detecting a man-sized object strapped to a 1.5 metre carbon fibre wing at a height of 30,000 feet and a range of 22 miles. There is also a parallel research programme aimed at deflecting gliding intruders and driving them back to their point of origin on the French coast.
   A significant problem is the 6½ minute transit time across the Channel. "We're having a few problems with getting someone on the spot to do something effective in the time available," an MoD spokesman told BlackFlag News.


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A little excitement in Germany

German GPThe German Grand Prix provided just 2 brief periods of excitement, both revolving around the Ferraris, and the rest was just dull routine and not a patch on the recent British GP.
   The first incident occurred right at the start when Barrichello made a dozy start, drove into Raikkonen and precipitated a crash which took out himself, Raikkonen and Ralf Schumacher right away, and Frentzen, Wilson and Firman in the shambles that followed.
   Incident No. 2 came with 4 laps or so to go. The other Ferrari driver, the Forces of Evil Schumacher, a man with an even worse history of driving into other competitors than Barrichello in that he does it deliberately, suffered a catastrophic failure of his left-rear tyre, which cost him a distant 2nd place behind Montoya in a Williams.
   The commentators assumed that the tyre had failed because the evil one had made just 2 stops instead of 3, and he had pushed it too far. But BlackFlag News is aware of persistent rumours of a sniper, who decided to keep the evil one off the podium in his native land.

Fernando Alonso of Spain became the youngest ever winner of a Grand Prix in Hungary – and he got to overtake the Forces of Evil Schumacher on the way to his win.


They're Having A Hot Time,
We're Glad We're Not There!

Soaring temperatures have forced the French to cut speed limits by 15-20 mph in an attempt to reduce ozone emissions from vehicles, which have exceeded the 'safe for humans' limit by 50% in places.

Strasbourg is a good place to avoid when the weather gets hot. In the middle of the first full week of the month, the French were spraying their nuclear reactor with cold water to prevent overheating after the exterior temperature reached 48 degrees Centigrade, 2 degrees below the emergency shut-down temperature. The assistant director of the station commented: "We can't say if it will work yet." Still, if the reactor blows and takes out the European parliament centre in Strasbourg, that can only be a good thing!

Spontaneous and deliberately set fires have killed thousands of acres of trees and 5 people, including a British woman and her grand-daughter.

Wine growers are watching their grapes shrivel from lack of rain and this year's French crop is expected to be 25% down. So we can expect the French wine growers to have their hands out for even more EU cash before long.

With 3,000 dead from the heat, the mortuaries at Paris's funeral parlours are full and the hospitals have run out of beds for live sufferers. Nothing can be done about any of this as the Government has gone on holiday.

The price of chicken and chicken products is set to soar as millions of chickens have died in the vast, airless sheds of the nation's factory farms.

Mont Blanc is closed and Chamonix is a ghost town. The retreat of snow and glaciers has left the Alps covered in unstable rock rubble, and boulders come crashing off the slopes unpredictably. Melting permafrost may have undermined the foundations of ski lifts and cable cars, making them too dangerous to use, and the winter sports industry is staring ruin in the face.


Meltdown On The Railways

Network Rail has imposed a speed limit of 60 mph. Why? Because their long lengths of steel rail are expanding beyond design limits in the heat, and they're in danger of buckling and causing fast-moving trains to derail.
   A spokesman for the Rail Travellers' Association commented: "Most trains don't reach 60 mph, even on a good day. So we don't expect to see much difference in the service."




The Potential For Evil

A couple of motorists, both coppers, have had speeding convictions squashed at Guisborough Magistrates' Court, East Cleveland. They noticed that the speed camera sign had a yellow background when the regulations specify that they should have a white background. So the BlackFlag News editorial staff got to wondering. What if some evil person went round painting yellow backgrounds on speed camera signs?
   Would a motorist who realized that the background should be white be entitled to ignore the signs? Or would it be reasonable to expect someone done for speeding to realize that the sign had been re-painted to an illegal state? What a lot of dosh a test case would shove in the pockets of the legal profession. Which is the main reason why we're not out buying tins of yellow paint.

"Endangered species endangering us, please advise!"

Messing about in boats off Australia's coast isn't always a good idea. The Johnson family from Coventry were cruising around the Whitsunday Islands when a 30-ton humpback whale tried to hitch a ride on their yacht. The monster shot out of the water, crashed onto the deck, destroyed the mast, the rigging and the radio aerial, and slid back into the sea leaving behind just a scattering of empty barnacle shells. Luckily, the Johnsons had a mobile phone to call for help, which saved them a 10-mile paddle.

Stay put, you sods!

We applaud the decision to close the railway network for repair work over the bank holiday weekend. If the experiment is a success, we expect to see the roads closed as well, next year. After all, people should stay at home when they're not working. The abundant congestion everywhere proves that the Almighty didn't expect them to be swanning all over her planet like headless chickens.

Who's To Blame For The Columbia Disaster?

The 'culture' at NASA received a good kicking but the real villains live on Capitol Hill. The neglect of safety and the head in the sand management philosophy at NASA stem directly from the long sequence of budget cuts by the US Congress. It was their unwillingness to put the proper amounts of money into keeping the shuttle flying that doomed Columbia and its crew. The politicians are to blame – not that they're bothered, of course.

"Take a hike, you customers." No, that should have read, "Take a holiday."

The operators of train 'services' are urging their customers to take a holiday in the week after the August Bank Holiday because the track engineering work is continuing through the last week of the month. Shouldn't they have mentioned this a little bit earlier to give their customers a chance to book a bargain?


Spud-Sleazing Fad Diet is 'Dangerous' – Official

The Atkins diet could cause kidney damage and bone loss, says the Medical Research Council. It can also produce nausea, tiredness, consipation and digestive problems, and the body is deprived of essential vitamins and minerals if fruit is excluded in favour of eating vast quantities of meat.
   The diet is nutritionally incomplete and it works in the short term just like any other diet which reduces the calorie intake. Like all fashionable quick fixes, it's a hollow sham with potentially disastrous long-term consequences.
   As predicted last month, Spuds 1, Atkins diet 0.


Legal Wonder at the Falls Over In Amazement Level

Is the landlord of a pub allowed to evict from the premises, men dressed as women who try to use the female toilets?
   In the real world, one would expect the answer to be Yes!. But the Equal Opportunities Commission used taxpayers' money to take a landlord who did it to court. But – wonder of wonders – a judge at Oxford County Court actually dared to rule that men dressed up as women still ain't female!!!

"It may be art, but not as we know it, Jim."

Poor old Richard Morrison of Liverpool has had his flat broken into twice – by a burglar last month and by the police this month. Apparently, the burglar was arrested by some miracle; for something else, of course; and he grassed up Mr. Morrison in an attempt to buy himself a few favours. He told the fuzz that he'd seen a human head in a jar of formaldehyde while burgling Mr. Morrison. So the coppers battered their way into Mr. Morrison's flat, only to find that the 'head' was a work of art, of sorts. Mr. Morrison had made it by draping slices of bacon on a wire frame. All bids for the work to his agent.

Crooks sometimes get caught out

Burglar Brendon Fearon is using the taxpayer's money to fund a legal action for compensation for injuries suffered during the course of one of his crimes. He's been careful to let himself be taped limping along with a walking stick by the TV news agencies. But, it seems, he's been uncareful enough as to let himself be taped walking about without his stick and even running for a bus. He also used to play 5-a-side football when he was in gaol recently, according to a former cellmate, and he was able to 'kick the hell' out of anyone who didn't pay up for the heroin that he supplied. Nice to know we have such competent people handing out the legal aid.

"Excuse me, gospodin!"

If someone asks you the time in Moscow, run for your life. Two women are going round hypnotizing likely prospects, taking them home and robbing them blind while the victim is in a trance. Other approach tactics include asking the way to a metro station and asking the prospective victim to look after a dog for a few minutes.

Thought Crime Anarchy

In July, a judge accused Scotland Yard of committing a "state-created" crime by setting up an undercover money-laundering operation to catch suspected drug dealers in Gibraltar. That was his excuse for halting a case which had lasted 5 years and cost the poor old taxpayer £25 million – with the prospect of the defendants taking civil action for compensation adding to the total.
   Scotland Yard insisted that the police officers had received approval from all relevant authorities at every stage of the operation, and they had liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service throughout. Even so, Judge George Bathurst-Norman said, "I have come to the conclusion that what the police did amounted to state-created crime."
   This month, a 19-year-old received a 3-year gaol sentence for a thought crime. He joined in a role-playing game run by the police in the United States. They passed him on to officers from Scotland Yard, who pretended to fix him up with an appointment with a young girl, and led him a merry dance which led to his arrest and subsequent imprisonment.
   It must be a reflection of the anarchy in our legal process that one judge threw the first instance of state-created crime out of court while another judge went along with the second example and handed out a prison sentence.


Lights Out #1

A million people trapped in New York's subway system, gridlock from Detroit in the west to New York in the East, and from Toronto to Ottowa in Canada. No power, no lifts, no trains, no water, no ground-based phones, security problems in prisons with electrically operated locks on the cells and 3 New York airports accepting landings only.
   Terrorists? No, a cascade failure of the power distribution system around the Niagara Falls power station.
It wasn't lightning that caused the Big Blackout, it was a tree. In temperatures around the 100 deg.F mark, a 345 kV power line got hot, expanded and sagged onto a tree near Cleveland, Ohio, which should have been pruned on safety grounds, but wasn't. The power line shorted out and triggered the cascade failure. Systems failures and human error are also thought to have played their part in the catastrophe.
   p.s. London's power failure, which brought the Tube to a standstill as well as surface traffic, was due to 'circumstances'. So now we know.

Q: What do Baghdad and the bits of the USA and Canada around Niagara Falls have in common?
A: Mediaeval power distribution systems.

Lights Out #2

50 million people were left without power in the north-eastern United States and bordering regions of Canada. The cause? A lightning strike at the Niagara Falls power station. The response of the US government was to send in troops right away to sort out the strikers, who are about to discover that they have bitten off more than they can chew. New anti-terrorism legislation in the US is so elastic that it can be used to charge the strikers with 'behaviour having the character of terrorism' – for which the penalty can be death.

Good Riddance

Idi Amin, VC, Emperor of the Universe, Conqueror of the British Empire, Last King of Scotland, Prez-Emperor of Uganda, Son-of-a-Bitch 3rd Grade, etc. has finally croaked in exile in Saudia. His regime wrote off 500,000 customers during his 8-year spree in the 1970s, which included expelling Asians from Uganda and stealing their property and valuables, and welcoming hijackers to Entebbe airport and spawning 3 films about the rescue operation.
   He kept human heads in his fridge and fed enemies to his pet crocodiles. But the so-called international 'community' gave him aid and comfort instead of a bullet in the back of the neck. Nice world we live in.


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This Month's Garbage

The Garbage The Department of Education will spend £160 million on advertising campaigns and consultants over the next 5 years – when schools are sacking 1,500 teachers this year and thousands of teaching jobs are being left unfilled.

Police forces are ignoring people driving dangerously, driving defective vehicles and driving without road tax and/or insurance in favour of catching speeders because they can make loads of dosh out of speeding fines. 

 Group 4 wouldn't let the police into the Yarl's Wood migrant detention centre when the inmates rioted, the place burned down because the Home Office hadn't installed sprinklers and Group 4's insurers are now taking the police to court to recover the cost of rebuilding the place because they didn't prevent the riot.

Brazilians working illegally in this country can't be deported on a charter flight because it would humiliate them, says the Brazilian government. 

 British troops in Basra are travelling around in hire cars because the Ministry of Defence has sold off its armoured, air-conditioned Land Rovers on the cheap.

"I didn't know nuffink about stitching up Dr. David Kelley, Guv. I was on holiday at the time" – 'Buff' Hoon, the Defence Secretary.  

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 back to topCreated for Romiley Anarchists' League by workers in revolt against oppression.
RAL, August 2003.