Wednesday, 23 July 2008

News, Unreal and Real

It may be summer (I say 'may' because it's always an unknown quantity in this country), but the tedious, depressing daily barrage of 'news', in the form of 'initiatives', keeps pounding away. Invariably, some crackpot scheme that can only make matters worse has elbowed its way to the top of the news agenda in time for the morning bulletins - and as often as not it will have been barged aside by another pack of nonsense by lunchtime. On Monday, for example, the 'greatest shake-up of the welfare state since Beveridge' was swept aside hours later by Trevor Phillips's insane plan to end all social and economic divisions (or something).
Today's top-of-the-morning irritations were the next phase of the government's ongoing war on drinkers, and the Chief Medical Officer's plan to subject GPs to annual assessment, either in response to the Harold Shipman case or not in response to the Harold Shipman case. This one sounds lke a perfect recipe for bringing about the collapse of general practice and driving all would-be GPs to emigrate as soon as they qualify. With any luck, like 90 percent of these ideas, it will never happen - but it's still 'news', and the main 'news' of the day. Well, until lunchtime when some new madness will have replaced it...
When it comes to real news, only two stories need detain us - they concern Lonesome George and cattle egrets.

14 comments:

  1. Dawn Primorola was at it on the Today programme this morning- an initiative, or rather A DISCUSSION, to reverse the government's failed endeavours to introduce 'cafe culture' to Blighty. Her flat voice has the insidious hiss of a snake. Glad to see you are not slacking at some Corfu haunt watching back to back DVDs of the wire- like SOME OTHER PEOPLE WE COULD MENTION.

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  2. '"There have been rumours of him mounting females, but nobody has ever witnessed penetration by George," he said.'

    And who said that romance is dead?

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  3. "Jeff Powell, a professor of ecology at Yale University who has worked on giant tortoises in the Galapagos, added: "This is great news. The females have been with George for a long time, so if the eggs are fertilised, they will surely be his offspring."
    When he says worked on....the mind boggles, perhaps he logged onto elberrys blog and showed him some burdz sans knickers,or administered Viagra, good enough for Hugh then OK for George.
    Corfu eh, he's joined the Eurochavs then.
    Nige, put the leather bound ledger back in the partners desk, quill pen back in the inkpot, eye shade and cufs in the drawer and go home and watch the tour.

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  4. Ah there you are Captain - welcome aboard. Our Corfiot friend remarked this morning that Albania 'looked nice'. I advised him not to share that sentiment with the locals. I think they're still smarting a bit from having half their olive trees cut down by Albanian gangs for pizza-oven firewood. That and the encampents full of homicidal Albanian gypsies.
    Malty, the NigeCorp telly is on, never fear. It's one of these new-fangled colour ones too.

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  5. Ah yes, Corfu/Albania. Once upon a time when we were young the Captain and Madame Captain ran out of petrol on a speedboat and found ourselves drifting towards the sinister tower blocks of Hoxha's Marxist paradise. I tried flagging down passing ships, to no avail. My piratical reputation had proceeded me. But a hysterical Madame Captain had more luck when she took off her bikini top and waved it at some happy mariner who towed us back to Corfu. True story I regret to say of the sea. Now then Nige you need to get blogging on my Standpoint site. No pressure there mate.

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  6. The current sub-head for a Times article about Obama's trip to the Mideast reads:

    US President makes whirlwind visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories in attempt to reassure both sides of his position

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  7. Who is Harold Shipman?

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  8. That sub-head was corrected. Obama is now just an American presidential candidate. Back to reality.

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  9. Fran Manushkin23 July 2008 at 16:59

    I have seen Lonesome George and Albania. Does this mean I've truly lived?

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  10. Fran, you have.
    Susan, Shipman was, I believe, our champion serial killer - a GP who dispatched 100+ of his patients. (He had a beard too, Dick).
    Captain I've only just tracked down yr Standpoint blog - I'll be in touch.

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  11. It's all coming together, Nige. I'm telling you that I'm onto something big.

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  12. Susan, I think Nige may have erred on the side of caution, Shipman, it is thought, whacked about 230 of his own patients, only when the local undertaker thought "funny" was he finally brought to book, for a small number of murders.
    CaptainB, sounds like a chapter from an Alan Furst novel, my daughter walked in last night while I was buried in Blood and Rage, "reading more comedy, dad", what shall I tell her.

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  13. Now I remember Shipman. Didn't he like to make house visits to old ladies and then off them with something in a syringe?

    Poisoners are often drawn to the medical system, it seems. My region boasts a male nurse (Mr. Cullen) now spending the rest of his life in prison for killing many a patient in the hospitals where he worked. In his case, the weak wreaking vengeance on the powerful (he was a beta male wimp). Shipman, as I recollect, was a different sort altogether. More like Jack Kevorkian, feeling his power over life and death. Prospero rather than Iago.

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  14. Dear Malty....I felt buried in it too once or twice last year. I assure you it does have moments of comedy since Melanie Phillips claims to have laughed out loud on several occasions while reading it. No, it was more Ealing than Alan Furst, especially the bit where the 'cad' Captain was towed into Corfu harbour under the gaze of laughing teenage girls.

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