Monthly Archives: June 2022

  • Dorries goes to war – again and again and…

    In the beginning was World War One (1914-18), then World War 2 (1939-45).

    There have been various conflicts since 1945, but none has qualified being counted as a World War (note capitalisation) and their number has remained stuck firmly on two.

    Until today.

    Step forward one Nadine Vanessa Dorries, inexplicably elevated way beyond her subterranean ignorance threshold to serve as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, concerning whose appointment former Tory Party chairman Chris Patten is on record as saying: “And nobody should ever see the words ‘Nadine Dorries’ and ‘culture secretary’ in the same sentence”.

    Following yesterday’s humiliating by-election defeats in Tiverton & Honiton and Wakefield, Nadine fearlessly took to social media as cheerleader in chief for the Cult of the Boris, tweeting the following.

    Tweet reads This gov will remain relentlessly focused and continue to deliver for people during a post pandemic mid-war, global cost of living challenge which no Prime Minister or gov has faced the likes of since WW11

    World War 11?

    That’s nine more than are acknowledged by the generally accepted historical record.

    Whether Nadine was tweeting under the influence of digital dyslexia, innumeracy or something psychoactive has yet to come to light, but remember that part of Nadine’s brief is matters digital and the above tweet shows she cannot even use a mobile phone app – an iPhone Twitter client – competently, which bodes ill for this country.

  • Good riddance, Internet Explorer

    Internet Explorer logoTwo days ago (and not before time. Ed.) Microsoft ended support for Internet Explorer (IE) 11, the final version release of its web browser first introduced in 1994.

    Over the years, Microsoft has been steering Windows users away from IE and towards Edge, its newer browser which is based upon the free and open source Chromium browser.

    However, for those that still use sites and or pages that exploit the standards-ignoring qualities of IE, Edge does have an IE compatibility mode.

    IE’s inability to adhere to standards had in the past created lots of extra work for web developers who had to code work-arounds for IE just to get their pages to work in what was then the world’s most popular browser. It was the world’s largest browser mainly due to Microsoft bundling IE with its Windows operating system and integrating it deeply into the structure of the OS. This led to lots of angry comments in the code of webpages and style sheets, frequently employing intemperate language.

    Media – and social media – reactions to and reports of the news have been mixed. Business Matters on the BBC World Service got all misty-eyed and nostalgic earlier in the week. However, my favourite response to date is from the Twitter user known as beConjuror, drawing attention to the ‘not responding‘ feature of many of Microsoft’s fine products.

    Tweet reads Internet Explorer is NOT responding
  • BS5 bees

    Bees are found on every continent except Antarctica; and they’re crucial to life on this planet since they pollinate nearly 75% of the world’s plants, which in turn produce 90% of the food consumed by humanity. Without the aid of bees plant pollination would not occur so easily, plants would die and humans and many other species of life would die out.

    Generally one only notices bees in the inner city in ones and twos. However, bees establish new colonies by swarms consisting of a queen and legions of workers (her daughters). On Monday your ‘umble scribe spotted this swarm in Chaplin Road in Bristol’s inner city.

    Bee swarm on railings in Chaplin Road, Bristol
    Somewhere in the seething mass is the queen

    A neighbour informed me that a beekeeper was supposed to have turned up the previous evening to deal with them. S/he had evidently paid a visit by beer o’clock when your correspondent ventured forth for a pint.

    Note the two hive frames inside the box taped to the railings
    Note the two hive frames inside the box taped to the railings

    The bees have entered the box with the hive frames, presumably after the queen was first located and transferred to the box by the beekeeper.

    Bees have long been renowned for their industry. In Old English (aka Anglo-Saxon Ed.) the eponymous hero of Beowulf has beo (i.e. bee) as the first syllable of his name; when coupled with wulf (i.e wolf, predator), this implies Beowulf was a very busy and ultimately successful hunter. In medieval times, bees themselves were regarded as a potent symbol of chastity in Christianity, whilst in Islam, honey was believed to have spiritual and physical healing powers. These religious and cultural beliefs encouraged beekeeping on a vast scale among landowners and peasants alike.

    Coming up to the 18th century, the English poet, painter and printmaker William Blake wrote the following of bees in his “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell“:
    The busy bee has no time for sorrow.

    And finally on busy bees, from the 18th to the 20th century and the late Arthur Askey.

  • The tea sock

    British politicians and their fellow travellers have over the decades had some difficulty with the Irish names for that country’s political offices.

    Many years ago, Hansard, the official record of transcript of Parliamentary debates in Britain, once famously mis-recorded the office of Taoiseach or prime minister as the ‘tea shop‘.

    However, the Irish prime minister’s association with hot infused beverage establishments is not confined to parliamentary scribes on this side of the Irish Sea, as this Irish Independent report shows.

    Hansard has now been jointed by one Elizabeth Mary Truss, improbably promoted to Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, with a new variant – the ‘tea sock in one the English Empire’s continuing efforts to break international law, as evidenced by this short video clip from Irish broadcaster RTE.

    Just in case Ms Truss happens upon this post, for her benefit, here’s a brief video pronunciation lesson for the basics of Irish politics. 😀

  • Unemployable

    Party-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson survived a vote of confidence on Monday and is clinging to office despite 40% of his party colleagues voting against him, a higher proportion than previous no-confidence votes against former Tory premiers Margaret Thatcher (of sainted memory. Ed.) and Theresa May.

    Since then Johnson and his supine cabinet have tried to appear competent with a flurry of policy announcements of the expired feline variety, including a ludicrous extension of the disastrous right to buy scheme to housing association tenants, including those on benefits.

    Among those also spinning pointlessly – unlike a child’s top – is Penny Mordaunt, MP for Minister of State for Trade Policy, who tweeted a link to a piece (complete with a photograph of Rabid Dog [posts passim]. Ed.) she’d written for the Telegraph, house magazine of the Cult of the Adoration of the Boris and favoured reading matter of the Blue Team.

    Tweet reads We are at an inflection point for our country. People have put their trust in us to deliver on their vision. If we fight one other, we'll fail. If we unite and work as a team, we will succeed. That is our job, and we'd better remember it.

    However, Mordaunt’s use of social media did not develop necessarily to her advantage, that of fellow members of the government of none of the talents or that of the party-time alleged prime minister, as the following exchange shows.

    Text of 2 tweets reads 1) I wouldn’t trust you lot to deliver a pizza for @Dominos_UK AND 2) To confirm. Neither would we.

    Yes, you read that correctly. One of the country’s leading fast food suppliers would not trust any current government minister to deliver their products, not exactly either a highly skilled or highly paid job.

    Now that’s what your ‘umble scribe would call a proper vote of no confidence.

  • Trolling the government

    Whilst your ‘umble scribe has done his best to avoid the jubilee jollities, he cannot help noticing that, in addition to the usual criticism found on social media, two of the pillars of the British establishment, namely the Church of England and the monarchy itself, have been indulging in some very subtle digs at the government nominally under the supposed leadership of party-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

    After being booed by a flag-waving, pro-Establishment crowd on his way into a thanksgiving service for Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor, Johnson gave a bible reading. The text chosen by whoever in the Church of England devised the order of service was a master stroke as it included the text of Phillipians 4:8, which reads as follows:

    Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

    Johnson’s lack of integrity is a matter of public record that extends back at least as far as his time as the Telegraph’s Brussels correspondent, when he would regularly tells lies and fabricate stories about what horrors the European Commission was hatching, thus adding further fuel to the xenophobic fire that eventually kindled into Brexit. Johnson has twice been sacked for lying, in addition to which he’s lied to his wives, his mistresses, parliament, the public and even to Elizabeth Mountbatten-Windsor herself. One of his employers, Max Hastings, is on record as saying: “Boris is a gold medal egomaniac. I would not trust him with my wife nor – from painful experience – my wallet.”

    There is nothing pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy about the moral vacuum that resides beneath the superannuated blonde toddler haircut.

    However, Johnson was not the only cabinet minister to be subjected to derision and ridicule.

    Step forward please Priti Patel, a woman unfit to clean a public toilet inexplicably promoted way beyond her competence to the post of Home Secretary.

    Patel’s choice of Barbie pink outfit to attend the jubilee thanksgiving service drew plenty of unpleasant comparisons on social media with Dolores Umbridge, a fictional character from the Harry Potter canon, who is described as “a fat, toad-like woman, with a wide, slack mouth, and a large bow usually in her hair and “one of the most hated, as well as the most compelling, villains in the series“.

    Lookalikes - Dolores Umbridge and Priti Patel aka Priti Awful

    Any resemblance to a cruel, inhuman and racist cabinet minister is purely coincidental.

    Nevertheless, it was not only wags on Twitter who mocked the alleged home secretary. Buckingham Palace also joined in the fun.

    Although the queen did not attend yesterday evening’s jubilee concert in person, she did appear in a specially commissioned video, as shown below. Here Paddington Bear who hails from ‘darkest Peru‘, arrived in this country wearing around his neck a label stating Please look after this bear. Thank you.‘, and is perhaps this country’s best known fictional refugee (classified by the home secretary and her department as an illegal migrant. Ed.) is shown having tea at Buck House.

    Patel would no doubt have the ursine migrant on one of her much-vaunted deportation flights to Rwanda.