• A bloody portrait

    In today’s attempt to divert attention to the dire political and economic situation of the English Empire/Untied Kingdom, the media are today awash with the story of the unveiling of a portrait of Mr Charles Philip Arthur Georg Mountbatten-Windsor, frequently referred to by the gullible as King Charles.

    Here’s the BBC’s example.

    Here’s what all the fuss is about.

    The new portrait of Charles Philip Arthur Georg Mountbatten-Windsor looking flushed

    The BBC also records varying public reactions to the portrait, as long as they do not stray from the sycophantic.

    Many were initially taken aback by the vivid red colour with some saying it looked like fire. Others described the painting as “unexpected” but “modern”.

    However, not so much sycophancy exists on social media where much more republican sentiment and an alterative reading of history were apparent, as in a post on X/Twitter (or whatever the man-baby called Musk is calling it this week. Ed.) by Sandra Eckersley.

    Post reads - Remarkable painting of King Charles with the unexpected subtext of Colonial British History. Soaked in blood & gore yet with a butterfly on his shoulder. As Bart Simpson once said ‘nobody suspects a butterfly’. Clever piece, beautifully executed. Great Art.

    Your ‘umble scribe believes Ms Eckersley shares his view of colonial English/British history, a series of crimes against humanity lasting several centuries, involving invasion, murder, theft, exploitation, expropriation and slavery to name but a few offences on the charge sheet.

    Needless to say, Mr Mountbatten-Windsor is rather pleased with his new portrait, apparently unworried about being depicted as wallowing in a bloodbath.
  • For UK, see England

    For some in England – an it only obtains in England – happens throughout the whole of the island of Great Britain and the occupied six counties of the Ireland of Ireland that suffers under the monicker of the United Kingdom.

    Those in England frequently forget that England isn’t the whole of the UK. It includes Wales, which England first colonised in the late 12th century, Scotland, which has its own system of law and institutions, and the aforementioned occupied six Irish counties, the remnant of yet more colonial activity likewise dating back to the late 12th century.

    People in parts of the UK that are not England frequently view England as the most privileged part of the union, particularly when it displays arrogance, exceptionalism and a lack of tact, especially as the union did not come about voluntarily and secession from which may only be put to the vote if Whitehall is feeling generous.

    However, arrogance, exceptionalism and a lack of tact does not apply only in the political sphere, but in the reporting of politics by the media.

    The following post has appeared on the X/Twitter account of London-based Channel 4 News on 3rd May.

    Post reads Local election results - what we know so far. Below is a screenshot of a video showing a backdrop with the words The UK decides - 2024 Local Elections

    The what decides?

    The only local elections taking place in the UK were mostly in England on 2nd May and involved elections for a large number of local authorities, regional mayors and police and crime commissioners.

    By virtue of Henry VIII’s 16th century Acts of Union, the only electoral activity anywhere else in the UK involved the election of the four Welsh police and crime commissioners for the four regional Welsh police forces. As regards these Welsh elections, Nation Cymru carries an opinion piece advocating the abolition of commissioners due to the extremely low voter turnout.

    The proportion of people on the electoral register who bothered to vote was 19.2% in the Dyfed-Powys police force area, 17.19% in North Wales, 16.58% in South Wales and 15.63% in Gwent.

    This hardly the UK really decides, now is it, Channel 4 News?

  • 60 year-old toddler denied vote

    Alexander Boris de Pfeffel JohnsonA polling station in South Oxfordshire had the embarrassing duty of refusing to allow someone with a toddler haircut the opportunity to vote.

    The toddler in question was 60 years old and rejoiced in the title and name of disgraced former party-time alleged prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

    According to the BBC, former Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson was turned away from his local polling station after forgetting to bring acceptable photo ID. However, he returned later with the necessary ID and was able to vote.

    The irony of this occurrence is that the production of photo ID to vote was introduced by Johnson’s government in the Elections Act 2022 in a deliberate act to suppress votes for the opposition. How so? there are far more forms of photo ID acceptable as proof of identity that held by older people than those held by younger people. Furthermore, younger people are generally less inclined to vote Conservative.

    The justification given at the time for introducing photo ID was to eliminate personation, i.e. assuming the identity of another person with intent to deceive, particularly within the scope of an election. Nevertheless, this is a non-problem in Britain. As Andy Beckett helpfully points out in today’s Guardian: “According to the Electoral Commission, at the last nationwide elections before voter ID was introduced, in 2022, only seven people were accused of the crime that the new system is supposed to end – impersonating another voter at a polling station – and none of these allegations led to police action“.

    So why did Johnson turn up at the polling station without valid photo ID? There could be a couple reasons. Firstly, for all his erudition and love of quoting classical mythology and ancient history,Johnson isn’t all that bright. Even when one examines his use of classical references, they too can fall apart under the most cursory examination (posts passim). Could he simply have forgotten the impact of his legislation? Hardly likely, considering how the need to furnish photo ID is printed in bold characters on every poll card. Secondly there’s Johnson’s arrogance and sense of entitlement. He believes rules are for everyone else and don’t apply to patrician types like himself. This was amply demonstrated by the Downing Street Partygate affair during the lockdown for the Covid 19 pandemic.

    Tom Hunt MPFinally, the disgraceful Johnson was not the only high-level Tory to be caught out by falling foul of the photo ID requirement.

    Step forward Tom Hunt, the Conservative MP for Ipswich. According to The Independent, Mr Hunt asked local members to act as his “emergency proxy” after he found that he had no appropriate ID to vote in the local council elections. The paper goes on to explain that under certain circumstances, where you have an emergency that means you can’t vote in person, you can apply for an emergency proxy. Such emergency proxy applications can be made up to 5pm on polling day. Unlike Johnson, Mr Hunt has been diagnosed with both dyslexia and dyspraxia, which could explain his predicament.

  • Whitehall says ‘F*ck the Tories’

    That’s Whitehall BS5, of course.

    Whitehall SW1 and the rest of the Untied Kingdom* are saddled with the Tories until unelected pretend prime minister Rishi Sunak decides he’s had enough of ministerial limousines and borrowing other people’s private aircraft and finally decides to call a general election.

    Wording on gable end reads Fuck The Tories

    This is not the first time the artist painting the wall/custodian has taken aim at the Tories. Past targets have included disgraced former alleged party-time prime minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, the Conservative Party in general, fascist former Home Secretary Priti Patel and the Conservatives’ economically suicidal act of Brexit.

    * = The mis-spelling is deliberate.

  • Schleswig-Holstein moves towards digital sovereignty

    The region of Schleswig-Holstein on the Jutland Peninsula is no stranger where matters of sovereignty are concerned.

    In the nineteenth century there was the Schleswig-Holstein Question, was a complex set of diplomatic and other issues arising in the 19th century from the relations of two duchies, Schleswig (Sønderjylland/Slesvig) and Holstein (Holsten), to the Danish Crown, to the German Confederation, and to each other.

    Coat of arms of Schleswig-HolsteinIn the twenty-first century digital sovereignty has become a matter of political importance to the north German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein.

    The blog of The Document Foundation reports today that, following a successful pilot project, the state has decided to move from Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office to Linux and LibreOffice (and other free and open source software) on the 30,000 PCs used by the state government.

    According to a statement by the Premier of Schleswig-Holstein, the components of its digitally sovereign workplaces are being based on a total of six project pillars:

    • Switching from Microsoft Office to LibreOffice;
    • Switching the operating system from Microsoft Windows to Linux;
    • Collaboration within the state government and with third parties: use of the open source products Nextcloud, Open Xchange/Thunderbird in conjunction with the Univention AD connector to replace Microsoft Sharepoint and Microsoft Exchange/Outlook;
    • Design of an open source-based directory service to replace Microsoft Active Directory;
    • Appraising specialist procedures with regard to compatibility and interoperability with LibreOffice and Linux; and
    • Development of an open source-based solution to replace Telekom-Flexport.

    The decision to switch office suites follows on from the finding by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) that the European Commission’s use of Microsoft 365 breaches European data protection law.

    According to Schleswig-Holstein’s Digitalisation Minister Dirk Schrödter, digital sovereignty is an integral part of the state government’s digital strategy and work programme. “This cannot be achieved with the current standard IT workstation products. We take digital sovereignty seriously and are moving forward: the decision to change office software is a milestone, but only the beginning of the change: the change to free software for the operating system, the collaboration platform, the directory service, specialist procedures and telephony will follow.”

  • Asda vs Asbo

    British supermarket chain Asda is well known for the lime green livery of its grocery delivery vans, as per the photograph below.

    Asda delivery van and driver
    Photo credit: Asda

    However, there is now a serious rival to Asda’s dominance of the lime green delivery van sector. The vehicle below was spotted last week outside the Chelsea Inn at the junction of Chelsea Road and Bloy Street in Bristol’s Easton area.

    Asbo van outside the Chelsea

    Both Asda and Asbo are acronyms, i.e. abbreviations formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word. Asda is a truncated version of the first part of its original name of Associated Dairies and Farm Stores , whilst Asbo denotes an Anti-Social Behaviour Order, a past form of sanction for naughty boys and girls which has now been replaced by two penalties – the Community Protection Order (CPO) and the Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO).

    Note that the Asbo van is parked on the footway (which some refer to as the pavement (posts passim). Ed.); how apposite! 😀

  • Distracted boyfriend: Tory Lite edition

    The latest variant of the Distracted boyfriend meme has just come into my social media feed (posts passim).

    Starmer distracted by Thatcher to the dismay of Clem Attlee

    This time the dramatis personae are:

    • Distracted boyfriend – ‘Sir’ Keir Rodney Starmer, allegedly leader of the democratic socialist (on paper anyway. Ed.) Labour Party;
    • Annoyed girlfriend – Clement Attlee, leader of the 1945-51 post-war Labour government, which introduced the National Health Service amongst other achievements; and
    • New love interest – one Margaret Hilda Thatcher, one of the Untied Kingdom’s worst prime ministers and figure of divine devotion to the right-wing Conservative Party, the person who inspired the addition to the English language of the noun Thatcherism and the adjective Thatcherite.

    Some would say that any similarity between Starmer and a socialist is – as Hollywood would say – purely coincidental; others would even go as far as to declare such to be non-existent.

  • Honest Bob does a racism

    Smirking Bob Jenrick, a boil on the bottom of the body politicBackbench Tory MP Robert “Honest Bob” Jenrick has proposed that details of a person’s nationality, immigration and visa status should be recorded whenever he or she is given a criminal conviction, Nation Cymru reports.

    This piece of blatant racism has been submitted an amendment to the government’s Criminal Justice Bill, with Jenrick justifying it by saying the data would help to inform deportation and visa policies.

    Under Jenrick’s plan, there would be an annual requirement to publish the nationality, visa and asylum status of every offender convicted in English and Welsh courts in the previous year.

    In the traditional early morning media round for politicians in the last few days, Jenrick has been claiming without any citations or empirical evidence that there is “significant and growing evidence that we [the UK] were importing crime”.

    The BBC notes that Jenrick’s proposal has been backed by 25 Tory MPs, including the likes of former ministers ‘Sir’ Jacob “Happier Fish” Rees-Mogg and ‘Sir’ Robert Buckland, who presumably are also not bothered about being labelled as racists.

    Well-informed readers will be aware that Jenrick is a former immigration minister, who resigned because alleged prime minister Rishi Sunak was not being sufficiently nasty to foreigners.

    There is an old idiom in English, the fox guarding the hen house, which dates back to at least the 1580s. It denotes a set of circumstances in which someone who should not be trusted has been chosen to protect someone or oversee a situation.

    It is ideal to describe xenophobe like Jenrick being elevated to such a public office. Now he’s back on the back benches of the Commons, he’s clearly not letting opportunities to embrace his inner racist pass him by.

  • Distracted boyfriend: fascist edition

    According to Wikipedia, “Distracted boyfriend is an Internet meme based on a 2015 stock photograph by Spanish photographer Antonio Guillem. Social media users started using the image as a meme at the start of 2017, and it went viral in August 2017 as a way to depict different forms of disloyalty. The meme has inspired various spin-offs and received critical acclaim.”

    Copyright on original: Antonio Guillem.
    Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

    The latest depiction of such portrayal has taken more than one step to the right, depicting as it does Kremlin crook Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin as the object of distraction, Adolf Hitler as the long-suffering girlfriend and one Donald John Trump, unauthorised keeper of classified documents, convicted business fraudster, convicted sexual predator, suspected Capitol insurrectionist in chief and disgraced forty-fifth president of the United States of America.

    Donald Trump, holding hands with Adolf Hitler, distracted by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin
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