Thursday, June 30, 2011

Silvio Berlusconi the five times a night man?

Your Reaper doesn't know if he could get it up five times a night, even if I was - allegedly - looking at this sight as I humped away.

Like pretty much every man alive, I only have one thing to say to Berlusconi at the moment. Namely, well done that man! Let's all buy him a pint...

Picture courtesy of Max Farquar. The uncensored version is here, for the perverts amongst you.

Editorial Lesson No 1: Only women do A Levels

Your Reaper tweeted yesterday that:

"Is news about A-levels and universities in such high supply cos editors have an excuse to feature pics of young totty?"
It was provoked by seeing a number of articles online and in the newspapers at the moment about the changes happening to our universities in the next few years. A number of news editors appear to have decided that this was the time to get out the pictures of as many young female students - sorry, young ATTRACTIVE female students, because you never really see an ugly one featured, do you? - alongside their articles. Anarki responded with this:

"@grimreaperblog haha, you just reminded me of this"
My favourite has to be this one.

I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that Wales actually has an attractive blonde other than Katherine Jenkins living in it. Check out the full site.

About THOSE pictures of the Islamic Mickey and Minnie

By now, a lot of people will probably be familiar with those pictures doing the rounds of Mickey and Minnie Mouse wearing Islamic clothes that were posted on Twitter a few days ago by a millionaire Egyptian businessman.

Well, that's not quite correct, is it? Everyone will be aware of their existence, but in a style similar enough to any injunction, we're not allowed to see them, because no media organisation dares risk publication.

Your Reaper has chosen a half-way house option which doesn't really satisfy anyone by publishing these blanked out versions, I do realise that. The reason I'm not publishing the full pictures is not because The Grim Reaper has been kidnapped by extremist Muslims from al-Qaeda and is currently having electric shocks applied to his balls if he doesn't reveal the military's secrets.

It's because, quite frankly, I can't be arsed having my inbox stuffed full of fucking tiresome, badly-spelt fatwas urging my death. The "Islamic Mickey Mouse" is on the top, and the "Islamic Minnie Mouse" is below it.
That said, these pictures do pose an interesting question. Why is it that some Muslims seems to react so badly whenever there is any criticism of their religion? I admit from the outset that not all will be like this, although I have yet to see any British groups that claim to represent Islam coming out and saying "you know, these pictures are simply mock-ups and shouldn't be taken seriously, they're just for a bit of a laugh". Why is that?

If pictures emerged of Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed up as Mary and Joseph, we wouldn't see Beardie - better known to the world as the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams - popping up to denounce the people who had created the pictures, and then going on to demand their deaths, would we?

Nor would we see the Pope saying that we must "cut out the tongue" of anyone who makes jokes about paedophile priests in his church.

Yet certain sections of Islam just don't seem to accept the idea that religion is something that it's legitimate to make fun of. They often claim that it's racist to do so. Yet this is a highly misleading argument, designed simply to stifle genuine free speech. It is acceptable to criticise and even to mock someone's religion. Like it or not, religion is a personal choice. You do not have to be a Muslim any more than you have to be a Catholic. You can theoretically walk away from your religion at any time.

It's not okay to criticise and even mock someone's race. Your race isn't a personal choice. Whether you're white, black, Asian, mixed race or whatever, that's the way you were born and that's how you're going to be until the day you die. That's not something that you can change - well, not unless you're Michael Jackson, anyway. If you're black, you can't choose one day to become white and until that day comes - let's face it, it won't - it isn't okay to mock someone based solely on the grounds of race.

Think that's not very libertarian of me? Well, let me tell you this. You're perfectly welcome to express racist thoughts in front of me, or anyone else. But if you're prepared to do that, you're also perfectly welcome to experience any reaction, including the negative ones. And being called a racist cunt in this context - which is almost certainly what I'll call you - is pretty tame compared to some reactions you could get...

Johann Hari as you've never seen him before

And no, this isn't a Max Farquar style photoshop, this is the real deal. That really is our Johann Hari here... >>

Your Reaper doesn't really have anything to say about the Johann Hari saga, which may surprise you. Some of the criticism being made about him at the moment just appears to me like Right-wingers using an excuse to kick a tedious Leftie when he's down.

It's not as if the allegations of plagarism are even anything new - Private Eye uncovered evidence that he was including less than factual content in factual pieces as far back as 2003, and there was no fuss back then.

Perhaps it's because the blogosphere is so much stronger now than back then, I couldn't say. He's done several interviews where he'd taken quotations from previous interviews with people, and then added them onto his own interviews, as if he's spoken to them directly.

Admittedly, it's quite pleasant seeing Hari wriggling like a worm on a hook at the moment with his rather poor attempts at dealing with the row, but the reality is that Johann Hari almost certainly isn't the first journalist to be do this, and nor will he be the last.

He just happens, however, to be the first one in recent years that's been caught doing it. Which makes me wonder - who else out there has been doing this? The Grim Reaper notices that a number of newspapers are remaining very quiet on this subject and not bothering to report the story. It would take an extremely cynical kind of person to suggest that they too might have journalists being less than honest with their writing practices, wouldn't it?

In the meantime, let us enjoy these pictures of Johann Hari that I include with this post sweating for a completely different reason. The self-confessed "fat bastard" admits that he received a Christmas card from his local KFC on December 23rd, 2009. There's more on the Independent's website if you just click the link.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Phil Jacques: a grade A cocktrumpet

Almost certainly not a picture of Phil Jacques yesterday. But you never know. Picture credit. >>

This is what certain trade unionists think of parents around the country:

"Phil Jacques, Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) secretary for Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset, claimed implementing the plan [that Michael Gove suggested of parents going into teach at strike-affected schools tomorrow] would be a 'licence for paedophiles...
Teachers and other adults working in schools have to have a Criminal Records Bureau check, to avoid the risk. That’s something that takes time. I’m sure any risk would be very low, but do we want to take that risk? It would be hard to safeguard and what would be the purpose? They would just be babysitting pupils."

Yes. Every parent out there is a potential child-molester who want to help out at the nation's schools because of all the child-raping possibilities. Fucking hell.

And everyone out there now reading this will think that Phil Jacques is a weapons-grade cunt. Well done, Phil.

A tip of the Reaper's scythe goes to Mark Pack for this one.

Four years just isn't enough for Robert John Anderson

Your Reaper is very surprised that this story has not received more coverage in the UK press. It was big news in Northern Ireland yesterday. Robert John Anderson is a 27-year old man from County Londonderry. He is, to put it politely, a shoddy excuse for a human being. The Crown Court in Derry has recently been dealing with his case, and he was yesterday sentenced to spend four years in prison.

In December 2008, he carried out a truly shocking assault his 18-week old baby boy. He violently shook his own child, leaving him permanently blinded and with brain-damage. The boy also suffers from a severe form of cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Doctors who have seen him believe that he may never be able to speak, sit up or walk properly. In effect, the actions of his father have destroyed his quality of life and reduced it to none. He will need 24-hour medical care for the rest of his life. After he shook the child, he claims he did not call 999 on the utterly ludicrous grounds he had no credit in his mobile phone.

His picture cannot be published, nor can I reveal where in County Londonderry he's from. The "legal reason" in this case is in order to protect the privacy of the child. It's certainly nothing to do with protecting him. To say that this is a horrific case is an understatement, yet I must say that I think the four-year sentence is hopelessly inadequate.

Anderson is responsible for effectively destroying the life of his own child. As far as I'm concerned, that has almost the same effect as killing him. Whilst I am certainly not calling Anderson a killer here, this child will have no quality of life whatsoever. He cannot see, he cannot hear, he cannot speak, he cannot sit up by himself, he cannot walk properly. All because he was shaken with truly horrendous force by the man that was supposed to look after him more than any other.

I honestly cannot understand why Anderson has not been thrown into a prison cell and had the key locked away. I'm not blaming Judge Philip Babbington here - he was following the rules laid down in law, but if this was the maximum sentence he could impose, there is something seriously, seriously wrong with the law. I would think that this was a matter for Parliament to look at immediately.

The unanswered question at this stage is whether Anderson will be able to go anywhere near the child when he is released. I'm no lawyer, but I suspect that the fact he is the child's "father" - and I use that word with considerable reluctance on this occasion - will count for something in his favour, even given the truly awful act he has committed. One can only hope that he will never be allowed anywhere near a child ever again, and definitely not his own.

As for the revelation that the mother of the child that he has destroyed is actually still in a relationship with him, it truly boggles the mind why she would want to even know the man after all that has happened.

A message for Kevin Arscott

You don't think that THIS might have anything to do with the Daily Mail currently hounding you over a two-year old post that you've since agreed to delete, do you?

Well, The Grim Reaper fears that this is one of the reasons that they're doing what they're doing. Pointless and utterly vindictive? Yes, but the Mail has form when it comes to this. Bear in mind that this is the newspaper which published a story called "Girl who married Anne Diamond's husband leaves him...for a woman". I would link to the original article, but it doesn't exist anymore.

This was a story about Harriet Scott, who was married to Mike Hollingsworth, who was previously married to Anne Diamond, leaving Hollingsworth for a woman. Not only that, but the Mail thought it was front page news - news that their sister paper pretended had nothing do with them only a few days later!

So why'd they publish it in the first place? Harriet Scott claimed in a January 2006 interview for the Daily Mail that Hollingsworth had assaulted her. He took them to court and he won £50,000 in libel damages from the paper. In other words, the story had been published simply out of spite and vindictiveness.

Your situation isn't quite the same, but you've got one over the Mail - so they probably don't like you very much. Hence the way the monkeys who work at Associated Newspapers law department are after you.

I wonder if there's any truth to this, or am I just a conspiracy theorist?

Kevin Arscott blogs over at Angry Mob.

How to complain to the BBC: The Grim Reaper's Guide

How The Grim Reaper deals with complaints received about his blog >>

It appears that a number of people are complaining that the BBC complaints process is "convulted" and "too complicated". The old duffers on the House of Lords Communications Committee say there should be one place where you can send your whinge about whatever you want to whinge about.

For the benefit of the people at the House of Lords Communications Committee, here is a very simple guide from The Grim Reaper Writes on how to make a complaint to the BBC. It's so simple, even a Lord could follow it. Here goes...

Step 1: Click here. This takes you to a page which tells you how to complain to the Beeb.

Step 2: Choose the method that you wish to use to register your complaint.

Step 3: Make your complaint.

Step 4: Er... that's it. Make a cup of tea, I suppose?

There. That was quite easy, wasn't it?

A challenge to smoking ban fans

My guest appearance on Trigger Happy TV some years ago >>

It would seem so. Your Reaper was pleased to see this story on the BBC News website. They report that:

"Three MPs are joining forces with campaigners to call for the smoking ban in UK pubs and clubs to be relaxed. Conservative Greg Knight, Lib Dem John Hemming and Labour's Roger Godsiff argue that the ban has had a devastating impact on the industry. They want the law to be changed to allow pubs to create a separate room for smokers if they choose."

This is what the law should have said all along. I don't especially like smoking personally. It's not something that I do, and I don't like the smell of smoke. That said, I don't support the smoking ban. It's one of the most illiberal measures passed by government in the past ten years and desperately needs amending.

My view is that it should be a matter entirely for individual businesses. If the government wants to ban smoking in its own buildings, it has the right to do that. They're the ones that pay for them - technically - so they are entitled to do that. What they are not entitled to do is say to everyone else that they must do it as well. What we need is a law which states that it's up to individual premises to decide whether to allow smoking or not in their buildings. Signs stating which is the case should be put up at the entrance of the building in a clear location so that people can make a choice about whether they wish to do business there.

If the people in favour of the smoking ban genuinely believe that customers prefer no-smoking establishments, let's see them put their money where their mouth is. Modify the law in this way and let individuals decide. If the no-smoking establishments are indeed where the public prefer, you'll see it clearly. What have you got to lose?

Or are you suddenly not so confident in your own beliefs?
UPDATE: Linked to the wrong story earlier, this has now been fixed.

About THAT Iris Robinson "long-term injunction"

This is a story which your Reaper has received one or two emails about, asking if I'm going to cover it. Well, I'm not a reporter or journalist and have never claimed to be one, but anything to do with injunctions tends to float my boat - at the time of writing, searching for the term "injunction" in my blog history brings up 55 different posts, and there are only 937 of them when you include this one.

I've held off with this one, although I have kept up with what details of the legal battle that I am able to find. It concerns Iris Robinson. Now, a brief history first in case you don't remember who she is. Mrs Robinson was born on 6th September 1949 in Belfast, and is a former is a former Northern Ireland Unionist politician.

She's married to Peter Robinson, the man who somehow remains the First Minister in the Northern Ireland Assembly. She is a woman with quite a disturbed history, and I do not mean that as an insult. In December 2009, Mrs Robinson became aware that the BBC had been doing some digging into her financial dealings and had found out a number of details about her private life in the process.

On the 28th of that month, she announced her decision to retire from politics. This was just before the programme had been aired. She claimed she had been suffering serious bouts of depression, and that the stresses and strains of public life were exacerbating her problems. A number of details soon emerged. On January 6th, she revealed that the previous March, she had atttempted to commit suicide.

The next day, the BBC aired their Spotlight programme and that revealed that Robinson had been having an affair with a man called Kirk McCambley in 2008, a 19-year old butcher. Allegations were also made that she encouraged her own friends to provide financial backing to assist McCambley with a business venture. The payments in question had been arranged from property developers to the value of around £50,000. These hadn't been declared to the Northern Ireland Assembly and were therefore illegal. Suggestions were also made that husband Peter knew about some of what was going on, and there were even rumours that Mrs Robinson had an affair with McCambley's father, a man who died of cancer in March 2008.

We don't need to go into too much more detail on that right now. Robinson reportedly received what was dubbed "acute psychiatric treatment" following the Spotlight documentary, and was supposedly on 24-hour suicide watch. She went to receive psychiatric treatment in London in January 2010, but now receives her treatment in Belfast to this day. The Sunday newspapers have found out a considerable number of details about Robinson's treatment and wish to publish this information, and have wished so for some time.

Your Reaper hears from his sources that a legal battle has been going on for months now - Robinson vs Sunday newspapers, it's called. Exactly which papers are involved haven't been disclosed, but they could include the News of the World and Irish-only Sunday publications such as the Sunday World or the Sunday Life. The first legal battle has basically been whether the trial will be held in public or in private. Only now has this matter been resolved.

Lord Chief Justice Sir Declan Morgan has made a ruling about this in the Court of Appeal with Lord Justices Higgins and Girvan. Here is some of the judgement:

"We are satisfied that we should take judicial notice of the fact that social networking sites, Twitter and the internet generally now provides an alternative means of publication to traditional daily or Sunday newspapers. Although the numbers of persons to whom the publication is made may be considerably less than the circulation of a popular Sunday newspaper, publication on the internet is difficult to control and in particular the source of the publication may be outside the jurisdiction of the court.

The hearing of the application will inevitably involve the discussion of aspects of the appellant's treatment and condition. We consider that there is a real danger that if these proceedings were open to the public the information disclosed in the hearing would be disseminated on the internet even if a reporting restriction was imposed."

In layman's terms, the risk of details being leaked is far too high for such a delicate matter. And do you know what? The Grim Reaper agrees entirely. This isn't a case of a footballer shagging an attractive Welshwoman, or a married actor spending £195 for the privilege of having a dildo shoved up his arse. This is the case of newspapers wanting to publish the very most intimate detail of a person's life. And that, my friends, is wrong. Which is why as far as this injunction is concerned, I'm in total agreement with it.

Sorry to disappoint anyone waiting for juicy details.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Other People's Grim Reading

Your Reaper hasn't done one of these for a while now, so here's a few posts I recommend elsewhere.

Tim Worstall points out that quite a few people think the Euro is doomed. And that quite a few of those people are... well, quite influential.

Brian Whelan asks a few questions about Johann Hari. I don't see the fuss myself, as he's far from the first hack to cut and paste something, but there we go.

The Big Dollop is concerned about the effect of spending cuts on our over-stretched and under-resourced military.

Obnoxio The Clown reminds us that the Tory/LibDem coalition is exactly the same as the last government in yet another way.

The Adam Smith Institute throw the cat in amongst the pigeons and suggest that fees are actually GOOD for students. And do you know what? I agree!

Ambush Predator wonders why two women were sent to restrain a man who was exposing himself in Brighton. It's not as nice as it sounds.

Boatang & Demetriou have a few remarks about the Milly Dowler verdict to make.

The Grim Reaper can be nice... sometimes

Your Reaper may come across as a heartless bastard sometimes, but deep down, he's something of a softie. Whilst preparing the post last night about Sergeant Ian Craven, I stumbled across this old Daily Mail story from 2008 about a then ten-month old blind Alsatian puppy called Chance ho'd made a new best friend... a ten-year old blind cat called Louis.

As much as the testosterone male inside of me is telling me not to admit this, I almost shed a tear on seeing such a touching image as the one on the right.

Miss Reaper's said to me more than once that I apparently love animals more than human beings. She may well have a point.

Simply couldn't resist blogging about this one...

Make an example of Craven - and here's why

By now, you'll probably have heard the desperately sad news that two police dogs died over the weekend when they were left locked in the car of Sergeant Ian Craven on one of the hottest days this year yet. One was a Belgian malinois called Chay and the other was a five-month-old German Shepherd (or Alsatian, as they're often called) Milly who was still in training.

Your Reaper apologises in advance to anyone who is upset by the following, but I think it's vital to the understanding of this story to know what the dogs went through. They died from hyperthermia, which is when the body gets too hot. Milder forms can be dealt with. More severe forms can cause serious problems and be a risk to life.

In this case, the two dogs would have been stuck inside a car on a day when the outside temperature was about 29°C. That in itself is bad. Ever tried to get into a car on a sunny day? It's like getting into a greenhouse, and it's no different for dogs. It can be well over 40°C in a hot car. The dogs would have got very hot very quickly. The whole process could have taken less than 20 minutes altogether.

When you start overheating, you will sweat. When you sweat, your body tells you to get more liquid put into it. In other words, you start to feel thirsty and you solve the problem by getting a drink. The dogs didn't have that option. They couldn't get out into the fresh air and there wouldn't have been any water in the back of the car for them. Because there is no water coming in, the skin would start becoming red and very hot. The reason for that is your blood vessels would be dilating as they try harder and harder to get rid of that excess heat.

Although you wouldn't be able to see a dog's skin, it wouldn't take an expert to work out they were in trouble. The lips would become swollen at this point, as you wouldn't be able to sweat.

What happens next is not totally clear, as hyperthermia's symptoms do vary, but the dehydration associated with heat stroke could end up causing nausea, vomiting, headaches and low blood pressure. All of these things are problematic on their own - together, they'd be a nightmare. Add to that the fact if they get up too suddenly - something not unlikely with dogs - and there's the risk of fainting.

Ever wondered why someone overheating in the desert would start seeing things? That's because the mind starts going awry. Heat stroke does that to someone. The dog's heart rates and respiration rates would start to rise dramatically, as blood pressure would fall.

The body enters panic mode as the heart tries to supply enough oxygen to the body. When there isn't enough oxygen available - such as in a hot, cramped car - there wouldn't be enough, hence the heart has to work harder, creating a vicious, deadly cycle.

As blood pressure falls, the blood vessels start to contract. In other words, they stop pumping blood around the body as much as they normally would. This results in a pale complexion and the lips can sometimes go blue. Whether this happens with dogs, I'm not 100% sure. Certain heat stroke victims can go on to have seizures, inflicting yet more pain at a time when they will be in agony. Eventually, body organs start to fail altogether. Unconsciousness and coma will result, and it won't be long before the heart fails and death arrives.

The dogs were discovered and someone smashed open the windows in order to get them out. Heat stroke is notoriously difficult to treat in animals such as dogs. The dogs were doused with water, as is normal procedure. They would not be given much water to drink at this stage, and here's why. If a dog is panting excessively and then drinks a lot of water, they will swallow large amounts of air with the water. This can cause a bloat in their stomach - essentially a bubble full of air. In this state, the body's defences are already weak.

Were a bloat to form in those circumstances, it would almost certainly go on to kill them. Not what you want to do. The dogs may have been beyond help by the point they were discovered. We simply don't know. Kennel assistant Tina Dale describes it as the 'worst day of my life', but she should not judge herself. She did all she could, and so did everyone else involved in this sorry matter.

If it's true that Sergeant Mark Craven slashed his wrists as part of an attempted suicide attempt after hearing about this news, that is a terrible thing, no matter what he has done. I do not know if Craven suffered from any private anguishes or had problems in his personal life, though it's almost certainly a given that journalists will be looking to find out. That said, this is not his first offence. It seems he was disciplined when a spaniel died in a car in July 2004 by the Metropolitan Police, but that nothing was done.

Given the circumstances therefore, I feel that I have to agree with those animal welfare groups who say he should feel the full force of the law. He clearly would not have done something so incredibly stupid had this been dealt with properly the first time it happened. I am not a man who is inclined to follow mob justice, and I believe in giving others a second chance - we all make mistakes.

Yet this has happened again, in equally tragic circumstances. Craven must be punished. At the very least, he should never be allowed to work with animals again. If he does indeed have problems in his personal life, I wish him luck in resolving them, but there is a price to be paid.

Then again, we all know that coppers go easy on coppers when it comes to any kind of matter. He should be punished in my view, but I am not hopeful that he will be.

Update: Just seen this by Cristina Odone. They're only animals, so it shouldn't matter, she says. Fucking boot-faced sow.

Two pints of lager and a packet of crisps, anyone?

Might your Reaper have finally worked out the mystery of why anyone actually watches this show?
As posted on her Twitter account.

A (half-arsed) defence of Richard Littlejohn

Yes, you DID read that correctly. Your Reaper never thought he would actually write those words either, but we live in increasingly strange times. Bob Crow is once again in the news. Everyone's favourite bald, strike-inducing Cockney cunt has taken issue with a piece written by Richard Littlejohn last Tuesday.

I linked to the original piece last week following a very curious set of comments that Dick had made about the 195-carat actor Hugh Bonneville, but I did read it.

As it happens, I didn't think it was very funny. It was the usual Littlejohn piece, the sort of thing he's been doing for over two decades and gets paid around £800,000 a year to do. There shouldn't be anything in there to surprise anyone. Nonetheless, it's absolutely clear to anyone that the main piece is written in a jocular, somewhat irreverent manner. That's how Littlejohn does these things. Dour political commentary is one thing you are never going to get from him, and thank goodness for that - there's plenty of that around as it is.

In the piece, he suggests that Bob Crow, head of the RMT union, has long been suspected of being an MI5 sleeper. Why? It's on the grounds that Littlejohn thinks nobody could have invented a man who has done so much to discredit the union cause. Bob's not happy.

 He got his minions to send out a press release saying: "RMT today demanded an immediate retraction and apology from the Daily Mail after the paper ran an article claiming that the union's General Secretary Bob Crow has long been suspected of being an 'MI5 sleeper'.".

On his part, Bob said: "The column in the Mail [on 21st June] under Richard Littlejohn's byline goes way beyond the usual cut and thrust of debate and makes untruthful statements. It is highly damaging to the reputation of our trade union. We want a full apology and immediate retraction or we will be talking to our lawyers about starting legal proceedings. Any attempt to pass this off as light-hearted just won't stand up.".

Littlejohn wrote about this again last Friday, making reference to the press release. Oddly, the press release isn't available on the RMT's website. One can only wonder why that is.

Anyway, I absolutely loved this nonsense about the claim being "highly damaging to the reputation of our trade union". By "trade union", I can only assume he meant himself. Dick also found it amusing, and was surprised that "a self-styled hard man, who delights in bringing misery to the travelling public in pursuit of his own extremist political agenda, had such a Rizla-thin skin.".

RMT clearly like to keep up with Littlejohn's column, as they've written to the Daily Mail again. This time, they got their lawyers of choice - usually Thompson's Solicitors - to write a letter to them. The exact contents of the letter have not been revealed, but it's probably full of threats to sue unless they receive an immediate apology and retraction. Even getting a lawyer to write out such a letter and to send it to a newspaper can cost a four-figure sum. The Grim Reaper is sure that RMT members would be pleased to see their union money being spent on libel lawyers, wouldn't they?

Well, I suppose the one thing that can be said in favour of Bob Crow is that he's not doing a Lord Sugar. The businessman tried to sue Quentin Letts from the same paper last year after he suggested in a column that Lord Sugar wasn't terribly bright and that his peerage may have been motivated by the fact he was a successful businessman.

If he wanted to dispel that idea, he would have been better off campaigning to reform the House of Lords rather than pursuing a self-serving legal action. Sugar tried to sue Letts personally, which is usually an admission that your case is piss poor.

This is really quite pathetic. Like a lot of Lefties, Crow has a tendency to reach for lawyers whenever anything critical is said about him. He wants the right to say what the hell he wants about anyone else, but would deny that right to others. Just a quick search on Google reveals that the RMT have issued legal threats in the last year against the BBC, the Guardian, the Telegraph and several other media organisations - and all because they dared publish critical reports about the union. Littlejohn's name of "Cry Baby Crow" sounds about right in this context.

Now, Dick is clearly no saint. This was the man who was correctly dismissed as an "arsehole" by Michael Winner after denigrating two lesbian women who lived together on his LWT show in 1994. This was the man who charmingly compared Jody MacIntyre, a 20 year old with cerebral palsy thrown out of his wheelchair by the filth at a student protest last year, to Andy Pipkin from Little Britain.

And infamously, this was the man who said that the murder of five women who worked as prostitutes in December 2006 was "in the scheme of things... no great loss. They weren't going to discover a cure for cancer or embark on missionary work in Darfur. The only kind of missionary position they undertook was in the back seat of a car.".

Cuntmaster extraordinnaire? Yes, without a doubt. Yet here I am in the astonishing position of actually defending the man. These threats from Crow are a ridiculous over-reaction to what was fair comment and should cease. This episode should provoke questions, as if they weren't vocal enough already, as to whether Crow is fit to lead his union anymore.

That's obviously a question for his union to answer ultimately, but I think I'm entitled to my say given how much disruption they wish to cause the public as part of the campaign of "rolling strikes" that the trade unions are trying to conjure up. Do the comrades feel easy when they see Crow eating at elite London restaurants that charge £650 for a bottle of wine? Would they be comfortable with seeing just how much time and money the RMT spends sending out threats of litigation to their critics? Somehow, I think not.

Let's see this one publicised as widely as possible. Anything which further helps to discredit the bald, strike-inducing Cockney cunt... sorry, I meant the humourless, bald, strike-inducing Cockney cunt forever more is welcome. He's just making a laughing stock of himself, yet he could soon be the one making a laughing stock of all of us through a course of strike action.

Oh, and to finish things off, here's one more little nugget of information for you. If you're wondering why I regard Crow in such a poor light and don't think he's terribly bright, this is the man who suggested earlier this year that the best way to pay off the deficit would be to slap a 1p tax onto every email sent. No, I'm not making this up...

And just to clarify - Richard Littlejohn is still a knob.

People of East Belfast, listen up

Stop rioting. Seriously. You're doing no one any good. You're making utter twats of yourselves. You look to me like twats arguing for a return to Northern Ireland's bloody past. Nobody wants it. There's no support for you. Admit you've lost, get the hell over it, and stop causing trouble.

Not to mention you're making the country look very bad abroad and in the rest of the UK. It makes Belfast look like a fucking war zone, which does the city a great disservice. I was there only the other day and I didn't see a war zone - I saw a vibrant city full of shoppers, full of people eating out at restaurants, full of people enjoying themselves. It's becoming one hell of a sophisticated city and these kinds of riots are undermining all of that.

Let me spell it out so to leave you in no doubt. If your capital city looks like a war zone to the outside world, the rest of the country is going to suffer. It doesn't take much to work that out. Put your fireworks and your missiles down and be careful what you wish for.

It's only a little prick...

Spotted on the delightful Sickipedia website:

"My wife told me I had a small penis, so I said it was big enough to hurt her.

'There isn't a woman in the world that would be hurt by that thing.' she said.

I then showed her a video of me shagging her sister.

'I've never been so hurt in all my life' she said.

'Argument won.' I replied."


We must fear teh evil paedophilez lolz!!!1!!

What female teachers and female students are NOT wearing at our schools, despite what the tabloids would have you believe >>

Your Reaper believes that certain sections of society have increasingly unhealthy thoughts about young women especially. This isn't to say that the sexualisation of children is not an issue - it very much is - but things do sometimes go a little bit too far. This decision from Paget High School in Burton-upon-Trent to ban their female pupils from wearing skirts from September this year is an example of such.

Why is it happening? Presumably because someone somewhere fears that there is... well, someone somewhere looking at those young girls wearing skirts and getting rather inappropriate thoughts about the young girls in question. Not that your Reaper is saying for one moment that the someone somewhere in the first part of the sentence is the same someone somewhere being alluded to in the second part of the sentence.

Although I am certainly suggesting that this someone somewhere has some very warped priorities. I would have thought that what mattered at schools was how the students did, not what length skirts they were wearing. Most mums would be able to say that getting knee-length skirts isn't always easy. It's a complaint I heard quite often when I was at school, and I don't see much reason for that to have changed.

Besides, it's not as if they're going to school dressed as little Lolitas, is it? They're not going to school dressed like the woman in the picture at the top of the post, are they? Now THAT would be inappropriate.

The headmaster, on the right, who appears to be the Dale Winton shade on the orange-o-meter and who probably has a weekend job as a Jeremy Beadle tribute act, may claim that this is "one of the big issues for us at the school", but that's something you can easily do something about. Let them choose whether to wear skirts or trousers, just like they did at my secondary school. Most will choose to wear trousers, much to the disappointment of the hormonal teenage boys.

Before you know it, this problem will be largely eradicated and you can get on with worrying about more important things, such as whether you want to change to the Robert Kilroy-Silk shade of orange instead. Everyone's happy...

The solution to strikes? Get back to work

What your average state school teacher did not look like yesterday >>

Your Reaper hasn't really said much so far on his views about the impending strikes this coming Thursday. The day that 1 in 8 of our teachers will be committing a dereliction of duty by not going into class to teach their children. The day that all those teachers going on strike will be showing that their first priority is themselves. So much for serving the public and putting children first!

The last time I checked, teachers were a pretty well paid bunch. They get at least £20k per year on starting out, and that can more than double after just a few years. In addition to that, they never have to work weekends, they never have to work on a bank holiday, and they get around three months off work per year. Oh, and you've got a pension at the end of your working life to look forward to which is better than most private sector workers will ever get. How many other professions get that?

Not me. In my job, I'm currently on a three month trial period. If they give me a permanent contract - and I'm quietly confident that they will - I'll be getting four weeks pay per year, the bare legal minimum. I have to be available to work evenings and weekends. I get no extra pay for working on a Saturday, Sunday or a bank holiday. My salary won't be anywhere near £20,000 per year and probably won't be until a few years. As for pension provision? It's a case of sort it out for yourself. Compared to what teachers get, the above sounds crap in the extreme.

These teachers going on strike just... well, strike me as being bloody ungrateful for their lot. Which is why I propose a radical solution. It's not currently permitted by law, but I think it's something which is worth pursuing. My view is that every single teacher who goes on strike on Thursday should be unceremoniously sacked. That probably won't endear me to any teachers reading this, so I had best explain myself.

There's a pretty simple principle behind this which I believe in. My view is that people who work for the public sector should be banned from pursuing strike action, and I'll tell you why. If you work in the private sector, the dispute is between yourself and the company. The services provided by that company can be provided elsewhere and usually are, which means a strike action will mainly affect the company and its employees. That said, it makes little sense for private sector workers to strike, as it's the company that suffers from lost productivity in the long run.

In the public sector, it's a different story. Government often provides services which are either not available at all elsewhere or are only done on a small scale in the private sector. A strike amongst bin men would result in more problems, as it means that there is no one else available to collect the rubbish. A strike in the NHS is also problematic, as private health provision can be out of the reach of many individuals. A strike in education is a problem as there's no one available to teach the children for the day in their place. It's a dereliction of public duty and everyone suffers because of it.

Hence why I say this. If a dispute is between employees and a private sector company, strike action should be an available option as it does not have such a considerable impact. If a dispute is between employees and a public sector organisation, strike action should not be an available option - and anyone in the public sector who does go on strike should be sacked.

That's most of my public sector readership worked up - and it's only just past 8am.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The biggest problem in the world today

The difficulties in the economy? No.

The threat of Greece defaulting on its debts? No.

The war in Libya? No.

Public spending cuts and the risk of social unrest? No.

The unrest in Middle Eastern countries such as Syria? No.

Is it the asteroid that may be heading right towards us?

The fact that it's now okay to call a copper a cunt? Not even that.

So what is it?

It's whether Kim Kardashian's arse is real.

British newspapers - they really arse... sorry, are the best in the world.

Some free advertising

I'm unlikely to be signing up for Sickidates to say the least, but your Reaper is sure some of you might be interested...

An open letter to Paul Dacre

Apologies for the delay in publishing this one. This was meant to go online this morning, but a bug seems to have stopped it. Enjoy!

Hello there. I'm a long-time fan of yours, though not necessarily for the right reasons. I write to you with interest in a matter which, to my surprise, you are not currently covering in your paper. I see that you have recently taken issue with a comment written by a blogger called Kevin Arscott. To be honest, it's hard to know for sure whether you do. Media hack Greenslade puts forward the theory the other day that you wouldn't know about this, and suggests that even if you did, you wouldn't care.

As you may be aware, The Grim Reaper has published many, many nice things about you on his blog, not least of all when I heard about your salary in 2010. Although I fear I'm not sure you'll see it as being particularly complimentary of yourself.

I do wonder what your readers, many of whom you correctly identify as struggling with the current difficult economic conditions, would think of the news that you received a 70% pay rise last year, taking your salary up to £2.8million. I'm sure that if your paper had ever reported it, your readers would have been entirely understanding and not at all irritated by your total hypocrisy.

Anyway, back to the topic. I feel that it is necessary to the reporting of this story that the original comments should be quoted, and I naturally apologise in advance to anyone who is offended. Where have I heard those words before? Moving on...
"Paul Dacre is an absolute cunt. I hope he dies and that people queue up to shit on his grave"

Now, given the useful little nuggets of information that a certain Mr Nick Davies disclosed about yourself in his book Flat Earth News, I am assuming that you are not particularly likely to be offended by what your paper regularly terms the most offensive word in the English language. Nor, I would have thought, would you be especially bothered by the fact this man clearly doesn't like you. Most successful newspaper editors have their fair share of enemies, and you are possibly the most successful editor in the last 40 years. There's most likely a fair number of celebrities out there who would dearly like to defecate on your grave. Take it as a badge of honour.

I fear though that, not for the first time, your lawyers at Associated Newspapers have failed to think things through. Let's pretend for a moment that Arscott had kept these comments on his website, told your lawyers to stick their letter up their arses, and you decided to proceed with legal action for defamation. Would you not have to prove in court that you are not an absolute cunt in order to show that the article was indeed defamatory?

I would be very interested to know how you are going to go about this task. Perhaps you'll publish a piece about immigration in the Mail which tells no lies and doesn't have a xenophobic undertone to it. Maybe you'd decide to print reports telling women that they've still got really nice bodies despite having gone from a size 8 to a size 12. Heck, you might even contemplate attempting to smile in pictures of yourself, even if you do look like a slightly demented monkey that's high if you do.

More likely than not though, you'll respond in your own typically inimitable way. Mainly by telling one of your columnists to write something about bloggers being weirdos who shouldn't be listened to. Except by Daily Mail journalists who want to nick their stories, of course. Another article about Facebook giving you cancer? No, I thought those subsequent legal threats from Facebook would have deterred you from trying that again...

Kind regards,
The Grim Reaper.

F*¥±@#g drivers!

Fucking hell. Your Reaper despairs. I fucking hate driving sometimes. Has no one told drivers in Northern Ireland, or anywhere else come to that, that when an ambulance is approaching behind you, you're meant to get out of the way as soon as it's safe for you to do so?

What you're not supposed to do is just keep driving as normal and start being an obstructive fucker who's too dim to notice there's a rather large vehicle behind him with flashing lights, emitting the noise of a siren. Yet that is what many people seem to do. Sitting around like a prize cabbage in a show might make you feel better about yourself, but it sure as fuck ain't funny if someone dies cos the ambulance couldn't get to them quickly enough. Does nobody have any fucking manners on the road anymore?

It's simple, people. Just like a lot of you out there. If there's an ambulance coming up behind you, look around to see if you can pull over or change lane. When you've determined that there is and you can do that safely, get on with it. And yes, I am talking specifically here about the cunt in the BMW who overtook me yesterday on a fucking corner and then refused to get out of the way for an ambulance.

Whilst I'm on the topic of crap drivers, can young mums who drive fucking Chelsea tractors or, more likely these days, Volkswagen Passats get it into their heads that just because you have a baby does not give you the right to take up two parking spaces at the supermarket. You're the one who chose to have a baby, and whilst motherhood is one of the most wonderful gifts that can be bestowed on any woman, it doesn't give you the right to leave your car anywhere you fucking like.

And if the traffic warden does fine you £60, tough. Park your car in one space next time, or use your imagination. Park at the end of a row to make it easier to get your little brats out of the car, for instance. A bit of creative thinking, and the problem is solved. Being an anti-social fucker just pisses people off, see?

Oh, and before I sign off... people at roundabouts. Why can nobody fucking indicate where they're going anymore? Why can't anyone grasp the simple concept of showing which exit they're coming? And why, in the name of fucking fuck, is there always some wanker who think it's a bright idea to cut me up when I have right of way?


* Image credit goes to the Funny Dog Site.

DJs aren't the rebels they used to be

Time was when music was often about rebellion. For example, the songs that Elvis Presley produced caused a cultural revolution and moral outrage from a society which was experiencing change on an unheard of scale. U2 have campaigned against world poverty, demanding somewhat hypocritically that everyone else pays their taxes. The Sex Pistols were never afraid to shake things up. Music and rebellion have often gone hand in hand.

The most clear example of this to me is the development of the acid house scene in the late 1980s. The illegal raves, the sex, the drugs, the music - it was all about sticking two fingers up at the establishment, and it worked. The Tories hated the club scene and still do to this day, hence they passed the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 and show no sign of wishing to repeal one of the most repressive, authoritarian bills ever approved by a British parliament.

This was the law that significantly attacked a person's right to silence when accused of a crime. Previously, silence meant silence. From 1994, silence meant having something to hide. This was the law which gave the police more opportunities to take and retain body samples, such as DNA samples. Found innocent of a crime? Didn't matter - they'd be kept on file anyway. This was the law that increased police powers for stop and search, a power they have always abused. Shamefully, Labour colluded in passing this legislation as a clause was included reducing the homosexual age of consent from 21 to 18. Anything to look friendly with the gays eh, Labour?

Unfortunately, today's musicians have somewhat different concerns about the world. It was with interest that your Reaper comes across some articles with the name Seamus Haji in them. Now, Haji is a DJ and record producer best known for his remake of "Last Night A DJ Saved My Life", but he has been around in dance music since the early 90s.

Is he concerned about the never-ending war against Libya? Is he worried about the implications for Britain of a default of Greece's debts? Maybe he has something to say about the union strikes coming up this Thursday?

Erm... no. It's none of those things. Seamus Haji is worried, because a large communal bin was placed outside his house in Brighton and it's now been moved after he and wife Janet complained to the council.

Yep. I understand that seeing a large bin outside your house and blocking up your parking space is a pain in the arse, but... it's just not rock and roll, is it?

And going to the Mail newspapers REALLY isn't cool...

Haven't had a go at BMW for a while...

Your Reaper cannot resist...

"I'm one of those people who give BMW drivers a bad name.

I indicate."

Spotted here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Just passing through and collecting my £200

Oh, hello. Your Reaper suspects he knows what you're really looking at here.

Much the same as I'm looking at. It's Jade Ewen from the Sugababes showing us her... well, have a look if you haven't already.

Yeah. Nice arse, isn't it?

Erm... is anyone reading this text?

If you are, then... nice weather this weekend, wasn't it? Especially in the South East of England, with their min-heatwave. Only in Britain could a heatwave last one day, eh?

*awkward silence*

Did you see the protesters trying to disrupt Bono's performance on Friday night? No, me neither. Word is that the protest didn't go down very well. Obviously Art Uncut didn't consider that Glastonbury's a private venue, did they?


*more awkward silence*

What about the news that Cheryl Cole might be about to get back with Ashley? She must be mad, musn't she, to even think about doing it. Out of all the men she could have, she decides the best one to go back to is that cheating moron. Some women just have no sense at all, do they?


Right, that's this space filled up with text. None of you read it, and if you did, you're probably gay.

Festivals? Who'd have them?

Your Reaper hasn't been paying that much attention to what's been happening at Glastonbury in the last few days. As it comes to a close this evening, I only have two observations that I'd like to make. The first is that the line-up sounded pretty tame. I thought that the Glastonbury festival was meant to be about promoting new music. Yet who was headlining this year? U2, Coldplay and Beyoncé. All of these acts can certainly hold a note - and yes, I even include U2 in that despite Bono being in it - and I'm certainly not complaining at the chance to look at Beyoncé. Far from it. Thing is though, none of these are especially new acts, are they?

Coldplay have been making music to commit suicide to since 1996, and U2 have been producing tunes since 1976 - hardly new acts, by any definition of the word. As for Beyoncé Giselle Knowles, to use her full name, she has been singing in bands and solo since 1997. The second is that I have honestly never understood what the appeal of festivals is in the first place. I've never been interested in attending one.

Undeterred by that, Miss Reaper bought two tickets last year for the Slane festival which took place in May. This is a yearly festival which takes place in County Meath in the Republic of Ireland and has done since 1981. Headlining this year were Kings of Leon, with The Whigs, Thin Lizzy and Elbow providing support. I went along with an open mind and a warm coat - the Irish weather can be notoriously unreliable.

There were some good and some bad memories from my experience. The second best one was, on one of the security staff spotting myself pushing Miss Reaper's wheelchair, told us we would be allowed to enter through the VIP area. Very nice. We got a lift in what looked eerily similar to a golf buggy and were led into the venue. As she was a wheelchair user, we got to sit at the top, away from the hordes below.

So far, so reasonably good.

The best memory from the experience has to be the Kings of Leon concert. It was reportedly the longest gig they have ever done. Altogether, there were over 20 songs in the space of roughly 2 hours. I'm sure someone better informed about this band will be able to tell me if that's correct. The sight of 80,000 people all singing along to "Sex On Fire" was breathtaking. That was one of those moments that no amount of money could buy. Even I know the words to that song, and I listen to almost no rock music at all.

Sadly, the rest of the experience didn't exactly win me over to the festival spirit. Thankfully, it didn't rain, so we didn't have to endure the scenes of miles and miles of mud like in Glastonbury. Yet I really don't see what the appeal is. Take the toilets, for example. They were bad, and we were using the ones in the VIP area. I daren't imagine what kind of state the portaloos were in amongst the 80,000. Where's the appeal of using a filthy toilet covered in other people's piss and shit?

Getting food was a bloody nightmare. Myself and Miss Reaper went down to see what was available. We decided to go for Domino's Pizza in the end. It took around fifteen minutes to get there, and it was no more than about 500 yards away. This was mostly because of fucking morons standing around pointlessly and blocking paths that would have kept things moving had they been clear.

Anyway, we joined one of three very lengthy queues after choosing what we wanted. I wanted a 12" ham and pineapple pizza and Miss Reaper wanted a quarter slice of a pepperoni pizza. As it happens, the pizzas were delicious and the total cost (€18 or about £15.80, when you include a small bottle of Pepsi) wasn't too bad. Though I would have eaten just about anything after waiting over half an hour for it, having not eaten for about seven hours.

Similar enough experiences were heard elsewhere. We had taken a bus down there, as I didn't fancy the pandemonium of driving home afterwards. Once the festival had finished, there was a long walk in the dark along the N2 to get back into Slane village. The bus driver had reliably told us in advance where he would pick us up. Miss Reaper thinks I have a fairly good head for direction, so I pretty much knew where we had to go. Just as well, because on attempting to call the driver again later, the network was completely jammed. Much like on a New Year's Eve when all those Happy New Year messages block up the network.

The bus was in the queue for two hours before a police farce officer (or Garda, as they're called in the Republic) helpfully informed the bus driver that the road ahead was blocked up and we had best head down towards Dublin, then take the M1 back up towards Monaghan direction. Sitting in that bus for about five hours altogether was not an experience I am keen to repeat. Especially not when I spent a good chunk of that journey with a rather large woman sat down on me. More on that shortly.

One of the blokes told pretty much anyone who'd listen that his lasting experience was going to get some beer for himself and his friends. It took over fourty minutes to get served - this was due to the fact there were only two bars to serve the 80,000 or so people present - and by the time he had got the beer back to his friends, most of it had been spilled onto the floor or onto other people around.

All that horrendously overpriced alcohol, and most of it ending up on the ground. The organisers must have been delighted at how much money they could have made out of that arrangement.

My other lasting experience, as I alluded to earlier, was having a rather large drunken woman sitting down on me. This wasn't anything kinky, before you ask. This was a very small bus and I was sat at the front with Miss Reaper - she was at the window seat. Next to me on the right-hand side was a man sat next to a crate that had been full of alcohol at the start of the day. The woman in question was his girlfriend, and she was somehow able to sit using one of his legs and one of my legs as a seat.

How was it having a woman sitting down on me that night? Well, let me put it this way. As I say, I only had one cheek of her arse pressing down on my leg - I dare not think how bad she would have been at full load. It's not an experience I'm keen to repeat any time soon.

There was also the woman who had somehow gained access to the VIP area who annoyed the hell out of your Reaper. This person insisted on telling me endlessly that she was from Derry. Nothing wrong with that, you understand. She tried telling me some other things, but I honestly couldn't understand a bloody word she was saying. I do hope not everyone from Derry speaks like that. Otherwise, I'm going to have to bring an interpreter if I ever go up there.

And come to think of it, as much as The Grim Reaper dearly loves Miss Reaper, he does not relish the prospect of once again having to push her in the wheelchair down around five miles of the N2 because buses weren't allowed to get any closer to the venue. I'd do it all over again if I had to, though.

Festivals? I think I'll pass.