LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
26 August 2017
Beyond the Fringe

OK. It’s time. Groan. The ‘best’ jokes from the Fringe. If you didn’t suffer the
madness that is the Edinburgh Festival – lucky you – you can double over,
holding your sides, shrieking with laughter in the privacy of your own living room
on our own sofa. Or perhaps not. So here’s a sample
.

Some of the – erm – winners:
2. “Trump’s nothing like Hitler. There’s no way he could write a book.”
7. “I have two boys, 5 and 6. We’re no good at naming things in our house.”
10. “Whenever someone says, ‘I don’t believe in coincidences,’ I say, ‘Oh my
God, me neither!’”
14: “I wonder how many chameleons snuck on the ark.”


And the winner if you haven’t heard: “I’m not a fan of the new pound coin, but
then again, I hate all change.” The author - Ken Cheng if you were wondering,
which you probably weren’t. So, this is the best? Really?

The best bit is the fact that Ken studied maths for a year at Cambridge. He left
after a year – to play online poker - professionally. No. Really. I’m not joking. I
know, another groan. His show at the Festival: Ken Cheng: Chinese Comedian.
Evidently he had made it to the final of the 2015 BBC Radio New Comedy
Award. OK. OK. He wins for the best back-story.



Not Funny

This week the Office of National Statistics (ONS) admitted that far fewer
international students overstay their visa than previously estimated. The Home
Office had claimed it was 100,000. The real number was 4,600. Some 96.3% of
them leave. Why didn’t we know? Because the continuously duplicitous Home
Office hid the statistics. I know. I know. Quelle surprise…. And what was the
Home Office doing at the same time? Why its mass student deportation
programme in the courts naturally. As you do. No trial, no substantial evidence,
simply detention and removal. As you do - when you’re a Tory.

Oh wait. There’s more. The latest drama concerns around 100 letters that were
“mistakenly” (ha!) sent to EU citizens threatened to detain them. The usual: lived
in Britain for at least 10 years, married to Brit, British children, impressive job,
house, dog, ad inf. “Look here. I got one! This one has four kids under 10.
Break out the bubbly! Oh you found one that’s 93 on her birthday in a week. Not
fair. You always win. Let’s deport them straight away. Three million cases to go!”

Not satisfied with removing academics and grans, they are using a homeless
persons’ database to single out EU nationals for deportation. As you do if you
are the Home Office.


So how did they do it? They were given secret access (how exactly?) to a
mapping tool that allowed them to monitor and locate those nasty rough sleepers
– based on their nationality. Lovely. The civil rights charity, Liberty, discovered
this.


The Home Office admitted it views the vulnerable migrants “abusing” freedom of
movement rights. Huh? Oh. Such as changing their sleeping area several times
a week? Crossing against the light? Dancing down the streets?


A spokesperson said: “No one should come to the UK with the intention of
sleeping rough and those who are encountered doing this may be misusing their
free movement rights. We work closely with councils and homelessness
outreach services, while supporting local authorities to tackle illegal immigration.”
Indeed. You wouldn’t trust them to run a bath would you? And surely not for a –
homeless person. Oh no.


‘We have our own British homeless to fill our parks and doorways, to show
dis
dain to and practice abuse on. And we were getting a bit bored splitting up
families, sending those nasty foreigners back. We particularly enjoy pregnant
women, old people – the older the better, the closer to ninety the more we can
celebrate.’


For a laugh we could mention Theresa and her latest U-turn. Theresa has
backed down on her promise to make Britain totally independent from the
influence of European judges when they release their Brexit negotiation plans on
cross-border legal cases. Rulings by foreign judges will continue to apply to the
UK. Ha.



Vanity Case

For something amusing we have the new French president Emmanuel Macron.
Not for his meteoric rise and fall, but for his makeup. You didn’t misread that.
Makeup for him, not her; her being his non-first-lady wife, Bridgette. He has
spent €26,000 on makeup in his first three months of his leadership. Trying to
maintain a perpetual tan? He has been accused of ‘showboating’ behaviour a la
Louis XIV – you know – The Sun King. See what I did there? Silly I know, but so
is the story.


According to
Le Point magazine Macron’s personal makeup artist, Natacha M,
put in two claims for payment: one for €10,000 and another for €16,000. His
makeup was done during his travels and for press conferences. And what was
the response from the Elysée Palace? “We called in a contractor as a matter of
urgency.” A contractor? Huh?


Wondering about other makeup-mad presidents? Possibly not. Nevertheless,
François Hollande spent €30,000 per quarter on makeup that included the salary
of a makeup artist. Not his personal makeup artist? And then there’s the hair.
Ah. Presidents and their hair. Hollande paid his hairdresser a gross salary of
€9,895 a month.


"The English are predisposed to pride, the French to vanity." Jean-Jacques
Rousseau. Aides say Macron will cut back on his vanity project expenditure
“significantly”. Soon? Watch for fading tan.
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