|LETTERS FROM LONDON
|REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
6 March 2016
|Fly the Flag
With all the hysteria in regards to the EU referendum, curiously a decision to
award a contract worth a total of £1.3 million to manufacture 20 British honours
has been handed over to the French. Uh? Is there something a bit – ironic –
about this? Possibly?
We will be bound to Europe since we sold our utilities to Spain, Germany and oh
yes, France. And that’s just for starters. The rest of anything you can think of
has been handed to the US. Wave goodbye to the NHS. But let’s not go there
because its’s just all too depressing – and pathetic.
Naturally veterans are not happy. A French company, Arthus Bertrand, which
makes France's Légion d'honneur medal, is set to make honours that are
presented to military heroes or distinguished citizens. These include: the
Distinguished Service Order, the star of the Knights of the Order of the Bath, the
badge of a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), the badge and
star of the Order of St Michael and St George. Mon dieu! Although I’m thinking
the veterans are saying “My God!”
The Conservative MP, Colonel Bob Stewart, a holder of the DSO for his service
during the Bosnian conflict, described it as "plain wrong". "Can you imagine the
French allowing the Légion d'honneur to be made in Germany? When this
country awards medals to its soldiers, sailors, airmen and citizens they should
be made in the UK." Obviously.
Crown Commercial Service, part of the Cabinet Office, opened a two-month
"value for money" tendering process. And the rationale for choosing the French
company over traditional British companies including the Royal Mint,
Worcestershire Medal Service, etc you ask? Oh yes. It’s to encourage
competition. Right. And we know how successful that justification has been.
Don’t Be a Mug
Keep your diary free for 21st of April – and don’t forget the bunting for your
sitting room - it’s Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. Surely you’ll want to have a
permanent commemorative souvenir to celebrate the occasion.
However, your impulse to splash the cash may be thwarted by the celebratory
offerings. A few choices: a cup plus saucer is £55, a mug is £25, a dinner plate
is £89 (ouch!), a tankard and a side plate are £39, and a little pillbox is only (ha)
So, presuming you will set these commemorative china offers up for public
viewing when guests/friends/family come over to ‘oh and ah’, because with these
prices you couldn’t even offer a cup of tea and a biscuit if you wanted to share
in your excitement. Well, okay, you could share the cup and biscuit. The china
features the Queen’s coat of arms and is finished with 22-carat burnished gold
we are reassured. Hmmm.
The Royal Collection Trust’s retail director, Nuala McGourty, reminds us: “We
are proud that the china has been designed and manufactured exclusively got us
in the English Potteries, with whom the Royal Collection Trust has a longstanding
association.” Well, at least be thrilled the china is made in Britain.
TRT’s annual retail income has decreased by 19 per cent, from £17.5m to
£14.2m in one year. Have the Royals lost their lustre? Okay, okay. Surely the
hysteria surrounding anything Ex-Waity does could create a cash increase. Tea
towels, aprons, stuffed toys, hair products.
A Clean Sweep
Did you get out your pinny? It was time to clean for the Queen. Really? The
Queen who is worth at least £275 million you realise. We were asked by Boris
and Gove no less and lest we forget, the boys’ government has cut back all the
budgets of all the council services in Britain by at least 60 percent. Clever move.
I’m thinking the MPs could come clean, led by CallMe Dave and Georgie-Boy,
without charging us for their cleaning expenses. Oh you just know they would
and you know they won’t be buying Marigolds and bin bags from the pound
shops. More than 200,000 cleaned for the Queen.
The Queen is a “keen litter picker” we have been told by (aptly named) Location,
Location, Location posh presenter Kirstie Allsopp. “I happen to know she's a
very keen litter picker. I have it on good authority that if she sees litter, she picks
it up.” Kirsty is an ambassador for the charity, Keep Britain Tidy.
Oh look. There was Ex-Waity in her ‘Clean for Me (as I’ll be Queen)’ pinny. Just
joking – obviously. Oh, it’s all rubbish – oh sorry – but it is.
Talk to the Hand
When size does matter? Sigh. When you are one of the Republican contenders.
Okay, it’s the usual alpha male’s “mine’s bigger than yours” obsession watched
by many millions on TV. Oh do you really care? Yawn.
Trump calls Rubio, ‘Little Marco’ – because he’s short and Cruz ‘Lyin’ Ted’,
because – fill in the blank. Rubio decided to take Trump on by calling attention to
The Donald’s hands. "If they're small, something else must be small." Huh? We
know the reference, but how did we get there exactly?
The Don then responded to Rubio's assessment of his hands: "Look at these
hands. Are these small hands? I guarantee you there's no problem, I guarantee
you." Surprise, surprise. The Donald didn’t drop his trousers – yet – but he did
reach a new low below the belt. Oh you just know you’re saying to yourself: ‘is
that your hand in your pocket or are you happy to see me?’ or ‘hand it over’ or
‘sleight of hand’ or ‘what a dick’, ad inf. What devotees might have said: ‘Trump
manned up’ or ‘you have to hand it to him’ or ‘he’ll win hands down’. The Donald
said of his ex-best friend/ex-sycophantic supporter Mitt Romney, “If I had said
drop to your knees, he would have.” Okay. Let’s not go there. I blame it on the
krap KKKKKKardashians. Time for the naughty step for Dumb, Dumber and
Keep Your Hands Off
Banksy unmasked? I do hope not, but if you must know, it’s Robin Gunningham.
Gunningham was first named as Banksy by the Daily Mail in 2008.
Scientists at Queen Mary University of London said the pattern of how Banksy’s
artworks were distributed suggested he was the artist. Hmmm. Curious, but
perhaps not so. Geographic profiling is a technique used in fields from
criminology to the study of patterns of infectious disease. Who knew?
Researchers analysed a series of locations of 192 Banksy artworks in London
and Bristol and then mapped them against “anchor points” such as the homes of
people suspected of being Banksy. The sleuths suggested that analysis of minor
terrorism-related acts could be used to help locate terrorist bases before more
serious incidents occur as well as where epidemics start. Well, that all sounds
promising, but unmasking Banksy? We don’t want to know do we? Knowing his
name, his dog’s name, where he lives is antithetical to his artwork.