LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
28 August 2015
Ha, Ha, Ha...Huh?

With ‘the silly season’ nearly over and you’ve been suppressing a final ROTFL
response, hoping to fully experience your roll across the living room, your fun
time has arrived. Possibly.

Ready? Here’s the winning joke of the Fringe: I just deleted all the German
names off my phone. It's Hans free. Well? Did you laugh yourself sick? Really?
I doubt it.

Darren Walsh has won the Funniest Joke of the Fringe. Darren said: “I’m
delighted to win. What a punderful feeling.” Personally, no laughing, not even
smiling, actually close to groaning. Darren won the first UK Pun Championship
last year. On a roll then (oops). I’m desperately trying to ignore any puns I’m
coming up with – to avoid that punderful feeling – and resulting embarrassment.

This, the funniest joke, was chosen from a shortlist compiled by a panel of
judges, who saw an average of 60 shows each at this year's Edinburgh Fringe.
Was this a Fringe sans wit, humour, cleverness, satire, irony? Oh surely not.
Where was Tim Vine, the master of the one-liners at least?

The shortlisted jokes were voted on by 2,000 people, who found these the
funniest. Hint: TV station Dave was responsible for this ‘Funniest Joke of the
Fringe’ list. Hmmmm.

Stewart Francis: “Kim Kardashian is saddled with a huge arse ... but enough
about Kanye West."

Adam Hess: “Surely every car is a people carrier?”

Masai Graham: “What's the difference between a 'hippo' and a 'Zippo'? One is
really heavy, the other is a little lighter.”

Dave Green: “If I could take just one thing to a desert island I probably wouldn't
go.”

Mark Nelson: “Jesus fed 5,000 people with two fishes and a loaf of bread. That's
not a miracle. That's tapas.”

Tom Parry: “Red sky at night. Shepherd's delight. Blue sky at night. Day.”

Alun Cochrane: “The first time I met my wife, I knew she was a keeper. She was
wearing massive gloves.”

Simon Munnery: “Clowns divorce. Custardy battle”.

Grace The Child: “They're always telling me to live my dreams. But I don't want
to be naked in an exam I haven't revised for.”

The judges also released a list of jokes which just missed out on the shortlist:

Ian Smith: "If you don't know what introspection is you need to take a long, hard
look at yourself."

Tom Ward: "I usually meet my girlfriend at 12:59 because I like that one-to-one
time."

Gyles Brandreth: "Whenever I get to Edinburgh, I'm reminded of the definition of
a gentleman. It's someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, but doesn't."

James Acaster: "Earlier this year I saw "The Theory of Everything" - loved it.
Should've been called "Look Who's Hawking", that's my only criticism."

Jenny Collier: "I never lie on my CV…because it creases it."

Ally Houston: "Let me tell you a little about myself. It's a reflexive pronoun that
means 'me'."

Seriously now. The last two are actually funny. The rest – seriously not.

According to the Mirror, here are two they those:

Magician Pete Firman: “They scoffed when I told them I’d one day to learn the
secret of invisibility. If they could only see me now.”

Katherine Ryan: “Joan Rivers got exactly what she wanted from that final
surgery - to stop ageing. Finally she nailed it.”

Still funnier than ‘the list’. Am I right in thinking Dave, ‘Home of Witty Banter’, is
not au fait with the concept of banter. Banter: mockery, joking, repartee, wit,
satire, parody, derision, but I’m being ironic here.


The Forecast Looks - Foreign

The Met Office has lost its lucrative weather forecasting contract with the BBC
after nearly a century of providing the service; their replacement is expected to
take over next year. Dutch and New Zealand firms are said to be in the running
for the contract. What? Wait. Really? Why?

Oh it’s that the BBC said it was legally required to open up the contract to
outside competition and secure the best value for money for licence fee payers.
Curiously not the six-figure salaries at the top though. Such as part-time creative
director/presenter Alan Yentob at £330,000? Did you take that in? Part-time.
Yentob has a BBC pension pot estimated to be worth at least £5 million. I’m
beginning to ‘tut tut’ here. And whose licence fee cash is it exactly?

The BBC says the Met has dumbed down and its smart phone app isn’t fit for
purpose, but it’s being said that it might just be because the Met is government-
owned. Aha. With PM CallMeDave et al determined to succeed in the demise of
the BBC, it is worth a moment of gratifying revenge. Aha. Ha.

Oh dear. The Met announced plans last year to spend £97 million on a new
supercomputer. Maybe not. Staff bonuses were £20.8m over the past five years
– for correctly predicting the weather. It’s ranked number one in the world for
forecast accuracy. We’ll ignore those tropic summers they promised won’t we.
The BBC said it would still use the Met Office for its severe weather warnings.
Oh. We’re all so relieved and thrilled we’ll be getting our money’s worth.

But, sadly any revenge satisfaction is short-lived. Award-winning writer, (yes,
behind fab The Thick of It), Armando Iannucci: Tories are ‘waging war’ on the
BBC.

Iannucci has told the Edinburgh TV Festival that ministers are effectively trying
to kill off the BBC, which is “bad capitalism” to diminish the broadcaster and he
claims debate has been poisoned by newspaper industry (quelle surprise).
He said: “If the BBC were a weapons system, half the cabinet would be on a
plane to Saudi Arabia to tell them how brilliant it was. And yet, it’s quite the
reverse. They talk of cutting down to size, of reining in imperialist ambitions, of
hiving off, of limiting the scope, with all the manic glee of a doctor urging his
patient to consider the benefits of assisted suicide.” Goodness me. Poison,
imperialism, war and death. Not another BBC period drama mini-series....


Rant and Raves or I’m Losing the Will to Live:

Single Ladies

Labour-leader-hopeful Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of trying to take the
UK back to the 70s. He has been the Member of Parliament for Islington North
for 37 years. But his latest response actually does literally. He was asked if he
approved of ‘ladies only carriages’ - phased out in Britain in 1977. He said he
was willing ‘to consult.’

OK. JC was speaking after the British Transport Police (BTP) issued figures
showing that the number of reported sexual offences on public transport had hit
a new high, rising 25 percent in 2014/15 to 1,399 cases from 1,117 a year
earlier. Here we are again; whose fault is it? Well, it isn’t women is it. “If I
haven't had roaming hands all over me before I get to work, I feel like a failure.”

The BTP attributed the steep rise to a campaign to encourage people to report
sexual offences. Hmmm. A 2013 survey found one in ten Londoners
experienced unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport, but more than 90
percent did not report it to police. Assuming it would be pointless then?

With the complete sexualising of the culture, with porn considered ‘normal’, it
isn't out of repression is it? More a matter of the rude, unruly, unchivalrous - oh
really now, actually entitled, pathetic misogynists.

Andy Burham was asked in a televised line-up of Labour leader hopefuls.
“Wouldn’t it be great to have a woman leader?” Andy laughed. “When the time is
right.” Labour stuck in the 70s? Never. Clearly Labour will never get in power
again. Sigh.

But. A new study has revealed female guppy fish learn to become better
swimmers to outpace amorous males and evade their unwelcome advances and
even injury.

Dr Shaun Killen, of the University of Glasgow: “To reduce these costs, one
possibility is that females may be able to change their own behaviour or
physiology in ways that reduce the negative energetic consequences of
harassment or allows them to more easily escape male coercion.” Inspiring.


It's a Numbers Game

Walking literally hundreds of miles, drowning, decomposing in lorries, higher
fences, tear gas, rubber bullets...no worries – best to let them die – right?

Oh I know. Isn’t so annoying when you’re ‘chillaxing’ on your holiday. Not just
PM CallMeDave. How is it possible to witness the horrific ‘swarm’ of desperate
asylum-seekers and not feel the deepest empathy. Really. How?

216...216 refugees have been up to standard to step onto British shores.
800,000 in Germany. Tiny Lebanon has welcomed 1.1m Syrians, roughly a
quarter of the local population. Turkey has taken in 1.7m. EU states grudgingly
agreed to take a pathetic total of 32,256 over two years. Half of Germans polled
support letting in even more refugees. Syrians welcome.

Oh all those benefit scroungers – often more clever and well-educated than
those only too happy to slate them. “All we want is a life. To live a life.”
Disgraceful.

But even more disgraceful is cramming the House of Lords with Tory losers,
lobbyists, political fixers. If all 836 peers appeared to pick up their tax-payer-
funded £300 a day expenses, they would have to sit on each other’s laps - 4.18
to a seat - to fill the 200 seats.

One favourite is the former MP Douglas Hogg; exposed in the expenses scandal
for trying to charge taxpayers £2,200 to clean his moat – how could we forget?
Who doesn’t have a moat, darling. And, tuning his piano and a £670 for the
services of a mole catcher at his 13th-century estate, which he had designated
as his second home. As you do. CallMeDave tried to make him a life peer in
2011 but was blocked by the House of Lords Appointments Commission. If at
first you don’t succeed...

So, a few of the usual suspects: multimillionaire donors such as James Lupton
who donated nearly £3m, then there is MP Greg Barker who made £300,000
buying and selling a flat he bought with the help (help) of commons expenses,
MP James Arbuthnot who claimed £108,000 for his second home and £1,500 to
have his pool cleaned – plus a bit of gardening, just a bit...but then there is
former MP Sir George Young who described the homeless as “People you step
over when you’re coming out of the opera.” Ah another charming Tory. At least
he steps over rather than on ‘those people’.

CallMeDave has appointed 236 new peers in the last five years – 228 were not
political appointments. The House of Lords independent? Indeed. Downing
Street said that Dave wants the House of Lords to address reform itself – after
he’s packed it with Tory pals. Must I say it again? Apparently so. “We’re all in
this together.”
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