LETTERS FROM LONDON
REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL
22 December 2017
Three Down and Still Counting

‘Liar, liar, pants on fire’. Ah, the irony. Pants…liar… the First Secretary of State
and de facto Deputy Prime Minister, Damian Green. Porn on his computer,
‘inappropriate touching’, lying… getit?

He was sacked for lying which is in breach of the ministerial code. Now
shouldn't most of Theresa’s government follow? And what about Theresa herself?
Ah, Tory politicians. What’s not to love? Eh Damian? Possibly that £16,876 pay-
off he will be entitled to (note the word here), and he’s still an MP….

The charming David Davis promised, OK threatened to quit if Damian was no
longer Theresa’s best friend. Waiting… Evidently Davey has 7 teaspoons of
sugar in his tea. Surely that explains – something! We know he drinks, and I
don't mean tea, but really. Seven. Diabetes death wish?

And Theresa? Why she had no idea in regards to his creepy behaviour. Why
she promoted Damian to first secretary of state nine months after the word was
out. Indeed. His accuser, Kate Maltby, had informed Downing Street in 2016.
She told journalists just this week that “I spoke to a very senior and long-serving
aide of Theresa May.” Hmmm. Wondering who? She continues to accuse
Damian of a “pattern of behaviour.”  Hmmm. Lying and inappropriate behaviour?
No 10 sources insist Theresa knew nothing about the allegations. Hmmm. Pull
the other leg. Oh wait. Maybe not the leg….


Oh You Vassals

While we’re in the festive mood and simultaneously reviewing the season, all
together now: “Here we go a wassailing…” Oh oops. I meant ‘vassaling’. Oh
Boris. So amusing. As always. Britain will be the EU “vassal state”.  A day or two
earlier, his vassal reference was ‘stolen’ from pompous 18th century ‘throw-
back’, Jacob Rees-Mogg. Now surely that’s not a surprise is it? It’s Boris! It’s
what he does.

The man is a perfect example of regression – several ages back. Boris has
insisted Little Britain must not become a “vassal state” of the EU by being
‘forced’ to adopt all its regulations. Right. Such as protecting workers’ rights. Oh
yes. Those very rights that Boris and Mikey are presently attempting to remove,
quietly so we don’t notice. Well, we have. Not that will make a single bit of
difference, but you have been warned. “What! No holiday? No overtime? No
strong and stable job?”

While a vassal state, perhaps the EU could pass a new law that forces Boris to
speak only in Latin with an occasional homage to Shakespeare. I’m thinking:
‘certum est quia impossible est’ or – it is certain because it is impossible or
‘divide et impera’ – divide and rule, or ‘a fool thinks himself to be wise, but a
wise man knows himself to be a fool’ or ‘brevity is the soul of wit’. Huh Boris?

Boris did reluctantly concede that by insisting Little Britain had the right to set
different regulations, it ‘might’ suffer “trading consequences” in the negotiations
with Brussels. Really? But Boris wasn’t giving in, he argued that it was worth it so
Britain could become a champion of global free trade, and seek advantageous
deals in other parts of the world. Yes, yes, it’s time to roll on the floor laughing,
legs in the air for added effect.


Death Wish

Let’s put things into perspective. The blue passport was issued in 1921. The
burgundy in 1988. October 2019 it will go blue. It will cost £490m and we won’t
be able to holiday across the channel. All right, but not without massive paper
work and delays. According to Sky Twitter pole, 57 per cent said they didn’t
care, 27 per cent want the true blue (isn’t that the per cent who voted for the
referendum?), 16 per cent want to keep it burgundy. It’s being touted as a way
to restore our nostalgic national identity don’t you know.

Theresa tweeted: "The UK passport is an expression of our independence and
sovereignty — symbolising our citizenship of a proud, great nation.” Nauseous.
Responses to Theresa’s tweet were overwhelmingly negative. Many Twitter users
pointing out that Britain could have kept the old colour under EU rules. Others
reminded those pathetic Brexiteers that Britons would lose the right to live and
work in 27 other EU countries as a result of Brexit.

How many times can you holiday in Bath? York? Birmingham? Oh and if you
think you can fly off to Florida, think again. Anyone flying to the US for business
or pleasure must now hold a passport that contains an electronic chip – even if
they have been granted an electronic visa. Interesting that. Brexiteers still
blaming the EU? What do you think…

Another pole. Be prepared, it’s not pretty. A new pole has revealed the first and
second objectives of those ludicrous Brexiteers when ‘we’ leave the EU. You
know about the blue passports, but I doubt you knew they want to restore the
death penalty as the first decision taken. These Brexiteers have become quite
scary don’t you think? You refuse to back the passport change and they will kill
you. A guillotine in Marble Arch?


Fox in the Hen House

Oh there’s Liam being foxy again. But if you simply can’t bear another word on
how inept, dishonest, cruel the Tories are – skip down to Christmas with the
Queen.

Ready? Britain’s International Trade Secretary, Liam Fox doesn’t want us to
know we are soon going to be ingesting 20 separate toxic chemicals in our
turkeys – and chickens. You know about the chlorine-washing and anti-biotics
added before we sit down to Sunday lunch. Bleach is the least of it. Fruits,
veggies and fish are ‘disinfected’. “There is no health issue with washing
chicken,” Liam told us. And whom do we have to thank for a non-toxic, non-GM
Sunday lunch? The EU of course.

The EU banned US beef in the 1980s over the US overuse (oh really?) of
synthetic growth hormones. And we know about the US standards in regards to
food… Chilling – and deadly. 80 percent of all antibiotics sold in the US are
used on livestock rather than American humans. Often used to promote growth
of their ‘filthy meat’. And we know how assiduously their pharmaceutical
companies promote, without conscience, their products. Reassuring.

The man himself: “Consumers will want to be consulted. We don’t want to get
into a situation where we’ve been with the TTIP agreement with the US and the
EU where a huge amount of work is done only to find the public won’t accept it.”
This 7 November.

Two days after Liam made his public pledge to boost transparency, the UK and
the US agreed to keep the information “held in confidence” for four years after
the conclusion of the talks. You know you are thinking hypocrite, liar, bastard or
any other pejorative label we could paste on Liam. Over his mouth?

Ready for more? You’re not going to believe this. I know, I know, you will. Ian’s
27-strong UK delegation at the first substantial trade discussion, lacked any
experts with experience. And the US team?  77 people included at least 20
officials with direct experience of negotiating and enforcing trade deals. So
encouraging and reassuring.

Liam’s Department for International Trade: “Anyone given access to this
information will be warned that they cannot share the information with individuals
not authorised to see the information.” You’ve been warned. They will find you,
or the US will.

Surely we would be remiss if we didn’t include David Davis in the absolute
stupidity of the government. Experts? Ha ha ha. Davey is “running a department
in utter chaos.” 143 key posts remain unfilled. Ah the details. And we know
Davey is unfamiliar with the word. The jobs: finance, economics, project
management plus 81 policy roles. And then there is that high staff turnover.
Chaos? Utter chaos. Those silly details? Nearly one in ten every three months.
Now that wasn’t hard was it? And the normal Whitehall turnover? Twelve months.
Are we assuming too much that Davey can count?


No Time Like the Present

And now for a bit of Christmas cheer, unless you were expecting a lovely
present from the Queen. You weren’t, were you? We know the Queen loves
Tupperware and gives – erm – paltry, all right, ‘beggarly’ (seems more
appropriate here) Christmas presents to her 1,500 staff from Tesco. Notice
here. Not Fortnum and Mason or even Harrods or even Waitrose. Tesco.

For those who have worked for the Queen for at least a decade receive a book
token or other voucher usually. Junior staff reportedly get given a voucher worth
£28, but it is said the yearly gift increases slightly each year in line with years of
service. Tokens are capped at £35.

We surely know about the present exchange between the royals. They express
their collective sense of – erm – humour? So according to The Mirror, Princess
Anne once gave Charles a white leather loo-seat and he is said to still use it on
foreign trips. Oh dear. What do we do with that image? Block it, quickly.

Before Diana realised she wasn’t participating in a proper Christmas and gave
proper presents - cashmere sweaters and mohair scarves as you do - Princess
Anne gave her a loo-roll holder. I know you must be thinking – does Anne have a
– bathroom fixation? Let’s say probably as part of the family fun.

William gave Prince Philip a gumboot-shaped soap and a set of joke dragons
claws, and Harry bought his grandmother a shower cap emblazoned with the
words “Ain't life a bitch?” Really? Not for them.

And one Christmas, Kate gave Harry a plastic 'grow your own American
girlfriend' kit that grows 600% of its size. How prophetic you could say. You
could also say: how creepy. What was Ex-Waity trying to say there? Did it grow
into a life-size plastic doll? You know the kind. It did have massive breasts, as
they inevitably do, assuming here. Yuck and creepy.

There apparently is a list as to why a ‘grow your own’ girlfriend is preferable to a
real one: ‘she never has a headache…she lets you have sole custody of the
remote…passing gas is encouraged…no nagging…no PMS’, etc. Oh yes, you
can ‘watch it grow’. Words fail – and not because I have no comment.

I could be wrong, but I rather doubt if Meghan will be handing out printed copies
of her now-defunct blog to remind them of her friendly tips on entertaining,
rather like Pippa – right? Do you suppose they will burst into song led by MM
singing ‘I Saw Momma Kissing Santa Clause’ or All I want for Christmas is my
Two Front Teeth’ or ‘Santa Clause is Coming to Town’… ‘so you’d better what
out, you’d better not shout’? Adding that nostalgic popular American tradition?
Certainly would be in keeping with the presents.

Should we expect new Vanity Fair pics? Similar to the ones she posed for when
Harry was self-righteously demanding privacy for the vulnerable MM?  Or they
could frame the latest ‘loved-up’ – erm - rather clingy – photos. This is going to
be an endless engagement.


Reasons Not to be Cheerful

The Answer to One’s Prayers

What!? BBC is now going to promote religion?! No really. They are going to
‘enhance’ their efforts for their missionary agenda. At least half the population is
not religious, so why now? Not only why now, why and WHO has decided this?
Will they set a special time for all of us to genuflect, OK, not that, kneel on a
cushion, OK not that, but close our eyes and all pray together, OK that. More
programmes, more in mainstream programming, more BBC Breakfast presenter,
Dan Walker, who is a devout practicing Christian? Or Max on EastEnders
considering the priesthood?  Jamie Oliver bringing in a priest to bless his five
ingredients? BBC is already teetering on the edge of nearly unwatchable, this
will surely push it over into the abyss of hell? Goodness. That is a bit of an
exaggeration isn’t? Possibly a Christmas present for Murdoch? Bless. A few
statistics by the way: 3% of 18-24 year olds, 9% of Britons and 14% of
Londoners attend Midnight Mass and church on Christmas day according to Sky
poll data. Not exactly impressive is it? But the Evangelical church is “exploding”.
Oh Jesus.


NO!

Nooooooo! Noooooo! Just when there was a chance, slight though it may have
been, all is lost. Kat and – oh save us – hysterically mental Jean are returning to
EastEnders in the new year. I suppose we can be of cheer as Alfie is dead on
the other (unwatchable) BBC programme. Now that would be tragic. Time to
prepare for over-acting and shrieking and Kat’s cleavage. Can’t wait. EE has
been truly dreadful for the last year and bringing all these characters back from
wherever tedious actors go was a bit pathetic and definitely desperate. All right.
We’ve managed to adjust, but not these two. Arghhhh. Oh and current executive
producer, John Yorke, is responsible, as he was 17 years ago. Thanks John.

Wait. Latest EE breaking bad news. Alfie is being brought back from the dead. I
seriously have loss the will to live and I certainly wish Kat&Alfie had as well – and
let’s not forget Jean. These three characters – OK, cheeky, chirpy, cheery Alfie
is just as interminably irritating in real life - are truly the most annoying EE has
ever created.

Yorke: “Alfie will always be a part of the EastEnders family.” Someone tell him.
I'm thinking a petition. Clearly Yorke et al are drunk on the figures: from 3.4
million viewers to possibly 5.5 million. Yorke was drafted in to rescue the soap
when former boss Sean O’Connor was axed amid plummeting ratings.

An EastEnders source said: “Alfie’s comeback is some way off but it was always
the plan to reunite them. Who could resist a bit more Kat and Alfie?” What
deluded world do these EE people live in? So, let’s bring them back because
viewers adored them – and the unwatchable Redwater was such a massive hit.
Right? Yorke has extended his contract from three months to twelve. And I
thought having to endure one of the worst writers ever, Pete Lawson, was
enough to cause despair. I’m fading here….


Reasons to be Cheerful

Face It

Oh dear. Now you can lick your own face, not that you ever would or want
anyone but your dog to do that. It’s heaven for the self-selfie-obsessed. Your
very own face in your very own cup of coffee.

The Tea Terrace on Oxford Street is Europe’s first cafe to offer your very own
image looking back at you in sepia. You can choose your face on cappuccino
or hot chocolate flavoured.

Instructions: send your headshots via a messaging app to the barista and then
simply choose your drink of choice out of the two on offer. The ‘cino’ machine
then recreates your face. No worries. The design is actually a flavourless food
colouring.

All right. Worry. The process takes four minutes and thus, tepid coffee – no, no,
not acceptable and it will set you back £5.75. Over 400 of the have been sold
since the launch in a few days. How can I not ask: mugs?


Smash Hit

If Christmas drives you round the bend, if you find yourself telling yourself not to
push that middle-aged, power-mad man blocking your exit off the bus - off the
bus… if you want to scream at that negligent mother letting her young child
screaming, for a moment of attention…if none of your presents from Amazon
Prime have arrived, you might want to consider smashing a Christmas tree to
bits. Rudolph Rage Room is a pop up for your frustrations. Really.

There you are, in the red jumpsuit and a hard hat provided naturally, and the
essential element? A baseball bat. You can beat into submission: baubles,
dancing Santas (oh yes!), trees. Join the queue.

This now necessary pop up began in Japan in 2008. Who knew they were so
angry? On a normal day you could destroy televisions (ah), computers (ah),
crockery (not so ah, but still good). The first one in the UK was in Birmingham
earlier this year. Now what does that say?

£15 to demolish; you have the length of a chosen Christmas song to swing the
bat. Chosen song? Now that alone could illicit unrestrained rage. And – a glass
of prosecco. Although surely you wouldn’t need it to inspire.

So forget ‘stress-release’ breathing, mindfulness, yoga, screaming into a pillow.
It’s a bat you want. Surely better than a massive punch-up on the tube platform.

Your other option? A pop up where you can cuddle cats and dogs. After you’ve
beaten a Christmas tree to pieces. Happy Christmas to all!
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