Hiding In Your Cupboard

Hiding In Your Cupboard
Banksy's desecration of the Palestinian wall

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

An interesting story about Spitzer - click here

Greg Palast is a great journalist and this is quite an interesting story.

It's intriguing how the media are used to create stories like this. Is it our fault we are obsessed with illicit sex rings (or for that matter Britney's cunt, Prince Charles's desire to be a tampon or Janet Jackson's slippery nipples), something to do with human nature or are media organisations being manipulated in other ways?

Has the media become so obsessed with sex that governments can routinely cover up real atrocities with sexual ones?

I wonder if their is a sexual saturation point at which every story in the newspaper is about sex in some way. Even the sports pages just showing pictures of footballers kissing eachother. And if that happens will governments be able to run riot. Will Rupoert Murdoch be forced to wander around in nothing but a corporate condom (there must be some good side to all of this)?


Monday, 17 March 2008

Strange editorial from the BBC

Click on the title above to see the story.

Normally when the BBC do these Vox pops they publish a few different opinions. Here we have three identical opinions on the independence struggles in Tibet.

I can't decide whether the BBC is trying to paint China as a monolithic, mono-idea brainwasher (which i suppose you could argue it is... if you had a very simplistic view of the world), doesn't like Tibet or is trying to flog the Chinese Fawlty Towers.

Selling Fawlty Towers to the Chinese could in theory raise enough money to abolish the licence fee. So there is an incentive.

This story is also the fourth most viewed page on the site.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

My site is being overrun by perverts and Boyzone fans

I just added some software that tells me what people typed in to search engines to find my blog.

So far - Ronan Keating is in the lead

Next is - crotch grabbing photos (???)

and then countless searches along the lines of Thai prostitute, thai massage parlour and so on.

What a revolutionary tool the internet is! You spend ages writing a blog hoping that people enjoy your writing and they are only reading it in the hope that I will divulge the best place to get sucked off in Bangkok or whether Ronan really is an arse-faced tosser with a voice like a hoover thats sucked up a choir boy.

Good night


Monday, 10 March 2008

Catholic Church Raises the bar

So the Catholic Church has revamped the Seven Deadly sins - to fit in with a modern world. They are now:

Environmental pollution
Genetic manipulation
Accumulating excessive wealth
Inflicting poverty
Drug trafficking and consumption
Morally debatable experiments
Violation of fundamental rights of human nature

Great. I will no longer burn in the fires of hell once I die. These mortal sins are surely harder to acheive than the previous set....


which were worryingly easy to fall for. Unless of course they are running side by side and greed is somehow equated with a "violation of the fundemental rights of human nature". Kids who have eaten one too many bowls of ice cream will be next in the queue to Pol Pot and the like under this system.

Its also nice to see the Catholic Church conecerned about Human Rights and the obscenely wealthy. Black pot looking for similarly shaded kettle springs to mind.


A few thoughts...


Cracking Iannucci story about the difference in rhetoric between US and UK politicians. Its seems he shares my view that Obama has become the pied piper of politics and that no woman with a haircut like Clinton's should be allowed control of a can of hairspray let alone the United States of America.

Also noticed that the Mirror is running a campaign to stop underage drinking. Someting like help the Mirror "'Can' Underage boozing". Made me wonder whether you could consider the newspaper crusade as a news value in itself. Other examples include the Daily Mail's "what is the world coming to" campaign which attempted to whip the nation into a fervour of jingoistic wooly-headedness with stories, ney lies, about immigrants being given Rolls Royces and handjobs from the Royal Family once they had rowed up the channel tunnel cunningly disguised in coats made of Euros.

At any rate it pisses me off when newspapers take on these campaigns. They are either making a general assumption that everyone in the country is thinking much the same thing and then having the arrogance to believe that their extravagant headline will actually make a difference. Or they are cynically trying to sell newspapers with cheap issues rather than making the effort to actually go out and investigate news.

"Slow news day - lets try and get everyone to bash a Paki. Or swear at a granny."

The other silly UK news trend, which to be fair has been going on for quite a while now, is to have small bits of editorial appear in speech bubbles launched like vacuous crack pipes from the chemically swollen lips of page three girls. Things such as "Tricia thinks its great London has got the Olympics but worries about where the dosh is coming from"... or "Jamie Oliver may be cute to look at on the telly box but Michelle just can't help but have her heart melt like a gooey chocolate fondant when she see him slobbering all over those fat kids"... they go a bit like that anyway.

Whats the point of this? Well... its just a basic insult to everyone involved's intelligence.

Good night


Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Te Waha Nui Online - AUT

Te Waha Nui Online - AUT

Te Waha Nui is the student paper we write at AUT. It's literal translation is "Big Mouth" and isn't a reference to the hardcore pornography on page three.

If you click on the title above (which through the magic of the internet is also a hyperlink) you will go to my first New Zealand published story. As you will see I have been studying to become a journalist for about a fortnight and I am already writing stories that are slightly biased towards Rupert Murdoch.


Monday, 3 March 2008


A new piece of software known as Wikiscanner, developed by the California Institute of Technology, has revealed the site to be “the province of the covert lobby” according to Sunday Times columnist Oliver Kamm.

The big bad boys of the corporate underworld, Dow Chemicals, AstraZeneca and Exxon Mobil to name but a few, may have been editing their own entries to show themselves in a more flattering light.

AstraZeneca have deleted references to the suicidal side-effects of its anti-depressant Seroquel, Exxon Mobil has altered passages explaining their failure to pay more than $5 billion dollars (US) in compensation to Alaskan fishermen affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill and Dow Chemicals have mysteriously deleted a paragraph referring to the Bohpal chemical disaster of 1984.

Perhaps more worryingly the CIA has also been at it - reportedly guilty of inserting “Wyaaaah!” after every mention of the Iranian President.

The cynicism is astounding; it’s akin to scribbling on the Dead Sea Scrolls and changing Jesus’s name to Kevin.

Have columnists such as Kamm who believes we should “jeer at its (Wikipedia’s) pretensions“, in their haste to condemn Wikipedia, somewhat missed the point of the website itself.

What’s your view on the Wikipedia issue? An unbiased opinion based on a careful summation of both sides of the story no doubt. A considered viewpoint that takes into account all available information and concludes with an original insight. Honestly?

Or have you been spouting something you read elsewhere? Perhaps even from Wikipedia itself. Jimmy Wales, a founder of Wikipedia, claims to love Wikiscanner saying it “brings an additional level of transparency to what’s going on at Wikipedia”. This despite the fact that it has brought to the fore Wikipedia’s main frailty - namely that is completely unchecked and can be edited by anybody. Wales, though, has been quoted as saying that it is only through transparency that Wikipedia will achieve quality.

Recent moves by Wikipedia have served to improve the reliability of information on the site. Although it is only in a trial format, the new software that only allows trusted editors to immediately edit Wikipedia pages will certainly help matters. A user can become a trusted editor by submitting suggestions for changes to articles to other trusted editors. Once a user has posted enough reliable entries they will gain the status of trusted editor. If too many of their entries from here on in are disputed they lose their status. This system is tied closely to the ethics of traditional journalism and should quieten the doubters.

The success of Wikipedia seems bound up with a very modern definition of truth; an epistemology of consensus rather than hard facts. The pursuit of knowledge has never taken a straight path, its history is littered with avenues of thought that led nowhere, wrong turns and journeys no doubt of ingenious imbecility. We remember the path that went forward, the Galileo’s and the Einstein’s but we forget those who for one reason or another decided to postulate that the Earth was a cube or that light travelled on wheels. Wikipedia works on this principle, if enough people edit an article it will eventually become accurate. Until now the process has been vulnerable to information sharks such as Exxon but those corporations that have been caught with their online pants down this week will certainly think twice about doctoring their entries from now on.

Kamm’s and the rest of the traditional media’s criticisms of Wikipedia seem to harbour a certain paranoia. They seem to dislike the public’s trust of this young pretender, who is potentially ousting them from their seat of arbiters of all relevant information. The criticism they lay at the feet of Wikipedia, that it is nothing more than a bunch of amateurish opinions, is rather ironic as it is an accusation that could be leveled at many newspapers or television stations in the world. Across the board it seems that comment and opinion is taking the place of good honest reportage.

From bolshy, one-sided television journalists, the rants of tabloid newspapers and the increasingly large comments sections of the broadsheets to the rampant parturition of websites such as You Tube that allow even those of us who don’t have a column in the Herald to voice our opinion, unbiased news coverage is a Sleeping Beauty awaiting its kiss.

Whatever happened to surveying the facts and coming up with our own thoughts? It seems certain that there is a complete distrust of statistics et al and this is not surprising seeing as our governments and some sections of our media couldn’t be trusted with a plastic spoon let alone a dossier of war secrets or a DNA database. One almost had pity on Tony Blair when he childishly cried out about the media being a feral beast. The Prime Minister should be big and ugly enough to take the criticism, the satire and the downright dumb spat at him from various media sources, but he does have a point when it comes to the sensationalization of the media.

No longer can we have the story “Cat Rescued By Fireman From Tree” it must be “Terrorist Cat in Daring Rescue Mission By Underpaid Fireman in Tree Funded By The National Lottery - Where Will It End!”

Perhaps journalists are bored. The less discriminate of us seem to fire off ill informed opinions like a senile major with a blunderbuss. Maybe we just can’t face the mundanity of the world we live in and try to exaggerate. This doesn’t seem to add up though - the current world, whether
you like it or not is a very exciting place to live, as long as you don’t necessarily combine exciting with pleasurable. It seems more likely to be the product of our beloved market forces pushing their noses in where they are not needed. What sells newspapers or advertising space? Scandal and gossip. With a media that is all outraged bark and corporate muzzle this won’t change unless we stop falling for it.

The irony of the traditional media sneering at Wikipedia’s shortcomings is blindingly evident. However, Wikipedia must embrace the ethics of traditional journalism if it is to achieve its aim of becoming a reliable source of information. Using the trusted editors system is a good step in the right direction.

Rather than jeering at Wikipedia’s pretensions - I shall be sticking my tongue out at the pretensions of Kamm and his cronies. A brief trawl through Wikipedia reveals the slightly anal nature of the average poster and the lengths that most posters go to reference their articles, lengths that reveal a passion for honesty that escapes companies such as Exxon. Wikipedia must aspire to a higher set of ethics than corporations; at the same time though, as a uniquely democratic arbiter of information it must be allowed to thrive.


Song and dance making has long been a core subject for the average MP but a whole Opera seems to have been composed in relation to Hone Harawira’s unscheduled trip to the Northern Territories. NZ First MP, Ron Marks, has led the criticisms accusing Mr. Harawira of “going AWOL” and questioning his actions in Parliament.

If only more politicians were like Hone. The trip to Victoria to discuss election finance law and victim’s rights seemed to be something of a junket; the National Party certainly thought so and pulled out. This was more an opportunity for cocktail sipping and ego stroking, especially for members of opposition parties who have very little say at these Committees. This is patently not an arena that Hone, to use his own vernacular, is stuffed about and unlike many politicians before him he actually went to the heart of the matter.

How much can politicians learn about victim’s rights in a conference room staring at a biscuit?

Isn’t Mr Harawira correct in going to the victims themselves? With his visit to the Aboriginal communities he has increased awareness and understanding of a group of victims and a social issue more used to being swept under the carpet than receiving national media coverage.

Harawira’s forthright style has the media sitting up and begging for a story or a sound-bite. The media loves it when a politician speaks his mind; Harawira knows this and plays it to his advantage. Ably protected in Parliament by the shrewd Dr Sharples - Harawira has made a name for himself, bought an issue close to his heart a huge amount of press and made some other Mps look a little less macho in comparison.

This story is really a microcosm of what is wrong with a lot of the developed world’s politics. Hone Harawira only stands out because he is a rarity - a politician who speaks his mind and follows up his words with actions. The public are surely tiring of the hamstrung politician too scared to say what he thinks in case he gets told off by his party. The World needs politicians that aren’t afraid of actually doing something rather than hiding behind a veil of statistics, committees and damned obfuscation.

This isn’t to say that Hone has it plain-sailing from now on. Calling Howard a “racist bastard” perhaps smacked a little of naivete. It’s quite possible that this would actually help Howard’s case for re-election as conservative elements of Australian society may feel stung and react defensively by casting their vote in his favour.

Hone Harawira shouldn’t let these concerns hold him back though, he’s currently a breath of fresh air. It is important that his party, especially Pita Sharples, protects him and ensures that his efforts and skill are focused in the correct areas. If Hone sounds off about every issue under the sun, his effect will be diluted and his style of politics relies very heavily on impact. Hone will ultimately be judged on how he approaches social issues in his own backyard; so watch this space.


(The guy that this is about, the hoaxer not my friend, scares the bejesus out of me!)

For many immigrants a period of time working in New Zealand offers the ideal opportunity to gain valuable experience, earn better than your home countries wages and a step up the career ladder. Unemployment is extremely low in comparison to many other countries and consequently employers are often prepared to take a chance on a candidate’s personality and enthusiasm rather than a CV bursting with experience.

Considering the skill shortages that New Zealand has, it is unsurprising that the government makes a considerable effort to promote immigration. For instance in my own country, the UK, every year there are several government funded exhibitions extolling the virtues of a new life in the World’s youngest country. With English as my first language adapting to the working environment here has been relatively-simple, a breath of fresh air in comparison to the stifling, micro-management favoured by so many uninspired middle managers in the UK.

For the many immigrants who come here without English as their first language there are some understandable barriers to employment. That said, the majority of these people that I have met have, at the very least, a good standard of conversational English. It is only when the more esoteric language used in the workplace comes into play that they struggle.

Carlos Muniaz arrived in New Zealand from Chile about three months ago. He has good conversational English, is a qualified safety engineer in the gas industry and is looking for work in this industry. After searching the internet he found a Neil Parker, Managing Director of a company called SafeSystems Ltd. Neil claimed that he would be able to find work for Carlos working for contractors such as Northpower, that are used by the utility firm Vector who outsource maintenance and building work on the North Island’s electricity and gas infrastructure.

At first, things went well. Carlos received training at Utilitech and attained a warrant allowing him to work in this environment. He was even given some English tuition. Soon he was given a weeks work in Whangarei working for Northpower.

Things started to wrong however when Mr. Parker became reluctant to pay his wages. Eventually Carlos received a sum of money equivalent to about half the work he had carried out. Without a good enough knowledge of English he felt unsure as to how to defend himself in this situation.

Mr. Parker offered further work but this time, on the morning that he was due to start, Carlos received a phone call from Safesystems demanding that he paid them $500 “insurance” before he was allowed to start work. Fortunately, Carlos turned the work down. Since then however, Mr. Parker has acted in an intimidating manner to Carlos and has threatened to go to immigration to “make his life difficult”.

Although Carlos is here legally this is a worrying prospect for any immigrant and without fully knowing the procedures and laws that New Zealand has to protect people in these situations was unsure as to where he stood.

I asked an insider at Vector whether anyone had heard of Mr. Parker or SafeSystems. Nobody had but it was impossible for them to know whether he may have an informal employment arrangement with any of their contractors.

On phoning Utilitech, who carry out training for Electricity and Gas contractors, I was told that Mr. Parker had worked for Northpower several years ago but had left. They seemed to think it was highly unlikely that he now worked for, or had relationships with, any other contractors and hinted that there were currently rumours circulating around the industry concerning Mr. Parker’s fidelity.

Both Vector and Utilitech believed a $500 insurance fee to be highly unusual and morally dubious. It was certainly not industry practice to charge this fee.

Suspicions were confirmed on contacting the police. Mr. Parker has a criminal record for, among other things, credit card fraud and extortion. The police told Carlos that if Mr. Parker threatened him again he should phone 111; without any real evidence though it would be impossible for them to prosecute.

Understandably the thought that other immigrants may have already been fooled by Mr. Parker is rather distressing. It seems to me that there is not clear enough information for non-English speaking immigrants as to what they should expect from an employer or the labour market and their rights and avenues of reply if they find themselves in a situation like this.

Arguments in the UK and Australia surrounding immigration often centre on whether immigrants can adapt to a culture without speaking English. Socially, this may well be true. At work this is also true but it should also be our duty to protect those who are vulnerable at the beginning of their time in New Zealand. Who would want to immerse themselves in a culture that is unable to protect them when they are most likely to fall prey to a scam such as this?
New Zealand needs immigrants to fill the gap left by those leaving to find work in Australia, the UK and the USA. The rights and wrongs of this are not for this article to debate but it is a reality that the government needs to face. Consequently, as much should be done to help new arrivals settle and this includes giving them the information they need to find secure employment, housing and so on in a way that they can fully understand. Learning English at its highest levels will come with time but scam merchants strike while the iron is hot.

(Names and details changed to protect the identities of persons involved).


(This article was inspired by the UK government's love of creating a private market for everything even if, as in the case of healthcare, it would seem to be an artificial model. Like trying to pass a cat off as a dog. It is not a criticism of the Royal Family as such - the inbred idiots are quite capable of doing that for themselves. I suppose its also a bit of a dig at the proliferation of pointless technologies that are currently being wafted around - "permanently watch Paris Hilton on my mobiel so I don't miss a thing" - just fuck off.)

An article by James Murray

As mantras go "Privatisation, Privatisation, Privatisation" doesn't really cut the mustard. Nevertheless, since the late 1980's it has certainly been the buzzword within UK politics, a buzzword that has seen many of our institutions, rightly or wrongly, given over to private corporations to be run more efficiently.

Three months ago today it was the turn of the Royal Family to be thrown to the capitalist vultures. According to most they were a dying corpse waiting to be picked to pieces by the ravages of the private market; mere sailors drowning in the Neptunian choppy seas of big business. Yet in reality, how have they coped?

Wild predictions predicting the instantaneous downfall of the House of Windsor have proved to be highly fallacious. As they may say themselves, they've done rather well indeed. Never a family to bypass tradition, the Windsors have grasped the, as yet, meagre traditions of privatisation and clung to them like a determined lobster. Their immediate reaction was to choose a funky new name. Close advisors to the Queen are believed to have advised her that the brand "Royal Family" had become stale and outdated. There were also copyright issues to be thought of – there are after all several other Royal Families throughout the world. Their new name, ‘Privilege’, is thought to be the brainchild of Prince Edward (now known as the Prince Formerly Known As Edward) the Royal Families new director of Marketing.

Along with Prince Phillip, (now known as Phillip McWindsor, an attempt to woo his Scottish following as the former Duke of Edinburgh) the Prince Formerly Known As Edward has been at the forefront of re-branding Privilege; a task which he has apparently taken on with gusto. "A fabulous opportunity to make the Royal Family as popular and relevant to today's society as Take That and the Spice Girls," he announced at the unveiling of the new name. Prince Phillip, the new Director of International PR, has been working tirelessly to transport this new image abroad.

"I have encountered some opposition in the countries our good friend Livingstone found. They don't seem to grasp the idea of re-branding and seemed quite confused when I told the chaps there that I was now to be called Phil McWindsor rather than Your Royal Highness. Very amusing to see such bemused faces and so many bright white smiles... I thought. And as for the Greeks!"

Not all members of the Royal Family have taken to their new roles so enthusiastically. Prince Charles, once previously guaranteed a shot at the top spot, is said to be fuming at the prospect of facing competition for a job he considers his own. A source close to the Queen said that she is now considering applications to be the new Queen and that it is by no means a foregone conclusion that Charles will become the new Queen once she retires to become a silent partner. He is also said to be furious at suggestions that he should now be known as Bonnie Prince Charlie simply stating that this was "Bloody demeaning”. Other contenders for the top job include Richard Branson, Tony Blair (in his autobiography he states that it has been a lifelong ambition for him to become Queen), the surviving members of the Rock Band Queen and there are rumours that a job share proposal has been submitted from the Beckham estate.

The economic impact of Royal Privatisation has been unusual to say the least. Privilege has been set up as a Ltd company as the Queen is apparently unwilling to lose control of the business. However, modernisers such as the Prince Formerly Known As Edward and Prince Andrew (now to be known as Andy Pandy as Privilege's Executive In Charge Of The Youth Vote), are said to be keen to float the Royal Family on the stock exchange. This is a prospect that has city investors twiddling their thumbs with barely concealed excitement. Financial "gentle giant" Alan Sugar recently released a press statement expressing his interest in acquiring Privilege stating that the firm would make an interesting sister company to his main interest Amstrad and that "(he) would love to see Wills and Harry peddling his cheap tat".

However, the greatest threat to the security and success of Privilege comes not from within, but from new-found competition. Under European Competition Law it is now possible for anyone in England to set up their own Royal Family. In fact this is being positively encouraged by Blair's Government. In a recent Prime Minister's Question Time Blair said that "(he wanted) every child in England to have access to their own local Royal Family. For too long having a local Royal Family has been the preserve of those children living in West London or certain remote parts of Scotland. In the name of devolution it is important that every village, every town, every suburb has their own Royal Family so no child misses out." He promptly pledged a fifth of Gordon Brown's budget to achieving this and in the upcoming election it will be New Labour's primary manifesto promise.

George Williams of Newby on Ashe in Sussex was one of the first people in England to start his own Royal Family. Described by locals both as an entrepreneur with an eye for a business opportunity and a conniving pain in the arse, Mr Williams has been a successful businessman in the area for nearly thirty years. I was fortunate enough to interview him:

JM: What made you decide to set up your own Royal Family?

GW: Well, it seemed as if the old Royal Family seemed to have a good old time, it was easy money to be honest.

JM: So what have you called your Royal Family?

GW: The Royal Family, you know the name was just waiting there to be used – it seemed a waste really (laughs).

JM: And what is your role in the firm?

GW: Well obviously, I am Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth the Third.

JM: I see, and how does the business work?

GW: Well essentially the local people pay for my food, clothing, holidays and shelter and in return I ride up and down the street twice a week on a horse wearing a robe.

JM: Do people come out to watch you?

GW: Oh yes… but I think most people come for the free plastic flags I hand out.

Although I felt that Mr Williams had slightly missed the Government's point he was indeed running a thriving business and he is now only two hundred pounds away from affording his first throne – a vital asset for any Royal Family business.

This rosy picture, is, unfortunately, not typical for the whole of the country. Many communities have lodged complaints against their localised royal families with the new industry regulator, OFF-TOFF. It seems that many local Royal Families are simply not offering value for money. Mike Nobalding, the Ombudsman for OFF-TOFF, explains:

"Consumers have become used to a high level of entertainment from our old nationalised Royal Family. Divorce, death and scandal always lurked round the regal corner. What many people did not realise when approving the privatisation of the monarchy is that the existing monarchy actually provided very good value for money. It was a case of simple economics – as the monarchy lost power in relation to government it naturally sought out other ways of justifying its existence to a modern audience. Charles I, of course will always be known as the Godfather of "Roytainment" after commandeering his own death. People soon realised that a country without a Royal Family, as proposed by Cromwell, was a very dry place and soon returned to a more familiar state. King George III was an extremely entertaining madman with impeccable comic timing and Victoria was everyone's favourite straight-woman. The current Royal Family were perhaps the most sophisticated arbiters of "Roytainment" and set a very high standard. Unfortunately for new Royal Families, governed by the laws of business, providing such high standards of entertainment is simply not cost effective. They are limited as to how much scandal they can dole out."

I asked Mike Nobalding to give me an example of the sort of complaint that OFF-TOFF received:

"Well… for instance the Royal Family set up in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire have been in operation for six months now. People have paid them money in good faith but they haven't even left their house. There hasn't been so much as an illicit game of golf and the eldest son just received three A grades at A level with absolutely no assistance from his teachers. This is just not acceptable."
If local Royal Families are successful it is thought that Big Business will soon tread in their footsteps'. National energy behemoth, the National Grid, recently announced that it was drawing up plans to offer its own Royal Network service. Ian Lightbolt, CEO of Powergen, was ever so keen to explain this idea:

"The National Grid will set up a national network of Royal Families all linked up by big pipes through which information is carried in the form of blood infused with blue food colouring. Then a plethora of 'middlemen' companies, Dukes or Duchesses if you like, will be able to sell their service nationally. The consumer will be the only winner as Royal Families will no longer be localised and competition will rise –resulting in greater customer benefits for all. A man in Bournemouth could get his Royal Services from a Royal Family in Scotland… the possibilities are endless!"

Endless, maybe, perhaps eternal also – but how did Powergen fit into the picture.

"Well you see… this is where things get even more exciting for the consumer.”

Note; the reporter arches an eyebrow.

"Powergen are looking to offer people the opportunity to buy not just their gas and electricity from us but also their Royal Needs. We feel that only a large faceless company will be able to deliver the high-octane thrills and spills that the modern day royalist thrives on - unlike, small businesses who simply do not have a high enough cash flow."

However, plans to deliver Royal Services via blue blood sent through pipes have been criticised by many as it is estimated that it would take upwards of five years to dig up the roads and pavements in order to install the lines. Even then only seventy percent of the country would receive an adequate service. Mobile phone operators have dismissed the Blueblood method as primitive and instead want to champion their Third-In-Line-To-The-Throne Generation Royal Handsets which will deliver mobile Royal Services to the consumer who likes to be on the move. Hand Sett, Technical Director of Finnish Phone Company NOKIA explained how this mobile system would work:

"First we erect 20 foot metal poles all over the country, about one every square mile and then the information is sent from our virtual castle in which we have a 24hour Royal Family on call. The information is sent by what we like to call the Royal Wave. Users can watch highlights of the Royal Family's day on their handset – you can see the Prince eating breakfast, the Princess talking on the phone – you can even see the Queen using the toilet. We will also be offering customers the chance to chat or text the Royal Family, texts will cost £1.50 and chat will cost £4 a minute – these services will of course be mainly marketed towards children who don't understand the concept of money."

Channel 4 has also jumped on the proverbial Horse and Carriage and is soon to launch Royal Big Brother. Royal Family members from around the country are invited to apply by sending in a short five minute audition tape. Twelve members will be chosen and a Queen will be chosen via an arm wrestling competition. Channel 4 executive Jake Sideburns stresses that Royal Big Brother will be unlike any previously seen reality television shows;

"In order to create a sense of reality there will be no audience voting. Contestants can only be
removed by death, revolution or a change in the balance of international power such as the fall of the pope or the rise of a European Emperor."

Perhaps the biggest dissenters against the privatisation of the monarchy are the British National Party – not because of the inevitable dissolution of a British institution – they are instead worried about a European Invasion. As the law stands in Europe there is absolutely nothing to stop a foreign Royal Family from entering our country (perhaps illegally) and taking a slice of the power fruit-cake. Mike Hunt, leader of the BNP stated in a recent rally;

"Can you imagine being ruled by Germans or Greeks, or Gypsies or Arabs? It would be bedlam... no one would know where we stood and the fabric of society as we know it would stain like a white sheet in a hot wash with a red sock. There would be chaos. We should return to the days when we had one Royal Family, all of them English, all of them blue eyed and blonde and fond of marching. Good decent people, that's what we need, good decent people to rule us. Not muck."

A salient and concise point indeed; it is undeniable that the privatisation of the Royal Family has provoked many an opinion. Yet in many ways it seems to be the natural extension of Royalism in a modern, competitive, new, progressive, computer-literate society. Lets face it as our media needs grow it is almost unfair to expect one Royal Family to be able to meet all our demands. Two wouldn't even be enough. By privatising the whole system we have opened monarchy up to the joys of the competitive market and with all the wonderful initiatives he has heard this reporter is certain that this can only be a good move.

NHS: Clinically Obese

(I wrote this after actually working for the lumbering behemoth that is the NHS. The decision making processes of Europe's largest employer are worryingly not too far off the example below)

Last week the NHS controversially refused itself lifesaving treatment on the grounds that the organisation is clinically obese. The much-debated obesity policy, that has up till now only affected members of the public, was originally intended to act as an incentive for those who have over-eaten to tighten their belts but has now taken on much more serious consequences.
Dr Alexander Simmons, spokesperson for the NHS, attempted to explain the organisation’s position;

“For several years the NHS has run a policy of refusing to help those who do not help themselves. Why on earth should a man who has existed on bean curd for the entirety of his life come second in the queue for heart bypass surgery to a man seemingly addicted to hydrogenated fats? Why should the sober Buddhist play second fiddle to the drunk Irishman in the queue for livers? And why should the Swiss cowgirl who has breathed nothing but mountain fresh air all her life not get treatment for lung cancer when she is trampled in the queue by a horde of wheezing and yellowed nicotine addicts. Its just simple common sense at the end of the day.”

I questioned him further as to why this policy has been extended to the NHS itself;

“Well the government has very much taken the view that the NHS has to help itself before it can be helped by itself. If we are to convert money into food and the NHS into the body of a man, it quite clearly becomes extremely transparently obvious that this man has eaten far too much and done little or no exercise. Consequently, this man has ballooned to quite astronomical proportions.”

I asked how the NHS should help itself;

“Well we must quite clearly and honestly and above all else definitely pledge to eat less and exercise more. Only once we have attained an economically sustainable body mass index (and one must remember that a well paid team of information analysts will come in to play here as we need to make extremely scientific measurements not just pinch the proverbial fat between proverbial forefinger and thumb!), only then will we be able to confidently say that it may well be the right time, approximately but relatively certainly, for the NHS to finally help itself… perhaps with a stomach stapling operation.”

I ask him what a stomach stapling operation may represent.

“Well I suppose, one could make some sort of loosely-linked comparison with job cuts or salary decreases. Perhaps, but only perhaps of course, there may be adjustments, small but large-scale, to pension funds, possibly. But if the NHS, now being described as the body of a man who has eaten too much and run too little, does enough exercise then the job cuts and salary decreases and the potentially possible, yet, if entertained seriously, certain adjustments, here or herewith, to pensions may not need to come about at all, or in some circumstances they may be lessened by a nominal or even substantial degree.”

I ask how the NHS will be expected to lose weight?

“Well obviously, well obvious to the trained eye at the very least or perhaps even that is an extremely obvious statement, obviously people may have to work harder. More efficiently, streamling productivity or somesuch idea so that the overall effect is one of a fat man straining to run a 100 metres in under twenty seconds.”

The spokesperson, turns a subtle shade of pink for a moment and then I ask him, if job cuts are still inevitable after all this exercise, who will be the first to go?

“Well, of course this is a contentious subject, contentious yet strangely palatable when viewed through the correct lens. Of course we value our nurses and our cleaning staff with high esteem but unfortunately it is they who must be the first to go, in some circumstances, though largely and predominantly in all circumstances (with some notable exceptions).”

Why? Why are managers and clerical staff not being considered?

“Another very good question, of course, well obviously to be sacked you need to be sacked by someone who is hierarchically, if not in physical stature, greater than you (of course this isn’t to say that they are a better person although we are unable to not reflect this in their paypacket and the size of their office seat but these are of course trivial items. Especially chairs!). Therefore it would only actually be possible to sack those at the bottom lest we loose a chink in our coil and the whole system comes tumbling down and all we are left with are hardworking, perhaps mythically so, nurses and cleaners. Who would never be able to be sacked under any circumstances as they would, of course, no longer be under the control of a manager. As for clerical staff, well I have only been aware that we employ clerical staff since last week, I thought all my letters were typed by a “PC” not a person but I guess we would be unable to let these people go as managers and doctors would have to either write legibly, or perhaps even in capital letters, or type their own work up, which is obviously quicker in the first place but would leave no room for long-winded phone conversations with understaff detailing exactly what font the letter should be typed in and would, of course loose all the fun of sending documents back and forth covered with an increasing amount of squiggly red pen. So they of course cannot be sacked, especially as they are the only people who know where we get the P45’s from.”

I question the man further about the relevance of bureaucratic work within the NHS.

“Well, it seems to me that at the bottom of all this if someone is sick they need to receive treatment. Bottom line… unless of course they are dead and then of course they’ve got nothing to do with us!”
He lifts his hands up in mock surrender and smiles bashfully while emitting a half-laugh half-spit which wets the lapel of his suit.

“At any rate people certainly come to the NHS to get well and that is an awful lot of people and if all those people were to get in the same queue at once obviously there would be bedlam. So really we need all these people to make sure that the queues or waiting lists, as you may refer to them, are organised fairly and properly. Imagine, persay, that you were at the fairground and you were queuing for a fast ride. There may well be, I am not sure as I have never personally been and therefore cannot vouch for the accuracy of this analogy, some sort of attendant keeping the queue in order. He may perhaps send drunk people and people who are too short for the agreed safety limits to the back of the queue or even out of the queue altogether, if he is particularly good at his job and a man of great resource he will add them to the queue of a ride that would be more suitable to their condition of inebriation or shortness. This man is very much a symbol, here, within this analogy that I am, of course, uncertain as to the actual accuracy of, a symbol of bureaucracy within the NHS. To paraphrase we could say, (I suppose, if I may parenthesis within a paraphrase), that the job, nay worthy occupation of the NHS bureaucrat, or Operational Manager as they are correctly called as bureaucrat is of course anachronous, that the job is really to move short and drunk people from one queue to the um… other.”

James Murray

Sharp Objects Banned From Parliament As Skin Thins Alarmingly

Mps from all parties were relieved today to see all sharp objects removed from Parliament. The move follows several gory incidents involving pens, staples and even sheets of paper.

One politician, who asked to remain anonymous in case anyone laughed at him, described a horrific scene.

“The honourable member only fell asleep for a couple of seconds. His head just glanced his neighbour’s raised copy of the day’s newspaper… and just like that his head split open. His ego went everywhere. It just wouldn’t stop…”.

We have been unable to show footage of this event as it’s just far too funny for the public to understand.

(written in response to New Zealands curiously draconian laws regarding the satirisation of politicians. your not meant to.... on video in parliament at least)

Feral Media Put Down After Eating Blair

At 2pm yesterday a lethal injection was administered to the media two weeks after it had been found guilty of eating Tony Blair.

The move has been widely criticised by Animal Welfare groups as being supremely arrogant and unnecessary as the Media was thought to have been close to death anyway.

“Eating Tony would be enough to kill off any living creature. Post mortems revealed Tony as being mainly made up of Asbestos, straw, smarties, legacies and soap.” Said one activist who wished to remain anonymous.

“Its so horribly ironic,” sighed Cherie Blair at her husbands funeral.. “Tony and the media used to get on so well. He’d take it for walks, throw it bones. Tony would always have a bit of bacon in his pocket to make it look like the media liked him.”

Meanwhile, 30000 unemployed Media workers marched on the capital. They were described as being gay, communist and predominantly from ethnic minorities.

(Written in response to poor little Tony moaning that the media had gotten too big for its boots. Didn't think that in 1997 did you Tony?)

Citizen Journalism

This is an article by Peter Horrocks - head of the BBC news room about the pros and cons of citizen journalism. It also describes how the use of new media and "accidental journalists" has made actual changes to the structure of the BBC newsroom.

I particularly like what he writes about the difficulties in ethically editing comment forums such as Have Your Say - trying to balance the public's right to a forum with the real possibility that that forum can be overtaken with views based on hatred rather than informed debate.


PS. It may not be clear but the link for the article is embedded in the title if the blog.

Blog Due To Restart

Hiding In Your Cupboard is due to restart... less of a travel blog and more of a political opinion blog... if you can stand to listen to me blather on.

If any Grad Dips are reading this brilliant... but I apologise in advance for the lack of editing etc. I just write it as i go along and consequently there will be a lot of mistakes - especially with New Zealand names which I always mishear and then have to approximate. A good example would be me using the word Pahoa instead of Pakeha for ages.

To fill in the six month gap I have posted some of the writing I have done over the last six months.