Introducing our new editor, an MP called George

It seems to be à la mode these days for media outlets to appoint inept political has-beens called George to senior positions, so Gabrielquotes is delighted to announce its new Editor-in-Chief, Sir George Campbell MP, lately of the Bengal Civil Service. He brings to this new role a whole raft of important qualifications, such as deep knowledge of the ills of Mohameddanism; having visited America on one, relatively recent, occasion (1879); and much much more.

Oh, sorry, what’s that George Osborne? You’re envious and want a go too? OK. You can have a quick song, but then we have to get on with the blog.


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The UK’s equivalent of 24

It’s never a good sign when a newspaper article has to explain simple concepts in sensational terms. Nor is it a good sign when a newspaper can only explain something happening in Britain by comparing it to better-known things happening in the United States (I visited there in 1897 you know! -Ed.)

So it was a little surprising to read the following sentence in The Guardian:

The National Crime Agency, the UK’s equivalent of the FBI, took the unusual step of confirming its investigation…

As it happens, the comparison is entirely inaccurate (the FBI has a huge range of functions ranging from national security, ie. MI5, through to prosecuting inter-state mail fraud, ie. your local copper), but that in no way means that life as an agent in the National Crime Agency is in anything but the fast lane.

For instance, the organisation is currently recruiting an employment lawyer

When the ’phone of Jack Bower QC rings at 11pm, something tells him he’s in for a long night. NCA is facing its biggest challenge yet: a new EU directive on sick pay threatens to cause chaos and panic [in the human resources unit]. With only twenty-four hours to go before the legislation comes into force, can Agent Bower get an interim injunction in time?

#IndyRef2

rect3791

LavCam

We all know how annoying it is to be in a public toilet and find that there’s no paper left.

So it’s great news that the Beijing city council has taken stern action against the rising tide of toilet paper hoarders (also known as bog hogs), in the form of a massive surveillance operation.

According to reporters:

Those in need of paper must stand in front of a high-definition camera for three seconds, after removing hats and glasses, before a 60cm ration is released. Those who come too often will be denied, and everyone must wait nine minutes before they can use the machine again.

While it’s a little odd that China safeguards its loo roll more assiduously than it safeguards its democracy, I’m sure this will be welcome news to the bladders of Beijing’s citizens.

The council has also promised to fix holes in toilet cubicle doors, to stop its residents from Peking at each other while (You can move on now. -Ed.)

Article 50 update

Europe

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 got its royal assent a week ago, but Theresa May has held off excising her power to invoke Article 50. She’s told the country that she will trigger it by the end of the month, making this period subject to one of the most significant trigger warnings in history.

The government’s latest plan for a red, white and blue Brexit is to haul in Britain’s anchor and let the country float off around the world, searching the high seas for new partners to trade with, Mortal Engines-style.

No wonder they’re worried about obesity: it’s sink or swim time, Brits! A competition to name this new floating Britain recently decided it should be called Country McCu (And, move on again. -Ed.)

Smile you’re on the World Happiness Index

What seems like about three times per year, a story appears in newspapers about some ‘annual’ (I swear it happens more than that) survey of “the world’s happiest country”, and people look at it with mild interest for about three minutes, then realise it must be bollocks, methodologically speaking, and move on with their drab, wretched lives, not as bitter about not living in Vanuatu or New Zealand or Argentina as the researchers would have wished.

This year’s/ quarter’s annual index reveals Norway to be the happiest place in the world, closely followed by Denmark and Iceland (whose top-three place no doubt owes a lot to its special offer on fish fingers this week).

The bottom ten countries – out of 155 – include Guinea, Syria (Which is not bottom! I knew all those refugees were just faking it! -Ed.) and Yemen, and I’m sure it’s just pure coincidence that most of them are failed or semi-failed states dwarfed by the task of clearing up the mess they were left by various Western empires.

Cabinet pudding

The “veritable procedural imbroglio” of Gabriel Webber v Cabinet Office continues a[very slow]pace, with at least two things happening in the last four months.

First, the Cabinet Office’s barrister, glamorous Matthew Hill of Hillsborough inquest fame, has filed a second appeal in the government’s attempt to have the decision overturned. His main ground is the somewhat whingy “it’s not fair that we forgot to take part the first time round so pls can we have a second bite at the cherry kthx”, and he made the following rather witty introduction:

There is a lengthy and unfortunate procedural history to this matter. This is set out in some detail in the hope – possibly forlorn – that it will assist rather than hinder an understanding of this application.

There followed a comprehensive summary of the whole saga, running back to June 2014. The fact that the lengthiness and unfortunateness of the history is entirely the Cabinet Office’s fault, Matthew Hill chose not to mention…

The judiciary is having none of it, however. Upper Tribunal Judge Wikeley has indicated that he is likely to find against the government on my separate appeal, and restore the original decision, thus resetting matters to how they were, er, a year ago.

I’ll keep you posted over the next few decades.

There will be no more credits under this government

Well, as the evening newspaper of time is edited by the pillock of destiny, and as the First Minister of fate demands the referendum of eternity for the second time in a couple of years, it seems to be the end of the blog post.
In tonight’s episode, the Editor was played by Sir George Campbell MP, with musical accompaniment from J P Sousa and George Osborne. Jack Bower QC was played by Kiefer Sunderland and the Prime Minister by Theresa Can. This was an Gabrielquotes production!

Our top story: KKK-endorsed President does racist thing

The First Man

The First Man

The world seems surprisingly, er, surprised at the revelation that Donald Trump has been using his office as President of the United States to do some silly things like racism, sexism, undermining the rule of law, climate change denial, Holocaust denial, reality denial and grabbing Theresa May by the pus hand.

His wall-building plan received warm endorsement Binyamin Netanyahu, who highlighted the success of his own wall. Trump, like Bibi, will ban women from singing near his Mexico wall. Isn’t it touching how racist demagogues stand up for each other.

Trump also tweeted at a bunch of judges, “SEE YOU IN COURT!”, which has led to further lawsuits against him for alleged breaches of the constitution’s Caps Lock Clause.

trump-pumpIn other news, a spokesperson for the human-pig hybrid created by a lab in California has asked of the world: “Please ease off with the Trump jokes. Yes, we get it, it’s funny to compare the President to a pig in human form. But it can be very hurtful for real pigs in human form to be compared to Donald Trump.”

It’s gig time

delivery-riders-pay-tribute-to-leicester-city-triumph-390x2851The gig economy – companies which classify staff as contractors rather than employees – took a hit last week. No, I’m not talking about the strong message against slavery that God sent humanity in last week’s parasha. I’m talking about the Pimlico Plumbers case.

Plumber Gary Smith (which is somehow such a plumbery name) was regarded as a self-employed contractor by Pimlico Plumbers, which regarded itself as an agency helping contractors find work.

But three judges of the Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that the true relationship between Smith and Pimlico was that of employee and employer, as characterised by a requirement of ‘personal service’: if they sent Smith to do a job, Smith was required to do it and could not send a substitute, as could a truly self-employed plumber (if they weren’t just going to make a lame excuse and charge an extortionate second call-out fee anyway). The ruling follows similar decisions against Uber and CitySprint.

Anyway, I thought I’d have a gig of my own, and so below please click the triangley thing inside the circley thing to listen to my number one hit, a new take on that Nina Simone classic, I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be An Employee:


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Free speech on campus (Trump would approve)

The loonies over at Spiked have completed their 2017 Free Speech University Rankings, labelling Britain’s universities as Green, Amber or Red depending on how tolerant they are towards free speech.

The University of Central Lancashire

The University of Central Lancashire “mildly discourages” this sort of behaviour so earned itself a red ranking

Except, ‘tolerant’ isn’t necessarily the right word. Because the rankings are based not on genuine concerns around freedom of expression on campus (Gabrielquotes passim). No. They’re based on something different altogether.

Let’s take a look at their views on Sussex University for instance:

The University of Sussex and the University of Sussex Students’ Union collectively create a hostile environment for free speech. The union takes a stance against fascism on campus. The university restricts ‘racist insults and jokes’ and has a policy to prevent harassment and bullying at work.

Oh the totalitarian fiends! My workplace has a policy to promote harassment and bullying of one’s colleagues, and I don’t see why staff at Sussex should be treated any less favourably.

The University of Westminster Students’ Union, meanwhile, comes in for criticism for having a policy against “intolerant or discriminatory behaviour” – Spiked criticises them for having it in the first place, whereas I think that, if anything, it’s too little too late given that a Westminster alumnus is literally the face of Isis.

Cambridge is considered to be a moderate bastion of freedom, whereas Oxford is ranked Red for Evil, due to its union’s practice of warning students that potentially triggering topics, such as rape and sexual assault, are about to come up in meetings. In Spike’s words, the purpose of this policy is “to give enough time for students to prepare themselves or to leave”. So it’s clearly a hell of a restriction on speakers’ absolute right to aggravate students’ anxieties to their heart’s content without the risk of said students leaving the room.

Spiked: what a bunch of rankers.

Obama’s final gift

wrapped-present1Every year, the US State Department publishes a list of all gifts given to everyone in the administration. This is for transparency: supposedly, government officials are less likely to favour foreign potentates on account of receiving expensive gifts, if the fact of their having received the gift is on the public record.

So, let’s delve into the pressies that the Obamas received in their final year:

From the Emir of Qatar, a “gold-plated mechanical bird that tweets once per hour”, although since the White House is now occupied by a gold-plated mechanical pillock that tweets once per hour, it hardly seems like a useful gift.

From the President of Bavaria, some “black hiking socks”, which rather pale in comparison to the generosity of the Sultan of Brunei, who donated “ten argon gas cannisters” and “a wooden serving board with two small holes in the end” (shame he couldn’t afford a wooden serving board without factory defects, but it’s the thought that counts).

It’s not just Barack himself who got lucky, though. The Vice-President received “nine 12-inch piees of cotton cloth” from the President of Benin – although on reflection that may have been a misprint for ‘President of Denim’.

Elephant man

Elephant man

John Kerry got an “elephant on a wooden presentation base”: he keeps it in his room but he doesn’t like to talk about it. The Director of the CIA received a “metal model of a mosque entrance”, which will be useful for training spies in how to enforce Trump’s Muslim ban, and his Deputy Director is now the proud owner of a “painting of angel in leather case (goodness only knows how the artist managed to get the angel into the leather case for long enough to paint it).

Who knows what the Trumps will get?

Refugeesus Christ

That politician who refused to admit refugees

That politician who refused to admit refugees

The closure by Home Secretary Amber Rudd of the child refugee admission scheme has caused quite a controversy, partly because it’s pure evil but partly because it’s playing a little fast and loose with the law.

The scheme was instituted by the so-called Dubs amendment, also known as section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, which provides:

The Secretary of State must, as soon as possible after the passing of this Act, make arrangements to relocate to the United Kingdom and support a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe.

Only 350 children have so far benefited from Dubs, and the government’s sudden decision that they’ve reached the “specified number”, just at the very moment that they realised they couldn’t be arsed with all this refugee nonsense any more, is kind of suspect.

I’m glad I’m not Amber Rudd’s gardener (“I’ll pay you a specified number of pounds at the end of the day”), doctor (“Yes, I eat a specified number of portions of fruit and vegetables each day”), maths teacher (“Yes, I do know the answer, it’s a specified number”), mobile ’phone (“I’m now going to dial a spe (Yes, I think we get the idea. -Ed.)

If I were a high net worth individual, diddy diddy dum…

hmrc_1752207c1An influential committee of MPs has recommended that HM Revenue & Customs get tougher on tax-dodging by the ultra-rich, or, as they’re technically known by Sir Humphrey, “high net worth individuals”.

Public accounts committee chair Meg Hillier said:

If the public are to have faith in the tax system then it must be seen to have fairness at its heart. It also needs to work properly. In our view, HMRC is failing on both counts.

And those two counts are in addition to all the barons, earls, dukes and other toffs being given an easy ride by the system.

The so-called credits

Well, as the Muslim refugee of time is turned away by the border guard of destiny, and as the appellate judge of fate hands down the restraining order of eternity, it seems to be the end of the blog post.
In tonight’s episode, the Executive Order revealed the United States to be in a state of executive disorder. The ultra-rich were let off the hook by HMRC and the argon gas was harvested by the Sultan of Brunei. Spiked was severely repressed and banned from publishing its university rankings (oh hang on though). Pimlico Plumbers needs a new passport. This was an Gabrielquotes production!