Spies reject plans for state regulation
Following the revelation that American security services may have tapped Angela Merkel’s mobiletelephonieren, her proposal for an international spying code of conduct has alarmed spies around the world, who are now threatening legal action.
“For three hundred years the intelligence agencies have operated without interference from politicians or the state,” lamented Miss Europenny, deputy director of MI6.
“Introducing state regulation of espionage would be a massive backward step for our democracy, like an attempt to regulate the medical profession, or teaching.
“Is this government really prepared to end three centuries of spy freedom?”
A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Spying commented, “The proposal is simply a non-statutory code of conduct. It will be entirely voluntary and is designed to change as little as possible.”
The action for judicial review will be heard in secret later this year.
The kind of crap I have to put up with
I received an interesting email from the Sussex University Student Progress and Assessment Office last week:
The email went on to demand that I send documentary evidence of being Jewish (like a copy of my Bar Mitzvah photos?) to the Director of Student Experience.
I wrote back to point out (a) that Ramadam/Ramadan is actually of quite minor importance in the Jewish calendar, and (b) that I had already submitted a letter from my rabbi when I was asked to in 2011, to differentiate myself from the hordes of people maliciously pretending to be Jewish, so I asked why I needed to do it again.
They wrote back to say: “The new Regulation state [sic] that student [sic] now have to get the approval of Director of Student Experience.”
I reminded them that in 2011 I had specifically been told that I would not need to go through any further process for the remainder of my degree, and they replied: “The new Regulation state [sic] that student [sic] now have to get the approval of Director of Student Experience, but for you I do not think this applies.”
I wonder if it doesn’t apply because that’s actually the rule, or if it just doesn’t apply to me because I’m argumentative.
But anyway, it was at this point that I decided to break the news…
I don’t actually have any exams this year!
The entire Beveridge Report on one leg
This week, Daniel Kawczynski MP has been in trouble for telling a wheelchair-bound one-legged drug addict, “Get a job, find some work. Yes, I know it is hard, I have struggled too.”
Living on state handouts and rarely, if ever, doing a full day’s work, Daniel Kawczynski is 41.
The Conservative MP, who began his life of struggle at a private school in Weybridge, Surrey, defended himself: “I only wanted to help the man get back into work.”
Now, it is a known fact that the great Jewish thinker Rabbi Hillel was able to work on one leg, so there’s no reason why Daniel K’s mate shouldn’t be able to as well. At least, that’s the opinion held by Sir George Campbell MP, who has produced what he calls a “sodcast” (that’s ‘sound podcast’… don’t worry, I’ll explain to him later) on the topic:
Thank you for all your hard work throughout another challenging week. A special ‘well done’ to the Politics Section for coping so calmly when their temporary cardboard display unit collapsed for the third time this year. And for another successive week, the Business Section win the ‘Most Swish Area’ prize for innovative use of their shiny new Bluetooth-enabled shelves with strontium edging.
Just a few notices today. Please be aware that I’ve laid on a special treat for those of you who do make it to work on Thursday this week in the form of a visit to the bookshop from Her Majesty the Queen. She won’t be with us forever so I do hope we’ll have full attendance.
Keep up the good work!
Memo from John and Jane (Workforce Compliance Unit)
We do not intend to beat about the bookshop with this one: staff, you are contracted to work 15 hours a day, seven days a week, and that is what we expect you to do. I know many of you think we are unreasonable. Yes, we threatened legal action in order to prevent a localised strike last year, but that is because you all misunderstood the proposals against which you were protesting, and we wouldn’t have wanted you to miss out on a day’s wages based on a misunderstanding.
The same applies this Thursday; this ‘national strike’ has not been properly thought through, was not democratically voted in (Mr Farthing tells us that his request for a vote was denied, and that is the mark of a dictatorship – please bear that in mind, whoever posted that cartoon on the Intranet of him shaking hands with Kim Jong-un) and will, of course, lead to us having to take the difficult but potentially lawful decision to dismiss any member of staff who fails to turn up for work on Thursday morning, whether a strike-related absence or not.
Any concerns about this can be raised at the next Staff Q&A Open Forum in July 2017.
J L Duffy
Julia from IT
I know a lot of customers have been asking about the possibility of ordering books online, and I know that a lot of other bookshops have been offering this facility for years, including CramptonBooks.net just over the road, and I suppose theoretically we could just copy their online ordering system but we’ve instead decided to spend another year developing this facility, and it will finally be rolled out in September 2014.
Important notice from Roger Morgan, Chief Security Officer
As you know, the decision taken last year to contract out our bookshop CoffeeZone to the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army has caused some controversy and a few misguided groups of customers have been staging protests in-store, claiming that this outsourcing was somehow unethical.
Any member of staff who spots a suspicious gathering of people in the vicinity of the shop should alert me immediately by dialing 1-8-ROTTWEILER from any internal ’phone.
Morgan, Roger, Det. Insp. 39952
A word from staff association rep Kelly
To discuss Thursday’s strike there’ll be an extraordinary members’ meeting taking place at 2pm today in…
(Unfortunately we’ve had to cut Kelly’s piece short this week in order to leave room for this rather fine photo of me giving a well-received speech at the Booksellers’ Association annual dinner in Swindon. -Michael)
Hold the front page
Courtesy of the South Wales Evening Post
May the May be with you
Continuing the Board of Deputies tradition of inviting prominent human rights defenders to speak at our annual dinner – last year the King of Jordan unfortunately pulled out due to some urgent waterboarding he had to do – plans for this year’s dinner were announced at our meeting on Sunday.
“I can guarantee you all a good time!” chirped the chair of the organising committee. £190 a pop to hear a speech by Theresa May. (Ie. I have to pay them £190, not the other way round: and that’s the “concessionary rate” for members as well!)
Theresa May will come to the Board in November, taking a break from her hectic schedule of repealing human rights legislation, and we’re all most excited for her appearance.
£190 to hear her speak?! I ought to charge £190 every time she intercepts one of my emails!
Five of the best
- The Jewish Chronicle: Don’t don that niqab, Madge – Julie Burchill charmingly explains that to convert to Islam you’d have to be “thick, sick or desperate.” Vile article but worth a read if you were beginning to think that we live in a tolerant society.
- Greg Pembroke: Reasons My Son Is Crying – a series of tearful photos with explanations such as, “Because a fly landed next to him,” and, “He learned that paper napkins are made of paper.”
- The Guardian: Facebook allows beheading videos – seems like a very tasteless decision, but at least they’re not calling the new system decAPPitation.
- The United Nations: Ad series reveals Google sexism – turns out entering ‘women should’ leads to a lot of unpleasant, stereotyped Google suggestions. Predictable but still disturbing.
- Hansard: Prime Minister’s Question Time – David Cameron describes Ed Miliband as “an incredible Labour leader,” though I think he meant it in a nasty way.