Remember you can sign up for blog email updates on the right. That’s about the only thing about this blog which is on the right, mind you.
Outrage as Israel lists Palestine on home-sharing website
The world looked on in horror last week as Israel listed Palestine as a “spare room” on popular home-sharing website AirbnB.
A spokesperson for Israel defended the country, saying, “God gave us the whole of this room – from the riverside terrace to the pleasant sea view – and why should we not rent it out at a profit?”
They added, “The Palestinians did, briefly, stay in the room without permission, broke all the rules, and look what a
state mess they left it in! They clearly don’t deserve a room of their own.”
Our reporter posed as a customer trying to book a stay in Palestine but was told, “I’m sorry, madam, all our rooms are occupied.”
Other Airbnb hosts got their own back, however, by themselves deciding to adopt racism as a policy. A London host known as ‘Mario’ refused to allow an Israeli tourist to stay in his flat, telling him, “The day you stop occupying someone else’s land, I might be able to consider hosting you.” Of course, the entire basis of Airbnb’s business model is the occupation of other people’s land, but hey ho.
The British government reportedly has plans to consolidate all its convicted Islamist terrorists into one easy-to-manage superjail.
The fact that the prisoners in this facility will so obviously either:
- get together and plot heinous atrocities;
- be constantly at each other’s throats amidst bloody sectarian strife;
- radicalise their guards in some sort of inverse Stockholm syndrome; and/ or
- require a halal kitchen and thereby feed the Daily Mail the outraged headline of the century
is apparently of little or no concern to the Home Secretary.
This follows concern that extremists are deliberately getting incarcerated so that they can recruit from among the prisoners… Oh so that’s why terrorists make bombs and stuff, not because they really want to kill people but so they get caught and jailed and can recruit more people to make bombs and stuff not in order to kill people but to get caught and jailed and then recruit more people to make (Yes, jolly good. -Ed.)
Dissatisfaction in the justice system
The Home Secretary’s clearly bored otherwise she wouldn’t be coming up with stupid plans like the above. The Commissioner of Police in the Metropolis is clearly bored otherwise he wouldn’t be coming up with stupid plans like crime-fighting eagles.
In fact, a lot of people working in the criminal justice system are pretty naffed off, and are beginning to think about alternate careers which they could potentially adopt.
In this song.
A taxing occasion
Google may have renamed itself ‘Alphabet’ but the only letters at play when senior executive Matt Brittin tried to justify his tax evasion in front of the Public Accounts Committee were H, M, R and C.
Brittin made that most basic error of pretending not to know his own salary, then proceeded to engage in one of the most artless and transparent pieces of persiflage perpetrated in Parliament since the perverse Paul Pugh passport pandemonium.
“Mr Brittin, something like 20-odd meetings have taken place between Google and government ministers over the past five years,” said Caroline Flint MP, “Was the Google tax case discussed in any of those meetings?”
The chair felt that this answer was both patronising and not an answer. “We know how HMRC works,” she snapped, before instructing him to have another stab at the question.
Said stab at the question, ‘Did you discuss tax at any of your meetings with ministers?’ was as follows: “I will happily answer. We have never sought or had a meeting about the tax audit with any government minister.”
That was cunning, but maybe not cunning enough. Caroline Flint persisted by asking whether tax was in fact discussed at such a meeting.
“First thing, why are we having meetings with Ministers?” began Mr Brittin, and the committees eyes drooped. We all know that when an answer begins with an explanation rather than one of the words ‘yes’ or ‘no’, it’s going to be a long and pointless one.
But eventually the MPs present managed to pin him down as far as admitting: “I am sure, given the scrutiny we’ve had, that tax will have come up from time to time as a question.”
My week: Jeremy *unt*
A long morning at work preparing the new contract for junior doctors. I’m still busy scribbling at noon so I tell my secretary, “Go and buy me some lunch.”
“I’m not going to buy you lunch!” she says.
“You have to,” I reply.
“Er no,” she insists, “We both have to agree.”
“Not any more,” I remind her, brandishing the new contract.
Some smart-aleck from the Independent asks me why I’m determined to “squeeze the life out of junior doctors”.
“You at the Independent are the experts on cutting off circulation,” I reply rather wittily.
David asks me to visit a hospital in Liverpool on Sunday. “It’ll give us some great media coverage of the Northern Powerhouse!” he says.
“Dream on,” I tell him, “I’ve seen my department’s statistics. If I go to hospital over the weekend I’m 10 times more likely to die!”
I warn the BMA that if they go out on strike again I’ll have no choice but to replace them with agency doctors.
“They represent the agency doctors too,” whispers my aide kindly.
“I don’t mean I’ll replace them from a medical agency,” I reply, “an acting agency. All the public want is to see people in white coats staffing their surgeries.”
That actually gave me a brilliant idea and on my way home at 4 I popped into a fancy dress shop and bought a doctor costume.
The only remaining part of the contract that needs writing is the section on Unsocial Hours. I have to define normal working hours outside which junior doctors will be paid more. I decide that 7am-9pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm on Saturdays sounds fair.
“You never get here by 7!” snaps my secretary.
“You know I can move your mum’s operation down that waiting list?” I warn her.
Thank goodness for the weekend. Ahhh… relax.
The Veganism Act 2016
All is not vellum in Parliament. Sharon Hodgson, a Labour MP, is playing merry hell about a Parliamentary decision to stop printing the official copies of laws on vellum – goat skin – and switch to ordinary paper, thereby saving £80,000 a year (as well as countless goats).
This essentially makes Sharon the troll under the bridge, seeing lovely little goats gruff passing her, and threatening to kill them and gobble them up, or at any rate print tax legislation on them.
David Cameron, the prime steak minister, is said to have misgivings about the decision. He’s no fan of ordinary paper either, but prefers the feeling of pigskin.
(Oh sorry, I must have confused it with some udder animal. -GW)
Democracy for dummies
The USA has just lost Justice Scalia, a Supreme Court judge whose ready wit almost made up for his homophobia.
The Supreme Court – guardian of American democracy – now has a vacancy, and various political factions are arguing amongst themselves as to who should get to fill it.
Technically the appointment is a Presidential one (because obviously it makes perfect sense for the executive to choose the people who scrutinise it). But it has to be approved by the Senate (which, being controlled by a different party to the President, can block the nominee for self-serving political reasons similar to those for which they were selected). And the Senate are of the view that they should really get to choose the lucky judge (after all, they don’t want to lose control of the Court “for a generation”, because democracy can’t function unless the Supreme Court is stuffed full of Republicans) so might stall the decision until after the election when, they hope, Trump is in power.
It’s no wonder America is the only country with the guts to go round the world showing other governments how to do real democracy!