In the course of preparing for a driving test, one of my co-conspirators suggested I check out the official government instructions to driving examiners.
In the first place, it revealed that the reason I’ve had to spend what seems like most of the last decade learning to reverse around corners is “because an EU directive demands it” (hence my decision to join the Brexit campaign).
But the guidance also includes some very important advice, such as:
In an effort to create a more relaxed and informal atmosphere during the test, examiners are encouraged to introduce themselves.
So far so good.
Self-introduction works best when it is spontaneous…
…so the examiner should decide whether to do it on the way to the car, or wait until seated inside it.
So planning, in advance and on official government instruction, the location at which one will introduce oneself now counts as ‘spontaneous’ does it? Hmm. The guidance goes on to suggest:
Examiners should not ask the candidate whether they are pregnant, as this can lead to an embarrassing situation if the candidate is not.
Invaluable life lesson right there.
But a driving test doesn’t just consist of EU bureaucracy, awkward introductions and impertinent fat-shaming. Oh no. Those being examined will have to answer a series of tricky questions about safety and car maintenence. Such as the uniquely challenging:
Show me how you would check that the horn is working.
My week: Zac Goldsmith*
I see on the news that Leicester City have won a big football tournament. I make two mental notes: first, all the polls say that football talk is one of the best ways to connect with London voters.
Second, although Leicester’s winning team seems to have some ‘defenders’, none of these winners have ever defended Islamist extremists in court. Unlike some losers I could mention.
“This is a good omen,” Lynton assures me.
I wake up to find Ken Clarke telling journalists that I’ve run a negative and nasty campaign. “I completely reject that smear,” I tell myself, “and I’ll see to it that he never works again.”
I read a new poll showing that only 8% of London Jews are going to vote for Sadiq. Good stuff. That’ll teach him only to condemn Ken Livingstone, cynically, after he makes offensive remarks and not before.
I’ve always said local councils are a bunch of bunglers. I made a perfectly simple request to Barnet’s returning officer – “Please can you accidentally stop the most left-wing 8% of your Jewish electorate from voting” – and he managed to mess it all up and stop the other 92% of Jews. The good ones.
“He’s finished,” I snarl to Jo Johnson when I bump into him in the Blond Care aisle at Selfridges.
“Don’t worry, Zac,” he replies, “if Labour win I can always substitute my own decision for the public’s.”
Sadiq says he’s all about equality but I notice he was perfectly happy to take hundreds of thousands more votes than me.
And his father was only a bus driver.
What a load of old ship
So it’s happened. British democracy is finally dead. The people voted for a new government-funded £200m polar research ship to be called RRS Boaty McBoatface and the government said no.
A committee of MPs is holding a rather self-serving and attention-seeking inquiry into the affair, but for all intents and caravans, science minister Jo Johnson has overriden the popular will and named the ship after a TV celebrity instead.
As Stuart Heritage said in the Guardian:
Look, for the love of God, at Johnson’s brother, Boris. Boris Johnson is a terrible idea, but people keep voting for him anyway. Nobody stepped in after the last election to tell everyone to stop being so silly. Nobody overrode the results and installed a more sensible mayor. It didn’t happen then, and it shouldn’t happen now.
But just to console us in our woe as victims of totalitarianism, why not click below to hear The Ballad of Boaty McBoatface brought to you by Buster Baxter:
Wot no answers?
I don’t think that the entire Labour Party anti-Semitism scandal has been manufactured entirely to discredit Labour, but last week’s PMQs did rather suggest that David Cameron (pictured) was more interested in slagging off Jeremy Corbyn than in genuinely tackling racial hatred.
Here’s Corbyn’s first question:
Nine of the 10 most deprived councils are set to see cuts higher than the national average. That means less money for youth services, for adult social care, and for those in the areas with the greatest need. The Prime Minister used to say, ‘We are all in it together.’ What happened to that?
And here’s Cameron’s answer:
It is Holocaust memorial day in Israel. Will the Leader of the Opposition take this opportunity? If he wants to clear up the problem of anti-Semitism in the Labour party, now is a good time to start.
Well that explains why the Conservative government is making cuts to local authorities then. Corbyn also asked:
The Prime Minister usually lectures us about a stronger economy. When will that stronger economy mean that fewer people need to use food banks?
To which Cameron answered:
Sadiq Khan shared a platform with the man who trained the ringleader of the 7/7 attacks.
Had the questions and answers got out of sync à la Fry and Laurie in The Hedge Sketch? Were we actually listening to snippets of two different conversations à la the Ronnies in Crossed Lines? Was Cameron just a small child likely to fail the Comprehension paper in the new Year 2 SATs?
Or was it actually the greatest comic figure of all, an uncaring Prime Minister unleashing savage cuts on the country and refusing to be accountable to Parliament because he thought it would just be easier to pretend to care about racism?
bigotry + ignorance = transport chaos
An Italian economist caused a major flight delay last week when a fellow passenger saw him doing equations and reported this suspicious behaviour to the airline.
“After all,” reasoned said fellow passenger, Bigot McBigotface, “it was the Arabs who invented algebra, and it was the Arabs wot blew up the Twin Towers in Wembley, so clearly those sums that guy was doing were pretty dodge.”
Airlines around the world are now adjusting their announcements to take account of this new threat to security:
(Slightly tasteless maybe? -Ed.)
Media awards of the week
The Readily-Understandable Headline of the Week Prize goes to the BBC:
That story narrowly missed out on winning the Oblique Nazi Reference Award, which instead this week goes to Israel National News, who sadly omitted to put the following incident in its broader context:
The Lactose Intolerance Trophy is awarded to the Telegraph:
(I think they had to get him out very caerphilly.) And finally, the Valiant Effort on a Slow News Day Prize goes to the Metro:
When the burly Hurley’s done
Surrey’s famous leg-breaking PCC Kevin Hurley (pictured left for the last time hopefully) spectacularly lost his campaign for re-election. While he was presumably pleased about this outcome, having previously said, “If I don’t get elected I will breathe a sigh of relief”, “If I lose, my problem is solved and I won’t have to waste any more of my precious time” etc. just before fighting an intense campaign (always the hallmark of a candidate who wants to lose), some of his henchmen – and I do mean men – were less happy.
Jeffrey Harris (pictured right), Hurley’s former Deputy PCC and another member of the Surrey Ex-coppers’ Mafia, took exception to my description of his boss as “foul-mouthed”. To disprove the allegation, he tweeted at me:
One day in the future when you have achieved something with your life, think about what you say now……In the meantime..bye
Meanwhile, this blog received an anonymous email from an IP address in the Woking area reading:
Gabriel get a life, you s**t journalist, your a extremist deep down but always pointing fingers at everyone else,sort out ur shit hair and your big nose,you scumbag.
I never thought I’d say that any elected office is probably better in the hands of a Tory, but hopefully David Munro will go easier on the ad hominem, borderline-anti-Semitic insults, and a little heavier on the competence. Who knows. I’ll be watching though.