Blog posts

Strike while the iron’s hot…

Today is the day of The Strike. The day when all our lecturers take a day off to do their essay-marking. The day when the government “insults” striking Border Agency staff by trying to find people to cover their jobs temporarily, rather than just leaving our country’s borders open as usual.

And the day when the Students’ Union advised its members, “When strikes occur on campus it is common for students to show their support by refraining from coming on to campus that day unless it is to join the picket lines.” No word of what happens to those who live on campus. I guess we’re all just blacklegs!

Anyway, I’m pleased to announce that Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan have come back from the dead to produce a little ditty entitled I am the Very Model of a Public-Sector Worker. It’s produced by the d’Oily Cart Opera Company and the recording can be found below while the lyrics are here!

Workers of the world, unite

The Union has actually been very busy indeed; an emergency meeting was called on Friday to discussed a resolution demanding the “immediate release” of a 2nd-year student who’d been unfairly imprisoned for throwing placards at the police during the fee-protests last year. This being a clear and egregious abuse of his right to free protest, the motion was passed and the Lord Chancellor will no doubt read it and then issue a pardon almost immediately!

Just as somebody was proposing a second resolution to support the strike – one of my friends commented, even before this person started speaking, “He looks like a Communist!” – the fire-alarms went off and we all had to evacuate. The proposer and seconder actually claimed that “the Tories” were responsible for triggering the smoke detector. They get full Marx for logical thinking.

Because emergency meetings require a minimum of 450 attendees, the Union opened a stall outside giving away miscellaneous free stuff to anybody who agreed to go in. One of the items was (randomly enough) an Israeli flag, which I thought I’d better take in case someone else took it to burn!

Saved by the Campbell

Sir George Campbell M.P. (right) – see an excerpt from his 1876 book in the last blog-post – has cropped up yet again in my studies, speaking in a Parliamentary debate on Britain’s attitude to her Empire. The government had just announced that Queen Victoria was to take the title ‘Empress of India’ and one Member had just opposed this plan. Then Sir George began his deeply, absurdly, excessively patriotic speech…

What is WRONG with the world? (Part I)

slightly-silly-punNow that The Badger is established as a respectable rag, I can reveal that I’ve been doing some research for an article about the government e-petition system which was introduced in September – if anypetition gets 100,000 signatures it’s sent to Parliament for a debate. Then that evening, The Now Show stole my idea and featured some stupid petitions. I’ve found a few  more, so can now present the list of genuine registered e-petitions; remember, we are sharing a society with these people.

  • Replace public sector with smartphone app.
  • The English should extend to the people of Ireland as a whole an apology; this should be an apology of a general nature.
  • Ban the sparsely used search engine Google.
  • (my favourite) Protect airline passengers against hijack by nerve gassing entire cabin.
  • Theresa May to be fired as Home Secretary (petition rejected by Home Office)
  • Theresa may MUST GO (petition rejected by Home Office)
  • Sack Theresa May (petition rejected by Home Office)
  • Theresa May must resign or be sacked (petition rejected by Home Office)
  • Theresa May is not fit for purpose (petition rejected by Home Office)

Apparently the petition “to have Big Ben listed” was rejected on the grounds that “it’s listed already,” (see picture).

The ones which actually reached the signature threshold were the predictable, ‘leave the EU’, ‘ban immigration’, ‘ban foreigners’, ‘bring back hanging’ etc.

What a great government initiative!

Hacking scandal latest: has it reached Sussex?

The journalist, who wrote the story without carrying out illegal interception of communications, sits behind a secret door in his office

Sussex newspaper The Badger has “utterly refuted” the allegation that it hacked the voicemail of Drama Studies student Hugh Grant-Committee. The claim was made as evidence to the independent inquiry into ’phone-hacking conducted by Lord Leveson.

In 2009, The Badger published an article which read, “On Monday 14th September, 2:04pm, Hugh received a telephone message…” and Mr Grant-Committee has stated, “The only explanation I can think of is that they accessed my telephone messages.”

Badger editor-in-chief Paul Daycare has flatly denied the allegation, so that’s really all there is to it.

What is WRONG with the world? (Part II)

This week’s In Which Civilisation Officially Bottoms Out Award goes to The Telegraph which published a news story about the following so-called event:

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks wins the De Mortuis Nil Nisi Bonum Attacking the Dead Prize for blaming all society’s ills on well-known heretic Steve Jobs:


He issued this ruling at an interfaith dinner event attended by Her Maj. Interested readers can download Rabbi Sacks’ free iPad app, released earlier this year, by clicking here.

Calling All Workers

On Thursday, The Guardian had a feature on a typical day of a university Porter. Given its headline of “A Working Life” I knew straight away it couldn’t possibly be about my Porter here in Sussex, who on that very day added the following to his collection of signs:

A Christmas Competition (by Charles Dickens?)

This week it was revealed that David Cameron will be sending official Christmas cards to the Prime Minister of Malawi but not to South Africa; to the Presidents of Israel and Palestine but not to Iceland; as well as cards to the Pope and every Prince in the United Arab Emirates – all of whom are devout Baptists, I believe.

This week’s write-in (or ‘comment’) question is, Which nation would you snub, and why?

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributionsMum: [on ’phone at 9:30pm] Is it nearly your bedtime?

“The Satsuma forces were finally crushed.”

“Sakoku was the foreign relations policy of Japan under which no foreigner could enter nor could any Japanese leave the country on penalty of death.” [Foreign relations might be a bit of an overstatement?]

“He was put in prison for throwing a placard stick at the police. But he did not throw a placard stick. He threw two halves of a placard stick!” [presumably this speaker at the Union meeting is doing a degree in Advanced Mathematics?]

The teaser-trailer: next time on the blog

How to survive East Sussex for over four days without heating and hot water? Why would a 19th-century MP announce plans to vandalise telephone wires? And just how far could Roger Bannister have run in the amount of time I’ve spent in lectures and seminars this term? Find out all this and more, this time, next week!

Please do put your email-address into the box at the top of the page, so that I can hand the entire database over to Glenn Mulcaire. On the plus side, you’ll get an email update whenever I add a new blog-post!

The Badger hasn’t actually been hacking anything. It is, in fact, an extremely reliable publication staffed by dedicated, intelligent and impartial journalists.

Are you trying to ’ave a cado?

I don’t know why I seem to be the only person who has bizarre experiences, but this week, the campus Co-op store asked me for proof-of-age when I was trying to buy an avocado. The barcode flagged it up as an age-restricted product, and the checkout girl asked her colleague to explain this absurdity, but his response was to say, “Well they must have alcohol in them, or something,” and he spent a couple of minutes scrutinising the packet.

But fortunately, there was a happy ending (see below).

“Tomato or not tomato, that is the question.” — Bill Samic-Vinegar, 2003

From Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss has made a brief return from the dead to offer up his opinion on the proposal to ban smoking in cars. It’s entitled If I Ran the NHS and there is a handy recording available below:

We have banned smoking in our bars.
Now let’s ban smoking in our cars.
’Cos instead of being nice and clean,
Our teeth are black with nicotine.

“In this chest are two things I will show to you now,
You won’t like these two things,” said the Doc with a bow.
“I will X-ray the skin, you will see something new.
Two things, and I call them Lung 1 and Lung 2!”
“But they’re black and diseased!” we both said to the Doc.
“Well yes,” quoth the Doc, “But in your car you did smok’!”

Fags deposit nasty tars,
So let’s ban smoking in our cars.

Smug people throughout the ages

I came across this intriguingly-titled and ancient-looking 1876 book in the library while doing research for my essay on the Eastern Question. It looked rather 19th-century and fun, and it was by an MP, so I picked it up to have a read.

Below is an excerpt from as far as I managed to get; it starts off (just about) reasonably enough, but soon enough, I noticed that the writer was unbearably smug, pretty racist-sounding and basically unreadable. So I  unread.

Weekly Report from the Amateur Branch of the Press Complaints Commission

The Independent is now in receipt of the George Papandreou Order of Merit for Financial Advice, in recognition of the following student-money-saving tip:


The Rt Hon David Cameron MP easily wins this week’s Impersonation of a Convict Award, not just because of the fact that he’s a pretty shady person, but due to his hysterical impersonation of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s accent during a speech in London.

From the last few seconds of that video, I’m also able to award The Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke MP the Prize for Sycophantic Laughter While Wearing Silly Robes of State, although to be fair, there was very little competition for this honour!

Sussexballs: £9000 per annum paid for contributions

[seminar tutor, a PhD student, says…] “You just have to be clear but stupid and you can walk away with a PhD.”

“Your essays need to be as straightforward as British fish. You know what I mean?”

“Compared to America’s arsenal, Britain’s nuclear weapons are just a drop in the ocean!”

“The fall of the Berlin Wall, 9th November 2009.”

[helpful Oxford English Dictionary entry for the word ‘smoch’] “Adj. Meaning uncertain.”

Mum: [at the very start of a Skype call] Oh, sorry to be coughing. But I’ve just eaten a mango.

[The year is 1969; Britain has declined to get involved in the Vietnam War, so the US Secretary of State announces…] “Don’t expect us to save you again. They can invade Sussex and we wouldn’t do a damn thing about it!”

[Porter takes delivery of a registered package for a student] “Oh, T____  S____? I’ve never met her and I f*ckin’ hate her… She’s had nine parcels so far this term, all from different carriers!”

And finally, as Sussex’s tireless staff of hard-working lecturers prepares to go on strike in defence of its pensions; as public-sector workers across the country protest at unfair conditions; as England sleeps…

If anyone feels like reading my gripes, as featured in The Badger, about the European Convention on Human Rights: today’s your lucky day!