Monday, 8 January 2018

Jacob Rees Mogg nails his colours to the mast

I see that Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg has advised Theresa May and Philip Hammond, the leaders of the Conservative Party, to “bury their differences and get the Government back on track.” He said the new Cabinet should focus on delivering core Tory values. (Read all about it at Rees Mogg warns May and Hammond to bury their differences, Daily Mail, 7 January 2018.)

How right Mr Rees-Mogg is. We need a man who will champion the traditional Tory values: massive unemployment, low wages, high immigration, the worst schools in the world unless your parents are rich, rocketing train fares and stratospheric energy costs, unaffordable housing, a derelict Health Service, the end of industry, the abolition of old age pensions and no tax on the toffs.

We’re all looking forward to it, Mr Rees-Mogg. When can you start?

A happy New Year to any readers I may have.

Monday, 25 December 2017

On the main line

When I was at school, it never occurred to me that in my old age I would see public buildings transformed into soup kitchens in order to feed the starving.

If you won’t believe it until you see the MP4 video proving that it happened at Euston Station, one of the big London termini, click this link.

I am both revolted and very sad that we have an elected government which simply does not care about the misery in which some people are living. Asked about this sort of outrage, the Tory mantra is “We don’t have a magic money tree.” That just shows the power of a false analogy: it does not take a magic money tree to make the poor better off, it takes common sense and an understanding of economics and, perhaps, sociology. Oh, and it also takes money, which the Tories have in unfeasibly huge amounts. In truth all three political parties have collaborated in reducing us to the awful state in which we now find ourselves. All three have had the chance to make the dramatic changes that are now vital. It isn’t just the Tories’ fault, although they happen to be holding the hot potato this week.

In other news, Ms Kate Middleton, a member of the Royal Family who does so far as I know no work of any kind, went to church today wearing a coat that, I am assured by the newspaper, cost £3,000. I don’t understand why she needs it. She doesn’t need a coat as costly as that unless, unknown to anybody, she spends her nights lying on a park bench and unable to sleep.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

A letter to the Taxpayers' Alliance

The Taxpayers' Alliance is a right-wing group with whom, most of the time, I disagree politically, but I do find their tales of woe and waste highly amusing. I don't donate to them. Today I received a letter from them telling me that they have a new campaign manager, Mr Harry Fone, and he wants me to write and tell him which campaigns I think the Taxpayers' Alliance ought to conduct. Here is my reply.

Thanks for writing.

Thank you for inviting me to suggest campaigns which the Taxpayers' Alliance should become involved in. There are many such campaigns, as Britain is in a desperate state thanks to completely incompetent management, but the most urgent ones I can think of are

(a) Double the old age pension, all social security benefits and the income-tax-free allowance. Make the bosses live on the average full time wage paid to their workers. This will at a stroke (remember that?) end the recession, which is caused by government meanness and a greedy and selfish toff class, and has nothing to do with debts or productivity.

(b) Ban all imports from China. Quite apart from deliberately collaborating with a foreign government that is trying to destroy the British economy by exporting goods below cost price, this will more or less eliminate the imports of the products of child labour, forced labour, convict labour and slave labour. No Chinese goods work properly and all of them fall to bits after a couple of weeks of normal use. A ban on Chinese imports would also stimulate the manufacture of British goods of quality.

(c) Requisition all unoccupied houses, second and subsequent homes, investment properties, buy to lets and illegal sub-lets and sell them to homeless families for £10.

(d) Re-nationalise the railways without compensation, slash fares to one tenth of their present levels, abolish second class, fix the toilets, bring back the restaurant cars and line the seats up with the windows.

(e) Hang criminal motorists if they kill or endanger life. If they were drunk at the time, hang them twice.

(f) Abolish the Royal Family except for one monarch, one monarch's consort, and one heir and trainee. Move homeless families into the Royal Family's mansions and palaces except for one palace in London and one in Scotland. All the rest of the sponging toffs should either get a job or claim the standard rate of social security like everybody else has to.

(g) Bring back the full student grant sufficient to pay tuition charges, accommodation, books, equipment, food and fares, as it was not all that long ago. Do away with the (imaginary or actual) need for billions of foreign speaking immigrants who have skills that British kids can't afford to learn any more.

(h) Abolish the Conservative Party. They do no good of any kind so why should we put up with them? Abolish the Labour Party as well because it's the same as the Conservative Party.

(i) Abolish the European Union. The Europeans should learn English and then apply, and pay a huge fee, to join the British Empire. (I owe this obvious idea to David Frost and Anthony Jay.)

Best wishes and thank you again for giving me this opportunity. I hope to see you making the case for all the above within the next week or two.

Sincerely, Ken Johnson

Sunday, 17 September 2017

A place of beauty

A place of beauty Thank you to the gardeners of Edinburgh District Council Parks Department who have planted a small patch of land with meadow flowers, in between the children's swing park and the football pitch. The result is beautiful, and it reminds me of the way I think the countryside ought to be. For a few yards, the walk along the footpath from Kilncroft Side to Inglis Green Road is in bloom. Do walk it.

Friday, 8 September 2017

What Duracell and Ever Ready don’t want you to know

Following the appearance of this short article in the Daily Mail dated 7 September 2017 on how to recharge your mobile phone when there is no electric power, How to charge your phone if the power goes out, I feel entitled to publish the following short article on the same subject from the little known Journal of Physics and Mobile Communication.

Four engineering students from the university of Tempinbol, in the little known east European country of Tiurma, have discovered a replacement for conventional mobile phone batteries.

Cut a slice 1½″ × 2″ of British potato. Soak it in a mixture of vinegar, honey and cold tea for three months. Prick holes in both sides of it with a pin. Wrap it in a clean British cabbage leaf and put it in the hole where the phone battery used to be.

Once in place it will power your phone for up to 100 years and what’s more every call you make with it will be free.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A song about the Office of National Statistics

According to the eleven o’clock (in the morning) news on Radio Four today, unemployment has fallen yet again.

Tune: We’re going to hang out the washing on the Siegfried Line. Acknowledgements to Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy.

Once I got a first class math-e-matics degree,
Then I was on the dole.
Now I’m back at work and in the right job for me,
I invent the figures that appear on TV!

I’ve joined the Of-fice of National Stati-sti-tics,
Where I work things out and often get them wrong,
It’s where they pay me to make up all the vital facts,
As I blithely go along.
Tell me the figures should be big or small
And I’ll tell you what you want to hear,
I’m in the Of-fice of National Stati-sti-tics,
And the answer’s crystal clear.

I’m at the Of-fice of National Stati-sti-tics,
Is your manifesto costed through and through?
Do you wonder who’s leading the opinion polls?
’Cause I haven’t got a clue.
All these improvements in the way you live
Are supposed to raise your self esteem,
I’m in the Of-fice of National Stati-sti-tics,
Where I fall asleep and dream.

Downstairs in the basement there’s a hardworking clerk,
Oh, what a rigmarole,
Guess how many citizens are looking for work,
Scribbling it on paper while he’s going berserk,

I’m at the Of-fice of National Stati-sti-tics,
Will your pension be enough to stay alive?
Have we paid back the debt or just the deficit?
And how many beans make five?
Is the exchange rate going to rise or fall?
Tell me, how long is a piece of string?
And then you take away the number that you first thought of,
Yes, we know that sort of thing.

I’m at the Of-fice of National Stati-sti-tics,
I decide on what goes up and what comes down,
I just pluck all the numbers out of empty air
’Cause the abacus broke down,
When people ask me what the future holds
I can cast the runes and draw a graph,
I’m in the Of-fice of National Stati-sti-tics,
I can have a damned good laugh.

Ken Johnson

Monday, 29 May 2017

How to stop people using mobile phones while they drive

How to stop people using mobile phones while they drive Not that long ago I was crossing the road at the Pelicon crossing outside Saughton Park, when despite the red traffic light and the green man, a fast car passed within an inch of me, very nearly knocking me over. The driver was, you’ve guessed it, using her mobile phone while driving.

This dangerous practice has attracted some attention in the newspapers of late: for example, Motorists’ anger at plummeting mobile-phone convictions in The Telegraph. But the only solution anyone seems to have canvassed is increasing the fines or driving bans that the courts can hand down.

The trouble is, increasing the penalty has not worked. Penalties for using a mobile phone while driving were increased a few weeks ago, and the number of convictions has pretty much stayed the same.

The penalty for using a mobile phone, of course, should be temporary or permanent confiscation of the phone. This is obvious to any parent or teacher who has become exasperated by watching a child texting and yapping on the phone instead of making their own bed or doing arithmetic. But the long term solution to this serious road safety problem comes from a completely different direction.

Some futuristic engineers see the solution in driverless cars. Obviously, if your car is driverless, you will be able to use a mobile phone just as if you were aboard a bus or a train. When driverless cars are finally put to work on the streets I am sure that the roads will be safer than at any time since the invention of the motor car. But driverless cars are a long way in the future, and in the mean time I see the solution in subscriberless phones. These revolutionary telephones will sense the movement of the car, and immediately start phoning people and holding trivial and unnecessary conversations along the lines of ‘Hello darling, I’ll be working late at the office,’ ‘Happy birthday,’ ‘Does the dog have enough tinned food,’ ‘Eric’s feeling a bit poorly so I gave the stuff to Myra,’ and so forth.

By keeping up an autonomous torrent of inane conversation with friends, the subscriberless phone will free its owner to concentrate on the road ahead.