Happy christmas

Just a very quick message to say a huge happy christmas to all the lovely Voxers who have dropped by since last christmas. May your day be happy, your turkey be salmonella free, your dog not get hold of the sprouts and smoke you out of your house and your inlaws be a minimum of 500 miles away. It's christmas eve and I've been on the crimbo wine for some time now so……

Happy christmas everyone!

Have a great day!

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White Christmas

And so the snow arrived. It wasn't a huge surprise, given that we'd had a weeks notice that it was on its way and we'd all seen the many and varied news reports announcing that armageddon must have begun because London got a few centimetres of the white stuff. Apparently had 13 more millimetres of snow fallen then Boris Johnson would have had to initiate emergency protocols and begin the process of sacrificing 500 virgins (to be imported if 500 genuine British ones couldn't be found) in order to appease the great snow god in the sky and get industry moving again. Despite the fact that in Finland the temperature reaches minus 20 centigrade and yet everything keeps moving, Eurostar it seems was incapable of getting through an insulated tunnel without incident, leaving dozens of people trapped under umpteen million tonnes of seawater in a long thin tincan wishing they'd risked seasickness and taken the ferry instead. Bury Council, in a moment of questionable sensibility, decided that despite the fact that heavy snow was headed our way, gritting the road was for nancy boys and they wouldn't bother. Meaning that when it hit yesterday even the main roads were impassable. After a nice firm frost last night, the compacted snow became compacted ice puddles and you'd have done better with skis on the bottom of your car than wheels. Fortunately there weren't many people in the work carpark when my car arrived, sideways, and lurched its way diagonally into what I guessed was a parking space (difficult to tell because the painted lines are all under frozen snow). Getting home through all the traffic from the multitude of people who are all off to get their last minute shopping in the Trafford Centre and a) can't bloody drive because they only ever take the car out once a week to do the 'big shop' for groceries and have no idea what lane they're meant to be in or what the indicators on the car are for and b) are all driving at 4mph because the man on the radio told them driving conditions are treacherous is going to be fun of the kind last encountered when I had a tooth removed.

Entertainingly, the race for the Christmas number one single has not been won by the winner of the X factor, as anticipated by Simon Cowell and presumably the winner of the X factor. In days gone by, i.e. before the X factor, who was going to be christmas number one would be something you talked about during breaktime at school. Or in the pub, depending on how old you were but now it's just guaranteed to be whichever beige clone with good teeth, modern hair and a pliable nature won the X factor. Dull dull dull. Until this year, when the public rebelled, presumably appalled by the idea that the long cherished christmas number one spot could be occupied by a shit remake of an originally shit Miley Cyrus song. Plastic pop at it's most tedious, I'm sure you'll agree. No, this year it's been taken by Rage Against the Machine's 'Killing in the name of', a song which serves the dual festive purpose of not only narking off Simon Cowell  by slowly raising a middle finger to the X factor but also irritating the hell out of the Christmas PC brigade by being rather aggressive sounding and, shock of all shocks, containing the word 'fuck'. Imagine, someone using the word 'fuck' in a song, it's truly the end of days, or at least it was to the woman I heard interviewed on the radio this morning. Serves Cowell right, this is man who inflicted on us the eternally screeching Leona Lewis, a woman who with one chorus can send bats into the side of buildings and cause dogs to go temporarily insane as her high pitched caterwaul sends their hearing threshold into freefall. Added to this insult is the fact he actually had the idea of putting the two giant egos of Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden onto the one TV show, a plan of such unparalled evil that he should have been tried for treason and swiftly beheaded. So Cowell, let this be a lesson to you, we're bored of beige so next time you're picking an X factor winner, how about going for someone a little bit neon pink or sparkly black instead? 

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Christmas nonsense.

And so, as we head towards christmas, the usual round of christmas disasters appear on the horizon and head towards me at a rate of knots. Am nto doing too  badly this year, I've only had a few and these include:

The Christmas tree stand.
I ordered a christmas tree stand off Ebay. It said 'suitable for large tree'. I liked the idea of a 'large tree' and since anyone who was reading back in 2008 will remember last year's christmas tree fiasco, I was determined not to be caught out the same way again so I wanted a big tree stand. The unfortunate thing about Ebay is that it's rather difficult to tell from the little grainy picture how big something actually is. Unless you read the dimensions written in small print, obviously, but who does that? So I get the card through the letterbox saying the postman hadn't been able to deliver my parcel (or, more accurately since I'd been in all day, the postman couldn't be arsed to deliver my parcel and fanny about getting a signature) and off I trundle to the post office. The man appears with my parcel and I'm not going to lie to you, it's fucking huge. I mean enormous. FAR too big for our living room but if anyone knows a person who is looking to prop up a mature Canadian Redwood tree, a bundled collection of telegraph poles or an upended Chieftain tank, I have the accessory they need. This meant that when I bought the christmas tree I had to buy another stand for a further twenty bloody quid and even then I've managed to put the thing in squint. So my tree leans to the left. This, coupled with the fact that my tree has plenty of branches at the top and loads at the bottom but a big stretch of trunk in the middle with no branches at all, means I have a 'character' tree. Lovely. I suppose it fits in well in our house, a bit dishevelled, about to fall over and generally a little bit shambolic.

The Eyelashes
With the party season in full swing I decided to get some false eyelashes put on for a party I was going to. The usual girl I go to has quit and so I booked in with a friend's cousin. The eyelashes she attached weren't in a strip like the ones I'd had done before, they were little individual ones and once on they looked fantastic. So I went to my party, came back a bit the worse for wear and decided that since the beautician had said some other girl had still been wearing them 3 weeks later, that I'd see if they were still there in the morning. And hey presto, when me and my hangover got up, they were! But they were beginning to annoy my eyes so I decided to take them off. I took hold of one little clump of them and pulled gently. Nothing, they didn't budge. So I pulled a bit harder. Nothing. So I yanked and was rewarded with the removal of a little clump of eyelashes. Sadly they weren't the false ones, they were actually mine, the fake ones were still firmly fixed to my face. Fuckity fuck. So I tried soaking them in eye makeup remover and then yanking. All I achieved was the removal of a few more of my own lashes and a searing pain in my eyelid. Eventually, with both eyes watering and looking suspiciously red I rang the girl to ask how I take them off. She asked if there was anything wrong with them, in a tone that suggested only someone who should be incarcerated in some sort of secure unit would be removing them the day after they were applied. I said there wasn't but I wanted to take them off so she advised using baby oil or vaseline to break down the glue and then pulling them off. I didn't have any vaseline but I did have baby oil, from the time that some fool advised me to use it to clean the stainless steel cooker top because it didn't leave streaks. I know, I know, oil and naked flame. Or I know now. Who knew the fire blanket would ever come in useful? Anyway, I dug the baby oil out from 'cupboard under the sink' and soaked the eyelashes for a while then yanked at a clump on the least painful of my eyelids. One little bit came out but the rest were still stuck fast. Fucking brilliant, now I've got a bald spot in the middle that means I'm committed to remvoving the whole lot but they're all still frigging superglued to my damned head. Cue half an hour of fannying about with baby oil soaked cotton wool pads, tugging, whimpering and howling. Eventually I managed to wrestle the bastard things off but my eyelids were so beseiged that it looked like I'd been smacked in the face. And 60% of my own eyelashes had been pulled out too. Beautiful, it's a good look for christmas. And because I'm a complete prat, I've booked in to have the eyelashes done again on Friday morning but this time I've thought ahead and bought some false eyelash remover. I'll let you know how it goes…….

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Nobody panic – Alistair Darling has the answers!

Today is the day that Alistair Darling launches his pre-budget report. Normally I would ignore the pre-budget report because frankly it's as dull as fuck and he never says anything very impressive or funny so it isn't worth commenting on. However this is the last one before the election so in the spirit of 'I can't bitch about it if I didn't listen to it', I thought I'd give it a go.To be honest, most of it was still as dull as fuck but one thing caught my eye: Alistair's idea to levy a one off 50% tax on bonuses over £25000 paid by banks to their employees. Possibly unusually in today's society, I think this is morally fucking bankrupt and I'll tell you why.

Mr Darling claims, without even having the grace to blush, giggle a bit or twitch up and down like a schoolboy caught having a cig behind the bikesheds, that this one off levy is intended to deter big bonuses rather than raise revenue. Pull the other one Darling, it's attached to the foghorn. If you were going after big bonuses then your first port of call would have been to the appalling British Gas, whose reputation for ripping off the little man is second to none. In 2008 their CEO Sam Laidlow was given a more than handsome bonus of £1.65m in monetary reward and £1.8m worth of shares. Or perhaps Ally would have been requested the sort code and account number of Peter Rogers, the Chief Executive at Westminster City Council, who was given a bonus of £45,000, straight from the pockets of the Westminster City Council taxpayers. So 'intended to deter big bonuses'? I don't think so Alistair, let's have a bit of honesty.  Let's call it like it really is.

You're skint. Or, more accurately since you're a cabinet minister and are therefore creaming vast sums out of the taxpayer in salary and bonuses, the treasury is skint. It needs more money but the taxpayers don't like being asked for more and there's an election coming up. So, who do the taxpayers hate, with the exception of politicians because we all know that they're more likely to vote for Wales to be sold to the Arabs than a cut in their own income? Bankers. The public hate bankers because they earn shitloads and have been conveniently scapegoated for the entire mess that the UK is in. So, if Alistair levies a big tax on their bonuses then it's a vote winner and a money-spinner. Plus, he gets to give a massive kick in the nuts to some jumped up little shit who is 25 years younger than him yet earning 4 times as much. How very dare they? And that's what it's all about. It ignores all the cogent facts, such as the fact that levying a massive bonus tax on banks who haven't received any government money is akin to donning a pegleg, parrot and bandanna, raising the Jolly Roger over Westminster and broadsiding the Barclays building. Such as the fact that many, many organisations give out bonuses based on money they've extracted from the taxpayer but they're being ignored. Such as the fact the public aren't blind to the way that the government have carefully sculpted the image of bankers as horned bringers of penury, disease, pestilence and doom because as long as the public are blaming bankers for the mess the UK is in and spitting at them in the street then no one is looking too closely at the way nothing much has happened about the expenses scandal or enquiring too deeply about the fuck up the treasury have made of virtually everything they've touched in last 10 years. Some of the top bankers have warned that they will move out of the UK to avoid the tax but Darling says he 'will not be held to ransom by the banks'. This is because he's an utter moron and has not yet worked out that a wholesale walkout of banking personnel would wreak absolute havoc on an economy that has already contracted more than he expected. He's also not thought about the fact that these people earn such a huge amount of money that they can afford the very best lawyers. You can bet your payrise, if indeed you got one, that all over the City mobile phones are being pulled out and lawyers are being retained because you can be sure that they'll appeal this on the grounds of human rights. And it's a fair point, if you've not received government bailouts and you're not paid by the state, how can it be legal to levy a penalty based purely on your occupation and no other? It's discrimination of the clearest and most blatant nature.

Yes Darling, we're not nearly as thick as you think we are, we're not convinced by the reasons you've given for this and after over ten years of your government's spin and lies, most of us have learned that if it's emerged from Westminster and it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck it's probably still a CCTV camera which will digitally record your DNA and up the tax take on your salary for the privilege, all in the name of the national interest.  

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Surely a testament to at least 11 years in the British education system…

Many thanks to Brennig Jones for bringing this clip to my attention.

For those in the UK, Peaches Geldof may well be known to you from the pages of The Sun, for anyone who has escaped her, she's the air-headed daughter of the scary haired two hit wonder, Bob Geldof. And she is another of these girls who is famous for being the daughter of someone who actually did something to become famous.

And so I give you Peaches Geldof, surely a future guest speaker on the intellectual conference circuit….

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More batshit from those on high. This week – dimmer than a 5w lightbulb.

Thanks to the BBC, I discovered this story from the BBC. Apparently energy "Smart-Meters" are now the way forwards. The way it works is this – The Department of Energy and Climate Change (and no, I wasn't aware we had one of those) wants to see "47 million meters in 26 million properties by 2020". Good luck with that chaps. According to the Beeb, it is hoped that the technology will help people cut their energy bills by giving you a visual display of how much electricity you are using. This, to my mind, is avoiding a fact – if you're too stupid to realise that by leaving all the lights on and boiling the kettle you're going to be using more leccy than if you sit in the dark drinking orange juice then you shouldn't be in charge of anything as potentially lethal as a plug switch, just in case you're overwhelmed by the urge to discover what happens if you ram a fork into it. Anyhow, dispensing with the detail, let's look at the practicalities shall we?

Trials of smart meters have suggested that SOME people may be prompted to moderate their energy use and that the £8bn scheme may help people save £28 a year. May I be the first to say that I don't personally think spending £8bn in order to get a few people to switch off the light and save the monetary equivilent of 8 pints a year is terribly practical? The meters are going to cost about £340 per household anyway, so their first 12 years of savings are going to be spent paying off the sodding thing. Lord Hunt, our esteemed climate change monkey-in-charge said, without a hint of irony that 'Smart meters will put the power in people's hands, enabling us to control how much energy we use, cut emissions and cut bills", entirely missing the point that people have been able to do this since electricity first arrived in houses just by using the 'off' switch. In days gone by the populace was even deemed intelligent enough to work out that having the bedroom light on upstairs when they were sat downstairs was unnecessary without the aid of a little electronic gadget that produces a pretty coloured graph. And uses up more electricity to power itself. He also said that case studies showed the meters 'could' get people to reduce their bills by about £100 a year by changing behaviour but we can safely ignore that figure because we all know that the government doesn't believe the electorate can understand a number unless it starts with '1'  and ends in '0' and so they've clearly just rounded up the £28 mentioned to the next largest figure that follows this rule.

The energy suppliers are going to be able to recoup the cost from customers through higher bills or upfront fees. Quelle surprise. And what, ladies and gentlemen, do we think the energy companies will do if (and we're taking a wild leap of faith here, following the fatally flawed assumption that the scheme makes any difference) our energy use begins to tail off dramatically and profits begin to fall? Any guesses? Yes, that's quite right. They'll ramp the bloody prices up so they can still make umpteen billion quid a year.

So am I going to be applying for a Smart Meter? No, I'm not, because I'm intelligent enough to figure out the times when I use most power and what to do to reduce it and frankly I think that a list should be made of all the people who don't think that they can figure it as well so require a meter. This way someone can be sent round to all their properties to disconnect the electricity and the gas before they hurt themselves…

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