What's in Paisley's Pants? Political ramblings about things that catch my attention... (rather than some smutty double entendre...)

Friday, April 29, 2005

Johann Hari and why he is wrong

Johann Hari, writing in the Independent today, suggests that we should listen to the Iraqi people, as opposed to politicians and a ‘remote British lawyer’, before we form our opinions over the war. As an example of our ignorance of the Iraqi’s opinions, he cites the television show when June Sarpong interviewed Tony Blair. While debate was raging, and going nowhere, over the non-existence of WMDs, one Iraqi girl spoke up and said that she, and all her family ‘supported the war because there was no other way to get rid of Saddam Hussein’. Hari reports that the audience was silenced for a few moments, before the debate returned to WMDs. He also quotes the new Iraqi President as saying ‘Our struggle for a better, emancipated Iraq is now only possible because of the coalition of the willing.’

This would all seem to suggest that if we actually listened to the Iraqis, we would not be able to oppose the war because they wanted Saddam removed, and the coalition removed Saddam, and that was that.

Unfortunately, Hari misses quite a few key points.

Firstly, he is guilty of a fair degree of selective hearing. He only hears the voices of those who supported the war: what about the voices of the thousands of protestors who have demonstrated against the continued occupation of their country. In the elections in February, most Iraqis voted for the United Iraqi Alliance, whose main policy point (or one of them at least) is the withdrawal of all occupation forces. Bombings and murders are still taking place. One can’t help but feel that the Iraqi people don’t actually seem all that keen on being occupied; and as the occupation is a direct and inevitable consequence of the war, it follows logically that most Iraqis would seem to be opposed to the war.

Secondly, we have heard from Charles Kennedy on Question Time last night (with paraphrasing from Lenin):
After all, the Iraq Survey Group had been into Iraq, studied it closely and found that the regime was ripe for implosion. It would have been sufficient for Iraqis to see how weak Saddam's weapons systems were. He had no more chemical weapons to dump on his people, and his army was a shambles. The Emperor, thus found without his clothes on, would in all likelihood have rapidly fallen on the sword of popular insurrection.

The invasion, then, seems not to be the easiest way of going about the removal of Saddam Hussein. It is reasonable to suggest that Iraqi civilians would not have recognised this at the time, because no effort was made to point it out to them. To continue the Emperor’s new clothes analogy, someone had to play the part of the little boy in the crowd, telling everyone the real state of affairs.

My arguments are a little tenuous, I’ll admit that. But at the same time, so are the pro-war arguments. In that situation, where no clear moral ground can be found, we must fall back onto the legality of military action. This is why Hari is absolutely wrong in suggesting that we should not listen to some ‘remote British lawyer’. People will support and oppose the war, both here in Britain and in Iraq. There are no clear moral grounds regarding the invasion, and that is why we must listen to the lawyers. They do not deserve to be underplayed in the way that Hari does, and should, quite frankly, take centre stage in any decision.

The oldest parliamentary system of government in the world, and we still can't get an election right

Does this strike anyone else as being a little worrying?

Amid concern about the failings of postal votes, a team of international election monitors arrived in Britain yesterday and confirmed they would study the issue as part of a wider inquiry into how the election is being conducted.

Kare Vollan, the Norwegian leader of an 11-strong team, said officials would meet with returning officers, agents, candidates and the Electoral Commission. Monitors from Denmark, Canada, Macedonia, Russia, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, the US, Hungary and Serbia are to base themselves in London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


It all smacks of one of those nasty little foreign countries, where all the locals are terribly backwards and probably don't even speak English. I can't help but feel it's a little worrying too, although at least we will have some idea of how fair our election was... Maybe they'll look into this sort of thing.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

War, war go away...

I'm repeatedly told by various people around the place that the war will not be a major factor in the election, and within a few days, it will all have blown over. They usually quote the Guardian statistic that for only 4% of people, the war is the most important issue.

I think that nationally, there may be some legitimate grounds for this: on a national scale, people don't care about a few thousand Iraqi civilians illegally killed (it would of course be completely different if the British body count had been higher). Ultimately, people will vote in this election on whether they feel better now than they did in 1997, and the answer to that is largely 'yes'. This is the reason the tories cannot make any inroads in the polls, the figures for which have been more or less stagnant for nearly two weeks, ever since Gordon Brown came to the fore.

However, on a local level, in certain constituencies, the war will be the only deciding issue. Respect are clearly capitalising on this by targetting just 26 seats, in all of which they have a fair chance of making an impact. The same is true for the independent candidates targetting senior New Labour candidates: Reg Keys against Tony Blair (who incidentally seems to be running neck and neck amongst declared voters, with 60% of voters undecided); Craig Murray against Jack Straw; Rose Gentle against Adam Ingram. In all these seats, the war is by far the most important issue, and it is the issue that the election will be fought on.

To dismiss the war as meaningless as an election issue to to neglect to account for the massive strength of feeling that it engenders. In certain constituencies, it will decide the result.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Chicken Yoghurt

This blog has an excellent post regarding the leaked Attorney General report, and Labour's weasling to try and get out of this particular tight corner. An excellently written post, which voices an anger which a lot of people are feeling, but most lack the eloquency to voice.

Putin doing democracy in his own time

Hypocracy is rife in Russia it seems. President Putin is his annual state of the union address makes a couple fo claims:

* "Any unlawful methods of struggle ... for ethnic, religious and other interests contradict the principles of democracy."

Place this alongside the Amnesty International report on Chechnya, where Russian troops are responsible for 'violations of international human rights and humanitarian law, including "disappearances", extrajudicial executions and torture, including rape. These violations would be serious breaches of the Geneva Conventions and constitute war crimes.'

* Promising free television and radio

All the while tightening the governemnt's grip on the state channels.

But at least Putin doesn't lie. When he says Russia "will decide for itself the pace, terms and conditions of moving towards democracy", he is telling the gospel truth - the pace will be extremely slow, if not backwards, and it will be dictated entirely by him.

(In a nice touch of editing, the Independent had a very Orwellian photo of a television shop where massive rows of televisions are all playing the president's address. It is a very subtle but poweful commentary on how Putin rules. The photo is here, and is the fourth one on the page)

Jack Straw: articulate, coherent, open - just like the case for the war

Jack Straw making a mockery of himself on the Today programme, trying to answer a question about what was discussed in the cabinet meetings where Lord Goldsmith gave his evidence for the legality of the war:

Yeah and also... if you... I haven't... if you look at... I've dealt with this,
and... keep your hair on, Er, I dealt with this

Well, he's convinced me.

Blair facing a rebellion after the election?

Brian Sedgemore, announcing his defection in the Independent today, is clearly filled with the same sense of bitterness and betrayal as the rest of the left over New Labour's time in power. However, there was one passage that caught my eye:

But I can let them into a secret. I am not alone. A small group of us - all MPs who are standing down - decided we would leave the Labour Party immediately after the election. Among the MPs, there are 150 who loathe Mr Blair, 50 more who have grave doubts about him and a further 200 who love him. They are sometimes called the Clones or the Stepford Wives.

For some of us, it's not just about the war, it's about top-up fees and privatising the health service. We were going to issue a joint statement. That would have been the easiest thing for me to do but I believe I owe it to the voters to speak out now.


'We were going to issue a joint statement'. Does this mean that the statement will still be released? If so, it would be a massive display of an absolute loss of faith in Blair by his own party, after which it will be difficult for Blair continue to lead.

It seems this most Thatcherite of PMs may have one last Thatcher-esque move to make.

One another train of thought, are Labour heading for the same kind of divisions that have plagued the tories since Major was leader? If this declaration heralds a revival of Old Labour within the parliamentary party, then we could see much bitter infighting between the Old and New wings of the party. This would be bad news for both sides, as it would make the party near-on inoperable, opening the door for the tories.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Election transport update

Desperate to get away from the endless helicopters and buses, BBC Breakfast had a motorbike and sidecar this morning, complete with trailer shot of presenter in leathers holding a helmet. Is there any imagination in telly these days?

Tony Blair simply cannot stay

His honesty has been questioned repeatedly; the public’s trust in him has slumped; he is becoming a liability for the Labour party. Now, with the Attorney General’s leaked report, Tony Blair simply cannot be allowed to stay in power after this election.

The report offers six damning statements as to why the war should be considered illegal. The statements were given before Blair went into the war: he absolutely ignored the most senior legal advisor in the country.

I almost feel like I have run out of words to describe Blair now – it has all been said already. He is a liar. He has no respect for international law. He has the blood of Iraqi civilians on his hands. It is like listening to a stuck record – everyone has heard it all before. This becomes dangerous when people start taking all that for granted. They start looking past Blair’s lies, and focusing on other issues – exactly what New Labour, and their various press pundits – are trying to persuade us to do. It is absolutely right that the war should be at the top of the election agenda, and it will do George Galloway and Reg Keys absolutely no harm.

Blair has demonstrated his absolute contempt for the law, and for the bodies that uphold the law. For this, he can no longer claim a mandate, no matter how many seats he wins by in the election. He has acted outside the system he is meant to be head of: the kind of precedent that this sets is largely boundless.

Blair must go after he is elected, preferably by impeachment – only through that will it be demonstrated that no one Prime Minister can act as an absolute executive – he must be held accountable by the legislative branch that he himself is part of. However, I fear that his leaving office will be entirely his own choice – and with him will go any hope of reasserting the dominance of the legislative branch, and creating an ever stronger executive.

Chernobyl remembered, but we still need nuclear power

I wrote in January that it was necessary to start building nuclear power stations again, as they seemed to be the only way of slowing the global warming effect that fossil fuels have. I did accept at the time that a return to nuclear power would mean that would have to live with the consequences of a meltdown – an accident that would be almost inevitable with the numbers of reactors that would have to be built (this, coupled with the human knack of cutting corners and costs at the expense of certain safeties).

The Guardian has an excellent extract from a book ‘Voices of Chernobyl’ by Svetlana Alexievich in the G2 supplement today. It certainly makes my position uncomfortable. The personal accounts are harrowing and uncomfortable to read, particularly considering I am advocating putting other people at risk of suffering the same consequences. I would not like to be the person that tells these victims that we are building more nuclear power stations.

However, I am undeterred in my position. The consequences of not doing anything are far greater. The ‘global Somalia’ advocated on the channel 4 documentary will become a reality if global warming is allowed to continue unchecked. There is not much hope of getting the biggest consumers of fossil fuels to change their ways rapidly – George Bush barely accepts that global warming is a genuine problem. Renewable sources of energy are good, but simply not enough. Nuclear power regrettably seems the only solution, with all that it entails.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Blood on his hands, lies from his mouth

Blair finally admitted last that it was the government who released Dr David Kelly's name, an action that led to his suicide.
"[His death] was a terrible, terrible thing to have happened. I don't believe we had any option but to disclose his name, because I think had we failed to do so, that would have been seen as attempting to conceal something from the committee that was looking into this at the time."

That may have been the case, but the whole thing stinks of scapegoating and buck-passing. The government caused the death of David Kelly in order to save itself. It is guilty to the highest degree. For once, I may agree with Michael Howard, and say that Tony Blair is indeed a 'stranger to the truth' - so many times he must have been asked whether the governemnt released Dr Kelly's name, and so many times Blair must have lied and denied that it had.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

The Sun backs Labour

I have to grumble a little about this, as I ever so smugly declared that The Sun would 'of course' back the Tories, even having the cheek to claim that 'this has probably been predictable since Michael Howard had tea with Rupert Murdoch around March last year.'

I stand well and truly corrected.

Labour still isn't the natural party fot The Sun - they admit this as much themselves. However, the cynic in me can't help but feel that The Sun have possibly gone that way because Labour now look a dead cert to win - the question is now of how big the majority will be, not who will have the majority. By chosing the as-near guaranteed winner, The Sun can once again claim to be 'wot won it'.

Also full marks to The Sun for the genuinely amusing way in which they let the world know who they were backing.

Just a quick pointer...

Chocolate Covered Bananas has become God Hates God... still well worth a visit...

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

New Labour stand to lose their second strongest seat

Blaenau Gwent (Ebbw Vale) is New Labour's second strongest seat in the country, but they stand to lose this as a result of their policy of drawing candidates from female-only shortlists. To protest against this, Peter Law, Labour's current Assmebly Memeber for Blaenau Gwent, is planning to stand as an independent candidate in the constituency. His plans were all going to plan until he got diagnosed with a brain tumour. However, he has made a ridiculously quick recovery, and has tossed his hat firmly into the ring.

The likelihood is that Labour would lose this seat. The nominated candidate is Maggie Jones, an English Blairite, while Law is very popular locally and staunchly socialist. In 2001, Labour won here by 60.9% of the vote.

Local Labour party candidates are also facing expulsion from the party after proposing and seconding Peter Law's candidacy.

Monday, April 18, 2005

My voting options... limited at best

According to Who Should You Vote For, I should be voting for the Lib-Dems (scored 88), although in my defence, there were only 8 points between them and the Greens (80). (Labour got -20, conservatives -59, UKIP a worryingly high -1, although this could be because I was pretty neutral over Europe).

I've been thinking about my voting options recently, what with there being an election on and everything, and I can't help but feel that in my particular constituency, there isn't much of a choice - my sitting MP is a minor conservative front-bencher, with a majority of 5,000 over Labour, and a further 2,000 ahead of the Lib Dems. The only other candidate standing is someone for UKIP. I can't help but feel there isn't much of a choice there. I also can't help but feel a little put out when people complain about my plans to spoil my ballot: it is the only way we can register dissatisfaction with the whole system.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Veritas: a veritable joke

(Firstly, I must apologise for the title of this post... I'm sorry)

On the day of Veritas' manifesto launch, news comes to my ear that serious moves have been made to axe Kilroy-Silk as the head of his own party. While rumours of power struggles have been rife since the party's inception in February of this year. Pandora, the Independent's gossip coloumn thing ran this story:
COULD THE former Labour and UKIP politician Robert Kilroy-Silk be about to part company with his third political party? There are rumours of an ugly power struggle at the top of his new "firm", Veritas.
According to senior party sources, Kilroy-Silk was threatened with replacement as leader at a recent meeting of his own ruling executive. Apparently, a leading financial backer is unhappy at the "direction" of things.
Putting meat on this bone is tricky, though. The official Veritas press officer strongly denies any putsch. As well she might. Her name is Jan Kilroy-Silk, and she's the former chatshow host's wife.

That was published on 24th March. However, it has now come to my attention (I have my first genuine source now, which I'm quite proud of) that the Veritas leaders (apart from Kilroy, obviously) went as far as to offer the position of leader to other people. Carl Beaman, the party's candidate for Somerton & Frome was offered the position, apparently because he's the only candidate with any respectable business credentials. The party's top dogs were apparently unhappy with Kilroy's channel 4 program where he went to live with a family a gypsies for a week. Obviously showing gypsies to be real people, rather than hate-sponges goes against party policy.

Kilroy launched the Veritas manifesto today with the words
The idea that everybody should respect each others' cultures was "nonsense", he said, adding that not all cultures were equal - some were "reprehensible".

I hope this character is never given any sort of power, in any context. He is odious, his views are disgusting, and he is responsible for bringing out intolerance in people, and forcing a shift to the right in British politics.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Labour unveils plans to tackle child obesity

Tony Blair unveiled new plans to combat growing obesity rates among children today.

The campaign will promote bulimia and anorexia in a style designed to make them appealing to children. It is thought a number of celebrities have signed up for the campaign, with figures such as Victoria Beckham and Renee Zellweger being involved in the project.

Miss Zellweger, the star of Bridget Jones’ Diary, who famously put on and then lost pounds for the role, will feature in a commercial wearing as Bridget Jones and wearing a fat suit. After announcing that ‘No one likes a fatty’, she will turn away, vomit, and take the fat suit off, revealing a svelte figure. The tag line is ‘Check it out, Chuck it up’.

Mr Blair said of the plans ‘We are very concerned that one in three children in the UK is overweight. This campaign will go some way to readdress that balance.’

Professor Lympton Harvey of the University of Reading was the brain behind the government plan. He said ‘It is a very odd phenomenon. During the 90s, anorexia was all the rage. Unfortunately it seems we went too far with the anti-eating disorder campaigning, and we find ourselves with fattest children in Europe. This campaign will reign in some of those fatties.’

Other slogans in the campaign include ‘Starve Yourself Skinny’, with the television advert showing a child being beaten every time he tries to eat a cake. Another advert shows a boy being showered in liquidated fat taken from a liposuction operation. The tagline is ‘Fat is Disgusting’.

The Conservative party were quick to condemn the proposals. Sir Robert Highgrove-Barnsley, tory spokesman for Fat Children, said ‘The Labour plans are simply unrealistic. Children today are too unwilling to change. That is why we are proposing a cull of all children who are more that 6 lbs over their ideal weight. Are you thinking what we’re thinking?’

The Liberal-Democrats criticised both sides as ‘Not very nice’, before the spokesman added ‘But look at wee Donald, isn’t he cute and lovely? Ooosa big boy then? Ooos got ‘is daddy’s eyes? Looky looky looky.’

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

mutter mutter...plagarism... grumble grumble...

I'm sure there are rules against this sort of thing. Barely a week after Paisley's Pants brought the news of Pope Idol to the world, Mark Steel cropped up in the Independent advocating the very same contest. And now today Miles Kington is proposing 'Big Father', with a plug for Pope Idol in the italics at the end of his article.

However, a quick google search reveals 5,280 sites, all of whom had the same idea to spin a news article out based on an increasingly strained pun.

Note to self: be more original.

"It won't be the worst thing that ever happened"

So said Oona King when questioned how she would feel if she lost her seat in the forthcoming election. Shades of defeatism? I think possibly. She should also be embarassed at throwing away a 10,000 majority.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Howard denies racism

Michael Howard was plunged into controversy last night after a number of organisations accused him of racism.

The accusation came after Howard was seen beating a black woman to the ground, before repeatedly kicking her, while calling her a 'bloody colonial'. Oliver Letwin was said to have also been present, grinning inanely.

The head of the Comission for Racial Equality, Trevor Phillips, said 'This sort of thing really is unnacceptable. For a high-profile MP to be involved in such an attack is surprising to say the least. Mr Howard is an out-and-out racist.'

However, aides rushed to defend Mr Howard's actions. A spokesman for Mr Howard said 'The attack was perfectly reasonable. This foreign woman has come into the country, is probably infected with all sorts of ooga-booga diseases, and will steal the job from a hard-working english person. You know they breed four times faster than white people? Soon the country will be full of 'em'.

Mr Howard was questioned about the attack at a press conference in Frinton, and justified his actions further, but denied any allegations of racism 'My actions were merely demonstrating to the British people how in touch I am with them. I know these lynching-style attacks are becoming more popular, and I was showing how in touch I am with the people of Britain. And I was winning a job back for a hard working british person.'

Mr Howard also gave details of his campaign for this week, which include a cermonial torching of a mosque, and a trip to his local synagogue to daub swastikas on the walls. The irony of this last engaement was not lost on Mr Howard, 'I was a little surprised at first, but you'll amazed how far a little bit of self-loathing can get you.' He proceeded to punch himself.

A Labour party spokesman said of Mr Howard's actions 'We utterly condone Mr Howard's actions. Mr Blair will not attack any member of an ethinic minority. Gordon Brown on the other hand is booked in for taunts towards a girl in a hijab next week.' An insider of the party later revealed 'Voters are being turned off by Blair's racist attacks - he's not the safe bet he once was'.

Charles Kennedy condemned the Conservatives as 'not very nice', and asked everyone to 'be nice to each other' because 'Britain's a nice place, with nice people'.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Masturbate for Peace

Brought to my attention by Luka Majuka, snappy slogans such as 'War is heinous, finger your anus', among the selection of 586 smutty bids for peace.

My personal contribution - 'Evidence was iffy, but I've got a stiffy', but it may be a little too Iraq specific...

Always nice to see though, that on the Masturbate for Peace website, they helpfully provide a 'Vibrators FAQ' answering such vital questions as 'What if I get it stuck in my ass?'.

It reminds me of the part of Ricky Gervais' second standup show, Politics, where he's discussing a guy who went into hospital with a bottle of tomato sauce stuck up his arse. He made this stroy up about how he was locked out of the house with his shopping, so climbed up to the second floor window to break in, but fell off. While he was falling, his trousers and pants got caught on a nail, and ripped off, and he landed arsehole first onto a bottle of tomato ketchup. The story would have been more believable if the bottle didn't have a condom on it.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Just a quick thought...

How do patients feel, lying ill in hospital, when an MP comes round and tels them all that MRSA is running rampant in their hospital, death rates from it are rocketing? It's not the most reassuring visit, is it? I'd rather have a hallmark poem and a bunch of grapes...

And how is voting in the Conservatives going to stop MRSA? Is Michael Howard, once he becomes PM, going to send his lackeys round to clean hospitals himself?

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Has anyone seen the pope recently?

He looks really awful... Really pale... Like death warmed up...

Never fear all you hunting types

I'm sure, if you're a self-respecting toff worth your salt, you'll be disappointed that the shooting season for buck roe deer ended on the 31st March. "What to do!?" I hear you cry. Well never fear, blood sports fans, because marching season is nearly upon us!

Ah yes! That glorious time of year running from Easter Monday to the end of September, when all the great and good and landed of Britain diverge on Northern Ireland, and try and shoot those damned protestants. Here, Paisley's Pants provide a quick guide to Shooting in Northern Ireland.

1) The plumage of the proddy, both male and (more rarely) female, changes to orange for most of the season. While in the wild, this was done to ward off rival species, the main effect now is that it makes the proddy easier to spot, and thus shoot.
2) The proddy further hampers its efforts to avoid being shot by creating a rather large amount of noise. It seems, rather quaintly, to have learnt how to play the traditional marching music of military bands. But remember! These creatures are not cute! And just think how nice a mounted head will look on the wall in the dining room.
3) The leader of the proddy pack is the Rt Rev Sir Lord Ian McPaisley*. He is loud, large and obnoxious. He should be shot on sight.

So there we have it. The very basics for marching season. Happy hunting!

*The proddies do seem to have evolved names of some sort - do not try to learn them, as that is the first step to losing the killing instinct. Just remember them for the hapless colonials that they are.

Arse to Blogger...

...for messing up my posting. It's all sorted now though.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Who will The Sun back?

The Tories of course.

A couple of days ago, The Sun declared that it had not decided who to back in the election (except the Lib-Dems, who were 'unprincipled' and not worthy of their vote).

Then today, Tony Blair sends a handwritten letter to The Mirror telling it's readers why they should vote. The Mirror, the most naturally left wing tabloid, has long felt snubbed by Blair's premiership, where he has preferred to go to The Sun (see Hutton report 'scoop')

So what does this mean? I would guess a few things:

1) Blair is trying to court the left vote. He has lost all credibility in this area, and it will take more than four weeks to win it back.
2) Following on from this, Labour see Respect as a threat. Up until now, this (widely held) knowledge was based on whisperings emerging from Labour HQ - whisperings like Labour would rather lose 30 seats to the Tories than 1 to Respect. Dead Men Left is the place to look for this sort of thing.
3) The Sun will back the Tories. They are of course the natural party of The Sun, the paper being a slightly higher brow version of the Tory manifesto - burn gypsies, asylum seekers have AIDS, you'll die if you go into hospital etc. etc. Of course, this has probably been predictable since Michael Howard had tea with Rupert Murdoch around March last year.

So there you have it... And note that The Sun hasn't backed a loser since 1971, so this could all be rosy for Michael Howard... or Labour could still win by 47 seats (in my opinion)

Election called: helicopter shares rocket

Apparently, those in the know reckon these will be el modus transportatus de jour de la choix for electioneering party officials, seemingly demonstrated by Charles Kennedy city hopping around the north today, and Tony Blair going in and out of Weymouth in minutes in his. (It is advisable for any flailing Labour leader to avoid the mean tory streets of Weymouth) In the first day alone, I counted three at the BBC, although one may just have been a bog standard camera one. Newsnight have their own specific chopper, which is a bit la-di-da... They do have a battle bus, but that was so 1997 darling.

I can't help but imagine the BNP's battlechopper to be like the scene in Full Metal Jacket, except swapping the paddy fields of vietnam for the streets of Bradford, and the gooks become pakis of course...

Anyway, these helicopters can only be a good change - 'battlechopper' sounds so much cooler than 'battlebus': nothing else will rescue the turnout.

US satisfaction at moving up league table

The Bush administration expressed 'satisfaction' at the news that the US has moved up a place in the execution league.

The US moved up from 5th place to 4th in the last year, at the expense of Iraq, who dropped out of the top 10 all together, due mainly to a temporary suspension of law and order in the country.

A spokesman for the administration said 'Of course we're all satisfied with the latest figures. They show the world that George Bush is an effective killer, and what is more, he is getting more effective.'

Some leading democrats have expressed doubt over the figures though. Edward Kennedy, a democratic senator, said 'Sure we've moved up the league table, but the number of executions has fallen. We're down 5 on last year, which can only mean that we're falling further behind the competition.'

In the previous year, the US executed 65 people, compared with 59 in the last year. While Vietnam's figures also fell by the same amount, both Iran and China pulled away from the chasing group. However, there is still controversy surrounding China's figures, where only estimates are available - the official count for the previous year was 726, while the unofficial count put the figure at closer to 5,000. In this last year, China's figures could be as high as 10,000.

Commenting on China's continued dominance of the league, the Washington spokesman said 'Of course, we all look on at China with great envy - not only do they show a great verve in their executions, but they surround it with enough secrecy to make the eyes water. They are an example to us all.' When asked whether China were catchable, the spokesman said 'We'd need some new laws for that, but don't assume we won't try.'

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Tributes pour in for John Paul II

Figures from politics, religion and showbusiness have joined together to pay tribute to the former head of the Catholic Church in Rome. Paisley’s Pants is proud to present a selection of them:

‘He was a fucking top bloke, you know, he supported Band Aid all the way through – you know I wrote the Band Aid single?’ Bob Geldof

‘Ha! Stick that in your pipe and smoke it! God’s messenger on earth are we? Fat lot of good that did you, dead boy! Transubstantiation my arse.’ Archbishop Rowan Williams

‘You’re going home in a Vatican ambulance’ A chant heard from Milwall supporters yesterday

‘This is yet another example of Labour inadequacy. I ask you, how many pontiffs died under the last Tory administration? None. The last two Popes have both died under Labour governments. How hard is it to keep a Pope alive? Are you thinking what we’re thinking? Under Michael Howard, there will be less papal bucket kicking.’ Dominic Grieve, Conservative spokesman for Papal Health Affairs

‘You see, if the Pope had had decent school meals, rather than the processed rubbish we’re forcing down our kids these days, then he would probably still be with us today. Ban those damned turkey twizzlers.’ Jamie Oliver

‘He stood in the way of democracy [in opposing the Iraq war], and he paid the price. As I said before, you’re either with us or against us, and those who’re against us don’t stay against us very long.’ George W. Bush

‘What President Bush meant by those comments was that Pope John Paul II was a fine leader. His dignity and faith are an example to all of us.’ Condoleeza Rice

‘Vote for me’ Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

‘Bloody Catholics. Just because they can’t become monarch, they have to upstage my bloody wedding with some funeral.’ Prince Charles

‘Twitchy fellow wasn’t he. Bad news at an auction. Wouldn’t have done well on Bargain Hunt. Flog It is probably more his style.’ David Dickinson

'I never really liked the guy' God

My least favourite April Fools joke

The one that Luka Majuka pulled on me posting as Ann Coulter...

Arse.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Pope dies: Vatican announce controversial plans for appointing successor

As millions of Catholics mourn the death of Pope John Paul II, there is a growing feeling of unease with the Vatican announcement regarding the appointment of the deceased pontiff's successor.

In a statement given shortly after the annoncement of John Paul II's death, a Vatican official said that the plan was for the process to reflect the populist movements within the Catholic church, thereby giving a more representative figurehead. 'We feel the church should reflect the worshippers. That is why we are introducing Pope Idol'.

The format for the selection process is thought to cross talent show with election, with hopeful candidates given 30 seconds to make a pitch as to why they should head the church in Rome, with the aim of impressing a panel of judges. In the final rounds, the general public will be invited to vote to eliminate candidates.

Simon Cowell, pioneer of the original 'Pop Stars' format that spawned countless mind-numbing reality talent shows, said of his latest project 'The people in the Vatican got in touch with me a couple of months ago with regards to coming up with a new idea for choosing the next person to be God's man on Earth. We put our heads together, and we think we've come up with an original, dynamic format.'

Cowell is expected to sit on the panel of judges, and is expected to bring his trademark acerbic comments to the process. 'I won't go easy on anyone - God expects the best, and we have to sort the wheat from the chaff'.

The identities of the other judges is as yet unclear, although Jamie Oliver is being widely touted as a favourite, while the bookmakers are closing the books on Sharon Osborne being on the final selection panel.

Cowell was quick to play down accusations that the whole production was simply a cheap rehashing of a tired idea, mainly done for a bad pun. 'That is an entirely unfair suggestion,' said the high-trousered one, 'This show is entirely original'

The show is expected to be hosted by Ant and Dec, and will air on ITV within the next fortnight.

My favourite April Fools

Zimbabwe has fair election.

Gets me every time.

An Apology

I recently received a message from a right-wing American political commentator expressing disgust about my reference to her as an ‘absolute whore’. I would like now to state for the record that Ann Coulter is indeed not an ‘absolute whore’. Ann Coulter has never accepted money for any type of sexual activity, not even dirty dirty bum sex, although I have it on absolutely no authority whatsoever that she will let you feel her tits behind the bikesheds if you give her a curly-wurly.

I would also like to thank Ms. Coulter for giving me my first proper complaint, thereby making my irritating ramblings all the more satisfying to write.

I have amended my link to her website so it now reflects a more accurate description of her. I would justify this description, but I think I would get on better by simply engaging in the same tactics she does: smearing targets with sexual innuendo, rather than using coherent arguments based on facts.