The Befouled Weakly News

16 May 2010

Well, at last we have a government. As you will know, the Conservatives have finally been able to come to an agreement with the Liberal Democrats and we have a coalition government of the two parties which are probably furthest apart on the political spectrum. The “price” has been some modest toning down of some of the Conservatives’ more narrow-minded policies and a commitment to modify the electoral process, which is what the Liberals would have insisted upon. Unfortunately, there was no shifting the Conservatives on their policy towards Europe which must have been a bitter pill for the Liberals to swallow but one on which the Conservatives could never give way – there are just too many “Little Englanders” to countenance anything other than outright hostility towards all things European and foreign.

Interestingly, what we have, of course, is a government committed to introducing policies which no one voted for. Still, I think there’s little doubt that this was the right thing to do and one can only hope that the Liberals are treated as real partners in government with an influence on policies.

One thing for sure, ever since the new government was agreed, the weather has been miserable – cold, cold and then, just for a change, a bit more cold weather. I’ve had to put the central heating back on and wear several layers when walking the dog. Just goes to show what I’ve always said – you can’t trust the Conservatives, particularly when it comes to the weather!

I was struck at the weekend by yet another example of the hypocrisy of Rupert Murdoch and his News Corps empire which includes the Times and Sunday Times in the UK. Once respected as a reliable news outlet, the Times has increasingly become more and more like the other “rag” sheets which promote prejudice whilst masquerading as “news”. We were at lunch last Sunday with our friends Jo and Colin and their three delightful children and they happened to have a copy of the Sunday Times. I couldn’t help notice the headline – “Vast Majority Say Brown Must Go!” Glancing through the article I found the substance for the headline – the Times had conducted a poll on the Saturday after the election which found that 62% of those polled felt Brown should resign. Fair enough. There were, however, a couple of problems with the article. Firstly, as the Times knows, constitutionally, Brown was still Prime Minister until some other party (or coalition) could form a government. To resign would, technically, leave the country without any form of government. Not a great idea, surely. The other amusing aspect of the article was the “vast” majority who wanted Brown to resign. The Times described the Conservative's 36% of the popular vote in the election as a “huge vote in favour of change.” Yet, this “huge” vote for the Conservatives was somewhat fewer than the 38% respondents to their own poll who would like Brown to stay on, yet that is described as a “vast” majority the other way. As they say, lies, damn lies and statistics. The real trouble, of course, is that a proportion of the British public actually believe the nonsense that Murdoch and Fox promote under the guise of “news”.

A more interesting and thoughtful analysis comes from Andrew Rawnsley’s column in this morning’s Guardian. To be fair, the Guardian endorsed the Liberal-Democrats in the election and it is certainly a centre-left newspaper. Still, they don’t generally go around claiming that 36% represents a huge vote in favour while, in the same breath suggest that 38% represents a massive failure. You can read his article here, if you are interested.

In spite of the cold, cold weather and the lack of sunshine (all of which, of course, I blame on the Conservatives), the garden continues to awaken from its winter slumbers. The wisteria is out and plentiful (and it smells gorgeously delicious) and Penelope’s borders are displaying their spring colour. A couple of photos will prove the point, perhaps.

Penelope's Border
Penelope's Border

Acer in the border


Little flowers
More flowers

We also ventured out yesterday to some bluebell woods at Everdon Stubbs, not far from Badby where we often go. You can find a couple of the least bad photos here.

Much love to you all,


I was in a department store when I heard on the public-address system that the optical department was offering free ice cream. I headed down the escalator to take advantage of the offer, trying to decide on vanilla or chocolate. I was nearly drooling when I got to the optical section and said to the clerk, "I'm here for my ice cream."

"Ice cream?" came the reply. "Sorry. What we have is a free eye screening."

This is very similar to a story Dad used to tell about a school janitor (I believe it was) who wanted to visit Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

A hip young man goes out and buys the best car available: a brand-new Ferrari 550. It is also the most expensive car in the world, and it costs him $500,000. He takes it out for a spin and stops for a red light.

An old man (about 75 years old) on a moped pulls up next to him. The old man looks over at the sleek, shiny new car and asks, "What kind of car ya got there, sonny?"

The young man replies, "A Ferrari 550. It cost half a million dollars!"

"That's a lot of money," says the old man. "Why does it cost so much?"

"Because this car can do up to 320 miles an hour!" states the young dude proudly. The old man asks, "Mind if I take a look inside?"

"No problem," replies the owner.

So the old guy pokes his head in the window and looks around. Then, sitting back on his moped, he says, "That's a pretty nice car, all right… but I'll stick with my moped!"

Just then the light changes, so the young guy decides to show the old man just what his car can do. He floors it, and within 30 seconds the speedometer reads 160 mph. Suddenly, he notices a dot in his rear-view mirror.

It seems to be getting closer! He slows down to see what it could be, and suddenly, WHHHOOOOSSSHHH! something whips by him, going much faster.

What on earth could be going faster than my Ferrari?! the young man asks himself. He floors the accelerator and takes the Ferrari up to 250 mph. Then, up ahead of him, he sees that it's the old man on the moped.

Amazed that the moped could pass his Ferrari, he gives it some more gas and passes the moped at 275 mph. WHHOOOOSSSHH!

He's feeling pretty good until he looks in his mirror and sees the old man gaining on him again. Astounded by the speed of this old guy, he floors the gas pedal and takes the Ferrari all the way up to 320 mph.

Not 10 seconds later he sees the moped bearing down on him again. The Ferrari is flat out and there's nothing he can do.

Suddenly the moped plows into the back of his Ferrari, demolishing the rear. The young man jumps out; unbelievably, the old man is still alive!!! He runs up to the mangled old man and says, "Oh, my God! Is there anything I can do for you?"

The old man whispers softly, "Unhook… my… suspenders… from… your… side-view… mirror."

A young nun who worked for a local home healthcare agency was out making her rounds when she ran out of gas. As luck would have it there was a gas station just one block away. She walked to the station to borrow a can with enough gas to start the car and drive to the station for a fill up. The attendant regretfully told her that the only gas can he owned had just been loaned out, but if she would care to wait he was sure it would be back shortly.

Since the nun was on the way to see a patient she decided not to wait and walked back to her car. After looking through her car for something to carry to the station to fill with gas, she spotted a bedpan she was taking to the patient. Always resourceful, she carried it to the station, filled it with gasoline, and carried it back to her car.

As she was pouring the gas into the tank of her car two men watched her from across the street. One of them turned to the other and said, "If that car starts, I'll go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life!"

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