Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Bully for You

'Miss the next one and I'll
snap it in two.. Did I
mention I used to play?'

Great. Another ‘gate’. This time, it’s ‘Bullygate’, with one of Gordon Brown’s top civil service aides having taken the age old advice to anyone who feels under pressure and told a teacher. Good for him. Of course, no one would care about any of this had Andrew Rawnsley not decided to serialise his felicitously timed expose of life in the cut and thrust of the Brown administration. Whilst my (albeit unqualified) impression of the Prime Minister isn’t one of a man capable of inducing knee-quivering fear, I’m not sure I’d feel completely secure if ever his lazy eye angrily shot my way. He did play rugby after all, as he seems to be so fond of telling us, and anyone who has spent so much time with ‘Knuckles’ Prescott must have picked up a few tips. Fists, however, do not seem to be his chosen bullying tactic. A Cray-style grabbing of the lapels is more his style, plus an innovative take on cyber-bullying by lobbing a Blackberry across the cabinet table.

I agree that some level of control needs to be placed on workplace safety; no one wants to turn up for work every day fearing they might have a photocopier planted on their face, but seriously, come on; if you enter a life of civil service, working at very summit of politics, you can’t expect it to be all smiles and biscuits round the boardroom table, surely? I’m actually a little relieved to hear that Gordon Brown loses his temper every now and then; it makes him seem (a little) more human. If we carry on like this, every artillery private in the army will take their drill sergeant to a tribunal for asking them to get down and give them twenty (though I’m told in the Navy that means an altogether different thing).

Away from politics, Cheryl Cole has left Ashley. I’m a regular listener to Woman’s Hour and therefore a staunch feminist, and so I allowed myself a whoop and a ‘You go girl’ when I heard the news. The only question remains what to do with the 2 million unsold copies of her album that conspicuously remain with his surname plastered over the front.

The most hilarious news since Derby County announced they were donating 2000 items of kit from their club shop to Haiti, was the report that results from the latest BA strike ballots were delayed due to the Royal Mail van in which they were travelling breaking down. Of course it would have been funnier had they been on strike too, but then I wouldn’t have received today’s pile of junk mail that I live for. It comes as no surprise that the overwhelming majority voted for strike action; you cannot freeze pay for cabin crew when make-up and Brylcreem prices continue to rise above the level of inflation. It’s simple economics.

It was announced this week that at the current rate, a quarter of Scotland’s population will be obese before you can say ‘deep fried pizza’. This piece on BBC news was dispatched with the obligatory ‘on location’ piece from a Scottish high school, where a number of rotund and freckly youths exposed the startling revelation that at lunchtime they prefer to eat ‘chups’ to veg. Hardly news. It now just leaves first minister Alex Salmond (no slimmer of the year himself) to announce in the Scottish Parliament the positive news that over three quarters of Scottish people are of a healthy weight. My advice; order a side salad with your battered Mars bar.

Elsewhere, the government are proposing to cut funding for Homeopathic treatments, meaning that deranged hippies can no longer pick up their sunshine pills via prescription. Apparently, empirical scientific and results-led evidence is required to justify these things nowadays. Supporters of the treatments have denied that any success of these medicines is due to the placebo effect, maintaining that effective results can be delivered from a process that claims to increase the potency of a substance via its heavy dilution. Now I only got a C in Chemistry, but that’s not right, is it? Then again, it’s no more ludicrous than teaching Creationism in schools. Hell with it, let’s trial everything on the NHS. I prescribe Guinness and kebabs…