The BogPo: An apology
Sorry we’re late, folks, I keep having to travel to London to sort out my mum’s flat and plough through a mountain of dispiriting paperwork showing how for years she was bullied and ripped-off by her landlords, banks, BT, greedy ‘dogs’n’donkeys’ charities and crooked mail-order companies, to see if there’s anything left.
I mean, £59 for a small pot of foundation makeup? And how did an investment fund of £120k turn in seven years into one worth £102?
Ah, sweet mystery of life, as they used to say.
I have to go again tomorrow, to hopefully meet at 7 am Monday with some council employees who we’re paying to take a few bulky items away. It’s an average six-hour drive, which at my age I’m finding incredibly wearing. A night in a sleeping-bag. And £30 to park… Hopefully this is the last, although it means saying goodbye forever to the urban village where I was born and raised – a village I now call without irony or malice, ‘Beirut on Thames’.
Anyway, here we go.
Fuck the Daily Mail, O lord – right up its shitty, mean-spirited, jingoistic fat arse.
The familiar refrain starts up in my liberal lefty snowflake breast as I read that ghastly, ambitious, greasy-ladder-climbing Priti Patel, Boris Johnson’s bus conductress and something-or-other for International Development (oxymoron in today’s insular climate) has summarily wielded the axe to a £5m programme to improve the lot of women in Ethiopia, on the grounds that the money ‘could be better spent elsewhere’.
On consultants, presumably. Or sending Boris to kiss Jared Kushner’s holy little gilded ring?
And as she says it has nothing to do with the long-running campaign of banner headlines in the Mail claiming Britain is funding nothing more worthwhile than an Ethiopian ‘girl band’, we must accept her explanation, must we not.
Or, as that great patriot and vigilant defender of Britain’s Just About Managing middle-class, Dacre of the Mail (salary: £1.5 million) has thundered, week after week, funding Ethiopia’s ‘Spice Girls’ to the tune of less than 0.05% of our international development budget (in turn, o.7% of our £1.4 trillion GNP) is a colossal abuse of UK taxpayers’ money.
Because the programme, known overall as Girl Effect, uses as its promotional flag-bearer a five-piece girl band called Yegna (the g is silent, as in gas-chamber).
BBC News describes the project in somewhat different terms to those now well understood by readers of the Mail:
The five-strong pop group was founded in 2013 and aims to tackle issues including domestic violence and forced marriage through its songs and online videos.
They perform a weekly drama and talk show on Ethiopian radio, as well as running a YouTube channel. They released their first song, Abet, meaning “We are here” in Ethiopia’s official language Amharic, four years ago.
It is part of the Girl Effect project, which was created by the UK’s Department for International Development and the Nike Foundation in 2011, which said Yegna aims to “change the culture of Ethiopia in a good way, to explain the problems in the society”.
God forbid we should use a penny of the massive wealth of this country to do things in a good way, after centuries of doing the opposite. Or that any aid should be imaginatively aimed at achieving cultural change through targeting young people in a language they understand, rather than simply dumping sacks of rice and tinned milk on a few starving babies; the stock image of chronic ‘African dependency’ favoured by prim British Conservatives dispensing their cold crumbs of Victorian charity.
Perhaps Messrs Bono, Geldof, Posh Spice and other well-remunerated luminaries of the pop world, assuming they have not lately been carried off by the Grim Showbiz Reaper, might be persuaded to dip into their sherbet fountains accounts to at least soften the blow, as the women of Ethiopia return to the life of uneducated, clitoris-mutilated, black-eyed, underage, half-starved, rapine domestic servitude they knew before the British government cravenly bowed to the will of the people, as channeled by that bullying monster, Dacre.
Fuck the Daily Mail, probably Britain’s most disgusting cultural manifestation after Nigel Farage – who, I see, has been given his own nitely radio talk-show on LBC, to make up for losing his £85,000 a year salary from the European Parliament – you know, the unfair, undemocratic institution he has been dreaming for many years of bringing to ultimate destruction, claiming a healthy salary and indecent quantities of expenses from it while yet he may.
Something to keep the taxi drivers awake, I suppose.
To declare an interest, I once got a royalty cheque from Ethiopia for £8 for an educational TV script I’d written years earlier for Thames TV. Of course, I couldn’t bring myself to cash it.
Crisis, what crisis? Oh, that crisis!
Readers of this, muh bogl, will know that my mum died just before Christmas. She’d been rushed to a city-centre hospital after collapsing at home with chest pains, that turned out to be not a heart attack but the discovery that she was drowning in fluid produced by a massive tumour on her lung – not the product of the 20-a-day habit she kept up until the last, but an unlucky secondary metastasised from a returning, previously non-aggressive breast cancer.
In fact, she had multiple conditions – she would have been 93 in December – and had had increasing difficulty in walking, to the point where she could no longer get to the front door, down the many stairs of her second-floor flat. She was effectively a prisoner, a vulnerable woman trapped in the otherwise empty building for nights on end, until a cleaner came on Fridays.
She’d been begging to be moved to sheltered accommodation after the building was acquired last year by a ‘rental management’ company. Until then she’d been fiercely independent. Her rent was artificially low, about one fifth of what the area might support nowadays, mostly paid for by the Pensions department and controlled by the local authority – whose social services and housing departments were powerless to offer her a safer alternative unless the new landlords decided to evict her.
Instead, the owners were waiting for her to die; and failed to comply in any way with their duty of care to a vulnerable tenant, carrying out no safety audit or premises inspection, as that had been done two years earlier when the local authority intervened to force her previous landlord to carry out repairs and improvements on a damp, mouldy and unheated flat they had not touched in over thirty years; failing to understand that their tenant of 51 years could not afford to move anywhere else.
How to make repairs to a duplex apartment near Harrod’s, so an old lady can be made more comfortable.
As she ‘blocked’ a bed in the hospital, which could do nothing for her other than provide palliative care’ in a general ward frantic with activity day and night, groaning, chalk-faced old ladies being wheeled in and out for X-rays at 2 am, we raced to come up with a solution.
There was no possibility I could provide nursing care in my tiny cottage, 250 miles away.
Between the NHS and her local authority, a solution was proposed that would have involved sending in teams of two carers every four hours to look after her at home; the only drawbacks being they couldn’t provide cover at night when she was most vulnerable, parking is impossible and the flat was in a horrific state as she had already started packing to move, imagining she would soon be rehoused – there’s a two-year waiting list for care home places – while a firm of property clearers and auctioneers had been through the place like magpies, scattering drawers and papers everywhere, leaving dusty holes where her furniture had been and a generous receipt for £500.
She had sold her bed – it was an antique – or thought she was about to, and a new, put-you-up cot was still in its box in the hallway.
A put-you-up cot. For a 92-year-old woman with osteoporosis.
Dying was really her best medical option at that point.
This weekend, Red Cross CEO Mike Adamson (Red Cross volunteers are providing many ancillary services in our hospitals) has described the NHS as a humanitarian crisis:
“The emergency care system is on its knees, despite the huge efforts of staff who are struggling to cope with the intense demands being put upon them. This cannot be allowed to continue. The scale of the crisis affecting emergency care systems has reached new heights, as we predicted, mainly due to a lack of investment in both social and acute health care beds, as well as emergency department staffing.” (BBC News)
And the NHS director’s pantomime-horse reply?
‘Oh no it isn’t!’
Why not? Because ‘we’ve got a plan for the winter.’
Is Donald Trump running the NHS too? It’ll be so great, believe me.
‘Told you so’ corner
“It hinges perhaps on what the Leavers mean by ‘sovereignty’ – ours, or their own? They appear in fact to have no idea of how they propose to direct the UK economy going forward; what ‘trade deals’ may be done, that we do not benefit from already. They are like bungling art thieves who steal a priceless painting so hot that no-one in the collecting world will touch it. The British people have mistakenly voted for a principle, not a policy.”
-The Boglington Post, 24 June 2016
“Contrary to the beliefs of some, free trade does not just happen when it is not thwarted by authorities: increasing market access to other markets and consumer choice in our own, depends on the deals, multilateral, plurilateral and bilateral that we strike, and the terms that we agree. I shall advise my successor to continue to make these points.
“I hope you will continue to challenge ill-founded arguments and muddled thinking and that you will never be afraid to speak the truth to those in power.
-Sir Ivan Rogers, Britain’s not-so Permanent Representative to the EU, in his resignation email to his staff, expressing his frustration that no-one in Government has a clue what to do about Brexit.
(He has today been supported by Canada’s EU ambassador, who agrees with his assessment that Brexit could take ten years to repair and be ‘catastrophic’ for the UK economy in the meantime.)
News that the Trumpkin has been at it again, petulant late-nite tweets spewing from his rhinestone-studded stateroom slagging Meryl Streep as a ‘greatly overrated’ actress.
Ms Streep, who has won probably more awards than the entire US Olympics team, had delivered a speech at the Golden Globes that could have been interpreted as critical of Herr Strumpf’s notorious cripple-mocking appearance at a campaign rally last year. Although we have all seen it a dozen times on TV, and it made President Hollande of France throw-up, the Orange One furiously denies it ever happened (“Well, he would, wouldn’t he?” – Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963)
- Is an obviously intelligent, thoughtful, well-informed, mature woman who happens to work successfully as an actor entitled to criticise the poor behaviour and ugly demeanour of the President-elect?
I would say so, yes. We all are.
- Should she be regarded as an absurd, self-important airhead who should know her place, because that is the perception some presidents-elect and others, non-actors – TV personalities – may sometimes have of actors in general?
I’d say not, no. It’s a statistical fact that not all actors can be fuckwits; any more than all politicians and all businessmans. Some ‘reality TV’ show hosts seem pretty vacuous, though. I mean, Anti-intellectual and Dec?
- Is the platform at the Golden Globe awards the right place to make political speeches to a roomful of absurd, self-important airheads, where they will easily be dismissed by politicians and businessmans as the usual tiresome drivel spouted by luvvies in moments of cocaine-fuelled euphoria?
Again, I should have thought probably not.
- I should have thought Miss Streep’s better bet then would be to put her perfectly valid conspectus in writing, say 750 to 1,000 words, and mail it to the editor of The Guardian, the New York Times; Pumpkin News or the Huffington Post, or to appear in person on one of the many serious US cable TV shows offering pre-resistance to Trump’s horrific cabinet of billionaire carpetbaggers, sagging old drunks, congenital cretins and gung-ho military fantasists.
It might have some effect, although nothing much is working so far.