Better make this quick.

Get to the point.

Do any FUCKINGLY DESPERADO thing to keep your interest.

Or not.

We are now implausibly impatient creatures. The things that matter – love, work, education, health, news – we want them all now, without effort or delay. Yet, the faster they come, the faster they fall (as Jimmy Cliff once almost sang). Take this morning. I tried to shut a door handle we had replaced after 3 years of it coming away in your hand. Close it slowwwwwwly and it stays shut. Close it in a hurry and it pings back open.  It’s taken 6 months to figure out being gentle and patient works, and being headstrong and aggressive doesn’t. When life suddenly dawns on you, you wake up. Maybe we need to sleep more? During the day? Sedated in some way? Then again, we already are, thanks to technology. In the here and now, technology neuters our presence, dilutes our meaning to those beside us. We could be anyone, anywhere. Except, our soul protests. The soul is our most complex component, it flourishes in the moment. Technology has kidnapped the soul. We await a ransom in vain, yet somehow the waiting alone reorientates the soul. Pops it back on its fidget spinner. And if you stuck with this unforgiving paragraph, you’re now a few % rehumanised.


The following text was originally published by the Nolan Committee under John Major in October 1994. Yes, really. If Lord Nolan was alive today, he may like to see the recent amendments (in brackets) added pathologically by Theresa May just before she went to bed last night after doing the deal with the DUP.

  1. SELFLESSNESS – Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest (note: public means private & we means me). They should not do so in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends (unless their job is at risk).
  2. INTEGRITY – Holders of public office should not place themselves under any financial or other obligation (over £1,500,000,000) to outside individuals or organisations that might seek to influence them in the performance of their officials duties.
  3. OBJECTIVITY – In carrying out public business, including making public appointments, awarding contracts, or recommending individuals for rewards and benefits (except power to govern) as holders of public should makes choices on merit (or convenience).
  4. ACCOUNTABILITY – Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office (by their recently bought out fellow conspirators).
  5. OPENNESS – Holders of public office should be as open as possible (in private) about all the decisions and actions they take. They should give reasons for their decisions (if hey can be arsed) and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands (ie: never).
  6. HONESTY – Holders of public office have a duty to declare any private interests (bar personal off shore accounts in tax havens) relating to their public duties and to take steps to resolve (with bribes) any conflicts arising in a way that protects the public interest.
  7. LEADERSHIP – Holders of public office should promote and support these principles by (strong and stable) leadership and (conflicting) example.




You maybe have wandered into this feeling tired, disillusioned, angered, lost or just indifferent. Whatever your emotion, I doubt it was top of the upbeat scale. We rarely start to read on a high. We read to change our mood, to lift us into a different state.

The job of the writer is to harpoon the reader without killing him/er. Then to tease, tantalise and trawl that person across an ocean of emotion, avoiding rhyme at all time.

Double sorry there.

This relationship relies on the reader succumbing, submitting to the words as they unveil themselves in an order the reader has never encountered before. They won’t know this. It’s not a cognitive process. They will either read on if it’s new, and stop it it’s not.

Staid stories seize. Fluid fiction flows, so says the poet with a face full of glue. But you, reader, need no stimulant other than the unexpected words themselves. If they are up to their potent best, they will shame any drug on earth or in hell.

There, there, sober-skulled reader, that didn’t hurt now did it?


  1. ADMIT WE’RE WRONG. “Dear EU, we’re sorry. We screwed up and walked out on you and the family. That act of extreme selfishness does none of us any good. It’s not as though we’ve jumped into bed with America or China. Call it naive, call it a mid-lifer, call it harm en masse – we will do all we can legally, morally, intellectually and collectively to assuage the pain we’ve caused you and our European neighbours. So, it is with our lion’s tail between our legs that we ask for forgiveness and once we’ve sorted out our domesticities, we’d love to remain your ally and partner in life, if of course you’ll have us back.”
  2. BE GENEROUS. Give Africa £350m a day for at least a month to show it’s not about the money, money, money…cue Jesse J.
  3. ELECT A B.A.M.E. PM. If we want to prove that the vote was a vote against ‘unelected bureaucracy’ and not a shameful unveiling of suppressed racism, we need to make a statement of intent and make it quick. There are 42 minority-ethinc MPs. Pass a Rooney Rule in politics that guarantees a B.A.M.E. candidate on every political shortlist. No wait, here’s a quicker idea. Assuming Hilary Clinton gets the gig and the US don’t out-dumb us in November and vote in a blond bovine called Donald, we must create history and invite the greatest global statesman of our time to cross the Atlantic and lead our confused country. Prime Minister Obama, on behalf of us all, would you please do the honours and reunited our kingdom?
  4. TAKE IN 100,000 MOST NEEDY REFUGEES. A few facts first. There are 126,000 refugees in the UK, 0.19% of our population. Almost half the world’s refugees are fleeing Syria, 4.2m and rising. If we welcomed 100,000, that’s less than a quarter of Germany’s compassion but it’s still 3 times the amount we considered last year. It’s not the least we can do (that’s where we are right now) but it is a start.
  5. BOOT OUT 1000 MOST GREEDY TAX EVADERS. A few more facts. The ‘tax gap’ in Britain is a paltry £34bn. Yes, 34bn. That’s nine noughts if you’re counting, and not fainting. This is what the HMRC is owed but doesn’t get. It has around 700 people chasing the richest evaders in vain, while it assigns 3600 tax heavies to put the squeeze on benefit fraudsters. For every quid the dad on benefits diddles just to try and feed his family, the evader screws the country 3 times over. Surely, if we evict the rich who won’t pay their pay, everyone who deserves to win, does win.


That isn’t the question.

The question is simple: what are we?

The answer is human beings. We are a social species. It’s in our make-up to share. Since day dot, we’ve shared things, from a animal carcass in a cave to our brightest hopes for the future. This process of exchanging, giving and receiving, is what makes us tick as human beings – it’s what drives us forward. It is the human spirit.

Somewhere along the line, this innate desire to share our food, stories and knowledge of breakthroughs and fuck-ups grew to such a size and scale that man created money. Money distorted our ability to share into ‘shares’, ownership, greed, and the rest is history, no doubt written with bias by the victor wearing a medal.

Oh boy, Britain likes to talk about the past. We are Olympic Champions at Reminiscence. Our imperial roots run deep and explain why we’re often seen as arrogant or miserable or funny by our friends overseas. Yes, we have our moments where we remind the world how we can also be astonishingly humble, optimistic and funny (we must always be funny, it’s also part of the human DNA). Take Tim Peake only this week. ‘I love that smell of Earth. Could do with a beer and pizza.’ Profound + open + funny = human.

In 48 hrs we’ll know if we all said stay, go or don’t know. If you still don’t know, don’t panic. Don’t try and decipher the facts – they’re all fictional guesses about the future, a subject that sustains the meaning of life itself.

Just stare in the mirror.

Ask yourself what you are.

A giver or a taker.

One who quits or perseveres.

A believer in bridges or walls.

Make up your own words, or just ask your gut – it’s where the enteric nervous system lives…our 2nd brain…and it can’t lie.

That’s the truth.


The stage is set for you to steal the moment. Never before has a public felt so polluted, insulted and disorientated. Both sides of the EU Referendum push us aside like a dog trying to remove the last traces of excrement from its arse as it walks away from us despite our calls to ‘heel’. This is the most inhumane of campaigns. They treat statistics the way foxes treat chickens.

Jeremy, arise. Take a stance that we can all ‘get’. A stance that elevates the integrity and intelligence of the common man and woman. We implore you to speak for us, not to us or at us. You are one of us in that you’re not out to dupe anyone. You don’t seek to be liked. You know what this referendum needs. Honesty. Dignity. Humility. Clarity.

We give you a week. By next Sunday, please turn 3 months of backstabbing unintentional self-harm into a salient argument for and against. Out-balance the BBC and John Pienaar. It’s yours for the taking. Don’t shy away. Don’t back down. Deliver us from evil. For better, for wiser.

The People of Britain.


Apathy in the UK.

It’s worth £1trillion a year.

That’s a fat half of the GDP of this lazy-as-fuck country. Yes, that’s you, me, and the next can’t-be-arsed person in line. A line that’s going nowhere. A line that sits still because everyone in it is too busy, too idle, too thick or too rich to ‘switch’ one of 20 or so contracts we all have with capitalistic mute behemoths.

I’d like to think I’m too busy or too idle but I may just as well be too thick and too rich.

Energy companies, phone companies, insurance companies, technology companies, they all prey on our sloth-like behaviour.

Even the supermarkets are it with weekly deliveries of food we won’t get around to eating.

It’s not just nice to have in. It’s mugging by stealth. They make more than enough profit.

While we’re busy flatlining in front of Gogglebox, they’re conniving and contriving more devious ways to ‘do nothing’ and keep us on the tariff that gets laughed at when you finally get round to realising you’re the only person on it left in Britain.

So, what do we do?

Start a petition to force through a law that makes multi-nationals assess your usage every month and offer you the cheaper tariff/contract that you really need and bloody well deserve.

That sounds reasonable. Fair. Honest. Open. Empathetic. Maybe even generous.

These are the companies who will win us over in the long run. The ones who know we’re lazy and look out for us just because they’re grateful as hell to have our business.

Then again, starting a petition sounds like a lot of work.

Don’t suppose you’d…


Dear Bone Dry Country,

Hope you’re airy, but not sweaty. Sweaty is fine if you earn it, but not something you want to feel by standing still.

Wish we could say the same here but we couldn’t be wetter. Every molecule carries a rucksack of rain. We’ve got trench-foot in our ears. Commuters are caught up in river rage, as they capsize kayaks and canoes on their way to work assuming of course that work is not a basement office.

You go to sleep each night praying for rain to douse the friction of ad hoc fire breaking out. When we hit the hay we hope that a nocturnal sponge the size of Asia will mop up all the land lakes that squat in our streets and homes.

So here we both are in opposite worlds, lonely climates in need of sharing the elements that sustain us. We could airmail you some heavy cloud but pen weather feels like we’re skirting around the issue.

Hells bells, let’s date.

We have so much of what you want so bad.

And you hog what we’d love a nibble at.

If we could coexist, jump into bed together and get it on, our joint genes might just create a hybrid temperate climate that we could sell to planet earth and the idiot species that’s screwing it up. Yes fellow humans, we’re all guilty of meteorological abuse on a colossal (but not irreversible) scale.

So how do we procreate new weather fronts that we can control and nurture? Rain we can turn on and off. Sun we can thermostatically adjust. Wind we can direct upwards when it gets too big for its boots. Snow that falls where it’s meant to fall when it’s meant to fall.

If you’re up for making a mongrel with the weather, we are. As far as we can see, there are 3 ways to make it happen:

  1. Meet halfway, swap numbers and atmosphere then retreat to our dens.
  2. Do a home exchange for a season.
  3. Call Cilla from beyond the grave and go somewhere neutral for a dirty weekend.


It’s all very boysy isn’t it?

On average, each episode of this long-running never-changing quiz features (if we’re lucky) one woman.

And 7 men.

8 if you count Mr Paxman.


Females outnumber males by 10% at universities across Britain. Girls are a third more likely to start a degree than boys, and the ratio gallops by the time they graduate. Some institutions stray damn close to single sex. And the numbers are rising.

So where are the women when it comes to University Challenge?

If this was the BBC there would be an outcry. Hang on, it is. So why isn’t there one? C’mon Auntie Beeb, redress the balance before we start to call you Uncle.

I’ve got an idea: let’s introduce the gender equivalent of the Rooney Rule. If football can own up and open up then so can you.

And while we’re there, here’s another thought. How about Emily Maitlis or Victoria Derbyshire stepping in for Jeremy Paxman as they did to spice up Newsnight? At the least, he could do a Grayson Perry now and again to even up the numbers.  Or, if you’re reading Tony Hall, and you truly want to show how neutral this noble organisation is, how about a transgender host?

Then again, it’s about brains, not bodies.

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