Front Row, Every Argument

Is it just me, or does the sight of a screaming kid in an aeroplane seat immediately make you read the last word of this slogan with its alternative pronunciation and meaning?


Because whenever I get on a plane, I seem to be in the front row for every argument.

In fact I suspect that these families specifically board my flights just to have these fights.

Our language is way too subtle for this copywriter…

Having a Fit

“Fewer people could be signed off work under plans for new “fit” notes, in a move to tell employers what jobs sick staff can still perform.” Daily Telegraph 25/11/08

So if we’re no longer pulling “sickies”, will it change what “pulling a fitty” means?  And what does it mean?  How do they imagine that this will change a thing?  We all know and never say, the sicky is, for most, a tacitly agreed, recognised by all sides, emergency holiday.  When it is, the sick note read something like, “Chronic fatigue, a week’s rest prescribed…”

Now the fit note will have to say “Chronic fatigue, fit to: sleep, doze, stare blankly at screen, watch day time telly” or any one of a dozen useless capabilities.

And when someone really does have an injury or illness, will a doctor really be able to, or want to, guarantee they are still fit to perform a different task which the patient probably has less training at?  Does that leave the GP open to be sued when they injure themselves further doing a task that the GP will have had no knowledge of what it physically entails?  Today, with rising incidences of lawsuits, GPs practice “defensive medicine” so on the new “Fit Note” they’ll only be ticking one of the “Fit for:” boxes, “Nothing”.

Bring Me the Head of George Osborne

Ok, let’s just say you’re Gordon Brown.  Obviously I don’t expect you to go the whole way as you can only get that sort of face after suffering piles for a decade.  But you’re way down in the polls, you’re having to make unpopular tax heavy decisions and you’re looking at facing a squeaky new, fresh faced, sleaze-free Conservative Party in the next election.

Let’s say you’re feeling a little anxious, a little down, and the phone rings.  It’s that snaky erstwhile “collegue” calling from his banishment in Brussels.

“Hi, Gordy.” he says.

The voice still sends shivers down your spine, but you control your voice admirably. “Hello Peter.”

“Listen Gordy, I know we’ve had our ups and downs but, well, I’ve just come back from a marvelous holiday in Corfu and, well, Gordy; just what would you give to have Ossy, the numero duo in the Tory party, on a plate, served up with all the dressings and a chance to leap-frog the old enemy?”

“Ay Peter, I saw he said you were ‘dripping poison’ about me.”

“Oh you know me Gordy, just to gain confidence, nothing meant, he really shouldn’t have said that but, well I think you and I could have a little revenge.”

“What’s it going to cost me Peter?”

“Ah yes, the price, always a price isn’t there.  Well , let’s just call it a bt of ermine, a job back in Blighty and a golden handshake from the EU?”

“Ok, give me the head and I’ll see what I can do?”

“No, no, Gordy.  The money’s up front.  Then you’ll get your man.”

“Ay, yer a canny bastard Peter.”


Well what would you do?

Throwing eggs at the global stocks

In bygone ages people used to throw eggs at the stocks, then at the end of the 20th century it progressed to stockholders.  Remember when the anti-globalization movement caused stirs and debate with finely orchestrated civil unrest at every meeting of the World Bank or the G8 Summits?

But now, with the disaster of a global economy crashing around our ears… where are they?  Just when we need them, just when people are ready to listen to a sensible alternative to the chaos theory – when a trader in Taiwan flaps his arms it causes an economic hurricane around the entire world – just now, when their moment has come, where are they?

The recent E7 and World Bank meetings were egg free – apart from the ones the harder-nosed bankers were breaking to make their metaphorical omelettes.  Has Jamie Oliver’s free-range, “Every Egg is Precious”, campaign got to the anti-globalisation protesters or, with inflation at an unprecedented high, can they simply not afford the eggs any more?

Maybe getting to these meetings and summits was causing too large a carbon footprint for the conscientious to have on their conscience.  Or maybe the egg throwers are there but, much like the blanket media blackout on “Harry does Afghanistan”, the media have signed an agreement to only do good financial news, so as not to panic the poor sensitive bankers and stockbrokers.  Who can we trust?

My favourite theory, is they’ve quietly moved to Lewes where the local printed Lewes pound is worth as much today as it did a month ago and are happily ignoring the world who tried to ignore them keeping their own back yard economy safe from global fickleness.

I just wonder how much, in Lewes Pounds, it costs to buy the latest version of Monopoly now being advertised by Parker Brothers. With barely more than a hundred days until Christmas they are almost presciently launching The Here & Now World Edition which involves taking over the entire world economy, or bankrupting it…

As the Duke of Westminster so often says, “I’ve got Mayfair and Park Lane, that’ll be five million pounds please”.