26 August 2018
Trump’s in trouble and Ryanair’s cheques for compensation payments are bouncing because they ‘forgot’ to sign them (a common ploy in less honest businesses when cash is short); what more could one ask of life? Well, quite a lot actually but you have to start somewhere.
While her husband was busy sending destructive and harmful tweets, Melania Trump spoke at a federal cyberbullying conference in Maryland about the “destructive and harmful” power of social media when they’re used incorrectly. Does anybody else think she’s got a contract with Donald which will give her millions of dollars if she doesn’t leave him until he’s no longer President?
The prize for quote of the week – possibly even the year – must go to Rudy Giuliani who, as I write, is still Trump’s legal adviser. When NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ programme asked him last Sunday about the delay in the President’s appearing before the Mueller inquiry, he said “I’m not going to rush into having him testify so he gets trapped into perjury”. They obviously have a different approach to giving evidence under oath over there, and giving legal advice.
Elsewhere, other people seem less conflicted than I am over how to react to Kevin Spacey’s work: his latest film, ‘Billionaire Boys’, broke records on its opening night in 10 US cinemas by taking $126 (approx. £100). If you take concessions into account, that’s an average of two people per cinema.
The film also starred what were described as “other big names” including Ansel Elgort and Taron Egerton (no, me neither). Is it just me or is Elgort one of those names, like Yentob and Tesla, that look as if they’re spelt backwards, but aren’t? (Ansel’s OK because of Ansel Adams’ stunning photographs.)
Over here, there’s further proof that big businesses are run by people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time and don’t pick their noses in public. After decades of success in reducing the prison population by letting prisoners escape, G4S has had its contract to run HMP Birmingham terminated by the Ministry of Justice after an inspection found that prisoners used drink, drugs and violence with impunity and corridors were littered with cockroaches, blood and vomit. G4S had been awarded a 15-year contract in 2011 but the Prison and Probation Service will now run the prison for 6 months before deciding if G4S can be trusted to take over again.
HMP Birmingham has had a difficult history including the 2016 riots when the Government had to send in Tornado Squad officers to help G4S regain control. I don’t know if the bill for the Tornado Squad intervention was sent to G4S but wouldn’t want to bet on it. Also in 2016, the G4S contracts to run Medway and Rainsbrook Secure Training Centres were not renewed after inspections said their management was inadequate and that, at Rainsbrook, some staff behaved “extremely inappropriately” with young people.
G4S’s defence was that other prisons they run have recently received good inspection reports, without mentioning that this is nothing to boast about, it’s what they’re paid for. Jerry Petherick, G4S’s managing director of custody and detention services, then compounded the management’s stupidity by saying that “The wellbeing and safety of prisoners and prison staff is our key priority and we welcome the six-month step-in and the opportunity to work with the Ministry of Justice to urgently address the issues faced at the prison.” (A recent survey by Swedish psychologists found that people who are taken in by this sort of meaningless garbage are less charitable, have more supernatural beliefs and are more likely to believe in conspiracy theories.)
In other words, G4S admits it needs the MoJ to help it do what it’s being paid for because G4S actually hasn’t got a clue; and Jerry Petherick either knew what was going on and condoned it, or he didn’t; in either case, he should now resign. (What he didn’t say, but could have done, is that prison budgets have been cut by 40% so they were working hard to catch up, but he wasn’t bright enough to think of that.)
The same self-interest led NSL Services, who enforce parking restrictions across Nottinghamshire, to give a police car a parking ticket while the officers on duty were responding to a call for help. The County Council has since cancelled the ticket and is now, one hopes, rewriting NSL’s contract.