25 August 2019
Two new world records for men in Britain this week: oop north, near York, Neil Campbell did 174mph on a pushbike after 5 years of preparation. He didn’t actually pedal his way up to that speed but was ‘towed’ in the slipstream created by a large tent fixed to the back of a Porsche before it let him go and he rode his way “unaided” (?) through the timing gate (although what nobody realised until after the record had been claimed is that a mere woman, Denise Mueller-Korenek, had already clocked 184mph and holds the actual world record for slipstream cycling …)
Later in the week, on the same airfield, another loony, Marco George, did a headstand on a motorbike at 76mph and is claiming the world record.
Still, at least it keeps them off the pavements of Islington.
In New Zealand, the ever-vigilant police in Timaru on the east coast of the South Island, gave chase when they spotted a man doing what appeared to be a dangerous speed on a mobility scooter on a pavement (I wonder if Timaru is twinned with Islington?). The mobility scooter went straight across the road and onto the opposite footpath followed (quite slowly) by a car with flashing lights and a nee-naw.
When they caught the driver, the police discovered he was a 60-year old double amputee (he’d lost his legs in two separate incidents*) who said he thought the police car was an ice cream van trying to sell him an ice cream – which he didn’t want.
Meanwhile, Devon and Cornwall police have been forced to apologise for calling anti-badger culling activists “idiots” when they were briefing a bunch of “farmers and marksmen” (note the unintentional contrast between people who fire a lot of lead pellets that fan out in a huge arc so it’s impossible to miss a barn door at 50 yards, and trained snipers who fire a single bullet that can blind a mosquito in one eye at 2 miles).
Downing Street staff have been carrying out research, codenamed “Operation Yellowhammer”, into the probable effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit and Boris Johnson was furious when the probable results were made public – he’d thought they were state secrets.
The leaked document anticipates extended shortages of food, medicine and petrol, a return to a hard border in Ireland and a “three-month meltdown” at ports unable to handle the extra checks that would become necessary. It also predicts UK-wide protests requiring police intervention and the closure of two oil refineries with the loss of thousands of jobs.
What worries me isn’t so much the ‘no-deal’ Brexit chaos, which has been blindingly obvious for a long time, as the fact that the prime minister was trying to keep the details secret.
We pay these people and we even elect the politicians (though not, I admit, the current prime minister) to run the country for us and they think it’s OK to keep secrets from us. How patronising! Don’t we have the right to know what’s likely to go wrong, and to know what they’re doing to minimise the effects (like hiring and training 5,000 – or whatever – new border control staff and building new offices for them within the next ten weeks)?
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel has given Boris Johnson 30 days to find a way avert a no-deal Brexit, which is actually giving him nothing he didn’t already have, and Emmanuel Macron gave him the cold shoulder. Just think: until June 2016, Britain was a key player in the EU; we’re now marginalised and irrelevant.
Incidentally, have you noticed the changes in Johnson’s body language? Realising he’s always been perceived as an oafish stumblebum, he’s obviously been given some advice which involves things like getting his hair cut and standing like a royal, one hand in his side jacket pocket, fingers in, thumb out, or with both hands behind his back (and no manspreading). The theory’s good but he now looks like an uncomfortable oafish stumblebum.
Many people will always remember him for his thoughtless profligacy as mayor of London and as the Foreign Secretary who, in November 2017, got Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s prison sentence in Iran extended because he hadn’t read his briefing papers and said she’d actually been in Iran teaching journalism. Johnson later admitted he was wrong but didn’t think his error had made any difference despite Iran’s having used his initial assurance to increase her sentence as well as now stopping her calling her husband and limiting her young daughter Gabriella’s visits to once a month. She is now seriously suicidal.
And he’s asking if he can legally shut down parliament and take us out of the EU on his own. What did I say about Britain’s first dictator at the end of June, before he’d even been
But all shall be well (etc) because Donald Trump has declared himself to be “the Chosen One”.
* no, I don’t know