Writing on the wall

Submitted by Anon on 18 August, 2003 - 6:55

Privatising the vote

It’s only once every four years that we get a say in how the country is run, so you think the powers that be would run the election efficiently, wouldn’t you? Well, no. The ease of committing postal voting fraud is now well known, with reports of thousands of postal votes suddenly appearing from small areas. But even the most basic mechanics of voting were sometimes screwed up.

Jeremy Corbyn reports in Labour Left Briefing that he found polling cards scattered over the street in St. George's ward, Islington, an area of council housing, and delivered them himself. The New Labour-run council had employed a private company to deliver the cards rather than relying on the post office — thereby extending the kind of casual contempt for voters displayed by the Blair faction within the Labour Party, to the general public.

Flying his true colours

Malcolm Hurst, UK Independence Party in the by-election in the Tory-held seat of South Staffordshire, launched his campaign in an unusual manner on Tuesday: by taking journalists for a spin over the constituency in his very own Nazi warplane.

Hurst owns a Messerschmitt 206, many of which were built for Goering's Luftwaffe using slave labour. A UKIP spokesperson explains: “He wants the media to be able to appreciate the beauty of the surrounding area from an unique vantage point.”

For the capitalist who has everything

Au pairs are out, nannies are old hat in the world of the pampered super-rich. Now the boss class are employing “lifestyle managers” from specialised agencies to do everything from planning birthday parties to collecting the laundry.

Claire Brynteson, who runs one of these agencies, says that “We are seeing a real demand for personal secretarial work. Some of it is from the larger property owners who just can’t keep up with the workload involved in running a large home.”

Can any of our readers think of a way of relieving the rich of this terrible burden?

Chuck out the limo

But never let it be said that the rich, famous and powerful don’t do their bit to save the planet.

The Toyota Prius, the vehicle of choice for Hollywood A-listers such as Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz, has now been issued to cabinet ministers. This car is a “hybrid” which runs on both a petrol and an electric engine. At lower speeds, the Prius automatically switches engines to run purely on electricity, thus reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The Prius has become so trendy Charlize Theron and Orlando Bloom jettisoned the customary stretch limo to arrive at this year's Oscars in a chauffeur-driven Prius (pity they had to have one each though).

At £17,000 a go, the environment-saving must-have may not be within everyone’s reach, but that’s not why John Prescott has turned down a Prius. He just loves his Jag too much.

Whatever next? A hybrid petrol-electric 4x4 vehicle of course! Soon, thanks once again to Toyota, the better-off car owner can keep up their country-squire about town image but without guzzling so much petrol. Shame Toyota can’t stop the 4x4 user from driving in the middle of the road and running over small children.

Not seen, not heard and punished as much as possible

Who cares about children anyway? Certainly not most politicians and policemen who seem determined to nick anyone over the age of four, to fine their parents, punish them longer and harder , putting them under lock and key more and more and even stopping them wearing sports wear.

Now children as young as 10 caught behaving “anti-socially” (which could mean such things as dropping bubble gum on the pavement) will be fingerprinted and have their DNA sampled before being marched home to their parents for an instant £30-£40 fine.

This new plan is part of Tony Blair’s “respect” agenda (more on centre pages) and is a way to avoid the unnecessary hassle of getting an ASBO applied (involves a court, a legal process, that sort of thing).

According to the Home Office the plan will allow the police to deal with youth crime “quickly and firmly while at the same time sending a message to parents”.

Oh yes the unruly, skiving, useless parents again. The Government will sort them out too. Those parents who refuse to pay the fine will have the money deducted from earnings or benefits. Continued non-payment could lead to household goods being seized or put in jail.

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