29 November 2011

Thinking Paper #208: The Pre-Budget Report (1997-2009): An Obituary

By Ron Ford

The Autumn statement (nee Pre-Budget Report - bit dry wasn't it?) used to be called the Pre-Budget Report (PBR). In the good old days anyway. People bloody love Autumn and they hate pre-budgets, that's what the focus groups said. Thank you Steve Hilton, your contribution to the running of government continues to be invaluable.



A biography

As a child, the PBR was quiet and studious. Shy around other financial reports, the PBR struggled to make friends and was socially awkward. However, PBR proved to be academically brilliant and went on to study Media Studies at Kings College Cambridge in 1992. After a successful appearance on University Challenge, in which PBR went up against several key IMF reports, a Q4 analysis from OECD and a rather subdued Summer Statement, it was plucked from relative obscurity by a Gordon Brown.

It’s favourite times with Gordon were often drink fuelled. "Rum", he would shout at the opposition benches "was the drink of my father and my father" he continued "was the drink of God". In 1997, following a similar drunken outburst, Gordon was sick on Peter Lilley's shoes. After a period of solitude, Peter Lilley became a florist.

PBR was Mr Top bollocks for 12 years. During this period, PBR was debated by the finest economic speak-pieces this country has ever produced. In 2001, Robert Peston described the PBR as "beyond superlatives" and in 2005, a teenage Boris Johnson labeled it a "Shakespearean felching fest". However, after over a decade at the top, its time had to come to an end. It was banished to the shoe cupboard of history by that pesky young upstart, Gideon "I've got a bum for a nose and a nose for a bum" Osborne. Rupert Harrison of Wingbourne IV and his compatriot, Steve Hilton, asked 7 men from Bristol which season they preferred, Autumn or the Pre-Budget Report. All 7 looked confused, but, fairly convinced that Pre-Budget Report wasn't a season, opted for Autumn.

And there we have it folks. The short and rather tragic life of the Pre-Budget Report. Enjoy the statement at 12.30. The IIPBA will not be watching.

Thinking Paper #207: Franny Maude's "business plans" and "top down targets"?

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

The IIPBA's chief rivals, the Institute for Government, have done some (actual) research into the "business plans" which set out the progress Government departments have made on their top down targets. Franny Maude said that his "business plans" aren't the same as top down performance targets but then went on to explain that the Government has missed 25% of these non-existent targets. The IIPBA responds.



It's all that listening what dun it

An analysis of departmental "business plans" by the Institute for Government reveals that several departments, including DEFRA, Health and the Cabinet Office, failed to achieve almost a quarter of their targets. A DEFRA spokeperson said that these missed targets primarily related to the loss of a single cow on the North York moors in late 2010 and the failure to remove Hilary Benn's name from the letter heads of the departmental stationery supply. The Department for Health had a better excuse. They said that they were too busy undergoing the "Great Pause of 2011" to focus on meeting Maude's targets but added that they had definitely met all of their "listening targets".

The post-bureaucratic age - policy recommendations for Mr Letwin

The IIPBA have stuck with Letwin through thick and bin (get it? Good) and we think that its about time he paid the PBA more heed. Targets, targets, targets - that's all Maude talks about. The IIPBA believes that the root of the problem lay in these "business plans". We therefore suggest:

1. The scrapping of all Francis Maudes, including but not entirely focused on the one who works at 70 Whitehall.

2. The freeing of Civil Servants. Civil Servants by their very nature are libertarians; stifle them with red tape and you stifle progress. Remove the "red tape" paid for with "taxpayers money" and they will thrife. They will literally drown in their own creative juices. You've got to set them free Letwin. Like chickens in a field, the IIPBA is calling for "free range Civil Servants".

We're watching you Maude.

28 November 2011

Thinking Paper #206 - Is the Ed Balls and George Osborne show good for the economy?

By Tim Massingberd James

Abstract

Here at the IIPBA we love a bit of political nonsense, and nothing pleased us more than seeing talking boxes George Osborne and Ed Balls on the same sofa next to floppy-eared Andrew Marr yesterday morning having an abstract conversation about which was more of a tear-jerker out of the Antiques Roadshow and the Killing. Smashing stuff. We like it, More please.



Is the Ed Balls and George Osborne show good for the economy?

Ed Balls is the Shadow Chancellor. He is a blinky talking box who is married to a fifteen year old boy. George Osborne is the one that makes the decisions. He is the secret love-child of Peter Mandelson and the rear of Rear of the Year winner 1998, Carol Smillie (We won't explain how he managed this, safe to say it involved Mandy doing rather a lot of thinking about Tony's smile). When they get together they squabble like schoolchildren, but we're sure eventually they'll go to Bilderberg together. It's all great fun.

But is all the arguing good for the economy? The IIPBA done a research, and it would appear that the answer is yes. Whilst to us Brits it all seems a bit frivolous and we wish they'd just get on with doing good stuff to the numbers, this does not take into account the blossoming Ed and George paraphenalia market, and the global TV rights for their squabbles. In fact, Ed Balls away kits are now the country's third largest export after Ricky Gervais and the telephone, and one of Osborne's old ties recently exchanged hands in a Nairobi auction house for $150,000.

Foreign people are going mad for the Ed and George show, and a recent six month expedition to the unexplored jungles of Papua New Guinea stumbled on one group of villagers who had never before been contacted by outsiders, silently clustered around a TV they had managed to recover from a crashed aeroplane watching live Treasury Questions. On his recent expedition in the Afghan Hindu Kush, Mountaineer Carlo Spinelli reported stumbling across a remote village where the chief was wearing a strap on bum-for-a-nose and conducting a tribal religious ceremony based around repeated chanting of “Britonnn is faycing the largisst badget deficit since the war and we have noo choyce but to tackle it decisivvvely” whilst doing an Ed Balls 'questionable flatlining salute'.

Conclusion

The world is mad for Ed and George. They should have their own reality TV show where they have to live in a house and its something to do with putting them outside their comfort zone and the only thing we know about it is if it is on Harry Hill's TV Burp.

25 November 2011

Friday Thinking Points


It's Friday thinking points dear followers:
  • The IIPBA understands that Civil Servants will only permit girls with "substantial puppies" and people with "funny sounding names" during their week long stint working as Border guards. The IIPBA considers this juvenile but essential.
  • Ed Miliband contines to prove to his detractors that he is well and truly beyond satire. "It would be like punching a child in the face" said one well known political satirist we spoke to (thanks Roger)
  • Celebrities accused newspapers this week of giving the public what they want. When asked, the public voted unanimously in favour of allowing newspapers to feed them celebrity shite for ever and ever and ever and ever.
  • The IIPBA congratulates Roads Minister, Mike Penning, for sticking to his guns and refusing to increase the toll on the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing. The crossing is a bridge and tunnel link in the M25 around London and suffers from severe congestion. Mike said a big "sod off" to suggestions of a 50p increase and the IIPBA congratulates him for this.
  • Oh and Michael Gove gets antsy about children not knowing who King Edward II is. He's dead, that's who he is. Gabriel, have a word won't you please?

24 November 2011

Thinking Paper #205: An analysis of Ed Miliband's achievements

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

Fifteen months into his tenure as leader of the Labour party and Ed Miliband has done something. The IIPBA accepts that he's failed to capture the public imagination, storm ahead in the polls, get anyone to listen to him, impress his own party, accomplish a successful relaunch, sound convincing, look like a leader, announce a policy, make an inspiring speech, answer the big questions, appear attractive to the electorate, garner support in the media, cope with Dave at PMQs or get his brother to stop prank calling him. BUT, he has coined a phrase.


The detail

That's right. Ed has coined a phrase which has gone on to win the Oxford English Dictionary Word of the Year award. On the Today programme a while back he referred to the "squeezed middle" which he then went on to define as "those lot who we need to vote for us at the next election". The Oxford crew then put it in their dictionary and named it as their Word of the Year beating "clunge", "daisychain" and "fuckingbankers" to the title.

Concluding comments

Not bad Ed. Fifteen months in and you've coined a phrase. Congratulations from the IIPBA.

*Update*

Just in, Gordon Brown used the phrase "squeezed middle" in his 2009 Labour conference speech. Sorry Ed.

21 November 2011

Thinking Paper #204: Transparency in politics - a new perspective‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

According to urban legend, if you place a goldfish in a dark room, it will turn transparent. The question on the IIPBA's lips is, what does this mean for the future of Gideon "the wallpaper" Osborne's face?

The background

The Treasury building is a dark place. George banned lightbulbs in May 2010 in a cost cutting measure and Danny "God I hate his face" Alexander, taxed the use of windows later the same year. According to sources (thanks Rupert), this has meant that a number of Treasury civil servants have had to evolve a kind of second sight which involves using a pin hole camera and clips of the Sun on YouTube. Gideon is reportedly quite happy reading his briefing by torchlight. For any Daily Mail readers reading, he buys his own batteries.

The science

The IIPBA's frontal visage team have spent the past 18 months studying the faces of Gideon and, for comparison, Dave "the Dutch oven" Cameron. Following a quick chat down the pub, they came up with a couple of conclusions:

1. Gideon is slowly turning transparent from spending too long in the dark shadows of the Treasury. When they came to power, Gideon sported what can only be described as a Bulgarian tint. He followed this up with a brief period of "Swiss snow burn", but has slowly morphed into an "ivory white" stage. If these projections are continued to their natural conclusion, he will be on the spectrum of transparency by this time next year.

2. David Cameron is getting redder. If this trend continues at the same pace, he will reach the "Phil Mitchell stage" by 2014. For perspective, Phil Mitchell of Eastenders fame has to boil his head for 30 minutes a day to achieve this horror stage tone. The IIPBA estimates that Dave might be a one hour a day kind of guy.

Recommendations

1. We suggest that Steve Hilton hold a focus group to see how far the electorate are willing to accept the "Phil Mitchell" look

2. We suggest that Rupert Huffington of Wingbourne hold a focus group to see how far the electorate are willing to accept the "goldfish in a cupboard look".

3. And finally, we suggest that Mike Penning, if he's serious about his plans to be the stalking horse, seek a middle ground that we call the "Cornish glow"

Best of luck Mike

18 November 2011

Fridays Thinking Points

Friday's thinking points for your thoughts. Have a nice weekend etc.
  • Oliver Letwin has been found "unlawful" this week by his arch-nemesis, the Information Commissioner. The IIPBA stands steadfastly by its leader. Long live the Letwin.
  • David Cameron met with Angela Merkel 1,000 times this week in an attempt to reduce "tensions". According to sources, a prolonged session of mutual foot massaging was said to help. This resulted in a joint announcement from the two world leaders stating that the European project was back on track until next week.
  • Sepp Blatter staked his claim for the title of "the new Silvio Berlusconi" this week by saying that racism is ok during a football match as long as you shake hands at the end. He followed this up with the always brilliant line, "I'm not racist, some of my best friends are black". Ha. His next statement, due out next week, is said to focus on how donkey punching a child is fine, as long as you buy said child some Haribo.
  • Northern Rock is set to become really sexy under new boss Richard Branson. Expect adverts featuring women with geordie accents dressed all sexy in banking outfits. Hot tip - Cheryl Cole doesn't do much these days.
  • Francis Maude becomes the latest in a long line of morons to suggest that a paperless government is realistic. Then he says something about ipads and takes a few days off.

Thinking Paper #203: How many SpAds do you need to make a daisychain?‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

SpAd is an acronym. It stands for 'Superious Penisium Aflictum Denique' which is Latin for 'Super Penis Strikes Again'. SpAds were invented in 1898 by Margaret Thatcher's great Aunt who proposed that Ministers needed the help of a 23 year old graduate to run a government department. Traditionally, the SpAd should have prior experience of reading the Metro and be skilled at sending "trumpety" emails.



And what the miggins do they do?

A SpAd's main job is to make sure that the Minister they work for receives positive news stories about what shoes they wear. When they fail at this task they tend to get really angry and shout at bureaucrats who are scared of them because they don't use words like "kind regards" at the end of emails. Historically, SpAds have been responsible for David Cameron's hairstyle, Gordon Brown's smile and Tony Blair's wars.

How many SpAds make a daisychain?

In short, the answer it seems, is quite a lot. To clarify, a daisychain is an online phenomenon in which multiple participants displeasure each other in a circular formulation. Preferably the group should consist of a nice mix of Tory and Lib Dem spads.

According to "sources" (is this you Rupert Harrison IV of Wingbourne?) David Cameron summoned all Tory special advisers to Downing Street for a good old fashioned bollocking this week. He was said to be miffed because too much of the coalition's inner workings were being briefed out to journalists, specifically stories about Mr Rasputin himself, Steve Hilton and that beloved rogue, Gideon "the wallpaper" Osborne.

Policy recommendations

The IIPBA likes SpAds because they are a positive stalwart against bureaucracy. However, it is apparent to this think-tank that they may also have quite a negative impact on politics, mainly because their very presence reduces politics to a game of briefing and counter-briefing. Despite its entertainment value, this detracts from the real issues that affect real hard working people e.g. the state of Steve Hiltons shoe collection.

Overall, the IIPBA doesn't mind SpAds: they're good to drink with, have interesting gossip about those silly Ministers and are sometimes quite attractive. The real shame lies in the fact that most of these pretty young things will themselves go on to be the politicians they themselves have helped create.

17 November 2011

Thinking Paper # 202: Who got served?

By Alexis Horner

Abstract

Here at the IIPBA, we’ve got our finger on the pulse, ears to the ground, noses to the keyboard. That’s why we’ve managed to get our greedy little mits on a secret document written by advisors at the Corporation of London explaining on how they are planning to ‘serve’ Occupy London protesters with eviction notices. They’ve even made a flow chart…




So all roads do lead to Rome…

16 November 2011

Thinking Paper #201: The real Uros zone‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

According to reports, the euro plummeted again on Tuesday as some greasy little bond trader in Mayfair betted against Italy and Spain ever being prosperous again. Apparently bonds then climbed to unsustainable levels, investors caught euro zone contagion and a dog died in France. If, like the IIPBA, you are a little tired of listening to this kind of nonsense, we have some good news.


What?

I say good news, it's more an excuse to tell you about a slightly more harmonious and human sounding Uros zone.

The Uros zone is an area of floating villages on Lake Titicaca populated by Andean villagers. There are no bureaucrats, coffee shops, Daily Mail readers, Silvio Berlusconis or Nick Cleggs.

Concluding comments

That's all really. In an ideal world, the IIPBA would love to relocate its headquarters to the Uros zone, go fishing everyday and fleece young backpacker sorts from Australia in exchange for them taking a picture of our floating house.

Thinking Paper #200: Sir Bob Kerslake - we salute you‏


By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

Inside Housing beat us to it, but allow the IIPBA to introduce to you the new Sir Gus O'Donnell and head of the Civil Service, the one and only Sir Bob Kerslake. Who is he? Will it make a difference to Mrs Miggin's weekly shopping bill? etc

The answers

Sir Bob Kerslake is a man with a beard who has worked in housing and local government for over 100 years. His existing role is permanent secretary at the department for communities and local government where his main role is to tell Eric Pickles how beautiful he is. On 1st January 2012 he will move into the Cabinet Office where his job will be, amongst other things, to tell Jeremy Heywood off for acting beyond his remit. Word of warning Sir Bob, Jezza Heywood is a bit of a one. You should keep your eye on him.

Sir Bob will have his salary increased by £30,000 to £200,000-a-year to take on the new role. He is said to want to spend his new improved wage on lottery tickets, a new beard trimmer and taking his wife out to fancier restaurants.

Sir Bob will take up his new post on 1st January 2012. He reportedly said in response to the news: "I am delighted and honoured to be given this leadership role at such an important time for the Civil Service. But for crying out loud, who has a start date on 1st January? It's most unfair that I have to start a new job on a hangover".

Concluding comments

He's got a tough job ahead of him, not least because, as the IIPBA reported just the other month, this is the age of Jezza Heywood. He won't give up his era without a fight Sir Bob. Expect the hacks to have some fun with this relationship

14 November 2011

Thinking Paper # 199: Who on earth is the Lord Mayor's speech?

 Abstract

David Cameron addresses the world this evening in his annual Lord Mayor's speech on foreign policy.  As No10 panics because no one has actually written a speech for the PM to read, the IIPBA looks at what we can expect from His Rosyness.

So what can we expect?

1. A lovely looking Dave replete with well polished shoes and a nicely ironed tuxedo saying things like "those bloody Argies" and "I'm really getting into this war thing".

2. A carefully worded paragraph which sets out why Cameron's "liberal interventionism" is not like Tony's "liberal interventionism" despite mounting evidence to the contrary.  The IIPBA suggests going with something like "compassionate carpet bombing".

3. A significant section cut and paste from Tony's last speech calling for the bombing of Iran.  Good ol' Tone.  Dear Michael Gove, please, please, please don't think that Tony knows best all of the time.  He doesn't.  You're in love and love does terrible things to ones judgement.

4. A couple of jokes about how Colonel Gadaffi looks a bit like Michael Jackson.  I hear they're really good ones.  The type that a drunk comedian would tell at a Christmas bash in Blackpool.


5. A jolly good knees up followed by a bit of singing and maybe a fight between the Lord Mayor and the guy who's job it is to ask "brown or white roll".

Thinking Paper # 198: Should Patrick Mercer get invited to more boozy parties?

By Ron Ford

Abstract
 
Patrick Mercer MP is a former army officer who once worked for Mr Top Bollocks, David Cameron.  Until this weekend, he was probably most famous for having "quite significant" eyebrows.  However, in what was possibly, nay, likely, to be a drunken outburst, Mr Mercer described Dave as "the worst politician in British history since William Gladstone". 


What else did he say?
 
He added that Dave was an "arse", a "despicable creature" and had no "redeeming features".  The IIPBA unequivocally denounces Mercer for the latter comment.  It is a well known fact that Dave has the softest hands in the entire Commonwealth. 
 
Should Pat get invited to more boozy parties?
 
According to sources, Pat "let rip" at a party in a London gallery.  The IIPBA speculates that there may have been free wine.  Immediately following the incident, the IIPBA carried out a survey in its tea room and came to the conclusion that 100% of its members and contributors wished to see Pat at more free wine bashes. 
 
Concluding comments
 
1. The IIPBA hasn't been this entertained by a political quote since Ken "the big beast" Clarke got drunk and told Theresa May that she had a face like a "second hand sausage roll".
 
2. The IIPBA is really looking forward to the Christmas party season.

11 November 2011

Friday Thinking Points

It's your favourite part of Friday, other than leaving work for the pub.  The IIPBA brings you its thoughts on some of Westminster's comings and goings this week.
  • Big Jeremy "Jezza" Heywood has won his latest battle with Steve Hilton in the cock pit that is No10.  Steve wanted to make women work whilst breastfeeding babies and cooking his tea, whilst Jeremy thought that this was a bit unfair.  Jezza is said to be "relaxed" about his dealings with Hilton given that Hilton behaves like a 12 year old who has only got half way through the book 'Nudge'.  Keep up the good work Jezza.
  • France is said to be drawing up plans to leave the EU and create a breakaway organisation under the new name of France.  Germany is also said to be considering similar plans, but more along the lines of calling it Germany.  The Greeks are said to still not really care that much.
  • Justine Greening faced her first big test as Secretary of State for Transport this week following accusations that her plans to update the MOT tests schedules were "reckless".  Sources close to Justine suggest that she deeply regrets ever becoming a politician in the first place and that she's considering a career as a beekeeper.
  • According to three different reports on UK housing this week, average prices are said to have increased by 10%, decreased by 15% and largley stagnated.  The IIPBA is looking to relocate to a house boat.
  • Frankie "it's really cool to do Coke" Cocozza of X-factor fame gets more media attention than Armistice day, the Eurozone crisis and David Cameron's bald spot put together.    

10 November 2011

Thinking Paper #197: David Cameron's bald spot - a decision please‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

The conundrum that is David Cameron's bald spot has plagued Westminster's think-tanks for generations, perhaps Millenia. The IIPBA has of course covered the dynamics of the spot in one of its earlier papers, but is revisiting the subject as a matter of urgency.

Cam man comb home

The Cam man has been Mr Top bollocks now for 18 months. In this time he has undergone some dramatic changes. He's getting that lovely bloated look that first term Tony got, but with an additional rosyness which makes him look like an 18th century land owner on a Boxing day hunt. He's also got notably angrier, particularly when that stupid fellow on the opposition benches asks him questions in a nasal tone that would test the patience of God himself.

Finally, and most seriously, his bald patch is getting bigger. What with the stresses and strains of government, a new baby and having to manage Steve Hilton, his hair has understandably taken a big hit in the last 18 months. A big thanks goes to Sir Simon Hoggart for so closely monitoring its regress.

The data
  • The IIPBA has taken the liberty of surveying the great and the good that is the British public to assess the popular feeling about his scalp. We interviewed a few bald fellas down the pub and came up with the following:
  • 98% started crying when we asked them about their experience of going bald. One man, who seemed to speak for most, said that "the whole process was ball achingly crushing." As he caught his breath he screamed "I'd rather be married to Cherly Gillan than do a William Hague".
  • 67% said that they would probably like Dave more if he accepted his baldness gracefully, shaved it all off and be done with the ridiculous charade that is his comb back.
  • 100% rubbed their head in a tired fashion, sighed and tried to depart their cloud of hairless induced apathy.
Concluding comments

Shave it off Dave, shave it all off, or face the risk of being de-throned by that sneaky young upstart, Mike Penning. We're watching you Mike.

9 November 2011

Thinking Paper # 196: Student tuition fees protest - The sequel

By Ron Ford Golightly

Students, students, students.  Those well dressed, middle class little upstarts are at it again with their big hair do's and their social networking.  The IIPBA answers the big questions.


What is a student?
 
A student is a type of human.  They get to sleep in every day and have sex with people who are still attractive.  They read stuff and complain about essay deadlines.  They are well positioned to enjoy life and for that reason, the rest of the population resent them.
 
Why are they protesting?
 
Because they will have to pay three times as much money to do this.  But not up front mind, just when they start earning money.  In essence it means that they will probably be in debt for the rest of their lives.  Debt's good though right?  It keeps the economy going and such like.
 
Will there be trouble ahead?
 
Almost definitely, Chumbawumba will be playing at the protest concert.
 
What should you do if there is trouble and people start getting a bit clumsy?
 
Stay indoors and watch 24 hour news.  Preferably watch this with friends and say things like "those bloody students" or "broken britain, that's what this is".  Or "if he can afford a bloody iphone, then he can afford an education".  etc
 
What are the predicted outcomes?
 
The protests will knock the story about that chap who let in loads of immigrants off of the tele for a while.  And then Chumbawumba will do a come back tour to critical acclaim.
 
Over and out
 
 

Thinking Paper #195 - RIP Uncle Silvio

By Tim Massingberd James

Abstract

The IIPBA is bereft this morning, after 'Uncle' Silvio Berlusconi agreed to resign as Italian Prime Minister and not stand again if Italy holds early elections. Whatever will we do without his cheery face in our papers.



RIP Uncle Silvio

It's alright for Uncle Silvio, he has enormous wealth and will continue to enjoy lots of bunga bunga, rated as he is by Forbes magazine 118th richest man in the world with a net worth of US$7.8 billion.

Here at the IIPBA however, we can barely afford to switch the heating on in winter and the only thing keeping us warm is the thought that at 75 we might have a villa overlooking the Med and loads bunga bunga for ourselves.

Conclusion

He will be missed.

8 November 2011

Thinking Paper #194: The IIPBA's not so miserable index‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

According to the UK's misery index, we haven't been this miserable for 19 years. Back then Tony Blair was a mere intern at the Illuminati headquarters and David Cameron was a twinkle in the King's eye.

The index of misery and hell and other such awful things including immigrants and those pesky Greeks

This index is measured by multiplying unemployment levels with inflation (cheery). Apparently we are therefore 13.3% miserable. Add to that list David Cameron's growing bald patch, Steve Hilton's tantrums, Cheryl Gillan’s choice of clothing, those pesky rioters, George Osborne's voice and the ruddy Greeks and the IIPBA is close to emotional breakdown.

The IIPBA's not so miserable index

The IIPBA's not so miserable index is calculated by multiplying how many hours people spend talking about the BBC's new documentary, The Frozen Planet, with units of alcohol consumed over the weekend. Going on our latest measure carried out today, the British population is 87.9% not so miserable. Good for you Britain.

Looking to the future, if we multiply this week’s episode of Frozen Planet by opportunities to consume alcohol next weekend and divide this by the upcoming X-Factor final, you've got quite a rosy future.

Concluding comments

Fuck you misery index - this think-tank's not for turning.

Thinking Paper #193: Eric Pickles watch‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

Eric "the pickler" Pickles of Pickering said something today. He said that more civil servants should work from home in order to save the taxpayer £300 trillion quid. Old Franny Maude welcomed the idea and shouted "taxpayers money" at the top of his voice. His sudden burst of energy startled a flock of pigeons who had nested in his hair, but he consoled himself with a nice cup of tea and a spot of cricket on the TV.

What the bloody hell is going on?

As Roger pointed out a long, long time ago, Eric Pickles is quite a fascinating man, primarily because his features form such a tiny part of his overall face. Anyway, he said that civil servants should be able to forward on emails from home instead of from expensive central government offices because this will stop them getting depressed and make them 100% happier.

What is working from home?

It's when you get to sleep in past 9am, have a nice leisurely breakfast over morning television, catch up with Philip Schofield's latest haircut and drink wine in the afternoon. It is usually sensible to send an email in the morning to let people back at the office know that you are awake, one at lunchtime to remind them that you are still there and then one at about 7pm so it looks like you're working infinitely longer hours than you actually are. It's dead easy, and Pickles thinks that it will improve productivity by 15% (whatever that means).

The IIPBA says hurrah for Pickles. We don't care what he says, we just like to see him on the old speaking box.

Thinking Paper #192 - Ruth Who?

By Jacinta Burrow

Abstract

Attention, election fans! The Scottish Conservative Party has elected a new leader... No, no, wait! Really, do read on. What else are you going to do for the next 2 minutes? Forward an email to a colleague in the name of “work”?


Scotland Done an Election

The new leader of the Tories north of the border (I know. I didn’t think there were any either) is Ruth Davidson. She is 32, a Glaswegian, openly gay and enjoys kickboxing. The IIPBA would like to congratulate the Conservatives: political candidacy is apparently the one area in which they are unequivocally in favour of genetic engineering (is that you, Steve?)

Davidson’s qualifications are that she used to work for the BBC and once queued behind Sir Malcolm Rifkind at an Edinburgh cashpoint. She is already showing off her political acumen by dissing the Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – otherwise known as the leader of the bit of the Conservative Party that actually wins stuff – as “not my boss”. She’s also had a pop at Ken Clarke (leave it, Tim! She’s not worth it) and the Chancellor.

Babe Ruth defeated Murdo Fraser who admitted in his campaign that the Conservatives have as much chance of winning in Scotland as Miguel has of being nominated for the Turner Prize and wanted to re-brand them as Fans of the City of London (“Unionists”). He lost to Ruthie by just 566 votes. But it’s fine. The IIPBA cannot remember a time when a major British political party was destabilised by wrangling between two senior figures about who should have been leader.

Anyhoo, Davidson is promising radical, “painful” reform (ooo er, Missus) and wants to turn the Scottish Tories into a “fighting force”. She also wants the party to “realise its own potential”, acknowledges that “change is not always easy” but says the party is “willing to step up to the plate”. She plans to speak entirely in cliché until at least the end of Hogmanay.

Conclusion

Does anyone else think Ruth looks like Chloe Smith? Coincidence?

7 November 2011

Thinking Paper #191 - My Big Fat Greek Solution

By Jamie Harrop Co-Editor of The Starr Blog

Abstract

So Greece's smurf-like father figure Papa Dreou has withdrawn plans to, in X-Factor style, put the state of the economy to a public vote. Highlighting just how mad things in Greece must be and also how Simon Cowell and friends have missed a trick. If there was a chance to vote people out on XFactor instead of currently where you can just vote people in I would be voting everyday! (Frankie Corcoza, Frankie Corcoza.....)


My Big Fat Greek Solution

Papa Dreou's surprise decision to call a referendum reportedly made President Sarkozy and Chancellor Merkel faint and swoon simultaneously. Following his decision to scrap the referendum Papa Dreou bravely stated " I don't care about being re-elected" he later added, somewhat less bravely "I know I'm screwed."

A new deal is thought to be struck. With billions of pounds in loans from somewhere going to cancel a billion pound debt somewhere else in a fiscal system described by one financial expert as "just throwing ludicrous amounts of money around in the hope it will sort it all out."

Conclusion

So what's the solution? I hear you ask! Cancel all the debts? Scrap the Euro? Scrap everything, start again and pretend none of it ever happened? Probably all of these. My experience of Greece involves a number of Greek restaurants I have dined at. The service was chaotic, the waiters a bit mad and the food was alright. There is however one great, 'better than the rest of the world' product I did notice, that I believe the Greeks should base the entire rebuild of their economy on, one unique item the Greeks have.... Smashing plates.

Thinking Paper #190 - What are the Lib Dems so happy about?

By Samuel Stopp, Co-Editor of The Starr Blog

Abstract

They are agents in a world on the verge of another economic crisis, a government running out of steam and a party polling some its lowest ever figures. And yet, somehow, the Lib Dems still seem to gurn more than any of the other parties’ MPs. It’s annoying and it’s inexplicable. And yet, in a way, it’s rather admirable.


What are the Lib Dems so happy about?

Take Nick Clegg. Shortly before the General Election, the nauseating idea arose that the people of Britain were falling in love with ‘Cleggover.’ Clegg’s half-decent performances in the leaders’ debates won him a disproportionate amount of plaudits from a press desperately hoping that a dull Election campaign would catch fire. Now, you would think that after everything that’s happened since coming to power, the Lib Dem Leader would be a little po-faced by now. And yet, every time I see him sitting behind Cameron at PMQs, he’s not only smiling, he’s smirking ... a little bit like a man who’s just released a very silent – but deadly – fart.

And then there’s Danny Alexander – a man with a very peculiar countenance indeed. His face positively twitches with amusement. He seems to have to actively struggle to stop himself from throwing his head back and laughing every time a poor little journo like Andrew Marr asks him a serious question. Watch him next time you see him being interviewed, and you’ll see what I mean. His face has an inbuilt smile-suppresser.

And of course, we must not forget Saint Vince – that lovable old chap who we were all told was some sort of wise seer on economic matters before the Election. He’s not looking so clever right now, especially after he was caught in a honey trap by a couple of giggling students. Giggling can sometimes cancel out smiling, or so it seems. Now, Vince isn’t your regular kind of gurner. He’s subtle, and I praise him for that, but his smile is the weirdest of all – a sort of tragic, upside down smile. I think the cynics call it a sad face. I’m not sure. I think Vince loves power, as do all the Lib Dems. No, Vince is happy all right, a little like Gollum was delirious with joy as he toppled into the fires of Mount Doom with the Ring of Power finally back in his possession.

Conclusion

And so I wonder if there is a clue in all of this insipid grinning. After all, a little-known playwright once noted how strange and unsettling it is that one may smile and smile and be a villain.

4 November 2011

Friday Thinking Points

With Ron Ford Golightly, Tim Massingberd James and Jacinta Burrow
  • Uh-oh, Ed Llewellyn's planning his next war. "Sources" (is that you Ed?) have said that "if Obama wants to bomb Iran to improve electoral ratings , then so do we". He followed this up by chanting "war" over and over again until he became so excited that he passed out on the floor.
  • Labour's advisers seek to gain new ground by getting all of their MPs to call the government "complacent". Meanwhile, the IIPBA is still struggling to understand how Ed Miliband is Her Majesty's official opposition.
  • George Osborne continues to "undershoot" in most areas of his life. Poor George. On the other end of the spectrum, Hugh "the bastard" Grant is extremely fertile. Exactly what the world needs, another Hugh Grant.
  • The Greek PM is having a "will-they-wont-they" flirtation with unemployment. A source close to the PM said "of course" sitting around watching daytime telly in your pants is preferable to doing a Eurozone crisis, but he was worried he might miss Angela Merkel's stern face.
  • Six lads have been in a metal tube for a year and a half, in the largest pretending-to-be-an-astronaut-experiment ever. When pressed, Putin's spokesman said that the experiment had been a failure because they "didn't even bum".

Thinking Paper # 189: Should map makers be allowed to stare at tits using taxpayers money?

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

"Broken Britain" is finally here (remember that?). Even the good people of the map making world, Ordnance Survey, have been caught out staring at boobs. Naughty map makers.


Ha

Ordnance Survey officials have always been a sexy bunch. Remember the great daisy chain fiasco of 08? Now, according to credit card statements, OS staff spent £4.99 whilst dining at a "raunchy" Hooter restaurant in the US. A spokesman for Ordnance Survey insisted that its staff attended the restaurants only because they employed such lovely waitresses. He added, "map making isn't easy you know."

Local government minister Grant Shapps said something rather annoying that missed the point and Francis Maude turned round for a moment from watching the cricket on his television in his office and said that tighter controls on use of the cards had cut spending on them. Woo-hoo. You go Franny.

Concluding comments

The IIPBA bloody loves maps, particularly OS maps. We think that the taxpayer can stretch to ensuring that the good men and women of OS get to eat when working out of town. If they get to stare at tits in the process, it really doesn't matter.

3 November 2011

Thinking Paper #188: An open letter to Seb Coe‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Dear Seb Coe,

We would like to start by saying that the IIPBA highly commends a number of your achievements to date: becoming an Olympic champion; teaching William Hague “judo”; and bringing the Olympics to London in 2012.


But, to cut to the chase, when you said that the Olympics would be for the ordinary Londonder, what exactly did you mean? Now, the IIPBA patiently went along with the patently flawed ballot system for tickets, and duly moaned over its tea break with colleagues and co-workers when all it managed to secure were two £20 tickets to see the 2nd round of the women’s Greco wrestling.

More recently however, now that this public “anger” has subsided, the IIPBA can’t help but notice the number of adverts springing up across the capital attempting to get us excited about winning Olympic tickets through corporate competitions from people like EDF, Virgin and PetsRus.

That’s right, the tickets designated for “Londoners” are now being sold back to us via competitions parading as altruistic corporate gestures. Competitions which require “Londoners” to sign up to being ripped off by a French utility company before even being within a whiskers chance of getting to watch Rebecca Adlington’s shoulders carve through chlorine.

You've betrayed us Seb

All the best,

The IIPBA

P.s. we still have vacancies on our board of trustees if you are interested.

Thinking Paper #187 - Breaking news: Counterfeiters thank Metro for supporting trade‏

By Ron Ford Golightly

Abstract

The Bank of England has introduced a new-style £50 banknote into circulation for the first time in 17 years. Well done Merv. The note will feature the renowned 18th century business partnership of entrepreneur Matthew Boulton and engineer James Watt (what?) in an attempt to encourage those lazy British lot to start designing toilets with self lowering toilet seats and such like.



What does this mean for Mrs Miggins?

Well, a range of new and enhanced security features have been incorporated into the design of the Boulton and Watt £50 banknote so that old Miggins can't go around fraudulently printing fakes and giving them to her mates. Naughty Miggins, get in your box.

There is a but...

Full details of these new security features have been revealed by our beloved British media over the course of the day.

One counterfeiter told the IIPBA "I usually hate reading the Metro but I did today and I was really pleased to see that its article about the new £50 note set out all of the new security features and flaws for me to get around - thank you Mr Metro".

The counterfeiter wished to remain anonymous, but added "I'm gonna get well mashed up tonight. Mrs Counterfeiter's going to get a right slap up meal down the local curry house that's for sure".

2 November 2011

Thinking Paper # 186: The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks

By Tim Massingberd James

Abstract

As well as making non-specific demands of internet service providers which have been widely condemned by the British Association of Fifteen Year Old Boys, the Church of England has been up to lots of other silly nonsense this week. They've been losing Deans and firing Canons all over the place, and today beardy Rowan has reared his head, joining every A-Level Politics student in the land in suggesting a 'Robin Hood Tax' on on financial trading. Why oh why doesn't he just be quiet?


The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks

It's as if Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams thinks we care what he has to say, and as if he thinks he is the first person to think of this. In fact, Nobel Laureate economist James Tobin suggested almost exactly the same thing in 1972, and it has never been adopted because it would drive even more of the money out of your country, into tax havens around the world. Rowan likes it because some idiots are parked on the steps of one of his offices.

It's all very well for the Church of England. They have hundreds of millions of pounds in various investments around the world, they own property in every town, village and city in the country, and people still continue to hand over their hard earned cash every Sunday in the same way they have for about 500 years. They don't have to worry about jobs, and the economy, and where their next pay cheque is coming from. Rowan lives in a palace, and gets all his expensive hats, staffs and robes on the Church, using the huge amounts of money our great great grandparents shelled out every single week of their short, miserable lives.

However, for the rest of us life is more difficult. We quite like having clothes to wear and having enough money to eat, but Rowan seems determined to throw it all away just because some lads are on a camping trip in front of his office. We think he should just refer to paper 183 and get some mean vicars in to clear it all up? We despair.

Conclusion

Why does Rowan's opinion matter? Why does he pander to about 50 idiots? Why all this handwringing? Just get on with it.

Thinking Paper # 185: Chloe Smith, Chloe Smith (aa-haaa)

By Roniford Golightly on the way
 
Chloe Smith MP done her first stint as Economic Secretary in the House yesterday and said things like "the bank of England is those wot set the interest rates".  She did really well - congratulations Chloe.
What else did she say?
 
"I bloody love plan A"
 
and...
 
"When I was a lass, I used to be able to buy a can of coke for a thrupny bit"
 
What the media had to say
 
That she's a 29 year old "Ice Maiden" with as much economic experience as a stray dog with three legs and a skin infection (woof).  Two things:
 
(1) she's got shit loads of well good economists working for her (hasn't she?  that's what the Treasury do don't they?).  If I had thousands of economists telling me what to say I reckon I could learn some lines and repeat them in front of people.  In fact I reckon I'd be well good at it.
 
(2) George Osborne did a freaking History degree and he's the chuffing Chancellor.  George - the IIPBA thinks that you are doing a really good job under difficult circumstances.  It's not easy being you and we are well aware of this. 
 
Concluding comments
 
Macaulay Culkin was only 10 when he did Home Alone and that film was brilliant. 
 
 

 

Thinking Paper #184: Dale’s superhardship sweep‏

By Roger Daring

The IIPBA generally quite likes Dales, Dale Winton is notable as someone that we consider a ‘high achiever’ and we often invite him to chair our internal policy review sessions. The Yorkshire Dales are pretty alright too, Tim went to the National Park there once.

However, more importantly, the events at Dale farm seem to be simmering down. Here is our roundup;
  • The police decided to sweep all rules about the use of tazors under the proverbial rug because they didn’t suit them; instead choosing to tazor people willy-nilly as part of their ‘community engagement’ strategy. The IIPBA asked Tim Godwin, acting Police Commissioner, about this issue and he tried to hide from us by covering his eyes with his hands.
  • We believe that the amount of rubbish the police are going to create whilst bulldozing helpless peoples homes further justifies Eric Pickles’ rubbish, rubbish policy. We commend the Pickler and his hearty pelican gullet.
  • The media used a picture of someone holding a cross in front of a fire to lead articles on the issue. The IIPBA believes that this may be in order to sell newspapers and had no relevance whatsoever to the proceedings. Questions have been raised as to whether the cross-bearer exists at all, or whether she was drawn by Steve Hilton.
  • Whilst Pickles spending £250m on rubbish is clearly a very, very good idea, we think that spending £18m on kicking people further into poverty is slightly questionable.
Conclusions

If a tree fell on Ed Miliband in the woods, would his childlike whelp be his most notable criticism of Government policy?

If anyone else says “well, planning law has to be respected” the IIPBA will spontaneously combust and kill everyone and everything.

1 November 2011

Thinking Paper #183: Should the clergy be more creative in their solutions to the tents outside St Paul's Cathedral?

By Tim Massingberd James

Abstract

The Church of England hierarchy is threatening to get pretty flipping angry about the tents outside St Paul's Cathedral. If something isn't done about it soon, they're bloody well going to be bloody annoyed about it. Okay?

Should the clergy be more creative in their solutions to the tents outside St Paul's Cathedral?

Listening to Church of England vicars sounding annoyed about the tents outside St Paul's Cathedral is an almost constant source of amusement to the IIPBA. We like it when the Today Programme runs a feature on it. We like it when we see them on telly. We like it when we wander past on the way back from an evening drink in Smithfields. Turns out the clergy just aren't that good at being angry at stuff.

We've come up with some options, for how the Church of England could achieve quicker results:

1. Some vicars go round for a game of cricket and one of them gets 'clumsy'

“Oops, I'm terribly sorry, but we play cricket here every Tuesday in the offseason. Are your head and kneecaps ok?”

2. A horse's head inexplicably appears in one of the occupied tents overnight

“Yes, his name was dobbin. He was my favourite horse, and since he was put down yesterday, I was worried you might never meet him”

3. A 'friendly' vicar offers to protect the tent-dwellers from the rest of the clergy, who are not quite as 'friendly'.

“Listen, you don't want to mess with those guys. You should see what they did to Mrs Miggins when she failed to add anything to the collection plate. If you give me £500 I'll make sure nothing happens to you”.

Conclusion

The Church of England needs to think outside the box on this one. There's more than one way to skin a rabbit.

Thinking Paper #182 - An Open Letter to Rod Liddle

By Jacinta Burrow

Dear Mr Liddle,

We at the Institute for Ideas in a Post-Bureaucratic Age (IIPBA) proper loved your article entitled “Some suggestions about how the BBC management can save money” (The Spectator, 15 October 2011). As you no doubt know already, we dedicate our sober hours and second-rate intellects to the pursuit of the post-bureaucratic age and in your article we recognised a kindred spirit.


We hope you might like the IIPBA and we particularly commend your suggestion that “all BBC bureaucrats [be] forced by law to share the same surname”. You will be delighted to learn that the IIPBA employs no decision support analysts whatsoever and no operating officers, junior or senior. The IIPBA has never used Data-Driven DSS, Excel, OLAP, or Model-Driven DSS.

As per your first suggestion for further BBC cost-savings, we can all define our jobs with ease. These definitions commonly include “points out that Cheryl Gillan is inappropriately attired for Prime Minister’s Questions” and “has impulsively penned David Cameron’s political obituary”. As for suggestions two to five, the IIPBA has never made an expensive trail for any of our thinking papers and none of them has ever been introduced by a continuity announcer. We do employ an in-house illustrator but, as he is a child, Miguel saves us considerable sums in pay and benefits.

As such, we would like to invite you to become one of our Trustees. The role involves no pay, no work and very little recognition. We can promise you our eternal gratitude and the occasional invitation to a Westminster hostelry. This is also your chance to get one over on your Speccie colleague, Toby Young, who has steadfastly ignored our advances.

I should be delighted to respond to any questions and do make sure that http://theiipba.blogspot.com/ is in your Favourites.

Yours sincerely,

Jacinta Burrow

On behalf of the IIPBA Directors

Thinking Paper #181 – Sarky Softpocket


By Roger Daring

Abstract

The IIPBA generally regards Sarkozy as a bit of a softpocket. Until recently, that is. Recently Sarko got some balls. In a streak of magnificent fabulousness, Sarkozy has come out and called David Cameron ‘Un grand Nobjock’.

Sarky Softpocket

Tensions had become increasingly strained as the Euro Crisis looked more and more like a big, tasty crisis and less and less like a small guff that had floated out of Merkel’s undergarments.

The IIPBA was fortunate enough to see this leaked Sarkozy statement in full

“I am ‘ere today, to say ‘dis.

“Davide Camerohn, is a little poof, he is a little danceeng nobjock who knows nu’thing abouwt politiques or economiques. I guff in his chubby little nose, I shit on the belly of his mother, I stick my fin’gere in his podgy little ass‘hol!”

(This is exactly what he said, and no stereotypical tweaks have been added).

Although some may be shocked to hear such a statement from a French Prime Minister, the IIPBA is not in the least bit surprised. In fact, we led the drafting of this diplomatic masterpiece upon the request of the French Embassy.

Conclusion

Nicholas Softpocket Sarkozy – nous salute tu