I do love a good rant and I am about to have a couple, so click away to safety or else brace yourself. The worm is pi*ssed off, and he’s on one.
It’s a bit dismal in England at the moment. Oh, the sun is shining today and the birds are twittering, but no matter how deeply you push your fingers into your ears and scream “la la la la la” the constant sound of Corbyn playing his fiddle and of May sloshing her hairy arse around in her bath of ass’s milk is always with us. Six hundred and fifty Members of Parliament, eight hundred Lords a-leaping, and seventy-three Members of the “European Parliament” are busy snatching defeat from out of the jaws of victory.
England is a laughing stock. England is not just at an all-time low, England is in the kind of low that Rome experienced when Rome fell into the abyss, when Vesuvius belched and everyone got so desperate that they collectively went insane and decided that “pizza” was a food group. The Persian Empire collapsed, the Mongol Empire fractured, the Mayan Civilisation was razed to the ground by aliens and by Americans wearing tin foil on their heads, and now it’s England’s turn. Being English of course we’re quite familiar with – in fact, we probably invented – self-deprecating humour, so being a laughing stock, the butt of global jokes is nothing new, not a problem or a concern. We’re quite used to everyone on the planet hating us.
In a way it’s quite exciting!
For centuries England ruled a quarter of the planet, our Navy was invincible, our industry and invention dominated the lives of the species, and yet my little life-span chances upon the one period of history when England couldn’t successfully crush a grape or even, politically or commercially or industrially, find its own arse with both hands, a simple diagram and a Customs Dog trained to locate the source of farts.
England’s final, bloody demise though is not the primary cause of my melancholic vapours this week. England has been dying throughout my entire lifetime, although I suppose that it is only really of late that the spread of the disease has become exponential, with us suffocating under an unimaginable weight of compulsory National self-hatred, political “correctness” and – to quote Ecclesiastes 5:10 and Timothy 6:10 correctly – under the weight of the love of money.
Yorkshire Bank loves money.
This is why they don’t love me very much, because I don’t have a lot of money. They don’t love me because I have a “Basic Bank Account” with them. A “Basic” bank account is something that the big banks are forced by H.M.Government to offer to those persons who wouldn’t otherwise be of sufficient interest to the High Street banks to warrant the banks’ micturition in the event of a small peasant conflagration. These persons being pensioners, those on benefits, ex-bankrupts and wotnot. The accounts are as advertised – no chequebook, no overdraft, absolutely minimal facilities, no interest on balances, no nuffink. They are “money in, money out, and that’s your lot, consider yourself lucky to get anything at all” accounts.
Last Sunday I discovered that The Lovely Yorkshire consistently booted me off their website the moment that I logged on to view my account. Hello – goodbye. It didn’t even give me a chance to click “HELP! I need somebody, not just anybody &etc”. I had to contact them via “the social media” and by walking up and down the towpath for a mobile telephonium signal.
I’d like to be able to say that I’ve been somehow embroiled with them until late this afternoon (Thursday), but that’s not true – they’ve ignored me utterly. I got as far as logging the problem and then not a peep, not a squeak, not so much as a salted peanut thrown in my direction. I have spent the week banging my head against a brick wall, trying to get the wall to at least say “ouch”. Finally, this afternoon, I managed to get hold of “Customer Services” on the mobile and managed to navigate my way through their gobsmacking, awe-inspiringly tedious layers of menu options.
“Press 3.14159265 twice to look at a picture of the Chairman’s cat working hard on his litter tray”.
“Press any Fibonacci sequence beginning with the eight-digit number of your choice* to see a picture of the Chairman working hard on the cat’s litter tray.”
*This is of course a trick question, merely purporting to offer choice of starting point or sequence.
You know the sort of thing, interspersed with advertisements about how safe they are keeping us all from Nigerian scamsters and how their latest “banking app”, once downloaded from Google Play or the Apple Corporation, will increase our sexual virility by at least Factor Cor-Blimey and probably more please have-these-free-Cinema-tickets-the-monthly-fee-for-your-account-is-only-etcetera.
Apparently, it is my internet connection that is just too slow for me to connect to their lovely, shiny website (all of a sudden). Nothing to do with their upgrades, nothing to do with their code changes, it’s all my fault. This would be the “my internet connection” that is fast enough to allow me to stream HD videos to and fro YouTube, and upon which every other website that I use from FaceBook to WordPress and from Russia Today to Naked Norwegian Survivalist Pictorial dot com still works just fine.
They even served up this palpable nonsense with lashings of sarcasm and unsubtle tones of “well, there’s nothing we can do about it so why haven’t you gone away yet?”
There’s another official complaint to be logged. I suspect that, rather like the previous one when they made a monumental three-month-long hash of replacing a simple expired debit card, this will be going to the Banking Ombudsman. The Ombudsman will eventually ask how much £compensation£ I want and I’ll say ‘none, I just want Yorkshire Bank kicked in the balls’. The Ombudsperson will explain that they can’t get their leg that high and we’ll all go home disappointed, me to my damp cardboard box in a disused uranium quarry, and the Ombudsperson and the Yorkshire Bank to their respective twenty-seven bed mansions with helipad, swimming pool and not a moral fibre anywhere in the house or grounds.
Hey ho. What joy, what fun. I suppose that in the meantime – unless they, the Yorkshire Bank, correct their own upgrade/code-change/network-error – I shall just have to guess at my balance, and to whom I have paid what and when, hoping each time that I use Baby’s First (TOMY) Debit Card that I don’t fall foul of the balance somehow.
Come the revolution, when all of our politicians have been enthusiastically defenestrated and are decorating lamp posts and swinging gently in the breeze, I am going to heap up all of the bankers, right down to the lowliest call clerk, into one big pile in the City of London – and then I’m going to landscape the entire area with bulldozers and plant daisies over the lot.
Harrumph. I am, not without some cause, a grumpy old Hector.
On a more (un)amusing note, I received my usual “newsletter” email from the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), a private company (!!!) to which “our” esteemed government has outsourced the collection of copyright fees and licence monies from the copying and use of authors’ work (library fees and such). It is a commercial Ltd company masquerading under the usual charitable not-for-profit NGO status, run by largely un-elected Hooray Henrys and Henriettas and regarded by them and their school-chum old-boy and old-girl networks as a low-status but high-salary first stepping stone in their “Oh yah, I’m going to work for the U.N. eventually” career plans. They may not, according to the accounts, make an outright profit, but they do make some splendid London £salaries£ and £expense£ accounts and £pensions£ for themselves instead. In short, it is a nest of the most dismal people doing self-interested things, and operates with not an iota of accountability. To be “elected” to serve one first needs to be “connected” enough to be “listed”… get the idea?
I present to you an extract herewith from the email, for which I was not in the mood, up with to put:
‘Women writers and illustrators dominate the 2019 CILIP blah blah blah awards…’
Click through to the article and the “news” is indeed that women writers and illustrators dominate the shortlist for the awards, thus making the domination in the awards themselves somewhat of a foregone conclusion, the unwanted competition having been quite artificially removed in order to force and assure the result.
The ALCS sponsors (as in part-pays for) these various awards, which means that via the operating costs deductions from my licensing fees, I sponsor them – not that I was asked or in any way consulted beforehand. I (we, the mere authors on ALCS’s books) never are. Am? Is. Whatever. We isn’t.
Can you imagine, in this snowflake era of political-correctness-at-the-point-of-a-gun, if that email and article had proudly and positively announced that “Male writers and illustrators dominate…”?
Such a headline would have been accompanied by screams and wails fit to lure sailors onto the rocks – so no, I refuse point blank to accept the socially engineered obverse as something somehow “positive”. Sauce is sauce and let’s goose the gander with a chilled finger. Cake, have, and either sit on it or eat it, but not both.
I have emailed the ALCS to ask what plans they have in hand to address this current deliberate, per-stated-policy single-gender dominance, and to ensure actual equality – dare I say impartiality – in the future.
I do wonder if I will be graced with a reply.
I do wonder if I will be summarily disbarred and denied my lawful but privately-collected fees for the crime of wrong-think bad-speak.
I happen to have always believed entirely in equality – of opportunity, not of [forced] outcome. I also believe entirely in equality of responsibilities. Talk to me of equal responsibilities and I’ll listen, yack at me about demanding equal rights and I will almost certainly refer you to the aforementioned Customs Dog trained to locate the source of farts. The systematic obfuscation of the operation of meritocracy by clumsy social “engineering” in the hope of dictating equality of outcome requires a departure from putting the best person for the job, regardless of identity, into the job. You end up with square pegs in round holes and vice versa. You end up with, for example, literary & illustration competition finalist shortlists chosen on the basis of gender, not on quality. Quality may indeed be there, but it has been reduced to being merely incidental. If nothing else, consider that the awards have thus been stripped of any and all serious value for those “dominating” ladies, denied full and open competition – effectively given the option only of entering “The Ladies’ Race”.
I. I. I. ¡Ay ¡Ay ¡Ay caramba. I shall wear out the “I” key if I’m not careful. It is almost impossible to push back against the cretinous nonsenses of the “me me me” culture without over-using “I I I” and being made to sound just as bad.
The Ancient Greeks discussed philosophy, logic and algebra; “Modern” “Personkind” discusses the socially-corrective apportioning of domestic washing-up duties.
One (“I”) used to worry about the inevitable pendulum-swing backlash to this excessive and now wholly-unchecked PC silliness, and to this era of universal political dwarfery – a backlash that would sweep away the great good that has been achieved, and achieved largely in spite of &etc. Now though I don’t think that there will be either time or facility for such a backlash, we’ll all be too busy scrabbling for our very basic living in the social, economic and political wreckage to worry.
Moreover, furthermore and so forth, why does the world and its goldfish (and its school-leaver “helpdesk” staff et al) always presume to address me as “Ian”? If I do not know you then the correct form of address is “Sir” or “Mr Hutson” until I tell you otherwise and invite you to be less formal.
So, this week elsewise.
Boating? Not really, no, but I suppose that I ought to try to do some, sometime, once I’ve poop-scooped after the commercial world and mourned the political and poked a public-private corporate snowflake in the eye by removing my nose to spite their face.
Yes, you too!
The history of our era, if there is indeed any at all written hereafter, will need to be written in cheap comic format, rather like the Dandy or the Beano. Not for the latter twentieth and early twenty-first century the dignity of leather bindings.