Friday, 8 October 2010



jgm2 said...

My missus hates Gilbert & Sullivan but I have to say, having listened to that clip and being vaguely aware of the 'Modern Major General' lyrics it just goes to show that nothing really has changed in politics in over 100 years.

You still get rotten boroughs (I'm thinking of the Western Isles) and you still get unthinking, never-voted-but-how-he-was-told utter fuckwits in charge of the Queen's Navy. Part-time under the last Imbecile.

One hundred years of utter incompetence and fuckwittery. No wonder we lost an Empire. It's amazing we don't have a rerun of the great plague with the shower of incompetents we have had to live through the pat 13years. And I see little hope of improvement after Georgie's big idea to erase a 160bn quid deficit - save 1bn quid on Child Benefit. Suuuuure, every little helps but - where's the big savings?

call me ishmael said...

MOrning. Some of it, mr jgm2, is gloriously, timelessly satirical. And whistleable. But I think the two mentioned are probably the best of it. If there are any local societies where you are, they're worth a look and worth supporting, like Guide Dogs for the Blind, the RNLI and so much else of the national treasury which is voluntarily maintained and which must now compete against those things which are entirely properly the responsibility of the state but are now about to be sacrificed to the bankers' bonuses fund aka The Pig Society. Things like the Navy.

It is of course true that the Empire was run - successfully in its own terms - by a a fraction of the civil service administrators who are now required to manage little more than Great Britain and a few dependencies, mainly occupied by Uncle Sam but it does seem preposterous that we be reduced to a couple of dozen ships, each with probably a dozen admirals, depressing that none of these Ruperts, Vice-Thises and Flag-Thats nearly always keep their criticisms until retirement and full pension. Mutiny and General Strike, that's the ticket. This can only be a precursor to a pan-European defence force. Good job that CallHimDave has promised us a referendum, eh? Cunt.

Not just the Western Isles, the Northern and Shetlands are as counter-democratic as you could imagine, and securely Liberal Democrat, also, surprisingly, immune from the mooted reshaping and resizing of constitiencies, the Coalition working together to take the big decisions which matter so much. To itself.

yardarm said...

In the absence of any proper armed forces it seems an ideal opportunity for Wisteria`s Big Society, or BS, to play a part when clear and present danger threatens.

The Pundit Rifles can throw a cordon around the BBC guided by Lt Col David Stark Ravers knowledge of various historical punch ups, the Bank of England and Treasury Grenadiers( ' The Old Very Contemptibles ') will lose the battle and shoot the wounded while the Murdoch Light Horses Arse will gladly sacrifice everyone else in the Battle of Rupert`s Wallet.

If the oppressor`s shadow should fall over our far flung tax havens Rear Admiral Osborne will sail to their (tax) relief on Deripaska`s yacht. Wisteria and Cabinet, shielded by the Lobbyist Guards will be right behind us as we advance into the fire: quite a few five grand a ticket only piss ups behind us.

We can drop the bankers on the enemy so they are fucking up somebody else`s economy for a change and to replace Trident we can threaten to release Gordon Brown into their water supply. And all bloggers are to report to Col von Fawkes whose order orders are to be obeyed.

Woman on a Raft said...

"like Guide Dogs for the Blind",

Nope, sorry. The best which can be said of that one is that it is only the money which people raise for themselves and it doesn't appear to take taxpayer funding, but it can be very difficult to disentangle sources of funding.

It hands out relatively few dogs compared to the amounts of money involved.

The 1,053 staff are treated well. The charity has enough assets that it can top-up the £6m deficit in the pension scheme. The head honcho earns £120k, fifteen other employees earn more than £60k.

Most charities seek to widen their remit but GDFTB has kept theirs relatively narrow, although recently it branched out in to subsidizing lawyers to bring taxi driver cases and spent a certain amount of money in lobbying for changes to legislation to bring private hire cars within the definition of obligation to carry dogs.

I'm waiting for the argument to fan out over other disabilities and settings. It has already started in the report and accounts. F'rinstance, they began to sue local authorities last year, and lobby for changes in legislation to make audio information required on buses. You will note they haven't simply paid to have the info on the buses. Lawyers smell money like sharks smell blood and the charity has that scrummy layer of fat you get on labradors who have been fed too many biscuits.

The bottom line is this: soppy-eyed labradors are much more popular with the public than they are with the blind, who do not necessarily want a dog.

There is at least an argument to consider capping the donations raised by the charity and telling it to manage on the income from its holdings. (Between £3 and £17m depending on how you read the accounts).

Crude figures in rough millions:

Assets £178m
Liabilities towards staff £38m
(wages and pensions)
leaving £140m to put to work.

Last year they earned £60m from donations, trading and investment income.
(They achieved £17m in capital growth and released £3m of it to income, holding the rest as increased assets)

They spent £70m of which £53m was direct charitable activity

So that's £53m on the dogs, their training, vet bills, breeding etc.
At the end of 2009 there were fewer than 5000 guide dog owners in the UK.

Admittedly they fund other things but the charity presents itself on the basis of the dogs, not its general work or its increasing lobbying and lawyering.

The charity is like a very popular medieval abbey; fondly defended by its supporters who may not have noticed the coffers are surprisingly full even though the monks are frantically running round rattling their begging bowls and showing people pictures of doe-eyed beggar boys.

Indeed, the abbey does have an excellent choir school attached which caters to 50 poor boys and treats them very well, rescuing them from a life on the streets. How much is it spending on tapestries and lawyers, though? At least the abbey always presented itself as a god-house and didn't loudly proclaim that it was only doing it for the choristers.

Do not forget that when you drop your penny in the tin, you are helping keep the bankers, HSBC, the investment fund managers Newton Infestment Ltd and Standard Life Investments, not forgetting the auditors Horwath Clark Whitehill (who earned over 80k for doing the books) and the solicitors Stone King Sewell, all in the manner to which they surely deserve to become accustomed, while providing services on behalf of the blind people and their doggies.

Charity no: 209617 -

Nice little earner. The Church of England would love to be in such a stable position. I suggest it takes down the agonized bloke and replaces him with fluffy animal with big eyes.

Agatha said...

Mrs. WOAR,
Thank you for presenting all that information, although it has depressed the living bejasus out of me. Is there any charity worth contributing to? I got one of those envelopes the other day, from one of those charities which send you pictures of donkey abuse and wretched dogs destined for the cooking pot or some dastardly scientific experiment. Straight in the bin. I can't risk my mental equilibrium on opening such things and seeing images that will distress me for ever.

mongoose said...

At risk of getting the poor buggers holed below the water-line by Mrs WOAR, if you ever venture near the sea, and even if you don't, the RNLI is worthy of the odd quid or two.

Woman on a Raft said...

The RNLI is clean. In fact, it is so clean that it has supporters trying to stop licencing bodies ripping the piss by charging them commercial rates for nautical information. Indecent that is.

The general rule for charities is that if it is local you'll be able to see the books and see what they do with the money.

Provided you accept the tendency of larger organizations to lose focus and oouze money, then the Salvation Army and Macmillan Cancer Nurses both provide tangible services.

Your local hospice will usually be making a dreadful time more bearable for the family of some poor soul (although Mr Ishmael has his reservations about them). I've worked in one and my impression was that it helped maintain the dignity of the dying. However, this may vary with the hospice.

In international terms I'm afraid I have no faith that money donated will end up doing anything good and it might end up causing harm. However, I visit a church cafe and buy small presents there such as craft boxes and beads which are allegedly made in international workshops. I don't know if the trade helps anyone abroad but the coffee is fine and the cafe staff are often people who might not get work in a more pressured setting, so if me spending a few quid there helps pay their wages then I'm happy to chip in. It's not like I have to do anything more difficult than have tea and buns.

call me ishmael said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
call me ishmael said...

That's very sweet, mr yardarm, thanks, odd, isn't it, how Ruin inspires such gloriously bitter poetry.

Thanks Mrs WOAR, in other places I think we have baited the charity bears, the chief execs and the boards and the auditors, I was actually involved once in running a theatrical charity and from that interlude I deduced that the whole fucking business was poison, at best.

I just really pulled those two out of the hat as being among the least offensive and with the RNLI the most unequivocally laudable; dogs and blindness, too, resonate with fearful diabetics such as your correspondent, in that cold, fretful, future place which the professionals would have us visit.

Whatever the business actualite there will be folk in both charities, small fry, doing it for the love, amateur, just like those who dress up as admirals or Chinamen in Gilbert and Sullivan productions all over the world; it was to them I raised my hat.

On the marketing front, I am with Ms Agatha, an unwilling recipient of images too horrible, too harrowing to bear and I suspect, self-defeating; when it comes to doing Charity I am with the Saviour, God Bless Him - Let not they left hand know what thy right hand is doing. More of this to come, this charity banditry. Thanks, all.