Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Peace-off and ill-will to all men!

Now that the festivities are well and truly over, we can all sit back on our big, hairy arses and reflect on the year gone by. Hmm… actually, did anyone else think that 2005 was probably the most whinging, scaremongering, nay-saying, fun-bashing, spoil-sporting year we’ve had in a long time? And that’s saying something!

We’ve had knee-jerk, reactionary panic-mongering from the Daily Mail, the undisputed masters of knee-jerk, reactionary panic-mongering, that this winter will be the worst for 20 years with “quite severe loss of life” (as opposed to merely mild loss of life, then). This comes just months after said rag told us not to flush our bogs due to predictions of the “worst drought in 30 years”. Like the scary winter, the mighty drought never transpired but, on the bright side, Daily Mail readers did end up with the stinkiest, most disease-ridden homes since records began. Which is something, I guess.

Then there were the doom-merchants wanting to ban Christmas turkey (and presumably Gordon Ramsey, by proxy) for fears of spreading avian flu. This shows such a profound lack of understanding that I’m almost speechless. Almost. My own theory is that this particular idiocy stems from news stories such as this one on CNN, showing a turkey (the bird) and the headline “Confirmed in Turkey” (the country). It’s easy to see how the more impetuous scaremonger might twist this into “Your turkey will kill you dead this Christmas!” Particularly if it sells newspapers.

And talking of bans, one London train is setting a dangerous precedent by banning 'coughing' in designated carriages. This follows bans on smoking, mobile phones, talking, breathing, living and being. Ironically this initiative is backed (i.e. 'sponsored') by Benylin. I say ironically as every scientific study thus far shows that cough mixtures simply do not work. You’re better off, medically and financially, eating chocolate during the day and taking a mild sedative at night, and let's face it, chocs and booze taste way better than Benylin (but let’s not tell the great unwashed in case the poor multinationals lose their bonuses next Crimbo).

So will 2006 be any better? Is this the year we become humanitarians, casting aside our petty differences and pride? Can we scrap all the hysteria about 'killer Christmas puds' and 'terror tinsel' and instead simply eat, drink and be merry? Will we actually enjoy ourselves this year rather than looking for sly ways to impede other's enjoyment? Well, the story I read today isn’t exactly promising, although it’s surely an early candidate for 'Jobsworth of the Year'. After long-time AA member, David Baker, died of a heart attack at the wheel of his car, his brother-in-law was told over the phone by the so-called 'Fourth Emergency Service' that they couldn’t help because “If he’s dead, he’s no longer a member.” Happy New Year to you too, mate.


At 3:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, it really annoyed me that the AA caved in and cancelled the charge for pulling David Baker's car out of the ditch.

Baker was probably well aware of the clause that cancelled his contract in the event of his death, and was content in the knowledge he wouldn't be needing the AA Relay service beyond the pearly gates.

The AA legal boffins no doubt introduced this clause to counter the [insert popular north east department store name here] funeral service using the AA to tow their clapped out Austin Ambassador estates when they break down on the way to the crem carrying the corpses of fully paid up AA members ("You're the member, not the car", as they proudly boast).

Happy New Year!
Steve from Durham


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