Black Country news and blogs Saturday 20 September 2014
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The Plastic Hippo

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Tipping point 

3 Apr 14

It is all too easy to dismiss current television schedules as being filled with mindless pap designed to keep the nation anesthetised in a permanent state of compliant stupor.

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Battleship Pitlochry 

1 Apr 14

Dateline: March 31 2015 As last ditch negotiations again end in deadlock, the crisis facing newly independent Scotland looks likely to spread into global conflict as Russia, Syria and North Korea mobilise their armed forces…

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Until the juices run clear 

30 Mar 14

This morning, in welcome sunshine, the sound of six month old burger fat being scraped from rusty barbeque grills in neighbouring gardens heralded the beginning of the E-coli season…

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Whatever happened to Paul Flowers? 

26 Mar 14

The former Chairman of the Co-operative Bank and former Labour councillor and presumably still suspended Methodist minister might not be the brightest button in the box but perhaps the question that should be asked is whatever happened to Mark Hoban…

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Mistaken identity 

23 Mar 14

After a six nil drubbing at the expensive heads, hands and feet of rivals Chelsea, Arsenal boss Theresa May might wish to forget her 1,000th game as the Gunners gaffer…

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Legs eleven 

20 Mar 14

The fifth budget delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirms that George Osborne is, without doubt, the most brilliant economist in the history of the world and possibly the greatest human being that has ever lived…

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Tony Benn 

15 Mar 14

The bizarre shorthand of mass media dictates that any public figure, no matter how obscure, who manages to survive beyond their thirtieth birthday, is by necessity described as veteran…

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Educating Archie 

9 Mar 14

The notion of featuring a ventriloquist act on a radio show might at first seem preposterous but producers at the BBC way back in the 1950s realised that comedy works because of content rather than presentation…

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Pity the poor immigrant 

7 Mar 14

Returning from a recent trip abroad, I was shocked and stunned at the numbers of Bulgarian and Romanian economic migrants, health tourists, potential benefit scroungers and other foreign looking ne`er-do-wells thronging the arrivals terminal…

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Fall from grace 

3 Mar 14

There can be few things sadder than seeing formerly dignified and noble institutions descend into squalid decay or once respected and decent individuals fall from greatness into the gutter of ruined reputation…

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The great gates of Kiev 

28 Feb 14

By any stretch of the imagination, it has been a difficult week for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych…

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Pie in the sky 

26 Feb 14

As far as I am aware, there is no statute under English law that allows a conviction on the grounds of guilt by association which, all things considered, will come as something of a relief to newspaper editors, MPs past and present and a variety of …

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Here is the 10 o`clock aggregation 

24 Feb 14

You have to admit that we have been spoilt rotten recently with the salacious details of celebrity court cases where soap opera becomes indistinguishable from the legal system, but one largely unreported court case will have major implications for …

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The Saatchi Olympics 

23 Feb 14

After all the hype and all the manufactured enthusiasm, there will be some people who will look back at the XXII Olympic Winter Games with a slight sense of disappointment…

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Last orders 

21 Feb 14

In those far off mid-summer days, when the sun was shining and England had a manly test cricket team, this blog mused on the sudden and mysterious closure of the Park Tavern on Broadway North in the sleepy, picturesque village of Walsall…

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Noye`s Fludde 

12 Feb 14

In life`s rich tapestry, there can be fewer heartaches or natural shocks as traumatic as suffering a flood and even as our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of these terrible weather events, it is vital that we indentify who is to blame for …

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Wee timorous beastie 

8 Feb 14

Dislike him or simply loath him, David Cameron`s ability to say one thing and mean the exact opposite marks him as a consistently transparent and consummately deceptive Prime Minister…

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An over excitable individual 

5 Feb 14

Michael Gove insists that classroom discipline and rigour are the essential foundations of a modern education so it is rather disappointing that the Secretary of State for Education is incapable of practicing what he preaches…

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Home again 

3 Feb 14

Sometimes, if time and money allow, it is extraordinarily therapeutic to burst out of the parochial bubble to catch some face time with the rest of the world and when opportunity presented a visit to a place on something called a bucket list, it was …

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Happy if it comes up to my chest 

22 Jan 14

With what seems like half of 1970s television light entertainment on trial for being perverts, it is good to see the ghost of Benny Hill chasing around in fast forward to a Yakety Sax soundtrack; you can almost hear the hoof beats pound…

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But for the grace of God 

16 Jan 14

Grace and danger When a school or, more significantly, a chain of schools feels that it is necessary to appoint a Director of Corporate Development, you might be forgiven for …

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Reality and illusion 

12 Jan 14

Even after thousands and thousands of years during which lots and lots of very, very clever people tried to define reality, we are still no closer to a universal proof of anything; the only certainty is that nothing is certain…

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The barber of Savile Row 

8 Jan 14

A gentleman`s hair salon in Mayfair:
Late Friday afternoon…

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6 Jan 14

As Twelfth Night passes and with the tinsel, the baubles and the plastic tree safely stashed in the loft for another year, it is time for all God-fearing souls to commemorate Epiphany…

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Christmas in a parallel universe 

29 Dec 13

The really nice thing about December is that the festive season offers various opportunities to indulge in activities collectively described as “traditional…

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Ring out, wild bells 

24 Dec 13

The larder is bulging with buy one get one free boxes of minced pies and the fridge is packed with poultry and trimmings; the last thing we need is some Middle Eastern, homeless refugee giving birth to yet another scrounging baby…

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Accomplished mission creep 

20 Dec 13

To use a phrase that trips so readily and so lightly from the lips of an obfuscating politician; “let`s be perfectly clear about this…

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Eight days a week 

18 Dec 13

Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS and Medical Director of the NHS Commissioning Board, is undoubtedly a very clever man…

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Missing the point 

15 Dec 13

For the first time since the dawn of creation, God will pull rank and force his way through the crowds to have his photograph taken standing next to the latest arrival in heaven…

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Dick Whittington meets Aladdin 

13 Dec 13

This is obviously only a personal opinion, but I find pantomime vulgar, boring and profoundly unfunny…

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The book of Gideon 

9 Dec 13

And Almighty God didst looketh down upon Gideon and was displeased and in His merciful anger didst send a mighty storm to smiteth Gideon, destroyer, feller of trees, brother of Cameron, brother of Clegg and son of Thatcher…

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Hansard December 2013 

5 Dec 13

Transcript of the Financial Autumn Statement by the Right Honourable George Osborne MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer…

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The magnificent seven 

4 Dec 13

Any suggestion that the big six energy companies are operating an illegal cartel to fix gas and electricity prices to ensure massive profit is entirely erroneous; there are a magnificent seven gunslingers in the illegal cartel…

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2 Dec 13

During the evening of Saturday 30th November 2013, the War on Welfare petition reached its target of 100,000 signatures which means that the backbench Business Committee will consider if the systematic punishment of people in need of most support is …

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Where did it hit you? 

27 Nov 13

Cricket aficionados might remember the day back in 1986 when Mike Gatting left bits of his skull on the crease at Sabina Park, Kingston Jamaica…

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Mind altering substance abuse 

25 Nov 13

When rummaging in the dustbins of hypocrisy, it is always worth remembering that there is a sliding scale of double-standards, double-talk, double-crossing, double-speak and double-trouble…

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Feel the Noize 

20 Nov 13

Parody can all too often be a blunt instrument when attempting to employ what passes for a sense of humour in a world ruled by an elite required to undergo a sense of humour by-pass…

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Open goal 

16 Nov 13

Imagine the managers of Manchester United and Chelsea deciding before a vital cup tie to play ten against ten and not field any goalkeepers…

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Human error 

13 Nov 13

It has been brought to my attention that an article recently published on this blog contains an inaccuracy that requires some sort of apology, apparently…

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My Maserati does 185 

9 Nov 13

When young drivers and some older people who should know better, spend inordinate amounts of time, effort and money in turning their wheels into a statement, it seems unduly cruel to point out that the statement they are making is: “look at me, I`m…

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In appreciation of Grant Shapps 

6 Nov 13

With the utmost sincerity, I would like to publicly thank the Right Honourable Grant V Shapps MP, Conservative Party Chairman and the member for Welwyn Hatfield…

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Day of the dead 

3 Nov 13

As Hallowmas concludes for another year and with extorting candy with menaces completely replaces traditional apple bobbing, it is perhaps time to welcome another celebration imported from the Americas…

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Working on the railroad 

29 Oct 13

Following an independent, wide-ranging, comprehensive, in-depth analytical study, it is clear that the transport infrastructure connecting the kitchen to the dinner table is outdated, inadequate and not fit for purpose.

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A bustle in the hedgerow 

27 Oct 13

It is, perhaps, the ultimate proof of failed parenthood when an announcement that the household alpha male has been followed home from the pub by a hedgehog provokes scant surprise or any comment from children glued to Family Guy on the television…

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A Daily Rats Exclusive 

24 Oct 13

There were extraordinary scenes in central London yesterday as officers of the UK Border Agency successfully rescued an English child from the clutches of an evil family of scroungers who might be foreign…

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The Fighting Temeraire 

22 Oct 13

After 208 years you might be forgiven in thinking Nelson`s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar was pretty conclusive but more recent events might result in Napoleon Bonaparte and Admiral Villeneuve rising from their graves to demand a steward`s …

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Jumpers for goalposts 

20 Oct 13

It seems to be an open Westminster secret that there is no love lost between the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change…

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The piano has been drinking 

18 Oct 13

Tonight, I taught my son how to play Imagine on the piano; I also taught him this…

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Clash of the Titans 

16 Oct 13

In an adversarial world, any attempt at remaining impartial in even the slightest and most insignificant of disagreements is considered to be a sign of weakness and neutrality in really big bust-ups allows both opponents to shriek of third party bias…

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Junk mail 

14 Oct 13

It would be a mistake to dismiss the sell-off of Royal Mail as the latest shambolic fiasco perpetrated by an inept coalition government; this scam has all the hallmarks of a complex, carefully executed and audacious fraud…

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