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We found these paragraphs on the truly excellent NumberWatch, and we're sure they won't mind us reproducing them here .
Britain's town halls are in a panic. They are not unique in this: something similar is happening all over the western world.
They say that some mammalian mothers, if disturbed, will kill their offspring. So, many local authorities, under intolerable pressure from above, are killing the communities for which they are responsible. They have been forced into this position by an incompetent and interfering central government. They are competing with each other to destroy the economies of their own neighbourhoods. If they fail, they will be punished by the very government that put them in this position.
The reason for the panic is that they have been left in the firing line as the instigators of the most rapidly increasing and unjust tax since danegeld. The British government, which is wholly responsible with its burgeoning micro-management and targets, has enforced a continual above-inflation rise in council taxes for years. The main sufferers are (as always) those on fixed incomes, such as pensioners, and those in precarious rural communities.
A representative from the (remote) administrative centre visited your author's small Wiltshire town in an attempt to explain the pressures that the authority was under and to survey the possible painful cuts and impositions that were being considered. One was the introduction of total pay car parking. He was talking to representatives of a dying community. The signs were all there. The bookshop went first, then the petrol station. The main employing businesses were closing down (one this very month). The only bank has just announced (this very month) that it would be closed for two days a week. A major (but not sole) cause of all this was the imposition of parking restrictions, which serve no other purpose than to provide income for the authority. There is a stretch of single yellow line that is there for no reason other than to create income for the council during the strategically timed visits from the "Ambassadors" (Yes, believe it or not, that is the Orwellian title they give to their itinerant tax collectors). Green fields are giving way to new housing estates, overpriced rabbit warrens in areas where there is virtually no possibility of anyone earning an honest living.
Anyway, there was a question and answer session. All the questions and answers could be reduced to a simple common form:
Q. Why do you not behave in a more rational way?
A. Because of Government targets.
The Dorset town of Shaftesbury, an historic Saxon hilltop settlement that is home to one of the finest street scenes in the world, has sold its free car park to Tesco (the most successful of the British supermarkets) which is now built over. It is now debating increasing the fees in the remaining pay car parks. Local shops are struggling. The bookshop will go first, that is always the first sign. The nearby town of Gillingham has introduced charges in its car park, which now stands empty because there are plenty of supermarket car parks, while the small shops, even the only hotel, are closing down one by one to be replaced by dwellings.
It is a good thing to provide housing for people, but where are they supposed to earn a living? Meanwhile, Dorset is to be the site of one of the most obtrusive wind farms in Britain.
Who is the one man behind all this? It is none other than Old Two-Jags, John Prescott. Politicians are, on the whole, a pretty unappetising bunch, but there are few with no redeeming features and our John is one of them. We have referred previously to some of his activities, missionary and pugilistic (try the Number Watch search facility), but some of his more recent activities beggar belief. He is one of the biggest evaders of the onerous tax that he himself has imposed on his suffering countrymen. He is notorious for his inarticulacy, blaming the old education system being his prime and unconvincing defence, but you would think that a degree in Economics and Economic History at the University of Hull might have mitigated that. In his unique way, however, he articulates the lack of direction in British Government policy. He is in the vanguard of Orwellian attempts to subjugate the British. Even Friends of the Earth are fed up with his about-turns. We all thought he just had it in for Southern England, and so intended to concrete it over, but even the North is not immune from his depredations. Over and over again his blunderbuss policies destroy the lives of those he claims to protect.
Obviously, it is unkind to say that he has no redeeming features, perhaps he is kind to earwigs or something, but if you had to sum up the ills of modern society in one man, look no further.

The GOS says: So John Prescott's got a thing for earwigs, has he? Always knew there was something deeply perverted about that man. Don't forget you heard it here first. I wonder if there's anything in it, this earwig thing? Perhaps after tea I'll pop out to the shed and turn over a few bits of wood. "Cor, look at the feelers on that ...."


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