THE latest anecdote from my ‘country’s going to the dogs’ file is a literal case, wherein female police officer and would-be dog handler Kim-Louise Carter was given a £15,000 kickback because she couldn’t carry her canine over the course.
Prejudice, you see. Sexist. Shame she wasn’t black, Muslim or used to be a bloke, she could have doubled down on the payout (although if she was a former he, maybe they’d have managed between them).
It is worth pointing out that there are female dog handlers who managed the test – our gal was simply physically unable to. Go on girl, sue the FA next because Man City won’t let you be centre forward. Why should being weak and talentless preclude you from your heart’s desire?
The soft-headed sweethearts on the industrial tribunal stopped short of declaring that she be given a chihuahua – possibly with a cute pink bow and spangly collar – and assigned to clamping down on invalids who drive their electric wheelchairs too fast, but I reckon the fools probably considered it.
We shouldn’t be surprised though, given the latest recruitment campaign from the British Army, aimed largely at gay people, Muslims and millennial snowflakes.
Taliban IEDs going off? ISIS suicide bombers driving straight at you? Discard that SA80 assault rifle soldier, and go get a hug and a ‘there, there love, it’ll be alright’ from your platoon leader.
And whatever you do potential young recruits, don’t admit you voted ‘Leave’ or were a decent junior boxer on the application forms – there’s no room for all that macho BS in today’s modern military!
I can picture a grizzled Sgt Major now, with a painfully fixed smile, welcoming the latest intake through gritted teeth: “Welcome to Catterick darlings, mind your step as you get off the bus. If it’s not too much trouble collect your uniforms from Hut A – nice choice of khaki, camouflage or dark green – it’s Hut B for the lube and condoms, while Hut C was the shooting range but is now a prayer room and safe space. And finally we’d really appreciate if you could set your alarms for 9am, ready for pilates and yoga on the parade ground.”
God help us.
With a suggestive boot on the other foot, I saw a recent advert from Bradford Metropolitan Council inviting companies to apply to run their ‘Strategic Breastfeeding Service’.
Stop it – just stop it! As my hero Frankie Howerd would admonish: ‘Titter ye not!’
I clearly need to be careful how I phrase this, because the puns are busting out and it would be easy to make a boob – but why shouldn’t I throw my nipple clamps in the ring for the job?
I mean, how ‘strategic’ can breastfeeding be?
“Take a boob (part A), take an infant (part B), introduce A to B, have a shawl or wrap handy to maintain modesty, and once settled and feeding use non-cradling hand to switch on Jeremy Kyle…”
So what if I’ve never breastfed? Or had serviceable breasts? What’s that got to do with the price of milk?
You can’t turn down a bloke just because he looks like Les Dawson’s character Cosmo Smallpiece – we men have rights too, you know.
Except no, we don’t.
I DON’T expect the availability of Ben Stokes would have made much difference to England’s Ashes debacle this winter in Australia.
What’s more obvious is why the police and Crown Prosecution Service dragged their feet for four months, ensuring Stokes (and England) paid a bigger real price than any prospective judicial slap on the wrist. They’d have loved that, having the power to disrupt the national cricket team and mete their own punishment on the bloke.
No matter that they had statements from all the parties involved, plus CCTV evidence, in a matter of days – or that if it had happened in Batley (and no-one got hurt) it would have either been completely ignored or dismissed with a caution.
That’s the ‘eff-you’ mindset of these people. Their chance to let the big star see who’s boss.
So now, eventually, they’ve charged Stokes with a public order offence of affray.
A main legal test of affray is that a notional bystander would fear for their personal safety.
I think Stokes’s defence team should just show the jury the video. Most notional bystanders, including nuns, pacifists and even seasoned alcoholics, would either laugh out loud at the pathetic pugilists, or be put off drinking for fear of looking so bloody stupid.
But these people don’t half love the TV cameras and their own moment in the spotlight.
I COULD quite happily live with the prospect of serial rapist cabbie John Worboys being released from prison after what amounts to about two weeks per estimated rape committed – on one condition.
Let all of those victims and their families know exactly when and where he is being freed, and give the entire local constabulary the day off. Clearly the state has no interest in justice, so let’s just leave it to the people...
THERE are going to be a lot of very unhappy people since Carillion collapsed on its debt mountain this week.
I’m not talking just about the hundreds of small businesses and sub-contractors who these shysters have cynically abused, many of whom will go to the wall.
The Government brought in a Prompt Payment Policy in 2015, stipulating “Public sector buyers must pay prime contractors (Tier 1 suppliers) within 30 days and must ensure that their prime contractor includes equivalent 30-day payment terms in any subcontracts through the supply chain.”
I think you’ll find that’s a perfect fit for Carillion, who simply ignored it and strangled small firms with 90-to-120-day payments that they’ve now lost.
So why weren’t these corporate bandits pursued? Why indeed.
Lots of this week’s sulky-lipped individuals won’t now be guests at Twickenham, seeing Rhianna at the O2, or sipping free champers at Wimbledon this summer – and those are just the legitimate back-handers.
Don’t for a second believe that graft and bribery are the domains of Saudi princes, folks.
Carillion had a licence to spend money and couldn’t imagine the well running dry, so long as they kept the right people happy.
They and companies like G4S, Interserve (also looking wobbly) and many more have filled their boots on nod-and-a-wink contracts involving everything from hospitals, schools, prisons and roads, to the ruinous HS2 scheme.
It was such a racket, the directors just bumbled along pocketing their dosh and expecting to be bailed out if things got sticky.
The Marxists on Jeremy Corbyn’s front bench are busy squealing about this epitomising what goes wrong when you introduce privatised companies into the public sector – and they’re half right (shame they won’t mention that Gordon Brown and Ed Balls were worst for it).
Overfed beasts like Carillion become every bit as complacent, haphazard and ultimately badly run, as the worst nationalised structures they replaced.
The best that ministers could manage this week was a growl that Carillion directors would have to forfeit their bonuses. Really? Bonuses for running up £1.5 billion of debt? Were they incentivised for getting new overdrafts? Was it an extra grand every time they played golf at Wentworth with young Tarquin from the Ministry of Health?
Forget clawing back a few quid, these people should be hounded and turned inside out until they are either skint and/or inside a cell.
I’d suggest turning the Serious Fraud Office loose on every company that has a public sector contract over a million quid, but a) they haven’t enough staff; and b) the bill for backhanders would go through the roof and probably bring even more honest firms down.