Wednesday, 31 March 2010
Still, enough about pots and kettles as there was more rather exciting news from Cameron's big speech today. It looks like my brown-nosing with the Tories and quiet chats over the cheese counter in Lidl with Dave has paid dividends with the announcement of the Bogg Society, a series of initiatives aimed at empowering communities. Basically this is a highly patronising attempt to impose a top down approach to achieving bottom up activism. Or forcing people to volunteer.
Neighbourhood leaders will go around bullying people into baking cakes for local fetes and attendance will be compulsory even if it rains. These leaders will be entrusted to making sure people go out and have fun even if they're miserable. To counter bad weather, the aim is that every adult will have a brolly and thus have no excuse to not attend any tinpot gathering of old ladies flogging off jam on the village green to raise tuppence for the local cats ballet school.
The Tories have sensibly ignored the fact that there is already a healthy grassroots, community culture in this country and want to bureaucratically impose their own to avoid further bureaucracy. Or to put it another way, let people sort out problems for themselves as the State sure ain't going to pay for it. If Britain really is broken this is Dave basically passing over the gaffer tape (along with the buck) and asking people to apply it how they see fit.
Ironically, the last time communities organised themselves and got active under Tory rule the government sent the police in with batons. And this from a party whose leader once claimed that there was no such thing as society.
The other big announcement was the Big Brolly Bank, based on the model of the Brolly Investment Bank that we have been banging on about for ages. This will utilise the millions of unclaimed umbrellas left lying around for the good of society. Calling it Big is very much in keeping with current thinking that sticking Big in front of things automatically makes them better. Which is clearly a big pile of shite.
However, one thing that might be problematic is that the Tories aren't actually offering any new cash to fund this big bag of nonsense that puts the Tory into contradictory. Instead they are diverting cash away from an existing "poorly run" government pot. Umbrellabuilders. This election campaign has already degenerated into playground politics (my initiative with big prefixing it is bigger than yours). And this is the swings and roundabouts.
Though as long as I stay on as Umbrellabuilders chair I don't mind.
Tuesday, 30 March 2010
As I mentioned I am here in Japan on an absolutely vital visit with my vice chair Hillda Ogden-Newton&Ridley. I am talking at a conference on social enterprise and at an event on full cost recovery of expensive overseas jaunts organised by our Japanese sister body JUBBLIES (Japanese Umbrella Backing Body - Lunching In Endless Sushi). Hillda is here to keep an eye on me and is so social enterprise it actually hurts although to be fair the pain is for the greater good and any gain is reinvested for the benefit of society and isn't at all veneer behind which to legitimately makes pots of cash without feeling guilty about embracing capitalism as after all this decorating won't pay for itself, will it?
It is a good six months since I was last pricking around in Japan, trying to foist BUBB ways of working onto the Japanese and everywhere I go I am recognised as being famous. People point at me and laugh and call me 傘の肛門 (use http://babelfish.yahoo.com/translate_txt to translate it).
But I have been able to get stuck into the saki and lemonade (purely medicinal - I start to ache and shake if I don't drink) and eat some frankly disgusting sea food while wearing a bib, being winded and soiling myself. And I will be bigging up my idea for a Global Investment Brolly Bank, Obviously Needed (GIBBON).
No matter that we haven't managed to get one set up in the UK yet despite throwing more wobblies than a teenage jelly factory - I am thinking big. And I will chair it as well if required. Fuck it, I'd chair a sperm bank given half the chance (and a decent wedge).
We are talking to JACEVO about having the our full cost recovery template translated for them to use. Not into Japanese but into plain English. How cool is that! If we were any cooler we'd be riding a motorbike in the Great Escape. And as I speak there is an active twitterer at the back the room busy making facetious remarks. Very childish. Sarcasm is he lowest form of wit especially when contained to 140 characters.
And I am suspicious about the translator. I will say something short and pithy like "I am pleased to be here in the land of the rising gamp" and the sentence that is read back takes about
30 minutes. It's almost as if they are trying to keep me quiet while learning about something else altogether!
For years arguments have raged about when the first brolly was invented. Unverified fact checking website, Spokepedia, has its own theories but they are untrustworthy. Largely because I made them up. Therefore we have secretly been building a Gampron Collider. Inside this vast cavernous cellar underneath BUBB's offices, men in white coats will repeatedly hurl umbrellas at each other in a rainstorm to try and recreate the exact conditions when the brolly was discovered, and thus identify the elusive Boggs-Boggson particle. This is all very exciting.
And it isn't the only scientific experiment we are involved in. We are working on a project to clone umbrellas. In the woods near Blacbury one may observe "nesting brollies" such as pictured here. And as you can see one has successfully laid an egg. This could have significant implications for the manufacture of umbrellas.
Right, enough umbrellasics and brollogy. Back to seaweed and kimonos.
Monday, 29 March 2010
Caryon Notasbadasbefaw from the ICAEW's (Institute of Canopy Accountants, Extremely Wet) Brolly Sector Interest Group has been appointed and I look forward to pretending to work together with her in the same way I do with all the other rival, I mean, complementary umbrella organisations.
Right, enough of the platitudes, back to Sumo, karaoke and career hari kiri.
Friday, 26 March 2010
It fair raised my hackles which as you know are always in a state of semi-arousal at the best of times. I have enough health problems at the minute without adding blood pressure to the mix, what with my Twitter health consultant @ephemeraldog warning that if I carry on my croissant heavy diet I will need umbrella stents to widen my arteries. Sounds quite fun actually.
Therefore I have decided to boycott Beryl Bainbridge's novels in one of those gestures that are as empty as the Catholic Church's childcare club waiting list as I have never intended to read any of them anyway.
And I shall be launching a campaign and commission and coalition (just to be on the safe side) to spread the bad word against this literary witch. The secret of any good campaign is a good acronym, at the same time memorable and unique. I have discounted Ban Outright Beryl Bainbridge's Indecent Novels Straightaway (BOBBINS) and am torn between the Ban Bainbridge Coalition and Beat Up Beryl Bainbridge.
Elsewhere on the campaigning front it is great to see the protesters against the third runway at Heathrow secure a victory in their attempts for proper consultation. This had nothing to do with BUBB but as their dogged lobbying mix of whinging and stamping their feet bears all the hallmarks of one of our classic campaigns I will take the credit for it anyway.
But I will also offer a word of warning. No doubt while everyone is distracted by arguing the toss about the third runway, the government will quietly bring forward its plans for the fourth runway and build that instead.
Thursday, 25 March 2010
I have also had a letter from the PM saying "thank you for your 3,404,684,789,485 letters on various things. You are solely responsible for the Royal Mail under performing. I can assure you that we are committed to the role of the umbrella sector, at least until the election. I cannot vouch for the lot that follow but you'd probably know more about that than me. Now piss off and let me run the country and enjoy it while I can."
So once again I say "don't buss the DIBB, sorry don't dobb the BISS, no, don't dust the BIBB". Don't diss the BUBB or we will be all over you like a bad suit, or like Ronnie Corbett's golf umbrella.
No one else could have pulled this off, indeed could have pulled Burnham-Drownham's nads off. It has been a classic mix of brute force, bullshit, whinging and more brute force.
As my Great Aunt Maude said to me: "Feel compelled to throw another log on the fire if you get cold. Or just throw the flaming thing at the Witchfinder-General and see if he burns. If he does you know he's found himself out."
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
One thing they do do well is slick marketing and the brolly sector can learn a lot from the experts in this. Recently it was reported in London's evening rag Lowering the Journalistic Standard, that times were so hard at the Swiss giant Umbrella Banking Services (UBS) that they had been forced to use a lower grade of toilet paper in the staff lavs. This news was seized upon by brolly sector wonga wizards CCLA Unconfidential whose head of tapping-up-other-firms'- clients, Canadrew Gobinson, sent a cheeky missive to UBS umbrella clients offering his firm's services and enclosing a sheet of toilet tissue.
Not surprisingly, UBS have gone onstanc (got their cantons in a twist) but they haven't exactly been shy about aggressive marketing in the past and he who lives by the sword, single-plys by it as well.
This is a fantastic idea and I will be using it to try and poach some of Hubert's deluded membership at NCVO. They will all be receiving a piece of crisp Bogg roll later this week. Unused, naturally - I don't want to be accused of running a smear campaign.
Elsewhere, BUBB has been busy positioning itself on all of the big issues of the election. We have been wiping the arses of ALL the major parties and this week is the turn of Vince Cable. Vince is of course the greatest economic expert in the history of ever largely by virtue of never having had to actually do anything other than talk a good game. He correctly predicted the South Sea Bubble and the Wall Street Crash as early as last week. And in a hung parliament he who controls the cable has a very big advantage.
However, I would like to take this opportunity to distance myself from THE big talking point and election battleground right now. Just because I bumped into Dave Cameron (my local MP) and his delightful wife Samantha in Lidl the other week, rumours have quickly surfaced about my role in her pregnancy. All nonsense of course. If people are really looking for someone making an early bid to assume Cameron's position then surely Boris is a more likely candidate than me for many reasons.
Seriously, I do believe Dave is the father. Apparently he rang Gordon last night and repeatedly shouted: "Gordon, your time is up. Soon I'll be THE DADDY." And he has been bragging to his old Etonian chums about Samantha being "up the Bullingdon" with a "ciabatta in the aga". While Dave has done his bit to prove that not everything in Britain is broken and he still has plenty of blue lead in his pencil, there are strong reasons to believe that it was actually Lord Ashcroft who funded the lavish meal and champagne that led to the conception.
I am not at all sure of the suitability of Dave for PM now. You can't run a country on four hours sleep. We tried that experiment in the 80s and look what happened. Although if Cameron is thinking of taking some paternity leave and they need a temp, I am more than prepared to offer my services as an intern. Or maybe Dave is going to be one of these trendy full-time Dads you read about and lead Britain on a freelance basis.
One other rumour I would like to put to bed is that I have been molesting Lord Bladderwreck's sheep in Blacbury. What do they think I am, some sort of Cymru stereotype? Barkles did eat one the other week but other than that I have had nothing to do with them.
Friday, 19 March 2010
Things started badly when George Osborne was late. Actually, he wasn't late but as no one knew what he looked like he was left standing in the foyer looking sheepish. Apparently even his own mirror struggles to recognise him sometimes. A new film has just been released called the Osborne Identity where members of the electorate are asked to pick him out of a line-up. He craves a defining feature such as Alistair Darling's eyebrows.
And people kept spelling his surname wrong. As George puts it himself: "There is no u in Osborne, only me".
Osborne did speak well, to be fair. I laid down the BUBB challenge to the Tories - "more rain, more brollies, less wind" and he accepted it graciously. "From us you can expect promises for all the things you want to hear us promise." He also urged the brolly sector to "be professional and do things on the cheap while looking smart."
Great Aunt Maude followed him and spoke more waffle than the Bird's Eye potato department. And there was a succession of politicians within touching distance of power making promises emptier than Jordan's head. Their policies were so without substance that I have seen jelly houses built on epileptic quicksand that are more robust than the suggestions this lot trotted out.
"We need a procurement process to procure better procurement processes."
"We will stimulate social activity in depressed areas. We will make cider even cheaper."
"We will impose a top down approach to achieving a bottom upwards one."
"We will make up words such as upscale."
"We will encourage localism - ideas dreamt up over a few pints in the pub that seem great at the time but poor the next morning."
At one point I resorted to asking if anyone had any mephedrone to counteract the method drone we had heard all morning.
What did we learn at the end of the day? The brolly sector has lots of passion and great ideas (delegates knew that without having to pay for the privilege of being told it by people desperate for their vote), and the Tories are good at lip service but won't commit cash.
The only bit of interest came during the afternoon when apparently Osborne, who had skulked back to his anonymous office, was texting saucy pics of himself to the other shadow cabinet members along with a message "DO NOT promise any money or else I will send more of these".
At the end the feedback was positive. Indeed it was positively furious. I was surrounded by a crowd of baying delegates who felt cheated that there was no big announcement from George Osborne as advertised. To be fair we only promised this as a way of shifting more tickets.
People were also questioning their delegate fee going to fund a six hour showcase for the entire shadow cabinet. OK, there was no overtly party political stuff but when you are weeks from an election, how can anything the major politicians say not be viewed in that context to some degree?
Thankfully we seem to have got away with awkward questions in other areas. Such as the fact that I once again risked the blurring of my BUBB and Brolly Investment Business (BIB) roles by having BIB as a sponsor. People may query whether I should be using my influence at one organisation to help secure funding for a vanity project at another. That is, if any money actually changed hands. If BIB were merely listed as a sponsor to give them free publicity, that might also be misconstrued.
And hopefully no one will make any snide remarks about the fact that my vice-chair at BIB, Millicent Oddbin, is herself a prospective MP. And I bet you can guess for which party.
I have made a mental note to check the definition of "perception" and "conflict of interest". Just in case someone does end up putting two and two together. Because at the end of the day even if they make five the damage may well be done.
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Our friends at New Fillcanopy Capital, led by Hermann Rockes, have produced a social impact manifesto. I haven't read it (reading ain't cool) but I am a firm believer in its importance. And no one has had more social impact in the brolly sector than BUBB. We are the kings of boozy launch parties and canape gorging. Can you measure that impact though? Only through waistlines and breath tests, I suspect.
And another example of the importance of impact is provided by the Farmer Giles Trust in an excellent report on its initiatives aimed at reducing reoffending. It has been peer reviewed by some top economists via Pro Bono Economists (an organisation that analyses the economy through the lyrics of U2) and so is hugely credible. Apparently they have been seeking evidence of impact for ages and happily can now stop saying that they still haven't found what they were looking for.
The report shows that working to tackle reoffending and educating brolly thieves so they are less likely to pinch a gamp again has had a staggering impact upon crime figures and presents huge savings for the state. In fact, so impressive is this work that we might need to sex down the report or else there will be no one left to go into the prisons that we will be running soon. And we can't have that.
In case I forgot to mention it before, we have our Tory Summit tomorrow and I am so bloody excited I am literally wearing a brolly for pants to save my trousers further punishment. We have decided to impose a cool dress code (shorts, flip flops, socks, shades, knotted hankies, Union Jack T-shirt). And we are so cool that Hector has hit upon the great idea of having brunch. Not lunch. However, my plan to ban uncool people from the building was vetoed on the grounds that we wouldn't have any speakers.
Today I will mostly be chilling on the patio with my work crew posse, preparing for the Tory Summit #torybubbshit
We're so cool that we never ever mention it.
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
Or if you like all of this new age social media real time stuff you can follow on Twitter, using the hashtag #torybubbshit. No doubt my spoofer Stephen Bubb will also be present in a virtual sense, using some wittily named parody hashtag such as #acevotetory or #bluebloodedbollocks or #tssummit.
It has long been known that BUBB is the coolest place in the umbrella sector, especially when describing relations with the other major umbrella bodies. Jobsworth, Rule, Sachell and Jerry are often in the media spotlight (bloody tabloids) but handle it well. Our secretaries are well tidy as well. What other umbrella body has such stunning talent? Which other major brolly organisation has a chief executive so willing to sing the praises of its staff on a blog in lieu of a decent wage? We are so cool. Effortlessly cool. So cool that we don't even have to talk about it. We're so cool that the kids are down with us, not the other way round.
We're so cool that sunglasses wear us. We're so cool that BUBB is a byword for cool at cucumber dinner parties.
So it is no surprise that our latest intern is a TV star. Yes, we have been promised the piano from 4 Poofs and a Piano when the popular camp harmony singing combo are made redundant once Wossy leaves the Beeb. It will prove invaluable for our impromptu karaoke nights.
"I suspect you're looking for some blue cheese" I joked. "Or perhaps a cheese full of holes. Or one that leaves an unpleasant taste. Or something that spreads itself thinly and has no real substance."
"Shut it, Bogg" he snarled "or else I won't let my top team out to play at your pathetic little gathering this week."
But it turned into an historic occasion as I let Barkles off his leash and he went straight for Cameron's crotch. I think the hound approved. Dave looked so surprised that his fake tan nearly fell off.
Cameron was of course referring to BUBB's Tory summit this week where we will be pretending that the umbrella sector can shape the policies of the likely next government. All terribly optimistic of course as they don't actually have any.
Saturday, 13 March 2010
At this week's We Won't Slum It, Summit at Gampborough House, although I don't like to talk about it, somehow the subject of my blog comes up as usual because I make a point of raising it. I even mention the blog of my spoofer, the witty piss taker Stephen Bubb as if acknowledging it in a pally fashion will make it seem like I am in on the joke and deflect attention away from the fact that it is actually pretty scathing and dismissive at times.
And I am pleased to report that our campaign to discredit Sandy Burnham-Drownham and his ridiculous preferred brolly supplier plans is nearly complete. The whole sorry scenario is coming crashing around his ears like jenga played on jelly. Credit must go to my esteemed deputy, Hector "one day I intend to" Rule and head of policy, Geof Sachell. They challenged Sandy to a game of scissors-paper-stone-brolly. The rules of this are effectively the same as scissors-paper-stone but with the added element that the brolly beats everything. Rule and Sachell's expert manoeuvring was an object lesson in brollying. Basically whatever tactic Sandy tried, he was met with the dynamic duo wielding a great big gamp and threatening to open it up his arse if he didn't back down.
Let this be a warning to those who try and mess with me. Don't go dissing the BUBB. Don't go disrespecting me ye hear? If you don't show nuff respect you gonna get me going embarrassing yoof speak on your sorry butt.
Finally I have been trying to give Hillda Odgen-Newton&Ridley some advice on sowing her spuds but she won't listen. My Grandad always said you need to set up a Commission to discuss when potatoes should be planted and then have a big launch party when they are ready. This then gives you the opportunity to turn them into GREAT BIG CHIPS, with which to adorn your shoulders when everyone ignores the potatoes.
Monday, 8 March 2010
Sunday, 7 March 2010
He has responded by accusing me of redefining the word "gerrymandering" and redrawing the boundaries within which it can be used for my own political purposes and to sex up my pompous outrage.
I have done what any small-minded annoyed citizen does in such cases and written a sternly worded letter to my local paper. He hasn't heard the last of this.
This whole episode rather cast a shadow over the rest of last weeks activities. The Newcastle leg of the Big Arse tour went well though there was a comedy moment when I introduced BUBB's chair Mary-Lou Havagander for a duet on Singin' in the Rain as Lou-Roll. How we chuckled.
I have also put together an impressive line up for our free love orgy with the Tory party later this month with a host of top doggers including my Great Aunt Maude and Rick T'Hurd promising to swing by with their car keys.
We will be hosting this on a privately rented Caribbean island. I want to show the umbrella sector at it's best, whatever the cost. Any suggestion that such flashiness will simply make the Tories think we don't need the irrecoverable VAT or gift aid as we're obviously minted will be ignored.
My only regret is that I missed what I am told was a cracking party (with cheese) hosted by top brolly lawyers Boats Bells & Makeweight on Thursday night. Apparently my spoofer, Stephen Bubb, was there but he is such an elusive and shadowy presence that one cannot be sure.
Thursday, 4 March 2010
"Independent expert group on "ner ner na ner ner" says compulsory disclosure of gloatage 'could damage public trust'. Umbrella organisations should not be required to publish details of whenever staff or individual trustees say 'I told you so' for fear that it makes umbrella sector look like a load of squabbling kids."
That is just what BUBB said all along and it is great that our pig headed approach has been vindicated. Notice I don't mention the bit of the report that actually says that while disclosure should not be mandatory it is desirable, as that doesn't fit in with my agenda.
Anyway, it is a victory for non-transparency so kiss my fat one, Canopy Finance.
Incidentally, I have also been cleared by a group looking at expenses disclosure by brolly big wigs. Readers may remember this storm in a tea cup from last year. Basically I refused to reveal what I had spent even though I had nothing to hide and ignored the fact that a simple admission of my modest claims would have allayed any lingering doubt people may have had about how the good life I shout about from the rooftops in my blog is bankrolled. I also chose to paradoxically claim that it was up to trustees to make sure that CEOs were accountable to their members and the public while at the same time slagging off shocking governance at every chance. Damn right I want my croissant and eat it.
Still, I am in the clear and I had a huge slap up meal last night to celebrate (that the trustees don't need to know the cost of).
I have been so busy not not gloating that I almost forgot to mention the reception hosted by the Nightmayor of London last night to celebrate 100 years of the London Brolly Service Council. Hubert was there and admires my tie which he thinks is an offcut from some particularly distasteful curtains. I make a mental note to check the dictionary (Oxford English, naturally) definition of admire to ensure I am not getting it mixed up again with "takes the piss out of".
It's a grand occasion and the champagne is dispensed in buckets so big you could fit £20 worth of KFC in them. City largesse! Get it while you can while at the same time being two-faced and CONSTANTLY WHINGING ABOUT THE BANKERS.
It is great to have a chat with Boris. We have much in common. Neither of us can quite work out how we got to the position we are in but we somehow bumble along and keep surviving falls created by our own shortcomings.
And now for a short commercial break:
Donald Holding is a great headhunter.
This next bit is not a commercial break even if I would like it to be one.
Before I carry on can I remind you that I am supposed to keep a very distinct division between my roles as BUBB CEO and chair of Brolly Investment Business (BIB- formerly Umbrellabuilders) lest people should conclude that BUBB members get preferential treatment or that I use my BUBB position to promote BIB services.
Anyway, I am currently on my way to Newcastle to check out a fantastic organisation (and BUBB member) Gampcare. Therefore I won't mention the investment that Gampcare received from BIB or the fact that they found the BIB investment application process a positive joy (at a time when others are whinging that our 25 minute window for applications on Christmas Day somehow excluded them from making a bid) because that would clearly be a breach of the protocol outlined above.
While in Newcastle I will also be performing the next leg of my Big Arse tour. I like Newcastle a lot as my Great Grandfather once had a coal import business here.
Very sad to hear about the death of Michael Foot. A superb parliamentarian. It was touching to hear the tributes from his fellow politicians. "We can't get our insincere platitudes out quickly enough even if we slagged him off in the past" they all chorused. Some of them even whacked out a 140char soundbite on Twitter. Gordon Brown and Thatcher's tributes ("deeply principled"..."man of high principles") in particular illustrated that the playground theorem of "takes one to know one" does not apply in politics.
But let us not forget that this great man was but a smart suit and a pointless war away from being Prime Minister. I met him first in 1975 when Ben Subbuteo and myself went to pick him up from the station (Oxford, naturally) to kidnap him into giving a speech at St Boloc's. We felt he looked too dapper for a student event so we gave him some fashion advice and got him kitted out with a donkey jacket. It was hard to fit him into it as he was tall man. But he gave a great lecture.
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
Monday, 1 March 2010
A series of Tories made vague promises and paid lip service to involving the umbrella sector but I for one know it will all fall by the wayside when they are elected.
Then it was Dave's big moment. He was very impressive, speaking without notes and everything as if he had rehearsed for hours the exact message he wanted to spin, I mean deliver. Some people may argue that they would be more impressed to see him read straight from a notepad if he was saying anything worth listening to but I am all for style over substance any day.
He reminded us that it was our patriotic duty to vote Tory so presumably anyone who doesn't will be locked up in the Tower (a prison run by a charity - what sort of a crazy idea is that?). He also said that he was going to turn Britain round, presumably so that Scotland can be used as a buffer zone against the French.
I hope to get back from Belize in time for the launch of yet another BUBB vanity project, sorry, Commission tomorrow, this time on public health. This is our 367th Commission and I am seriously considering commissioning a Commission Commission to assess them all. Hell, I'd establish a Bigger Bonuses for Bankers Commission if I could get someone to host a boozy launch party.