Wednesday, 28 April 2010


What a day. I have inadvertently been caught up in one of the biggest stories of the election. There I was, innocently chatting with my old mucker Gordon, about East European brollies flocking over here and next thing I know, the PM has been caught on microphone saying "Bogg? What a showman". All hell breaks loose.

He's accused of attacking a 65 (rising to 66 throughout the day) year old bigot, sorry woman, of being a bigot. If you can't call a bigot a bigot then they will have won and will carry on calling a spade a spade.

The media were all over this as if they had their own motives to pounce on Brown. I'd blame Rupert Murdoch if he didn't have my balls in a vice.

We want our politicians to tell the truth but the media then attacks them for doing so.

The whole sorry saga reached its apogee when instead of talking about the World's markets sliding due to Greece (I thank you, I'm here all week) the media were trying to interview my nephew about what Gordon had said. Astonishing. He's busy revising for his Oxford, naturally, entrance exams and doesn't need this distraction. By all means attack the PM for a gaffe and ignore policy but don't distract a Bogg from his attempts to stay in the ruling elite.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Taking the ash out of Washington

I got on a plane. I went to Washington. I spoke to some IMPORTANT people about brollies. I had my picture taken outside the White House. Again. I met up with chums from Oxford, naturally. I came home. I blogged. I made it seem far more meaningful then it was. I mistook rhetoric and good ideas in theory that will never be implemented and chatting about stuff that sounds groundbreaking with other people who in the end have more interest in maintaining status quo and hoping to achieve power of some sort with meaningfully making life better for umbrellas. The world. I had my cake. I ate it

I did what I could, what was expected, what I do.

Clegg - don't bugger this up.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Tory maths is a lottery

Recent coverage of party proposals for the Lottery reveal that my respected colleagues don't know their arse from their elbows.

"Swings and roundabouts" was one of the comments.What the bloody hell has playground equipment got to do with it? It's some time since I did my Maths CSE (grade 4 or 5 - what does accuracy in figures matter?) but if the number of gamps that the Brolly Lottery Fund (under the auspices of my kedgeree krony, tie wearer and 80s music guru Lester Twomore) has to allocate is reduced from 50% to 40%, as the Tories propose, then that is less brollies all round, as BLF has a great record of handing out 80% of approximately 30% of their allocation on 28% of the top two thirds of the fifth decile of the umbrella sector.

And surely that is a reduction in brollies however you look at it.

Maths is proving not to be a Tory strong point. After Osborne's well publicised gaffe where he mistakenly said that 53 per cent of chavvy single mothers don't use an umbrella for protection (it was 5.3 per cent but what does a misplaced decimal point matter, especially if you are aiming to be Chancellor), some of the opinion polls by the right wing press and Tory commentators have been statistically suspect, to say the least. For instance a BlueGov poll after the second leaders' debate gave Cameron 1,000% and Clegg and Brown zero.

I have been undertaking some polls of my own and one of them even made the Observer's round up of Tweets of the week (click here). And the YouGlove poll gave oven a narrow lead over baseball and gardening, while the GorBlimeyGuv poll gave Chas's successor a clear lead over Dave with Mother Brown languishing in last place.

But as yet none of the major parties has revealed its hand on umbrella policy. When they do, we can really start taking notice of the polls.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Freedom of Misinterpretation Act

Regular readers will be aware I have got the right hump about the witchfinder-general Sandy Burnham-Drownham's disgraceful policy on the NHS being the government's preferred supplier of medical brollies. This whole sorry saga reached a messy climax when a hospital radio station in Great Yarmouth was banned from playing Rihanna records, a decision that reeked of government interference.

In a blow for transparency, we have secured through a Freedom of Misinformation request some papers about this and although I'll be buggered if I am going to share what they say, my brilliant head of policy Geof Sachell has put together a summary of what they might say if you read between the lines and interpret in line with our own version of the truth (freedom of misinterpretation).

Obviously the government haven't done anything too bad or else they would have found an excuse not to release the papers in the first place, indeed they haven't let us see them all so we have just guessed what the missing ones might have said, but stick with us and believe me when I say that they reveal:

1) Sandy Burnham-Drownham is a very naughty boy

2) He doesn't even own an umbrella

3) The government sometimes tells people what to do in their own interests (or govern)

4) Life isn't fair

5) Sandy Burnham-Drownham used to own an umbrella but left it on a bus

All pretty shocking and proof that they have been caught red-handed I am sure you will agree.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

The VOTE election TORY

It's all got really exciting hasn't it? VOTE TORY. A genuine three horse race and a smear campaign that I would be proud of. The televised debates have been cracking showcases of style over substance and everyone has forgotten it's not a Presidential race. VOTE TORY. I really think this could work in our sector and I hereby challenge Hubert Carrington and Dylan Twirley to a similar style debate so we can really get stuck into each other.

Clegg has maintained his surge from nowhere and I was all to ready to throw my keys in with him. After all, I am nothing if not a shameless opportunist. But his ridiculous policy on the umbrella deterrent has made me think again. VOTE TORY

The Lib Dems want to get rid of our brolly defence system that deters dangerous foreign rain from coming over here and pissing down on our proud British fields.

I have always been careful to avoid favouring any one party in my blog posts VOTE TORY and don't welcome the prissy approach from our regulator, the Umbrella Commission about what we can and can't say. As long as we don't overtly or subliminally say VOTE TORY, I think it is important that we can call for action on issues affecting brollies and support any party that is on our side.

And this week also marked the second anniversary of our Oop North office, a craven display of patronising regional tokenism. So it is champagne up in Rotherham. Or as they call it up there, Tetleys and Light Ale (mixed up).

Blog wars

There are lots of bloggers around these days and I would be the last one to be negative about the power of blogging to get your message across. But sometimes I read stuff that makes my blood boil. Hypocritical, lazy with facts, misinformed. Don't people realise that is my USP?

And sometimes these people get blog posts published by the Guardian, if you please, which display a complete misunderstanding of brolly sector issues/disagree with what I say (delete as appropriate). For example, social entrepreneur wunderkind Pan Butz recently had the affront to have a pop at Umbrellabuilders. His piece was riddled with all sorts of wild assertions and he smells as well.

No doubt he will leave a detailed critique of my blog post in the comments below, where he pulls me up for my usual faults of being economical with any truth that does not fit my agenda, making kneejerk reactions to statements people write without reading them properly, being a hypocrite, and once again letting my position as chair of Umbrellabuilders cloud my judgement when people have the audacity to criticise it. Doesn't he know that I can now hide behind a rather convenient new "independent" (the rumours that it was secretly funded by Umbrellabuilders are libellous. Or they would be if they were false) report that said we were ace and had done exactly what we had been told to by the government even if the long-term impact of our business model is still unproven.

This report is the real deal because everyone knows that when it comes to credibility Sheffield Hallam Independent Total Evaluation (SHITE) is the Daddy. It is after all where St Nick of Clegg is MP so suck on that, Butz.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The bandwagon bandwagon

I love a bandwagon me. I will jump on any bandwagon going if it keeps me on the road to publicity. And the bandwagon bandwagon is a particularly good example of how you can back something that backs the backing of things and thus cover all angles.

But enough about Nick Clegg. Impact. BUBB produces an impact report but sometimes it is hard to measure these things properly. For example, everyone knows that it was solely down to me that Sandy Burnham-Drownham did a u-turn on the NHS being the preferred supplier of medical brollies because I have spent a lot of time telling people it was. But it is hard to prove this. Which is just as well.

So instead of measuring tangible achievement it is much better to focus on shouting from the rooftops about perceived successes in areas where it is very hard to determine exactly who was responsible or disentangle a number of interconnected small factors that combined to make a difference. If you make enough noise you can claim credit for all sorts of things that you may only have had a marginal effect on.

Right, I am off to give another interview claiming that Nick Clegg was all my idea. And then catch a ride home on that bandwagon bandwagon.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


I have had a few days off on holiday. The things I saw whilst boating round Iceland lighting huge cigars were amazing. But enough of that. I have finally had chance to read all of the party election manifestos and in an attempt to retain a sense of balance I will simply say that frankly they are all shite. Not a single mention of the brolly sector anywhere. And why the Green Party bothered printing so many copies of their sorry effort I don't know. It has just ended up being an ironic waste of paper.

Of course, Nick Clegg is now dead cert to be Prime Minister and probably the new Pope as well. Fabio Capello is to give him a shock call up to England squad (playing down the middle). All this just by dint of appearing to know what he was talking about and looking like he had at least considered having some constructive policies. If last week's live televised debate was the First of the Summer Whines, then Clegg definitely trounced Haven't a Foggiest and InCompotent.

Such is Cleggmania that Tesco is to stop selling sliced bread and stock Nick Clegg instead. Nick Clegg is the new black and has swiftly been exploited by Cameron in the immigration debate.

It is somewhat ironic that Clegg's surge in the polls coincided with planes all over Europe being grounded due to the ash, meaning that presumably pigs are still able to fly.

The effects of the Icelandic volcano are far reaching. This kind of thing never used to happen when it was Bejams. The UK is completely cut off. If only we'd built a tunnel to Europe or invented boats. And never mind stranded holiday makers - what about the backlog of postcards?

Darts is in chaos. Phil Taylor has been grounded as all flights are cancelled. Richard Littlejohn says planes not flying is "health and safety gone mad" and blames non-EU volcanoes. He has also called for a cap on foreign ash over UK airspace. "Coming over here, shutting our airports".

FIFA has drawn up contingency plans for the World Cup to be played via computer games over internet. England are now favourites. And if the airline restrictions continue we will run out of some foodstuffs. PANIC BUY BANANAS EVERYBODY.

The real winners are the 24 hour news networks. They can simply show cheap footage of empty airports and let the public provide the "stories". Ash is the new snow

Only Nick Clegg can tame this volcano now. Apparently he has urged Sir Cyril "Asbestos" Smith to come out of retirement to plug the crater.

Obviously, the planes need ash brollies - emberellas? However, I have to be careful of such statements in my blog as the web traffic controllers have cancelled all flights of fancy. So no wishful thinking and bullshit from me for a while. And if the planes remain stuck on the floor it will put paid to my global junketing.

OK, gotta go as the wind is now blowing in the direction of Iceland. Time to declare myself bankrupt and fire up the barbecue. Revenge will be sweet.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Bugger it

I knew we should have had a Lib Dem Brolly Summit. Why did we waste our time on the Tories? Clegg is the future.

Sunday, 11 April 2010


I am already sick to death with the election campaign and the restrictions on me seeming to favour one side over another are driving me mad so I am going to blog off for a few days. Thankfully, I think I have got away with nailing my (blue) colours to any one mast and have tried to lick the arses of all the major players. And the Lib Dems. But no doubt I will resurface shortly with my own brand of knockabout hypocrisy and name dropping.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Well it had to happen sooner or later I suppose. I have fallen victim to a sting operation (and not one where I was turned into an arrogant Geordie lute playing bighead). Channel 4 have incriminating footage of me saying I am a "brolly for hire". For £5.50 I will offer anyone protection from the rain. I also claimed that for the right money I could affect policy through my extensive contacts and influence with government ministers and that I had James Purnell's mobile number if anyone wanted to "do an Ashley".

But anyone thinking of taking me up on these boasts should remember "caveat gamptor" - Byers beware.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


So the biggest, most closely guarded secret in politics has finally been revealed. General election on May 6th. This has come as a complete shock to me. Who decided we should have a general election on a Thursday? I didn't vote for it. And I think I am busy on May 6th, washing my hair or something. I'll just have to announce who I am voting for in my blog and hope that counts. Good job I have been schmoozing the possible future government as much as possible or else I would be completely unprepared for what might happen once the votes are in.

The whole announcement thing was a bit of a farce. Nowadays news coverage consists of pre-news where the story is the news that some important news will be announced later. The BBC was wasting licence payers' money by flying a helicopter over Whitehall filming nothing much and 24 hours channels tried desperately to fill the gaps. It was the biggest triumph for rolling non-news since the snow. "Send us pictures of your apathy".

Eventually, Gordon put on some clean pants and booked a cab to go see Her Madge, although the cabbie did insist on having his say on how to run the country first. What the Queen should have done is hidden behind the curtains when Gordon popped round. Or stuck up her "No hawkers, no canvassers, no circulars" sign. Or better still she should have just refused to dissolve parliament for a laugh. "One is amused by a constitutional crisis". Apparently what she did say to Gordon was "Piss off and don't darken my doors again. Tell Dave I'll put the kettle on for May 7th and I'll check Mumsnet (or Ma'amsnet) to find out what biscuits he favours."

So now we enter a period where British politics will slide even further into petty childish point scoring as every last vote is fought over like the last pork pie in Melton Mowbray when Prescott and Pickles visit.

The political bloggers and commentators will be so busy spinning lines they'll get tangled up and forget to vote when it comes to the big day. I am unsure who to vote for myself and will be seeking guidance from Piers Morgan, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell. Or I may just treat my voting slip to a slap up meal and really spoil my ballot paper.

But the biggest possible outcome of all of this election fever is the Dissolution Honours List. There have been rumours (started by me mostly) that a certain Umbrella chief executive could finally get the nod. I am on the Brolly Honours Committee myself but couldn't possibly divulge whether I had opted to receive a shiny gong myself. Seriously, I would of course be excluded from any decision on my own due rewards and I have been asked to absent myself from loads of meetings recently. All of them in fact. At the start. So I am confident that at the very least I will get a MBE (Member of the Brolly Elite) and who knows, even maybe the Garter of the Order of the Quick Shower.

For now, the Lords can wait.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Bogg snorkelling

Even such a global junket-punk as me (Phileas Bogg - round the world in 80 jaunts) was getting pissed off in Japan (they don't do second hand so my jokes were about as popular as Chris Grayling at a Brighton boarding house) so I left Hillda Ogden-Newton&Ridley to it (being a woman I expect she loves looking at displays of cherry blossom). She has a lifesize dummy of myself that she is lugging around to official functions so I can pretend I am still there with the added advantage of it not offending anyone.

I decided to spend Easter camping. On Thursday morning I flew home and arrived in time for a last supper with 12 members of my staff. It all got a bit messy. Hector disgraced himself by wondering around claiming his real name was Peter and denying three times that he is after my job. And Fab Jobsworth betrayed me by trying to take some cushy paid chair roles I was after for 30 pieces of silver. Then I disappeared until yesterday when I rose again from the mud - for I am the son of Bogg.

My aim was to recreate the exploits of the woman mentioned in this story and I pitched my umbrella tent by the banks of a stream. However, it got pretty muddy when the rains came and even though I am Boggy by name and nature I was unprepared for the impromptu Bogg snorkelling I was obliged to undertake. By the end of yesterday I was regretting not staying in the land of the rising gamp.

I will leave you with some Japanese umbrella haiku (spoku).

It was pissing down
My umbrella came to life
And kept my clothes dry

Thursday, 1 April 2010

April Fool

My head of communications Marina McMoan is a right card. She issued a press release this morning saying that James Purnell was to join BUBB's board. As we know, the gorgeous tax dodging former blue-eyed New Labour poster boy is moving away from politics and Marina revealed that he would receive a nominal sum for advice given to BUBB (that's progressive governance, folks).

She even included a quote from me saying that I had courted James for years. (Not strictly true, at least not according to the Courts. Stalked is their preferred term).

It was a joke following in the long tradition of quality spoofs and was almost believable. Both Canopy Finance and Canopy Times published it as fact. But the really sorry thing is that I myself believed it was true when I saw the press release. I got so excited I, well, I can't really say what I did but rest assured it is all cleaned up now.

So while sadly it is a joke, James, if you do want to join our board, there will always be a seat left open for you. And a fee, whether nominal or whopping, will I am sure be possible to arrange.