Thursday, 29 July 2010

Gamping it up, again

I have decided to extend my stay in Ireland with the 14,523 members of the Peat-Bogg family as I have found I can do my job just as effectively, if not more so, by not being in the office. My staff have wholeheartedly supported me in this decision. What a team.

Therefore, in the spirit of Cameron's new National Citizen Service, I will be gamping it up at a music festival this weekend. Let's hope it pisses down.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Not co-operating

Blogging from Ireland where I am staying with my relatives, the Peat-Boggs. I was last here lying low after the expenses scandal last year and once again I have had to make a bolt for it after getting into a bit of bother at home.

I saw a report yesterday that said under Bogg Society we will have DIY police forces, which isn't as I first thought nosey parkers handing out cautions for people who put up wonky shelves. What with all of the fuss about volunteering that the government is talking up (2011 is European Year of the Volunteer where basically Europeans will just get on with establishing their own bureaucracy), presumably to prepare everyone for doing everything themselves without payment, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I set off out to do a bit of DIY policing on my road in East Lambeth after I saw a bloke wearing a jacket I didn't like while doing nothing in particular.

Then I glared at a speeding motorist and took note of his registration. Sort of a volunteer speed camera especially now they may be scrapped.

Next I asked some kids who looked a bit edgy to "move on". They ignored me.

Finally, I was arrested for acting suspiciously by a neighbour also acting as a DIY policeman. And I was about to arrest him for the same thing.

I managed to escape him but am now a fugitive of the volunteer justice system.

I hope all of this doesn't affect me becoming Commissioner on Lambeth’s Charade of a Co-operative Council Caring for Citizens Commission. This is basically a talking shop that will pretend to engage with local people and find out from them what services they value. Before savagely cutting them. A Commission that's all mouth and no trousers. Its right up my street don't you think? And an interesting way of the State imposing empowerment in the spirit of Bogg Society.

My fellow Commissioners include such fabulous names as Spectre Aderealale, (called Spectre because he is rumoured to have been spotted in the House of Lords but no one can confirm his presence for sure - whatever, he's got a peerage, the bastard) and Milly Coinfee (who has made a packet out of writing about inequality of wealth), my vice chair Hillda Ogden-Newton&Ridley (pin up girl of social enterprise, gardener, decorator, surfer, mother, lover, fighter, education reformer) and ARS chief executive Michael Think Tank Taylor Soldier Spy as well as one of my trustees Ribeni Can of the great umbrella focused Contact a Gamp. Very cosy eh? There is no better way to seek to achieve a change in how power is applied then asking those who are already powerful to look into it. Plus, you'd think that we'd all be far too busy doing all the other things we do to spare any more time but no. After all you can wear many hats when your head is big.

Back to the Peat-Boggs - does anyone want to see any fuzzy family snaps? My nieces have begged me to mention them in the blog but I said no. They should set their own one up. It is not my job to drop other people's names liberally in my blog space just to keep them happy and show off. But I will show you a picture the senior junior Bogg (aged 6) did as it's rather good and restores my faith in the education system. Click here

Satire boom

Bogg Society has sparked a satire boom. It has empowered citizens to come together and take the piss, so that the government won't have to any more.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Classic CEO behaviour

If it wasn't for stories about huge, embarrassing and damaging leaks, the US would soon cease to hold any significance in global news terms.

Still, at least the Spokieleak scandal has deflected attention away from the BP oil well. And we should all look for lessons in leadership from BP's oily supremo, Tiny Blairward. He got a lot of the big calls wrong. What was needed wasn't action to stem the flow but a commission or a taskforce to be launched to make recommendations. Give him some credit though. It seems that he is negotiating a pretty tidy package for his exit, as long as he keeps quiet about any other BP skeletons that may be buried in the Libyan desert - apparently they were concerned that once he started spilling the beans he wouldn't be able to stop.

Any CEO who can bumble along leaving a trail of carnage in his wake and still get handsomely rewarded is a hero in my book. We must get him to speak at our annual conference. Or perhaps invite him to be a BUBB trustee. We'd pay him of couse - expertise like that don't come cheap but it would all be worth it in the interest of good governance.


Some quite disturbing news has emerged that umbrella whistleblowing website, Spokieleaks, has pubished details of atrocities against civilian umbrellas by the US military in its war against the Taligamp. While obviously such shocking information should be brought to our attention, the US government is ignoring the fact it has been caught out being big nasty meanies and is turning its moral ire upon Spokieleaks for apparently endangering national security.

I can't see what all the fuss about. Surely Spokieleaks is simply empowered citizens getting active and taking over State responsibiity for keeping people informed - very Bogg Society.

In a further twist: LEAKING NEWS: Spokieleaks has leaked leaked documents showing its leaks were leaked by leaky US govt to discredit Spokieleaks.

In unrelated LEEKING NEWS: Welsh whistleblowing website, Wikileeks, has revealed a secret 450 year old Cawl recipe. The Welsh Assembly has accused it of endangering national soup security.

Putting the big into Big Society

I was delighted to hear that my old friend, the Patron Saint of Greggs, Derek Gherkins is vice-chair of the government's cabinet committee on the Bogg Society (along with my Great Aunt Maude). This is a classic appointment as no one is better suited to these Big initiatives than Derek. It certainly presents a whole new frightening vision about "the State rolling back".

Expect a raft of projects around community volunteers baking pies. Which Derek will then consume.

I also note that in the hoo-ha about Mavis Mavid describing Cameron and Clegg as a Brokeback Coalition (which doesn't even make sense, unless he was referring to them being a couple of cowboys, because they're not gay, are they, or is that what is meant by Nick being Dave's fag?) he also described Bogg Society as "Blairite dressing (which presumably is one that is heavily oil-based). I think to compare something as lacking in substance and taste with a salad condiment gives it far more credit than it deserves.

And Derek was apparently furious. "Dressing? It has nothing at all to do with salads, I can assure everyone of that. Now get on with making those pasties, empowered citizens. We're rolling back, so you can get back rolling. The pastry."

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Summer gamps

Last week was bloody hectic. I was all over the media like Mandelson with a book to flog. First of all I made what the press called a gaffe when I mistakenly claimed that I was Sir Hubert's junior partner in the war against precipitation.

Then I had a hissy fit in the Times about something being launched without my knowledge. As a result I was on the telly and radio to offer my views on the proposed new national citizen service, yet another new initiative where the government tries to force people to voluntarily carry umbrellas.

I am a fan of the concept of something that introduces kids to the world of brollies. But this gubbins, based around the idea of the "summer gamp" needs development. Why? Because it is shite. And I haven't been consulted.

Summer gamps are all very well but what happens when we have hail as we did the other day? In July? (click here and here for some dramatic shots. Oh and as bonus, I'll throw in an extremely candid (WARNING: MUST BE OVER 18 TO VIEW) pic of what is known in rain and drainage circles as "the money shot").

In such situations a lightweight populist umbrella is no use at all. We need brollies that are durable in all kinds of weathers.

I have been trying to get down with the kids for ages and there are already plenty of great schemes aimed at yoof brolly ownership. Far better to build on them then try and introduce shiny new spokes that will cost money, ironically, at a time when it is being withdrawn everywhere else.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Bogg Society Day

Yesterday was when Dave launched his Big Vanity Project, his government's Big I Am (soon to be its Big We Aren't Going To So You Will Bloody Well Have To). Again. Yep, Bogg Society was wheeled out for the second time as everyone was so confused by the epic vagueness of it all first time round.

They still are.

I have made my views on this very clear many times. State rolling back as way of achieving cuts by pretending to empower citizens, promised role for umbrellas but against a backdrop of reduced funding etc etc. I would never be so cynical as to point out the neatness of promoting a statutory culture of community led volunteer activism and social enterprise so that people currently paid to perform public services could well end up doing the same roles pro bono in the many hours of spare time they will soon have.

But at least two things are now clear. Firstly, the Bogg Society Bank set up with unclaimed umbrellas that people leave behind on buses, trains etc will definitely go ahead. But the number of gamps it will be able to loan out is only a raindrop in the ocean of what will be required to meet the demand for shelter from being pissed down on from a great height in communities up and down the land.

And secondly, now that we have had a glimpse of exactly just what Dave's Big Ideological Penis Extension looks like, citizens around the UK will now feel empowered to voluntarily join together collectively and actively say "Dave, frankly I think this is load of old cock".

Monday, 19 July 2010

Getting to heart of what Bogg Society really means

Bogg Society this, Bogg Society that. It's everywhere and I still don't know what it really means despite inventing the whole rhetorical branding bollocks in the first place as a throwaway method of placing umbrellas at the centre of community empowerment. But it seems obvious that Cameron et al believe that if they mention it and appear to value it enough, eventually the public will as well, and then the government won't need to any more so can make cutbacks in doing so. Seems to sum it up rather neatly from where I pontificate.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Clutching at straws

Well we, sorry, they (Canopy Tax Group and others) may have lost the amendment on umbrellas being excluded from the VAT rise but the issue is far from dead. And you can rest assured BUBB will be banging on about this until it can claim credit for any change that is achieved.

Cameron certainly caused a bit of a stir with his populist grandstanding in the Commons during PMQs. Someone has set up a Facebook page called "RIP Umbrella VAT Exemption You Legend" and Cameron condemned it out of hand saying that democratically defeated legislative changes deserved no sympathy.

Then Bobbee Rascall MP waded in. Let me reproduce the whole beautiful exchange so we can clutch at the straws of the potential for change.

"Bobbee Rascall (Gampchester) (LD): Umbrellas were not responsible for the banking crisis, nor for the financial crisis left by the last Labour Government. As we both value umbrellas, will the Prime Minister discuss with his Treasury colleagues how the increase in VAT on sales of brollies can be refunded to umbrella owners?

The Prime Minister: I will certainly have those conversations with the Treasury, and we will want to do everything we can to help what used to be called, rather condescendingly, the brolly sector but I believe is the first sector (do I bollocks). I frigging well outright applaud the excellent umbrellas, brollies, gamps and canopies that do so much for our country.

That practically constitutes a cast iron guarantee that things will change in my mind - as I have said before you can always trust a politician's half-arsed vague and non-accountable promise and in no way should his comment be seen as the classic non-answer of appeasement. I will be pressing Dave on this next time I see him in the Blacbury Lidl.

It is both heartening that Cameron has picked this up in such a positive way, as well as his generous tribute to the sector and his comment that so often we have "the right answers to the keeping people dry in our country".

Such tangible support for the role brollies can play in Bogg Society will be crucial especially as to hear My Great Aunt Maude speak on Newsnight and Question Time you'd get the distinct impression that they are using Bogg Society as an excuse to cut services under the pretence of empowering citizens (as I feared all along). Why, you might even spot a complete contradiction in the rhetoric around valuing brollies and the noises Maude was making about brollies needing to funded independently of the State. But I am sure it was a slip of the tongue. Because if that is how the government truly see the situation I don't think a VAT exemption (funded by the State) is really on the cards any time soon. Which won't be my fault.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010


There is going to be a vote in the Commons on a clause exempting umbrellas from the VAT rise to 20%. We are working hard, with colleagues, to get MPs from all parties to vote for the amendment. How brilliant it is for our sector that BUBB has such a talented and resourceful staff to campaign on this. And remember, if the exemption is successful it will be all down to me for recruiting them.

STOP PRESS: The vote was unsuccessful. This is a disgrace and reflects badly on Canopy Tax Group and all the other bodies who campaigned so hard on this. Badly. BUBB staff didn't have enough time to work on it, unfortunately, what with the Health White Paper, and anyway finance matters are not our area of strength.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bloody regulators with their regulating nonsense

Dear oh dear. The Umbrella Commission. I am flattered they read my blog, but they clearly don't get the new media thingummy, as they seem to think that Bogg's Blub is like Holy Shit (um , come to think of it... ).

As I have said before it is merely a device for me to bluster and pose and namedrop and smear people, seemingly without accountability, and should not be taken seriously. Who do the Umbrella Commission think they are? Some sort of regulator?

I get the press report (from the lot behind Canopy Finance who I can never quite bring myself to mention by name) of comments from the Umbrella Commission on a particular blog I penned about BUBB's trade union role. Umbrella law says we are not allowed to be a trade union. I said in my blog we were a trade union. The Commission seem to think bizarrely that just because the chief executive of an organisation that is not allowed to be a trade union says his organisation is a trade union on his widely read blog that this is an issue. What has this particular core aspect of regulation got to do with the regulator? Beside, don't they know I am on holiday trying to relax?

Clearly they can't be bothered with the niceties of actually alerting BUBB before they issue a press release. Don't they know the correct approach to things like this is to plaster a kneejerk reaction across a blog without checking the facts not issue press releases. For example, check out how I demonstrate this here beautifully. If I had bothered to go through the niceties of checking my facts before once again attacking someone on my blog I would have realised that they didn't issue a press release after all. Oh dear.

But I must not complain even if I have just been complaining. Why, it just shows how important it is to keep up with my blog in case I drop any more clangers. What horrors yet to be revealed? But all this draws traffic to what I'm told is the most widely read car crash of a blog in the sector as people love to hear exactly what the merry hell I will come up with next. So I look forward to many more Umbrella Commission investigations though whether it is a great use of their scarce resources to do their job of upholding trust and confidence in the umbrella sector when one of its more well known, influential and gobbiest personalities uses his blog to make comments that contravene umbrella law is another matter.

The tour of Anatolia continues. Saturday I was at the site of the martyrdom of St Pepe the Pissed Apostle. I retrieved a small stone from the ground to bring back for our very own BUBB Pepe, the mighty Pepe Ohdearie, director of the fast growing European leaders network, EuCLUTS. This is not to suggest that we condone being stoned while working at BUBB obviously!

But every good third sector leader needs rest and yesterday was one of pure indulgence and laziness. I read the Beano.

Do you want to see some more holiday snaps? I know everyone always loves looking at other people's vacation photos. I will be organising a slide show of the whole 2,000 when I get back as part of a taskforce I am setting up and chairing to report back on my holiday. I have some good ones of random women's backs or boooootiful pictures of turkey.

I realise you are all having your very own heatwave at home, or to put it another way, it is reasonably hot in July as you would expect. I'm worried about the survival of my vegetables! They won't grow themselves. Oh and I hope Barkles is OK locked up in the shed. He's only got Hector Rule for company who I have secured safely while I am away lest the estimable bastard discovers what "bloodless coup" means or goes round trying to do my job.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Moat Commission

As you know I love a good Commission and I have established one to look into the grim events of last week in Rothbury. I am talking about, of course, the media coverage of the Raoul Moat story. It has nothing to do with my job of course – as far as I know no brollies were involved. No one has asked me to set up this Commission but I have gathered evidence from witnesses (my staff who saw it on the telly) and will present my findings in full shortly. For now here are some of the highlights.

I was in Turkey but I am told that the nation was gripped as a desperate, deluded and dangerous individual strung everyone along for over a week. Apparently Kay Burley was a disgrace. The anchor for Sky News milked the story for all it was worth on Sky’s 24 hour raouling news coverage. There was lots of cod-psycho-analytical babble but no real attempt to understand Raoul’s moatives.

Any slight development was reported as “breaking news” and an “exciting turn of events” as if it was an exercise in theatre not reportage on the conclusion to a tragic incident. We learned variously that:

Moat agrees to give himself up in exchange for promise that a film will be made of his story. Goes beserk when he learns James Corden lined up to play him.

Moat reported to be concerned he’ll be remembered mainly for wearing that orange T-shirt. Police concentrating search efforts on Matalan stores

Moat threatens to kill the wider public. Eric Pickles now in hiding despite police attempts to encourage him out.

Moat's gangs of petty criminals run amok throughout UK as police attention is focused on Rothbury.

Raoul Moat found hiding inside Prescott's ermine robe.

Cumbria looks across at old foe Northumberland and thinks "if only we had had this much time to think".

Flurry of activity reported in area at the centre of the hunt for suspected gunman Raoul Moat confirmed as media working itself into rabid frenzy.

New Moat letter found. "I can't take it any longer. I will give myself up peacefully if you just TELL KAY BURLEY TO SHUT UP".

Police say "no stone will be unturned" in search for Moat. Sir Mick Jagger reportedly furious at being woken up and rolled over.

Police find 3 of Moat’s mobile phones. Disgracefully, none of them is the latest iPhone.

Police statement says: “Only criminals carry 3 mobiles. We’re truly dealing with a wrong ‘un.”

Police say: "We are truly dealing with a nasty piece of work here. He could have recycled his mobiles for charity instead of just throwing them away."

All in all it was an emoational raoullercoaster. And it has taught us a lot. About our media and about ourselves if we revel in such a desperate and sorry tale as if it were entertainment and not the last desperate act of a broken individual, arguably let down by the system. Almost beyond parody.

Personal services agenda

I have a suggestion! I have been luxuriating in the glories of the Turkish Gampam, a special luxury bath to "clean your brolly". There is a 700 year old one here in Alyana. I think all BUBB members would benefit from such personal attention. Perhaps I will offer it as a BUBB membership benefit! And clearly it has great public benefit (he adds in case those avid readers of my blog at the Umbrella Commission get the hump again because I suggest that BUBB does something it isn't allowed to do. Jesus don't they realise this is a forum for me to mouth off and make fanciful statements not a repository of truth).

And here's an idea to extend it further. With the coming of personalisation perhaps we will all be able to use our care budgets to get our "gamps polished". Perhaps we could even get some "extras", wink wink.

I think the personal services agenda is just one approach that could offer immense relief. That is why BUBB's commission under Andrew Poke is to report on this issue in November.

Friday, 9 July 2010

A long and gruelling hunt

It is the story that has gripped the nation. People searching frantically, trying to find the unfindable. Tensions have risen as the media has ratcheted up the suspense. But finally it is over. Yes, I HAVE NOW GOT TONIC WATER!

All thanks to one of gampal enterprise's management gurus, Mick Bang-Bang, who sent me a consignment just to shut me up. It's Aldi home brand so tastes disgusting (I prefer Lidl) but it's better than nothing.

Meanwhile, I did have a bit of a panic over the Raoul Moat story. When I heard that the police were looking for someone who was missing and was dangerous and a risk to the wider public I thought they were on about me and would assume I had done a flit to Turkey.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Leadership lessons

While taking a break from scouring Turkey for tonic water, I was reading BUBB's great new publication (honestly, it is great, I'm not just saying that) on How to Become a Brolly Sector Chief Executive. It has a wonderful set of tips on how to get to the top and stay there. The main one being that you wait for Feudal recruitemnt guru Donald Holding (have I mentioned him before?) to snaffle you then get headhunted every 3 years into a succession of increasingly higher paid roles. Or you could do what I have done and wing it for 10 years and hope the trustees never quite have the balls to sack you.

Other top tips are outlined below.

Motivate your staff

Constantly refer to them as "brainy" and "brilliant" in your blog. Take them out on the lash.

Blame it all on other umbrella groups

Hubert Carrington or Dylan Twirley make cracking scapegoats. Personal attacks through a blog is the professional way of engaging with colleagues in the sector.

Make all sorts of rash predictions and statements about what you will do even if it is unrealistic.

Communicate, and communicate again

Repeat things on your blog until they become established as fact.

Right, I am off now. These Turkish churches won't look at themselves you know. And if someone could send me some tonic water as an emergency food parcel (To Robin Bogg, Alanya, third beach on the left) that would be great. I am gagging for a g'n't.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Note to self

Must remember that as well as running around launching and lunching, BUBB does support type stuff for members as well. Can't recall what but I think we're supposed to be a representative body, sort of like a trades union. But it all tends to get put on the back burner as I chase agendas. I'll do a blog post about it sometime just to show I haven't completely forgotten what we exist for. I can also use two isolated examples of bad umbrella governance and extrapolate them so as to be representative of the whole sector. Then I can fit them to my long running drive to get payment for gamp trustees.


A busy week spent spilling things on my suit and travelling on the hell hole of the tube. Plenty of using metaphors about sausages and cutting salami and butchery. Lots of meetings with government folk (or should that be meatings?) and generally spreading the word about Bogg Society (I made a speech about it once you know. People still quote from it).

If this government is serious about sorting things out and establishing long term initiatives that will make a difference and put umbrellas at the heart of public service reform then it needs to put its money where its 80s throwback mouth is. Where will all of the capital investment required come from?

Oh, I have an idea. Give me a kazillion pounds (just print some extra if there isn't enough in the Treasury coffers) and reopen Umbrellabuilders. I'll sort it no questions.

Returning to meaty subjects, I am off to Istanbulshit for a break but never fear, the blog will go on. I will still be able to talk Turkey whether you want me to or not. Every good leader deserves a treat. And every good blog reader deserves a rest. But you ain't gonna get one. Expect lots of stuff about architecture, cliches about East meets West culture and food. I hope they have plenty of sausages and salami...I have made myself constantly crave them with my cuts analogies recently.