Friday, 30 March 2012

Off on another foreign jaunt, but self-funded this time

I am off for a few days in Tunisia. This isn't because my spoofer Sir Stephen Bubb is going there on some free jolly as I am sure he is currently too busy puffing up his feathers and threatening George Osborne with the charity sector equivalent of the Markov treatment if he doesn't change the tax allowance cock-up. No, I am going on my own initiative. I reckon there must be a non-exec role up for grabs on some sort of couscous advisory or promotion board so I am off to do some research.

True leadership is about writing blog posts entitled leadership which display sod all leadership but plenty of self-serving whinging

I hate all of these breakfast meetings. I am all for stuffing myself with croissants (heated, the posh man's pasty) but wish they could do them at a sensible time. Like 4pm.

Yesterday I was listening to Fffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffion Vague talking about recruitment issues and how to get hold of talent. Which coming from someone who married who she did is a bit rich. She was ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffucking ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffantastic as she seems to recognise the potential money to be creamed off from cushy non-exec roles in the corporate world once they realise what umbrella management gurus such as myself have to offer.

Mind you, we need to get our own governance arrangements in order first. We need to be able to pay trustees. Paid trustees is not a disease any more than competition in the NHS is. In fact, offering cash would create competition and drive up standards and in no way would lead to a US-style system where only the richer umbrellas could afford to be looked after while the poorer ones would be left abandoned on buses or on wasteland, unable to find the money to fix their broken spokes.. Hell, why not go the whole hog and privatise the core voluntary principle underpinning umbrella sector activity.

It is a disgrace that the Umbrella Commission make it so hard to change governance arrangements for umbrellas what with their insistence on regulating and insistence on brollies complying with centuries-old umbrella sector law and ethos. I firmly believe it should be a piece of pissing it down with rain to pay people to be umbrella trustees, in the mistaken belief that this will somehow encourage better brolly governance and not a cabal of the same old people coining in second, third, fourth and fifth incomes. And I don't care if my continued pushing of the paid trustee unmarked envelope flies in the face of evidence and such shit and the wishes of most of my members. Because that is what I do.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Panic blogging

The government has denied causing panic blogging by urging bloggers to stockpile contingency blog posts on panic buying.

In other news: The government is to privatise the provision of panic and has announced a minimum price on panic buying.

And government denials of fuelling panic buying on fuel fuel increased panic buying of fuel. But is possible to run a car on the fuel that is fuelling the panic buying of fuel?

The message from George Osborne and My Great Aunt Maud is very clear - PANIC BUY THE ECONOMY OUT OF RECESSION - STOCK UP ON STAMPS, PASTIES, FUEL AND PANIC...

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cameron's private dinners

I hope Dave doesn't publish any lists of who has had a cosy nosh up with him at Number 10 as it could be embarrassing for me. If I don't appear on those lists after all I have given him it will do untold damage to my ego. Surely my assumed support for NHS reform on behalf of the whole umbrella sector is worth a generous amount of couscous and a couple of pot noodles.

Anyway it looks like he will publish them - for the right price of course - so I'd better hope my name has somehow found its way on there.

The whole thing is a bit of a storm in a teacup if you ask me. What's the world coming to if influence and access can't be bought by money and privilege ? It's the very foundation of the system I learnt at Oxford, naturally.

Though I bet my protege Tony Blair is outraged by Cameron. Sat there frothing, imagining how much money he could have made doing similar.

It was certainly tactically shrewd of Cameron to announce dementia funding yesterday in the hope that people would forget the whole row.

One question does remain though. What was the minimum price of alcohol served at Cameron's dinners?

I bet Cameron is glad he never made an oft quoted statement about the scandal of lobbying to come back and bite his waxy arse. And as he faces pressure over the way he does his job he should perhaps consider joining a Union. You know, those evil organisations that openly and transparently fund the Labour party on behalf of millions of workers but to whom secret donations to secure influence with the Prime Minister are confusingly compared to by such apologists for the twisted status quo as my Great Aunt Maud.

Where will it end? Next we'll have political parties offering influence on all key policy areas in return for votes at an election.

Anyway, Cameron is only the second most powerful man in the country. Access to Simon Cowell over a private dinner can be secured for the price of a brick.

Being discreet

As regular readers know I never mention the head hunting guru DONALD HOLDING in my blog and I would certainly NEVER let slip that I had seen him lunching with one of my members lest it should raise suspicions that said member was looking to change their job as that would be indiscreet and embarrassing.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Anyone seen my toys?

I threw them out of my pram over the cap on the tax allowance of donated brollies and gamp aid.

Talking of boycotts makes me feel young and vital again. I will stand up to the government and presume to speak on behalf of the whole sector about things that may damage all umbrellas.

Except when it comes to the NHS, obviously.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Shovelling shit

Spent some time skulking around alongside the canal near what will be my new home from September. I was shovelling shit and hurling it at Sir Hubert's window. I don't know how but quite a lot of it seemed to end up in George Osborne's red case judging by the disgraceful way umbrellas were treated in the Budget yesterday. I am all for capping brolly reliefs for the filthy rich (unless it affects me) but whichever dozy wassock forgot to factor in the knock on effect to gamp aid and umbrella donations needs his knackers mangling.

On the plus side it seems that instead of being shoved into the box room when I move in with Sir Hubert, he is developing a luxury penthouse for me.

(Copyright: 2012 Lester Twomore)

Monday, 19 March 2012

Keep Sunday special

Sundays are sacred. I love nothing better on Sundays than lazing around in my y-fronts in Blacbury, reading the papers or nipping out for a huge roast dinner with Barkles. It is a day of rest and reflection and no one should have to work.

Indeed when I become Archbishop of Canterbury on a part-time non-exec basis I will be campaigning against anyone working on a Sunday, least of all church people.

Obviously, some folk will still have to graft on Sunday. Newspaper shop owners, roast dinner chefs, landlords of course. And Doctors in case I overindulge. Why should they get a day off? All those extra budget projections they will soon have to do won't calculate itself.

But no one else.

Even umbrellas. Even though recent scientific research indicates that statistically it is just as likely to rain on a Sunday as any other day.

Which is why the government's plans to extend Sunday trading hours during the Olympics are a concern. Clearly the best way to combat the rising tide of militant secularism the Tories complain about is to change the Sunday trading laws in favour of business when it suits them. Cameron talks a good "we are a Christian country" game but that can be ignored during the Olympics because business matters more. The one true religion.

I must confess it was a nice touch by the government to announce plans to steamroller Sunday trading laws on a Sunday, not least because it meant the Keep Sunday Special zealots had to do loads of work condemning the plans, which must have been a real conundrum for them.

Actually, I can see the point of the Tory argument. It would be dreadful if people turned up to the Olympics and couldn't buy stuff early on a Sunday evening. What sort of message would that send to the rest of the World? It would say we are a lazy vaguely Christian country which has forgotten the true meaning of the Olympics (generating cash) in favour of some woolly notions of faith. We need to send a very strong message to other religions that we are a Christian country and anyone who wants to live here has to plan their shopping better except when a major sporting festival is on. And any Muslim extremists planning on blowing Lord Coe up need to be aware that expensive security will be just as rigorous on Sunday as any other day.

Writing letters to the Times

I was delighted last week when someone wrote something stupid in the Times. This gave me the perfect opportunity to indulge in one of my favourite activities - writing a letter to the Times.

Some crazed bint was waffling on about umbrellas and asking what benefit they actually provided for our health. This is completely insulting to the brilliant work brollies do in protecting the dampest in society and preventing rain related illnesses and conditions. She seemed to think that gamps should be doing more campaigning work but was probably one of the same people who in the past would have complained about too much umbrella money being spent on advocacy rather than core sheltering work.

You can't win with these people. Unless of course you get to have a letter published in the Times. Which is great for self publicity. Result!

Friday, 16 March 2012

Another new job opportunity?

I see there is a vacancy for the role of Archbishop of Canterbury.

I reckon I could do it, if not full-time then certainly on a part-time non-exec basis (assuming the remuneration was adequate). After all, rain is a God-given miracle that fuels the umbrella industry. I adore the ritual associated with the Anglican religion, love a posh church and I reckon the opportunity to make glib pronouncements based on woolly concepts of faith and limited evidence would be plentiful. That is what I have built my career on.

Plus I have a long history of presuming to speak on behalf of other people and impose my own beliefs on my members. I have even played God myself on more than one occasion. I believe my blog to be a sacred text equal in importance to the Scriptures.

The benefits would be huge. Imagine the canapes you get on the God squad circuit! The opportunity for foreign jaunts on flimsy pretexts! And access to communion wine! And it would mean an automatic place in the House of Lords.

Donald Holding? Get your arse moving and sort it out. If you really are the genius headhunter I claim you to be then sort this one for me. If you do, I will ensure your name is plugged generously in the next edition of the Bible.

Fuelling the Bisto-powered locomotive

Get in - I have nabbed another part time non-exec role (paid, naturally). I am to be a public appointments assessor assessing the appointments of assessors made by commissioners of public appointment assessments to assess appointments to commissions assessing public appointments etc etc. A very nice little recursive earner.

For the hard work he put into unearthing this fantastic opportunity I am indebted to the little mentioned and unheralded headhunter extraordinaire Donald Holding of whichever firm he is at these days. He has moved so many times I forget - he keeps headhunting himself into new roles to keep those commission payments rolling in. I say hard work, he saw it advertised in a newspaper and alerted me to the fact. That's what you pay for with Donald - his ability to read stuff in publicly accessible places. Genius.

I don't think I could be more excited if a family member was selected to row for Oxford, naturally, in the Boat Race (or at least the reserve team version). Rowing at Oxford, naturally, is a long and proud tradition in our family. I myself rowed with Tony Blair and Benezir Bhutto about a number of key issues when they were my proteges at Oxford, naturally, in the 1970s.

Nothing sums up Oxbridge's anachronistic elitist ethos more than the Boat Race so if my nephew were to be involved I would be right chuffed.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Me. In my skimpy swimmers

An interesting day out parading around in my speedos, talking to some swimwear guru about how we can work together across the beachwear and brolly industries to utilise the skills of the aquatic sector to adopt more damp-proof approaches in our own. He is a trustee of Spokes Direct, a charity which donates unwanted brollies to the dampest in society and whose CEO is a long standing member of BUBB - Stephen Buggles.

A great lunch - dunno what we talked about but it was plentiful and he paid.

I'd started the day meeting with BUBB members who are part of our professional associations special interest group. One of our BUBB treasures is the network of some 15 SIGs covering the interests and passions of our members' spheres of work.
They rightly reminded me that we must always fight the corner of the professionals as well as those of our service delivery brolly organisations. Which was awkward as BUBB has a large membership in professional bodies like some of the ones representing health professionals who are against the NHS reforms that BUBB has been represented as endorsing by that weasel Cameron. Therefore worth a bit of cosying up and honeyed words to keep them onside. These jollies and canape fuelled commission launches won't be funded out of members subscriptions by themselves you know.

Have I spoken out yet about Cameron's lies in the House of Commons? Have I bollocks. Usually I would have torn a strip off him in an impassioned blog post at the very least but for some reason I have remained silent on this one.

And the evening was a dinner with old friend Ian Scorn MP who was one of those ministers under my protege Tony Blair who got the value of and fought for the brolly sector. He also wrote the infamous note to the incoming Tories when he left the Treasury saying that all the umbrellas were broken. He's a bugger to go out to dinner with mind. I nipped to the jacks at one point and came back to find he'd
scoffed all my food and just left a letter explaining there was no couscous left.

I then realised I had done 2 versions of the same joke in the preceding paragraph before completing the hat-trick by finding a piece of paper covered in Scorn's handwriting saying there were no new punchlines left.

And now I'm off to Hell. Or as most people call it, Cambridge, unnaturally!

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

A trip to the doctors

Been feeling a little peaky. All this competition is getting to me. And possible food poisoning at NCVO's annual dinner last night no doubt - NCVO staff probably spat in my couscous. Therefore, I went to the Doctors today. I usually try and avoid the places, other than as the basis for half-arsed research into MY report on the health service that Cameron has been able to use as justification for claiming the support of the entire brolly sector for his reforms on the back of.

It was quite revealing. I took the opportunity to undertake some consultation while I was there with patients and staff. Which is more than I bothered doing when I wrote MY report.

I say consultation, I mean more overhearing things that were said.

As well as learning via the receptionist that all PCT staff earn more than Doctors (evidence enough for me) and that Mrs Gubbins needed 3 enemas that still didn't shift the problem I also found out from a magazine in the waiting room that the Titanic sank AND that jokes about the age of magazines in Doctor's waiting rooms are as old as the Titanic.

The most interesting revelation was from an old dear sitting waiting to be seen. Phlegmatically she remarked to the woman next to her that "patients is a virtue". I was shocked. The level of grammar from people not educated at Oxford, naturally, in this country is appalling. "Don't you mean patients are a virtue"? I said. She looked at me like I was mad.

And of course grammar aside, she is wrong. Patients are not a virtue, they're a bloody nuisance. They are the single biggest burden on the NHS and if we could get rid of them then all this talk of privatisation and competition would be academic. Downgrading some illnesses, conditions and diseases to baseless whinges, especially the ones that aren't profitable to treat would be a start

Anyway I went into see the doctor who examined me. She looked at me gravely. "Tell me the worse, Doctor, is it competition?"

"Yes", she said. "And quite a bad dose of it"

"Oh well", I said. "Could be worse. It's not as if competition is a disease".

"Oh but it is", she said. "And quite a serious one".

"It isn't", I screamed. "And if it was it wouldn't be financially viable to cure it."

She kicked me out still protesting.

"Wait til you're privatised you witch", I shouted as I disappeared, airborne, out into the car park.

After all, I don't see why privatisation is such an issue. Not that the reforms are about privatisation But if they were it's not as if the privatisation of other largely state controlled national concerns such as gas, electricity, water and the rail network has led to anything other than increased efficiency and cheaper prices. And greater competition.

Which is not a disease whatever Doctors tell you. And even if it was it definitely won't be fatal for the NHS. Cos MY report says so,

Monday, 5 March 2012

A leak

It's been a right arse-ache of a weekend. Some important stuff has been leaked and I have been fighting off the press, torn between a desire to get my name in the papers again and not putting my foot in it.

I am not talking about a report that BUBB did for the Cabinet Office a year ago about the effect of cuts on the brolly sector, that government chose to ignore. I will openly admit to leaking that. End of.

I am talking about the surprising news that my nemesis and future landlord Sir Hubert has only gone and got himself snared by a fair maiden. Leading brolly sector legal eagle temptress Vagabond McCartney has persuaded Hubert to forsake the bachelor life.

I can see no good coming of this. For a start, it's certainly going to disrupt our already fragile domestic arrangements when I do move into his box room later this year (though we're not merging, even if him and Vagabond are) if his bird is forever clogging up the bathroom. And she is one of those bleeding heart, liberal do-gooder lawyers with a heart, wanting to genuinely change the world rather than using social inequality simply as a crutch to further their own career and exploiting it for themselves. And she uses logic and facts and all that other hocus pocus that Sir Hubert sometimes dabbles in. It is going to make working with him even harder. Never mind McCartney, she's more like a Yoko Ono.

And there are so many other unanswered questions.

What present do I get them?
As it is going to be a Quaker wedding, does that mean there won't be any champers, always assuming that I get an invite in the first place?

I expect that Sr Hubert will use his Sector's in a Right Old State address at today's NCVO annual conference (which I am still banned from but will sneak into disguised as a couscous delivery man) to clarify these burning issues.

In the meantime, given the competition between Sir Hubert and I, it leaves me with no alternative but to get wed myself. So I am pleased to announce that I have agreed to settle down with my one true love. Myself.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Pimped out by Cameron

I wish someone had warned me that by seeming to be too close to Cameron and his disastrous NHS reforms I risked tacitly endorsing them on behalf of the whole brolly sector. Especially since the horse riding bastard used BUBB as an example of being one of the few organisations backing his bill in the Commons this week.

Despite the fact that BUBB has not taken a stance one way or another, the amount of profile I have had supporting the competition element I championed in MY report means that by association Cameron has been able to pimp me out as speaking on behalf of all brollies in support of his nonsense.

I expect that some of my members, especially those against the bill, will be furious with this.

So what should I do?

Write a stiff letter to the Times? Have a rant about Cameron's disingenuous mendacity and lies in a vitriolic blog post? Or do sweet fuck all, keep quiet and hope it goes away until the peerage arrives?

How regional tokenism works

I have been on another foreign trip this week, to a place far more remote and extreme than my usual jollies, and this one was actually properly work related as well. I have been Ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooop North.

As you may know, BUBB has an Office of Regional Tokenism in Leeds or some such hellhole, to give the impression of true national inclusivity rather than the usual London-centric (and Oxford, naturally) focus of such things.

I feel obliged to mention members in the blog sometimes lest people forget what BUBB is actually supposed to be about. I also like to, in terms that are in no way praise by numbers or patronising, big (or Bogg) up their work. This trip to the wilds of Northernland therefore gives me the chance to gushingly extol the virtues of the "wonderful" work of some of my "amazingly talented" Northern members. Some of their brolly initiatives are are fantastic, all the more so considering that they are Northern and poor and wotnot, and operating in some of the dampest conditions known to man.

Northerners are reet canny like, proper gradely, the gear, and ruddy marvellous.

That should cover it.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Canopy Finance Group

There are rumours circulating that I was seen pushing in the queue to get into the Canopy Finance Group's (nice rebrand, guys) silver jubilee reception yesterday. The very idea that I would do whatever it takes to gain access to the House of Lords is entirely without foundation. And when I say without I do of course mean with.