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Now I’m the last man to stand in the way of someone earning a decent wage but those firefighters are getting right up my hooter.

How can they honestly expect a 40 per cent pay rise for sitting around playing pool all week and rescuing cats from trees? The odd chip pan fire and the occasional terrorist bombing hardly justifies 30 grand a year now does it?

Your average fireman’s average week may make him an expert at 13-card brag but it doesn’t make him a proper tradesman

Sparkies, chippies, builders and God’s own plumbers are time-served craftsmen who have honed their art over years of slavish public devotion and commitment to their art. Firemen are labourers. Admittedly they are labourers that I would be happy to call on in the unlikely event of my gaffe being on fire but essentially they are navvies in uniform.

Yet because they have mastered the art of turning on a hose and pointing foam at a fire they think they can hold the country to ransom. You’re not on, Fireman Sam.

And that’s another thing, name me a famous fireman. Go on. If you’ve come up with anyone other than Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble and Grubb then chances are you are a fireman and you don’t count. Firemen aren’t famous because manual workers are ten a penny not 30 grand a year. Could they re-route an ABS sweep while no-hub clamping the outlet of the sweep to a drainage system? No way. Could I interrupt a game of rummy to turn on a hose? Oh yes, I think so.

My old gaffer always said to me that if you hired monkeys then it was perfectly okay to pay them peanuts. He knew there was no need to have a time-served artist stick his arm down the pan when there was an apprentice happy to get shite on his hands for £3.60 an hour. And if it’s true in plumbing then it’s true in life.

If Fireman Sam and his poker-playing pals want to retrain as surgeons or computer programmers then they’ll be entitled to whatever they can earn. But oh no, they cant on account of the fact that they are too thick. And more importantly it would mean giving up the brag school and not using lines about shiny helmets, poles and long hoses to women stupid enough to fall for anything in a uniform.

Anyway, personally I’ve always thought a well-ironed set of overalls much more fetching than any uniform.

Plumb on.

Peter Plumb

Lady Panjammers Diary


Well sweeties! Aren’t the ghastly red-tops having fun with the butler and his boisterous bedroom behaviour?

Your ring m’Lord? Meiow.

Henny Throckmorton stayed over at the Windsor’s once and was so disgusted at not getting rogered by the staff that she nearly asked for her money back. She says it was the first time she had ever asked a footman for a nightcap and actually got a drink. The poor darling nearly fainted. Henny said there were sweet uniformed stud muffins at every corner but each and every one were limper than Peter Lilley’s majority. Honestly, there’s nothing more horribly disappointing than a fanciable footman who prefers to use the tradesmen’s entrance. But I simply cannot see how anyone could be surprised at the sudden if admittedly forceful realisation that there is more than one queen at the pink palace. How green was that valet? Nor can I find any simpers in my soul for the frightful Burrell chap. He spilled the beans on the Spencer trampette so he can hardly complain when someone blabs about his own free-time frolics. A case of the biter bit methinks. Or the pillow-biter bit as the case may be. Meiow.

I was at the Bush-Cheneys for the weekend and the jungle drums were beating non-stop about butlers, Barrymore and bottom drawers. Virginia Bishen-Bedi said she thought two of her men might be a bit light on their livery but I happen to know that nothing could be further from the truth. Oh darlings, thank goodness not every servant is a sodomite. Scrumdiddlyumptious I can tell you. Later we were talking about which of the top family were most likely to be visiting the valet in the middle of the night. Admittedly I’d had a tankful of Bolly but I could swear that Octavius Markham said the old Queen Mum had a liking for Lady’s Fingers.

Oops! Did I say that out loud? Toodlepip

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The Burrell Collection

Having previously written about Mr Paul Burrell, former butler to the blessed Diana, and suggested that he was a thieving git who should be executed, I now discover I was wrong.

Mr Burrell is in fact not a thief. He told her Maj the Queen that he was going to ‘safeguard’ a few items of Diana’s things and therefore was quite entitled to take 284 personal items and hide them in his loft. Her Maj’s memory isn’t quite what it was and her recall was only jogged by the prospect of some dirty royal linen being laundered in public. God bless her.

The law of the land has ruled that Mr Burrell was entitled to get his hands on Diana’s bits and bobs and therefore it must be true. If the gaffer says it’s Friday then don’t bother trying to tell him it’s Falkirk. And if it’s true in plumbing then it’s true in life.

Paul Burrell is not a thieving git. However he is a hypocritical, money-grabbing traitor who won’t spill the beans in court but is happy to do so in a tabloid newspaper for £300,00. Is that still a hanging offence?

Plumb on

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Posh Kidnap

What a rumpus about that so-called kidnap attempt on Mrs Posh Beckham by a gang of crazed Romanian gypsies. As usual the newspapers got it all wrong.

Fair enough, it wasn’t nice that the gypos wanted to abduct Lady Victoria, hold her for a £5m ransom and threaten to chop her up into tiny pieces. That kind of behaviour just isn’t called for.

But everybody seemed to miss the point. If a gang of hooligans is going to kidnap your high-profile celebrities, why do we need cheap overseas labour to do it?

There are plenty of kidnappers in the UK who could have done the job just as well. In fact they could have done it a whole lot better. How difficult can it be to get an Essex girl into the back of a van?

But oh no, forget the fact that there’s shedloads of honest, tax-paying British villains who would kill for a chance to kidnap the Beckhams. Instead just get some scab Johnny Foreigner labour to do the job for half the price. No wonder this country’s going to the dogs.

And at the end of the day we all pay the price. Do you think that Albanian assassins pay their stamp? No and neither do Polish plumbers, Kosovan carpenters or Namibian navvies.

Scabs the lot of them, prepared to work for washers and do your honest, local tradesman out of a job. Okay we may charge a bit over the odds and change a perfectly good u-bend for no reason, but that’s what living in a democracy is all about.

Put it this way, if you get an Afghan asylum seeker round to sort your cistern and tell him your ballcock needs twisted back into position then you better make damn sure he speaks the proper lingo.

I always tell my apprentices that it doesn’t pay to put a two bob washer on a ten quid tap. And, as we all know, if it’s true in plumbing then it’s true in life.

If you pay peanuts you get monkeys, you pay scab labour and you get scabs. Simple law of physics.

Mr David Beckham should just be grateful that it wasn’t a gang of proper, registered, time-served British kidnappers that were after Mrs Posh. She’d have been sliced into thin (even thinner) pieces and popped through his letter-box before you could say Dago Forlan.

Buy British, pay for proper plumbers and save celebrities from assassination. You know it makes sense.

Plumb on.