Local Government Councillors

The Accused

Scottish Local Government Councillors

The Charge

That they did wilfully and systematically bring into disrepute the name of local democracy through the pursuance of vainglorious self-gratification; further that they did allow the pompous, egotistical and disrespectful amongst their number to dominate to the detriment of the constituents whom they are elected to serve and the officers who are charged to implement their half-witted, lamebrained policies; thirdly that they did, and continue to, routinely abuse the position of their office by making brutish and unreasonable demands backed by imperious and bullying behaviour, clodhopping ignorance on a scale that could scarcely be imagined by Professor Stephen Hawking on mind-expanding drugs and provincial, roughneck philistinism that would not be out of place in the more unpolished parts of the Southern states of America.

The Case for the Prosecution

Many great men have lived, fought and died for democracy. George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Che Guevara, Leon Trotsky and Aneurin Bevan all shared a common dream and a common aim: government of the people, for the people by the people. Each man believed that it was a privilege to be elected into office by the people to represent their views, share their aims and aspirations and fight for what they believed was right and true. Each man embodied and exemplified moral and ethical fortitude along with a fierce pride in his position and duties. And each man was prepared to die for the principles he held so true.

How sad it is then that I have to stand here today pursuing a group of these privileged few: a group which has taken the very name of democracy and besmirched and befouled it; a group which is not fit to lace the boots of the people who never passed the interview for the job of making toilet paper for democracy’s founding fathers; a group which should hold its collective head in shame, boil it and make daft soup. I am talking, of course, about Scottish local government councillors. Such a band of asinine, quarrelsome, ineffectual, inadequate, mean, nasty, petty, obtuse, domineering, witless, trivial, uneducated, vulgar, ostentatious, conceited, inarticulate, inflated, narcissistic, crass and bombastic imbeciles as has rarely been witnessed on these or any other shores.

Fuelled by a misplaced sense of power and greed, puffed up with a misplaced sense of their own importance and blessed with no sense whatsoever, these blundering, belligerent, bellicose boneheads march and trample their way over the very people who are trying to deliver what the Councillors themselves clearly can not – services to the electorate. Pushing their way into issues they could never understand even if they were wearing Joe90 glasses, these boorish, bird-brained, bloated buffoons think they know better, think they can always get what they want when they want it regardless of whether what they want is available, reasonable or even physically possible and think they can do all of this because of who and what they are.

That, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, is their first mistake.

Thinking.

Perhaps that is an activity best left to those of us with a properly functioning brain.

Whether looking for the latest technology toy (all at the taxpayer’s expense), massaging Council tax debt figures, interfering in housing allocations, railroading through planning permission for their friends or for companies in which they have a vested interest, there is no new low to which they will not stoop and no vice or crime of which they are not capable. All while claiming expenses of course.

Let us stop, for a moment, and ponder these Scottish local government councillors. Let us prod the soft underbelly of corruption, pomposity and half-wittedness that is their very hallmark. Let us look underneath the hood of their stupidity and see what makes them tick.

They are essentially a simple people but come from once noble stock. Unfortunately, this once noble stock has moved on to pastures new in Edinburgh, leaving their less-talented brethren, sometimes called “numpties” behind. Lacking in any formal education they communicate using a primitive language consisting almost entirely of grunts and Anglo-Saxon obscenities. They are very small in stature with the tallest measuring no more than 4 feet 11 inches. Yet their hands and fingers are monstrously enlarged making any delicate movement such as the use of a mobile telephone virtually impossible. Their complexion is uncannily ruddy due to an unending diet of free Chamber of Commerce lunches and visits to whisky distilleries.

Do not be fooled by this apparently bucolic exterior, though. Behind it lurks a massive, and justified, inferiority complex. In normal circumstances, these brutes are content to manifest this inferiority complex by bludgeoning their own kind in a regular Friday night rough-and-tumble. When they are elected to office however, it takes a more sinister turn. Constrained by their proximity to decent people, local government Councillors find that society has little time for explicit violence. The physical has to give way to mental abuse with bullying, sexism, disrespect, obscenity and bad manners at the core.

And abuse is the appropriate and condign word here. Abuse of power. Abuse of position. Abuse of those who actually do the work.

Edmund Burke once said that all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to stand and do nothing. And it is precisely through other people (I am loth to brand them good men) doing nothing that these self-centered, lubberly louts have been allowed to gain ascendancy. When the spanking, brand-new Scottish Parliament building opened last week the occasion was correctly marked by quiet Scottish dignity. Edwin Morgan wrote a poem to celebrate the occasion. In what is admittedly not one of his finer works, he warns the new incumbents about the Scottish people’s desires for the new parliament:

A nest of fearties is what they do not want

A symposium of procrastinators is what they do not want

A phalanx of forelock-tuggers is what they do not want

And perhaps above all the droopy mantra of ‘it wizny me’ is

what they do not want

Well, I’m afraid the phalanx of forelock-tuggers and nest of fearties are alive and well in Scottish local government, pandering to the very whim of these knuckleheaded nitwits for fear that the doors of their own careers are swiftly and permanently shut. A blind eye is turned. Mrs McGlumphy gets her house. The Scottish Rural Housing Association gets its planning permission despite local objections. And honourable Council officers are forced to fall upon their sword to maintain the face, and career, of their own managers. It goes on every day up and down the land.

So let’s take our cue from the Scottish poet laureate. Let’s rid our country once and for all of the small-time, small-minded small-fry who do such a disservice to the very name of local democracy.

The Case for the Defence

Dimished stature and lack of education should be no barriers to the proper exercise of the democratic process and it is probable that only a small number of bad apples are present in the barrel that is local democracy.

Verdict

Guilty!

Sentence

The prosecution has articulately and persuasively laid out the full enormity of this case and the sentence I intend to levy upon the perpetrators is not a light one. Had the normal course of action been allowed to prevail then the electoral process would have consigned these overbearing, truculent and cantankerous numskulls forever to the dustbin of local history. Their subsequent undoubted replacement by an equally fatheaded, presumptuous and puffed up bunch of knuckleheads, dimwits and simpletons is not within the ambit of this case or pronouncement.

Sad to say, a combination of bullying and threatening behaviour by the accused and a failure to act by those feckless lackeys who could and should have reported this behaviour when the opportunity presented itself merely engendered an environment where this tin-pot sexist, ill-mannered, monomaniacal malfeasance was allowed to flourish.

It is my grave duty, therefore, to impose a sentence that will serve both as a timely warning to all those who decide to follow the political path and a stark reminder to those who stray from it in the pursuit of greed and personal gratification. Let it also stand as a warning to those who stand by and do nothing. It was not a reasonable defence at Nuremberg and it is not a reasonable defence in my courtroom.

I hereby sentence all local government councillors to be suspended by their feet, their heads resting in a bucket of corpulent Welsh Darts legend Leighton Rees’ diahorrea until it pleases me to release them. I would further say that those representatives in the West of Scotland who are affected by this judgement should hold no hope of an early reprieve.

The Nissan Micra

The Accused

The Nissan Motor Company Limited

The charge

That the accused did wilfully and with malice aforethought manufacture very small low-powered cars and flagrantly market the same to immensely fat people with poor spatial awareness thereby preventing commuters from going about their rightful daily business.

The case for the prosecution

Ladies and Gentlemen, when Nissan USA president Yutaka Katayama introduced the compact pickup to America in 1959, he espoused a philosophy that was part Zen and part car aficionado: “Love cars, love people, love life.” When I was driving to this very court today I saw, and not for the first time, a hugely obese woman “driving” a Nissan Micra in the middle lane of the motorway at 40mph and I espoused a somewhat different philosophy. As there are likely to be children and people of finer sensibilities listening to this case, I will not repeat that particular philosophy here.

Suffice to say that the ghastly sight of some vast and lardy middle-aged female squeezed unceremoniously into a small tin and plastic wheeled box is not one that the eye welcomes so early in the day. Apart from the obvious visual enormity of the event, there is an altogether more sinister and indeed dangerous aspect to be considered. The viewer’s brain. Bereft of mental stimulation, the daily commuter will fall on the slightest curious incident like a pack of ravenous hyena on a wounded wildebeest. And this one is no exception. How did she get into that car in the first place? Given her relative bulk and the comparative tininess of the target space, the exercise was evidently not conducted by self alone.

So what fiendish accomplice, oiled and gloved, was responsible for squeezing and coaxing the behemoth into the Micra? How long did it take? Were wheels and pullies employed? Or large sticks and shoe-horns? Did a crowd of jeering small boys assemble to encourage the ingress? Which parts of respective anatomies came into contact to effect an entry? Hand on posterior? Like some appalling pastiche of Sartre, did it disappear right up to the elbow? What forces must have been at play!

And how would she be able to handle basic driving skills like steering when she clearly could not get her hands anywhere near the steering wheel, jammed against her voluminous folds of gut like it so clearly was. Had she perfected by way of necessity some kind of Tantric lower-abdominal muscle-control? And what of braking? The momentum of such a hideously disproportionate human frame encased in such a flimsy automobile careering along the Queen’s highway would surely not be halted by the mere application of rubber on metal. Presumably this goes a long way towards explaining precisely why a slow driving pace is required.

I think you will agree, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, that such thoughts are not the correct thoughts to be thinking when public road safety is of such obvious paramount importance.

In all the years that I have been kneeling at the feet of Genesius, I can safely say that I have never encountered such a depraved example of corporate barbarism as that displayed by the accused. The purveying of cancerous tobacco products, improperly-tested genetically-modified foodstuffs and even clackers pale into insignificance beside the considerable shadow of the Nissan Micra and its archetypal driver.

The case for the defence

Customer satisfaction levels are high.

Verdict

Guilty!

Sentence

Rarely have I had to listen to a case that so chills the marrow. Having considered punitive financial, custodial and indeed even mortal sentences, I am drawn inexorably to the most severe punishment that the law allows. I hereby sentence every senior executive within Nissan to drive a Nissan Micra until that day that he dies.

Pining for the fjords

The Accused

Ingvar Kamprad

The charge

That he deliberately and wittingly lures feeble-brained victims to his lair and there wrongfully imprisons them for a very long time, robbing them of their money and throwing them back out onto the street clutching unwanted low-quality items of furniture.

The case for the prosecution

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, the crimes committed by this evil monster defy belief and rightly deserve our vituperation, condemnation and disgust. Had he killed a small child, raped a puppy or defrauded an elderly lady out of her life savings, I might be standing here before you today pleading some mitigating circumstances. Perhaps an unhappy childhood or a traumatic early moment. Perhaps a doomed love affair that had left him sad and bitter. But no. This man, this Ingvar Kamprad, has stepped beyond the pale. Beyond anything that is good and true and decent. Beyond the very boundaries of all we hold dear, of the things that form the very glue and fabric of our society. He is the founder of IKEA.

Let us consider, for a moment, this Ingvar Kamprad.

This is a man who has systematically relieved his victims of not only their hard-earned money but also their taste, their hard-earned leisure time and, most significantly of all, their self-respect. And the pickings have been rich ones. Such has been the extent of this execrable crime that Kamprad was recently announced as the richest person in the world. Just contemplate that for a moment. Feel your very sinews and tendons being wrenched and wrest asunder like an uncooperative little black bolt by the Allen key of Swedish deception. The richest person in the world.

This is a man who traps his victims, countless thousands of them every day, with promises of domestic respect, enhanced storage capabilities and quality workmanship only to herd them around a giant blue and yellow cowshed full of tat with no visible means of escape and sell them things they don’t want and which their house cannot accommodate. The only way out is to go on. And on. And on and on and on. Until the very life essence is sucked out of them by inane babbling about how good that lamp would look on that table we got the last time or how clever that way of storing all of those little things inside that big plastic and canvas cupboard thing is! Subliminal advertising compounds the felony. Half a dozen wine goblets made by a Slovakian lesbian kibbutz from unattractively nasty recycled glass that you know will last two washes in your dishwasher, if you are lucky, suddenly seem like a must-have item. A circular blue rug with less build quality than the brown one that adorns Andrew Neil’s head looks ideal to complement the new wooden floor and outlandish colour scheme in your teenage daughter’s bedroom.

This is a man who is not content simply to rob his victims of their cash. Oh no. He must toy with them, torture them and play tricks with their minds until they succumb to his evil wiles. Announcement. “Customers please note that the average wait at our checkouts is now 40 minutes”. Oh, that’s not too bad, you think. I’ve been here for six hours already and although I’m only buying a bag of twenty tea lights that cost half this in Woolies, well, I’m here now so what’s another 40 minutes.

This is a man who, for every male over the age of forty, has spoiled the very essence of the idea of Sweden. Now I’ve never been to Sweden. And I freely admit that three years ago if I had undertaken a small ad hoc word association experiment involving that country then the words tall, blonde, water, fjords, naked, sex, free, and snow would probably be the first to spring to mind. But oh no. Undertaking that same ad hoc word association experiment in the present day elicits the altogether less attractive epithets of tedious, painful, meatballs, wasted, Sunday and afternoon.

This is a man who flagrantly, and with scant regard for his fellow man, sells cheap and nasty furniture to the lowest common denominator letting her believe that it will gain the respect of her fellow denominators. What is the point? Does any right-minded person really, really think in their heart of hearts that anyone outside of Dennyloanhead is in any way going to be even remotely impressed by a TV and video corner unit that looks like it was made as part of an evening-class woodwork project by Jeremy Beadle or by an art-deco mirror that has all the look and feel of a piece of shiny foil fashioned by an orang-utan with motor-neurone disease? Particularly when, following assembly instructions that were clearly written by a half-wit who was having a bad day, the item in question bears little or no resemblance to the one displayed in IKEA-hell twelve hours previously. Does a burberry cap say “class” anywhere but Coatbridge?

Anyone who has had the misfortune of having to endure the unutterably dull and tedious blue and yellow hell that is IKEA must surely be ruing every stomach-churningly noxious mouthful of plastic Swedish meatball and every buttock-clenchingly agonising pine splinter that have helped line the considerable pockets of this domestic war criminal. Let us mete out to him the justice he so clearly deserves.

The case for the defence

Students could furnish a flat at a reasonable cost.

Verdict

Guilty!

Sentence

That he be taken from this court to a place of execution, commonly known as the IKEA restaurant, and force fed Swedish meatballs in gravy with jam till dead. And may God rest his soul.

School’s A Scandal

The Accused

Messrs. Peter Peacock and Charles Clarke

The Charge

That they wantonly and negligently stand by and do nothing while our Education system lurches from crisis to crisis, leading to a dumbing-down of academic and social standards.

Case for the Prosecution

I have some questions. What has happened to our Education system? Why have examinations become so easy? Why are so many people being admitted to our universities to partake in courses that are unspeakably crass and ill-considered? Why do I increasingly see our educational institutions brimful of thick, badly-behaved little toads brandishing a clutch of unutterably useless, paper qualifications? Standard Grade Foundation Level? Have you ever witnessed this? The foundation level paper for French asks candidates to

– write their name (that’s worth 30%)

– choose the capital city of France from a list including Paris, New York and London (that’s worth 50%)

– and to ask what you would normally do with a baguette (that’s obviously worth the remaining 20%, a fact I mention for the benefit of anyone reading this who is practising for their Higher Mathematics examination and in need of a bit of arithmetical revision)

I know what I would do with it. It would involve the action of insertion, the nether parts of both Charles Clarke and Peter Peacock and swift movement. Clearly the baguette would need to be halved prior to insertion to meet its twin target, roasting notwithstanding, a feat best achieved by slicing the aforementioned baguette into two equal pieces; a fact I mention for the benefit of anyone reading this who is practising for their Higher Mathematics examination and in need of a bit of problem-solving revision with a geometrical slant.

A foundation or general pass standard grade says only one word to me. And that word is ‘loser’. But, I hear you opine, does it not say to you ‘This kid has worked d____d hard and while he may not be the sharpest tool in the shed at least he shows willingness and some kind of dedication so why not give him a chance, your honour?’

No. It does not.

If you are unfortunate enough to have received one of these pieces of paper as reward for your academic efforts and are reading this then I have two things to say to you. Firstly, it is not going to get you a job or prove your worth or persuade anyone that you will ever amount to anything worthwhile. Secondly, do you understand a single word of what I am saying? No. I didn’t think so. I make no apologies for saying it again because it most certainly bears repetition. Loser.

I have completely had this to the back teeth. Life is not easy. A lot of it is about achievement and reaching milestones. It’s about competition. It’s about proving your abilities to yourself and to other people who then make some key decisions about what is going to happen to you. It may be an employer giving you your first job or a bank manager giving you a loan to start a small business. If you are not good enough then you fail. Simple as that.

So why do we so readily shirk from failing these delinquents at school? Failure is as failure does. There would seem to me to be little point in deluding these perpetually under-achieving little ticks by falsely raising their hopes and engendering in their midst any illusion of adequacy by awarding them a meaningless, low-value qualification. Why, there are even awards for turning up! Excuse me? But is it not a legal requirement for a child to attend school? Yet, we feel a need to reward them with a certificate for doing what is required of them by the law! Why not go the whole hog and present them with a certificate for tying their own shoelaces, keeping themselves clean or remembering to breathe out after they have breathed in?

Let us now do what needs to be done. Consign them to the dustbin of academic natural selection at the first opportunity and stop them wasting the time of their fellow students and those poor saps who have taken it upon themselves to try and teach them something. Teach them something! Don’t make me laugh! The majority of our schools are no longer the seat of learning or groves of academe that we may remember from our youth. No more the chewed pencil and the furrowed brow! Our schools have become a haven for vicious little thugs who are given free rein to wield their particular brand of malice against staff and pupils alike, safe in the knowledge that any attempt to properly counter this behaviour will invoke castigation, under the banner of social inclusion, from shrewish, withered, badly-dressed, lentil-eating women who wouldn’t know the touch of a man from a washing machine and would have less chance of bearing a child of their own than Sister Wendy Beckett. At Lent.

Let them leave school unqualified and enter the world of the criminal, the layabout or the tradesperson. Better still, remove them now to a place where they can follow their own muse. An establishment like Guantanamo Bay, perhaps, far removed from the strictures of the Social Worker, the Curriculum Enhancement Officer or the Child Psychologist, has some obvious attractions. Let us allow the more academically-able to flourish and remove from a hard-pressed professional teaching staff the spectre of bullying, aggression and malevolence that invariably accompanies the low-life academic loser throughout his school ‘career’.

It’s not like the country is short of qualified graduates. It is bursting to the gunwhales with 21-year old media studies graduates all trying to get a job with the BBC on the strength of a 3000-word essay on “Alfie Moon: urban zeitgeist”. Yet you try and get hold of a reliable plumber.

There is little point in trying to run a country with only scientists. History shows that the humble hunchback also has his place.

The prosecution rests.

Case for the Defence

Record numbers of students are now applying for university places.

Verdict

Guilty as charged.

Sentence

I hereby decree that Mr Peter Peacock and Mr Charles Clarke should be taken from this court to a place of execution, otherwise known as an inner-city secondary school, and there be subjected to ritual abuse, verbal and physical assault, disrespect, bullying and teachers’ whining until they see some sense. I would also warn them that I would not expect to see them up before me a second time.