"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese

Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.

A Farthingsworth of Tall Tales from Blighty's Fameless Blog
Newsflash from New York (no, not that one!) |  Are the British better drivers? |  The Story of the Telephone Kiosk |  Drinking Nelson's Blood |  Screaming Jelly Babies |  Flying to the UK is very dangerous! |  Brits to drive on the right |  Who hung the monkey? |  Upper class virgins |  Double, double trouble |  What a Lovely Morning for a War

Monday, February 23, 2009

The BBC Blanks Out

A few days ago, Blighty's Blog reported on a new service through which you could receive BBC1 and BBC2 television from the UK - live. If you missed the post, here is a link to it:


In the post I noted that I couldn't see how the service could possibly be legal and that you should enjoy it while it lasts. Well, it didn't last very long at all. Late last week I clicked on the link and received an error message that said something to the effect of: "connection refused, go away, you don't belong here". I brought up the website again the next day and the links for the BBC had been removed.

Blighty's Blog is read in a surpringly large number of countries around the world. Among the countries from which we frequently get readers is ... the United Queendom - home of "the Beeb". Is it possible that somebody in "Bertie's British Cupboard" (that's a joke, read the story about the two BBCs here) read Blighty's Blog and pulled the switch?

Well, I am not going to risk that happening again. I routinely watch live UK Premiership soccer games on the Setanta sports channel. But I do it for free through the Internet. If you would like to know how you will have to ask (send a comment using the link below and I will email you privately). If you are British and your name is Bertie and you live in a Cupboard, I am sorry but I am not going to divulge my secret to you. Whoops, sorry, it is so difficult to tell the difference between a giant broadcasting corporation called BBC and a small British imports store in Canada called BBC (are you still reading Blighty's Blog, Auntie Beeb?)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Big Brother Britain is Watching You

Will you be visiting Britain this summer? Leave your camera at home in Canada - it could land you in jail for a very long time. A new proposal before the UK parliament will make it a criminal offence, punishable by up to 10 years in jail, to take a picture of a policeman, reports Britain's Daily Mail newspaper.

No really, this is not an April Fool's joke; we are still in the chilly depths of February. Big Brother Britain also wants to install CCTV cameras inside pubs and is considering banning the wearing of hats in pubs so the cameras get a better view of the pub's patrons.

CCTV cameras already follow the British people everywhere they go. Licence plate recognition cameras identify and track people as they drive. Speed cameras snap your plate if you so much as venture a hair's breadth above the limit. A national DNA database can link you to a crime scene if your DNA is found at place where an offence is later committed.

Why is all this happening? Because Britain is constantly under a perceived threat of terrorism. It all sounds very draconian and unreal, but similar laws have been used in recent years to detain train-spotters.

Whatever happened to the friendly British bobby who would gladly pose for tourists' photographs? Whatever happened to freedom?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ontario Govt Unrepentant Over Haggis

Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is unrepentant. If you didn't already catch the Blighty's Blog post about how the heavy hand of the McGuinty Liberal government is killing production of haggis and black pudding in Ontario, you can still read it by following this link: Ontario Government Kills Burns Night.

Ms Dombrowsky and her bureaucrats are descending like a ton of bricks on small butcher shops that produce haggis and black pudding. Her position is clear; whether you are a small one-man butcher shop - or a giant corporate meat producer we are going to treat you all the same way. Either you invest huge sums in upgrading your facilities or face fines and confiscation of your fixtures and equipment.

One man butcher shops won't survive and Ms Dombrowsky's friends at the big corporations aren't even remotely interested in making small market products like haggis and black pudding.

I bet you didn't see this shocker coming when you voted at the last provincial election. After all, which party is supposed to be covertly in league with the big corporations? No, not that one - it is the McGuinty Liberals!

Our freezer is full of haggis, black pudding, square sausage, vegetable roll, beef links, mealie pudding and Ayrshire bacon right now. But all that will soon disappear. Not only is the production of haggis and black pudding being squeezed out of existence, but the government of Ontario is also stopping Blighty's butcher from selling his products wholesale. Our freezer will be empty.

If you are as outraged as I am please participate in our poll (see the sidebar on the right of this page). If we don't speak up now and make our voice heard, the government bureaucratic steamroller will roll right over us.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Britain Engulfed by Storms (in a teacup)

The British Isles has been overwhelmed by storms this week - and one of them was even related to the weather. Blighty's Blog is only just recovering from paroxysms of mirth over the "Storm in a Teacake" affair (see last post). Now our sides are splitting anew over the latest storm to sweep through the Excited Queendom.

Britain is broiling over a double golliwog scandal. First, the daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was fired by the BBC ... for being the daughter of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher AND for having used the word "golliwog" in connection with a French tennis player. The offence (the golliwog reference, that is) was uttered off-air in a private room in a private conversation.

Writing in today's Daily Mail about the Thatcher sacking, Lindsay Johns said:

"As a black writer and broadcaster, I find the BBC’s stance patronising and divisive. I don’t want some well-heeled, ivory tower managers presuming that they have the right to speak on my behalf, quivering with synthetic outrage as they try to articulate my supposed sense of grievance ..."

But even worse! Her Majesty the Queen has been profiting from the sale of golliwogs in the souvenir shop at her Sandringham estate. Her Majesty has ordered the dolls to be withdrawn from sale and has apologized to the nation for any offence the cuddly little toys may have caused.

For the record and contrary to popular belief, it is NOT illegal to sell golliwogs in the UK (or in Canada). According to a poll conducted by Britain's Daily Mail newspaper, an overwhelming majority of the British people wish to keep it that way.

So while the world hovers on the brink of financial ruin Britain pre-occupies itself with controversies over teacakes and dolls - how very quaint. But at least it keeps their minds off the weather. Dear old Blighty is being pounded with the kind of snow that is usually reserved for most parts of Canada - and you can't buy a decent snow shovel there for love or money.

Footnote: Golliwogs are shamelessly offered for sale at Blighty's Tuck Store.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Storm in a Teacake Epilogue

Finally, there is a conclusion to the story about Marks & Spencer teacakes which featured in Blighty's Blog last April http://blog.blightys.com/2008/04/storm-in-teacake.html.

A pitched battle lasting 13 years took place between M&S and the British taxman over whether M&S teacakes are liable to VAT (Value Added Tax). The taxman said M&S teacakes are chocolate covered biscuits and must be taxed. M&S said, no, their teacakes are cakes and are exempt from tax. It was a hotly contested fight - you could say that the marks and sparks were flying (but that would be an awful pun so please don't).

The European Court of Deciding Really Important Things ruled in favour of Marks & Spencer but left it to the UK courts to decide whether the taxman should reimburse £3.5M in overpaid taxes to M&S.

The taxman argued that it was M&S' customers who had paid the tax and that M&S would enjoy "unjust enrichment" if they were to be given the money. The British Lords of the Law have now decided that M&S rather than HM Government should be unjustly enriched. So the British exchequer must now cough up the loot from its coffers.

For the record, Blighty's Tuck Store sells the contentious teacakes in Canada and has never charged a brass farthing in VAT, GST or any other tax on them.

Save the Earth - it's the only planet with chocolate!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Happy Candlemas Day

Today is Candlemas Day. Oh, you thought it was "Groundhog Day"? Well, I am sorry but even the groundhogs aren't aware that today is named after them. You see, groundhogs celebrate Candlemas Day!

Candlemas Day has been celebrated by groundhogs and humans for hundreds of years. It falls on the second day of February and, in England, it is traditionally hoped to be the last day of winter.

If Candlemas Day be fair and bright,
Winter will have another flight;
If Candlemas Day be wind and rain.
Winter is gone and won't come again.

Of course, in Canada, there can be no expectation that winter will end so early in the year. For us it's at least another six chilly weeks - no matter what the bloomin' rodents have to say on the matter!