This is what you get if you vote for them

The party of law and order

  • Prime Minister spent his Christmas break with Rebekah Brooks
  • PM’s press officer was arrested for perjury
  • Party Chairman being investigated for theft
  • Party Treasurer resigned due to accusations of fraud

We’re all in it together

  • Cut tax for the richest
  • Cut pensions to fund the tax cut for millionaires
  • Failed to tackle massive tax avoidance by the richest 500 individuals
  • Cut Education Maintenance Allowance for poorest children

Economically sound

  • Turned 2% growth into a double-dip recession
  • Highest rate of business failures in history
  • 25% youth unemployment
  • Failure to enact promised banking reforms

Building a better society

  • Privatised the NHS in spite of massive opposition from 94% of doctors and 97% of the public
  • Closed 50% of youth centres
  • Announced plans to privatise all state schools in their 2nd term
  • Built just 52 “affordable” homes in 2 years, when London alone needs 200,000

The greenest government ever

  • Re-labelled natural gas as a “green fuel” to avoid failure to meet emissions goals
  • Cancelled minumum air quality targets
  • Failed to launch the green investment bank
  • Cancelled national home insulation programme

Competent

  • Pastie tax, reversing pastie tax
  • Caravan tax, reversing caravan tax
  • Charity tax cap, reversed charity tax cap
  • Privatised forests, reversed privatised forests

Trustworthy

  • Jeremy Hunt in corrupt conversations with the people he’s paid to oversee
  • Peter Cruddas selling access to the PM for £250,000
  • Baroness Warsi fraudulently claiming living expenses 2 years after the expenses scandal was meant to end all that
  • Andy Coulson – say no more

A true meritocracy

  • Britain has the lowest social mobility of any country in the G20, and falling
  • 23 of 29 cabinet ministers are millionaires who inherited their fortune
  • David Cameron is the Queen’s cousin and is married to a Baronet’s daughter
  • George Osborne’s previous work experience was folding towels at Selfridges and entering the names of people who died into an NHS computer

A fairer Britain

  • 62% of government investment is spent in Tory constituencies
  • If you’re born in a Labour constituency you are likely to die 12 years earlier
  • Raised tuition fees by 300% and cut support for poorer students
  • Eton and Harrow still have charitable status, so pay no tax

We have no choice but to make these cuts

  • Our national debt is lower than during 208 of the last 250 years
  • No bank or external authority threatened the UK or demanded cuts – this is all voluntary
  • In the UK we have austerity: our economy is shrinking by 0.3% and our deficit, debts and unemployment are rising
  • In the USA they have stimulus: the economy is growing by 1.75% and they deficit, debts and unemployment are falling

Coping with not having cancer

Not having cancer is turning into a real pain in the arse.

Last year I found out I had cancer. Bummer! I got better, and other than a foot-long scar and an increased determination to be selfishly happy, I’m the same as I was before.

But it’s a pain in the arse to not have cancer any more. It’s not that I want sympathy – far from it, sympathy makes me feel very uncomfortable. But having had cancer once upon a time means that people look at me differently from now on. They assume I’m rotting away from the inside, or that there’s something about me which might be contagious, or that my body is somehow “wrong”. My body is wrong in lots of ways, as anybody who’s seen me naked can attest, but most of my wrongness is caused by Hobnobs.

In case you’re from overseas and don’t know what Hobnobs are, they’re an oaty biscuit with a delicious topping made from chocolate and crack cocaine. They’re also the gnarliest of the biscuits: you can dunk them in hot tea for hours at a time, and they retain their structural integrity. Only the Bourbon Cream is anywhere near as tough. For the benefit of Johnny Foreigner, the Bourbon Cream is a sandwich made up of two crunchy biscuits, bonded together with a layer of what might be cat sick.

Enough biscuit news, back to cancer. Yes, I’m missing a kidney, but loads of people only have one functioning kidney and never even notice. There’s a fair chance you’ve got a knackered one, or maybe even an excess of kidneys. It’s not uncommon.

Because of my many personality failings I barely know any other humans. But even amongst the tiny group of people who can bear me (mainly employees, which surely doesn’t count, because I have to pay them to hang out with me) – even amongst those few people, I know one guy who has 6 kidneys and another with 8. And that’s somewhat lavish, given that I’m living proof than more than one is totally unnecessary. If I was missing two kidneys I’d be worried, but missing one is no worse than losing a middle toe: unsightly, unexpected and requires explanation, but it doesn’t really impact on your life.

The worse thing about not having cancer, though, is having to mix with people who do. It’s not them, it’s me. No, really, it is. They hate me.

I’m taking part in a clinical trial to find out if it’s safe for former cancer patients to take a drug that might (fingers crossed) cure a load of kidney cancers that currently only have a surgical solution. My cancer was one of those – if the surgery had failed there was, at the time, bugger all they could do. I was lucky mine was operable, in spite of being enormous. But this drug offers the hope that surgery might not be necessary, and I’m doing my little part in checking for side-effects. I’ve been doing it for a year, and it’s perfectly safe so far. But it means every 6 weeks I have to go to Christies Cancer hospital for a scan.

And that’s where the trouble starts.

I roll up to Christies at 9am, and they plonk down a vat of putrid liquid that they’ve tried to disguise with chemical that I’m sure is Agent Orange, or possibly Draino. I have to drink 2 small cups of it, and then another cup every 15 minutes for 2 hours. It’s got radium in it, so after the scan is over I’m made to chew a chalky and nasty iodine tablet to soak up the radioactivity, and although it’s (sadly) never happened yet, I’m always warned that the drink might make my poo glow in the dark. I’ll keep you informed about my motions.

Then they make me dress in a humiliatingly arseless hospital gown, shove a canula into my arm, and sit me in a waiting room with 8-10 cancer patients who are waiting for scans too. And we wait, often for 2 hours.

If you’re in a cancer hospital, cancer is the sole topic of conversation. They’re like those old women who start every discussion with the words “I’m 87, you know”. There’s a polite silence when a new person arrives, but within 15 seconds somebody asks “What’s wrong with you, then?”.

They don’t want to know what’s wrong with you really; they just want an excuse to tell everybody what’s wrong with them. They should blog, it’s much less intrusive.

There follows a litany of melanomas, carcinomas, lymphomas and sarcomas. It would scare the bejeesus out of me if I wasn’t aware that 90% of all cancers are now completely curable. This ward is full of the exceptions, but it takes presence of mind to remember that, and not to suddenly freak out that every human on the planet is currently host to a massive tumour

They take it in turns to tell their story, and everyone says the same things:

  • The NHS is a marvel, Britain’s greatest achievement, and we’ll be lost without it (are you listening Andrew Lansley, you callous cunt?)
  • Christies cancer hospital, in particular, is a cathedral of care, filled with love and genius, and performing miracles at every moment
  • Life is a good thing, worth fighting for, and they are determined to live every second

If you’re depressed, go and hang out there. I know I sound like Fight Club, but you’ve never met a bunch of people so determined to have fun. I think that in life we all need something to kick against, and cancer is certainly that. In energises your spirit in some way – I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, not even Thatcher (which is saying something); but it has a remarkable ability to focus your attention on what’s good about life. In case you’re wondering, what’s so good about life is almost everything.

And in most cases, cancer makes you laugh a lot more. Odd, but true. The other patients in the waiting room tell their stories with excellent black humour, giggling at their imminent death or the grisly prospect of a month sat in a chemo chair being carefully, skillfully poisoned to within an inch of their life. They’re brave and honest and clear-eyed and keen to laugh.

But sometimes it stops being funny. Last time there was a guy sitting opposite me, telling his tale. I’d say he was 75 or 80, with male-pattern-baldness and thin, whispy hair lingering above his ears. Sunken eyes, and his hoarse, cracked voice was barely a whisper. He had no teeth, and his skin is like tissue paper. He told us all, with not a hint of self-pity, that he hoped to make it to his next birthday, because it’s an important one.

He’ll be 40.

It’s such a shock to find out that this 80-year-old geezer is actually a couple of years younger than me that I was still slightly speechless when it was my turn to tell everyone what type of cancer is gobbling me up, and I didn’t take enough care to explain things carefully. I just told them truth: there’s nothing wrong with me.

I tried to laugh it off, gave an apologetic shrug and hoped they’d move on. But judging by the looks they gave me, I would have been better to announce that I’d deliberately flambée’d their grandmother and reversed over their dog.

In the normal world, whether you like it or not, you have a disgust of cancer. When somebody tells you they have it, you shrink away from them, avoid them. They remind you that death is at the end of the road, and you don’t want to know that. But I remind these mortally ill people that life is at the other end of the road, and I don’t think they want to know.

They looked at me like I was a fraudster, which is how I feel every time I go to Christies. No matter what’s wrong with you, you can always find somebody worse off in a hospital. But in Christies every single person has a variation of the same thing: their body is turning against them. But not me. I’m fine. I know I’m doing my bit to help them all, but that’s hard to explain. The truth is, I feel like I don’t belong, and am just here to gobble up resources and mock their death with my life.

I have rarely felt so unwelcome. It’s not easy to not have cancer.

Keep your eye on the ball

Britain’s, apparently, got talent.

It’s almost impossible to write that opening sentence, because every spell-checker worth its salt screams at me to fix the gruesome syntax, especially the advanced and pedantic spell-checker in my head. Has talent. Not got talent. Simon Cowell has a lot to answer for, and to start with he’s going to answer to the irritated English teacher that lives inside me.

My talent is pointless trivia, so I’m going to use some to brighten up your day.

Simon Cowell.
Before Britain Has Talent and the other shows he’s foisted upon us like a demented scientist with a dangerously addictive new drug, the most successful thing he’d ever done was…. Mr Blobby’s single. Yes, he did that. Shoot him in the face. He also turned down Take That, because he has such a great eye for a successful act. Simon Cowell is good at only two things: promoting Simon Cowell, and shoving men’s tumescent penises right into his flapping ringpiece.

Bearing in mind my opening salvo, you might assume I hate the programme and never watch it. But you’re only half right. I hate the programme and watch it fairly often. Actually, you’re only a quarter right: I don’t watch once the auditions are over, because let’s face it, nobody likes watching success. Would Fawlty Towers have been great if Basil had run a first-class establishment? No, it’s great because we love to watch deluded idiots fail dismally.

And Britain Has Talent is chock-a-block with dismal idiots. Yes, I said Britain Has Talent. I’m determined to use English as she is goodly spoken.

But I didn’t watch the series that just ended, which means I missed the whole thing with the dog. In case you’re also living in a cave, a dog won Britain Has Talent, and the nation appears to have gone slightly demented about it.

Living in caves
In the year 1900 in the town where I live (Stockport) there were still over 200 people living in caves.

I imagine the dog hasn’t gone demented about the win, because it was probably demented to start with.

Dogs
Dogs have only one bark when they communicate with other dogs, but up to 6 different barks to communicate with humans – they speak to us in a different language than they speak to each other.

As much as I love dogs – and I really love them – they are spectacularly gormless. Did you know they’re less intelligent than pigs? Whoops, sorry…

Pigs
Pigs are more intelligent than dogs. And tastier! Pigs are also the only land animals apart from humans that sunburn. (Manatees can sunburn, but they’re not land animals – even though they do looks surprisingly like Carol Yager. Who? We’ll get to that.)

So I doubt the dog in question was deliriously happy about winning. He was probably just deliriously happy to have some ham and drag his arse around the carpet until the klinkers fell off. That’s all it takes sometimes. They have very low expectations, and a ball can make them demented with glee.

We’re no better. My neighbours went demented with glee because one football team beat another football team at football, which is the thing they’re paid to do, and which they do every fucking week, and will do every fucking week for the rest of recorded time.

Football
Football is a game that children play. So grow the fuck up.

Ancillary football fact
Football makes me say fuck a lot.

The dog won for the same reason the fat girl wins: there are many, many people who are incredibly cynical about Cowell, and who want nothing more than to piss on his chips. He wants the thin, pretty girl to win. So people who hate Cowell vote for the fat frumpy girl, and Cowell wins either way.

Fat girls
The world’s fattest woman was Carol Yager. She looked like a Manatee. See, told you we’d get to that! At her heaviest she weighed over 114 stone, but nobody knows for sure because they couldn’t find scales big enough to put her on. She went on a diet and lost 36 stones in 3 months – which is also the fastest weight-loss in history – but she died anyway, and they had to knock the wall of her house down to get her body out. She was buried in a piano crate.

This year I decided I hated Cowell too much to let myself get drawn in. I think I may only watch again if somebody arrives saying that their talent is hurling javelins into greedy, closeted, self-regarding fuckwads. I’d watch that. I’d do that. Not a jury in the world would convict me once I played them Mr Blobby.

Cowell’s awfulness is so refined that I’m convinced he’s been prepared by Heston Blumenthal, who took offcuts of Pol Pot and Margaret Thatcher, seasoned them with shavings of Tom Cruise’s ego, and reduced them on a low heat until they caramelized into the quintessence of cunt that we see today. For a while he was equally repulsive and fascinating, but now repulsive has won the day, and the only thing that would make me watch him is if he was being slowly pushed into a bacon slicer.

So I can quite understand why people don’t want to know about politics – it’s the politicians. They’re awful. There are 650 MPs, and every one of them makes Cowell seem as likeable as the love-child of Stephen Fry and Miranda Hart.

But unlike Cowell, MPs are never going to get cancelled. They’ll always be with us, and voting for the novelty dog act isn’t going to change a damn thing. I know for sure, because we tried it at the last election, and now we have Nick Clegg being led around on a leash by the Tories, who’s only excuse for not addressing deep-rooted problems is that Labour didn’t fix them either. I’m not making a party political point – vote for who you want – I’m just encouraging you to take an interest, or there will be more of the terrible socio-economic injustices that are happening right now in your ignorant name.

Please read the next bit. It’s got numbers in it, but read anyway.

Terrible socio-economic injustices:
Since 2010 the UK’s richest 2000 people have seen their income increase by a total of £155billion, or 3 times the total UK deficit. Of those 2000 people, over 1700 are owners or managers of companies which got the bailout in 2010, and they are therefore responsible for 67% of our entire national debt. Which you and me are repaying. And them? They pay an average of 7% personal taxation, because they use offshore accounts to avoid proper tax.

Debt crisis? Or a massive redistribution of national income from poor to rich? Because the simple maths says that you, me, and every other person in the country have had to cough up £6,300 each to pay for their fuck-up, and rather than repaying their own debt they’ve trousered the cash. We rescued their business, and now we repay the debt incurred by rescuing their business. We’ve lost jobs, homes, education, health provision, pensions and futures because not enough people are complaining about the bare-faced theft that’s going on. We’ve got used to it, and aren’t even questioning that we have a massive debt that needs to be repayed.

Massive debt
As a percentage of our national income, our debt is currently lower than it was for 208 of the last 250 years. By any historical measure, we don’t have a debt problem. And while we’re on the subject of history, today’s wealth-gap between the richest 2000 people and the average UK citizen is the same as it was the year of the French Revolution.

You stop paying any attention to how your country is run for just 20 or 30 years, and look what happens. That’ll teach you to take your eye off the ball.

Sorry. I lulled you in with a rant about novelty dogs and Simon Cowell’s flapping ringpiece, and then sucker-punched you by pointing out a damn good reason to stop being distracted by football and the fucking Olympics, and start engaging in politics. I know, it’s a terribly sneaky way to make you see some pretty horrific facts about what’s being done in your name. And I know I just called you ignorant, but you probably are ignorant. You probably don’t know this stuff, because it’s not being reported. Well now you know. That’s a start.