Peter Vain, Secretary of State for Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Tan, has been praised by Friends of the Earth for installing solar panels at his Neath home.
But rumours abound that Vain, currently sporting the David Dickenson mahogany skin effect, had in fact asked for solar panels inside the house to top up the tan. He is believed to be distraught that the bloody things are on top of the roof.
The English cricket team beat one country and winning a four-inch cup to win the Ashes. The captain and coach get OBEs and the rest of them get MBEs.
The Welsh rugby team wins its first Grand Slam in 20 years (it only feels like a hundred) and the coach gets an OBE.
What happened? Did they run out of medals - or is this annual farce of the Head of State patting her subjects on the head and dishing out trinkets really a good way of celebrating what's best in art, sports and culture?
Christian charity "The Breakout Trust" were so upset by a kid asking why Mary and Joseph named their baby after a swear word they spent £200,000 making a 30-minute animated film called "It's a boy!" (featuring Cannon & Ball plus
music from Cliff Richard!) and sent a copy to every Welsh primary school.
Happy Xmas - just remember it's got nothing to do with religion!
Aren't public schools great?
First of all, they call themselves public schools when in fact they're the opposite - they're private and not open to the public at all. As sensible as calling the seating areas in football grounds "stands".
They educate a grand total of 6% of UK schoolchildren in smaller classes, with better facilities and having weeded out the real thickos with entrance examinations.
Little wonder that the little darlings then do so well when they leave school. We find that three quarters of judges went to public school - which explains they're wonderfully well-rounded understanding of society.
Equally worrying is that a third of all MPs - 57% of Tories and 16% of Labour - also went to fee-paying schools. These people decide our future but come from a different planet. Their parents were wealthy enough to pay £20,000 a year for their education (that's the average working wage for most people), they inevitably go to one of the top half dozen universities in the UK, the networks created in these formative years come in very useful when junior Blair or Cameron is finding his feet in the real world ("Daddy can get you a job in the City/Tory party/his Chambers") and they then proceed to lecture the rest of us about the need for pay restraint, competitiveness and meritocracy.
Worst of all is the bleating about "education, education, education" - they know how important a good education is because they got one. The last thing they want to do is extend that privilege to the rest of the population because it would scupper the traditional advantages the ruling class has always enjoyed.
The class struggle is still being played out in the classroom and we're the dunces for allowing them to get away with it.
Those champions of all things British, the BNP, have been having a hard time of it of late. Shame.
No British printer will touch their Freedom rag and so the job is undertaken by printers in Eastern Europe. Presumably they can't read the abuse about scrounging asylum seekers and economic migrants that fills its pages.
Worse than that, The August issue was stopped by customs and excise, prompting paranoid howls of state interference from people who know what a strong state is all about.
Now this month's edition is being held back by the printer because the BNP's bank transfer has not gone through. The BNP - ever ready to find a scapegoat - has sent out a message to all supporters explaining the dilemma. It wonders, in that wonderfully paranoid way, "whether this is a symptom of growing Third World incompetence or whether this is a deliberate 'error' to sabotage the party."
Foreigners, you just can't trust 'em, see.
News that Otis Ferry, the privately-educated and fanatically fox-hunting son of Brian, has been charged with drink-driving prompts a thought...
Will the ringleader of the Countryside Alliance's attack on the House of Commons claim that drink-driving is a countryside pursuit, a traditional way of keeping village pubs in business and that draconian laws are making criminals out of law-abiding people? At least it meant he was probably too pissed to run over a fox.
Coming next: Smack addiction - a rural pastime
Why didn't he just change his name to Frank Criminal? At least then he wouldn't have been shot...
Seems like avian flu is a bit like man flu, only more serious.
So why did they have to bring a dead parrot into the proceedings? Next we'll have Michael Palin doing public information films about the dangers of the Norwegian Blue.
Next week: Reg from the Judean People's Front explains how to bring peace to the Middle East. Exactly what have the Americans ever done for us?
News that Labour in England is planning to privatise vast swathes of the NHS for the benefit of its big business buddies don't shock anymore. Labour's track record of sucking up to corporate interests at the expense of workers' interests is well documented and it's no surprise given the intense lobbying that happens at conference level. God only knows how much more is done behind closed doors.
The Assembly is also intensely lobbied by business and commercial interests and, despite protestations about clear red water between Wales and London, there's nothing to suggest Rhodri Morgan won't follow the leader when it comes to the crunch.
If he was genuinely committed to mapping a Welsh alternative to New Labour he would scrap the transfer of council housing to the private sector and ensure councils were able to deal on a level playing field with modernising people's homes.
The article below is from the ever wonderful Schnews... http://www.schnews.org.uk/archive/news513.htm
NEO-LABOUR'S 2005 BRIGHTON CONFERENCE A SELL-OUT
Get yer wallets out, the corporate party conference is coming back to town with the usual range of policies, directorships and knighthoods up for grabs to the highest bidder. "20 years ago the Labour conference was packed with social justice campaigners", says Terry, a lifelong party activist, as he contemplates ripping up his membership card. "Now you can't get around without tripping over some suited corporate lackey." Yep, the international law-breaking, war mongering, money-hungry machine that is the Labour Party Plc. is back at to stay in the swankiest hotels in Brighton - whilst the locals have to suffer armed police on every street corner.
Yet again, conference is welcoming with open arms (deals) a range of corrupt and dodgy corporations. This year organisers are even putting on a "Labour Party Corporate Day" in honour of their rich mates (you couldn't make this up!) Tuesday's event is being billed as "a specially designed commercial package for business visitors to Conference". Not only do paying attendees get a reserved seat at Tony's keynote speech and a free lunch to boot, they are also invited to a "series of focused policy seminars with senior Labour figures".
If company bosses find this event fully booked, Neo Labour's exhibitors' catalogue proudly offers sponsorship of other conference events such as 'Identity crisis: who do we think we are?' sponsored by Siemens (up for the contracts for I.D.card technology) or how about 'Kyoto: dead or alive? International climate change policy beyond 2012'? sponsored by those eco-minded types at Shell. For the smaller entrepreneur there's always conference maps and staircases to bung a logo on.
Sponsorship's a worthwhile business. Take US arms manufacturer, Raytheon Systems for example. They chucked the Labour party five grand in 1997, sweetening the gift by flying a load of MPs to Paris on a jolly at the same time. A real bargain - despite former Raytheon sales manager, John McDermott, admitting taking £140,000 in bribes two years previously, the company still managed to pick up a Ministry of Offence contract to build a £800m battlefield
radar spy-plane system.
And don't forget David Sainsbury. Dave donated the Labour party £1 million in 1997, receiving a Lordship in return for his much needed cash injection into a party which had bankrupted itself running its General Election campaign. In 1998, he dug deeper, doubling his donation and, in a completely unrelated set of events, became the Science Minister in charge of promoting Genetically Modified food on behalf of his various business cronies. Who knows what Enron would have got from the £36,000 they gave the Neo Labour for dinner tickets and conference tables? Given that the company went belly up and drowned in one of the largest financial scandal in history, SchNEWS guesses that
we'll never know.
Profits of Doom
If you get bored of wondering around the exhibitors' conference, there are always the corporate sponsored fringe meetings. Why not trundle along to Transport Minister Stephen Ladyman's fireside chat about the success of the government's transport policy? That's being sponsored by the Go-Ahead group. Go-Ahead lost the Thameslink rail franchise due to utterly crap performance; having the lowest customer satisfaction rating of any train operating
company - which with our railway system is pretty impressive. Standard Life, meanwhile, is sponsoring a fringe meeting debating whether pensions should be made compulsory. As the one of UK's largest pension providers, Standard Life is just dying to force people to buy its products.
Round the corner, Patricia Hewitt, the Health Secretary, is giving a speech to a meeting debating 'public service delivery'. They'll be no doctor or nurse joining her on the platform though; instead she'll be cosying up to one of the partners from accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, a company at the forefront of the business of advising people how to avoid paying the kinds of taxes which are needed to run the a health service.
Much of this corporate success has been thanks the Neo Labour peer, Lord Michael Levy. He is reported to have raised £12 million for the party's 'high value fund' before the 1997 election, quickly becoming known as 'Mr
Cashpoint'. Although a multi-millionaire, he only paid £5,000 in tax in 1998-9 and less than £10,000 in 1997-8 as he said he wasn't working.
Of the 97 official high-value donors in 1998-9 more than 30 have received some kind of Government job. And, the revolving door works both ways: in order to maintain influence at the heart of government, the corporations are buying up the party's special advisers.
Tim Allan, a former Downing Street adviser, went on to become the Director of Corporate Communications for Rupert
Murdoch's BSkyB. Blair's former 'Gatekeeper' private secretary, Anji Hunter, also left Tony's side to take over as Director of Communications at BP on a salary of £200,000.
If all the corporate activity wears you out, don't think that Bono's going to save you. He's in town and headlining on Wednesday to tell conference-goers how to solve world poverty. In case you miss the speech, SchNEWS can reveal that lapdog Bonio will likely be recommending business as usual. Two years ago in a similar discussion on poverty Bono must have missed the fact that one quarter of US children grow up in poverty, when he said he'd moved
on from U2's anti-American lyrics, adding, "now, America looks smart and dare I say it, sexy again." Give him a biscuit!
When, back in 1998, Peter Mandelson told reporters that "the Labour party is intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich", he was clearly talking in particular about elite members of Neo Labour and its corporate cronies, because Labour MPs were dashing around Brighton last week in a desperate attempt to find themselves somewhere to stay. They come way down on the pecking list for hotels, with the party elite and the exhibitors booking some 18 months ahead. That's priorities for you!
No wonder exhibitors recently praised the party for running the 'friendliest' political conference in Europe! The party is now so far from its roots as a political party of the working classes as to be unrecognisable and corporate interests have effectively privatised the political process.
For more on Neo Labour's corporate links http://www.red-star-research.org.uk
You couldn't make it up...
Disturbing news reaches Seren of an elderly Welshman being forced to work "opening doors" on a pittance of just £12,000 a year.
The greedy bosses at the Baltic and International Maritime Council, are disgracefully exploiting this pensioner, who used to work at the European Union.
Soren Larsen, of Bimco, said: “Through his previous job, he's got the right contacts and will help us to the right level at the right time, before decisions are made. We’re getting to a higher level. That's where he can be a useful door-opener.”
The man in question is former Labour leader Neil Kinnock, who now survives on just his £128-a-day House of Lords allowance and a fat European pension. Donations to the Lord Kinnock Hardship Fund will be passed on to Glenys, who takes in washing to make ends meet.