50 Ways To Fake The Death Toll


Watching Donald Trump bluster and wave charts around in his interview with Jonathan Swan, I couldn’t help but feel that, at any moment, the latter would zone out in a Randy Rainbow style musical reverie. But which song? There can be only one…


“The problem is all inside your head”, he said to me
“The answer is easy, do it Presidentially,
I’d like to help you in your struggle how to see
There must be fifty ways to fake the death toll”

He said, “It’s really not my habit to speak truth
Furthermore, I hope the facts will all be lost or misconstrued,
But I’ll repeat myself at the risk of being crude:
There must be fifty ways to fake the death toll.
Fifty ways to fake the death toll.”

“You just leave out the facts, Jack,
Talk a new plan, Stan,
You don’t have to be right, Dwight,
Just lie through your teeth.
Sharpie the chart, Art.
You don’t need be that smart,
Just fudge a few stats, Matt,
And lie through your teeth.

Ooh leave out the facts, Jack,
Talk a new plan, Stan,
You don’t have to be right, Dwight,
Just listen to me!
Sharpie the chart, Art,
You don’t need be that smart,
Just fudge a few stats, Matt,
And lie through your teeth.”

He said, “It grieves me so to see you don’t believe,
I wish there was something I could do, to once again deceive.”
I said, “I appreciate that, and would you please reprise
About the fifty ways?”

He said, “Why don’t we both just tweet on it tonight,
And I believe in the morning you’ll begin to see the light.”
And then he dissed me, and I realised he probably was right
There must be fifty ways to fake the death toll

Fifty ways to fake the death toll.


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A Tale of Two Moralities

trump corona

President Trump is putting non-medically-trained “experts” in charge of the COVID 19 problem. What could possibly go wrong?


Night was a clammy blanket over the jungles of Nambia. In the poorly-constructed corrugated tin hut that passed for the medical centre in the town of Mabula, crisis was never more than the next patient away. The team of medical specialists, who had once served here so proudly, was now reduced to a skeleton crew. Tired minds and tired bodies worked around the clock to keep up with the constant stream of emergencies: malaria, ebola, cholera, typhoid — each had done its worst. Epidemics had come and gone, but the funding? The funding had mostly gone. Nambia was, after all, a shithole: in the brave new world of medical aid you didn’t fund shitholes when you could be funding insurance companies’ dividends.

Doctor Shaw, a one-time army medic and a veteran of more years in so-called “shitholes” than she cared to remember, wiped the sweat from her eyes and tried to concentrate on intubating the emaciated baby before her. A precision job, given his tiny airway, and one not made easier by her stinging eyes and the unreliable light grudgingly thrown by the ancient generator. At last she succeeded: another Phyrric victory, probably — the baby would almost certainly be dead by the morning. Too little, too late. Just one more small body to add to the ever-deepening grave in her conscience.  As she hooked the child up to as strong an antibiotic as was available, she shrugged the feelings away. Self pity wouldn’t help her patients. She went to find the boy’s mother, to offer what small words of hope she might be able to excavate from a barrel that had long since been scraped dry. Hours later, as she fell into a restless sleep, she could not escape the despairing hope in the mother’s eyes.


A few hours later, in Washington DC, a President — whose most major contribution to medicine had been his own consumption of pharmaceutical products down the years — was looking forward to receiving large donations from pharmaceutical companies. He had a meeting with them later that same day and he could almost smell the opportunities. He congratulated himself on his knowledge of plague. One of the Four Horsemen, right? Useful, in the right hands.

In Nambia, a doctor, whose entire career had been dedicated to fighting actual plagues, awoke to find that real science had wrought a minor miracle and brought a young child back from the brink. Savour the victories, she told herself, as she relayed the good news to the boy’s mother: fighting plagues, be they viral, bacterial or Presidential, was a forever war.







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Wokeness: Elitism, Compassion or What?


‘Wokeness is elitism

masquerading as compassion’



Laurence Fox’s foray into Question Time’s chicken run, and the subsequent fallout, has certainly set the cat of disdain among the pigeons of wokeness.

Wokeness, it seems, is a problematic condition, because those who suffer from it are making racist/sexist mountains out of molehills: they are “virtue-signallers”; they are “smugly righteous”; they are “perpetually offended”.

I know these things because there is ample testimony on Twitter from those who self-identify as wokeness experts. These stalwarts can spot wokeness at a hundred paces, and, having spotted it, they safely ignore whatever take was being expressed, secure in the knowledge that it is irrelevant to their worldview.

Take this tweet, commenting on criticisms of Meghan Markle, as a case in point:

Woke Drones

The “woke-drones” keep “banging on” about racist criticism. How do we know they are woke-drones? Well, it’s obvious: as the author points out, he hasn’t seen any examples of actual racism against her. QED.

Helpfully, he then provides us with a clear definition of actual racism in this context: “specifically criticising her because of her ethnicity”. Case closed! Disregard the woke-drones!

Well, not quite so fast. At the risk of being considered a woke-drone myself, is it true that racism requires specific examples of criticism, mentioning race, nationality, colour or ethnicity? Do commentators have to tie their racism or sexism up in a neat little bow by making blatant references to ethnicity or gender? Should we disregard a vast array of alternative scenarios, where racism or sexism is presented in a more passive-aggressive manner? Should we draw a discreet veil over an entire class of discrimination described in the Equality Act as indirect discrimination? Would pointing those out be a case of “banging on”, or merely the introduction of much-needed perspective into a widely misunderstood area of debate?

In a nutshell, “woke” seems to have become the pejorative term of choice for dismissing those who might draw the demarcation zones of racist behaviour more judiciously than others. Following Question Time and the subsequent Twitterstorm, a common view seems to be “Thank God for Laurence Fox. He’s speaking up for the common man, at last!”

I beg to differ. What he’s doing is conveniently blurring the edges for those who don’t much care for introspection. He’s packaging potentially valid concerns as bleats or whines, rather than encouraging deeper thought around a difficult and complex issue. He calls thoughtfulness “elitism”. In this post-truth age, he is essentially saying don’t trust the educated. Where have we heard that before?

Those who insist that some debaters are over-sensitive whiners are really just saying “accept our rough and ready best guess”. Don’t ask questions. Don’t rock the boat. Think like us. Columnists like Piers Morgan are, as someone pointed out to me today, paid to stir the pot, and they do it well. The question is, though, to what end? Whose interests do they really serve?

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Have I Got News For You

The snow is with us once again, so I felt this dig at GMB deserved another run out. This was written before Piers Morgan stamped his mark on the programme; it’s quite nostalgic remembering those days when female presenters got an opportunity to contribute.

Kind of Lime

The current spell of cold weather seems to have put the media into an all-round tizzy. This morning I watched Good Morning Britain to see how they would report it. What follows is, I’d like to feel, the essence of what they did. Names have been changed to avoid litigation.


“Welcome back to the Good Morning Britain studio. My name’s Amanda Periwinkle…”

“…and I’m Cornelia Scruffgrunter…”

“Later we’ll be meeting Britain’s most talented dog, Buster, who has memorised the complete works of William Wordsworth in just over a week…”

“…and at seven-forty Doctor Bob will be telling us why it’s most unwise to eat unpasteurised horse manure…”

“…but, first, our main story: you’ve have been tweeting literally in your thousands to say how alarmed you are by the strange weather.  Well, we’ve been investigating, and apparently the strange weather is all due to a disturbance in our weather patterns that…

View original post 835 more words

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Back to the Eighties


I set myself the task of writing a song that evoked that most tasteful* of popular music decades, the Eighties. Here’s the result. I’d be interested to see which influences you spot.


Why Don’t You Need Me?

Your e-mail made no sense at all

And now you won’t return my calls;

A less secure man would be crying

It seems that you ain’t even trying

To look at it from my perspective,

What am I, a love detective?

The point I’m making’s elementary:

Ditchin’ me’s the crime of the century.

This hard-to-get thing’s getting stupid,

I ain’t no good at playing Cupid,

Your silent treatment’s worse than torture,

Just think of all the flowers I bought ya!

Don’t listen to your best friend Geri,

I didn’t steal them from the Cemetary

I’m Mister Romance, like Morten Harket,

I got them from the supermarket:

So come on babe, pick up the phone

Can’t stand these evenings on my own.

So come on babe, all those nights we dated!

It cannot be that complicated!



*or not, depending on your point of view

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Elton Don

The President made quite the splash this week in Helsinki.

With all due apologies to Elton John and Bernie Taupin, here’s my starry-eyed tribute to the POTUS.

putin trump


(To Vlad, with love, always, Donnie xxxxx)

It’s a little bit funny
This President thing
But I’m one those guys who can
Do anything

I have so much money
Though not all of it’s mine,
I live in a big White House
So everything’s fine

If I was a golfer
I’d play every day
With a girl on each arm for all those
Difficult lays
I know it costs money but, hey,
It’s the best I can do,
They sign non-disclosures:
Here’s one’s for you.

And you can tell everybody
Vlad is my pal,
I may be quite simple but,
Like Steven Seagal,
I really don’t mind,
I really don’t mind
What I put down in words,

As long as Vlad pays me, I’ll screw the whole world.

I went to the summit and hacked off the press
And quite a few of my colleagues, but frankly I could care less,
And Sean Hannity’s been quite kind, said I did nothing wrong
It’s for people like him that I keep Fox News turned on

So excuse me forgetting

That word I misused,

You see I keep getting

“Would” and “wouldn’t” very confused,

Anyway, the thing is,

What I really mean,

Vlad is the coolest dude

I’ve ever seen!

And you can tell everybody
Vlad is my pal,
I may be quite simple but,
Like Steven Seagal,
I really don’t mind,
I really don’t mind
What I put down in words,

As long as Vlad pays me, I’ll screw the whole world.


I really don’t mind,
I really don’t mind
What I put down in words,

As long as Vlad pays me, I’ll screw the whole world.

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The Long and Grinding Road

News broke yesterday that caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth among Salisbury residents.

From Salisbury Journal online:

Milford Mill Report

In an idle moment of whimsy I tweeted, in a reply to Salisbury Journal’s Rebecca Hudson, a parody chorus based on “Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road”

MMR Tweet

Later, it was picked up and mentioned by Pat Sissons, evening DJ on on our local radio station, Spire FM. He even sang it, which was brave. I had tried earlier and nearly busted my larynx trying to vault over the high bits.

pat sissons

Today I felt it was my duty to complete the whole song.

So here it is. You’re welcome.


Goodbye, Milford Mill Road

When are you gonna be done?
When will the gas flow again?
I shouldn’t have stayed in my car
I should have listened to Spire FM

You know you can’t stay closed forever,
We didn’t sign up for that news;
Twenty five weeks now until you re-open
That’s way too long and we’re singing the blues.

So goodbye, Milford Mill Road,
Where the gasworks are starting again,
You can’t get straight through to Tesco
And the A36 is a pain,

Back to the joys of the Park’n’Ride bus,
Back to the route overflowed,
Oh, I’ve finally found what the future holds
Along the Milford Mill Road.

What do you think we’ll do then?
Would anyone care to explain?
It’ll take much more than a vodka and tonic
To get me on a bike again

Maybe I’ll use a replacement
Take Shady Bower in towards town,
Hang a left at Fowler’s Hill turnoff?
No – sod it! – hi Waitrose, I’m on my way down

So goodbye Milford Mill Road
Where the gasworks are starting again
You can’t get straight through to Tesco
And the A36 is a pain

Back to the joys of the Park’n’Ride bus
Back to the route overflowed
Oh I’ve finally found what the future holds
Along the Milford Mill Road

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Return of the Japanese Knotweed

Every now and then an apparently harmless Twitter exchange can act as inspiration for the strangest of ideas. Genesis once wrote a song about a Giant Hogweed and, as you can see, @janh1 commented that it was somewhat weird subject matter.


Hogweed Tweet


“Well, why not?” I thought.

Here’s the Japanese Knotwood rap. Be careful what you wish for!

(Caution: contains a naughty M word. Twice)


Fallopia japonica,

That motherfucka killed your dupontia!

Fallopia japonica,

Got its greedy eyes on your macedonica ~

You know it’s gonna be wrongin’ ya.

Fallopia japonica.

Call the police or a priest,

Mista Fleeceflower is lookin to strangle ya;

He wants to entangle ya!


Ties that bind,

He’s a vine,

Shoots a line

Like some Spiderman danglin’ ya;

When he’s gotcha

He’s gonna garotte ya

In your vegetable plot, yeah!

He’s a knotweed, he’ll make you knock-kneed,

He’ll make your eyes bleed,

He grows at lightning speed,

He’s like a lightning seed

(Without Skinner or Baddiel)





There’s no hope for ya!

It’s dystopia!



He’s a knotweed, he’ll make you knock-kneed,

He’ll make your eyes bleed,

He grows at lightning speed

He’s a knotweed, he’ll make your eyes bleed!



That motherfucka killed your dupontia!




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‘Tails of the New Fronteer’ by Nigel Molesworth


With my customary apologies to Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle

Welcome back gentle reeder. The last time we spoke you may recall st. custards was on the virge of a SINISTER hostel takeover by Americans becos of a deel struck with HM gvt. by an orange fule with ridikulus hair who had been elected presidant of the United Staits. Our old Head had been carted off to the funy farm after attacking fotherington tomas with flowerpots and the masters were aprehensiv about the prospect of being rooled by some sort of Yanky Poodle Dandy expereminting with new ways of making we noble lads miserible. This resulted in larger than ushual consumpshun of beer and cigs, except for the Relig. Ed. Master who coudn’t wait to burn all the books about evolution and who now stride about the place like a mad beerded old testament profit saying “i told you so!” to anyone who will listen. Even the skool dog avoid him.

Well, as they sa, the plot thickens. Much hav happen since then. Now reed on…

Our new Head (or ‘principle’ as he insists we sa) is Ralph N. Geigerhammer the 3rd. Noone kno what the N stand for but it is a fare bet it isn’t “Normal” becos trust me he is from another plannet. He hav a massiv head like the mitey Mekon and he speak like someone who hav had a spaner thrown in his voicebox to slow it down: “how arrrrrrrrrrr y’alllllllllll doin todaaaaaay, baaaaahhhhhh?” Mi mate Peason reckon he is from alabbama, tho how he woud kno is open to debait. Peason hav never been abroad unless you count the Isle of White, which noone does.

There hav been many changes since the principle took charge. For a start he do not understand crickit. We found him digging up the skool playing field to make what he call “a mound” rite on a legnth down middle and leg at the oak tree end. When gillibrand saw it he nearly cry. “How can i make it turn like a boomerengue out of that?” he wale, weeping and nashing his teeth “this is sackrilige! sackrilige!”

Also every morning at asembley we hav to pledge aliegence to the flag. Noone kno which flag exactly. We hav the union jack and the stars and stripes and the st custards standard all draiped from the principles lectern like we are atending some sort of leage of nations. The masters all stand miseribly behind the principle, a motly bunch of asorted drips and weeds if ever i saw one.

[The Relig. Ed Master thump the piano keys with vim and vigger and a tune that mite or mite not be ‘glory, glory, aliluya’ revertebrate around the halowed skool hall. Ralph N. Geigerhammer the 3rd stride up the isle, his mitey nogin gleeming britely in the suns erly golden rays (POETRY). He reech the lectern and waves airily at the masters who gurn back at him gaimly like a shole of trout suprised by a suden pirana. He tern to face we brave lads and i sware you can see his eyes glow red like the very coles of hell.

PRINCIPLE: Welllllllllllll baaaaahhhhhhhhhs. the tarmmmm fer penitaaaaaance is naaaaaaaaaah! you baaaaaaahhhhhhhhhs muss repent yahhhhhhhhhhh sins! Fer who amaarrrnnnnggggg uzzzz izzzz witharrrrrrrt sin?

[FOTHERINGTON-TOMAS puts his hand up. The principle stare at him as he mite inspeckt a hare he found in his skool soup. He hav fallen for this before and he kno he must ignore fotherington-tomas or be lost in ernest debate about new born baby lambs and such. He roll his demon eyes and cary on]

PRINCIPLE: It ezzzzzzzzz taaaarrrmmmmm to swaaaaarrrrrrrrre aleeeeeeeeeeganzzzzzzzzz. Hannnnnzzz on chezzzzts baaaahhhhhhhhhhs! HAAAAANNNZZZZ ARNNNNN CHEZZZZZTS!

[Cut to exterior shot of the skool dog chasing a newborn baby lamb across the skool playground while our asembley mutter the pledge uninteligably (METAPHOR)]

The word on the skool grapevine (mi mate peason as ushual) is that the orange ignoramouse and head honcho in the staits has now decided that certain masters should be given guns just in case someone like mi bro, molesworth 2, run amuck (if anyone mite it would be mi bro. He is quiet beyond the pail as i have noted before in these missivs). Now i don’t want to pore cold water on the presidants brilliant skeeme but you have to wonder if he thort it through properly. Masters and guns are not naturel bedfellows:

Me [to the Philososphy Master]: i see you have a gun, sir!

Philososphy Master [dreamily]: Ah, molesworth! But is it a gun? How do you kno it is a gun? What if ceci n’est pas une gun? Can a consealed gun actaully be said to exist if there is no observer to note its existents?

Physysics Master: Now, lionel, stop filling molesworths head with your nonsence. If i were to shoot him now with my shiny new Remington repeater wood you claim the gun did not exist? i hav only to point it LIKE SO and he is but a haresbreath from certain death.

Philososphy Master: i see yore point, victor. But would that be the end for molesworth? He mite leave the corporale plane but whence is he bound? Wither mite he be?

Biolergy Master: He’d be dead, lionel. His lifeblud seeping from him in a crimson pool, his hart stopped, his bodilly functions seased.

Philososphy Master: But wood he be missed? i, for one, cannot stand the litel blister!

Me: i sa! i AM here you kno!

Physysics Master: It wood only take a moment. A sqeueze of the trigger, like THIS.

[a shot ring out. The English Master fall to the ground in a crumpled heep across the other side of the playground]

Eng. Master: But soft! What bullet hath my fragile body burst? i goe! i goe! Alack! Alas! i GOE! [he goes]

Philososphy Master: Poor Benedick! Still, it’s the way he wood want to hav gone…

[The Eng. Master shake abruptly] Chiz chiz. i goe agane! [He goes agane]

You see what i meen? It wood never work in a gazillion yeres. st custards wood be a waistland in no time at all. so back to the drawing bored mister trump. Back to the drawing bored.

Thats all for now. Nigel Molesworth singing off until the next thriling instorlment.

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The Dead President Sketch

Following Donald Trump’s glowing and, frankly, somewhat unlikely medical report, I began to wonder if there isn’t a more straightforward explanation for the President’s weird behaviour.

With apologies to the Monty Python team.

dead parrot


A voter enters the White House.

Voter: Ello, I wish to register a complaint.

(Sarah Huckabee Sanders does not respond.)

Voter: Ello, Miss?

Sanders: What do you mean “miss”?

Customer: I’m sorry, I’m from Alabama. I wish to make a complaint!

Sanders: We’re closed for Executive Time.

Voter: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this President what I voted, not a year and a bit ago, into this very office.

Sanders: Oh yes, the German Orange. What’s wrong with it?

Voter: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. E’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

Sanders: No, no, e’s resting. With a cheeseburger and Fox News.

Voter: Look, matey, I know a dead president when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

Sanders: No no he’s not dead, he’s…he’s restin’! Remarkable billionaire, the German Orange. Beautiful privilege!

Voter: The privilege don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

Sanders: No, no, no, no, no, no! E’s resting!

Voter: All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up! (shouting at the bedroom door) Ello, Mister Donny Dotard! I’ve got two lovely fresh scoops of ice cream for you if you come out of the room…

(Sanders throws her voice): “Go away! I’m bigly busy!”

Sanders: There, he spoke!

Voter: No, he didn’t, that was you throwin’ your voice!

Sanders: I never!!

Voter: Yes, you did!

Sanders: I never! Never did anything!

Voter(shouting and knocking loudly on the bedroom door) ELLO, DONNY!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o’clock alarm call!

(He opens the door, drags the limp President out into the corridor, thumps Trump’s head on the bust of Winston Churchill on a nearby table. Leans the lifeless bloatard up against the wall and watches it slide ungracefully to the floor.)

Voter: Now that’s what I call a dead president!

Sanders: No, no, no, e’s stunned!


Sanders: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! German Oranges stun easily.

Voter: Now look, mate, I’ve definitely had enough of this. That president is definitely deceased, and when I voted for it a year and a bit ago, you assured me that its total lack of usefulness was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged tax strategy planning session with the Republicans.

Sanders: Well, he’s…he’s, er…probably pining for the wall.

Voter: Pinin’ for the wall? PININ’ for the WALL? What kind of talk is that? Why did he do fuck all the moment I voted him in?

Sanders: The German Orange prefers a low profile! Remarkable billionaire, isn’t it, squire? Lovely privilege!

Voter: Look, I took the liberty of examining that president on mainstream media and I discovered the only reason that it had been sitting in the Oval Office in the first place was that it had been NAILED there by Paul Ryan.

Sanders: Well, of course it was nailed there! If we hadn’t nailed that billionaire down, it would have nuzzled up to the Democrats, savaged them all with its teeth and VOOM!

Voter: “VOOM”? Mate, this president wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! E’s bleedin’ demised!

Sanders: No, no! E’s pining!

Voter: E’s not pinin’! E’s passed on! This president is no more! He has ceased to be! E’s expired and gone to meet his Mercer! E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the chair e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! E’s off the twig! E’s kicked the bucket, e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PRESIDENT!

Sanders: Well, we’d better replace it, then.  How do you fancy a Mike Pence? Or I’ve got a slug.

Voter: I’ll take the slug.

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