Thursday, 27 November 2008

£200K for (ahem) "arts consultancy" hailed as a creative triumph

Consultants employed by the "transition team" tasked with putting new arts body "Creative Scotland" together have notched up a highly creative £200k of your earth pounds in "consultancy".

Now, a five year old might respond to this intelligence by asking : "So, what the fuck are the agency management getting paid for then?"

But thankfully foul-mouthed five year olds aren't in charge, oh, goodness me no.

The people in charge (and I quote directly from the Herald item here) say: "Any change project is complex and a range of specialist expertise in required", which, forgive me for remarking, is a rather puzzling response.

I mean, the transition team was presumably recruited and was presumably asked at the interview: "what steps are necessary to successfully merge The Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen?"

Turn me round, slap my bum and call me Tristram, but I'm betting the successful recruits to the project didn't answer "Step1: Hire in a load of consultants. Step 2: er..."

Perhaps the key attribute for the management team lay with being able to sign cheques, while being amazed at how the cream of Scotland's creative talent could come up with such stupendous amounts.

Marvellous darling, a triumph, an absolute triumph.

Inside: Given that the role of CS, whenever it actually gets established, is to give out dosh for arty stuff, I just like to make it clear that the above feature wasn't written by me. A big boy did it and ran away.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The RBS: "Making hee-haw happen."

The Royal Bank was all over the broadsheets today, telling us, via full-page ads, that the bank "recognises that small businesses are the lifeblood of the country." That's nice. But you should have seen the first draft of the body copy for the ad....

"Here at The Royal Bank of Scotland we recognise that small businesses are the lifeblood of the country. In fact, we like small businesses so much, we're so convinced that they are the future, that senior management here at The Royal Bank just narrowly avoided turning a big business, the bank, into a small business.

Luckily, we had the taxpayer to bail us out, but remember, your small business might not be so lucky. So, look after cash flow, don't make impulsive buying decisions based on a hunch that could lead you to buying say, something like ABN Imro at the top of the market with the p/e ratio completely out of whack and then finding that you've fucked your liquidity.

Red faces all round!

So what are we doing to help those lifeblood businesses who don't unfortunately have Alistair Darling's number on speed dial if it all goes tits up?
Well, what we're doing is committing the bank to overcharging you for your overdraft at exactly the same rate of overcharging for a whole year!

That's right!

We guarantee not to change the rate at which we overcharge you (subject to terms and conditions not enumerated anywhere on the ad, which I thought was illegal) for at least a year!

Fan-fuckin'-tastic isn't it?

The RBS: when it comes to supporting small businesses, no bank makes a bigger fuss about doing absolutely hee-haw.

Inside: This is true. The ad headline is: "To us, they're not small businesses." Presumably the coda, "To us they're also a source of continual, easy profit" got lost off the end.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

"¿Quién es Butcher?"- Terry has piss taken anew after 22 year wait

Its been a long wait, and like his reaction time when Maradona skipped past him back in Mexico in 1986, it took him a while to realise, but clogger extraordinaire and Scotland deputy coach, Terry Butcher woke up this morning and cried:"That dago's taking the piss!"

While the rest of the world and its mother laughed along with Diego after Wednesday's "Who is Butcher?" put-down, it wasn't until Saturday morning that Terry, not the sharpest tool in the box, finally worked out what had happened. " I wondered what the entire Scottish press corps was laughing at during the press conference. I now realise: they were laughing at me."

Terry, for whom the expression, "done up like a kipper" might have been invented, failed to realise before Scotland's mid-week game against Argentina that, in asked to comment on Maradona's perfectly fair "hand of God" tactic back in 1986, he was being invited by the Scottish press to perfom the difficult task of taking the piss out of himself without realising it.

Which he duly did.

A wiser head might've thought about it and replied "Mexico 1986 was a long time ago, I'm here to talk about Scotland."

But no.

Terry gave the Scottish media exactly what they were looking for and, happily for Burley, detracted attention away from a Scotland performance that graphically illustrated the playing chasm between us and, er, any team that can play fitba a bit.

From a manager's point of view, having your deputy make a tit of himself is a valuable short-term tactic, diverting scrutiny from your own short-comings, up to the point that is when critics recall just who it was that appointed Terry in the first place.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Latest Glenalmond bullying to lead to "slight change" in tax status

Following the news that fellow pupils at the £24,000-a-year fees Glenalmond Public School physically and emotionally bullied a scholarship kid, it is likely that the tax status of "public", that is "private", schools will be changed slightly if the editor of The Jaggy Thistle has anything to do with it.

The latest incident comes a year or so after previous Glenalmond pupils filmed themselves taking part in a extremely hilarious "chav" hunt. The fact that these posh kids call "neds", "chavs", should really tell you all you need to know about their geographic origins, but let us press on.

At the moment private schools are treated as charities, which has significant tax advantages, based on the institutions being seen to provide community benefit - that is, outside the fee-paying school walls.

Most private schools discharge this obligation in part by offering scholarships to kids who might benefit but are too skint to pay the fees. All well, and indeed good, you'd think.

Ah, but wait.

These free places tend to go to academically bright kids - so the school gets a double dunt, partially satisfies the criteria for charitable status and gets a wee help with boosting the school's exam pass ranking.

Now, my modest proposal is this: that private schools should continue to enjoy charitable status provided they offer places to kids who have been excluded from "public" education - especially the pupils excluded on the grounds that they might not be too great academically but that when it comes to fighting they are securely found in the upper quartile of achievement.

This move would benefit the private sector in two ways.

First, the sector would continue to enjoy favourable tax treatment and those fee-paying pupils who self-evidently enjoy a bit of physical rough and tumble can have their heids professionally kicked in by an expert at no extra charge!

Good result all round I think...

Inside: One of the reasons I always liked this mob better than The Clash, you know that band made up of ex- public school boys:

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Sixty largely undistinguished years!

As will become only too painfully apparent very soon, The Jaggy Thistle's favourite German, Prince Charles, has his sixtieth birthday this week.

I say painfully, because rest assured the occasion will not pass without Charles treating the waiting world to one of his famous passive-aggressive speeches delivered to an invited audience of sycophants, who will obligingly chuckle every time Charles delivers one of his self-deprecating, but not really self deprecating remarks, to be shown on every TV channel in the known universe for ever.

I'm not sure if, like his Mum, Charles also has an official birthday, or he has to make do with one lot of presents like the rest of us, but congratulations and sincere thanks to His Royal Highness. For, let us be clear, searching for satirical sustenance by rifling through the past eight years of the journal we call The Jaggy Thistle would have made for a thin gruel indeed if it were not for Charlie's reliably bollocky utterances on every subject under the fuckin' sun.

If you go to the big site, search on "Prince Charles" and loads of stuff should come up, search on "Prince Charles+twat" and you may to have to re-boot your PC.

We are specially blessed in the pictorial area of gagstering. For, although Charles might be officially Prince Of Wales, I cannot recall seeing pictures of him standing outside a Cardiff nightclub, sporting a WRU top, fully gassed. At 2am.

No, when it's time for playing dress-up games, Charles can't get enough of that kilted look below.

Space constraints do not allow me to ponder further HRH's (ahem) "singular" contribution to public jollity but If I may I'd like to quote directly from his Royal Waste of Spaceness, viz:

"What's wrong with everyone nowadays? What is it that makes everyone seem to think they are qualified to do things far beyond their technical capabilities? This is all to do with the learning culture in schools. It is a consequence of a child-centred system which admits no failure and tells people they can be pop stars, high court judges, brilliant TV personalities or even infinitely more competent heads of state without ever putting in the necessary effort or having natural abilities."

Ahem. After you Sir with the pot, kettle and tin of black paint.

Prince Charles reacts with regal good humour to suggestion that he might like to pay tax.

Elderly couple concede: Fran and Anna tribute act needs more work

There were red faces all round when Charles turned up at The Braemar Games in the wrong chieftain costume.

When Charles talked about "taking care of wildlife" he perhaps had a very specific meaning in mind.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Glenrothes: the dawn of a new, ginger, era!

Lindsay Roy celebrates"I dreamt of a day when a man would not be judged by the colour of his skin, but by the gingerness of his hair. And the specs as well, obviously.

A day, when a bloke who's clearly channelling the spirit of Rod Hull, could walk down Main Street, Glenrothes without local children shouting "Haw, speccy! Whaur's Emu?"

A day, when a man would not be castigated because he came first in the 1970 Fife finals of the "Fuck me, you're a dead ringer for Charlie Drake!" competition, or was only allowed to do Simply Red songs at the pub karaoke night.

This day has proved that even gingers can aspire to the highest offices in the land, or at least become an MP, which is almost as good.

Friends, will you now join me in singing some old gospelly spiritual thing that you only know the first couple of lines from? And remember, its one , two, three and clap, not one, clap, two and three."

Monday, 3 November 2008


Grey Mare's Tail
Has the genetic modification of rabbits gone too far?

Edinburgh Police called to Princes Street, as intergalatic post-pub punch up escalates

Mother and daughter conjoined at head baffle boffins

Lloyds-TSB offer: " A clear, strategic vision for comprehensively fucking people over"

In recommending the bank's offer for HBOS to shareholders this week, Lloyds-TSB promised "a clear and consistent commitment to maximising shareholder value through a comprehensive programme of reducing duplicated overheads".
The offer document continues , " We will achieve significant savings by rolling out a clear action plan dedicated to achieving overhead reduction through extensive fucking over of disposable staff."

It would appear that significant savings are to be found in trimming centres of retail duplication: "Where the two existing brands are in direct competition we will engage in consultation with branch staff effected to ascertain who would liked to be fucked over first."

Back office functions are likely to reduced from the current two centres to a more cost-effective one. "It has not yet been determined which of the two existing centres will be wound down. The decision will rest after consultations with politicians to ascertain whose offering the biggest bribe to avoid local staff fucked- overness."

In recommending the offer to shareholders, the Lloyds-TSB board paid tribute to the taxpayer for bailing out the bank :"By allowing taxpayers monet to be used to support a private institution, the government has shown sober wisdom in allowing itself to be fucked over. We would hope that Lloyds-TSB and HBOS staff will follow this sterling example of acceptance of being comprehensively fucked over."

Inside: Bank boards to avoid being fucked over. Funny that.