All bound for Bongo Bongo Land
This week I went for a short break in the sun, and I found myself sipping a large gin and quinine whilst looking out from the Bongo Bongo Beach Bar and Grill. It was a beautiful vista, close to Bulimia, the capital of Bongo Bongo Land and built on the edge of the jungle and beside the deep blue Indian Ocean. On the beach, child soldiers playfully toyed with their rusty Kalashnikovs, whilst behind the bar on Highway Mugabe, black Mercedes whizzed past the shanty towns, taking the members of the Politburo and drugs barons to their afternoon assignations at the Blood Diamond Hotel and Theme Park (no pets).
In fact, all the members of the Politburo of the People’s Democratic Republic of Bongo Bongo Land come from just one of the country’s 16 tribal ethnic groups, the Fuckawi clan (clan motto: We’re The Fuckawi!). And despite the country being rich in reserves of the aforementioned diamonds, platinum, gold, uranium, coal, oil and gas, apart from the Fuckawi clan, most of the seventeen million citizens of Bongo Bongo Land live in abject poverty and get by on less than $1 dollar a week.
Both of these possibly unfortunate facts can be attributed to the trauma of Western Imperialism. In 1765, a Portuguese missionary arrived in the country after getting lost, but died of the dreaded Bongo fever three days later. This traumatic intervention by the forces of Colonialism wreaked havoc on the national psyche of Bongo Bongo which was never reversed.
Other interesting facts about Bongo Bongo Land are these:
There is only one radio station, called Radio Bongo. The only music which is played is the national anthem, “Stand Up, We’re the Fuckawi!”, sung by Emile Sande.
Bong Bongo Land received £27,000,000 in aid from the UK taxpayer last year, and another £12,000,000 from Comic Relief. There used to be a statue of Richard Curtis in Bulimia’s main square, but it was stolen and melted down.
Bongo Bongo Land hosts an annual fact finding delegation from the EU. Officials and EU chiefs are always housed at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi, from where their excellent internet access allows them full access to research materials about Bongo Bongo Land.
In Bongo Bongo Land it is traditional to throw acid over 18 year old aid workers working for free to educate the poor.
Most children in Bongo Bongo Land say that when they grow up they want to be a Premier League Footballer or an illegal immigrant.
But, of course, I jest and none of this is quite true. However, it has been a big week for Bongo Bongo Land, which for so long has been unmentionable. This is of course thanks to UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom, a man with all the political sensitivities of a member of the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club circa 1952, and his proclamation that British Aid should not be wasted on the good citizens of “Bongo Bongo Land” and the like.
And despite this alleged breach of PC convention, Godfrey remained unrepentant. But it seemed that his observations caused not simply wailing and gnashing of teeth in Islington, Hampstead and Tuscany, and in the corridors of the BBC, but a great deal of amusement in the “thank God someone has stepped out of line” sort of way. My Twitter account can hardly be said to constitute a scientific sample, but it was alight with Bongo Bongo puns, Bongo Bongo names and facts, and I am now able to follow the Official Twitter Account of the Government of Bongo Bongo Land, @BongoGov (well, one of the many).
What is going on here? Perhaps nothing significant at all, but perhaps something which Our Lords And Masters really do not like – dissent from the orthodox and official line. I really do not think I would consider it good manners to refer to my excellent locum GP who treated me with courtesy and kindness this week as a citizen of Bongo Bongo Land. But equally, I would regard it as perfectly realistic to express the sentiment that vast quantities of aid given to Africa and elsewhere go to line the pockets of corrupt governments, politicians and dictators, and that this has been a longstanding scandal.
Really, Mr. Bloom is the political equivalent of the naughty little boy who says a rude word in front of the teacher, and then says it again, much to the delight of the rest of us who fear detention. There is a certain amount of joy to be had in anything which scandalizes the elite and breaks the taboos which are imposed by them. Whether there is any wider significance is another matter. My sense of it is that although most people would not choose to be quite so tactless, there is a real dissatisfaction with what has for so long been the Westminster/intellectual elite’s strictures on the topics such as immigration and foreign aid. That attitude was best illustrated by Gordon Brown labeling a perfectly loyal Labour voter Gillian Duffy a “bigot”, because she voiced perfectly valid concerns about the number of Eastern European immigrants in her area. UKIP may yet become the vehicle of protest for many who have these concerns but have felt that they had no way of expressing them. More people would be happy as members of the Tunbridge Wells Golf Club circa 1952 than Mr. Cameron, Mr. Clegg and Mr. Miliband would like.
What we need to do, going forward
I had to turn off my radio this week. Specifically, I had to turn off Radio 4’s PM programme as my tolerance threshold was breached and overwhelmed by the repetition of a particular phrase. I suspect that almost all politicians and most who make their money as spokespersons for interest groups and as self appointed “community leaders” and “opinion formers” go on media awareness courses, where they are taught to be offensively glib, bland and bossy.
I don’t know if it is just me, but I have started to notice a new phrase which these media whores are using all the time, as the standard response to almost every question asked or point raised.
“What we need to do…”
In interview after interview this phrase was deployed like bullets from an automatic gun being used by a child; in massive amounts, pointlessly and randomly.
Should people be properly punished for keeping dangerous dogs?
“What we need to do is educate people…”
Should there be minimum pricing for alcohol?
“What we need to do is change people’s behaviour so that…”
Should nasty bullying children be thrown out of school where they are making good children’s life hell?
“What we need to do is create a holistic environment…”
It seems that this seemingly innocuous phrase is now the default starting point for anyone who (a) does not want to answer a question, and (b) wants to impose some obligation on me, to which I have no interest or desire in supporting or being subject to.
Who is this “We”? Notwithstanding my occasional visits to Twitter, I am not, as far as I am aware, part of some androgynous hive-mind, governed by a spin doctor in SW1. Nor do I, particularly, want to be held responsible for things which are not my proper responsibility. I have my own views, and my own agenda, and I don’t like being told that “I” need to be doing something because someone else has royally ballsed things up and not done their job properly.
But if there is one thing which is guaranteed to wind me up even more, it is the appalling fad for the new phrase, “going forward”.
“Going forward, there must be a change in the culture of [the Department] [the Social Workers] [The Hospital] [fill in the unit of incompetence of your choice].”
“No one person is to blame, there have been systemic failures, but going forward…”
Going forward? As opposed to what? Going backwards in time and changing the entire history of the Universe? Walking backwards? Cycling sideways?
And God will forgive me if and when I next hear the two clichés run together. I will not be responsible for my actions!
“Going forward, what we need to do is…..”
Green Light For Feminism
Finally, it has been a good week for feminism. Or a bad one. Depending on how one looks at it. I mentioned recently the retirement of the great James Alexander Gordon, whose gentle and rich tones have so long been a feature of so many people’s lives by reading out the football results on a Saturday evening. Who could possibly replace this icon of diction? Who would be fit to grace his metaphorical boots? What man would be up to the task?
Remember that bit in The Lord of The Rings when the Lord of the Ringwraiths is being faced by the Lady Eowyn in full armour?
“Thou fool”, he cries, “No living man may hinder me!”
“But no living MAN am I!” she replies defiantly, before revealing her identity by taking off her helmet and then sticking a broadsword right where it made his demonic eyes water. No?
Well, anyway, for once, may I compliment the Beeb on a solution of genius? No living man will replace the beloved JAG as he was known. Instead it is to be Charlotte Green, the Pride of Radio 4. A woman will read the football results! But before the Sisters get all crazy for this triumph of new feminism, they may have to grapple with the potentially awkward facts that the fabulous Ms. Green does not have an Estuary English squawk or regional drone. She has the husky, carefully modulated and frankly rather overtly sexy tones which would make a Home Counties dominatrix green with jealousy. Or so I am told, not regularly moving in those circles.
It is a triumphant choice. Not because she is a woman, but because she is a wonderful announcer and presenter.
And, for those who wish to recall or have not heard it, she was also part of Radio 4 legend for famously “losing it” (corpsing, I think it is called) on the Today Programme… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJdlF-DCUKs
I can’t wait for Forfar 5, Fife 4….
Gildas the Monk