Chilcot appearance on Just a Minute “a complete disaster”

Sir John Chilcot’s debut appearance on Radio 4 panel show Just a Minute has received a critical mauling, after he hesitated more than any other player in the programme’s history and caused Monday evening’s edition to last fourteen hours instead of the usual thirty minutes.

The former civil servant and independent inquiry chair appeared on the panel alongside series regulars Paul Merton, Sue Perkins and former foreign secretary Jack Straw. As usual, Chilcot was asked to speak for sixty seconds without repetition, deviation or hesitation, but after an initial burst of energy (on the topic ‘the terms of this inquiry’) he rapidly dried up and dragged the proceedings out far longer than anybody else could ever have anticipated.

‘I’ve never known such incompetence,’ said panel chairman Nicholas Parsons. ‘Paul Merton repeated the words ‘sexed up’ at least eight times but Chilcot just sat there, smiling benignly and doing absolutely nothing. It was infuriating.’

Controversially, Chilcot refused to press his buzzer even when Jack Straw was given the subject ‘Why the War in Iraq was Completely Justified’ and committed several deviations from the subject on the card. ‘He paused at least three times,’ said Merton. ‘You could have made a ham sandwich in those pauses. I came all the way from Great Portland Street for this.’

The appearance became Radio 4’s most complained about show of the year. ‘We had eight thousand people emailing in to demand progress before the show had even finished,’ Parsons said. ‘Of course we’ve given Sir John the chance to reply to each criticism individually, but that might take quite a while as well. Between you and me I think he’s just a bit, well, slow.’

Corbyn to apologise for becoming Labour leader if he becomes Labour leader

Labour leadership front-runner Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to issue an apology on behalf of Labour for making him party leader if, as expected, Labour makes him party leader in the autumn.

In a statement, Corbyn said he would apologise to the British people for the ‘unprecedented disaster’ that followed his decision to enter the Labour leadership race, and to members of the party for their unprecedented suffering which is expected to continue for many years before order is fully restored.

‘I admit that I entered the race on a false prospectus,’ Corbyn said. ‘I was given a helpful leg up by a few old mates because they thought it would be nice to have a cardigan-wearing beardy leftie on the ballot for old times’ sake, but of course nobody knew that in fact I would be able to destroy the successful, prospering legacy of Ed Miliband in just 45 minutes. Not even me. I just kind of went along with it and the next thing I know I’m about to win, but I’ve got no plans for what happens next, no idea how to rebuild the mess I’m making of the party, and no clue how to govern a divided, fractious, restless population of MPs sharply divided along ideological lines. The Labour party has literally never been in a situation like this before.’

Former prime minister Tony Blair has sharply criticised Corbyn’s rapid rise from obscure, argumentative backbencher to unassailable tyrant. ‘The world cannot stand by and let this lunatic split the Labour Party,’ he said. ‘He runs the risk of being a divisive, authoritarian figure who could become deeply unpopular with the electorate. Of course, that didn’t stop me winning three elections but you know, lightning doesn’t strike twice and all that.’

Corbyn’s leadership rivals were scrambling to counter the veteran left-winger’s unexpected rise, setting out their distinctive manifestos. ‘Electing Jeremy is simply not in the long-term interests of the British people or the Labour party I love,’ said former health secretary Andy Burnham. ‘Voting for Jeremy is simply not in the interests, in the long term, of the British people or of the party I love, which is Labour,’ said former shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper. The fourth candidate, Liz Kendall, said ‘a vote to elect Jeremy would simply not be in the long-term interests of the people of Britain or of the Labour party, which I love.’

Results are expected on 12 September, with the first speech from the new leader at the party conference a week later and a new leadership election called about a week after that.

 

Council removes Lib Dem politician from Tory foster couple

Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, was today taken into care by Westminster City Council on the grounds that his foster parents, a Mr and Mrs Cameron, belong to a political party with ‘a warped view of the world’.

‘We take our safeguarding responsibilities for Liberal Democrats very seriously,’ said Shaun McNally, Director of Social Services at Westminster City Council. ‘It was clear to our social workers that whatever credibility Mr Clegg had left was being put at serious risk by his living with this couple. We have a duty to act in the best interests of this vulnerable politician, and in our view he needs to be with his own people, if we can find any.’

Social services first became concerned about Mr Clegg when he was placed with the Camerons in 2010. ‘You wouldn’t normally put a Liberal Democrat in such a household, and it became clear that he was being slowly indoctrinated with Tory ideology when he started behaving erratically – he’d say one thing and then do another. In fact his constituents in Sheffield were so concerned about his welfare that many told us they wouldn’t be able to bring themselves to send him back to Westminster when his current placement expired in 2015.’

Mr McNally claims that Mr Clegg’s story is an all too familiar one. ‘Many Liberal Democrats come from politically disadvantaged backgrounds, leaving them ill-prepared to deal with real world problems. It’s stability they need, and although in Mr Clegg’s case a number of families have tried to love him as if he were their own, none have so far succeeded. It’s not uncommon for MPs to end up on the streets and second homeless.’

While debate continues to rage over the decision to take Mr Clegg out of the Cameron’s care, everyone agrees that it is in the best interests of Britain for Nigel Farage MEP to continue to be cared for in Brussels.

Relieved Scottish voters finally able to get referendum campaigners to shut up

After months of harassment, voters in Scotland are finally going to the polls in a last-ditch attempt to get the Yes and No campaigns to shut up and bugger off.

As the polls open after an increasingly ill-tempered campaign, the sense of relief among ordinary Scots is palpable. ‘I’m just glad it’s all over and I can get mah country back,’ said a tearful voter in Anstruther.’When I was growing up nobody gave a dram o’Dundee piss about politics. Now it’s all Yes this, No Thanks that, whose oil is it the other. That’s why I’m voting ‘feck off, ye boring gobshites’.’

Pollsters are predicting an extremely close race. ‘We’re expecting a narrow lead for ‘I don’t give a flying mcmonkey’s’, but ‘Will you just leave me alone and stop blethering on about the currency’ is firmly ahead among men aged 35-44 and working mothers,’ said a spokesman for YouGov. ‘Mind you, there might also be a surprisingly strong showing for ‘Gordon Brown, where the feck did you dig him up from?’, especially among voters born before 2007.’

The return of Mr Brown to the political frontline sparked a wave of misery among poor Scottish voters forced to listen to barnstorming Presbyterian speeches about British vowyous for the first time since he was prime minister. ‘Mind you, things were bad enough beforehand, what with years of being hectored by Alex Salmond and then Alistair Darling popping up after all this time and droning on about the economy again,’ said another elector from Forfar. ‘If we’d known that a referendum meant listening to this shower o’ bastards fer weeks on end, then we’d never’ve whinged about not having our own bloody parliament in the first place.’

The long campaign has had some positive effects, however. The Scottish placard and sticker industries have seen a huge boost in output, while a tech startup in Aberdeen that marketed an anti-Nicola Sturgeon spray has already sold half a million units and is now employing 45 people.

The onslaught of verbose politicians has left many Scots feeling even more demoralised and miserable than they were before. ‘I’ll tell you what, it’s really reminded me how much we hate these self-serving, rich, smug, carnaptious heid-the-baw scunners and their glaikit mince,’ said an undecided voter at a polling booth in Tain. ‘Just one more thing we’ve got in common with the English. Now, to vote. What was the question again?’

Independent Scotland ‘will never find out sex of Royal baby’, warns Cameron

David Cameron has denied that the campaign against Scottish independence has ‘run out of ideas’ by announcing that an independent Scotland will ‘never find out’ what sex the new Royal baby turns out to be.

‘I won’t tell you whether it’s a girl or a boy, and you won’t be able to watch BBC News 24 to find out either,’ the prime minister said at a Better Together hustings in Dumfries. ‘And don’t expect the Queen to tell you either, if you vote yes she’ll be bloody furious.’

The Royal baby news has caused an otherwise leaden referendum campaign to explode into life. Scottish Labour MP Jim Murphy has returned to his tedious tour of Scotland’s high streets, temporarily abandoned last week after an egg-throwing voter accused him of ‘not talking about the Royal family enough’.

Mr Murphy won over a number of voters to the No campaign by promising that the Royal baby stratagem was just the start. ‘We’ll introduce free UK wide wifi and we’ll never tell you the password,’ he warned. ‘And we will ensure that Doctor Who gets shot by a Cyberman the week before independence and then we won’t let you see the episode where he finishes regenerating.’

Other key pieces of national information to be withheld from an independent Scotland include who killed Lucy Beale in EastEnders, which celebrities’ naked photos leak next, whether anybody ever actually builds that bloody railway to Birmingham.

‘We will still let you know what Nick Clegg promises in his next manifesto, but we won’t tell you whether he sticks to it,’ Mr Murphy added. ‘Mind you, you can probably work that one out for yourselves.’

Ed Balls denies involvement in slow motion car crash

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has strenuously denied any responsibility for a slow motion car crash taking place in Westminster.

Mr Balls was summonsed by Labour Party authorities to explain why he did not report the accident, which began when passenger Ed Miliband seized the wheel from his brother David in 2010, causing the vehicle to lurch awkwardly all over the place.

‘We had been about to turn sharply to the right when somebody in the front of the vehicle lost control,’ said Mr Balls in a written statement to police. ‘This had nothing to do with me whatsoever even though I accept I have been sitting next to the driver for the past four years.’

Dissatisfied passengers on the vehicle have claimed that the leadership team haven’t had a clue how to drive the whole time. ‘Ed and Ed say they’re in complete control but they don’t look it,’ said one backbencher. ‘I mean, the other day one of them was eating a bacon sandwich instead of keeping his eyes on the road and the whole bloody bus nearly ended up on its roof in a ditch with no seats.’

Legal experts suggest Mr Balls will have a hard time successfully defending himself against the allegations. ‘One advantage he has is that the team is full of people all trying to drive the bus in different directions, including his own wife on the back seat there,’ said Jonathan Foulds, professor of political law at Morley and Outwood College. ’And then there’s the fact that the dangerous vehicle in the other lane appears to be a totally unreliable lemon – look, the front half is blue and the back end is dirty yellow – two entirely different vehicles bolted together. No wonder it’s swerving about all over the place.

‘But I still think they’ll find him guilty. After all, he does have quite a history when it comes to knowing all about crashes. Just ask Alistair Darling.’

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‘Maria Miller should be humanely gassed,’ says Princess Anne

The Princess Royal has weighed in to the culling controversy sweeping Whitehall by suggesting that the only humane way to deal with Maria Miller is to gas her to death.

The government has launched a series of failed attempts to limit the spread of sleaze, a dangerous contagion to which wild Members of Parliament are particularly vulnerable, but Mrs Miller’s recent episode is thought to be one of the most serious outbreaks for some time.

Princess Anne’s intervention is unusual, but seen by royal-watchers to reflect the seriousness with which the Royal family take their role as spokespeople for the nation’s ordinary citizens. There has been a series of failed attempts to stem the outbreak, such as sterilising MP’s expense entitlements and evacuating whole swathes of the Commons of the most serious cases, but the princess now says that the only way to contain the outbreak is to quietly gas this grasping cow before she spreads her muck any further while thrashing around.

‘It is worrying because it is in such close proximity to the stagnant marshland of Westminster,’ said the princess. ‘If this strain were to infect a high-profile herd such as the Cabinet, there’s no telling what chaos could ensue. Loss of mental function, lack of any sense of direction, frothing at the mouth – imagine how much worse they’d be if they contracted sleaze.’

 

One Direction fans urged to ‘try and look upset’ when band splits

Fans of pubescent boyband One Direction have been urged to ‘try and look upset’ when the band inevitably splits in the next twelve to eighteen months.

The band are now ‘highly unlikely’ to manage another year without some enormous teenage strop spilling over into an outright split dressed up as ‘musical differences’, say industry analysts. ‘Now that they’ve been passed over for the Eurovision Song Contest in favour of a pensioner twice on the trot and now some unknown BBC bird, there’s almost no chance of them ever being taken seriously as credible artists,’ said Mike Williams, editor of music magazine NME. ‘When you consider that  Justin Bieber is clearly having more fun than they are, I think the writing must be on the wall.’

Signs that the band’s formerly solid commitment to producing commercially viable music substitute products have included the recent attempt by one of them, possibly Larry or Zune, to play football for Doncaster Rovers. ‘This tentative go at a career in which you earn meaninglessly large amounts of money for doing very little was not entirely successful,’ said a spokesman for the band. ‘Yes, I’m talking about the football. Oh, no – it’s the singing. No – the football. Take your pick.’

Music supremo Louis Walsh said: ‘We’re going to be launching a helpline that the boys can ring if they want to find out why there isn’t any hysteria over their split, so if there are any One Direction fans out there who are capable of answering a phone and having a coherent conversation we’d love to hear from you.’

Swearing ‘absolutely not a sin’, declares stressed Pope

Pope Francis announced that swearing is ‘absolutely not a sin any longer’ under Catholic teaching, just a day after he dropped the f-bomb during a Papal audience in Rome, leading to questions over his infallibility.

‘It’s got nothing to do with my sodding fallibility or otherwise, you tossers,’ the 77-year-old pontiff told reporters after his weekly audience with the Catholic faithful in St Peter’s Square. ‘Where in the f***ing Bible does it say you can’t swear? Eh? No-bloody-where, that’s where. Fallible my arse. You’d swear if you were doing this fucking job, I can tell you.’

The ruling surprised observers of the Catholic Church, and is being seen as a characteristically savvy move by the new Pope to appear more modern. ‘Old Benedict wouldn’t have sworn,’ said one expert Vaticanologist. ‘He just used to give you this glare, and then mutter ‘die Hurensohn’ under his breath, which he always said was the name of his favourite 14th-century Bavarian saint. Anyway, what with that and clicking his heels together, you’d never cross him again.’

His successor Francis, meanwhile, has established a much more relaxed style, although the change to Catholic custom was still unexpected. ‘Nobody liked that frosty old bastard, did they?’ he said of his predecessor. ‘So I thought, you know, take a different tack, be a bit more touchy-fucking-feely and people might be nicer to each other. But no, nobody listens to the fucking Pope any more. Look at that dickhead Putin, marching into the Crimea and slapping his cock on the table. This is supposed to be the time of the peace of Jesus, you Russian tit. Christ on a bike, he’ll be the death of us all. So yeah, swear all you like. I’m the Pope – who’s going to fucking stop me?’

‘Mind you though, I won’t want any more jokes about ‘Papal Bull-sh*t’,’ Francis warned. ‘I’ve heard them all before – especially from that Anglican fucker Welby.’

EU leaders’ decisive stand on Crimea: ‘Eurovision is going to be really awkward this year’

European Union leaders have made their first common statement on the Ukraine crisis, warning Russia that its actions leave them no choice but to be ‘really, really frosty’ at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

‘The aggressive action of the Russian government towards a sovereign European state is unacceptable,’ the statement reads. ‘We are all completely in agreement that unless the Crimea is returned to Ukrainian control, we will make things really, really awkward in the green room at this year’s Eurovision. We will certainly not cheer when the Russians come on, we will wave no Russian flags, and if anybody votes for them we will tut, not just firmly, but audibly.’

The statement comes after more than 48 hours of frenzied diplomatic activity across Europe, spearheaded by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. ‘The Russians know there’s sod all we can do about them marching in to the Crimea, or anywhere else, militarily speaking,’ Mr Hague said at a frank press briefing. ‘But this has given them pause for thought. Didn’t see this one coming, did you Mr Putin? No more douze points for you lot until you start behaving yourselves. Ha ha bloody ha.’

The joint warning is being seen as a personal success for Mr Hague. ‘It was really exciting, talking to my French and German counterparts over the phone late at night,’ he said. ‘And I even got a couple of supportive texts from some of the others, like Denmark and Portugal what’s that small one at the far end, Cyprus? Yeah, Cyprus. We’re all singing from the same hymn sheet, if you’ll excuse the pun. And just like the Eurovision, some of us are even in tune. Well, one or two.’

The Russian government was said to be ‘unconcerned’ by the statement. ‘We know how these things turn out,’ said a spokesman. ‘A lot of talk, but in the end whether it’s trailing into Baghdad behind the Americans or Bonnie Tyler honking on a stage surrounded by oiled topless male dancers, the British always come in last.’

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