The Provisional BBC is a paramilitary organisation which split from the BBC in October 2006 in protest at its toleration of poor writing and Liberal Democrats. The Provisional BBC regrets any civilian casualties resulting from posts contained within, but lays the blame squarely at the foot of the Tories. It is our duty to resist them, by any and all means necessary.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

New minister changes job title

Recently promoted minister Phil Woolas insisted on a revised job title as a pre-condition to accepting the role, it was revealed last night. He will no longer be known as the Minister for Immigration, but as the Minister against Immigration.

Woolas said that the government would not allow the population to expand to an infinite total of people. "There just isn't enough room for an infinite number of people in a finite space," he confided in Frank Field.

Woolas believes a decreasing population is just the thing to get our economy to grow again, because if we're lucky it will create a demand for labour that will force wage-inflation higher than the government is prepared to recommend for public sector workers.

Former Minister Liam Berk is said to be angry that his reputation as a hard-right nut was being undermined, claiming the move was a cynical effort to supplant him as fifth-in-line-amongst-the-younger-generation-to-succeed-Gordon-Brown.

Friends of Woolas claimed that he is not really racist, and the strategy was part of an attempt to triangulate the BNP, citing previous electoral successes like the attempt to triangulate the Militant in 1983. "Forget the centre ground, the extreme fringes are where elections are won," he is reported to have said.

But the minister's comments raised concerns that the next time there was a reshuffle, there would be no-one more right-wing than Woolas to fill the role. "New Labour have a proud tradition of appointing successively more right-wing MPs to extend immigration restrictions," explained a former Home Secretary who wished to remain nameless because he thought that gave him more credibility. "Jack Straw was replaced by David Blunkett, who was replaced by me, who was replaced by John Reid, who oversaw Liam Byrne, who has now been replaced by Woolas. Where can we go from here? We might have to make David Coleman as a Lord."

Meanwhile, a succession of polls showed that the worse the economic crisis becomes, the more immigration slips down the list of public concerns.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Poll suggests politicians are unpopular

A new poll has suggested Gordon Brown is the most unpopular person in the country, apart from all the other MPs.

The poll will be seen as bad news for Brown, who narrowly pipped Heather Mills and comfortably beat Tom Cruise, James Blunt and George W Bush to the title of Person You Would Least Like To Go For A Pint With.

The poll, carried out by a Labour blogger in a pub, will be seen as bad news for Brown. But potential challengers to Brown will find little to write home about - voters said they were no more likely to go for a pint with David Miliband, Jack Straw, Alan Johnson, David Cameron or Nick Clegg. 100% of respondents would prefer to go for a pint with their mates, or with attractive celebrities.

Cameron's i-pod broken

Former PR guru David Cameron's i-pod is broken, according to a Conservative HQ photostunt showing him frowning and pointing to the device. The Tory leader claimed it was Labour's fault for "fiddling" with it.

Cameron claimed that whereas in a previous generation it had been tvs that broke down, now the problem was MP3 players.

But according to the old Etonian, the problem highlighted the difference between Labour's approach and his own. Labour would waste money on one-to-one personal time with a trained professional in an aim to reintegrate the i-pod into society. Cameron would "heal" the i-pod by ending its dependence on crutches like rechargers. If the device didn't fix itself, he would rely on the good nature of well-meaning individuals to play with the settings. And if they couldn't fix it, he would punish the ipod by hitting it on the side of the table until it came to its senses.

A spokesperson from Apple said they had examined the offending item and found no fault with it, other than Cameron's faux-trendy music collection.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Liberal Democrats in middle-class tax break shocker

In a move set to shock absolutely no-one, the Liberal Democrats have proposed a novel scheme to cut the taxes of middle-class people.

Under the scheme, identity cards would be replaced by a "local leisure card" similar to supermarket loyalty cards, except less useful for working class people. Middle-class people would earn points for doing middle-class things - visiting the gym, shopping at Waitrose or going to the theatre. Parents living in postcodes with good schools could be eligible for "multipliers" which would see their score rise exponentially and taxes decrease similarly.

"It's time to end working-class culture in the UK," said Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg. "We will use the tax system as an incentive to replace football with yoga, Big Brother with Newsnight Review and fish and chips with taramasalta. If only we can turn Britain middle-class then maybe, just maybe we'll have a shot at government one day."

Health spokesperson Norman Lamb denied the move would incentivise paranoid pensioners to visit their yoga teachers every day in order to score more points. "Lalalalalalala, I can't hear you, I can't hear you," he argued.

Tories welcomed the scheme as, although beauracratic and totally unmanageable, it would "undermine the principle of socialised leisure and move Britain closer to an insurance model where we pay according to our own personal level of risk", according to Tory Spokesperson for Humiliating Fat People Andrew Lansley.

But libertarians said the move was yet further proof that the Lib Dems were not quite as batshit crazy as them. "This is just another extension of the big brother state," said a prominent blogger, who refused to be named in case ZaNuLabSSPolPotour came for him in the night. "First it was Oystercards, now this. I'm never going to a gym again."

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Report exposes "postcode lottery"

Where you live could affect the quality of service you receive from your MP, according to a report by the They Work For You Liberal Democrat Working Group Taskforce.

The controversial report suggests some MPs do more casework than others, some knock on more doors and some have more influence over government policy.

In extreme cases, people on one street might be represented by one MP, and people on the next street could be represented by another. But sensible people claimed that this was an inevitable part of having a geographical system - you have to draw the line somewhere.

"This is what happens when you let the common people choose their own MP" said Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne, who backed tough national standards for new MPs to be reinforced by a lack of hard-hitting targets.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Persistent nuisance-maker given ASBO

A troublemaker who aggravated his work colleagues and tried to get his boss fired has been made the subject of an anti-social behaviour order.

The terms of former Home Secretary Charles Clarke's ASBO prevent him from going within 100 yards of a journalist for the duration of Gordon Brown's premiership. He has also had his mobile phone confiscated and internet connection deactivated.

Breach of the order could lead to a fine or six months locked in a jail guarded by another former Home Secretary wielding a machine-gun.

Political ally Alan Milburn tried to excuse his friend's behaviour, arguing "It's not Charles' fault; it's because there's nothing for him to do." But officials pointed out that not all former ministers were badly behaved, and said he had been offered a list of doors to knock on to "keep him out of trouble".

Other Labour MPs were adamant the measures did not go far enough. "Charles Clarke has made our life a misery," said one anonymous back-bencher who believes Clarke could lose him his seat. "When Trade Unionists tried to bring down the government, Thatcher ordered ritual violence to beat them into submission. It's the only way he'll learn."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Guest column #6 - the Houston Chronicle

In an occasional series, the Provisional BBC brings you stories you'd expect to see here, if reputable news outlets hadn't published them first.

"PETA wants to advertise vegan message on border fence"

by the Houston Chronicle

While many view the contentious border fence as a government fiasco, an animal rights group sees a rare opportunity.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plans today to announce an unusual marketing pitch to the U.S. government: Rent us space on the fence for billboards warning illegal border crossers there is more to fear than the Border Patrol.

The billboards, in English and Spanish, would offer the caution: "If the Border Patrol Doesn't Get You, the Chicken and Burgers Will — Go Vegan."

"We think that Mexicans and other immigrants should be warned if they cross into the U.S. they are putting their health at risk by leaving behind a healthier, staple diet of corn tortillas, beans, rice, fruits and vegetables," said Lindsay Rajt, assistant manager of PETA's vegan campaigns.

The Department of Homeland Security is working to meet a deadline to complete 670 miles of fencing and other barriers on the Southwest border by Dec. 31. The fencing operation has run into stiff opposition by landowners fighting government efforts to obtain their land through condemnation.

PETA says its billboards would picture "fit and trim" Mexicans in their own country, where their diet is more in line with the group's mission. Another image on the sign would portray obese American children and adults "gorging on meaty, fat- and cholesterol-packed American food."

PETA'S offer to the feds is expected to arrive in a letter to Border Patrol officials today.

But a government spokesman in Washington said the request will be rejected because it would limit visibility through the fence. And Border Patrol does not allow advertising on its property or installations, the officials added.

"The fencing being put in place is, in many cases, mesh fencing to allow our officers to see what's happening on the other side and to better secure the border," said Michael Friel, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

One property owner on the Texas-Mexico border laughed at PETA's proposal.

"I think it's ridiculous," said Noel Benavides, who is contesting the construction of a fence dividing his family's 145-acre ranch in Roma on the Rio Grande. "I can't see the point of something like that."

But Rajt said the rent money they'd pay would help offset the huge costs of the fencing — and the advertising message "might even be frightening enough to deter people from crossing into the U.S."

PETA has often been criticized for its aggressive animal rights crusades. It's used billboards to push many of its controversial positions such as "Buck Cruelty: Say NO to horse-drawn carriage rides" or "Feeding Kids Meat Is Child Abuse."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dorries teams up with Taxpayers Alliance

Tory MP Nadine Dorries and the Taxpayers Alliance have teamed up to offer pregnant teenagers a way of getting straight back to work without "contributing to the genocide of an unborn generation".

Pregnant teenagers who opted not to have an abortion would be offered childcare vouchers which could be redeemed by private mercenaries. Faith-based organisations would be given tax incentives to transform themselves into private sub-contractors. The money would be funded from a reduction in Surestart provision, a "wasteful and inefficient" service "targeted at the poorest", according to the Taxpayers Alliance.

Pregnant rape survivors would be offered extra money if they dropped allegations, which "tie up the legal system with costly cases against otherwise law-abiding men, which rarely result in convictions." The Taxpayers Alliance estimated that for every pound spent on vouchers, three pounds would be saved from unnecessary lawyers' fees.

The scheme would be entirely voluntary, but those who did not opt in would have their benefits cut and council house taken away, cutting welfare rolls and reducing the tax of hard-working millionaires. Labour MP and Housing minister Caroline Flint was said to be so impressed by the idea she was considering defection.

The idea is not yet official Conservative policy, but David Cameron is said to be looking favourably at it. Insiders suggest the move will be part of an "unofficial white paper" in November before becoming Tory policy in March, so that the Tory press can uncritically report it as a new idea three times.

Pro-choice groups described themselves as "outraged", but the government remained silent so Ruth Kelly can get into heaven.

Dorries denied charges of obsessive mania, saying she was a "progressive, pro-choice MP" and "unlinked to any religious organisation", except for the ones who funded her website and would print her leaflets at the next General Election.

Church of England to split

Four senior Anglican bishops have split away from the Church of England to form a rival organisation.

The new "Church of ye olde England" aims to "break the mould of religious organisation", according to co-founder and leader Bishop Nazir-Ali.

Nazir-Ali cited differences over the consecration of female bishops and gay marriage, saying he hoped the Church of ye olde England would have a wider appeal than the old Anglican church, attracting conservative Catholics and evangelicals as well as Anglicans.

The experiment is widely expected to fail, allowing atheists to portray the religious as disunited egotists for ten years, after which any attempt by the Anglican church to claim the centre ground of UK religious life will be spun as a vindication of the splitters' move.

Speculation is mounting that the new group will merge with the Mormons and produce an annual newsletter just before Easter showing themselves kneeling at various UK locations with the claim they are "praying hard all year round".

Friday, May 23, 2008

Labour campaign "wrong to canvass"

The Labour by-election campaign in Crewe has been criticised for canvassing voters.

The controversial activity was used to motivate Labour's core vote, but many people who did no work in the by-election have claimed it was counter-productive, after top Tory Toff David Cameron told them so.

"Now I've never met anyone from Crewe," said someone-or-other who has aspirations to be an MP one day, "but I think it's obvious it was canvassing that alienated voters in this by-election. After all, the Labour Party did more canvassing this time round than we've done in Crewe for decades, and subsequently lost the seat. I'm no logician, but that smacks of a direct causal relationship to me."

Sensible Labour insiders have suggested Tories are scared of the power of the canvassing technique, and are trying to disincentivise Labour from using it in the future by blaming it for the by-election defeat. However, pundits have been quick to point out that Labour are unpopular, and therefore must be wrong.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Labour accused of "telling the truth" in by-election

Labour have been accused of playing politics after calling Conservative candidate in the by-election for Crewe & Nantwich constituency Edward Timpson a "Tory".

Conservative MP Pickled Egg, who is running the Conservative campaign in Crewe, said the "old-style" tactics had "back-fired".

"Labour seem to think that people will vote on the basis of which party they would prefer to run the country. I think we have moved on. I think Britain is a more civilised place than that."

The Labour Party is said to be divided over the campaign, with people who no-one has heard of saying things that no-one can confirm hearing. According to a journalist who thinks he overheard another journalist in a bar somewhere, Labour Party strategists are split between those who think the by-election campaign should appeal to working class people in Crewe, and those who think it should appeal to working class people in southern marginals.

Jon Cruddas, the one-time failed deputy leadership candidate who turned down a government position to concentrate on being a newspaper columnist, said that Labour was making a mistake by pointing out the party affiliation of the Conservative candidate, and if Labour had really wanted to win the by-election it should've waited until after the COMPASS conference, where Neil Lawson would explain what lessons he had learnt from the 2008 elections.

Labour candidate Tamsin Dunwoody defended the campaign, suggesting what party a candidate for election belongs to is "relevant" and a "good pointer to their concerns, experiences and likely future actions".

And she said that getting activists to dress up as zombie Gwynneth Dunwoodys and chant "one of us, one of us, one of us" was just a "visual reminder of the very real differences between myself and Edward Timpson - our surnames".

Coincidentally, journalists have stopped talking about how unpopular Gordon Brown is and the election is no longer being described as a "referendum on Brown".

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Purnell: Unemployed could lose citizenship

The long-term unemployed should seek work or face losing their British citizenship, Work and Pensions secretary James Purnell has suggested. "It is not enough to have been born and brought up in Britain," said the minister. "Every citizen must demonstrate their worth to society or lose their entitlements."

Once citizenship is revoked, the unemployed could be detained without charge or time limit and deported to "second countries" willing to take non-nationals in the hope of securing a guarantee from the British government that it will ignore human rights abuses occurring on their territories. Presidents Al-Bashir and Mugabe have already expressed interest in the scheme.

If the scheme was a success, it could be rolled out to all British citizens, according to Purnell. Future Britons would need to "earn citizenship", he said. Children who wanted to become citizens would have to earn the right to vote, receive healthcare and employment rights by passing GCSE English Language, doing charity work and securing references from prominent community figures. They may also have to make a "good-will" payment towards public services in order to "weed out" the poorest who "offer little, but take plenty".

Concerns that not all children could pass GCSE English Language were dismissed by the minister. "If children cannot write six paragraphs on Shakespeare's use of iambic pentameter, how will they integrate into adult society?" he scoffed.

Tories dismissed the scheme as a "flawed gimmick", saying the criteria could disciminate against the independently wealthy who did not contribute anything concrete to society but improved the moral tone of Britain by lending it their name and prestige. The Tory policy of shooting the unemployed was "cheaper and less bureaucratic", said David Davis.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Guest column #5 - The BBC

In an occasional series, the Provisional BBC brings you stories you'd expect to see here, if reputable news outlets hadn't published them first. The inclusion of this article was considered carefully. It addresses a serious issue and the Provisional BBC would not want readers to treat the issue lightly. However, the way the article is written and the quote from a Conservative spokesman at the end justify its inclusion.

"Curry houses need more migrants"

By the BBC

The Home Office is being urged to ease restrictions on migrant workers entering Britain from Bangladesh, to avert a crisis in the curry industry.

Curry houses are struggling to fill thousands of kitchen staff vacancies, says the Immigration Advisory Service.

For years, many staff in the UK's 9,000 curry restaurants have been recruited directly from Bangladesh.

But restrictions on the workers have been tighter since eastern Europeans were given employment rights.

It is thought the curry industry in the UK employs at least 50,000 people, with the majority of restaurants Bangladeshi-owned.

'Cultural sensitivity'

According to the IAS, restrictions on lower-skilled workers from outside the EU are causing a labour shortage so severe it could cause "irreparable damage" to the curry industry.

It argues that attempts to get eastern Europeans to work in curry restaurants have failed because they do not have the "cultural sensitivity" required.

The IAS has written to the Immigration Minister, Liam Byrne, asking for the rules to be relaxed for catering workers from Bangladesh.

But government officials said they had no plans to review the current arrangements.

A Border and Immigration Agency spokesman said its objective was to "manage migration in the national interest"

"Striking the right balance between safeguarding the interests of the UK resident work force and enabling UK employers to recruit or transfer skilled people from abroad in order to help them compete effectively in an international market," he said.

Conservative MP Mark Pritchard said figures from the Office of National Statistics showed an already high level of unemployment among UK-based Bangladeshis.

"I oppose any easing of visa restrictions given that the existing Bangladeshi community living in the UK already has the highest unemployment rate of any other ethnic group," he said.

"More needs to be done to get existing UK Bangladeshis into work - and to end claiming state benefits."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Ex-Cabinet minister reminds public of past disagreements

A has-been former cabinet minister has reminded voters that he doesn't like Gordon Brown.

Writing in the Observer, he suggested that colleagues had not yet thrown their weight behind the PM, and that he was incapable of conveying this message to them in private.

The public appeal comes after a difficult period for Labour, but Mr Bye-Byers was confident that yet another process story would draw a line under the past few months. "I'm too important to spend my time exposing Tory policies," he told anyone who would listen. "MPs listen to me. If I write an article in the comment pages of a Liberal Democrat newsrag, people will take notice and do what I say."

The Prime Minister has not commented on the article, as he was too busy telling journalists he is busy getting on with the job of being Prime Minister.

About Me

Back after an extended exile from blogging. Depressing to be in opposition but likely to prompt more posts here.