Category Archives: Education

Happy National Poetry Day


I couldn’t possibly pick just one, so here are a few to salivate over. There’s something for everyone.

The Mower

by Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

 

This be the Verse

by Philip Larkin

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don’t have any kids yourself.

 

Suspenders

by Raymond Carver

Mom said I didn’t have a belt that fit and
I was going to have to wear suspenders to school
next day. Nobody wore suspenders to second grade,
or any other grade for that matter. She said,
You’ll wear them or else I’ll use them on you. I don’t want any more trouble. My dad said something then. He
was in the bed that took up most of the room in the cabin
where we lived. He asked if we could be quiet and settle this
in the morning. Didn’t he have to go in early to work in
the morning? He asked if I’d bring him
a glass of water. It’s all that whiskey he drank, Mom said. He’s
dehydrated.

I went to the sink and, I don’t know why, brought him
a glass of soapy dishwater. He drank it and said, That sure
tasted funny, son. Where’d this water come from?
Out of the sink, I said.
I thought you loved your dad, Mom said.
I do, I do, I said, and went over to the sink and dipped a glass
into the soapy water and drank off two glasses just
to show them. I love Dad, I said.
Still, I thought I was going to be sick then and there. Mom said,
I’d be ashamed of myself if I was you. I can’t believe you’d
do your dad that way. And, by God, you’re going to wear those
suspenders tomorrow, or else. I’ll snatch you bald-headed if you
give me any trouble in the morning. I don’t want to wear
suspenders,
I said. You’re going to wear suspenders, she said. And with that
she took the suspenders and began to whip me around the bare legs
while I danced in the room and cried. My dad
yelled at us to stop, for God’s sake, stop. His head was killing him,
and he was sick at his stomach from soapy dishwater
besides. That’s thanks to this one, Mom said. It was then somebody
began to pound on the wall of the cabin next to ours. At first it
sounded like it was a fist–boom-boom-boom–and then
whoever it was switched to a mop or a broom
handle.  For Christ’s sake, go to bed over there! somebody yelled.
Knock it off! And we did. We turned out the lights and
got into our beds and became quiet. The quiet that comes to a house
where nobody can sleep.

 

Gravy

by Raymond Carver

No other word will do. For that’s what it was.
Gravy.
Gravy, these past ten years.
Alive, sober, working, loving, and
being loved by a good woman. Eleven years
ago he was told he had six months to live
at the rate he was going. And he was going
nowhere but down. So he changed his ways
somehow. He quit drinking! And the rest?
After that it was all gravy, every minute
of it, up to and including when he was told about,
well, some things that were breaking down and
building up inside his head. “Don’t weep for me,”
he said to his friends. “I’m a lucky man.
I’ve had ten years longer than I or anyone
expected. Pure Gravy. And don’t forget it.”

 

Hummingbird

by Raymond Carver

Suppose I say summer,
write the word “hummingbird”,
put it in an envelope,
take it down the hill
to the box. When you open
my letter you will recall
those days and how much,
just how much, I love you.

 

Teleport Memory

by Patrick Chapman

 

Eighteen winters on, I find your jet-black

hold-up in my box of old remarkables,

the rubber garter still with spring in it.

 

I drape the stocking long on the bed

and try to imagine your pale slender leg

filling it toe to knee to thigh and beyond

 

in a matter transmitter reconstitution

of you with a physical copy that holds

your consciousness, your memories,

 

your tenderness, your wit still dry –

while out in the real, the original you

has surely diverged in directions I can’t

 

follow: some of your people passed on;

you a mother, an aunt or alone; and every

cell in your body, twice overwritten.

 

If that you can bear think of me

it may be with disdain for who I was

at the end but listen, my old love,

 

he has been replaced so many times –

no longer that young cripple who,

out of repression and pain, cracked

 

your heart and in its fracture fatally

punctured his own. So far undone is he

that even teleport could never bring us home.

 

Alone with Everybody

by Charles Bukowski

 

the flesh covers the bone

and they put a mind

in there and

sometimes a soul,

and the women break

vases against the walls

and the men drink too

much

and nobody finds the

one

but keep

looking

crawling in and out

of beds.

flesh covers

the bone and the

flesh searches

for more than

flesh.

 

there’s no chance

at all:

we are all trapped

by a singular

fate.

 

nobody ever finds

the one.

 

the city dumps fill

the junkyards fill

the madhouses fill

the hospitals fill

the graveyards fill

 

nothing else

fills.

 

EDGE

by Sylvia Plath

The woman is perfected
Her dead

Body wears the smile of accomplishment,
The illusion of a Greek necessity

Flows in the scrolls of her toga,
Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far, it is over.

Each dead child coiled, a white serpent,
One at each little

Pitcher of milk, now empty
She has folded

Them back into her body as petals
Of a rose close when the garden

Stiffens and odors bleed
From the sweet, deep throats of the night flower.

The moon has nothing to be sad about,
Staring from her hood of bone.

She is used to this sort of thing.
Her blacks crackle and drag.

 

The Causes

by Jorge Luis Borges

The sunsets and the generations
The days and none was first.
The freshness of water in Adam’s
Throat. Orderly paradise.
The eye deciphering the darkness.
The love of wolves at dawn.
The word. The hexameter. The mirror.
The Tower of Babel and pride.
The moon which the Chaldeans gazed at.
The uncountable sands of the Ganges.
Chuang Tzu and the butterfly that dreams him.
The golden apples on the islands.
The steps in the wandering labyrinth.
Penelope’s infinite tapestry.
The circular time of the Stoics.
The coin in the mouth of the dead man.
The sword’s weight on the scale.
Each drop of water in the water clock.
The eagles, the memorable days, the legions.
Caesar on the morning of Pharsalus.
The shadow of crosses over the earth.
The chess and algebra of the Persians.
The footprints of long migration.
The sword’s conquest of kingdom’s.
The relentless compass. The open sea.
The clock echoing in the memory.
The king executed by the ax.
The incalculable dust that was armies.
The voice of the nightingale in Denmark.
The calligrapher’s meticulous line.
The suicide’s face in the mirror.
The gambler’s card. Greedy gold.
The forms of a cloud in the desert.
Every arabesque in the kaleidoscope.
Each regret and each tear.
All those things were made perfectly clear
So our hands could meet.

 

Dulce et Decorum est

by Wilfred Owen

 

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,

Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,

Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs

And towards our distant rest began to trudge.

Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots

But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;

Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots

Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.

 

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!–An ecstasy of fumbling

Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;

But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,

And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime…

Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,

As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

 

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,

He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

 

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace

Behind the wagon that we flung him in,

And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,

His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;

If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood

Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs

Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud

Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,–

My friend, you would not tell with such high zest

To children ardent for some desperate glory,

The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est

Pro patria mori.

 

The Diameter of the Bomb

by Yehuda Amichai

 

The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters

And the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,

With four dead and eleven wounded.

And around these, in a larger circle

Of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered

And one graveyard. But the young woman

Who was buried in the city she came from,

At a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,

Enlarges the circle considerably,

And the solitary man mourning her death

At the distant shores of a country far across the sea

Includes the entire world in the circle.

And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans

That reaches up to the throne of God and

Beyond, making

A circle with no end and no God.

 

Sometimes you go upstairs

by David Milligan-Croft

 

Sometimes, you might hear a bang-

Like something has been knocked over.

And, you shout out,

“Hey! What are you two up to?”

 

Sometimes, you go upstairs,

You know, to check on the girls.

To make sure they haven’t kicked off

Their duvets, or fallen out of bed.

 

But, when you go up,

You realise they’re not there anymore.

And, for a moment,

You thought life was like it was before.

 

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Terrorist or mentally ill?


Something has been on my mind this past month or so. And, after the tragic events that saw at least 84 people murdered in Nice yesterday, I feel compelled to write about it.

It’s not about the atrocity in Nice per se, but it is connected by how the perpetrator has – or will be – labelled by the media.

Thomas Mair – the man who murdered Labour MP Jo Cox – was immediately dubbed by the press as being mentally ill.

No doubt, the French-Tunisian man who killed 84 people in Nice will be dubbed a terrorist or Islamic extremist.

Why the difference in labels?

We know Thomas Mair had links to far right white supremacist groups. And we know that he called Jo Cox a ‘traitor’ because of her pro-EU stance. But still people say he must be mentally ill.

Why is a British white man who commits a politically motivated atrocity mentally ill, while an Arabic French man is a terrorist?

I’ll tell you why:

Because many British people share the same views as Thomas Mair.

They want England for English people. (And, by ‘English’, they mean ‘WASPs’: White Anglo Saxon Protestants. Not brown people who were born here. They don’t count.) They want foreigners out. They blame years of austerity measures on immigrants rather than the successive governments.

They don’t want to be identified as extremists or terrorists. So Thomas Mair’s mentally ill. He’s crazy. No normal person would do what he did.

Thomas Mair was radicalised by right wing groups like Britain First and the English Defence League. (As well as white supremacist groups in America.) I also believe that UKIP, Nigel Farage and other Brexiters who whipped up a storm of racial intolerance prior to the referendum had a role to play.

Hate crimes prior to, and following the referendum, were up 42% on previous years.

Are all these people mentally ill, or have they been radicalised?

Of course, I am not accusing all Brexiters of being right-wing-racist-radical-terrorists. Not even the majority of them. But some are.

And Thomas Mair definitely is.

It may well turn out that Thomas Mair does have a mental illness also. But that didn’t make him murder Jo Cox. His ideology did.

The man who murdered 84 people in Nice might have had a mental illness too. But I doubt he will be labelled as such.

Was what he did normal? Can any terrorist act be classed as normal behaviour? Are all terrorists mentally ill? Of course not.

Well, perhaps just the white British ones.

Obviously you don’t have to have brown skin to be a terrorist. You can have white skin. Particularly if it has an Irish accent attached to it.

But not pure, white English skin. Because “we” don’t do that whole terrorist thing.

It’s Jo Cox’s funeral today. RIP young lady. You were a shining beacon of hope in a dark world.

Britain Lawmaker Killed

An image and floral tributes for Jo Cox, lay on Parliament Square, outside the House of Parliament in London, Friday, June 17, 2016, after the 41-year-old British Member of Parliament was fatally injured Thursday in northern England. The mother of two young children was shot to death Thursday afternoon in her constituency near Leeds. A 52-year-old man has been arrested but has not been charged. He has been named locally as Tommy Mair. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

 

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Dear EU, a love letter to Europe.


Dear EU,

I am so sorry, I have some bad news. It’s not you. It’s not even me – It’s them!

And, by ‘them’, I mean the 52% who voted to leave the European Union.

I guess they’ll say I’m just a sore loser and that democracy won the day. But it’s hard to see it as democracy when their decision making was based on a litany of untruths and fear.

You see, I was one of the 48% that wanted to stay with you, because I love you. I’m a complete Europhile. I love your rich, colourful, cultural diversity. I also love the fact that we can come and go as we please. Not just for holidays, but for work or to study.

And it’s that cultural diversity that leads to understanding, respect, tolerance and unity.

The world needs fewer borders, not more.

Sure, it’s not always been plain sailing and we’ve had our ups and downs. But I think we’ve had more ups than downs over the years, don’t you think? You’ve let us keep our own currency and border controls. And you’ve made the prices of things much cheaper. And made sure workers’ rights have been protected.

You’ve been very kind and patient with us these past few months while we’ve tried to make up our minds whether or not to dump you.

The problem was, the Vote Leave campaign told so many whopping big lies about the economy and immigration that they managed to get 52% of people to believe them.

Only this morning have they reneged on one promise to spend £350 million pounds a week on the NHS! I bet the Vote Leavers feel like a right bunch of suckers right now.

I have to be honest, and say that the Vote Remain campaign didn’t cover itself in glory either.

A lot of folks over here are saying that the people who voted leave are ‘stupid’. But they’re not, are they? They were just lied to on a monumental scale. The fact is, the Vote Leave campaigners played on people’s fears. They managed to convince them that all the problems we’ve been having these past few years are the fault of the EU and immigrants rather than the financial crash of 2008 and Tory austerity measures.

Unfortunately, they’ll soon find out that they were spoon fed a pack of lies.

The other big problem is that a lot of people in England are becoming ever more racist. They don’t want you ‘foreigners’ coming to our country and nicking our jobs and sponging off our welfare system.

But you don’t do that, do you? You create £6 billion worth of wealth for the UK economy. And withdraw a paltry few hundred million in welfare by comparison.

All the clever people wanted us to stay with you. People like Stephen Hawking, Richard Branson, Lord Sugar and Posh & Becks. (Maybe we should have got someone from the Big Brother house or Geordie Shore to be a spokesperson instead.) Whereas, all the right-wing scaremongers such as Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Katie Hopkins wanted us to leave. And, because people are becoming more and more right wing, they believed in the harbingers of fear, hate, division and intolerance.

Maybe there is a way for us to stay together. Me and you, that is. Not Britain, it’s too late for that. And, the irony is, the ‘Great Britain’ Vote Leavers so desperately coveted will probably lead to it being dismantled. (Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain with you.)

Poor-little-England will have to take on the world single-handed. It’ll build a grand new fleet of galleons made from the finest spruce and oak. England shall once again, rule the waves, sail the seven seas and plunder, rape and subjugate all in its path!

Until, it sinks and drowns.

We’re not all racist, nationalistic, xenophobic, imperialistic, unrealistic, gullible Luddites, you know.

I still love EU. And I always will.

Yours,

David.

P.S. Can I please come and live with you?

 

 

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Dear Mr. President: An open letter to Barack Obama, from one dad to another.


Dear Mr. President,

I hope you don’t mind me writing to you out of the blue like this.

I know you’re an avid follower of my blog because I’ve seen your little Stars ‘n’ Stripes flag on my stats page.

Please forgive my spelling too, as I’m writing from across the pond. Ditto for interfering in your internal affairs, as you could say it’s none of my business, being a foreigner, and all.

But it is, you see. Because I am a dad. Like you. And it matters to every dad and daughter on the entire planet.

I just wanted to appraise you of something monumentally bad that’s happened in your country. In fact, it’s so bad, the aftershock from it has reverberated around the globe. And I know you’ll want to do something about it as you seem like a really nice guy. (God help you all if that Drumpf turnip becomes president. I believe the Secret Service, CIA and FBI are already squabbling about who gets first dibs on the grassy knoll should he get elected.)

But, I digress… the reason for the massive global furor is because of this Brock Turner fellow, who was sentenced to a paltry six months in prison for raping an unconscious girl. Have you heard about it? Unbelievable, don’t you think? Particularly in light of the fact that another chap, by the name of Cory Batey, was convicted of a similar crime. Except, he got 15-25 years. Doesn’t seem to be much in the way of parity or consistency, does there, Mr. O?

Oh, did I mention that Cory Batey is black? Surely, the two can’t be connected? You can read about that here, if you fancy.

In the Brock Turner case, the victim is only known as Emily Doe. She wrote an extremely moving 12 page victim impact statement which she read out in court addressing Brock in person. It is such an articulate, excruciating, dignified, haunting and devastatingly heartbreaking treatise on what the poor girl has endured, is enduring and will always endure due to Turner’s violation. If you haven’t read it, Mr. O, I implore you do so here. You will not fail to be moved and dismayed by the injustice of it all.

I think one of the main reasons why the world is aghast, is that Mr. Turner doesn’t appear to take responsibility for his actions. He puts the incident down to excess alcohol. Now, to be honest, Barack – may I call you Barack? I like a jar or two myself. I’m particularly partial to a snifter of Shiraz. And, in the 34 years that I’ve legally been allowed to drink, I’ve never once raped anybody. Conscious, or otherwise. So, it’s not much of an excuse, is it? In fact, no one I’ve ever drunk with has raped anyone either. Brock seems to think it’s the drinking culture that is to blame rather than himself.

What seems to compound matters is that Brock’s dad also read out a statement to the court (read it here) in which he pleaded for leniency for his son’s “20 minutes of action”. Raping someone isn’t really ‘getting some action’ though, is it? It’s my thinking that I’m not entirely surprised Brock isn’t taking responsibility if this is his dad’s attitude. Obviously, Judge Persky, (a Stanford alumni and former athlete), completely empathises with Brock’s plight too. Because that’s how it comes across – Brock’s plight, rather than Emily’s.

It just all feels a bit, y’know – like some sort of clique. A gentlemen’s club or something. That it’s almost treated like a rite of passage.

And that goes way beyond Brock Turner. It permeates the very fabric of university values. (Or lack, thereof.) No wonder he doesn’t accept responsibility if a supreme court judge doesn’t think he should either.

You’re a father too, aren’t you, Mr. President? Two girls isn’t it? Me too. Although, mine are a lot younger than yours. Still at primary school. (I think you call it elementary.) I am constantly filled with dread about anything bad befalling them. Some people say I’m over-protective. I don’t care if I am. That’s what daddies are for. My heart goes out to Emily Doe’s dad.

One day, though, I’ll have to let them go. Let them go off to university (if they so wish) or travel round the world. And I won’t be there to protect them. To protect them from the likes of Brock Turner.

That’s why we need a strong justice system. When that system fails the victim we begin to see vigilantes crawl out of the woodwork seeking justice themselves. Perhaps it would be for his own safety that Brock Turner receives a tougher sentence. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone opened him up from his gullet to his ball sack with a pair of hedge trimmers for his lack of contrition. Not that I’m advocating a lynch mob, you understand.

How would you feel, Mr. Prez, if it happened to one of your daughters? And the assailant got six months! I guess you’d be pretty pissed off.

That’s why I was wondering if you could help Emily Doe out? As one dad to another. Maybe have a word with the prosecution and ask them to appeal the sentence. (Unbelievably, Brock’s lawyers are the ones appealing the sentence for being too harsh! Talk about rubbing salt into Emily’s wounds.) Or, have a word with the judge. He really has a skewed view of justice. Or have a retrial. You see, it’s not just about Emily. It’s about all girls and all women all over the world. This sentence says it’s not really that bad to rape someone when you’re wasted. Not really.

But it is, isn’t it, Mr. President? If it was your daughter? If it was mine? If it was Emily Doe?

Rape is rape.

It’s not dependent on one’s level of intoxication. It’s dependent on one’s actions.

In my humble opinion, rape – the violation of someone’s body and mind – is a close second to murder. And should be judged accordingly. After all, Emily Doe has already received a life sentence courtesy of Brock Turner.

Anyhoo, I best sign off now as I’ve taken up too much of your time already and I’ve got to put my two little ragamuffins to bed. I’ll leave it in your very capable hands.

I hope you can get this sorted out before you retire in November. I think it would mean a lot to Emily, who has suffered enough.

Yours sincerely,

David Milligan-Croft.

A concerned, and over-protective father of two girls.

P.S. Fair play to the two Swedish guys, Carl-Fredrik Arndt and Lars Peter Jonsson, who caught Brock Turner in the act of raping Emily, chasing him down as he fled the scene and holding him until the police arrived. Could you give them some kind of medal or something?

Another thing that bothers me though, is that, in Brock Turner’s statement to the court, he says that Emily Doe responded and consented to his advances. Whereas, these two heroes said that she was completely unconscious. Was their eye-witness testimony ever heard in court, I wonder? As Emily Doe said that she has never met them to say thank you. Would seem odd if it wasn’t. Could be a way in for a retrial. Just a thought.

P.P.S. I’m off to the garden shed to dig out my hedge trimmers.

 

 

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That’ll do, Dave. That’ll do.


Old farmer Cameron has been bandying about the insults at today’s Tory Party Conference.

 

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Okay, let’s try to dissect what David Cameron actually meant when he accused Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, of being: “security threatening, terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating”.

Let’s take “security threatening” first. 

Corbyn wants world peace.

He doesn’t want to bomb Syria.

He wants nuclear disarmament.
Yes, he sounds like a real threat to me.
David-Cameron-memes-on-PigGate
Next, we have terrorist-sympathising”.
Corbyn thinks we should open a dialogue with all interested parties in conflict. These could be governments, political parties or terrorist organisations. A bit like we did with the IRA when it came to the Good Friday Agreement.
Talk, before bombs? Who knows, it could work.
CameronPig-BlackShirtRedPrint
Lastly, Britain-hating”.
Like me, Corbyn has no-truck with the monarchy.
Indeed, I would like my daughters to have the chance of being the democratically elected head of state. Instead of the out-dated, eternally privileged, palace dwelling, tax-dodging, freeloaders we have now.
What I hate about that ‘kind’ of Britain, is that the public school educated elite believe they have the right to lord it over plebs like me ad infinitum.
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So, Babe, before you start dishing out the insults, I suggest you take a leaf out of Mr. Corbyn’s book, and try a fresh approach to governance to create a New Britain. One that protects its citizens, (yes, even the poor ones). A country that educates its children and takes care of its sick. A nation that welcome diverse cultures and strives towards a peaceful world with fewer bombs and more dialogue.
And, no Dave, HP Sauce is not a lube.

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The artists, (and thinkers, and mathematicians, and scientists), of tomorrow.


Inspired by Canadian Native Art

Inspired by Canadian Native Art

I wrote a post a couple of days ago whinging about how little art there is in the school curriculum. As I mentioned, my gripe was not with my girls’ school, but with the government’s inability to see value in the arts.

I love going to art galleries, and I love to look at art. Whether it’s by a household name or a toddler expressing themselves.

This week, my kids’ school seized the initiative and held an art exhibition, showcasing a smorgasbord of stunning work from all age groups. Everywhere you looked, on the walls, on the floor, on the stage, dangling from the ceiling, there was a veritable feast of colour, pattern, shape and texture.

The school hall was packed with jubilant kids and proud parents. (Though, I’ve cropped most of them out as I don’t have their permission to show them.)

So, a massive well done to all the staff at Didsbury Road Primary School for putting on such an inspirational and spectacular event. And for having the foresight to see the value in art even if the government doesn’t.

Now then, treat your peepers to a few stunning examples…

Potato printing

Potato printing

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Lydia being a bit camera shy in front of her 'Paisley' piece.

Lydia being a bit camera shy in front of her ‘Paisley’ piece.

'Paisley' by Lydia Milligan-Daly

‘Paisley’ by Lydia Milligan-Daly

Scarlett's 'Graffiti' piece. (She refused to have her photo taken.)

Scarlett’s ‘Graffiti’ piece. (She refused to have her photo taken.)

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Lydia presenting her pop-up book

Lydia presenting her pop-up book

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I bet you’d need to know your maths to construct this beautiful sculpture

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The Ethics of Crowdfunding Assassinations. Or, “How I topped a Toff”. (Part 1.)


I was sitting on the bus the other day, on the way to collect my dole money, (being the work-shy scrounger that I am), when I happened to earwig in on a conversation by two assassins sitting on the seat in front of me.

I could tell they were assassins because one was dressed like a ninja and the other like a navy seal but without the military insignia.

Anyhoo, they were discussing whether they thought they could get crowdfunding to assassinate George Osborne and Iain Duncan Smith, as they didn’t reckon their Job Seekers Allowance would cover it.

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Whilst I obviously don’t condone murder per se, my ears pricked up, as I had never heard anyone discussing the finer points of crowdfunding for such an endeavor – even if the targets in question were totally deserving of such a fate.

First of all, they went through a “wish list” of things they might need to carry out their task: a high-powered sniper rifle; a couple of Glock 9mms; ammo; some ninja throwing stars; a super-fast getaway car, (along the lines of a Nissan Micra); some factory workers overalls; some waiters uniforms; and two bags of cheesy Wotsits just in case they had to do a stakeout.

This final point caused quite a kerfuffle, as the ninja said in no uncertain terms that Wotsits tasted of belly fluff and that he preferred Monster Munch. The seal compromised and a bag of each was added to the list. (Along with a can of diet Coke and an Innocent smoothie.)

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It turns out the factory workers’ overalls were for the hit on Osborne. As he would no doubt be on a factory visit at some stage. The waiters’ outfits were for the hit on IDS as he would invariably be having a champagne breakfast at some swanky hotel at the taxpayers’ expense.

They also reckoned they would need about half a mill to bribe a government official to get info as to the whereabouts of the two miscreants during the year.

All in all, these two would-be Lee Harveys totted up that they would need about a million quid to successfully carry out their mission. (Excluding a couple of Easyjet flights to the Costa del Sol afterwards.)

I didn’t think a million quid was too bad to pop a cap in the bottoms of two of the most nefarious politicians since the rise of the National Socialist Workers’ Party.

They even drew up a list of funding options, ranging from a tenner for a, “I topped a Toff” t-shirt, to a hundred quid for an invite to the afters street party. (This they reckoned would be a big seller.)

They also talked of being able to attend the actual assassinations for a grand per person. But weren’t too sure about the practicalities of this, as a large, cheering, placard waving mob following them around might not be best for covertness.

After a time, they began to doubt the logistics of it all and whether people would get into the spirit of things and chip in. So they turned to me and asked me what I thought.

I said that I absolutely and utterly did not condone murder and, had my iPhone not run out of battery, would’ve probably reported them to the police, (which they empathised with, being upstanding citizens an’ all).  However, hypothetically, I asked, wouldn’t it be easier for the two little tykes to simply do the whole lot of them in at once and take out the entire cabinet?

They complained that this was a risky strategy and that they’d never in a million years get access to the cabinet.

So I says, give the million quid and a bomb in a lobster thermidor to Iain Duncan Smith, he’d sell his own mother for a sturgeon canapé. Sure, hasn’t he been sponging off his missus for the past thirty years?

“But he’s top of our list!” the ninja said.

“Yes,” I said. “But you can do him in afterwards. When he’s under the viaduct kicking the shit out of a homeless person.”

They seemed to think this was a good idea.

Anyways, my stop was coming up, so I bid them adieu.

I don’t know what the legalities are of crowdfunding the assassination of high-ranking politicians, but it has to be worth a shot.

Or, perhaps, two.

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