Monday, 15 September 2014

Rats Leading the Sinking Ship

I had been watching a favourite movie film of my childhood, Disney's Basil the Great Mouse Detective. It was a nostalgic indulgence and I didn't expect to glean anything of relevance to contemporary politics. My expectations were incorrect however.

At the story's climax, the villainous Ratigan usurps the Queen of all Mousedom (and the empire, apparently) and starts bestowing decrees.

At 'Item 96' he declares that "A heavy tax shall be levied against all parasites and spongers, such as the elderly, the infirm, and especially little children"

I was quite surprised to find current Tory dogma so succinctly put in an animated feature from nearly 3 decades ago.

Ratigan dislikes being called a rat, despite the fact that he clearly is so, and refers to himself as 'Ratigan'.

Likewise, David Cameron deigns to present himself as a moderniser, despite clearly espousing a Tory ideology, and being a Conservative Prime Minister.

An old mouse responds to this new executive proclamation by protesting:
"This is ridiculous! You're insane!"
Which is almost verbatim my reaction, and I suspect that of many others, when I first read about the Bedroom Tax.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

(Belatedly) My Family Obituary

Long sickening, the British television comedy show 'My Family', has finally died. Whilst My Family was undeniably British and shown on television, the term comedy that was applied to it has been a source of debate.

Tragically, My Family achieved its potential very early in life. My Family died as it lived; desperately trying to appeal to everyone. For a long time My Family staunchly denied that it was ill, and for a short time was successful in this deceit, managing to look healthy and vigorous, whilst in actuality being the exact opposite, much like John F. Kennedy.

Doctors repeatedly warned that My Family would have to give up its habit of contrived jokes, in favour of a healthier lifestyle involving humourous situations, but My Family staunchly rejected this exercise regime, in favour of continuously replacing it's vital organs; an ever increasing cast of characters. Each new transplant was weaker than the last, and would often adapt poorly to the body of work. For years, My Family simply refused help, and had to be kept on the life support machine of zany characters for the last 3 years.

My Family became so broad through its unhealthy lifestyle, that towards the end it would regularly collapse under the weight of its own lethargy. My Family had to endure the indignity of being airlifted to the hospital.

In 2005 My Family’s Heart (Kris Marshall), went on to bigger and better things, becoming a Dick for British Telecom. Many who knew My Family felt it would have been kinder to have let their friend pass away then.

Some have suggested that if you didn’t like My Family, then you didn’t have to watch it; however the same could be said of the Armenian genocide, and indeed much of the world did fail to take notice of the slaughter. Of course, it’s not fair to compare My Family to the tragedy in the Ottoman Empire; the genocide in Armenia only lasted 2 years, whereas the British public had to endure My Family for over a decade.

Like a good many things popular with the British public (such as Enoch Powell for instance), My Family received stern criticism. Although well intentioned, My Family always came across as bland, wooden, and conversationally stunted.  It was this aspect of My Family that made its presence so odious to people intelligent enough to know that when they travel, it’s the vehicle moving and not them. The rest of the public enjoyed the inanity, and projected what they wanted on the bland canvass. More often than not, what they wanted was clich├ęd jokes and a lack of panache.

Whilst in early life appealing to many and not offending the senses of the discerning, in middle age My Family started to embarrass its peers, but was oblivious to the ridicule itself. Much like the 40 year old man with a beer belly and blond highlights in his hair, My Family felt it could still strut its stuff; and like the 40 year old, was often inexplicably successful with young people. My Family tried to keep up by addressing issues such as race and sexuality, but ended up embarrassing itself even further.

So polished it was, My Family was the only turd that could be seen from space. My Family never stood the best chance in life; uncertainty over its parentage and identity issues led My Family to try and appeal to the lowest possible denominator, at great loss of dignity to itself. The public got more out of the arrangement, and My Family at times seemed to resemble a used condom.

The tombstone reads: ‘Beloved Television Show, and not The Life of Riley. Please remember that it wasn’t The Life of Riley.’

We shall try. We hope that you’re now in a better place My Family, because you’re not welcome back here.

Teaching Vacancy

A real online correspondence. Certain names and details have been altered for the sake of privacy.

Dear James and Anna,

Last week I asked you about an alleged teaching vacancy at your organisation.

As a response from yourselves has been lacking, I must assume that either the vacancy wasn't as immediate as advertised, or that you do not want my services.

I shall go to Brighton at 2pm tomorrow in order to ascertain which.

I look forward to seeing you.

Thank-you very much for your time.


Joseph Tessier.

Hello Joseph

I forwarded your CV onto our ADOS (James) here who deals with recruitment. It is a very busy time at the moment so he must have been too busy to get back to you - so apologies. We do have all the teaching staff we need now but will contact you in the future should we need anyone.

Good luck in your job hunt,



Hello Anna,

I fail to see the necessity of your forwarding my CV to James, considering the fact that I sent my CV to the email address which according to you is James'.

I appreciate your apology, but if James is too busy for basic human decency, then I would suggest that your organisation needs to either rethink it's administrative structure, or hire someone of better moral character.

I look forward to discussing the matter with you tomorrow.


Joseph Tessier.


I am sorry you feel that way.

When I met you last week you dropped a paper CV into the school and I personally forwarded it to James as James is based at our other school and I travelled there after. I wasn't referring to the email you sent us both but the paper copy you gave me.

You may fail to see the necessity of this but as I was going there I thought it was a good idea.

James is really busy and hasn't had time to go through all the CVs - although we may need teachers in a few weeks time the immediate need is no longer there. I'm sorry if I gave the impression we'd be in immediate contact. This is not due to any lacking in human decency - just being really busy and hectic at work.



Hello Anna,

I agree in principle that giving the paper to James was a good idea, and appreciate the effort, but it seems to be an effort wasted, as he couldn't even take the time to email me.

As an experiment, I just wrote a rejection email, and it took approximately 15 seconds. I have worked at educational institutions, and I know that admin staff are not too busy to send emails to people. I would like to apply for James' position, as I guarantee that I would be more efficient at his job.

James does not need to go through all the CVs. Once the position is filled, he can write emails of to all those not considered for the job. If that is yet still too time consuming, he could create an impersonal template, and send it to all those rejected in one go. This wouldn't take long at all. If he's really too busy for that, then I don't think he has much to live for. That is working down the mine or in the foundry kind of busy. Everyone knows by now that the 'too busy to reply' thing is a lie; I've called James out on this, and would appreciate a real response from him.

If James is too busy even for email, then I suggest doing what many organisations do, they tell you that if you don't receive a reply by said date, then you haven't been considered. This could have been conveyed to me when I walked in. I was asked if I could start immediately, and after taking the trouble of visiting the building itself, I was asked to email my CV. We can put that down to modern life, but after that, I really should have been given a reply from one of you. I looked around, the staff on the desk didn't look that busy at all. And you yourself had time to talk to me, and give James my CV. I find it scarcely credible that it was beyond the efforts of the whole organisation to send a reply to someone who had applied for a job in person.

Once again, I look forward to seeing you tomorrow.


Joseph Tessier.

Dear Joseph,

Anna has made me aware of your emails. Please be aware that by not responding I had meant no slight on your CV or person and I understand your frustration at the lack of an answer on my part.

We currently have enough teachers. For that reason, I would ask you not to come tomorrow as there would be no productive outcome in visiting us at this point.

Once again, I apologise for the inconvenience this has caused you. I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavours.



Dear James,

Thank-you for your reply. I appreciate the acknowledgement of my existence.

I only hope that the time taken to write the email has not completely derailed the plans of the company.

Based on my experience so far, I expected no productive outcome from my proposed visit tomorrow. However, in accordance to your wishes, I shall refrain from going to the building.

I would like to be kept in consideration for future vacancies.


Joseph Tessier.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Piers Morgan Vs US Gun Lobby

Enough is enough.

Until America wakes up, stops their partisan bickering, and actually passes some meaningful anti-Piers Morgan legislation, this kind of senseless waste of space is going to continue.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

A History of Coffee

With Joseph Snow

Royal Mail Privatisation

This scene from The Life of Brian is how I imagine the Royal Mail shares sell off went. 

The shares were valued by experts to be worth around 450 pence, and in the end were sold for 330 pence a share. 

Already the shares are worth far more than they were sold for, and there are accusations that the state is being undervalued and sold to George Osborne's mates. 

I couldn't possibly comment, but I suspect the sell off went something like this:

A City Trader has been suspected of insider trading, and consequently is on the run...

City trader: "How much for these shares, quick?"

Tories: "Oh, er, 4 pounds 50 a share."

C: "Right."

T: "What?"

C: "There you are."

T: "Wait a minute. We're supposed to haggle."

C: "No no, I've got other things to do..."

T; "What do you mean 'no, no, no'?"

C: "I haven't got time..."

T: "Well give it back then."

C: "No, I just paid you."

T: "Boris!"

Boris Johnson: "Yep"

T: "This trader won't haggle."

B: "Wont haggle?"

C: "Alright. Do we have to?"

T: "Now look, I want 4 pound 50 a share."

C: "I gave you 4 pound 50 a share!"

T: "Now are you telling me that's not worth 4 pounds 50 a share?"

C: "No."

T: "Royal Mail is a quality organisation, not like the railways."

C: "Oh, I'll give you 4 pound then."

T: "No, no. do it properly."

C: "What?'

T: "Haggle properly. This isn't worth 4 pound."

C: "You just said it was worth 4 pound 50!"

T: "Boris!"

C: "I'll give you 2 25."

T: "That's more like it. 2 25! Are you trying to rob the Taxpayer, 2 25!? Us with huge debt...2 25!?

C: "2 70."

T: "Now you're getting it. 2 70? Did I hear you right? 2 70?? Stockbrokers have valued the stock at 3 pound— do you want to break the government?"

C: "3 25"

T: "3 25!?"

C: "3 50?"

T: "No, no, no- you go to 3 15 now!"

C: "3 15."

T: "3 15? Are you joking?"

C: "That's what you told me to say! Tell me what to say, please!"

T: "Offer me 3 15."

C: "I'll give you 3 15."

T: "He's offering me 3 15 for this!"

C: "3 35."

T: "3 40. My last word. I won't take a penny less, or strike me dead."

C: "3 30!"

T: "Done! Nice to do business with you. Tell you what, I'll throw in a mortgage subsidy as well"

C: "I don't want it, but thanks."

T: "Boris!"

B: "Yes?"

C: "All right! All right!! Thank you."

T: "Where's the 3 30 a share then?"

C: "I already gave you 4 50 for them."

T: "Oh yes ... that's 1 pound a share I owe you then."

C:"... It's all right, it doesn't matter."

T: "Hang on."

C: "It's all right, that's 1 pound a share for the mortgage guarantee— that's fine!"

T: "1 pound a share for the mortgage help. 1 pound!! That's worth 3 pounds a share."

C: "You just gave it to me for nothing!"

T: "Yes, but it's worth 3 pounds."

C: "All right, all right."

T: "No, no, no. It's not worth 3 pounds. You're supposed to argue. 'What? 3 pounds a share for that? You must be mad!'"

"Ah well, there's one born every minute."