Friday, 20 May 2016

Why Would Anyone Want To Join Muirfield?

In case you've never heard of it Muirfield is a golf club on the coast a little to the right of Edinburgh. It's not just any golf club, though. It has on occasion hosted the Open Championship so it's just possible you have heard of it. And this week it's been in the news, not for its golf but  because its all male membership have voted to continue as an all male membership.

While I can see why an angry PC mob is storming the Starter's Box with cudgels in response to this outrageous sexism, perhaps it would be wiser to reflect a moment.

There's a prevalent notion that everyone should have everything. Any obstacle to that ideal must be demolished in the name of justice and equality. Society thrives on this notion. It's what makes us 'aspire' to better things, a wanky term for greed and envy. It makes us work harder, pay more tax and buy more stuff. But the older I get the more I know that everything isn't for everyone, nor should it be.

Now, don't me wrong, I have nothing against golf clubs. Well, actually I do. I don't much like the way they ring-fence huge swathes of beautiful countryside for the exclusive use of a few pampered and overly competitive show offs. I don't mind the sport itself. If anyone wants to hit a ball with an iron bar around a few miles of coast I suppose it stops them being a burden on society. But there's no excuse for the silly trousers or those milk float Noddy cars they chug along in. Surely the point of a sport is exercise?

But above all is their attitude. While they strut the greens in daft attire with their little clique of fellow club members these modern day squires regard the rest of humanity as nothing better than local peasantry. I speak as a neighbour of a golf club, not one as grand as the lofty Muirfield you understand, but golfers regard themselves as visiting royalty even in the humblest clubhouse. This gives them license to be as rude and overbearing as they wish. They can shout, swear, bark bad tempered orders at any poor sod who inadvertently wanders into their line of vision. They can clamber into gardens to retrieve their ball from the cold frame or green house it smashed without so much as a murmured apology. They think shouting "Fore" allows them to fire homicidal strokes at picnickers within a five mile radius.

And all of this brings me to the point of this post. Much as I dislike them I can see that golf clubs serve a useful function in society. They keep these petty minded little Napoleons away from the rest of us, in much the same way a prison protects us from criminals. They can all gather there and annoy each other with their nit picking rule obsessed anally retentive anecdotes. They can compare their Pringle socks and fluffy club covers. They can swagger around the clubhouse bar in ludicrous knitwear trying to be the biggest wanker. We, thankfully, don't have to see them.

Why would anyone think golfers are sexist?
And what goes for most clubs goes double for a place like Muirfield, where you need six signed affadavits, a declaration from your Bank Manager and an introductory letter from a member of the royal family to even get considered for membership. These bastions of snobbery are nothing to do with a jolly game of golf so much as impressing clients and getting one up on the neighbours. Who in their right mind would want to spend a Sunday afternoon dressed like Terry-Thomas and surrounded by Hooray Henries unless it was in the name of social climbing or the chance of getting within grovelling distance of Tiger Woods at some future Open Championship?

So, if that sounds like your idea of heaven, by all means get the PC army up in arms in pursuit of your membership to Muirfield. Although, personally, you might be better off taking a long hard look at yourself.  You can play golf anywhere. It was originally played over sand dunes with sticks and rocks,  not a Tony Jacklin golf cart or Titleist ball in sight.

Sounds more fun to me, frankly.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Political Diary Guest Post: Jess Phillips MP

So, how it all started was, me and my mate Denise - that's Denise over there in the purple boob tube - Hi Denise! Been to Top Shop? Really suits you, luv! - anyway, where was I? There was me and Denise and these blokes from Exeter - well, they said they was from Exeter but they didn't sound like it to me - anyway we're all up the Dog an' Duck and it was Happy Hour an' we're all gettin' merry, as you do, an' my mate Denise says how about doin' somethin' for a laff. An' I said wot. An' she said put your bra on back to front. But I can't really do that cos I get terrible back ache without a bra on so one of the blokes from Exeter - Trevor, I think he said his name was - or was it Kevin? He reminded me of my sister's boyfriend Kevin. Not her current boyfriend, her last but one boyfriend. Dead ringer, he was. Anyway this bloke Kevin says Hey I got a great idea why not put your name down for the election? An' I said wot election? An' e' said the General Election. An' at first I have to say I was not at all keen cos I don't really like politics, an' I said it's dead boring you must be jokin'. An' he said, no you'll have a great time, it's all mouthin' off and you don't need no qualifications nor nothin'. An' Happy Hour was just endin' and we had half hour before Donnegans opened so we went round and done it. I'm mad, I am.

So, it's a mad place this Westminster. It's got all these like weird customs and stuff. There's this bloke in a long gown called a Speaker, an you have to watch he don't tell you off cos he can send you out of the chamber if you like piss him off too much. And there's all these really petty rules. Like you're apparently not supposed to phone your mates during debates or put your feet on the bench in front which I didn't realise so that was dead embarrassing. It's kind of like being back at school, but you are allowed to shout and make animal noises, which I quite like. Just like bein' in the home stand on cup final day. So that's helped me feel at home. An' I thought it was gonna be all stuffy and lots of posh old blokes, and it's true there are a lot of them but there's lots of cool people an' all an' we have a good laugh sometimes.

The best thing about being an MP is doin' interviews on the telly. You get all your make up done for you and sometimes they even have this thing called Hospitality an' that means free booze in this place called the Green Room an' there's loads of dead interesting stars and celebrities there an all. It's like Happy Hour at the Dog an Duck, but with important people.  I love it, me.  Sometimes by the time I get on I've forgotten what it was I was gonna say.

Anyhow there's this one time in the week that's not dead boring and that's Prime Minister's Questions. It's when David Cameron has to get up and answer all these questions, which sounds dead boring, but it's not because he's really clever and doesn't bother answering the questions he just says something funny about Jeremy Corbyn or the SNP. We all get a good laugh at that, except it does get a bit boring when Jeremy Corbyn gets up cos he keeps losing the place and forgetting his lines and people heckle him a lot which isn't nice to see. Me mate, Yvette, she says I really shouldn't join in with the heckling and I suppose she's right but I just want him to sit down and let David Cameron get up an say somethin funny again. I like a good laugh, me.

So last week I got the chance to get up and ask David Cameron a question. Yeah. Me! You'da been dead proud if you'd seen me. I stood up and everybody went really quiet and I was dead nervous and wanted to sit down again but my mate Yvette had wrote the question for me on the back of one of her old Benson & Hedges packets so I just let rip. It was about keeping womens refuges open. I'm not really much interested in politics as such, but that is one subject close to me heart cos most of me mates would have nowhere to live if they closed the refuges. So I remembered what Yvette said about 'once more with feeling', and I put a dead emotional "Please, please, pleeeease" on the end of me question. It was dead moving and everybody seemed to really love it.
Course it won't make any difference but I might get asked back to do Question Time off the back of it.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

All Hail Tory McToryface, Scotland's new Leader*.

Thank you, Friends.

Today is truly an historic moment. And I don't just throw that word around the way the vile nationalists do when they sweep the board and take more votes than anyone ever has in Scotland.  No, I use it in the good, British way. The way that stands for the Union.

Union. That's a great word isn't it? (Unless of course it refers to gangs of uppity subversives trying to undermine our democracy.) No, I see Union in the good, British sense of taking your taxes and resources in return for wise rule. For centuries Scotland has seen the glorious benefits of being managed by another country. Benefits such as the Highland Clearances, the Poll Tax and Margaret Thatcher. These are the glory days I want to restore as Leader*.

Because this moment is truly historic. Not historic in the sense of having anything to do with national pride, but the good British sense of knowing one's place in the Empire and sticking to it. The Nationalists will have you believe that to be Scottish you have to love Scotland. But I say, No. To be a true lover of Scotland you have to love Westminster. Only then can you see how weak and fragile is this precious thing called Scotland, how poor and useless and needy. Scotland needs my strength, and I will not let the vile Nationalists poison it with any more of their positivity. Scotland cannot survive without the generosity of our imperial masters in Westminster, and as Leader* I will do all in my power to see that never ends.

Scotland is a wonderful country. And not just for holidays or shooting parties or even investment opportunities. No, I mean in the good British way of being the northernmost bit nobody every mentions or thinks about until an election is looming. That's a tradition to be proud of and on this historic day I vow to keep it alive.

*Leader of the Opposition