Election Strategies #248

labour manifesto announcement

In a bid to counter the Camerons' baby tactic, the Labour cabinet announce the world's first mass political pregnancy

I am a terrible flirt


This accusation is levelled at many a womaniser (and maniniser, I suppose, although this sounds like a fragrance range created by Vin Diesel). “Oh, here comes Dave. He’s a terrible flirt, you know.”

I resent it. What is clearly meant is that the subject is an incorrigible flirt. This leaves people who are genuinely terrible at flirting nowhere to go, save over to the table with the dips, where we can pretend to be particularly interested in the wall hangings and thus avoid conversation.

My flirting has been known to level small villages. It is responsible for greater rises in nunnery entry than Hamlet. In one unfortunate case it caused all spaniels within a ten mile radius to develop alopecia. Clearly, my flirting is genuinely terrible.

To date, my most notable flirting successes have been meta-textual, which is to say I have talked about how bad I am at flirting (I imagine this is how John Motson has sex), in the hope that this will somehow be a substitute for the actual thing. Needless to say, it is not. I say successes, mind you – this technique has borne fruit precisely once, and I’m not entirely sure it was my own work. I’m claiming it, obviously, but if you too are a terrible flirt, don’t take it as advice.

Lacking a natural ending to this post, I will leave you with some of my recent attempts. Consider it a “what not to do” guide.

  • “Hail recently destroyed my borage.”
  • “What do I do other than robots? Um. Homoerotic bacon instruction videos?”
  • “Did you know bees vibrate 30% more in winter to keep warm?”
  • “Aphids recently destroyed my borage.”
  • “Hello. I’m almost certain to say something moronic in the next 30 seconds, so it would probably save time if you went and got another drink now.”


Half a bee, philosophically, must, ipso facto, half not be

Retarded Reviews: The Compass, Islington


An odd thing happened to me the other day. Two odd things, really. First, while playing pool I potted seven balls at my first visit to the table; a clear sign that something was afoot. Normally when I play pool, the words “odd” and “foot” spring to people’s minds for quite different reasons.

The main odd thing that happened, though, was when I entered the Compass pub on Chapel Market in Islington, recently reopened under new management. Hoving to at the bar, still flushed with my poolhall success, I glanced at the menu, and saw on offer a “pickled duck’s egg with star anise.” I pointed this out to my friend, more in a spirit of mockery than hunger. Duck eggs and star anise? Madness. Then (and this was the odd bit), a genial man to our right insisted that we try one. We demurred, being several pints to the good and feeling that culinary adventurism would be pushing our already pool-drained luck.

This answer did not suffice.

Bustling into action, our host (for he turned out to be the bar’s manager) fished out an egg and a knife, and thrust them under my nose (I’m not sure which was more threatening). It seemed only polite at this point to eat the thing, so I obliged, utterly failing to maintain a facial expression that conveyed both gratitude and epicurean bliss. I think I managed “politely horrified” at best.

It has to be said, though, that I don’t really like pickled eggs. I’m sure that as an example of the genre, this was a fine one. I wasn’t expecting runny yolk, either; I thought the things were routinely hard-boiled. As a result, I reacted to the sudden emergence of pale yellow goop as if an alien face-hugger had leapt from my snack. I prefer my amuse-bouches without the money shot.

Undeterred by this apparent rejection, the manager (whose name, I think, was Paul. Or Andrew. I was drunk, okay?) decided that the only way to proceed was to provide us with a smorgasbord of ridiculously nice things. Within minutes we were presented with a wooden block topped with black pudding sausage roll (which was exactly as brilliant as it sounds*), the best scotch egg in the world (their words, not mine, but entirely true), some welsh rarebit and some marinated anchovies on toast. We attempted to pay for this, but were rebuffed.

It takes a lot to distract me from anchovies, a fish I will happily eat to the brink of extinction, but the Best Scotch Egg In The WorldTM did so in some style. I have literally no idea how they managed to combine perfectly cooked pork, crispy breadcrumbs, and an egg with a yolk so soft it ought to be used to stuff mattresses, but they have. I was advised to arrive at about 4pm to obtain the freshest specimens, and I pass this advice on to you.

To sum up: go to the Compass pub in Islington. You will find things there that you want to put in your face. The trick will be working out how to stop.

*If you don’t think this sounds brilliant, there’s something wrong with you.

MPs in black square abuse probe

Black Squares

In an unprecedented political development today, it was revealed that almost every MP in the UK has been billing the taxpayer for the purchase of numerous black squares, many of which are believed to have been misused for private business.

While members of the public are believed to broadly support the use of black squares for the concealment of MPs such as Anne Widdecombe, there was concern at what was seen as “frivolous” use of the squares by other politicians. Peter Viggers is believed to have claimed £500 for one black square (pictured), which he took to a fishmarket in an attempt to censor all mention of herring and chub. Baroness Uddin is alleged to have sellotaped black squares to several advertising hoardings featuring David Beckham after becoming distressed by his prominent lunchbox, while Lembit Opik has constructed a geodesic black-body “Genesis Device” in his garden in an apparent attempt to clone erstwhile lover Gabriela Irimia, described by a friend as “formerly cheeky.”

Many MPs have been more frugal, with Sadiq Khan purchasing a job lot of 400 off-white rhombuses on eBay with the express intention of starting a constituency surgery on tesselation. Menzies Campbell is understood to have brought his own black square (previously used for the preservation of his modesty while in flagrante delicto) when he arrived in Parliament in 1987, and has since billed only for cleaning and occasional reupholstery.

Investigations continue, and prosecutions have not been ruled out, although Inspector Basil Edworthy of the Metropolitan Police did comment:

●●●●● ●●●● ●●●●●●●. Moreover, ●●●●●●● frottage ●●●●●● will not be ●●●● ●●● a duck unless ●●●●●●●. Any MP found indulging in these activities is liable to summary ●●●●●●●.