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Breaking News: UK Government to Cut Time by One Third November 17, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Knockabout, Life.
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6 comments

IN ANOTHER DAZZLING DISPLAY OF BRILLIANCE the UK Government has announced plans for a new round of cuts, this time to time itself. To help reduce the economic deficit, hours will be reduced by one third to only 40 minutes. In order to ensure that most people don’t realise that they’re being short-changed, minutes will also be reduced by one third to only 40 seconds, whilst — by an amazing feat of quantum mechanics — seconds will be lengthened by one half.

At a Press Conference held earlier today, Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, explained how the new time system will be brought into play:

This is something that we as Liberal Democrats have long anticipated. It’s a sophisticated calculation but can actually be explained quite simply: if you take a second and add another half-second you end up with a time span that’s one third longer than the original. You then apply the temporal dilation principle to squeeze the extended second into the original temporal space and that space expands to accommodate it in much the same way that we Liberal Democrats keep expanding our manifesto to give the Tories everything they want without actually compromising any of our core commitments. It’s a very elegant solution which means that I get to remain as Deputy Prime Minister for twice as long as the Coalition itself exists whilst David triples his power base and eventually takes up residence in Buckingham Palace leaving me to run the country. We can, as David has said, be immensely proud of how far we have come — and with time even shorter for you but longer for me, we’ll be going even further.

Speaking more specifically about the cuts, George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, said:

By shortening hours to only 40 minutes, more people will be able to work more hours whilst still taking home the same pay. This will reduce unemployment at the same time as reducing the need for employers to give their workers breaks. Paying people the same for working shorter days will be offset by devaluing the pound by 50%, which means people will be able to buy less for the same money and will thus be incentivised to work harder, faster and longer in order to earn more. To offset the currency devaluation the British economy will be floated on the international stock exchange. We expect China to make a successful bid and should therefore be able to introduce greater levels of poverty and slave labour within a very short time frame, shortened even further by the shortened hours. I think we can call that a result, don’t you?

Ian Duncan Smith, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, elaborated:

This is a very far-reaching policy that will impact upon all of our lives to ensure that the rich continue to get richer whilst the poor get poorer until they are so poor that they simply vanish from the face of the earth, apart from a few who will still be needed for cleaning duties. We have worked out that people will work, on average, twice as fast as they do now in order to achieve the same amount in a reduced time span. This will lead to increased stress levels, heart attacks and premature death which will represent considerable savings on the pensions bill. At the same time we expect the elderly to degenerate faster as they simply won’t know what’s hit them: you get to a certain age and time flies by anyway; this system will make time fly even faster and they’ll age faster without noticing. Within half their anticipated pensionable lifespan most of them will be dead. The ramifications are enormous, almost as big as my ego, and I am therefore delighted to be changing my name — officially — to Iain Bunkum Smith. If anyone argues with me I’ll tell them they’re speaking absolute bunkum and that will be the end of it, especially if they’re a BBC Today Programme presenter attempting to ask searching questions. If you’re my friend you can call me IBS.

George Osborne continued:

IBS is quite right. Even eternity will be affected because it will arrive sooner than expected for most people, especially asylum seekers, the homeless, poor, weak, vulnerable, anyone on benefits and anyone who is mentally ill or whom we, for whatever arbitrary reason, simply do not like. We have further ascertained that due to the quantum mechanics involved even God cannot escape: his job title will be reduced by one third. We gave him the choice of becoming known as Od or Go and he explained that since most people think he’s pretty odd anyway, he’d prefer to go for Go — which also happens to be my initials. Unfortunately because of the time dilation effect we don’t have time for any questions but you may now worship at my feet and a mandatory collection will be taken as we all sing a rousing hymn.

Now go read about the impact this government’s cuts are having in real life:

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Two Minutes Silence is Never Enough November 11, 2010

Posted by Phil Groom in Life, Watching and Waiting.
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5 comments

TWO MINUTES to remember those whose lives have been silenced for ever: how can that ever be enough? The only silence that can ever be enough is for the weapons of war to be silenced around the world — not just for two minutes but for ever. For all weapons of war, including the silent ones such as knives, spears and swords, to be set aside — to be turned into ploughshares and pruning hooks. How long, O Lord? How much longer will it be before you rend the heavens and come down to set our world — your bloody, torn up world — to rights?

Even as I type I know the answer: God will not come down in that way. The way he comes is in a mother’s tears and a baby’s cries, into a world of injustice where he stands as one man against the violence, where he calls others to stand with him — but in the end he dies, one man alone against the violence, destroyed by the violence, himself crying out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”

Today we too must stand, many will die and mothers will continue to weep. Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces, neighbours and friends will weep as lives are wasted by our violence. Because that is what war is, a waste:

WASTE of Muscle, waste of Brain,
Waste of Patience, waste of Pain,
Waste of Manhood, waste of Health,
Waste of Beauty, waste of Wealth,

Waste of Blood, and waste of Tears,
Waste of Youth’s most precious years,
Waste of ways the Saints have trod,
Waste of Glory, waste of God,–
War!

— G A Studdert-Kennedy, The Unutterable Beauty, p.21

But stand we must, remember we must; because if we forget, those lives laid down, lives still being laid down, will be completely wasted, laid down for nothing at all.

I’ll be spending part of today reading and rereading more of The Unutterable Beauty to remind myself of the terrible price humanity has paid and continues to pay for its greed and corruption. I shall wear my poppy not with pride but with sorrow: somehow it seems to me no coincidence that exactly the same keystrokes are needed on a mobile keypad to spell out the words ‘poppy’ and ‘sorry’ — because whatever the rights and wrongs of any particular war, there will always be more wrongs than rights. Until we learn that violence is not the way to resolve conflict, those blood-red poppies, silent sentinels in Flanders fields, will always be necessary, grim reminders of humanity’s crimes against humanity.

Missing — Believed Killed
On Reading a Mother’s Letter

‘TWERE heaven enough to fill my heart
If only one would stay,
Just one of all the million joys
God gives to take away.

If I could keep one golden dawn,
The splendour of one star,
One silver glint of yon bird’s wing
That flashes from afar;

If I could keep the least of things
That make me catch my breath
To gasp with wonder at God’s world.
And hold it back from death,

It were enough; but death forbids.
The sunset flames to fade,
The velvet petals of this rose
Fall withered-brown-decayed.

She only asked to keep one thing,
The joy-light in his eyes
God has not even let her know
Where his dead body lies.

O Grave, where is thy victory?
O Death, where is thy sting?
Thy victory is ev’rywhere,
Thy sting’s in ev’rything.

To all who have served in wars gone by and to those serving in our armed forces right now, including one of my own nephews in Afghanistan, I say simply, thank you: you are awesome.

Thanks also to my friend fragz for her call to remember — please remember them — which inspired me to write this post.

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