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…A decapitated pig’s head.

Sir Ian Bowler has been feeling conflicted this week…

Sir Ian Bowler gives the Coalition response to the publication of the Leveson report.

English: Nye Bevan in Cardiff Queen Street The...

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It’s weird that the government don’t have any, you know, facts and figures about the kinds of reforms it’s trying to introduce now. You know, the sorts there must be loads of, to show how much better it would be. The sort you’d want before undertaking a thorough restructuring of the whole system.

Surely there must be some sort of evidence from the last time an internal market was introduced (in an limited form) in 1991. Surely…

Oh wait! There is! Popper, Burgess & Gossage’s 2003 paper: Competition and Quality: Evidence from the NHS Internal Market 1991-1999.

Brilliant! This should put my mind at ease…

“We find the impact of competition is to reduce quality. Hospitals… in more competitive areas have higher death rates.”

…. Oh. Never mind, sure there’s some good news later…

“Death rates were higher in competitive areas in most years between 1992 and 1999.”

Really? But still, everyone’s living longer anyway, right?

“[T]he negative impact of competition in the more competitive areas more than offsets the positive impact of technological change.”

Oh poo. Please, please, please #savethenhs…

Sir Ian Bowler tell you how it is. And where it is. And what it is.


Elvis Presley meeting Richard Nixon. On Decemb...

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We all know that the Queen poos (unlike Prince Philip, who vents clouds of highly-acidic faecal gas from a fleshy nozzle just beneath his chin, before blinking his inner eyelids and retreating to the warmth of the Royal Egg Chamber), but few of us have really considered the implications of this.

There must be days when Her Majesty, Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and her Islands clenches her little fists, grabs hold of the seat and really bears down to dislodge a particularly awkward chunk of digested swan. (This is in stark contrast to Barack Obama, whose turds slip out of him like otters returning to the wild.) At times like these, as her tiny heels drum against the floor, a fine sweat breaks out on her aged forehead, and she prays to a higher power (higher pooer?) to just get the damned thing out, she must hope that if this is it, if she dies here, that they take her corpse and arrange it so it looks like she was doing something less embarrassing when the time came. Something like feeding her corgis, opening a hospital, or cutting the brake lines on a Mercedes-Benz W140.

There are probably worse ways to go than carking it in the middle of a poo, but I’m struggling to think of any now.  Here are nine more who expired in the water closets. Flush-in-the-pans.

9. Elvis Presley – Although one of the most famous to die in their bathrooms, Elvis wasn’t found on his toilet. He was several feet away from the toilet, where he had apparently crawled in an attempt to get help, interrupted whilst using the toilet. He was obese, and suffered from glaucoma, high blood pressure, liver damage, had a history of abusing prescription drugs, and an enlarged colon. One of his coroners said he had ‘the arteries of an eighty-year old‘. Although there is some dispute over whether it was the massive drug intake, the weight, or the actual ‘straining at stool’ (as his biographer puts it) that caused his heart attack, the moral remains the same: you can’t have too much fibre in your diets, kids.

8. Evelyn Waugh – the ‘bright young thing’ of the 1920s, and later Catholic propagandist came home from church one Sunday, went to the loo, and never came out again. He ascended to the Heavenly Throne whilst mounted on his.

7. Catherine the Great – Catherine the Great is perhaps the only person in history about whom it can be said the best version of the story of their death is the one where they die, grunting on the toilet. Because in the other popular version of the Catherine the Great’s death she was crushed to death by a horse during the act of coitus.

6. Uesugi Kenshin – Kenshin was one of the most powerful Japanese warlords of the sixteenth century with a prodigious capacity for booze. Although most people agree that he died on the toilet, there’s a lot of dispute over whether it was his prodigious drinking, or a cesspit-dwelling ninja that finally got him. I like to imagine a combination of the two. A booze-addled bum-ninja.

5. Christopher Shale – Not hugely famous in and of himself, Shale is notable for two things: being David Cameron’s constituency aide, and dying in a toilet at the Glastonbury Festival. In one move he managed to replace the popular image of Tories as being tangerine-chomping auto-erotic asphyxiators, start rumours about shadowy conspiracies and leaked documents, and get everyone to agree that people over 50 should not attend music festivals.

4. Edmund Ironsides – Stabbed in the anus by a Viking hiding in his toilet. There is literally nothing about that last sentence I don’t like.

3. Don Simpson – A heart attack waiting to happen, Top Gun Producer, S&M enthusiast and allegedly prodigious drug user Don Simpson died on the toilet, whilst reading a biography of Oliver Stone. Death must have come as a blessed relief.

2. King George II – Fat, palsied German George II was blind in one eye and hard of hearing by 1760, when he had a cup of hot chocolate and went to the loo. A few moments later a crash was heard, and the king was pronounced dead from ‘overexertions on the privy’.

1. Lenny Bruce – Lenny Bruce didn’t just die on a toilet, he died doing heroin on a toilet. Imagine being so in love with heroin that you don’t even want to finish taking a dump before getting high. “You know, I could wait, like, three minutes and then do this on the sofa. Nah, what’s the worst that can- urk!”

So, what has this litany of poo-related perishing taught us? What have we learned from these salutary tales? One thing. Toilets can kill you.

Never, ever go to the toilet. That is all.

DAVOS/SWITZERLAND, 29JAN10 - David Cameron, Le...

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Dear Mr & Mrs Cameron,

Why did you never take the time to teach your child basic morality?

As a young man, he was in a gang that regularly smashed up private property. We know that you were absent parents who left your child to be brought up by a school rather than taking responsibility for his behaviour yourselves. The fact that he became a delinquent with no sense of respect for the property of others can only reflect that fact that you are terrible, lazy human beings who failed even in teaching your children the difference between right and wrong. I can only assume that his contempt for the small business owners of Oxford is indicative of his wider values.

Even worse, your neglect led him to fall in with a bad crowd. He became best friends with a young man who set fire to buildings for fun. And others:

There’s Michael Gove, whose wet-lipped rage was palpable on Newsnight last night. This is the Michael Gove who confused one of his houses with another of his houses in order to avail himself of £7,000 of the taxpayers’ money to which he was not entitled (or £13,000, depending on which house you think was which).

Or Hazel Blears, who was interviewed in full bristling peahen mode for almost all of last night. She once forgot which house she lived in, and benefited to the tune of £18,000. At the time she said it would take her reputation years to recover. Unfortunately not.

But, of course, this is different. This is just understandable confusion over the rules of how many houses you are meant to have as an MP. This doesn’t show the naked greed of people stealing plasma tellies.

Unless you’re Gerald Kaufman, who broke parliamentary rules to get £8,000 worth of 40-inch, flat screen, Bang and Olufsen TV out of the taxpayer.

Or Ed Vaizey, who got £2,000 in antique furniture ‘delivered to the wrong address’. Which is fortunate, because had that been the address they were intended for, that would have been fraud.

Or Jeremy Hunt, who broke the rules to the tune of almost £20,000 on one property and £2,000 on another. But it’s all right, because he agreed to pay half of the money back. Not the full amount, it would be absurd to expect him to pay back the entire sum that he took and to which he was not entitled. No, we’ll settle for half. And, as in any other field, what might have been considered embezzlement of £22,000 is overlooked. We know, after all, that David Cameron likes to give people second chances.

Fortunately, we have the Met Police to look after us. We’ll ignore the fact that two of its senior officers have had to resign in the last six weeks amid suspicions of widespread corruption within the force.

We’ll ignore Andy Hayman, who went for champagne dinners with those he was meant to be investigating, and then joined the company on leaving the Met.

Of course, Mr and Mrs Cameron, your son is right. There are parts of society that are not just broken, they are sick. Riddled with disease from top to bottom.

Just let me be clear about this (It’s a good phrase, Mr and Mrs Cameron, and one I looted from every sentence your son utters, just as he looted it from Tony Blair), I am not justifying or minimising in any way what has been done by the looters over the last few nights. What I am doing, however, is expressing shock and dismay that your son and his friends feel themselves in any way to be guardians of morality in this country.

Can they really, as 650 people who have shown themselves to be venal pygmies, moral dwarves at every opportunity over the last 20 years, bleat at others about ‘criminality’. Those who decided that when they broke the rules (the rules they themselves set) they, on the whole wouldn’t face the consequences of their actions?

Are they really surprised that this country’s culture is swamped in greed, in the acquisition of material things, in a lust for consumer goods of the most base kind? Really?

Let’s have a think back: cash-for-questions; Bernie Ecclestone; cash-for-access; Mandelson’s mortgage; the Hinduja passports; Blunkett’s alleged insider trading (and, by the way, when someone has had to resign in disgrace twice can we stop having them on television as a commentator, please?); the meetings on the yachts of oligarchs; the drafting of the Digital Economy Act with Lucian Grange; Byers’, Hewitt’s & Hoon’s desperation to prostitute themselves and their positions; the fact that Andrew Lansley (in charge of NHS reforms) has a wife who gives lobbying advice to the very companies hoping to benefit from the NHS reforms. And that list didn’t even take me very long to think of.

Our politicians are for sale and they do not care who knows it.

Oh yes, and then there’s the expenses thing. Widescale abuse of the very systems they designed, almost all of them grasping what they could while they remained MPs, to build their nest egg for the future at the public’s expense. They even now whine on Twitter about having their expenses claims for getting back to Parliament while much of the country is on fire subject to any examination. True public servants.

The last few days have revealed some truths, and some heartening truths. The fact that the #riotcleanup crews had organised themselves before David Cameron even made time for a public statement is heartening. The fact that local communities came together to keep their neighbourhoods safe when the police failed is heartening. The fact that there were peace vigils being organised (even as the police tried to dissuade people) is heartening.

There is hope for this country. But we must stop looking upwards for it. The politicians are the ones leading the charge into the gutter.

David Cameron was entirely right when he said: “It is a complete lack of responsibility in parts of our society, people allowed to think that the world owes them something, that their rights outweigh their responsibilities, and that their actions do not have consequences.”

He was more right than he knew.

And I blame the parents.

*** EDIT – I have added a hyperlink to a Bullingdon article after a request for context from an American reader. I have also added the sentence about Nick Clegg as this was brought to my attention in the comments and it fits in too nicely to leave out. That’s the way I edited it at 18:38 on the 11th August, 2011 ***

***EDIT 2 – I’ve split the comments into pages as, although there were some great discussions going on in them, there were more than 500 and the page was taking *forever* to load for some people, and not loading at all for others. I would encourage everyone to have a poke around in the comments, as many questions and points have been covered, and there are some great comments. Apologies if it looks like your comment has disappeared.  ***

A visibly harried Sir Ian has been forced from Barbados to deal with this nonsense.

My favourite MP, Sir Ian Bowler has broken cover on the News Of The World phone hacking story to make a quite shocking statement. Leave any comments for him below…

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