Author Archives: Merrick

To be on Incapacity Benefit you have to have been deemed unfit for work by your GP. Then, after several months on Income Support, you move on to Incapacity Benefit.

In case anyone needs reminding, your GP is a qualified doctor with your full medical history in front of them. Hard to think of anyone better placed to make that sort of decision. But there is one man who, without any medical training or performing any examinations, knows better than all the GPs combined.

Tory leader David Cameron said too many people were able to work, but did not.

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Whilst it’s common knowledge that a diet low in animal products is healthier, cheaper and better for you (and better for the animals, of course), it’s less known that it’s also a lot better in the fight against climate change.

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Kinnell. Cameron’s Tories are really going for the unexpected candidates. I thought it was far out when they got Zac Goldsmith, editor of The Ecologist and one of the consistent frontrunners for most hated Tory on, to stand for MP.

But now they’re ditching Steve Norris as their attempt at London Mayor. Good. People made a big deal about ‘Shagger Norris’, but in the words of Michael Franti, I don’t give a fuck who they’re screwing in private, I want to know who they’re screwing in public.

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Even though I presume that you, dear reader, laudably don’t buy The Times, nonetheless you may glance at headlines whilst passing a news-stand.

Yesterday’s main story was headlined ‘THE GREEN DIVIDE: Times poll shows the gulf between words and action on the environment’.

It shows nothing of the sort. The table that, ahem, proves it uses reasoning that could be easily unravelled by a brain damaged gerbil reading the newspaper in the dark. Read More

It is difficult to overstate the case with climate change. There is no bigger issue. Calm and informed voices – even David Attenborough’s – are saying it is the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced. Indeed, it could even be the last.

Next month, the Camp for Climate Action plans to kickstart a campaign of radical protest on climate change with direct action against Drax power station (which, hilariously and aptly, has a namesake in Marvel Comics’ Drax The Destroyer).

Drax produces over 20 million tonnes of CO2 a year. There are more than 100 countries that produce less.

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Despite not being a football fan, a nationalist or a car driver, I really rather like all those England flags festooned about the national vehicle fleet (and indeed pretty much everywhere else).

There are numerous detractors of which Janet Street-Porter seems typical. She bemoans ‘white van man’ and the pointlessness of football. Aside of the snobbery involved in belittling people for their working class jobs, she’s plainly wrong. The flags are on every kind of car. And even if, unlike her, you love the skill of the sport at this level, it has to be viewed as a cultural phenomenon above all else.

But these things aren’t why I like it. It’s the flag thing that makes me feel good. Read More

Veteran satirist Tom Lehrer said that the world of comedy changed in 1973 when the greatest living war criminal, Henry Kissinger, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. ‘At that moment, satire died. There was nothing more to say after that’.

If, during Bono’s cosying up to the G8 last summer, I’d done a sketch about him launching a consume-to-give campaign, urging people to buy products made by sweatshop barons Nike and Gap, it would’ve seemed like a cheap shot.

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