Prescott gives up Dorneywood too late

Many of us would have given our back teeth to have been a fly on the wall at 10 Downing Street on 5th May 2006 during Tony Blair’s cabinet reshuffle. Simon Hoggart commented that John Prescott was in there for ages:

What had he done in there for over three hours? Does Blair say, “Look, John, the bad news is I have to sack you. The good news is that Cherie has made some of her delicious brownies, and we hope you’ll stay!”

There was even speculation in the Daily Mirror that John Prescott was about to throw himself at Tony Blair’s mercy mentioning that “wife Pauline is threatening to leave him if she loses her Dorneywood ‘haven’ “

Whatever conversations went on in 10 Downing Street on that fateful day, the agreement that Prescott would stay at Dorneywood soon melted like the ice-cubes in the Pimms at JP’s rudely snooped-upon croquet party.

Bloodied body, Mr Bean…a normal Parisian day


Pictured: Rowan Atkinson as “Mr Bean” at Gare du Nord station, Paris, at 4.30pm today

It may have been fluke, but, judging from our visit, Paris has more than its fair share of major film crews milling around.

As we glided along the Seine on a boat, we noticed a bloodied body lying on the bank, attended by police. After a while, I noticed that the lights were probably a bit strange for the police in the middle of the day and there was a camera….and a mobile canteen….oh, a film set.

Then as we waited at Gare du Nord station, Mr Bean came round within three feet of us with his camcorder held aloft and his tongue sticking out in that normal, strange Mr-Bean-sort-of-way. Apparently, this was Rowan Atkinson filming “Bean II” or “French Bean” (as it has been dubbed), in which the unique character travels to the South of France on holiday.

This impromptu entertainment made a wonderful end to our holiday. We spent a long time watching the film crew and seeing Rowan Atkinson wondering around. But we couldn’t believe it when we found ourselves a few feet away from him in full “Mr Bean” flow and drawn into reacting to his strange antics with his camcorder. Apparently, the camcorder plays a central role in the film (see various links above). According to “Working Title”, Mr Bean’s “voyage from London to the Riviera soon transcends into one of mischief and mayhem as he inadvertently creates havoc wherever he goes culminating in an unscheduled and riotous screening of his own video diary at the Cannes Film Festival.”

Can’t wait to watch it to see if we are in it…..not (probably).

Haditha: sickeningly familiar

Watched a BBC World report on the emerging details of the Haditha massacre. It made me ashamed to be human. Though on a different scale, it is sickeningly reminiscent of Vitenam and Mai Lai, even to the extent that there appears to have been a cover-up, as there was at Mai Lai.

It is shameful that this is coming to light not because of a prompt military inquiry, not because of a US or UK media investigation, but because an Iraqui student journalist happened to be on hand with a camcorder.

George Bush said the other day that Abu Gharib was the USA’s biggest mistake in Iraq. Well, it looks like Haditha will make Abu Gharib look like a chimpanzee’s tea party.

After this, the question with George Bush’s approval rating will be “How low can you go?”

Can "The Office" become "Le Bureau"?

They’ve already done a version in the States. Now they’re doing “The Office” here in France. “David Brent” is a bit older but the dodgy humour is the same. The BBC tried out an episode on some office workers. One scene, where “Brent” pretended to sack his secretary for a laugh, didn’t raise even a smirk. “Stone-faced” would well describe the reaction. Another winner then.

Here’s some snaps taken in Paris:

Prescott: Playing with the Kenneth Clarke Croquet set

As I was queuing at the superb Victoria park cafe yesterday, I took advantage of a copy of the “Mail on Sunday” which they had available for customers. I wouldn’t otherwise buy such an organ. I read the story about John Prescott’s game of croquet. I suppose its significance is emblematic more than anything else. Of course, it is ludicrous that Prescott is getting paid so much money to chair the odd cabinet meeting and make the odd trip to Finland.

But if you think it through, the croquet game is not that shocking. He was with members of his office staff. I have played games on lawns with office colleagues before during “woods meetings” or “training meetings”.

Think about it. If you were feeling stressed out and couldn’t be arsed to go into work for a day, what would you do? I suspect you would do the odd email on your laptop every so often, interspersed by watching the telly, having a lie-down and maybe having a sit or lie-down in the garden.

I doubt that you would invite over a few office colleagues for a game of croquet.

By the way, it should be mentioned that he was using the Kenneth Clarke croquet kit.

Cameron – skating on thin ice

Part of “Songs of Praise” this evening featured a clip of David Cameron at a conference on climate change. He was asked what the Conservative party’s goals for reduction of carbon emissions are. He said they haven’t got any yet because they have to work them out (even though it is 14 years since the Rio conference – so they’ve had long enough). Then, extraordinarily, he launched into a diatribe against the Americans for not having goals – when he had just admitted he doesn’t have any goals either! If he goes on spouting inane claptrap like that, Cameron will deserve Delboy’s accolade of “42 carot plonker”