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General election – Vote for me!

Theresa May has called a snap general election for June 8th. Please vote for me – I’ll tell you whatever you want to hear (it worked for Donald Trump). I’m a safe pair of hands, and will cut through the red tape and in-party bickering by running everything myself. I mean, how hard can it be? Sure, I’ll be busy, but there are quite a few jobs in government that seem pretty undefined a best.

Lord Privy Seal? No idea. Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster? Aren’t other towns allowed one? And what do they do anyway? Is it something to do with that song “Pass the Duchy?”

The Grumpy Party will be a voice for the disenfranchised (once I’ve worked out what ‘disenfranchised’ actually means). I’ve got a great slogan already for the campaign: “Vote Grenville – Grumpy is terrific!”, or, if you’re pushed for space, you can abbreviate that to “Grenville – GIT”. Catchy, no?

If that isn’t convincing enough, let’s move on to my policies, which I’ve hastily scribbled on a toilet roll I borrowed from th…
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All hail the stupendous PR fail

If you work in the Public Relations departments of Pepsi or United Airlines, it really hasn’t been the best start to the month. United Airlines got lots of free publicity on Tuesday, but not in a good way. After mobile phone footage showing security staff dragging a passenger from one of their flights emerged, the American airline company had an opportunity to try and minimise reputational damage.

They could simply have immediately said “We’re really sorry. We’ve launched a full investigation into this shocking incident and will make sure we let you know the findings, and take steps to ensure this can never reoccur.”

Instead, they didn’t say anything for quite a number of hours (allowing social media users to turn it into a stupendously damaging story), then their CEO released a statement saying “It was an upsetting event to all of us here at United”. The only apology was for having to “Re-accommodate” customers (which is an interestingly obtuse way of saying “We overbooked this flig…

5 years on... The Big Blogger grand final!

I mentioned earlier today that is was milestones time... Well, here you go! Just over 5 years ago (on the 6th of April, 2012) the article above appeared in the North West Evening Mail, as me and Darren McSweeney battled to become the paper's new columnist.

Competing in the Big Blogger competition, we'd seen off the competition by garnering the two highest number of visits to our posts on their website, the field being whittled down each week.

And exactly 5 years ago this very day... Darren won.

As the photoshopped picture of us in a stare-off indicates, we have actually never met, and there was no animosity between us. Darren wrote great articles tackling local issues, whilst I... well, you've probably figured that out by now. One of the paper's snappers came and took some pics of me at work to create the article, one of which is still used in the header image for my column in the print edition of the paper each week.

I was contacted shortly after my crushing defeat by…

Sound as a pound

Have you spent all your old one pound coins yet? No? Best go on a spending spree in PoundUniverse, then – you’ve got six months left... Launched last week, the new, 12-sided, one pound coins are out there, somewhere... even if they haven’t migrated this far North-West yet.

Packed with hard-to-forge features such as micro lettering (roughly the size of the print used for apologies in the Daily Mail) and an image that works like a hologram, this bi-metallic invader will have seem off the dull old round pound before Halloween get all pumpkin-y in your face.

It has some undisclosed hidden security features as well – too secret to mention. I can exclusively reveal that, if you play it backwards at 33rpm (which you obviously would, if you were trying to copy it) it emits a distress signal that can only be heard by specially trained sharks. If you’re a wannabe forger, stay out of the water.

Your out of date quids will only be of value after mid-October if you book an appointment with Philli…

The House wins

The attack in Westminster recently brought the horror of terrorism to the very heart of our democracy in the UK. I won’t dignify the attacker by using his name here – he doesn’t deserve the attention - but his actions on the 22nd of March were a despicable act intended to kill and maim.

Taking the lives of three pedestrians on Westminster Bridge by driving on the pavement at speed, he left 50 more with injuries, some life-changing. After crashing the car he had used so callously as a weapon, he then burst through the gates of the Palace of Westminster, before stabbing PC Keith Palmer. Despite the heroic efforts of those nearby, the unarmed officer also lost his life.

The hate-filled attacker was intending to end lives and he lost his own, too, after being shot by another officer. Few will mourn him. He set out to kill, create panic, and destabilise us all with a vile attack in our capital, at the centre of our democratic process.

Like all acts of terrorism (and despite what imbeciles…

Formula 1 – Back on track?

Being a Formula 1 fan has been tough the last few years. Same team winning all the time. Tyre management. Vettel swearing at everything. Yes, saying you’re a fan of Formula 1 often feels like you’re admitting to stealing underwear off washing lines (that wasn’t me though, honestly). People look at with a mixture of amazement, horror and sympathy. Why would you do that? Surely not for fun? You need some kind of help.

The Mercedes team have dominated for the last few years, and whilst 2016 gave us a decent battle between their two drivers, no-one else was really in with a shout.

Everyone complained endlessly about having to drive cautiously to stop their tyres wearing out too soon. Former champions were reduced to pedalling cars that were either slow and fragile (Alonso and Button’s McLarens) or dogged by poor strategy calls and a propensity to get into any accident going (Vettel & Raikkonen’s Ferraris).

2017’s season kicks off this weekend in Australia, and there are reasons to be…

Kids should be seen and heard

It has been a great week for top-flight entertainment value supplied by small children. Including the one who was B-B-C-een but not heard. Despite clearly not needing their services, I sat in a hairdressers in Kendal for a while last weekend. Before you start calling the local constabulary, I was legitimately there – Mrs. G was getting her barnet coiffed.

Whilst carrying out the thoroughly modern practice of staring at my phone and avoiding eye contact with anyone, I found myself simultaneously trying not to get distracted by an extremely smiley toddler and his adorable slightly bigger sister, who was having her hair cut.

Every time I glanced up, the little chap was grinning at me, or making an attempt to grab my sleeve, whilst his sister chatted happily away.

After the trim was sorted, she decided I clearly needed to pay more attention, and launched into a hysterical explanation, for my benefit, about the deficiencies of her baby bro. She does love him, apparently, but he doesn’t do …