Nick Clegg’s Not-So-Secret Identity

The Liberal Democrats have demanded an official investigation into reports that an adviser to Home Secretary Theresa May called Nick Clegg a wanker after the deputy PM criticised May over ‘snoopers’ charter’ comments. The Home Office’s most senior civil servant will now conduct a detailed enquiry to establish precisely who made the alleged comment and whether it broke the code of conduct for special advisers.

“It’s all rather difficult,” an unnamed source told this Nuse reporter earlier at the weekend, “because we’re not even sure what the charge would be: it most certainly doesn’t appear to have been a misrepresentation of the truth – far from it – so we’re not sure what code might have been breached. I mean, naturally there are certain matters of state that need to be treated with the utmost discretion, which is why we all have to sign the Official Secrets Act, but it’d be a bit of a stretch to cite that document over information which is so obviously already in the public domain…”

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XXX Factor No Longer What It Was

News reaches us today that producers of pornographic films are asking for their work to be reclassified by the British Board of Film Censors (BBFC).

“Put simply,” an industry insider told us today, “the letter X no longer seems to give people the idea of something exceptional, extreme or dangerous. It’s as though the very essence of its sense has been somehow cheapened. We’re at a loss to explain it.”

Apparently sales of X rated films have been in steady decline since 2004, although pornographers are confounded as to why. This Nuse reporter spoke to a BBFC representative to try to get a feel for the mood of the market.

“Well,” said Miss Honor Eposition, “we have some sympathy for this request, to be honest, because the letter X, which used to suggest something a bit saucy, now seems to be associated with utter mundanity. Indeed, since the launch of certain contemporary television programmes, the letter X seems to just suggest something bland, mundane and passionless in most people’s minds – the concept of mere paid actors who are just going through the motions without actually feeling anything. With a sound-track dubbed on afterwards…” She hesitated for a moment.

“Actually, maybe we’ll just leave things the way they are.”

DIY Terrorism

The appalling state of education in the UK has been highlighted by MI6 in a damning report investigating terror cells and the radicalisation of disenfranchised Muslim youths in inner-cities.

“We first became aware of this trend by monitoring coded transmissions and picking up traffic on Facebook and Twitter,” we were told by Sir John Sawyers, the recently-appointed head of MI6, in an exclusive interview earlier today. “It’s notoriously difficult to follow because, whilst the coded transmissions are the very devil to decode, at least they tend to form real words. Twitter and Facebook, on the other hand, contain such dreadfully incomprehensible English that they make us long for the old days and the elegant simplicity of cracking something of substance like the Enigma Code.” He sighed and ran his finger around the brim of a rather tall brandy glass before taking what one might only describe as a fairly hefty sip.

“Anyway, what with schools hardly bothering to try to educate kids any more and the ridiculous use of phonics as a teaching device – bloody nonsense that is! – it seems that these youths frankly struggle to even understand each other and so, when we did happen upon a cell of radicalised Islamic youths, they seemed to have become confused and were passing around tips for applying on-line for recruitment into Ikea.”

He sighed and sank further into his plush, red leather chair before he continued, “To be perfectly honest, if this is the quality of what’s coming up in the next generation then it makes our role appear to be almost redundant. Al Qaeda doesn’t even sound like Ikea – not that much, anyway – and they don’t exactly behave like a terrorist cell. I mean, what do they think they’re planning? Do they really think that they can destroy Western society by trapping people into wasting their lives wandering around interminable mazes and then spending all their spare time trying to assemble inscrutable, flat-pack furniture…?”

Sir John stared into the middle-distance for a moment and then sat bolt upright. “The bastards!” he exclaimed, before ushering us swiftly out of his office as he reached for a large red telephone on his desk.

Al-Qaeda Planning Cyber Jihad

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, this week warned that al-Qaeda has called for a ‘cyber jihad’ that could involve using Facebook and Twitter to plan attacks.

However, she did also add that al-Qaeda was now weaker than they have been at any time since the attacks of September 11, 2001.

When asked to comment, an outraged al-Qaeda spokesperson expounded to this Nuse journalist, “Weaker than at any time since the attacks of September 11? I think you’ll find we put in a pretty strong performance on that day! Having said which, admittedly, it did leave us nineteen guys down…”

eXcavation Factor

An archaeological dig in Mexico has revealed surprising though somewhat predictable evidence regarding the collapse of the ancient Mayan civilisation. Researchers were initially surprised and then increasingly alarmed at what their excavations gradually exposed. This Nuse reporter took a flight out to speak with the team.

“We were digging in an undisturbed site where nothing has grown on the barren landscape in human memory,” said Doug Daily, the chief archaeologist. “We tried to speak to the locals before we began but we couldn’t find them. There simply weren’t any. It was as if some tribal herd-instinct had stopped people from going anywhere near. We couldn’t even find anyone who would acknowledge the existence of the area where we wanted to explore.”

He paused, a haunted look crossing his face, and then continued. “Our initial evidence from satellite photographic images suggested that some kind of a ring had sunk into the earth here and that the desert had simply closed over it. It took many weeks of painstaking scraping before we revealed a massive submerged arena containing tiered rows of hundreds of seats set facing a raised dais, upon which we found a stone desk with four chairs at one side and, on the other, a single podium.”

Rowan Danround, Professor of History Repeating Itself at Peterborough Polyversity, continued the story in a subdued tone. “Early analysis of the skeletal evidence indicates that the audience was jam-packed with humanoids with rather unusual skull abnormalities, suggestive of intense inbreeding and associated brain malformation. The stage, meanwhile, gave up five very badly burnt figures attired in layers of superficially attractive chains and jewellery which, under closer examination, turned out just to be worthless shiny tat.” He shrugged. “We tried to find geological causes for the travesty that occurred here but there is nothing. It seems likely that some kind of contest or trial was in progress when the Earth, with an unprecedented and almost inconceivable violence seemingly directed with pure malevolence at the very life forms she had given birth to, just opened up and swallowed the whole spectacle.”

He turned to the storm-darkening skies above and his voice lowered to a whisper. “We also found some stone tablets with ornate carvings upon them.” His eyes set upon me in a fixed stare and a mask of terror drew across his face. “Intricate markings, they were, formulaic and repetitive. It looked like… like music, I tell you. Music!”

Tesco Offers Value Divorces

Tesco, which some older readers might remember used to be a grocery shop, today moved into the matrimonial market by offering Tesco Value Divorces alongside all its other legal, insurance, telephone, petrol and banking paraphernalia.

Apparently the idea came to them after witnessing heated arguments and potential break-up situations occurring between couples on a regular basis every Saturday and Sunday.

“With more opportunities to shop together, every hour of almost every single soul-sucking day – especially now that every bloody thing can be bought under one roof – the fractious effects on relationships have become almost irresistible. It’s rather like going for a day out in the seventh circle of hell, only with worse music,” said one shop worker.

A Tesco spokesperson added, “It seemed the logical next step for us in order to complete the circle which we’ve had established for years. After all, we’ve been encouraging our customers to walk down the aisle together for years – ha-ha – and all of our cashiers are familiar with the concept of till death us do part.”

Here the spokesperson smirked in a self-satisfied way which provoked, in this reporter, thoughts of a more than usually murderous intent. They were swiftly subdued and the spokesperson continued.

“Plus, in a recession, we have to move into the growth markets and, after all, paying over-the-odds for cut-price misery and disappointment has become one of the hallmarks of our business. Anyway, we’ve already cornered the market on every other damned aspect of your pathetic, grasping, desperate, consumption-filled lives.”

Undercovers Policing

The Home Office has announced that undercover police officers can have sex with suspects if it makes them more plausible. This has raised some interesting questions. Initially it was feared that it might reduce the number of bobbies active on the beat, but Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan police chief, was quick to put paid to this concern.

‘If anything, I think this is going to increase the number of police officers out pounding the turf,’ he said in an exclusive interview with this Nuse reporter earlier today. ‘Moreover, I think that it’s great that we’ve increased the scope of what is permitted to be taken down and used in evidence.’

Activists and protesters who had been targeted in this way were most unhappy. One feminist, vegetarian, animal-rights supporter who we spoke to was clearly incensed by the news:

‘We’re not going to take this lying down,’ she said. However, when pressed further, she was not forthcoming on precisely what position her members would take.

A Crown Prosecution Service spokesperson told us, ‘It is a sad truth that those charged with illicit behaviour rarely come clean, and so it becomes necessary for the intelligence services to engage in subterfuge in order to gather hard evidence which will stand up in court. Obviously, it is vital for those embedded agents to keep their heads down, in case they blow their cover. The best advice we might offer would be for hardened criminals to always retain their briefs and hope not to be convicted on scanty evidence.’