Rick Nobbinson @ The Liberal Democrat Conference. Guest Blog interview.

As I’m sure you all know, it’s Liberal Democrat conference week so I’ve asked a guest to come along and help me pick at the seams of rhetoric, posturing and policy-making. Rick Nobbinson is a political analyst and has been answering my questions on all things party conference.

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Me:                        So Rick, what do you think so far?

Rick:                       Well Garry, imagine if you will, a room full of people, affiliated with a particular political party, taking turns to talk about the kind of things they might want to do in that political party, and occasionally voting on the proposals put before them… and you’ll be somewhere close to the mood, the atmosphere, and indeed the actual objective of what they have set out to do over these last few days at the Liberal Democrat conference.

Me:                        Yes, thanks for that. But specifically, has anything stood out for you yet?

Rick:                       There are many ministers and party members who don’t want to be seen to be standing on the shoulders of giants, and there is a palpable sense of that, here, in this conference. Not that they don’t actually want to stand on the shoulders of giants. Who wouldn’t want to, at least once, if relative safety could be assured, perhaps by a small body harness rigged around the giants shoulder, or some kind of Velcro overalls, stand on the shoulder of a giant? But to be seen to be doing this is something no one wants to see, or be seen, doing. Do you see?

Me:                        Not really Rick, but let’s move on. Vince Cable hinted at a fringe event last night that the coalition might not last until the next general election. What do you think he meant by that?

Rick:                       Oh yes. Vince Cable has got himself in a word knot. He’s said some words, and let’s be honest about this, we all do, and those words have appeared like floating letters from his lips, encircled him and tangled him up in a ball on the floor. He’s thrashing, he’s shouting and screaming for help, but the more he shouts, the more words come out and add to the mess, indeed the mesh, that was this speech.

Me:                        I think I see what you’re saying. You’re saying that he may have let slip something that will tangle him up in speculation and perhaps embroil the wider party and actually cause the very thing he has predicted?

Rick:                       Let me put it like this. There are people, in this country, who stand for elections and become what we call members of parliament.

Me:                         Yes I know.

Rick:                       Because they rely on people voting for them in what are called ‘elections’, they have to make speeches about what they are going to do if they were elected.

Me:                        Again, I’m well aware of that fact but what does this have to do with…?

Rick:                       Hang on – here it is. Think of a bucket, an empty bucket, and into that bucket, pour your hopes and dreams. Add a dash of social mobility, life skills, education and ambition, and you’ve got the electorate soup. These MPs are standing around the edges of this bucket, with shiny ladles, sipping at the soup and trying to identify all the little tastes so that they can replicate this in the kitchen later on when a French man comes to visit and they can hopefully progress to the next round.

Me:                        What? I’m sorry Rick but you’ve gone metaphor mad. And I’m sure there was a little bit of Masterchef in that last one.

Rick:                       Sorry.

Me:                        It’s ok, but can we just, keep on track? I know you feel you need to dumb it down, but I can assure you my readers are more than capable of understanding what you have to say in plain English. So, Nick Clegg, what is he making of all this?

Rick:                       I think the question is probably what isn’t he making of all this Garry. He isn’t making a scrapbook or a photo album with funny little captions to hand out to his friends, decorated with pictures of luxury furniture cut out of an Argos catalogue from 1988 I found under my bed last week and stuck on with a really old pritt-stick that I had to lick vigorously to restore its viscosity and adhesive properties, that’s for sure.

Me:                        But what is he making of it all Rick? Come on, you can do this. Think about it. I’m rooting for you here man, I want you to get this down. I know you really want to work for the BBC news, but you’re trying too hard. Just say it how it is, don’t dumb it down or hide behind metaphors and simile or just plain crazy talk. You can do this Rick, come on Rick, COME ON MAN! DO IT! ANALYSE THOSE POLITICS!

Rick:                       Ok, ok! Erm… I predict that Vince Cable will turn on Nick Clegg in a bid for the Liberal Democrat leadership by dividing the party and making the case for a Labour coalition in a popular move that will see long-worried party members, uneasy with propping up the Conservatives, flock to him in droves. This will force an early general election in which Cable will portray himself as the saviour of the Liberal democrat party and reject the policies and politics of the Tories and more importantly, Nick Clegg. This may salvage the reputation of the Liberals, allowing them to join with Labour and defeat the Conservatives. The Liberals have to do something or they will be as good as vanquished from the 2015 election, and they know that. The biggest problem Vince Cable is going to have is convincing people that he is the man for the job, considering he has supported so many of the unpopular Tory policies that he is now rallying against in his conference speeches. Presumably he will link this to the need for stability in the economy and having done his best to soften the harsh edges of Tory ideology. If he pulls that off, who knows, he might just do it.

Me:                        You see? You can do it can’t you?

Rick:                       Yes, I suppose.

Me:                        So what was all that stuff with the buckets and giants?

Rick:                       I get bored.

Me:                        We all get bored Rick. It doesn’t mean we have to dick about does it?

Rick:                       No, I suppose not.

Me:                        Right, well, you get yourself back to that conference and get reporting eh?

Rick:                       Ok. (sniffs)

Me:                        Don’t cry. Come on. You’ve done a good job today haven’t you? Yes you have. And just think of all the free food and drink there will be back at the conference.

Rick:                       Buffet?

Me:                        You bet! You like buffet’s don’t you?

Rick:                       Chicken balls.

Me:                        Yeah. Chicken balls. Go on then. Thanks again Rick. Bye.

– Well there we have it ladies and gentlemen. It took some teasing out like an octopus from a dark recess in a Cypriot rock-pool, but we got there in the end.

More about Rick Nobbinson:

Rick is a disturbed man. Really disturbed. You can’t buy his book, he doesn’t have one. He wants to work for the BBC and to that ends he spends a lot of his time trying to blag his way into the news room, usually by carrying a brown box with the word ‘news’ written on it and trying to convince them that he is a courier who is bringing a box of urgent ‘news’. Once he was allowed access and when the box was opened, it wasn’t news, not unless news is organic matter from questionable origins. If you would like to hear more from Rick, he can usually be found crying over the Andrew Marr show in the window of Comet on Bridlington high street most Sundays, at least for a little while, until he is once again discovered and ejected. You may be wondering why I asked him along given such dubious credentials. Compassion? Mockery? No. None of these. Cold, hard cash. I don’t know why it was so cold, and it would have been nice to have been paid in notes rather than coins, but that’s why. If anyone else would like to guest blog, please throw at least £50 worth of frozen coinage through the third window from the left of the old shoe factory in Taunton Meadow Industrial Park (south-side). Please include a business card. I will be in touch. Thanks. 

A Guest Blog by Tipsy McElroy.

This week, as I am rather busy, I have decided to allow a guest blogger a spot on my blog. May I introduce to you, Tipsy McElroy, the home help guru.

Home tips, by Tipsy McElroy.

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We live such hectic lives now, don’t we? I know I do, and technology, far from being the shiny robot help that was promised to us in the 1950s, has turned out to be even more of a distraction. It’s hard to get anything done for the barrage of tweet’s and facebook’s, ever demanding of your precious time and energy. It’s a wonder any housework gets done at all, but don’t fear! Tipsy is here to show you a few tips that can help elevate your day by blasting through those tiresome chores in super-quick, fibre-optic speed! And, for all you planet-lovers out there, it’s organic!

Tip #1. How to clean an oven in super-quick time, with a potato.

Tired of spending hours scrubbing away at the greasy blackened carbon coating of an over-used and under loved oven? I know I was, until one day, I accidentally forgot to put the oven on when making a baked potato family (for those who don’t know, a baked potato family is when you pick two or more potatoes of increasing smaller sizes and bake them all together – it’s a great way to get kids eating healthy potatoes! Who wants to eat mummy-potato? Me! Me!) Anyway, when I returned to my oven, two hours later, guess what? It was as clean as the day I bought it from the police auction.

So get your spuds out, pop them in, and wait for the magic to happen!

Tip #2. Blocked drains? How to get that waste moving again, with a potato.

We’ve all been there. Covering up the smell of our blocked drains when entertaining guests by constantly having to pretend you’ve broken wind. It’s no wonder nowadays, with all the saturated fat in our poisonous food, dripping down the plug hole when we wash up, oozing out of our pores and into the bath tub.

I used to wait hours for commercially available bleach to do its work, literally just watching it slowly erode the fatty deposits though a series of small camera’s installed in the plumbing (a great buy by the way – ‘STV’ (sewage TV) – available for as little as £1000 from most Russian embassies). But not anymore! Imagine my surprise when after having my usual ‘mash and a shower’ session (one of my guilty pleasures), I accidentally slipped and dropped my bowl of mashed potatoes down the sink-hole. Oh dear, I thought, best get the plunger and go fire up the control room to track its movements. But when I switched on the monitors, what did I see? The most gleaming, capacious network of pipes and u-bends since they day they were first installed by that lovely man we found by the pub bins that fateful evening in ‘84.

So, if like me, you enjoy taking a little shower and eating mash potato at the same time, why not try dropping a little down that blocked drain, and you’ll smell the difference!

Tip #3. Cats at the furniture again? Mucky dog paws on the recliner? Rat hair? Try a potato.

There’s a reason the phrase ‘couch-potato’ exists, and I can tell you, it’s not what you think! I have three cats, half a dog and a number or rodents. As much as I love them, they do make a mess of my three piece! (we’ve all been there). Once upon a time, much of my day was spent sponging and rolling the furniture for cat/dog/rat hair and muddy footprints, only for it to all happen again when the automatic timed locks in the laboratory would open up for exercise hour.

So it was that one day, after an unusually large shipment of potatoes from the Korean ambassador (his little way of a thank-you, bless), that 7pm came along with the familiar hiss of the airlock and the scampering footsteps of my genetically modified brood as usual, but then, something wonderful happened. Instead of the normal scratching at the windows and trying to eat the sofa (and each other), they all curled up together for an adorable little sleep on the spud sacks. And so it has been ever since.

So, simply leave a few sacks of plutonium grade spuds lying around your living room and watch the little darlings relax – leaving you free to get on with contesting that niggling court order you’ve been meaning to get around to!

Tip #4 – Money problems? Try a potato.

My last tip for today is one that not only will save you time, it will save you money, so two big ticks for this big tip!

I discovered this tip one day at Hyde park, awaiting my weekly transaction with Red Eagle (not his real name of course! That would be telling!). As I sat with my briefcase ready on my lap, my GPS sensor chip burning away under the thin layer of skin behind my right ear, I reached into my pocket for a small snack, and what did I find? A wad of unmarked, used £50 notes! Well, I soon realised that it was meant to be in the case with the rest of that month’s bribe, but before I put it back, I reached into my other pocket, and pulled out the snack as originally intended: A glorious raw, average sized potato.

As I sat there, £5000 in one hand, an average potato in the other, I found something quite startling. They weighed almost exactly the same! Don’t worry if you’re not very good at guessing weights, take my word for it, my cybernetic implant takes all the hassle out of that sort of thing. Anyway, this happy accident made me realise that for anonymous money drops, you know, the one-off extortionists who rarely look inside the package and are probably too weak to follow up on the threats, the simple use of an average sized potato for every £5000 of notes in a briefcase is just the right weight to fool them long enough for hubby to get in a good shot as they walk away.

So next time you’re being bribed by some jumped up whistle-blower or Cyborg hunter, don’t waste good cash on the possibility that the set-up might go wrong – trick them with a potato! Remember, one average sized potato is £5000 in used £50 notes. For new season crops, adjust to one large for £2000 in £20’s. Do not use chips.

So that’s it for now folks! I hope you’ve found this helpful, and thanks to Garry for allowing me to use his blog. I’ve never met him, nor am I likely to. We don’t mix in the same circles, and I’m usually very heavily armed, and from the look of his blog, he’s a bit of a hippy pacifist. Peace not war and all that ideological anarchy. Bless. And don’t forget, the dead will rise! Be prepared!

Tipsy.

About the Author

Tipsy McElroy is the author of “1001 Ways to Hell” and “Good Housekeeping for the Digital Age”. She is a regular guest on ITV’s loose women, where she uses her skills as  a character actor to portray most of the audience. To contact Tipsy, please leave a comment, or if you’d prefer, £50,000 in used £50 notes in an unlocked briefcase by the Churchill memorial bench in Hyde Park (or approx ten average winter potatoes / 25 large new season).