Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Have Siberian judges stopped beating their wives?

The Telegraph reports on some of the uses the United Kingdom's lottery fund has found for the money raised by the National Lottery:
In February, it emerged that it had spent £130,000 sending truants to training sessions at Bolton Wanderers Football Club.

The fund also handed £206,000 to two Nottingham groups to take teenagers motorcycling and fishing to improve school attendance. Last year, it said it would spend £397,379 on domestic violence awareness training for judges in Siberia.
This year, the paper says, "As water restrictions bite in homes across parts of Britain, lottery fund chiefs have prompted anger by awarding £4,000 to residents of an illegal 'eco-warrior' campsite to allow them their own supply. The activists built 10 huts without planning permission but have won approval from the Big Lottery Fund for money to dig their own borehole."

The meeting of the lottery board is now in session. The chair recognises Sir Hugh Flax-Mountebank.

Thank you, Mr Chairman. May I begin by commending this committee on the flexibility and, if I may say so, daring of its previous grants. I am well aware that certain members of the public have spoken irresponsibly of them, and one of our national broadsheet newspapers has published an accurate but unfair article. If they only realised how we are impelled by duty to represent all interests, not discriminating in favour of citizens and their short-sighted concerns!

I rise today, Mr Chairman, to request that this committee consider a modest grant, something on the order of £450,000, to convert our local cathedral, St Egganham's, into a mosque and Islamic teaching centre. You have all noted, I am sure, that services at this relic of the barbaric Christian fundamentalist middle ages are all but unattended except during the weekly "Have a Go at Learning Sharia Law!" event. Yes, I know that some of us have a sentimental, if misguided, attachment to St Egganham's — why, I myself attended [cough, cough] er, winter holiday service there some years ago — but we must change with the times and reckon with our new multi-cultural Britain!

I am advised by an old and established Turkish consulting firm (which, in its early days, had a hand in converting St Sophia in Istanbul) that we could add two minarets at a very reasonable £125,000 per, and the very latest in automated electronic muezzin call-to-prayer equipment for a scant 50,000 quid. The remainder of the funds would be used to upgrade the facilities — I expect, incidentally, that the 12th century holy water font would fetch a right little profit in the antiques market and
could be the foundation of a maintenance trust fund, know a chap on Bond Street who expressed an interest just the other day.

As you consider this proposal, my friends and colleagues, I urge you to remember your duty on behalf of cool, diverse, multi-cultural Britannia. Do not be dissuaded by fear of complaints by the xenophobic, Islamophobic, racist, elitist public. The intelligentsia of this country stand 100 per cent behind you.

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