And so it goes that on the 8th of August, in the year of our lord 2010, the Conservatives did decree that they would not be taking milk from the mouths of the nation’s young, even they are not that thoughtless, or are they?

But hold, this whole thing all seems a bit familiar.  There’s a distinct lactose-free whiff of Tory governments gone by.

So what’s this all about? Well, the general idea was to cease supplying under-fives attending day-care with free milk, thus saving those precious pennies.  Much like the Tories feelings towards the NHS,  Mrs Milton claimed the scheme had become “increasingly outdated” and was no longer providing “value for money”, which is an odd thing for a conservative minister to say if you ask me.

Ultimately however, the scheme has been officially removed from the political table which is good news for now, but will undoubtedly have consequences when ministers decide what to cut instead.

Details on why the plans have been scrapped are still sketchy at the time of writing, but as far as I can tell, Anne Milton doesn’t rhyme with “milk snatcher”, so they’ve decided to find something to cut that does.

The real issue here though isn’t provision of milk to under-fives, the issue is the disorganised nature of the current Tory government.

As would be expected, any cabinet minister going on BBC One to discuss all-things current events, would be asked pressing questions on the biggest news stories.  Strangely enough, David Willetts seemed unprepared – funny that.  Luckily enough then that the education minister was kindly informed of changes to the plan while he was on-air, no doubt thanks to some eleventh hour quick thinking by some bright-spark at Downing street.

It must be embarrassing as a member of the cabinet when James Landale has to tell you what’s happening in Westminster after you’ve already been left “floundering” when pressed. You could be forgiven for thinking he was meant to be prepared for this kind of thing.

I have my suspicions that there’s more than a few The Thick of it -isms going on in Whitehall and that those involved have little idea of what they’re doing and seemingly less idea of how to communicate with each other.  It’s not just me that thinks this by the way, Andy Burnham seems to be saying something similiar.  You can read the full story here.

Cock-ups aside though, what I would say about today’s news is that it seemingly betrays a lack of communication on the government’s part and a sense that, hey, they’re just like us, they don’t have a clue either so they’re just going to try whatever springs to mind and hope it’ll work out in the end or at least make sense.  So far, they’ve yet to get that far.

Grizzly bears – those cuddly, fuzzy, notoriously dangerous animals that inhabit the woodlands of northern America – attacking people, who’da thunk it?  Not Americans, that’s for sure, as when a trio of the buggers decided to go camping in the Grizzly bear habitat of Yellowstone Park, nobody expected to encounter an irate bear in the mood for a spot of the old ultra-violence.

First off, if you are going to go camping, why not go somewhere that isn’t likely to have wild bears? I’m no outdoorsman, but I think that’d be sensible.  Second off, if you are stupid enough to go camping in bear territory, why not stay vigilant and take more than a cheap nylon tent? Again, it just seems like good sense.

Well anyway, the point of the story isn’t that Americans did something Americans are renowned for i.e. doing something thoughtlessly daft, the point is that following the aforementioned bear attack, the bear was effectively criminalised.

That’s right, the bear, having done something that bears unsurprisingly do, has become public enemy number one in Yellowstone Park.  Having left some hair and a tooth at the scene of the ‘crime’, the bear disappeared – possibly using a forged Dutch passport – but was apparently captured, along with two cubs, by Yellowstone Park officials the following day.

DNA tests are being carried out in an effort to identify whether or not the captured bear is the culprit.  If the bear is found guilty, then the authorities will execute the bear, assuming of course that community service is not an option and all attempts to rehabilitate the bear come to nought.

What causes the most confusion about this whole story is how it can be considered that the bear has done wrong.  Grizzly bears are notoriously dangerous and should always be approached with caution, so it’s hardly surprising that it’d be likely to attack somebody.  Furthermore, if the captured bear is indeed the killer bear, then it has cubs which makes a bear attack even less surprising.  Mother bears can be considered over-protective of their young.  As an aside, what would happen to the cubs in the event of their mother being killed?

This all sounds a bit mad, a wild animal behaving like a wild animal much to the surprise of Americans.  One thing this proves though is that people – especially our cousins from the western Atlantic, are always looking for someone to blame when something goes wrong.  When there is nobody to blame, they look for the next best thing, even when they should really be asking, who’s fault it was that this unfortunate occurrence happened?  It sure as hell wasn’t the bear that made them go camping in its yard.

So, what have we learned? Well, we’ve learned that bears will be bears and that that includes occasional attacks as bears are of course wild animals.  We’ve also learned that when camping in the vicinity of wild bears, it’s probably always a good idea to make sure you’re not killed in your sleep, but hey, what do I know?  I like to stay as far away from nature as I can.

John Bishop’s Britain? If it’s his Britain, I’m emigrating.  What ever happened to comedy? and how/why did the 1980s make a return?

What is it about this programme – on the BBC no less – that offends the senses so utterly?  I’d say, besides it being a vehicle for the terminally unfunny Scouse twat that is John Bishop, the concept behind it all deeply unsettles me.

The very idea that we’re all one big happy nation, tied strongly by the bonds of shameless, lowest-common denominator comedy sickens me.  Unlike the show’s target audience – let’s face it, this trash is never going to appeal to everyone – I would like a bit more from my comedy than a bold return to the 1980s.  Having been subjected to Michael Barrymore’s lightweight Saturday evening ‘entertainment’ on far too many occasions in my short life, it didn’t take me long to notice the similarities between that and John Bishop’s Britain.

Firstly, the main body of the show consists of Bishop reeling off seemingly infinite and ever cheaper gags to his captive audience – which is made up of people who would ordinarily be watching X Factor or Lobotomy come dancing – in front of a garish logo.  The gags are interspersed with short clips of minor ‘celebrities’ – Bill Oddie, James Cordon and their ilk – and provincial yahoos telling a ‘funny’/'heartwarming’/'raunchy’/'quirky’ /outright sickening vignette about their experiences.  As interesting as it is to know what a scouse hairdresser or cringeworthy male-model from Essex or two brain dead girls from London think, I like to believe that it’s not going to enrich my life.

Secondly, the material provided to Bishop would even be scoffed at by those other bastions of ‘thinking-man’s comedy’ Michael McIntrye and Lee Evans – surely the Archduke of shitty gags.  At one point, an admittedly strange woman who appears to suffer from some kind of visible nervous tic recounts a typically unfunny tale.  This appears to get Bishop’s attention, as he proceeds to make a joke about her blinking a lot, which oddly reminds this writer of a bully in a school playground.

Not a million miles away is Stewart Lee’s comedy vehicle, a show built around the idea of high-comedy as the principle focus of a show.  Comedy Vehicle stands in stark contrast to the ‘cutting-edge’ of comedy currently being commissioned at the Beeb.  Surely in these times of economic instability, the first thing to go should be mindless excesses such as John Bishop’s Britain.

Maybe I’m missing something, is this actually a satire on cheap comedy?  Is there a vital message that I’m seemingly unaware of? or is that Britain is a land of people who only enjoy what they know?  Troublesome questions indeed, but what raises the most concern about this new wave of comedy for the Tory age is that it shows no sign of stopping.  Where are our anti-heroes when we need them?

Is it me, or are the Tories just fucking around in Westminster?  Seems to me that the changes they keep talking about have more to do with what they’d like to see happen to the UK than what would actually benefit the UK.

Case in point, today’s suggested benefit shake up.  As well you know, the Conservatives’ main concern is money, specifically, making and keeping money and hanging around with other people who have money and breeding with the offspring of people who have money and so on.  And, it has been the key point of this government so far that the ubiquitous economy be rescued from the jaws of collapse, which, in a country used to the finer things, is fair enough I suppose.

People are now of course, resigned to the idea of belt-tightening and a loss of public services.  So why is it then, that, rather than scaling back any existing operations in a bid to save money, the government are instead suggesting a ‘radical‘ reorganisation of the benefits system?  A reorganisation that is estimated to cost as much as £7bn.  I could be wrong – stranger things have happened – but weren’t the Tories and their Lib Dem lap dogs talking about saving £6bn just a few weeks ago?  What the apes is going on here?

Strictly speaking it’s not my place to tell them what to do, I am only a citizen of the country they govern after all, but it seems more logical to stick to the ideas you put in place and wait until things are sorted before making any crazy changes.  Also, let’s not forget that Nick Clegg constantly talks about being pragmatic, but hey, maybe this is just the ‘new politics’ in action.

Before I begin, I’d like to point out that thanks to my better judgement, I purposefully avoided titling this article “what a load of old bullocks” which I could so easily have done.

Now, as has no doubt been big news in Spain, Catalonia has voted to outlaw bullfighting.  The news will surely come as a source of joy for animal rights activists everywhere and much to the chagrin of backwards looking individuals all over mainland Spain.  It is the latter party that are going to be the focus of this article.

If you’re not familiar with the corrida de toros, it is a cruel spectacle whereby bulls are ritually murdered for the amusement of screaming crowds who love nothing more than seeing a man dressed in funny clothes fight a bull from the relative safety a stadium.

While this event has a traditional significance in Spain, it’s fair to say that many people are not exactly thrilled by the idea, even less wimpy or squeamish people than this writer.  However, as with any tradition, bullfighting has its supporters who understandably do not want to see their national past time consigned to the dustbin of history.

Spain does however have other traditions of which to be proud; Spanish art, cuisine and music have all found popularity around the world and in many ways, they were the leading light of European fascism in the 1930s, setting the template that Italy and Germany would follow.

Much like fox hunting in the UK though, the bullfight is simply becoming less and less relevant in the 21st century and could easily be considered a minority interest.  There was a time when it was acceptable to travel to the Americas, brutalise the locals and steal all their gold, but this is largely no longer the case.  It would seem inevitable that bullfighting will go the way of Spanish colonialism and that future generations will look back and cringe.

Having said that, the vote to ban bullfighting – as the result of a petition signed by 180,000 people – was not unanimous, the outcome being 68 for and 55 against with ballots being cast ‘according to conscience’ which must have been quite unusual and scary for those involved.

Some have even cried ‘conspiracy’, claiming that this is not merely a case of a brutal bloodsport losing favour with the public but a front by nationalist Catalans acting like rebellious teenagers, kicking out at their parents in an attempt to assert themselves.  Though there may be some degree of political motivation in the ban, it is most certainly the bulls that stand to benefit the most from today’s news, rather than nationalist organisations.

The other main argument is that ‘thousands’ will be put out of work as a result of the ban.  I’m sure the matadors can make careers for themselves in much nicer ways.  One alternative to letting the bull slowly bleed to death before lancing it in the back, could be to swear and make insulting gestures at dairy cows; “you fucking cow”, “yer mum’s so fat etc.”  Or why not keep everything as it is, but remove the weaponry and let the matador really prove his superiority over one of nature’s great beasts armed with nothing more than a spray bottle full of water and a feather duster.  Let’s not forget that matadors also have the important job of adorning the top of Christmas trees, although in fairness, that is only a seasonal role.

Ultimately, despite the protests of one section of the Spanish populace, Catalonia’s ban on bullfighting undoubtedly serves notice on the future of this strange tradition, though it may take the rest of Spain a while to catch up.