A Political Glossary for Cynics by Trevor Plumbly

Or Some Familiar Politician-Speak Explained in Layman’s Terms “There is obviously widespread public concern over this matter and in the light of that concern; I have ordered an official enquiry.” = It’ll take years and it’ll be a nice little earner for a couple of the old boys we owe. And by the time they deliver it’ll all be forgotten anyway. “At times like this it is important to lay party politics to one side.” = I’m in such deep shit that I’ll take help from anybody. “This is an integral part… Read More

Death of an Agony Aunt, Birth of an Agony Uncle by Trevor Plumbly

A Second Opinion Aunt Abby died recently: not my personal aunt but the last of the great agony aunts. Those of us who followed her syndicated weekly column of gentle guidance and reproof, enjoyed a delightful part of newspaper folklore. Some, like me, pored over the misdeeds and misadventures of her hapless correspondents out of sheer nosiness, whilst others probably viewed her weekly wisdom as part of their family life. That being the case, I feel constrained to offer my services to any members of the fourth estate who may feel that… Read More

Come back Mr Bumble, Our Justice System Needs You by Trevor Plumbly

The legal system past and present ‘If the law supposes that’ said Mr Bumble in Dickens’ Oliver Twist, ‘then the law is a (sic) ass’. If it were possible for dear old Bumble to comment on the ‘modern’ system he’d probably express the same opinion. In the interim, the ass has been cross-bred with a few cash-cows, but hasn’t developed too much in the way of common sense. The system is still cluttered with outdated rigmarole, useless precedents and an internal language guaranteed to make sure the gap between the cognoscenti and… Read More

It’s Good to Get Away by Trevor Plumbly

Getting Away New Zealand Style One of the oddest things about New Zealand is the enormous enthusiasm most people have for ‘getting away’. Given the size of the country, it’s pretty tough to get really far away from whatever moves you to flee the nest several times a year. I tend to be a bit cynical about it all really; it seems to me that most people getting away from ‘it all’ want to pack most it of ‘it all’ in the car with them, before heading off with thousands of fellow… Read More

Problems with Technology for those with Poor Eyesight – White Caners Keeping in Touch by Trevor Plumbly

Evermore Sophisticated Gadgets Even with good eyesight, I always found technology elusive, a sort of nether-world inhabited only by bespectacled nerds and nimble-fingered youths. These people could do THINGS! Things quite beyond my capability, like programming video players or setting digital alarm clocks. In those days they had a sort of ‘harmless party trick’ novelty about them, but I always felt they were up to something. Now, of course, largely due to lack of control, they just about rule the world! Or most of the bits that are worth ruling. As is… Read More