Breathalysed Academics, Clever Pelicans and the Debt Culture by Vince Nolan


Now you have to agree that as titles go, this is one you won’t see every day.

I have just been reading about a convicted benefits fraudster from South Wales who cheated you and me out of over £50,000 and has been ordered to pay it back by the Court at £2.66 per week until the year 2384 when she will have achieved the ripe old age of 416!

Staying with the same subject, I was recently engaged in a conversation with the landlord of our local pub, The Fleece and Four Skins and he told me that they had been burgled. Apparently they have a spiffing CCTV system which works and which enabled clear pictures to be shared with the local constabulary. In an effort to drag crime-fighting into the 21st Century our landlord also posted the pictures of the miscreant on BookFace or some such other personal media forum. When lo and behold, over 100 people came forward and all named the geezer. He was arrested, prosecuted and jailed for persistent offending. British justice at its’ best you might think. Alas no. The pub lost goods to the value of £580 and was offered £80 in compensation by the court which was to be paid over an indeterminate time by the guilty party as he was on benefits and could not afford to pay compensation.

Something needs to be done.

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So where does the saying “Lo and Behold” come from?  I use it quite a bit so I consulted a dictionary and found the following:  “Humorous – something that you say when you tell someone about something surprising that happened.  Example – I was in Vienna, sitting quietly in a café when, lo and behold, my cousin walked in.” Pardon me for asking but what is remotely humorous about that?  Austria is not exactly noted for its’ thigh-slapping jokers mind.  A better example of the use of this phrase would be:

“I heard a rumour that Cadbury is bringing out an oriental chocolate bar. Lo and behold, it could be a Chinese Wispa.”

The world really is going mad. You may have read that the UK Government is considering lowering the amount of alcohol we can consume in England and Wales, before driving, in order to bring us in line with the Scots. One assumes that there are lots of border incidents when unwitting English drivers blunder across the border only to find they are over the Scottish limit. Conversely, in a large exodus south, thousands of Scots can no doubt be seen migrating towards the nearest pub for that extra drink before realising that they cannot then drive home. Wales should have its own limit just to make it even more confusing.

Anyway, fear not, we are ahead of the game in other drink related matters in this noble country of ours.  Cardiff University Students Union are breathalysing  would-be patrons on entry to their salubrious facilities. Apparently, if you are over the limit to drive you will not be allowed in.  In other words you cannot drink anywhere else as a student before using the Union Bar or your disloyalty will see you banned from entering.  However, do not despair, young academics.  You will be allowed to drink as much as you like once you have gained access. You can then pour yourselves out onto the streets of Cardiff and behave as students should, but don’t drive because you may be over the limit depending which country you come from, or possibly, you may not. To help, please see the non-technical student breathalyser DIY kit below.

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Whilst I do not write about rugby these days I could not help but notice that for the recent Wales match against France, David Smith was originally picked to play on the wing because wingers Teddy Thomas and Marvin O’Connor had both been ruled out with injury,……….. for France that is. Sacre Bleu where were they born?  Samoa, USA and Australia it seems.  European rugby at its’ best.

Don’t start me on Europe. Well, since you have, it is an interesting conundrum. Conundrum is also interesting coming as it does from the 16th Century and being of unknown origin. Does this make it a conundrum in itself? Anyway, the EU – 28 Member States at the last count, all suitably divided by language, history, belief, wealth and poverty but seemingly united in the view that the UK must never again win the Eurovision Song Contest and that the Germans are plotting something. I think I have managed to grasp the fundamentals of the two main issues. With a vote in the offing in Britain, this has now of course become a personal matter, with far reaching economic consequences if we get it wrong. But don’t let that worry you, no pressure. Remember that the dodgy geezer down your local pub has the vote. He will help decide the economic future of millions of yet unborn Brits. Have you noticed that nobody has produced any definitive literature to illustrate in a calm and non-political terms what an in/out vote will mean for us? The reason for this is that the politicians are going to blame us if it goes badly wrong afterwards and don’t want any evidence to suggest they may have influenced the outcome.

You will also have noticed that already, old battle-lines have been drawn up within the EU.  The Scots want independence if the UK votes out so that they can vote back in. The French have threatened to kick our Customs Officers out of Calais because they are scared that this will leave the Germans free to expand their borders once again. The Irish, Portugese, Spanish, Greeks and Cypriots are all keeping their heads down as they have been bailed out by the EU and cannot afford not to toe the line, with the possible exception of the Irish who do not rely on tourism from the UK to prop-up their economy.  Meanwhile, the former Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Belusconi is doing porridge for tax fraud and the Welsh are looking to appoint disgraced former Tory MP Neil Hamilton to the Assembly as an AM for UKIP who will definitely want out of Europe, I think. Any clearer now?

Now here is a great banner headline I read recently read in a business paper: “Pelican Invests in Sterilisation Unit”.  Pretty clever these water-birds.  Actually this refers to Cardiff based company Pelican Feminine Health.

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What do you call a pessimistic Pelican? A


Bye for now.