Belfast Telegraph

Rab's week: All modern day spies really need is Google Maps

Welcome to the sideways world of our star columnist

By Robert McNeil

The Russians are coming. Again. It's almost like the good old days of the Cold War, as huge Russian planes fetch up in the airspace over Britainshire and spy on us.

I'm not sure they're even spying. Any real spying is done on Google Maps and Twitter.

So far, they've been waving fists at the cliffs of Dover, like football hooligans at a dividing fence. This shows they can't be serious as the real entry is through the north of Scotland, which London has no interest in and where everyone's a Communist anyway.

The most worrying thing is the perceived stability or otherwise of Jeremy - is it Jeremy? - Putin, dictator-style democratic leader of Russiashire.

It's funny how, in huge countries, everything just seems to come down to a few people. In America, it's basically Bushes and Clintons. In North Korea, the Kims are the only game in town.

And, in Russia, Percy Putin stravaigs hither and yon, dishing out the orders, medals and spying instructions.

I've been in the same room (admittedly a rather large one; great jumble sale, though) as the Putster and he seemed fairly affable without a drink in him.

Thankfully, we have Trident to defend us. Described by a former air commodore as Britain's "stick-on hairy chest", its crazy cost - up to £130bn, according to estimates - could ease many of the health and education financial problems highlighted in the election campaign. Sited coincidentally far from the south-east of England, only one of its four missile-carrying submarines is at sea at any one time. Take out the other three at base with one strike and that's 75%, as well as the whole of Scotland and northern England, up in smoke.

Oh, and the Russian ABM-3 Gazelle shield system can neutralise any Trident missile fired. Apart from which, as a Wikileaked US diplomatic telegram revealed, President Obama gave the Russians the missiles' unique serial numbers, over UK government objections, as part of an arms reduction deal.

Still, the Russians keep on coming. Just to have a wee nosey. Well, fill your furry boots, boys. Nothing to see here.

Sunday: Home to roost in South

A weak euro in yonder Republic has led to a boom in visitors from Northern Ireland and the wider UK.

In Kilkenny, hen parties have reappeared, after vanishing during the recession. One local entrepreneur reported: “They’re up a lot on last year.”

Hen parties: the price you pay for a weak euro.

Monday: Bland leading the bland

Unlike many friends, I couldn’t get excited by Barack Obama’s election as United States president.

His political pronouncements were bland to the point of Blairite. Fair enough, at least he tried health reform, in a country where our NHS is seen as Communist.

America, eh? I’m a fan of the States on entertainment grounds. But, politically, it’s exceptionally dense and narrow. And big Barack hasn’t widened it much, even if he’s enlightened it a little.

Now we get Hillary Clinton bunging her millinery into the ring for next president. I saw her speak in Belfast once and was impressed with her deportment.

But what does she stand for? Already, America’s small progressive lobby is withholding support until she says something specific about wealth redistribution and Wall Street reform.

But that’s not what American politics is about. It’s about balloons, big grins and beautiful teeth. Just like Britain (apart from the teeth).

Tuesday:  Vatican gets its teeth into vampires

We need to address the growing problem of vampires. Once, they were restricted to old, creaky Dracula films.

Today, they’re universally admired by young persons, on account of their angst and ethereal beauty. A massive boom in books and films has erupted around them and, not unnaturally, this has attracted the attention of rival entertainment empire, the Vatican.

In yonder Rome, a leading authority on demonic possession told an urgently convened meeting that TV series and Hollywood movies like True Blood and the Twilight films were encouraging young persons to dabble with occult forces.

Professor Giuseppe Ferrari shrieked: “There are those who try to turn people into vampires and make them drink other people’s blood, or encourage them to have sexual relations to obtain special powers.”

Unfortunately, he did not provide an address or contact number. Young persons, beware: do not confuse television with reality. Leave that to the experts.

Friday: Royal lifestyle just the business

Nice work if you can get it: being a princess. And, no, I am not referring to Frozen.

That part of my life is over and I have returned to being an adult male. At least until the sequel.

I am referring to Princess Beatrice, daughter of the Duke of York, who has taken 11 holidays in six months.

It’s important to take a break, of course. And it sounds like the Princess does this by going back to work —  as a “full-time businesswoman”.

No wonder she need holidays — the business doesn’t actually exist. That must be quite stressful.

Saturday: Treatment just hair-raising

Balding persons were dancing in the streets following news that scientists had found a cure for the embarrassing disease.

However, the oafish revels soon stuttered to a sweaty halt when the small print revealed the cure involved tearing out their remaining follicles.

The idea is that removing a patch of hair from one area triggers a distress signal which prompts extra hair to be grown elsewhere on the bonce.

The Californian university’s research was carried out on mice. Interestingly, once the rodents went bald they took to wearing shades and shin-length shorts, just like human baldies. Strange.

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