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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
30th August 2013: Isn't sarcasm a wonderful thing?
25th August 2013: Operation Yewtree has turned British justice on its head
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Why 'human rights' is nothing of the sort ...
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
6th August 2013: How the British nation treats its friends ...
8th July 2013: The BBC biased? How can that be? They're so NICE!
26th June 2013: Think this country is a bastion of freedom and justice and a shining model for the world? Think again.
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th June 2013: is the end finally approaching for this evil woman?
31st May 2013: Now it's official - the BBC really is a left-wing propaganda machine
31st May 2013: Those evil bastards are at it again. Yes, you've guessed it - social services!
27th May 2013: Well-known TV presenter talks sense. No good will come of it.
24th May 2013: British justice is best? Only for the very poor, apparently ...
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...


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Our new Wankers of the Week are a French gang firm called Afibel. The managers of Afibel say that the firm “was founded in 1954 and is specialized in the mail order selling of women's clothing for the over fifties. We now have a customer base of over 1.5 million women who place their trust in us.”
Well, they've got a bloody strange way of thanking those 1.5 million women for their trust and continued custom. What is the reward for all these dear old biddies, spending their empty afternoons on the sofa with their Afibel catalogue, poring over next year's twin set or tea dress, or carefully selecting which big knickers will cut in at the leg and which won't? Their reward from good old trustworthy Afibel is to be confused, cheated, deliberately misled, bamboozled, built up and then abandoned.
Take, for instance, dear old Edna Fortescue, a widow in her twilight years who lives in a small town, can't drive, doesn't get out much and has no one to turn to for advice in between the infrequent visits from her son and daughter-in-law. She's a nice old bird, a trusting old soul who doesn't have a whole lot of money to spend and not a lot to spend it on as there aren't very many shops she can reach on foot with her three-wheeled walker.
What is Edna to think when she gets a letter through the post from nice, trustworthy Afibel telling her that she's won £1,000? Naturally she's excited, overjoyed – nothing like that has happened to her, not ever in her life. She falls to considering how to spend the money – perhaps she'll send a little cheque, say £50, to her son and daughter-in-law? And another to her daughter in Australia? And £25 to each of her lovely grandchildren, and to the daughter of her hairdresser who is so kind and gives her a trim-and-shampoo in the kitchen every week and even brings her own newspaper to spread on the floor. And a £20 note for Billy the gardener who comes once a fortnight and keeps the lawn trim and the shrubs and fruit-tree pruned, and is always happy to take on other odd jobs. Recently he spent a whole afternoon up a ladder cleaning out gutters and tidying up the roof of the conservatory.
Lost in pleasurable fantasy about the happiness this windfall will bring, it is some time before she thinks to check. Can this really be true? Is someone really going to give her £1,000 for nothing? Does she not have to do anything in return? How come they've chosen her, and not one of their other 1,499,999 customers?
She reads the letter again. “My heartiest congratulations, Mrs.Fortescue!” it begins. “Your date of birth was selected during our 'Great Success of the Year 2013' Campaign. Look quickly, I have sent you a copy of the Named Selection Sheet; it gives all the details of the steps which led to your designation as a Beneficiary. Congratulations the date of 10th September 1924 was indeed selected at the final result!
Open your catalogue quickly for if you discover the winning personalised envelope, then WELL DONE Mrs.Fortescue, you have in your hands the proof that you have won £1,000.”
Then there's a sheet about a free gift - “This Gabriella Vicenza Waterproof jacket, immediately and free of charge with your order”. That's all right, she was going to order something soon anyway, because she always does this time of year, and they're going to give her a nice summer coat for nothing. But the important bit is this – the free offer has her name and address on it, under a bar code - “Mrs.Edna Fortescue, 3 Montgomery House, Monarch Way, Winchester SO22 5PW” - so they really do mean her. It really is her that's won £1,000!
There's also a whole sheet of photos and information about the Gabriella Vicenza jacket, and it looks lovely, a sort of dark sick colour, and all she has to do is put her size on the order form. And there's more: if she wants she can buy for a mere £9 an animated musical model of a little boy clown called Anatole who usually costs £22. Wow, that's a bargain! Anatole comes complete with a Certificate of Guarantee and Authenticity. The winding mechanism and music box are guaranteed against mechanical failure for a year, and the certificate confirms that Anatole's face, hands and feet are made of real porcelain and painted by hand. By a gorilla, from the look of it, but hey, that's art, isn't it? At least it's real porcelain with real paint, not some plastic imitation.
She searches further. Oh yes, here's the envelope for her order. How thoughtful of them! - they've printed their address to save her the trouble, and a little box to show where to put the stamp. And it has “Special Reply Envelope” and some boxes to tick to make it important, and a sticker saying “URGENT” ... oh no, it's not a sticker, it's printed on.
Now here's the order form, and at the top is printed “The Waterproof Jacket was allocated, free of charge, to our customer Mrs.Fortescue. The Waterproof Jacket will be shipped to her immediately on receipt of her order.” And there's the signature of someone called G.Lee – presumably someone very important. And there's a space to stick a round gold sticker. Now, where's the gold sticker? Ah! here it is, stuck to something else. She peels it off and sticks it in the right place on the order form – golly, even this is personalised. It carries the wording “The Waterproof Jacket is allocated to Mrs.Fortescue”.
And at last there's some mention of the £1,000, because there's a box in the corner of the order form with something to tick - “YES, I've discovered that I'm the winner, I have acquainted myself with the terms and condition. Please send me the £1,000”. That's very important, then. She ticks the box, and searches for the terms and conditions.
Ah, here they are. Well, they're not actually called “terms and conditions”. They're “Rules and regulations”, but presumably that's the same thing. Oh dear. They're written in tiny, feint print, and Edna's forgotten where she put her reading glasses.
After a long search she finally discovers her glasses and takes the form into the conservatory where the light is better. But it's all a jumble of formal words and legalistic phrases. Ah, here's a sentence written in plain English: “Each participant owes it to him/herself to pay careful attention to the conditions governing the obtainment of the prizes”. Obtainment – is that a word now? She is sure it wasn't when she was at school. And each participant should pay careful attention – isn't that what she's doing now, by reading this? What kind of advice is that – do what you're already doing?
Ah, now here we get to the nitty-gritty. “The winner of the cheque for £1,000 has been drawn. A personalised envelope has been made out in her name. This personalised envelope has been placed in the winner's catalogue. The other customers receive a non-personalised envelope.”
Edna shivers with excitement. Her senses seem unusually acute today, probably from excitement. For instance, she notices the wording “envelope has been made out in her name”. Not “his or her name”, you notice, but “her name”. That confirms it – they already know the winner is a woman, and obviously that woman is ... herself!
On the back there's another congratulatory letter signed “G.Lee”. This turns out to be the signature of good old Gerald Lee, the Afibel Gifts and Prizes Manager. Good old Gerald, what a generous bloke, giving £1,000 to old ladies. Let's hope good old Gerald sleeps easy at night. (Well actually, let's be quite honest about this. We don't hope he sleeps easy at all. What we hope is that his dreams are terrorised by rapine and torture, that he wakes at fifteen-minute intervals drenched in sweat and rushes to his children's bedroom to make sure they haven't been wrenched apart by the monster who lives behind the toilet, then returns to find his sleeping wife has been abducted and replaced by a hideous succubus dripping with ichor who seizes him and does ... whatever succubi do to men who deserve nothing better. And that he wakes in the morning unrefreshed, that when he stumbles half-awake downstairs his wife is beside herself with vicious rage and throws his breakfast at the wall, his kids are whining and unreasonable, the cat's been sick on his chair and his car won't start. Yes, that's what we hope. That'll do. For a start).
But Edna is still on a high of excitement and anticipation. There's only one thing left to find, and that's her envelope with the prize confirmation inside. It's the last thing left on the table. With bated breath she opens it and feels inside. Yes! A little metal clip, and in the clip ... four miniature bank-notes, each labelled “£250”! This is it! The proof! She's been selected, just her out of all those 1.5 million customers, and she's won £1,000! She almost faints with triumph.
Then she takes a moment to look at the outside of the envelope. Sure enough, there's good old Gerald's signature again, over a red stamp, carefully faded so it looks like a real stamp and not something printed on. And there's the wording “Important. Grand Afibel Banknotes Campaign Concerns the sum of £1,000 intended exclusively for ...” and in script ...”our designated customer”.
Well, there you have it. She knows she's the designated customer because the other sheets have got her own personal name on. She's been picked. She's won. And you can't argue with four miniature bank notes printed “£250”, can you?
It is a bit of a worry, mind, that the envelope spoke of “designated customer”. Why didn't it have her own proper name, Mrs.Edna Fortescue? They'd managed to print that on all the other sheets, so why couldn't they print it on the envelope? They could print good old Gerald's signature on it, but not her name? Oh well, that was a mere detail. She trotted back in to the kitchen to put the kettle on. She'd have a nice cup of tea and a Rich Tea biscuit, and then make out her order form and put a cheque in. Then she'd get her three-wheel walker out and totter up to the post. She wondered how long it would be before the £1,000 arrived.

The GOS says: I think you can make the rest up for yourself, can't you? The envelope wasn't “personalised” with her name so she hasn't actually won any bloody thing. There is a cheque for £1,000, true enough. It's been cashed by a Mrs.G.Lee.
Meanwhile, about 1.5 million dear old ladies whose only mistake has been to buy their clothes from a catalogue called Afibel have received envelopes that contain four £250 notes and are perfectly worthless. None of them had the wit, the experience, the understanding of English, the suspicious minds or the glasses to work out what was really going on and that the whole thing is an outrageous fraud.
Oh yes, we know it's all perfectly legal. The rules and regulations have “barrack room lawyer” all over them, and would no doubt stand in a court of law. Not that any of the 1.5 million biddies have the courage or the cash to take it to court. They're old, they're innocent, they're fair game.
We also know that it's not just Afibel. Dozens of other companies (including the AA and the Readers' Digest) do the same thing. The difference is that this company unapologetically targets elderly customers who were brought up in an age when you didn't suspect everyone, whose eyesight is failing, who typically have little money, who can't get out much, who often have no relatives or friends close at hand to offer advice ... sitting old ducks, you might say.
This is an entirely legal but unscrupulous, vicious trick played by unpleasant people without conscience or decency. No punishment would be too severe for them, and if anyone reading this can think of any suitable retribution, you might just drop a line to ...
Columbia House
1 Apollo Rise
Southwood Business Park
Farnborough GU14 0GT
or to their parent company at
129 rue Colbert
59493 Villeneuve d'Ascq
or go on their website where you'll find their phone number.


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