Sunday, 31 May 2015


“Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast and give to the poor. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. So he went on Twitter instead and called Michael Gove a ‘vile reptilian evil tory scumbag’, and linked to a cartoon of Iain Duncan Smith stealing a paralysed woman’s wheelchair. And lo, he felt better and went for a £3.50 caramel macchiato with some mates from the BBC.”

Libby Purves, in The Times and The Sunday Times

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Don't do as I say...

I was doing some work in my garden the other day, when my left wing neighbour popped round with his teen-aged daughter. They stopped for a chat, and during the chat I asked the daughter what she wanted to be when she was older.

She replied " I want to be Prime Minister"

I said, "Wow that's great! And what's the first thing you would do as Prime Minister?"

She replied, "I would give more money to the poor."

"Well, why wait?" I said, "help me with my garden and I'll give you £50 that you can give to a homeless man to buy himself food and drink."

She looked at me puzzled and said "Why don't you just get the homeless man to do your gardening and give the £50 straight to him?"

"Find me one that'd dig up these weeds." I replied.

My neighbours don't talk to me anymore. 

I do my gardening myself.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

The Vile, Nasty Tories Are At It Again

I just saw some economic figures reported in the Guardian. I don't don't normally read the newspapers - especially not the Guardian, which is the flip side of the Daily Mail - apart from the little Times app on my phone, but this caught my attention.

The vile, nasty Tories are at it again. How dare they? I mean look at the disturbing facts below... frankly, I'm disgusted that I'm part of the Tory economic narrative...

"The pound jumped more than a cent against the dollar after the news" that the Tories won a majority. UK Plc is now that slight bit richer than it was. This is shameful. How? Why? We have no right to be!

"The Office for National Statistics said the unemployment rate fell to 5.5% in the three months to March, down from 5.6% the previous month. The drop of 35,000 in the number of unemployed people took the total to 1.82 million, a seven-year low." A seven-year low! Why that was before the worldwide recession hit us?! What on earth are we doing with this country?! All of Europe is suffering from slow growth and high unemployment, we should be too! Solidarity innit?

"The UK’s unemployment rate is the second-lowest in the EU after Germany, and compares with the highest rates of 25% in Greece and 23% in Spain." Unacceptable! How could we possibly be better off than all the countries in the EU? Why can't we be more like Greece or Spain? They have sunny weather, don't they? Ibiza is in Spain, innit?

"Employment also improved, with the number of people in work rising by 202,000 in the three months to March to more than 31 million, the highest since records began in 1971." The highest since records began. Well the records are wrong. I don't agree with the records. I'm going to spray a WWII monument because of this. 

"The UK has an employment rate of 73.5%, which is also a record,". Record? We're not here to make records in employment figures! We're here to make sure everyone has an iPhone!

"...although for men the figure is even higher at 78.4%." That's it! The Tories hate women. They only pretend that the first ever and only Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was a woman. Or that there are more women in the current cabinet than ever before. We like Blair's Babes, not Cameron's Cuties. Blair had babes, Cameron has cuties. That's how we see it.

"Some 70,000 of the extra workers were drawn from the over-65s." WTF is that all about? What are these old fogies doing in jobs? Surely they should be claiming some kind of disability benefits and picking up free bus passes and gas vouchers? This is all wrong!

"He (Carney) said many of the jobs created in recent years were taken by younger workers who were less productive than those with more experience." Younger people have less experience? What a preposterous idea! Young people rock. And rap. Same thing, innit?

"Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that total wage growth climbed back to 1.9% in March after a dip in February, while regular wages, which exclude bonuses, hit 2.2%. Since inflation dropped to about zero at the beginning of this year, real wages have soared." We don't like 'soared'. That doesn't sound good. We're not meant to soar. Soaring is for the birds.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Labour & The Left

This is contributed by Peter Risdon. He tells it so much better than I could ever do.

We'd be in real trouble without an effective opposition and regular changes of government, so even though I'm glad about this result, I'm worried about Labour. Boundary changes and, perhaps, some reform of the BBC will work against them, and even though the large number of new SNP MPs will, necessarily, include some car crashes I can't see Labour sweeping back in Scotland soon.

The party that was born in an industrial landscape that no longer exists, and that fell prey to a mid-twentieth century nationalisation fallacy that destroyed volume car production, prevented heavy industry from modernising so it died (Thatcher was just the undertaker) and closed the branch railway system, has only come close to re-inventing itself in a sectarian identity politics most people find repulsive, and that has led to obscenities like Rotherham.

UKIP's appeal to Old Labour voters was apparent, not least in the 'uneducated' east coast from Clacton to Hull, where they came second in 120 constituencies. They made sweeping inroads into councils without denting Tory gains. Old Labour always was a 'stop the world I want to get off' party, yearning for a past of jobs for life no less fictitious than the Express's nostalgia for the 1950s. UKIP gives that voice more effectively than Labour, today.

Worst of all for Labour, though not so obvious, were the liberal supporters who couldn't vote Labour, or who did so holding their noses. Most of them were prevented only by tribalism from voting Conservative. How long can that last? How long can a party with Lutfer Rahman-supporting UNISON as Kingmaker, that has refused to expel Livingstone, that only expelled Galloway (for Christ's sake) when he called for mutiny in the armed forces - but not before then - keep their loyalty?

Even thoughtful Labour partisans adopt tribal positions on questions like the EU, the Human Rights Act, the NHS , Welfare reform. Even when they write about Labour's need to stop hating the provinces and the self-employed trades, contempt drips through. There's still the unexamined narcissism that believes the poor are hated by the Tories, and only they can provide clean hay and warm barns - the notion people want to stand beside them rather than beneath them doesn't seem to occur. The idea that the general rise in prosperity means more and more people don't just want that, they expect it, is unimaginable to them. The idea that the people who know most clearly that there are freeloaders and scroungers are the fucking working class who live next door to them isn't anywhere near their horizons.

Backwoods Tories are, literally, dying off. Oddly, and entirely unanticipated, demographics favour the Tories. They're becoming more liberal because the illiberal ones are pegging it. Labour didn't realise that immigrants are actually natural Conservatives, ambitious, hard-working, socially conservative.

I don't want fifty years of Conservative government with UKIP emerging as the main opposition. I'd like an increasingly liberal Conservative Party kept like that because the main threat is further to the left. I'd like a party that is still too close to inherited privilege and wealth moderated by meritocratic and liberal pressure.

But unless Labour guts itself, there's a possibility - no more than that - of it becoming irrelevant. 

And what party has ever gutted itself?