The Politics of ...

The Politics of ...

Monday, 22 November 2010

With Friends like These

I understand that Eire is up shit creek with a Guinness paddle; and that it's sort of in our country's interests that Irish banks don't go the way of the pear, but...

£7billion in a time of severe austerity for this country? If Eire are our friends, what are the public sector workers facing massive jobs losses? Our enemies? I wonder if our idiot government has any words of encouragement for those who have already lost their jobs and face an uphill battle to get some benefits, in the month before the festive season?

I sometimes think that all this government are doing is making sure that the next people in government will have such a mess on their hands that everyone will want Cameron back.

Saturday, 20 November 2010


There are three things about cars that have got me rattled this week:
School Runs
Parking Fines
Imbecilic Ignorant Drivers...

So not much there, then?

I do not profess to understand the education system in this country any longer. It's been over 30 years since I left school and everything has changed; even the location and name of my alma mater. Everything seems slightly Americanised (or should that be Americanized?). Nothing is measured in forms any more, it's all Year this or that and obviously there are more kids getting brilliant A level results, not because it's easier, but because kids today are considerably more cleverer than wot we was...

Arguably, the education system is better now; it has more opportunities, more diversity and, um, I'm struggling to come up with a third example, but I'm sure there are loads. What amazes me is young people can still manage to attend school. I mean, they're such fragile little creatures now with especially vulnerable legs. If the poor dears use their legs too much they're apt to have them wear out or fall off. This, to me, has to be the reason why kids don't walk to school any more. I can understand, in this age of going to the best possible school, rather than the one just down the road, the need for the youngsters to be taken, especially if they live five or six miles from their educational institution of choice (which to me is a complete anathema); but if a kid lives less than a couple of miles from their school, why the hell can't they walk? Or, you know, catch a bus?

Rush hour is bad enough in any town without it being added to by parents taking their precious little angels to school in their 4x4s or, as is the main reason, in their cars that they have almost zero understanding how to drive and leaves you feeling that they had to have paid the test examiner money to get their licences to kill.

I'm thinking anyone that takes their kids to school and parks within a mile of the school should be fined, rather than focusing traffic wardens' attentions on nabbing as many people as they can in places that really need help - like town centres.

The news that parking charges and parking fines are likely to go up, by more than 10% nationally, just smacks of a country that no longer wants its people to do anything. Just going out now poses a logistical nightmare. Even shopping centres, like the Weston Favell Centre, are imposing time limits and employing parking stewards. This is blamed on the people abusing the system, which, as we all know, normally works out to be less than 1% of the users, so everybody gets punished. The WFC is pretty fare in many respects (apart from needing a degree in maths to work out exactly how its road layout is supposed to work), you get, I believe, about 4 hours before your car is pounced on and if 4 hours isn't enough to get all your shopping, have a cuppa and do some browsing, them you're either stupid or possibly disabled - maybe not disabled enough to warrant a Blue Badge, or maybe you're just a wee bit older than the average users and getting around is a bit slower?

I appreciate that we need to make money; money makes the world go round, it pays for things (mainly council workers salaries) and we need to be punished if we abuse the system. Why else does the council only employ certified deaf sociopaths as traffic wardens. In the USA, the cops treat everyone like they're an axe or machine gun wielding homicidal maniac; we're getting that way with everyone in this country. No one has a genuine reason for being 2 minutes over their allotted time; they are just abusing the system and taking the piss out of everyone else. You are a liar and you can't argue with this accusation. Try taking the council to court over an unjust parking ticket and see how far you get.

Incidentally, I have not been the victim of an irrational parking fine for a couple of years. I avoid anywhere that is likely to have a hidden, covert warden hiding behind a wall ready to pounce on me whenever I have a centimetre of wheel infringing upon a double yellow line - when in reality they should be allowed to penalise idiots who don't know how to park their cars properly and who leave about 3 feet either side of their bumpers. It doesn't matter if you park like a chimpanzee on crack as long as you're within the lines!

And what about imbeciles that have been given the right to drive cars? Over the last couple of years I've noticed that traffic lights have a new unwritten meaning: green means go, amber means go and red also means go for the first ten seconds after it gets there! This is especially prevalent to drivers of white vans of whatever shape or size. In fact, as a friend of mine suggested, anyone driving a vehicle that obviously doesn't belong to them will abuse the system as far as they can, as long as there isn't a speed camera or a police car in sight.

I've stopped being courteous to other drivers as much as I was. The reason is two fold - I rarely get acknowledgement for my kindness and I'm never the recipient of courtesy. I still see no end of people cutting others up, barging in, ignoring traffic instructions, just to gain that extra car's length and as I get older, the more I want to buy a clapped out old banger and plough straight into these arseholes cars and then just say, 'Oops, sorry bloke and guess what I don't have any insurance' then run away. It might make these idiots realise that one day they're going to cause a god awful accident, especially involving some stupid woman badly driving her children to school in a very crowded street...

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Stop the Revolution, I Want to Get Off

Obviously, the 50,000 protesters peacefully marching on Westminster yesterday will have been forgotten when the Tories (you can't really call it a coalition, can you?) make sure that we see a repeat of the scenes that graced our TV screens during the 1980s - and I'm not talking about the riots, I'm talking about heavy handed policing. But will it be like that? Really?

I was talking to a policeman friend of mine today and he reckons the reason that most of the coppers were as laid back as the peaceful protesters was because they're all fearing for their own safety as well as ours. The police are not exempt from the ConDem cuts; in fact, considering the Tories have built themselves up for years as the party of law and order, there doesn't seem to be a lot of sense in their axing of police budgets. Surely our police deserve more protection than our troops; who really shouldn't be doing anything but defending our own shores - not that they'd need defending if we didn't go following the USA around as their world police sidekicks.

My policeman mate has essentially been a bit right wing for most of his life, not just his 28 years as a copper; but even he thinks the current government are being a wee bit Draconian with their proposed cuts. He thinks, and rightly in my opinion, that doing too much too quickly is just going to piss a lot of people off, a lot of whom voted Tory.

There's not a lot of point talking about people like me, who unwisely voted Liberal. The reason for that is simple - after this parliament, the Liberal party will be as significant as the BNP and just as hated. You can't escape the Tories, they get everywhere and it doesn't matter what a miserable bunch of bastards they are, there will always be some poor misguided fool (or rich wanker) who will vote for them. The Liberals on the other hand have slowly inveigled their way back into British politics and mostly because disgruntled Labour voters saw them as more centre left than their own party. Mr Clegg put paid to that and it's going to take another 80 years before they can class themselves as worthy of the floating voters' cross.

At first I thought that some of the Liberal MPs who had consciences might rebel against these essentially Tory policies, but I'm coming to the conclusion that they realise that their collected gooses are cooked, so they're just holding out as long as they can hoping for a peerage or a nice paid job on the board of some corporation. I have to say, even if he looks uncomfortable, I expected more of Vince Cable; but he's getting on a bit so I suppose the previous sentence applies to him all the more.

Going back to yesterday; it was a shame that a handful of idiots and wannabe anarchists ruined a good day out for the students, at least it got them out of bed, prevented them from giving pot noodle manufacturers more profit and made sure the viewing figures of Neighbours was halved. I do think our students are a wee bit misguided; they should pay for their education - all of them. That means that Jacosta and Quentin also need to pay for their educations rather than get Daddy to pay for it for them. I quite liked the idea of a percentage of their wages being deducted from their salaries (when they eventually get one), it sort of made it sound fair; and that way if you came out of Bog Standard Uni with a 2:2 and end up as a shelf stacker on £15k a year, your 1% will be nothing compared to Quentin's £200k a year job working for Daddy's Porsche dealership.

The chilling thing is that even The Guardian went with the headline that this is just the beginning; obviously there is a large school of thought out there who believe that the students revolting is just the tip of an iceberg. No one is denying that changes need to be made to drag back some of the money we're in debt, but at the expense of our future? Or the futures of our kids? The Tories have never seemed to give a damn about those who will inherit the mess, but they wouldn't, because their children are all going to be well off.

The government claim that people don't understand how their new fairer education system is going to work and that worries me; if our brightest and best students don't understand it, it can't be that easy to follow, can it? I mean, they wouldn't have been marching on Westminster if it was a fair system, would they?

Monday, 1 November 2010


I know quite a few Americans. Unfortunately, the other 800 million appear to have one brain cell and they share it. Now, I can't say for sure what the politics of the Americans I do know is, but I do know that they're all pretty intelligent people and have gone a long way to preventing me from just having a complete and irrational dislike of inhabitants of their country.

American politics has always fascinated me. In many ways, I find it far more interesting than British politics. I also find it ironic that the two homes of democracy - the USA and the UK are both tied to an electoral system that stretches the literal definition of democracy very thin.

On Tuesday, the USA goes to the polls for the midterms - they're a bit like our council elections, except in the USA they have far more impact on the central government. A massive swing away from the politics of the President and his work becomes increasingly more difficult, if not almost impossible, because the senate and congress have to ratify any idea he has and if he's democrat and they're republican, they simply won't endorse any of his ideas, even if they're good ones. US politics is so disparate, the other side invariably votes against the side in power even if they have a good idea. It makes you wonder how anything ever happens in the world's most powerful country (and I am aware that I am over simplifying it, but this is a punchy, pithy blog and not a politics lesson).

Listening to the coverage from the forthcoming midterms has reminded me that so many citizens of the US of A are basically morons. Barrack Obama inherited a country that had been royally butt-f*cked by George W. Bush Jr was a president who had so little idea of how to run a country that it almost fell apart. Obama has spent best part of his 20 months in office trying to sort the mess left by the previous administration; he has been stymied by Republicans (who themselves are in their own form of turmoil) and the world recession and on Tuesday is likely to be stymied even more as supposedly loyal democrats switch sides because they think the republicans can do better. Well, the republicans had 8 years before Obama and they didn't do anything for the people of America, unless they owned oil wells or munitions factories.

What annoys me most about these flip-flop Yanks is that they are quite happy to have a warmonger in charge who employs people that know as much about the economy as I do about the inside of a famous film star's anus, yet aren't prepared to give the man currently in charge a few years to try and sort the mess out. I recall Jimmy Carter saving the USA's bacon - economically - only for Ronald Reagan to be elected and take all the credit for it. An astute businessman was given 4 years in power and ousted and a man who played sidekick to a chimpanzee got 8 years (and he couldn't even remember the name of one of the members of the British royal family and famously joked about bombing Russia off the face of the planet) but that's the kind of thing a nation more preoccupied with their stomachs seem to like!

And now we have this almost offensive Tea Party movement, led by ultra right wing republicans. Which is a bit like our Conservatives being run by the BNP. The thing is, because the US press is run by ultra right wing fascists, this movement is gaining support and the chances are that come 2012, there will be an uber-fascist US president (please God not that Palin woman) and then we'll really see what a mess this world will be in.

I love melodrama - as anyone who reads this blog will no doubt agree with - but if the ultra right get in power in the USA, then there really will be a 3rd world war. We'll see Muslims treated like the Japanese were in 1940; we'll see more and more money directed towards war as the USA returns to its position of world's policeman and as a result, the UK, always keen to be seen as the USA's lapdog will face an even greater security threat - no, let me quantify that statement - the UK will become a legitimate terrorist target, rather than a fictional one. Because most of the world is not at risk from the largely made up (as in fictional) Al-Qaeda at the moment, but give Palin or any of the Tea Party madmen the reigns of that country and Al-Qaeda will be the least of our worries.