The Politics of ...

The Politics of ...

Friday, 16 December 2016

The um... Kingdom of England (oh, and Wales)

Bloody current affairs... it's just so surreal at the moment it's difficult to ignore...

People who know me know that it is my intention to move to Scotland in 2017. It has been a longstanding ambition and the EU vote acted more as a kick up the arse than any actual reason to get out of 'little' England.

Not that Scotland is exempt from the EU vote, but because they simply seem to be a more tolerant society and that will, if nothing else, soften the coming blows. However, while chewing the political fat with a friend recently, we kind of came up with half a half-baked idea that I want to share with you before moving onto the more ... honest... nature of this blog.
  • Both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to stay in the EU.
  • Both Scotland and Northern Ireland have benefited more than anywhere else (apart from Cornwall) from EU money - these places wouldn't be so much better off without the EU's money and help.
Experts (pft, what do they know?) believe that to keep the right wing quiet and to ensure no Polish workers go to Ireland so they can nip over the border and start stealing British jobs, there has to be a hard border between the countries. An even harder border than existed during 'The Troubles' and some people believe this could single-handedly cause massive destabilisation in all of Ireland. A price that most of (this newly united) Northern Ireland do not want to pay - even less than wanting to leave their European benefactors.

Now, the idea of Northern Ireland campaigning for independence is not likely to happen, but the idea of Northern Ireland being independent from Westminster and autonomous, yet still part of the Commonwealth and a player in a more 'loose-knit' United Kingdom, might just float in Proddy strongholds.

But why stop there? How about an economic union with an independent Scotland and the Irish Republic, that would mean Northern Ireland, like Scotland could remain in the EU with almost as much sway as the old Britain headed by the English had and a lot more respect from the other nations because, well, quite simply, they're not English.

Of course, if Northern Ireland could remain part of the sovereignty but also as a semi-independent state it would negate the need for borders, however it might require closer checks when travelling from Northern Ireland to England and I can think of quite a few Scots who would love the idea of a hard border between England and Scotland. Hopefully not because there would be an influx of disgruntled English people wanting to escape the hell that is coming.

The reason I like this idea is because it allows sections of the British to remain part of what they, in the majority, believe in; would lessen the impact that Brexit-geddon will bring to many in England and Wales and would make these countries arguably greater than the Britain they'd leave, because there would be a kind of Gaelic unity that us English struggle to identify with (because it's culturally different, innit?).

The other reason I like this idea is because I've recently become a traitor to the cause. I no longer have any faith that the Labour Party or specifically Jeremy Corbyn can turn the fortunes of the party around, especially in the face of the growing right wing tide sweeping up even reasonable people in this country and the fact that basic left wing politics just doesn't appeal to a large percentage of a growing isolationist and intolerant society. The only way Labour can appeal to people who've left them or would normally vote for them is if they broke with some of their fundamental core beliefs and under Corbyn and propelled by Momentum that simply isn't going to happen.

I heard this rumour that the Northampton South MP, David Macintosh, would not be sacked by the Tories because they feared a bye-election. I also heard the Labour Party also didn't want a bye-election for exactly the same reason. That reason was because the Tories would probably increase their majority, despite all the corruption and scandal. This was Labour's reason as well - from up top. Now, before you start telling me how foolish I am, consider this - the Tories are actually quite comfortable with an ineffectual old man leading the toothless Reds because they can basically ride roughshod over most things they want to and there's bugger all opposition. Regain a seat currently held by arguably one of the most corrupt politicians of modern times with a greater majority, regardless of boundary changes, it is going to trigger more ructions among the people on the other side of the chamber and eventually if Labour's slide into oblivion becomes too obvious Jeremy will eventually either fall on his sword or another massively damaging leader election happens again, throwing up the possibility that someone who might change things - for the perceived good - might appear and disrupt everything.

I can't help but notice how little Labour appears to be doing about everything. Not even my social media is buzzing - hell, it's not even murmuring inaudibly, so the theory that Jeremy and his team were all over the internet, cutting out the press, seems to be more hope than hit. PMQs is still an hour of backslapping and obfuscation at best and lies and slander at worst and Corbyn could beat Treeza in a wrestling match, with rabid wolverines, and the press would still call it a draw with the Tories regaining the moral high ground even if it is of a subterranean nature.

He doesn't stand a chance. I don't care that Labour are going to try and rebrand him in the New Year, it's too little far too late. Even if he was given a fair platform and some objectivity from the media he'd still probably struggle because NOTHING IS HAPPENING and a lot of that nothing is affecting potential supporters. His message just might not appeal to more than a bunch of internet bubbles.

But, I wanted Corbyn politics to work because I fear for the entire socialist movement in England and that people like me might end up being labelled 'dissidents' or 'subversives' because we don't subscribe the common right wing beliefs, meaning that 'liberal' speech might even be suppressed, probably by those who would have posted it, for fear of reprisals from who-knows-where.

There has been talk recently of a Progressive Socialist Alliance of Centre-Left and Left wing parties - an idea that seems like it has been born out of one of the Tories key issues not to vote for Labour at the last election. In a Britain that is to become divorced from the rest of Europe there is more need for the countries within it to work together in the interests of 'the Kingdom'. The Tories do not speak for Scotland and only have versions of themselves in Northern Ireland. In Wales, despite a waning support for Labour, the Tories are still unpopular in many areas and in England there are socialist heartlands, and more importantly, areas of the country which would have 'socialist' MPs if the centre and left parties worked with each other to stop the rise of the right.

But for this to happen Labour would need to do a deal with other parties and as we saw from Richmond, they'd rather lose their deposit and credibility than be seen working with someone with ultimately the same goal as them.
Labour would need to sit down with the SNP and forge an alliance that would mean Labour gives up Scotland, but works in a democratic partnership with Scotland to allow SNP MPs to vote along side them for the greater good. The Tories suggested this would mean the downfall of the UK if that happened at the last election, for many keeping Scotland happy is now the key to keeping the United bit with the Kingdom part.

It would also mean working with Plaid Cymru, the Liberals and to a much lesser extent the DUP, to ensure that someone other than a right wing candidate wins. It doesn't take you long to work out, looking at 30 marginal seats won by the Tories at the last two elections you can see that had an alliance been in place and the Liberals endorsed a Labour candidate and didn't stand against them and vice versa, those 30 seats wouldn't have been won by a Tory. Yes, it's simplistic and general, but convince the public that it's the best way and fairest way forward for Britain and it might just work.

But Labour still retains illusions of grandeur and the divisions within the party run so deep the entire concept is anathema to them from the top to the lowliest backbencher, because it would mean some of them possibly losing seats or would rest control to a coalition of similarly ideological but deeply different bedfellows. The problem is Britain has clung to it's left, middle and centre model for so long that change is happening and it's leaving politicians behind. How else can you explain the popularity of UKIP amongst a certain demographic and one which UKIP is exploiting to the glee of the Tory party?

If nothing else, a progressive coalition of Labour, SNP, Liberal and Green would at least have similar hymn sheets and could stem the tide of anti-tolerance, bigotry and hate that is becoming more public, by making a government that is both prosperous and tolerant of difference and diversity.

Still, however crazy the political landscape has become in the last 12 months, something that might actually be of benefit to more people in this country than ever before would not get house room and it might take the Tories to achieve complete breakdown of the country's economic and social stability to bring about a change for the benefit of both the country and the many.

Monday, 5 December 2016

No Soft Option

Having recently discovered that facts are irrelevant, I don't see the point in banging on relentlessly about this, that or the other. Take the EU exit for instance - no one knows what is going to happen; very few people really believe that the UK is going to get a better deal and the hard reality is that the other 27 EU countries are going to force limitations on what we want. They weren't that ecstatic we wanted out after all...

The truth is if we're coming out of the EU it has to be a HARD one, realistically there is no soft option. It will cost too much money and pretty much leave us in the same situation we were in except without any voice. The hard option will also cost us but it will be front loaded - costs will rise, some goods will no longer be available or no longer at prices the average person can afford and no one really knows how it will affect unemployment - it could go down. One thing is certain, the people who voted to leave because they believed it would be the best thing will be hurt either economically or emotionally.

The thing is Treeza and co., are all too aware that regardless of how you spin it, her party, UKIP and the right wing press have forced her into believing that the EU referendum was actually about migration and if that isn't addressed, then regardless of what the 48% wanted, there will be factions within the country who will deal with immigration in their own 'unique' ways. It might happen even if we close our borders, but the reality, at this moment in time, is that it will cost us a lot of money whatever way we choose and people will still want to blame migrant workers and the EU for it. Honestly, if the Tory's can - 7 years on - still blame Labour for the country's ills (never addressing the fact that in those 7 years they've made it actually worse) and get away with it, then if you're foreign then you'll pretty much take the flak for every hike in inflation, rise in unemployment, redundancy or failure to obtain a job.

The sad thing is regardless of the truth people will always blame the easiest thing. Migrants, for instance, don't steal peoples jobs. I'd like a Brexiteer to explain to me how migrants steal jobs? There is obviously not identity theft going on, so are these migrants infiltrating factories, working harder and offering to work harder for much less money? Even if this was the case, it would not be them stealing jobs, it would be employers preventing the indigenous from getting these jobs by a mixture of fraud and bad practice. There is no other way of looking at it. If you hear someone say, 'bloody foreigners stole my job,' you need to ask them how exactly their job was stolen and whose fault it was, really?

How about the country is full, there's no more room... Well, it isn't. That is about as facile a comment as a bunch of people with no authority promising you - the people - that £350million will go to the NHS if we pull out of Europe. Yes, we have a rise in homelessness, but is that because of migrants? Are you stealing peoples houses? Moving in surreptitiously at night, moving out a British person's belongings and acquiring their house by some medieval EU law? No, the truth is the government has made life so difficult for genuine strugglers that they face a Christmas with little or nothing. Because of the way our renting system is now you'd be lucky to get a stable at an affordable price. More affordable houses need to be built and while the government looks to the house sales market to keep the economy at least marginally 'balanced' there's unlikely to be any nice cheap homes for any of the disenfranchised to move into.

Of course, we can say without fear of contradiction that migrants are responsible for the strain on public services. I mean, it was obviously E|U migrants who slashed the public sector budgets and they've obviously been forcing the government to not build new hospitals or schools, or make public transport better, because it makes perfect sense that EUs will come here and destroy our services so they can access them easier...

Blaming migrants for the woes of the world is just blind refusal to blame the government - of which many people voted for. If by some UKIP fluke of nature and all migrants who have moved here since 2000 were deported, would we see a vast improvement in our lives? Would the government invest all that lost tax revenue back into ailing services, or, would they more likely award fat contracts to private companies making 'consolidation' their main aim.

The blame for migrants and the way they are seen is mainly at the feet of the right wing press, who seem so intent on stirring up hate it would seem their only intention is to cause some kind of civil race war within the country, presumably so they can then sit on their high horse and say they told us so. The Tories have to take a lot of the blame - they have it in their power to end hostility to migrants almost immediately, by gagging their pit bulls in the press and showing the stats that prove the migrant crisis isn't a crisis at all, just something blown out of proportion by the Mail, which has a history of essentially being neo-Nazi.

Obviously, Treeza won't do something as calamitous as admitting their incompetence is the main reason for the lack of things, nor will she rein in her media allies, so we have a situation where racism, or at least xenophobia, is allowed to escalate to the point where there are twats openly being arseholes all over the country and using freedom of speech to perpetuate their hate, while failing to see the irony in being called out by the fair people who they themselves have repeatedly abused.

Recently, a friend of mine commented on the Guardian's CiF section lambasting trolls as being worthless and hopeless antagonists who must have sad lives if the only pleasure they get is out of being nasty in a comments section. His comment was 'moderated' and deleted, despite having no bad language in it, but possibly being disrespectful to the people who do nothing but be disrespectful. His follow up comment complaining that the Guardian seemed keen to delete a message that was essentially criticising the Guardian for having double standards was also deleted. On the same page there were several attacks on 'hand wringing liberals' that went unmoderated. When a newspaper as (and I use this term loosely) moderate as the Guardian starts censoring people complaining about the lack of censorship from hate groups then you have to start wondering where we're going as a race.

The parallels to the 1930s are there for all to see and it's much faster because of social media and the new and different ways we have of communicating with each other. It isn't just migrants facing daily abuse; Pinko-liberals are getting it too. The left wing is now as much a target for the papers as migrants and presumably because some left wingers are pro-EU and believe in the freedom of movement. How long before those who advocate this are considered enemies of the people?

So the hard truth is a hard Brexit. Yes, all of us Pinko-liberals who voted remain will suffer the consequences, but they'll be no different than those who voted Leave. This won't be a Tory party pandering to those who voted for them and ignoring those who will never vote for them, this will be a real true moment of 'we're all in it together - whether we like it or not'. Apart from the cost, there's the social implications of a soft option - this is a generalisation but one with some basis in fact; quite simply Leave voters are more likely to cause problems than Remain voters and as I keep saying Treeza doesn't want to call a GE for a number of reasons, both legal and because if people don't vote for Labour and want to vote out the Tories, who does that leave?

As much as I'd like to think there could be a second referendum, I'm also acutely aware that should that vote be 53-47 in favour of staying after all, then there would be much more of a fight from the 47% than there has been by the current 48% of remainers. The sad truth is Brexiteers want you to accept a result they would never have accepted had it been a mirror result.

I also discount the claim that only 28% of the actual population voted for Leave. 72% of the people who could vote voted and frankly we have absolutely no way of knowing if that 28% would have swayed it towards Remain. I met an awful lot of people who had made their minds up they weren't voting because they thought they'd already lost. I think the country voted for Brexit because being out of Europe was some rainbow-shitting unicorn to solve all of our woes and the Leave campaign did a fantastic job of making the Remain camp out to be a bunch of scaremongering liars.

Quite simply, as I jokingly said two years ago, we need to exit and quick and then sit back and watch everything fall apart. However, I no longer believe that people who voted Remain should then rub it into the faces of those who voted Leave, because wars have been started for less.

Look at the options: decide against the vote and go back to the EU and renegotiate our membership - which isn't going to happen, but even if it did we've caused far too much disruption to expect anything in return. Or leave, jump off the cliff, and face the consequences and see if we have politicians and businessmen with the guile and acumen to sort it out and make the best of what will undeniably be a bad lot - for a few years at least.

The soft option angers too many and that's where Treeza is a bit of a populist and has angered some of her own MPs by being a bit UKIP-lite, presumably based on the combined readership of the right wing press. Hard Brexit might end up being a Pyrrhic victory for the Tories because, let's be honest about this, they've not really shown any evidence that they're any better with an economy than Labour, in fact now that they're borrowing more money than ever before they'd be hard pressed to accuse Labour of doing the same, especially as Labour might have borrowed too much but there is some actual evidence to suggest it was spent on infrastructure rather than feathering Richard Branson's pension fund.

Monday, 28 November 2016

The BBC Post Brexit

A typical Monday on the BBC in 2020...

6am - Sieg Heil Britain

Now that Naga has been deported, Dan 'Anodyne' Walker and Louise 'Ditzy' Minchon discuss non-inflammatory issues of the day. Includes Michael Gove discussing how to best use other peoples' discarded food and Bureaucracy News with that lanky Geordie girl. 

9am - The Jacob Rees Mogg Show

Replacing Victoria Derbyshire (who was deemed too radical), JRM hosts a series of debates and pressing issues, such as 'Nannies - should we all have them?' and 'What to do if someone with a turban gets into your First Class carriage?' Includes the weather misrepresented by Nigel Farage and where to buy the cheapest lobsters and truffles with Lucy Worsley.

11am - Dissidents Under the Hammer

This week the team (sans Dion Dublin who is now employed by Nigerian TV) go to the barren wastelands of the North East and execute any well-meaning hand-wringing liberal who thinks prejudice is wrong. Lucy Alexander whips up a storm in her bondage gear as she and William Hague (Dion's replacement) torture some misguided food bank volunteers.

12pm - Immigrant in the Attic

Paul Martin and a team of undercover former SAS members perform dawn raids on houses believed to have illegals in their loft. This week the team visit Jeremy Corbyn and make an astounding discovery on his allotment.

12.30pm - Escape From the Country

The team 'help' illegal immigrants, economic migrants and asylum seekers return to their own countries. Witness the highly emotional reunions with people they hoped they'd never see again.

1pm - The Good News

Presented by Ian Duncan Smith.

1.30pm - The Regional Good News

1.35pm - Bad Neighbours

Soap: Bob and Mavis are horrified that their neighbours displayed a 'Vote Labour' poster in their window and have been seen conversing with Poles, even buying things from their shop. Two local boys are accused of killing Mrs Mangold - who they laughingly called Mrs Mango - but despite all the evidence, the local police think it's actually a left wing conspiracy designed to bring the neighbourhood down.

2pm - Ready, Steady, Shop Your Friend

Jeremy Kyle invites people onto his show to tell the world about the insidious things they think their friends (who aren't sharing their lives on Facebook) are up to. If the claims are proved right, they get a chance to play for the £8 jackpot and determine what punishment fits the crime.

2.45pm - Money for Hard Graft

More tales of hardworking British folk trying to make a living despite immigrants trying to steal their jobs. Narrated by Michael Portillo.

3.30pm - Boris'll Fix It

Boris Johnson makes millionaires' dreams come true in a multitude of ways. This week a young Conservative gets his wish to see Noel Edmonds deep fried and UKIP's Paul Nuttall teaches young racists how to be extremely vile but use Freedom of Speech as an excuse.

4pm - The Great British Show

How Great is it to be British? The Hairy Bikers and whatever ubiquitous celeb is popular this week travel round the sleepy villages and expensive homesteads of little England and completely ignore the despair raging all around them. This week they meet a man who has 400 gold bars in his cellar and a woman who sticks pins in Asians at bus stops.

5.15pm - Pointless

Because its a National Treasure and Xander is related to the queen. 

6pm - The Main Good News

Presented by Fiona Bruce, but not the lesbian with huge tits or that Alagiah bloke. Huw Edwards is a wee bit iffy too.

6.30pm - Regional Xenophobia

Presented by Stewart White; local issues trivialised and compared to a sunny round of golf.

7pm - The One Britain Show

Matt Baker and his clone discuss dull boring things with C list celebrities and Tory MPs promoting their interests. Alex Jones was never allowed back after her baby (too old and Welsh) and Anita Rani is currently in an internment camp outside Bradford.

7.30pm - Eastenders

The Square continues to be overrun by Yuppies, Hipsters and property developers, while Ian Beale and the dodgy (possibly gay) pub landlord lay the foundations for a race war in Albert Square. Dot is told that only experts think smoking is bad for you.

8pm - Where Do You Think You Come From?

Uncovering the truth about some people you thought you liked but now know they have some kind of Bulgarian ancestry.

8.30pm - Junior Doctor Who

The Doctor and his assistant discover that even with all the time in the world, they can't do anything to save the NHS, so they go for a beer instead and sit and look at memes on the internet.

9pm - Have I Got Fake News For You

The long running comedy series now hosted by Paul Dacre with team captains Richard Littlejohn and Lord Beaverbrook. Guests chosen from the comments section of the Mail.

9.30pm - Universally Challenged

A documentary about the Barclay Brothers and what it's like to not pay any tax, live on an island and manipulate the country while probably being a bit creepily incestuous. Presented by Fern Cotton.

10pm - Even More Great News

Time to drop into the Good News room to see how wonderful everything is now a tin of beans is £1.

10.30pm - Anything But Question Time

The dry, lifeless corpse of David Dimbleby sits silently as extreme right wing commentators explain why ethnic cleansing is the way forward.

11.30pm - The Michael McIntyre Show

Yes. It will get that bad.

3-6am - The Wee Hours with Katie Hopkins & Louise Mensch

The two newest National Treasures have fun with stupid people throughout the small hours. Includes tips on electoral fraud, how to subvert truth and decency, and the favourite feature - Jingoism around the World.

Rinse and repeat.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Closer to Home

What do delivery men, generic white van drivers and most bin men have in common?

All the employees doing these jobs can end up earning as little as £4 an hour.

How does that work?

Well, all are on short term or zero hours contracts; all of them are either minimum wage or close to it and all of them have a limited amount of time to perform their tasks or they are penalised. Yes, you read that correctly; if bin men don't collect the right amount of bins in a day - regardless of conditions - they have to continue working - for no pay - until the job is done. If one of those delivery drivers who have to do as many as 180 drops in a day don't finish they have to finish meaning the money they are paid could be slashed in half - and if they have to pay their own fuel charges, some might work for as little as £2 an hour.

So if you get annoyed about ungracious bin men, or the twat in the white van narrowly missing a group of schoolkids because he's speeding down a residential road, you now know why.

More importantly, we have to put to one side the prejudices we are now seeing and feeling every day and remember it's the employers who are making people slapdash, inconsiderate or dangerous, not the people who do the job and at some point someone is going to kill some kids or plough into a nursery and other people - say the government - are going to have to look at the causes of it rather than just blaming a fatigued worker or whatever circumstances brought them to where they endangered people.

Yet everything has to bow down to them forces of commerce. The government can bleat all they want about drones almost hitting jet planes, but there's no one in the Tory party standing up suggesting the things should be banned; I mean, companies make money from these things. The government wouldn't ban fireworks because despite the damage and injury they cause, it would be prohibitive for business. I wonder how long before morally reprehensible things start going on sale or allowing general access to, because, you know, legitimate people can make money from these things...

Northampton Borough Council tied themselves into a deal with a waste disposal company - allegedly there were links between the company and a couple of Tory councillors - who couldn't deliver, so not only were the company not punished for negating on the deal, they were allowed to renegotiate the deal with scant regard for its own workers - ending up with bin men on zero hours, minimum wage, running along the road because they can't even take a break without losing money. Now you might think this is okay and the council are probably only employing the feckless and foreign, but what is being proposed, so that council tax bills are not increased, is that gangs of local residents clean up the streets after the bin men, because there isn't enough money to send refuse workers to clean up the mess left, because they have to move so fast they can't go back and pick up rubbish they have dropped.

Street light and bins are the two most visible items you pay your council tax for yet both have been made into semi-commercial concerns with the expectation to join the Big Society and do your bit. 52% of your council tax now goes on administration, including paying twats to come up with ideas to make you end up paying more, whether fiscally or with your free time. NBC recently laid off workers involved in anti-social behaviour, helping tenants in their homes and general support work; the man who it appears is paid purely to see what can be cut from the budget is paid £105,000 a year.

Just think about that next time you see litter on the streets, and the expectation is that you pick it up.

Friday, 18 November 2016

The Road to War

We know from history that nationalism [read: jingoism] rises in cycles and usually ends in conflict. Once it was an easier model because minorities were just that - in the minority - so creating a common [read: beatable] threat. Throughout history - modern and ancient - there have been crusades, cleansing and genocide all in the name of a god or a cause [read: money].

Quatermass and the Pit was originally a TV series and then made into a movie with Andrew Keir as the eponymous scientist. It told of a strange craft found under a tube station in London, but eventually it veered off into a quite existential idea that half of humanity was gifted genes from Martians, while the other half weren't; so when an extraterrestrial invasion starts, half of the world is crazy and the other reasonable, understanding and non-violent. It's a bit of a SF classic and the author, Nigel Kneale, was responsible for a lot of prescient SF in the 1960s.

Could it be something as simple as genetics. Are some of us predisposed to being gits, while some of us are just pinko liberals and the rest sit somewhere between the two. You know, the people who campaign for cancer, MS, missing dogs and Library closures, but will repost some thinly-disguised racist BS, while not having a moment of cognitive realisation.

I'm most certainly not an angel because I place intolerance, right-wing extremism and hate in a prejudicial category much like some people put blacks, Asians, the disabled, the unemployed and gay people in and I have been known to attack these weak-minded, racists in much the same way they might have insulted someone else who's inside their own personal hate bubbles. The irony is these people can't see it. They cannot see that what is happening to them is what they do all the time to people who already feel they have to work harder than most to stand still. That's when backlashes start.

The cause is quite simple. Over the last 20 years, a good friend of mine (who has been active on line since the invention of the Internet) and I have talked about the changing face of the net. We've been quite prophetic at times in our casual email discussions and regularly, my Kent-based friend, has sworn that he's quitting the net because it has become like an unwelcome addiction (and many other reasons). The success story here is that when I first met this person, he was pretty much a Tory voter with a deep mistrust of Labour. I'm of the opinion that he's now pretty much as left wing as I have ever been and without wishing to insult millions of people, that's because he did more than just read his news feeds and social media. He did things like investigate claims, debunk myths and through his work, he discovered that we really do persecute the disenfranchised. He also discovered that he was a decent and fair man who could easily beat himself up about someone else's misfortune. I wouldn't call him a hand-wringing leftie like I'd probably call myself, at times, but he's one of the more decent human beings I have known.

He was the first person to signpost to me how the Internet is a very dangerous thing. Back in the late 90s when we first met, he was using a pseudonym and had arrived at my Yahoo Group with the intention of 'kicking off' about my then boss's rather lackadaisical way of responding to correspondence. He was, according to him, an angry young man, but within months he'd become one of my generals, policing the group and ensuring that in those pre-Facebook days, things continued to 'happen'. Over the years, he witnessed life through the fish-eye lens of over 500 comic fans, made many real friends and discovered a world that wasn't quite as he thought it was. The early days of the internet allowed people to be honest with each other in environments that didn't need falsifying. Yet, even by the turn of the millennium opportunists, scammers, spammers and infiltrators were on the rise. There wasn't much difference between a 'troll' and his original role of 'agent provocateur'.

Yahoo groups, noticeboards, such as Delphi and Usenet had 'moderators' who kept things clean and then kept things tight and then allowed their small kingdoms to create megalomaniacs who began their own agendas and yet maintained control because it was easier not to challenge what some people either liked or had no desire to argue against. So when Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the rest all appeared there was already a huge number of people who felt they could say and do anything they wanted while sitting behind a monitor or a fake moniker.

I'm a member of a Facebook group created in 2010 with a closed profile. It is a hidden group and cannot be searched through the Facebook database and fizzled out to maybe one post a year by the time I write this. It is innocuous and bothers no one, but because of its nature it could be used for all manner of incitement, subversion and mobilisation - no one else would know; it's secret, but it could have 200,000 members and be plotting the downfall of society. In many ways Facebook is the epitome of Internet freedom done commercially; it's more insidious than the Dark Web, more accessible and sits hidden in full view of the rest of the world. Some of the hate that pours out through Facebook is amplified beyond reason in hidden groups because I know people who have purposefully infiltrated some of these sites (for research). I also know people who are on these sites, through choice. It isn't just Facebook - anywhere with a populated comments section is full to the brim with people trying to be reasonable in the face of blatant ignorance, lies and hate. If you spent an hour on some of the BBC political pages' comments section you'd need to steam clean your brain afterwards.

A simple solution would be to simply turn off the Internet or stop people from being allowed to comment, thus discriminating against everyone, but we'd have more time for other trivial pursuits. Once upon a time when you said to a troll on a noticeboard that I bet he wouldn't be such a c*nt if he was standing in front of you. Now? Not so sure...

The biggest question I have, often asked recently, is what the people who could legislate against things such as this or refuse to comment on it feel, ultimately, the world will gain from the allowance of intolerance, hate and discrimination to become the norm? What does Paul Dacre (E-i-C of the Daily Mail) see in two or three years time as a result of indoctrinating the middle class to believe that all their problems lay at the feet of anyone who isn't like them? Do they want isolationism? Are they that deluded they believe we can return to 1950s booming Britain again, with all the trimmings [read: rationing]? Or do they see war as the ultimate goal? I've said it before, it solves a multitude of problems - in the short term - and some people are guaranteed to walk away from it with loads of cash, even if there's bugger all to spend it on other than surviving.

A lot of my 'disguised' optimism in the last blog is still there, the problem is the world's mood isn't loosening, the polarisation hasn't finished and the divides are becoming too broad to cross or bridge the gap. To some it would appear the world needs to crash and burn to be able to build a new order and that is a price worth paying, for generations.

Is this the pinnacle of Thatcher's 'me-me-me' ideology? The drive to 'self' over 'community' has yielded a world where some people really don't care what happens to others, or even themselves, as long as some misguided idea eventually comes to pass. When network news channels give time to ultra right wing people who make Nazis look subtle and the amount of hateful comments begins to outweigh the comments of reason, we have to start worrying about our safety - really. I realised the other day that I speak more when I'm out, but not solely out of politeness, so I can assure people that I'm not foreign. I've heard so much casual and overt racism in the last year I'd rather not try and alter these idiots perceptions. We've discovered that 'feelings' dictate now and 'facts' are just statistics given by people with a vested interest in what you don't want, so trying to appeal to any shred of humanity some people might have lurking somewhere inside is like trying to find the 10p you drunkenly lost on a pebble beach.

Oddly enough, some of the people I know who voted Leave on June 23 are gobsmacked about Donald Trump. A friend echoed what I've heard, the wishful thinking that Trump will be assassinated before long. I'd opt for indicted, but the fact that more people have said 'he'll be killed' than I would have possibly believed suggests to me that we're not actually becoming more civilised at all. If someone says it to you, just remind them who the new VP is going to be and the fact he thinks you can cure gays by electrocuting them.

If war is what some people [read: The Establishment] want, how exactly do they want it? Civil or nuclear? Wipe a few million out or a few billion? If there was only a billion people left on Earth in 2050 there would be a lot more money for the rich and powerful and just enough slave labour to keep them happy.

There are 6 weeks of 2016 left. That's plenty of time for some more surreal and stranger-than-fiction events. Strap yourself in; we're on the home straight.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Still, mustn't grumble, eh?


Wow. Just wow.

It's been surreal. So much death, despair and other bad stuff beginning with the letter D and probably ending in Destruction.

The thing is... I knew in my heart of hearts that Leave would win. The reason I knew this (but clearly refused to acknowledge it as anything other than an irrational fear) was because, where I live, Northampton has always appeared to be a multi-cultural place with a lot of progressive thinking people and all I heard until June 23 was ignorance, racism and jingoism. I said recently that I'd met 1 person in 10 who was going to vote Remain, but the reality is it was closer to 1-30 and something was telling me to listen to this and that there was nothing I could do about it.

I'd been convinced Trump didn't stand a chance, but in the last few months that confidence was waning as it became clear that this man appealed to people who didn't vote, like Leave appealed to apathetic Brits. Clinton didn't have the ability to mobilise her supporters the way Trump organised his 'movement' and history was writ large by people, who experts believe are going to be the demographic least likely to benefit from this man's presidency.

Sounds all too familiar.

Yet, while I sit and gawp at my social media feeds full of horror, disbelief and insults, I can't feel that surprised by the US presidential election result. I just wish I'd had £100 on Trump this time last year.

While my social media is full of shock and awe I'm seeing one thing clearly - rational thinkers are in decline. What my social media has been devoid of has been anything remotely positive - a bit like Brexit but with added apocalypse warnings.

I'm sure that I'm not the only person who feels this way, but if I'm not we're all being deliberately quiet - a Third View is probably unwelcome in the polarised world of hate and reason, but almost from the point where I realised that Donald Trump had won I started to think: there's nothing we can do, so all we can do is resurrect hope.

I don't really feel all that hopeful, but what's the alternative? To sit and perpetuate disdain and negativity, much like I accuse the right wing of doing? Perhaps Brexit and Trump are the best things to happen to the Western World in decades; perhaps they'll shake up the neo-liberalism reality of haves and many have nots. I can't help thinking it is an unlikely scenario, yet oddly I think Trump will have a less traumatic effect on the Americans than Brexit will on the UK. I actually think little will change in the USA because Presidents don't really wield that much power when you think about it. Yes, they might be the most powerful people in the world but that's only figuratively; repeated presidents have failed to achieve their greatest ambitions because of the complicated structure of US government. In reality, Obama was a dead duck president from the moment he started talking about radical reforms and helping minorities, because the Republican-led House and Senate stymied his every move and so many deals had to be cut to get even the least radical ideas through.

Trump was elected as a Republican, but there's a lot of republicans out there who can't stand him; are either far left or right of whatever his actual politics are and then there's the Democrats, reduced to fighting over scraps but maybe in interesting bargaining positions. Trump will probably not heal the divides within the GOP, but if poor people don't see things happening and their senators and politicians are constantly opposing the man they voted for then the power of the people might manifest in curious ways. Personally, I think Trump is a mixture of canny and barking mad - all the best psychopaths are - I'm not convinced he'll be as right wing as people believe and I think he might represent a new breed of 'politician' - the Nationalist social democrat.

The idea of rampant Nationalism mixed with a slightly twisted version of socialism isn't that much of anathema, in many ways people don't link politics and racism in the same way. We've seen xenophobia and suspicion of foreigners in much greater numbers in urban places, in ageing ghettos and in the idyllic countryside. Incidents of racism in areas with more migrants tends to be higher, but you could say if you had a block of flats full to the brim with burglars will there be more burglaries? Many of these places would never consider voting Tory, yet wouldn't piss on a smouldering Bulgarian. Racism and politics are not exclusive and racism isn't just a right wing thing.

The sad thing about some of the comments I've seen over the last six months from Leave voters who would never call themselves racist are those who genuinely believe they aren't intolerant yet then say the country is full, or the foreigners are stretching our infrastructure to the limit, because it's easy to do that than look at the cause of why it is like that. I said in the last blog that humans simply don't like each other very much and that is reflected by the extra dislike we tend to show for people not like us. Amelioration obviously isn't working and humanity is a long way away from living peacefully and harmoniously together; if people can hate each other over something as simple as a leylandii then religion, avarice, and colour is a shoo-in.

What Trump and Brexit has done has shown, in possibly a slightly stupid, ill-educated way, that politicians have stopped being audible to almost 50% of the population of the world. People no longer vote because, to quote the most famous quote - it only encourages them. Or, it doesn't matter who you vote for the government gets in. People no longer see politicians working in their interests and this is compounded periodically by scandal, expenses, corruption or downright nastiness. Heck, even if you have the smallest of skeletons in your cupboard and talk only about fairness and peace you're just as likely, if not more, to be pilloried by the establishment and its lackeys.

What a world?

Me and many like me have had secret dreams of a world political takeover where fairness and equality replaces the current regime and there have been moments, albeit fleeting, where this seemed almost possible. It now seems that democracy is a bit broken in its current form and instead of the left exploiting it, the right have managed to reinvent themselves and steal it. It is a little like turkeys voting for Christmas and the millions who voted hoping for a significant change in their lives will, when they have finished blaming everyone else, will start looking at the people and politicians they were expecting to make a change - for the good - in their lives and demanding answers.

The problem is, unless the political system is examined, scrutinised and a fairer alternative put in place; one that makes people believe their vote is worth casting, less and less will actually vote and more and more 'mandates' will be based on ridiculously small percentages of the actual voting population. The reality of the UK is that only about 27% of the actual physical population voted for Brexit. In the USA the turnout was not much higher than 50% of which Trump actually got less votes than Clinton, so his potentially momentous term of office is a mandate from about 24% of all Americans. Politicians - at present - like low turnouts because they have a better chance of winning.

There's also one other thing that politicians need to do; they need to be more accessible rather than just plain slimy and creepy. They shouldn't have to be whiter than white but they should have the interests of the people at heart and be spared lobbyists, bribes and ways to corrupt the system for their own benefits. Politicians should only have one job and should, while they are in elected office, forsake any outside interests while allowing them to be open to scrutiny by an independent body to ensure they are working as MPs and not on securing the futures of just their families and friends. There should be fixed terms for MPs and the idea of becoming a career politician should be outlawed.

Extremism doesn't just exist on the right. I have formed some very extremist views in the last six months, one of which is unbelievably undemocratic and yet I'd argue for why I think it would be a good thing. I don't believe we should allow old people the vote and I do believe we should allow anyone over the age of 14 to be allowed to vote. The reason is simple and callous - old people don't particularly vote for what is the nation's interest; the key issues for very elderly voters is what's in it for them and there's a good chance many will die during a 5-year government. 14-17 year olds will spend as little as 20% but as much as 99% of their young lives being unable to have a say in a country that will have a say over them. If you turn 18 a week after an election, you'll be 23 by the time you get the chance to vote and you'll have no say in how those five years will affect you, politically. One vote might not mean much but a couple of million would.

I accept that we're not going to see a political Logan's Run scenario, but I would like to see the voting age dramatically reduced and more proactive education in schools about politics, how it affects everyone and what to expect if the world doesn't end up being lovely and fluffy with 6 bedroom mansions and a model wife/husband. Because at the moment we're creating a politically ignorant underclass of society that isn't emotionally mature enough to understand their significance.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

The End of the Age of Reason

I'm stuck for crazier and more sensational headlines/titles. The world continues to baffle me in ways that even Hollywood (or Eastenders) would baulk at or categorise as 'comedy' or simply 'unreal'.

Earlier this week, while out with a Tory-supporting Remain voter friend, I realised that over the last few years his politics have softened and his anti-Labour position, while not gone, was not as determined as it had been. He's a clever bloke and he doesn't need people like me to point out inequalities and unfairness in the world, he sees it himself, either through social media - where he has 'friends' who are extreme left (me for starters) and so far right their ignorance is scary (no names mentioned to protect the ignorant - although I wonder why...) so I expect that while he probably would never trust Labour with his vote, he's probably also feeling like he can't trust the Tories either.

Sanity. A wee bit of sanity.

Standing in a field, with the dogs and one of my clique of dog-walking chums, I heard, first hand, something that made my heart sink. "If I'd have known it would have caused this much trouble I would have voted Remain." The sentiment is the important thing here, because I think we're all now acutely aware that if the vote had been Remain by 52-48% we'd have Farage, Gove and co., queuing up to start legal proceedings, asking for another referendum, possibly even attacking (verbally or physically) the 'smug' Remainers. The vote needed to be 70-30 either way before defeat would have been conceded and I fear even then, the lunatic minority in the Leave camp would have started targeting foreigners with more gusto and intent than they have already been doing. The fact that a 68-year-old man, who probably doesn't read as diverse stuff as I do can draw the conclusion from just 'authorised' news services that he probably did the wrong thing suggests to me that some people have shaken off that 'feelings' thing and are now beginning to understand 'reality'.

A wee bit more sanity?

I'd be optimistic about it if it wasn't for the wilful ignorance and idiocy I'm witnessing from certain corners of the country. Take the high court ruling about parliament being responsible for the triggering of Article 50. Despite it being spelled out clearly that this was by no means a block on Brexit and was actually exactly what the campaigners to Leave wanted - our own parliament exercising their sovereign right as elected representatives of the people and making decisions as a country and not as part of some EU bloc. Yet to hear some of the rabid right wing Brexiteers talk you have to wonder how on Earth they ever got to a position to be invited to offer their ludicrously alarmist, ignorant and wrong (as in factually) opinions. The media (well, the blue topped press and Murdoch) seem keen to drive a wedge through every shred of decency left in the country by essentially promoting hate and prejudice at every opportunity (so much for the Leveson thing, eh?) while gleefully ignoring facts and just, well, making shit up.

If it was restricted to the UK I'd naturally be worried, but the fact that its happening all over the world is really fucking scary. I said a year ago that the world in 2015 was a safer place than it had been probably forever - poverty down; famine down; wars down and yet why do my friends think the world has suddenly become terrifying? It isn't just the media; we forget that only a small percentage of the population actually read a daily newspaper and that news bulletins tend to be the lowest watched programs, unless someone famous dies. It could be word of mouth (as discussed many times before); but the truth is it might just be that we no longer know how to trust anyone else because there are so many loonies out there. Loonies able to run for president, lead a political party based on laziness and lies, become unelected PMs or promote hate with impunity. I no longer feel that safe.

I'd blame social media, again, but that is just a vessel; a way of articulating frustration, anger and ignorance that already existed, even if it was just a humanitarian story about helping a refugee that broke the back of their reasoning and allowed them to show the world how their subconscious had just become their reality. One thing I've learned in my 50-odd years on this planet is racism, prejudice and hate are not a British or American (a white privileged) thing. The problem is we hate each other; humans can't live without each other but equally under the right circumstances they can't live with each other either. I know that's a terribly cynical generalisation, but, come on, for every nice person you meet there's at least two people out there you wouldn't piss on if they were on fire, because you know whatever you do for them they'll find a way to blame you for their own predicament or make you wonder why you bothered.

The problem is ignorance, prejudice and a lack of compassion hides inside people in their own houses. You have no idea what goes on in other peoples lives, we only base things on our own lives, so we don't know what is said or believed or peddled inside even the most respectable members of society. I mean, if it's okay for Donald Trump to be openly offensive what are people really like when they see something on TV that tugs at their primordial hate.

How about this for a conspiracy theory? It came to me while making a cup of coffee and watching BBC News. Could this be the reason why some corners of politics and the media are doing what they're doing.


person who fosters warlike ideas or advocates war
ˈwarˌmongering n

We all know that war is a major economic force. War through the arms trade is unbelievably lucrative and there have been many accusations and conspiracy theories bandied around to suggest that arms dealers and manufacturers create unrest in unstable countries just to make more money. We know that there are a number of people on this planet who have no problem sending others to die, or killing in the name of cash. After Colombine, sales of guns in the USA actually went up. Put the fear of God into people and they reach for a weapon; add them to the people who willingly carry weapons as a way of life and suddenly you have a situation that becomes difficult to police.

There are people out there who have vested interests in arms manufacturers; the UK government have hosted arms dealers, conventions and sales jamborees. We sell arms to some of the most despicable regimes in the world, but the press don't talk about that and as long as Britain is making money a huge percentage of the population couldn't give a toss. As long as they can be preoccupied by trivial celebrity rubbish and buying every fake gold lined lie fed to them by post-expert blokes, then we can continue doing shady and dodgy deals, in the Nation's interest.

The press appears to be stoking fires that have been suppressed, ignored or simply only remained in people instinctively. History tells us that divisions and prejudice are usually the reason for wars and peace on earth equals severely diminished profits. I said to a friend six months ago, at the start of when real life became a surreality TV show, that it was like some were angling for a war. They solve a lot of problems, you see. Sometimes it's like humanity is simply a flu virus and wars are limited, but quite effective, vaccines.

Friday, 21 October 2016

The Matrix is Broken... The Matrix is Broken...

Recently I watched one of my right on and new age friends rage with unrestrained passion about something that he didn't agree with at an event he was involved in. It made me want to use his own words and assure him that 'everything happens for a reason and perhaps he needs to embrace this set back and look for the positives in it', but I couldn't help think that it would be seen as antagonistic rather than anything else - and to be fair there would have been an element of antagonism in there, but only after a fashion.

The thing is it made me realise that even the most non-judgemental of us are exactly the opposite of what we hold as a solid human trait. Prejudices appear all the time and it isn't just the ignorant or the rich who do this. I recently made friends with a man who seemed extremely decent; his job, wife and lifestyle suggested the last thing he is was an ignorant xenophobe with obvious BNP/EDL leanings - even seemingly intelligent people can exhibit levels of fuckwittedness that beggar belief.

I've met wilfully ignorant people in the last few weeks; people who smoke while pregnant; people who work zero hour contracts and have the urine extracted from them by their employers; people who still believe the NHS will be £350billion a second better off now we're out of the EU, because they haven't taken any notice of a newspaper or a news program since the day after the referendum. I've met a school teacher who voted Leave, who told me she did it because she wanted her country back, that the country was getting to the point where there wasn't enough room and it would be nice to have the majority of kids in her class where English was the first language... A teacher... You have to start wondering about whether humanity has just subconsciously developed an absurdist self-destruct gene?

Having a wife who earns a little too much money has meant that my periods of unemployment in recent years has garnered me the absolute minimum I should be entitled to, yet someone I've known best part of my life and hasn't been remotely interested in getting a job - since 1992 - gets so much support, even now - in the wake of IDS and his purges - that it actually made me feel anger towards him (my friend that is, I've felt anger towards IDS since about 1999). After years of contributing to the economy and paying my NI, I was entitled to essentially fuck all. Had I been 'a feckless workshy wanker' I could have got just about everything I needed - like free prescriptions, bus fares or other frivolous things people with money take for granted. The sad thing is I'm not a particularly nice person but I felt slightly ashamed of myself for feeling angry towards my friend's 'life choice'.

It also should be noted that my friend with the unemployment fixation is also damaged goods and probably now falls into the category of 'people never likely to be able to do a real job again, ever'. Whether he arrived at this situation through nurture or nature isn't for debate (I know the answer to this specific question, though), but one thing is clear 50% of the blame, at least, has to be placed at the feet of the governments of the late 1970s and early 1980s, because they didn't do enough to change attitudes, or invest enough in education (because what sense is there investing in our future?) and it only got worse in the 80s and 90s.

After spending over 15 years working with the disenfranchised and becoming a good socialist as a result, I know the difference between the disenfranchised and those who play the system because they don't want to work or contribute - the people who think it is okay to live off of everyone else without contributing anything other than more actual cost to the taxpayer. Yes, you can argue, it isn't their fault they're in whatever predicament they're in - more the fault of successive governments doing little or nothing for the most isolated and alienated in already poor communities, while simultaneously finding something unrelated to blame - but I'm also not that left wing where I won't call a feckless wanker a feckless wanker.

Take the argument that migrant workers put too much strain on our services. The blame for this appeared to be placed firmly at the feet of the EU despite the fact that 62% of our migrants come from outside of the EU and never once, during the EU debate, did any party - Corbyn's included - point out that the strains on hospitals, schools and public services was actually the fault of the government for not investing in expanding it all when the need grew. I mean it doesn't take an idiot to realise that even if they hooked private business into the building of these things, they would all have been patronised, would have employed more people and would have injected money back into the economy. That isn't socialism, that's common sense that could have been exploited however the Tories wanted and still been beneficial to the majority of people.

I have suggested before that I'm beginning to think that politicians are mainly all idiots, or have finally decided that we're all idiots, because all politics seems to be choreographed now; even Corbyn really appears to be quite toothless because no one - apart from the lovely Mairhi Black (who is 21) - seems to asking the pertinent questions or making any salient points. Take the decision to overrule the No Fracking decision by Lancashire Council - whatever way you feel about fracking, when you consider the overall costs compared to, say, putting up an offshore wind farm, you have to wonder if our politicians are also brainless psychopaths too. Am I the only person who questions his (or her) own sanity at comments, actions or interviews given by politicians. I mean, is Priti Patel even real?

I recently spent a few hours talking to the owner of a small private hire company and he told me some astounding facts about taxis. 54% of all taxis booked are by girls/women aged between 14 and 40. But even more incredible is that upwards of 60% of all taxis are booked/hailed by people on benefits. As someone who has, at times, viewed £10 as an important third of my shopping bill, to be in a position where walking or catching a bus doesn't even feature in someone's thinking, despite having nothing makes me begin to wonder if the Tories are right and that some people exploit the system. Or perhaps kids in poor schools need more education as to how to prioritise their money better when they leave education and go straight into a career on welfare. Ironically, we've allowed TV, the media and commercialism/advertising to brainwash the young into thinking that having an iPhone is more important than eating healthily and we've seen, throughout the last few decades, common sense levels in most individuals drop to the point where (almost) statistically more than half of the people here are twats. We've all been persuaded to spend all of the money we haven't got on cheap shit that won't last while simultaneously blaming Johnny Foreigner for stealing someone else's job...

The unswerving power of commercialism has placed many of our citizens in a position where they view essentials as trivial and trivia as essential and urban ghettos and isolated areas of deprivation are as a result of no government ever addressing - in my life time, at least - the problems in any long-term way. Mix commercialism with a bit of prejudice and you create a dependent with the belief of entitlement. That's the fault of governments since the 1960s who didn't acknowledge prevention was better, and cost less, than cure. Governments never really see or understand the problem until it is too late to fix. And then you need to acknowledge that to fix just some of society's ills - the ones who wield power fancy supporting - it would cost far more money than is available and we all know money is an exclusive privilege of the rich.


Over the last few days we've seen the right-leaning media ratchet up the hate and racism against migrants, or in fact anyone not from the UK. I fail to see what the ultimate aim is, unless Murdock, Beaverbrook and the rest actually want the UK to become a xenophobic, isolated island with no trade deals and vilified by the rest of the world.

What good are these 'rags' doing? What possible positive outcomes can we hope to get when facts are ignored in favour of jingoistic hate and bile? With at least 52% of the country's voters prone to believe sensationalist bullshit and lies you have to start wondering if there's a crazy agenda being set out by the media. Because it has to be crazy - Jeremy Corbyn is a fair politician but is treated and talked about like he was a former Nazi death camp guard, while the Tories and their supporters get nastier and the only places these are covered are in blogs, news sites (not affiliated to money) and Twitter - thus having little or no credence to the 52% because it wasn't seen on the BBC or read in the Sun or Daily Mail.

We're in the depths of a self-fulfilling prophecy; I'm not sure what the prophecy is, just that it appears to involve hate and ultimately violence.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Crazy crazy world

Honestly, you couldn't make it up.

If, say 15 years ago, you were told that the UK would elect a Tory government despite more than 50% of the country being pissed off with poverty and misery, and would also vote to come out of the EU based on a mixture of feelings, misplaced patriotism and idiocy and then we might witness the election of a President of the USA who, frankly, is crazier than batshit daiquiris, you'd probably think I was describing a new Armando Iannucci political comedy, because I'd think all of that and I'm a) writing this and b) living it too.

We live in a Post-fact, post-expert, post-logical world where people simply don't give a fuck about facts - especially those who voted for Leave. Experts are just there to scare us. Logic is there to confuse us and Facts are there to be ignored and derided because Feelings and Pride are far more important to the future of everyone.

The problem is we're talking about a majority of people now. You know and I know that it isn't really a true majority, but it's big enough and ugly enough to dictate the country's rhetoric. The sad truth is a large percentage of the 52% voted as a protest to the shit they've been suffering for years without really understanding that the referendum had nothing to do with what has been happening to them and no one made a big enough issue out of the fact that it was the EU that stopped the worst off and most disenfranchised among us from being marginalised even more. If you weighed up the difference between what Westminster and Brussels has given to the people of South Wales you would have thought they would have voted 99% to remain, instead of 61% of them opting for the exit button. What's worse is these people think that our government is going to save them... That's how stupid people are now. 

There are people in Sunderland facing economic oblivion as their largest employer scales back and considers moving elsewhere who actually feel happy and proud that they've helped precipitate their own downfall. I'm amazed Cameron quit; the referendum gave a warped legitimacy to everything him and Gideon were doing; the fact that Treeza May is actually attempting to reverse some of their less humane achievements almost smacks of the same level of crazy.

I loved a short statement made by *Yasmin Ali - "Tonight I went to a Tory Party meeting on Brexit. More specifically, I went to a Tory meeting on what happens after Brexit to bring the nation together again.   So what did I learn? If I distil it down, it is that they have no idea. No idea how to leave the EU. No idea what happens now. All they know is that they are so loved up with their vote that all these tedious questions are nothing but Party pooping nonsense."

Doesn't this just about sum up the feeling of the Brexiteers across the country? The same people who claim quite self-righteously that if they'd lost they wouldn't be making such a big issue about it... Yeah, right and if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle...

It isn't just us; there's this Rodrigo Duterte fellow in the Philippines who is basically advocating and promoting a criminal-cleansing spree, allowing his citizens to kill anyone they suspect is a drug dealer or taker or friend of either. The weird thing about Duterte is despite caterwauls of horror and disgust from the rest of the world, he's a bloody popular bloodthirsty tyrant among his own people - the right wing/Libertarian supporting Philippinos think 'Digong' is top banana and his popularity has grown as the graves of the criminals have filled up.

Hungary has been trying to out-Farage Nigel by having a referendum that I'm still not entirely sure about. I could check this but that takes the fun out of it, but apparently they've just had a referendum to reject the EU's migrant policy, which kind of doesn't make any sense because as part of the EU they've already caused ructions by putting a bloody great fence around their country and restricting movement (you know, the thing 52% of our population would get massive erections about if offered the chance). The fact that not enough Hungarians actually voted to make it officially recognisable is, hopefully, a testament to nice Hungarians, because, according to my Romanian neighbour, 'Most peoples from Hungaria are shit.'

I'm sure Hillary Clinton isn't all the things she's being accused of, because if she is then the USA has finally succumbed to Total Dumb by having two unbelievably crooked and dislikable people vying for the job of Chief Button Pusher. I know it's more about how much money you can throw at it than politics, but if the USA wants to be treated with the respect it deserves it should really take a good hard long look at itself. Sometimes the idea of the Yellowstone Caldera Extinction Event seems like a damned fine idea.

Oh and while this isn't strictly politics, you have to wonder what kind of world we're now living in if fear, scaremongering and worst case scenarios are touted as news... At least four tabloids in the last week have picked up on the 'Britain is headed for an apocalyptic winter' news story. This incredible prophecy of doom first appeared in the Daily Express - the paper that essentially talks about three things: the weather, Princess Diana and the evil Labour party. The Express actually just rehashed a story written last October, with a slight edit to suggest they were a hair's width from being totally right about saying 2015 would be the worst winter since the opening sequence of The Empire Strikes Back. The truth was last winter was one of the mildest on record. The Express would have been more accurate had they said 'Pretty bog standard winter with some cold days and some mild days, lots of wind and a cold spring', because this is essentially what six of the last 10 years have been. Of the other four we had two colder than average winters and two warmer than average winters and warm springs (both of these years my apricot tree fruited).

The thing is as the Met Office says on a regular basis - anything over a week and you get into chaos theory and frankly you can only base long range forecasts on trends and computer models, therefore the Met Office has said what I said in the paragraph above - 2016/17: an average winter with colder spells and milder ones. Yet this is the sixth time in seven years the Express has told us we're all going to freeze to death.


What does scaring the shit out of Brexit-voting pensioners achieve? Do governments just say to newspapers that parts of the economy need stimulating so make up some shite that'll get pensioners in Bournemouth bulk buying bog paper from the local Asda, or is that just a crazy conspiracy theory too far?

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown (left-ish UK Muslim journalist)

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Can we Trust Politics Now?

£350 million to be redirected to the NHS.
A points-based immigration system and a block on unwanted foreigners.
The scrapping of VAT on fuel.

These are just three of the promises made by the Brexit campaign to woo voters to opt for leave. Three Brexit pledges made, supposedly in good faith and all three disregarded and now seen as lies by some people - but not all, some people still believe the country has made the best decision.

Is there any suggestion that the Brexit campaign should, in some way, be held responsible for the mess we could be in. Or even a call for a report on how people were mislead about certain aspects or even the simple fact that the 'powers that be' were so convinced we would vote Remain, they had no actual plan.

So we stumble almost blindly into the unknown and the pressure is growing for an actual action increases. The feeling I'm getting from the other 19 members of the recent G20 summit appear to be one of 'don't expect any favours' and that doesn't surprise me. This advisory referendum has become an edict which threatens the economic stability of the world or that's how some people view it.

The fact that David Davis - the Brexit bloke - has said the country has to work with the other EU countries to work out the best trade deals given that another one of the key points of the Brexit campaign was the inability for us an EU member to strike up deals outside of the EU, suggests to me that some of our politicians haven't got a clue about how things work and are just making stuff up as they go along.

To be fair, I was actually struggling to criticise the May administration, but that might have be down to the fact they appear to have realised the country is all politicked out, so they were just keeping their heads below the pulpit. Then the reintroduction of grammar schools made me realise that the drive backwards to Victorian times was just delayed.

People are fed up with it all - politics, that is - and no more so than Labour supporters who, to the uninformed, are members of a chaotic warring party with no interest in government when they can destroy themselves instead and generate all the headlines while the Tories get little or no coverage of their master plan - if it isn't particularly fair or just.

The Brexit vote was a protest vote; the problem was it was a protest against no one really knows what. The government? Europe? Politicians? The establishment? Goats?

Some people seemed to think that by voting Leave they were emancipating themselves and forcing the government to realise they wanted an end to austerity and a return to prosperity; the problem was the government and all politicians didn't listen, won't listen and we won't see things get better for the average person. For them it was never about and should never be about that - the poor and disenfranchised are pretty much collateral damage - just ask Gideon.

Last week businesses were suggesting our food bills will ultimately rise and some suggested they might move their businesses to Europe, because of costs (over profits... see, for the rich Brexit is nothing more than logistics). This means the salads you used to buy that were locally grown by local farmers, will be grown in Poland by  those (no longer) 'local' farmers, who relocated to ensure they can continue in business (while paying staff much less than they would have to here). One man on telly the other day - a grower of iceberg lettuces - showed how prices for his product have dropped by 50% in the last 15 years and he was 100% sure that prices would now have to increase - because of everything from the devaluation of the £ to the unease amongst the people they banked on getting their crops in.

Some people think it's a price worth paying. My guess is those people will be making money either way. Other people - your average Joes of life - will also think it's a price worth paying for our 'independence' and you tell them that things will get worse because of it and they are unfazed, like less for more won't affect them.

To quote a friend, 'we live in a post-expert world' and if the referendum is anything to go by this is totally correct, except that isn't strictly true because now everyone is an expert - based on faith and feeling rather than anything rational or learnt. Politicians are now hard targets and, outside of the glossed over media, people are just growing angry with nothing seemingly happening to change their lives.

If Fred Bloggs thinks or feels something this becomes far more important than actual fact. Social media has made people remarkably self-aware and it has made some people think that by giving the public access to comment, their voice is as important as anyone else's, despite it just being a grain of sand on a country-sized beach. However, link these individual commentators with a common theme - xenophobia in this particular case - and you are no longer an individual, you have become a movement. Even if you're not.

People want something to change - even the Remain vote acknowledge this - but more importantly, people in depressed areas expect positive change (ironically unaware, it seems, that any money they received in the past 40 years was largely down to the EU and not their own governments) and if that doesn't happen then who knows how they will react. I'm not suggesting we're going to have riots or mass insurrection, but since Brexit some people have shown their true colours and the unprecedented rise in hate crime hasn't really been addressed by holidaying, coke-sniffing, allotment-tending, rent-boy leasing or Swiss mountain visiting politicians. People are now being murdered because they're foreign. People being abused in cafes, bus stops, pubs and on the street because of a different language, a hijab, a beard, anything that some idiots find unBritish.

I remember 'Paki-bashing' from the 1970s. Not just gangs of skinheads, but average people, getting involved in fascistic activities because they didn't have the emotional intelligence to accept people from different cultures. No wonder there are a huge number of people out there more interested in war than peace.

Decent and seemingly honest politicians all over the world are vilified by the corporate overlords who probably really run the world and yet we hear that politicians like George Osborne showed nothing but contempt for people who didn't vote for his party and even suggested that helping the poor only creates more Labour voters... Surely being an MP gives you the responsibility of care for all the electorate, not just your mates? Jeremy Corbyn, whatever his faults are, isn't being attacked for his desire for a fairer society, he's being attacked for everything else. The media isn't that stupid, they ignore the policies that might get people thinking and focus on anything that is bad. Because people, especially now, want the shit; the shit is interesting, helping some 'scrounging single-parent disabled lesbian' isn't.

Politics has stopped being about you because you stopped caring about the big picture, this allowed politics to become an almost elitist privilege and cemented the rift between 48% of the population and the people they view as only in it for themselves. Perhaps this was the ultimate goal, to reduce the voting electorate to the bare bones by convincing people it isn't worth voting for any of them as it only encourages them more? The lower the turn out the higher the chance of a Tory victory.

Political attrition has been going on for nearly 40 years and we now have no trust in politicians to do the right thing for the country and its people.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Simple Truths

The Anti-Corbyn/Real Labour bandwagon continues on at a cracking pace with the London mayor jumping onto the float and waving his anodyne Owen Smith placard.

It's getting annoying now and it could have been handled so differently and it might have won this futile battle for the centre of the party, without the hostility and humiliation; the problem is that the one thing that could have played this out so differently won't be approached by the Pink Tories in the party, presumably because it would mean admitting something slightly distasteful...

Jeremy Corbyn doesn't become unelectable because lots of people say it. Jeremy Corbyn isn't unelectable because of his politics, his beard, his allotment or his actual successes. However, if the bits of the Labour Party that really don't want him were to be factually accurate about the situation, then maybe even hard left supporting Trots - like me - would admit defeat, or be prepared to discuss compromises (that do not involve Owen Smith, because if Corbyn is toxic, Smith is rancid, festering and sickness inducing - he's as electable as Kinnock.

What do I mean? How is this simply resolved?

As I recently liked to remind people - I have ZERO political qualifications, yet I seem to have more of a grasp on reality (despite the years of drug abuse) than anyone in politics, therefore it seems obvious that the easiest way to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn is to make the following statement:

Jeremy Corbyn will not win the next General Election because the media, the press and the corporations, organisations and economic powerhouses that do run the country won't allow it.

Cut this BS about being unelectable, because so far that is totally provable as a lie and a falsehood. Evidence suggests he is electable from his landslide leadership victory to the massive number of gains in by-elections (council and Westminster); but the refusal of even the most non-right-wing papers to print anything that resembles the truth, or the failure of all the TV news agencies to also report anything positive without spinning the negative bigger.

The reason this is being done is because Corbyn is all too electable. If he wasn't, he'd be treated with the same disdain and ignorance as the Green Party or the Monster Raving Loony candidate. The fact we are constantly having it rammed down our throats how unelectable he is is a little like protesting too much. Now, you could say I'm clutching at straws or just reading into a bad situation some conspiracy theory to make me feel better, but ask yourself this - how many people out there are truly un-electable? That'll be most political parties. How many of them are relentlessly hounded by Tory-backed papers telling us how bad it will be if they get elected? That'll be NONE. 

Tories like mandates; hell, most of their extreme ideas come from this fictitious mandate of the people bollocks. What better way of having that mandate in spades with cream and a cherry on top, especially if Corbyn and Labour are so awful they'll be lucky to get 20 votes nationally? Just call a GE, win 400 seats and rebuild it in a neo-liberal/neo-Nazi way with the blessing of the people. How come that hasn't happened then? Are the Tories really that worried that UKIP - now kind of officially obsolete - might suddenly increase their vote share by another 40%? Or perhaps it's the secret Lib Dem resurgence? Heck, even with voter dissatisfaction at an all time low, surely this completely useless, warmongering, peacenik vegetarian allotment user doesn't stand a chance... So how come the gamble hasn't been taken - the lower the turn out the better chance of a Tory landslide?

So remember, if the papers, the TV and all your mates down the pub, not influenced by either the media, social media or their other mates, and because they obviously form their own opinions based on their own research rather than hearsay and propaganda, say Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable then it must be true.

Oh yeah; we'd never vote to leave Europe and people trust things 'normal' politicians say, too.

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Momentum of Progress or the Progress of Momentum

At some point at the end of September a group of people are going to put their political lives at stake and form a new - progressive - political party. This new party will either advertise itself as the true socialist party or will position itself as the only viable alternative to the now Trotsky-esque Labour Party if you care a wee bit about social justice and the poor not being butt-fucked that regularly.

These parties will be called Momentum (a trendy name for a progressive left wing party) or Progress (a cover for neo-liberalism and Blairite die-hards). Both will try and sell itself as the true Labour party.

It will happen because the Parliamentary Labour Party just ensured it by spending money that could have been put towards an election war chest to get a decision that will have no bearing on the ultimate outcome of the leadership vote overturned. The PLP are effectively crippling a Corbyn-led party's finances so they can't possibly compete with anyone. If you vote Labour in a rebel's area, are you aware that your own party is undemocratically trying to screw itself - at your cost - just to ensure they all keep their cushy jobs.

But more importantly, by doing this and winning they alienate another x number of pro and anti-Corbyn voters who are going to blame them, not Corbyn, for any election defeat or any undemocratic decision. They have, essentially, killed their own party.

It doesn't matter whether Jeremy Corbyn is electable, eats cheese, likes porn, wears sandals, doesn't sing anthems, has an allotment, he hasn't tried to undo a democratic process - repeatedly - because he's selfish, irresponsible and didn't like the ending. He hasn't looked petulant and angry because things haven't gone his way. He hasn't repeatedly tried to overthrow the will of the largest single party leader vote ever, therefore if he remains leader the only option he has is to expel the dissenters from the party for undemocratic breaches of Labour ethics and morals.

He needs to cut these selfish self-centred political careerists out of Labour and see how they fare elsewhere, because never in anyone's life has there been such an obvious and desperate attempt by frightened politicians to change the rules to suit them.

Obviously, if the impossible happened and Owen Smith won the battle - somehow, the party is also finished because most CLPs and party members don't support him and would defect.

I fully expect to still be voting Labour at the next election. Good luck to those Machiavellian former Labour MPs at Progress.

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Extreme Reality TV

"Yo, T-Man! How's it hangin' bro?"
"Klytus, I'm bored. What new play thing have you got for me?"
"Home boy, I got you something that will blow your mind."
"You said that about the last series of The Apprentice..."
"Yeah, but this is different, with a capital DIF."
"What are you suggesting, my questionable friend of dubious racial stereotype?"
"The T-Man for the Prez! BOOM! Donny's got his finger on the button world, watch out! BOOM! Yo is gonna run for the number 1 spot, big fella."
"They won't buy that."
"You better believe they will, sister."
"Okay, I'll buy that for a dollar. Explain to me how this is going to work?"
"We pretend you're standing for the Presidency. We throw you in there with all those faceless wannabes and all you have to do is be yourself - be the T-Man and blind them with your common sense and straight talking."
"But... I'm regarded as a bit of a dim-witted redneck..."
"Perfect, man, perfect!"
"The what?"
"TV. We make the best darned reality TV show ever - the biggest and the best - spotlight on the most powerful man in the world and your desire to be that man."
"What if we lose?"
"That's the whole point, T-Man. We lose but the rest of those losers are exposed for what they are."
"It won't last very long, this TV show. I can't see the Merican public buying the likelihood of me running for president."
"Tell them you'll build a wall along the Mexican border. You'll ban all Muslims from entering the USA. Be horrible to cripples and women. If there's a minority group to defend you'll attack them and vice versa. The more you offend them the more the ignorant racists will come out of the woodwork and support you."
"This is all well and good, but what if we win?"
"T-Man? Are you on something? We can't possibly win."


And so it began.

The T-Man's band of august ferrets began by fashioning their boy slightly to the right of Adolf Hitler and the first rule of their 'campaign' was 'Nothing is too outrageous'. Naturally, no one took any notice of the hordes of TV cameramen and auxiliary staff because that is what usually follows presidential candidates around ...

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Prophets and Loss

Most people that know me, know that I'm interested in politics, but, by my own admission, I'm no expert and I'm often shown things that I was ignorant of or that flies in the face of my beliefs. Recently I've been accused of being a 'blind Corbyn supporter' because I refuse to see the damage he's doing to the Labour Party - internally. But like many other slightly disgruntled people, I look at the man I see and not the Machiavellian machinations that are obviously going on with or without his blessing and then I'm mocked for either being too naive or too altruistic or deluded because I refuse to see the wider picture. I do see the wider picture and what I see has been commented on in these pages many times - career politicians putting their own interests ahead of the people and therefore not acting in my best interests, despite representing the party I've supported all of my life.

Like right wing leaning people, I tend to stick with my 'tribe' and therefore spend a lot of time preaching to the converted and have probably been labelled a 'loony leftie' by many of my more moderate friends and relatives, who sometimes view my politics as 'harmful' and 'non-negotiable', but I hope they will at least recognise my commitment to my beliefs. However, in this very narcissistic world we live in now, I can't help but want to get a big massive trumpet out and start blowing it loudly from the hills.

Talking to an equally 'radical' friend the other night, I made the rather modest (highly unusual for me) statement that I must be some kind of prophet. After the hilarity of the statement dissipated, I quantified my statement: Since I resurrected this blog last year, I've focused a lot on the Brexit issue and the turmoil in British politics. I've made lots of forecasts, based on my feelings rather than the biased press and media, and an incredibly huge amount of them have come true. With hindsight, some of the observations I made seem more lucid and realistic now than they possibly did when I was sounding like a conspiracy theorist on steroids and many of the things I said weren't echoed in the press - ever; many of the questions I asked ended up being asked when it was too late and while I have no doubt many other bloggers sensed the real feeling around the country, I didn't see the politicians, the media and all of their assorted bandwagons have the same kind of handle on the 'mood' as I did from dog walks, work and general conversations with people.

How can someone so politically naive, with no formal qualifications in the subject, and an interest generated more through suspicion than through faith in politicians have got it right so many times and yet people who get paid loads of money failed to see, or more importantly, listen to the people outside of their front doors? Is his more evidence of a media agenda or are these people simply not as astute, as expert, as we like to believe?

Politicians really need to have a good hard look, not just at themselves but at the 60-odd million people living here (there's that famous altruism shining through). If nothing else people have made it clear that they no longer trust politicians of any kind - the left despise the right and vice versa and there hasn't really ever been a middle ground, despite whatever heights the Libdems reached, all that was was the first signs of a disgruntled nations starting to grow tired of the same old same old.

Look at Farage. Honestly, I'm not as obsessed with the man in real life, but in political terms I consider him to have had more impact on a nation than very few politicians in the last 50 years, possibly Thatcher being the exception. The incredible thing about him is his ability to turn repeated failures into some kind of perverse victory (all aided and abetted by our hard right media); like some kind of carcinogenic Eddie the Eagle his resilience is a thing to behold; Oswald Moseley probably would have seen him as a future PM. Yet there is no arguing with how he has single-handedly turned UKIP into the third largest party in the country (by vote share).

The real shame of UKIP is they have inadvertently tapped into the general malaise of the average working man, something one of the other parties should have done - knowingly. Historically this is probably totally inaccurate, but UKIP appeared to be a semi-respectable face of British Nationalism when it started; almost like they realised there was a hot bed of xenophobes and casual racists out there all ignorant enough to want to blame anything foreign for their ills and woes. The problem is, that party is a disorganised shambles, even compared to the Labour Party, if they had a collective brain they could be very dangerous.

In 2001, a good friend of mine said to me in a pub in Nottingham, "Do you know what we should do? We should join the Conservative Party." I stared at him in utter disbelief. "No, wait, hear me out. They are such a disorganised rabble at the moment that anyone with a half decent idea can walk into that party and change it. Until they get proper people running it again they'll never get elected." Obviously we never joined and even if we had, I'm sure there was someone somewhere in CCO planning a future that didn't involve two 'socialist' men just about to turn 40; but the point is UKIP by and large seems like a party with no real reason to exist, except maybe to steal votes from the disgruntled, diluting voter share even more and giving the Tories an easier path to complete dominance. What better way to win an election than by duping former die-hard Labour voters to vote for a party that politically is further to the right than the party they claim to despise. Oh the irony. The point is with proper 21st century politicians running it, UKIP could be a serious threat. We should be thankful for small mercies.

I've often heard the phrase 'the government is out of touch with its people' and, to be honest, I've often felt that was a throwaway comment; I've never felt governments have ever really been in touch with the people. However, for the first time in my 50-odd years, I believe that statement is more pertinent now than ever before, except it isn't the government who is out of touch, it's the entire political machine. Do you know why Jeremy Corbyn is probably perceived as more of a threat to the status quo than him just being a mad Trot? Because he did something last year that has stopped happening with our politicians - he went out and talked to people. I remember general elections when I was growing up and right up until about 2007 with politicians doing what we want them to, engaging with the voters, on doorsteps, at rallies, on market squares, with soapbox in hand; listening to the people and trying to reflect that in their politics. But something happened and media took over and more and more people grew to dislike politicians and it was no longer safe for many politicians to walk the streets of their constituencies; the more Westminster lost touch with the real people, the more real people grew to hate them.

The death of Jo Cox was systematic of what has happened and how people are no longer connected to their representatives, even the ones like Cox who was more engaging than others. Obviously this incident isn't going to have the MPs flooding onto the streets to gauge opinion and engage with their voters and Cox's death might also have signalled the death of any true links MPs will have to local non-political communities. There is now no way people aren't going to view them all as aloof, privileged and not reflecting what they'd like to believe.

Former Labour MP for Northampton South and now Green councillor for the County Council, Tony Clarke, won his seat in 1997, despite traditionally it always being a Tory seat, because he got out and knocked on doors, talked to people, won over their trust, even if they weren't Labour voters and he was regarded as the left of a then newly-modernised and centre New Labour. Yet, he used the swell of opinion mixed with actual hard work to win his seat and then just about retain it later. That doesn't happen any more or if it does prospective MPs and incumbents tend to pick and choose the areas they canvas - therefore are probably preaching to the converted and those who will probably vote anyhow.

The sad thing is that my forecasts weren't intended to be scaremongering, they were intended to highlight what might or would probably happen, from my perspective, and almost as if I scripted it personally, everything from Cameron to Johnson to Eagle's resignations to the economic instability has come true; even my reluctance to believe that Leave would probably win in the two weeks leading up to the vote...

So what does the self-proclaimed new guru of political forecasting believe will happen now? Well, returning to my radical friend and our sage-like weekly conversations about the state of the nation; he believes Theresa May should call a general election in November, because if Labour is in civil war and looking totally unelectable, then she'd be stupid not to. My response to that is 'too risky'. The media might be telling us one thing, and for sure Labour is valiantly trying to destroy itself, but I think there's a definite feeling within the Tory party that people don't want more politics thrust upon them and now we've had one monumental protest vote - with repercussions for decades likely - in this decade of crazy shit happening, the last thing is for a cocky Tory party to go back to the country and end up being in a coalition again. Or worse still, a turn out of less than 40% would not make any mandate legitimate in the majority's eyes. Tories want a few years of crisis managing the economy and trying to be as anodyne as possible to the masses.

On Thursday of last week, I was convinced that the Labour Party coup was going to blow itself out and some kind of uneasy truce will have been found that could have at least taken the party forward, but sadly events escalated again and the civil war is actually getting uglier and unbelievably harmful to democracy in this country. I said in another blog that this is no longer a battle to oust Corbyn but a movement to shut down his wing of the party. The PLP want the left eradicated from the party completely, and not because they've read the mood of the public and seen the future, but because they've seen the future and their careers are at stake.

So technically speaking, May doesn't need to call an election because, at the moment, the Tories have no effective opposition; their majority might as well be 100.

As a Corbyn supporter, how do I feel about what has been happening? This was a question I was asked just the other day and my answer was tempered by my current bemusement with life in general. This is how I see it; a year ago, feeling wounded by a really disappointing election campaign with a leader less electable than Neil Kinnock and left wondering just what the Labour had to do to make itself more popular than a government that was very unpopular, but still won? Despite my interest in politics, I didn't know Jeremy Corbyn from a hole in the ground and like many people indoctrinated by the media, I thought he was the sacrificial left-wing lamb to show some range of democracy in a relatively anodyne leadership contest. Then, like many others, I started to see this groundswell of support for a reasonable man, unruffled by the hyperbole of 21st century politics, talking sense in a crazy political world. The opposition towards him started before he even won and I forecast the tensions ahead of him, without realising just how low it could sink.

I cannot deny Corbyn represents a wing of the Labour Party that the establishment dislikes and is prone to being labelled extremists and like the far right, the extreme left attracts its own kind of loonies. I saw Corbyn's win as a genuine protest by the voters who care about Labour, for it to return to its grass roots and that has constantly been ignored by the majority of the MPs who cannot accept Corbyn's victory and therefore are not going to listen to the people they supposedly represent.

Whatever accusations are made at Momentum or at Labour, then as many accusations have to be levelled at the rest of the PLP for their own Machiavellian schemes, acted out in their own interests and with scant disregard to the enormous amounts of people who have started to follow Corbyn's beliefs.

Honestly? I think what he's doing will ultimately be destructive, but unfortunately if he acquiesces or is forced out of the party by High Courts and breaches of democracy then the party will also destroy itself, because whoever replaces Corbyn will be seen to have won it in a bloody coup, in an undemocratic fashion that will alienate a large percentage of their core vote. Lose/Lose.

If I was Corbyn faced with hostility from all sides, I would do one of two things. I'd either come out fighting - properly. And I'd start with the press; I wouldn't pander to their whims and when I'm asked pointless personality or personal questions, I would simply turn it round and ask them why they're asking unimportant questions when they should be focusing on all the things that the public should be made aware of. Since he's shown no inclination to be anything but frosty, then the other option would be to sit down with Tom Watson and try to work out a logical successor, who can in some way continue to move Labour back towards its roots as a socialist party rather than a pink Tory party, while offering proper opposition and continuing to attract the people that Jeremy has so far recruited into the fold. Because Owen Smith isn't that man; he's a faceless bureaucrat with a questionable history who to anyone with half a brain sees a token candidate put up to do as much damage as possible.

What I'd like to see is for the 150 plus MPs who are so disillusioned with Corbyn to decide to break away - which is what they want to do but with the Labour name as their own - and form another political party; force 150+ by-elections and see how well they all do. It may well force the UK into looking at socialist coalitions as the way forward to defeat the Tories, or it might simply spell out to these 150+ MPs just how out of touch with their voters they really are. Perhaps this is what is needed; to make the comfortable 'elite' MPs realise that we put them there and therefore they should be representing us and not their own self-interests. The problem with this is MPs are insecure creatures at the best of times; they'd rather try an undemocratic route than an honest plebiscite. Destroy and rebuild from within, because the public has a short memory. Unfortunately betrayal tends to root itself deep.