The Election Section V2.15

One of the characteristics of a truly great album is when you can listen to it, almost 25 years after it was released, and still marvel at how fresh and different it sounds.

It helps if you can borrow at least one of the songs for your own political narrative, too.

R-1059533-1232148209_jpeg

Bjork – One Day

More soon.

The Election Section V2.13

One of the highlights of the night was, of course, the almost total wipe-out of UKIP as a political presence.

They claim to be a party of traditionalists, so it was nice to see they stuck with their traditions of a) winning absolutely no seats whatsoever, and b) having their leader step down before the final result was in.

Rumour has it that after his press conference announcing his resignation, Nuttall tried to leave incognito via the back door with a blanket over his head, but then realised he might suffer from a vitamin D deficiency as a result.

So farewell to Paul Natalie Nuttall, who will doubtless return to his normal occupation of Poet Laureate, the Premiership’s leading goal-scorer ever, or whatever other bollocks he’s claiming on his CV these days.

Lovely Front

The Primitives – Nothing Left

More soon.

The Election Section V2.14

In case any of you are wondering quite why I’m so happy about the election result when Labour didn’t win, it’s because I never expected them to, and they performed much better than anyone could have hoped or dreamed.

At the start of the campaign, Labour were miles behind in the polls, and total annihilation was predicted. In the end, it was close; not very close, but close enough to knock Theresa May off her stride, if not her perch. Just yet.

I’ve had this in my brain all day, so you may as well have it too:

Rosie+Gaines+Closer+Than+Close-517909

Rosie Gaines – Closer Than Close

More soon.

The Election Section V2.12

Regular readers of the old tosh I spout here may recall that I spent much of the day after the 2015 General Election, and the EU Referendum, and the USA Election posting songs I considered to be of relevance, by title if not for actual lyrical content.

But this year, bar a bloody Andrew Lloyd Webber composition, nothing.

“Why’s that?”, you may be asking. Or you may not. Whatever. I’m going to tell you anyway.

Well, on each of those occasions I had booked the day off work, had sat up watching the results come in, and, to be frank, got absolutely rat-arsed.

But this year, although I had booked the day off, I was unable to drink, although at several points throughout the night I was sorely tempted to pop to the off licence and grab myself a cheeky bottle of red or two.

Reason being, the property management company through whom I rent my flat had decided to do their six-monthly inspection today. You know, to make sure I’m not smearing stuff all over the walls in some sort of dirty protest. I realised that having them arrive whilst I was having a pissed snooze on the sofa was not a good idea so I had elected to stay sober and clean the flat through the night, listening to the results as they came in. It’ll be hours before it gets interesting, I thought. Plenty of time.

But as soon as the Exit Poll dropped at 22:00 hours, it became a real issue dragging myself away from the TV to clean the oven (which finally got done at about 3am).

I had banked on the inspection being brief since I was actually here, which it wasn’t, and of course as I sat trying to seem indifferent to their presence I spotted the odd cobweb that I’d missed (not in the oven).

Anyway, they’ve been now, so I can start posting and drinking.

As alluded to in my earlier post, the outcome was not what I expected, so the couple of miserable, defeatist tunes I had decided to play will now not appear.

Instead, some songs where the title, at least, reflect what happened overnight.

Starting with this:

minority_1024x1024

Green Day – Minority

Apologies to any of my fellow bloggers (and to Rol of My Top Ten in particular) who may be posting the same tunes as I’ve chosen; I’m relying on them being too hungover to have got round to posting anything yet so that I get in first. Them’s the breaks.

More soon.

The Election Section V2.11

Suffice it to say, there are two things that I did not think would happen today.

Firstly, I did not expect the UK’s General Election to end in a hung parliament. I was mildly hopeful that maybe Labour wouldn’t perform as badly as had been predicted, but that’s about as far as my optimism stretched.

Secondly, I did not expect that I would decide to mark the occasion by playing a song written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. But that’s exactly what is about to happen. Deal with it.

marti-webb-take-that-look-off-your-face-1980

Marti Webb – Take That Look Off Your Face

More soon. Oh yes.

The Election Section V2.9

A change of plan, a Dubious Taste U-Turn if you like.

Instead of presenting “an overview of what the main parties are offering” – what’s the point? You all know what I’m going to say – just a few songs which sum things up for me:

the-housemartins-sheep-chrysalis

The Housemartins – Sheep

billy-bragg-waiting-for-the-great-leap-forward-7-inch-single_10356938

Billy Bragg – Waiting for the Great Leap Forwards

redskins_front

The Redskins – Keep on Keepin’ On!

a1656444d71035942bbdb45989b20a6d

The Style Council – Walls Come Tumbling Down

20046-1

Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine – The Impossible Dream

Oh and this:

More soon.

The Election Section V2.8

Sometimes, you have to think not so much about what is said, than what is not said.

Last week, when Donald Trump, President of the country responsible for the production of the second highest amount of greenhouses gases in the world, announced he would be pulling out of the Paris Agreement – joining Nicaragua and Syria as the only attendees of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change not to sign it – the remaining signatories released statements condemning or expressing disappointment at the decision.

But one leader was notable by her absence from joining the chorus of disapproval. You guessed it: that strong and stable, “bloody difficult woman” Theresa May.

Of course, that’s not the only Trump-related subject she’s been notably quiet about, for, sadly, another opportunity to show some strength and leadership by speaking out against him very came very swiftly afterwards. For as the world queued up to not only show support for the UK in the wake of the third terrorist attack on our shores this year, but also to denounce Trump’s baseless criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, where was our Theresa?

Probably off thinking really hard about the Brexit negotiations again, I suppose.

Say Something Front

James – Say Something

bloody

I find it incredible to think that the Conservatives have run their election campaign focusing on the strength, stability and leadership qualities, hoping that by repeating sound-bite of the year “strong and stable” enough we’d eventually believe it. A bit like Kenny Craig, if you like.

“Kenny who?” I hear you ask? Kenny Craig. You know Kenny Craig, you just probably don’t know that’s his name.

This is Kenny Craig:

In the last few days, the issue of national security and policing levels has, unsurprisingly given result events, moved centre stage in the election campaign. After the Manchester bombing, a friend of mine, a police officer in London, posted this on Facebook (since I’m not sure whether or not he’s supposed to make political comments, I’ve edited it to remove his name):

attacks

It was a sentiment echoed on Sunday evening by Jeremy Corbyn:

“You cannot protect the public on the cheap. The police and security services must get the resources they need, not 20,000 police cuts. Theresa May was warned by the Police Federation but she accused them of ‘crying wolf’”

That is a reference to a speech that May gave back in in 2015, when she was still the Home Secretary. I’ll hand over to James O’Brien of LBC to explain further:

May, of course, denies there have been cuts: “Since 2015…we have not cut the police but protected their budget….we have increased the number of armed police officers, improved co-operation between the police and specialist military units, and provided funding for an additional 1,900 officers at MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.”

Former senior Metropolitan police officer Peter Kirkham begs to differ. In an interview with Sky News at the weekend, he said: “The police service is in crisis as a result of the cuts…We hear talk of extra police officers on the street. They’re not extra, they’re officers that have had their rare leave days cancelled, they’ve had their 12-hour shifts that are now done routinely extended into 16 hours.”

So that protected budget, those extra officers, are actually officers who are being forced to work longer shifts, and have less days off. They must be knackered. Which makes their eight-minute reaction time on Saturday night all the more amazing.

“Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, don’t look around the eyes, look into my eyes…”

3A07452F00000578-0-image-a-72_1478303569353 (2)

Time for a tune, I think:

edd6de13

The Music – Strength in Numbers

But, other than bullshitting us about the cuts to our police services which she has overseen since she became Home Secretary and then Prime Minister, she has a plan to combat the rise in extremist terrorism, right? Sure she does. Here you go:

“While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is – to be frank – far too much tolerance of extremism in our country…We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements to regulate cyberspace to prevent the spread of extremism and terrorism planning.”

Now, I’m not saying that’s not important, that she doesn’t have the semblance of a point there. But let’s counter-balance that with the report into the foreign funding and support of jihadi groups commissioned by David Cameron when he was Prime Minister. The report was to be shown to Cameron and May, then Home Secretary. The report is thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis.

Well, that’s brilliant, isn’t it? We just have a look at that report, see what it says about the funding, take action against those funding the terrorists, and we’re on the way to sorting this out, right?

Oh, except there’s just one thing. The Home Office have announced that the report won’t necessarily be published, because the contents may be “very sensitive”.

What could be sensitive about that?

On Monday, Lib Dem leader shed a little light on this for us when he wrote an article saying that the report should be published and that it: “…should include exposing and rooting out the source funding of terror, even it means difficult and embarrassing conversations with those such as Saudi Arabia that the government claims are our allies.”

Huh? “Embarassing conversations?” “Our allies?” What can he mean?

Oh wait a minute….

Theresa-May-006
Theresa May meets King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud of Saudi Arabi

That was taken when May popped over to Saudi Arabia (in a rare moment when she wasn’t thinking about the Brexit negotiations, of course) to discuss our lucrative arms deals to the Saudis. At around that time, the Saudis were being roundly criticised by all and sundry as reports emerged of their bombs hitting schools, hospitals and wedding parties as it intervenes in the war in Yemen. And who sold them the bombs that killed the innocent civilians in those schools, hospitals and wedding parties? Yup, the good old UK. Fair makes your heart swell with pride, doesn’t it?

I mean, even America has stopped the supply of precision guided munitions to Saudi Arabia on the back of those reports. But us? Nah, we’ll carry on regardless, thanks.

Good As Gold Front

The Beautiful South – Good as Gold (Stupid as Mud)

So May happily sides with a nation that possibly gives financial and logistical support to ISIS, suppresses a report into just that, whilst telling us that we need to tackle extremism and denying that she has been responsible for the cuts in police numbers in the UK which undoubtedly leave us exposed.

And she refuses to condemn the words and actions of Donald J. Trump.

That’s two truly special relationships we have, right there.

Oscillons From The Anti-Sun Front

Stereolab – With Friends Like These

So, before you pop off to vote tomorrow, you’ll have lots of questions to ask yourself. Make sure that one of them is this: who do you think really has the safety of the country at heart? Is it the party that has pledged to recruit an additional 10,000 police officers (even if they can’t remember how much it’s going to cost), or the party that has axed the police numbers over the past seven years whilst cutting arms deals with countries who are, in all probability, providing resources to those very people who seek to destroy our way of life?

All being well, I’ll be back later tonight with an overview of what the main parties are offering. I’m sure it will be a real laugh a minute.

More soon.

The Election Section V2.7

Right, let me make it clear; it’s less than a week to go until the General Election, so there’s probably going to be a few of these posts over the next few days. So, if you’re bored with reading my thoughts on what has happened in the run-up to June 8th, you’re more than welcome to come back next week when a miserable normality will have been restored.

Still here? Good.

There was something that I wanted to mention on the back of Wednesday’s “Leader’s Debate”, and that’s this: the not entirely unexpected bleatings from the right about BBC bias.

Much of this has been prompted by the studio audience’s reaction to some of the things (Conservative) Amber Rudd said, compared to things said by her political opponents on the night.

Nowhere is this better summed up than this screenshot someone posted on Twitter; a snatch of one of Rudd’s answers (about the absence of any costings in the Tory manifesto), complete with subtitles:

Ruddy Brill

You don’t need me to tell you why that raised the biggest laugh of the night.

the-wedding-present-nobodys-twisting-your-arm-reception-records

The Wedding Present – Don’t Laugh

The response, predictably caused outrage amongst the right-wingers. Here’s Nicholas Soames on Twitter:

Soames 2The first thing to say about that is that Soames really hasn’t got the hang of hashtags, has he? Make it snappy, Nicholas, that’s the way to get it trending.

And then, something rare in this Election campaign, rarer even than Theresa May being seen engaging with the public: Boris Johnson was let out of his cage.

Old Shagger Bojo claimed that the audience was “the most left-wing audience I’ve ever seen”. Boris, using words we all understand there, for a change. Not a whiff of mug-wumps or wiff-waff.

See, the thing is, this is a standard trick both of the main parties churn out whenever things don’t really go their way on a BBC programme. The BBC, you see, has to be impartial – as do all of the broadcasters when the purdah rules of an election apply (which, by the way, is why you won’t find any BBC radio station playing Captian Ska’s “Liar Liar”: it hasn’t been banned, but if they are going to play it, then they’d have to be balanced and play a song extolling the virtues of the Conservatives. And can you think of one of those? Me neither.)

I, though, have no such obligation, so here’s the song in question:

Where was I? Ah yes, the biased BBC.

I addressed this on Twitter a good while ago. See, since it’s publicly funded by way of the TV Licence, the BBC is supposed to be impartial all the time, so when prominent voices from both sides of the political spectrum howl in indignation about the BBC being biased (and the left do it too: see their upset about perceived bias of Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg, or Nick Robinson), then it seems to me that’s evidence of the BBC doing it’s job: having a go at all sides, not siding with anyone.

If you watched any of the Andrew Neill interviews, you can’t honestly say that he gave anyone a particularly easy ride, now can you? He took down each and every leader who stumbled into his cross-hairs (or should that be his cross hair…?)

Truth be told, the audience at the Leaders’ Debate weren’t biased or loaded in the left wing’s favour at all: they were representative of the country’s current political make-up. The largest share of voters present were Conservatives and Labour, whilst the smaller parties had a proportionally lower number of supporters in the audience, which was also weighted to have a 50:50 split of Remain and Leave voters.

See, the audience had been assembled not by BBC staff but by Comres, a polling company. And here’s what their founder, Andrew Hawkins had to say:

“If you have a panel of people – one from the governing party, one from what’s regarded as a right-wing party [that’s UKIP, by the way] and five from broadly left-wing parties – and you give those speakers equal airtime, it means you’re giving five slots of airtime to the left-wing parties for every two slots to the not-so-left-wing parties…Therefore it’s inevitable that the cheering is going to be skewed in one direction.”

So, Boris, Soamesy: if the audience seemed anti-Tory, it’s for the fairly good reason that  a lot of people just don’t like the Tories very much.

R-384767-1375817379-1959_jpeg

Electric Light Orchestra – Don’t Bring Me Down

See, here’s your marker. Remember when this happened?

Nigel Farage there, taking the unprecedented step of criticising the audience for being too left wing in the middle of a debate prior to one of the many elections he failed to win a seat in.

Which leads me nicely on to one of the other big stories of the week: that Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” to the FBI in the investigation into links between US President Donald Trump and Russia, and with his association with WikiLeaks founder and Hide & Seek Champion (2012 – Present), Julian Assange.

Really, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, could it? The come-uppance of the oily, frog-faced hypocrite (no, really, I like him!) is long overdue. Maybe it’s about time.

THE_LEMONHEADS_ITS+ABOUT+TIME-97896

The Lemonheads – It’s About Time

(Just to be clear: I don’t like him.)

(I wish I could think of a better way to describe Farage than Tory MP Anna Soubry managed – credit where credit’s due – in 2013 when she said: “I always think he looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it.”)

Of course, Farage denies any wrong-doing. In a recent interview with Die Zeit, Farage, having been seen leaving the Ecuadorian embassy where Assange has lived for years, was asked about his relationship with the hiding alleged sexual predator. Farage declared that he had “never received a penny from Russia”, and said he met Assange for “journalistic reasons”.

Which is interesting, since that wasn’t his first answer. Door-stopped by BuzzFeed as he left the embassy, Farage said he “couldn’t remember” what he had been doing in the building.

I’m of the age where, every now and then, I forget why I’ve gone into a room. But I think that even I, were I to be exiting an Embassy, would be able to remember why I was in there.

Asked specifically if he had gone to the Knightsbridge building to meet with Assange, Farage said: “I never discuss where I go or who I see.”

Course you don’t, Nigel, course you don’t.

I’ll just leave this here:

Farage

When pressed on his past meetings with Russian officials, Farage initially denied having had any. Oh, apart from that time he met some Russians (the Russian ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, to be precise), in 2013. That, he (finally) admitted.

If that and his meeting with Assange was all above board, why not just say so when asked? S’all rather odd, isn’t it?

*coughs* selective memory *coughs*

Fear of litigation leaves me saying no more. Except, I’m not saying Farage is a conniving liar, but pretty soon we’ll have conclusive proof one way or another.

Oh and this: we all laugh at Trump, because, well, he’s a fucking idiot. We all rub our hands together with glee at the prospect of the FBI uncovering some links between Trump and Russia. And now, it seems, there’s the possibility of Farage being involved too.

That’s Farage, formally of UKIP, who, as I’ve mentioned before, have had many of their policies adopted by the Conservatives. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusion there.

More soon.

The Election Section V2.6

Sorry, but I can’t let last night’s “Leader’s Debate” pass without comment.

Not that I watched it. Well, not much of it, anyway.

I saw the end, and was tickled to see, as the lights went down and the credits rolled, all of the leaders (and stand-ins) step from behind their podiums and shake hands with each other – all except UKIP’s Paul Nuttall, who remained where he had stood throughout the proceedings, with not one fellow debater moving in his direction with hand out-stretched.

I switched channels a couple of times during the debate, to find what appeared to be a competition to see who could shout loudest while the others were talking. My ears have not been offended so much since I had to listen to several Ed Sheeran records consecutively recently.

And I caught the opening addresses, where Lib Dem leader Tim Farron delivered what I believe is known as “absolute zinger”:

“Amber Rudd is up next. She is not the prime minister. The prime minister is not here tonight. She can’t be bothered. So why should you?

In fact, Bake Off is on BBC2 next. Why not make yourself a brew? You are not worth Theresa May’s time. Don’t give her yours.”

Sadly, I managed to miss Rudd’s quite extraordinary analogy between Corbyn’s policies and a game of Monopoly:

“His proposals don’t add up. It’s as though he thinks it’s some sort of game, a game of Monopoly perhaps, where you ask the banker for the red money to buy the electrics, the green money to buy the railways, and the yellow money to buy the gas works.”

Ah, yes: Monopoly, that game well know for the different colours of money which can only be spent on the infrastructure and the utility services. You’d think a right-wing capitalist such as Rudd would at least know the basics of  a game like Monopoly, wouldn’t you?

But anyway, back to Tim Farron, or rather, to the absence of our current Prime Minister.

You’ll recall that Theresa May has said all along that she wouldn’t take part in these debates, and I have previously commented on the fact that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, when presented with this open goal, had also confirmed that if May wasn’t going to take part, then neither was he.

On the bus on the way into work yesterday, an alert flashed up on my phone: Corbyn had changed his mind, was going to take part, and challenged May to do likewise.

Now, I’d like to think this was some kind of master-plan by Corbyn, that he’d intended to take part all the time, but was playing the long-game with his earlier denial. But I think I’d be crediting him and his campaign runners with a tad more tactical nous then they deserve.

But what his about-turn (not a U-turn, mind) did was place May in a lose-lose situation: turn up and it would look like she was handing the initiative to Corbyn; stay away and she risked looking like she was afraid to debate her policies.

And, of course stay away she did, sending Home Secretary Amber Rudd in her place, despite the fact that Rudd’s father had passed away just two days earlier.

May couldn’t really do anything but stay away; to change tack again – having done so not only with regards to her decision to hold the election, but also, to give just two examples of many, with regards to the cap on the so-called Dementia Tax (which she categorically didn’t do a U-turn on. “Nothing has changed, nothing has changed,” she squawked when challenged on this, despite it being patently obvious to everyone that announcing a cap after categorically stating there would be none once you realise how deeply unpopular a policy is, is, if noting else, most definitely a change) – would do nothing to add to her “strong and stable” mantra.

MAXIMO_PARK_GOING+MISSING-329552

So, when asked why she wouldn’t be taking part in the debate on Wednesday night, May’s response was this:
“I’m interested in the fact that Jeremy Corbyn seems to be paying far more attention to how many appearances on telly he’s doing. I think he ought to be paying a little more attention to thinking about Brexit negotiations. That’s what I’m doing, to make sure we get the best possible deal for Britain.”
There’s quite a lot to unpack there.
  • Firstly, I wonder if anyone has asked what conclusions she came to when thinking about the Brexit negotiations last night?
  • Secondly, is this not  a tacit acknowledgement by May that Corbyn might just need to be thinking about the Brexit negotiations? Surely she’d have been better of saying: “I couldn’t give a monkey’s what Corbyn does with his evenings, he won’t be in charge after June 8th. I will, so I’m going to be concentrating on the Brexit negotiations rather than appearing on the debate (and telling Philip to put the bins out)”?
  • And finally, it seems to have escaped her attention, but she called the election in the first place. If she was so concerned about and focussed on the Brexit negotiations, what the hell was she doing calling a decidedly distracting snap election straight after triggering Article 50?
And then, as I was heading home from work today, another alert. May has now announced she won’t be taking part in tomorrow’s “Women’s Hour” programme on Radio 4, preferring to send Justine Greening instead.
Cue an Ed Miliband Twitter-burn:
Screenshot_20170601-205016
There’s only one conclusion to come to, isn’t there….?:
R-36331-1370434432-2946_jpeg
More soon.