So, what’s been happening whilst I’ve been indisposed for the past couple of months?

I mean, blimey, where do I start?

In World War 1, so legend has it, peace temporarily broke out on Christmas Day when British and German troops laid down their weapons and played football in No Man’s Land. When I say “legend”, I mean that it featured in the video of Paul Wacky-Thumbs-Aloft McCartney’s 1983 #1 anodyne smasheroo Pipes of Peace.

I can’t help but think that this is why PM Alexander “Boris” Johnson is so desperate for this Christmas to be “considerably better than last year” – he’s hoping someone will toss him a football so he can show off his skills. He must have some, right?

Oof. Maybe not.

Still, the irony in Johnson’s bonce connecting with that chap’s actual Johnson can’t have been lost on him. I’m sure there’s nobody who likes to be reminded more that their surname is slang for ‘penis’ than our glorious leader. Perhaps that’s why he insists on being called Boris instead of his birthname, Alexander. I mean, if my name was a euphemism for genitals, male or female, then I’d probably change my name too. Family pride would probably prevent me from changing the offending word, so I think I’d probably concur and change my first name, just like Johnson has. (Okay, Boris is one of his many middle names, but you get the giste. Although, that might explain why he was so reluctant to release the results of the enquiry into Russian interference with our electoral procedures…)

Even then, though, having drawn attention away from my surname, I would probably stop short of ensuring my hair always resembles a bush of pubes finally set free from a particularly tight pair of Y-fronts when in pubic public.

Lucky for me, then, that my actual birth name, Jeremiah Bellend-Spunkbubble, has no such connotations, so the problem has never, um, arisen for me.

Until very recently, it seemed that no matter how he and his bunch of thick-as-yeast- extract cronies behaved, nothing could stick. But now it seems, finally the general public is starting to realise what those of us who lived in London under his tenure as Mayor have known for ages: the man is a charlatan, a habitual liar, used to getting his own way, incompetent. A man who doesn’t like to be pinned down on detail, or to be held accountable for things he has said or done. A man who cannot admit when he has made a mistake or done wrong. A man who is, as Eddie Mair famously called him in this interview, “a nasty piece of work”:

There isn’t even any satisfaction in saying “I told you so” now, you know. You’ll be aware that the Germans have a word, schadenfreude, which means “pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune”. That definitely applies here.

Whilst I was on hiatus, things finally seemed to be changing. First, there was the Owen Paterson affair and, more specifically what the Tories attempted to do in the wake of his being found to be in breach of Parliamentary rules by the independent and cross-party Parliamentary Commissoner for Standards.

Without wishing to bore you with detail, Paterson – as well as what really should be a full-time job as an MP – was holding down two additional jobs, one with healthcare company Randox, who paid him £8,333 a month for a monthly commitment of 16 hours as a consultant, and one with Lynn’s Country Foods Ltd, who paid him £12,000 for 24 hours work per year for performing a similar role.

Spinal Tap – Gimme Some Money

Paterson was found to have breached paid advocacy rules for making three approaches to the Food Standards Agency and four approaches to the Department for International Development in relation to Randox and seven approaches to the Food Standards Agency relating to Lynn’s Country Foods. The Commissioner said Paterson had “repeatedly used his privileged position to benefit two companies for whom he was a paid consultant, and that this has brought the house into disrepute” and that “no previous case of paid advocacy has seen so many breaches or such a clear pattern of behaviour in failing to separate private and public interests”.

A motion to carry out the recommendations of the Committee and suspend Paterson was due to be voted on by Parliament. Had suspension been approved, a recall petition would have been triggered in his constituency, which would have led to a by-election. An amendment to the motion to delay consideration of Paterson’s suspension was put forward by Conservative backbencher Andrea Leadsom; it also proposed to set up a new committee to investigate the disciplinary process for MPs.

This would, in effect, have allowed new rules to be implemented which would have seen Paterson escape punishment. And for once it seemed that the country, along with all of the Opposition, were up in arms about this, leading to a spectacular U-turn, where Beano character Walter Softy made-flesh Jacob Rees Mogg stood up in Parliament, announced that they would not be pursuing the amendment as they were horrified that their actions had been perceived in the way they were, which was never their intention, nosiree, cross my heart and hope to learn some empathy.

Paterson resigned, whilst still protesting his innocence and stating that he would not do anything differently were he to have his time again, meaning that there was a by-election in his safe Tory constituency of North Shropshire

I say “safe”: apart from when the constituency was abolished between 1885 and 1983, it had never been anything other than a Conservative seat. At the last election, Paterson had a majority of 23,000.

And on Thursday, they lost it, to the Liberal Democrats, with a swing of 34%, with a majority of 5925. This Brexit-voting constituency, eternally blue, is now yellow, having voted in a candidate from an explicitly Remain party. (I shan’t mention Brexit again. Not yet anyway. It’s going so well, what is there to say?)


But it would be foolish to think it was just Paterson’s actions which led his constituents to reject his party so utterly, for there’s been the small matter of the illicit Christmas parties.

I don’t intend to go in to all the oh-so-many allegations made, or lies told in defence about all of these. I don’t need to, because the BBC’s Ros Atkins – yes, that BBC, who apparently refuse to report on any wrong-doing by the government, and are biased one way or the other, depending on which side of the fence you’re on – has done it for me:

There’s a lot to unpack from that.

Firstly, the seemingly innocuous wearing of party hats, Christmas jumpers, Secret Santas, tinsel and catering: contrary to claims that “no party took place”, all of these things show that not only did parties happen, but they were planned in advance.

Secondly, the photograph of Johnson hosting what is claimed to be an online quiz: not only does this prove that the PM was mixing with people not in his bubble (unless he lives with the guy with the tinsel wrapped round him), it also shows that he knew a party was taking place. Furthermore, that he knew this was in breach of the restrictions: why else would the CCTV camera have been covered with what appears to be a binbag, other than to ensure that events weren’t captured?

Thirdly, the laughable excuses the Metropolitan Police have given for refusing to investigate this. So far, two ridiculous reasons have been proffered: that they do not investigate Covid breaches retrospectively, coupled with them saying they would not look for evidence as they have no evidence.

Last time I checked, Minority Report was still just a film.

There must be lifers up and down the country’s prisons currently banging their tin cups on the bars of their cells, complaining about how unfair it is that, when it came to their crimes and misdemeanours, the police most definitely looked for evidence when they were trying to get them locked up. And also they arrested them after the offence had taken place, not before.

And in any event, they have now said they will investigate the party that Tory candidate for London Mayor and the former chair of the police and crime committee (now resigned) Shaun Bailey, which very much negates both of their reasons for refusing to investigate the ones that Johnson allegedly had knowledge of, or even attended.

This seems to be the Met’s policy:

Big Country – Look Away

You may think all this focus on last year’s Christmas parties is all a bit trite, cheap and irrelevant, and to be honest, I think you’d maybe have a point.

For whilst we’re all preoccupied with potentially illegal gatherings last year, our own civil liberties are being gradually stripped from under our noses. Already our democratic right to protest has gone. At the same time, refugees – not migrants, refugees – are being turned away on the basis that their attempts to reach our shores whilst fraught with danger (which they are) are illegal (which they aren’t). And I can’t help but think that the herd immunity policy which has been implemented over Covid – not that they call it that, but that’s what it is – and the refusal to go into lockdown again are specifically designed to make our beloved NHS, surely the pride of our country, finally buckle and collapse so that it can be sold off to the highest bidder, or, more likely, to some mate of a prominent MP who owns a pub and is a jolly good egg.

Right now, entitled uber-moron Dominic Raaaaaaaaab is reviewing the Human Rights Act and trying to introduce legislation which would allow the Government to overturn any judicial decision they disagree with. And that, my friends, is scary.

See, I’ve mentioned before the dead cat theory, where we are distracted from something unpopular by the metaphorical throwing of a dead cat onto the table, making every one talk about the dead cat and the person who threw it there rather than whatever it is they were trying to distract us from. It used to be called “burying bad news” and you may recall that one of former PM Tony Blair’s advisers got in a lot of bother when they suggested that 9/11 would be “a good day to bury bad news”.

I don’t think this is a dead cat tossing situation though, or if it is then it has spectacularly backfired, to the point where bookies are offering odds on who will replace Johnson. Current favourites are Liz Truss, Priti Patel and Matt Hancock. Gawd help us, is that the best they have to offer??

Much as I loathe Johnson, there is a tiny part of me that almost hopes he stays on. Not just because of who is likely to replace him (will they go for the idiot, the evil one, or the philandering incompetent next?) but also because I want his fall from grace to become even more spectacular.

There you go: schadenfreude.

Johnny Boy – You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve

More soon.

Did You Ever Get The Feeling You’ve Been Cheated?


I’m going to use the word “You” a lot today. I don’t mean you. I mean You. Yes: You.

I’m one of those (North London) Lefties you hear about in the mostly right-wing press and media, the ones who sneer at the likes of Hugh Grant or Steve Coogan for daring to voice an opinion.

I’ve not always been a (North London) Leftie; for a while I was a Cambridgeshire Leftie, living in John Major’s constituency and arguing on the bus home from 6th Form; and then a South Wales Leftie, where frankly I didn’t stand out from the crowd all that much.

But always a Leftie. I’ve never voted Tory. Never have, never will.

I’m the sort of person who, the red tops would have you believe, lives in a bubble, divorced from the realities of modern life.

That may be true. (Narrator: It’s not true.)

But one thing I can say is that I lived in London for the two terms that Anthony Boris Pfeiffer Oxbowlake Jerusalem Wiffwaff Johnson somehow managed to gain consent to act as our Mayor. And I know what he is. I’ve told you before.

But let’s pretend You knew nothing of his past, of his being fired from two (three?) jobs for lying, of his agreeing to have a fellow journalist beaten up, of his – to use his vernacular – “spaffing up the wall” public funds on an unbuilt bridge, or an unusable water cannon.

Yesterday You all looked at Johnson and somehow, despite everything You saw and heard, You went and voted for him anyway.

You ignored his refusal to go head to head with Andrew Neil in an interview, and thought, “Yeh, that’s okay – why should he be scrutinsed in the same way that every other party leader has done? He’s just our Prime Minister, he doesn’t need to be held accountable. Leave him alone, he has funny hair!”

You ignored that he shrugged off the televised Leader’s Climate Conference, which he failed to attend, but sent his Dad instead, thinking that was an entirely reasonable thing to do. Oh, and rubber faced gimp mask Frodo Michael Gove, like that’s any better.

You ignored the allegations of improper conduct in public office with a lapdancer business woman.

You ignored the allegations of spousal abuse.

You ignored the lies about the number of hospitals he says he’ll build.

You ignored the lies about the number of additonal nurses that would fill them.

You ignored him not even knowing – or at least being prepared to admit, or even discuss – how many children he has.

You ignored him giving the “cut” signal to a semi-hostile radio interviewer asking a difficult question, forgetting it was also being filmed.

You ignored him wrestling a mobile phone from a journalist, pocketing it because it was showing a photograph of a child laying on coats in a hospital in Leeds.

You ignored his part in the Vote Leave law-breaking.

You ignored that bus.

You ignored the tossed-off-the-cuff racism and homophobia.

You ignored him blundering into the Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe affair and getting her sentence increased.

You ignored him hiding in a fridge, for fuck sake.

Did I miss anything? Probably. It’s a really long list.

And You thought: this man, he, who has been at the heart of Conservative politics for many years, their champion, who has with relentless relish sought out every dogturd, stepped in it and then waved it in our faces, this proven liar, full of bullshit and bluster, he is the man to lead us.

Well done You.

Do You remember when we laughed about how stupid Americans must be to vote in Trump? Something like that couldn’t happen here, could it. You said.

Except it just has.

So many people I know – my family, my friends, me – have had to rely on our wonderful NHS recently. I literally would not be here were it not for them. And they gave me almost 15 years with my now passed best friend, 15 years I will always cherish and be thankful for.

You saw the NHS on its knees, crying out for help, and You said: I like the bloke with the funny hair that knows some Latin.

And we all know what is likely to happen to the NHS now. Don’t pretend You don’t.

You had documents proving the NHS is up for sale in post-Brexit negotiations waved in Your face. You had Trump admitting it (and then denying it, but let’s not get into his consistency issues). And You ignored it.

I hope you and your families never get ill and need to rely on our beautiful NHS.

I hope none of them ever have to visit a food bank.



But of course, I can’t look away from Labour’s leadership either.

For had there been a credible alternative, I don’t think Johnson would be where he is this morning.

I’ve written about them here before; initially in glowing terms (though with a caveat: I made reference way back when he got elected as Party Leader that Corbyn could be as disasterous as Michael Foot – and so it has proved, only more so) and more recently relinquished my support for him.

Me? I’m doing (kinda) okay, but I work in the public sector, and I’ve seen jobs and budgets chipped away, jobs amalgamated, people let go. I saw a friend be told he had to take a (significant) pay cut to continue his work – do the same, but for less, or be off – and so he had to leave.

It might be me next. Nothing I can do it about it if it is. I’ll join the three-year waiting list for a council house, no bother.

It’s austerity, see? Cuts need to be made.

Meanwhile, here’s a £billion for the DUP to buy their compliance. Here’s £140m on an advertising campaign for a No Deal Brexit which hasn’t happened (yet).

But can we spend some money putting proper cladding on a tower block so that our brothers and sisters from ethnic minorities and/or poor people don’t burn to death? Or compensate the families of those who did? Of course not. Too busy deporting them in the Windrush scandal.

I’m angry.

I’m angry I fell for Corbyn, back then.

I’m angry I saw the light (too) late.

I’m angry that the people who so desperately needed a lift will have another five years under the heel.

Because that’s what voting Tory is: a flagrant disregard for others. “I’m Alright Jack”, and sod the rest of you.

But one day, trust me, You will be angry too. You probably already have been, but didn’t realise it.

I voted Labour yesterday, but I didn’t vote for Corbyn. I voted Not Tory.

We’ve all known for a long time that this election was going to be a maelstrom of messed-up; the unreliable versus the unelectable.

Because that’s what Corbyn is. Unelectable. No more questions. No more doubt. No more debate. Get rid.

Had there been a better Leader of the Labour Party – Phillips, Starmer, Thornberry – last night would not have happened.

This day has been coming for a long time. It’s just such a shame it happened at exactly the point where the country most needed the opposite.

I’m done.

Johnny Boy – You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve

Jarvis – Running the World

Gene – Sleep Well Tonight

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

Evening all.

Friday night is upon us once more, which means it’s time for the next five songs in the Friday Night Music Club playlist.

Given the horrific events in Paris last Friday, I wish I could say that I had planned to include the first two tunes as a show of solidarity with our Gallic brothers, but alas, it’s a coincidence. If I was that smart, they would have been in last week’s selection. Still, cracking tunes though.

stereolab-french-disko-duophonic-super-45s 26. Stereolab – French Disko

sebastien-tellier-divine-remixes-by-midnight-juggernauts-a-danger-12 27. Sebastien Tellier – Divine

Next up, we have the ultimate in pioneering “made in a bedroom” tuneage:

R-119353-001_jpg 28. White Town – Your Woman

And to finish, two songs which are nowhere near as well known as they should be. First, an utterly bonkers song featuring an hypnotic chorus with the words “vanilla strawberry knickbocker glory ” repeated over and over, followed by a verse which talks about seeing the ghost of Lena Zavaroni, a child star and winner of 1970s talent show Opportunity Knocks. Her story is an utterly tragic mood-killer, so we shan’t dwell on it any further here.

Fujiya & Miyagi_Knickerbocker (Promo CD) 29. Fujiya & Miyagi – Knickerbocker

And finally, this song, which from its opening rip-off of (sorry, I mean homage to) “Be My Baby” through to it’s just wonderful title is a joy from start to finish (and yes I appreciate that’s technically from just before the start to the start, but that doesn’t scan as well…)

515J61WYR9L 30. Johnny Boy – You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes and You Get What You Deserve

More soon.