The Election Section V2.2

So the plan was this: every week, I’d post a round-up of the events from the week  on the campaign trail, coupled with a scathing yet entirely impartial *ahem* review, and an appropriate song or two.

There are two flaws in that plan. Firstly, I was away last weekend, so I now have two weeks to catch up on.

Secondly, Twitter.

I love Twitter, and some of you know and follow me on there, but there is a danger with that social media platform: because of the very nature of the beast, I find I’ve reacted to something or retweeted it there, long before I’ve written anything here.

So when it comes to time to write here, I’m frankly a little worried I may be accidentally using a joke or a point I’ve already read, and probably retweeted, on Twitter.

In other words, forgive me if I accidentally repeat something which I don’t credit to the original source. (In other words, I’m saying that all you are about to read is my take on the General Election, and if it anyway chimes with something on Twitter that I may or may not have read, that’s entirely coincidental.)

Where shall we start? Here: sometime in the last couple of weeks, Theresa May announced she would not take part in televised debates with the leaders of her opponents parties. The BBC and ITV announced that they would “empty chair” her, which means they’d have a chair for her to sit in, and when any question was asked, they would cut to the empty chair and the answer it wasn’t giving.

And they say the BBC is biased….

At this, many of us pricked up our ears, and rubbed our hands together.

Surely this is an open goal for Jeremy Corbyn, one even he can’t mess up? An opportunity to put his views and his vision out to the electorate, pretty much unchallenged.

And then he announced that if Theresa May wasn’t going to participate in the live TV debates, then neither was he.

Nice one, Jeremy. For why would you want to monopolise on such an opportunity? It’s almost like he doesn’t want to win…

Safe to say that, as it stands:

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Gil Scott-Heron -The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

And apart from that, nothing has happened in the past couple of weeks.

Ah yes. There was the Diane Abbott incident.

I quite like Diane. Of course, she ticks a lot of PC boxes.

Black? Tick.

Woman? Tick.

Managed to regularly sit on a couch with Michael Portillo without punching him in the balls? Tick.

Absolute Liability with a microphone anywhere near her? Sadly, tick, tick, tick.

I’m not going to post the link here, as I’m sure you’ve already seen/heard it, but she did an utterly excruciating telephone interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari, where she discussed Labour’s plans to increase funding for the police. It’s fair to say, she made a right hash of the figures: the sound of her frantically flicking through her notes was more evident than any coherent message from Abbott.

Her explanation later was that the interview was her sixth of the day and she was tired.

That’s not really good enough, is it? For a start, if I’d done essentially the same interview, being asked the same questions, five times previously, I’d like to think that a) I’d have learnt the details before the first interview, and b) that having trotted the figures out five times already, they might have sunk in a bit by the time of the sixth interview.

So Diane, this is for you:

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Los Campesinos! – Don’t Tell Me to Do the Math(s)

Surprisingly (perhaps) that was the only real fuck-up by Labour this week. Quite a major one, but as far as I’m aware, the only one.

But then there’s Theresa “Strong and Stable” May.

I think 99.9% of the population had already gotten wise to soundbites by the time this happened, and if not, they did very shortly afterwards:

For sure, “Strong and Stable” is the May-mantra, the chant she believes if said enough times will come true.

A bit like Candyman:

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Sammy Davis Jr. – The Candy Man

The idea, of course, is to portray a picture of someone who is determined, resolute, and doesn’t waiver or change their mind.

So let’s not forget that this election is happening as a result of May changing her mind, and backtracking on previous pledges:

But then, she has a history of this, doesn’t she?

So, irrespective of whether you voted to remain or leave the EU last year, bear in mind that, if the Tories win the forthcoming election, then the negotiations will be led by someone who doesn’t believe we should be leaving at all.

And just think for a moment who she appointed into her cabinet. Foreign Secretary: Boris Johnson. I don’t have time to list all of the countries that Johnson has managed to offend, before or after the EU vote, but there are lots. And that’s before we even start on the amount of cities in the UK that he’s managed to piss off with his bumbling Eton toff routine.

But it’s okay, for David Davis is the minister charged with negotiating the Brexit deal, and he’s already admitted that there is no plan in place should the UK not get a deal which is favourable to leaving, so we all know how competent he is.

But, what he can do is get t-shirts printed with an exruciatingly bad joke emblazoned on them, and then persuade “curvaceous lovelies” to wear them:

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But okay, fine. If you’re happy with Benny Hill negotiating the biggest and most important trade deal in the last 50 fifty years, then fill your boots:

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The Coasters – Yakety Yak

Now. You know how we all scoffed at Donald Trump’s baseless, unfounded allegations that his presidential campaign had been wire-tapped by the Obama administration? The rantings of a deranged, parnoid loon (with something to cover up), right?

So this week, Theresa May went into full-on Trump mode.

Following a dinner with senior EU negotiating bods, May made a staement that there had been “European threats against Britain, deliberately timed to affect the election”

Whoa. Wait a minute, wait a minute. You mean, those people that we’ve told to fuck off have taken it badly, and want us to honour the agreement we previously signed off on?

And, unless I’m very much mistaken Mrs May, you called the election, not them.

And – hang on, I must be missing something here – since you didn’t want to Leave in the first place and clearly have all of the negotiating prowess of a potato in a sock with a face drawn on it, why would they want you to be replaced?

Oh wait – unless this was a deliberate ploy to make sure that all who voted to Leave last year turned out again for you in June? But that kind of scaremongering has no place in modern politics, does it?

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It’s not strong and stable, it’s fucking deranged. She can’t even eat chips without looking like she’s from another realm. Seriously, it comes to something when Ed Miliband is able to call you out on how to eat in public:

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And don’t even get me started on May’s response to a perfectly reasonable question about the NHS, about nurses, and their increased dependency on food banks:

That’s right, Theresa. There are many complex reasons why nurses might be going to food banks. I’ll list them for you:

  1. They’re underpaid
  2. They’re hungry

That appears to be it.

But it’s okay, there’s always the European health workers (who you refuse to guarantee the safety of, post Brexit) to step in and take over.

Oh, and then there’s the small issue of the proposed increase in tax and National Insurance contributions which they tried to bring in under the last budget, before ditching it when (finally, after trying to defend and justify it for a few days, claiming it was our fault for misunderstanding everything, because we’re all THAT stupid) they had to accept it was in direct contradiction of their last manifesto pledge, and which May now refuses to confirm won’t happen should they be re-elected.

Look, I know there’s an obesity probem in the UK, I’m living proof of it, but surely the way to address that isn’t by making sure that the working (and a large chunk of the middle) classes can’t afford to eat?

So, anyway, let me just leave this here for you to think about:

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The Bluetones – Carn’t Be Trusted

And then there were the local elections on Thursday. I can’t pretend these went well for a cardigan-wearing leftie like me. There were Conservative gains, of course, many in traditionally Labour heartland. This cannot be considered to be encouraging. Areas of Wales, Scotland, and Birmingham, all went to the Tories.

Wales: I love you but you should hang your heads in shame that you’ve voted for the party that decimated the economic output of your community.

The only thing I can cling to here is the massive losses suffered by UKIP, who ended up with just one seat.

And why did UKIP only manage to secure one seat? From the results, it certainly isn’t the case that UKIP voters switched to Labour, is it?

So ask yourself this: if you’ve never voted UKIP before, because you recognise them as the racist fuckwits we know they are, then why would you vote for a political party which has – as Real Ale and fags raconteur, the man with a face you’d never get tired of punching, Nigel Farage acknowledged this week – absorbed their policies?

If you continue, or are considering, voting Tory in the forthcoming election, but think that UKIP are a bunch of whackos, then you need to take a fucking long look in the mirror, for you are now just UKIP under a different name.

So, yeah, this:

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Depeche Mode – Where’s The Revolution?

That’ll do for now.

Don’t forget, of course, that to have a say in the forthcoming election, you need to be able to vote in it. Go here to make sure your voice is heard.

More soon.

Friday Night Music Club

No swears this week, I promise. Well nothing obvious, anyway.

We’re going dancing instead. And if we’re going dancing, there’s certain things that we need to take with us.

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165. Echo & The Bunnymen – Bring On The Dancing Horses

Yes, horses. That’s what we need. Course it is. No night out is complete without at least one fluttering fetlock.

And shoes. We need shoes.

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166. Arctic Monkeys – Dancing Shoes

Cheers Alex! (I have no idea how this is the first tune my them that I’ve posted here)

Now what else? Ah yes, a disco stick. No night out is complete without a ride on a disco stick, right?

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167. Lady GaGa – Love Game

Wait a minute….that’s not a song about a stick you use in a disco…that’s a song about….Oi! Gaga!! Noooo!! This is supposed to be a non-rude edition of The Music Club!!

Perhaps we should just go.

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168. The Kinks – Come Dancing

That’s better. A prime slice of Davies storytelling and no mistake.

Next up, released way back in 20-God-that-makes-me-feel-old-07, and for my money one of the greatest indie singles of the last ten years. Recorded by exclamation mark afficonados and unquestionably the greatest non-Welsh band to come out of Welsh capital Cardiff (the band members all met at the fine city’s university, but none are actually Welsh), here with the original release of the single (the version on their debut “Hold On Now Youngster…” album being slightly longer and slower) which you can find on their “Sticking Fingers In Sockets” EP:

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169. Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing!

If that doesn’t have you bouncing round your humble abode then you have not an ounce of grooviness about you.

There’s so much to love about “You! Me! Dancing!”: the outright unfettred youthful exuberance; the slow build up; the hand-claps. And some of the smartest yet twee-ist lyrics you’ll ever hear to boot. This, from the climax of the record – for that’s what it is, a climax – where the lyrics are spoken rather than sung:

And I always get confused
Because in supermarkets they turn the lights off when they want you to leave
But in discos they turn them on…

..And then on the way home, it always seems like a good idea to go paddling in the fountain, and that’s because it IS a good idea.”

(I can vouch for this. For many years when I lived in Cardiff, my walk home was via the front of City Hall, which is graced with some beautiful fountains, and by God they look tempting when you’re staggering back at 4am under the influence of various substances, even if they are switched off at that time. This record gave me permission to do it. Still never had the nerve though.)

“We’re undeveloped, we’re ignorant, we’re stupid, but we’re happy”. There’s my epitaph, right there.

Anyway, if you ever, ever get chance to go see Los Campesinos! live, treat yourself and go, you won’t be disappointed.

Next up a band whose debut album I bought on the strength of the review in Metro, the daily free-tabloid so beloved of eye-contact-avoiding commuters. Not, I should stress, because the quality of the review was in any way illuminating, just simply because I liked the name of the band and the album in question. So, here from their “In Our Space Hero Suits” album it’s:

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170. Those Dancing Days – Space Hero Suits

Next, a song of two halves. Well, actually a song of about one quarter and a remaining three quarters. You’ll see what I mean.

Featuring a union of Euros Childs (formerly of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci fame) and Norman Blake (currently, I hope, of Teenage Fanclub fame), this is Jonny:

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171. Jonny – Cave Dance

I’ve gone a bit quiet on my “From Leeds With Love” thread for a couple of weeks (again); I’d love to say this was totally planned so that I could justify posting a song by The Wedding Present here, but that’d be a total lie, I just haven’t got round to writing one.

So, here’s The Wedding Present, with the second of twelve 7″ singles they released in 1992:

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172. The Wedding Present – Go-Go Dancer

Next, to a song more famously recorded by the group’s front-man after the band split and he went solo:

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173. Generation X – Dancing With Myself

Hold on a minute…..Oi!! Idol!!! Noooo! We’re supposed to be keeping things clean round here this week, we do not need your thinly veiled hymn to the joys of onanism smuttering up these pages.

(Bloody love that record, though.)

And now, as they say, for something completely different.

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174. Leif Garrett – I Was Made For Dancin’

Say the name Leif Garrett to me, and two things pop into my head; firstly I seem to remember him wearing the most ludicrously tight red leather trousers – not a good look, ever – and secondly, for a while he seemed to pop up every other week on The Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, the BBC’s Saturday morning live kids TV show which ran from 1976 and 1982. That is, he popped up on the weeks that the “special” “musical” guest wasn’t ironing-board-chinned talent-vacuum B.A. Robertson, anyway.

Garrett was quite the teen pin-up for a while, although this never really translated into record sales, either in his homeland in The US of A or here in the UK. They bloody loved him in Germany and Australia though. Read into that what you will.

Should you be so inclined to go and purchase his Greatest Hits album – and I see no reason why you would want to do that, since I’ve just given you the only thing approaching a decent song he ever made, so you can see just how far short of the mark the rest of his songs fall – but if you are so inclined, then please do. It’s entitled “The Leif Garrett Collection (1977-80)” which gives you some idea of his shelf life. It doesn’t however, give you any indication of just how long he outstayed his welcome by.

Moving on, and here’s one of them there mash-up songs. It’s in disguise though, as you can tell by the title. I had no idea I owned this until it came up on my iPod the other day, so I can only think that I must have obtained it from one of my peers out there in the blogosphere. So…er…thanks. I think.

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175. Liquid Gold – Dance Yourself Dizzy (Yomanda Synth and Strings Mix)

See, what they’ve done there? They’ve taken Liquid Gold’s super-cheesy 1980s UK disco hit “Dance Yourself Dizzy”, slowed it down a bit, and thrown Yomanda’s super-cheesy 1999 club smash “Synths and Strings” over the top of it.

I have a bit of a soft spot for both of these tunes, “Dance Yourself Dizzy” because it reminds me of being a kid, and “Synths and Strings” because I was once in a bar in Cardiff where I found an acquaintance of mine (a bloke called Nigel who used to run the quiz night in my local pub) was DJing. He was dropping some naff records – it was that kind of a bar – so I approached him and asked if, since he was playing such piss-poor records, if he would mind dropping a bit of Yomanda for me.

He gave me a right look and said “My records might be cheesy, but I draw the line at ‘Synths and Strings’

Anyway, that mash-up doesn’t really work in my book but who am I to judge, so here’s the video of the Yomanda tune, posted for no other reasons than for comparison purposes, and certainly nothing to do with the plentiful shots of ladies in short skirts, nosireebob:

Right, just time for one more. I’m intentionally trying to keep things brief this week, and not bang on as much as I have here recently. Please don’t moan, I’ve had a very busy week and frankly I’m knackered.

So here, without any need for further introduction, explanation, deviation or hesitation, but plenty of repetition, is super cool French duo Justice:

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176. Justice – D.A.N.C.E.

More soon.