Category Archives: Politics

“I’m telling you, and you’ll listen …

… you can’t play politics with people’s jobs and with people’s services or with their homes.”

That was Neil Kinnock at the Labour Party Conference in 1985. I remember it well. It was one of the bravest things I’ve ever seen a politician do. For those that have forgotten or weren’t here, he was taking the Militant Tendency head on. They had been running Liverpool City Council, had been in dispute with the government and ended up deliberately making their workforce redundant just to  make a political point. Kinnock went after them bigly, a huge risk at the time, but got a thunderous standing ovation from the majority of his party.

Kinnock had a very serious point to make. A person elected to  government has a serious responsibility towards those who invest their lives in providing services to the taxpayer. These people are never to be used as pawns in a game of political chess or become the victims of grandstanding. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that Trump and his lickspittles need to learn. That, and the fact that he is not a dictator.

American politicians are jealous of the British Parliament because, by their standards, it’s easy to get legislation passed. Some in the UK would say it’s too easy and we end up with one day of democracy followed by five years of elected dictatorship. But the American system of federal government was designed the way it is so that power is not concentrated in one place – in other words you need to build a consensus if you are going to make major changes. If he ever understood this Trump has now completely lost sight of it.

The President makes a huge fuss about the country desperately wanting the wall – you know – the one he said Mexico would pay for? But just because he thinks it doesn’t make it so.  Well, firstly he didn’t get a majority at the polls, Hillary did, and he’s only President because of that weird-arse electoral college which is a hangover from the horse and cart days. Secondly, there’s the mid-terms and the massive change in the lower house. If that wasn’t a verdict on him and his bloody wall then nothing is. The Emperor is suddenly looking rather naked.

Trump may still genuinely believe that the wall is needed, although he makes a complete pig’s breakfast of producing any convincing or credible evidence. What he hasn’t got and never did have is any kind of mandate to build the bloody thing and much less to land the American taxpayer with the bill it.

More to the point he doesn’t have the right to play politics with people’s jobs the way he is. Both he and the Republican Senators who refuse to reopen the departments currently shut down are showing us what a bunch of cruel and uncaring bastards they really are. That they are so cavalier about the  livelihoods of so many public servants is a national disgrace and they should hang their heads in shame. But I really don’t think they have any.

Oh, no they didn’t…

Forgive that, but Brexit is turning into a right pantomime

Fascinating to watch all those who claimed that Leavers were misled and didn’t know what they were voting for demanding a people’s vote on a 500 page document that 95% of the population won’t even read let alone be able to understand.

Chump’s Major Misfire

I apologise if this blog is becoming something of a Trump-baiting exercise, but it is major-league scary that this highly ignorant and bigoted man is President. It should concern the whole world.

The Chump’s latest executive order is causing mayhem at ports across the USA and the rest of the world as people already identified as suitable to be landed there are refused boarding to aircraft or worse, they are refused entry and detained. The Governor of Washington has today issued a damning statement accusing the Chump administration of gross incompetence. Personally I think he was quite restrained and should have said “crass, blinkered, pig-ignorant and bigoted gross incompetence”.

The fact is that, popular or not, the Chump’s policy just will not work. Clearly it is a crowd-pleaser to show that he is being tough on terrorism, but it’s nett effect in that direction will amount to two fifths of five eighths of fuck all. Blanket banning muslims will only catch the people who are prepared to play by the rules. As with his wall, the policy is completely misconceived and wrongly aimed, and its detrimental effects outweigh by a country mile any limited benefits. The ones who will do you real harm won’t be travelling through JFK on a properly stamped Iranian passport!

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Rather these days “I turn the light off outside the orange door”.

A pointless vote …

Later this year we and our fellow residents of Surrey are going to be asked a rather foolish question by Surrey County Council – namely whether we want our council tax bills to rise by about 15%.

Personally, I took all of 20 nano-seconds to make my decision – and that’s before I’ve heard any of the “arguments” in favour of this absolutely mahoosive tax hike. My wages haven’t gone up by 15% so why am I being expected to cough up more? Besides which this is a Tory council, backed by a Tory MP with a Tory government. Whatever happened to the mantra that Tory candidates have spouted for generations – that the Tories are fiscally responsible and can be trusted to provide ever better public services for ever lower costs? Bilge then as it is still bilge, as way back when in the days of the unlamented poll tax they just fiddled the grant system to make places like Wandsworth and Westminster look like they were efficient. But I am getting rather a lot of schadenfreude from watching local Tories squirm about having to do the very thing of which they have been so critical for so long.

For all that, what exactly would we get for another £200 a year? Well, there’s access to the fire service, which I haven’t needed in the last 58 years, but I concede should be a publicly funded service. We don’t have any kids, so haven’t had call on the education service for several decades. We both have several computers and e-readers, so we haven’t used a library in nearly twenty years. There’s roads, I suppose, but given the pothole-ridden, dilapidated state that many of our roads are in you’d be forgiven for wondering where all the money went.

The proposed hike needs to go to a referendum following a change in the law in 2011. Judging by the online poll launched by the Sorry Error it’s not likely to succeed – to date 671 responses with 87% against the rise. Can we just take it as read and save the money?

President Chump

This might annoy some of my American friends, but it’s been a very sad week over the pond.

Much has been, and will continue to be, said about the permatanned oompa loompa now ensconced in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Perhaps we’ve been spoilt over the last eight years. Whatever you might think of Obama’s policy, you have to concede that he’s done it with style and class. I dread to think what the glossies are going to make of things if the Donald decides to impose his own distinct, and decidedly tacky, style on the White House. Of all the advice he might have been given over the years, “less is more” is definitely not something he ever understood.

More worrying than Chump having all the decorating taste of Liberace on smack is that he also has the emotional range of a hormonal teenager. Never more than about fifty feet away from him from now on will be the military aide carrying what is called the Presidential Emergency Satchel. Now, contrary to mischievous opinion, this doesn’t contain a tin of self-bronzer and a syringe of botox for Melania, but the wherewithal to blow half the planet to buggery and back. This is now in the hands of a man so immature that he acts like a playground bully.

Probably part of this emotional instability is just the inevitable result of having surrounded himself for years with yes-persons and an inability to adjust to interaction with people he can’t fire. Clearly, and worrying, the good ole USofA now has a President who would cheerfully tear up the First Amendment if he could get away with it. Alec Baldwin has had his meal ticket stamped for the next four years, or until Chump gets bored, has a heart attack or is impeached, but listen carefully for the sound of teddy bears being thrown around the Oval Office.

Katie Ghose

News report today saying that the Electoral Reform Society has done some analysis of what people think of the referendum campaign. Katie Ghose, who is to opinion polling what Katie Hopkins is to diplomacy, has said that people think they weren’t given enough information.

Darling Heart, they always trot out that platitude!

Katie has called for the next referendum campaign to be six months long. Just pause for a moment and imagine that – HALF A FRIGGING YEAR!

Will someone please neuter this witch and sew her gob shut.

Goodbye, Yerp?

So, ‘tis the morning after the night before and we have a result. It isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but breakfast will be a sombre meal in Downing Street where it will be regarded as the worst of all possible outcomes.

Cameron took us into this expensive, divisive and damaging referendum for purely party political purposes. He’d hoped for a massive vote for remaining in the EU as that was the only way he could silence the Euro-Sceptic wing of his own party and effectively neuter UKIP.  Nothing short of at least 60/40 in favour of remain would have done that and in the early stages he must have thought he was on to a winner. Only very late in this bruising and hurtful campaign did it occur to him that the public didn’t altogether share his rose-tinted view of Europe!

Where do we go from here?

Leave has won, but not by a very big margin. The outcome of the referendum is not binding on Parliament, so don’t expect anyone to invoke Article 50 any time soon. More than likely that things will be fudged to the effect that because the majority was so small Parliament must make the decision. UKIP will stay with us, but making much more noise.

Stand by for lots and LOTS of legal challenges. Oh, and expect resignations!

Poisonous Politics

It’s now over half a century since I was involved in my first ever political campaign. (In case you’re interested, it was stuffing envelopes for my father’s efforts to get elected to the local council.) I’ve been quite an active campaigner over the years, less keen to do so in recent years as politics in the UK has become steadily more fractious.

The referendum campaign has finally killed off what was left of my enthusiasm for politics.

Firstly, there are all the lies and scaremongering that has been going on – from BOTH sides.  Some of it has been so far off the wall that it can only come from a political class so far out of touch with the people that they think we can’t see through their charlantry. They must hold us in such contempt.

The atmosphere is now poisonous. What should be reasoned, polite Continue reading Poisonous Politics