Category Archives: Politics

A proper legacy for Sir David

A kinder, more compassionate society where every individual has a sense of belonging and where we recognise that we have more in common than that which divides us.” That’s the vision of the Jo Cox Foundation five years after her murder by a Neo-Nazi white supremacist.

I don’t blog very often these days – mostly because a) so little winds me up and b) I have the CBA that marches hand in hand with advancing years and failing health. But too much has taken place in the last week not to comment.

What happened in Leigh-on-Sea last Friday was horrific. We’ll have to wait and see what (if any) errant nonsense is put forward by the perpetrator’s defence team. But with the possible exception of a genuine mental illness nothing can justify the killing of anyone who was going about their peaceful and lawful business, which Sir David Amess most clearly was. (In my book, the fact that he was a Member of Parliament does not add anything to such an egregious crime.) Such a senseless act will forward no cause. It leaves a family bereaved and mourning. Unfortunately it also leaves politicians scrabbling around trying to find a scapegoat. And there’s some real BS that needs to be challenged!

First is the argument that MPs need to be able to maintain the personal relationship with their constituents. The overwhelming majority of us will never have reason to approach our MP, and when we do it’s mostly by way of letter or email. I’ve never once needed or wanted to attend my MP’s surgery, but I accept that some people do. What I don’t accept is the idea that the surgery can’t be subject to security arrangements. MPs are quite happy with the idea of “in-need” constituents having to yell their personal details through an inch of plexiglass in a busy council housing office or a crowded outpatients department. And as our litigious society has forced many GPs to have a chaperone in order to carry out an intimate medical examination, I see no real reason why an MP can’t have a caseworker with them. (MP Stephen Timms was stabbed in May 2010, and he survived. His assistant disarmed the attacker who was restrained by a security guard until police officers arrived.)

Jacqui Smith, the former Labour home secretary and now chair of the Jo Cox Foundation, has said “Elected representatives have a right to be safe in their public life. ” I’d go one further and say that we all have a right to be safe, but most of us will have to make our own arrangements. Ms Smith then went on to say that “we all have a responsibility to treat elected representatives with respect”.  Perhaps the best place to start with such a novel idea would be the House of Commons.

In the UK we have the unedifying spectacle of MPs aggressively hurling insults at each other – not to mention the childish bear pit of Prime Minister’s questions. Doesn’t take much of a Google to find video of MPs spitting hate-filled venom at each other across the floor. Recently the Deputy Leader of Ms Smith’s own party declined to apologise for calling the Conservatives “scum”, saying she was using “street language” to convey her “anger and frustration” at the actions of the government. Hardly the language of respect. You reap what you sow!

It is disingenuous in the extreme to suggest that hostility towards, and abuse of, politicians is a new thing – and then to blame it all on Facebook and Twitter, the current all-purpose scapegoats.  Any student of history knows that that argument is utter bunkum and just deflection. The UK has a lengthy tradition of insulting and egging MPs – and worse. David Amess is the eighth serving MP to have been murdered since Spencer Perceval in 1812.  Irish Nationalists who murdered four MPs between 1979 and 1990 didn’t have Facebook or Twitter – they barely even had mobile phones, but what they did have was an idea.

Social media is a reflection of society – the main drivers of hatred have always been religion and politics. (See Blogarama ad nauseam on the evils of religion.)

There is so much toxicity in our politics and our elected representatives show little or no respect for each other. Monkey see, monkey do, and you only have to look across the Atlantic to see what happens when Pandora opens that box and a major political party effectively legitimises hatred.  The USA has torn itself apart and it will take a generation to heal, if it ever can.

The best monument to Sir David Amess would be for our politicians in the UK to put their own house in order, to learn how to disagree with civility, to set a decent example.

The Trumpanzee

Defined by the Urban Dictionary as:

“an irrational and irritable assclownish beast that is completely immunized {hannitized magatized} to logic-or-reason, any-and-all negative facts-or-evidence concerning Trump, and remains a devout and mindless supporter of the buffoon.”

I think it’s rather an unfair expression – after all, chimps are quite intelligent and have empathy! However, I had the misfortune to try and argue with one of these the other night. It was like arguing with a robotic priest, but less rewarding – hence this the first of a series … Later on I’ll get on to his quite ludicrous claim that Trump isn’t racist, but first I’d like to correct the idea that he might be in any way trustworthy.

The Washington Post has been keeping tally of Don’s porkies. Back in January they recorded that during his first three years as President he had clocked up 16,241 false or misleading claims. And he shows no sign of stopping. This is just a brief summary of yesterday’s White House press conference:-

  • He falsely suggested the pandemic was not predictable when, in fact, the US intelligence community, public health experts and officials in Trump’s own administration had warned for years that the country was at risk from a pandemic, including specific warnings about a coronavirus outbreak.
  • He falsely said the testing in the US is “better” than any other country in the world. In fact, some of the initial coronavirus tests sent out to states were seriously flawed – some did not even work. The CDC had insisted it would manufacture the tests itself, creating further problems.
  • He tried to suggest that Obama’s handling of H1N1 was worse than his handling of Covid-19, when in fact Obama declared an emergency within two weeks of a first confirmed US case. There is currently the hastag 70days on Twitter, that being the time Trump wasted downplaying and denying the virus.
  • He falsely said airline passengers were getting tests upon landing, which is not true.
  • He attacked the inspector general report about testing shortage as politically motivated from an Obama appointee, when in reality, the official behind the report has had a long career with the non-partisan office.
  • He also said the country would open “sooner than people think”, even as health officials are warning of a gradual return from current restrictions.

Six more to add to the total! Most serious commentators are now so used to his systemic and almost casual dishonesty that yet another lie on top of thousands barely warrants a mention. What mystifies me is the rapture with which the Trumpanzee will accept his word almost as gospel.

We live in a time when almost everything Trump says can be easily and quickly fact-checked, but they still “follow the gourd” even to the point of putting their lievs at risk ingesting medicines unsuited to treatment of Covid-19 becuase Trump said it was OK.

Josef Goebbels would have been so jealous.

Coronarse Virus 1

I haven’t blogged for five months – to be honest I can’t be all that arsed about things these days. But I’ve got some time on my hands over the next three months and I need to get one or two things off my chest.

Firstly, to any of you that are belly-aching about the UK government’s response to this bloody virus, STFU and take a long, cold, hard look across the pond. Bojo might not be your cup of tea, but he’s making a far, far better fist of this than that ignorant, dangerous tangerine tosspot in Washington.  There! That’s that said!

It is a fact that a national crisis will bring out the best in some people. Unfortunately it also brings out the worst in others. There is a line in the 1951 (and best!) version of A Christmas Carol in which the late Jack Warner as Mr Jorkin rebukes his colleague with the observation “We’re all cutthroats under this fancy linen, Mr. Snedrig.” The last two weeks have proven just how true that is. For all our technological and scientific advancement humans can still be feral.

The current spate of “panic buying” is misnamed – it’s not panic, it’s carefully calculated selfishness. It is also woefully and deliberately ignorant and all these sheeple have managed to do is to fill up the garage or spare bedroom. And why toilet paper, FFS? The virus makes you cough up a lung not shit yourself. From day one there never has been a shortage of arse-paper – one factory in Manchester churns out nearly 5 million rolls of the stuff every day on its own – about enough to wipe every arse in Greater London or clear up after one Katie Hopkins press conference. And that’s just one manufacturer – the Andrex puppy has three such factories  and that’s not even starting to count the stuff we import.

No! All these clowns have achieved is to fuck up the supply chain to a monumental degree. Just be sensible about things and take what you need and there won’t be a problem. Of course the looters don’t see it as a problem. They’ve got what they want and every other bugger can go screw themselves. The lack of common sense, decency or morality would be shocking but for the fact that it’s just one more example among many of human stupidity. I’ve been watching and despairing …

… and then I found this:

Two teenagers in South Yorkshire have been handing out care packages to vulnerable people.

Matty Merry and Sam Hornsby, who are both 17, have been giving out bags containing items such as porridge, toilet roll and teabags to people in the village of Harlington who are self-isolating due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sam said: “I really advise people to do it if you’re actually able to and if you’re willing to do it because I think at this moment in time, we really do need to pull together as a community.”  Clicky.

… maybe humans have a future after all.

Six Weeks of THIS???

Just been watching the wind-up of the first reading of the election bill in the Commons. Basically just half an hour of ad hominem attacks on each other.

Soooooooo tired of all this Yah, Sucks, Boo behaviour and then one of them has the nerve to stand up on a point of order and say they should all be a model to the country during the coming campaign.

We’re doomed, I tell you!

Seriously?

I’ve just read the Parliamentary Standards Committee’s report on Keith Vaz. (Yes, I know I need a life, but they don’t make ‘em in my size!)

Vaz was for years the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee – in which capacity I’ve seen him be quite impressive and magisterial with people who haven’t quite towed the line. He rather impressed me with the way he dealt with Camilla BatmanDooDah’s histrionics when Kids Company went tits up. However, if you’re going to present yourself as a champion of truth you’d better not have too many nasty little secrets in your closet.

Now, I’ve been a follower of politics for knocking on for half a century and in that time I’ve heard some absolute whoppers. But two rent boys in your flat at 11.30pm on a Saturday, you talk about having had bareback sex and then agree to pay for Class A drugs, all of which is recorded and you would then like us all to believe that they were only there to go through the Dulux catalogue with you?  Pull the other one!

The Committee was quite clear – they couldn’t give a toss about who does what with what and how to whom – even going so far as to remind us that paying for a toe curler is not illegal. It was his offering to stump up for some  Class A  and the rather pathetic excuses he then came up with which finished him.

Time for this humbug to resign!

Election

Well, at least a general election might knock some of those ceaseless christmas adverts out of the TV schedules – even though both make unrealistic promises about how wonderful our busy lives could be if we just voted Tampax …