tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-144224352015-05-30T17:03:25.704+01:00ObsoleteSelf-destructive dickish leftism from who knows where. || "It is now less and less necessary for the writer to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality." -- JG Ballard. || "In other words, the male is an incomplete female, a walking abortion.... To be male is to be deficient, emotionally limited; maleness is a deficiency disease and males are emotional cripples." -- Valerie Solanas.septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.comBlogger3772125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-13134942613106387482015-05-29T11:58:00.003+01:002015-05-29T11:58:52.425+01:00Justice.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iF-5tvaVmvk" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wkXuSd5lsGA" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-63270886438012582162015-05-28T18:00:00.000+01:002015-05-28T23:14:26.370+01:00Film review: V/H/S.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">You know what I miss? Stupid, dumb, meat and potatoes slasher films.&nbsp; There's a killer, he kills people, mostly idiotic, annoying teenagers who may or may not have been in some way responsible for why he is the way he is, he does it in inventive, amusing ways, with or without wisecracks, until there's only one left, often a young woman, who manages to outsmart him.&nbsp; The door is left open for a sequel, it's all accomplished in 80-100 minutes, the colour theme of the film is vibrant rather than washed out brown/green, it's not lensed by a cinematographer with Saint Vitus' dance, and the editor refuses the temptation to make a bazillion cuts every nanosecond.<br /><br />Is that too much to ask?&nbsp; Is it really necessary for every other new "horror" film to be a part of the "found footage" genre, or to follow the lead set by the Paranormal Activity series of films, which seemingly exist only so as to make life even more miserable for the zero-hour, minimum wage slaves at the local World of Cine who have to pick up all the spilt popcorn between screenings?&nbsp; How is it I cannot think of a single horror film released in the past 5 years other than <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1959332/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1">American Mary</a> that I would watch again?&nbsp; I haven't seen It Follows, You're Next or As Above, So Below yet, all of which have had somewhat decent reviews, but I'm really not getting my hopes up for any of them.<br /><br />And so we come to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2105044/?ref_=rvi_tt">V/H/S</a>.&nbsp; Not only is it a found footage horror film, it's a portmanteau/anthology found footage horror film!&nbsp; That means there's not just 120 minutes of shaky, wibbly, constantly breaking up and decayed video to enjoy, but it's broken up into segments, sort of but not really tied together by the conceit of a gang of idiots breaking into a house to steal a tape, only they don't know what it is or what's on it.<br /><br />Except the film doesn't so much as bother to follow that conceit, as on a couple of occasions the next segment just begins without one of our intrepid heroes pressing play.&nbsp; Still, we're not really here for the plot, we're here for the spookums aren't we, so what does it matter?<br /><br />The film then opens with a sexual assault.&nbsp; Yep.&nbsp; Turns out our narrators, or at least guides have been making $50 a pop by grabbing women on the street and exposing their breasts, all the while filming their attacks.&nbsp; These are then posted online.&nbsp; They do this, needless to say, in broad daylight, without covering their faces.&nbsp; Only one of the group has found out they can make a whole heap more dough by just breaking into this one house and stealing a tape.&nbsp; They don't ask for any more details, they'll just know when they've found it.<br /><br />There is, of course, a dead guy in the house, in front of the obligatory stack of TVs and video machines.&nbsp; Which tape is it?&nbsp; Why do they not just gather up all the tapes and leave to review them elsewhere, as indeed one of the group suggests at one point, only to decide it's a fanciful idea?&nbsp; Why are they filming everything they're doing?&nbsp; Why I have not already switched this rubbish off?<br /><br />The leery, nasty tone set from the off continues in our first segment, Amateur Night, directed by David Bruckner.&nbsp; Our new group of 3 bros have only scored a pair of those spy glasses off the interwebs, the sort "used" by reality porn producers to film them picking up a random woman off the street and then having a rather jolly time together!&nbsp; Guess what they're going to do with the glasses?&nbsp; Do you think things won't go according to plan?&nbsp; Do you think that despite the implication being this is meant to suggest objectifying women isn't a good thing it won't in fact do anything of the kind?&nbsp; Do you think the pay off despite everything being wrong will be worth it, rather than a mess of CGI and shaky cam?&nbsp; Does the director think everyone in the audience won't be asking themselves WHY HASN'T HE TAKEN THE GODDAMN GLASSES OFF?<br /><br />Next up is director Ti West, known for 2009's <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1172994/?ref_=nv_sr_1">House of the Devil</a>, with "Second Honeymoon".&nbsp; His segment ends with one of the goons asking, "what the fuck was that?".&nbsp; My sentiments exactly.&nbsp; The one thing that can be said in its favour is that if you were to find a tape with a real murder filmed on it, it would probably make as little sense as his section does.&nbsp; Couple on a road trip, film themselves as they go along, only there's someone letting themselves into their hotel room who picks the camera up and records them as they sleep, only THEY USE A LIGHT AND YET IT SOMEHOW DOESN'T WAKE THE COUPLE UP.&nbsp; Nor does the couple notice anything amiss, apart from some money having gone missing.&nbsp; It's dreadful.<br /><br />We then have Glenn McQuaid's "Tuesday the 17th", which as you would expect from the title is sort of playing with genre conventions except not really.&nbsp; Best of the bunch which is saying very little is Joe Swanberg's The Sick Thing That Happened To Emily When She Was Younger, which consists of Skype chats between a couple living apart, with the Emily of the title convinced her apartment is haunted.&nbsp; It is, and yet it isn't.&nbsp; In fact it's something far worse.&nbsp; It's not in the slightest bit scary, but it does switch things up after what's gone before, although again there's some unnecessary leeriness.&nbsp; Last is "10/31/98", and we are back once again into everything that is wrong with the found footage genre.&nbsp; Our gang of slightly older bros don't think to call the police and instead steam in to save the victim of some crazies at a house where they thought there was a Halloween party, with the expected consequences.<br /><br />The problem with "found footage" is it asks you to suspend your disbelief twice over.&nbsp; While you can accept the horror genre's tropes of the victims of the masked assailant being stupid and either unable/unwilling to call for help, to do so when you're also being asked to believe that what you're viewing is a document of something that happened is a step too far.&nbsp; It can work only in certain specific circumstances, whether it be in the woods like Blair Witch Project, away from a phone signal, or in the depths of the rainforest <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0078935/?ref_=nv_sr_1">as in Cannibal Holocaust</a>.&nbsp; That the high point of the genre is still the one that started it all rather suggests it's not going to be improved upon.&nbsp; Please filmmakers, for the sake of our sanity, give it a rest.&nbsp;</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-32472390041000720052015-05-27T23:59:00.000+01:002015-05-28T23:39:27.105+01:00The Queen's speech: the worst is here.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">My yearly shtick when it <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32894214">comes to the Queen's speech</a> <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/06/its-not-peak-its-plateau.html">is to bore on about how fantastically</a> <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2013/05/the-cavalcade-of-idiocy-rolls-on.html">absurd the spectacle is</a>.&nbsp; People in full possession of their faculties walking backwards; the shutting of doors in faces in reference to something that happened during the reign of Ethelred the Unready; Lords and Ladies done up as though they're going to an especially classy fancy dress keys in the bowl party afterwards; the BBC in full obsequious mode, which still isn't good enough for the Mail and Telegraph; and its heralding, defining, dunderheaded centrepiece is Brenda, in full regalia complete with crown weighing the same as a new born infant, reading out an essay inscribed on goatskin vellum as written by a slightly dim 15-year-old GCSE politics student.&nbsp; Liz, bless her, is 90 next year.&nbsp; Surely the time has come for her to tell the idiots who keep insisting she involves herself in this pantomime to fawk off.<br /><br />Only the point has finally been reached where it's not the pomp and circumstance itself which is most absurd, <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/queens-speech-2015">it's the speech itself</a>.&nbsp; Queenie has had to read out some nonsense in her time, and has managed somehow to keep her thoughts to herself on just what she thinks about having to say things like "Northern powerhouse".&nbsp; Never before though has the speech reached such heights of fatuity, been so obviously and deliberately contradictory, to the point where it's obvious that the Tories are rubbing everyone's noses in it, and so aggravatingly obtuse.<br /><br />It starts in the opening sentence.&nbsp; "My Government (because it is Her government, just as we serfs are subjects, not citizens) will legislate in the interests of everyone in our country".&nbsp; No, that's an impossibility; what the writer means is the government will legislate in what it believes to be everyone's best interests, which is a rather different thing altogether.&nbsp; "It will adopt a one nation approach," which means whatever the government says is a one nation approach, "helping working people get on," meaning absolutely nothing, "supporting aspiration", which means precisely what it says, "giving new opportunities to the most disadvantaged," by saying you're on your own pal, "and bringing different parts of our country together," presumably by uniting them in opposition to the Tories.<br /><br />And so it goes on.&nbsp; Apparently the long-term plan was, is to provide economic stability and security at every stage of life, which is a new one on me.&nbsp; Legislation will be brought forward to help achieve full employment, as will legislation to provide raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, and provide more people with the security of a job.&nbsp; Not with job security, take note, but the security of a job.&nbsp; Nor is the referendum on EU membership anything to do with <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/05/cameron-hostage-to-fortune.html">David Cameron's pathetic kowtowing to his backbenchers</a> during the coalition; no, the government will pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all Member States.&nbsp; What a kind, loving, generous, selfless gesture on the part of the Tories, eh?<br /><br /><a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">On reading the Tory manifesto</a>, it seemed fairly apparent that so bonkers was much of its content it had been put together with the intention of bartering away the more reprehensible parts in the coalition negotiations.&nbsp; They weren't really going to cut £12bn from welfare, not least as they couldn't begin to explain where they could make such massive savings, and they weren't going to really legislate to make it illegal to raise income tax, national insurance or VAT, that's just unbelievably stupid.&nbsp; They're not that stupid, are they?&nbsp; No, David Cameron and George Osborne are sensible chaps underneath the laughable skin suits they wear, and the remaining Lib Dems will see they don't go through with this blazing idiocy.<br /><br />If the Tories didn't expect to be implementing their manifesto as a whole, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/27/david-cameron-packs-plenty-into-his-one-party-queens-speech">as we're told they didn't</a>, then winning a majority put them in a happy conundrum.&nbsp; Do they now row back from the lunatic bribes they came up with, like selling off houses they don't so much as own on the cheap, or abolishing inheritance tax, breaking promises they never believed in to begin with?&nbsp; Or do they carry on regardless, as to not do so would be to aggravate the exact people, mainly the backbenchers, who did think the party meant it?<br /><br />Well, now we have the answer.&nbsp; The strange thing is <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/may/27/threat-exit-human-rights-act-convention-dropped-tories-cameron">all the comment on the decision to "delay" abolishing the Human Rights Act</a> and replacing it with a mythical "British" Bill of Rights, which while always a completely stupid idea and utterly pointless without leaving the European Convention is not even close to the barking mad imbecility of the manifesto promises that were in the speech.&nbsp; That getting rid of the HRA is the one thing that seems to unite the disparate elements in the Commons, important as resisting such an act of vandalism is, says much of just what isn't going to face the same level of opposition.&nbsp; It has at least <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/greenslade/2015/may/27/the-sun-attacks-david-cameron-over-british-bill-of-rights-delay">shown precisely how the Sun and Mail</a> intend to play matters from here on out: again, not for them concerns about putting moron restrictions on tax, but rage at how they still won't get their way, having been principally responsible for the demonisation of the HRA.&nbsp; How dare the government they got elected snub them so?<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/27/wanted-tory-moderates-party-right">As Rafael Behr wrote this morning</a>, most Tories are taking their unexpected victory as proof both of just how brilliant they are and the uselessness of their opponents.&nbsp; This is hardly surprising when the SNP, declaring itself the unofficial opposition, isn't content with its 56 seats in Scotland and would rather like to <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-32897520">force Alistair Carmichael into resigning</a> for daring to leak something that portrayed poor wee Nicola Sturgeon in a less flattering light.&nbsp; In such circumstances are bad laws passed, not least when Labour as led by Harriet Harman is in such a supine, self-absorbed mood.&nbsp; Deciding not to oppose the EU referendum which is now coming like it or not is one thing; to not continue to oppose the cut in the benefit cap to £23,000 is quite another.&nbsp; Exceptional circumstances don't apparently mean anything to a party hierarchy convinced that it was not being quite harsh enough on those on benefits that did for them.<br /><br />It's all the more dispiriting when there were quite so many <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-32898443">breathtakingly awful laws proposed in the speech</a>, including some that will directly target Labour.&nbsp; Not given a direct mention was the reintroduction of the redrawing of the constituency boundaries, destined to make a Labour majority even harder, although you can bet it will return at some stage.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/27/labour-funding-hit-change-political-levy-bill">Instead the Tories made do with a surprise inserting into the proposed Trade Unions Bill</a> of an opt-in system for the political fund element of union subscriptions, as clearly we can't have ordinary hard-working people funding parties, <a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/steerpike/2015/02/nicola-blackwood-accepts-donation-from-banker-who-used-same-tax-avoidance-scheme-as-jimmy-carr/">as opposed to the super-rich</a>.&nbsp; The obscene hypocrisy of a government legislating to require strike ballots are supported by 40% of those eligible when it won only 36.9% of the vote meanwhile is chutzpah defined.<br /><br />Then there's the clusterfuck of Home Office bills, including not just the "extremism" bill, introduced by David Cameron saying that no longer would <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/may/13/counter-terrorism-bill-extremism-disruption-orders-david-cameron">government leave alone those who obey the law</a> and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/27/wide-ranging-snoopers-charter-to-extend-powers-of-security-services">the return of a supercharged communications bill</a> destined to give the intelligence agencies total legal cover to do whatever the hell they like with our data, but also an <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/may/27/legal-highs-ban-technically-cover-alcohol-cigarettes-coffee">overarching criminalisation of (il)legal highs</a>.&nbsp; Only the government obviously can't call them that, and so has decided on "psychoactive substances" instead.&nbsp; I joked not so long back <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/03/5-years-in-prison-for-not-doing-your.html">it would be easier if the government started declaring what was legal</a> as opposed to illegal, and yet this is exactly what they are proposing to do.&nbsp; Yes, apparently under this new bill "any substance intended for human consumption that is capable of producing a psychoactive effect" will be made illegal, except for those it defines are legal.&nbsp; Older heads might be reminded of the difficulty government lawyers had in giving the police powers to shut down free parties, which led to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criminal_Justice_and_Public_Order_Act_1994">the Criminal Justice Act of 94</a> defining in law the music being targeted as consisting of "sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats".&nbsp; It doesn't seem to have gotten through to our lawmakers the only reason the "legal high" market has flourished is precisely because of the illegality of and restrictions placed on the manufacture of MDMA and the rest, just as it didn't occur to them back in 94 that you'll never stop people from trying to enjoy themselves, but then what else is government for?&nbsp; Someone, I forget who, once said the Daily Mail owed its existence to the outrage some feel that others are out there having fun, and so the same could be said of so many of our politicians.<br /><br />There is perhaps one worthwhile bill in the whole lot, and that's the childcare act.&nbsp; Except doubling the number of hours of free childcare available for three and four-year-olds looks certain to be giving with one hand and taking with the other, as tax credits will most likely be <a href="http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7762">cut in the search for the £12bn from welfare</a>.&nbsp; Which just reminds us this is only the beginning of 2 years of unrelenting misery, with George Osborne due to deliver his second budget of the year on July the 8th, setting out precisely how hard and fast we're going to be screwed.&nbsp; As someone I need to thank for yet again putting up with my shit recently said, it's going to get worse before it gets better.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com2tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-45659382180086277282015-05-26T20:02:00.001+01:002015-05-27T17:03:25.445+01:00A return to May the 7th (and everything that's happened since).<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Shallow like a line of piss / You're just a motherfucker<br /><br />(Hello readers!&nbsp; This is rather long, as in 3,000 words long, but after two weeks of feeling sorry for myself you're hopefully ready to be bored stupid once again, right?)<br /><br />Shall we, if we dare, return to May the 7th?&nbsp; Now, of course, we know that Labour's campaign was a disaster, Ed Miliband had spent 5 years making the party unelectable and that not a single member of the shadow cabinet believed in so much as a solitary policy in the manifesto.&nbsp; All these are now Facts, and cannot be disagreed with unless you are in Denial and clearly not on the side of the Modernisers blazing a trail towards a majority government in just another 5 short years.<br /><br />Still, let's forget all that for a second while I relate two personal anecdotes that should have tipped me off that Labour was about to get fucked harder than a dead duck by a deranged and randy mallard.&nbsp; First, where I work the polling station is next door.&nbsp; When I got in someone had taken it upon themselves to stick up a laminated A4 sheet on the fence next to the building that said something along the lines of "All the main political parties have conspired to cover up child abuse in their ranks.&nbsp; Are you really going to vote for people who have connived in the rape of children?"&nbsp; Believer in free speech that I am, I swiftly binned it.&nbsp; Second, previously the polling station had been in the community centre opposite rather than in the sports club slightly up the road, confusing plenty of people.&nbsp; Thinking one young couple, the bloke expensively tatted up, were similarly perplexed, I advised them where the station was.&nbsp; "Oh, we're not voting", he scoffed, as though the idea was only slightly less ridiculous than if I'd suggested they perform a Manumission-style sex show right there in the street.<br /><br />Except I put such bad omens out of my mind.&nbsp; If there was hope, it lay in the polls.&nbsp; How could they possibly be wrong? "It couldn't be closer" was the Graun's front page.&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/LordAshcroft/status/596263585749278720">"All the final polls so far seem to be showing a shift towards Labour"</a>, tweeted new king of psephology Lord Ashcroft, whose constituency polls implied Labour should romp home in the Tory marginals.&nbsp; Why, even <a href="http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2015/04/finchley-golders-green/">Finchley and Golders Green looked possible for Labour</a>.&nbsp; Everyone was preparing not for the unthinkable, a Tory majority, but the kind of result that could take weeks to unpick.&nbsp; Clearly it was serious if not just the Mail and Sun were descending into paroxysms of fear at how a Labour minority government might abolish non-dom status and tax mansions, but the editor of the Telegraph no less was making impassioned pleas in the middle of the night to <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=7&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CE4QFjAG&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.independent.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk%2Fpolitics%2Fgeneralelection%2Fthe-daily-telegraphs-editor-just-mass-emailed-its-subscribers-telling-them-to-vote-tory-10232067.html&amp;ei=jrVkVZr1AeS57gbn8oHgDQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNHM8e3dKsVQCn9ukJSn5KceAH2x8g&amp;sig2=UH7Bi3oGzsIzOOzF9MiUVw">readers signed up to receive marketing emails</a>.&nbsp; The Tories were poised to declare Miliband illegitimate, Cameron was going to stay ensconced in Downing Street if the result was even remotely questionable, and <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CCkQFjAB&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fcommentisfree%2F2015%2Fmay%2F04%2Ftories-nick-clegg-lib-dem-leader-cameron&amp;ei=q7VkVYz3IITV7AbRwYPgAw&amp;usg=AFQjCNF4esTC4SOlaItxLGm--E2jPJH2hw&amp;sig2=Xxh64YZhNXShHD_kIG4Eug">saving Nick Clegg</a> was deemed more important than some Tory target seats.&nbsp; More than anything I was cautiously optimistic.&nbsp; I'm never optimistic.&nbsp; Something was horrifically, spectacularly, cataclysmically wrong, and yet I failed to see the signs.<br /><br />The clocks struck ten, David Dimbleby revealed the exit poll projection and Big Ben rang out death knells.&nbsp; Contrary to much that has been written since, the polls were only fantastically wrong on a single score.&nbsp; The 37% Tory share was just about within the 3% margin of error of most of them.&nbsp; They got the Lib Dem, UKIP and SNP shares more or less on the nose too.&nbsp; Only on Labour's dismal, catastrophic 31% (<a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election/2015/results">or 30.4%, if we're being precise</a>) did they not manage to get close to just how short Ed Miliband's party was going to fall.&nbsp; Everything had been predicated on the polls being right; the parties since have claimed <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/05/late-swing-labours-private-polls-showed-tories-ahead-christmas">they either had an inkling or knew the Labour vote</a> was being hideously overstated, but if that's really true they didn't share their insight with anyone, not least the same journalists they spend much of their time leaking to.&nbsp; The failure was pretty much total, even if at their most pessimistic/optimistic the leaders had imagined just such a scenario.<br /><br />How were the polls so wrong?&nbsp; At this stage, you can still take your pick.&nbsp; Probably the best indication so far nonetheless is <a href="http://www.icmunlimited.com/media-centre/blog/icm-guardian-prediction-poll-deconstructing-its-performance">the breakdown by ICM of their final poll for the Graun</a>, which shows that rather than it being down to a late swing or "shy" Tories, both two of the most immediately popular explanations, including from myself, it's more likely the problem is the sampling.&nbsp; The raw data for the poll, before the weighting was applied designed to counteract the shy Tory phenomenon blamed for 92's debacle, had Labour and the Tories neck and neck on 35%.&nbsp; Indeed, it was the demographic weighting that did the most damage, boosting Labour up to 38% and the Tories down to 32%, before the subsequent weighting for past vote, turnout and adjustment for those who refuse to say who they're going to vote for now but will say who they did last time brought the figures back to 35% for Labour and 34% for the Tories.<br /><br />In other words, the best explanation we have thus far is polling, whether on the internet or by telephone, isn't able to reach the people necessary to produce a representative sample, and that unrepresentative sample is then made even worse by weighting that either needs fundamentally reconfiguring or ripping up and starting again.&nbsp; This doesn't mean there wasn't something of a late swing, or still some shy Tories, as the exit poll also underestimated the number of seats the Tories would win, but neither can plausibly explain just how massively out of whack the Tory and Labour share of the votes were.<br /><br />We must then return to my personal anecdotes, as frankly we have little else.&nbsp; First, there's an awful lot of people out there who aren't apathetic so much as apoplectic at a political elite that doesn't in fact exist.&nbsp; Yes, it probably was just a lone nutbar who stuck that sign up, and yet that person spoke for a lot of others who believe the absolute worst of what they read in the papers.&nbsp; There has yet to be the slightest evidence presented there was anything <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/11/there-isnt-whitewash-at-home-office.html">like a cover-up of child abuse at Westminster</a>, as opposed to the possibility there was a lot of looking in the opposite direction, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/08/victims-today-undesirables-tomorrow.html">as we've seen in places like Rotherham for varying reasons</a>, and already people are convinced of the depravity of those in high places.<br /><br />Second, and much more fundamentally, is the failure of Labour and the left in general to get out the youth vote.&nbsp; Estimates vary as to how many 18-24 year-olds did turn out: a poll with a 9,000 strong sample for Ipsos-Mori <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/22/election-2015-who-voted-for-whom-labour-conservatives-turnout">suggests it could have been as low as 43%</a>, which sounds far more realistic <a href="http://www.johnband.org/blog/2015/05/09/there-was-no-late-swing-and-there-were-no-shy-tories/">than the British Election Society's estimate of 60%</a>, which was still below YouGov's "certain to vote" 69%.&nbsp; When less than half of those with arguably the most at stake couldn't be motivated enough to do something that only needs doing once every 5 years, there encapsulated is why we now have the Conservatives with a majority.&nbsp; Yes, you can blame wannabe messiahs, the vacuous stupidity of youth culture, if not the young themselves, the failure to counteract the they're all the same fatuity, which among the older saw the UKIP vote skyrocket, the fatheaded selfishness of a distinct minority and all the rest of it, but if you can't convince 18-24-year-olds to vote for something better than the whitest, most middle class bloke on the face of the planet, then frankly you deserve what you get.<br /><br />Finally, and interconnectedly, we have the Tory everything we do must be for the retiring boomers philosophy.&nbsp; So much of the talk since the election has been about how the Tories won because of how they were on the side of the aspirational, weren't going to tar and feather entrepreneurs in town centres or tax the rabbit hutches of children in central London, most of which has been from the Labour leadership challengers and other assorted "modernisers".&nbsp; Bullshit.&nbsp; The Tories won because they dedicated so much time and energy to keeping their core vote on side, with every ploy and bung going.&nbsp; Hate inheritance tax?&nbsp; We're abolishing it.&nbsp; Want to be certain we won't do anything to your benefits, although we certainly will to those of the low-paid and in-work?&nbsp; Triple locked.&nbsp; Want to blow your pension all in one go if you so wish, or buy a flat or two and then rent them out to the brats you spawned to replace yourselves?&nbsp; Already done.&nbsp; Want to generally fuck over everyone younger than you, which is funny because you don't know them?&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">Hey, that was the entire point of our manifesto</a>.&nbsp; Welcome aboard.&nbsp; We, or at least I said <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/03/very-much-country-for-old-men.html">this is going to be no country for young men</a>, and lo, so it did come to pass.<br /><br />Labour did not lose on the <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-labour-manifesto.html">basis of the manifesto</a>.&nbsp; The manifesto lacked passion, anger and failed to radiate strength, but it didn't want for policies which were popular, or at least the polls at the time said they were.&nbsp; Labour lost because of the above, and a few other distinct reasons.&nbsp; Ed Miliband, much as I came to love the rubber faced goon as only another sad, lonely weirdo can, just wasn't seen as prime ministerial.&nbsp; He faced a mountain and only began to scale it when it was too late to reach the summit.&nbsp; I thought the Paxman interview, when he replied with his defiant and yet sympathetic "who cares?" to how he was presented in the media, along with his refusal to play the referendum game in the Question Time debate were the kind of answers that won people over, not necessarily because they liked or agreed with what he said but because they could respect him for doing so.&nbsp; Almost certainly more damaging and what everyone else saw was the battering he received on the same show for "overspending", even if those assailing him were Tory stooges, as at least two were.&nbsp; Labour lost because it wasn't trusted on the economy.&nbsp; The party that brought the economy back from the brink, only for George Osborne to push it over the edge with his austerity programme, took the blame over and over for something it didn't do.<br /><br />By the same token, the Conservatives did not win on the basis of their dismal, hate-filled manifesto.&nbsp; They won because David Cameron, as essentially David Cameron was the Conservative campaign, was seen as more plausible.&nbsp; He spent one half of it going through the motions and then the second half trying to convince everyone just how "up 4 it" he was, talking to empty cowsheds and specially chosen farmers about where milk comes from, and yet it was enough.&nbsp; George Osborne meanwhile was kept as far away from voters as possible, doing work experience at various businesses presumably as part of community payback for stalling the recovery, while all the other favourites who have since returned to our screens and newspapers like Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove and Theresa May were locked away entirely lest they scare the horses.<br /><br />And you know why else?&nbsp; Because let's face it, there are a substantial minority of people in this country who aren't just ignorant cunts, they are proud and positively revel in being horrible, ignorant cunts.&nbsp; I don't mean in the oh, people who don't vote Labour are ignorant sense, as that itself is completely ignorant.&nbsp; What is ignorant is the increasing tendency on the part of very intelligent people to do themselves down on the basis <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/11/labour-election-defeat-britain-tristram-hunt">that they don't talk what the common people do like</a>.&nbsp; Oh, they're not like us, they don't talk like us goes the wail from people who are in fact mostly very well represented, they don't understand the life of the everyday man, when they very much do and most politicians spend far too much time if anything trying to understand exactly what Mr and Mrs Average Voter want at any precise moment in time.<br /><br />We seem to have reached a point where it's increasingly seen as snobbish to use words longer than three syllables, or indeed any word that your average 8-year-old doesn't use everyday, as ordinary people don't talk like that any more.&nbsp; No, perhaps they don't.&nbsp; Then again, to a lot of ordinary people it's perfectly normal to use a variation on fuck in every sentence, and excuse me if I'd rather our politicians didn't emulate that trait.&nbsp; This ignorance doesn't always but often does go hand in hand with the they're all the same cuntery, and rather than fight against this bigotry of low expectations, low aspirations (yes, because that's what this is) and low everything, we in fact have everyone wanting a bit of it.<br /><br />Something else some otherwise very intelligent people took from the election results was, well, at least the BNP got about ten votes.&nbsp; Why was that?&nbsp; It couldn't be down to how we now have a party that says yes, it's perfectly OK to be ignorant, insular and proud of it, could it?&nbsp; The fascist vote collapsed precisely because in UKIP there's a home for them where they don't quite feel the same level of self-hatred, nor is the media as visceral in its distaste; if anything, quite the opposite, such is the hard-on they've had for Nigel Farage if not his party as a whole.&nbsp; Not every UKIP voter fits this depiction, of course; many of those who voted UKIP in Labour's heartlands in the north for instance did so as a protest, out of a sense of being ignored and abandoned.&nbsp; All the same, many of those who did vote UKIP are hateful pricks, and if anything considering just how much of popular culture is currently dedicated to uncovering "the other" and then wiping their faces in their own vomit, it's a surprise "only" 4 million joined the Farage bandwagon.<br /><br />Lastly, *gasp*, we have to consider the sheer horror that has been the Labour leadership contest thus far.&nbsp; Within 24 hours the manifesto had been abandoned, disowned, insulted, shat upon, as had Ed.&nbsp; Looking at Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham, and all the other wastes of flesh that frankly don't deserve to be referred to by name, I cannot see a single thing that I should care about or ever want to believe in.&nbsp; Who knows exactly what it was <a href="http://labourlist.org/2015/05/there-was-no-scandal-chuka-umunna-reveals-why-he-dropped-out-of-the-leadership-race/">that caused Chuka Umunna to drop out</a> before the contest had even begun, whether it really was he wasn't ready for his friends and relatives to be dropped into the media maelstrom, or if he was about to be exposed as a dog botherer, as it doesn't really matter which.&nbsp; That he couldn't face up to it just shows what a bottler party Labour now is, and the lack of empathy it has for those who do take on the worst that can be thrown at them.<br /><br />Ed Miliband spent 5 years having every little bit of shit that could be found directed straight back into his face.&nbsp; The surprise if anything was that by the election campaign, everything had been used already.&nbsp; There was nothing left.&nbsp; Ed's reward for having chosen to do things the difficult way?&nbsp; For his entire leadership to be treated as something that couldn't be repudiated fast enough.&nbsp; I know it's not just about his electoral failure but also how his leadership was long viewed within the party, with no one prepared to stand against him for fear it would make things worse, and yet he still deserved, deserves far better.&nbsp; Indeed, I challenge anyone to seriously tell me how any of the current line up will be a better leader, or any more capable of winning the next election.&nbsp; Rather than take a good hard look at where Labour has gone wrong across the UK, from Scotland where it certainly didn't lose because it was too left-wing, <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=11&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CF0QFjAK&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fpolitics%2F2015%2Fmay%2F21%2Fpollster-john-curtice-warns-labour-majority-2020-election-improbable-politics&amp;ei=1rlkVZy1NIqKsgH-3oDYCQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNHLXFuVnvHM6P1npoX1dEv3mmmCeQ&amp;sig2=-5ABmiKB3kKY1EvA_X3aUg">as John Curtice among many others have argued</a>, to the north where the threat to the party is not the Conservatives but UKIP, to the cities were the problem the party faces is defectors to the left, the party is still, still, obsessed with how the right-wing media depicts it rather than how real people in the marginals weren't convinced.<br /><br />Labour is haunted by the spectre of Tony Blair, despite the bastard being very much alive.&nbsp; The party doesn't seem to have realised we aren't in the 90s/early 00s any longer, where triangulation worked so long as the media was kept (somewhat) on side and the economy grew.&nbsp; We're in the 2010s, wages are still barely growing, only the luckiest among the young can afford to "aspire", and the previously dominant centre-left parties of Europe are in crisis.&nbsp; And yet all <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=8&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CE0QFjAH&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.independent.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk%2Fpolitics%2Fgeneralelection%2Felection-results-labour-battle-lines-are-drawn-as-members-battle-over-partys-ideology-in-leadership-hustings-10255767.html&amp;ei=IbxkVbSuI8HEsgHj4oC4Cw&amp;usg=AFQjCNGSXWuJ1GF0crbTGDHiJZ30mgH61g&amp;sig2=9mvXPwPq2_w5orsHdaNlnw">we're being offered is reheated</a>, <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=5&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDcQFjAE&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.telegraph.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fpolitics%2Flabour%2F11611709%2FBonfire-of-the-policies-as-Labour-challengers-queue-up-to-ditch-Ed-Milibands-legacy.html&amp;ei=LL9kVZ-oMIynsAHWq4DAAQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNGcC9dJh8ihLzFGOP9dtwj8RJnjeg&amp;sig2=ERZ_Eky_98fSlZItdRIJtw">regurgitated, reconstituted processed</a> <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=4&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDkQqQIwAw&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Fpolitics%2F2015%2Fmay%2F23%2Fyvette-cooper-labour-leadership-general-election&amp;ei=ecBkVfujLMeksgHG14LoBQ&amp;usg=AFQjCNGjrnjdycfKO0h1wDVafRMTvyiFxA&amp;sig2=JyddtMlJY1rRUFB1cJnzqQ">mechanical bullshit</a> of the most shameful quality from meatheads who have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/15/labour-history-leadership">John Harris said it best</a>: most of the Labour elite simply don't have the wit or humility to involve themselves in the debates that are necessary at the margins, that are outside of the comfort zone of consoling themselves with it's all down to how the party wasn't on the side of hard-working people and hard-working families and hard-working wealth creators and hard-working businesses.<br /><br />It wasn't just despair over the election result and other things that led me to take a two-week break, and I apologise sincerely if anyone was truly worried for my wellbeing.&nbsp; I was for a while too, but the worst has passed, thankfully.&nbsp; It was despair over where I, we go from here: I've never been a Labour party member and I very much doubt I ever will be.&nbsp; And yet Ed Miliband's Labour had convinced me we were getting somewhere; yes, it was barely anywhere, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/26/queens-speech-miliband">but for once Polly Toynbee has it right</a> in how different a Labour Queen's speech tomorrow would have been to the Tory one we'll get.&nbsp; Labour at this moment in time looks finished, and Labour in the UK is the only leftish party that has ever won, may ever win power.&nbsp; How do we begin to build a movement that can replace it, that can have that wide-ranging appeal, that can offer the despondent hope and the hopeful a better alternative?&nbsp; How can I change anything when I can't even change myself?<br /><br />I see the parts but not the whole / I study saints and scholars both / No perfect plan unfurls</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-19549581598026358982015-05-11T21:00:00.002+01:002015-05-13T13:14:02.846+01:00I'm not working.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I hurt myself yesterday / To see if I still feel<br /><br /><a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/07/everyone-ive-loved-or-hated-always.html">I've written before about self-harm</a>.&nbsp; It's not cool, kids.&nbsp; Do as I say, not as I do.&nbsp; I didn't expect yesterday to be lying in a field, listening to a bird singing barely 10 feet away, giggling away to myself.&nbsp; I didn't expect that my brain would react to the absurdity of a 30-year-old man scratching at himself with a blade in such an incongruous setting by being precisely that, triggering a laughing fit that didn't stop for 10 minutes.&nbsp; I thought I remembered that hurting myself before hadn't done anything except leave scars.&nbsp; Perhaps it didn't then.&nbsp; All I can relate is that for a good few hours yesterday I felt euphoric.&nbsp; I couldn't wipe the smile off my face as I walked home.&nbsp; Grinning, laughing.&nbsp; Then once I was home it quickly wore off.&nbsp; The pain remained, still does somewhat.&nbsp; It pulses, burns slightly, like your skin does when the heat of the sun on it becomes too much.<br /><br />Doctors will tell you there are a number of tell-tale signs to depression.&nbsp; Loss of appetite, or rather you all but stop eating.&nbsp; Loss of enjoyment of everything, or rather you return to what you know best, to comfort yourself.&nbsp; You listen to that music, you watch that TV show or those movies, you listen to that man rant about those things.&nbsp; Inability to sleep, which thankfully doesn't concern me as I've been on medication that helps me with that for umpteen years.&nbsp; Alternatively, and this does apply to me, sleeping more.&nbsp; Where before you were getting by on 6 hours you can now go for double that.&nbsp; I speak in a monotone.&nbsp; I stop finding attractive people attractive.&nbsp; I shake.<br /><br />Petrified for the millionth time / Slowly my soul evaporates / No parachutes no dismal clouds / Just this fucking space<br /><br />You don't expect these things.&nbsp; You do expect other things, but you do it anyway, because you've got no self-control, or you use that as an excuse.&nbsp; Let's put it at best, that you're an annoyance, rather than something more visceral, that you disappoint rather than bring someone else down with you because you're such a fucking imbecile.&nbsp; You beat yourself up about it, but that's not the real reason you turn against yourself, is it?&nbsp; You can't leave well alone because you don't know anything else, isn't that it?&nbsp; Can't you admit that you do this because you want to, that it's no one else's fault, despite you saying over and over again you're the only one to blame, do you really mean it?&nbsp; Because it sure as hell doesn't seem like it.&nbsp; Haven't you just proved you're a masochist, and that at root that has something to do with it?&nbsp; You like the pain.&nbsp; You might not want it, but when it comes as it always will you secretly enjoy it.&nbsp; You tell yourself you can't change, and when you demonstrate just that, or think you have, it just reinforces your spectacularly immature world view.&nbsp; There is only one solution, and you're still far too cowardly to let it envelope you totally.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/10/what-bright-side-theres-no-silver-lining-to-this-election-result">It's worse than you think</a>.&nbsp; Yeah, thanks Guardian, tell me something I don't already know.&nbsp; You see <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/10/miliband-made-terrible-mistake-in-ditching-new-labour-says-mandelson">all the old barely human faces</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/09/tony-blair-what-labour-must-do-next-election-ed-miliband">the skin not as thick as it once was</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/09/alan-johnson-labour-aspirational-voters-tony-blair">stretched tauter over bone</a>.&nbsp; What this proves is I was right all along.&nbsp; These people can't even wait until the corpse is cold, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/11/david-miliband-criticises-brother-ed-labour-blairite">their glee total at what has transpired</a>.&nbsp; Had it been the opposite they would have been nowhere to be seen, muttering to themselves about how it couldn't, wouldn't last.&nbsp; Aspiration.&nbsp; The centre ground.&nbsp; Working hard and getting on.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/11/labour-election-defeat-britain-tristram-hunt">Wealth creation and cultural affirmation</a>.&nbsp; Those words coming just after the writer tells us that politics has to be emotional rather than public policy seminar or data collection exercise.&nbsp; This, friends, is what awaits us in the next Labour leader.&nbsp; It doesn't matter that no one <a href="http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/05/09/blairism-offers-no-hope-for-labour">has come up with a prescription so far</a> on how you can win back voters in Scotland that went to the "left" while convincing those in England that went to the right that you aren't going to launch a pogrom on white van men, clearly where Labour went wrong was in not remaining on the centre ground.&nbsp; Like the Lib Dems, who clung to the centre because Nick Clegg decreed it and were duly squashed flat.&nbsp; Labour was just slightly to their left, and apparently that was enough to seal their fate.&nbsp; Pull the other fucking one.<br /><br />This is not evidence Britain is a "fundamentally conservative country", <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/10/tories-mistake-meaning-victory-not-more-conservative-welfare-cameron">says Matthew d'Anconservative</a>, as if it were neither the NHS or BBC would exist.&nbsp; No, Britain in the era when both were created was not a fundamentally conservative country.&nbsp; It was a fundamentally social democratic country.&nbsp; Then it stopped being such and the only reason we retain both is because they remind us of what we once were, that and no one has come up with a better alternative.&nbsp; You can't replace an entire health system.&nbsp; You can get rid of the BBC though, and don't be surprised <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/may/11/john-whittingdale-culture-secretary-bbc-charter-renewal">if that process begins under this glorious government</a>.&nbsp; The Tories would be quite wrong to interpret the election result as a green light to cut welfare, Matt goes on.&nbsp; Why not?&nbsp; Rather than deploring the politics of heartlessness, a good percentage of the public seem to have embraced it.&nbsp; They've displayed a very funny way of saying they disagree with the bedroom tax, for instance.&nbsp; <a href="http://flyingrodent.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/why-x-means-that-we-should-support-my.html">As the inestimable Flying Rodent has repeatedly said</a>, no one makes people watch Benefits Street or all these other gawping documentaries on the poors.&nbsp; See, that's where Labour went wrong: too much emphasis on the poors and the riches, not enough on the middle.&nbsp; Because Labour didn't spend years going on interminably about the squeezed fucking middle, did it?<br /><br />Half of me wants to scream that Labour needs to have the shortest leadership contest possible, regardless of whom comes out at the end of it, because it was during the navel gazing of the contest last time that the Tories banged on endlessly about the crash being all Labour's fault.&nbsp; With neither a Labour or Lib Dem leader in place, although hey, thank heavens for small mercies that Nigel Farage has been preserved for the nation, we can expect the same again.&nbsp; The other half of me though just doesn't give a shit.&nbsp; This result has pretty much proved there's only one thing that does for the Tories, and that's a disaster like Black Wednesday followed by the party obsessing over itself.&nbsp; Even then Labour can only win by going one foot to the left of the Conservatives, and as the more perceptive have pointed out, it wasn't Ed Miliband that screwed Labour in Scotland, it was a certain Mr Blair.&nbsp; It was a very delayed reaction, but reaction it was all the same.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/10/labour-leadership-candidates-chances">Hunt, Kendall, Umunna, Burnham, Cooper</a>, whoever wins they look set to accept in full the prevailing message already dictated.&nbsp; None of them look quite as weird as Miliband did, although Burnham has some especially sensual eyelashes, but you think they're going to be fellated like Blair was by all comers?&nbsp; There's no one, and they have nothing to say.<br /><br />All that's left, all I have left is to point and criticise.&nbsp; I'd like to think I'm reasonable at doing that, I'm dedicated at least if nothing else.&nbsp; I'm also always unexpected.&nbsp; Dedicated and unexpected.&nbsp; What a fantastic epitaph.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com8tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-41036882717877747542015-05-09T21:44:00.003+01:002015-05-09T22:11:05.674+01:00.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Ever have one of those days where, regardless of anything else that was happening, you should have done everything differently?<br /><br />Yesterday was one of those days.&nbsp; And to be truthful, I don't just mean yesterday.&nbsp; I mean every single day of my life since I was oh, 13, just to put a figure on it.&nbsp; 17 years later and I still haven't learned a thing.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-17114504169077284282015-05-08T19:57:00.000+01:002015-05-09T11:19:53.762+01:00Acedia's blackest hole.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Where do we even begin?<br /><br />Perhaps it's best to start <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/05/we-still-need-labour-government.html">with what I and so many</a> <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/05/a-campaign-of-failure.html">others got spectacularly wrong</a>.&nbsp; First, the Lynton Crosby "crossover" happened.&nbsp; It happened at the very last minute, but it happened.&nbsp; Second, the mainstream, overwhelmingly right-wing media has far more influence than anyone on the left or on the internet as a whole has given it credit for in years.&nbsp; Their screeching appeals to their readers not to vote Labour over the past couple of days are almost certainly not the reason the Conservatives have a slender majority, but the months, years of attacks on Labour and their depiction of Ed Miliband as a mixture of Stalin and Mr Bean, to borrow from Vince Cable, have exacted a heavy toll.&nbsp; If you want a reason why UKIP won just shy of 4 million votes, almost as many as the SNP and the Lib Dems combined, you need only look as far as a media that depicts Britain as a country where the power lies not with the white, upper middle classes but with immigrants, benefit claimants, the EU, and a constantly being bent over and sodomised BBC.&nbsp; The real metropolitan elite has succeeded in creating an image of a phony metropolitan elite, where politically correct limp-wristed Guardianistas allow children to be raped and everything that's wrong with the country is down to their smug, sneering attitude of knowing best.&nbsp; You can't support England!&nbsp; You can't talk about immigration!&nbsp; You can't say anything anymore without someone jumping down your throat!<br /><br />Where I would maintain I wasn't wrong is in that no one won this election.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2015/may/07/live-uk-election-results-in-full">Now, plainly, the Conservatives did</a>.&nbsp; They didn't however win on the basis of anything <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">in the Conservative manifesto</a> or almost anything that David Cameron said the whole campaign.&nbsp; The Tories have increased their share of the vote yes, something not achieved since 1900, but the swing is a miniscule 0.5%.&nbsp; The Conservatives won because at the last minute more decided to stick with what they know than risk a Labour minority "held to ransom" by the SNP.&nbsp; Apart from a few exceptional results, like the defenestration of Ed Balls, the Tories have their majority thanks to winning the seats they needed to from their former coalition partner.&nbsp; Nick Clegg's message of dead centrism, which even to me looked as if it might in the end pay dividends failed catastrophically.&nbsp; Why have a Lib Dem MP supporting Tory policies when you can have the real thing?<br /><br />The Labour result is though throat-slittingly, jumping into a gaping chasm, blowing your own head off with a howitzer bad.&nbsp; It represents everything the party must have feared in its darkest moments combined with the very worst of its most gleeful enemies' fantasies.&nbsp; To gain an overall swing of just 1.5% after 5 years of austerity, real terms losses in earnings and hacking away at the public services as only a Tory led government can is not just nightmarish, it suggests Labour as a party is in terminal decline.&nbsp; As we've seen on the continent, it isn't the centre-right parties that have been most squeezed post-crash, it's been those on the centre-left.&nbsp; Unlike in Spain and Greece where parties of the radical left have been the beneficiaries of the collapse, we're seeing a refracted image of the situation in France, where the Front National looks set to become the unofficial opposition.&nbsp; Clearly UKIP aren't going to play that role here, but what has happened is that as all the main parties have moved to the right on immigration and the economy, it's the establishment parties of the left that suffer most.&nbsp; As the Greens will never be a working class alternative to Labour for a whole myriad of reasons, the major shift has been to UKIP, but there has been a much smaller if still significant shift to the left also.<br /><br />How is Labour meant to win those voters back?&nbsp; The more hawkish it is on the deficit and the harsher on immigration the more it loses voters like me to the alternatives on the left.&nbsp; Meanwhile those on the right aren't satisfied as Labour won't go further than merely copying Tory policies.&nbsp; It's utterly stuck, and has next to no room to manoeuvre.<br /><br />For the left to win, it seems the only hope is to have a charismatic leader.&nbsp; They can be an utter bastard, like a certain Mr Blair, or they can be a sign of change rather than stand for anything, like a certain Mr Obama.&nbsp; If you look slightly nerdy, decide that you'd rather than country was just a little bit more equal please sir, and that it's not the best idea in the world <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2013/08/what-syria-vote-does-and-doesnt-signify.html">to chuck bombs at countries without thinking</a> it through first, or to spend the whole of your life brown nosing <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/06/warning-todays-front-pages-could-seriously-damage-your-health">some of the most despicable cunts on the face of the planet</a>, then boy are you fucked.<br /><br />Ed Miliband's gambit was that the country had on a few really quite slight measures shifted all but imperceptibly to the left.&nbsp; In their heart of hearts, perhaps most people do feel that way: they do want a higher minimum wage if not a living one, they do want a job that provides a way out of poverty, which is secure, they do want the corporate behemoths that now run so much of our public services to be just that, rather than service only their shareholders.&nbsp; When it came down to it though, they held onto nurse in case of something worse, the worse being an inconclusive result where a nationalist party set on breaking the country up would hold the balance of power.&nbsp; Yes, the failure to correct or challenge the media/Tory narrative that <a href="http://leftfootforward.org/2015/05/comment-labour-didnt-lose-the-election-because-of-scotland/">Labour was responsible for the crash</a> did have an impact, but then on so many other fronts Labour and indeed all the parties have failed to do the same.&nbsp; For far too long the main three have been too scared to confront voters' prejudices and instead have given in to them.&nbsp; You celebrate the way the country has become diverse and yet you tell us you want an end to immigration right now; you tell us you hate scroungers and yet the welfare bill is increasing because benefits are topping up low wages and subsidising landlords, not to pay for layabouts; you complain about the wait to see a doctor and the threat to the NHS, and yet you're not prepared to pay the taxes to fund it to the same level as health services elsewhere.<br /><br />Who Labour should choose to replace Miliband seems almost moot.&nbsp; It clearly can't be someone else from the Blair/Brown era, which rules out Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham at a stroke.&nbsp; Chuka Umuuna would, should be a frontrunner but while he has steel he lacks said charisma and passion.&nbsp; I'd like to think it's time the party chose a woman, <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CCcQqQIwAg&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fuk-politics-32654262&amp;ei=GwZNVaOsHMH8UI3bgNgI&amp;usg=AFQjCNFHVUrh3WUgU5ayXw1tY1Jpj25zzg&amp;sig2=vjvXvRr-tLIzrAeFrd80mA">and on that front Liz Kendall</a> would probably be the best bet, only yet again there's no reason whatsoever to believe she would make the needed difference when there is so little scope for policy change without losing more voters to UKIP or the Greens.&nbsp; If there is the tiniest, most minute squib of brightness, it's that nothing can possibly get worse for the party in Scotland.&nbsp; It needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, but it can't get any worse.&nbsp; Whether Scotland will still be part of the UK by the time it's ready to challenge again could be the real question.<br /><br />Finally then we must turn to our new overlords.&nbsp; The Conservatives have won a majority, regardless of how, on the back of the most right-wing manifesto since the days of Thatcher.&nbsp; They promise to rip up the Human Rights Act, if only to replace it with a British Bill of Rights codifying the same things, to slash social security to the absolute bone in ways they refused to let us in on, to further ramp up the housing market, to all but abolish inheritance tax, and to run a surplus from which tax cuts in time for the next election will be handed out.&nbsp; Let's surmise that in fact it won't be that bad: Osborne will now look at the books, realise that cutting as much as <a href="https://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/the-tories-and-welfare-machiavellian-or-just-muddling-through/">they say they will is complete lunacy</a>, and that a further delay to reducing the deficit is sensible.&nbsp; We still though will be facing cuts that look unachievable, if that is the party doesn't now renege on its promise to not raise VAT, to posit just one thing it could do instead.<br /><br />As promised by Cameron, the starting gun on the EU referendum has sounded.&nbsp; Let's assume the best: that Cameron gets something from Angela Merkel and the rest that allows him to claim he has successfully renegotiated our membership.&nbsp; Regardless of that, his backbenchers, looking over their shoulders at UKIP once again will be campaigning for the exit.&nbsp; The poll will not be about the benefits of the EU so much as what are seen as the negatives: the open borders, the loss of power, the amount we pay for barmy EU bureaucrats, and so forth.&nbsp; Even if the vote is a yes to stay in, the Scottish referendum has proved that once you've asked the question you will sooner or later have to ask it again, as it's guaranteed the result will be as close as the 55%-45% share north of the border.<br /><br />Then we have the issue of Cameron himself.&nbsp; We know he's not going to serve a third term, so the party leadership battle begins here.&nbsp; At the same time as the EU referendum we're going to have Osborne, May and Boris battling it out, with all that implies for infighting in the party in and around the referendum.&nbsp; When you've won a majority on the back of being right-wing shitbags and those whose support you're trying to get are right-wing shitbags, why on earth would you then head back to the centre?<br /><br />I could go on but that's probably enough and I'm sleep deprived as it is.&nbsp; To be slightly optimistic again, the Tories are still going to have trouble governing: their majority is smaller than it was in 1992, their backbenchers will be just as fractious as in the last parliament, and by-elections will dwindle it further.<br /><br />Let's not lie to ourselves, all the same.&nbsp; Today's result is a disaster for those at the margins of society.&nbsp; It's a disaster for those who believe in internationalism, rather than nationalism.&nbsp; And it's the evidence we should have seen before that the left in England is fucked, probably irrevocably.<br /><br />Have a good weekend.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-67127534994731637422015-05-07T21:51:00.001+01:002015-05-09T10:33:58.016+01:00Erection special!<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">05:53:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Yeah, that's it.&nbsp; This is what you wanted Britain, this is what you're getting.&nbsp; I think the only thing left to do is reprise the only thing of worth Neil Kinnock might have ever said, only I've slightly altered it for 2015:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I warn you not to be ordinary.&nbsp; I warn you not to be young.&nbsp; I warn you not to fall ill.&nbsp; If you're old, you're the only ones who will be protected.&nbsp; Everyone else will be fair game.</span><br /><br /><center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RelR85j09XY" width="480"></iframe></center><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">05:40:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">The strange thing about all this is that turnout doesn't seem to have gone up dramatically, except again for Scotland.&nbsp; It might be 1 or 2 percentage points higher overall, but not to where you might have thought it was the turnout that swung it.&nbsp; Rather it seems to have been the weeks of deadlock that prompted the switch at the last minute, aligned with the SNP fearmongering and perhaps some renewed "shy Tories" shenanigans. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">05:36:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Not that that's surprising when I feel sick to my stomach at what's happened. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">05:26:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Ed Miliband looks to have aged 10 years in one night. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">05:21:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Norwich South, the seat the exit poll had inexplicably flagged up as the other Green win, has gone to Labour with a near 8,000 majority over the Tories.&nbsp; Something went slightly haywire with your sample there lads. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">05:14:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">If by some freak of nature you're one of the 1,141 who voted Green in Bury North, where Labour's James Firth fell short by 378 votes of the Tories, hang your head in shame.&nbsp; It won't have made any difference, but still. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">05:00:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Esther McVey has gone.&nbsp; Quite possibly the only bright spot of the entire night.&nbsp; That's how little we've had compared to the position we started from. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">04:51:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Amazing.&nbsp; Clegg leads his party to a result so terrible they might have less than 10 seats, and yet he hangs on in Sheffield Hallam.&nbsp; Never has a win been less deserved. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">04:47:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Vince Cable has gone.&nbsp; I've knocked Cable on here over the past few years for his bashing the Tories while remaining a minister, but there was the one hope if Clegg lost his seat of there being a Labour-Lib Dem pact of some variety.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Turned to dust, like so much else on this dreadful night/morning. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">04:45:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">The result we're looking at right now is quite possibly the worst of all possible worlds.&nbsp; An indecisive one would have had to put electoral reform back on the agenda, a point being made by Douglas Carswell, who could be UKIP's only MP.&nbsp; If the Tories either fall slightly short or scrape over the line, they have absolutely no reason to make any concessions on that front, and why should they?&nbsp; In Scotland, we now have a party that hates the Tories probably just marginally more than it does both Labour and the union in total control, and will spend every moment of its time at Westminster raising hell, shouting at the complete illegitimacy of whichever government we have.&nbsp; Add in how a referendum on EU membership is now certain, and which will in turn become not so much a vote on Europe as on immigration and the government itself, and to say the next five years look even bleaker than the 5 previous doesn't seem an understatement.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">A few years back now I saw Simon Munnery, not long after he had (bizarrely) appeared on a panel on Newsnight alongside Greg Dyke on the AV referendum.&nbsp; Afterwards, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2011/11/this-country-really-is-fucked-isnt-it.html">according to Munnery</a>, Paxman said to Dyke on the economic situation, "this country really is fucked, isn't it?"</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">If it wasn't then, it is now. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">04:24:</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Results flooding in now.&nbsp; Thurrock, Hendon, 2nd and 3rd on Labour target list, both remain Tory.&nbsp; It was over long ago, but seems to be confirming we're seeing a repeat of 1992 only sans the Sheffield victory rally. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">04:17:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Lynne Featherstone has gone as well.&nbsp; She was one of those who demanded someone <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/nov/13/baby-p-haringey-council">must resign over the death of Baby P</a>, helping along the demonising of social workers that followed.&nbsp; Probably also worth pointing out that David Cameron's bright idea a few months back was that those in a position of authority who fail to protect their wards <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/03/5-years-in-prison-for-not-doing-your.html">should face up to 5 years in prison</a>.&nbsp; That, unfathomably, was one of his less wacky pre-election brainfarts. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">04:11:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Simon Hughes has lost his seat.&nbsp; He you might recall <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/mar/28/carol-ann-duffy-prison-book-ban-pentonville">defended the prisons book ban</a>, and thus richly deserves to lose regardless of the good he has done previously.&nbsp; Not that it's going to make much frigging difference in Labour beating the Lib Dems at this point, sadly. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">04:05: </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">By the way, hello to the one remaining person who seems to reading my ramblings now.&nbsp; And I don't mean myself.&nbsp; Apologies this hasn't been more insightful, but I'm trying not to start crying. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">03:58:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Rare gain for Labour in Ilford North on a swing of 6.3% from the Tories, still adding up to a majority of just 589 mind.&nbsp; This was 84th on Labour's target list.&nbsp; What might have been had Labour managed that across the board. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">03:41:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I'll say this right now: David Lammy shouldn't seek the London mayorship, he should seek the party leadership.&nbsp; Looking at all the other potential candidates, he's the only one even remotely inspiring. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">03:33:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Incidentally, I haven't seen much evidence tonight of that fabled BBC bias.&nbsp; Labour figures might be in mourning, but the BBC presenters seem pretty buoyant, despite a Tory majority spelling the all but end of the licence fee.&nbsp; The SNP aren't great fans of Auntie either.&nbsp; Still, eh? </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">03:18:</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I think I've gone very quickly through the 5 stages of grief tonight.&nbsp; Not that I was angry, I'm rarely angry these days.&nbsp; Despair has taken over on that score.&nbsp; Acceptance has already arrived though, don't worry.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">03:16:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">When I said vote, you bastards, I didn't mean vote for the bastards.&nbsp; Just to clear that up.&nbsp; Because clearly it's your fault. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">03:11: </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Jim Murphy has lost his seat.&nbsp; He looks demob happy, and again, who can blame him despite his utter uselessness. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:59:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Story of the night is told by North Warwickshire result, Labour's number 1 target seat.&nbsp; In 2010, the Tories won by 54 votes. They've turned it into a majority of nigh on 3,000.&nbsp; Speechless.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:54:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">All the Labour people on so far look absolutely shell-shocked, not by Scotland, but by England results.&nbsp; Can't say I blame them. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:45:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Swindon South, 2010 Conservative majority: 3,544</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Swindon South, 2015 Conservative majority: 5,785</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Labour has gone backwards.&nbsp; I repeat, Labour in the Tory marginals has gone backwards.&nbsp; Not a single person predicted this.&nbsp; In Scotland the polls were about right.&nbsp; In the rest of UK, completely and utterly wrong. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:40:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Incidentally, don't worry about the constant references so far tonight to suicide.&nbsp; That's perfectly normal around here. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:35:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I think at this point I have to stay up just to see if the Tories get a majority.&nbsp; Something to tell my, err, actually fuck knows who I'll tell.&nbsp; Probably the birds in the park when I'm sitting on the bench about to slit my wrists.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:25:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Flying Rodent, who I don't think has been wrong about anything ever, <a href="https://twitter.com/flying_rodent/status/596182134471184384">tweeted this prediction this morning</a>:&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">The Tories, having correctly and shamefully chosen a strategy of spite and resentment, to squeak it. 5 more shithouse years.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Closer than any other pundit it seems thus far. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:17:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Tim Farron: We know the scale of nothing so far.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Indeed we don't.&nbsp; I really, truly hope the Conservatives aren't going to somehow squeeze a majority but as this point it looks possible. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">02:00:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">The Nuneaton result confirms it, if there was any doubt.&nbsp; A 2,069 Conservative majority in 2010 has turned, incredibly, into a majority of nigh on 5,000.&nbsp; Something major happened today that the polls failed completely to pick up on. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">01:54:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Call me premature, but we may as well already get on with the post-mortem.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Any gains Labour will make, and there will be a few no doubt, are going to be wiped out by the losses in Scotland.&nbsp; Labour has fouled up there spectacularly: how did it not realise within a matter of weeks of the referendum result that almost all those who voted yes were going to vote SNP?&nbsp; Answer: years of neglect and taking its base for granted.&nbsp; With a dedicated campaign of listening and action it might, just might have been able to staunch the worst of the losses.&nbsp; What did it do?&nbsp; It elected Jim Murphy, the la-la not listening act went on, and the end result could be a complete wipe out.&nbsp; The party couldn't have bargained on Cameron's the SNP are going to crash the economy act, but it could have prevented him from being able to make the argument with such force.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Peter Mandelson, sad as it is to say, is right.&nbsp; Labour has been squeezed between two nationalisms.&nbsp; UKIP probably won't win more than 2 seats, but it looks as though it's on course to be the opposition to Labour in its northern heartlands.&nbsp; Meanwhile, in the seats Labour had to win to stand any chance, voters have gone to UKIP and the Greens, while the 2010 Lib Dem voters have split down the middle between the Tories and Labour rather than en masse heading left.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">How much of the blame can be personally assigned to Ed Miliband is difficult as yet to ascertain.&nbsp; The gains in popularity he made during the campaign don't look to have been enough.&nbsp; As I wrote before, I honestly don't believe David Miliband or Alan Johnson would have made much if any of a difference.&nbsp; Even if the exit poll ends up being dead right, this isn't so much a vote for the Tories or against Labour (except in Scotland) as it is against the "threat" posed by the SNP to England.&nbsp; You can say again that's Labour and Ed Miliband's fault for not dealing with the SNP, and you'd be right, but this is hardly a vote of confidence either in David Cameron.&nbsp; With so much in his favour he should still have won a majority tonight, and that isn't going to happen.&nbsp; As said, it could still turn out that thanks to the vote against the Lib Dems, which is total, Cameron will still find it extremely difficult to govern.&nbsp; Let's not split hairs though, he will say he's won, and in truth he has.&nbsp; Second election or not, we've got another 5 years of the Tories coming up.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">01:21:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I think the very best we can hope for now is the Tories don't get quite as many seats as predicted by the exit poll.&nbsp; If the Lib Dems have done that badly, then a difference of ten seats could be, as Ed Balls said earlier, the difference between the Tories being able to govern and not.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Battersea result, another swing to the Conservatives.&nbsp; Doomed. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">01:08:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Oh, and the Lib Dems have mostly it seems gone Tory in the marginals.&nbsp; I missed them out.&nbsp; Easy to forget. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">01:03:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">What seems to have happened as always looks obvious in hindsight.&nbsp; More defectors from Labour to UKIP than expected.&nbsp; UKIP/Tory waverers went back to the Tories.&nbsp; Undecideds until the last minute went Tory.&nbsp; Mass scaremongering about the SNP seems to have worked, as the Tories were claiming it was.&nbsp; And we didn't expect it because the polls couldn't cope with the UKIP rise in support/couldn't tell us about undecideds properly.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">What a horrible, horrible night. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">00:50: </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Swindon North result: 4.3% swing from Labour to Conservatives.&nbsp; <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide/labourtargets/">102nd Labour target seat</a>.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">I think it's over already.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">00:48:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="https://twitter.com/IsabelHardman/status/596458998787866625">According to Isabel Hardman</a>, Nigel Farage has failed in Thanet South.&nbsp; Not really much of a consolation when so many of the Tories set to be returned want precisely what he does.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Also looks as though Douglas Alexander has lost his seat.&nbsp; He had a majority of 16,000, and his SNP opponent is 20, yes that's 20 as in years, said she fantasised about headbutting Labour councillors and that no voters were gullible.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Fuck me. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">00:34:</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">You know, you forget just how life threateningly terrible the hours are before the results proper start coming in are.&nbsp; I'm sitting here with the BBC on mute and am still just inches away from beating myself to death with a plastic bottle based on how many of these terrible, terrible cunts from all three parties have already been in my line of sight.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">00:20:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">So how are you all?&nbsp; Been to any good gigs lately?&nbsp; And what brand of rope do you recommend when it needs to be good and strong? </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">00:02:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Three seats down, number of Liberal Democrat deposits lost: 3.</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">P.S.&nbsp; The Greens also got more votes in all three than the Lib Dems. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">23:58:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Please BBC, it is beyond pointless going through all these seats based on your forecast.&nbsp; If it's right there's plenty of time to beat us over the head with that later. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">23:48:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="https://twitter.com/maitlis/status/596445502360526848">If Nick Clegg has held on</a>, that's the cherry on the gigantic shit sundae we're all going to have to chow down. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">23:43:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Also I'm not sure that 2 constitutes a group. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">23:39:&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />Natalie Bennett: </span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">If we have doubled our parliamentary representation and we are sending perhaps Darren Hall in Bristol West to join the brilliant Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion as a strong group of Green MPs in Parliament - then that will be a good result for the Green party.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Yeah, shame about the rest of the country, oh and the potential for keeping the temperature rise to 2C, but you carry on Natalie. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">23:27:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Let's try and cheer ourselves up a bit, eh?&nbsp; Check out the balls on this fucking lecher (Yes, it's probably her old man or her electoral agent, but play along with me here):</span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ndVdzWxB31M/VUvnBbfkNzI/AAAAAAAAAZ0/TlGCGQiYsuw/s1600/500.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-ndVdzWxB31M/VUvnBbfkNzI/AAAAAAAAAZ0/TlGCGQiYsuw/s400/500.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><span style="font-family: Georgia,&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif;"><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">23:06:&nbsp; Last bit of exit poll speculation after saying I wouldn't, I promise:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Nicola Sturgeon tonight: I'd treat the exit poll with HUGE caution. I'm hoping for a good night but I think 58 seats is unlikely!</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Nicola Sturgeon tomorrow: The people of Scotland have spoken.&nbsp; A second independence referendum will be in the 2016 SNP Holyrood manifesto. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">22:52:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Just to add, the poll is clearly wrong on one thing.&nbsp; If the Greens win another seat, I'll join Paddy Ashdown in eating a hat. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">22:49:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Oh, and if it's right, what I said about <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-campaign-of-failure.html">the press having lost their influence</a>?&nbsp; Saturday morning, the Mail, Sun, Telegraph, they'll all have "IT WOZ US WOT WON IT". </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">22:36:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">The Labour line: coalition has lost its majority if exit poll is right.&nbsp; Come on, please.&nbsp; If it's right, the Tories have won.&nbsp; Simple as. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">22:28:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Speculating about speculation is pointless.&nbsp; I just can't see how the exit poll could be so wrong though.&nbsp; Last night I was optimistic.&nbsp; Right now I am staring into the abyss. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">22:05:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">To bring a completely local anecdote into this, I saw a hell of a lot more people voting in the neighbouring safe Tory seat than I did 5 years ago.&nbsp; Only way I can possibly get my head round how the exit poll could be right.&nbsp; Still, the Lib Dems down to 9 seats?&nbsp; That's what I can't quite believe more than anything, or indeed Labour losing seats.&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/MSmithsonPB/status/596419862936887296">As Mike Smithson has tweeted</a>, if right, a complete disaster for all the polling firms and some major inquiries to be held.&nbsp; Oh, and we're all utterly boned.&nbsp; But that comes second, obvs.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">22:01:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">OK, if this exit poll is right I'm going to fucking shoot myself.&nbsp; With my imaginary gun. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">21:58:</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">It's not until it's real that you remember just what a complete prat Jeremy Vine is. </span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">21:42:<br /><br />At this point, I think I can say if you voted for the party that used in all seriousness the slogan <a href="http://news.channel4.com/election2015/04/04/update-868/">"BAIRNS NOT BAMBS"</a> and put this out with the intention of winning over support: <br /><br /></span><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-piGHYPKM2XE/VUvPXbyVY3I/AAAAAAAAAZo/T9teuclXngY/s1600/CEbTTxJUIAA4_cd.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-piGHYPKM2XE/VUvPXbyVY3I/AAAAAAAAAZo/T9teuclXngY/s400/CEbTTxJUIAA4_cd.jpg" /></a></span></div><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />You deserve everything you've got coming. </span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-74141012866220983732015-05-07T07:01:00.000+01:002015-05-07T07:01:00.573+01:00Vote, you bastards.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">That is all.<br /><br />Oh, and I might be back tonight with some live blogging if I can be bothered.&nbsp; Or I might just leave it to everyone else and return on Friday.&nbsp; We'll see.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-75658282604901040622015-05-06T23:03:00.001+01:002015-05-06T23:03:26.798+01:00A campaign of failure.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.economist.com/node/113952">"All political careers end in failure,"</a> we often hear, a slight misquote of a line from Enoch Powell.&nbsp; These might be exceptions that prove the rule, but few can claim with a straight face that the careers of either Margaret Thatcher or Ronald Reagan ended in failure.&nbsp; Thatcher was ditched by her party, yes, and arguably the Tories have never recovered from that singular moment of trauma, and yet who can deny that the legacy both she and Reagan left the West has not proved resilient since then?&nbsp; Not even the great crash of 2008 has led to a break with neoliberalism; if anything, quite the opposite, regardless of the rise of a few opposition movements.<br /><br />Barring a complete shock, tomorrow's election results will demonstrate there are times when political failure is absolute, whether it ends careers immediately or not.&nbsp; <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9403">The last polls all point either to a dead heat</a> between Labour and the Tories, or a lead for the latter well within the margin of error.&nbsp; 6 weeks, or rather nigh on 5 months of campaigning by both has failed to shift opinion in any substantial way.&nbsp; All they've succeeded in doing is consolidating their support: that might not strictly be a failure in that it's just as important as winning over undecided voters, but it speaks of just how limited the terms of engagement have been.<br /><br />Nor is it as if the main two haven't tried: the Conservatives <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">have thrown every conceivable bribe at those they consider "their people"</a> possible.&nbsp; The all but abolition of inheritance tax, the expansion of right to buy to housing associations, the promise of tax cuts to come, paid for by a brutal slashing of the social security budget, none of it has worked.&nbsp; Labour meanwhile <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-labour-manifesto.html">affected to pinch the Tories' clothes on deficit reduction</a>, pledging it would fall every year, guaranteed by a "budget responsibility" lock, the forerunner to the 6 pledge tombstone.&nbsp; The parties battled over whom could deny themselves the most potential revenue: the Tories would legislate to make raising income tax, national insurance and VAT illegal, while Labour said they would only put the top rate of income tax back to 50p.&nbsp; If this was meant to make voters believe just how serious they were about sticking to these fine words, it hasn't worked.&nbsp; Why would it when everyone can plainly see there's going to be a mass bartering session come Friday afternoon when another hung parliament is confirmed?<br /><br />The failure has not just been political, however.&nbsp; If the 2015 election becomes known for anything, it will be as the one where newspapers <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/06/warning-todays-front-pages-could-seriously-damage-your-health">confirmed they are as good as dead</a>.&nbsp; This is not to say they no longer have any influence, as some risibly claim: quite the opposite.&nbsp; They might not have a direct impact on how people decide to vote, but they can define perceptions and shift attitudes fundamentally.&nbsp; Ed Miliband would not have been considered a complete no-hoper little more than a month ago if it had not been for the way he was persistently caricatured as a weird leftie nerd from almost as soon as he won the Labour leadership.<br /><br />What has changed is the abandoning of all pretence of being the voice of their readers as opposed to the voice of their owners.&nbsp; The Sun straight up admitted its contempt for Ed Miliband was based around how the fiend hasn't ruled out <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/apr/24/the-sun-ed-milibands-news-uk-tories">breaking up Rupert Murdoch's continuing stranglehold on the media</a>, something it would have never done in the past.&nbsp; Most egregious though has been the Telegraph, once respected by all for the dividing line between its news and comment, reduced by the Barclay brothers to <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/may/05/tory-press-labour-david-cameron-election-sun-times-mail-ed-miliband-telegraph">prostituting itself without the slightest shame to the Conservatives</a>, time and again turning its front page over to <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/27/how-the-conservatives-orchestrate-letters-from-business-leaders">missives issued directly from CCHQ</a>.&nbsp; Peter Oborne's exposing of the paper's <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/feb/17/peter-oborne-telegraph-hsbc-coverage-fraud-readers">sycophancy towards advertiser HSBC</a> seems to have led to it straight up throwing in the towel, not so much as bothering to hide its bias.&nbsp; The Mail meanwhile with its non-dom owner Lord Rothermere savages Miliband as a "class war zealot" who will "destroy the nation", although when the paper has already described his deceased father as <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2013/10/better-living-through-irony.html">"THE MAN WHO HATED BRITAIN"</a> it's barely possible to go any lower.<br /><br />It wouldn't matter as much if there was the slightest evidence the monstering of Miliband and Labour was working, or if there was something resembling wit in the constant attacks.&nbsp; Putting Neil Kinnock's head in a light bulb and asking the last person in the country to turn out the lights if he won at least had the semblance of originality, of being a wounding attack.&nbsp; Reprinting the photograph of Miliband eating a bacon sandwich in a slightly comical fashion alongside a whole load of puns on pork is <a href="http://i.guim.co.uk/media/w-700/h--/q-95/cca23dd3787bda0c4e0e81bcbfc24261798940c5/0_0_2506_3203/782.jpg">pathetic, nowhere near cutting enough and worst of all, obvious</a>.&nbsp; The Sun of Kelvin MacKenzie's era, of Rebekah Brooks's era for goodness sake would have come up with something better.&nbsp; If nothing else, the Sun once knew how its readers' minds worked.&nbsp; As with the rest of the popular and indeed right-wing press, those days are gone and they're not coming back.<br /><br />That at this point the right-wing media rather than eulogising about Cameron and his party is spending all its time attacking Miliband and questioning his party's legitimacy to govern itself demonstrates their and the Tories' abject failure.&nbsp; When all they've got is a year-old photograph, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ed-miliband/11541290/Ed-Balls-Labour-note-saying-money-had-run-out-was-a-joke.html">a five-year old joke of a letter</a> and the prospect of a party in power that hasn't won an election, after 5 years of precisely that, little could be more pitiful.<br /><br />Not that Cameron or the rest of the leaders have been held to account by the media as a whole.&nbsp; All the attempts to trip them up, to get the Tories to say where they'll make their cuts to welfare or how much Labour will borrow have been brushed aside.&nbsp; The interrogator who has caused politicians the most discomfort, Andrew Neil, has been doing so to an audience of politics nerds and the barely compos mentis, while tinsel tits Evan Davis was given the job of interviewing the leaders in prime time, bringing his brand of less tenacious and less insightful technique along with him.&nbsp; All the emphasis on trapping the parties in a gaffe has only had the result of making them risk averse above all else.&nbsp; The campaign as a whole has suffered from that choice.<br /><br />If anyone's failure has been total, it must though David Cameron's.&nbsp; He's had every advantage a prime minister could hope for: an utterly servile media; a divided opposition with an unpopular leader; a growing economy; and the collapse of said opposition in its Scottish heartlands.&nbsp; The threat on the right from UKIP has subsided somewhat, helped by another failure in the shape of the wheels coming off Nigel Farage's bandwagon, and still Cameron hasn't been able to shift the polls in his favour.&nbsp; From the outset he's displayed every sign of not being interested, from the interview with James Landale <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/03/advantage-labour.html">where he said he wouldn't serve a third term</a>, instantly starting the Tory leadership contest, to the <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/can-you-feel-passion.html">cringe-inducing showing of "passion"</a>.&nbsp; If any other politician had claimed to be "bloody lively" and "pumped up" the ridicule would have been absolute, as it would if it was <a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/04/how-election-campaigning-works/">Miliband addressing empty cowsheds</a> or <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2015/may/06/election-2015-live-controversial-welfare-cuts-revealed-campaign-final-day#block-5549be14e4b02f16facdd796">dropping in on farmers for a spot of breakfast</a>, or if the Labour leader had made the slip that <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/11577012/David-Camerons-career-defining-gaffe.html">the election would be "career defining"</a>.&nbsp; Calling him the poor man's Tony Blair doesn't really work any longer; not only did Blair win elections, Blair at least believed in things.&nbsp; Cameron as t<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/05/the-trials-of-david-cameron">he profile by Matthew d'Aconservative in the Graun</a> demonstrates believes in absolutely nothing.<br /><br />Indeed, the only thing saving Cameron is Labour's collapse in Scotland.&nbsp; This isn't so much down to the success of Nicola Sturgeon <a href="http://flyingrodent.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/the-newold-boss.html">as it is the carry on from the referendum and Scottish Labour's helpless flailing around</a> trying to work out why it is this has happened now.&nbsp; There is a point to wondering why it is voters who've come to the conclusion they've been abandoned and ignored by the party they previously backed en masse would then transfer their allegiance to one single party en masse and think there'll be a different end result, but only as far as it goes.&nbsp; The only thing to be done now is to appeal to voters' better instincts: that every seat Labour loses in Scotland helps David Cameron regardless of what the SNP says about "locking the Tories" out.&nbsp; It also has to be emphasised that just as Nicola Sturgeon says Scotland and the rest of the country will never forgive Labour if it refuses to work with the SNP, it's also the case the SNP will never be forgiven if it refuses to vote for a minority Labour government's Queen speech on the specious grounds it doesn't end austerity.<br /><br />5 years ago, the British people conspired to ensure no one won the election.&nbsp; Five years later and they seem all but certain to produce a result that adds up to the same thing, only with bells on.&nbsp; If this doesn't result in the political class considering just why it is they've become such failures and what to do about it, then they've missed the real message of this campaign.&nbsp; The same goes for a media that has never seemed more out of touch, talking to itself and only itself.&nbsp; Regardless of which party wins the most seats or manages to form a government, there's a reckoning coming.&nbsp; It's not going to be pretty.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-18573852141057241452015-05-05T22:19:00.002+01:002015-05-06T17:43:13.078+01:00We still need a Labour government.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">So here we are.&nbsp; With less than 48 hours until the polls open there is just the one thing that can be said for certain about what's going to happen once the votes start being counted: that absolutely no one has the first fucking idea about what's going to happen once the votes start being counted.<br /><br />Obviously, we can make a few informed assumptions <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9397">based on the polling evidence up to now</a>.&nbsp; The SNP are going to win a lot of seats in Scotland; the Lib Dems will in all likelihood be left with around 30 seats all told; UKIP will be lucky to win 3 seats, but their share of the vote could still wreak havoc on the Tories in the marginals; Caroline Lucas will in all likelihood hold on to her seat in Brighton, but it will take a miracle for the Greens to win anywhere else, with the possibility their share of the vote could also hinder Labour in some seats; and just to keep this somewhat wieldy, tactical voting will almost certainly be more important than ever.<br /><br />Everything else is cast in doubt.&nbsp; Without exaggeration, this is the first election in a generation where so much is uncertain.&nbsp; In 2010 it was fairly apparent there would be a hung parliament and the Conservatives would be the largest party.&nbsp; While a hung parliament remains all but certain this time, and it's also probable the Tories will end up with the most seats and the most votes, Labour could well be close enough on the former measure at least for the question of "legitimacy" to not rear its <a href="http:// http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3067941/Labour-t-finish-second-grab-power-says-Cameron-PM-believes-voters-questions-makes-fresh-appeal-Lib-Dem-Ukip-supporters.html#ixzz3ZFqDfne6">head in the way Cameron and friends</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/04/cameron-to-cling-onto-power-coalition-majority-lib-dem-tories">including Nick Clegg</a>, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ed-miliband/11582095/Ed-Miliband-plot-to-become-Prime-Minister-even-he-does-not-win-election.html">imagine it will</a>.&nbsp; Alternatively, <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/shaun-lawson/polls-and-most-of-forecasts-are-wrong-ed-miliband-will-not-be-next-prime-min">and as some have began to argue</a>, the polls could as in 1992 be wrong.&nbsp; The Tories might be within touching distance, not of a majority, but enough seats to govern in a coalition with the Lib Dems alongside confidence and supply from the DUP.&nbsp; Many are also still to make up their minds, or will be doing so now.&nbsp; Generally, the incumbent gets the benefit of the doubt.<br /><br />Or it could be the exact opposite and we might be stuck in a situation come Friday morning where neither Labour or the Tories can make a minority government, let alone a coalition work.&nbsp; The Conservative strategy should this happen seems to be, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/05/guardian-view-on-political-legitimacy-follow-the-rules-then-reform">with support from their friends in the press</a>, to do absolutely everything in their power to remain in government, right up to the point of defeat on a Queen's speech.&nbsp; Gordon Brown had the decency it should be remembered to accept the numbers simply weren't in his favour in 2010, and resigned sooner than he perhaps constitutionally had to.&nbsp; If the Tories fail, Labour will invariably try and govern in a minority relying on SNP, Plaid and Green support as and when it comes, and may well persuade the DUP also to vote in their favour.&nbsp; Minority government as some have also reminded us is not just about persuading those nominally on your side, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/30/tory-labour-deals-will-shape-parliament-minnows-relegated">but also those on the other side</a>; would the Tories vote down a Labour Queen's speech or budget <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/04/snp-labour-government-david-cameron">that didn't give in to SNP demands for instance?</a>&nbsp; Would the Tories really vote down a bill on replacing Trident <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/apr/28/tories-playing-politics-trident-defence-secretary-michael-fallon-nuclear-deterrent">as one of their MPs suggested</a>?<br /><br />One thing that can be said with certainty about the campaign as opposed to the outcome is that it has not once captured the imagination of anyone, let alone the country at large. Nor has the gap between the two main parties, which is also larger than it has been for a generation, been communicated to so many of those struggling as to how to vote.&nbsp; Labour and Conservative spending plans, while seemingly not that different, with both saying austerity will continue, in fact diverge massively.&nbsp; Labour's plans allow it to <a href="http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7747">borrow £25bn or more a year to invest</a>; the Tories promise a slashing of the state so big <a href="https://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/2015/05/01/the-tories-and-welfare-machiavellian-or-just-muddling-through/">that it's frankly inconceivable they would go through with it</a>.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/7725">As passed judgement on by the IFS</a>, none of the plans on offer as explained in the manifestos are truly credible, but the Tories' are the most outlandish by far.<br /><br />With the result so unpredictable, it's slightly premature to pass full verdict on the campaigns.&nbsp; Nonetheless, to judge the Conservative campaign on how Lynton Crosby kept insisting <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/26/labour-and-tory-campaigns-see-election-as-a-simple-two-way-choice">there would come a "crossover" point</a>, with the Tories taking a decisive lead, both he and David Cameron have clearly failed.&nbsp; Such has been the dismal fare served up by the Conservatives over the past six weeks, a campaign that was meant to focus on two things, the economy and Ed Miliband has finished up instead focusing on just one, the danger of a Labour government propped up by the SNP.&nbsp; The personal attacks on Miliband that promised to define the campaign <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/stabbing-dead-horse-in-back.html">ended within 2 weeks once the party realised</a> they had stopped having an effect; the economy followed suit shortly after.&nbsp; A party that on the surface has a respected leader with a good story to tell on a growing economy has been reduced to little more than pointing at a "dangerous" Scotswoman to stay in power.&nbsp; Even more depressing is it might yet work.<br /><br />The Labour campaign (outside of Scotland, at least) has by contrast made only slight missteps, like <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/04/miliband-edstone-tombstone-british-democracy">the spectacularly ill-judged "Edstone"</a> unveiled at the weekend.&nbsp; Considering the thin meat of the pledges on that (mill)stone, Miliband has consistently played a weak hand well.&nbsp; Anyone surprised by how he hasn't been a complete disaster fell into believing the bullshit spread not just by the right-wing media but also from some within his party, convinced Labour can't win if it tacks even slightly to the left.&nbsp; Labour won't win outright, but anyone who claims with a straight face that his brother, Alan Johnson or someone in the shadow cabinet would have done a better job is lying to themselves.&nbsp; Labour alone out of the parties has kept campaigning up to the last, has tried to do things (slightly) differently, whether it be Miliband agreeing to be interviewed by Russell Brand or <a href="https://youtu.be/gw4FwDoVtew">even today appearing on a fashion vlogger's channel</a>, and has at the very least attempted to be positive.&nbsp; Trying to return to government after a single term out of office is always going to be a struggle, especially when Labour's exhaustion in 2010 was so total, the Tory narrative of the crash and the recession accepted without question by so much of the media and the public.&nbsp; If Miliband's last 5 years should be judged on anything, it ought to be on whom the high priests of capital have declared for: <a href="https://www.politicshome.com/party-politics/articles/story/financial-times-and-economist-endorse-conservative-led-coalition">the FT and the Economist both</a> want a continuation of the coalition, despite the impact an EU referendum could have.&nbsp; Indeed, in the media at large it seems only the Mirror and Guardian will end up supporting Labour, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2015/may/04/independent-conservative-liberal-democrat-coalition-cameron-clegg">with the Indie also calling for a coalition</a>: Miliband has scared the right people in precisely the right way.<br /><br />If plenty of voters are still undecided, they can hardly be blamed for being so.&nbsp; The campaigns at large have for the most part been ridiculously safe, neither the Conservatives or Labour wanting to be seen to have committed a "gaffe".&nbsp; This is in spite of the one truly electrifying moment of the campaign being <a href="http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/04/what-we-learned-three-leaders-tv-election-question-time-debate">last week's Question Time debate</a>, although contrarily <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-might-have-been.html">I'd still say the opposition debate was better</a> in quality overall.&nbsp; All three of the leaders stood up well to a barrage of hostile questioning, precisely the kind they have spent so much of the campaign trying to avoid lest it be judged they screwed up or were secretly recorded insulting their interrogator.&nbsp; David Cameron's debate avoiding gambit has undoubtedly paid off, but certainly not to the extent the Tories must have hoped; by the same token, Ed Miliband's personal ratings have improved, but not to the extent Labour must have hoped had the one-on-one debate Labour demanded taken place.&nbsp; Whoever leads the next government, something has to be done to make sure the prime minister of the day is not able to both prevaricate and dictate to the broadcasters over the debates in such a way again.<br /><br /><a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/03/we-need-labour-government.html">As I wrote at the end of March</a>, and nothing since has happened to change my mind one iota, in fact quite the opposite, we need a Labour government.&nbsp; Whether it's a Labour minority government, a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, a Labour government with an extremely slim majority, whatever the outcome, what's on offer from Ed Miliband's Labour party is preferable to that of David Cameron's Conservative party.&nbsp; This is not always down to Labour's policies being superior, although they nearly always are, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">so much as the Tories' being destructive, cruel and discriminatory</a>.&nbsp; When the party can't so much as bring itself to include the "spare room subsidy" in its manifesto, at the same time as it proposes to cut a further £12bn from welfare while refusing to say where, the lack of honesty ought to be causing far more ructions than it has.&nbsp; Such has been the Conservative way of denying their policies have affected anyone who isn't a scrounger or a work-shy layabout: food banks haven't expanded because of the astronomical rise in benefit sanctions, but as the JobCentre can now refer people to them.&nbsp; Pensioners have been protected as both the working and unemployed poor are told "we are all in this together".&nbsp; To the Conservatives a job, any job, is a way out;&nbsp; Labour under Miliband has recognised that work increasingly doesn't pay.<br /><br />How we then get to a Labour government is the real question.&nbsp; To start off with the easy stuff: if, <a href="http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2015/04/why-im-voting-green.html">like Chris</a>, you live in either a rock solid Tory or for that matter Labour seat where the nearest challenger has no hope, feel free to vote Green, TUSC or however you feel.&nbsp; From there on it gets trickier: fairly obviously, if you're in a marginal where Labour has any chance, with the one exception of the sitting MP being an utter cock, vote Labour.&nbsp; I'm fairly certain the sitting Tory in my constituency will hold on with a reasonably comfortable majority, but I'm voting Labour just in case.&nbsp; Where the choice is between the Lib Dems and the Tories, it's a far more difficult decision.&nbsp; The best possible remotely plausible outcome to my mind will be a Labour-Lib Dem coalition, but for that to happen both parties need to do better than the polls suggest.&nbsp; It would almost certainly require in addition for Nick Clegg to lose in Sheffield Hallam.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/may/04/tories-nick-clegg-lib-dem-leader-cameron">When Matthew d'Anconservative says Clegg retaining his seat</a> is key to the Tory clinging to power strategy, it's evident removing the Lib Dem leader is vital.&nbsp; The problem is not knowing if yesterday's ICM poll s<a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/04/breathtaking-surge-of-tory-tactical-votes-to-save-nick-clegg-in-hallam-poll">uggesting Clegg will win fairly comfortably</a> is more reliable than the Ashcroft polling saying it's too close to call.&nbsp; Those in the Tory-Lib Dem marginals may well have to play it by ear and vote Lib Dem despite every instinct screaming they're boned whichever way it goes.&nbsp; Much the same goes for those few seats in Scotland where it's either the SNP or the Lib Dems, although we can make an exception for Danny Alexander.&nbsp; Finally, in Brighton Pavilion a vote for Caroline Lucas so long as you can separate the MP from the underperforming Green council ought to be a gimme.<br /><br />Lastly, if the UKIP and Green shares of the vote hold up, voting reform will surely have to be looked at again.&nbsp; If the SNP win 40 or more seats on the back of a 5% share of the vote while UKIP win 3 or less on a percentage that could be double that, something will have to give.&nbsp; It will hopefully also finally get through to the blockheads in the Tories that the way things are going they might never win a majority under FPTP again; no reason then to continue blocking a system that has the potential to make every vote count.&nbsp; Until that happens, it's a question of holding our noses and voting for the least worst viable option.&nbsp; And even if you disagree with everything I've wrote here, voting regardless of who for is always better than the alternative.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-22565254005186754782015-05-01T14:57:00.000+01:002015-05-01T14:57:24.786+01:00Altercations.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SYOF6gw8z1k" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2BvYIYaxZrk" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-84322352154086374082015-05-01T14:36:00.001+01:002015-05-01T19:58:27.485+01:00The Sun Says: Vote SNP, get Tories.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">If I was running Scottish Labour's campaign, and let's face it, I could hardly do a worse job, I'd spend the next 6 days doing one thing and one thing only: ensuring that absolutely every voter has seen the <a href="https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CDyZjjlUUAAJia3.png">juxtaposed front pages of yesterday's Sun and Scottish Sun</a>.&nbsp; There, encapsulated, is the lie of the SNP's progressive ideals.&nbsp; The same voters who have decided that now is the time to reject Labour over its shift to the right can reflect on the knowledge that just as the Sun backed the New Labour project, so today it deems the SNP to pose so little threat to the paper's values, Scottish edition or otherwise, that it can back the party without fear.<br /><br />Murdoch in truth has long flirted with the <a href="http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2014/09/15/the-right-wing-business-tycoons-behind-alex-salmond-s-indepe">SNP and especially Alex Salmond</a>.&nbsp; Salmond for instance went as far as to lobby the UK government over News Corp's attempt to swallow Sky whole, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/nov/29/leveson-criticises-salmond-lobby-murdoch">as the Leveson inquiry heard</a>.&nbsp; As this week's Private Eye also noted, prior to the Sun's endorsement hitting the streets, the SNP's manifesto had nothing to say about levels of media ownership, while the party's <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check-with-polly-curtis/2012/feb/29/how-would-the-bbc-be-divided-if-scotland-became-independent">support for a splitting up of the BBC</a> into its constituent regional parts is exactly the kind of thing Keith yearns for.&nbsp; The Indie's report that while in town <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CEMQFjAF&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.independent.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fmedia%2Frupert-murdoch-berated-sun-journalists-for-not-doing-enough-to-attack-ed-miliband-10191005.html&amp;ei=7HxDVd3wKauR7Abd54GgCg&amp;usg=AFQjCNGbroZF5lw9Lk7lopQXijaytG_Hfg&amp;sig2=GOyY0QWNjoZjhgoh32vH7w">Rupe demanded more attacks on Labour</a> for daring to suggest they might now do something about his stranglehold on the media meanwhile tells its own story.&nbsp; Murdoch and the Sun are not so much coming out for Cameron, utterly bizarre and really creepy IT'S A TORY front page or not, as trying their darnedest to keep Labour out.<br /><br />Supporting the SNP in Scotland therefore makes perfect, cynical but not contradictory sense.&nbsp; The English edition can rage and moan about Nicola Sturgeon <a href="http://www.sunnation.co.uk/did-nicola-sturgeon-hack-the-hair-from-her-sisters-barbie-doll/">giving her sister's doll a savage haircut</a>, proof if any were needed of her ruthlessness and dedication to shafting everyone south of the border, while the Scottish one can declare the same person A NEW HOPE, despite this new hope having been in power for just the past 7 years at Holyrood.&nbsp; So long as it works against Ed Miliband, seen as the real threat to business as usual for Murdoch, what does a little thing like consistency matter?<br /><br />That Sturgeon has backed herself into a corner over locking out the Tories does seem to have <a href="https://twitter.com/DaftLimmy/status/593916026464657408">finally dawned on a few</a> of the less boneheaded SNPers.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32549284">Ed Miliband's remarks last night on Question Time</a> were nothing more than a repeat of what, err, both Sturgeon and Salmond have been saying about doing a deal with Labour.&nbsp; A coalition isn't on offer, nor is confidence and supply, leaving only a vote-by-vote basis relationship.&nbsp; If Sturgeon means what she says, then she has little option other than to support a Labour Queen's speech and budget regardless of how little there is in either designed to mollify the nationalists.&nbsp; All the talk about Scotland never forgiving Labour if they let in the Tories by refusing a deal is equal parts guff and bluff: the onus is on the SNP to support Labour, not the other way around.<br /><br />Besides, at this point Labour has absolutely nothing to lose in Scotland precisely because, err, <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9386">the polling suggests it's going to lose everything</a>.&nbsp; It can't get any worse; Labour could spend the next week saying everyone intending to vote SNP is a traitor and still not end up doing worse than many now expect.&nbsp; More likely is the party will manage to hang on to between 5 and 10 seats, still an utter disaster, but considering the total landslide the polls imply will be regarded as akin to a miracle.&nbsp; In such circumstances, putting <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/01/ed-miliband-summons-up-ghosts-of-labours-past-in-bid-to-avoid-rout-by-snp">the prospect of another referendum </a>centre stage is just about all Labour can do.<br /><br />In his interview with Russell Brand, Ed agreed this time people didn't want euphoria but rather a party that means what it says.&nbsp; Voters in Scotland might one day think back on that, just as many of those who voted Lib Dem last time ended up doing.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-47599489278601276552015-04-30T22:38:00.001+01:002015-04-30T22:38:26.015+01:00A return to Savile row.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">All but buried by election coverage and the news from Nepal, yesterday saw the <a href="http://www.surrey.police.uk/Portals/0/pdf/news/Operation-Outreach-29-4-2015-11186-link.pdf">publication of the long-awaited report</a> (PDF) into the allegations of sexual abuse by <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/apr/29/jimmy-savile-46-sexual-assaults-surrey-girls-school-police">Jimmy Savile at the Duncroft approved school</a>.&nbsp; As you probably won't remember, Duncroft was where it all began: it was the investigation by Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean into Savile's visits to Duncroft for Newsnight, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/12/newsnight-and-duncroft-still-far-from.html">a report that editor Peter Rippon spiked for lack of evidence</a>, that eventually led to <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xu2i9x_exposure-the-other-side-of-jimmy-saville-couchtripper_news">ITV's Exposure documentary helmed by Mark William-Thomas</a>.&nbsp; Everything that has followed since, Operation Yewtree, the claims about Bryn Estyn, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/11/there-isnt-whitewash-at-home-office.html">the Elm Guest House</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/16/westminster-paedophile-ring-innuendo-evidence">Dolphin Square</a> etc essentially began with Duncroft.<br /><br />It might then surprise you that the report detailing Operation Outreach's investigation amounts to a whole 17 pages; some of the reports into <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2015/02/27/wheres-the-beef-mum-more-savile-revelations/">a single allegation of abuse by Savile have been longer</a>.&nbsp; It might equally surprise you the report confirms that Savile did not start visiting Duncroft until 1974, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2211463/Jimmy-Savile-As-pressure-grows-BBC-cover-women-come-forward-ordeals.html">a mere 9 years after one of the women claiming to have been abused by Savile</a> said she was attacked.&nbsp; Indeed, the report in effect makes clear that the vast majority if not all of the allegations against Savile that would have been featured in Newsnight's pitched investigation are unsubstantiated.<br /><br />The report does however set out the allegations made about Savile after 1974, up until 1979 when he stopped visiting.&nbsp; Except these are not allegations; per the report from the NSPCC and the Metropolitan police, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giving_Victims_a_Voice">Giving Victims a Voice</a>, Surrey police have not so much investigated the accounts given to them but accepted the information provided in interviews and statements as fact, or rather "not unproven allegations".&nbsp; This is despite their now accepting that the allegations made to Operation Yewtree about <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/jimmy-savile/9614091/Jimmy-Savile-treated-school-like-paedophile-sweetshop.html">Savile at Duncroft prior to 1974</a> were, for whatever reason, false.<br /><br />It also stands in contrast to the account provided to the <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2014/04/29/exclusive-the-origins-of-savilisation-part-one/">Anna Raccoon blog by Susan</a>, the girl who effectively introduced Savile to Duncroft.&nbsp; Susan was 15 at the time, and met Savile while helping her mother at a party just before Christmas 1973.&nbsp; She maintains that as soon as she informed Savile she was 15, rather than 18 as he believed, as well as how she had taken a small amount of LSD prior to meeting him on her own for the first time, he immediately put a halt to the way their meet-up was progressing.&nbsp; Anna Raccoon was <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2012/10/24/past-lives-and-present-misgivings-part-four/">herself a pupil at Duncroft in 1965</a>, at the same time as Savile was meant to have visited and abused a fellow pupil, and it was her incredulity at the allegations and apparent failure of memory over this celebrity visitor that led her to question so much of what was being presented as fact.<br /><br />There are further reasons to doubt some of the accounts given about Savile at Duncroft post-1974.&nbsp; Karin Ward, who while not featured in the Exposure documentary was in the BBC's Panorama on Savile and Newsnight, <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2941077/BBC-blasted-mother-seven-facing-300-000-defamation-claim-Freddie-Starr-abuse-allegations-pressure-thought-dying-cancer.html">is being sued by Freddie Starr over the allegations</a> she made about him.&nbsp; According to Anna Raccoon, <a href="http://annaraccoon.com/2013/09/01/what-a-starr-freddie-starr/">Ward made contact with a group of women</a> on Friends Reunited who helped to jog her memory on what went on at Duncroft.&nbsp; Ward's subsequent online account of abuse, which named one of her attackers as "JS", is likely to have been one of the threads picked up on by Meiron Jones.&nbsp; Also of note is the forged letter, supposedly from Surrey police, which claimed the investigation into Savile had been dropped because of his "ill health and senility".&nbsp; <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2217352/Jimmy-Savile-scandal-Fake-letter-cast-doubt-victims-claims-played-key-role-BBC-decision.html">This was in the possession of Fiona</a>, featured in the Exposure documentary.&nbsp; How this letter came into existence is a mystery.&nbsp; The CPS for its part, as the report itself sets out, decided not to proceed with a prosecution against two of the Duncroft staff some of the victims said they had informed of their abuse.&nbsp; This was not though as a result of the police or CPS coming to the conclusion anyone had "given a false account of offences" against them.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/03/of-savile-and-emwazi-monsters-in-our.html">Jimmy Savile was without question a serial sex abuser</a>.&nbsp; The real quandary remains over just how prolific he was, and whether there are any lessons to be learned from how he so successfully exploited the power and authority he gained from his position at the BBC and at Stoke Mandeville hospital to name but two institutions where the allegations against him have been substantiated.&nbsp; Accepting every allegation made as "not unproven", regardless of its veracity, as the various inquiries into Savile have so far done is not the way to go about doing so.&nbsp; Yesterday's report proves without doubt that for whatever reason, and it is not necessarily because the people in question have lied, not every account of abuse can be accepted at face value.&nbsp; Some of the girls at Duncroft were without doubt damaged further by their time there, while others like Anna Raccoon say it in fact helped them put their life back together.&nbsp; Memory plays tricks, and trauma can be such, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2012/11/through-media-looking-glass.html">as we saw with Steve Messham</a>, that mistakes can be made.&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">While it is certainly the case that many historic allegations of abuse cannot be proven to the standards required by a court of law when the accused is dead, or in case of Lord Janner, incapacitated, to accept every accusation as essentially true is not just to besmirch the reputation of the dead, it affects their surviving friends and relatives also.&nbsp; The last few years have demonstrated that victims have at times been ignored or wrongly had their complaints rejected, yet to go wholly in the other direction purely because the person accused can no longer answer for themselves goes too far also.&nbsp; Whether a balance will be found by the Goddard inquiry remains to be seen.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-58449302039319418022015-04-29T23:59:00.000+01:002015-04-30T00:04:30.836+01:00The party that cuts off its nose to spite its face.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">It always happens.&nbsp; Just when you think a point of no return has been reached, something comes along and proves there are always new depths to be plumbed.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32506490">Yes, politics really has just got even stupider</a>.<br /><br />Why it surprises each time is a mystery considering the way politics has been conducted over the past 5 years.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2015/apr/29/the-austerity-delusion">As Paul Krugman in the Graun today set out</a>, the entire defining media discourse of the last parliament has been based on assumptions that don't stand up to scrutiny.&nbsp; Yes, the deficit does have to be reduced, but the time to do so is the boom, not when the recovery has barely started.&nbsp; Britain has never been in a position even remotely like Greece's, nor is it any danger of being so when we control our own currency.<br /><br />By the same measure, the Tories' entire pitch to the country is built on a lie.&nbsp; They claim to have rescued <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">the country from Labour's Great Recession</a>, and <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">yet as yesterday's GDP figures made clear</a>, the recovery, such as it is, has been built mainly on continued consumer spending rather than the rebalancing away from financial services originally promised.&nbsp; <a href="https://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/2015/04/29/recovery-was-that-it/">Despite record low interest rates the economy has not bounced back</a> in the way it has from past recessions, suggesting this time might be different.&nbsp; This could be partially down to said austerity, or it could be what has been called <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_stagnation#Secular_stagnation_theory">secular stagnation</a>, where the economic growth we were previously accustomed to becomes all but impossible due to various factors including a decline in the working age population and technological advances no longer leading to improvements in productivity.<br /><br />Either way, to be proposing now is the time for "colossal" cuts as the Tories are, especially when growth is threatening to come in lower than forecast is at best daft and at worst positively dangerous.&nbsp;&nbsp; Up until today most economists and commentators had concluded they didn't, couldn't really mean what they say.&nbsp; It's to keep the hardliners onside.&nbsp; It's to be negotiated away come the talks on forming a new coalition.&nbsp; Osborne relented once he realised austerity was having the precise opposite effect to the one he claimed it would.&nbsp; It would be impossible to make the "savings" they're proposing without putting up taxes.<br /><br />Only, such is the apparent Tory desperation at how their message doesn't seem to be getting through, now the promise not to put up VAT, income tax or national insurance <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/29/tories-promise-tax-lock-in-latest-move-to-combat-labour">will be enshrined in law</a> if they win the election.&nbsp; This is so completely deranged it takes a while to sink in.&nbsp; We've previously had Osborne trying to "trap" Labour by legislating to <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2013/01/caught-in-their-own-welfare-trap.html">cap benefit increases for those of working age to 1%</a>, and they've since put in law the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/01/13/osborne-charter-budget-responsibility_n_6462518.html">very outline of their spending plans</a>.&nbsp; This though is something else: quite apart from how it seems to be the Tories admitting there's so little confidence in their ridiculous sums they need to make it illegal to not follow their pledge to get people to believe them, it leaves Osborne with next to no room for manoeuvre in the event of another crisis and closes the door totally on much in the way of alternatives to the mooted cuts.<br /><br />Laws can of course be repealed, but that wastes time that might be of the essence in a genuine emergency.&nbsp; As a gimmick, which is exactly what it is, it's a self-defeating one.&nbsp; The obvious assumption is it would be something else negotiated away in coalition talks, which again raises the question of why you would make such a promise only then to drop it at the first opportunity, exactly the sort of move that invites cynicism.&nbsp; Are the Tories that panicked by how the polls still aren't shifting, with the most likely outcome remaining a minority Labour government into thinking something, anything that convinces a few more people of their sincerity is worth it, regardless of the all the downsides of such a bill?<br /><br />Apparently so.&nbsp; Why though do such a thing when it finally looks as if the Tories' bluff on their proposed £12bn in welfare cuts is being called?&nbsp; The IFS, as exasperated at the main parties' lack of candour in their manifesto as it ever gets, <a href="http://www.ifs.org.uk/uploads/publications/bns/BN172_executive_summary.pdf">outlined to get anywhere near that figure</a> (PDF) at the same time as protecting pensioner benefits would mean the absorption of child benefit into universal credit, which would save £5bn, while requiring housing benefit recipients to pay at least 10% of their rents could save a further £2.5bn, still leaving a £2.5bn shortfall.&nbsp; Labour, in what has been <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32509939">a pitifully underreported press conference this morning</a>, overshadowed somewhat <a href="https://t.co/gTf3i7TfjK">admittedly by Miliband's soiree with Fey Guevara</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2015/apr/29/election-2015-miliband-tory-12bn-welfare-cuts-russell-brand-interview-live#block-554097c3e4b06f93f8b85843">put out their own take on where the axe would fall</a>, deciding cutting tax credits was just as likely, saving £3.4bn along with the aforementioned child benefit cuts.&nbsp; Tonight Danny Alexander in an apparent valedictory move ahead of the likely loss of his seat to the SNP has given the <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/29/danny-alexander-tory-plans-welfare-cuts-child-benefits">Graun Iain Duncan Smith's "Welfare Reform Quad Summer Reading Pack" from 2012</a>, when the coalition was arguing over whether to carry on with Plan A.&nbsp;&nbsp; Again this focuses on child benefit, with IDS having suggested limiting it to two children, removing the higher rate for the first child, removing it altogether from 16-19-year-olds, and finally means testing it, which all told would save £8bn.<br /><br />The IFS was far from complimentary about Labour's own failure to outline cuts that would save money as opposed to the equivalent of pennies in government spending terms, but then Labour's plans are such that as the IFS has said, they've left themselves enough room for manoeuvre as to barely cut spending at all if they so choose.&nbsp; The Tories have now had 2 years to come up with something resembling an outline of where they would make their savings, only to respond every time they should be trusted to do so based on their record.&nbsp; Their record, as we've seen, has been to sell the country the biggest of lies.&nbsp; That they've gotten away with it, while an indictment of Labour and a servile media, only makes it all the more remarkable they've now been reduced to one of the most idiotic and cutting off their nose to spite their faces gestures in recent memory.&nbsp; It will be nothing compared to the effect on the country if we end up with a Conservative majority that governs as it says, mind.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-15900494806148419462015-04-28T23:59:00.000+01:002015-04-29T00:12:03.889+01:00Me and Stephen Hawking we laugh.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">You can't help but be struck by the Tories' lack of serendipity.&nbsp;&nbsp; The economy is meant to be their trump card, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/32350391">their "jobs miracle" an unquestionable fact</a>.&nbsp; Of course, <a href="http://touchstoneblog.org.uk/2014/10/new-ons-analysis-shows-coalitionausterity-impact-on-gdp-worse-than-previously-thought/">the recovery they stalled for two years</a> would be put in jeopardy if Labour were to get in and rack borrowing up again, whereas there wouldn't be any negative effects from the Conservatives <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/03/hubris-and-wait-for-nemesis.html">front-loading their proposed cuts in the first years</a> of the next parliament in their quest for a surplus.&nbsp; You know all this.<br /><br />How desperately unfortunate then <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32493745">that the GDP figures for the first three months of the year</a> are so disappointing.&nbsp; They are just a snapshot, based on incomplete data and may well be revised up.&nbsp; All the same, that without the boost provided by the drop in oil prices and corresponding low inflation <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/economics-blog/2015/apr/28/gdp-figures-a-blow-for-osborne-austerity-election-budget-deficit">the economy would be all but flatlining</a> is not the news the Tories were expecting at this stage.&nbsp; Their response, the only possible one, however counter-intuitive, has been to say this just proves <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/28/uk-economic-growth-slows-ahead-of-general-election">the last thing needed is a change of government</a> or the instability of an inconclusive outcome next Thursday.&nbsp; Clearly what's needed isn't just the certainty of a Conservative majority, but the impact the further austerity proposed would have on growth.&nbsp; This is assuming the Tories mean what they say, which is open to doubt considering Osborne slowed the retrenchment programme in 2012 when the economy was double-dipping (since revised away to mere stagnation rather than a second recession), in spite of all his denials of adopting a Plan B.&nbsp; We can though only go by what they say, rather than what a government not hell bent on an ideological shrinking of the state would do in such circumstances.<br /><br />The further evidence this was precisely what the Tories weren't banking on is <a href="https://www.politicshome.com/party-politics/articles/story/david-cameron-tory-campaign-its-economy-economy-economy">this is their designated "economy" week</a>.&nbsp; They would have known all too well today would see the ONS publish the latest statistics, and so clearly went ahead presuming their boasts of having rescued an economy on the brink would be further reinforced.&nbsp; Oh and dear.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br />Not that it will likely make much difference when actual news is the last thing on the mind of a press that has long gone past the point of embarrassment when it comes to serving up what's given to them by the Conservatives: the Mail today dredged up a two-year old story on Miliband <a href="http://leftfootforward.org/2015/04/daily-mails-stalinist-smear-on-labour-heralds-nasty-trend-in-public-debate/">somehow being a Stalinist for daring to suggest</a> more use of <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_purchase_in_England_and_Wales">compulsory purchase orders</a> to help get more houses built.&nbsp; The Times meanwhile <a href="http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-cameron-10-days-save-union/20805">declared there are 10 days to save the union</a>, just as there were however <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/27/conservatives.uk">many days in the past to save the pound</a>, save the NHS, <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/11553406/This-election-campaign-iscrying-out-for-a-Jennifers-Ear-moment.html">save Jennifer's ear</a> and so on.&nbsp; Considering the Conservatives have been going out of their way for the past two weeks to suggest a vote for the SNP is somehow illegitimate, with the two parties almost in cahoots in their attempt to squeeze Labour even further in Scotland, it's an odd line for Cameron to suddenly take.<br /><br />Equally strange is <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/28/david-cameron-mocks-ed-miliband-russell-brand-interview-labour">Cameron feeling entitled to say who his opponents</a> should or shouldn't be interviewed by.&nbsp; Considering Dave's idea of an interrogation is less Paxman and more Philip Schofield, such <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/david-cameron/11554855/David-Cameron-compares-Alex-Salmond-to-pickpocket-on-ITVs-This-Morning.html">is his preference for the sofa of This Morning</a> as opposed to the rigour of appearing on say the Today programme, not to bring up the whole avoiding anything resembling <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-complete-waste-of-everyones-time.html">a debate that wasn't a waste of time</a>, it's a bit rich to declare Ed Miliband a joke for <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/28/ed-miliband-russell-brand-interview-stand-up-to-global-business">agreeing to an interview with Russell Brand</a>.&nbsp; Apparently Cameron hasn't got time to hang out with Brand, although he did find room in his schedule for the chuckleheads at Heat magazine to ask him a few truly important questions, <a href="http://www.itv.com/news/2015-03-31/cameron-opens-up-about-his-kim-kardashian-family-connection/">such as whether Sam prefers pink or brown</a>.<br /><br />Brand, it cannot be said enough, <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2013/11/russell-is-brand.html">is a gimp</a>.&nbsp; He goes after the easiest of targets, has no interest in anything beyond the shallowest understanding of what he talks about, does so in the most infuriating way imaginable and has, up to now, undermined any good he has done by supporting causes <a href="http://focuse15.org/">like the Focus E15 mothers</a> and generally raising awareness by telling those about to shafted the most by a Conservative government not to vote.&nbsp; As soon as he gets bored or gets a better offer than spending his days making money from Google via the YouTube partners programme for the Trews channel he'll be off doing something else.&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br />For Miliband to agree to be interviewed by Brand is nonetheless exactly the sort of thing he should be doing: he has absolutely nothing to lose at this point, and, if as the Graun is suggesting it's finally got through Brand's thick skull that not to at least offer a suggestion as to whom his viewers should vote for if they're going to would be a betrayal, then all the better.&nbsp; Moreover, detest Brand's way of expressing himself as I do, I'd much rather listen to him and Miliband having something resembling a normal discussion on how to tackle tax avoidance than the cringe inducing falseness showcased in <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&amp;v=6ac_pbq-zHc">Labour's abominable "Ed Miliband: a Portrait"</a> political broadcast.<br /><br />Still, if <a href="https://twitter.com/suttonnick/status/593165973227708418">tomorrow's front pages</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/suttonnick/status/593160258031333376">are anything to go by</a>, we've reached the stage in the campaign where cries of anguish about what supposedly isn't up for debate, as exemplified by the Mail last week having the gall to claim <a href="http://leftfootforward.org/2015/04/no-talk-of-immigration-what-planet-is-the-daily-mail-living-on/">immigration was the great unmentionable</a>, have given way to straight ad hominem attacks.&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/suttonnick/status/593162509156229121">Do you really want this clown ruling us</a>, asks the Mail, the paper owned by <a href="http://www.private-eye.co.uk/sections.php?section_link=street_of_shame&amp;issue=1351">the non-domiciled Lord Rothermere</a>.&nbsp; Oh for the chance, the mere possibility, of being able to say it was <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/It%27s_The_Sun_Wot_Won_It">the right-wing media wot lost it</a>.<br /></span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-38334259857683066672015-04-27T23:59:00.000+01:002015-04-28T00:50:01.093+01:00Can you feel the passion?<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Election fever has finally reached my humble rotten borough.&nbsp; Not in the form of canvassers obviously, as the place was written off as Tory bastion many moons ago, although UKIP may well have made some recent inroads.&nbsp; No, with the delivery today of a leaflet from the Green party candidate, we have now received literature from all of the big five parties.&nbsp; This is an improvement over last time, when I don't recall getting anything from either the Lib Dems or the Greens.&nbsp; Considering the wider constituency could be just about said to be marginal, in that on a very good day Labour should be taking it from the Tories (Labour held it from 1997 until 2005), that you could quite easily pass through the area without seeing anything to suggest there's an election on ought to tell you the nation's mood hasn't exactly been captured by the campaign thus far.<br /><br />This isn't exactly surprising considering just how controlled and traditional the approach of the main parties has been.&nbsp; No chances are being taken of either a Sharon Storer or Gillian Duffy moment occurring, despite all the evidence suggesting that Gordon Brown's description of Duffy as a "bigoted woman" had absolutely no impact whatsoever on how people voted.&nbsp; If they could both Labour and the Tories would conduct all <a href="https://twitter.com/skynewsniall/status/585484453713182721/photo/1">their set-pieces for the cameras</a> in <a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/04/how-election-campaigning-works/">hermetically sealed temporary constructions</a>, accessible only to friendly media and the activists/extras recruited to act as background props, and then only once they had been carefully disinfected.&nbsp; The other slightly different approach, <a href="http://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/county-news/chancellor-george-osborne-backs-second-brighton-mainline-during-visit-to-harveys-in-lewes-1-6707659">the one George Osborne has been stuck with</a>, is to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rcivx8NW6U&amp;feature=player_detailpage#t=607">do a Hugh Abbott</a> and spend the entire campaign touring friendly businesses.&nbsp; Any unpleasant behaviour by employees, such as asking questions not provided by Osborne's advisers and minders will no doubt be noted and reported back to the person who invited them in the first place.<br /><br />Cameron, responding to the criticism of how he's spent the campaign thus far in a barely interested torpor, has duly rediscovered his passion.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/27/david-cameron-i-feel-bloody-lively-about-election">Passion to David Cameron is getting slightly flush in the face</a> and saying the same things only louder.&nbsp; Only with the odd vaguely rude word thrown in.&nbsp; It's also pretending that what really excites him is not just how much more time he'll have to chillax once he loses the election, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/26/david-cameron-hits-back-after-rupert-murdochs-lacklustre-campaign-dig">but getting that all important childcare place</a>, that workfare placement, that bedsit.&nbsp; If you want excitement, go to Greece!&nbsp; If you want showbiz, go to Essex!&nbsp; If you want Boris, go to Barking!&nbsp; If you want insincerity, you've come to the right place!<br /><br />At this point it's worth remembering that David Cameron's key objection (beyond his realisation he was on a hiding to nothing) to taking part in the debates was he believed they had overshadowed the campaign last time.&nbsp; They did, but that's because as we've seen, strip them out of the equation and all you're left with is two sides fighting a battle against the opponents they would like to have.&nbsp; The Tories are stuck back in an age, if it ever existed, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/27/conservatives-telegraph-letter-cameron-support-small-businesses-labour-economy">when letters to a newspaper mattered</a>.&nbsp; Seeing the Mail, Telegraph and Sun <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/27/time-party-political-newspapers-election-debate">act as an adjunct of CCHQ for a leader they</a> and their owners don't really believe in invites pity more than it does fear.&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/dirty-cash.html">At least Richard Desmond has been honest</a> with everyone on that score.<br /><br />Unspoken is how both parties have all but come to terms with the fact there's <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/22/the-conservatives-final-roll-of-the-dice-win-back-the-ukip-vote">going to be another hung parliament</a>.&nbsp; <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9382">Even if today's outlier poll from Lord Ashcroft</a> which shows a 6% Tory lead became reality, on an uniform swing it would still deny the party an overall majority by 4 seats.&nbsp; This hasn't stopped Labour from trying, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32477069">with the various pledges over the weekend on housing</a>, but there's little to suggest promises that have been made before and gone unfulfilled are going to swing many votes at this point.<br /><br />Little wonder that whether it comes in the shape of <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fQ19QHBjDE">Russell Brand patronising schoolchildren</a> or Nicola Sturgeon promising to end austerity by being less radical than Labour, it's that something different however silly or based in falsehood that cuts through.&nbsp; The Institute for Fiscal Studies' verdict on the SNP manifesto ought to have been damning: <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-snp-would-impose-deeper-cuts-than-labour-says-watchdog-10199584.html">what little difference there is with Labour's plans would be for the worse</a>, the reality being it's Labour pulling the nationalists to the left rather than the opposite.&nbsp; And yet still <a href="https://twitter.com/Herald_Editor/status/592656627351814144">the SNP share of the vote in the polls edges upwards</a>, to the point where you suspect some are now saying they're voting SNP for a quiet life, in a reversal of how in the past Tory voters were embarrassed to admit they were going blue.&nbsp; I still can't quite see how the SNP can overturn a majority of 17,000 in Douglas Alexander's seat when <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/04/mhairi-black-douglas-alexander-unseat-snp-labour">their candidate is a 20-year-old</a> who <a href="http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/scottish-politics/snp-candidate-there-was-an-element-of-gullibility-among-some-people-who-v.1430126190">has twice called no voters "gullible"</a>, to take just one snapshot, and yet such is the apparent mood, in spite of everything that should be screaming the SNP are interested in just two things, themselves and independence, it would be a brave person now that bets against a SNP whitewash.<br /><br />If nothing else, Cameron and Miliband have little to lose from adopting the Sturgeon approach at this stage.&nbsp; Just turn up at places, don't bring the entire retinue along and listen to some real people rather than bussed in party hacks.&nbsp; Go off script, stop repeating the same lines we've heard a bazillion times now and Ed, please stop saying "...and let me explain why", as though you're talking to an especially dull and dim child.&nbsp; At the weekend the ever brilliant Marina Hyde characterised <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/24/jose-mourinho-election-cameron-miliband-unscreened-voters-empty-barns">this as the Jose Mourinho election</a>, with both parties waiting for their opponents to make a mistake, indulge in the utmost gamesmanship and most certainly not try and win through expansive flair and attacking dexterity.&nbsp; No one wants to be Jose Mourinho; not even Mourinho wants to be Jose Mourinho.&nbsp; As someone might have said, surely we can do better than this.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-56843757523168705932015-04-24T11:42:00.001+01:002015-04-24T11:42:36.638+01:00Dead air.<center><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/34ViLeLm8_k" width="480"></iframe><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/exAY3g24mpQ" width="480"></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-42678529174672990142015-04-23T23:22:00.002+01:002015-04-23T23:22:50.153+01:00Happiness seems to be loneliness.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Who remembers churnalism, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/theeditors/2008/02/journalism_not_churnalism.html">that rather quaint term came up with by Nick Davies</a> to describe journalism which wasn't journalism in any real sense but instead sent over to at the end of their tether hacks by PR agencies and copy/pasted almost wholesale into the next day's paper?&nbsp; It quickly became all but obsolete down to how so much journalism increasingly is churnalism rather than you know, original content or reporting of events.&nbsp; Looking through today's Graun, which now costs an eye-watering £1.80 and seems to get thinner each time the price goes up (but hey, at least the free website's the 3rd most popular in the world or something), there are adverts masquerading as stories for Tidal, Pret a Manger, a Greenpeace activist's book, BrewDog and Google Strew View.&nbsp; There are also reports on research on obesity, the number of nuns, pesticides and dinosaurs.&nbsp; About the only real news is confined to the international pages.&nbsp; This is not counting G2 or the sport section.<br /><br />Why though bother with the expense of paying journalists to do the stuff journalists used to do when plenty of people are perfectly happy to spend their lunchtimes <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/lol">reading all the latest LOLs on LOL Feed (lol)</a>?&nbsp; Would You Survive "Game Of Thrones"? Are You The Kind Of Person That Is Instantly Suckered In By Headlines Written Like This?&nbsp; Are We Making The Internet Even More Fucking Stupid Than It Already Is? (Yes).&nbsp; Am I A Misanthrope And Ignoring How This Is Essentially The Modern Equivalent Of The Sun Attempting To Get Its Readers To Say "Hey Doris! Look At This!"&nbsp; Most certainly.<br /><br />This said, it's hard not to look at all the photographs swamping newspaper desks that show <a href="https://twitter.com/StefanRousseau/status/591269419080376320">your average cunt taking a selfie with whichever politician</a> has made a flying visit to their local railway station and think something has come unstuck in the space-time continuum.&nbsp; When David Cameron, who has spent the entire campaign thus far doing his level best to avoid interactions with anyone who hasn't been vetted beforehand complains that rather than ask questions, most of those he comes into contact with <a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/steerpike/2015/04/david-cameron-the-selfie-will-come-the-selfie-will-go/">just want him to gurn into their grot-covered personal telescreens</a> it has to be serious.&nbsp; Are these fucking people that conceited they can't interact with someone vaguely well-known without getting themselves in the frame?&nbsp; Is this what modern life has become reduced to, the shared experience of sharing pointless crap no one cares about but which has to be liked and upvoted regardless (and yes, I realise the irony)?<br /><br />So it seems.&nbsp; There is very little other explanation for <a href="http://www.thebiglunchers.com/index.php/2015/04/more-than-two-thirds-of-adults-in-the-uk-experience-loneliness/">83% of 18-34 year-olds saying they have experienced loneliness</a>, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/20/modern-guide-how-to-be-lonely">as related by Nell Frizzell</a> and related to her by a survey by Opinium, commissioned by <a href="http://www.thebiglunch.com/about/index.php">The Big Lunch</a> (yep, this is where the intro about churnalism was leading).&nbsp; The Big Lunch is one of those brilliant ideas came up with by bastards in an office somewhere that is designed to make everyone living in a street feel better about not caring two hoots about their next door neighbours by having "a big lunch" one day a year where everyone's invited.&nbsp; According to our Nell, our "constant state of remote social interaction is a twin spear of loneliness", and "When you eat lunch sitting at your desk, idly scanning through other people’s Facebook photos rather than chatting around a table about the canteen’s latest attempt at tex mex, you leave yourself open to the cold draught of loneliness".<br /><br />Now, it's not exactly clear if Frizzell is being entirely serious or somewhat facetious throughout the piece.&nbsp; When she relates a story about getting lost in Leeds while looking for Argos and ending up having a conversation with a "woman with a face the consistency of a floured bap about electric blankets", and then says despite it being only 10 years ago it sounds like something out of a Thomas Hardy novel as we like didn't have smartphones back then you obviously have to wonder.&nbsp; The conclusion to be reached is that neither Frizzell or the people surveyed have the slightest idea what loneliness is as opposed to being alone, although that could be the survey's failings rather than theirs.<br /><br />Being on your own then is "how you learn to value company".&nbsp; Well yes.&nbsp; It does rather depend though on the precise ratio of the time spent alone with that spent with friends or with others. If anything, an afternoon spent with neighbours for someone who then for the rest of the year has only occasional chats with the bloke in the off-licence to look forward to and a television screen and a couple of gerbils for company is probably crueller than no "Big Lunch" at all.<br /><br />Not to make this personal or anything, as that hasn't been the entire point of this nonsense up to now, but it does rankle somewhat when loneliness features in the same sentence as sitting alongside a flatmate.&nbsp; You can of course be lonely and have lots of lovely friends on social networks, as the correlation between actual conversations and mere interactions could be massive.&nbsp; All the same, dare I suggest that loneliness is nearer seeing your best friend about once a year at best as despite only living 50 miles away it costs £30 on the train at off-peak rates, not counting further travel once there.&nbsp; Texting, Twitter, Instagram aren't a replacement.&nbsp; Loneliness is still having a fixation on someone you last saw 10 years ago.&nbsp; Loneliness is wanting to "talk to strangers and make plans that don’t rely on others" and not being able to because you're a social disaster.&nbsp; Loneliness is realising almost everyone you knew at school is either married, engaged or has kids.&nbsp; Loneliness is not having experienced what everyone else has experienced.&nbsp; Loneliness can be incredibly productive, but that doesn't mean the product will be any good.<br /><br />The quote from Orson Welles is good, if nothing else.&nbsp; We die alone, regardless of whether we're surrounded by friends and family or breathe our last in a flat filled only with newspapers, bottles of fermented piss and jazz mags.&nbsp; There is though an even better Welles quote: "Everything about me is a contradiction, and so is everything about everybody else. We are made out of oppositions; we live between two poles. There's a philistine and an aesthete in all of us, and a murderer and a saint. You don't reconcile the poles. You just recognize them."<br /><br />Or at least try to.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-47773518463475255332015-04-22T23:15:00.000+01:002015-04-22T23:15:18.197+01:00Ready for drowning.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/22/eu-solution-to-mediterranean-deaths-migrants">Nick Clegg is deeply upset at how human beings</a>, not migrants, people are <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32420900">drowning trying to make the desperate journey</a> across the Mediterranean to gain asylum in Europe.&nbsp; Nick you might remember was, still is the deputy prime minister in the government that along with much of the rest of EU declared the Mare Nostrum mission undertaken by the Italian navy <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/28/home-office-defends-uk-migrant-pull-factor">a "pull factor" in migrants attempting the journey</a>.&nbsp; Not a single politician honestly believed it to be the case, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/10/a-few-years-back-now-enterprising.html">because not a single one of them is that stupid</a>.&nbsp; 99.99% of those boarding the rickety boats are completely ignorant as to what awaits them if they complete the journey, let alone if their vessel begins to sink.&nbsp; The mission was downgraded first because no one was prepared to help the Italians with the costs, second because of the turn in attitudes towards migrants across Europe and the rise of various populist/far-right parties and movements, and third because they didn't think anyone honestly cared thousands drown every year fleeing war and oppression.<br /><br />That decision was not then taken with the best of intentions.&nbsp; It was taken for entirely cynical reasons and then justified on the basis of a lie they knew would ring true to those convinced migrants come to Europe for the benefits rather than to escape the unbearable.&nbsp; They obviously didn't know that once winter was over and conditions had eased that more than ever would try and make the journey, but they did know Libya was more of a basket case than in previous years and <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32386370">so correspondingly open to the traffickers</a>.&nbsp; They knew more people would drown than before.&nbsp; It was a choice they made and one they should answer for.<br /><br />Clegg and the Lib Dems at the time said nothing.&nbsp; Now Clegg knows what the answer is, and what isn't.&nbsp; The problem's not that migrants are making the journey, but the conditions leading to them trying to make it.&nbsp; Conditions like the collapse of the Libyan state, which came about as a direct result of the Nato intervention Clegg and the Lib Dems fully supported.&nbsp; For argument's sake let's accept that was a decision taken with the very best of intentions, to prevent a massacre in Benghazi.&nbsp; What followed on from that, the choice not just to protect civilians but act as the rebels' ostensible air force, ending only with the death of Gaddafi, was taken despite knowing Gaddafi effectively was the state.&nbsp; Perhaps little could have been done to prevent L<a href="http://www.spectator.co.uk/columnists/mary-wakefield/9156471/david-camerons-good-war-in-libya-is-coming-to-a-very-bad-end/">ibya becoming the all but failed state it now has</a>, but little is precisely what was done once <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14934352">David Cameron had his moment in Benghazi</a>.<br /><br />We should then be supporting the security forces in Libya, despite said security forces as far as they exist being far more interested in propping up <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/04/libya-tale-governments-150404075631141.html">the two separate governments Libya now has</a>, neither of which really controls much in the way of territory anyway.&nbsp; We need coordinated action against the people traffickers, despite the people traffickers only really providing a service, if it can be called that, that wouldn't exist if countries like Libya that <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/apr/21/escaping-eritrea-migrant-if-i-die-at-sea-at-least-i-wont-be-tortured">previously offered better paid work to Eriterans</a> hadn't collapsed in part thanks to actions supported by Clegg.&nbsp; Clegg recognises the Libyan situation is a problem, and yet still insists it was a fabulous idea to intervene.<br /><br />Nick is of course right that a "sustainable future" has to be built for those who live on the borders of Europe.&nbsp; It strikes as just a little bit lacking in joined-up thinking then that we were so quick to dispense with the Gaddafi that up until the Arab spring it had been decided we could do business with.&nbsp; Whether that was the right decision in the first place is open to question, but it was the one that was made.&nbsp; Also entirely absent from the piece is so much as a mention of Syria, the country so many of those trying to make the trip are from, and which no one bothers to pretend has a "sustainable future" on the horizon.&nbsp; There's little point in yet again reheating the <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2014/12/syria-morals-and-lack-thereof.html">same old arguments about our policy in Syria</a>; suffice it to say the Liberal Democrats haven't made a squeak about it having been wrong or having contributed to the clusterfuck still unfolding across the region.<br /><br />It's difficult to demur from Clegg's conclusion that a multifaceted approach is needed and that "intelligent use of our international development budget" is essential.&nbsp; Quite where Clegg gets off on attacking UKIP for pointing out the obvious though, that decisions made by the coalition contributed to where we are now is a mystery.&nbsp; When he claims in complete seriousness that the original decision to end the Mare Nostrum mission and <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/22/eu-borders-chief-says-saving-migrants-lives-cannot-be-priority-for-patrols">replace it with Frontex</a> was made with good intentions, at the exact same time as Theresa May and Philip Hammond, Clegg's fellow ministers and likely allies in a second coalition <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/22/uk-cabinet-split-over-eu-plans-to-expand-sea-search-and-rescue-of-migrants">continue to insist there is a "pull factor"</a> while hundreds drown, then it's not UKIP and the Tory right-wing that are "washing their hands", it's the Lib Dems that have gone along with such decisions and seem destined to do so in the future.&nbsp; We have failed these people again and again, Clegg writes.&nbsp; Indeed he has.&nbsp; He should be judged on those failures.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-42898736187458792732015-04-21T23:59:00.001+01:002015-04-22T00:02:54.273+01:00Politics fails psychology 101.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Without wanting to come over all who are the Beatles, I hadn't until a couple of weeks ago heard of the band <a href="http://alltimelow.com/">All Time Low</a>.&nbsp; Giving your band such a name does rather seem to be asking for it, just as the groups Fuck Buttons, Holy Fuck and Fucked Up don't really expect to get much in the way of radio play.<br /><br />Then again, the basics of psychology seem to allude many.&nbsp; For instance, you might have thought people would have realised by now that the one thing obviously self-hating, self-publicising individuals feed off is attention.&nbsp; When you've been on one reality television show after another, it's not that great a leap to deciding what the world really needs is semi-outrageous political commentary.&nbsp; To such shit-stirrers any publicity is good publicity; to get Grauniad columnists comparing your output to that of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/19/katie-hopkins-migrants-vermin-darkest-history-drownings">the hate transmitted by Rwandan radio</a> prior to the genocide is to have won big.&nbsp; To have over 250,000 people <a href="https://www.change.org/p/the-sun-newspaper-remove-katie-hopkins-as-a-columnist?source_location=trending_petitions_home_page&amp;algorithm=curated_trending">sign a petition demanding your sacking</a> is to have gone above and beyond what the Sun could have imagined when it signed you up.&nbsp; That the former petition will almost certainly end up with more signatures than the one <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-32395272">demanding something be done about the situation</a> written about speaks volumes of the way things work now.<br /><br />The same could be said of the Conservatives ramping up even further their <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/20/boris-johnson-nicola-sturgeon-scorpion-king-herod-tory-attack-snp">Nicola Sturgeon is the devil made flesh rhetoric</a>.&nbsp; The thinking behind it seems two-fold: first, that it will encourage more people in Scotland to vote SNP because so many north of the border react in a Pavlovian manner to Tories saying no you can't; and second, that English voters will be terrified at how a Labour minority government will be pushed even further to the left as a result of the Tartan loons holding Red Ed to ransom.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32394684">Wheeling out John Major to make this exact argument</a> is a classic old campaign trope: an ex-PM couldn't possibly be as partisan or stupid as the current leaders of the party, therefore he should be listened to.&nbsp; Labour already tried this tactic with Tony Blair, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/04/an-election-campaign-broadside-on.html">to indifferent if not negative results</a>.<br /><br />It nevertheless remains striking just how much nonsense journalists will regurgitate when ordered to by their bosses.&nbsp; Older readers might recall the Sun's attitude to John Major after Black Wednesday, with Kelvin MacKenzie informing the PM <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/media/2008/jun/13/pressandpublishing.media">he had a "bucket of shit" he intended to pour over his head</a> and into the newspaper.&nbsp; Now, according to the Sun's current political editor Tom Newton Dunn, <a href="http://www.sunnation.co.uk/sir-john-major-is-a-modern-day-political-saint/?CMP=spklr-_-Editorial-_-TWITTER-_-SunNation-_-20150421-_-SunNation-_-171341325">Major is a "party legend, a successful former Prime Minister</a> and a modern day political saint".&nbsp; Such hyperbole is the order of the day on SunNation, the paper's deliberately and hysterically biased free site designed to help, or more likely hinder the Tories' return to power.<br /><br />Whether this is the second <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/stabbing-dead-horse-in-back.html">dead cat on the table of the campaign or not</a>, designed as much to distract from Labour trying to make this week about the NHS as it is to be taken at face value, it again seems based on extremely dubious reasoning.&nbsp; Banging on and on about the SNP being in a position to prop up Labour is almost certain to lead people to look and see firstly whether they can, and second if it really would mean the immediate end to Britain as we know it.<br /><br />After all, the SNP surge has almost nothing whatsoever to do with policy.&nbsp; It's a combination of the zoomers carrying on zooming from the independence campaign, the switch from a Salmond personality cult <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/20/nicola-sturgeon-radical-scots">to a Sturgeon personality cult</a> and the apparent winning over of <a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/04/yes-the-snp-really-is-a-faith-based-party-peddling-miracles/">many people to the SNP faith</a>, where facts come second to sheer belief.&nbsp; On the BBC News last night Robert Peston pointed out that while spending on health and education had risen under the wicked Tories in England, in Scotland under the SNP (who are in power at Holyrood, though you'd never realise it) spending on the NHS hadn't kept the same pace while on education it had actually fallen.&nbsp; And yet the leader of SNP is the one demanding <a href="http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/wider-political-news/sturgeon-well-be-constructive-allies-to-end-austerity.123708836">an immediate end to austerity</a> and promising to pull Labour to the left.<br /><br />Indeed, as the Graun <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/20/nicola-sturgeon-reaches-out-to-labour-at-snp-manifesto-launch">points out in its analysis</a> <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/20/snp-manifesto-2015-key-points">of the SNP manifesto</a>, the party's apparent determination to hug Labour close has in fact seen this great progressive force be pulled leftwards itself.&nbsp; Gone are the former promises to cut corporation tax and not reinstate the 50p top rate of tax, both overturned at the recent SNP conference, both of which just so happen to have long been Labour policies.&nbsp; Subtly altered too is the party's attitude to "full fiscal autonomy", which rather than being a key demand is now merely an aspiration.&nbsp; This is despite Nicola Sturgeon condemning as smears Labour pointing out the Institute for Fiscal Studies had calculated <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/21/snp-fiscal-autonomy-billions-gap-scotland-finance-institute-for-fiscal-studies">this would lead to a near £8bn hole in the Scottish finances</a>.<br /><br />Such things matters little when the SNP has so successfully managed to conflate itself with Scotland as a whole.&nbsp; During the independence campaign Alex Salmond characterised Yes as "Team Scotland" while Better Together were "Team Westminster"; now Nicola Sturgeon doesn't so much as mention the SNP as she does Scotland <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2015/apr/21/election-2015-live-labour-john-major-blackmail-snp-nicola-sturgeon-ed-miliband#block-553626c6e4b0ae1332c0b069">when apparently the two are one and the same thing</a>.&nbsp; It's no surprise then when <a href="https://twitter.com/alexmassie/status/588711407895638017">a poll finds 51% would take criticism of the SNP as criticism</a> of them personally, a percentage far beyond even that of the 35 and 36% of UKIP and Greens who said the same thing.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/04/what-might-have-been.html">As argued before</a>, what this adds up to is the SNP not having much in the way of bargaining power come May the 8th.&nbsp; A coalition is both not on offer and not wanted, and as Sturgeon has made so much of keeping the Tories out come what may she can hardly renege on supporting Labour, even if on a vote-by-vote basis rather than confidence and supply.&nbsp; Ed Miliband could offer the SNP nothing and still come out as prime minister.&nbsp; As it is, the pledge of a slightly higher minimum wage in the SNP manifesto seems calculated to be that one policy the party could point towards as pulling Labour leftwards.&nbsp; The SNP would obviously prefer the Tories to win for their own purposes, to claim once again the wishes of Scotland have been thwarted, but a minority Labour government wouldn't be the worst of all worlds.<br /><br />The Tory and media fearmongering relies on the assumption that as May the 7th edges nearer minds will be concentrated and the lack of trust in Labour on the economy will become crucial.&nbsp; The SNP factor is meant to intensify the effect.&nbsp; <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9366">The problem for them is the polls seem deadlocked</a>.&nbsp; They could of course be wrong; there could, of course, be that last minute switch of undecided voters to the Tories, or a large scale return of those lost to UKIP; David Cameron could, of course, finally decide he wants to win a second term rather than coast to defeat.&nbsp; Time, however, is surely running out.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-43247445822783525902015-04-20T23:59:00.000+01:002015-04-21T00:24:30.731+01:00Foreign policy: not on the campaign agenda.<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3TdnNhsa9mI/VTWBNtmwJQI/AAAAAAAAAZM/FqScANZAk68/s1600/IMG_20150420_0002.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3TdnNhsa9mI/VTWBNtmwJQI/AAAAAAAAAZM/FqScANZAk68/s1600/IMG_20150420_0002.jpg" height="640" width="441" /></a></div><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />You hardly need me to tell you the election campaign has not exactly caught fire thus far.&nbsp; It has briefly threatened to, with Labour's unexpected pledge to abolish non-dom status and the Tory response of Ed Miliband <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/stabbing-dead-horse-in-back.html">being so ruthless he'd stab his mother in the back</a> to get her independent seafood deterrent or something along those lines, but otherwise it's been three weeks of increasingly hysterical warnings about what the other side will do.<br /><br />Indeed, it's all wearingly familiar to 5 years ago, with personal attacks on an unpopular leader and scaremongering about the economy the defining characteristics.&nbsp; The major difference is the Tory emphasis on <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/apr/20/conservatives-scotland-policy-nicola-sturgeon-masks-snp">the "chaos" that would result from any sort of SNP involvement</a> in government, despite the indications up to now this is having precisely zero impact on the polls, unless part of the aim is to do the equivalent of jumping up and down on Scottish Labour's corpse.&nbsp; <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9362">The polls as a whole suggest an effective dead heat</a> between Labour and the Conservatives, with slight leads for both from different companies cancelling out each other.&nbsp; As we head ever closer towards Thursday the 7th, the chance of the fabled "crossover" for the Tories surely becomes less and less likely, with all that implies for how the final week will pan out in terms of last minute attacks and stunts, not least from the never knowingly underbiased media we all know and loathe.<br /><br />Nearly entirely absent has been any discussion of foreign policy.&nbsp; Whereas in 2010 debate didn't go much beyond how Labour had clearly breached the military covenant by failing to give the Ministry of Defence exactly what it wanted in Afghanistan, with <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2009/11/its-called-scum-for-reason.html">Gordon Brown criticised for bothering to write a personal letter of condolence</a>, this time it's been limited even further to the 0.7% overseas aid target and the potential in or out EU referendum.<br /><br />Considering just how disastrous the coalition's foreign policy has been with the exception of the aid target, it's more than slightly incongruous.&nbsp; It's only when you realise that with the single exception of Miliband stopping the attack on Assad by mistake, <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2013/08/what-syria-vote-does-and-doesnt-signify.html">which might be a slightly unkind verdict on what happened back in 2013</a>, there has not been a single substantial difference between the main three parties on bombing the fuck out of Islamic State, bombing the fuck out of Libya and supporting the good rebels in Syria while opposing the bad ones that the reason becomes clearer.&nbsp; When it's left to Private Eye to sum up the ever more bizarre contortions of whom we're supporting and where in the Middle East (see above, obv.), from the satire pages no less, something has gone spectacularly wrong.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/20/italy-pm-matteo-renzi-migrant-shipwreck-crisis-srebrenica-massacre">The situation in the Mediterranean</a> is not wholly the result of European foreign policy but on it most certainly rests a very heavy burden of responsibility.&nbsp; Both David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy saw the crackdown by Gaddafi in Libya not just as demanding the invocation of the responsibility to protect in order to save the citizens of Benghazi, but as an unbridled opportunity for European companies to take full advantage of the possibilities created by the dictator's removal.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2011/10/oddly-appropriate-end.html">The UN resolution meant to protect civilians was used to justify changing the regime</a>.&nbsp; It wasn't inevitable that the end result <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libyan_Civil_War_%282014%E2%80%93present%29">would be another civil war</a>, but the complete lack of interest from Europe once Gaddafi was dead and his government gone was palpable.&nbsp; Only now when the country <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32386370">has become the key transit point for migrants</a> looking to escape from the wars and oppressive governments across the region has anyone began to take notice.<br /><br />Our foreign policy is not so much coherent as asinine.&nbsp; In Libya we overthrew a secular dictator, just as we did in Iraq; the result has been the same, if so far less bloody.&nbsp; In Egypt we initially welcomed the overthrow of a secular dictator, only to get cold feet over the Islamism of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, democratically elected or not, and so we now support the restoration of the secular dictatorship in the shape of President Sisi.&nbsp; In Syria we support the downfall of the Assad regime, but obviously we don't want the Islamic State to take power instead.&nbsp; What we do want isn't on offer, as the non-Islamic State supporting rebels nonetheless aren't interested in democracy and instead would like an Islamic state.&nbsp; We're supposedly training "moderate" rebel forces, but whether they actually exist is still up for debate.&nbsp; In truth what we seem to have settled for is a bloody stalemate, with neither Assad or the rebels able to win an outright victory, and as a result what's been described <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24900116">as the biggest refuge crisis since WW2</a> carries on regardless.<br /><br />In Iraq we naturally support the central government in its fight against Islamic State, but the central government has almost no control whatsoever over the army the Americans supposedly trained at vast expense.&nbsp; Instead most of the fighting is <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32181503">being done by the same Iranian-backed Shia militias</a> that previously were behind much of the insurgency in the south of Iraq.&nbsp; The perceived sectarianism of the central government was what drove many Sunnis into once again supporting the Islamic State; now the militias, accused of looting and <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/parallels/2015/04/07/398004441/after-retaking-tikrit-shiite-militias-accused-of-violence-against-sunnis">summary executions are completing the job</a>.&nbsp; &nbsp;</span><br /><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://pando.com/2015/03/28/the-war-nerd-a-brief-history-of-the-yemen-clusterfck/">In Yemen things are even crazier</a>: Houthi rebels, linked with but not under the control of Iran <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemeni_Civil_War_%282015%29">have succeeded in exiling the useless president</a> installed after the protests in the country following the Arab spring.&nbsp; In a further example of the proxy war being fought between the Saudis and Iran, <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/202753/whats-really-behind-saudi-attack-yemen">the Saudi response has been to bomb the fuck out</a> of one of the poorest countries in the world, and we, naturally, are fully behind it, in part because of their negligible help against Islamic State in Syria.&nbsp; So far the bombing it better approach has amazingly failed to work, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-32188017">with the Houthis continuing their advance</a>.&nbsp; That no one is the slightest bit interested in yet another bloodbath in the Middle East when there are so many others to pay attention to isn't surprising; when it leads to a further exodus to European shores, as it will, it might just increase in importance.<br /><br />For while there are some among those making the crossing from Libya to Italy, Greece or Malta, with thousands drowning in the process that are simply looking for a better life or fleeing oppressive governments we have little traction or trade with, like Eritrea, many are there because of conflicts we have either been responsible for or made far worse.&nbsp; Only Germany and Sweden have made an effort to take in Syrian refugees, with the rest of Europe declaring itself to be full or <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/research/briefing-papers/SN06805/syrian-refugees-and-the-uk">saying one thing and doing another, as we have</a>.&nbsp; The decision was effectively made to let migrants drown this spring on the basis that to rescue those put to sea in dangerously overcrowded or inadequate vessels <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2014/10/a-few-years-back-now-enterprising.html">was a "pull" factor.</a>&nbsp; The numbers have increased regardless of any such thing.&nbsp; The belated response now has obviously not been to admit that the foreign policy of most EU member states has directly led to the thousands attempting such a perilous voyage, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/20/eu-launch-military-operations-libya-migrant-smugglers-mediterranean">but to target the smugglers themselves</a>, as though they're comparable to the Somalian pirates.<br /><br />This narrowness between the main parties is an invitation to the bigots and the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32374871">opportunists to say what they like or claim they somehow offer an alternative</a>.&nbsp; The Libyan war was a choice; allying with the "moderate" rebels in Syria was a choice; allying with the Saudis in Yemen was a choice; the Iraq war, more than 12 years after it began, remains a choice of almost unparalleled stupidity.&nbsp; The drowning of thousands of those desperate to escape from the nightmare of their lives is being described as a failure of compassion.&nbsp; While true, it's more damningly a failure of policy.&nbsp; That despite 5 years of utter lunacy on the foreign policy front none of the parties want to suggest a better way forward, and in fact two of them want to stir the pot even further goes to show just how limited our politics has become and is likely to remain.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-74427049749604155442015-04-17T13:25:00.001+01:002015-04-17T13:25:35.649+01:00Arcadia.<center><iframe width="480" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/f2k_11-oVuQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><iframe width="480" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/3vdWh9Swz9o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-46064899306228835202015-04-17T13:17:00.000+01:002015-04-17T13:17:50.969+01:00What might have been.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/16/miliband-sturgeon-final-tv-debate-anti-tory-coalition">Last night's debate</a> was <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/04/a-complete-waste-of-everyones-time.html">superior in every way to the first</a>.&nbsp; This was primarily for the reason there weren't as many leaders on the stage; who could have known that less would mean more?&nbsp; Certainly not the broadcasters, who haven't been criticised anywhere near enough for the botching of the format.&nbsp; That the BBC last night allowed <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/16/leaders-debate-cameron-not-invited-criticism">the parties that claimed they hadn't been invited</a> to be <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2015/apr/16/tv-opposition-leaders-debate-spin-room-westminster-artless-bullshit">in the bullshit room</a> afterwards was a disgrace in itself, albeit a request they probably had to accede to under Ofcom rules on impartiality.<br /><br />David Cameron's refusal to as Ed Miliband put it turn up for the interview did at least finally become as much of a theme of the debate as the questions asked.&nbsp; Miliband's decision to take part was also a major risk; it could so easily have turned into an hour and a half of Ed being assailed from both left and right, without either of the governing parties there to take a share of the flak.<br /><br />Despite a rough first half hour where Nicola Sturgeon was as confident and comfortable as before, by the end the relative weakness of the SNP bargaining position regardless of however many seats they take off Labour in Scotland was much clearer.&nbsp; If she means what she says about not letting the Tories in come what may, then her only option is to do a Polly Toynbee and get out a nosepeg.&nbsp; She doesn't want a coalition, Labour doesn't want a coalition, leaving only a confidence and supply deal, which inevitably means even less will be on offer than otherwise would.<br /><br />Rather than looking the establishment figure surrounded by insurgents, the opposite ended up being the case for Ed.&nbsp; He gave straight answers to straight questions repeatedly, flummoxing Nigel Farage over his gotcha attempt on an EU army, and dare it be said, was prime ministerial.&nbsp; As he was the only leader on the platform with a chance of being prime minister that wasn't difficult admittedly, but such was the opportunity he was presented with by Cameron deciding to spend the evening washing his hair.<br /><br />Farage by contrast had a nightmare, although <a href="https://twitter.com/Survation/status/588824303329742849/photo/1">when 27% still think he won a debate</a> any objective person would conclude he flunked he won't be too upset.&nbsp; It has to be remembered everything Farage does is calibrated towards the UKIP base, such as it is.&nbsp; Claiming the audience is biased when it's been put together by an independent pollster might go down badly in the hall itself and with everyone who isn't a UKIP, but will have likely struck a chord with the "real audience" at home cheering on the blaming of everything on immigrants and the EU, disgusted their leader wasn't being clapped along.&nbsp; Such is the problem UKIP faces come May the 8th, whether Farage wins in Thanet South or not.&nbsp; Their manifesto, based on fantasy figures as it is, <a href="http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=3&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDoQqQIwAg&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Felection-2015-32312687&amp;ei=HPcwVeTmO83daoLhgLAP&amp;usg=AFQjCNFV3MpBP9HEOnz7sVLw_jwhtWRMnA&amp;sig2=SKtPp2JoAHdjWu-mqS6GuA#">espouses a respectable hard-right platform</a> designed to appeal to wavering Tories.&nbsp; The message however remains completely one note and simply won't maintain appeal indefinitely, especially if Cameron somehow manages to conjure together another coalition and holds the EU referendum promised.<br /><br />After failing to make any impact in the first debate, Natalie Bennett had a much better night.&nbsp; She repeatedly tried to steer the debate onto Green territory to her credit, whether she was wholly successful in doing so or not, and will probably have won a few more over.&nbsp; Leanne Wood was once again a complete waste of a podium, only really getting a hit in when she called Nigel on claiming UKIP was being abused after he himself had insulted the audience.&nbsp; Again though, when all she has to do is turn up and be vaguely plausible it's hardly going to make a major difference to Plaid's support.<br /><br />The feeling I was left with was what might have been had this been the 5-way debate originally envisioned, with the Greens and UKIP alongside the main three.&nbsp; Miliband is clearly gaining in confidence and building momentum, and yet hasn't been allowed the opportunity to face off against the main two in a format that allows for more detail.&nbsp; All that remains now is the Question Time special, where the leaders will appear separately.&nbsp; Ed could still shine, but any real danger for the Tories of a major re-evaluation of the Labour leader has passed.<br /><br />If nothing else, the debate this time did offer a vision of a different politics.&nbsp; In stark contrast, on Newsnight a couple of hours later the Northern Ireland leaders faced off against one another.&nbsp; 6 old white men in a room has never looked quite so out of date.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-56769997334300509292015-04-16T21:50:00.001+01:002015-04-16T21:50:35.558+01:00Dirty cash.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://order-order.com/2015/04/16/confirmed-desmond-gives-a-million-to-ukip/#_@/SIHMuBkfyZ9OBQ">"I always have challenged the establishment", says Richard Desmond</a>, desperately trying to convince himself it was right to piss £1 million up the wall by donating it to the UKIPs.&nbsp; Then again, it's easier to justify such largesse when back in 2004 the owner of the Express and smut purveyor Television X (choice title on offer currently: Ben Dover The Old Fucker 3) paid himself <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/business/2005/jul/24/executivesalaries.pressandpublishing">£51.47m out of his company Northern and Shell's coffers</a>.&nbsp; He also seems to have forgotten his dalliance with Labour, that enemy of the establishment, after giving the party <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1982087.stm">a donation of £100,000 just as Stephen Byers</a> decided not to refer his buying of the Express to the competition commission.&nbsp; The long suffering hacks on his newspapers meanwhile, forced to cover Desmond's turning up to the opening up of an envelope just as Mirror journalists once did the adventures of Robert Maxwell, <a href="https://www.nuj.org.uk/news/nuj-urges-richard-desmond-to-sell-critically-endangered-express/">haven't received a pay rise in 7 years</a>.&nbsp; To judge from Nigel Farage's erratic at best performance in the debate tonight, Desmond might already want his money back.</span><br /><span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><br />P.S.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/apr/16/erol-incedal-terrorist-trial-media-groups-appeal-refusal-lift-reporting-restrictions">The Graun reports the notes made</a> by the journalists allowed in to some of the <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/03/just-who-are-domestic-extremists.html">secret portions of</a> <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/an-unprecedented-intervention-and.html">the Erol Incedal trial</a> have been locked away in Thames House, apparently so dangerous are their contents.&nbsp; The utter paranoia of the securocrats knows no bounds.</span>septicislehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03369157723084834549noreply@blogger.com0