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ActOiNKOldham East and Saddleworth by-electionOliver LetwinOlympic logoOmagh bombingOmar KhayamOmar KhyamOne DirectionOpen Rights GroupOperation Ark RoyalOperation BullfinchOperation CreviceOranginaOwen PatersonOxford UnionOxfordshire groomingPC Keith BlakelockPCCPCSPKKPMQsPaddy AshdownPaedophile Information ExchangePalestine papersPalestinian "civil war"Palestinian electionsPalestinian human shieldsPaolo Di CanioParalympicsParameswaran SubramanyamParis BrownParis HiltonParliamentary Resources UnitPat FinucanePat MooneyPatrice EvraPatricia TierneyPaul BrittonPaul ChambersPaul FlowersPaul FlynnPaul GogartyPaul McMullanPaul OestreicherPaul RaymondPaul StephensonPaul TibbetsPaul WhitehousePavlo LapshynPete DohertyPeter BaconPeter BuckroydPeter CruddasPeter HillPeter SutcliffePeter TaylorPeter TriggerPeter WoodhamsPeterboroughPhilip ZimbardoPhillip DaviesPhilpott casePhormPierre GemayelPiers MorganPlain English CampaignPole-bashingPolice FederationPollard reportPoppy projectPower of 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beheadingRyan ClearlyRyan FlorenceSASSDSSIACSSRIsSaddam executionSafiyah JonesSajid JavidSally ClarkSally MorganSamina MalikSarah CampbellSarah WollastonSarfraz ManzoorSarkozySatanic VersesSaudi royal visitSayyid QutbScarlett KeelingSchilingsScientologyScientology is a cultScotland YardScouting for GirlsScum-wathSean HodgsonSean HoeySean MercerSecurity and Liberty can be protected speechSeumas MilneSex and the City 2Shaker AamerShamelessShan OakesSharon ShoesmithSheffieldSheffield StarSheffield incest caseSheikh Ibrahim MograShilpa ShettyShitmatSimon HattenstoneSimon HefferSimon HoggartSimon TisdallSimon WalshSinjar bombingsSinn FeinSiobhain ButterworthSiobhain McDonaghSir Christopher RoseSir John SawersSir Paul StephensonSir Peter VardySir Thayne ForbesSkreamSky ITV share purchaseSmith InstituteSnuffSochiSocial Justice Policy GroupSocialist Equality PartySocialist Workers' PartySon of Star WarsSony Pictures hackSophie LancasterSoumaya GhannoushiSouth Yorkshire PoliceSpike MilliganSpiked OnlineSpooksSri Lankan cricket team attackStacy BeerStalin HoodStan CollymoreStella CreasyStephen CarterStephen GatelyStephen GoughStephen GreenStephen GreyStephen HesterStephen PoliakoffStephen TimmsSteve CooganSteve DoughtySteve HiltonSteve MesshamStockwell OneStraightheadsStuart CampbellStuart DimmockStuart MacLennanSue ReidSue TurtonSuhartoSun backs BrownSunderlandSusan CollinsSussex policeSuzanne MooreSweeney ToddSwinton ThomasSwitzerlandSylvia HenrySylvia LancasterTaimour Abdulwahab al-AbdalyTaj HargeyTalbot Street bomb-making haulTalksportTamsin DunwoodyTanya ByronTarique GhaffurTatler 10Teaching Emotive and Controversial HistoryTerrorism Act 2008Tesco jailsThames Valley policeThe ApprenticeThe AristocratsThe Baader-Meinhof ComplexThe Bunny GameThe Cabin in the WoodsThe Catholic Orangemen of TogoThe CoralThe DevilsThe Holy BibleThe London PaperThe PoguesThe Thick of ItThe WireTheresa WintersThinking bloggersThomas FriedmanThomas Lund-LackThree Little Cowboy BuildersTiger TigerTim KretschmerTim LoughtonTim SpantonTina BrownTinkebellToday programmeTom DaleyTom DribergTom EastonTom HarrisTom PalmerTom ap Rhys PryceTommy SheridanTony BennTony ParsonsTower HamletsTrafiguraTransport Security Measures: Sniffer Dogs TrialsTrevor PhillipsTrig-trutherismTrimTurkeyUAEUCU boycottUFOsUK Drug Policy CommissionUK-US response to Gemayel's assassinationUNUN rights of the childUNCRCUS presidental primariesUlrika JonssonUnspeakValentine's DayVanessa PerroncelVenezuelaVicky PryceVikram DoddVirgin MediaVoodoo HistoriesWakefield prisonWalid SalemWanless reviewWarren BlackwellWayne HemingwayWayne RooneyWe Need to Talk About KevinWendy AlexanderWes CravenWest Midlands policeWestboro Baptist ChurchWestern civilisationWestfieldWilfred BurchettWilliam CornickWilliam FriedkinWilliam Rees-MoggWimbledon ballsWings Over ScotlandWinnie JohnsonWoman EWoodhill buggingWorld Cup 2010World Health Organisation Iraq studyWorld Press Freedom DayWorst music of 2006Yaron LondonYasmin Alibhai-BrownYassin NassariYassin OmarYezidisYossi AlpherYoung Mujahideen MovementYvonne RentonZavviZimbabweZoey Zanea year onabuse by tabloidsad-hominemadapting to protestal-Askari shrineal-Shabaabalternative medicineanarchy in the UKanother world is possibleanti-depressantsanti-fascistsanti-racismanti-war leftaspirationasylum seekrsatheismatomisationattitudes to the youngattorney generalback soonbad tastebailiffsbaltimorebankstersbansturbationbears shit in the woodsbedroom taxbeheadingsbest albums of 2006best albums of 2007best albums of 2008best albums of 2009best albums of 2010best albums of 2011best albums of 2012best albums of 2013best albums of 2014best music of 2007bill of rightsbiographiesblasphemyblogrollblogswarmbody countsbolus of wankersbountybread and circusesbriberybritishoppression.combroadbandbudget-2011building on progressbureaucracycabinet minutescalendarscaption competitioncargo bomb plotcarrots and stickscharactercharity shopschatroomschild benefit databasechild sexual exploitationchild warfarechildhood wellbeingchildren's commissionerschoicechutzpahcitizenship: our current bondclass struggleclichescoincidencescollusioncolumnistscoming disasterscomment moderationcommentariatcommunalismconstitutional renewal billconsultanciesconsultationconsumerismcopyright protectioncorporal punishmentcouncil housingcouragecreationismcricketcrime crisiscrucifix-shaped dildosculturecushy lifecyncismdeath of social democracydebtdeja-vudemocracy task forcedevolutiondictatorshipsdigital economy billdiplomacydo we want Labour to win?dowsing rodsdraconian crackdownsdraft queen's speechdreadful writing cornerdrink drivingdrug studiesdumped IVF twinsdyslexiae-jihadistsearly releaseeducation for Africaelectronicaemergency ruleemoend of Blairismend of the partyendorsementsenergy efficencyenvironmentequality of opportunityeuphemismsexcusesexpectationsexplicit imagesfailed opportunitiesfaith healingfashionfaux concernfavourite booksfellatiofemale sucide bombersfetishismfiascosfile-sharingfindmadeleine.comfirst weekfirst world war anniversaryfood banksfootball takeoversforest sell offforestsforgeriesforgivenessforum raidsfranchisesfree schoolsfree speechfreedomfriendly fire tapefruity lady comes to townfuck-upsfuel panicfuture garagegaragegay rape horrorgeneralisationsgenocidal tyrantgerrymanderinggesture politicsghostplane.netgimmicksgirl with a one track mindgovernment of all talentsgraffatigrievanceshappiness indexhard labourhatchet jobshate campaignsheadscarveshell on earthheroesheroin payouthijabholiday campshome office reformhome secretarieshorrendous tackleshouse price idiocyhousinghttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifBBFChypeidealismillegal copyingilltreatmentimperialimperial hubrisin praise ofinconsequential bullshitinconsistencyindividualisminquestsintegrityintellectualsintelligence servicesinterceptsinterwebirrationalityjoined-up governmentjudicial reviewjust fancy thatkhatkidnappingkill mekilling fieldknuckledraggerslabellinglads magslanguage course cutslazinessleechingletter bombslife goes onlive bloglives are at risklocal elections 2009local elections 2014local newslonelinesslookalikeslyrical terroristmanagement-speakmanifestosmarch for the alternativemarginalisation of Christianitymarginalsmassacresmediamedia covergaemedia reporting. media analysismemesmetricmiddle classmilitary spendingminaretsmindfulnessminers compensationminimum wagemistakesmob mentalitymodestymoral decaymoral high groundmost disappointing music of 2007most disappointing music of 2008murder pornmurdered prostitutesnaked ramblernaming and shamingnanny statenarrativenational intelligence estimatenationalisationnativity playsnativity scenesndrew Cunninghamneo-conservativesnepotismnever have so many owed so little to so fewno November electionno alternativenovelsnutjobsoilonline vigilantesopen prison escapesoptimismorgan donationour shared futureout with a whimper not a bangovercrowdingpage 3parallel universeparliamentary Labour partypassive aggressionpaternalismpatronising the publicpay risespedantismpeer to peerpensionspersonal is politicalpetrol pricephone vote controversyphony toughnessplacebo effectplaying the victimpoetic justicepoetrypointless popularity contestspolitical disengagementpolitical fortunespolitical gimmickspolitical holidayspolitical manuveringpolitics. George Osbornepolticspope catholicpornificationpost-punkpre-detention without chargepredictionsprejudicepress releasesprison officers strikeprivate detectivesprivate health centresprivate schoolingprivilege checkingpro-war leftprobation privatisationprogressprojectionspsychiatrypublic schoolingpublishingqatquangosradical feminismrailwaysrandom factsranting badly to myself in the middle of the nightrationalisationraverebalancing cjsrefugeesrehabilitationrejoin Labour?reminiscingrenditonrequired readingresistance groupsreverse narrativerevisionismrights and responsibilitiesriotingrise of the idiotsrivers of bloodrobin hood in reverserole modelssection 76self-employmentself-harmself-indulgenceseminary massacresending messagesseparation of powerssepticisle elsewheresex educationsexual harassmentshared valuesshark bullshitshitshooting fish in barrelsskunkslaverysloganssniffer dogs offend muslimssnow photographssocial contractssocial housingsocial media analysissocialist leftsock-puppetssofa governmentsomething is wrong on the internetsomething stinkssopcasourcessouth London shootingsspeakersporadic updatesstamp duty holidaystereotypesstorms in teacupsstraw manstudent tuition fee protestsstupid namessupercasinossupermarketssurvelliance stateswivel-eyed loonstasersteaching to the testteddy bear Muhammad nonsenseteenage murdersteenage pregancyterrible lyricsterror gangs could go freeterror. al-Qaidaterrorist threatterrorist training paintballingterrrorismthe Milliesthe children's planthe end of Blairismthe new Blairites. schoolsthings I know nothing aboutthinking out loudthird sectorthought crimetimiditytolerancetop 500 political blogstorture-porntranscending politicstransfer deadline daytransphobiatroops out of Iraqtrusttruth and reconcilliationtuition feestwat-o-tronu-turnsuk bassultra-richunderage drinkingunderdogsunderpants bomberuniform rowunite and fightuseless quizzesvalues dayvanityverbiosityveteransvindictivenessvoicemail hackingvolunteeringwarwar against somethingwar logswar on somethingwater cannonwaterboardingweapons of mass destructionwestminster protest banwhat price privacywhole life termswitch-huntswitless blogsworst music of 2007worst music of 2008worst music of 2009worst music of 2010worst music of 2011worst music of 2012worst music of 2013worst music of 2014yob brushyoung peopleyouth crime action planObsoleteSelf-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.http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/noreply@blogger.com (septicisle)Blogger3768125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-1954958159802635898Mon, 11 May 2015 20:00:00 +00002015-05-13T13:14:02.846+01:00Ed Milibandelections 2015Labourour new overlordspersonal shitpoliticsI'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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/im-not-working.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4103688271787774754Sat, 09 May 2015 20:44:00 +00002015-05-09T22:11:05.674+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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/blog-post.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-1711450416907728428Fri, 08 May 2015 18:57:00 +00002015-05-09T11:19:53.762+01:00elections 2015politicswe're all doomedAcedia'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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/acedias-blackest-hole.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-6712753499473163742Thu, 07 May 2015 20:51:00 +00002015-05-09T10:33:58.016+01:00elections 2015politicsErection 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/erection-special.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-7414101286622098373Thu, 07 May 2015 06:01:00 +00002015-05-07T07:01:00.573+01:00elections 2015Vote, 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/vote-you-bastards.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-7565828260490104062Wed, 06 May 2015 22:03:00 +00002015-05-06T23:03:26.798+01:00Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalitionDavid CameronEd Milibandelection 2015LabourLiberal Democratsmedia analysispoliticstabloid analysisToriesA 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/a-campaign-of-failure.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-1857385214105724145Tue, 05 May 2015 21:19:00 +00002015-05-06T17:43:13.078+01:00Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalitionDavid CameronEd Milibandelection 2015LabourLiberal Democratsso who do we vote for nowToriesWe 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/we-still-need-labour-government.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-2256525400518675478Fri, 01 May 2015 13:57:00 +00002015-05-01T14:57:24.786+01:00drum & bassgrimemiscellanymusicnon-politicsyoutube video postsAltercations.<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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/altercations.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-8432235215408637408Fri, 01 May 2015 13:36:00 +00002015-05-01T19:58:27.485+01:00Ed Milibandelections 2015LabourNicola SturgeonRupert MurdochScotlandScum-watchSNPSun-watchThe 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/05/the-sun-says-vote-snp-get-tories.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4759948927860127655Thu, 30 Apr 2015 21:38:00 +00002015-04-30T22:38:26.015+01:00child abuseDuncroftJimmy Savilejournalismmedia analysisNewsnightA 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-return-to-savile-row.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-5844930203931941802Wed, 29 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-30T00:04:30.836+01:00Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalitionDavid CameroneconomicsEd Milibandelection 2015LabourpoliticsToriesThe 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-party-that-cuts-off-its-nose-to.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-1590049480614841946Tue, 28 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-29T00:12:03.889+01:00David CameroneconomicsEd Milibandelection 2015LabourMail-watchpoliticsRussell Brandtabloid stupidityToriesMe 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/me-and-stephen-hawking-we-laugh.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-3833425985768306667Mon, 27 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-28T00:50:01.093+01:00David CameronEd Milibandelection 2015George OsborneLabourNicola SturgeonpoliticsScotlandSNPToriesCan 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/can-you-feel-passion.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-5684375752316870593Fri, 24 Apr 2015 10:42:00 +00002015-04-24T11:42:36.638+01:00discoindiemiscellanymusicnon-politicsyoutube video postsDead 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/dead-air.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4267852917467299014Thu, 23 Apr 2015 22:22:00 +00002015-04-23T23:22:50.153+01:00bullshitchurnalismjournalismlonelinessNell Frizzellpersonal shitHappiness 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/happiness-seems-to-be-loneliness.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4777351846347525533Wed, 22 Apr 2015 22:15:00 +00002015-04-22T23:15:18.197+01:00asylum seekersConservative-Liberal Democrat coalitionEuropean Unionforeign policyLiberal DemocratsLibyaMare NostrumNick CleggpoliticsReady 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/ready-for-drowning.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4289873618745879273Tue, 21 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-22T00:02:54.273+01:00election 2015John MajorLynton CrosbyNicola SturgeonpoliticsScotlandSNPToriesPolitics 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/politics-fails-psychology-101.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4324744582278352590Mon, 20 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-21T00:24:30.731+01:00Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalitionDavid Cameronelections 2015foreign policyLibyaNigel FaragepoliticsSyriaYemenForeign 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/foreign-policy-not-on-campaign-agenda.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-7442704974960415544Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:25:00 +00002015-04-17T13:25:35.649+01:00drum and bassmiscellanymusicnon-politicstranceyoutube video postsArcadia.<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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/arcadia.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4606489930622883520Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:17:00 +00002015-04-17T13:17:50.969+01:00David CameronEd Milibandelections 2015leaders' debatesLeanne WoodNatalie BennettNicola SturgeonNigel FaragepoliticsWhat 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/what-might-have-been.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-5676999733430050929Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:50:00 +00002015-04-16T21:50:35.558+01:00Erol IncedalExpress-watchNigel FarageRichard Desmondsecurity servicesUKIPDirty 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>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/dirty-cash.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-4241648693459928723Wed, 15 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-16T00:54:00.625+01:00Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalitioneconomicselections 2015Liberal DemocratsLiberal Democrats manifestoNick CleggpolicypoliticsThe Liberal Democrat manifesto.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">For the second day in the row, <a href="http://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/liberal-democrats-suffer-bus-breakdown-power-cut-and-microphone-failure-in-unlucky-24-hours-as-nick-clegg-reveals-manifesto-10178590.html">the Liberal Democrat "battlebus" broke down</a>.&nbsp; As metaphors go, they don't come much more obvious and yet all but impossible to avoid using.<br /><br />Only it's probably too kind to how the party has gone about the campaign thus far to say it's merely having a few mechanical problems and will be up and running again shortly.&nbsp; In actuality the Lib Dem campaign hasn't so much as got started.&nbsp; The party has been all but invisible, and when it has succeeded in getting coverage it's been possibly to its detriment.&nbsp; <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/a-complete-waste-of-everyones-time.html">Clegg was anonymous during the leaders' debate</a>, the party's reliance on their desperately unpopular leader baffling.&nbsp; It's not as though the party doesn't have other communicators it could push to the fore when they have Vince Cable, Tim Farron or Jo Swinson to name but three they could choose from, and y<a href="http://www.libdemvoice.org/#utm_source=libdemvoice.org&amp;utm_medium=redirect&amp;utm_campaign=url">et it's Calamity Clegg every time in front of the cameras</a>.<br /><br />The campaign's biggest misstep isn't the reliance on Clegg so much as the <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32311736">patently false, confused and deeply negative message</a> they've decided can't be reiterated enough.&nbsp; You see, the Tories, the party they've propped up for the past 5 years are heartless bastards, whereas Labour are economically incontinent.&nbsp; Only the moderating influence of the Lib Dems can ensure the Tories won't bring back the workhouse, while if the numbers go in the opposite direction only the mellow yellows can ensure Labour won't immediately increase the deficit by eleventy trillion pounds.&nbsp; This assumes firstly that everyone accepts there's going to be another hung parliament, which despite being highly likely isn't a certainty, and secondly that the past five years have been such a wonderful experience everyone will vote for the party that wants to do it all over again.&nbsp; Precisely who this is meant to appeal to beyond past Lib Dem voters isn't clear.<br /><br />It also assumes it's accepted the Liberal Democrats have been that moderating influence, when this is a view held almost only by right-wing Tories.&nbsp; Yes, they did prevent the very worst instincts of the Conservatives from becoming reality, stopping the snoopers' charter, the repeal of the Human Rights Act, further cuts to welfare, but this has to be offset against their support for the immediate austerity that stalled the recovery, the imposition of the bedroom tax, the hardening of attitudes to those on benefits, the welfare sanctions that hundreds of thousands have suffered for the merest of infractions if that, and every other destructive policy the coalition has pursued.<br /><br />This knowledge makes the party's claims that either the SNP or UKIP will hold their prospective partners to ransom all the more risible.&nbsp; The UKIPs aren't going to win enough seats to be able to govern alone with the Tories full stop, while the SNP would have to extract a far better deal from Labour than the Lib Dems did the Tories, and they would be making demands not so much for a coalition as a confidence and supply arrangement.&nbsp; It simply isn't credible, and that the party hasn't realised its pitch has failed to hit home and switched tactics strikes as being in denial.<br /><br />Nor would it matter as much <a href="https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/libdems/pages/8907/attachments/original/1429028133/Liberal_Democrat_General_Election_Manifesto_2015.pdf?1429028133">if the manifesto</a> (PDF) had been written with the intention of being genuinely open to coalition with either Labour or the Tories.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.libdems.org.uk/liberal-democrats-unveil-five-priorities-for-the-next-five-years">Instead the policies on the front cover</a>, declared by Clegg to be all but non-negotiable are almost a mirror image of the ones announced <a href="http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.html">by their coalition partner yesterday</a>, right down to the £12,500 personal tax allowance.&nbsp; The only real sticking point would be Clegg's one other declared "red line", <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/13/lib-dems-tory-coalition12bn-welfare-cuts-nick-clegg">the further £12bn in welfare cuts</a>, and that isn't too massive a stumbling block when few realistically expect the Conservatives would even as a majority government eliminate the deficit wholly through reductions in spending as they claim.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/15/nick-clegg-refuses-to-veto-in-out-eu-referendum">Dropping opposition to the Tory pledge of holding a referendum on EU membership</a> all but gives the game away.<br /><br />Which leads directly on to the other obvious problem: you therefore can't take seriously a single other policy set out in what is by far the most extensive but by the same token least enlightening manifesto of the main three.&nbsp; Those who like me will cheer the promise to take <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32315705">the very first steps towards reforming our drug laws</a> will at the same time know it'll be one of the first proposals to go.&nbsp; Then there are the sections that are just embarrassing: the party <a href="http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2015/04/15/this-manifesto-shows-the-lib-dems-have-given-up-on-liberalis">that as Ian Dunt says</a> went along with the disgraceful ban on sending books into prisons still claims it will put an emphasis on rehabilitation and reducing the prison population.&nbsp; There isn't so much as a hint of <a href="http://www.itv.com/news/2015-03-23/prison-system-in-crisis-ex-lord-chief-justice-warns/">the crisis inside as a direct result of the cuts</a> and overcrowding the Liberal Democrats have to take ownership of, while the spare room subsidy, aka the bedroom tax, which the party belatedly discovered was cruel and unfair is relegated to the very last point on the unbelievably patronising "improving support for the hardest to help" page.<br /><br />The decision to hug the Tories close, understandable as it is considering most of the former Labour-Lib Dem marginals have been written off <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/2015guide/cambridge/">as a lost cause with a couple of exceptions</a>, has some especially perverse consequences.&nbsp; The effective choice in the south-west for instance, <a href="http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/9355">likely to be the party's one remaining stronghold come May the 8th</a>, is between the Tories and the Lib Dems.&nbsp; Following today's manifesto launch that choice has effectively become a Hobson's choice, with all that entails for disenchantment and resentment.&nbsp; Nick Clegg talks of being <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/15/lib-dems-only-alternative-coalition-snp-or-ukip-nick-clegg">the alternative to a coalition of grievance</a>, yet the Lib Dem decision to move to the centre-right when 5 years ago there seemed for the first time to be a real third party alternative is a manoeuvre guaranteed to create very legitimate grievances, with so many of those voting for a change left feeling abandoned and unrepresented.<br /><br />Nick Clegg opens his introduction to the manifesto with the line "few people expected that many of the policies it [the 2010 manifesto] contained would be implemented by the next Government".&nbsp; Least of all, the statement begs, the party itself.&nbsp; We could also quibble on just how many of its policies have been implemented also (three quarters, Clegg claims, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/15/how-much-of-the-liberal-democrats-2010-election-manifesto-was-implemented">hardly any, the Graun answers back</a>) but frankly my will to live is ebbing just thinking about it.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2010/04/liberal-democrat-manifesto.html">On this day back in 2010 I concluded my post</a> by saying what was holding the party back was knowing when to go further and "most pertinently, their leader himself".&nbsp; In 2015 the only thing motivating the party is holding on to the vestige of power, and that self-same leader is in a position where he could oversee the loss of half of his MPs and still remain deputy prime minister.&nbsp; Funny thing, politics.&nbsp; And by funny I mean hateful.</span>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-liberal-democrat-manifesto.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-373809473539102206Tue, 14 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-15T18:26:59.378+01:00Conservative manifestoConservativesDavid Cameroneconomicselections 2015policypoliticsThe Conservative manifesto.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;">Some days, I don't have the slightest idea how to open these posts.&nbsp; I doubt this is much of a revelation.&nbsp; This isn't one of those days.&nbsp; I thought for instance of something along the lines of today saw the publication of a manifesto written by people safe in the knowledge they'll never have to implement it, and it accordingly reads like the deranged wishlist of crazed fanatics.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32300555">And the other is from the Green party</a>.&nbsp; I could have gone with the more than faintly sinister overtones contained within the Tory manifesto, <a href="https://twitter.com/PSbook/status/587921922597511168/photo/1">from the "plan" for every stage of your life</a>, far more Stalinist than anything Labour have come up with in decades, a theme it carries on with through the centrepiece of selling off at a <a href="http://www.citymetric.com/politics/tory-plan-extend-right-buy-housing-associations-combines-thatcherite-economics-and-soviet">discount houses the government doesn't so much as own</a>.&nbsp; Then I could have made something out of "the good life" the manifesto is meant to usher in, so long as your vision of the good life is one that is so beige as to not be worth living at all.<br /><br />We'll settle though for the sheer one-eyed monomania the manifesto confirms prevails within today's Conservative party.&nbsp; Apart from the Thatcherite true believers, nearly everyone now recognises that right to buy has been one of the most destructive policies of the last 30 years.&nbsp; <a href="https://twitter.com/natfednews/status/587864558485766145">The social housing stock has never been replaced</a>, it kick-started the runaway price inflation we've seen since, and rather than creating the home owning democracy initially promised has instead overwhelmingly contributed to the situation we have now where only with the help of said home-owning parents can most of those looking to buy afford to do so.<br /><br />A sensible party, rather than promising to sell off more would be pledging to empower councils to replenish the stock they've lost.&nbsp; Raiding housing associations whether they like it or not is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/davidorr/right-to-buy_b_7060418.html?1429005819&amp;ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000067">an act of wanton vandalism, utterly self-defeating</a> and for the briefest short-term gain.&nbsp; Indeed, it's not even remotely clear <a href="https://twitter.com/PeteJefferys/status/588000428123619330">if there are votes in this latest cloth-eared</a> Tory venture.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/housing-network/2015/mar/27/right-to-buy-housing-associations">Many housing association tenants</a> are the same people who've suffered the most under the coalition so far, unlikely to be able to get together the heavily discounted amounts mooted.&nbsp; This might well be the point of the policy: meant to hark back to those glorious days when the party could win a majority, enthusing those who still believe the word aspiration means something, while at the same time not expecting it to be much used.&nbsp; The reaction <a href="http://www.cih.org/news-article/display/vpathDCR/templatedata/cih/news-article/data/CIH_response_to_Conservative_manifesto_pledge_to_extend_right_to_buy_to_housing_associations">from those at the sharp end</a> has been little short of brutal, for good reason.&nbsp; Taken alongside <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2015/04/the-labour-manifesto.html">the raising of the inheritance tax threshold</a>, it speaks of just how narrow and stuck in the past the Conservative vision of what motivates the average person has become.<br /><br />Apart possibly from the pledge to double the number of hours of childcare available to parents of 3 and 4-year-olds, there is absolutely <a href="http://downloads2.dodsmonitoring.com/downloads/misc_files/Conmanifesto2015.pdf">nothing in the manifesto itself</a> (PDF) that was unexpected.&nbsp; By necessity, it's a very different document <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2010/04/conservative-manifesto.html">to the one of 5 years ago</a>, which hilariously offered "an invitation to join the government", RVSPed only by a group of people no one is paying the slightest attention this time round as a result.&nbsp; Gone is even a whiff of the experimentation of the early Cameron years, before the "green crap" was all cleared out, replaced with various shades of blue.&nbsp; <a href="http://politicalscrapbook.net/2015/04/tories-find-three-women-for-manifesto-cover-using-woman-not-even-in-the-cabinet/">The cover</a>, complete with its angled photo of the Tory "team", George Osborne's fizzog obscured to protect the young and innocent, Nicky Morgan on the far left struggling to remain in focus and with the usual expression of apparent shock on her face, is navy blue, while the fonts inside alternate seemingly at random from light to dark.&nbsp; The photographs used are all but identical to the ones featured in Labour's manifesto yesterday, the portraits of Cameron the only shots of a politician, then the various images of Brits at work.&nbsp; At least Labour named them; the Tories leave them anonymous.&nbsp; Perhaps it was to hide their shame.<br /><br />Certainly you couldn't pay many people enough to feature alongside such utter lies as are featured in the text.&nbsp; I honestly don't think I've read a more mendacious official publication from a party in the entire time I've been writing this blog.&nbsp; Apparently the UK was the fastest growing of all the major advanced economies last year, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/news/reality-check/2015/apr/01/clarify-uk-not-worlds-fastest-growing-major-economy">which must mean neither China or India fit such a description</a>; the national debt was rising out of control 5 years ago, <a href="http://www.ukpublicspending.co.uk/uk_national_debt_chart.html">which is why it has gone up even further under the coalition</a>; <a href="http://election2015.ifs.org.uk/living-standards">living standards will be higher this year than in 2010</a>; those with the "broadest shoulders have contributed the most to deficit reduction", <a href="http://election2015.ifs.org.uk/distributional-analysis">which is true only so far as the richest have contributed the most in cash terms</a>, not as a percentage of their actual wealth, with the poorest having been hammered on that score; "International evidence and Treasury analysis shows that the only way to keep our economy secure for the future is to eliminate the deficit entirely and start running a surplus", the manifesto claims, a statement so patently absurd and false that no further comment is necessary; and, just to limit this to a single paragraph of semi-colons, "Under Labour, road and rail were starved of resources".&nbsp; Yes, really.<br /><br />The Great Recession then has given way to a Great Revival.&nbsp; Our friends and competitors overseas look at Britain and see a country on the rise, perhaps even about to make a Great Leap Forward.&nbsp; Except this Great Revival is fragile, and the slightest deviation from the Plan will result in things going Backwards.&nbsp; This is why every single thing Labour did in power is blamed for why things still aren't Good Enough now.&nbsp; Almost every individual part of the manifesto begins by outlining The Evil That Labour Did, even when it jars completely.&nbsp; Labour for instance forgot that government is the servant of the British people, not their master, goes the introduction to making government work better for you section; it always knew best.&nbsp; The current government of course doesn't, which is why one part of it has gone to such lengths to demonise its supposedly weak and useless opponent and seems fixated as much on how terrible things were and still are rather than on how it's going to fix them.<br /><br />Some things go strangely unmentioned.&nbsp; You won't for instance find any reference to either the bedroom tax or the spare room subsidy, a policy it seems the Tories are completely ashamed of but still won't do the decent thing and admit they got wrong.&nbsp; You won't discover just where the proposed £12bn in cuts to welfare will fall, nor is there any detail on where the axe will be wielded outside of the protected areas of spending.&nbsp; There's no detail on how the proposed rise in the personal allowance to £12,500 will be paid for, estimated to cost an eye-watering £3.2bn by the IFS, which again despite the spin of taking those earning the minimum wage out of tax (<a href="http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/04/are-the-conservatives-being-honest-about-their-new-minimum-wage-policy/">for those working 30 hours at least</a>) benefits middle earners the most.&nbsp; The higher rate threshold will also rise to £50,000, again paid for who knows how.&nbsp; There'll be no increases in VAT, national insurance or income tax, but certainly not guaranteed is there won't be a further cut in the top rate of income tax.&nbsp; There is, unexpectedly, a mention of food banks, not to promise a desire to reduce the need of such institutions in a country experiencing a Great Revival, but obviously as an example of the role played by the voluntary sector in the country's social fabric.&nbsp; Absent is a promise to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, but Labour's Human Rights Act will be repealed and replaced with a British Bill of Rights codifying exactly the same things.<br /><br />In so many places reality is completely absent, none more so than the hysterical Britain standing tall in the world section.&nbsp; Labour's Great Recession apparently weakened Britain on the world stage, whereas the Conservatives have strengthened our influence.&nbsp; Quite where our influence has been strengthened is a mystery; certainly not in Europe, not in the Middle East, where we remain beholden to authoritarian Arab regimes that Cameron spent much time fawning over in an effort to sell weapons to, nor in America, where the refusal to sign up to spending 2% of GDP on defence per NATO agreements and the various cuts to the military have been complained about.&nbsp; We intervened to stop a massacre in Libya, which turned out absolutely splendidly, saw William Hague team up with Angelina Jolie to end sexual violence in conflict once and for all, and helped women and children who have fled violence in Syria.&nbsp; That last claim is so egregious as to impress with the sheer chutzpah it must have taken to write it.<br /><br />Then again, the whole manifesto is defined by such chutzpah.&nbsp; The party that claims to be the new vanguard of the workers <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2015/apr/14/election-2015-live-conservative-manifesto-david-cameron-right-to-buy#block-552cf826e4b0e16b7c1cab27">is determined to push forward with 40% turnout thresholds on strike ballots</a>, a move which if applied elsewhere would see nearly every local election result declared null and void.&nbsp; If you want to live in the most vibrant and dynamic country in the world, which is seemingly this one, a decent job is the best weapon against poverty.&nbsp; The Conservative definition of decent is any job, regardless of the conditions, zero hours contracts meriting a single mention.&nbsp; The principal reason immigration has not fallen to the tens of thousands is because of how wonderful the economy's been doing, and yet at the same time rather than being attracted to all these jobs the real reason migrants from Europe have been coming is to claim benefits.&nbsp; Finally, we measure our success not just in how we show our strength abroad, but in how we care for the weakest and most vulnerable at home.<br /><br />I could just leave it there.&nbsp; I probably should.&nbsp; There is though something exceptionally depressing, at least to me about just how limited and limiting the Conservative view of life set out by their "plan" is.&nbsp; Be born.&nbsp; Grow up.&nbsp; Get a job.&nbsp; Raise a family.&nbsp; Retire.&nbsp; Die.&nbsp; Is that all there is?&nbsp; Is that all we're meant to aspire to?&nbsp; Nothing else?&nbsp; What if I don't have, don't want a family?&nbsp; What if I'm a hopeless loser?&nbsp; Where do I fit into this?&nbsp; I don't.&nbsp; But then I was never going to.&nbsp;</span>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-conservative-manifesto.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-3428890479774391208Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:59:00 +00002015-04-14T19:12:22.196+01:00economicsEd Milibandelections 2015inheritance taxLabourLabour manifestopoliticsThe Labour manifesto.<span style="font-family: georgia; font-size: 130%;"><a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2015-32271505">"It's about values," said George Osborne yesterday</a>, as <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3035769/This-Conservative-dream-Cameron-tries-reboot-floundering-campaign-upbeat-message-security-job-home-inheritance-children.html">David Cameron outlined his dream</a>.&nbsp; Even by the standards of other people's dreams usually being extraordinarily tedious, Cameron's was stupendously dull.&nbsp; One of the most basic human desires is to take care of your children, <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/12/tory-inheritance-tax-plan-human-instinct-george-osborne">and this instinct remains whether they're 5 months or 50</a>.&nbsp; Why then should the taxman demand a cut when it's completely natural to want to leave your home to your kids?&nbsp; What difference should it make if they've already got a home of their own, or if the house is worth £374,000 or £999,999?&nbsp; To object to this intensely natural order is the politics of envy, plain and simple.<br /><br />George Osborne was right, of course.&nbsp; It is all about values.&nbsp; Alan Clark wrote in his diaries of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2012/nov/25/michael-heseltine-would-have-liked-prime-minister">how "the trouble with Michael [Heseltine] is that he had to buy his own furniture,"</a> the kind of attitude that was once so prevalent in the Tories.&nbsp; Most though at the same time would never have dreamed of suggesting that death duties or inheritance tax as it has become should be all but abolished, for the reason being there is moral virtue in taxing unearned wealth.&nbsp; Clark might have sneered at someone needing to buy their own furniture, but would have equally sneered at someone in his position not going out into the world and making their own money.&nbsp; As far as the modern Conservatives are concerned, home ownership is an end in itself.&nbsp; The how and why doesn't enter into it; so long as the home was acquired somehow and it's worth less than a million it should be able to be passed on.&nbsp; The effect this will have on the housing market is completely immaterial, or rather is absolutely integral: almost every Tory policy post-2010 has been to boost house prices and to hell with the consequences.&nbsp; What's good for those lucky enough to have got on the housing ladder is good for the country.&nbsp; There could not be more difference between a party making such a promise and the others pledging to introduce a yearly tax on properties worth over £2 million.<br /><br /><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/13/i-am-ready-says-ed-miliband-as-he-launches-labour-election-manifesto">Which brings us to today's Labour manifesto launch</a>.&nbsp; Little remembered now is a certain Ed Miliband was the principal author of <a href="http://www.septicisle.info/index.php?q=/2010/04/labour-manifesto.html">the last Labour manifesto</a>, not so much the longest suicide note in history as it was an immensely elongated acceptance of fate.&nbsp; Where that manifesto promised a "future fair for all", illustrated by a family burning out their retinas by staring into the sun, today's instead informs us all that "Britain can be better".&nbsp; Well, quite.&nbsp; Britain also only succeeds when working people succeed, which doesn't instantly follow; bleeding working people to the bone might well give the impression of the country succeeding also, but maybe we shouldn't be splitting hairs.&nbsp; Where the last manifesto's cover was garish, <a href="http://www.labour.org.uk/page/-/BritainCanBeBetter-TheLabourPartyManifesto2015.pdf">this time the entire document is austere</a> (PDF), the cover simply white with red text, while inside apart from the single full page photo of Ed and multiple images of said hard-working Britons, the design is remarkably minimalistic, or if you prefer, plain.<br /><br />And that, frankly, is what the manifesto is.&nbsp; It almost reminds of the semi-witty advert Labour ran at the time of the changeover of power: not flash, just Gordon.&nbsp; There is very little flash contained herein, and that presumably is exactly the point.&nbsp; It doesn't so much say there's still no money as it does suggest any there is we're not going to splash on frivolities.&nbsp; Indeed, everything has been costed, or so it says on the second page, and locked in also.&nbsp; Not a single commitment requires additional borrowing, and in future Labour will legislate to require all manifestos be audited by the Office for Budget Responsibility.&nbsp; The deficit will be cut every year, the national debt will fall, dogs and cats will live together, but there won't be mass hysteria.<br /><br />From not mentioning the deficit <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/13/labour-businesslike-election-manifesto">Labour has decided it can't be talked about enough</a>.&nbsp; It's difficult to judge precisely why the party has decided at the last minute to invent this budget responsibility lock, or for that matter what the point of it is.&nbsp; As the IFS has been pointing out for some time now, <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/generalelection/general-election-2015-voters-would-not-know-what-they-were-voting-for-if-they-opted-for-labours-spending-plans-according-to-ifs-chief-10173889.html">Labour's economic plan is broad enough to allow</a> for no further cuts whatsoever after 2016, which would still allow for a surplus come 2020.&nbsp; The manifesto doesn't enlighten us as to what cuts there will be, beyond the fact there will be cuts outside of the protected spending areas of the NHS, education and international development.&nbsp; We can obviously expect them not to be <a href="https://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/the-2019-deficit-target-is-still-a-big-ask/">as severe as the ones promised by the Conservatives</a>, yet at the same time the areas designated for cuts are those already slashed hardest.&nbsp; How much more in the way of savings can be found from the Home Office budget, the local government budget, the welfare budget?&nbsp; The manifesto also restates the commitment not to mess with the taxes that raise the most revenue, beyond putting up the top rate of income tax back up to 50p, further reducing room for manoeuvre if such promises are to be kept.<br /><br />If this is meant to reassure those convinced it was Labour's profligacy in the first place that resulted in the crash and the deficit (pro-tip: it wasn't) it's both far too late and just not airtight enough.&nbsp; The Tories might have spent the last few weeks throwing money around, but you can promise ridiculous things like the all but abolition of inheritance tax when, regardless of whether it's deserved or not, the Conservatives are trusted on the economy.&nbsp; More than anything else the emphasis on the deficit and the triple lock has distracted away from what is the manifesto's greatest strength: not the policies, which are for the most part underwhelming, but the message that work isn't paying.&nbsp; While not specifically stating <a href="http://www.nesta.org.uk/news/uks-major-parties-risk-neglecting-low-productivity-shows-survey-mps#sthash.IxnV31g8.dpuf">there's a crisis of productivity</a>, it sets out how it's the quality, not the quantity of jobs that really matters, and the party will not accept Britain becoming a low-wage economy as the Conservatives are prepared to.<br /><br />Naturally, saying this when so many are ready to accept <a href="https://www.vox.com/2014/10/28/7078167/secular-stagnation">secular stagnation as the new normal</a> and doing something about it are two separate things.&nbsp; All the manifesto really pledges to do to improve productivity is via "a long-term investment culture", while "encouraging small businesses to grow".&nbsp; An National Infrastructure Committee will apparently achieve this, making recommendations and holding government to account.&nbsp; Short-termism in business is also fingered, but how much of a difference will really be made by giving additional rights to long-term investors when takeover bids are mounted and by requiring remuneration committees to have worker representation is open to question.<br /><br />Still, there is radicalism or something approaching it hiding beneath the utilitarian wrapping.&nbsp; The big six energy companies will be separated into generation and supply businesses, required to open their books and sell their electricity through an open exchange, while the water companies will have to sign up to a national affordability scheme.&nbsp; The rail franchising system will be reviewed, a public sector operator will be allowed to take on lines and challenge the private firms and city and country regions will be given more power over the bus operators.&nbsp; Less immediately helpful will is the proposed repealing of the Health and Social Care bill, which will surely necessitate another NHS reorganisation, and the new "Directors of School Standards", which sounds remarkably like a way of allowing free schools just under a different guise.<br /><br />The one thing more than anything else that seems absent, despite there being few policies to violent disagree with (it's hopefully indicative that I gave the biggest snort of derision to a throwaway line on building resilience in young people through the use of mindfulness) is anger.&nbsp; Or even a general sense of real concern for what the next five years could bring should we again have a Conservative-led government.&nbsp; It's not as though the Conservatives are hiding their intentions, as they did last time: they want to spending two years banging on about Europe, and could possibly even lead us out by mistake; they want to cut everyday spending to 1960s levels; they want to all but deny benefits to the young, while feather-bedding the old; they want to repeal the Human Rights Act and leave the European Convention on Human Rights; they want to make life as unpleasant as possible not just for those on benefits, <a href="https://johnnyvoid.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/it-had-to-happen-soon-you-could-face-an-in-work-benefit-sanction-for-going-to-work/">but also those on low wages via universal credit</a>.&nbsp; The list could go on.<br /><br />Despite all this, you don't get the sense from Labour or the manifesto that 5 more years of the Tories will be that bad.&nbsp; We are it's true in this new territory where another coalition or some variety of moderating influence on the Conservatives seems all but a certainty, and with that in mind we've had pithy remarks about the launches of the manifestos being about the beginning of the bartering as anything else.&nbsp; 5 more years could mean the breaking of the public services as we know them.&nbsp; Britain can be better, but Labour doesn't seem to believe in itself, let alone the country.</span>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-labour-manifesto.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-14422435.post-6390455529551511720Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:49:00 +00002015-04-10T14:49:42.845+01:00dubstepindiemiscellanymusicnon-politicsyoutube video postsAll the rage back home.<center><iframe width="480" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XwKJqcU10Cw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe><iframe width="480" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uhmPmjeRPJc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe></center>http://septicisle1.blogspot.com/2015/04/all-rage-back-home.htmlnoreply@blogger.com (septicisle)0