the brilliantly leaping gazelle

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My Election Notes 2019: E-Day -24 (pt.4)

 

My main takeaway from tonight’s leaders debate on shITV ‘was why on earth didn’t the host have a cut off switch for their mics, so that when they droned on or their answers rambled on, she could cut them off and move on?’

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 24 (pt.3)

Jo Swindle is wrong.. Her much publicized and widely reported claim that her exclusion from the ITV debates tonight was sexist is utter nonsense/ If she was treated differently to a man in the same or similar position, there might be a case to answer here. The only person who thinks Jo Swindle has a chance of becoming the next Prime Minister is Jo Swindle.

Unpalatable as it may be for many voters, it is only Jeremy Corbinned or Boris’s Johnson that have a realistic prospect of being our next Prime Minister. It isn’t sexist to suggest this.  Because the facts don’t support this preposterous assertion..

In the 2015 General Election they got 7.9% of the vote, and in 2017, this went down, DOWN!, to 7.4%. Granted they got 20.3% in the recent European elections, but they use proportional representation and I’ve written a post all about the Iliberal Democrats abject failure to push for electoral reform, a reform that benefit them massively.

But under our electoral system as it is, at no recent general election have they ever won than 8% of the vote. If the Liberal Democrats had gotten 26% of the vote in 2015, and 31% of the vote in 2017, then she could with some justification make the argument that a decision to exclude her from the debates was sexist, as their share of the vote was increasing and that would they treat a man that way? But there share of a vote at a general election hasn’t increased. They only reason  had more MP’s before this election was called than after the last one was because of defections. They may have had an appeal, but not to voters at a general election they didn’t.

But that’s the thing with facts. Whilst they tell a story, it may not always be the story one wants to hear!

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day -24 (pt.2)

I know that my earlier post today concerning political leaders not just talking about fighting for our votes, but actually fighting to the death for it, may have seemed not their sort of thing for some readers. I get that. I really do.

But then I see this headline on the BBC website:

Boris Johnson to step into the ring with Jeremy Corbyn

Accompanied by a link to a Twitter post by the one of the BBC’s political correspondents, who followed Boris’s Johnson into a boxing club, where this carefully stage-managed  ‘photo op, showing BJ wearing boxing gloves emblazoned with ‘Get Brexit Done”

 

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 24

Two hundred years ago, the prominent German military theorist Carl von Clausewitz proposed his famous definition of war as “the continuation of politics by other means.” And given that at election time the language used to describe the processes by which politicians try to persuade people to vote is – to my mind at least – warlike. They talk about fighting for the vote. The election is a campaign. They face a battle to get the voters out. They need to combat fatigue. Positions are retreated from. Or they’re making ground. I could go on, but you get the point.

Which leads me neatly onto an idea I’ve long held, namely that politicians who want our vote should fight for it. Literally.

They should be made to compete in a televised, live and uninterrupted, as long as it takes, last one standing amidst the dead bodies of their former rivals, fight to the death. No weapons, no time limit, no adverts, no time-outs and of course, no rules. Then we’d see how much people wanted it to be Prime Minister, I mean really wanted it. It’d be ratings gold, I’d watch it and so would you, don’t make out you wouldn’t, because you would. Of course you would. We all secretly want to see Boris and Jeremy go head to head. And if you think harks back to ancient Rome and gladiators fighting to the death as entertainment for the crowds in the coliseums, then your bang on! And if politicians bottled it, then electorate could draw their own conclusions.

And this would also focus the minds on those voting for a new party leader. Which candidate, instead of going to the right school, university, or having the right connections in high places, they’d be looking at who they thought was the most handy.

Not handsy that’s another thing altogether, although if some of the allegations against Boris’s Johnson are to be believed,…

Jeremy Corbyn, well they do say the wiry one’s are quite tasty, but does he have the killer instinct? Jo Swindle, well she is known to be a slippery customer, but this is one televised contest she’d have to take part in, although given her readiness to challenge such things in court, she’d try and wriggle out of it. My money would be on the leader of Plaid Cymru, Adam Price, who looks the business. And, of course, Nicola Sturgeon. she’d be in there, although would she be in at the kill. Writing of kill, I’m not going to mention the leader of the D.U.P., Arlene Foster, not because the D.U.P’s historical links to the paramilitary U.V.F, but because of her opposition to abortion. If she’s opposed to killing the unborn, I doubt if she’d kill someone very much alive. Mind you, she is a politician after all….

I am not ignoring the Green Party co-leaders, because no doubt they are pacifists and wouldn’t want to take part, but would instead want give a talk on the evils of violence, because it doesn’t solve anything.

Had this been enacted years ago, this may have helped David Davies, until recently Minister for Exiting the European Union, but before that, a Tory leadership candidate and long before that, a member of the Territorial S.A.S. Paddy Ashdown, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats because before politics, Ashdown was a soldier who served in the Royal Marines and the S.B.S – the navy’s S.A.S – and as an officer he saw active service in Borneo and Northern Ireland. But for me, it’d be Dan Jarvis, until recently a Labour MP before being elected Mayor of Sheffield. He joined the Parachute Regiment in 1997, becoming a Major in 2003, and saw active service in Northern Island, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

It would certainly strengthen Britain’s standing on the world stage, when at any moment during tough negotiations at a leaders summit, our PM could suddenly stand up, kicking the chair back as they did so, and in their best Ray Winstone voice say, “C’mon then, your giving it all that, but you’re all mouth and trousers. Come and have a go if you think your hard enough. “

Maybe not to Vladimir Putin thought. He’s ex-K.G.B, a black belt in judo and has the eyes of a killer.

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day -25

If the Liberal Democrats were in the least bit serious about being democrats, they would’ve demonstrated their commitment to the ideals of democracy by having vigorously campaigned for a change the present electoral system with the Brexit party. Had this bizarre sounding but eminently sensible alliance been effective, democracy could have been the winner on December 13th. If, the morning after the 2015 election, the Lib Dem leader, Vince Unable had launched the campaign for reform by highlighting the discrepancy between share of the votes versus number of seats in parliament of all main parties.

He could’ve made the point that voting reform was well overdue because whilst the Liberal Democrats had won of 7.9% of the vote, that this had translated into 8 MP’s, whereas the S.N.P had got of the 4.7% of the vote but 56 MP’s. The S.N.P., like democracy when it works to their advantage, but here’s the thing – democracy doesn’t have options, you can’t chose which bits you like or don’t like of the democratic process, either your in or your out. Yes, it’s all well and good wanting another referendum on independence, but when they had one, they chose to stay part of the UK. If you choose not to fight in English, Northern Ireland or Welsh constituency’s, fine. It’s your choice. You chose to be here. Suck it up like everyone else has to.

After the 2017 election, this would have even greater consequences, as we know only too well. The Liberal Democrats had won of 7.4% of the vote in that one that this had resulted in only 12 MP’s, whereas the S.N.P ‘s 3% became 36 MP’s. Had the made this an issue one of fundamental importance of democracy that the method of electing a government had to be if so it was to have any legitimacy in the eyes of the governed. Had they done so, there is every possibility that a vote on reforming the voting system to make it truly democratic could have taken place in the recent European elections which, if successful, would have had a far more beneficial effect on our democracy than overturning the referendum result and ignoring 17.4 million people.

Of course such an alliance would require the support of Nigel’s Farrago. if it was to truly cross the political divide, and not simply be a case of centre-left complainers complaining, they’d need his support to have any chance of success. Now leader of the Brexit party, but in 2015, he was leader of UKIP, remember them? With him, well, they’d be pushing at an open door. In 2015 UKIP won 12.6% of the vote which got them all of er….1 MP. Had the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party together campaigned for a fairer voting system then possibly. If Vince Unable had said in 2014, in 2017, or her election as Liberal Democrat Leader Jo Swindle had said, upon being elected Lib Dem leader, ‘I may disagree with the Brexit Party – in fact, I vehemently oppose everything they stand for – but being Liberal Democrat, I believe that if you voted for the Brexit Party, your vote should count for something. As a Liberal Democrat, but a democrat first and foremost I don’t believe that any vote should be a wasted vote. ’

But no. He didn’t. She didn’t and the mess she could so have prevented has come to pass. Great work. Well done you. The only other country in Europe to have a ‘First Past The Post’ system is that other fine example of democratic norms and governance that is Azerbaijan! Sure take ITV to court about not being included in the main leaders debates because that is somehow more of an ‘affront to democracy’?

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 26

The news that police are investigating alleged electoral fraud by the Conservative Party in offering peerages and employment to Brexit Party candidates in return for standing down is, I think, misguided at best, and itself fraudulent. As the BBC reported

Calls are growing for an investigation into claims the Tories offered peerages to Brexit Party election candidates to persuade them to stand down.

Police say they are assessing two allegations of electoral fraud.

The way I see it, if anyone is guilty of election fraud, it is any politician who doesn’t admit the harsh truth of catastrophic climate change, namely that it is already too late to reverse the changes that are happening all around us.

For some reason this makes me think of the film ‘Fight Club’ specifically the scene on the airplane where Brad Pitt is explaining to Edward Norton why oxygen masks are dropped from the overhead lockers in the event of an impending plane crash. This, he explains, is because taking pure oxygen gets you high, and so taking large deep breaths of it will make you very high, very quickly. The evidence for this is contained in all the safety cards, which depicts the passengers are as having calm faces, calm, as he says “as Hindu cows.”, not panicked in the slightest. As no doubt you would be if you were off your tits on drugs, and not focused on being ripped limb from limb or being engulfed in a fireball, burnt alive, identifiable only by dental records! It gives the comforting illusion of safety, that there is some order among the chaos, that there is always something that can prevent the inevitable.

In much the same way, politicians who still peddle the lie that something can be done to slow down catastrophic climate change by either changing our ways of being that contribute to this man made disaster technologies or by some other incremental change are the ones committing electoral fraud. Its as I wrote a few days ago,

“If one of the party leaders was brave and honest enough to say to the electorate ‘Look, I could lie to you and tell you we can halt this, that actions by individuals can make a difference, but only if those individuals had been the leaders of major polluting countries and they’d acted long ago. But they didn’t and no matter how much you re-cycle, install solar panels to heat your home or eat less meat, the sad truth is that in China and America they’re not. Basically we’re fucked, and not in a tender, loving way either.’”

Then more power to them or probably not, as they’d never get elected, well not into a position of real power, one that could effect change anyways. This raises the thorny question of who is bullshitting who? Are they the politicians bullshitting to us or are does the bullshitter need someone to believe that bullshit? In which case, where does the blame lie? Because especially at election time, there are plenty of lies about catastrophic climate change,

My Election Notes 2019; E-Day – 27 (pt.2)

So “Children In Need’ raised £47.9 millions last night. Fuck-a doodle-do!

We live in one of the wealthiest economies in the world, so can someone please explain why there is for charities to fund and provide what the state should be. We pay our tax, well not all of us, obviously – if your wealthy enough to have a clever accountant, or a big multi-national you don’t have to – and if there’s enough tax to fritter away on escalating costs on H.S.2 , now £56 billions up from it’s original estimate of £32 billions – we can use that money to restore the funding cuts imposed on local authorities by Conservative governments and their austerity obsession.

Funnily enough, their desire to curb public spending didn’t extend to the money hoover that is Crossrail. That’s massively late – it should be running by now – but it isn’t but is massively over budget. When it comes to spending our taxes, this government wants us to believe that constantly injecting cash into such infra-structure projects is worthwhile because of some advantage to business, a nebulous benefit to us and besides, they’ve started. Ultimately, it’s about priorities, about what a government prioritizes and this therefore this election is about what sort of government we want and what it prioritizes to spend our taxes on. Our taxes.

Originally, I was only make a comparison between the amount raised by ‘CiN’ and the amount the royal fleecers fleece us for. Or the interest we pay weekly on the national debt.

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 27

Last night, on BBC1, the bi-annual fun packed fundraising entertainment extravaganza that is ‘Children In Need’ took place. One question though – who and where are these ‘children’ and what are they in ‘need’ of?

Whoever it was that said ‘to be born an Englishman is to win first prize in the lottery of life.’, was spot on! We live in a time of unbridled happiness, in one of wealthiest economies in the world, in a country that has the wherewithal to take care of those who can’t take care of themselves, a country moreover, that places greater store in the health and well-being of all it’s citizens, regardless of any perceived difference. A country that doesn’t see any weakness in compassion, nor virtue in greed, one that prioritizes people over profits, as evidenced by a generously resourced and accurately staffed benefits system. One that caters for every need, indeed one that future-proofs itself by welcoming critical analysis as a tool that helps maintain excellence and constant innovation.

Indeed, from my own experience, all my dealings with the benefits agency have been so life affirming that it puzzles me why they don’t run them as weekend retreats. Probably it’s out of a laudable desire to ensure that benefit agency staff maintain a healthy work/life balance?

So why on earth the ‘Children In Need’ telethon is needed is quite frankly beyond me. Aren’t all the needs of all children in this land being met? Quite what these charities are up to is a matter of great concern. They should all be investigated for fraud and embezzlement immediately to establish exactly where the money going?

Writing about charity I am always reminded of this rather excellent clip from ‘The Day Today’ from the demented wrongcock that is Chris Morris.

 

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day -28 (pt. 2)

As if any more proof were needed that our species is not just incapable, but is actively hindering, our diminishing chances of survival, I draw your attention to these news stories that I found on the BBC website this morning. And as the BBC news website is my homepage, I didn’t have to search for them. They were just there, damning evidence of our culpability in our own inevitable extinction.

Thousands of homes to be built in flood zones

Almost 10,000 new homes could be built on some of the most flood-prone areas of England, a Greenpeace investigation has found.

They include hundreds of new-builds in Sheffield and Doncaster, the towns hit hardest by the latest floods. The Environment Agency told the BBC that virtually all planning applications last year followed its advice on flood risk.

But it predicts the flooding risk will increase because of climate change. The Greenpeace study comes as hundreds of flood-hit homes in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire are still evacuated. It identifies plans to build a total of 9,688 new homes in high-risk areas. More than 5,000 homes have been proposed in high-risk zones of Lincolnshire, where roads and thousands of acres of farmland have been flooded in the last few days.

Exactly how does this make any sense whatsoever?

China’s largest dump is already full – 25 years ahead of schedule.

The Jiangcungou landfill in Shaanxi Province, which is the size of around 100 football fields, was designed to take 2,500 tonnes of rubbish per day.

But instead it received 10,000 tonnes of waste per day – the most of any landfill site in China.

It’s not that humanity is fucked, more that we’re bringing strap ons to make sure we’re well and truly fucked!

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 28

Yesterday the personal and the political crashed into each other for me, with, it must be written, a surprisingly unexpected outcome. Admittedly the day had stated well, in fact the day hadn’t started for me until mid-day, when I’d reluctantly got out of bed and wished I hadn’t. But I don’t want to write about that. Neither do I want to write about the incredibly bad news the Conservative election campaign got when it was revealed that a slew of performance indicators for the N.H.S – waiting times in A&E, waiting times for operations, waiting times for some cancer treatments, waiting times for, well you get the gist – had completely banjaxed any notion of the N.H.S being safe with them. Besides it was all over news.

No, what I want to write about is my visit to my consultant neurologist. In the way of these things, it was his registrar I saw – and it was jolly lucky for me that I did! The initial signs did not augur well. After getting to the waiting room, I was informed by my glamourous assistant that it was too hot. I ruminated on the fact that just supposing that the Garden of Eden was more than arrant nonsense, and just supposing she was in there, she would’ve made suggestions – not complaints – about improvements may have been made, leading God to wonder ‘What might I have got for two ribs? Although being God, and being how the world was only a few days old, he could simply have stated again. But I digress.

A notice board informed us that the wait would be 70 minutes. It has always baffled me, how that when you have an appointment at 9.30a.m, there can be a long delay. What could they be possibly be doing, I wonder? But I was due to seen at 4pm, and upon enquiring, came the news that I was next.

The registrar, a very pleasant woman, young enough not have had all the humanity drudged out of her, but old enough to inspire confidence, whom I’d never seen before, started asking me about the medical issue that had bought me to her door, but which had been so long ago, I had no recollection of. Helpfully, she gave no clues as to what it might be, but fortunately – in this instance anyway – I have a rather ‘unique’ medical history, so I picked one and hoped for the best.

Then I explained about a forthcoming review by anti-social services into my funding. I explained why I needed imy funding not be drastically reduced, and that a letter in support of continued levels of funding by her would be most helpful. I added that they were usually overly bureaucratic and obsessed with cost cutting. To which she said, “Well, you know why that is, don’t you?” Thinking there was going to be some earnestly liberal denunciation, I was taken aback by her answer, which was as succinct as it was borne out of her experience.

“Because they’re bastards”, she said, not with anger or frustration but in the resigned tone of someone imparting a self-evident truth. She explained it cogently, how everything was connected to everything else, an increasing workload, lots of patients with complex needs, some more social than medical, with unrealistic expectations and a social care system unable to cope with them, only exacerbating the problems.

She then asked me lots of detailed questions about my condition, so as to better understand my needs and therefore what her letter should say. Ah, the letter! And it was all going so well! Too well, in fact. Yes, granted she had to dictate the letter, I expected that, but what I didn’t expect was that in this new market driven N.H.S, it would then be sent to India, typed up, sent back to the hospital before being sent to me.

See, that’s what happens if you take the Lords name in vain truly, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away!