the brilliantly leaping gazelle

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day + 1

If Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream’ was a feeling, then it’d sum up perfectly how I felt last night.

This afternoon wasn’t any better either, having stayed up until 5.30am, gone to bed and waking up with feeling numbness and dejection that is beyond the descriptive power of words.

Quite how last night happened is both incomprehensible and easy to understand. Whilst describing the election result in these terms may seem contradictory, given that the whole election was itself contradictory, why should an explanation be any different?

Incomprehensible because vast swathes of the north of England were brutally decimated by a successive Conservative governments that through most of the 1980’s aggressively pursued a right-wing ideological agenda that destroyed the industries and communities that depended on them. I was lucky. I lived on the south, far, far away from the social vandalism visited upon the north. But I remember the miner’s strike, and the anger and resentment that caused. So it was inexplicable that so many voters in those same communities would have so short a memory of their own past to put their trust in a Conservative government ever again.

But then it’s incredibly easy to understand. A lot of voters in those communities may have born after the 1980’s, and will have heard about it from their parents or grandparents, not actually experienced it themselves. And if those voters feel betrayed by a political system that asks them a simple question and then did everything it could to thwart it, is it that much of a surprise that a politician who tells them what they want to hear gets their vote? If their parents and grand-parents think that on balance their lives can’t get any worse, that how they remember the Labour party of old isn’t the Labour party of now, they’ll vote Conservative. Indeed since the Blair years it has become progressively more focused on appealing to metropolitan voters and less about being the engine for social change it always purported to be.

I get that there’ll be a lot more written about the causes of last nights result, written by an intelligentsia who mean well, to be sure, but are inured from what a majority Conservative government will mean for the millions of people claim benefits, depend on food banks or have an existence rather than a privileged life. It will be discussed interminably by the same people, who by refusing to accept the referendum result, helped create the feeling of disconnect from the political process that caused last night. I do hope Gina Miller’s feeling thoroughly ashamed of herself for all those legal challenges she brought.

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day (pt.4)

Unlike in 2017, I won’t be attempting to watch the election results come in, blog about them as they happen and drinking champagne whilst hurling abuse at the television, abusive which gets more abusive the more I drink at the television. Instead, I can hear a champagne cork pop, which means it’s time to stop writing and start getting ready for abject misery. But in the best traditions of ‘Blue Peter’, here’s one I prepared earlier….

One of the great moments of pleasure in any election night coverage is being up for a Portaloo moment. You know what these are, I mentioned them earlier. The chief Portaloo moment might come when the result of the Uxbridge constituency is called. Here, Boris’s Johnson is defending his seat with a majority of less than 5,000. There are plans afoot in Conservative Central Office that should he loose his seat, then a newly elected Conservative MP with a large majority will vacate their seat and thus trigger a bye-election

Chingford and South Woodford is the stomping ground everyone’s favourite politician, Ian Duncan’t Smith. He faces a challenge from young Labour candidate with impeccable credentials. She is young, was raised by a single mother in the constituency, graduated from Oxford, and has pledged that she won’t stand in any other constituency.   She also has an army of volunteers and other community activists supporting her. And he has a majority of less than 2,500. So that looks promising.

Then we have Anna Soubry’s Broxtowe count to look forward to, because with a majority of only 863, she better have kissed a lot of babies. With there parents consent, of course! Ah, dear Anna, who never uses one word when one hundred will do!

Another is the marginal seat of Fife. Where the majority is two! The result of this isn’t expected until late but its going to be hotly contested.

As does Hastings, where Amber Rudd is standing down. Everything is up for grabs here. Moving to the other end of the country we have Birkenhead, where Frank Field has been the Labour MP since 1979 and in 2017 election got 76% of the vote. He ‘s been remarkably effective as chair of the work and pensions select committee, so naturally he was expelled and is standing as an Independent

And poor old Chloe Smith in Norwich North. Wait you don’t know who she is? Maybe this’ll remind you!

This is the full horror. and her stuffing by Paxo starts at 6.19.

 

And last and hopefully very last is Chuka Umoaner. Hopefully his smug blend of playing to the gallery and opportunism will finally get the repeated kicking in the ballots it deserves. Cities of London and Westminster that one.

But there’s a chance that this’ll go the way of so many Glastonbury’s, you know, when you get there and they give you the full line of bands and work out who you’ll see, including acts in the theatre field and the green field. But the good intentions upon arrival are never what actually happens. You get totally shitfaced.

So to with tonight. Lets hope it’s not a re-run of election night 1992, when loads of us were expectantly hoping for the Labour win the polls had predicted – I was younger and more naieve – so my dissapointment was more acute. A combination of Aldi champagne, pickled onion Monster Munch, KP peanuts and chicken drumsticks will see to should prevent that. Hopefully.

My Election Notes 2019:E-Day! (pt.3)

Before I get into the nitty-gritty of election night coverage on the BBC – I mean come on, who watches shITV on election night – let me first say that their graphics department is always hi-jacked by someone armed with C.G.I skills and a large amount of acid.

That seems to me the only plausible explanation of the BBC’s coverage; namely that only a drug addled lunatic would think that we are incapable of processing any information if it isn’t presented in a way that resembles a collision involving Hieronymus Bosch, Jackson Pollack, a paint factory and a 1950’s science fiction film.

But before that we have to endure the farrago of lots of people talking earnestly about not very much at all. The first results trickle in between 11pm – 1am and until then we are treated to the spectacle of people discussing an insignificant amount of results yet imbuing them with a nationwide significance that they don’t deserve.

The bullshit-o-rama is in overdrive. There’ll be the old favourites; “It’s far too early to tell”, “we can’t read too much into this yet, but…”, “we never do well here, so it isn’t a surprise”, “ I would just like to pay tribute to X who has been a fine servant of the people and didn’t deserve this”, “I think the voters were not voting on local issues, I know the area well and that’s not the impression I got talking to people on the doorstep”, “I think we had difficulty getting our message across” And there’ll be lot of new bullshit for this one election only,  along the lines of, “The voters aren’t voting according to traditional tribal loyalties. Their lending their vote for this one time for parties that they hope can deliver the Brexit outcome they want”, “One thing is clear though, the real winner ultimately is democracy”  They’ll be loads more of this bollocks until 1am and then it goes fucking mad.(Actually, now I think about it,  this’d make a great drinking game.)

Results just pour in. Of course we’re all hoping for a Portaloo moment, however younger readers of this blog might not know what a Portaloo moment is. It was the incredibly life affirming moment in 1997 when Michael Portaloo, a Conservative cabinet minister, lost his supposedly safe seat and provided the abiding image of the impending momentous Labour landslide. Who can forget his incredibly smug face trying not to look crushed as people cheered loudly his defeat. That’s what we’ll all be hoping for, and when I write ‘we’ I mean me. Now its nearly 5pm so I’m sober – I’m not a hobo –  but I’ll be opening my first bottle of champagne at 10pm…

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day (pt.2)

One thing that bothered me when I voted earlier and is still bothering me now, is the fact that I didn’t need my present my polling card – or indeed any proof that I was who I claimed to be – to vote. I just gave my name and address, they checked I was on some list and crossed me off it, handed me a ballot paper and that was it.

It seems that all this talk of Russian interference in our election is missing the glaringly obvious flaw in the whole voting process, that the greatest threat to the validity of the vote is the ease with which a vote can be obtained. I live in a ‘safe’ seat – inasmuch as any seat can be called safe at this topsy-turvy election – but were I living in a marginal, then a well orchestrated manipulation could skew the result.

Take Richmond Park, where Zac Goldsmith’s majority is only 45, for example. What would happen if a small number of people, who knew this flaw and his tiny majority, got up really early and posed as other people at multiple polling stations to vote against him? And what if that scenario were to be replayed at every marginal seat with a majority of less than 300? Might there then be legal challenge concerning the legitimacy of the election result? Darwin knows Gina Miller isn’t shy of involving the courts.

I’m not suggesting there is any fraud, well perhaps in the case of claims made by Boris’s Johnson about his deal there most certainly is, just that there exists the potential for it to occur.

 

 

 

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day! E-Day!

I’ve just voted some minutes ago and it was with a bizare combination of reluctance and wishing to avoid feeling thoroughly ashamed. Reluctance because my MP has been the MP here since I moved here but is not someone I normally vote for. Thats because I live in a safe Labour seat, her majority being over 18,000 in 2017.

But then I thought what if enough Labour voters believed that as we live in a safe Labour seat they assumed enough Labour voters would vote Labour and didn’t bother to vote, resulting in a Conservative victory. Unlikely, yes, but this election has been dominated by one single issue, the like of which we’ll probably – hopefully – never see again. If it did happen and I’d spoiled my ballot paper as I did in the recent European elections, as a protest about the Supreme Court overturning the legitimate right of the PM, then I’d feel thoroughly ashamed.

Almost as resigned as I am to the fact we’ll never have a proper socialist government, because only fool or a charlatan would assert that any of Tony Blairs terms in office were socialist. Mind you, only a fool would believe it.

However, I’ve just done a massive technicolour yawn! I hope it isn’t my body telling me I shouldn’t have done it nor do I hope that is a bad omen. I did, after all sleep uneasily last night, a sense of foreboding keeping me awake. This is, after all the 12th day, of the 12th month and the full moon last night – the last one this decade – rose at 12.12am .

And tomorrow is Friday 13th, so…..

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day -1 (pt.2)

The vote one casts is fundamentally, in my opinion, indicative of what sort of person you are, what sort of society you want to live in and what the rules that society has.

For me it has always been Labour. In my posts about the elections of 2015 and 2017 I began, as I did this time, trying to be even handed in my loathing of all the main parties. And because our elections have become more presidential in nature, more about the party leaders personalities than we’ve been used too, I’ve tried to disparage them equally. For Johnson and Swindle, Sturgone and Farrago it’s quite easy.

But underneath everything the media seek to portray him as, Corbinned is essentially a decent chap, one who, unlike Johnson, you’d be happy to let drive your daughter home after a party. And that was a friend who said that!

And at least Corbinned would never carry on like this,

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 1 (pt.2)

Here’s something I’ve just spotted in The Guardian.

Boris Johnson ‘hides in a fridge’ to avoid Piers Morgan interview

Tory aide swears at Good Morning Britain producer who approached PM during pre-dawn visit to dairy

Boris Johnson retreated into a fridge as he sought to avoid a TV interview, amid rattled nerves at CCHQ over a narrowing in the opinion polls.

Firstly, when you come off the least likeable in anything involving Piers Morgan, then you’re know in trouble. Secondly, and more, importantly, it reveals Boris’s Johnson’s utter cowardice and total reluctance to subject himself to any scrutiny. And yet, bizarrely, he’s predicted to win a 28 seat majority.

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 1

One of the things that has really done my fucking nut in this whole election campaign is the Conservatives fixation upon Brexit, as if voters are going to ignore all of the very real challenges that they face in their day-to-day life. Issues such as housing, education, health, transport, immigration, employment and the funding of public services to name a few. But the inertia of parliament has meant that domestic issues which will have a far more profound and immediate effect on voters than Brexit have been ignored. Of course a bad Brexit deal will affect all of these issues because if the economy takes a hit, tax revenues will be firstly impacted and then there will be less for the government to spend.

However.

What a government spends our money on is a matter of choice. It can choose what spending to cut and what to increase, to withdraw altogether or to introduce new one’s? We are told, as a justification for cutting spending on public services, for example, that ‘difficult decisions’ and ‘hard choices’ have to be made. But who is it that bears the brunt of these ‘difficult decisions’? Who decides what are the choices to considered – and more importantly not considered – when deciding on these ‘hard choices’?

One area of government spending that is seemingly immune to austerity and government cuts is corporate welfare. Corporate welfare is exactly what you imagine it to be it is, although the sheer size of it might not. Estimated to be between£93 billions a year and £180 billions a year because getting an authoritative figure from the government isn’t as easy as say, finding how much housing benefit fraud there is. But means by which big and small businesses and corporations benefit massively from a myriad of state sponsored subsidies is of far more concern and therefore rarely discussed. Who is going to discuss it? Not the newspapers, which as I pointed out in a previous post, are owned by those who have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

You mean to say that tax credits are a way of the government subsidizing low pay from businesses? That can’t be right. Next your going to say that providing free nursery care for the under fives is subsidizing mothers to return to work more quickly benefits business. I mean, I know that your brain damaged and everything, but come on!

You don’t mean that the curriculum has been tailored in such a way as to provide more employable school leavers better able to meet the needs of business. Next you’ll be saying that the notion of graduates leaving university after completing Mickey Mouse courses with eye wateringly high levels of debt is a way of ensuring a more compliant workforce. No one questions any of this, its all taken as a given, the way things are. Like deference to the benefit scroungers in chief, or that having the right family, the right accent, right clothes, the right education, the right connections somehow gives you the right to govern

But hey, lets focus on Brexit and getting that done, because that’s the real issue here isn’t it.

My Election Notes 2019: E-Day – 2

 

Who’d have thought it? A proven liar and demonstrably unsuitable candidate for election to a parish council – not the chairperson mind, just a member – let alone PM, reveals himself to be the heartless bastard we all suspected he was, but now he’s conclusively provided us with the evidence which confirms it.

I refer to the incident yesterday where, as The Guardian reported.

ITV News reporter Joe Pike asked Johnson about newspaper reports featuring Jack Williment-Barr, a four-year-old boy with suspected pneumonia, who was pictured being forced to sleep on a concrete floor in an overcrowded NHS hospital this weekend. “I haven’t had a chance to look at the photo,” Johnson said. Look at it now, said Pike, who had it up on his phone. At which point Johnson simply took the phone and stuffed it into his pocket

What has happened to reality? What can you say? Other than: may all would-be statesmen disport themselves with the casual larceny of a guy who knows if you don’t let the legal papers physically touch you, then they haven’t been served on you. For my money, the inclusion of the auto-satirical words “prime minister” at the end of Pike’s next sentence mark it out as a contender for quote of the campaign. Let’s see them in action: “You refuse to look at the photo, you’ve taken my phone, and put it in your pocket, prime minister.”

That wasn’t the worst bit though. When he did grudgingly look at the ‘photo, and remarked that it was an awful, one wasn’t sure if he was commenting on composition of the ‘photo, or the quality of the mobile ‘phones camera, or that a child was lying on a hospital floor. Quite why people imagine he’s imbued with normal human emotions defies comprehension. He’s a privileged posh boy, who rarely meets normal people – I mean people not in the same Westminster bubble or those that don’t inhabit the same rarerified social circle as him. It’s not so much that his moral compass is broken; more that he never had one in the first place. An immoral compass yes, but a moral one…

Writing of a skewed moral compass we think of Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, who was dragged in an attempt at damage limitation at a hospital and with a conveniently prepped camera crew. When asked about the photo, he displayed all the required emotions his leader had lacked. But it was when he started bleating on about his children and how often he’d visited A&E departments because of their mishaps, then I started to get the fragrant aroma of bullshit. I mean, whenever any politician invokes their family in order to prove they’re just, you know, like you and me, well that’s never a good sign. But he got carried away; he began to bullshit the bullshit when he claimed that he depended on the NHS like any parent.

I thought why didn’t the reporter interrupt his bullshit and challenge him to give examples? Put him on the spot, ask him prove his assertion to be true. But he didn’t. When any politician claims they use the NHS, you can bet that it isn’t the same NHS we use; they drop their name, make staff aware of exactly who are and let their imagined importance do the rest. If they don’t have private health insurance that is. But given that he’s a privately educated then Oxford P.P.E graduate Conservative Minister who, before politics worked as an economist at the Bank of England what do you suppose the chances of that are.?

More or less than the chances of press being as soft on Jeremy Corbinned if he’d committed the same lack of basic human decency as Boris’s Johnson?

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

It must be that time again, that time when the closer election day gets, so the scare stories about Labours tax plans ramp up a gear, so it was with predictable inevitably that Daily Mail’ reports today that,

Billionaire Phones4U founder John Caudwell warns that ‘every wealthy person in the UK’ would LEAVE if Labour wins general election as he savages John McDonnell’s ‘frightening’ tax hikes

Would that be the same ‘Daily Mail’ owned by the billionaire Viscount Rothermere, who for tax reasons is a ‘nom dom’, essentially a device used to pay less tax?

It would!