the brilliantly leaping gazelle

Really?

So Donald Trump has said that Boris Johnson would make an ‘excellent’ Prime Minister. That is indeed some endorsement, although if it be a good or bad one does rather depend on your view of Donald Trump, and the worth you place on his opinion.

You might think him a great communicator, as his predecessor Ronald Reagan was often reputed to be, adept at his use of Twitter and other media to be so. You might also be of the opinion of him as a skilled diplomatic operator, able to both to think strategically and be aware of the possible long-term consequences of his foreign policy aims, effectively negotiate to achieve them. Domestically, you might think he’s been tireless in attempting efforts to heal the many divisions that afflict his country, in order to – to use one of his campaign slogans – ‘make America great again’.

You might also think that an endorsement, carried as it is in a newspaper infamous for its Page 3 image of topless women, is perhaps the perfect metaphor for such.

Francis Urquhart!

Just what the country needs!

Here something you may have missed, from metro.co.uk:

The fate of the UK over Brexit will be decided by around 100,000 people who are predominately male, white, middle-class pensioners. Grass roots members of the Conservative Party will choose the new prime minister whose job it will be to lead us out of the EU.

However, their demographic is ‘entirely unrepresentative’ of the general population based on gender, wealth, ethnicity and their hard-line attitudes against Brussels. Experts say this situation could make a no-deal exit from the EU more likely – but also, paradoxically, there is a higher chance of a second referendum too. The race to be Theresa May’s successor when she stands down on June 7th will be decided by Tory party members rather than the general public.

Research has confirmed that 70% of party members are male and 97% are white British. The average age is 57, although over 40% of the group is aged 65 or above. Members are concentrated in the southern half of the country with six out of ten living in Eastern England, London, the south east and the south west.

Before adding,,

Some 86% of them fall into the ABC1 category, used by researchers to describe the top social grade.

And if that doesn’t make you want to share a bath with a toaster, this might,

Politics professor Tim Bale told Metro.co.uk: ‘The average member will be a man, in his late 50s, will be white British, will live in the south of England and be comfortably off. ‘They are certainly more comfortably off than most people and certainly not representative in terms of ethnicity. ‘In the UK some 15% of people come from ethnic minority backgrounds whereas only 3% of those in the Conservative party do.’

Tory MPs are now queuing up to throw their hats into the ring and a leadership contest is set to start the week commencing June 10th. MPs will hold a series of secret ballots to whittle down the candidates to two. This final pair will be put to a postal vote of the wider party membership and the winner declared the new prime minister, probably by the end of July.

Membership costs £25 per year but it is too late for anyone wanting to join in the process for this time.

That last line is highly revealing, both about who the Conservative want as members and also who they don’t want. Only someone affluent , so ‘comfortably off’ as to be relatively unscathed by the worst effects of successive government’s austerity agenda would have enough disposable income to join. It cost me £3 to be able to join the Labour party ias a supportern order to vote for Corbyn, and when he won – to nobody’s surprise – I joined as a full member. How much of a member I feel I am now is a moot point, but at least the eligibility criteria to vote wasn’t predicated on wealth.

Basically, the new Conservative leader and PM will be chosen by people who one imagines mix within their own narrow social sphere and therefore their life experience and opinions gained from that will be equally narrow too. I mean, I could be wrong but something tells me I’m not, Anyway whatever they decide, they won’t have to live with it for long.

Talk about putting the con into co

Boris Johnson is no ‘Stretch Armstrong’.

One of the problems I have with putting Boris Johnson on trial for misconduct in public office, is not that it sets a dangerous precedent, one that allows those with the means to seek legal redress of some perceived political grievance. Nor is it because it – and the legal challenge by Gina Miller again about Brexit– is a frankly undemocratic way to settle these disputes.

No for me the problem is more fundamental, much simpler. We all know politicians lie, and even when they don’t, we think they do. We know they play around the notion of truth as if it were a political ‘Stretch Armstrong”. Ever since we’ve attained some healthy – and well deserved – skepticism for whatever politicians say, we’ve treated what they claim at election time with a dose of salt large enough to cause one serious health problems. That’s why I have more than serious doubts that anyone who read the claim on that bus actually believed £350 million a week going to be spent on the N.H.S if we left Europe. As soon as it was revealed, the doubts as to its veracity were aired. In fact as I recall, the main reason the claim received the publicity it did was precisely so it could be thoroughly discredited.

Which it was so many times and so comprehensively proven to be untrue in such a short space of time, I find it hard to credit anyone with the stupidity to still believe it to be true. One has to question the motives of whoever thought that this was in any way a matter for a court to rule on, and allowed it to proceed this far. The person who bought this mockery to trial, crowd-funded it.

Of course he has. Apparently he’s well on the way to raise the £500,000 needed to pay for it. Being a private prosecution it could of course be stopped by the C.P.S at any time, but for now, at any rate, it is in the public interest to proceed. But how a claim that will kill no-one be allowed on such arbitrary grounds, when a claim that helped cause an illegal war, that led to countless deaths, helped create ISIS and des-stablised the region, and was proven by a government inquiry to be false, how is the perpetrator of that fraud not on trial?

Try crowd funding a trial for Tony Blair for war crimes.

Me on thin ice. Again!

Maybe it’s just me, but the timing of the current allegations about anti-semitism that have dogged the Labour Party does seem highly coincidental to those wishing to denounce Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. I mean, he came to the Labour leadership against all odds about three years ago, and before then any allegations of anti-semitism in the Labour Party were not given as much prominence in the media as they are now. In all probability incidents of anti-semitism have taken place but, as I asked yesterday, when does not liking someone because of their words and deeds become discriminatory?

Yes, anti-semitism is a problem, but it is a problem that is exists in wider society and, like most other forms of discrimination, until society as a whole learns to deal eradicate it, it’s highly unrealistic to expect a small group of individuals from exempt from those biases. Of course, someone guilty of a hate crime needs to be named and shamed, but again when does a frank and robust exchange of views become threatening and bullying behaviour? Who decides if something is hate speech or an ill advised mode expression? Who decides on opinions, on how people felt about what was said? Who judges this, and what are their criteria?

Anyway, it won’t be me. I was once accused of staring at someone in a ‘racist manner’.

“Will you ever stop acting the eejit and cop on at all?”

One would be forgiven for thinking that Jeremy Corbyn was trying his hand at stand-up comedy when, in announcing his support for a second referendum on Brexit, he expressed the hope that, in so doing, Labour would help unite the country. There are quite a few problems with this.

First of all, as I’ve noted on this blog before, as a way of convincing traditional Labour voters in Wales and the northern heartlands that Labour is listening to them and as impotent as decisions made in the Islington and Westminster echo chambers, supporting calls for a second referendum isn’t the way to it. By having a second referendum or whatever formulation of weasly words it might pass itself off as, it will alienate the very Labour voters who voted for Brexit in the first place and who Labour are hoping to attract back

Secondly, the divisions that were exposed in the country by the first referendum and present Brexit debacle are incredibly unlikely to be healed by having a second referendum. If the EU elections have taught us anything, it is that the divisions that were present in the first referendum are just as prevalent now as they were then. Possibly more so, as possibly the abject failure of the government to deliver on the referendum result and Labour’s inability to offer a sensible, coherent and above all consistent statement of its views exacerbates the very problem it creates. Indeed the mother of all parliaments has been a right mutha.

Thirdly, supporting calls for a second referendum, it might be seen as a panicked response to the collapse of the Labour vote in the EU elections and nothing more. Say what you will about the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems, at least they both had a clear message that separated them from each other and the two main parties. This gave voters who supported either position a home for their vote. As various commentators have observed, what the electorate needed was clarity, and suddenly discovering at this late stage that a second referendum is needed is nothing short of the very worst political opportunism.

Fourthly, in supporting calls for a second referendum, Corbyn may have needlessly created problems for Labour from which they may never recover. Namely, what should be on the ballot? It’s all well and good to call for something, but much harder to decide how to answer that call. The problems Labour has had with dealing with allegations of anti-semetism will be as nothing if it has to deal with what is, and what isn’t on the ballot. And they think after all this internal wrangling, an answer will agreed on fast? It makes me think of what my Irish uncles would say to me when I was being stupid, “Will you ever stop acting the eejit  and cop on at all?”

 

Me on thin ice.

This morning saw the final nail to rammed home into the coffin that is my Labour party membership. I, like so many others, joined the Labour party in the immediate aftermath of Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader, imbued with a feeling of hope that finally the Labour party would reengage socialism again. After the complete and utter destruction that Tony Blair wreaked on Labour in the mid 1990’s to make it electable, Labour increasingly saw itself not so much as an instrument to help bring about positive social change for the many, but to win elections by making it almost indistinct from the Conservative Party. No wonder then, when Mrs. Thatcher was asked to name her greatest political success, she replied “Tony Blair.”

So the election of Corbyn as leader indicated a new kind of politics, and so it proved to be, just not in the way I’d hoped. As a backbench MP he’d never been a great orator, but that didn’t matter, because it wasn’t because of how he was saying what he what he was saying more that he was saying it. He defied the party whip, abstained or voted against Labour governments, although to be fair, they were Tony Blair version of a Labour government, so the blame wasn’t all his. But it does make it rather difficult when your leader to call on Labour MP’s to show loyalty when he wasn’t overly encumbered with it previously.

So fast-forward to this morning. It wasn’t the news that,

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has launched a formal investigation into the Labour Party over allegations of anti-Semitism.

As bad as anti-Semitism is, unless someone is calling you anti-Semitic names, sending you anti-Semitic social media messages or being explicitly anti-Semitic, how do you prove it? I mean, I know that I’m on very thin ice here, not being Jewish, but not wishing to excuse anything away, but how do you prove anti-Semitic intent or religious hatred?

Anyway, best I quit whilst I’m ahead and let you know what it was that finally did it for me. It was this,

Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to support a second referendum on any Brexit deal after the Labour leadership came under overwhelming pressure to halt the exodus of its remain voters who backed pro-EU parties at the European elections.

A craven betrayal of Labour voters who’d voted to leave the EU, a pathetic and cowardly attempt to staunch the losses suffered in the EU elections, and to appease the elements Labour calling for a second referendum. By so doing, he’s proven himself to be just as focused on winning elections by abandoning principles as Tony Blair!

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Not that I’m obsessed or anything but is it only me that finds something deeply concerning and inherently troubling for our democracy in the EU election results. Not because of the party that emerged victorious, although that is deeply concerning and inherently troubling enough for the consequences it could engender. But because only 39.6% of people eligible to vote, actually bothered to do so.

I mean, it’s not as if our future relationship with Europe hasn’t dominated the political landscape over the last three years, in the same way that Celtic FC have dominated Scottish football over the same period.

And it’s not as if voting here is in any way an onerous activity. You’re more likely to be greeted by a bored election official in a church hall than to risk death from a suicide bomber, is it? It makes me more annoyed than the Brexit Party winning, that more people didn’t vote than did, but not as much as realizing that 31% of voters didn’t vote in the EU referendum. What was so pressingly important that it trumped that?

I find it staggeringly pathetic of people not to vote. It was only comparatively recently that women got the vote, although this gave rise to the widespread belief that women would vote the way men in their life wanted them too. Some men still think they can do that. Because who one votes for is nowhere near as important as taking an active role in the democratic process, because if one doesn’t vote, not only is your vote not cast, but worse, the that the vote of the people who do bother is worth more, because it’s counted and yours is not.

If the rules of the EU referendum had stipulated that be legally binding, at least 75& of eligible voters needed to vote and that the winners would be required to have won by at least 15% of votes cast. But a) thats not how referendum’s work and more importantly, it was never a legally binding vote, just the largest indicative non binding vote in British history. So anyone who claims that yesterdays means anything other than huge swathes of voter disengagement with the political process is at best deluding themselves and at worst, deluding others. I mean, really? Only 39.6% of eligible voters did so and of those that did, only 32% voted for the Brexit party? Not exactly what you’d call a ringing endorsement, is it.

So given given that 60.1% of people didn’t bother to vote, maybe ITV was right in it’s judgement not to provide coverage of the EU election results after all.

Disturbing conjugal pairings.

Last nights EU election results gave the country the worst possible outcome. Inasmuch as the Tory party will be as scared of the Brexit party as they were of UKIP after the EU elections in 2014, which triggered the mess we’re in now. And a consequence of this will be the election of a Tory leader who MP’s and members hope will reverse this electoral apocalypse in an General Election, by promoting a harder Brexit that returns them to power. Talk about narrow self-interest! That would be the 0.27% of the population, the majority of whom are white, middle class and over 65, those people, the one’s reflect only themselves and not the country as a whole. Talk about niche!

Had Teresa May used the political capital that she had upon her election as Tory leader, then this whole mess could’ve been avoided. Remember those days when compromise was not only possible but also practical? When doing so, building a consensus might have helped heal the divisions that the referendum exposed, rather than not doing so exacerbated? Whereas she thought she was fucking Noel Edmonds, well not fucking Noel Edmonds in that way! I’m sorry to put that image in your head, no one wants that.

And whilst we’re on the subject – not of disturbing conjugal pairings – but things niche, anyone who knows me will know I feel incredibly strongly about this, indeed my partner has to put up with my annual Christmas rant about this. It concerns the abject failure of ITV to provide even the slightest suggestion that they haven’t just thrown in the towel as regards quality programming, but instead rely on ‘talent’ shows, soaps and sport. Oh not forgetting quiz shows and anything they can persuade ‘celebrities’ to do. Anything, it would seem, to keep advertisers happy, and thus shareholders in profit. At 1am I switched over from the BBC’s excellent election coverage to see what ITV was doing. Live roulette befouled my eyes yet even Sky was covering the results. Even Sky! I know the BBC comes in for criticism, some of it well deserved, but by quite a wide margin it’s head and shoulders way better than commercial television. Anyone who’s had the misfortune to endure American television is well aware of that! And don’t get me started on the superiority of BBC Radio – well Radio 4 and the World Service – over everything in every possible way! They just are.

The effluent product has affected to the rotary air conditioning unit

And we’re off! Emily Thornberry Labours ForSec has already got me well into my drinking game. I’m worried that I’ll run out of alcohol if this continues. mount

1st result in Brexit Party have 39% of the vote. But ET is sticking to the tired rhetoric of calling for a 2nd referendum.

The story that’s emerging is that Brexit party is doing really well, in fact their % share of the vote is x2 that of LibDems, not that you’d get that from Ed Davey MP.

Another result, another whopping victory for the Brexit party, who got double the vote of the 2nd placed Lib Dems

London has declared LD”s won, no shock, but the story is yet again the 18 % for share the Brexit party. Emily Thornberry is confusing her mouth with her anus. SecRef? Laura K giving her a grilling over her vacillation. Good.

Heidi Allen from Change UK costing me lots of drinks

Good analysis from John Cuticle, essentially polarization more entrenched = share between parties for hard brexit as for remain. LK thinks parties that have clarity do well

No news of rest of Europe yet. Yorkshire&Humber declared Brexi party x2 share vote of Labour

Quote of the Night by Mark Fracoius MP on Tory loses ‘The effluent product has affected to the rotary air conditioning unit”

Ann Widdecombe on. R thinks she looks like Alastair Sim in his female guise, whereas I think she looks like Doc Brown in ‘Back to the Future’ what with her mad hair, even madder eyes and completely bizarre way of ending each question by dismissively trying to stare out the camera. Mad as a box of frogs, that one.

Because traditional election night results show follow a ‘who’s done well, who hasn’t, what does this mean ‘ formula and gets party apologists to parrot pre-arranged talking points, the astounding success of the Brexit party is not given the prominence it deserves or explaining the reasons for its success imho

John Cuticle is saying the result is, in its simplest form, a draw.

Headlines about results in France and Germany, but apart from that, nothing. Poor

BBC coverage over so time for bed!

The EU election results drinking game…

As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be partaking of some fermented liquids whilst watching the results of the EU elections and it occurred to me that I should combine it with a drinking game. Not obviously the kind of drinking game that goes with ‘Withnail and I’, as it’s a long night and, more importantly, I’m neither young or foolish. Instead I thought of a drinking game where I take a swig of lager every time a phrase is mentioned, what with it going to be a long night and all…

The contenders so far are:

‘This has been clearly a disappointing night for us…’

‘The trend all over Europe has been..’

‘The only winner here is democracy’

‘There are many reasons why our message didn’t resonate with voters..’

‘The results clearly prove that old tribal loyalties are no more…’

‘People wanted to send an unmistakable message to Westminster.. ‘

‘The polls predicted x, we’ve confounded expectations with a huge mandate..

‘I think it deeply unfair on our hard-working MEP’s who have lost their seats..’

‘Now is not an appropriate time to speculate on where we went wrong…’

Maybe I’ve given this a bit too much thought, as even by writing this I’ve thought of loads more…

Just an hour to go now.

Hopefully there’s enough lager. Or else in emergencies there’s some sweet sherry…