Tuesday, 23 May 2017

The Latest Attack on Manchester

Manchester has been attacked again, and as in the past it must pick itself up and carry on. It is the toughest of all the northern cities and this is not the first time that her enemies have tried to weaken Britain by hitting Manchester.

On the 22nd December 1940, starting at 8.00pm and lasting until 6.00am the following day, the German airforce dropped almost 300 tons of bombs on the city and returned the next night to drop another 200 tons. Almost 700 people were killed, and the city was left devastated. The above photo was taken looking along Deansgate towards the cathedral. Last night's atrocity took place a couple of hundred yards beyond that cathedral.

The Cooperative Wholesale Society  had a film crew which made a short documentary of the attack, and which I reproduce above. Note that the city did no whinge or whine, it just got on with its collective life and worked for victory and revenge.

My mother was a conscripted munitions worker at the Avro factory which made Lancaster bombers. In 1945 those bombers paid a visit to Dresden and helped smash it to rubble, with the American bombers then visiting the ruins to bomb them into dust.

As I write, various nauseatingly trendy types are telling us to be tolerant and understanding and an army of parasitic social workers are descending on the city to hold Mancunian hands.

Nobody needed to hold the people's hands in 1940 because they were Mancunians and they know that Manchester is the greatest city in the world. All they needed then was the knowledge that our enemies would be crushed under foot, and that is all we need to hear today. An assurance from the government that our enemies will be battered into submission, no matter how long it takes. 

Over to you, Mrs May.

Monday, 22 May 2017

After Maria Gatland, Gerry McGivern Emerges as Another IRA Member the Tories Welcomed

Following right along from yesterday's re-outing of Maria Gatland as a senior local Tory, let's meet Gerry McGivern, who died at the ripe old age of 46 in Torquay, England, where he lived the final years of his life. His local Tory club were so sad to have to say goodbye to "Irish Gerry" as they called the lovable bomber and drug dealer that they lowered their club's Union Flag to half mast on the day of his funeral.

Irish Gerry, as we shall call him for the benefit of any Tories who may read this and feel fondness for their late member, was an active member of both the IRA and British Intelligence. Eventually, following the night when he broke into an old woman's house with a baseball bat, the IRA decided to drop his services, and following yet more disputes with them it seems they may have even decided to bump him off.

McGivern then coughed to his British handlers and a deal was done whereby he got the fairly light sentence of six years in prison, and the British agreed to quietly forget about the night when he helped blow a British soldier's legs off.

After his release he moved to Liverpool, and engaged in yet more lovable, roguish activity by flogging heroin to the local druggies. He served three years for that, left prison eventually and moved to Torquay where the Tories welcomed him with open arms as one of their own.

To be fair, and we must be fair even to Tories, Irish Gerry's past was only discovered after his death, so the party has a sort of get-out clause in his case.

I remember reading that book, To Take Arms: A Year in the Provisional IRA, back in the 1970s and thought at the time that there was a brittle, self-absorbed, middle class dilettante who didn't really understand street politics. It came as no surprise to learn that she has become a Tory since it is the natural home of people of her class.

What did surprise me was the way in which the Tories kept her in their fold after she was outed as a senior IRA member in 2008. First they went through the motions of suspending her in December 2008, then she was welcomed back into the fold just a month later in January 2009, and allowed to remain a Tory councillor, whereupon the voters of her leafy ward continued to return her to office at every election right up to the present day.

On one level you can understand why the Tories did that, as Gatland is genuinely one of them. In 2010, Gatland was reported as telling people how excited she was to attend a council meeting where a vote was taken that cost sixty local people their jobs.

Obviously not as excited as she was in her miniskirted heyday when she was plotting with the IRA to blow people up, but she was a fairly decent looker in those days so you can understand how she rose to near the top of the organisation via her willingness to be bedded by its then leader, so excitement came thick and fast. Today she appears as a tired old boot, so getting worked up about putting people on the cobbles is probably about the best she can hope for.

So, we have an ex-IRA man who went drinking with Tories in Torquay, and when he died, they lowered our country's flag in his honour. We also have a former IRA woman who became a Tory councillor and was allowed to remain one even when her past became known.  

That the Tories have the brass neck to condemn Jeremy Corbyn for talking to Sinn Fein back in the day and trying to make peace in Northern Ireland just makes their hypocrisy all the more risible

Please remember that when you cast your vote on the 8th June 2017.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Forget Corbyn and Sinn Fein: Meet the Senior Tory Who Was in the IRA

As the Tories attack Jeremy Corbyn for trying to negotiate with Sinn Fein, the IRA's political front back in the 1970s, it is time to remember that they have elected members in their party who were once senior figures in the IRA itself.

Meet Councillor Maria Gatland, who sits on Croyden Council. Under her maiden name of Maria McGuire she travelled to Amsterdam in 1971 to try and buy a shipment of arms from the Czechs to be used against British soldiers. The operation failed, but since Maria was by then polishing the knob of senior IRA man David O'Connell who went with her on the failed trip, he at least got to come home with his balls nicely empty and a big grin on his Fenian face.

Remember: Corbyn tried to make peace in Northern Ireland and the Tories welcome people in their ranks who tried to help the slaughter continue!

Now click here to read about another ex-IRA man that the Tories loved to have in their ranks!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Pippa Middleton is Still Best Viewed From Behind

Reporting on Pippa Middleton's wedding to some bloke, the Guardian had this to say about her dress: "The upstanding lace collar is rather fashion-forward, and the heart-shaped keyhole detail at the nape of the neck makes the dress interesting when seen from behind." I cannot believe that the Guardian did not know what it was doing with that sentence, for do we not all, in a very real sense find the new Mrs James Matthews best viewed from behind?

Who can forget that glorious day in May 2011 when, lacking anything else to do, the nation switched on its TV sets to watch a royal wedding and found  a porn video was being broadcast instead?

The fappening was certainly happening that day, we can be sure, as this poor sod found out to his cost when his girlfriend decided to make her displeasure known:

All good fun!

Labour's Trust Problem

There are a lot of us who agree with this meme which is currently going the rounds like a steam powered ferret. Looking at the polls it is obvious that Labour has a floor to its vote of around thirty percent which nothing the Tories or anyone else can do will shift. The Lib-Dem and even the Green vote is being eaten into by Labour, as people realise that a vote for anything but Labour is actually a vote for the Tories.

Labour's manifesto is a dream document for many of us, with poll after poll showing that these are policies that clear majorities of the population agree with. Yet Labour cannot get much above its thirty percent floor, so what's going on?

Choosing a government is not the same as going to the Tesco website and selecting next week's groceries. The bulk of the population want to cast their votes every few years and then forget about politics until the next time rolls around. To do that they choose a party that they by and large agree with, that has an image that they like, and then they vote for it. Most people have little idea about the minutia of policy and expect that their party will more or less put forward policies that they approve of.

Image matters, so Labour gets a free ride on the NHS and benefits, with people assuming that the party will defend both. The Tories get their freebies from the economy, national defence and lower taxes. That was why they were able to get away with failing to reduce the deficit under Cameron, why John Major was able to privatise the army barracks and close down the military hospitals and why Thatcher got away with doubling VAT. People assume that even when the Tories do crappy things to the military or over the economy, they are still better than the alternative in those areas.

The best that Labour can do under present circumstances is to pick holes in Tory economic policies, and point out the fact that Labour's policies are far better costed and rely less on blind faith. Then hope that enough blokes in Walsall and enough birds in Nuneaton decide that, on balance, they will vote Labour next month.

It won't win Labour the election, that is out of the question, but if Labour can reach the near mid-thirty percent of votes cast then it is a base to stand on for the future.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Guest Posting: The Wankery that is Intersectioanality


 Tim Collard was one of our men in Peking for many years before becoming HM Consul-General in Hamburg until his retirement. He is fluent in both German and Mandarin and now forms a part of the Oxford Union in exile which meets up every Wednesday evening in an Edinburgh swill shop to discuss matters of great weight and drink beer.

If you have never heard of intersectionality, don't worry because most normal people haven't either. In a nutshell, intersectionality is the latest wanky idea from people who are supposedly several times discriminated against because of who they are. So a Black, disabled woman can claim to be triply discriminated against and thus triply able to pontificate to the rest of us. Now you know...

Just a brief point about ‘intersectionality’. Apart, of course from the obvious truth that anyone using the word seriously deserves to have their mental competence assessed at below zero, and, if in an academic institution, to be carried out of it by people in white coats and placed in a different sort of institution. 

Pain leads nowhere. Most of us have experienced it, either in mental form, in physical form or in the form of oppression. It’s horrible. But it hasn’t got much to teach us, except that it isn’t nice. It doesn’t give you any insights. It entitles you to sympathy and compassion, which includes being listened to. But it doesn’t make any of your perceptions objectively more valid than anyone else’s. 

But, if the perceptions of people who have suffered the pain of oppression merit a sympathetic hearing and practical compassion, that doesn’t mean they are any more deserving of objective respect as views. Abraham Lincoln argued cogently along these lines on the subject of slavery, which he nonetheless fought and died to defeat. 

I am opposed to the death penalty. But, you might ask, might I not take a different view if one of my loved ones were horribly murdered? Yes, of course it would. I’d like to see the bastard boiled in oil. But I would be the very last person whose view should be solicited on such an occasion. Please, please don’t ask me.

But, if the views of those who have suffered direct injustice should not be taken as a guide to the formulation of policy, how much importance should be attached to the views of those who can only say that they belong to the same gender, or to the same nationality, or to the same ethnic group, as someone who has suffered oppression? Easy answer. None whatsoever. Zilch. Nada. Sweet zip dangdoodley zeroesville Idaho (h/t tip Stephen Fry). And, as you people have no real skin in the game, it never seems to occur to you that pretending to support feminism or LGBT rights on the one hand and the rights of Islamic societies to enforce their rules on the other is just fucking ridiculous. But why should it? You’re just bloviating and trying to keep in with the crowd. 

And so I come to my peroration, in the tradition of the late Marcus Tullius Cicero. ‘Intersectionalists’, just fuck off, fuck off some more, and when you’ve fucked off as far as you can fuck, then keep on fucking off until there isn’t any more off to fuck. By then you have probably reached the outer walls of the universe, so just fuck off that wee bit more.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Uncle Ken Defends Labour on BBC Radio 5 Live

The BBC Radio 5 Live interview went reasonably well, and I asked a BBC fellow who was standing around to take the above photo. Sitting on the right is the luscious blonde interviewer, whose name escapes me at the moment. On her right is the Tory voter, in front of him is the Liberal-Democrat man and the woman next to him spoke for the SNP. The fat bastard next to her is yours truly, who actually looks sleek and slender compared to about half the men in Scotland.

Mrs SNP made the point several times that she is not actually a member of the party, however she turned up with her notebook that I noticed was chock full of discussion points and sound bytes. She mentioned before the interview started that she was involved with Women for Independence, which is an SNP front, so she's not a party member, but she is a wholly owned subsidiary.

We introduced ourselves and then Miss Luscious-Blonde interviewed Alex Salmond who was in Aberdeen. Speaking to him is a bit like wrestling a greased pig, which was why broad grins were seen on the faces of the three non-SNP interviewees.

Salmond finished dancing around the interviewer, we went to the news, and then we were supposed to be up. However, two journalists had been put in at the last minute so they took twenty minutes out of our time slot.

Eventually we were on and I had already decided that defending Labour was a waste of time, but trying to pull holes in the SNP wasn't - so I hit the Nats with both barrels. Nothing personal, folks, but you have fucked around with my disability benefit and reneged on your promise to raise tax on the rich to 50p in the pound.

I managed to forget the reason why I had agreed to go on the show, which was to plug my books, but what the Hell, I enjoyed the morning.

When it was all over Mrs SNP scampered off, and I suggested a pint or three to the two fellows. Amazingly enough, in a country that floats on a sea of beer they both made their excuses and left. Feeling thoroughly embarrassed on behalf of Scottish manhood, I as a Mancunian who has only lived here for a few years, sloped off to a pub to lift a jar on behalf of the men of a whole country.

Don't thank me: I was only doing my duty.

You can hear the whole show at this link. Click on the 10 May show, then jump forward to the 50 minute mark if you just want to hear the ten minute segment that I was involved with.

Uncle Ken Goes on the Wireless Today at 10.00am.

Tune in to Radio 5 Live this morning at 10.00am if you fancy listening to my dulcet tones. There will be a round table discussion involving four Edinburgh voters who are all pledged to vote for one of the four main parties.

As I understand it, we will each be asked a few questions, then we go over to an interview with Alex Salmond, followed by the round table discussion about him, his party, and whatever else comes up.

All this takes place in the Elephant House, an upmarket coffee shop and eatery where J.K. Rowling is supposed to have written some or all of the first Harry Potter novel. Coffee comes courtesy of Auntie Beeb, so I suppose we should be grateful for that.

I hope to plug my books and this blog. The only problem I have is finding something positive to say about today's Labour Party. Wish me luck.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Joys of Betting on the General Election

To the bookies this morning to place some bets on the General Election, or at least to try to place them.

My first port of call was Coral who are offering odds of 8/1 for Labour to get between 200 and 249 seats. I figured that was worth a fiver of my money, but the clerk behind the counter just stared at me blankly, looked at his screen, then announced after pressing a few buttons and scrolling through a few screens, that he couldn't find a horse named General Election, and could I remember which racecourse it was at?

Having patiently explained that little problem he then tried to call his head office to confirm the odds, but couldn't get the phone to work, in spite of banging the receiver on the counter several times. I told him not to worry, and that I would call back the following day.

I crossed the street and went into a William Hill's as they are offering bets on individual constituencies. It took a few minutes to explain this to the clerk, but he got the idea eventually and agreed to call his main office to confirm the odds. Eventually I was able to place a fiver each on:

Tories to take Sheffield Hallam at 10/1. Yeah, I know, it's a long shot, but it's a prayer that Nick Clegg just gets left with his arse hanging out the window, and the Tories are the only ones who can do it.

Tories to take Westmorland and Lonsdale, an 8/1 long shot, but with rather more possibility to it than the first one. Tim Farron is the MP and for a party leader to lose his seat is pretty much unprecedented. That said, the Tories are spending a lot of money on the seat, it is in a Brexit area, so if there is going to be an upset it could happen there.

Labour to hold Burnley at 7/4. The Lib-Dems are the favourites for this seat, which strikes me as crazy. Burnley is in the Brexit heartland, and Labour are now a Brexit party. More importantly, sources in UKIP tell me that having won a county council seat last week, they feel confident that Burnley will be the seat where they can do rather better than just save their deposit. They also have money to spend in Burnley and a pretty active membership. All that together should prevent the Tories from coming through the middle, so Labour looks like a good bet for Burnley.

So I managed to place most of my bets, but I am left wondering that if bookies' clerks have to have a General Election explained to them, just how disengaged people are in this most crucial election?

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Uncle Ken Voted Tory Today!

I voted Tory today for the first time ever! Don't worry, I haven't taken leave of my senses, as Scotland uses single transferable vote for the local elections and there were ten candidates for four seats in my ward. I just had to put the Greenies in at number ten, so that meant giving the Tories my ninth preference, just ahead of the Lubeless Dem no-hoper, who I hope will bite the pillow and cry tomorrow.

As you can see, there was nothing subtle about the Tory agitprop, with the Unionist message being up close and personal. I was sorry to see that they had not managed to get men in bowler hats to stand around the street, playing flutes and banging drums, but we live in hopes that they will turn out next month.

To be fair, the SNP have been just as bad, but managed to be a bit more discrete about their latest campaign for independence. Still, it has been made clear across social media that they are after a high vote as part of the IndyRef2 campaign, which is tough shit for those of us who want to drive our cars on the left of the road, and not what is left of the roads.

Yes, as far as I am concerned this is really about local councillors for local issues, and since one of the Labour candidates helped me sort out a problem with street rubbish and the other one has developed a good reputation for helping claimants, that was good enough for me to put them in as one and two.

A bloke named Alan Melville is standing as an independent so he got the number three spot on my top ten list. Alan and I met each other during the Brexit campaign and I am pleased to see that he has dumped UKIP and returned to the ranks of the sane and sensible. Anyway, he is a decent fellow and deserved a preference. Next I went for another independent who has a thing about our appalling roads in Edinburgh, then the two SNP candidates, before going down to the coalition of losers.

Turnout seemed to be low, but I was told that the police have said that this action at this polling station is fairly brisk when compared to a lot of others.

The staff are under orders not to try and explain the intricacies of STV voting to the punters, but they were repeating the information that is stuck up on posters around the place, which is basically to list the candidates in order of their preference. I saw one man struggling with his ballot paper, and expect a fair number of ballot papers to be rejected, as the count progresses tomorrow.

Edinburgh now has a counting machine, which should make everything go smoothly, unless it breaks down, of course, which Sod's Law states that it will.

After exercising my franchise I wandered off to a Starbucks and told the girl behind the counter that I didn't really fancy a strong and stable latte, but wouldn't say no to one that was made up of a chaotic collation of beans. For my efforts I was rewarded with a completely blank look, and as I smiled into her eyes, all I saw was my own image, reflected back.

I fear for democracy in this country, I really do.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Why Has Everyone Forgotten the Local Elections?

I was planning to do a whole series of pieces on the local elections, but since nobody seems to give a tinker's cuss for them, including the candidates, I sort of forgot the idea. I will drag my aching old arse off to the polling station this coming Thursday as you do, but other than that for the first time in my life I have no real interest in a political contest.

Here in the Leith Walk ward of Edinburgh Council, I have had three leaflets, and no canvassers knock on my door. The first leaflet was from the Greenies, then I got a generic Tory one and finally a missive from the SNP which sang the praises of one candidate, whilst ignored pretty much her running mate. God knows what is going on in the SNP, is all I can say.

From Labour I have not heard a word. No leaflets, no canvassers, nothing. The lack of canvassing is worrying because Labour always managed to send its troops out to jolly its supporters into going to the polls. Ordinary people like having someone knocking on their doors, and Labour cannot rely on a self-motivating electorate like the Tories can.

I wrote to a fellow who runs the Momentum Edinburgh Facebook page and asked him what was going on. He replied that there were street stalls in operation, and told me about one that was near my home last Saturday. I should have pointed out that street stalls are what you do if you are desperate due to a lack of party members, but we are told that Labour's membership is booming, so where are the lazy little shits?

The SNP also have a big membership, not that you would believe it when you consider their non-existent campaign.

Being of a curious bent I spoke to friends in those parts of England that also have a vote on Thursday, and the same thing is happening there as well. No campaigns, no literature, no interest from either the electorate or the parties.

Are you expecting a final analysis of this problem? I'm sorry, but I can't give one. I have no idea why members of political parties are so utterly bovine these days that they cannot turn out to mobilise their supporters to try and win an election.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Liberal Sex Scandals: Paddy Pantsdown, Jeremy Thorpe and the Spirit of Rinka, Woof! Woof!

A young fellow over at Facebook asked me if Paddy Ashdown became known as Paddy Pantsdown because of a homosexual scandal. I replied in the negative, since Pantsdown was created in 1992 as a result of getting involved in an extra-curricular leg over situation with his secretary five years earlier, and that secretary was very much a girl.

The confusion had come about because Jeremy Thorpe, a predecessor of Pantsdown as Leader of the Liberal Party had not only buggered a man, one Norman Scott, but had then tried to hire the most cack handed hitmen in Britain to kill him when Scott's persistent demands for money became insufferable.

All they managed to do was shoot dead Rinka, Scott's Great Dane, which was an animal, by the way, and not a well hung Scandinavian.

Eventually the whole sordid story came out and Thorpe and his gang were had up for attempted murder in 1979. 

Luckily for them, the prosecution had to rely on some fairly dubious characters, the judge was on their side, and the jury took the hint and found them all not guilty. Within days the late Peter Cook set up the judge in a masterpiece of satire that deserves another outing:

In the run-up to the trial we had the 1979 general election, which led Auberon Waugh to stand in Thorpe's constituency as the standard bearer of the Dog Lovers' Party. Alas for him, Thorpe took out an injunction to prevent distribution of his election address, but Waugh had published it as his weekly column in the Spectator. The magazine hastily withdrew as many copies as it could to comply with the injunction, but enough got out that, thanks to photocopiers, the address could see the light of day. Which is why people were telling each other: "Rinka is NOT forgotten. Rinka lives. Woof, woof. Vote Waugh to give all dogs the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

It emerged in the trial that Jeremy Thorpe was not a believer in the use of lube whenever he wished to exercise his pink oboe, because Norman Scott testified that he was forced to "bite the pillow and cry" when he was in receipt of that instrument. It is for this reason that the Liberal Democrats are still occasionally referred to as the Lubeless Dems even to this day, at least by me.

Now that the confusion between the two cases has been cleared up, it is important that I make it clear that I do not seek to influence your vote in any way. It may very well be that you believe that casting a ballot for a party that has been led by an admitted arse bandit who tried to hide the evidence of his banditry by having the witness bumped off, and then some years later by an illicit shagger is a vote for a decent and honourable party.

That is a matter for you and your conscience.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Vote Labour and Defend the Pension Triple Lock

Do you trust the scummy Tories to keep the triple lock on pensions? The fuckers have been talking for some time now about getting rid of it, and this election offers them the perfect opportunity to do what Tories enjoy the most: reducing yet more people to poverty.


Labour has pledged to keep the triple lock until 2025 at the earliest, so if you are in your early 60s like me and want to avoid a retirement spent in poverty then a vote for Labour is what the Americans call a no-brainer.

Labour's One Chance of Victory

In the pub tonight, chatting with two old cronies from days of yore, and we tried to start a conversation about the election that nobody wants to even discuss all that much. Will Labour manage to get over the line to put into effect these quite sane policies that feature on the above pledge card?

Probably not, since the Tory lead is an insurmountable twenty points. It will most likely be reduced, but there will still be enough for a tasty majority that will almost certainly attack the triple lock on pensions. As I am due to get mine in five years, and the other two shortly afterwards, it looks like a poverty stricken old age for us and millions of others.

Then I remembered many years ago when someone rang me at my then house in Mexico and announced that he represented Conservatives Abroad, or some such outfit, and did I want to register to vote so that I could help choose our next Prime Minister?

I replied that I would not wish to be so presumptuous as to try and influence Her Majesty's choice as to who Her next Prime Minster should be.

He did not get the joke. The utter fuckwit who claimed to be a Tory activist did not get the joke. I think I just put the receiver down on him after a few moments of silence on his part.

We decided that the only hope Labour has is if dickheads like my caller all those years ago are now running the Tory election campaign.

Then we started talking about something else...

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

General Election Called for June: Uncle Ken's First Thoughts

Subject to a vote in the Commons tomorrow we will have a general election on the 8th June 2017, a fact which has taken many of us by surprise. My immediate reaction is that the Tories are odds-on to win with an increased majority, Labour are equally certain to remain the official opposition, the Liberal Democrats will win a few seats and the SNP will lose a few.

Labour is now a party which supports Brexit, albeit not the hard version that the Tories now seem to want. Thus, if you are a leftist who voted against the EU last June, a vote for Labour this June makes sense. It is safe to return to the fold, in other words, as Brexit is a done-deal. I have always thought that the eventual agreement that will lead the UK out of the EU would be one that would satisfy nobody very much, but which we can all sort of live with.

In Scotland the Tories are clearly on a roll, and could take a handful of seats off the SNP. The SNP are in a bit of a bind as the country is not just divided along pro and anti European lines but also along pro and anti independence ones as well. This may very well be an election in which some Scottish voters decide to resolve those conundrums by casting their ballots for British parties, and reserving their SNP votes for the Holyrood elections.

Will the people turn out to vote across the UK? There is a feeling across the board that we are all a bit weary of elections, and June comes hard on the heels of May, which is when many of us will be expected to vote in the local elections. All of this comes after the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, the UK general election in 2015, that was followed by the Scottish general elections in 2016 and then the Brexit vote later the same year.  I am a political enthusiast, but if I am getting weary of it all then God knows how the average punter feels.

We shall see what happens as the campaigns take off. My prediction is based on a reading of the situation today, but there is everything to play for, as there always is in a general election.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Uncle Ken's Guide to STV Voting

The UK goes to the polls on the 4th May 2017 to elect councillors across the country. For people in Scotland that means working out the intricacies of the single transferable vote system which is used here at local level. It looks complicated, but fear not, 'cos once you get the hang of STV it becomes dead easy.

Each ward is multi-member with three or four candidates being chosen to represent it. The voters cast their ballots by writing a number next to a candidates name, starting with "1" and going as far down the ballot paper as they choose, or until they run out of candidates. So as far as we, the punters, are concerned it's just a case of listing the candidates based upon how much they appeal to us.

The easiest way to get elected is to have more first preference votes than the number set by the quota, and before your eyes start glazing over, lemme quickly explain how the quota is set. 

Right, you create the quota by dividing the number of eligible ballots returned by the number of seats to be filled, plus one. Then you take that number and add another one to it.

You eyes are glazing over, so let's have a concrete example: a ward has an election and one hundred ballots are returned that have been correctly filled in. Four councillors are to be elected, so you get the quota by dividing 100 into five, that being the four seats plus one. A hundred divided by five comes to twenty, so you take twenty, add one to it and get twenty-one. So twenty-one becomes the quota needed to get elected on the first round of counting in this mythical election.

A candidate who got thirty first preference votes would obviously be elected, but the beauty of STV is that the nine votes that he got above his quota of twenty-one would be distributed to his second preference candidate and could help that man be returned as well.

Once no other candidates can be elected via the first round, we go onto the second which is when the candidate who finished last is eliminated and his second preferences are distributed. If seats still need to be filled, the candidate who took the second last spot is then eliminated, and his second preferences are doled out, and so on until all the seats have been filled.

Sadly, the parties seem to think that they should only run two candidates in four seat wards, with Labour even trying to get its voters to cast a first preference for one candidate in one half of the ward, with a first preference for the other in the other half. There is no reason to do that under STV, since the system helps political parties. All Labour needs to do is tell people to vote for the party list, and if the first candidate goes well over quota, his second preferences are given out. If that candidate is then elected with votes to spare, the surplus is then given out to the third preference and so on.

Luckily for the left, a certain David Jacobsen is standing for the Socialist Labour Party, and hopefully Labour's activists will ask people to vote for him as their third preference.

Labour alone of all the parties has a very efficient electoral machine and activists who are willing to go and knock on doors to jolly the punters along. The other parties can mount street stalls, but that is not enough to get the vote out. Besides, people like it when candidates knock on their doors and at least go through the motions of trying to persuade us that they really do give a shit about our concerns.

All good fun that is coming our way on the 4th May 2017!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Federast Funnies 8

The Guardian's very own Mrs Grundy and the gang are on a roll tonight, but it serves the silly sods right for getting Al Murray to tell us that comedy has a liberal or leftwing bias, an idea which is bollocks of the highest order as I went along and pointed out:

So, some bloke comes along as tells me that I should be doing stand-up, to which I reply thusly:

Within minutes my comment had been culled by Mrs Grundy or one of her minions. Luckily for you, I tend to grab screenshots of my Guardian comments, 'cos I know how quickly the Guardianistas crawl into their safe spaces and scream for Mrs Grundy's help.

So, the honours of that go to the Brexiteers, but I would like that thank all the anally retentive Federasts who demanded that a jokey comment be removed from a story about humour.

Here's a real comedian showing them how comedy is really done:

That's all folks!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Get Your Signed Copy of The Brexit Collection Direct From the Author

The Brexit Collection is available from Amazon, your favourite bookshop or directly from the publisher at the low price of £6.99, with or without posting and packing, depending on the seller.

Signed copies are also available from me at the super low price of just a tenner, and that includes postage! Drop me a line and I will give you my details so that you can send a cheque, postal order or make a payment straight into my account. I can also accept PayPal payments, so get in touch if you want to pay by that method. 

Don't forget to let me know about any special dedications as they can be included at no extra cost!

I know that many of you have read The Brexit Collection as a Kindle for just £1.99, but think how marvellous it will be to have a signed copy on your bookshelf just in time for the visit by your sanctimoniously odious relatives who voted Remain and have never let you forget it. As soon as they see that you have a signed copy they will probably walk out of your house and never return, something which has got to be worth a tenner of anyone's money.

Our American friends don't need to feel left out, as I am quite happy to send a signed copy across the Atlantic for just $20.00, including international shipping.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

UKIP in Scotland is on its Last Legs

UKIP in Scotland is down to about 300 members according to sources within the party. So no wonder that David Coburn, the UKIP leader in Scotland, looks like a man who has just swallowed a turd, especially given the derisory response to the party's appeals for candidates to run in the Scottish local elections next month.

UKIP in the Lothian region which covers Edinburgh even promised putative candidates that they would only have to face a simplified vetting process, according to leaked internal emails. Alas, UKIP can only managed to field two candidates in the whole of Edinburgh, which is down from the half dozen or so who said that would consider standing. 

The problem seems to be that the party has lost what few sane and sensible people it had in Scotland, which was never very many to be honest. Alan Melville, who is both sane and sensible, has announced that he will stand as an independent for the Edinburgh council seat of Leith Walk, and this blog wishes him well, since the council chamber would benefit from his presence.

Given that UKIP cannot even manage more than 45 candidates across the whole of Scotland, we must ask ourselves why anyone bothers with the party, given that it achieved its aim of helping to force a referendum and then going on the help win it.

I may cast a preference for Alan Melville, as he is a decent bloke, but I think he made a wise move dumping UKIP.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Donald Tusk is Handed the Official Article 50 Notification

Sir Tim Barrow, the UK Ambassador to the European Union, hands over the formal letter announcing that the UK will leave the EU, to Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Book of Revelations 18:4
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu163144.html
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/w/winstonchu163144.html

Today is Article 50 Day

Theresa May signed the official notification of Article 50 last night and it will be handed in at 12.30pm today, just as this post goes live.

 And so, finally, and about nine months after it should have occurred, the UK has notified the EU that we are heading for the exit.

To be honest I don't want to quibble too much. It is not the fault of this government and civil service that all previous governments refused to allow the civil service to create a contingency plan for what we now call Brexit. It was as if Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron really thought that if there was no plan then Brexit was impossible. It wasn't and it isn't, but the lack of contingency planning has created this nine month hiatus which has only now come to an end.

Looking ahead there will be a period of willy-waving in London and Brussels as both sides set out their negotiating positions. Eventually, after many ups and downs, some deal will be cobbled together that will satisfy nobody much, but which we can all sort of live with.

We are lucky in that our enemies also happen to be types that the bulk of the British people despise. The Federast reaction is increasingly being seen as a comeback opportunity for the likes of Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, George Osborne and the ever opportunistic Liberal Democrats. Their rank and file, inasmuch as it exists to any great extent, is made up of the local government non-job holders from the ever diminishing circle of Guardian readers. We do not need to engage with those scrotes: we can just simply ignore them.

By April 2019 it will all be over. Without a deal, our membership of the European Union will end on the 29th April 2019. Hopefully, much earlier than that, common sense will have prevailed and both sides will have cobbled  something together that the next generation can then argue about.

Either way, we are leaving the European Union, which is all that matters for now.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Few Young People Bothered to Attend the Edinburgh Anti-Brexit March

On Saturday I reported on the poorly attended Edinburgh march for Brussels, and today I want to return to that event and ask where were all the young people? Not many of them were to be seen walking in the Edinburgh sunshine, that's for sure.

That's not to say that everyone was elderly, but most people at the poorly attended event did seem to be ladies of a certain age and gentlemen with grey hair and walking sticks.

I arrived at about 12.45pm when the couple of hundred people who had assembled by then were very noticeable by their advancing years.

The crowd grew to about 500 or so by 1.30pm, and I concentrated on grabbing the video of them all walking past my spot. It was only later when I watched the video properly for the first time and looked at the faces that I realised that the ratio of young to old did not seem to have changed all that much. 

It may be that the kiddies felt that clicking like to the event on Facebook was sufficient, but they have spent the months since June 2016 telling us how outraged they are by the vote, and how they were only waiting for the opportunity to reverse it. The evidence of Saturday in Edinburgh is that actually the precious little snowflakes actually don't care all that much.

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Low Turnout at the March for Europe in Edinburgh

Last year's losers finally woke up today that we are about to leave the European Union and about 500 of them turned out in central Edinburgh to protest.

The Guardian claims that over a thousand showed up, but as you can see from the above video of mine, the true figure was about half that. Still it was a good day for Miss Jean Brodie and her friends, and it was nice to see so many small children being taken along by their parents. I am sure that their Polish nannies appreciated the day off.

As you might expect, the prettiest girls around were put at the front to give the photographers something to snap.

This being Scotland, there were also a few blokes in kilts.

A few SNP people turned up, and more than one of the people that I remember from the 2014 independence campaign were heard to mutter that if they had organised things instead of leaving it to the bloody students things would have gone a lot better.

Tommy Sheppard MP was there, although he does look in this photo as if he wished he wasn't.

As was Deidre Brock, my own MP, who always manages to be courteous. Don't ask me who the kid in the cheap suit is 'cos I have no idea, but he seemed friendly enough.

The sun shone, the 500 had their march, and on Wednesday the 29th March 2017, Prime Minster Theresa May will formally notify the European Union that we are leaving.

Still, at least Miss Jean Brodie and her chums got a day out.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Calls Grow for the SNP to Govern, Not Play Games

A rather amusing photo that plopped into my in-box today. Nicola Sturgeon is still head and shoulders about the opposition, but she has managed to make Ruth Davidson's Tories look as if they are not completely insane. All Davidson had to do was remind people that this is a government, and not a collection of student union activists, and that she has done rather well of late, helped by the SNP.

The problem is that the SNP really is a campaigning outfit, which exists to push for independence. Its members seem to have little or no interest in governing the country, which is a pity because when they set their mind to it the SNP can govern rather well. However, when they balls it up, they do that quite spectacularly as well.

Today I went along to a conference that discussed the Named Person wheeze, which was recently declared unlawful by the UK Supreme Court. Jim Sillars was one of the speakers, and he made the point that this lunatic bit of authoritarian legislation was passed by a parliament that sits for only three days a week, from 9.00am to 5.00pm. This flawed legislation, which aimed at putting parents under the thumb of the social work industry, was passed by the SNP dominated Holyrood with minimal objections to its poorly drafted wording. Sillars went on to say that in Westminster every line of a bill is considered, but in Holyrood there was not the requisite amount of time needed to do that, with the result that flawed legislation was passed.

You can bet that the SNP will dedicate even less time to sorting out disasters like this now that they are back into full campaigning mode for IndyRef 2.
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