Wednesday 31 May 2017

Labour Is Doing Well, but the Tories Should Still Win

The latest Times/YouGov poll is out and should provide a good bowel-loosening moment or two for the Tories, but I don't believe it. My reading of the situation tells me that Mother May will be returned with a decent majority next week, a view that I have held since the campaign began and which has only strengthened as I watched it unfold.

 YouGov seems to believe everything that every 18-24 year old tells them about their intention to vote. Alas, I don't, and nor do I believe that the Brexit voting areas of Northern England and the Midlands will suddenly forget the insults that were hurled at them in the months after the Brexit referendum. If Brexit is your main aim in life then a vote for the Tories is the cast-iron way to pretty much guarantee that result.

Labour is doing well, there is no question about that. Hopefully, the Tory majority will be around the fifty seat mark, which is a bloody miracle when you consider the fact that some quite serious people thought that Labour was going to self destruct during this campaign.

You can understand their point of view, because let's face it, any party that elects a leader who is a teetotal vegetarian who once fucked Dianne Abbott is going to have an electoral mountain to climb that is even more massive than Diane Abbott herself. It is a sign of Labour's growing self-confidence that it can overcome those hurdles and present itself as the alternative party of government. The Liberal-Democrat and Greenie vote has been squeezed down and hopefully will be reduced some more by next week.

So, Labour has not only overcome its leader's image problems, it has also managed to demonstrate to all and sundry that it is the only national alternative to the Tories. At the end of the day, if anyone wants the Tories out, then voting Labour is the only way to achieve that aim.

I call that a pretty good result, even though it will not be enough to give Labour a victory this time around.

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.
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