Monday 21 September 2015

Corbyn supporters need to learn from the Scots in how to get the message across

Until today the press has been throwing everything that it could at Jeremy Corbyn in the hope that something would stick. Today it seemed like Cameron's turn to face the press in full blood sport mood, but already the hacks are starting to pull holes in the story that he enjoys nothing more than sticking his cock into the mouth of a dead pig, or saying that it doesn't really matter. By tomorrow we can expect that the line will be that it was all stuff and nonsense and best forgotten about. Then the hacks will go back to attacking Corbyn again.

If you live in Scotland none of this is in any way new. During last year's referendum campaign the mainstream media hit the Yes voters with everything and anything that came to hand. The aim was to batter the Nationalists into submission, just as now they want to do the same to Corbyn and the people who elected him as Labour's leader. However, although the Nats narrowly lost the referendum, the lessons learned stood them in good stead for this year's general election when the SNP took 56 out of the 59 seats that Scotland has in the House of Commons.

To understand the new politics in Scotland you first of all have to take in that the reactionary side of politics dominates the old media whereas the progressives have a lock on all the new ones. A recent study by the University of Glasgow has concluded that had the referendum been fought under the old media rules, then reaction would have swept the board. The fact that it was so close shows only that the next generation has not yet taken full power, but that the torch really is passing into their hands.

The new politics' activists have little interest in attending tedious meetings in draughty halls or trying to persuade the press to listen to their arguments. They connect to each other via social media and when they realised that the press was not on their side they simply used their skills to set up new, competing media outlets and used them for their agitprop. Sites like Wings Over Scotland and Bella Caledonia suddenly blossomed into the go-to sites for that day's news, with the result that today fewer people than ever read the dead tree press.

The message to the Corbynites is very simple: get your sites up and running and don't argue with the traditional media, just leave them trailing in your wake.

David Cameron: when a bore's head went into a boar's head.

The allegations about David Cameron's predilection for both necrophilia and bestiality are taking the web by storm, which at least has the advantage of taking the heat off Jeremy Corbyn for a while.

I hope that Corbyn raises the matter at Prime Minister's Questions, and asks Dave straight out if he ever stuck his porker into a dead pig's mouth. If Dave denies it then a good case can be made to say that the press was just telling porkies.

Not that this will stop the rest of us from enjoying the show, but one can understand Dave's angst. I mean, if sweaty oinks can laugh at something that is quite normal to a man of his background, especially when he is off his head on dope, then clearly he must feel that political correctness has gone mad. He may argue that we have all done silly things when we are off our heads, but the rest of us never did it with dead heads, Dave. I fear that there are truffles ahead for him...

This story leaves a sower taste in the mouth so I'll stop now. Before I go I just want you to remember that piggy scene in Deliverance, and if you are around Dave when someone starts playing the banjo, then run like fuck.

Monday 14 September 2015

When the BBC's Emily Maitlis had her bottom smacked

You almost have to feel sorry for Emily Maitland. She cracked a joke on-air about Dennis Skinner, and the Beast of Bolsover took umbrage and told her off for it by accusing her of spinning for Murdoch.  Then some bugger goes along and edits her Wikipedia entry. Here's the exchange:

I doubt if the Wikipedia  entry will remain altered for long, but congratulations to whoever nipped in then smartish to adjust it.

As we discovered in Scotland during the referendum and this year's elections, the youngsters don't sit back and take whatever guff the mainstream media wants to peddle.

We can expect a lot more of this in UK politics as it scampers to catch up. The future really is electronic.

What is there to choose between Corbyn and Cameron?

I think that this little montage needs a good airing, so let's see if we can't get it all around the far corners of the web.

Femen try to disrupt a Muslim event in France

It is probably my imagination but the guy on the right does seem to be enjoying the free tit show that took place yesterday when two Femen girls decided to flash the flesh at a Muslim rally in France.

As readers of this blog will probably know, Femen was set up by a Ukrainian man so that he could have his knob polished regularly by the talent that he spotted and then put into the group. As I have said before, these girls are my kind of feminist, but the blokes in the nightshirts seemed to take umbrage at the display. Maybe they felt insulted by the small tits, I dunno, but the two girls were kicked pretty unceremoniously offstage:

Ah well...

Sunday 13 September 2015

Labour starts to climb out of its Scottish electoral hole

The TNS monthly Scottish polls are starting to show that the country now has a two party system with the SNP and Labour way ahead of all the minor parties. The SNP are obviously still dominating Scottish politics, and are riding high on around 60% in the constituency voting intention section and 50% in the list, but Labour are slowly climbing out of their hole and has reached just under 25% in both sections.

Labour still has a long way to go, but there is now clear blue electoral water between them and the Tories, who are the largest of the minor parties. Cameron's followers have been in steady decline since these polls began in May and now stand at just 12% in the constituency voting and 11% in the list. Given this, it seems plausible to speculate that more than a few Tories outside the border region might decide to grit their teeth and vote Labour as the only real Unionist outfit on offer.

The also-rans also include the Greens, who will not run in the constituencies, and I am pleased to see that their share of the list vote has fallen from 10% in May to a derisory 6% by August when the fieldwork for this latest poll was conducted. The election of Jeremy Corbyn should help Labour complete the kicking that the Greenies need and deserve and if that happens then it should add another couple of points to Labour's tally.

The Liberal-Democrats are the last minor party to feature, and they appear to be stuck at around the 5% mark in both constituency and list. If those scores represent their actual vote next May then the party would not hold any seats in Holyrood.

That the SNP will have an overall majority next year is still odds-on, and certainly I will vote for them in the constituency. However, if Labour continues to climb then it might be possible to envisage that majority being smaller than the SNP are dreaming about at present. In fact, Labour could very well end up by surprising a lot of people by holding on to some of their constituency seats.

To a great extent, Labour's future is out of its hands and in those of Jeremy Corbyn. If he can persuade people that Labour has at its heart the interests of the people in Central Scotland who have been left behind by the forward march of globalised capitalism, then it is quite likely that Labour will start to take bites out of the soft underbelly of the SNP vote. 

All that is for the future. For the present, Labour is now clearly the only credible challenger to the SNP, and Tories are invited to swivel on that fact and suck it up.

Saturday 12 September 2015

If this is the best that the opponents of Jeremy Corbyn can do...

The thing I like about the Labour Party in Scotland is just when you thought that they had turned a corner, out comes the old semi-literate bile to demonstrate that they really do not understand why so many people rejected them.

The temptation to send an e-mail to Michael McMahon MSP to point out the difference between "your" and "you're" is pretty intense, but will be resisted.

Jeremy Corbyn romps to victory as Labour's new leader

The election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour's new leader will hopefully bring to an end the era when the only difference between Labour and the Tories was the difference between shit and shite. 

He was elected with damn near sixty percent of the vote, which means that the right who were fantasising about an immediate coup are going to have to think again: Corbyn's position on the basis of that vote is pretty much unassailable in the short and medium term. What happens after that is really up to Corbyn and how he runs things.

For the moment, please just click on this link and watch Corbyn's short victory speech. He talked about the  "grotesque levels of inequality within our society,"which means we have a Labour leader, elected by a mass membership, on a platform of opposition to austerity and inequality.

That's enough for today.

Friday 11 September 2015

Jeremy Corbyn and the Iraqi Resistance

Barring a disaster, or a spot of Mexican style ballot rigging, Jeremy Corbyn will emerge as Labour's new leader when the results of the election are declared tomorrow. The Tories will then start to accuse him of many things, one of which will be that he supported the people who killed British soldiers during the war against Iraq in 2003. Here is my take on that matter...

To begin with, "it is the primary right of men to die and kill for the land they live in, and to punish with exceptional severity all members of their own race who have warmed their hands at the invaders' hearth." Sir Winston Churchill, whose words those are was writing about the Boudicca revolt in first century Britain, but the principal that people have the right to defend their homes against invaders is one that no serious person could disagree with.

The idea that the Americans and their client state allies were bringing civilisation to the tribesmen of Iraq, is one that Churchill also dealt with rather nicely when he said that whilst the Roman may very well have introduced "a higher civilisation" to Britain, that did not override "the primary right of men to fight and die for the land they live in."

Put another way, the Romans may probably have regarded the British as knuckle-dragging savages, in pretty much the same way as we regard our own third world today, but that does not give anyone the right to go into such primitive lands and try to take them over.

No reasonable person can blame the men of Iraq for turning out in their thousands to defend their lands by whatever means were available to them at that moment. To argue otherwise is to say that the Americans have the right to do whatever they want, wherever they want, with the craven support of the rest of us, and that nobody has any right whatsoever to resist in defence of their homeland.

The responsibility for the deaths of all those British servicemen lies fairly and squarely at the feet of those politicians in London who put loyalty to the United States before the lives of Britain's soldiers.

SNP and Labour win in Leith Walk

Labour and the SNP took the two seats that were up for grabs in yesterday's Leith Walk by-election for Edinburgh Council. On a 25.1% turnout, the SNP romped home on first preferences, with Labour hanging on to claim the second on the tenth round of counting. If anyone cares that much, the full voting figures can be downloaded as a PDF by clicking this link.

At 83, the number of ballots rejected was disturbingly high, with far too many people putting the number "1" next to more than just one candidate. The simple truth is that the STV system in giant multi-member wards is over-complicated. and causes far too much confusion. It was only introduced to keep the Liberal-Democrats happy when the SNP did not have an overall majority in Holyrood, and now that the Lib-Dems are reduced to the status of also rans, it is politically possible to abolish it.

That aside, what the vote showed is that the SNP is still on a roll, and that Labour knows how to hang on in there by using traditional campaigning methods. Labour put its faith in trying to canvass as many actual voters as it could by knocking on the doors and asking the punters to turn out for the good old cause, and it worked.

The omens for Scotland getting a new two party system of Labour and SNP are good, and what's not to like about a country with two leftist parties competing for votes?

Thursday 10 September 2015

Voting in Leith Walk

It's polling day here in Leith Walk, Edinburgh, to elect two councillors for this four man ward. Until pretty much the last minute I couldn't decide which of the two serious parties to give my first preference to, but eventually I wrote  "1" next to the Labour woman's name. The SNP will have to be satisfied with the second spot this time around.

Scotland uses the single transferable vote system  for the councils which meant that I could list my preferences right down the line, but I contented myself with giving a sympathy preference to the sole independent and then my fourth preference went to the Libertarian Party, as the Official Monster Raving Loonies were sitting this one out. Needless to say I ignored the Greens and the two Trots since whilst I may cast a low preference vote for loonies, I do draw the line at complete head the balls.You don't need to ask me about the Tories and their Liberal-Democrat stooges, do you?

Turnout was surprisingly brisk when I arrived at 2.15pm, with a slight delay as the two staff at the station explained the intricacies of the STV system to a very large Pole. I don't know how much he took in but he did eventually take his paper and announce "I vote one," which is all he really needs to do.

Of the dozen or more people that I saw going in and out of the station while I was there, only the pole was a youngster and he was in his thirties. Most of the rest were white haired, with the others being greying like me. As I hobbled back to my car I stopped for a natter with an old girl and we both agreed that it was a lovely day for the election, and how important it was to set an example to the younger generation about the importance of the franchise. Feeling suitably self-righteous I then went home, my duty done.

Damned if I know when the result will be declared, but I will post it here as soon as I have it.

Click here for the result!

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Charlotte Proudman doesn't want people to comment on the photos she sends them

You just have to laugh at the middle class and their angst, especially when it comes to chippy little things like Charlotte Proudman, pictured on the left. Charlotte sent a message to a senior barrister asking to connect with him on Linkedin. I imagine he gets loads of requests from ambitious young girls, so he accepted her request and sent her a routine reply complimenting her on the "stunning photo." Instead of being pleased that a senior figure had decided to notice her little University of Keele self, the young miss then decided to throw a wobbler and accused him of all sorts of really rather silly things. Then various other females decided to pile in and now it is rapidly being forgotten that she approached him, not the other way around.

The report also tells us that Charlotte is really pleased that so many men are sending messages of support to her. You would think by now that she is old enough to realise that they are only doing it in the hope of an easy leg over, but let's leave her with her fantasies of the new men rallying to her cause.

Enough of this merry banter: let's talk about the photo. The sensible thing for this bird to do would be to pass on the name of the studio who took it for her. It's a workmanlike shot that uses all the tricks that the girls like from a studio result. A light has been set up to make Charlotte's fringe look all nice and bright and when I was shooting publicity shots for models of various sorts back in the day that lighting trick usually had them squealing with delight when they first saw the contact prints.

The colour in the version I have from the Telegraph story makes the face look a bit washed out on the right of the image, but I imagine that the lights were set up on that side to conceal any skin blemishes with lights on one side of the face and  shadows on the other. The eyes do look a bit small to me, which is probably natural, so to compensate for that she should have been told to open them more, with perhaps the lips slightly parted as well. That would have removed the ugly ridge that you can see on the cheek which the shadow fails to cover. I would have set the camera slightly higher to make her look slightly up into the lens, which also helps smooth out the skin blemishes.

That aside, it is a nice shot, which probably cost Charlotte a few bob to have taken, so we must assume that she wanted people to look at it and her. Then she decided to throw a girly fit when someone did just that.

Don't ask me to try and understand what goes through female minds as they scamper around the hamster wheel of life.

It is a nice photo, though.

Postscript: I have found a better copy of the photo from Charlotte's own website, so presumably this is the official version that she likes. Sadly the colour still looks washed out to me. Enlarging the photo you can see that it was shot that way to try and cover up the skin blemishes and creases around the mouth. A pity it didn't work...

Sunday 6 September 2015

Leith Walk by-election looms

Just about the strangest by-election that I can remember is due to take place this coming Thursday. Labour has a seemingly decent candidate in Marion Donaldson who works at a food bank, and is the only party that has managed to canvass the ward, albeit only once about a month ago. Given that there are two vacancies to fill in this four member ward, you would think that the nine parties and one independent would put a bit more effort in, but only Labour and the SNP have even bothered sending leaflets out. The rest just seem to have assumed that we will vote for them for the fun of it, or something.

The end result of all this indolence is that not a single house even has a window poster stuck up, the election is hardly mentioned in the pubs and shops and turnout will probably be embarrassingly low.
Setting up street stalls, just as they do for a student union election, only creates the impression that the parties expect us to go to them as if we are the supplicants seeking their favours, instead of the other way around. I can understand the Tories and Liberal-Democrats keeping their heads down, and the Greens are nothing more than a student pose, anyway, so they can be ignored by the adults. The Trots want to sell their tedious papers and recruit members into their wanky little sects and don't ask me what the Libertarians plan for Leith as I have no idea, but the buggers seem to think that running a candidate via a website is enough.

Give credit to the Labour Party as enough of them seem to know that people actually like it when the party activists knock on their doors and ask them to vote for their candidate. When I canvassed for Labour back in the 1980s, one of the reasons why we were able to turn Oldham into a one party council was all that hard work on the doorstep. People told our teams time and time again that ours was the only outfit that came out to actively seek their votes. They were able to raise issues there and then, and if happy with the answers, they would often take a poster to stick in their window.

Labour's membership is in freefall, so we are told, but if they can still manage to get one canvass in then it is possible that they are not as near to death's door as people think. The SNP are still riding high in the polls and now have over 100,000 members across the country. If that is the case, why are SNP canvassing teams not out every night encouraging people to vote for their party? 
That aside, The SNP have probably done enough to ensure that they grab one of the two seats, and if there is any justice in the world then Labour will take the other.  As for the rest, I hope that people treat them with the same indifference that they have demonstrated to us, the electorate, during this campaign.

Wednesday 2 September 2015

The myth of the Falklands Factor

The myth that the Tories won the 1983 election because people were feeling a patriotic glow at Britain's victory over Argentina the year before has now entered the popular lexicon, but it is a myth, and one that we should at least try to counter. Enough studies have been produced since the war to show up the theory of the Falklands Factor as the fantasy that it is, but still it persists. What follows is my personal memories of the time, because the war came slap bang in the middle of the 1982 local election campaign, so if there was such as factor at work then I suspect that I would have seen it on the doorstep, but I didn't.

Along with millions of others I had been made redundant the year before, so I had plenty of free time to go around sticking leaflets through doors on behalf of the Labour Party. In those days the party's membership was growing by leaps and bounds, especially in Northern England where I am from, and every night a crew of anything up to a dozen people would go out banging on doors in every ward. We did three full canvasses in my old ward of Failsworth West that year, and across the whole of the borough of Oldham, the mill town that Failsworth had been dumped in much to the residents' irritation as we always saw ourselves as belonging to Manchester, similar canvassing was taking place.

We went out not to talk people into voting Labour, but to agree to actually get off their arses and vote on the day. If they voted, then they voted Labour, of course, but trying to get them to give a cast iron, sworn on a bible type promise was like getting blood out of a stone. One way to do that was for every canvasser to have a stack of window posters in his hot little hand, and the trick was to talk the people into agreeing to take a poster and put it up.  We figured that if they made that commitment, then they might just remember to go and walk a couple of hundred yards to the polling station. I don't know if it really helped turnout at all, but it was marvellous to see so many houses all defiantly displaying their Labour posters. 

Looking back at 1982 I can remember only one conversation that was in any way connected to the war that was still raging. It was with a very old woman who had been born in Hartlepool and who remembered the German navy's shelling of the town during the Great War. She was concerned that the pride of Argentina might do the same to Failsworth...

"Hang on, we're about 40 miles inland, and I don't think that shells travel that far," I told her.

"Well, what about the Manchester Ship Canal?"


"That's what bloody horses eat. I talking serious now. What's to stop them coming up the canal and bombing us?"

I tried to imagine that happening and decided that it was unlikely to occur, but I did promise to mention it to the candidate who might just take it up with the MP. If it seemed like a genuine threat, we would be in touch, she could be assured of that.

So much for any Falklands Factor during the war itself, because if the war had been on the top of everyone's agenda I rather suspect that more than one person would have mentioned it.

The 1983 General Election saw Labour fighting internally, against a backdrop of the scabs, defectors and parasites who made up the SDP. So cack-handed was Labour's campaign that I had to drive Michael Meacher, our candidate who is still the local MP, around the Oldham West constituency in my clapped out Nissan, with its bald tire, dodgy brakes and dubious MOT.

The miracle is that we won anything at all, but the seats that Labour held were the ones where people know that the Tories are the scum that their employers vote for. Always assuming that they still had an employer as more and more factories and mills were closing almost every day.

We couldn't tell people that Labour had the solution to everything, but we could remind them of what they had lost in the previous four years and how important it was to wipe the smile of the faces of the bosses and their arselickers.

Nobody even mentioned the Falklands. They just voted to try and wipe those smiles of those faces.

The Falklands War had nothing to do with any of it.
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