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.
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