Sunday, 27 March 2011

This blog is back for the duration

Usually you will find me pontificating on the Chronicle & Echo every Wednesday and I think that is probably enough.But the local elections that are rolling down the track mean that, along with the three Tory MP's I've been sent to the naughty step so that I won't excite and confuse the millions of local voters who are so easily led by the Chronicle & Echo.
Mind you the political assistants will be working overtime to produce a steady stream of 'original' letters from all the prospective Council candidates and surprise,surprise those letters will fit into a neat grid that will promote the Party line of the day.
Just for amusement look at what the national theme of the day as promoted in the nationals and on TV and then see how the local party faithful 'interpret'the centrally produced press releases!

Luckily for the Labour Party they will not even have to do the interpretation as it would seem their entire campaign is being run by the regional office in Nottingham.

On Saturday,along with about 250,000 other people we went down to London.But I have a confession to make,we did not march or rally.
I know we should have been there in Hyde Park hollerin' and yellin' for Ed Millipede,but to tell you the truth I share will the late great Phil Ochs the sentiment that 'I ain't marchin' any more'. Nothing personal Ed and Brendan but over the last forty years I've marched and chanted and messed about with the rough end of some very sweaty Met Police horses!And I had the hoof marks for days to prove it!
Added to which I've also got form for being in the right place and not bothering.Along with a bunch of Labour Club veterans we once went to see the Bayeaux Tapestry.But the meal and wine in the nearby cafe proved more of an attraction than a bunch of embroidered Normans.
We also missed the Turin Shroud one year, then the pull of a Turin restaurant serving champagne risotto outweighed a bit of fake linen!
So on Saturday we went to the Arts Theatre and watched a musical.
But not any old musical, it was a piece called 'Woody Sez' a wonderful four hander based on the songs , stories and life of Woody Guthrie.
Now it's possible Millipede might have been an inspiration but it was a racing certainty that the words and music of Woody would raise the spirits.
From his childhood in Okema Oklahoma through the terrible times of the Depression, the privations faced by the migrant workers of that period to the fight for the unions and the anti-fascist struggle.
It seems to me that we should all learn the truths of history,we don't really need a fresh faced young MP whose biggest struggle each day is to decide between a latte or an espresso but rather just listen to the songs of folk like Woody.
He sang about the bankers foreclosing on the poor farmers and share croppers.He sang about the union busting cops and he sang about the border police turning away the migrant workers.
To be sure Woody would have been on that march,as he was on a thousand others across America,as he was on every picket line 'from California to the New York Island'.
But the big difference was that he didn't require workers and their families to come to listen to him.He went to sing to them-where they were.
I'm probably getting cynical in my old age, and I'm not convinced that big rallies and demonstrations are the best way.Sure they make everyone feel good and give a sense of solidarity.But a million marched against the Iraq War and what happened?
Blair and Bush went ahead anyway, and the Lib-Dems got themselves some brownie points for being on the right side for once in their miserable god forsaken existence.
it was Marx who said(or maybe Lenin)) that history repeats itself,first as tragedy but then as farce and it seems to me we are at that point now.
Millipede will say fine thins at big rallies and people will go home feeling good and looking forward to the next Labour government.
But he has already said that he will introduce cuts "but more slowly" and he has already signed up the the coalition's adventure in Libya.According to the Sunday Times today that has already cost this' bankrupt' nation £33+ million ,and it's onlt Sunday!
We need a new politics that doesn't just listen but that leads.We need politics that isn't once again the old dog chained to its vomit.
Nor do we need the self indulgence of middle class twonks who think that kicking a chocolate egg around Fortnum & Masons is a revolutionary act!
What is needed is a new politics that starts once again within communities and local organisations and builds from the bottom up.
We need to regain the spirit of Guthrie and in the words of one of his great mentors:
"Don't mourn-Organise!"

Here endeth the first rant.


  1. Good to have you back posting John.

    Nicky (aka THE St. john Lady ~ silenced)

  2. John
    Pity that your commentary (NOT a rant) has been redacted by C&E, along with that of Jill Hope.
    The Tories made the Boro Council the worst in the country.
    To their credit, the Lib-Dems have improved on that greatly, but nowhere near enough progress on other issues.
    Labour is in disarray, so NOW is the time for an effective coalition if smaller parties, action groups and independents to bid for control.
    Or failing that, to hold the balance of power that will direct policy in the interests of the community.

  3. Dear Anon.
    You must be part of a big family!There seems to be an awful lot of you all over the place.
    I'm sorry to say I find it hard to distinguish between the Lib-Dems and the Tories,but to be fair I find New Labour ,in the words of Sam Beckett "trapped like a dog chained to his vomit" The problem is of course that political parties are chained to their national agenda and cannot break away from a politics that takes local issues into account.
    That's not to say that local politics should be reduced to parish pump issues,but it does mean that there needs to be courage shown by councillors to effectively serve their communities and if that means going against the party line-so be it! If it means breaking the absurd national restrictions on raising council tax, then so be it!
    In the past Labour local authorities did challenge the centralist tendencies, going back to Poplar in the 1920's but in the 70's think of Clay Cross, Sheffield, the GLC.
    Then even in defeat there was respect shown for independence of thought and action on behalf of the people tghey represented!
    My column will be back after the election to argue or rant for the new politics that is starting to emerge as people get off their knees and fight issue by issue.
    Please to the family of anon's out there,don't ever bracket me will Jill Hope-the doyen of political hacker y!

  4. John
    The Tories won because they kept their infighting locked away behind closed doors.
    If Trad Lab, Ex-Lab Indys & Lib-Dems cannot work together against the common foe then the people will remain the ruled, not the rulers.
    Stop the sniping and use fact-based logic to win the debate in future.