Saturday, 21 June 2014

What on earth was Miliband thinking?

It really does not matter if Ed Miliband has no idea how to eat a bacon sandwich.Nor does it matter if he forgets the nbame of the Labour leader of Swindon.Nor in fact does it matter if he gets someone to tie is laces for him and wipe his little hands.
It does however matter if he is seen in 22 million copies of the Sun holding it up with an inane grin on his face trying to impress English football fans that he knows or cares about the progress of their team.

Had he wanted to show support then an England scarf would have been enough.
But the bloody Sun!
Especially as he knew just what a dreadful scurrilous rag that paper is, and indeed a few months ago he had courageously attacked the power of the gutter tabloids.
He must have known too that the Hillsborough Inquiry was nearing completion and that for many people on Merseyside nerves were raw.
And surely he must have known that The Sun is barely sold on Merseyside and surely someone tokld him that none of the 22 million copies would not be delivered in that area!
So why did he allow himself to be used in such a squalid way/
Because Cameron and Clegg also posed with the dreadful thing?
More reason for a sensible Labour politician to have refused point blank.
Of course Blair would happily have done the stunt, indeed he would willingly have worn a Sun paper hat on his head and pranced with another copy stuck up his arse.

As my Dad used to say:"What do you expect from a pig but a grunt!"

Miliband was sold as something different, as the antidote to all things Blair, we were told that he had a radical left leaning agenda that still had something to do with the party of Labour  and the aspirations of working people.
Of course in our heart of hearts we all knew that was pure bollocks, it was simply more spin that was Alastair Campbell lite,that Miliband  had been at the core of tghe Blair-Brown 'project' and nothing would change.
But socialists are optimistic souls, and knowing his father and mother and their serious commitment to socialism there was always a slight hope that like Clark Kent he would  step into a phonebox and come out as Supersocialist!
We all should have known better, all we have had is a pale imitation, a raft of minimalist policies on obesity and probably traffic cones underpinned with a promise to continue the austerity programmes of the coalition.
Balls and Miliband are still wittering on about reducing the deficit and paying off the national debt!

It's a good thing that the Attlee government didn't want to pay off lend lease in the first three years and off to pay the debts of the east India Company too, otherwise the health service would have resembled Tannochbrae with only the corpse of Dr Cameron to treat the folk who called Janet.
Dr Findlay would have long since decamped to New Zealand!

Now we learn, right after his triumphant appearance as the paper boy for Murdoch, Milibands latest big idea is to cut support to the young unemployed unless they agree to (or more precisely coerced into) taking on training of some sort.
Training to do what?
learn how to work on minimum wages,on zero hour contracts,with no trade union rights and pay greedy landlords extortionate rents to live in grubby HIMO's?

Good and sensible comrades some how think that the Labour party might be better if Alan Johnston was leading it.Somehow I doubt it, he may have been a trade union general secretary and he may have an estuary accent but the sad truth is he too was part of the Blair-Brown 'project' and as Home Secretary he was almost as bad as Blunkett.

Theree still many good people working hard in the Labour Party to win the next election, but as far as I can see its a bit like that TV advert of the little girl pondering her choice between Daddy and chips   

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Any lessons from the Newark By election?

Over the next few days the pundits and soothsayers,and many of the naysayers will be casting the chicken bones and interpreting what happened last Thursday.
I'll save you the trouble of masticating the press and give it to you straight.
The Tories held a safe seat, UKIP came a mediocre second, labour came a tragic third in the seat they won in 1997- and the Lib-Dems- well they came a magnificent sixth! A record failure in a long line of magnificent failures since they joined the Tory coalition as bag carriers.

Of course the expectation all round was that UKIP would do well, that they may even have snatched the seat,but of course it would appear that it was all down to superior organisation.Farage claimed that therec were a thousand Tories on the streets on election day, but of course there might have been ten thousand or a million or a zillion!
Poor old Farage could only turn out a few dozen blimps and even he couldn't be arsed to knock a few doors-despite having, according to his candidate 'the wow factor'
The real issue however is the dismal performance of Her majesty's loyal Opposition and the inescapable reality that Her majesty's Loyal Junior Coalition Partner is now an ex-party.

It is no more, it is defunct,it matters not who leads the miserable corpse,Nick Clegg, Vince 
Cable or M.Mouse
The Green party put up a creditable performance, and once more humiliated the party of Government, even if only by a few votes.

There is a fairly universal view that the problem is 'connecting with the voters', which is just another way of saying that they are all saying the same thing with different nuanced phrases.
In saying that I include the obnoxious UKIP, because apart from their blood lust to leave Europe, thety carry the exact same baggage as the Tories, and increasingly hard to differentiate from the Lib-Dems and Labour.

In fact the only party competing on the national stage is the Green Party,they have a set of policies that do in fact present a radical alternative,but sadly they carry the baggage of their history and for most of their existance had a rather hazy left perspective and attracted some rather 'eccentric' followers.
That appears to be changing, but progress is slow and there is a rapid drift to right wing authoritarianism that will be difficult to stop, especially when you have a politically illiterate electorate who have lost the power to think creatively.

I watched a video interview of the late Ewan McColl who talked about his father,a foundry worker and his friends meeting in the Salford WM Club on a Friday evening for a pint and a discussuion.A group of working men, with little formal education, sitting in a smoky bar discussing the views of Hegel, the meaning of Darwinism, the nature of Capitalism and even the poetry of Shelley!

Of couse autoi didacts were not uncommon  amongst wo9rkers in the early 20c.In mining villages the Miners Welfare always had a library as well as a bar, and Mechanics Institutes were alive to arguement and debate.
It was always said that the most literate of workers were the shoemakers, who whiled away the days of monotonous labour by reading or being read to.No coincidence that the great revolutions in Europe, from Wat Tyler to the French Revolution had large contingents of showemakers!
Henry Ford knew what he was doing when he introduced the production line.

So what do we go now?
Our first task must to be to constantly expose the shallow thinking of the far right populists.UKIP may indeed want out of the EU, but what useful purpose does a UKIP  councillor serve on a local authority?
When you set up a rag bag bunch of misfits with a limited grasp of what needs to be done and how to do things, you tend to get the barmpots whose quotes have festooned the national press over the past few weeks.Remember how easy it was to dislodge the BNP councillors by posing them difficult questions-like how did they spell their names-or who wrote Charles Dickens 'Bleak House'?

But more than discrediting the mediocrities the left must be building bases in the communities where they live.They must be identified on a daily basis with the real problems that face people and break away from the arrogance of the elites.The left needs to use clear and unambiguous language.
UKIP and the other parties talk in sugary generalities,the left must avoid being too theoretical, too rhetorical and too censorious.
All my life left parties have behaved like religious sects, close shops that only the select could be part of, as long as they understood 'democratic centralism' and the vision that the General Strike would happen in three days time!

I'm still optimistic that the people can understand the need for dramatic change and will go along with it, in Scotland the Independence movement is wedded to an understanding that freedom comes with an increase in social justice and an ending of the grotesque inequalities that burden society.
And all over Europe left movements are getting organised.I have hopes that here in Britain Left Unity will become the catalyst for change.
I expect Barak Obama will rubbish us too!