Sunday, 20 March 2016

The silent man-for six long years.

There is a danger as the Tory party collapses into a heap of nothingness that some are tempted to see Ian Duncan Smith as some sort of martyr,almost heroic in standing up to the Cameron hegemony and destroying the legend that is Osborne's financial probity.
Piffle, utter piffle.
IDS is a totally unreconstructed Thatcherite who has long preached the creed iof austerity and blamed poverty on ,well to put it simply, the poor.
Smith stands for the old Samuel Smiles vision of the poor standing on their own two feet, of putting up with hardship with gritted teeth and determination to drag themselves up by their bootstraps, or die in the process.
I do not believe that he had a Damascusene  conversion after visiting Easterhouse in Glasgow any more than I believe in fairies or indeed that Donald Trump is the answer to any question that mankind faces.
Indeed if Trump is the answer then it's a fucking stupid question!
I digress.
IDS has been pushing his solution to poverty ever since he supped at the feet of his heroine and replaced Tebbitt as the MP for Chingford and Central Nurenberg.

What we are watching is the falling out amongst thieves, it reminds me very much of the 'council meetings' in Ragged Trousered Philanthropists when the elite of Mugsborough got together to divide out the spoils.
The Tory Party are not really a party in any obvious sense, they are a band of opportunist chancers, self interested  gangsters,xenophobes,who combine for only one purpose-to steal the roof while the sun shines!
That's not to say that over the last century or so there haven't been Tories with something that approaches principle, indeed I have met some in local government who have a genuine concern for the people they represent and have a sort of guiding philosophy that has even a little logic behind it.
Few and far between are such Tories, and fewer by the day, and sadly even the logic is a little (no actually quite a lot) flawed.
But there are I'm sure some decent people who really believed that'we're all in this together'.Why there might even be some misguided people in the Labour Party and the Lib-Dems who believed that 'we're all in this together'
IDS has blown that idea right out of the water, along with the mantra of 'austerity now' or what they really meant was 'austerity for you lot-for ever and ever !
We are not all in anything together and never have been, and austerity simply is not the answer to the question- I refer back to my judgement on Trump earlier if you want a reason.

And I say very clearly to my loyal readership in the East Midlands Labour Party, who I understand pore over my blogs to find heresies and examples of deviation and divisiveness:
"Listen to the Leader of the Labour Party"
While you have been wringing your hands and whittling on about how Jeremy is not the leader you wanted, why low and behold, the hostile media have noted at last that austerity is not the answer (because of course IDS,one of the architects of austerity now thinks its gone too far) and indeed as Jeremy has been saying since the day he was first elected -worrying about the national debt and clearing the historic deficit  is not as important as ending poverty and building a fair and just society,based not on fiscal policy but on human values.

And surprise,surprise, it would appear that it's not just young radicals who are listening to him either.I don't for one second believe that the media will stop demonising the Labour Leader, but millions of people,unconcerned about Brexit or 'Stronger together' or whatever the chosen slogan will begin to recognise that the last decade has been one of mounting inequality and stultifying greed.
Time to tear up the slick PR spin sheet and look to something better.
IDS is already part of a history that the people can do without.Time to see that we don't need a handful of Tory MP's shuffling for advancement in Westminster, thee is a movement growing, in thiscountry,over Europe and further afield.
As I approach my seventieth summer I have never been more optimistic.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Time for the people to sing

There appears to be a debate developing about national anthems in this land of ours.It would appear that the main concern is what the people sing at sporting events,and I understand that, but songs mean different things to different people at different times.
A good martial bellow,full of patriotic fervour may be pretty good standing on the terraces, but I think it's time we reflected on songs that reflected what really matters.
So I present my readers some alternatives, and I hope my avid readers up in the East Midlands Labour party bunker will enjoy my choices,why they may even wish to sing along-if that's not too divisive!
All the songs can be found on YouTube.
So firstly i want to get rid of that dreary loathsome peon of praise to Mrs.Windsor,if your a religious royalist,it may well float your boat, but as a republican atheist of long standing-'God save the Queen'is not anywhere in my songbook!
I believe there is a much better national anthem,and I will come to that later,but first my suggestions for the four nations that make up the British Isles.
First, the Principality of Wales.A land with so many fine songs it is a difficult,nay impossible task, 'Cwm Rhondda' would be popular, but in my view it's far too religious- so that's out.'Men of Harlech ' is great to bellow out at the Arms Park, but it a little too jingoistic for me, and always in my mind associated with bloody Michael Caine in 'Zulu'
So may i suggest 'The Bells of Rhymney' a beautiful lament that reminds us of the struggles in the mining industry, and written by an American-the late Pete Seeger.
Ireland. Well of course Ireland already has a fine anthem in 'The Soldiers' Song', but sadly we will have to wait until there is once again a united Ireland,and the gerrymandered sic counties are part of the Republic.
In the meantime however , what about Tommy Makem's ballad 'Four Green Fields' it's certainly better than the sentimentality of 'Danny Boy',which is fine in the boozer or the boxing match, but nowhere else in my mind.
As an alternative there is always Phil Coulter's 'The town I loved so well',especially poignant when sung by the late Luke Kelly,but a song that brings Derry alive.
Scotland, again like both Wales and Ireland a land with masses of rousing songs which are frequently about our past glories especially when we gave the English a good kicking- well not that often since Bannockburn and after the 'Butcher' Cumberland did fearsome damage at Culloden.
I can't advocate too many Jacobite songs for obvious reasons, although 'Parcel of Rogues in a nation' has its charms.
There is of course always the supreme song and poem by Burns 'A man's a man for a' that' that should be the real national song of socialism throughout the Isles, but that may just be too much for others to thole.
So I'll content with either version of 'The Ballad of John McLean' or my favourite 'The March of John McLean'
"The Gorbals are oot the day,ah Glesca belangs tae him'
I'm sure to my enlightened readership, especially to those in Nottingham, you don't need telling who McLean was,and if you need a clue,he wasn't Jim Murphy !
Now on to England, the largest of the four nations, and sadly the one with the fewest alternatives, oh I know that many favour Blakes 'Jerusalem',especially the Rugby fraternity, but it's a bit churchy for me,although a fine song none the less. Others have suggested 'Land of Hope and Glory' which has amazing music.but sadly in my view has a dreadful imperialist tinge.
No there is only one song for England.Edward Carpenter's 'England Arise'
Who can resist a song  with the final verse:
"Forth then ye heroes,patriots and lovers
Comrades of danger,poverty and scorn,
Mighty in faith of Freedom  your great Mother
Giants refreshed in the emerging dawn."
(You may note I've forgotten one word in the stanza, that's your test for the day!)
And so finally to what should replace 'God save....'
I did thing of course that 'The Red Flag' was a good candidate for a socialist song book, but only if sung to the original  to Jim Connell's chosen air 'The White Cockade' rather than the dirge we usually hear,based on the German hymn 'Der Tannenbaum'
So we need something else, and oddly it is to Germany I looked.Beethoven's 'Ode to Joy' is a majestic awe inspiring piece,but I think it's already used elsewhere, my final choice is in fact a 15th c folk song,sung by the peasantry who were revolting against some Swabian princes,banned until 1848, banned again by the Nazi's and sung in the concentration camps of the third Reich.
'Die Gedanken Sind Frei'
"I think as I please and this gives me pleasure
My conscience decrees this right I must treasure
My thoughts will not cater to duke or dictator
No man can deny,die gedanken sind frei'
Wouldn't that sound awesome belted out at the end of every Labour Party conference