Red Sky at midday …

… hurricane on the way.
20171016 red sky and sun sharon scoffings ab0682h 22449669_10155843145817915_6541484230024119353_n
Saw people lean out of office windows to witness this phenomena.
Ex-hurricane Ophelia had picked up sand from the Sahara and other material from Spain.
In the East Midlands, it was a bit windy.
Nothing like Ireland has suffered.
But hang on …
… a hurricane coming straight to the British Isles.
How many more “messages from the Lord” do we need?

Advertisements

The prophecy of an Abbott

I know I smiled when Dianne Abbott made the claim (less than) 12 months ago; it was kinda what happens if you get trapped into saying things are going well.
It looked ludicrous as late as May, but June 8th saw the Conservatives win by 2.5 points, and that lead was lost by July 8th.
Now a poll on October 8th says Labour has a lead of 5 points.  (An “exclusive survey for The Independent by BMG Research now has Labour five points ahead of the Tories, who are still reeling from a coup launched by ex-ministers to overthrow Ms May.”)
It’s not a projection of 4 years hence; it is to say this kind of deficit does not usually follow an election victory.
And now the Conservatives seem hooked on whether to get rid of May or Johnson.

May has no vision

Theresa May’s conference speech is famous now for a lot of mishaps.

Being poorly, with a nasty cough; spilling water; a prankster getting her to accept a fake P45, and then talking to Boris Johnson; wearing a chic bracelet using paintings by Leon Trotsky’s girlfriend; the lettering falling off the conference slogan background.

Well, imagine the fuss and ridicule if such mishaps happened to a Labour Leader at their conference speech. The nearest I can think is the huge fuss made over Ed Miliband not mentioning the deficit in one speech.
Now, I know Kinnock and Wilson made conference speeches that defined them; Gaitskill made a famous one too; and Blair’s speeches could sometimes give you something to work with, like his speech on respect.
But I’m not sure I know of a conference speech that has destroyed a leader (possibly Iain Duncan Smith’s “small man roar” speech).

So the real point to draw from May’s speech is her vision of “the British Dream”, which in essence is that the children should do better in life than their parents (just at the time this is no longer proving to be true).
Underpinning this was a repeated assertion in the belief in free markets. (Then kinda undermined by saying more council housing was now needed.)

Better I think to state how we learned that in life, we needed everyone to succeed, especially drawing from World War 2.
So, coming together; full employment, so that people are active and pay in, rather than too many only taking out;  proper jobs and proper goods, so that we’re not subsiding cheap labour and illness;  more common ownership and more money to the many to keep businesses going, rather than profits to the very rich that are  taken away;  free education and quality child development;  health services free at the point of use and service within deadlines;  quality housing and housing services – and stop subsidising the private landlords that don’t deliver;  valuing good government, enabling local government to deliver more and bringing in accountability;  tackle the newish challenges of globalisation, aging societies and climate change;  a global solution for abolishing nuclear weapons;  a free society – rights, responsibilities and respect; and winning the World Cup.
Alright, maybe the World Cup in the modern era is a bit impossible – but elements of the rest were all implemented and overseen by Attlee, Wilson and even Blair.
Things tend to go wrong when you codify this as an ideology, but these are the values of British Socialism / democratic Socialism.  (British cos we were once the country that drove these values, not cos we should be isolationist.)
And big change is needed.  Radical change.  And some kind of repeat of the 1945 “British Resolve” is needed.

Diana Spencer 20 years on

Flowers were left on the steps of The Council House and it reminded me of the full council meeting that took place on the Monday after the accident, and how some fellow Councillors were stunned by the news that the driver was drunk at the wheel and then I protested cos only one book of condolence was put out in reception and the queues to sign it were terribly long – and I just didn’t think it was neccessary.
I wrote to my branch on the 10th and expressed a fuller view, parts of which I regret a bit.  Including calling for a republic – really, we kinda are already, and although it’s annoying Prince Charles doesn’t get it.  Too keen to give Tony Blair some credit – I hated his remarks on the Sunday morning.  I felt what it brought on was to be Britain at its worst – gushing over a celebrity death.

Track 8: “Things can only get better”, D:Ream

Famous for being the New Labour campaign tune for 1997, and marking the end of 18 wasted years – all that North Sea oil, and what did we do with it?
My personal pleasure was buying the CD with 6 different versions (I’d bought 4 track editions of Happy Mondays songs before) and playing it time and again on the train down to London.

“Things can only get better”, D:Ream did not win us the General Election as some have claimed, but as an anthem, it captured the feeling for 1997.
For some it captured the election night – although we in Nottingham were still in the count until 6:30 in the morning.
We did go on and we got a lot done, although it ran out of steam with the bankers’ betrayal and with Gordon Brown.

The song has also become – with the rise of Professor Brian Cox – a reminder of my physics degree which I approached as a way of getting a degree without the fullest appreciation of the value of the subject; a mild regret.  The TV documentaries have become much better and some of the books have been excellent.
Track 7: Billy Bragg

Track 7: “Lovers Town Revisited”, Billy Bragg

“Fighting on the dance floor happens anyway …”
If there’s a shadow over life for boys and young men, it’s violence.  Something that went away when you were perceived to be too old.
Useless and the uselessness is captured by

“Lovers Town Revisited”, Billy Bragg.
Words that are meant to be heard, in a short and sharp format.
“Sometimes [he’s] makes me stop and think.”
Like The Smiths, Billy writes songs that tell more realistic stories of love and life.
More political songs too – from a more traditional labour movement perspective.
Pleased to meet him recently at the Rough Trade shop in Hockley (on the day of the Pentrich revolution 200th anniversary march) when he was pushing his book on skiffle.

Track 6: The Smiths

Track 6: “Girl Afraid”, The Smiths

“… you and me,
“we can ride on a star
“If you stay with me, girl
“We can rule the world”
Take that.  Dross.  Implerialistic dross.


The Smiths were such a breath of fresh air when they arrived in 1983.  Big fans of pop, but discerning.  Morrissey well read (see the “England is mine” movie); Johnny Marr highly-skilled on guitar.  Deliberating choosing a plain name for their band.
For the BBC Radio Nottm show wanting to know about songs that change your lives, “Rubber Ring” even has the lyric.  But the track I’ve chosen is –

“Girl Afraid”, The Smiths.
Nice jangling; and just listen to the lyrics.
And value difference.

Track 5: Joy Division.