Sad to think that the UK’s Labour party is destroying itself. It seems to have an obsession with trendy-left-wing identity politics, which has systematically and almost surgically removed its traditional voter base.

Does the Labour party ever want to win an election again?

It looks as if the answer is NO!

The whole mess is simply made worse by the fiasco of their ‘lack of leadership contest.’

Corbyn, bless his flame-red cotton socks, should have done what all others have done in his same position, and GONE! Departed! Taken his leave! Buggered off!

The candidates bidding to lead the scrapheap of Labour need to realise that reassembling the party’s support in its traditional backyard should be the Number One priority – yet it has barely been mentioned by the party’s senior bods.

We are witnessing the slow death of a political party, because the party appears lost in a wilderness of self-indulgence, divorced from all political reality!

On the doorstep, Corbyn went down like a bucket of cold sick. I voted for him, I like him, the electorate do not – we needed to realise and act sooner – not by creating more factionalism and division, but by Corbyn himself backing a unity candidate to take over.

Things may have turned out differently had this happened sooner, it needs to happen now.

Sarah Williams
London-centrism and a manifesto the size of a novel: a Labour candidate on what went wrong
Left Foot Forward

writers make up stuff

December 7, 2019

A recent letter in The Oregonian compares a politician’s claim to tell “alternative facts” to the inventions of science fiction. The comparison won’t work. We fiction writers make up stuff. Some of it clearly impossible, some of it realistic, but none of it real – all invented, imagined — and we call it fiction because it isn’t fact. We may call some of it “alternative history” or “an alternate universe,” but make absolutely no pretence that our fictions are “alternative facts.”

Facts aren’t all that easy to come by. Honest scientists and journalists, among others, spend a lot of time trying to make sure of them. The test of a fact is that it simply is so – it has no “alternative.” The sun rises in the east. To pretend the sun can rise in the west is a fiction, to claim that it does so as fact (or “alternative fact”) is a lie.

A lie is a non-fact deliberately told as fact. Lies are told in order to reassure oneself, or to fool, or scare, or manipulate others. Santa Claus is a fiction. He’s harmless. Lies are seldom completely harmless, and often very dangerous. In most times, most places, by most people, liars are considered contemptible.

Ursula K. Le Guin
1st February letter to the editor of the Oregonian

(Now that’s what I call “Dragon Wisdom” – P)

The border

November 19, 2019

The border is a line that birds cannot see. The border is a beautiful piece of paper folded carelessly in half. The border is where flint first met steel, starting a century of fires. The border is a belt that is too tight, holding things up but making it hard to breathe. The border is a rusted hinge that does not bend. The border is the blood clot in the river’s vein. The border says stop to the wind, but the wind speaks another language, and keeps going. The border is a brand, the “Double-X” of barbed wire scarred into the skin of so many. The border has always been a welcome stopping place but is now a stop sign, always red. The border is a jump rope still there even after the game is finished.  The border is a real crack in an imaginary dam. The border used to be an actual place, but now, it is the act of a thousand imaginations. The border, the word border, sounds like order, but in this place they do not rhyme. The border is a handshake that becomes a squeezing contest. The border smells like cars at noon and wood smoke in the evening. The border is the place between the two pages in a book where the spine is bent too far. The border is two men in love with the same woman. The border is an equation in search of an equals sign. The border is the location of the factory where lightning and thunder are made. The border is “NoNo” The Clown, who can’t make anyone laugh. The border is a locked door that has been promoted. The border is a moat but without a castle on either side. The border has become Checkpoint Chale. The border is a place of plans constantly broken and repaired and broken. The border is mighty, but even the parting of the seas created a path, not a barrier. The border is a big, neat, clean, clear black line on a map that does not exist. The border is the line in new bifocals: below, small things get bigger; above, nothing changes. The border is a skunk with a white line down its back.

Alberto Ríos
The Border: A Double Sonnet

ashamed

November 19, 2019

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

Confucius
Analects, VIII

unspeakable results

November 18, 2019

One need only watch totalitarians at work to see that once men gain power over other men’s minds, that power is never used sparingly and wisely, but lavishly and brutally and with unspeakable results.

E.B. White
Party of One, On Democracy

Sweet Sixteen –

October 17, 2019

At sixteen you can’t purchase a knife or cigarettes. You can’t buy alcohol or fireworks. You can’t get a tattoo – without parental consent. You can’t take your driving test for a car, nor can you joint the armed forces without parental consent. If you reside in Wales you can work full-time at sixteen, but in England you must stay in some kind of education or training until the age of 18. You can’t place a bet, and under-18s cannot usually claim benefits such as Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support. Also, many DVDs and Video games can only be sold to persons aged 18 or over.

Oh, yes, you CAN register as a blood donor at sixteen, but you WON’T be called to give blood until you’re 17.

And yet some of our politicians want to give sixteen-year olds the VOTE?

Now, please, don’t get me wrong. I’ve no axe to grind regarding sixteen-year-olds. I was one myself once. What concerns me is the huge inconsistencies in what a sixteen-year-old can and can’t do – under UK law.

I feel certain that there are MP’s sitting today who feel ‘democracy’ is a menace – outranked in villainy only by public protest, revolution and coup d’état. A lowering of the voting age would be anathema to such people. They would prefer voting to be scrapped altogether, or at the very least the voting age raised to fifty.

I would ask: why lower the age to sixteen? Why not thirteen? Or Twelve? Eleven, even?

Politicians could then market themselves to the new electorate accordingly.

I would take great delight in seeing eleven-year-olds placing their cross against Dennis the Menace’s name on the ballot paper. Or Roger the Dodger. Or, even better, the Fix-it Twins – can you imagine a general election where Boris the Beetle ran as prime minister?

Wonderful.

There are politicians, of course, whose quest for power within the UK is equal to, if not greater than, Ming the Merciless’, the ruthless tyrant who ruled planet Mongo. This is especially true north of the border. Where Mung the Mirthless grasps continuously at straws, talking the talk but never, NEVER walking the walk!

However, that may change. If the voting age could be lowered to cover all those thousands of potential nationalists in kindergarten. Then things would be different – wouldn’t they?

Alas, most political visions are Unicorns, perfect imaginary creatures we will chase and never find. Yet still we walk on, face lifted toward these remote, inaccessible objectives, these Chimeras, and believe all will be so much different if only we could just touch them…

Rant

September 9, 2019

When Noam Chomsky said, ‘The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum,’ he could easily have been predicting the Brexit debacle in the UK. For three years the country has gone to hell in a handcart and the only thing up for discussion is Brexit!

Pre the UK referendum on its membership of the EU, polls showed that internally the top six issues important to the UK electorate were:
1. NHS
2. Economy
3. Low Pay
4. Immigration
5. Housing
6. Education

Not a mention of our membership of the EU. It wasn’t very high on anyone’s agenda. Although the fourth important issue to voters, Immigration, was closely tied to EU immigration rules and ‘freedom of movement’.

With the launch of the ‘leave’ and ‘remain’ campaigns, Ipsos MORI survey data showed that voters considered sovereignty and migration the most important issues by far, the economic impact of leaving the EU was only important to 27% of those polled.

My own view is that the decision to withdraw from the EU is a nonsense. It’s absurd. However, Parliament okayed a ‘people’s vote’ and the majority of the people voted to leave. It was the largest turnout of voters in the history of the UK.

Since then very little has happened. Cracks in the parliamentary party system have become chasms. Politicians on all sides who once claimed they would ‘Honour the result of the Referendum’ now don’t, and justify their actions with a variety of excuses, usually based around the economy, which is being seriously damaged by continuous uncertainty.

And the people on both sides of the great divide, Leave / Remain are increasingly angry. Everywhere there are angry people and confrontations. The government lacking a majority in Parliament is helpless to legislate to solve the nation’s problems; the leader of Her Majesty’s opposition, a man with all the communication skills of a stale piece of bread, has spent the past three years demanding an election, but now doesn’t want one – because he might lose!

Boys & girls, this is the biggest feckin’ cock-up I’ve ever seen. It’s a mess. But worse, much of what’s happened is totally anti-democratic. Britain has stripped itself naked, leaving our economy, our society and our democracy exposed. And whatever happens next, there will be dire consequences in future for the politics of the UK. Just you wait and see.

Rant over.

Normal service will resume as soon as possible.

Big Change…

July 25, 2019

We have a new Prime Minister!

Ce mec c’est un mytho –