Tag Archives: politics

You Are Mistaken, Prescott And Kinnock

Why Corbyn does NOT need nominations to appear on the leadership ballot. It’s quite clear, and the motives of those who are bending themselves out of shape to suggest otherwise are, at best, highly questionable.

TheCritique Archives

by Martin Odoni

There still seems to be a running attempt to make the nomination rules for a Labour leadership contest sound ambiguous. The latest Labour members to insist that Jeremy Corbyn requires nominations from the Parliamentary Labour Party in order to defend his leadership are former Deputy leader John Prescott, and former leader Neil Kinnock.

Why they are saying this, I am unsure. They may have misunderstood, or they may have darker reasons, but either way, an analysis of the rules themselves shows that they are incorrect.

The rulebook of Labour Party membership is available online in PDF format, and the rules for a leadership contest are laid out very clearly in Chapter 4, starting on page 15. Here is what it says about the selection-of-candidates stage; –

“Clause 2 Subsection 2A

Nomination.

i .In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy leader, each nomination must be…

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Labour Party Putsch: The Traitors’ Dilemma – by Rob Atkinson

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Jeremy Corbyn – serenely immovable

This article was previously published in the Huffington Post

The die is cast, the ringleaders are known, their motives are nakedly obvious for all to see. The Parliamentary Labour Party coup, conceived months ago to be hatched when the timing was right, has not gone well so far. Firstly, several previous anticipated opportunities have failed to materialise. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour was fancied to lose the Oldham by-election, but it held the seat and the plotters, poised quivering and eager to pounce, had to slink frustrated back into the undergrowth.

Then, the Local Council elections. Again, there looked to be an opportunity, with the ever-obliging BBC prematurely reporting a night of disaster for Corbyn’s troops, only to be embarrassed as things turned out annoyingly well, with Labour emerging as the largest party. The EU Referendum was Last Chance Saloon – the final opportunity before the publication of the Chilcot Report, with all of its possible nasty ramifications for the Blairites of the PLP.

So, the script was written before the results were known, in line with furtive early preparations elsewhere pre-dating overt action. But yet again, the figures have not stacked up as desired. In the face of a brutal and mendacious Leave campaign, Corbyn’s Labour members voted almost two to one to remain – a highly respectable figure given the fertile territory the likes of UKIP and Farage have found among the disaffected and marginalised poor. Labour’s remain vote was only a percentage point or two short of that of the SNP – and nobody’s calling Nicola Sturgeon a referendum failure.

All of the pretexts upon which the anti-Corbyn movement hoped to base their rebellion have turned out to be duds. Despite their own professed agenda and the complaisant backing of the media, their motives are paper-thin and full of holes. But there’s that pesky Chilcot thing in the offing, and it’s imperative to get rid of Corbyn before he can use a damning report to start inflicting some long overdue justice. So, for the traitors, it’s realistically now or never.

But there’s another problem. The leadership challenge as such is probably not such a good idea. The incumbent leader would be on the ballot paper as of right, and looks set fair to trounce any and all opposition, possibly by a wider margin than even last September’s historic landslide. If Corbyn could be persuaded to stand down, that’d be a different matter. He’d then need to secure enough PLP backing to be nominated for a leadership election – which would of course be relatively unlikely, as demonstrated by the constitutionally impotent no-confidence motion. So a Corbyn resignation is decidedly the way to go. But Jeremy steadfastly refuses to budge, citing the enormous mandate he was given only nine months ago.

Hence the current impasse. The unedifying spectacle now playing out is a bitterly ironic one of deeply dishonourable men and women calling upon a decent man – that rarity in politics – to “do the honourable thing”, and resign. They seem eager to give him extra increments of time, hoping against hope he’ll “see sense”. The right-wing press throng the touchlines, oafishly cheering on these turncoats. But Corbyn knows that resignation would not be the honourable course. It would be highly convenient, for the would-be usurpers, but honourable? No way. So he carries serenely on, under immense strain, while his detractors seethe helplessly.

This is the classic Traitors’ Dilemma – act recklessly, or perform a humiliating retreat?. What are they to do now, if this inconveniently honourable and determined man refuses to fall on his sword? Skulk away again, with Chilcot waiting to explode in their faces? Hardly. Launch a challenge anyway then, and damn the consequences? Well, to be the means by which Corbyn increases his already massive authority in the Labour Party as a whole – that’s hardly the sort of history your average Blairite wants to be making.

Angela Eagle, who has shed tears of pure crocodile in the past few days, together with the rest of the opportunists thirsting for the kill, all of them are faced with the Devil’s Alternative. Whichever way they decide to act, they’re likely to plummet into an abyss of obscurity and ridicule. It really is a very problematic situation. But it’s one, let us not forget, entirely of their own making.

Cellino’s Promised “Beautiful Season” Turning Ugly for Leeds   –   by Rob Atkinson

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“The fans are going to enjoy next season so much, it will be a beautiful season, I promise to them.” – Massimo Cellino, April 2015

It’s been quite a week for holding people to account over promises recklessly made and then casually broken. On Thursday, ex-Tory voter Michelle Dorrell became an instant media star on the BBC’s Question Time, by castigating a shocked and speechless government minister over blatant lies told and cast-iron pledges tossed aside. The hapless Amber Rudd, incumbent Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in Cameron’s team of no talent, simply did not know where to put herself, under a withering barrage of anger and contempt from a voter who felt, with absolute justification, that she’d been conned, betrayed, abandoned. It is possible to speculate that Ms. Rudd, whose face told a tale of deep shame and helpless bewilderment, might not, perhaps, be the best card player out there. Which is unfortunate for that lady as, in her position as a professional liar, she really does need that unflinching poker face.

Compare and contrast the useless Amber Rudd with our very own master of spin and deception, Signor Massimo Cellino. It’s a bit like putting Clogiron Rovers of the Council Parks League next to European giants such as Barcelona or AC Milan. The mighty gulf is best illustrated by the fact that both these public figures lie and dissimulate – but whereas the Tory Minister looked as guilty and crestfallen as an Oxford undergraduate photographed with his wedding tackle in a dead pig’s mouth, our Massimo peddles his many fictions with a countenance as smoothly untroubled as a placid lake on a still, hot day.

Perhaps that inscrutable countenance is the key to Cellino’s undoubted success in many arenas over the span of a long, controversial and eccentric career. But there is a limit to what even such a convoluted operator as Big Mass can get away with. He is on record, as we can see above, as recently as April just gone, speaking in honeyed tones of the “beautiful season” we Leeds United fans could look forward to in 2015/16. It was a solemn and unconditional promise he made to us – a promise now being spectacularly broken as this misbegotten, shapeless, aimless, depressing campaign gets uglier by the week.

Massimo has previous form in his relatively short time at Leeds for making statements amounting to promises, which he has then patently failed to deliver. He said he’d pop down the ATM and sort out the wherewithal to buy back Elland Road upon taking control of the club; many months on, it hasn’t happened (though we’re assured the process is ongoing. Perhaps the pesky cash machine ate his card?). The timescale for promotion keeps getting pushed back, too. Just as Annie the Orphan sang about tomorrow always being a day away, so our prospects of Premier League Football seem to be holding a steady distance of two years into the future, no matter how much time passes in the real world. And Cellino speaks with misty-eyed affection about each successive coach he employs one minute and then, in the next breath, he’s picking a fight with them preparatory to inserting the trusty old stiletto blade between their vulnerable back ribs. It’s all initial promise, moving through bitter disillusion and ending in bleak disappointment.

But the thing about all these lies, as they mount up into an embarrassingly big and obvious heap, is that they tend to detract somewhat from any chap’s credibility. And credibility – the very currency of the successful sporting head honcho – is now a commodity of which Cellino, poker face notwithstanding, is rapidly running uncomfortably short.

Abraham Lincoln said, with typical wisdom: “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time“. Massimo Cellino, though markedly less sage, appears to have been quite successful in fooling lots of people for the longest time. But there is a limit – and now, after the latest home defeat to Brighton, the rumblings of discontent are being felt around Elland Road, one time football fortress, now reduced to the flimsiest house of cards. Some of the fans remain defiantly faithful, holding that Cellino is the real deal, simply by virtue of not being Ken Bates. It’s a camp where I once upon a time raised this blog’s standard – but not any more. There have been too many lies, too many rash, undelivered promises. A good proportion of the fans now appear to have seen through Massimo’s affable facade, and they have detected the charlatan that lies beneath – and keeps on and on lying. It’s a harsh verdict on the face of it, but it’s one amply supported by the available evidence.

Football owners are not, in the nature of these things, the most accountable people in the sport. The ones held to account tend to be the coaches, the visible face of a failing football club’s operation, the men charged with making inadequate resources do the job of competing with better-financed, more realistically-run operations. These men carry the can for the owner’s inadequacies, craziness, parsimony and tendency to be economical with the truth. It’s a thankless task, as Uwe Rosler – with his ominous recent vote of confidence/final warning – may soon find out. But the fans don’t have to accept that the coach is where the buck stops and where the blame resides. Not any more than the courts in Italy or elsewhere have to accept a man’s repeated insistence on his innocence – as more and more charges of tax evasion and other vices pile up.

One way or the other, whether it’s the courts or the fans who finally suss him out, surely even Massimo Cellino cannot continue with his steadfast avoidance of the truth, his plausible blandishments and promises – not in the long term. Not when he’s also taking unpopular decisions such as limiting away tickets on the back of a spat with Sky TV. Not when he appears stubbornly determined to lose Sam Byram for peanuts, having publicly hung the lad out to dry, unable to defend his corner. Not when he’s back in the public gaze since Adam Pearson‘s much-lamented departure, making more crazy statements and more rash promises – most of which, you can well believe, will end up as hollow and worthless as his promise of April last.

A beautiful season? With successive defeats, a winless run at Elland Road stretching back to March and a headlong downward spiral in what is not exactly a vintage Championship league table, it’s not beautiful at all. It’s an ugly pig of a season, a Luke Chadwick or a Gideon Osborne of a season, even a Katie Hopkins of a season. Any common or garden fan can certainly see that, it’s as obvious as weather through a window. And, little by little, the more we keep getting told that everything in the garden is rosy, when we can absolutely see the weeds and the brambles choking the place to death – surely even the die-hard Cellino supporters must be beginning to wonder exactly where Leeds United are heading next, under his bizarre and deceitful direction.

Bottom line, ladies, gentlemen and fellow Whites? We should have listened to Johnny Giles.

Starving British children are looking for food in rubbish bins

Starving children reduced to scavenging in bins – in 21st Century Britain, the 6th richest country in the world. For shame, Camoron. Roll on 2015, and let’s get you and your malign cronies OUT.

Vox Political

Who said it could never happen here? Children are starving on the streets of Britain as the Tory-led Coalition's hate policies bite ever-more-deeply into the poor [Image: Stoke Sentinel]. Who said it could never happen here? Children are starving on the streets of Britain as the Tory-led Coalition’s hate policies bite ever-more-deeply into the poor [Image: Stoke Sentinel]. British children are sifting through bins left outside houses in search of scraps of food because they are starving, it has been revealed.

But Tories and their supporters in rich London won’t have to look at them – because they are in Labour-held Stoke-on-Trent.

The Stoke Sentinel reported that “Youngsters have been searching through bins in the Hollings Street and Brocksford Street area of Fenton before eating any leftovers.”

It said, “Dozens of hungry families are referred to Fenton’s food bank for help every week.”

What’s really sad about this story is that some of the people interviewed seemed to think the problem was with the mess left behind by these children – youngsters who are, remember, so hungry that they…

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The Case for a Grown-up, Well-Moderated Leeds United Forum – by Rob Atkinson

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Mature debate

What makes for a good football forum?

That’s a fairly vexed question, these days.  It may even be the kind of issue best looked at from the opposite perspective – in other words what are the elements to be avoided, at all costs, in order to have the best possible football forum?  In the case of Leeds United – where of course there is usually an elegant sufficiency of controversy, with plenty to get the old teeth into by way of intractable issues such as takeovers, transfer policy, managerial tactics and so on – the need for a really good internet forum is even more urgent than for most other clubs.

Sadly though, there appears to be a distinct lack of anything truly adequate out there.  Most of the existing resources are fundamentally flawed in one way or another.  Above all, there seems to be a pervading right-wing presence which makes for a hostile environment for anybody lumbered with, for instance, a social conscience or a bit of good, old-fashioned socialism.

This might be just about tolerable if all you’re looking for is simple football information and debate – but most forums seem to have pretensions to a wider and more eclectic scope. Some even have different sections expressly devoted to music, cars, politics, entertainment, topical issues, etc.  Now, this is all well and good, but when it goes hand in hand with the presence of a sizeable minority of vociferous right-wing boneheads, the debate (in some areas more than others) turns into a futile endeavour, with the more moderate points of view being shouted down by “I’m alright, Jack” tories, racist EDL apologists and other such unpleasant creatures.

The two most obvious offenders in these terms are probably the so-called Service Crew forum, and its more anaemic shadow, WACCOE – which, as I’ve previously pointed out, used to be half-decent – but are now dominated by cliques of what I can charitably term loudmouth smart-arses with unpalatably Thatcherite agendas.  I’ve recently found myself in a very small minority on both forums, and the outrage and resentment I’ve encountered, just for daring to be different, has – quite frankly – defied description.

The Service Crew forum in particular makes a habit of parading its right-wing leanings and is overtly hostile to anybody with a libertarian outlook.  A lot of this behaviour is, of course, motivated by a desire for peer approval. The overweening need to be “one of the lads” is very strong on this forum, and what used to be a reasonably useful resource for information and debate on all things Leeds has now had its waters muddied by the presence of a group of people who evidently need an outlet for the anti-social and otherwise reprehensible views they don’t feel safe expressing elsewhere.

This manifests itself differently according to the age of the contributor – there are clearly a few dinosaurs who hark back to what they think of as the good old days of football violence (FV for the ITK), and are forever re-living the days when they showed the world what jolly tough chaps they were by gratuitously banging heads with like-minded morons who happened to sport the colours of an opposing team.  Most of the younger contributors have no memories of such laddish behaviour, as organised hooliganism is largely consigned to the dustbin of history.  But this doesn’t stop the young and stupid tendency from wanting to ape their elders, and there is a lot of hero-worship going on, the objects of which are all too clearly those retired knuckle-draggers mentioned above.

There is a slight overlap from the SC Forum into WACCOE; some of the older boneheads have a presence there too, and again they find no shortage of young and foolish acolytes desperate for the approval of what are still comically known as “lads” (you have to remind yourself occasionally that the majority of former hooligans are now grandads of fifty-plus who are firmly in the “old enough to know better” club).  But WACCOE has another element too – generally these are a bit younger and frequently claim to be in some or other well-paid employment that doesn’t require much deep thought or originality, depending heavily on “I earn this much a year and I drive this or that inadequacy-compensating car”.

Again, this overly-defensive group are identifiable by a horror of seeming “different” to those they worship and by a poignantly-obvious need to bunch together with kindred spirits; to be accepted as part of a collective with a distinct and identifiably limited, conservative world-view.  The anonymity of the internet then affords these needy people the opportunity to jump on anybody with a viewpoint that doesn’t conform to the mainstream views prevalent on either WACCOE or the SC Forum, thus validating in their own minds the self-image they’re so assiduously cultivating.

On both sites, the moderation is insipid at best, so the abiding tendency of the rabid defenders of the current draconian government, to shout down voices of protest, is generally quite unfettered.  Any lone voice which does demonstrates a determination to have its say, or which defends its position vigorously, is left in no doubt that such views are unwelcome. Not altogether in the spirit of free speech, there are frequently appeals to the moderators to close threads where the cosy prejudices of the anti-intellectual hoi polloi are too enthusiastically challenged.  At the end of the day, it is likely to be the voices which shout loudest who prevail; free thinkers tend to get shouted down and any rational debate is drowned out.

One odd irony in this process is the tendency, during the initial part of the shouting-down phase, for those who wish to impress their heroes on the forum to attempt put-downs of a distinctly aggressive and/or abusive nature. However, if the response to this is in any way aggressive or abusive in return, then hurt, shock and outrage are tearfully expressed – and there is usually some petulant demand for the minority party to be banned, ironically for “not being able to debate rationally or without descending to abuse“. Clearly, then, reciprocity of invective is unwelcome.  Such a blatant contradiction is comical on the face of it, but the double-standard it exemplifies is deeply unattractive.  It appears that these forums are not primarily about debate, but are instead much more about that old demon of “wanting to belong”. All of which tells us much about those who wish to form and belong to cliques – but it doesn’t help in the search for a useful and stimulating, diverse forum with Leeds United AFC as its focus, but with an eye on other issues as well.

The key to having an internet forum which satisfies the requirements of those who don’t crave the approval of a boorish majority, would seem to be strong and impartial moderation.  This is where some of the better blogs out there probably score heavily over the anarchic babble which so typifies too many of the forums.  But, really, there should be a place for both forum and blog as, ideally, they exist to meet different needs.  The typical blog will, initially, carry the views of a strictly limited number of people.  This particular blog is a one-man operation; some, such as the excellent We All Love Leeds, have a group of able writers moderated by a dedicated editor. In either case, a lot of the diversity is achieved through the comments received to blog articles, frequently amounting to a thread of debate.  On this blog, I am extremely fortunate to have a collection of regular contributors who enhance and enrich the content with their entertaining and informed viewpoints.  I exercise quality control by eliminating the unacceptable trolling, and the result is – I firmly believe – a balanced resource which reflects viewpoints from all shades of opinion, without any need for recourse to childish name-calling.

The content of the typical forum, by contrast, is led by its public; there is no particular editorial position. Pretty much anyone can say pretty much anything once they are accepted onto the board and, without strong leadership and continual monitoring, many of the threads swiftly descend into slanging matches, pack hunting or – probably worst of all – escalating competitions where the desperate-for-approval strive to out-do each other in appearing successively more zany or off-the-wall witty than the contributor before.  That’s a skin-crawling thing to witness, and by no means conducive to grown-up debate, which consequently tends to wither on the vine.

I’m probably on the point of being ejected from both of the above-mentioned forums just at the moment, and it’s not something I will waste any time in mourning over.  What I am really wondering is: are there any resouces out there which are much better?  Any more enlightened forum where the young and yappy aren’t falling over themselves to gain the approval of older members who undeservedly gain this foolish cabal of admirers simply by regaling the ether with tales of what tough guys they used to be?  I do hope so.  Even these days, both the SC Forum and WACCOE occasionally produce little gems of information, scandal or gossip that remind you they used to be much more useful places, and not the barren wastes of time they have become more recently.

I’m well aware that many who read this blog will be frequenters of one or both of the forums I’ve mentioned above.  It may well be that some will wish to defend them against what might be seen as unfair criticism on my part.  That’s great – non-abusive disagreement has always been welcome on this blog.  So bring it on, I welcome all views that add to the debate and my position is not set in stone. But if anyone out there sees the smallest merit in what I’ve written – and especially if they know of a forum I could try which might not make me want to throw rocks at my screen – then I’d be grateful to hear about that, above all.

After this little rant, I do feel a bit better about things, thinking I may perhaps have touched a nerve here or there.  Now I just need a cup of coffee, some good TOMA news and maybe – just maybe – to have my faith in that whole “Marching On Together” thing restored a little.  Over to you on that last one…

There IS a legal definition of bedroom for bedroom tax purposes

Very interesting case-law development on the Bedroom Tax. Anyone affected should appeal, quoting CH/140/2013. Take advice, or simply contact your Local Authority, quoting that reference. You should act BEFORE MARCH 2014 to ensure you don’t run out of time. ACT NOW!!

An Apt Illustration of “The Big Lie” as Perpetrated by the Daily Mail & Others – by Rob Atkinson

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By appointment to Goebbels and Cameron

Having blogged elsewhere about the tendency of this “government” to rehash the old Nazi-acclaimed method of “The Big Lie“, I’ve been looking for a good, satirical piece, the better to illustrate the point. And, just over a day into 2014 – which I hope will be the last complete year of this appalling administration – I found the example reproduced below. Linda Cox of Norfolk is a carer, thinker and an active campaigner against the iniquities of “austerity” – and against the endemic persecution of the poor, the elderly, the disabled and the sick. As a small part of her efforts to lift the murky veil of tabloid-retailed government propaganda, she has summed up the whole thing very neatly indeed. I quote her in full below, with her permission and without further comment.

I feel so secure and looked after by proper newspapers like the Daily Mail. Yes, it is controlled by the government, but that’s why it is there to serve my best interests, like Mr Cameron who loves us really – he wants us all to be rich, and if I shop at M&S and wear stuff like Kate Windsor, celebrities and other important, very clever people I will be rich too. I also know that by looking down on those less able or poor, it will improve my self esteem, and mean I am better than they are. We are more like the Beckhams… well, we would be if we had the money. We will, once they have stopped the foreigners and dole cheats. Then people who want to get on in life, can.

The DM lets me know what is going on in the real world and gives me warning about the things I should fear and we know forewarned is forearmed.

It tells me what to buy, what to watch and what to wear to be more like rich people and to be better than my neighbour.

I am safe in the knowledge that the Daily Mail – and The Sun – have the most readers, therefore I must be reading the facts and it fits in with my own beliefs….and fears.

When I go out I make sure I avoid places where there are nasty, dirty homeless people, because they are all addicts and they might steal my purse to finance their habit.

There is a council estate around the corner where all the people have HUGE flat screen tellies… especially those on the dole. The people are mostly foreign, because they get first choice of all the council houses. The families consist of three, sometimes FOUR generations that have NEVER worked in their life! That’s because they don’t need to. Each child you have on the dole gets you an extra thousand pounds per week. That’s why dole families in council houses have ten or maybe fifteen kids each. Sometimes they murder a few to get on telly. Their neighbours watch them on the news on their massive plasma tellies, while Jeremy Kyle is on an advert break. They all smoke weed and drink alcohol… even the kids, while they play X-box on their own plasma tellies. That’s during the day, because they have all been excluded from school. In the evening and at night, they hang around the streets mugging people, but the victims are from their own estates, so it doesn’t matter. It’s not like they are mugging decent folk. They steal from their own because of the high welfare benefits – these people carry Giros worth thousands of pounds! Especially the foreigners, because they get Girocheques for £6,000 to buy cars!

The Daily Mail told me that most disabled people have nothing wrong with them, so I started spying on so called disabled to make sure they limped, wobbled or fell over every time they got out of their car parked in a disabled bay…. because if they don’t use a wheelchair, there’s nothing really wrong with them, right? They are worse than dole people. They get even MORE money from us, The Taxpayers. They get a new car EVERY YEAR! Nothing to pay at all. The Daily Mail told me so.

Did you know that every single person on benefits gets £26,000 a year? AND that’s the lowest rate, after the government capped benefits. People used to get much more.

Recently poor people have had access to free food, so that’s another thing that doesn’t have to come out of their £26,000 budget. They just turn up at what’s known as a foodbank and get bags and bags of food! FREE! Now lots of people know about it, more people are going there, then they have more money for drugs and holidays. They are opening up in every town. Other people donate food from places like Aldi and Lidl and dole people just pick it up… some places even offer a delivery service! I don’t shop in places like that, so I can’t donate anything….and why should I when I can’t even afford to eat out every night?

We struggle sometimes and can’t always go 5-star on holiday. That’s when I know who to blame. If Johnny Foreigner, Billy Pretend-Cripple and people popping kids out daily, got off their fat backsides and got jobs, I wouldn’t have to pay so much tax! Maybe I could even have enough money one day to be in the Daily Mail myself…..

For now, I’m happy just to live in my ivory tower reading my Daily Mail.

All successful satire or parody has an important kernel of truth. Thanks for reading – I hope it makes a few more people think about what they might read elsewhere.

Leeds United’s Search for Right Winger Over as Haigh Stands for Tories – by Rob Atkinson

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David Haigh – Tory Boy?

I have to declare an interest here right away.  I’m not well-disposed towards Tories, nor yet to the Tory philosophy (which as far as I can see boils down to “Sod you, Jack – I’m alright”).  So the news that somebody well towards the top of the hierarchy of Leeds United is to seek the nomination for what is considered at the moment to be a safe Tory seat does not gladden my heart. Neither does it inspire me with any confidence in the man’s tendency to tell the truth and shame the Devil (who is currently occupied in litigation against Leeds United under the name K. Bates – bad cess to him).

Another slight niggle is that, if Haigh gets elected to Parliament – by no means a certainty if the Tories reprise their 1997 electoral meltdown – he intends to combine that role with his day-to-day running of Leeds United.  That’s two proper, grown-up, full-time jobs of a very demanding nature – is the lad up to it?  At 36 he is, after all, nobbut a bairn as we say hereabouts.  It’s difficult to forecast Haigh’s chances at the 2015 election, even if he should secure the Tory nomination for the seat concerned, Northampton South.  The majority of just over 6,000 at the last election would be a fairly slim buffer against the kind of swing opinion polls are currently suggesting.  It may well be that in 2015, Haigh will be involved in two tussles in widely differing fields if Leeds are going for promotion at the same time their MD is aiming for a seat in the Commons.  Under those circumstances, I’d be wishing him all the best in sport and all the very worst in politics.  There’s nowt personal either way, all’s fair in football and politics.

It’s not as if Haigh would be the first Tory at the top of Leeds United, anyway.  There’s always been a knot of reasonably successful businessmen running the club, from way back – and most of those lads didn’t get where they were by espousing a liberal or socialist agenda.  It’s just that, politically, they tended to remain in the closet, as it were, and concentrate on applying their zero knowledge of the game to running a football club. So whilst it may not feel all that comfortable – not for someone of my rabidly anti-tory persuasion, anyway – to have a declared Conservative seeking to advance his political ambitions whilst involved in my beloved Leeds, it’s hardly anything all that new.  As long as his deluded notion of what makes for good government doesn’t reflect badly on Leeds United, I’m fine for him to get on with it.  Live and let live, and all that.

Meanwhile – all jokes and weak puns aside – we still really do need that right-winger. And in the interests of political and sporting balance, we could do with a chap on the left, too.  So get weaving, David – forget all that political nonsense for now – concentrate on what’s really important and let the Tories get on with grinding the faces of the poor without you.

Snouts In The Trough – But It’s Time Those Living High On The Hog Picked Up The Tab

The Three-Party System

The Three-Party System

The thing about politicians is – if they’re not talking, or furiously thinking of a way out of their latest web of deceit, or maybe sleeping (a swift forty winks on the backbenches, the ultimate power nap), then they’re most likely at some or other official function, stuffing their faces with the finest of freebie food and drink.

Now, I’m not making a party political point here. I said “politicians”, and I meant the whole unsavoury crew of them, be they high-powered cabinet members, lobby fodder rank-and-file MP’s, or even your humble Joe Bloggs, Mavis Dogood or Tarquin FitzHerbert-Smythe in the local Council chambers. They all have the same basic bodily need for nourishment as us mere mortals. The difference is, they will quite often fill up to the Plimsoll line at the taxpayer’s expense. Is this fair or appropriate in these straitened times?

At a veritable crisis point of global financial meltdown, when our national debt is so high that even Wayne Rooney would need to ask for an extra week or two to pay it off, I find myself wondering: what’s the accumulated value of all the state and civic banquets, dinners, receptions, working lunches and other freebie jamborees that take place every day, all over the country? It must come to a good few bob. We’re not, after all, talking a few limp ham sandwiches, curling up at the edges and accompanied by motley shreds of anaemic lettuce. No, Sir. These people do not skimp; they do themselves well, very well indeed. There’s proper, grown-up, posh food on heavily-laden and groaning tables – and it must be highly debatable how much productive thinking is left in those bloated plutocrats, after the desserts have been and gone, and the port, nuts and cigars are passed around.

Of course, piling into the snap at the highest levels of power is nothing new. It’s been pretty much de rigueur ever since Henry I wolfed down half-a-dozen too many eels, and expired before he could gasp “surfeit of lampreys”. Kings, Queens, and assorted courtiers and other hangers-on have always been notable for their over-indulgence on rich food and fine wine. It sort of went with the territory in those far-off times, but it strikes a more discordant note these days when essential services – the culmination of the whole process of civilisation and enlightenment since before Henry I – are being cut left, right and centre. And yet still the state and political chomping goes on apace.

It’s only a matter of a few weeks since MP’s of all parties were calling for a 32% pay rise, despite their broad consensus that the rest of us should be grinning bravely and tightening our belts. Just what sort of message does that send out, when so much of their weekly calorific intake is provided and paid for, as part of their remit as legislators of our country? And the same applies at least in some degree to our business leaders – no subsidised canteen serving scrummy beans on toast with a poached egg on top for them – it’s Marco-Pierre White catering at the very least – and waiter, send that bill to Accounts, there’s a good chap.

What if – bear with me here – what if MP’s, ponderous boardroom types, and indeed power-brokers everywhere were to embrace a novel concept, and actually pay for some of the scrumptious fare that comes their way so often, and gratis at that? If this were the general principle, multiplied across all the many thousands of vastly expensive official meals and banquets that take place in this over-stretched nation every week, what would be the saving to the national purse? I’m struggling to work that out on my fingers and in my head, but it’s a big, big number, make no mistake. It’s not as if the people we’re talking about are exactly impoverished – are they now? And what do the rest of us do when it’s time for lunch at work? Not everyone has even the subsidised canteen; many of us are away down to the high street for a cheese roll, which we’re – quite reasonably – expected to fund out of our own pockets.

It’s about time we all woke up to the fact that – on a grand scale – we’re being made right mugs out of, you and me. Every time there’s a new cost-cutting measure, or another idea for a wage freeze, you can bet your life it’s been hatched over the smoked-salmon canapés and the pâté de foie gras. And what’s more, we’re the simple souls paying for it. Could that money not be used much more productively, elsewhere?

Just think about that, the next time you’re counting the pennies at the end of the month, and wondering whether you can delay the big shop till after the weekend. Then again, it might even act as an appetite suppressant. Just thinking of all those banquets, all that luxury food, and above all, where the bill’s heading – might just actually make you sick.

Right-Wing Lie-Blog the “Daily Bale” reports: “Pub Owners ban British Soldiers” (It’s just Lies, Lies, Lies, folks)

Right-Wing Lie-Blog the “Daily Bale” reports: “Pub Owners ban British Soldiers” (It’s just Lies, Lies, Lies, folks)

The article reblogged here first appeared on the right-wing “Daily Bale” blog, with the clear intention of stirring up hatred and resentment towards ethnic minority populations. The Daily Bale in its “about us” section promises “through self-relief and determination” (?) to fight what it calls “left-wing evil”. In practice, this clearly means making up scurrilous stories – as in the article reluctantly reproduced here – in an effort to seduce people to their narrow-minded and bigoted way of thinking.

If you need proof that this story is faked, have a glance at an article from a real news outlet, the Knutsford Guardian, which uses the identical picture that the lying Daily Bale have used to illustrate their fabricated story.

As ever, the liars on the right will resort to any level of deceit, no matter how low, in order to pursue their own sick agenda. This “Daily Bale” is a typical sewer-outlet for this bile, full of lies and misleading information, their conclusions based on nothing, their intent to create hate and hostility towards British citizens who have committed the ultimate sin in the eyes of these fascists – they have a different colour skin.

Disgusting.