We Do Live in Interesting Times

Let us consider politics some more, because there are things which happen in the political field which don’t, as a rule, happen anywhere else.

First, our leaders are subjected to intense scrutiny.  In one sense this is entirely right and necessary – they should be held to account and required to explain their actions.  However this scrutiny is more often misapplied; as in, just to take one example, the recent Virgin trains episode where Corbyn did probably do something a tad misleading which was then blown up out of all proportion.  And, just to show I’m not using bias here, I think the ‘pig’ episode from Cameron’s history was also blown out of proportion and somewhat distasteful.

But in politics you only have to put a foot wrong for people to be baying for your blood.  In a recent interview Corbyn was asked if he wanted to be prime minister.  He answered the question in a roundabout way, saying that he intended to win a general election and that if he was, as he hoped, leader of the party at that point, then he would be PM.  But Jon Snow (of whom I expect better) kept asking the question: ‘do you want to be Prime Minister?’  Why did he do that?  Because he was trying to get Jeremy to say yes, I want to be Prime Minister – because that would then be the thing that was reported.  Then they could undermine him and imply that he is driven by ambition just like all the rest.  Shock horror!  Headline news!  Corbyn as ambitious as all other politicians!  Fortunately Jeremy is far too canny to fall for this – but it really enrages me that it happens in the first place.  It turns what ought to be a probing interview into a sort of game or dance where they try to get you to say something that fits in with their agenda and you try to avoid it whilst getting your message across.  It makes you want to echo Gandhi who, when asked what he thought of Western democracy, replied ‘it would be a good idea.’

Where else does this kind of thing happen?  In which other area of work are you routinely subjected to questions which try to catch you out?  Where else are employees scrutinised for any defects of character or their words analysed over and over for inconsistencies?  It beats me how anyone can put up with it.  Not to mention the insults and vitriol which are hurled at anyone with the temerity to get involved in politics in the first place.

It seems that there’s an almost complete lack of respectful debate nowadays.  I asked someone on Facebook who had dissed Corbyn, why it was that she didn’t like him and she answered that her gut feeling told her not to trust him.  She added that she could always be wrong.  I ‘liked’ her comment and at that point I didn’t take it any further.  Why?  Because I was thankful for her honest opinion and interested in finding out where she was at.   That is respectful debate.  Because it’s no good labelling your opponents as self-interested, ignorant fascists.  Some of them may be but there are many decent, respectable people out there who actually (shock, horror) vote Tory for reasons which seem good to them.  I disagree profoundly with them, but what use is democracy if we can’t even talk to each other?  Or more importantly, listen?

It was something of a culture shock when, a few years ago, I met some Tories campaigning in Leicester West.  I deviated from my lifelong pattern of Labour voting for various reasons; partly because I disliked Labour under Blair, but mainly because of the issue of Home Education, and only the Conservatives were sticking up for people’s right to Home Educate.  Now, Mark being Mark (or whoever he is) couldn’t just leave it at that: he actually had to go out and canvass with these people.  I declined to take any such step, but I was invited to a ‘thank-you’ party after the election where I met the candidate and some of her supporters.  And here’s the thing: they were in fact really nice people.  Sure, she lived in a huge house with extensive grounds in the wilds of Leicestershire, but there was no snobbery in their interactions with us and at the time Mark was – as he used to be in those days – quite shabbily dressed.  So they could have been quite snotty with us, and they weren’t.  OH has also met Edwina Currie and pronounced her also to be very pleasant to talk to; and I recently met Liz Kendall, whose politics I despise, and found her equally pleasant in person.

None of this changes my views: but it changes my interactions with those who don’t share them.  Needless to say it did not take long for me to regret my voting in that election and I have been all the keener on supporting first Left Unity and then Labour since Corbyn.

We live in interesting times, eh?

Kirk out


Tuesday Tactics

Well yesterday’s post may not have been political but today’s sure as hell is.  What in God’s name is going on?  We have a group of people acting in such as way as one can only ask,  what the hell are they thinking???  You start an ill-advised action, and when that doesn’t work you compound it with another one.  Then, when that is declared illegal you use the funds of the group to appeal against the decision: an action almost inevitably doomed to failure.  It’s as if they were on tramlines and once they’d started off, had no option but to go where the tramlines led.

It’s as if – oh, I don’t know.  Let’s just – let’s –

I know.  Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago – some time last year in fact, there was a government.  Now this government was voted in by a majority of the electorate.  But there were some people who didn’t like the government, and so those people decided they wanted another election.  ‘You’re not governing properly!’ they shouted.  ‘We don’t have any confidence in you!’  It didn’t matter that the government hadn’t been in power very long; or that lots of people had voted for them: these unhappy people didn’t listen to anyone.  So they called another election.

But in the meantime there were a lot of young people who had grown up; and these people were now eligible to vote.  And the unhappy people were worried that the younger voters would support the government.  So they decided that anyone who had turned eighteen in the last six months would be disqualified unless they paid some more money.  Then they would be called ‘associate voters’ and they would be able to vote.  The young people were very unhappy about this.  Some of them paid the extra money but some of them decided to take their case to the judge at the High Court.

‘What is the matter?’ the judge asked.

‘We are very unhappy, kind Sir,’ the young people said.  ‘For we turned eighteen last year and wanted to vote in the election.  But now the unhappy people have told us we have to pay extra money in order to vote.’

The judge listened; then he thought, and then he said: ‘the unhappy people are wrong.  You are able to vote in the election without paying the extra money.’

‘Thank you, sir,’ said the young people.  And they went back to their constituencies and prepared for the election.

It seemed that everything would be fine.  But then the unhappy people decided to go and see the judge.  ‘We will go and talk to him,’ said the Chief Unhappy Person.  ‘We will appeal to his better judgment.’  But then they found out that their appeal would cost a lot of money.  We do not have enough money, they thought.  What shall we do?  And they decided to use some of the government’s money as if it were their own.

All this time the government was getting more and more popular, especially with the young people.  So the unhappy people said that the young voters had all been bewitched by wizards called ‘Trots’.  But the Unhappy People had done so many bad things that nobody believed them any more.

And still they went on being unhappy.

Kirk out


Massive Disappointment for Corbyn as Labour Only Win in England and Wales…

There’s a satirical site often seen on Facebook called Newsthump which is beginning to seem less like satire and more like real life:


and sadly the Beeb’s coverage of yesterday’s elections could be straight out of Newsthump.  I am heartily sick of how they’ve gone for Corbyn with every ounce of editorial energy; how they’ve made the story about him and interviewed just about everyone who hates and fears the man, but I have blogged about this before so I won’t go on and on.  However, it was disappointing to see a paper which had the good sense to quote me the other day (see previous post) joining in and, instead of giving the results for England and Wales (where Labour did well) focussing instead on their defeat in Scotland.


A weasel with half a brain could have forecast that they’d do badly in Scotland: every erstwhile Labour voter is now understandably voting for the SNP whilst everyone else was a Tory anyway.  So that is definitely a ‘well, duh!’ result.  But they are way ahead of the other parties in England and Wales and I don’t care what anyone says; that is a clear validation of Corbyn’s leadership.  So there, nah!

Anyway, sighs of relief all round.  We don’t know about the London mayor yet but it looks as if Zap Brannigan – sorry, Zach Goldsmith – won’t make it.  So we’ll have to put up with that terrorist guy instead…