Please Stand By. Calculating the Results of Your Election. Please Stand By…

Please stand by: conservative spokespersons are trying to find something positive to say about the election.  Meanwhile here is some light music:

The story so far:

We had an election.  Nobody won a majority.  Lots of people wanted the Maybot to resign but instead she went to see the Queen and had tea.  Here is a reconstruction of their conversation:

Maybot:  Your Majesty.

Queen:  Mrs Maybot.  One understands you have called an election to increase your majority and have in fact decreased it, causing one some concern as to your sanity.

Maybot:  Yes, your Majesty.

Queen:  Well, what have you got to say for yourself?

Maybot:  I know I’ve been naughty but please can I form a government with my friends from Northern Ireland?

Queen:  Won’t that threaten the peace process?

Maybot:  No.  Absolutely not.  Strong and stable, strong and stable.

Queen:  Oh all right then.

Meanwhile in another corner of London Tony Blair emerges from the cupboard where he has been held hostage.  He emerges blinking into the daylight to learn the news that parliament is hung and that his bete noir (or rouge) the Corbynista, has smashed his way to an increased share of the vote.  Just as he is swallowing this indigestible news, a reporter approaches.

‘Mr Blair?  What’s your reaction to the news?  Do you regret being so critical of Mr Corbyn?  Would you like publicly to apologise like Owen Smith and Yvette Cooper?  Mr Blair?  Mr Blair?’

But Blair has slunk off and is nowhere to be seen.  Latest reports indicate he is holed up in a bunker plotting his return to power.

More on this as it emerges.  Meanwhile back to the studio.

Kirk out

The People Have Spoken – Sort Of

Yes, the people have spoken.  But we’re still trying to work out exactly what it is they’ve said.  Before I try to untangle it, there are some features of this election that are fairly clear:

First, young people were key.  Everyone thought they wouldn’t bother: everyone was wrong.  Young people came out and voted in large numbers, boosting the turnout in many places by students and young voters.   When I turned up to vote I was told they’d been very busy due to large numbers of students from the nearby college and university: ‘we’ve never seen anything like it,’ said one member of staff.  When our candidate went to the university he was met by 2000 students going in to exams, many of whom shook his hand and said they’d voted for him (in the end he failed to get in, though he halved Nicky Morgan’s majority.)

Second: the turnout was high.  In general there was a high degree of engagement in this election, due in part to Brexit but on the left to urgent concerns about the NHS and social care, and the privatisation of public services.  Overall the turnout was nearly 69%, more than two points higher than 2015.

Third, and for me most important: Jeremy Corbyn.  Here was an elected leader who from the word go had been derided, attacked, slandered and smeared by the press; treated unfairly by the BBC and undermined by his own party.  No sooner was he elected than they set up someone to oust him; he was given no chance in this election.  many feared defeat worse than 2015.  But they were wrong.  Commentator after commentator has (finally!) paid respect to how he has fought and won seats to turn the election round.  Labour have taken key seats from the Tories and although they have not gained enough to be the largest party, it is not over yet.  If all falls apart in the Tory camp we are waiting in the wings to form a minority government.  This, in my view, shows what can happen when, under election rules, the media are forced to report more fairly on the issues.  In the space of weeks, JC turned from a hate figure to someone whose policies and campaigning proved massively popular, attracting tens of thousands to public rallies and millions more on live feeds.  Canterbury, which has been Tory since Chaucer, became Labour; Derby North returned to Labour and many others were won or retained while Tory strongholds were threatened.  Amber Rudd nearly lost her seat in Hastings and the Kensington result has yet to come in because they’ve had a thousand recounts and the staff are all comatose.

So where are we?  To be honest, nobody knows.  May has no intention of resigning, though resignation would seem to be indicated, partly because there is no obvious leader to take over and partly because to resign might, it is suggested, precipitate another election.  And another election is the last thing anyone wants right now.

So at the moment it looks like the Tories will try to do a deal with the DUP.  This is not great, but I for one am massively relieved that they didn’t get an increased majority, since it looks like the end to privatisation of the NHS, the end to a hard Brexit and – please god – the end to Murdoch and Dacre dictating the results of elections.


I am now exhausted.  I don’t know how politicians do it.

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…


I Am Not Washing My Husband’s Bras

Thanks for all the positive comments on the short story and please keep them coming.  I’d especially like to know if you guessed the ending and if so, what gave it away.  I hope it fares better in any case than my previous story, the one which began ‘I am Washing My Husband’s Bras’.  I thought it deserved a better fate than to be completely ignored in the Mslexia short story competition, but it didn’t even get shortlisted.


I may send it off to another competition.

Aanyway, today it’s a lovely day here in blogland and already I’ve been pervasive along Queen’s Rd as we had our usual Friday morning breakfast at Fingerprints.  We often end up having discussions of one kind or another over breakfast and today was no exception as we started on the topic of the election.  Mark is much more down about this than I am as he thinks it’s evidence that people are basically very self-centred and deceitful: I’m not sure what it’s evidence of, but I’m regrouping myself (if an individual can regroup themselves) to do things differently.  What that will involve I’m not sure but I’ll keep you posted.

Even more than self-centredness, which is depressing enough, what makes me gloomy is apathy.  I understand people feeling that politicians are all the same, that you can’t trust any of them and that nothing changes: what I can’t see is what these people who don’t vote would do instead.  So if you didn’t vote – not because you weren’t eligible, but because you didn’t want to – please let me know why.

I promise I won’t tear you apart – I’d just really like to know.

Changing the subject, I’ve just realised with a shock that it’s only just over a month till the start of Artbeat!  Five weeks from today the whole thing will kick off and I’ll be doing my Artbeat Opening Ode at Christchurch on Clarendon Park Rd.  So please put the date in your diaries and come down for the launch, from 5.30 on Friday 19th June.  More details to come.

Meanwhile, have a good weekend.  What have you got planned?  I’ve got Tomatoes tomorrow followed by gardening, then a shared lunch at the Quaker Meeting on Sunday.

Kirk out

All Right, That’s It – I Resign

A Thing like the Thing that happened recently makes you take stock.  It makes you think about what you’re doing and why: it makes you wonder if there’s any point in bothering to change things when most people (if the results mean what they purport to mean) don’t want change: it makes you wonder if there’s any mileage in debating issues like the NHS and the results of benefit cuts.  It makes you question yourself and wonder why the hell you bother.  To me and many people I know the Labour Party has been pointless because it has promoted ‘Tory-lite’ policies; since the election there are cries to move even further to the right and concentrate on ‘the neglected middle-classes’.  What?  If there’s any class that Labour has neglected, it’s the working class – more than that, they’ve neglected the underclass.  They have failed to speak up for the poor and disadvantaged; they have sat back and watched in opposition while the Coalition battered those on benefits, sold off whole chunks of the NHS and social care – and now people have voted for the Tories again!  I simply cannot understand it.

Why?  That is the question that reverberates in my mind.  I cannot understand why people would want this.  Is it simply a case of ‘I’m all right Jack?’  I’m baffled.

Perhaps they (the voters) think that it’s a simple matter of balancing the books, and then we can get back to spending more on public projects.  But who pays?  Who caused this mess in the first place?  Who is hit the hardest?  And where does it all end?

As a Quaker and a person of conscience I know I have to fight this.  What I don’t know is how.  Along with others I have worked for Left Unity for the past two years; I have been out campaigning for the Greens (there’s no conflict of interest here as we didn’t have LU candidates locally) I have talked to people and tried to raise the profile of those on the left agitating for change – and seemingly to no avail.  What disappoints me most bitterly is that I heard a lot of voices raised in favour of ‘doing politics differently’.  I was very impressed by the TV debate that was mostly women: it was respectful and devoid of all the things people most hate about political discussions.  And I really, truly thought – given the state of the polls – that this would turn into more votes for the smaller parties, meaning that whichever of the two larger parties got into power, they would have to rely on smaller parties to govern.

What the hell happened?

Like most people on the Left, I’m still reeling; still asking that question.  What the hell happened?

One theory is that there was electoral fraud.  I don’t buy that at all – the procedures are too strict – but clearly what people were telling the pollsters and what they actually did, were two different things.  So why did they lie?

Or did they lie?  Maybe they intended to vote for the smaller parties but got scared at the last minute.  That still doesn’t explain why they voted Tory rather than Labour, but it might explain why the smaller parties did worse than anticipated.

I still don’t get it.  Theories are pouring in: there’s an almost 100% turnout in the ‘post-mortem theory’ debate, but I still don’t know.

So: once the dust has settled and we’ve done being sick, what do we do?  Because doing nothing is not an option.  We have to keep going.

Kirk out of office

PS The latest edition of ‘Dead Ringers’ really cheered me up.  They did a version of ‘Every Time You Say Goodbye’ as sung by Ed Milliband, with the line: ‘how strange the change/from leader to resigner’.

Not bad to come up with that in less than 12 hours!