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’m Blue, Da-ba-dee Da-ba-dah

Well, my goodness me!  What a day and a half it’s been!  Against odds of 5,000 to 1 – as by now the whole world knows – Leicester City have won the Premier League.  It’s utterly astonishing: the whole city is coming together to celebrate and you can practically hear the car-horns honking all across town.

But none of this is as astonishing as the fact that I, a football refusenik; I, whose interest in football was nil; I, who regard the game as generally incomprehensible and a waste of a Saturday afternoon, should give a damn.  And yet somehow I’ve been caught up in it, as has OH.  I simply couldn’t go to bed last night until I knew the result and as I kept an eye on the live scores I knew an agony previously only reserved for watching British tennis players.  Would they do it?  Could they?  Was it possible?  At one point there was a score of 2:1 with not very long to go – then they equalised.  I wasn’t sure what that meant and was assured that City would win if Chelsea and Spurs drew – I kept watching – and finally it was full-time.  You could almost hear the car-horns from here.  In other areas I expect people poured into the streets: I know they gathered at the stadium until late into the night.  By this morning all the world’s media were there and we turned on the ‘Today’ programme to hear Peter Soulsby being interviewed about it.  It’s a great story and I have found myself thoroughly enthused.

So today, in order to see what was happening, I cycled down to the King Power stadium where a long line of cars, all honking and waving flags, was queueing to get into the car park.  Outside the stadium fans milled about all with blue flags unfurled, scarves flapping in the breeze and blue shirts over whatever else they were wearing.  There were a whole load of TV vans there and I happened to pass a reporter interviewing someone.  ‘Where are you from?’ she asked as the interview ended, and he said he was from the Guardian.

That was my cue: I happened to have seen an article on Facebook from that very paper claiming that whilst the city is very multicultural, the City has very few black or Asian fans.  I went up to the reporter and asked him if he could tell his paper to correct this impression as I would judge that a good third of the fans there were black or Asian.  He said he would, and I ended up giving an interview.

‘Are you a fan yourself?’ he said.

I explained that I am not a football fan at all but have somehow been caught up in this.  I said how good it was for the city to have something to celebrate and how it brought people together.  He mentioned Richard III and said how odd it was that both these things should happen so close together to an otherwise low-profile city.  I agreed.  He was a thoroughly nice bloke and took down all my comments in impressive shorthand.  Let’s see if I’m mentioned in tomorrow’s paper: ‘Liz Gray, 58, a writer who has lived in Leicester for 30 years, said…’

Watch this space!

Kirk out


According to today’s Guardian,

opposition to fracking is on the rise and support is running at around 19%.  I can’t say I’m surprised: the dynamic which one would usually expect with this kind of measure is that there would be more support among the wealthy living in suburbs and rural areas; you know, the kind of person who gets all aereated* about wind farms and solar panels because they don’t ‘look nice’ but doesn’t mind a nuclear power station provided it’s miles away and surrounded with leylandii.  But where the powers that be made their big mistake was in giving frackers permission to drill under people’s homes without consent.  An English person’s home is still as much their castle as it ever was, and threatening that principle by quite literally undermining their home is not a good move for a Tory government to make.  You’d think they’d have seen that – but no.  All they ever seem to see are the £££ signs in their eyes.  Oo, I’ve come over all biblical and wanting to say something about taking the pennies from the poor and not seeing the pound signs in your own eyes.  Anyway, so what this means that instead of NIMBYs not wanting wind-farms in their back yard, we now have NUMBYs digging in their heels and saying ‘Not Under My Bloody House.’  (OK that should be NUMBHs but it doesn’t really hit the spot, does it?)

I simply cannot fathom the mind-set of a government which reduces funding for renewables and gives the money to yet another highly-questionable fuel source which will also run out in a few decades.  It’s almost as if they’ll do anything sooner than give up their lifestyle – and now people are protesting.  Latest to join this up-in-arms race (see what I did there?) are Emma Thompson and her sister Sophie.  I never realised that Emma was the sister of the intense bride in ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ and Mafalda Hopkirk in the last Harry Potter, but so it is.  They have launched their own campaign to which I have signed up, although like many of Emma Thompson’s projects it inspires me with a mixture of affection and ickiness:

Anyway, something should be done and they are doing it, so for that I salute them.

Suffragette City

Bong! in other news, I have signed up for a cycle ride around Leicester to celebrate the city’s suffragettes, thus combining a feminist action with a tribute to Bowie.  Neat, eh?  I’ll keep you posted.  Better get my bike oiled…

Kirk out

* how DO you spell that?  Spellchecker doesn’t like any of my suggestions

Tits, Tits, Tits – What are they For, Anyway?

– or more importantly, WHO are they for?  The Guardian has just launched a campaign to get offensive sexual images off our high streets:

and people have been campaigning for decades on the right to breastfeed in public.  Breastfeeding is a known factor in helping the immune system and aids bonding between mother and baby: yet it is on the decrease.  This is partly because more women are going back to work – though in many office-based jobs could theoretically cope with a feeding baby (I will always remember footage of a ‘Friends’ editorial meeting where a couple of the editors were feeding babies) and I suspect a baby or two around the place would calm a lot of testosterone-fuelled atmospheres.  On the other hand a continually screaming baby would definitely not help… but workplace creches could deal with that.

No: it’s not so much women at work, it’s the idea that milk is a product.  The very worst culprit here is undoubtedly Nestle, who have been marketing formula in the most unscrupulous ways, particularly in Third-world countries:

Breast milk is not a product – it’s a relationship: a bonding between mother and baby which is beneficial for both.  And what makes me incandescent with rage is that tits on page 3 are OK but breastfeeding is not.  Women should never feel embarrassed about feeding in public.  Why the hell should we have to go to the toilet or to a special room?  Take your sub-pornographic mags into a special room because they offend me.  and not only me but most women and a number of men.

So join the campaign and tell Facebook that breastfeeding is OK in public!  And that tits on the High Street are not!

Kirk out

Tamara and Tamara and Tamara…

Yes, we have caught up with it.  Starring Tamsin Greig (Debbie in the Archers, Fran in Black Books) and Roger Allam (the Queen’s adviser in The Queen) as her unbearable husband, the live-action version of the story is much more entertaining than the cartoon strip which spawned it.  Brilliant though Polly Toynbee is, we did feel that the cartoon did ‘creep in its petty pace from day to day’ – it had terrific characters and great settings but nothing actually happened!  ‘Maybe this week something will happen!’ we used to cry to each other over our Saturday Guardian.  But it never did.  This film, though, is a straight-faced, tongue in cheek romp; the storyteller standing to one side while the characters fall over each other and themselves and the Lord of Misrule has his day.  Of course you are desperate for Fran (that’s not her name but I think of her as Fran) to kick her serial-adulterer husband in the balls as they preside over a writer’s retreat to which he – as an author – brings only kudos while she does all the work.  You dearly long for him to get his come-uppance and he actually does at last.  Trampled to death by stampeding cows with a strong sense of dramatic irony, he leaves Fran to run the place and get both the credit she deserves and the man who admires her.

There’s also a Thomas Hardy theme running through, with Fran as Bathsheba and the handyman as the Gabriel Oak character who is taken for granted and eventually gets his woman.  One of the writers on the retreat is doing a book about Hardy which, if what he puts in is true, shatters a few of my illusions about the man.  I tell you, if Mark takes to dallying with young women in his dotage he will find his balls decorating the Christmas tree.  But he won’t.  God bless him, he’s not Like That.

Anyway, it’s a really fun film, so go watch:

It was followed by take-away pizza (great) and a disappointing evening catching up with Bettina’s philosophy group.  I had envisaged a large table of smiling faces all waiting for me and pleased to see me when I arrived: instead I found one bloke waiting outside as the place was heaving.  We did eventually grab a table but it was very noisy and though five of us eventually turned up it was hard to hear what anyone was saying.  I left early; I did sell a couple of pamphlets, though, which was good.

A busy day awaits: a visit from sister soon, then Daniel will go to Loughborough and we will be bussing to Countesthorpe to visit Holly’s boyfriend.  Then tomorrow will creep in its petty pace once more.


Kirk out

PS  Don’t go shopping whatever you do!

Eating yourself is wrong

Mark fell up the stairs last night and twisted his back.  Better than falling down the stairs, but I was quite concerned about him at first.  Still, he seems fine: he came upstairs and examined his knee, which was grazed.  A little flap of skin was coming loose; he pulled it off with his teeth and then ate it.  ‘Mm – nutrition,’ he said.

‘I don’t think eating parts of your own body counts as nutrition,’ I said.

Since I can’t see things any more, I am going for a long-overdue optician’s appointment.  However, I doubt it will allow me to see the point of accrediting a Christian ISCE course as equivalent to A-level when they teach that the Loch Ness monster is ‘proof’ that evolution doesn’t exist, and that apartheid was at least partly a Good Thing.  Apparently the accreditors don’t look at the content of courses.  What the hell DO they look at, then?  This is the ridiculous point that our tick-box culture has got to:

The Tick Inside

a goal is a box

with a tick inside

it burrows into your skull

it sucks

– as one of my earlier poems says.  And how true.  Here’s the link to the Guardian article:

Apparently this is old news though someone linked to it on Facebook today.

Didn’t watch a lot of tennis yesterday; just saw Djokovic hammering towards victory against Ferrero, but Murray is opening today so I’ll be sure to catch that.

And as we approach the Olympic season and the prospect of the dirge of our National Anthem being played over and over, let us spare a thought for Billy Connolly’s plan to replace the tune with the Archer’s theme tune:

It’s snowing blossom

here in Leicester.  Overcast but not too dull – I expect we will have some rain later.  church today and then I don’t know what.  Good day yesterday – chilled out and watched videos (A Knight’s Tale followed by Yes Man – it’s astonishing how many films are about karma if you think about it) drinking wine and then watching Doctor Who.  Doing the crossword and then ‘Casualty’.

A na-wa-na wo-flo-God

Mark is listening to the service on the radio.

Bought the Guardian yesterday to see what they are saying: the editorial quite clearly and unequivocally comes out in favour of the Lib Dems and – crucially – a change to proportional representation.  I don’t know what I think about PR – I can see the advantages but would they ever get anything done?

There was a woman on the radio singing “Dance me to the end of Love” in the style of Billie Holliday.  Interesting.

Anyway, agonising though it is, I have decided how I’m going to vote on Thursday.  Sadly, it looks as though Peter Soulsby (Leicester South) may lose his seat to the Lib Dems, while Liz Kendall (bloody useless in Leicester West) may get in.  That would be really annoying.

It’s a complicated affair.  And all we get is one tick in one box.  But I think Labour’s lost it.  Should’ve had Harriet Harman instead of Gordon.  he’s a bloody disaster.

Kirk out.