Brexit Breakdown

This madness dear friends, it is too much for this writer to bear any more, how, how can we not simply make this whole process, which we are repeatedly told ‘is happening’ easier, we seem to be going into this with our eyes closed, like we’re standing on the edge of the abyss, one foot hovering over the void below, eyes closed and the only thing we say before we fall is ‘Here goes’.

As you can probably tell, the lengthy break in writing that preceded this post is because I had had my fill of Brexit and its Negotiation shambles, I mean, both sides are niggling, there is no real action, no real progress happening, leaving the businesses, people and interested parties watching this debacle in limbo, it has been a few a struggle to get to even this point but the issues that will be affected by this situation, by and large, remain unanswered, for example, the Irish border, for when the EU and the UK become ‘divorced’ the country across the Irish Sea is threatened, once again, to be divided by this action.

‘Hard Brexit’ supporters want a hard border between the EU Ireland and the UK Ireland, basically between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, though critics have decried this idea as being a reminder of the times that the country went through, in recent history, where division led to bloodshed, the hard border therefore would simply be two steps away from the checkpoints that used to be positioned on the line between the two nations.

Though, like in Scotland, the border between one country and its neighbour is unclear, so placement of a Hard Border could stir up feelings of being fenced in, separated…this would only bring hostility and aggression, though the issue doesn’t stop there, for if there was no border, then movement would have to be regulated, as it will in Dover, Calais and every airport on either side of the English Channel, the free movement of people, one of the main pillars of the EU’s existence would be brought into question.

Beyond this, the question of power has arisen, for the EU oversaw different industries and sectors, from Agriculture to Fishing, these are major points for the devolved governments of the UK; Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland, so issues are being raised about how and when the required powers would be given to the devolved administrations, a meeting is planned for today between UK and Scottish Ministers to try and answer the matters that have arisen from this, though this is yet another issue that threatens to cause a bumpy road ahead.

For, like with the ‘hard/soft border’ question in Ireland, the question of power being devolved to the administrations that would need these, has brought out arguments and criticism, mainly about the way that this issue has been handled, for a process that is supposed to take two years, it seems that the time-scale is becoming less accommodating and more asphyxiating, though this was pointed out that two years is quite a short amount of time, it is, its even less when the time is wasted throwing points to and from Brussels, the negotiating groups spend more time talking about discussions than they do at the negotiating table itself.

Time is running out, like watching an hourglass trickle its sand down the narrow gap, we are all watching the grains rush through and fall into a black void of uncertainty, for if the time runs out, when the country is no closer to a deal that suits both sides, then it’s like the Crystal Maze, when time runs out, the country will be locked out, trapped with whatever points it has.

For here is an issue beyond all of those that have arisen so far, beyond immigration and imports, beyond devolved powers and hard/soft borders, the point remains that making a deal with the EU rests on the negotiating group managing to appease the member states of the EU, there are 22 Member states of this alone, so the deal would have to be fitting enough for each state to agree to this, in the remaining time there is, this seems like an impossible task, so only time will tell, though the media will be waiting, the City of London will be poised, the businesses of this country, the devolved governments but above all else, those in the firing line of this deal will be watching, the people of this country, no matter if they voted to Remain or Exit the EU, it will affect all of us, which makes me feel, honestly, anxious….

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Public Sector Pay Thaw

Promises friends, that is what this topic will be focused on, mainly the promise by the Conservatives, who apparently won the past election, to increase or at least end the pay freeze for the Public Sector, now, for those who don’t know, the following fall under this heading.

Police, Fire and Ambulance Service, the NHS on the whole, Royal Mail, Local Governments, Government Agencies and of course, the military.

So, how long has this pay freeze lasted, well the 1% pay freeze has existed since 2013, now, here is the issue in microcosm, the majority of the jobs in the Public Sector, they are community based work, like the police, fire and Ambulance Service, even the Royal Mail could be considered to be community work, though for talking sake let’s stick to the emergency and security services.

Imagine, you are charged with protecting, saving or defending life, whether you are a police officer, paramedic or firefighter, yet you have, for the past four years, been paid at an increasingly ridiculous rate, for the job that you do, is this fair?

Well, as far as this commentator can see, no, if we expect our way of life to be protected from injury, fire or harm then we should not treat those that do these thankless jobs like they don’t matter, which is how it appears they are being seen.

I am not aiming this issue at just the ruling party, Labour would and will get the same treatment if they ever get back into power, this is not simply a problem for the majority party in Westminster, it is a cross party, cross benches issue, that these individuals, who go into fight fires, fight crime or fight for a person’s life, should be given a wage that allows them to have a life outside of their job.

I foresee this being an issue that will either be resolved quickly or continually passed off from one government to the next, though there is one thing that could bring this issue to the fore.

Northern Ireland, for, as I had believed back when I had written about the deal between the DUP and the Conservatives, the administration of Stormont continues to be empty, the gates locked and the two power sharing parties locking horns with each other, neither willing to give ground and each fighting for what they believe is the right way to rule.

This issue threatens to keep Stormont’s gates locked tightly for the foreseeable, though, as an outsider, I can only comment on the issue that I feel has caused this problem to become as tough as it is, simply, the deal, the £1 billion deal with the Conservatives, to keep them in power basically, will see the argument roll on for a long time to come.

In other news, with the world seemingly going to hell in a handbasket, the issue of immigration has been thrust into the headlines once more, despite the fact that it has been continuing, unabated, since the last major headline about it, refugees are once again risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean, being the victim of either smugglers, who abandon the boat, the flimsy and un-seaworthy rafts that they use, at the littlest hint of authority.

Leaving these people, who have risked EVERYTHING, in the hopes of a better life, to the kindness or cruelty of the sea, deaths have been reported, lives lost, though now, with the numbers increasing and with the amount of people apparently at its highest since this crisis first began, Italy is crying out for assistance, it has determined that it no longer can cope with the sheer volume of people trying to reach its shores.

The only problem is, who can step in to help, the Royal Navy are regularly involved there, so do they increase their presence, do other countries fall in and help out, what is to happen is anyone’s guess but the only thing that should be at the heart of this problem is the humanity, these are civilians, people who have abandoned all they knew, all they had and everyone close to them, in order to either survive, exist or simply endure somewhere else.

The problem of finding a new home, that is for more learned people to debate, for these civilians, they simply want to get away from whatever harm, threat or hazard forced them to run, whether it be famine, war or disease, the voluntary rush to find new hope, it is at its highest point ever, with no signs of the numbers abating….

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To Deal Or Not To Deal

Well friends, the Negotiations leading to Brexit have begun, they were initiated on the 19th of June, which I get the feeling was rather quick, considering that the deal between the DUP and the Conservatives is, at time of posting this blog, reportedly sealed and done, with a reported £1.5 billion going to help Northern Ireland, though this is not including the £500 Million already available.

So, with the DUP backing Theresa May’s government, she has, for the time being at least, a secure, at least a more solid foothold than she did before, however, the next problem is that the deal that has just been signed up to may yet prove toxic, as there is one factor that needs to be sorted before long, Northern Ireland’s own Government, Stormount, has been without an executive for several months now and, in order to restore this devolved government, the negotiations between the DUP and Sinn Fein has stalled, though a deadline, set for this Thursday, may yet prove to be decisive, as if a deal is not in place by then, Westminster may be forced to take ‘direct control’ of Stormount, however, this may cause consternation within the country itself, though here is the problem.

With the Tory Government now involved in a deal with the DUP, questions about the impartiality of the parliament in England will be asked, for if they have a deal with one Northern Irish party, this may be seen as favoritism, which cannot stand.

Several high-ranking or former MPs have spoken out against this deal, including former Conservative Prime Minister, who believes that this deal between the two political parties might lead to the suggestion of bias, which might cause issue with any future discussions in trying to restore Stormount’s executive.

The issue is rather straightforward but whether or not it will become a problem is yet to be seen, with only three days until the deadline is reached, there is a lot of space to try and appease the two sides and return the parliament in Stormount to their place.

So, with Northern Ireland being something of a riddle for Theresa May, we now move to the immovable puzzle that is Scotland, despite the fact that the SNP have lost several seats in Westminster, which was leapt upon by Ruth Davidson as a sign that the people were tired of the Scottish Independence Referendum, Indyref 2 as it was being touted, like some sort of horrific sequel, though this is my issue with such crowing, the SNP mentioned the Indyref 2 idea a handful of times, the Scottish Conservatives, well, if it wasn’t for the name, you would swear that they were suggesting the idea to the people.

However, I am not laying this point solely at the Scottish Conservatives’ feet, the Scottish Labour and Scottish Liberal Democrat parties are both to be thrust into this particular spotlight, though here is the problem in a nutshell, the people might lose their appetite for such an idea, though it isn’t likely to figure in a lot of people’s minds, considering that the amount of people using food banks has increased, the living wage is in a constant battle with inflation and the only thing you hear from any party right now is Brexit, Indy-ref-2 or some other vast or monolithic notion.

In the simplest of thoughts, one of the shortest sentences I will probably ever write, the only thing people want to focus on, especially right now, is surviving, day to day, week to week, month to month, BREXIT will take two years, that’s only the negotiations, INDYREF 2, may not happen anytime soon, especially not if the three Unionist parties in Holyrood have their way, so, let’s focus on this…..PEOPLE WANT TO FOCUS ON THE ISSUES THAT MATTER TO THEM!!!!

Now, let us return the focus to the larger issue, the other negotiations that have just begun, for if we look to the way that the negotiations have been laid out, then there are several pitfalls before we even get to the suggestion of how the UK will exit the EU, for example, Ireland, the border between them and Northern Ireland, has been outlined as one of the negotiations to happen between now and October.

The other would be the rights of EU citizens in Britain, if this were to be discussed it would have to be resolved quickly, otherwise the issue might get bogged down, for we have to remember, in order to properly finish the negotiations and the eventual departure from the EU, there would also have to be the transfer of rules and regulations from EU to British law, things like the Human Rights Bill, though even there this could cause trouble, as the devolved governments would want a say in the transferring of powers to their respective administrations, the likes of Agriculture, Fishing and so forth.

So, for a ‘strong and stable’ Conservative government to even survive, they would need to make their way carefully through the subjects mentioned, not least of all the discussion of financial issues, for the EU has backed and supported projects here in the UK that, when the Brexit negotiations end, would leave those projects and any future ventures, hanging on a tightrope, though if the UK Government can produce £1.5 billion of funding for Northern Ireland, without infringing on the Barnett Formula, then surely our money worries are over, as far as building new projects are concerned…..Aren’t they?

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In the Minority

Hello friends, welcome to the aftermath of the General Election, as far as I understand this chaos, the Tories won but lost, Labour gained but lost, in Scotland, the SNP lost but won, the Scottish Conservatives gained but lost and the madness meant that there was no clear winner, a hung parliament would have been the more likely option if it wasn’t for Mrs May’s desperate clawing to power, for in order to reach the magic number, which would mean she could get her parliament up and running, the Tories are allied with the Democratic Unionist Party from Northern Ireland.

This brings with it its own problems, not least of all that they have their own problems in Stormount, firstly, the British government, as it is called in general, along with the Northern Irish parliament, entered into the Good Friday Agreement, to settle the conflict in Northern Ireland and bring a lasting peace to the area, however, now, with the Tories entering into a ‘confidence and supply’ deal with the Democratic Unionists, the ripples could cause issue not only with the longstanding Agreement but also with Stormount itself, because the Northern Irish Parliament is supposed to be free of British involvement, but if the DUP continue with the agreed pact, then they would be unable to gain any sort of solid standing in the talks to reconvene the Parliament.

Not only this but the DUP was the only party, outside of the Nationalists and Liberal Democrats, that the Conservatives were willing to work with, doesn’t say much, along with this, the DUP’s numbers, added to the Tory minority, would just barely cross the threshold allowing Theresa May to run a government, though if there was to be a disagreement, which could be forseeable due to a few factors, the Tories would be left in limbo, even Mrs May would then have to concede that the government would struggle, at best, to get any legislation through the system.

One major issue that could cause trouble between the DUP and the Conservatives, in line with Mrs May’s single-minded devotion to get the Negotiations for the UK’s exit from the EU underway, would be the border between North and South Ireland, it would cause issues with the people if there were to be a hard border, seeing as the boundary meanders through the country, dancing through towns and villages, splitting some communities, though if there was to be a hard border, business would be another issue that would be affected.

The overriding concern of having a hard border between the two countries would be that the reminder of the days during the Troubles wouldn’t be too far behind, like a ghastly shadow looming over the proceedings, it would bode ill for people who do not wish to be reminded of those days, though it would hopefully not come to that.

This all depends on the agreement between the DUP and the Conservatives, the EU Negotiations and the hope that the former will not interfere with the Good Friday Agreement, though for now, despite the unstable nature of this deal, we shall simply have to wait and see, for there is no telling what might happen in the future, the pact could collapse, there could be irreversible differences and this may bring about another General Election, a sequel, though that’s in the future.

Let us wait and see.

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Have you Crossed the box yet?

Hello friends, the chaos that is Polling Day has arrived, finally, today is the day when the electorate, with the stroke of a pencil, can have their say on the country’s leadership and the numbers that will make up the next Parliament, beyond who will hold power, I am talking about the MPs that will fill the seats within the chamber and hopefully fight for their constituents issues.

For there has been a focus on Brexit, Independence Referendums and weirdly Fox hunting during this campaign, the spotlight was then flung onto the idea of security twice during the period, though the one thing that wasn’t in any question during this campaign, one point which we do so well no matter who we are, is to unite in the face of terror, division and violence, Manchester’s recovery showed the enduring spirit that we should, no matter our political allegiances, lose, it is what makes us human.

Seeing the crowds at the One Love Manchester gig sing the fitting and inspiring Oasis ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ not only sent a shiver down my spine, it also, in this world of few cheers and negative fears, made me proud to be alive, to see the united spirit and energy of those that gathered for that astounding concert.

Now, as security was focused upon, the parties seemed to dance around the issue, some were accused of using the Manchester atrocity as a point scoring exercise, others were being accused of failing to keep strong enough numbers of police on the streets, this is the thing, we have the opportunity, now, before us here, to actually ensure our own security and to protect ourselves from those who wish to throw our world into despair.

As London and Manchester recover and stand strongly together, we must carry that enduring spirit further than tomorrow when the result of the election is known, unity is something that shouldn’t be achieved in the face of horror and devastation, we should see that beyond certain divisions and differences, we have the same blood, organs and existence, we may have different skin, religions or cultures but on this tiny rock, spinning through an endless sea of eternity, we should realise, appreciate and acknowledge that we are, all of us, human, we are distinct from each other simply through points of personality and personal choice, beyond this, we are all united.

Now, with my outspoken moment past, I will return the focus of this essay to the headline event of the day, THE GENERAL ELECTION, or as Adam Boulton said ‘General Erection’, this is the day when we, the people have the power to oust and back politicians, we have the undeniable and vital influence to show an MP, or MSP when the Scottish Election occurs, whether or not we think they’re doing right by us, so, we have to do this, not because it will help avoid situations that even Orwell would have had nightmares about but rather because it is a right of ours, that we should all be able to use.

Voting is not simply a boring or dull point that a certain percentage do, it is something that all of us have the ability and right to carry out, why do you think Talent shows are popular, because they are using the same democratic process, though not in the same style as politics does, for the first past the post system that the UK uses is often accused of not allowing a fairer spread of views in places like Holyrood or Westminster, as there is only one vote allowed per person, one cross in the box.

This then gives the idea that the majority parties love the first past the post system, though it is favorable to them, as the result of the FPTP system is often won by the larger party, giving them better position to win more seats, hence why people feel that Westminster is simply a game of pass the parcel between the Conservatives and Labour.

However, this is why it is vitally important for people to vote, for if you disagree with either party, even if you feel that none of the parties speak to you or interest, care or want to help you, then simply vote, don’t avoid this issue because you feel that your vote won’t count or be counted, even spoiling the ballot would be a vote in certain considerations, the as long as your mark is within the box that is set out to contain your choice then your vote will count, so in cases before, a tick, smiley face, the word YES and even a star could count as a vote as the argument could be made that this clearly shows the voter’s wish or choice.

So, don’t just think that your vote won’t count; register to vote, wait for the next election or referendum, go off to the Polling Station, receive the ballot paper, go to the booth, make your mark in the box and then fold once and place this paper within the secured box.

Simple really, then, if the vote you have made is counted, you will have made your choice known, who knows, you could help a prospective MP, MSP, AM get into Westminster, Holyrood or Cardiff, I hope that more people vote, for if you don’t, because the majority of votes come from the elder generations, when it comes our turn to be retired or elder members of society, we may have a worse time of it than previous generations, so vote, not only for yourself, to make your vote known but for your future….

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Misdirection and Diversion

Recently friends, my attention has been drawn to a particular tactic that has been employed by certain individuals during this election campaign, a campaign that the Tories seem to be treating as a foregone conclusion, the whole thing is becoming less like a moment that will be looked back on by those who study politics in the future and more a badly done magic trick.

Consider the recent Scottish Conservative Party Political Broadcast, those in England consider that leaflets are being dropped through the door railing about getting the right person in No10 for Brexit negotiations, the focus in both cases is on the two overriding subjects or matters at THIS time, though there is little mention about other more pressing matters.

Here in Scotland, the Scottish Tories, who claim that they are the only party to silence or at least combat the SNP, have made a big song and dance about the fact that the SNP are aiming for another Scottish Independence Referendum, yet, as pointed out by Ms Sturgeon herself  in the Scottish Leaders Debate, the Tories mention Independence more than the Nationalists do, almost as if they are trying to distract the electorate.

THis is an unacceptable and shameful misdeed, if true, then this is proof that Politics has become less about the matters that should be focused on, like the NHS, living standards and even the education system, to a point that rather cyclically shoved down the electorate’s collective throat.

Consider the following:

  1. The NHS is going through its most testing and disturbing period ever seen (in my lifetime).
  2. People are struggling to make ends meet, living standards are falling behind inflation, the price of food is going up, as if to prove this, recent figures detail that the amount or percentage of people using Food Banks is at its highest level since the Recession.
  3. Education system is struggling.
  4. Security, at a time when it is pressingly important to have a strong system in place, we have less police officers on the streets and the armed services are still recovering from the cuts they felt earlier in this decade.
  5. Housing, a constant and haunting consideration, house prices continue to rise and fall, ebb and flow but the building of these structures, to house a growing population, seems to be either unimportant or insignificant.
  6. Employment, figures declare that the rate of unemployment is down but there is a bit of an issue here, figures may say this but there are easy ways to fudge the numbers.

Any one of these issues above would be enough to be a central focus for a General Election campaign, forget the fact that it is a Snap General Election, these issues are relevant and continue to be so because the major parties seem to be focused on slinging mud at each other.

Amazingly, the issue of disrespect is not reserved to the press bytes that politicians give to the insatiable media, recently accusing Nicola Sturgeon of being some sort of puppet master, this is not a new suggestion, as David Cameron used the same idea for Alex Salmond when Ed Miliband was Labour leader, impressive isn’t it, we should release an album when old or recycled ideas are banded around, we should call it ‘Now That’s What I Call Stale Insults’, cause if the Tory spin doctors can’t think of anything new and use stuff from the last election, then are we stuck in some sort of time warp?

Proof of the Time Warp

Booing is disrespectful but as I have mentioned previously, when Ms May mentioned Nicola Sturgeon during the press conference where the idea of her being a ‘puppet master’ was suggested, the crowd, the partisan crowd around Ms May booed the mere mention of Ms Sturgeon’s name.

This is an amazing thought but the House of Commons have rules on Conduct, given to every MP in a handy book, though it is like the book is chucked into a vault somewhere when it comes to Campaign time, for this is when the statesmanlike behaviour of our representatives are shown to be nothing but a mask, Ms May is twice guilty of having her audience boo a fellow politician, just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean that you should allow or even condone their name being heckled like a Pantomime villain, I mean come on, this isn’t freaking Primary School.

I would like to suggest, at this point, that if politicians, especially the Prime Minister themselves cannot behave in a respectful and courteous manner, even in a impartial or even-handed manner, then they should be asked to explain why they feel it is right to allow such actions to occur, those people that booed, in both cases, couldn’t vote or even campaign against Ms Sturgeon as her focus, her effect ends at the border, so why, why is it seen as acceptable that people who should have no thoughts on a Scottish politician are allowed to behave like an audience at a pantomime or an immature group of school kids?

If this continues, my main suggestion would be to have politicians retrained in the art of respect, if they have rules about their behaviour and conduct in the House of Commons, then they should likewise have enforceable rules while Campaigning.

It has to be said that Politics, from the art of debate and the idea of campaigning, to the notion of respect and decorum has changed, not for the better, from Labour being accused of using the tragic and horrifying events in Manchester for political capital to Theresa May allowing her partisan crowd to boo a fellow politician, it is saddening, rather depressing to see this.

Recently, Labour have been in the firing line, rather their leader has, from being accused as I mentioned, of using the events in Manchester for his own gain, to the initial silence but eventual declaring that he did not condone the acts of the IRA during the Troubles.

This seems to be the Jeremy Corbyn grilling show, that’s what it feels like, he seems to be in the news for errors in his past or statements he has made, though Ms May should not be allowed to enjoy some sort of ‘High Horse’ moral victory, for she is being accused of scaring voters with talk of Brexit being rather different, find the actual statement in the article below.

Theresa May’s ‘dressing down’ of Corbyn

Here’s the thing, it is only a week, give or take, until we head to the polls and vote in a government for the next five years, we should not be distracted by Brexit or the shadow of another Independence referendum, we should be considering the issues that actually matter to each and every one of us, from the NHS to the standard of living, we shouldn’t allow politicians to blind or mislead us with talk of the Negotiations or the future with regard to our relationship with the single market, for Joe and Jess Public, that isn’t the issue that they would need to hear about, they are more focused on surviving day to day, trying to live their lives as best they can without being haunted by debt or starvation, it isn’t that the issues of Brexit and a maybe maybe not Independence Referendum are significant but to most people, they are rather less pressing and more frustrating.

So, here’s a note to politicians for all parties, listen to your constituents, talk about what they want to hear, understand their issues, fight for their matters, this is what politicians are supposed to do, not sling mud and blabber on about points that no one will need to focus on when their living standards or their health are at risk.

LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE!

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Point Scoring in Parliamentary Speak

Manchester, a city with one of the strongest multi-cultural communities in this wonderful country of ours, is, of course, trying to come to terms with the barbaric and devastating attack that occurred last week, the victims, not the perpetrator, deserve to be remembered, talked about and considered, so I will only say that those that died that day, they were the victims of one man’s deranged ideology, they are not, as has happened upon the restart of Campaigning for the General Election, darts to be thrown at some political dartboard, they should not be used to point score!

Yet, within days of the attack happening, the Manchester attack was used as the basis of statements where Theresa May or the Conservatives were held up as having to take a certain soupcon of responsibility for the attack, amazing, the parties should unite and try to work together, this is a situation, a point in the modern world, for it does happen despite our diligent law enforcers and security personnel, that we all have to come to terms with, I despise the fact that Manchester is being used for political gain, it isn’t fair on the victims, it isn’t fair on the city and to be perfectly honest it isn’t right.

Take Jeremy Corbyn for example, yesterday he suggests that ‘Many Experts’ have linked the wars or conflicts we have been involved in with the terrorism that has occured ‘here at home’, this opened the floodgates for the Tories, Boris Johnson, Michael Fallon, even the Prime minister seemed to be queuing up to retaliate, though Mrs May went further, seemingly twisting Mr Corbyn’s words to create a condemnation of the Labour leader’s words, telling reporters that Mr Corbyn was somehow blaming Britain for the attack, despite Mr Corbyn being very clear that the only person responsible for the vile attack on Monday was the man that committed the attack.

This is being seen as a clear sign that the Tories are rattled, this observer doesn’t believe so, I feel that this is an obvious display of the Conservatives twisting the words of their rivals to make them seem like a more favourable choice, however, if Labour had done this to the Tories I would say the same in reverse, hell I’d say it about any party, you can’t simply twist things to make yourself look good.

There is one point that was raised by Mr Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Channel 4 News anchor, last night he interviewed Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, about Jeremy Corbyn’s press conference, obviously the tory condemned the Labour leader but Mr Murthy brought up a similar point from a certain Tory and this caught out the Defence Secretary.

Sir Michael Fallon Falls on His Words

When the point was raised, that the words Mister Guru-Murthy had used was actually Mr Johnson’s words rather than Mr Corbyn’s, Defence Secretary Fallon struggled to answer, using the fact that he didn’t have the words being quoted in front of him, somehow making this the fault of the presenter rather than his own fault for listening carefully, for while he was waxing lyrical condemning the idea of allowing pretext for ‘people who blow up innocent children’ this is when Mister Guru-Murthy mentions the person who used these words and Mister Fallon continues, thinking it was the words of Jeremy Corbyn.

Everyone is so eager to harm their opposition that they don’t pay attention and instead just attack, condemn and denounce, surely there are a 101 other topics that could be used, Manchester is a recent addition to the long list of cities that have been struck by terrorists, so they should be allowed to grieve, remember and rebuild without being used as some sort of smoking gun or poison arrow to use against the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, any party, no matter what, the events on Monday night were distressing and alarming, we should never forget that at the very core of this is a list of 22 people that should only be considered as the victims of one man’s extremism, though we are being told there was a network behind this one figure, he was alone when he murdered and removed those people from this life.

Politics, the campaigning for the General Election may continue but this is one issue that I feel should be left aside, pay respects to the people that were injured, killed, witness and even trying to save lives that night, though do not, do NOT let the attack become some sort of free-scoring subject, whereby the parties can argue or debate til the cows come home about how they will better secure our communities, our country and our livelihoods, for there is one thing, Manchester is a city of poets, of Northern, diligent and industrious people, do not for one second believe that this attack will make them change who they are, though do not for one second believe that this attack should make it easy for us to change our lives, we are here, we are free and we are here to freely live our lives the way we wish.

More on the General Election Campaign soon no doubt, though to end, I wish to put in the poem ‘This is the Place’ the poem by Tony Walsh that has come to signify the strength, enduring spirit and defiance of the city, like I said, this is a place famous for songwriters, lyricists and poets, so let me shut up and allow Mr Walsh’s words to end this subject quite poignantly….

This is the place

In the north-west of England. It’s ace, it’s the best

And the songs that we sing from the stands, from our bands

Set the whole planet shaking.

Our inventions are legends. There’s nowt we can’t make, and so we make brilliant music

We make brilliant bands

We make goals that make souls leap from seats in the stands

And we make things from steel

And we make things from cotton

And we make people laugh, take the mick sommat rotten

And we make you at home

And we make you feel welcome and we make summat happen

And we can’t seem to help it

And if you’re looking from history, then yeah we’ve a wealth

But the Manchester way is to make it yourself.

And make us a record, a new number one

And make us a brew while you’re up, love, go on

And make us feel proud that you’re winning the league

And make us sing louder and make us believe that this is the place that has helped shape the world

And this is the place where a Manchester girl named Emmeline Pankhurst from the streets of Moss Side led a suffragette city with sisterhood pride

And this is the place with appliance of science, we’re on it, atomic, we struck with defiance, and in the face of a challenge, we always stand tall, Mancunians, in union, delievered it all

Such as housing and libraries and health, education and unions and co-ops and first railway stations

So we’re sorry, bear with us, we invented commuters. But we hope you forgive us, we invented computers.

And this is the place Henry Rice strolled with rolls, and we’ve rocked and we’ve rolled with our own northern soul

And so this is the place to do business then dance, where go-getters and goal-setters know they’ve a chance

And this is the place where we first played as kids. And me mum, lived and died here, she loved it, she did.

And this is the place where our folks came to work, where they struggled in puddles, they hurt in the dirt and they built us a city, they built us these towns and they coughed on the cobbles to the deafening sound to the steaming machines and the screaming of slaves, they were scheming for greatness, they dreamed to their graves.

And they left us a spirit. They left us a vibe. The Mancunian way to survive and to thrive and to work and to build, to connect, and create and greater ― Manchester’s greatness is keeping it great.

And so this is the place now with kids of our own. Some are born here, some drawn here, but all call it home.

And they’ve covered the cobbles, but they’ll never defeat, all the dreamers and schemers who still teem through these streets.

Because this is a place that has been through some hard times: oppressions, recessions, depressions, and dark times.

But we keep fighting back with greater Manchester spirit. Northern grit, northern wit, and greater Manchester’s lyrics.

And these hard times again, in these streets of our city, but we won’t take defeat and we don’t want your pity.

Because this is a place where we stand strong together, with a smile on our face, greater Manchester forever.

And we’ve got this place where a team with a dream can get funding and something to help with a scheme.

Because this is a place that understands your grand plans. We don’t do “no can do” we just stress “yes we can”

Forever Manchester’s a charity for people round here, you can fundraise, donate, you can be a volunteer. You can live local, give local, we can honestly say, we do charity different, that Mancunian way.

And we fund local kids, and we fund local teams. We support local dreamers to work for their dreams. We support local groups and the great work they do. So can you help us. help local people like you?

Because this is the place in our hearts, in our homes, because this is the place that’s a part of our bones.

Because greater Manchester gives us such strength from the fact that this is the place, we should give something back.

Always remember, never forget, forever Manchester.

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The Leaders Berate

Hello friends, welcome to the latest in a long line of entries about the snap General Election, though in a change from your usual broadcast, I will focus the majority of this note on the Scottish focus, for at the end of the day, this is a blog that is clearly made by a Scotsman so, at least once or twice, I should wax lyrical about the Scottish part of Politics, so, with the Scottish Leaders Debate having taken place last night, allow me to dissect this moment in the campaign.

Firstly, UKIP’s Scottish Representative, I don’t wish to join others by asking why he was there, popularity of the party allows him a place at the table or on the stage as the case is, so I will simply ask why he was so hellbent on questioning, disrupting and interrupting others, it was rather disturbing to watch but that is my only issue with his presence there.

Secondly, why do the Unionist parties continue to attack the SNP on the Independence factor, it may or may not be a prominent thought for them but it does not mean that it should be the sole focus of this campaign, plus, the questions asked were barely answered, politicians have the skill to dodge the queries but they should not try and evade them like a matador avoids a bull.

Thirdly, Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon both equally argued over each other, fighting with one another and causing chaos to reign, to the point where Sarah Smith’s attempts to calm the storm only added to the malstrom, it was not a fun time to watch the debate descend into frustrating nonsense, with each of the representatives desperate to be heard, even when they were not the focus of the point, talking over each other only helps to confuse and bemuse not inform and enlighten.

To be honest, even though I talk incessantly about politics and politicians, watching the debate last night, I felt saddened to even be remotely interested or fascinated by this subject, it is important but the point scoring, interruptions, disruption and noise, chaotic din, it just made me feel tired, I had to turn over for a moment at one point as the debate had descended into blabbering nonsense.

One last issue I have with the debate, audience participation is all well and good but being slightly cynical, i can’t help but feel there were maybe a few plants, biased individuals in the audience, some against the SNP, some for, it just seemed rather chaotic and bemusing.

To end, may I point out that the Scottish LEaders debate focused quite a bit of time on Brexit, Independence and other subjects, though when genuine points were raised, about education, healthcare and living wages, the notions became weapons and turned into a point scoring opportunity for Ruth Davidson and Nicola Sturgeon, though to be fair, Ms Sturgeon did admit that Education had fallen on difficult times under her watch, so she did admit responsibility, despite the Conservatives and the audience being unable to pick this up.

It continues friends, it continues.

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Hunt the Blue Rosettes

Foxhunting is back in fashion again, or at least that is what Theresa May believes, her latest suggestion, to have a free vote on a subject that she is in favour of bringing back from the illegal wasteland of banned sports, a blood sport that has been, in several ways, infringed and hindered by the refusal of those who partake to realise that, beyond the fact that it is illegal, it is hunting an animal, usually just one small fox, with the use of a pack of bloodhounds, several horses, a band of half-drunk followers and a horn.

Imagine for a second that those who take part in a fox hunt were actually the fox, would they like being chased from hill to dale by a baying pack of canines and a gang of horseback hunters, no, I really doubt that they would, Fox hunting is illegal now, despite the fact that Mrs May is in favour of it, it is probably proof to her critics that she is out of touch, during a time when the use of food banks is at an all time high, when the unemployment rate rises and falls like the tide in the sea, when Brexit is used as an overriding and overwhelming notion rather than one part of the next five years that the Election will bring the winners into power for, Mrs May states that she has always been in favour of fox hunting, that’s like Nicola Sturgeon saying she’s always been in favour of Independence, it isn’t important right now, the significant thing, rather than allowing a free vote on the idea of legalising it, thereby revoking the Hunting Act, probably better for the focus to be on the issues that actually affect people now.

The majority of people probably have never wanted to, thought of, even considered doing Fox hunting, taking part in a hunt or such like, mainly because it isn’t something that happens to be the focus of the everyday, this is actually, without sounding too dramatic, SURVIVING!

That is the main thing that the majority of people focus on, so to have a Prime Minister talk about Fox Hunting, at a time when she can’t stop telling us about a Strong and Stable Leadership, seriously you watch her announcement for the General Election, the following statements after and count the amount of times that phrase is drummed into the masses, Strong and Stable Leadership, you can just see it in a V for Vendetta Poster, a slogan for a dystopian world like ‘Strength Through Unity and Unity Through Faith’, Strong and Stable Leadership for a Strong and Stable Country, ha….

Though here is the point where the issue is rather akin to the idea that politics is divisive, for if you were to listen to the Conservatives, they would say, as they have at the start of this Election Campaign, that the only alternative to them is a ‘Coalition of Chaos’, this is in reference to the Labour Party siding with either the Liberal Democrats and/or the Scottish Nationalist Party, maybe even including the Democratic Unionist Party, maybe a dash of Plaid Cymru, that’s my point, it sounds more like a recipe than a Coalition, though the Conservatives are wrong, that is not the only option.

  1. Revolution: Parliament becomes pointless
  2. Nuclear War: Parliament Becomes a mass of debris and lost ideas.
  3. Scottish Independence: Westminster is swapped for Holyrood
  4. Welsh Independence: Westminster is swapped for Cardiff
  5. Northern Irish Liberation: Stormount is the focus of Northern Ireland’s politics.
  6. Labour sweeps control without aide from other parties
  7. Lib Dems sweep control without aide from other parties

It isn’t the only alternative, maybe its the most likely but there are other options, politicians should stop suggesting that only Labour or the Conservatives have the power or strength to rule Westminster and govern the UK, there could have even been the idea of Her Majesty the Queen dissolving the Government, removing ‘a rogue Government’ from power, though this right was removed when the Fixed-term Parliaments Act was passed in 2011.

The main issue I have is that the UK Parliament seems to simply be a case of anything you can do we can do better/worse, If the Tories are in power, then Labour will bemoan their ideas, declare opposing thoughts, promise changes or differences if they are elected next and so on, the same is true for the Conservatives, when they are in the Opposition benches rather than the seats that hold the power, they denounce, deride and derail any ideas, declare new ones and then vow to change things when they rise to power, alas this is the way it is, has been and probably will be for a long time to come, the established parties seem quite fixed and set in their places in Westminster, though in France the established parties were left with their noses out of joint when Monsieur Emmanuel Macron was elected to become the next French President, proof that sometimes the established parties can be cast aside.

Here in the UK such an idea isn’t conceivable, Labour and the Conservatives have been switching sides of the House for decades and it just seems to be a game of musical chairs for them, though in the past few elections, the SNP have gained seats to become the third largest majority in Westminster, quite startling when you consider that the SNP are solely based and focused here in Scotland, the Liberal Democrats used to be the third wheel of Westminster but are going through a time of change and evolution, so perhaps their time will come again but to think that a party based in Scotland is the third largest in Westminster, its quite startling.

To end I would like to ask the politicians that are currently seeking re-election, those that are trying to win seats and those that are campaigning to please, for the sake of normality, talk about, campaign on and debate the issues that affect us all, not just those that affect the minorities, whether it be Scottish Independence or Fox Hunting, please, find something that can be recognised and is a concern to more than just a handful of people, thank you.

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Divide and Conkers (Words are words)

Recently, well, over the past few years, politics has become increasingly harsh, rather more so than even the most learned analyst would be willing to concede, this is something that only those who view the world from a impartial standpoint will see, like myself, we note that the politics in this day and age has become rather bitter at times, with the party lines becoming more like battle lines, this would seem to indicate to an outsider that being say Nationalist, Liberal or Unionist is now akin to being in a faction bound for war.

Take for example the link I placed in my last blog, showing our Prime Minister giggling and enjoying the pantomime-esque behaviour of her audience when the words ‘Nicola Sturgeon’ and ‘Scottish Nationalists’ were mentioned, the hissing and jeering that you can hear is another nail in the coffin of open, frank and fair discourse, politics was simply a topic whereby viewpoints differ slightly, like the difference between white and grey, a slight alteration here, change there, difference over there and so on, though now, the differences between two parties, like between the Labour and Conservative parties, is more akin to the difference between white and black.

This is especially true when you look at Scotland, for here the Scottish Nationalists are the major party, this leaves them, in a rare showing of unity between the other Unionist Majority parties, open to attack from the Lib Dems, Labour and Conservative MSPs, leadership and party members, why, because the motives of the Nationalists have always been set towards bringing Independence to Scotland, an opportunity that was a once in a generation/lifetime/blue moon outing in 2014 but may yet happen again.

Anyway, if you see the vitriole with which the unionists attack the nationalists, you would think that the two parties were about to recite Braveheart and charge across Stirling Bridge, Falkirk or Bannockburn, reliving the days of the Wars of Scottish Independence, it feels like, in place of the sword, words have become the main weapon in these clashes, from a national point of view, the Conservatives front themselves as being a party that will bring Strong, Stable Leadership, mainly in the negotiations for Brexit, though this is amazingly short sighted of them, they seem to be forgetting of course that it was their party, their leader at the time and preceding Prime Minister to May, David Cameron that called the brexit Referendum, he gambled with the notion that the electorate might reject the idea of leaving the EU, I can’t remember what happened though….

Oh wait, we haven’t heard anything other than that word, that made up word, Brexit, for those who don’t know, it is a car crash between the words ‘British and Exit’, this was the second time that Cameron had played the odds, he did so in 2014, again hoping that the electorate, this time in Scotland would reject the idea of independence, securing such thoughts with the Vow, the last minute agreement between the three main party leaders in Westminster, though if Gordon Brown is to be believed, he was the reason Scotland rejected Independence, who cares, it is yet again another example of us not being able to have an open and frank debate, discussion or conversation without it descending, especially in the glare of the TV cameras, into a chaotic, noisy and pointless farce, the debates were three Unionist representatives versus one Nationalist and one Green, who would side with the Nationalists anyway.

The notion that we could discuss the issues without having arguments, accusations, claim and counter-claim is sadly a regular occurrence and error now, back then words were used to point out issues, like the advantages and disadvantages of Independence, though not to any great extent, the sum total of the discussions were limited to currency and Oil, everything else seemed to take a back seat to this, though words won’t just used to indicate such Pro and Con situations but also to insult intelligence, for some reason the word Patriot became a no-no, the word Unionist similarly so, even though that is in the full title of the Conservative Party’s name.

Words split people into two groups, patriots and unionists, those who wanted Independence and those who were unwilling to leave the UK, this proved to be the way of it for the campaign and sadly beyond, it is very difficult to see the electorate returning to the way things were, the same can be said of the Brexit vote, In and Out, Brexiteers versus Remainers, we seem to like to divide things into manageable groups, unfortunately these divisions cause issues, for the case of another Scottish Independence Referendum has been set up and promoted by the fact that Scotland voted to Remain, so divisions from 2014 may yet be revisited again.

It seems so easy now, to divide us, whether it be Independence, Brexit or simply politics as a whole, as proven by Mrs May’s silence when the audience around her jeered and hissed the nationalists in Scotland, if she had said something, calmed the jeering, stopped the hissing or even at least tried to act statesmanlike, then this wouldn’t have been as big a point as it was, there is another point, the Media, our printed and rolling news, the wording used in the printed press can sometimes catch the eye for the wrong reason, however, it is also true that they can suggest things that aren’t true, reporting fact seems to be a vague issue, like whether or not there is a Santa Claus.

To end, i simply wish to state that divisions in our populace cannot be a good thing, look at America, the surge of support for Trump, the protests, the fights inside and outside the rallies during the campaign, it is rather easy for us to slip into that sort of style of divided politics, all we have to do is keep going the way we are, if a person has an opinion, supports a political party or believes something then, within reason, they should be allowed to do so, though the moment they try and belittle or insult another person for believing otherwise, that is when we lose the right to be able to express ourselves, free and honest debate is all very well but as far as I can see, we probably haven’t had such debates since the 1950s, we seem to be too easily offended, too quick to retaliate, too sensitive, though if our personal viewpoint is brought into question, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have the right to defend our perspective, we should, of course we should but the issue is, where to draw the actual line, not for a battle between two differing viewpoints, but rather the point when the discussion stops being a discussion and starts becoming insulting.

That is the question of our time!

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