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.


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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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Politics, The ZZZ Factor

This should make rather simple but fun reading for you, dear reader, I wished to take a moment during the campaigning and ‘promises’ that were made, along with some less than statesmanlike behaviour from our Prime Minister (see attached article and video), the only thing I can do to stop myself from exploding with increasing rage is to move my thoughts on to the reason that this article is being written, actually the reason why this blog actually exists….Politics.

Prime (Minister) Example

Now, in the broadest sense of the word, Politics affects all of us, beyond the promises, vows and manifestos, behind the Party Political Broadcasts and glad-handing moments, the sound-bytes or press junkets, it is quite simply a subject that should be remembered as, beyond party politics and divisions, something that, at the end of the day, has a direct influence on all of us.

THat is why I called this particular article the ZZZ Factor, because people, by and large are either bored, exhausted, weary, jaded or even uninterested in politics, this is not an overwhelming sensation but there is a large enough demographic out there to make this individual, this lowly writer and bystander, feel as though Politics in this generation is a apathetic subject, there is no great feeling of interest, curiosity or such like emotions, though the saddest aspect of this is that, with no great feeling of interest, the politics is being left to the elder generations, this means, as the older individuals in our society pass on, the interest in politics won’t simply die, it will be extinct.

Now, I am not saying that there aren’t people out there, myself counting as one of them, who find politics interesting, not at all, its just that people like me, who take an interest in this subject, are in the minority, seem to be one of a rare breed of people, though this is not really our fault, this is the problem that countless politicians have tried to solve, David Cameron being one of the more recent by taking to the internet and doing Web-Cam style segments, which just made him look like he was trying too hard.

One aspect that I seem to find when I ask people why they don’t like Politics, is simply that Politicians seem to be out of touch with the people they are trying to represent, our Prime Ministers seem to be Highly Educated and learned figures who come from Eton, Cambridge, Oxford, Edinburgh, it seems very rare that you get someone like say, Alan Johnson, who was stacked shelves in Tesco, was a postman and simply had a working class background, not like the mainstream politicians in Westminster, who seemed, at that time, to be on some form of conveyor belt out of Eton, Cambridge or Oxford.

Another aspect is that people seem to feel that Politics doesn’t affect them, it does, simple answer, though right now this feeling is becoming increasingly divisive, as people here mention that Scotland voted to stay in the EU and is now being taken out of it, then, if you ask certain others, they will recall that the Better Together Campaign, during the Scottish Independence Referendum, stated that Scotland would have to leave the EU if it voted for Independence and would be kept in the EU if it didn’t, this brings me neatly to the main feeling or sentiment I get when people think about politics at this time.

Jadedness, basically people I speak to feel that the Politics is leaping from one election, referendum or vote to the other, a point proven rather distinctly by the fact that the General Election in June will be the fourth time in two years that the electorate will be asked to vote, only the month before, in a few days from now come to think of it, the electorate will be voting in the Local Elections, this must seem to only further the feeling of exhaustion, weariness or apathy, which doesn’t help in the end.

For in the end, it will be down to the next generations, the ones following the current majority, that will have the chance to vote, Politicians seem to focus their policies and talk on the middle-aged and above, very rarely do they look to the age groups below this, only when discussing work, tax, benefits and lifestyle do the politicians widen their aim, though, as a whole, the older generations are the focus.

This is the last reason for apathy and disinterest in Politics, because the politicians fail to understand, talk to (not at), speak for and listen to the younger generations or age groups, recently figures were released that suggested that Food Bank use has reached its highest rate ever, this horrified me, though the politicians promised the world to try and combat this issue, I have always been wary of promises made by politicians, I have a phrase that suits this, Promise the World, deliver the moon.

The question that seems to arise from this is simply, how to interest, attract or gain the participation of a wider audience, those of us who find politics interesting are in the minority, as I mentioned, though how to turn this around is something that I leave for others to find the answer to, I am simply stating that, although you see people gathered behind the likes of Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn or Tim Farron, there is one crumb of curiosity out of this, sometimes, (as exampled below), things don’t always go smoothly….

Theresa May Aberdeen Anguish

There are times when the polished PR machines that the main parties rely on can grind to an awkward and embarrassing halt, like Ms May found in North East Scotland, though as the article suggested, it was a visit to an SNP stronghold, which actually links to one of my previous topics where I mentioned that MPs very rarely go out and about in rival Constituencies, well, this is one of the issues that proves me wrong but also right, as the expression of awkwardness on Ms May’s face at the end of the video shows that she might reconsider doing something like that again, though I say go for it, do it again, maybe next time you’ll have success, you run this gauntlet every time a campaigning politician goes out on the streets, even when a politician is in a constituency held by their own party, there is no guarantee of a warm reception or even a reception at all.

In closing, although the video above is funny to some, embarrassing to others and rather awkward for the people involved, it is proof that sometimes things don’t go as planned, like in life, though the end of the video fails to show Theresa May passing off the leaflets, half-heartedly hugging the Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson and disappearing from the scene in a convoy of security, I’ll bet if she had done a Gordon Brown, leaving a microphone on or something, then the air would have been blue.

But that is my point, politics shouldn’t be this well-oiled, flowing machine of campaign, press conference, smiling people waving and shaking banners and placards, glad-handing, smiles, glad-handing, speeches, it should be more like real life and, as seen in the video, have more moments when things don’t go well or they meet, as Gordon Brown did, people that don’t agree with their politics, debate in this country is something that is being killed off by the divisive nature of politics now and I may just have a rant about that next time….

Until then…..dear readers.


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Brutal Honesty Brings Happiness

I tire of hearing the lies from politicians, ironic seeing as I have this blog and the world seems to just eat them up without any such trouble, though one thing I despise more is that, when politicians go out and about, they seem to hunt in their safe seats, places that they will only be asked straightforward, uncomplicated, pointless questions or treated with niceties and respect, they very rarely travel to sections of the country where the seat or region is held by an opposing party.

Though recently, Ms May apparently went one better, the following article from the Yorkshire Evening Post details that the visit which she orchestrated, a whistle stop style visit to the city of Leeds, left some feeling as though the regular and resident people of Leeds, especially the specific area of Harehills, were not fairly represented or acknowledged, I leave the final decision on such a suggestion to other more determined types, I am simply wishing to point out that although it is safer and probably easier to arrange for a Political leader, not just Ms May, to be surrounded by, visit or meet fellow supporters, in this case well dressed Conservative supporters, the issue is that this is not really fair or right.

Yorkshire Evening Post Article

I know that visiting cities, areas or towns of the UK with a bandwagon of partisan supporters is not a new thing, previous leaders have done similarly but, if you really want to engage with the electorate, you don’t simply glad hand with people that will probably end up voting your way anyway, you meet others, people that might not agree with policies, that might not want to vote for your party or even you, it is all well and good taking to the streets but if you only see what you want to see then you will be made to look like a rose-tinted figure, rather than someone who wants to genuinely make things better for people.

Of course, as I have said before, any opinion I express is my own and therefore should be either ignored or left alone, if you disagree that is your right, the freedom to think or believe differently is one that is secured within the numerous other freedoms we enjoy, though on this point beyond any other, I meet amazing responses, some from people that suggest I am only targeting the leaders of parties that I, as my own political allegiances denounce, are opposition parties, not so, I will openly suggest this for any leader of any political party or any MP, MSP or politician that finds it easier to be surrounded in their constituencies or other locations, by like-minded supporters or party members.

My problem is simply that if you truly wish to engage with the public, if you really want to go and visit the differing constituencies to affect change there, then you shouldn’t be afraid to meet with people who may disagree with you, though saying that I am not advocating or in any way condoning hostility or aggressive behaviour towards an MP or politician, one sad thought that has crossed my mind recently is that we have lost the art of open, friendly and respectful discussion, especially about politics, we seem to be only a step or two from angry words being exchanged, accusations being chucked around and harshness replacing honesty.

In 2014, when the people of Scotland were trying to decide if we wanted independence or not, the words: Nationalist, nationalism, Patriot, patriotism, were all assigned to the sector known as insults, insulting or negative, they became words that were used to mean the worst possible definition of these words, by the end people as open minded as I am, though we were apparently in short supply during this time, were left wondering why the word that we had proudly used, Patriot, was suddenly an ugly term that was linked to words like Insurgent, I am a patriot because I am proud of my country, that I was raised in this country and I feel great pride when I sing the national anthem or see the Saltire, this does not mean that I want to drill along the border and cast Scotland further into the North Atlantic, it is simply a word, like the word Unionist, which the Conservatives are officially known as, though they don’t use this word, why is that, is it because it has been given such ugly definitions like the word patriot or nationalist.

Perhaps, though that is exactly my problem, it is not fair that we have lost the art of having open frank discussions or debates, we should be able to talk or converse about things that are important, about differing political parties without having the discourse collapse into name-calling, threat throwing or mud slinging, we should be able to talk about the things we believe or the points we agree with without fearing being turned into villains, like for those who wanted Independence, we were made to be insurgents, rebels, hell, even terrorists at times, that is not right, though similarly, those who wanted Scotland to stay in the UK were treated at times with equal disdain and antagonism.

My final point is that we should be able to talk, discuss, debate and chat about things without feeling fear or anxiety about being made into the worst possible things, let us have this point back and maybe politics will be given more attention by the wider populace, though the lack of interest shown by others will be a subject for another day.

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Another Electrifying Election

Hello friends, the world has gone to some sort of Groundhog Day phase, for in the third or fourth time in four years, we, the Constituents, electorate and citizens of this fine country of ours, will be given another election from Mrs ‘There Won’t be a General Election’ May, our apparently strong Prime Minister took to the podium outside No10 and declared…..a General Election……woohooo!

Would you like to guess how many times Mrs May denied that she would call a General Election, 7….7 times and here is a recap of all 7.

30th June 2016: Mrs May denies a General Election will be happening, stating that it will next happen in 2020, 4 years from this date.

3rd September: This time she is interviewed by Andrew Marr and he asks ‘No ifs no buts, no snap elections, no changing the law, under you is that absolutely certain?’ Mrs May: ‘I’m NOT going to be calling a snap election’; funny that, one word short of what she recently decreed.

4th October 2016: Another interview where she is asked that she has ‘very clearly’ ruled out a snap election, once again Mrs May denies that this will be altered in anyway.

1st October: Labour apparently put itself into an election footing, whatever that means and Theresa May once again denies that an election will be occurring until 2020, this phrase, this idea, will be repeated again….

7th March 2017: Lord Hague, a former Conservative leader, comes forward and states that there should be an ‘early poll’, Theresa May doesn’t deny this time, a source at No10 does, ‘We have been clear that there isn’t going to be an early general election’.

19th March 2017: This is it, the last time, amazingly it isn’t even a straight denial, Theresa May rubbishes growing speculation on an early General Election as ‘Nonsense’, not the same as straight up denying or rejecting the idea, as she had done in 2016, then, only a handful of weeks later….

18th April 2017: Barely, just barely a month later, Theresa May faces the cameras outside No10 and declares that, after chairing a meeting with the cabinet, that there will be a general election, though one of her lines catches this whole situation perfectly….”I have only recently and reluctantly come to this conclusion,”….you don’t say.

Here’s the thing, although this is an ‘astonishing’ U-turn from a leader who repeatedly stated that there wouldn’t be a General Election until the year 2020, I am more intrigued by what could happen, because if we look at the parties in Westminster as they stand, Labour have lost a lot of ground, the Lib Dems were almost wiped out and the Nationalists, who are disregarded for being focused solely on Independence, have to make themselves appealing on more than the Referendum front.

From a Scottish point of view, there are only a couple of seats that aren’t held by the SNP, one in Edinburgh, another in Orkney and the last in  Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, these are the only three, as it stands, that aren’t held by the SNP, though saying that, even a few of the seats taken in the last general election 2….TWO YEARS AGO….could possibly swing to another party but that is yet to be seen, some analysts are already stating that the SNP may lose more than they will gain, they are foreseeing a downfall for the largest party in Scotland.

Labour lost 48 seats last time around, not so much of a kick in the teeth for the party, the majority of these losses came in Scotland where the party, bar one seat in Edinburgh, were all but wiped out, they were once the strong party of the Central Belt, growing up, I remember being told by people that the towns in the central belt were Labour strongholds, though now, it would seem that the strength now belongs to the Nationalists, from a UK perspective, Jeremy Corbyn will have to present some form of difference between his party and the Tories, especially on the matter which may prove to be a deciding factor in the entire campaign….BREXIT!

From a Liberal Democrat point of view, they were 49 seats lighter after the 2015 election, though the remaining few, a measly 8, one of those being the sole Lib Dem seat in Scotland, held by the former Scottish Secretary Alistair Carmichael, the same number of constituencies/seats that the Northern Irish Democratic Unionist Party came away with, means that they will be focused more likely on rebuilding some form of platform on which to attack either of the two larger parties, whoever takes the reins after this SURPRISE election.

The other parties will be hoping to pick up seats in their respective focuses, like Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland or Plaid Cymru in Wales, this may be a tactical move by Theresa May but alas, that was exactly the same thing that people said David Cameron had done with the EU Referendum and, before that, the Scottish Independence Referendum, though one didn’t go the way he wanted and the other may yet happen again, Indy Ref Take 2, though the former led to Mr Cameron stepping down as leader of both the country and his own party, leading to Theresa May becoming Prime Minister.

Barely a year into her time as Prime Minister, the Conservative leader has decided to go back on what she had said and call a General Election, if she does this about something as ‘surprising’ as this, then what else will there be U-turns on.

Considering some are stating that Mrs May called this election because it would strengthen her position when it comes to the Negotiations for Brexit, this may yet fall apart, fail to work out or even cost Mrs May more than she would believe, though let’s wait and see shall we.

No use counting your chickens before they’ve hatched, looked around at the chaos around us and gone back into their eggs, I mean, beyond Mrs May’s U-turn you have Donald Trump sabre rattling with North Korea, launching missiles at Syria, causing tension with Russia, as well as failing to grasp that when you make an agreement with someone, you stick to it, there are reports out today that Trump is prepared to bump the UK down the queue for trade deals, though this is unconfirmed and has not been said by the man himself, though the media in this nation of ours will use any source they can to report stories of frustration like this.

They may yet have a role to play in the coming election too, as we know, the media sector, whether it be rolling news channels or print or even online newspapers will report whatever is happening and make the headlines as eye catching as possible, so, it will be an interesting time, not for us, the citizens and electorate, we’re probably going to go snowblind with all of the elections we have had, four in two years…..!

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New Year Old Problems

HAPPY NEW YEAR friends, hope that 2017 will be a far better and more optimistic year than 2016 turned out to be, though having said that, we kick off the New Year with the Inauguration of Donald Trump, so, either this is a sign of how things will go this year or things will get better from this point on, who knows.

What I do know is that it is getting a little bit depressing hearing what the President Elect thinks of his critics via Twitter, there can be no question that he is media savvy, despite the fact he doesn’t like most of the media, he has, despite this, stuck closely to Social Media, using Twitter to lambast, critique and downright slam others, so far he has attacked Arnold Schwarzenegger and Meryl Streep, one for being an apparently poor replacement in the USA Apprentice show and the other for using her Acceptance Speech at the Emmys to fight back against the bile that had been created in the past few months, Trump called Meryl Streep ‘one of the most overrated actresses in Hollywood’, yet it has been discovered that Trump had lauded her a few years before.

His tweet, for that is how Trump chooses to attack and react to people now, read that not only was Ms Streep an overrated actress but also that she was a ‘Hilary flunky who lost big’, he then went on to deny that he had mocked the disabled reporter stating that he ‘simply showed him groveling when he totally changed a 16 year old story that he had written in order to make me look bad.’ he then ended the tweet by declaring that this was proof of ‘Just more very dishonest media’.

What is it with Trump, does he have the memory of a goldfish, he attacks then it is found that he had either complimented or supported those he attacked in the past, weird right, its like he has no recall ability and takes on anything, he would probably argue with himself if he thought that his own reflection was being critical of him.

There is one thing that made me splutter about this though, Kelly Ann Conway (Trump’s Advisor), her reaction was to be ‘concerned’ about Meryl Streep’s words, that the actress had not used the opportunity to speak out about an incident in Chicago that was broadcast live on Facebook, the torture of a disabled boy by several figures, though to be fair, apparently screaming anti-Trump expletives and forcing the victim’s head into toilet water.

Ms Conway went on to decree that she would like to hear from Ms Streep, to see if she would like to continue to fight for the defence of the disabled, missing the point, she then moved on by stating that her boss was obviously correct in his tweet by referencing 2014, a year, then said that the election was over, Meryl Streep lost and that her audience during the Emmys was of a mind to denounce Trump and that there was no indication about how she felt about the fact that, despite the apparent loss Meryl Streep suffered (having not even run for office?), Ms Conway wondered if it would have been a better opportunity for Ms Streep to state that although she didn’t like the result, Trump is going to be President and that Ms Streep was going to support him.

Ms Conway then continued by stating that ‘this is Hollywood, this is self pity, a lot more self awareness would do them some charm’, Ms Conway continued by stating that ‘talking about how vilified Hollywood is in their gazillion dollar accounts’ making a joke about asking to borrow a couple of these accounts for the Inauguration Ceremony.

Ms Conway works for Trump, she is not impartial, she is probably being paid quite well to continually see the wood for the sawmill, she has since stated that people should look at Donald Trump’s heart and not ‘what’s coming out of his mouth’, her new job, when Trump is sworn in will be Counselor to the President, cushy, protect him and you are well-rewarded.

In a different interview about the ‘mocking’ that Trump was filmed doing, Ms Conway questioned why the interviewer, a Mr Chris Cuomo, wouldn’t give Trump the benefit of the doubt, there is video evidence of Trump’s actions, there is no denying that he is not talking normally, why did he feel the need to state the words he did while acting the way he did, if he had not done this then maybe, Ms Conway, there wouldn’t be as much of a furore over it, but because he did, the idea that Trump deserves the benefit of the doubt is as unlikely as Scotland winning the World Cup.

The actual quote for the above issue, during the interview between Ms Conway and CNN’s Chris Cuomo is in This Link.

So, it seems that if the next few years can be judged on the previous year and the run up to the Inauguration, then its going to be a bumpy ride for the Americans, while we, in the rest of the world will continue to either avoid the idea of thinking about President Trump or just scratch our heads at the thought that a multi billionaire tycoon has become President and, despite promises of making America great again he has filled his cabinet with his buddies, hired his Son in law and Ms Conway to vital posts and has apparently stated that his two sons will take on the business empire he runs while he is away in Washington, interesting, here’s to the next few years then, they promise to be interesting at least.

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Goodwill To All and to all a Good Night

Friends, Christmas is upon us, the timing of this blog may be a slight snippet on the early side to say this but with other things to deal with at this time, I feel that this will be the last blog of 2016, so I wish all my readers a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and the best of fortunes in 2017, though, just because I can’t leave it without getting into something, let us take a look ahead at 2017 shall we?

In January next year, Donald Trump will be sworn in as America’s newest President, already he is causing some consternation with his choices but on this day, the Inauguration, I think the world will realise that this wasn’t a cheese based nightmare but rather the cold hard reality of the fact that a multi-billionaire, who is seemingly unable to cut ties to his empire during his Presidency, handing control to his eldest sons apparently, Trump will be a rather intriguing watch for those of us who don’t like reality TV, ironic that idea isn’t it seeing as Reality TV made him a well-known name in the 21st Century.

Moving on from the Inauguration, over here, in the divided United Kingdom, Brexit continues to be the top issue, despite the fact that the health service is flailing in the water, there are families just about managing, which has brought about a new political jargon JAM, Just About Managing, there are those of us who are just starting out in life and require some form of help or foundation to kick off from, though that’s all trifling apparently, as the UK government continues to drone on about Brexit, do they even understand that BREXIT IS A MADE UP WORD, its a car crash of two words to form a stupid and before the campaign even started, unknown, non existent term.

The best problem about Brexit is that there is now a rumour going around suggesting that the Government, who are supposed to make decisions on our behalf, don’t know how they will go about Brexit, how long it will take and how it will be either Soft or Hard, what the hell is it, a removal from the European Union or toilet tissue, though right now you could just about wipe your bum with the result, the amount of time it is taking for the UK Government to even make a decision that doesn’t involve the sentence ‘Brexit means Brexit’, has anyone noticed that that sentence, seeing as the term Brexit is made up, that statement means absolutely Scottish Football Association, Sweet F All.

Next to deal with next year, well that would be the follow on elections in France and Germany, where the right wing seems to be on the rise in both cases, the inspiration for this apparent emergence, Nigel Farage’s work in both the Brexit Campaign and his time spent in America as Trump’s lapdog, he believes that the date of the result for the EU Referendum should be known as an Independence Day, ha, that’s not what independence is Nigel, ask the Americans, ask the Argentinians, ask the Canadians, ask the Mexicans (though your buddy Trump might not like that), you could have asked us about our Independence Day if it wasn’t for the fact that for the only time in history ‘without a drop of blood being spilt’ we would have had Independence but for the machinations of Whitehall and the VOW, which wasn’t worth the toilet paper it was written on.

Besides the French and German Elections, the Brexit situation here and the US Presidential Inauguration, there is little going on in the world, bar the ongoing crises in Syria, Southern Europe (mainly the Mediterranean Countries) and certain African nations, you know, the stuff we have turned a blind eye to, why, because we can, the media in our nations can choose to promote or ignore the situations, like the three I mentioned in favour for reminding us how fortunate we are, how much mess is here at home and how chaotic the Political system is, basically I am reminded of V for Vendetta and the Propaganda spouting news network that is seen in that franchise.

So, my friends, with all of this said, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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