Cultural Zeitgeist

Double bill at the Blackheath Halls. Tom Allen and Suzi Ruffell. Both very funny, both very good, both highly recommended

Leaked Labour Manifesto

These are the key points from the leaked Labour manifesto with my comments in brackets.

  • Respect the Brexit referendum result (NO) and give a meaningful vote on any deal to parliament.(IF YOU CANT STOP IT THEN YES TO THIS) EU citizens living in the UK would have their rights guaranteed unilaterally. (YES) Theresa May’s Brexit white paper would be replaced with a plan that aims to retain the benefits of the customs union and single market.(REALISTICALLY THAT AINT GOING TO HAPPEN)
  • Bring parts of the energy industry into public ownership and introduce a local, socially owned energy firm in every area. Also introduce an “immediate emergency price cap” to make sure dual fuel bills stay below £1,000 a year.(YES, BUT BRING IT ALL IN)
  • Nationalise the railways.(YES)
  • Make more funds available for childcare and social care.(YES)
  • Retain the Trident nuclear deterrent. (NO) A sentence from earlier drafts saying that a prime minister should be “extremely cautious” about using a weapon that would kill “millions of innocent civilians” has been removed.
  • Place “peace, universal rights and international law” at the heart of foreign policy,(YES) while committing to spend 2% of GDP on defence, as required by Nato.(NO, UNLESS SIMILAR COMMITTMENTS ARE MADE IN OTHER AREAS OF PUBLIC SPENDING_
  • Make zero-hours contracts illegal.(YES, YES, YES)
  • Build 100,000 new council houses per year.(YES, BUT NOT ENOUGH)
  • Complete HS2 from London to Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Scotland.(NO SCRAP IT, SPEND THE MONEY ON SOMETHING ELSE)
  • Borrow £250bn to invest in infrastructure (YES) but stick to the fiscal credibility rule to balance day-to-day spending.(NO) Also raise taxes for people earning more than £80,000 and reverse corporation and inheritance-tax cuts.(YES)
  • Insulate homes of disabled veterans for free.(OK)
  • Extend the right to abortion to Northern Ireland.(YES)
  • Oppose a second Scottish referendum.(NO)
  • Lower the voting age to 16.(YES)
  • Employ 1,000 more border guards.(WHY?)
  • End the badger cull, keep the fox-hunting ban and support a ban on wild animals in circuses, as well as protecting bees by banning neonicotinoids.(YES)
  • Extend the Freedom of Information Act to private companies running public services.(YES)
  • Review universal credit cuts with a view to reversing them.(YES, BUT JUST REVERSE THE DAMN THINGS)
  • Recognise the benefit that immigrants (YES) have brought but introduce fair rules and reasonable management, (NO, SOUNDS LIKE A LIMIT/RESTRICTION, I AM FUNDAMENTALLY OPPOSED TO THAT) working with employers that need to recruit from abroad but deterring exploitation.(YES)

On the face of it a lot to support there, some things I don’t like and some omissions I would like to see.

Conservative Farm

So UKIP have been wiped out in the local elections. But is that any real cause for celebration. Why is there any need to vote UKIP, the conservatives have stolen all their policies.

“The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

Escaping the Bubble

I didn’t see the result of the last general election coming, I didn’t see the result of the EU referendum coming. Like a lot of people I was in a bubble, surrounded by people who generally think the way I do.

I am still in the bubble, but the people who think the way I do are getting fewer and fewer.

So here are my predictions

  1. The Conservatives will win the election
  2. Their majority will increase but I don’t think it will be of landslide proportions (not as big as Blair’s first 2 victories)
  3. In five years time we will be a poorer, meaner, nastier, less unified country
  4. Theresa May will comprehensively fuck us all over
  5. By 2022 the streets will burn



Cultural Zeitgeist

The Unthanks at the Albany Deptford for performance of Diversions 4 – The Songs and Poems of Molly Drake.

In some small way the world is a better place for having The Unthanks in it.


Cultural Zeitgeist

Fair Rabel – Steph Swainston

First book in, I think, 6 or 7 years. Well worth the wait, highly recommended

Why should they?

We need the 18-24 year olds to vote to save us from the  voting coffin dodgers. But why should they, we have shafted them at every turn. We are lucky they don’t string us all up from the nearest lamppost

Yougov (18-24 yr olds)

favourable(unfavourable) opinion of

GRN 52 (25) +27

LAB 45 (35) +10

LD 39 (35) +4

CON 23 (58) -25

UKIP 12 (72) -60

Yougov (65+ yr olds)

favourable(unfavourable) opinion of

CON 61 (34) +27

GRN 30 (58) -28

UKIP 31 (60) -29

LD 26 (63) -37

LAB 22 (73) -51

Cultural Zeitgeist

Simon Amstell at Angel Comedy at The Bill Murray

Meant to be a Work in Progress, instead he read us chapters 4-8 of his upcoming book (which has to be handed in to the publishers tomorrow).

Not what we were expecting but fun all the same

Cultural Zeitgeist

John Hegley – The Further Adventures of Monsieur Robinet @ Kings Place

John Hegley along with principla pianist of the Aurora Orchestra (also John…something).

We had poems and songs, music by Rameau and Glock, Charlie Parker and the Four Tops, Baroque dancing and Norther Soul Dancing and singing along as well

Quite the most enjoyable way to spend a Friday evening.

First saw John Hegley busking in Covent Garden more than 30 years ago and have seen him regularly since then (including the queue in the Post Office at Kings Cross), but this was the first time for many years.


Today marks the 50 anniversary since the founding of Crisis. Here is an extract from the mail I received from them today.

“It’s half a century since Crisis was founded, as an urgent response to the growing homelessness crisis.

Over the decades, Crisis supporters like you have helped us change countless lives for the better. But we never intended to be in existence for this long – and we don’t intend to be needed in 50 years’ time.

So in our 50th year, we’re going to work together with others to produce a plan to end homelessness once and for all.”

Me again now:

In those 50 years we have had 21 years of Labour government, 24 of Conservative and 5 of Coalition, so I think we can safely say that all parties are equally culpable.

But there is something you can do about it:

If it was your brother or sister, daughter or son wouldn’t you want someone to help them. Well they are all someones daughter or son, someones brother or sister.

So give them the help you would want given to someone you love.