The General Election: 98 Days To Go

by Charlie_East_West on January 29, 2015

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One of the many unknown unanswerable questions surrounding the General Election is which party will end up controlling the balance of power. UKIP? SNP? Or once again, the yellow peril – the Lib Dems?

In the spirit of liberal generosity, say the Lib Dems end up with between 25-30 MPs (a vastly reduced number from 2010), they may well find themselves in a position to cut a Coalition Mark II deal with either the Tories or Labour. My advice to the Lib Dems in 2015 is to stay well out of it.

The Lib Dems should ignore the allure of power at the dispatch box and instead adopt either the role of diligent and belligerent opposition or on the ticket of confidence and supply. The Lib Dems need time to regroup away from Government and time to ideologically reboot and spend five years trying to rebrand themselves with the electorate.

The Lib Dems role in coalition between 2010-2015 has been an absolute disaster. They consistently claim that they had no choice but to form a coalition with the Tories under the auspices of “in the national interest” and to “clean up Labour’s mess”. This is absoulte bunkum. It is vain glorious. It is completely delusional. They have broken any number of key manifesto pledges such as their party defining free tuition fees, and have propped up Tory-led misplaced austerity. How the hell is that “in the national interest”?

As such, the Lib Dems have become the most laughably toxic brand in UK politics. Throughout the land they are seen as ideological turncoats. They have betrayed many social liberals. They have lost voter trust. The only solution for the Lib Dems is to swallow a bitter pill of marginalisation in 2015, retreat to the back benches and prepare for the long haul back towards credibility.

The alternative is too grizzly to contemplate. If the Lib Dems decide to walk into another five year period of Government, they may find that they are pretty much shot to bits by 2020. In coalition, they would end up as the minor party once again, and have to accept the inevitable policy compromises and yet more voter distrust.

Sadly, I suspect that given half a chance after the General Election, the Lib Dems will drop their knickers with whoever is willing to offer them a few scraps of power. Sod ideological and party regrouping. Power and political prostitution win in the end.

Welcome to the difficult world of the yellow peril in 2015.

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The General Election: 99 Days To Go

by Ray_North on January 28, 2015

Unknown-4Yesterday, Charlie declared his intention to vote Green at the next election. I sympathise with his view, and I may yet join him – but, as things stand, at the moment, with 99 days to go, I am undecided.

So, here’s my thinking, from a personal as much as a political perspective.

And let’s start with some background: my world revolves mainly around three things: first, being a father to three young children; second, being a public servant (in as much as I’m paid for what I do by the state), and third, being a liberal. And those three elements will influence me as much as anything else when it comes to deciding where to place my cross.

My political journey can be described thus: born into a traditional old fashioned Lloyd-George Liberal household, I dabbled with left- wing politics in the youth, then worked for Ashdown’s Lib-Dems in my twenties and, indeed, stood as Lib-Dem candidate in 2005 (I was inspired as much by opposition to the Iraq war and tuition fees as anything else). I watched agog as events unfurled between 2005 and 2010, voted Lib-Dem out of loyalty as much as anything at the last election, then regretted it, the moment I saw Clegg and Cameron holding each others hands in the Downing Street Rose Garden.

Since then, I’ve found my politics veer down what could be described as leftward avenue (though personally, I believe the terms left or right to be unhepful) – and there are good reasons for my leftward lurch: first, following the near collapse of the banks in 2008, I came to realise that if it came to a toss up between the needs of the people or the needs of the City of London and other global financial institutions – then, the people will come a bad second; and second, as I watched the public services disappear under the guise of austerity, it became apparent to me that the economic orthodoxy that had grown under Thatcherism and been maintained by Blair, that is that allowing those who ‘create wealth’ to horde their capital and their wealth, has failed. The outcome is that we now have, as we enter this period of electioneering a democratic and social deficit, a nation where the gap between the richest and poorest is widening and the opportunities for social advancement is diminishing.

And, I’m not alone in thinking this.

One of the main issues during the Scottish independence debate was the clear belief that many in Scotland had lost confidence in Westminster because they felt that Government was more intent on pursuing the interests of the wealthy few than the average Jock. The rise in UKIP is similar in many ways – only those who are attracted to Farage, find it easier to blame foreigners and Europe for their feelings of disenfranchisement rather than the fact that economic and democratic inequality has been caused by the government’s policies.

So far, one of the most striking aspects of the election campaign has been the convergence of the three main political parties. All three have embraced austerity, all three continue to follow broadly similar policies about public sector funding, education and the NHS. The differences are often contrived or just distinctions in micro-management. None of the parties are willing to enter into a proper, honest and intelligent debate about how to redistribute wealth or ensure that public services remain first-class and universally available; about the influence of global capitalism, the importance of environmentalism, the flaws in Europe and the socio-economic effect of immigration.

What I want to see is an intelligent debate between the political parties and a clear choice; what I want to see is leadership and courage and at least someone offering me hope that my role as a public servant will not continue to be reduced and that my children will have every opportunity I had and maybe more.

What I don’t want to see over the next 99 days, is petty bickering, gimmicks and a procession of photo-ops interspersed with faux disagreement as the media try desperately to try to find something to talk about.

As I say, I have some sympathy with Charlie’s declaration that the Greens will be getting his X come May 7th, but, I’m not sure – I’ll keep you posted.

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#983: 1847, Goffredo Mameli, Il Canto Degli Italiani

January 28, 2015

The French and the Italians have a sense of style and panache that we British simply do not have. They dress better, eat better, look better, have better towns and villages, have better culture, have better football players and probably make love better than the British. They also have a better national anthem than us. […]

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The General Election: 100 days to go…

January 27, 2015

100 days until the General Election. 100 days of spin, manipulation of facts and yet more spin. The outcome of the 2015 General Election is anyone’s guess. There are too many permutations. What is likely however, is that no party will get an overall majority and then the horse trading begins. Could we end up […]

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Week 4: Hero – Bradford City FC

January 26, 2015

This week’s heroes are the Division One football side, Bradford City – though, we also mention in glorious dispatches – Middlesbrough, Cambridge United, Bolton Wanderers and Leicester City. There are a number of lies and misconceptions at the heart of association football and most of them have something to do with money. The first one, […]

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Week 4: Villain – King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia

January 25, 2015

This Week’s Villain of the Week is the King of Saudi Arabia who died this week The death of the Saudi King, Abdullah bib Abdulaziz Al Saud at the age of 90 years old saw the welcome end to one of the world’s worst tyrants.   You can tell how bad he was by the fact […]

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Week 4: Prat – The Half-Masters

January 25, 2015

This week, our regular award for the biggest prats of the last seven days goes to the Whitehall mandarins and others who decided to fly flags at half mast on Friday It seems as if it was only last week that the world stood aghast in horror at the decision of the Saudi Arabian judiciary […]

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#982: 1969, Jimi Hendrix, The Star Spangled Banner

January 24, 2015

If at first you don’t succeed, cheat. We are song four into our National Anthems theme, and to be honest, all the national anthems I rate have already been used. I could have tried harder, I know: plough through those of every obscure nation until I came up with one I rated. But to be […]

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The ideological decline of the Labour Party

January 22, 2015

“Comrades, this week in which our Conference meets is the 333rd week of Mrs Thatcher’s government. In this average week in Tory Britain 6,000 people will lose their jobs, 225 businesses will go bankrupt, £400 million will be spent on paying the bills of unemployment, 6,000 more people will be driven by poverty into supplementary […]

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Why the Chilcot Report must be published before the General Election.

January 21, 2015

The Chilcot Inquiry was set up by Gordon Brown in 2009. It’s terms of reference were to look at the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the invasion itself and the subsequent post invasion division of responsibility. Now, as you’ll recall, i’m sure, the initial issue was whether the Inquiry should be held in public […]

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George East’s Top 50 Albums of 2014: #20-#11

January 21, 2015

After an enforced work-induced break we now reach the business end of my top 50 albums of 2014 with the penultimate post, the albums just outside the all important top 10. To see what you’ve missed so far follow the links for #50-#41, #40-#31 and #30-#21. Before we get back to it though, firstly my […]

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Good Riddance to Page 3!

January 20, 2015

So, Page 3 has gone. No more ‘Stunning Samantha, 21 from Yarmouth, who wants to be a model,’ no more awful puns usually involving some young woman’s ‘assets’. Page 3 has gone and good riddance to it as well. I always hated Page 3, as a kid I found it embarrassing, and as I grew […]

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#981: 1897, Enoch Sontonga, Nkosi Sikelel i Afrika

January 20, 2015

This anthem is utterly unique and wonderful in every way – the anthem that inspired the ANC and those who opposed apartheid, the anthem that conjures up images of township funerals and raised clenched fists and tears; now amazingly it is the anthem of a united nation; the anthem of rugby matches and state funerals, […]

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General Election preview: Lincoln

January 19, 2015

For the second in our series on seats to watch in this year’s general election, we turn to Britain’s oldest constituency: Lincoln. Today, Iain Dale shared his predictions for the General Election in The Independent. Some of the individual outcomes may not pan out, but the overall numbers seem about right to me. In his […]

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Week 3: Prat – Steve Emerson

January 18, 2015

This week’s Prat is Fox TV ‘terrorism expert’ Steven Emerson According to this prat Birmingham (that is Birmingham in the Midlands, not Alabama), is a no go area for non-Muslims. What the….? I’ve had to look this guy up, I wasn’t sure he was actually real – I mean this man is such a prize […]

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Week 3: Villain – David Cameron

January 18, 2015

This Week’s Villain of the Week Prime Minister David Cameron for using the the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks as  a pretext for yet more security legislation One of the worst aspects of the Tony Blair government was its authoritarianism.  From the moment of 9/11 onwards, that administration passed a seemingly endless stream of laws that […]

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Week 3: Hero – Al Murray

January 18, 2015

We are bestowing our Hero of the Week award on comedian Al Murray At times, we here at All That’s Left depress ourselves stupid about the impending General Election: the horrors of a further five years of Tory misrule weighed against a lacklustre Labour Party that all to often seems to say it will do […]

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Osborne and the Deflation of the British Media

January 16, 2015

Earlier this week there were two inter-related news stories which told us a lot about the failure of George Osborne’s economic policy and more importantly the world beating uselessness of the British press in holding him to account. As we have written on this blog on numerous occasions, Osborne’s stint as Chancellor has been the […]

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#980: 1942, Alexander Alexandranov and Sergey Mikhalkov, the State Anthem of the Soviet Union

January 15, 2015

National anthems?  Very tricky.  Also for STLAS purists out there you may have noted that Charlie East-West has moved to designating the year for the song as the date the anthem were composed rather than in respect of any specific recording, so I have stuck with that here.   This is in fact a superb recording […]

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Week 2: Chicken – David Cameron MP

January 14, 2015

In preparation for this year’s general election, I am launching a new category to add to our usual heroes, villains and prats of the week. The Prime Minister is a fitting inaugural winner of our new Chicken of the Week award. I dare say the other parties will have their turns too as we get closer […]

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The Leaders TV Debate: Lies, Misinformation and Poor Politics

January 14, 2015

I’m not very well. I have that most horrid of all ailments Maculinus Influenza – so I’m at home, which has given me the pure misfortune of being able to listen to PMQs on the wireless. Sigh. After ten minutes, the whole thing caused my condition to deteriorate and I had to take to the […]

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#979: 1792, Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle, La Marseillaise

January 11, 2015

The French have responded in a magnificently French way to the horrors of being subjected to terrorist attacks in Paris. They have responded with cultured love and poetic defiance. They have showed the world true meaning to their own tripartite motto – Liberté, égalité, fraternité. Out of sheer admiration and respect for the French, my […]

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Week 2: Hero – Charlie Hebdo

January 11, 2015

This Week our Hero of the Week Award goes to French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo and the journalists and cartoonists who were killed in the terrorist attack on its offices. Today has seen more than a million people on the streets of Paris and an estimated 3.7 million across France turnout in unity against the […]

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Week 2: Prat – Gordon Taylor

January 11, 2015

This week’s Prat is Gordon Taylor Chairman of the Professional Footballer’s Association To be fair to Gordon Taylor, he does inherently appear to have something of the Prat about him – but this week, he excelled himself. The PFA have been supporting Ched Evans – one can understand that, after all, he is a former […]

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#978: 1981, Kirsty MacColl, There’s a Guy Works Down the Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis

January 11, 2015

It was Elvis Presley’s eightieth birthday on Wednesday. Or it would have been if he had lived that long – he has now been dead almost as long as he lived. If?!? What do you mean if? Don’t you know there’s a guy works down the chip shop…

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Week 2: Villain – French Islamicist Terrorists

January 11, 2015

This week, our regular Villain award is bestowed on Said Kouachi, Cherif Kouachi, Amedy Coulibaly and Hayat Boumeddiene, the Islamicist terrorists who murdered twenty people in their rampage across and beyond Paris this week. “It is characteristic of fanatics who read the holy scriptures to tell themselves: God killed, so I must kill; Abraham lied, Jacob […]

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George East’s Top 50 Albums of 2014: #30-#21

January 10, 2015

So we have now reached the half way mark in the count down of the best 50 album of 2014. The lower reaches can be found here (#50-#41) and here (#31-#40). However before we get back to the list a few other categories in my musical review of the year. Biggest music PR disaster of […]

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OASIS V BLUR -The Final Verdict, Twenty Years On!

January 9, 2015

This is a really, really scary thought, but 2015 will mark the twentieth anniversary of the infamous battle of Oasis v Blur – the height of Britpop, jangly guitars, fringes, Union Jacks and casual misogyny – yep, 1995 had it all. For me and the Allthatsleft boys, it was kind of great, because we were […]

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#977: 2014, C-Duncan, For

January 7, 2015

I’m at home. In front of me lies 500 odd pages of bank accounts and various e-mails that will, so I’m told, prove that the person who I am due to prosecute tomorrow is convicted of money laundering – it is the type of case I absolutely dread. I am already thoroughly bored, and I […]

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George East’s Top 50 Albums of 2014: #40-#31

January 7, 2015

Before getting back to my list of best albums from 2014 (see #50-#41 here), there are a couple of other categories that I want to mention, as many of the best records that were released last year (as with every year) were in fact re-issues or compilation albums that would otherwise be excluded from the […]

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