Week 6: Villain – Julian Assange

by Ray_North on February 8, 2016

villain_icon_v2‘This Week’s Villain of the Week Award goes to the Wikileaks founder and former resident of the Ecuador Embassy, Julian Assange.’

Julian Assange appears to have started life as an idealistic computer programmer and managed to become depending on your point of view, either a crusader for truth and clarion voice against the excesses of western governments waging illegal wars, or a self-indulgent opportunist who has treacherously put lives at risk with his over-zealous campaigning.

Either way, when he was accused of rape and ordered to go back to Sweden to face those charges, Assange decided rather than to face down the charges and try to clear his name, to camp out in the Ecuadorian Embassy. Why not go back to Sweden and prove your innocence? We asked, because he wouldn’t get a fair trial, was the reply from Assange.

Now, this answer didn’t really stack up – now, I’m no expert, but, as far as i am aware, Sweden’s criminal justice system is actually pretty decent, I mean, North Korea it is not. And, in any event, Assange has got a fairly decent argument to put before a jury, when he asserts that, perhaps his notoriety may have caused the complainants to exaggerate some aspects of the case. Of course, what Assange really wanted to do was hole himself up in an Embassy, in the hope that eventually the Swedish Statute of Limitations may make the allegations go away (it has in relation to two of the charges).

He also suggested that the dreadful Swedes would use his extradition to their country as an excuse to send him to America where he would be executed for treason – which is utter fanciful on both levels, particularly as the Swedish government made it clear that it had no intention of sending anywhere.

No, what Assange was doing was skipping bail because he wanted to avoid answering some questions about some particularly difficult allegations. And last week, with the ‘UN panel’ (my inverted commas, as i have no idea what judicial jurisdiction such a panel has) declaring that he had been ‘arbitrarily detained by the British government (one of the most ludicrous suggestions I have ever heard given the circumstances) he showed his true colours, instead of showing an iota of sympathy towards the women who have made the allegations (because even if they are false, humanity surely would cause someone to give a toss about women who might be prepared to make the allegation), he warned the UK government that there would be criminal repercussions as a result of his detention.

Assange is a villain, who has done much to destroy the organisation that he founded, and organisation that actually had the opportunity to do much that was right and shed light on much that is wrong.

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Week 6: Hero – Leicester City

by Charlie_East_West on February 8, 2016

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This week’s hero award goes to Leicester City for beating title favourites Manchester City 3-1 and continuing their run at the top of the Premier League.

Claudio Ranieri’s team are a breath of fresh air. Here we have a team that at this stage last season looked destined for relegation, were previously tipped for relegation this season by our resident football pundit Ray North and yet now stand five points clear at the top of the Premier League.

It is a team made up of journeymen, offloaded players and a manager who, while endearingly charming, was previously sacked as Chelsea manager and was viewed with skepticism when he was appointed as manager of Leicester City at the start of the season.

When Leicester City started the season well, most of us probably thought that it wasn’t going to last, but at least they were securing enough early points for Premier League survival. We are now in February, entering the title run in, and instead of fading, Leicester City continue to surge. On Saturday they dismantled Manchester City. Leicester’s starting XI cost just £20m. Man City’s starting XI cost £200m.

There is real joy to Leicester’s success. It is a feel good football story. This is a refreshing antidote in a game surrounded by wealth, greed and the same teams buying success.

But, the thing I love most about the heartwarming story of Leicester City is their impact on football loving kids. My 10 year old football fanatic son is like most kids of his age – he supports one of the bigger Premier League teams, and also, like most of the kids – likes watching Barcelona. There is nothing wrong with any of that, but he, like everyone else else, has become captivated by the exploits and success of Leicester.

Their bubble may still burst before the end of the season, but long may Leicester’s success continue. For the next 3 months I suspect most of us will cheer them on. We are all Leicester City fans now.

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2016 USA primaries: #3 – New Hampshire

February 8, 2016

Tuesday sees the next contest in the US presidential primary season, and the first true primary election, as opposed to caucus. New Hampshire is very proud of this, and likes to boast that this is the first true primary. Outside the state capital in Concord, the pavement has a timeline showing the contests, their winners […]

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2016 USA primaries: #2 – Iowa results

February 7, 2016

You know the results: despite the polls, Trump did not win and Clinton only just did. So, why did the polls appear to get it wrong? First, it is worth remembering that caucuses are difficult to poll for: FiveThirtyEight said on the eve of the caucuses that they understated their real margin of error and […]

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Week 6: Prat – the United Nations Working Group On Arbitrary Detention

February 7, 2016

This Week’s Prat of the Week Award goes to the group set up by the UN to investigate the question of whether Julian Assange is being arbitrarily detained Oh dear. Even the question is ridiculous.   Let’s recap: Julian Assange is wanted for questioning in respect of two allegations of rape in Sweden.   The Scandinavian country […]

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Week 5: Villain – Denmark

February 4, 2016

This Week’s Villain of the Week award goes to Denmark for its new migrant laws Scandinavia’s reputation as the closest the planet has to the ideal society seems increasingly a distant memory. You know the image of a social democratic welfare state with great public services and a focus on equality. Only a few years […]

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Week 4: Prat – The Lancashire Constabulary

February 4, 2016

The belated Prat of the Week Award for a fortnight ago goes to the Lancashire police force This is a somewhat belated post. Indeed our Week 5 Prat Award has already been posted.  But for the sake of completeness, the missing Prat of the Week Award for Week 4 of 2016, goes to the boys […]

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#1065: 2013, Jason Isbell, Stockholm

February 4, 2016

Although I am still revelling in the sheer number of superb gigs I went to in 2015, we are now in a new year and increasingly my mind is turning to the exciting gigs in the diary to come. My first taste of live music this year came a couple of Fridays back with Alabaman […]

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Ray North’s Six Nations Preview

February 4, 2016

No sooner have those of us of a Celtic persuasion stopped laughing at the demise of England in their own World Cup, than the season’s Six Nations Extravaganza is upon us. And I say extravaganza with optimism as last year’s tournament was excellent and this year’s tournament unencumbered by either a British Lions Tour or […]

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Week 5: Hero – Greek Footballers

February 2, 2016

‘…. And in particular the footballers of AEL Larissa and Acharnaikos’ It is rare for Footballers to proffer an opinion which goes beyond an anodyne musing that the game consisted of two halves or that the lads gave 110%, unless of course it has to do with their pay, when many suddenly become extremely vocal. […]

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Week 5: Prat – David Cameron

January 31, 2016

Our prat of the week award goes to David Cameron for stating at PMQs that the refugees in Calais were nothing more than a “bunch of migrants.” David Cameron has a CV stuffed full of Bullingdon Club sneering gaffs. Whether it is “swarm” or “bunch” of migrants; “terrorist sympathisers”; “calm down dear” or allegedly sticking […]

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2016 USA primaries: #1 – Iowa

January 31, 2016

Tomorrow sees the first test in the 2016 US presidential race: the Iowa caucuses. THE HAWKEYE STATE Of the 48 contiguous US states, the Hawkeye State is the one I’ve spent least time in: a train journey across the south of the state and a few hours in Council Bluffs. For many Americans, they will have […]

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#1064: 1982, The Clash, Straight To Hell

January 30, 2016

In another time and another place, I spend the summer in Bow working for a computer wholesaler. My first year at University has ended and I have decided to stay in London rather than go home, which has caused a bit of unhappiness with my mother. My job is to deal with customer complaints. I […]

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Week 4: Villain – Google

January 25, 2016

This week, Google earn our regular award for villainy Quite often when I write a post, I’ll Google to check my facts. The fact that I’ve used ‘Google’ as a verb there shows just how ubiquitous the search engine is. And when I typed in the words “Google tax” Google helpfully gave some potential additional […]

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Week 4: Hero – Jeremy Corbyn

January 24, 2016

This week’s hero of the week award goes to Jeremy Corbyn for visiting the Calais ‘Jungle’ and Grande-Synthe (Dunkirk) refugee camps and for his call for a more concerted effort by Britain to tackle the problem of the refugee crisis. Corbyn may be swamped by the internal destructive forces within the Labour Party, but no […]

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George East’s Top 50 Albums of 2015: #50-#41

January 24, 2016

Delayed for a bit to allow for our David Bowie tribute theme week, it is now time for the main act. After ample support provided by my Top 10 Tracks and Top 10 Gigs, we move on to my no doubt hotly anticipated (and definitive) top 50 albums of 2015 list. 2015 was I think […]

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Week 3: Hero – Junior Doctors

January 19, 2016

This Week’s Hero of the Week award goes to the junior doctors for their strike over Jeremy Hunt’s attempt to impose new contractual conditions on them Back in November 98% of junior doctors voted for strike action over Jeremy Hunt’s attempt to impose a new contract on them. 98%! The figure rose to 99% on […]

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Week 3: Villain – Jeremy Hunt

January 19, 2016

This week’s villain is the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt. As well as being the subject of the greatest spoonerism known to man, Jeremy Hunt is proving himself to be a villainous Secretary of State for Health. At the election the Tories declared that they were going to introduce a 7 day NHS. […]

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Week 3: Prat – Hillary Clinton

January 17, 2016

This week, Presidential favourite wins our regular Prat of the Week award for putting it all needlessly at risk… Tonight, there is a debate between the three main Democratic presidential hopefuls (Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley) in Charleston, South Carolina. Whilst Clinton still has a reasonable lead over the field in national polls, […]

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All That’s Left Favourite Bowie Song: Poll Results

January 17, 2016

As part of our David Bowie Tribute Week, we have been running a Twitter poll asking – “What is your favourite David Bowie song.” 32 songs were initially shortlisted, and after a series of polls and a staggering 11,000 votes over four days, we were left with a final of four songs. Here are the […]

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#1063: 1971, David Bowie, The Bewlay Brothers

January 17, 2016

One of the saddest, most profoundly moving songs of all time. The Bewlay Brothers is a track from the stupendous Hunky Dory album by David Bowie released in 1971. The song is reputedly a fictionalised account of Bowie’s relationship with his schizophrenic brother, Terry – who killed himself in 1965. It was Terry who introduced […]

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#1062: 1980, David Bowie, Ashes To Ashes

January 16, 2016

Our Songs to Learn and Sing this week have been a tribute to the genius of David Bowie. Including the four posted so far this week, we have featured fifteen Bowie songs over the years on this blog (see the list at the end of this post) but have somehow not featured this piece of […]

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#1061: 1986, David Bowie, Underground

January 14, 2016

I wanted to post something slightly different in our week of tributes to the life and work of David Bowie – so, I turned to Mrs North and asked her which was her favourite Bowie song – ‘Underground, from Labyrinth’ she answered without hesitation. I don’t normally allow Mrs North to get too close to […]

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#1060: 1975, David Bowie, Young Americans

January 13, 2016

Continuing our tribute theme week on Songs To Learn and Sing, here’s another instalment in Bowie’s ever-changing career, the self-proclaimed ‘plastic soul’ period. Number 4 in my personal top 10, I see that it also features in Charlie’s and George’s lists. Far from being a phony imitation, this is a great soul record, frantic and […]

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What Should Jeremy Do Next?

January 13, 2016

There are some who may answer this with a single word. There are others who may accuse me of being some kind of Tory to even deigning to offer some advice for the Leader of the Labour Party. They are both wrong – Jeremy Corbyn is whether you like it or not, the Leader of […]

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Poll: What Is Your Favourite David Bowie Song?

January 13, 2016

……………………………………………………………………. This week, we are running a poll on Twitter to find the most popular David Bowie song. 32 songs have been chosen and the overall winner will be announced on All That’s Left on Sunday. Please go to @all_thats_left_ on Twitter and vote! …………………………………………………………………….

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#1059: 1976, David Bowie, Wild Is The Wind

January 12, 2016

So on to the second song in our David Bowie tribute theme week. David Bowie’s history of cover versions is, to be honest, a bit hit and miss. His album of covers, Pin Ups, feels like what it was: the end of the road for the Ziggy Stardust era. With the exception of his great […]

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Week 2: Prat – The Labour Leadership

January 12, 2016

Our award for the biggest Prat’s of last week goes to the Labour Party Leadership, with a honourable mention to the rest of the Parliamentary Labour Party. I’ve really wanted Jeremy Corbyn to succeed, I really have. In the countless debates we’ve had amongst ourselves at Allthatsleft I’ve tried my best to defend him – […]

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Farewell David Bowie: Death Will Never Kill His Beauty

January 12, 2016

Friday: David Bowie released Blackstar and I spent a large part of the weekend listening to it. It is a fantastic album full of texture and depth. The album has a clear theme on it. It feels like a concept album on mortality and death. He knew before we all knew. Bowie was so ahead […]

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#1058: 2015, David Bowie, Lazarus

January 11, 2016

As a lifelong massive fan of David Bowie, I am struggling to comprehend the sad news of his death. I absolutely love his music. A back catalogue of utter genius. Heroes is one of my favourite albums ever. Heroes, Blackout and Life on Mars are three of my favourite songs of all time. Even right […]

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