After 7 minutes of his opening speech, the prosecutor handed to the jury photographs of the injured child. Two years old, profoundly deaf, her face swollen with bruises and her hair fallen out through the stress of life with my client; her right arm and left leg where in plaster.

The jury turned to my client, and then they turned to me – how can you possibly defend this bastard.

The last two and a half weeks have been really hard.

Today, the jury got their revenge, guilty of all counts – despite my fifty minute closing speech (easily ten minutes too long) in which I reminded them of the lack of actual evidence, and the fact that even though they felt sympathy for the little girl, that didn’t make my client guilty. The looked stern faced and forward away from me as I proffered this argument. As I say, it’s been a difficult couple of weeks.

I left Court, and I needed something familiar, I needed the warm arms of a song that I have carried with me for years, something that would take me away from the images of the little girl and my sobbing client and the brutally honest verdict of the jury. I needed Johnny Marr at his very best, I needed Morrissey’s vocals and a lyric in which his tongue is firmly in his cheek. I needed The Smiths.

Amazingly, we haven’t had a Smiths song on this site for nearly two years! So, have this – it’s brilliant – just listen to those opening guitar chords that shimmer as the song kicks in, just listen to the way in which Morrissey tells us that he was ‘happy in the haze of a drunken hour,’ has there ever been a better, more honest depiction of drunkenness?

I love this song. For a few seconds, I forgot everything.

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A Terrible Idea – Funded by the UK Government

by Charlie_East_West on March 3, 2015

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Treasury Secretary, Danny Alexander, has announced that plaques featuring the union jack and the line “funded by UK Government” are to be displayed on public funded projects in Britain. He has stated that the idea would recognise the role played by the UK taxpayer and the plaques would “proudly adorn infrastructure investments from roads in Cornwall to broadband in Caithness“.

This is another example of Thick of It politics. It is a terrible idea on so many different levels.

Does Danny Alexander, the Government and their PR advisors think we are all completely stupid? We are currently living through a brutal age of austerity where so many public services are being cut, sold off or destroyed and yet our Government decide to brag about public spending projects.

The idea has already been ridiculed on social media with hundreds of memes being created to showcase some of the more dubious “funded by UK Government” projects – like Trident.

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It also causes the Government to completely outflank themselves. For every road and bridge funded by the taxpayer, and decided upon by the Government, there is a hospital lacking resources, a school crumbling to pieces, an MP picking up too much in the way of expenses, another bottle of champagne being quaffed by an unelected peer in the House of Lords, a taxpayer owned bank paying too much in executive bonuses and yet another failed military intervention in the Middle East – all paid for by the taxpayer, and funded by the UK Government.

This campaign has sparked speculation that the Government is attempting to shore up support for the union against the rising tide of support for the SNP. But, it presents another open goal for the SNP. For the Scottish public who are sick and tired of negative interference and public sector cuts from Westminster, the sight of union jacks adorning their public assets may well result in ridicule and targeted graffiti campaigns across the roads, buildings and bridges of Scotland.

The whole thing smacks of last minute desparate electioneering. As for Danny Alexander, a man who cut his teeth in public relations, he should know better. Does he really think that plastering “funded by UK Government” with a union jack across his Highland constituency will present a vote winning opportunity for him?

He faces a desparate fight to hold his seat, and considering he is culpable by association for many of the Treasury decisions surrounding public sector austerity, this campaign will be, to paraphrase Billy Connolly, “made as welcome in Inverness as fart in a spacesuit.”

Wrong idea. Wrong execution. Wrong target. Once again, it begs the question, who is advising these people?

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Week 9: Villain(s) Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw

March 2, 2015

This week’s villainous duo are the former Cabinet Ministers Sir Mlcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw. Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind were described last week in fairly reverential terms – senior Parliamentarians we were told; former Foreign Secretaries, we were told; towering political figures we were told – and yes, these are two men who had […]

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George East’s Top Ten Films of 2014

March 2, 2015

Finally, we reach the last of my 2014 review posts.   Traditionally I have posted my review of the year in cinema together with my top 10 films on Oscar weekend, which took place the weekend before last.  However, because I still hadn’t completed my top 50 albums posts, it got pushed back by a week […]

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Week 9: Hero – Ed Miliband

March 2, 2015

This week’s Hero of the Week Award goes to Ed Miliband for standing up against the troughers Depressingly our over-entitled political class never seems to learn.   As we saw with Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind last week there are always MPs apparently prepared to sell their services to the highest bidder and more than […]

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Week 9: Prat – Natalie Bennett

March 1, 2015

This week, the Green Party leader wins our award for being the greatest prat of the last seven days In a week that was hardly short of prats (step forward, Malcolm Rifkind, Jack Straw, Austin Mitchell, Emma Thompson, Madonna just for starters), one had a level of idiocy that stuck out like a turd on […]

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10 Great Football Chants (and 1 really, really crap one)

February 27, 2015

Putting to one side, if you can, for a second, the awful racism that was inherent in the chants heard from Chelsea fans who were boorishly haranguing a young black man on a Paris metro train last week, and you will, no doubt, have noticed, just how awful the chant was. I mean as a […]

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Second Jobs for MPs – The Troughers Win Again

February 26, 2015

Snouts in the trough again. After the cash for access scandal where Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw have both been caught out trying to grubbily prostitute themselves as political consultant guns for hire, Ed Miliband seized the initiative. Labour called a Commons motion for a ban on MPs holding paid directorships or consultancies – […]

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#992: 2014, Sun Kil Moon, Micheline

February 26, 2015

And from my album of 2014, Benji, comes this astounding song which was also one of the highlights from his show at St John at Hackney Church in December last year (my no 2 gig of 2014). I’m not going to say too much about the song – as I said in my albums of the […]

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George East’s Top 50 Albums of 2014: #10-#1

February 26, 2015

This has been a very long time coming. Last year I posted my top 10 albums of 2013 on 16 January 2014 and I thought that was a bit slack. This year it has taken me until nearly the end of February (at times I thought it might be 2016 before I finished it). It […]

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The Green Party Have a Credibility Problem

February 25, 2015

I recently posted an article on All That’s Left stating that I was likely to vote for The Green Party at the General Election. I liked their policies. I respected Caroline Lucas. I felt that a vote for The Green Party was a vote for left wing, liberal progressive politics and a vote away from […]

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How the Establishment took control and broke Britain

February 24, 2015

Corruption and greed have always existed within our establishment. The rich and powerful protect each other and to hell with everyone else. But, has there ever been a time when almost every single sector within our gilded elite shows unacceptable examples of downright unethical and unprincipled behaviour? In politics, business and media such dubious forms […]

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Rifkind and Straw: The Cluelessness of Our Political Establishment

February 23, 2015

Here we go again.  Allegations of two senior politicians with their snouts in the trough.   A sting operation by the media, following the usual pattern – fake company wanting access to decision makers.  Politicians only too willing to help and brag about how they can open doors.  Only too willing to be stung.  For a […]

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#991: 2003, Richard Hawley, The Only Road

February 23, 2015

My brain: “Right then, East-West, you have a musical mission if you seek to accept it. I want to listen to some music. I want to listen to music that sounds like 1960′s music hall Las Vegas and Sheffield at the same time. I want to listen to love songs that are poetic and full […]

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Week 8: Hero – Peter Oborne

February 23, 2015

Following seamlessly from the Daily Telegraph victory in the category of Villain of the Week, this week’s Hero of the Week is their former Political editor, Peter Oborne. I could be doing this guy an immense disservice, but I kind of get the feeling that a night out with Peter Oborne might be a challenge […]

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Week 8: Villain – The Daily Telegraph

February 22, 2015

This week’s villain of the week award goes to The Daily Telegraph for toadying up to HSBC and then publishing an article to attack The Times over the suicides of two of their newspaper staff. There is nothing worse than a bully. From the school playground through to corporate boardrooms and the corridors of power […]

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Week 8: Prat – Victoria Ayling

February 22, 2015

This Week’s Prat of the Week Award goes to UKIP parliamentary for Great Grimsby, Victoria Ayling Surprisingly the first 7 weeks of this year did not see a single UKIP politician awarded with our prestigious prat award.   For a little while there it really did seem that we had reached and passed peak-UKIP. That after […]

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#990: 1975, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)

February 22, 2015

I almost followed in Ray North’s stead and posted a bit of current pop, but then I noticed that it was forty years ago this week that Steve Harley reached number one with this. The first time I recall hearing this, I thought the chorus was a come-on line: “Come up and see me, make me […]

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Germany, Greece and the Euro Conundrum

February 20, 2015

I think about Greece and the European Union and I find my thoughts run into a sticky coagulated mess, as though my brain has suddenly been dipped into a large vat of honey and is struggling to get out. Here’s the nub – on one hand, I have total respect and support for the people […]

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Peter Oborne, The Daily Telegraph and the Corruption of the British Press

February 20, 2015

The publication of Peter Oborne’s devastating resignation letter as Chief Political Commentator of the Daily Telegraph has brought back into focus just how deeply rotten much of our media is.  Oborne accuses the Telegraph of allowing its commercial advertising revenue streams to dictate editorial policy – with in particular stories about HSBC and tax evasion (which […]

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#989: 2014, Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk

February 18, 2015

We do like a good pop song on these pages, and this, like it or loathe it, is a stomping, foot tapping, corker. Like all good pop songs it has its roots in various genres; like all good pop songs it’s robbed its hooks and baselines from elsewhere – this song is funk, this song […]

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Week 7: Villain – HSBC

February 18, 2015

Last week’s (very belated) Villain of the Week award goes to the tax avoidance banksters of Britain’s biggest bank, HSBC The Guardian’s revelations in a series of reports last week and this (together with Le Monde) about HSBC show, once again, how much the banking industry works against the interests of ordinary people. Only 6 […]

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General Election preview: Sheffield Hallam

February 17, 2015

For the fourth in our series focusing on constituencies to watch during the general election, we take a look at the Deputy Prime Minister’s seat Three constituency polls over the last year have shown Labour beating Nick Clegg in his Sheffield Hallam constituency. Back in May, former Lib Dem Lord Oakeshott commissioned a poll by […]

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Greece Debt Crisis and German Hypocrisy

February 17, 2015

As statemate continues between EU powerbrokers and Greece, it appears that Greece adheres to a set of economically rigid and crippling debt repayments/forced austerity or face the risk of running out of financial liquidity. The leaders of the new Syriza Government in Greece have repeated a cry for help from their European partners (in particular, […]

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Week 7: Hero – Ed Miliband

February 15, 2015

Our hero of the week award goes to Ed Miliband for standing up to corporate fat cat tax avoiders, and in particular, former Conservative Party Treasurer, Stanley Fink. Welcome back, Ed Miliband. All That’s Left have increasingly dispaired at the lacklustre performances of Ed Miliband, and his lack of political oomph. He, as Leader of […]

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Week 7: Prat – Lord Fink

February 15, 2015

This week, our regular award for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to The Right Honourable Lord Fink of Northwood At Prime Minister’s Question Time this week, Ed Miliband accused Stanley Fink, the former Conservative Party Treasurer and hedge fund manager who was ennobled by David Cameron four years ago, of undertaking […]

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10 Bits Of Nonsense We Hear About The Economy

February 13, 2015

‘It’s the economy stupid.’ Well, no it’s bloody not. Well, not just about the economy – it’s about children going to school, and ill people being cared for by doctors and nurses; it’s about having a good justice system and a working transport system and affordable housing and the chance of a job that will […]

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#988: 1981, Visage, Fade To Grey

February 13, 2015

So I’m in Berlin for my annual film festival trip and what do I find out when I leave the cinema after watching a frankly bonkers mess of a Chinese film: Steve Strange has died. It is kind of appropriate that I am posting this from Germany as few bands were more influenced by Kraftwerk […]

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Back To The Future

February 11, 2015

By Guest Blogger – Mike Killingworth It is a commonplace of human nature to suppose that the way things are now is either “normal” or else represents a decay from the “normality” of our childhoods. Of course, if “normal” means “what I am familiar with” then the commonplace is not that misguided – but “normal” […]

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Why are political parties so useless at marketing?

February 11, 2015

Labour have unveiled their latest attempt to woo female voters – A pink bus on a “kitchen table” tour. Seriously. They did this. Good intentions destroyed by patronising stupidity. Labour appear to have opened a 1950′s Mad Men manual on how to get ahead in advertising and sell stuff to women by using outdated gender […]

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