From the monthly archives:

November 2010

#15: 1975, Patti Smith, Free Money

November 30, 2010

In 1967, a twenty-year old Patricia Lee Smith left her southern New Jersey home for the bright lights of New York. Skint and homeless, she moved in with struggling young photographer and art student Robert Mapplethorpe and became his lover. Both were penniless and things weren’t made any easier with it becoming clear that the […]

Read the full article →

Lib-Dems: the first signs of meltdown.

November 30, 2010

I want to throw this question out there confident that even my associate Mr Jackie South won’t know the answer – when was the last time a minister in the Government of UK abstained on the second reading of a bill that he has sponsored in Parliament? If anyone can tell me I will be […]

Read the full article →

Wikisaints or Wikisinners?

November 30, 2010

I like gossip as much as the next person. I like to know what goes on amongst the higher echelons in diplomatic lounges when the doors are closed and the brandy is being passed around; I am intrigued by the officially unofficial posturings of sates large and small; I do want to know what people […]

Read the full article →

Student and Lewisham Protests Foretell A Winter Of Discontent

November 30, 2010

I had an interesting chat with a police sergeant I know last week. I asked him whether he was concerned about the scale of the cuts facing the police: 20% over four years. He seemed remarkably relaxed and sceptical that these cuts would really happen: “they can’t cut us when they need us to deal […]

Read the full article →

Osborne and the OBR

November 30, 2010

In George Osborne’s first speech to the House of Commons after being appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer he announced that he would be creating an Office of Budget Responsibility, initially under the chairmanship of Sir Alan Budd, a founder a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and since 2005 board member of […]

Read the full article →

The Pointlessness of Vince Cable

November 29, 2010

Once upon a time, in fact not so long ago Vince Cable was the most respected politician in the country. He had in his nasally whiny way correctly predicted the popping of the property bubble and called for the nationalisation of Northern Rock long before Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling bowed to the inevitable. In […]

Read the full article →

#14: 1968, The Rolling Stones, Sympathy for the Devil

November 29, 2010

Amazingly, Allthatslefts Songs To Learn And Sing have yet to include a song from the 1960′s. I’ve decided to put this right. Sympathy for the Devil is a truly brilliant song in every way. It is one of the handful of songs that can be said, honestly, to have taken the genre of Rock and […]

Read the full article →

King Eric and the Banking Terrorists

November 29, 2010

If you ever want to see Ray North go misty eyed, then ask him about his views on mercurial, maverick footballers – believe me you will be at the wrong end of a lengthy monologue about the genius of Frankie Worthington, Stan Bowles, Tony Currie and others. Eric Cantona, comes into that category and he […]

Read the full article →

#13: 1999, Blur, Tender

November 28, 2010

Damon Albarn and Justine Frischman of Elastica were the indie couple of the 1990s. Their break up led to Blur’s last great album, Thirteen, and this, its finest song. In my view it was the last proper Blur album – Graham Coxon would leave the band during the recording of their final album, Think Tank […]

Read the full article →

Week 3: Hero(es) – the Schoolgirls Protecting the Police Van

November 28, 2010

Wednesday’s day of action brought together students protesting against increases to tuition fees and cuts to university budgets, with school kids angry about the Coalition’s decision to scrap Educational Maintenance Allowance. Many children joined the protest; most getting politically involved for the first time – we applaud them and made them our hereos last week. […]

Read the full article →

Ed, please, for the love of god – ditch the squeezed middle!

November 28, 2010

I’m warming to Ed Miliband – as I listened to him being mauled by John Humphreys on the Today Programme on Friday (November 26th), I thought to my self here is a man I can genuinely listen to, empathise with and respect. As he defended progressive taxation and refused to shy away from the term […]

Read the full article →

Week 3: Villain – Howard Flight

November 28, 2010

Howard Flight’s fear that the changes to Child Benefit will ‘encourage the poor to breed’ goes beyond simply pratishness, goes beyond a daft gaffe from a politician who has a history of such things and into the realms of villiany for three reasons: (1) the use of the term breeding – what a horrible choice […]

Read the full article →

Donegal: Sinn Fein Succeed Where Fianna Fail

November 28, 2010

As predicted, Sinn Fein’s Pearse Doherty won the Donegal South West by-election held on Thursday. However, the scale of the victory may show that something fundamental is shifting in the Republic’s politics: Sinn Fein’s 40% share of first preferences equalled the tally for both the big parties combined. The Irish general election, expected next spring, […]

Read the full article →

Week 3: Prat – Sarah Palin

November 28, 2010

Week 3′s Prat of the Week goes to Sarah Palin, for accidentally offering her support to North Korea in their shelling of South Korea on the Glenn Beck show, as I noted earlier this week.  The fact it was on her cheerleader-in-chief’s own show, and was given in response to a sympathetic question designed to make […]

Read the full article →

#12: 1990, Primal Scream, Loaded

November 27, 2010

“Just what is it that you want to do?” “We wanna be free We wanna be free to do what we wanna do And we wanna get loaded And we wanna have a good time That’s what we’re gonna do Away baby let’s go We’re gonna have a good time We’re gonna have a party” […]

Read the full article →

Afghanistan: The total failure of Operation Enduring Freedom

November 26, 2010

It is now 3337 days since the Bush and Blair led coalition troops marched into Afghanistan under the banner of Operation Enduring Freedom. The aim, according to Tony Blair’s speech to the recalled House of Commons on the 8th October was to remove or shut down all Al Qaeda training camps and remove the Taliban […]

Read the full article →

Councils Funding Left In A Pickle

November 26, 2010

Today’s Guardian ran a story on the falling out between Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, and the conservative-led Local Government Association (LGA). The LGA fears that the size of cuts for councils predicted for 2011/12 could lead to 140,000 job losses. The ever-tactful Pickles dismissed this by […]

Read the full article →

50 Today!

November 26, 2010

Allthatsleft was launched on 15 November 2010.  Today is our 12th day of operation and this is our 50th post.  We hope that you have enjoyed it so far, we certainly have.   We are still tweaking the design and welcome any comments you might have on improvements that might make the site more user-friendly. What […]

Read the full article →

B’waire Pilgrimmes of Reds Undyre Thy Beds & Theyre Eville Commonweal

November 25, 2010

Today all true Americans give thanks for being saved from the socialism of the pilgrim fathers.    Gather round the re-written conservative bible with all the lefty bits about being kind to the poor removed and say a prayer of gratitude for Saints Ronnie and Sarah, the Holy Beck and the Virgin Christine.  Amen. Now let’s all […]

Read the full article →

#11: 1981, Soft Cell, Sex Dwarf

November 25, 2010

What could compete with Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit? Answer – absolutely nothing. So rather than compete with that wonderful song, I’ve gone for something which appears at first blush to be as geometrically opposed to it as one could imagine -Soft Cell’s Sex Dwarf. In some ways however, Soft Cell’s wonderful portrayal of the […]

Read the full article →

Filling The Vacuum (part 2) – Policy

November 25, 2010

Yesterday, in Part 1, I sought to set out the central narrative message that the Labour Party should be adopting in respect of its response to the financial crisis and the Coalition government’s draconian spending cuts.   My argument yesterday was that Ed Miliband ought to concentrate his message on the government’s lack of legitimacy in […]

Read the full article →

The Debt Crisis: isn’t it time for a few home truths?

November 25, 2010

Something has been niggling me for a while – it’s the argument which appears to have been accepted as truth, that the reason we are in the current economic mess is solely as a result of the profligate Labour Government. Now, New Labour under Blair and Brown may have many things to answer for, but […]

Read the full article →

Not much tops the Ashes!

November 25, 2010

What do we want from our international sport? Well, we want blood curdlingly intense competition – we want to know that the protagonists hate eachother, would kill eachother, would happily see the other team not just beaten but beaten and humiliated. Yet, we like the idea that they might have a beer together at some […]

Read the full article →

Will Boundary Changes Be Such Bad News For Labour?

November 24, 2010

Back in September, the Electoral Reform Society (ERS) commissioned this piece of work to show what the constituencies could be like under the government’s proposals to reduce the number of parliamentary seats.  These differ from the government proposals in a few ways, as set out on their web page, but they do give a reasonable indication of what […]

Read the full article →

Palin Gives Her Support To North Korea

November 24, 2010

Absolute classic – Sarah Palin on the Glenn Beck show today on the Korean Crisis: “This speaks to a bigger picture here that certainly scares me in terms of our national security policy. But obviously we’ve gotta stand with our North Korean allies.”

Read the full article →

#10: 1939, Billie Holiday, Strange Fruit

November 24, 2010

As Songs To Learn and Sing enters double figures I return to where we started, with an absolute rock-ribbed all time classic.  Billie Holiday’s 1939 adaptation of Abel Meerepol’s poem first published three years earlier brought together the work of a New York Jewish Marxist intellectual with the perhaps the finest female vocalist who has […]

Read the full article →

It’s a bankers’ racket

November 24, 2010

Brian Lenihan, Ireland’s Finance Minister, has now announced the four year auesterty plan designed to achieve savings of €15bn in return for an international loan package worth €85bn being provided by the IMF and the EU.  The loan money is needed to prop up the country’s insolvent banking system.  It will ultimately find itself being […]

Read the full article →

Filling the vacuum (part 1) – narrative

November 24, 2010

We at Allthatsleft believe that the centre left in the UK is far too defensive.  It is far too easily blown off course by the criticism of an overwhelmingly right wing media and a Westminster Village herd mentality.    The Labour Party has much to be proud about in its history and it should stop allowing […]

Read the full article →

Another pointless Education White Paper

November 24, 2010

After I’ve posted this, I shall immediately lock and bolt my door and protect myself against capture by the police – because I am about to argue in favour of something so radical, so dangerously left wing that I must clearly be either criminally insane or an active member of  some Marxist fringe group that […]

Read the full article →

#9: 1972, Townes Van Zandt, Pancho and Lefty

November 23, 2010

Allthatsleft goes Country. First, apologies for the sound-only clip. Success dodged singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt throughout his life, but this song was later recorded by both Emmylou Harris and Van Zandt’s protege Steve Earle and was a hit duet (with some rather cheesy eighties keyboard) for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard. Pancho in the song […]

Read the full article →