From the monthly archives:

January 2011

Chicago prediction: Rahm romps home as opponents crack up

January 31, 2011

George East set me another challenge few days ago: predicting Rahm Emanuel’s chances of winning the job of Chicago mayor. I think the biggest question now is when, rather than if, he gets elected.  The election takes place on Tuesday 22 February but, if no candidate wins 50% of the vote, a runoff will be […]

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#74: 1988, The La’s, There She Goes

January 30, 2011

I was born a few months before The Beatles called it a day. Like every one I was introduced to them at an early age – they were, I was told, the biggest, greatest band that ever lived, redefining music and culture throughout the whole world and probably the whole universe as well. I looked […]

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Week 4: Prat – Andy Gray

January 30, 2011

In the 2004 film Anchorman, Will Ferrell plays sexist and dim-witted newsreader Ron Burgundy in the 1970′s. The film gets its laughs by mocking Burgundy’s simplistic misogyny in the comfort that this is all thirty years beforehand and that those attitudes no longer exist. In the end, even Burgundy can see his outlook is outdated […]

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Week4: Hero – David Kato

January 30, 2011

The right to love and be in love with a person you choose is one of the most fundamental. No state should ever prevent someone from expressing their sexuality, just because those who make legislation, invariable straight males, are too insecure or ignorant to accept that someone’s sexuality is a totally natural thing to them. […]

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Week 4: Villain – Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

January 30, 2011

 ‘When the people decide to live, destiny shall obey and one day the chains of slavery shall be broken’ – Abu Ali-Quasim Al-Shabi. The extraordinary events we are witnessing across North Africa started when one young Tunisian man, Muhammad Bouazizi set fire to himself at protest at being prevented from selling vegetables on the streets […]

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The State of Obama

January 30, 2011

I wrote in December of the growing sense of disillusionment with President Obama amongst our progressive friends across the pond.   There was a sense that the defeats that were seen in the mid-term congressional elections were in part self-inflicted by an unwillingness to make the case for progressive policies or to take the fight to […]

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#73: 1979, The Cure, Fire In Cairo

January 30, 2011

Watching history being made in Egypt over the last few days brought this song to mind. Not because it is a song about revolution or at all political but simply because of the direct association of the title, which kind of seems apposite given the current events. The song captures the red hot heat of […]

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Ed fails Afghanistan test

January 29, 2011

At teatime today I was dishing out fishfingers and chips to the young North boys, the radio was on and the third, or perhaps fourth item on the news was that Ed Miliband had visited Afghanistan – alright, I thought, that was something the leader of the opposition has to do. I was struck however, […]

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Goodbye to Control Orders and hello to, er, Control Orders!

January 29, 2011

On the 5th January I challenged the Lib-Dem leadership to do something that would make all of those who had voted for them or campaigned for them over the years proud and scrap Control Orders. I was naively optimistic. After all, the Lib-Dems had traditionally been vociferous in their opposition to Control Orders – they […]

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#72: 2009, La Roux, Bulletproof

January 29, 2011

In STLAS #71, Ray North rightly pointed out that Allthatsleft don’t do disco. We don’t do synthpop either. But sometimes you just have to concede that stuff you shouldn’t like is actually pretty bloody good.  Of course, it helps if it’s delivered with the swagger Ellie Jackson pulls off here, with a look that is […]

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Rahmbo Returns

January 28, 2011

I can’t say I am exactly surprised by this, but President Obama’s former Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, won his appeal in Supreme Court of Illinois against the ruling of the Illinois Court of Appeals on Monday excluding him from standing for Mayor of Chicago.  The terms of the unanimous decision of the seven judges […]

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From Bad To Worse

January 28, 2011

Following the shocking GDP figures released for Q4 of 2010 on showing a contraction in the economy of 0.5% on Tuesday today saw the latest consumer confidence figures released, showing a figure of -29%, its lowest figure since the height of the financial crisis in March 2009 when it reached -30%.  Although a drop in […]

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Israeli Peace Process: Eighteen Wasted Years

January 28, 2011

We all remember the iconic photograph, Oslo 1993, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat beaming genuine happy confident smiles at one another, their hands clasped in a historic handshake of friendship – that should have been the moment, that should have been the time when Israel and Palestine finally reached an accord that would bring lasting […]

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#71: 1975, Donna Summer, Love To Love You Baby

January 27, 2011

We don’t do disco at Allthatsleft, and there’s a good reason for that – because in the main disco is crap, especially the disco which involves outrageous white suits and over-produced orchestral arrangement. But Donna Summer’s, Love To Love You Baby isn’t cheesy disco it is much much more and deserves its place in the […]

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It can’t be a coalition if it doesn’t coalesce!

January 27, 2011

One of the arguments proffered by Nick Clegg when, back in May, he decided to fall into the loving arms of David Cameron was that, if you are going to have ‘grown up’ politics and a proportional system of voting, you can’t be too picky as to who you might end up having to work […]

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#70: 1953, Hank Williams, Your Cheatin’ Heart

January 27, 2011

In 1939 the great John Ford directed Stagecoach starring B movie actor John Wayne as the Ringo Kid.  It made Wayne a star and more importantly elevated a dime a dozen B movie genre, the western, into the greatest of all movie genres of Hollywood’s golden age. Stagecoach has just about every western cliche in it, […]

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Vince was right to wage war against Murdoch

January 26, 2011

Vince Cable has not exactly covered himself in glory during the months of the Coalition Government – in fact, as we have marked on these pages, his star has plummeted like a one winged duck. But, I suppose, putting aside the fact that saying it in public got him sacked from the job where he […]

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1989 all over again?

January 26, 2011

First Tunisia, and now Egypt is in political turmoil.   People are on the streets protesting against entrenched authoritarian and corrupt governments.    These are potentially seismically important events. In Tunisia things appeared to happen so quickly that the international community could barely keep up with the developments.    On 17 December a young unemployed man set fire […]

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A King’s Speech

January 26, 2011

I wrote yesterday that following the publication of the disastrous 2010 Q4 GDP figures, all eyes would be on the Governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King and his speech to accountants in Newcastle last night.   The concern was that he would indicate that there is likely to be a shift upwards in interest […]

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#69: 1969, MC5, Kick Out The Jams

January 26, 2011

In my last STLAS post, I based my pick on it being entry number 66. So I thought I should come up with a similar reference for entry 69. (No, not THAT 69 reference – behave, I’m both shocked and appalled!). 1969 was both the year of my birth and a vintage year for music. […]

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I Agree With … Gerry ?!?!

January 25, 2011

Given my (part) Northern Irish Protestant heritage, and having relatives who witnessed the Omagh bomb, I find it hard to admit that I agree with Gerry Adams. But Gerry Adams is absolutely right when he refuses to play along with obscure Parliamentary procedure in resigning as MP for Belfast West to stand in the Republic of […]

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Self Dail-usion rules in Ireland

January 25, 2011

In the wake of their financial collapse, Ireland’s political elite appear to be lost in a fog of self-delusion. I have written before about their delusion of their relationship with the banks, ‘need’ for massive public sector cuts and downright voodoo free-market dogma that have led to its economic death spiral. Taoiseach Brian Cowen seems […]

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Gideon Blames the Weather

January 25, 2011

Bloomberg, the financial news wire, took a survey of 33 economists earlier this month and asked them to predict the GDP figure for the UK economy in the last quarter of 2010.  The median figure from the survey was +0.5%.  Such a figure would have been disappointing as the second and third quarters showed growth […]

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Carry On Emanuel

January 25, 2011

As discussed by Jackie South at the beginning of this month, Barack Obama’s former Chief of Staff and former senior Clinton staffer, Rahm Emanuel resigned on 1 October 2010 in order to run for the office of Mayor of Chicago in elections next month.  With his close connections to the Chicago Democratic machine and fund […]

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#68: 1985, The Colourfield, Thinking Of You

January 24, 2011

In another time and another place, I am fifteen years old, it is a year that will end with rather mediocre ‘O’ levels. I have discovered girls – in particular I have discovered Jane from the fourth form. In my pursuit of the blue eyed, blonde haired, rather studious straight-laced Jane, I join a badminton club, […]

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Spouting Bollocks About Balls

January 24, 2011

Once again the Westminster Village has demonstrated its ability to run with the story it wants to write rather than a story involving any, you know, journalism. To read the Sunday papers you would think that Ed Balls has been running a campaign since September to undermine Ed Miliband, as the opinion formers have with […]

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Mr East Goes to the Movies: Blue Valentine

January 24, 2011

This is an anti-date film.   It charts the final days of a relationship between a late 20-something/early 30-something married blue collar couple Dean and Cindy, interwoven with flashbacks to their meeting, courting and marriage.   Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in the central roles are outstanding and the direction assured for a first time feature by […]

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#67: 2004, The Streets, Blinded By The Lights

January 23, 2011

In STLAS #65 Ray wrote about the quintessential genius of Ray Davies as a songwriter. He paved the way for Paul Weller, Morrissey, Parklife era Blur and the Arctic Monkeys amongst many others, with his ability to write in a peculiarly English idiom.  Another of his heirs is Mike Skinner of The Streets, who brought […]

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Week 3: Villain – Tony Blair

January 23, 2011

The Rt Hon Anthony Charles Lynton Blair appeared in front of the Chilcot inquiry this week.  In many ways, it didn’t tell us anything we didn’t know, or at least suspect.  However, there were three moments that made me shudder. The first was his clearly rehearsed line where he qualified his “no regrets” line from […]

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Week 3: Hero – Ed Balls

January 23, 2011

Ed Balls wanted to be Shadow Chancellor and now he has his chance. And what a massive task he has ahead of him – as was so lucidly pointed out by Jackie South yesterday, he needs to prove he can work with Ed Miliband, become a little more warm and human, and set about the […]

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