From the monthly archives:

August 2011

#271: 1969, Townes Van Zandt, Snake Mountain Blues

August 31, 2011

My reason for picking this song is no more than it being the last thing on my I-Pod before I got home. It is a song recorded on Van Zandt’s second album, Our Mother The Mountain in the year I was born, that I hadn’t heard until today. You can’t go wrong with a track that […]

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London 2012, Olympic Hopefuls #4 – Dai Greene, 400m Hurdles

August 31, 2011

The Llanelli flyer is fast becoming Britain’s best bet for an athletic gold medal at next year’s London Olympics. And if that’s the case, as a fellow Welshman, there will be no one happier than me. Dai Greene is pure class. He combines pace and power, with a fine strategic mind which means he knows […]

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After the riots – who on earth is still calling for Free Schools!

August 31, 2011

Next week will see Free Schools opening their gates to kids for the first time. Only a couple of weeks back we had riots on an unprecedented scale in inner cities across the UK. The debate about the cause of the rioting will go on and on, and rightfully so, because it is a complex […]

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Spot The Fat Cat Difference

August 30, 2011

As Ray North wrote yesterday, our Hero of the Week were the French billionaires who last week wrote to President Sarkozy demanding to pay more tax. Today the Guardian carried a story about how 50 wealthy Germans are lobbying Angela Merkel to tax them harder to “stop the gap between rich and poor getting even […]

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#270: 2000, Lambchop, Up with People

August 30, 2011

This is a lovely song from a lovely album. I first heard it lying in bed with my young wife listening to The Late Lounge on Jazz FM with Rosie Kendrick – I remember the guitar that gently drove the song and the soft gravel voice of Kurt Wagner as he tells us in whispering […]

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In the debate between Hayek and Keynes, is the answer Marx?

August 30, 2011

We are, or so the Coalition government tell us, in a terrible situation. The armageddon of economic disintegration is nigh, they say, unless we take drastic action. The Coalition’s strategy for ‘drastic action’ has been a mix of Thatcher and Hayekism – combining Maggie’s desire to shrink the state and Friedrich’s belief that in times […]

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#269: 1994, Blur, Bank Holiday

August 29, 2011

It’s the last bank holiday before Crimbo and the weather, as ever, is shite.  The long autumn and winter months lie ahead with no public holidays before the last week of December.  That’s not to say I’m in favour of the ideologically petty Conservative proposal of moving May Day to some sort of patriotic holiday […]

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Week 34: Hero – The French Tax Paying Billionaires

August 29, 2011

This week’s winners of the coveted Allthatsleft Hero of the Week Award are the… 16 Tax Paying French Billionaires. You have to go some to be both a billionaire and a winner of Allthatsleft Hero of the Week award, but the 16 French Billionaires who signed a letter to French President Sarkozy demanding to pay […]

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#268: 1985, The Cure, In Between Days

August 28, 2011

Yesterday, Ray North wrote about a song that was played a lot in his home town. Now, I’ve been to Llandudno a couple of times in the nineties, and it seemed like a good place to grow up in. Which contrasts with Chelmsford, the town that both I and Dagenham Trash were born in and […]

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Week 34: Prat – Jacqui Smith

August 28, 2011

Our much coveted Prat of the Week award goes to former Home Secretary and MP for Redditch Jacqui Smith, who was revealed this week to have had her home decorated under a prison day-release scheme I’ve previously written on these pages that I had great hopes when Jacqui Smith was appointed this nation’s first female Home […]

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Week 34: Villain – George Osborne

August 28, 2011

This Week’s Villain of the Week is…George Osborne Our odious Chancellor of the Exchequer is no stranger to this Award, having won it on three previous occasions.  He usually wins the award for the things he does proudly, arrogantly and smugly – that is to say, for fucking up the economy.   How many times have […]

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#267: 1980, Peter Brown, Can’t Be Love (Do It To Me Any Way)

August 27, 2011

I’ve just spent a couple of days in my beloved home town of Llandudno – it was where I grew up, it is a place full of the most wonderful memories for me, it is the one place I can genuinely say that I know like the back of my hand. Sadly, the place I […]

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The slow lingering death of the traditional criminal barrister

August 27, 2011

There are about 6,000 criminal barristers in the UK; that is 6,000 traditional wig wearing Rumpole wannabes. Those numbers have increased markedly over the last couple of decades, and as a result there are now, it has to be accepted, more barristers than there are criminals to provide them with work. There are two reasons […]

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#266: 1998, Grandaddy, AM 180

August 25, 2011

The late 1990s were not exactly music’s greatest period.  Once Britpop had disappeared up its own pub rock arse, there really didn’t seem to be much going on. Yes, there were some great individual albums – not least Blur‘s  self- emancipation from Brit Pop, Blur from which somewhat shockingly no songs have yet appeared in […]

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Osborne’s Swiss Bank Con Trick

August 25, 2011

George Osborne is feeling pretty pleased with himself. After the deal he has struck with the Swiss forcing UK nationals holding funds with Swiss banks to either disclose their income or pay a ‘one off tax’ he has declared that he is being ‘as tough on tax-dodgers as he is on benefit cheats’ As with […]

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#265: 1956, Elvis Presley, Hound Dog

August 23, 2011

It’s a fatal week for people with the initials JL: first Jack Layton, now Jerry Leiber have passed on (Watch out, John Lydon). Leiber wrote the lyrics, whilst his partner Mike Stoller wrote the tunes, for many of the great hits of the fifties, in particular working with Elvis Presley, for whom they wrote Jailhouse […]

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Jack Layton RIP

August 23, 2011

There have been precious few leaders of parties of the left worldwide that have impressed us since we started AllThatsLeft last year.  Jack Layton, the leader of Canada’s New Democratic Party who died yesterday, was the clearest exception to this. Layton came from a political family, but was by no means certain to join the […]

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Libya: The National Transitional Council must live up to its name

August 23, 2011

Back in February, we backed the use of NATO forces to support the rebels who were attempting to bring down the Gaddafi government. We did so because the Arab League and the United Nations had given the uprising legitimacy and because we agreed with the fundamental aim of the rebels to overthrow a corrupt and […]

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#264: 1967, The Small Faces, Itchycoo Park

August 22, 2011

With my associate Jackie galavanting around the US of A, and my other associate George preparing for a trip to some other far off climes, the – I thought it was time to remind them both of one of England’s greatest ever pop songs – Itchycoo Park. A quintessentially English song, which, if legend is […]

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Liberal Democrats: Can Anyone Offer A Home To A Second Hand Party? Slightly Solied and Doesn’t Work As It Used To

August 22, 2011

Jackie Ashley writes a piece in today’s Guardian in which she discusses whether, in the light of recent indications from David Cameron, the Coalition is about to lurch to the right.   She notes the recent upping of the rhetoric by the Prime Minister against the usual targets of hardcore Toryism – the poor, those from […]

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‘Watering down the Human Rights Act’ – Is that Cameron’s best response to the London Riots?

August 22, 2011

Is that it? Is that David Cameron’s best response to the London Riots – a promise to take on ‘the wrong headed ideas and bureaucratic nonsense and destructive culture that are twisting human rights.’ Asserting with that phoney machismo and faux anger he resorts to when he’s on the back foot, his intention to get […]

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#263: 2005, Sufjan Stevens, Chicago

August 21, 2011

Reading Jackie South’s post yesterday about Johnny Cash‘s great version of I’ve Been Everywhere with its list of 92 place names, immediately brought to mind the quixotic idea of Sufjan Stevens to record one album inspired by each US state, the so called Fifty States Project. He started in 2003 with a record about his […]

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Week 33: Prat – Rick Perry

August 21, 2011

Our Prat of the Week award goes to Texan governor and presidential hopeful, Rick Perry. Governor Rick Perry is not one to shy away from outrageous statements. Last year, he publicly stated that Texas had a right to secede from the union as part of its statehood agreement and that Texas might consider using this. […]

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Week 33: Hero – HHJ Andrew Gilbart QC, the Recorder of Manchester

August 21, 2011

This week’s Hero of the Week Award goes to…Judge Andrew Gilbart QC How depressing the last couple of weeks have been.  Civil disturbances unprecedented in England in recent times followed by an all too predictable outburst of knee-jerkery in response.   From frothing at the mouth right wing columnists, to antediluvian Tory back benchers, to asinine […]

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Week 33: Villain – Jake Berry MP

August 21, 2011

This week’s Villain of the Week, goes to…… Jake Berry MP for Rossendale and Darwen. Normally, vicious little Tories simply annoy or amuse (the more vicious they are, often the more fun they can be after a few beers), but Jake Berry has managed to transcend mere annoyance and become a villain. His villainy comes […]

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#262: 1996, Johnny Cash, I’ve Been Everywhere

August 21, 2011

I’m in San Francisco, the final destination of my fortnight crossing the West from Chicago.  The last stage was the long train ride from Salt Lake City – which was delayed seven hours by the flooding of the Missouri (the train route started in Chicago).  This was pretty inconvenient: the train was due to reach […]

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Rise in NHS waiting times: the Coalition’s greatest failure?

August 20, 2011

Call me old fashioned; call me simplistic in my thinking, but I have this belief that one of the aims of government, of any hue, is to ensure that ill people don’t get neglected. I know, how naive of me, what a namby pamby bleeding heart liberal you are Ray – don’t you know that […]

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#261: 1988, The Mighty Lemon Drops, Inside Out

August 18, 2011

It’s ‘A’ Level day. Bloody hell. Takes me back. It’s now twenty odd years since I waited for the slip of unfeasibly thin paper that would seal my fate. I remember the day so well. My sisters Renee and Charlene had come home especially for the event, which annoyed me, I mean the pressure was […]

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Phone Hacking: More Questions – Clive Goodman, Andy Coulson and Harbottle & Lewis

August 18, 2011

It has been almost a month since the phone hacking story was dominating the news media.    On 22 July 2011 I identified the biggest questions that appeared to remain unanswered. However Tuesday saw the story return with a vengeance as a result of Clive Goodman’s letter dated 2 March 2007 in respect of an appeal […]

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#260: 1955, Elvis Presley, Mystery Train

August 17, 2011

  If there are seven ages of man, there are, I think, five ages of Elvis. Working backwards: Fat Elvis at the end, Comeback Elvis following the 1968 NBC television special, Movie (or Crap) Elvis, Peak Elvis from his signing for RCA in 1956 until he entered the Army and to start it all off, Sun (or […]

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