From the monthly archives:

January 2012

East Midlands Boundary Changes Part 1: Northamptonshire

January 31, 2012

We return to our series on the impact of the proposed Parliamentary boundary changes to take a look at the East Midlands.  We’ve previously covered London, Northern Ireland and North West, North East and South West England. The East Midlands isn’t always the most glamorous of regions, much of it lacks the beauty of the […]

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#389: 1972, Eagles, Take It Easy

January 30, 2012

On Saturday, Ray North posted a song to upset George East.  Shameful behaviour! Of course, our mate George has many musical hates, including the Eagles’ Hotel California. He’s got a point there: it is a truly pretentiously awful drippy ballad with a highly wanky guitar solo. But I would contend that a lot of earlier […]

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Coming Soon: The Bankers Strike Back!

January 30, 2012

Stephen Hester refused his bonus. Should we rejoice? No we should be scared. Because the backlash is coming. The bankers are not happy that Stephen Hester has had to refuse his bonus. The bankers are not happy that Sir Fred Goodwin has been so ruthlessly vilified in the press. The bankers are not happy that […]

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Week 4: Prat – Newt Gingrich

January 29, 2012

Our award this week for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to Newt Gingrich Last week, Newt Gingrich clinched our Villain of the Week award.  Newt has thrown away his lead of a week ago and now looks set to lose Florida on Tuesday.  And with that, it becomes almost impossible to […]

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Week 4: Villain – Stephen Hester

January 29, 2012

The Villain of the Week Award for this week goes to Britain’s highest paid public sector worker, Chief Executive of RBS, Stephen Hester Because let’s be clear, that is what he is.    RBS would not exist at all today if it hadn’t been for the taxpayer bailing it out in October 2008. It’s market exposure […]

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Week 4: Hero – Francois Hollande

January 29, 2012

This week’s Hero of the Week Award goes to the French Socialist Candidate for the Presidential Election – Francois Hollande! We are on the brink. Things have to change. The global capitalist system, dominated by the unregulated financial markets, has delivered massive wealth for the few, but is now grinding to a halt – leaving […]

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#388: 1988, U2, With Or Without You

January 28, 2012

(Evil laugh) Ha ha ha. So, they’ve gone without me! Jackie and George and Dagenham Trash (Bobby has a valid excuse and has been given full dispensation by the committee) have gone off for our annual reunion weekend on the piss and left me, Ray North, (literally) holding the babies! Well, I shall have my […]

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10 Things To Do With £963,000

January 28, 2012

Me and Stephen Hester have one thing in common – we both rely upon the state for our income – me, through legal aid payments (when the Legal Services Commission could be arsed to make them), and Stephen through a salary, pension and massive bonus. Whether I’m any good at my job, is, of course, […]

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#387: 1999, Bonnie Prince Billy, I See A Darkness

January 28, 2012

On Wednesday I went to my first gig of the year.  It was at the Hackney Empire, a theatre which for me will always be associated with Bobby West and his stint  there as their Assistant Box Office Manager back in those immediate years after university. Bobby got free tickets for me, and Ray and […]

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Lest We Forget…

January 27, 2012

Sixty-seven years ago today, the Soviet Red Army marched into Auschwitz-Birkenau to discover the full horror of the Holocaust.  As a result, today is Holocaust Memorial Day. I went to a moving ceremony at the Imperial War Museum this morning to mark the occasion.  It not only reflected on the Holocaust itself but noted that […]

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UK Economy – Austerity Economics In Action: Longer Than The Great Depression

January 27, 2012

This extraordinary graph is posted over at Notthetreasuryview.    It shows that the current economic downturn is now longer than that suffered in the Great Depression of the 1930s.   This is the real measure of a recession – how long it takes before the economy gets back to where it was in GDP terms before […]

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#386: 1992, L7, Pretend We’re Dead

January 26, 2012

Just before Christmas, George and I were in a pub mourning, old-man style, the demise of live performance of music on TV.  With pretty much the only exception of solo performers on morning telly, you never see it any more.  Even Jools‘ attempts to sound a bit edgy and spontaneous on Later are pre-recorded and […]

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I’m Confused By Clegg!

January 26, 2012

Right, so let’s recap – Nick Clegg leads the Lib-Dems into the general election in 2010, criticising the Tory proposals to introduce immediate and swingeing cuts to public expenditure. Then, he decides that he is wrong about this, and that in fact, immediate and swingeing cuts to public expenditure is exactly what is needed. He […]

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At Last – Some Sense About Drugs Policy

January 26, 2012

In recent years the Criminal Law has been dominated by the work of the Sentencing Guidelines Council – an august board that sets out guidelines for judges on sentencing for various offences. On the whole the proposals are pretty sensible and rarely out of kilter with what would have been passed in any event. Interestingly […]

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Rightwing Bullshitwatch #3: David Cameron Blames Labour for the Coalition’s Economic Train Wreck

January 26, 2012

We’ve had a few ridiculous excuses from this government over the course of the last year or so for the godawful performance of the economy.   In the winter of 2010 there was the snow, then there was the tsunami in Japan, the Royal Wedding and more recently the Eurozone crisis even though the economy began […]

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Republican Primaries: Florida and Beyond

January 24, 2012

Romney’s campaign seems to have been thrown in turmoil by the outcome of the South Carolina primary and polls currently show Gingrich ahead in Florida.  Florida is a particularly important primary election, as its winner takes all 50 delegates on offer forward to the Republican convention whereas other states (such as New Hampshire) allocate them […]

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#385: 1981, UB40, 1 in 10

January 24, 2012

Today, I’m feeling angry – I want a political song. Now, I am sure that there are political songs being written today that speak for today’s disaffected – there must be. I toy with The Enemy, who tried quite hard a couple of years ago to articulate the feelings of growing up in an inner […]

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The Coalition: Bringing Poverty And Inequality To A Town Near You

January 24, 2012

There were three significant events in UK politics yesterday: first, the Coalition fought tooth and nail to pass their pernicious Welfare Reform Bill through the Lords; second, Vince Cable announced his proposals for controlling the excesses of Boardroom pay; third, the opinion polls showed that the Tories’ lead over Labour had risen. The link between […]

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#384: 1977, Richard Hell & The Voidoids, Blank Generation

January 22, 2012

There is no particular reason for my posting of what I think is probably the greatest single of the American punk movement centred on New York Club, CBGBs.   But no reason is needed to post a track as great as this.  There is an alternative case to be made for, say, Patti Smith’s Gloria, […]

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Week 3: Hero – Caroline Lucas

January 22, 2012

This Week’s Hero Award goes to the leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton Pavillion, Caroline Lucas There were two bright moments in the otherwise depressing general election in May 2010 that ushered in the current government.  They came within 20 minutes of each other. First, Margaret Hodge comfortably seeing off the odious […]

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South Carolina Round Up

January 22, 2012

As I wrote earlier today, Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary by some margin: 40% to Romney’s 28%.  This is a remarkable turnaround over the last week and shows that Gingrich’s momentum was uninterrupted by his second wife’s revelations on Thursday. Under the South Carolina primary rules, this gives him 23 or the 25 delegates for […]

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Week 3: Prat – Michael Gove

January 22, 2012

After an outstandingly Prattish week, this naturally gifted Prat, and Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, is awarded our Prat of the Week. This week unemployment rose to a staggering 2.8 million. Staggeringly – unemployment amongst the 16-22 age group is at over a million which equates to 22.3% of that demographic. They are […]

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Week 3: Villain – Newt Gingrich

January 22, 2012

This week, we are giving our Villain of the Week award to presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich Today we learnt that Newt Gingrich easily won the South Carolina primary(more on this later), putting him in serious contention for the Republican nomination for President.  A week ago, this seemed unlikely, but on Monday night, Gingrich entered a […]

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#383: 1968, Etta James, I’d Rather Go Blind

January 20, 2012

Today is a sad day for music, with the death of Etta James.  Etta’s voice was one of the most powerfully beautiful of all time, one many tried to emulate but none could match. This is my favourite Etta song, one of the many greats recorded at Muscle Shoals. RIP Etta.

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London Olympics 2012: British Hopeful #6 – David Beckham

January 20, 2012

This is one Olympic Hopeful that I will not be supporting. Not that I have anything against David Beckham, he’s always seemed like a nice fellah to me, lovely smile, excellent right foot, devoted family man, totally overrated as a footballer, but never mind. But, as an Olympic Hopeful – no, no, and no again. […]

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I Told You South Carolina Could Get Interesting…

January 19, 2012

On Tuesday, I blogged about Saturday’s South Carolina primary.  Back then, it looked as if Romney was stretching into the lead and, unless there was a significant development, by Sunday he would have won three in a row and be cruising to a relatively easy Republican nomination. There hasn’t been one significant development – there […]

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#382: 2000, The Dandy Warhols, Bohemian Like You

January 19, 2012

This song falls into a very specific category of musical genre – I call it the, eight pints down, instant bad dance inspirer. As I said, it is very specific – you have to be a bit pissed, but not so pissed that you are stumbling, mumbling or thinking about a taxi home; in fact […]

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The Tory Plan: What Atrios says…

January 19, 2012

Over at US poltical blog, Eschaton, Atrios (Duncan Black) sums it all up in one sentence in a post entitled ‘They Screwed Up’.   It is what I have been trying to say ever since this blog launched, only in much longer and no doubt more incoherent form.   It cannot be improved upon. ‘Basically the Tories thought they could implement a […]

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Want to make capitalism fairer? Bring forth the Works Councils!

January 19, 2012

Traditionally here in the UK, Works Council’s are frowned upon, laughed at or ignored. Chief Executives, who, under European Law, have to set up a Works Council if they employ fifty or more people and fifteen of those workers request one, do not encourage them. As such, the take up has been low and industrial […]

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Why is Labour picking the wrong fights?

January 18, 2012

I can understand what Ed Balls was trying to say. I think. I can understand what Ed Miliband is trying to say. Sort of. Balls’ decision to renege on a Labour promise to oppose the cuts in public sector pay, was justified by him on the grounds that in the current climate of cuts to […]

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