From the monthly archives:

June 2012

Bankers + Bonuses + Greed = Fraud

June 30, 2012

In the aftermath of the news that Barclays Bank had been fined the best part of £300m for manipulating the inter-bank lending rate (Libor), Sir Mervyn King put out a statement saying that ‘something, had gone very wrong with the banking system,’ – the sentiment is right (he couldn’t really say anything else), but the […]

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Top of The Pops 1980s Special: Songs To Learn And Sing Readers’ Chart

June 29, 2012

Jackie South’s posting yesterday of the superb and supremely topical Bankrobber by The Clash was the 100th song from the 1980s, the first decade to reach this marker in our daily songs feature, Songs To Learn and Sing.    The song was also the 20th song from 1980, making it the third of our Golden Years […]

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#495: 1980, The Clash, Bankrobber

June 28, 2012

Last week, it was RBS, Nat West and Ulster Bank customers not having money transferred to and from their accounts.  This week, it is the news that Barclays is getting a slap on the wrist for fiddling the LIBOR rate, with international consequences and the likelihood that they were not the only bank implicated.  And […]

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When Marty met Betty

June 28, 2012

We recently had one of our regular Allthatsleft spats over the award for Hero of the Week. I don’t think I’m breaking any confidences when I say that two of us were in favour of The Queen and Martin McGuiness and two gave their votes to Aung San Suu Kyi, who eventually prevailed. Now, to […]

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SCOTUS Upholds ObamaCare: The US Remains A Nation Of Laws (Just)

June 28, 2012

Trading on In-Trade this morning had it a 73% probability that the US Supreme Court would strike down the centre piece of Barack Obama’s domestic legislative programme: the Affordable Care Act, by ruling that the individual mandate was unconstitutional. As I wrote during argument before the Court, the conservative justices had been very hostile to the arguments […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: The Turin Horse

June 28, 2012

  Two and a half hours long.  Black and white.   An elderly peasant without the use of his right arm, and a younger woman, probably his daughter, live in a remote farm house.   Over the course of 6 days we watch the rituals of their life.   He gets up and is dressed by her, they […]

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#494: 1999, Esbjorn Svensson Trio, From Gagarin’s Point Of View

June 27, 2012

I was a lucky man and had a bumper crop of CD gifts for my birthday earlier in the year.  With limited time for dedicated listening at the moment I am still working my way through them but I have finally got around to the E.S.T retrospective that my wiser, older brother gave me. It’s […]

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Lords Reform: Can Nick Clegg Deliver?

June 27, 2012

As I have said before on these pages, I am completely in favour of abolishing the House of Lords in its current guise. The argument in favour of reforming a second chamber that still has its membership drawn from people who are appointed by political leaders or through a quirk of birth is unanswerable. The […]

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#493: 2010, Danny Byrd, Ill Behaviour

June 25, 2012

London. And my usual existential crisis. On the tube: a girl with beautiful hair sits next to an Indian man with very shiny shoes and I wonder if they’ll ever speak to each other; two students who look like they need a good wash talk about things I don’t understand, and I wonder if he’ll […]

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Week 25: Villain – Michael Gove MP

June 25, 2012

This weeks Villain of the Week award goes to Secretary of State for Education Rt. Hon. Michael Gove. I first met Michael Gove many years ago when we had both agreed to take part in a mock BBC Election Night programme. I found him charmless and arrogant – in government he has taken those traits […]

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Week 25: Prat – David Cameron

June 24, 2012

For the eighth time since our blog started the Prime Minister wins our award for being the biggest prat of the last week, bringing him level with his hapless deputy, Nick Clegg. Some of the thoughts of our Prime Minister this week whilst at Los Cabos: Tuesday “I know, I’ll show those damn Argies what’s […]

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#492: 2001, The White Stripes, Hotel Yorba

June 24, 2012

So the weekend ends with England going out to Italy on penalties as the fans sang the introduction to Seven Nation Army (what is that about?).  However painful it was to watch happen again, it is difficult to argue with the result.  Italy were by far the better team.  Andrea Pirlo was by some way […]

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Week 25: Hero – Aung San Suu Kyi

June 24, 2012

The winner of this week’s hero award goes to the Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “…this is the most important time for Burma…this is the moment of our greatest need – and so I would ask that our friends, both here in Britain and beyond, participate and support Burma’s efforts towards the establishment […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: Prometheus

June 24, 2012

‘No wonder they’ve got so many accounts executives given how much money they were pissing up the wall’ So said Mrs East, as the very long credits of Ridley Scott’s kind of sort of Alien prequel concluded.   And she had a point.  Prometheus is a film that has sacrificed the taut plot, claustrophobic setting and […]

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#491: 1974, Gram Parsons, Return of the Grievous Angel

June 23, 2012

Given George’s and my great love of Gram Parsons, its surprising that only one of his songs has featured to date on Songs to Learn and Sing. Grievous Angel was Parsons’ posthumous album and this opening track features Emmylou Harris’s supporting vocals. Its subject matter is an old one: the restless wander’s yearning for the […]

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Euro 2012: The Story So Far

June 22, 2012

Ouch. My pre-tournament tips have been about as successful as George Osborne’s predictions about the economy. Germany to go out in the first round! Ouch. Holland to win! Ooh! England to struggle in the group! Pfff! Both host to teams to go through. Oh dear! Even my general prediction that the standard and quality of […]

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Ed Miliband’s Immigration Speech: Good Sense or Daily Mail Pandering?

June 22, 2012

When I heard that Ed Miliband was making a speech on immigration and its effects on the workforce and the economy, I felt my guts churn and I let out an audible groan – experience tells us that politicians making a speech about these issues invariably pander to the lowest common denominator Daily Mail speak […]

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#490: 1980, Martha and the Muffins, Echo Beach

June 21, 2012

Back home after a week away in the wonderfully sunny Turkey – and I see that it is still raining, the government is still bonkers (‘O’ levels – what the bloody hell is that all about?), my predictions for Euro 2012 have been strikingly wrong (its as though a drunk middle aged women who has […]

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All That’s Left’s Slate Success in Labour NEC Elections

June 20, 2012

Last month, we reviewed the election of the Labour Party’s constituency section of its National Executive Committee.  The polls closed last Friday and the results were announced today.  We also unveiled our own slate from the runners and riders. There were two official slates running: the Grassroots Alliance on the left and the Progress/ Labour […]

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#489: 2001, The Cure, Cut Here

June 20, 2012

Sometimes acoustic versions of songs are much better than the original version.  This is definitely one example.  Another for me is the brilliant version of No Apologies on the Nirvana MTV Unplugged LP. This is a song full of regret and the acoustic version is much more suited to the emotion of the lyrics. Apparently […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #7: 1990, Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese)

June 19, 2012

‘As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be a gangster’ Martin Scorsese is, I think, the one serious director that virtually all blokes of my age, whether or not they are film fans, have a view on.  Even blokes who rarely go to the cinema and have no real interest in […]

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Greek Elections, Episode II

June 18, 2012

A mere six weeks after the last Greek general election, yesterday’s re-run looks to have brought some fragile stability to Greek politics.  With Angela Merkel playing hardball, with potentially unbearable consequences for the Greeks, how long that stability lasts remains to be seen. Fewer Greeks turned out to vote this time: over half a million […]

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#488: 2008, Vampire Weekend, Walcott

June 17, 2012

This song is not, sadly, a further paeon to the great young Arsenal winger who turned around England’s fortunes on Friday, but it was certainly brought to my mind as a result.  Walcott is my favourite Vampire Weekend song and was the storming encore when I saw them play at the Forum on the tour […]

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Week 24: Hero – Theo Walcott

June 17, 2012

This Week’s Allthatsleft Hero of the Week is Arsenal and England winger Theo Walcott for turning around England’s chances in Euro 2012 in the match against Sweden. Things started well, of course. From Steven Gerrard’s cross, Andy Carroll scored the opener with a classic English centre forward header from such a high position that it […]

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Week 24: Prat – Argyll and Bute Council

June 17, 2012

This week’s prat award goes to the nine-year-old’s-blog-banning Argyll and Bute Council. Ok they didn’t technically ban nine year old Martha Payne’s blog NeverSeconds but Argyll and Bute Council’s decision to stop photography in the school dining hall would have effectively but an end to her site giving reports on her daily school lunch. It is a […]

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Week 24: Villain – Iain Duncan Smith

June 17, 2012

This week, our award for the greatest villain of the last seven days goes to Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith We have heard ad nauseam from the Coalition parties that the deficit is all the fault of the last Labour government rather than the state of the world economy or the recklessness of the financial […]

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#487: 1969, The Beatles, Get Back

June 15, 2012

OK, Football Theme Week has officially ended here on Songs To Learn And Sing. Yet watching the torture and delight from Kiev this evening prompted me to post one last football related song. Why is it that however much you start a tournament knowing that England won’t get very far that it only takes a […]

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South East Boundary Changes Part 5: Kent

June 15, 2012

For the fifth in our series looking at the proposed boundary changes for constituencies in South East England, we are paying a visit to the Garden of England. Kent only had Conservative MPs between 1979 and 1997 and in the run-up to the 1997 general election Labour was only predicted to take two seats, and […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies: Goodbye First Love

June 15, 2012

If Moonrise Kingdom is a film about two children on the verge of adolescence feeling the initial inklings of desire, Goodbye First Love is about how the overwhelming sexual intensity of a teen love affair cannot be replicated in  more adult relationships. The films are a mile apart.  There is nothing real about Wes Anderson’s […]

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#486: 1969, The Carrolls, We’re In This Thing Together

June 14, 2012

Ok I admit it this is a cheap go at linking today’s headlines to Songs To Learn And Sing. But it’s not that bad a song… I knew nothing about the band before today – from Liverpool, a sister and three brothers apparently. Irene Carroll became better known as Faith Brown. There you go, you […]

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