From the monthly archives:

April 2013

Week 16: Villain – Anti Gun Reform US Senators

April 21, 2013

This week, our award for Villain goes to the US Senators who voted against gun reform legislation. Barack Obama must sometimes wonder why he bothers. He is the world’s highest profile casualty of petty office politics. We all have our own examples of the office colleague who is either manipulative, aggressive, dismissive, contrary, or just […]

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#674: 1933, Kanui & Lula, Tomi Tomi

April 20, 2013

It’s time for another find from my wife’s inherited collection of 78s.  We’ve moved from South Africa to Hawaii for this great song from the husband and wife duo, Kanui & Lula.  Apparently they were based in Paris at the time of the recording and appear to be a part of a long wave of […]

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Scottish Independence – Whit’s Nae Tae Like?

April 19, 2013

I have always considered myself to be both Scottish and British, and I have been a lifelong supporter of the union, but I now officially announce my support for Scottish Independence. If I lived in Scotland, I would vote YES to Scottish independence at the referendum on 18th September 2014. My cathartic u-turn is based […]

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#673: 2007, Arcade Fire, Intervention

April 19, 2013

I think I’m right in saying that this is the first Arcade Fire song – which after nearly 700 songs, is a surprise. This song comes from their second album, Neon Bible and it’s a massive, massive song.To record the song the band bought a church and transformed it into a recording studio. The religious […]

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The Terminal Decline of the Criminal Bar: 9 Months to Live

April 19, 2013

I hope that none of the people who read this blog ever seek my professional services, because if you do, it means that you are either the victim of a crime or charged with a crime. Now, I’m not going to make any bloated claims about how great I am as a criminal barrister, but, […]

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#672: 2007, Wilco, Glad It’s Over

April 18, 2013

Finally. The 10 day free Conservative Party Political Broadcast is over.  Some of it would have made North Korea feel shamefaced.  The unprecedented recall of Parliament. The 7 hour tribute (only 6 hours and 15 minutes longer than Churchill).   A gun salute every minute.  Big Ben silenced.  Full military honours for beating a bunch of […]

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The Shame of the US Senate

April 18, 2013

“This is a pretty shameful day for Washington.” Barack Obama, April 17th, 2013. One of the major pieces of legislation that I worked on during my time at Westminster, was the Firearms (Amendment) Acts of 1997, which were passed to make private ownership of handguns illegal in the United Kingdom. This legislation came into being […]

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Debunking Thatcherism – Oliver James

April 18, 2013

The psychologist, policy adviser and journalist, Oliver James is an outspoken critic of Thatcherism and Neo-Liberal economics. As well as linking a clip of his critical rant on Newsnight in February 2009, I have also highlighted his provocative and insightful article in the Guardian on April 16th 2013. More of this please. When Britain stops […]

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Sportsnight #4: 1985, Boxing, Hagler v Hearns, “The War”

April 17, 2013

Good evening and welcome to Sportsnight. Tonight’s action features middleweight boxing. We are off to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for the undisputed world middleweight title fight between the undisputed champion “Marvellous” Marvin Hagler and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns. The fight is considered by many to be the finest middleweight boxing match in history. The […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #18: An Alternative Mainstream Political Ideology

April 17, 2013

“We are all Thatcherites now” – David Cameron, April 2013. Thatcherism remains the core ideology within mainstream British politics. Born out of the Keith Joseph/Margaret Thatcher founded Centre of Policy Studies, its ideology has won every General Election since 1979. Its propaganda has been largely propped up by heavy influencers within our dominant business and […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #17: Organised Labour

April 17, 2013

The percentage of GDP that represents wages was 65% in the mid-1970s and was around the 60% mark for the entire period between the end of the Second World War and the election of the Thatcher government.  It now stands at only just above 50% and is falling.  Real wages are at their lowest levels […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #16: Public Sector Industries

April 17, 2013

Just about the only thing left in Britain that has not been privatised was Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. When Thatcher left office in November 1990, more than 40 former state-owned businesses had been privatised, a process which affected more than 600,000 workers in former nationalised industries. This process is continuing in the Cameron led era today. […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #15: Nuclear Disarmament

April 17, 2013

Many of Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet Ministers were in attendance at her funeral today. Many of Margaret Thatcher’s first cabinet ministers were opposed to buying the US Trident missile system. This did not stop Thatcher from going ahead with the deal behind their backs. We still have Trident today. We are likely to renew Trident at […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #14: Milk in Schools

April 17, 2013

Remember also when the funeral is over and the sandwiches are being eaten and the clank of spoon against good China can be heard, the time when at about 11am every morning, every child in every primary school in the land would stop work and be given a bottle of milk.  Why? Because it made […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #13: Scottish Tories

April 17, 2013

Margaret Thatcher was never likely to be buried in Glasgow. In 1979, The Scottish Conservatives won 22 seats at the General Election. By 2010, this total had been reduced to just one Tory MP in Scotland. This can be attributed to the Thatcher era dismantling of traditional Scottish industries, and the introduction of the Poll […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #12: Full Employment

April 17, 2013

On the day that the heirs of the Thatcher that are the current government preside over yet another increase in unemployment, sing a lament to the death of  the central plank of government economic policy being full employment, which had served the country so well for the three decades after the Second World War.  Mass […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #11: The Founding Principles of the NHS

April 17, 2013

As Margaret Thatcher gets the biggest political send off since Churchill, let us not forget that she began the slow dismantling of the NHS. Thatcher brought in the concept of the internal market and fundholding within the NHS. Under Thatcher, the NHS became like a supermarket to increase efficiency and effectiveness. Instead of meeting patient […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #10: The British Fishing Industry

April 17, 2013

As the coffin leaves the Cathedral spare a thought for our coastal fishing communities, killed by agribusiness promoted under the Thatcher government. The great Nye Bevan once called Britain a ‘a lump of coal surrounded by fish‘. The mines are now shut and the fish are gone.

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #9: British GDP Surplus

April 17, 2013

Despite only having met her once, George Osborne shed a tear at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral at St Paul’s. We instead lament the death of the GDP surplus during the Thatcher era. As Forbes Magazine stated last week, “The fact is that under Thatcherism the UK’s trade position went from the merely weak to the totally […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #8: The Hillsborough 96

April 17, 2013

As Gideon sheds tears in St Paul’s Cathedral for his heroine, let us look to Merseyside and remember the deaths of 96 Liverpool football fans almost exactly 24 years ago.  Football fans were treated in the 1980s as all but sub-human.  They were caged like animals and then in death treated as worse than that […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #7: British Social Wealth

April 17, 2013

As Bishop Chartres reminds the congregation at St Paul’s that Margaret Thatcher had the common destiny of all human beings. “Lying there, she is one of us.” We will instead remember the massive deconstruction of Britain’s social wealth under the Thatcher era. As someone notable once said, “there is no such thing as society.”

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #6: British Capitalism

April 17, 2013

The gilded elite are currently perching their plump derrières within St Paul’s Cathedral to pay tribute to the Queen of Deregulation of financial services. We will instead pay our last respects to British capitalism, which died in 2008 as a result of Thatcherism ideology. The rich got richer and the rest of us paid the […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #5: British Manufacturing Industry

April 17, 2013

As the Queen takes her place and the service begins in the tribute that was denied to Herbert Asquith, David Lloyd George, Clement Attlee and Harold MacMillan (each of them far greater Prime Ministers and far more admirable in what they represented), doff your caps to the  late Workshop of the World, now looking very […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #4: The British Shipbuilding Industry

April 17, 2013

As the fat cats in The City of London clink a glass of Krug, and twang their red braces as a mark of respect towards their Big Bang heroine – Margaret Thatcher, we will instead remember our once great shipbuilding industry.

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #3: The British Farming Industry

April 17, 2013

As the great and good of our establishment join hands in St Paul’s Cathedral to remember Margaret Thatcher. Let us also remember our once great farming industry.

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #2: The British Steel Industry

April 17, 2013

As the bells toll at St Clement’s Dane and Big Ben is silenced as the send off for Margaret Thatcher worthy of Kim-il Sung continues, spare a thought for the steelworkers.

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#671: 2001, The Proclaimers, Act of Remembrance

April 17, 2013

Today is the day of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral. Thatcher was a divisive figure during her life, and has proved just as divisive since her death. The reaction to Thatcher’s death has left me feeling rather uncomfortable. Many of the reactions on both sides of the debate have either been filled with mawkishness or hatred. Neither […]

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Other Deaths Worth Remembering Today #1: The British Coal Industry

April 17, 2013

As the North Korean style coverage of Margaret Thatcher’s funeral commences, let’s spare some thoughts for some of the victims of her administration.

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What could have happened in 1979?

April 16, 2013

 No, this isn’t one of our favourite, let’s turn back time and pretend that  Thatcher or X never existed, fun though those musings are – I’m posing a different question – and it is in answer to the popular myth being peddled at the moment that in 1979 Thatcher saved Britain. Well did she? And, […]

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#670: 2013, Dropkick Murphys, The Boys Are Back

April 16, 2013

Yesterday, we heard the horrific news of the bombs on Boston’s Boylston Street that hit the city’s marathon.  Two homemade, but apparently well-planned, bombs went off at one of the busiest points of the city as runners past through the finish-line.  Three people lay dead and of the other 176 injured, many will not walk […]

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