From the monthly archives:

February 2014

Too big to fail? RBS is too big to save

February 28, 2014

Royal Bank of Scotland made a loss last year of £8.2bn, its sixth consecutive annual loss, taking its cumulative losses to £46bn. This staggering loss sheet now meants that RBS has now lost all the bailout money invested in it by the taxpayer six years ago when the bank came close to complete collapse. Despite […]

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World Cup Special #1: GROUP A

February 27, 2014

There are exactly 104 days until the FIFA World Cup in Brazil. 104 days of hype, speculation, prayers, politics, earnest debate, fantasy and expectation, until the start of what is always the greatest show on earth. The drama, the colour the spectacle – marvellous. In the ensuing 104 days, I’ll be offering my own unique […]

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#859: 1979, The Police, Message In A Bottle

February 26, 2014

In the intervening thirty four years, since this was a top ten hit – The Police have gone from being a mainstream, yet respected New Wave group, to being a band that everyone likes to ridicule. And the principal reason for that is Sting. There is something hypocritical about Sting – he is in the […]

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Beyond Satire: The Tories Rebrand as The Workers’ Party

February 25, 2014

The Tories are to announce that they will now describe themselves as the “Workers’ Party.” – This is not satire. This is really happening. Grant Shapps, the party chairman, will announce alongside Sir John Major, the former champion of the “classless society“, that the Tories are now determined to show they want to spread privilege […]

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Some Musings About The Press…..

February 25, 2014

Let’s consider the following scenario which has been played out in the last couple of days. Now then, The Daily Mail, as we all know, has a fairly clear political agenda – it doesn’t like some politicians and some political ways of thinking. I hate the rag, I don’t buy it, that is the way […]

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What is it about the English?

February 25, 2014

Warning: this piece contains some serious national stereotyping – please bear with me, I mean well. Now, I could be wrong about this, but I’d wager that if you spoke to the average Scotsman/woman and asked them, come on, let’s be serious what’s the real attraction of independence, I doubt, and I don’t mean this […]

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Songs To Learn and Sing Golden Years #12: 1994

February 24, 2014

With Jackie South’s posting of Oasis’ debut single, Supersonic a couple of weeks back, 1994 became the first of the years of the 1990s to enter our Golden Years pantheon by having 20 Songs to Learn and Sing posted.   The full list of years together with the total number of songs it took to reach […]

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Scottish Independence #2: The Oil Debate

February 24, 2014

As the Scottish independence debate heats up, David Cameron is currently taking the provocative step of holding a Cabinet meeting in the Scottish oil capital Aberdeen. He will highlight how the UK has the “broad shoulders” needed to support the oil industry, suggesting that Scotland on its own would not have the necessary ways and […]

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The Corruption League of America #3

February 24, 2014

A month ago, we updated you on the progress of our Corruption League of America, our 2014 competition to find the USA’s most corrupt state. In that post, we decried the poor performance of the once-reliably dodgy Louisiana, outshone by usually squeaky keen Virginia in the southern states and left flailing in the wake of […]

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Week 8 – Villain: Tony Blair

February 23, 2014

This Week’s Villain of the Week is former Prime Minister Tony Blair who revealed once again his craven relationship with the rich and powerful with his offer to assist Rebekah Brooks and the Murdochs over phone hacking Every time you think you’ve got the measure of Tony Blair, he does something to lower even further […]

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Week 8: Hero – Church Leaders

February 23, 2014

Our regular Hero of the Week award goes to this nation’s church leaders, for going where Her Majesty’s Opposition have feared to tread Yesterday was a momentous day for Britain’s most senior Catholic, Vincent Nichols. The Pope created him one of the Catholic church’s 218 cardinals, and one of 122 that will get to choose […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #38: 1999, The Talented Mr Ripley (Anthony Minghella)

February 23, 2014

Freddy Miles:  ‘How’s the peeping, Tommy?’ Three weeks ago yesterday Philip Seymour Hoffman, one of the greatest American actors of his generation was found dead in his West Village apartment, at the age of 46.   This week’s Cine-East Film Club presentation is dedicated to him. I have chosen The Talented Mr Ripley as the film […]

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Week 8: Prat – Chris Moyles

February 23, 2014

This week’s winner of the coveted Prat of the Week award is the Radio 1 DJ, Chris Moyles. Perhaps the only surprising thing about Chris Moyles triumphant clinching of the Allthatsleft Prat of the Week Award, is that it has taken so long for him to win it. He is a Prat of the first […]

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#858: 1979, Glen Campbell, Hound Dog Man

February 22, 2014

I have always had a soft spot for Glen Campbell. In my humble opinion, he is one of the greatest country singers of all time, perhaps only beaten by Johnny Cash. Tonight’s song of choice, Hound Dog Man comes from Glen Campbell’s 1979 album, Highwayman – it is his tribute to Elvis Presley. The video […]

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The A-Z of World Politics #O: Oregon

February 21, 2014

We have reached the letter O in our A-Z of world politics. There is of course only one country beginning with O, Oman. There might have been a post in the impact of the Arab Spring there (put down with some lethal force and questionable arrests but not quite to the same extent as Bahrain) […]

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Blair and Brookes and Murdoch: the final disgrace

February 21, 2014

This is what would happen – I’d sit down and say, ‘Mr Bair, come on – what were you doing assisting Rupert Murdoch, a man who is so regressive in his political outlook and so morally bankrupt in his attitude towards society?’ And Blair would fix me that uncomfortable half-smile he gives, and say, ‘well […]

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Mr East Goes To The Movies 2014: Inside Llewyn Davis

February 21, 2014

The Coen Brothers used to be the kings of cult indie quirk, with films like Miller’s Crossing, Fargo and The Big Lebowski (a crown that I think has now passed to Wes Anderson), they have over the course of the last few years, since 2007’s modern western, No Country For Old Men developed a more […]

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Scottish Independence #1: the EU and Constitutional Conundrums

February 21, 2014

The debate over the last week or so about Scottish independence has been pretty unedifying.  Simplistic arguments, political blackmail and half arsed responses have typified the debate on perhaps the most important constitutional question the country has faced since Irish independence in 1922 (and, on any view, since the European Communities Act of 1972). Scottish independence […]

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#857: 1986, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Carny

February 18, 2014

I’ve just got back from a few days in Berlin for the 64th Berlin Film Festival (about which more at the weekend).  It was my 6th Berlinale in a row. As ever the city was fantastic – great bars, great beer, hearty food and some superb cinematic treats (as well as a few stinkers).   It […]

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Sportsnight #34: 1976, Men’s Olympic Downhill Skiing, Innsbruck

February 18, 2014

Good evening and welcome to Sportsnight. Welcome to the last in our Winter Olympics series. Tonight’s action comes from the 1976 Winter Olympics at Innsbruck, Austria and the blue riband event – the men’s downhill skiing. “Kaiser” Franz Klammer was the favourite for the event. He was the host nation’s sporting hero. He skied like […]

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A Short Piece About The Lib-Dems

February 17, 2014

My colleague Charlie East-West has just written a piece about Clegg’s apparent act of prostitution following his comments about the possibility of a Lib-Dem/Labour coalition. The frustrating thing is that Clegg’s words seem, like so much else this man seems to do, to be made up on the hoof, in an attempt to answer any […]

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Nick Clegg’s Political Prostitution

February 17, 2014

Nick Clegg has hinted at a possbile Labour-Lib Dem coalition after the next election. He told a BBC documentary that Labour had “changed” and was realising it might have to share power with other parties. He also said the Conservatives needed to re-engage with “mainstream” voters. Clegg also went on to add, “There is just […]

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Week 7: Villain – The Daily Mail

February 16, 2014

This week’s villains are the Daily Mail. It must be hard being the Daily Mail – all that hate, all that disdain, all that negativity; the constant insecurity brought on by being fucking scared of anything that doesn’t tally with a particular world view. To most of us it would be like one of those […]

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#856: 2010, Anthony Orio & The Goodfellers, When I Can’t Love You

February 16, 2014

Anthony Orio and The Goodfellers are a country rock band George East and I discovered on our 2007 trip round the American South: they held the residency at the rear stage of Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge (a honky-tonk bar in Nashville, and quite possibly the best bar in the world). Like most musicians in Nashville, they […]

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Week 7: Hero – Lizzy Yarnold

February 16, 2014

Our weekly Hero award goes to Women’s Skeleton Olympic gold medalist, Lizzy Yarnold Imagine hurtling at 80 miles an hour with your chin an inch from the ground beneath you. Imagine doing so whilst trying not to black out as you experience pressures five times that of gravity as you hit turn after turn. And […]

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By-Election Result: Wythenshawe and Sale East

February 16, 2014

Thursday’s by-election result in Wythenshawe and Sale East was, as we predicted, a comfortable victory for the Labour Party. You can find our by-election profile here. Labour’s share of the vote increased by 11 percent from the general election, to over 55%. UKIP took second place, impressively climbing from 3.4% in 2010 to 18% on […]

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Week 7: Prat – George Osborne/Danny Alexander/Ed Balls

February 16, 2014

This week’s prat award goes to the three key treasury spokesmen for the main political parties – George Osborne, Danny Alexander and Ed Balls for their Scottish independence referendum bullying tactics by telling Scotland: “Vote for Scottish independence and you lose the pound.” What we saw last week was the unedifying spectacle of George Osborne […]

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The A-Z of World Politics: #N: Netherlands

February 14, 2014

Hello world. Britain is under water. As our country increasingly resembles the lost city of Atlantis, the debate continues on how best to defend our rain lashed sodden little island from future widespread flooding. As always with major infrastructure projects, we need to look overseas (not to cut overseas aid budgets) but to get some […]

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#855: 1970, John Lennon, Love

February 14, 2014

It’s Valentine’s Day. Ahem (adopts suitably Barry Whitesque voice) It’s Valentine’s Day. So today, we want to spread a little love to all our readers out there. So this classic goes out from all of us, to all of you – it’s the master, it’s John Lennon – it’s Love. Take away John, one more […]

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Is it time to bring back the Terraces?

February 14, 2014

This week, at Ashton Gate, home to that great old club, Bristol City, the first tentative steps were made towards the reintroduction of the terracing at football stadium. It is an emotive subject, and one, that I have to admit, I’m just about reaching an opinion on. A brief history lesson: terraces were all standing […]

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