From the monthly archives:

March 2015

Election 2015 – The Opening Skirmishes

March 31, 2015

Well, we’ve been at it now for less than 24 hours and already many of us have lost the will to live – yep, the General Election Campaign for 2015 is underway, and already it’s clear what we are going to get for the next few weeks, and probably, in varying forms for the rest […]

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#1005: 1984, The Smiths, What Difference Does It Make

March 30, 2015

The Smiths managed to get two songs into our Hall of Fame 1000th song list; Jackie described the other song, How Soon Is Now, beautifully as a song that sums up the feeling of desperate isolation and worthlessness felt by teenagers in a stunningly poignant way. But, there was more to The Smiths than just […]

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Week 13: Villain – William Hague

March 30, 2015

This week, outgoing Leader of the House William Hague earns our Villain of the Week award In his last act as Leader of the House, William Hague ensured that his reputation will carry a permanent tarnish through his attempt to rig the rules for electing the Speaker. Hague is an intriguing character: his famous 1977 […]

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General Election: Let the Madness Begin

March 30, 2015

And so it begins… Parliament has been dissolved and David Cameron has informed The Queen. The 2015 General Election has officially begin. Let the madness begin. After five long years of quite possibly the worst Government in living memory, it is over. It is finally over. The coalition Government of 2010-2015 has come to an […]

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Week 13: Prat – The Liberal Democrats

March 29, 2015

This week’s Prats of the Week, are the Liberal Democrats. Last week’s winner of the Prat award was Lib-Dem MP Danny Alexander – something which has provoked a fairly lengthy discourse between myself and a reader in which he accused me of various crimes ranging from elitism and jealousy to plain not being very funny. […]

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Week 13: Hero – Charles Walker MP

March 29, 2015

This Week’s Her of the Week is Conservative MP for Broxbourne, Charles Walker MP for his role in defeating the attempted coup against the Speaker of the House It is not often that we make Conservative MPs our Heroes of the Week. But this one is thoroughly deserved. Last Thursday was the last day of […]

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#1004: 1965, Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone

March 29, 2015

We have reached the half way mark of our top 10 greatest songs not to have featured in Songs To Learn and Sing – a feature we are running to mark the reaching of our 1000th song. If The Beatles’ Paperback Writer expanded the possibility of what a pop song could be, it was Like […]

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Songs To Learn and Sing Hall of Fame #3: The Smiths

March 29, 2015

With Jackie South’s posting of the truly epic How Soon Is Now? as part of our current 10 greatest songs not to have yet appeared in Songs To Learn and Sing, The Smiths became the third artist to gain entry to our exalted Hall of Fame, after The Beatles and The Clash. And who could […]

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The Battle for Number 10: Paxman Wins Round One

March 27, 2015

The election campaign has begun. The parliamentary term of 2010-2015 has come to a close. Retiring MPs like Jack Straw, Gordon Brown, Jeremy Browne, Malcolm Bruce, Tessa Jowell and Brooks Newmark gave their farewell valedictory speeches in the House of Commons. So it is a goodnight and good luck to the good, the bad and […]

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Why The Establishment Hate The SNP

March 26, 2015

As Gandhi once famously said: “First they ignore you…then they laugh at you…then they fight you…then you win.” – This is a perfect summary of the establishment behaviour towards the SNP at present. One of the key themes emerging in this already weird election campaign is the vitriol being spewed out by the Tory media […]

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Ray North’s Six Nation’s Round Up

March 25, 2015

I am giving myself a pat on the back, because I correctly predicted that the 6 Nations rugby tournament would be dominated by Ireland, Wales and England, with the Irish emerging triumphant – and, in contrast to my rather iffy football predictions, I got this pretty much spot on. What I didn’t predict was that […]

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I Agree With Nick: Scrap PMQs

March 25, 2015

I really never thought I’d find myself agreeing with Nick Clegg over anything but his call a few months back for the weekly pantomime of Prime Ministers Questions to be scrapped was absolutely spot on.  Today saw the last clash between David Cameron and Ed Miliband before the election.  The Tories used it to wrong […]

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Amin, The Falklands, Russia, the EDL and Tory Hypocrisy

March 24, 2015

Hold on a cotton pickin’ moment. I’ve just been listening to Michael Fallon, Minister of State for Defence, on the wireless – Mr Fallon, has been telling me (and indeed the other millions) that apparently, the Russians are ‘thinking about negotiating a deal with the Argentinians to sell them bomber aircraft.’ Note two words in […]

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0% Inflation Is Bad News (Not That You Would Know It From The Media)

March 24, 2015

Expect a whole bunch more George Osborne Is Jesus headlines tomorrow because the ONS announced today that inflation  in the year to February was 0%.  In the world of Media Macro (copyright Simon Wren-Lewis) this is to be celebrated because inflation means Zimbabwe or Weimer Germany, or even worse, whisper it with dread, the 1970s. […]

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David Cameron Issues the Longest Resignation in Political History

March 24, 2015

Picture the scene. Two Etonian old boys chewing the fat (or rather the sun blushed tomatoes, artisan bread and quails eggs) in a chic country abode in the Cotswolds. Both men are quite relaxed in each other’s Born to Rule company. Perhaps a little too relaxed. Like a scene from something out of a Richard […]

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#1003: 1971, David Bowie, Life On Mars?

March 24, 2015

Welcome to the next song within our shortlist of fantastic songs that have yet to be included into our pantheon of songs to learn and sing. Quite frankly, it is a bit of a disgrace that we have not included David Bowie’s Life On Mars?. The song comes from Bowie’s wonderful Hunky Dory album which […]

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Week 12: Prat – Danny Alexander

March 23, 2015

This Week’s Prat of the Week, overwhelmingly, is the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Lib-Dem MP, Danny Alexander. There is a fine line between being endearingly enthusiastic and a prat. Now, I don’t know if I’ve shared this story with you before – and if I have, please bear with me, but once upon […]

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The General Election Horserace: Why 280 seats for the Tories is the key number

March 23, 2015

Save for Opinium’s poll for The Observer on Sunday, it would appear that George Osborne’s absurdly over-praised budget (how many ‘he’s shot Labour’s foxes’ articles is it possible to write?) has made precisely no impact on the polls.  With six and a half weeks to go things are pretty much where they have been since […]

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#1002: 1985, The Smiths, How Soon Is Now?

March 23, 2015

In selecting our top ten songs yet to feature here at Songs To Learn And Sing, running from song #1000 onwards, the four of us each submitted a list of five songs. Three were on both George’s and my list: (White Man) in Hammersmith Palais, Paperback Writer and How Soon Is Now? How Soon Is […]

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Week 12: Hero – The Six Nations

March 22, 2015

This week’s hero of the week goes to The Six Nations Rugby Championship for producing a day of rugby that will never be forgotten by anyone who had the pleasure of witnessing it. I have to admit that I was in real danger of becoming rather jaded with Rugby Union. Increasingly, the grand old game […]

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Week 12: Villain – Binjamin Netanyahu

March 22, 2015

This Week’s Villain of the Week is Israeli Prime Minister for showing the depths he was prepared to go to win last week’s election There was for the week or so before last Tuesday’s Israeli’s election a real sense that the opposition forces under Labor’s Isaac Herzog might just do it.  A brief moment of […]

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#1001: 1966, The Beatles, Paperback Writer

March 20, 2015

After the wonderfulness of The Clash’s White Man In Hammersmith Palais, I have the privilege of introducing the other joint ‘number one’ not to have appeared yet song – and perhaps predictably it’s a Beatles song, and perhaps aptly (given my literary alter-ego), it’s Paperback Writer. Interestingly, just as White Man showed The Clash moving […]

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A Day In Austerity Britain

March 19, 2015

Everything I’m about to impart upon you in these next few paragraphs is absolutely true. I awoke yesterday, to the voice of George Osborne telling me that under the stewardship of the coalition the economy and the country were doing really well, and that he should be given the chance to continue with the job […]

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The Yellow Budget: The Lib Dems are Beyond Parody

March 19, 2015

Yesterday saw the 2015 Budget. This Budget was supported by the Lib Dems and their very own Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Danny Alexander. So much so, that Danny Alexander appeared on countless media outlets to support and defend the Budget and defend the economic policies of the Coalition Government over the past five […]

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#1000: 1978, The Clash, (White Man) In Hammersmith Palais

March 19, 2015

Well. We are here. 999 songs after we started with the rock n roll monument that is Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, Songs To Learn and Sing reaches four figures. The 1000th song. As previously mentioned votes were cast and charts were compiled. This song was joint first. Ray North will reveal what it shared the […]

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2015 Budget: The Alternative Version

March 18, 2015

It is a big day for George Osborne. It is Budget Day. If a Government was in any way competent it would be throwing lots of fiscally prudent financial sweeties at the voter just before the election. But, as it is, this Government has made such a pig’s arse of the real economy, any little […]

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#999: 1975, Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run

March 16, 2015

We finally reach song 999. As a theme to mark our 1000th song, we will be posting the 10 greatest classic song omissions from our first 1000 songs and listed within #1000-#1009 song choices. The committee has now voted for these top 10 songs, and regrettably, my own personal favourite just missed the top 10 […]

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Week 11: Hero – Nigel Dodds MP

March 16, 2015

The Democratic Unionist Party’s deputy leader, Nigel Dodds, receives our Hero of the Week award If, seven days ago, you had suggested that the DUP might win our hero award, we would have probably laughed in your face. What a difference a week makes. On Wednesday, Nigel Dodds set out his party’s preconditions for support […]

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Week 11: Prat – Jeremy Clarkson

March 15, 2015

Our prat award for this week goes to Jeremy Clarkson, who was suspended by the BBC following a “fracas” with a Top Gear producer over a lack of hot food. Jeremy Clarkson is like marmite. You either love him or hate him. There is no doubting his success in developing the Top Gear franchise into […]

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Week 11: Villain – David Duckenfield

March 15, 2015

This week’s villain is the former Chief Superintendent of South Yorkshire Police, David Duckenfield. I really hate this man. In my view he is a total bastard, a coward. I feel and understand every ounce of the venom that is being felt towards him by the families of those who were killed at Hillsborough in […]

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