From the monthly archives:

May 2015

Week 22: Villain – Sepp Blatter

May 31, 2015

This week’s villain of the week award goes to Sepp Blatter for his continued tenure as President of the most corrupt organisation in sport – FIFA. Sepp Blatter is the Robert Mugabe of world sport. As long as he remains in power – to hell with everyone else, and to hell with integrity. On Friday […]

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Cine-East Film Club Presents #64: 1973, The Long Goodbye (Robert Altman)

May 31, 2015

Terry Lennox: ‘Well, that’s you Marlowe. You’ll never learn. You’re a born loser’ Philip Marlowe: ‘Yeah, I even lost my cat’. He only played the role once and the way in which he did so bore little resemblance to the character created by Raymond Chandler, but for all intents and purposes Humphrey Bogart was Philip […]

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Week 22: Prat – FIFA

May 31, 2015

This Week’s Prat of the Week Award goes to the FIFA delegates who voted Sepp Blatter back into the Presidency. I’ve been trying to think of an analogy that sits comfortably with the vote by FIFA delegates to re-elect Sepp Blatter to the presidency – and, I think it’s this: it’s like the Labour Party […]

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Week 22: Hero – Nebraska

May 31, 2015

This week, the award for our greatest hero of the last seven days goes to the Cornhusker State, Nebraska Nebraska is a safely Republican state: it has voted for the Grand Old Party in all but one of the presidential elections since World War II. Its governor, senators and state-wide officials are all Republicans and 92 […]

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FIFA Is Beyond Redemption – It Is Time For A Breakaway

May 30, 2015

Straight out of the puffed up dictator handbook, Sepp Blatter’s response to the arrest of eighteen current and former FIFA officials on corruption charges was to blame American imperialism and its media lackeys.   What US Attorney General, Loretta Lynch (as any recent US AG had such a great start to the job – after the […]

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Back of the Net with Ray North: ‘They think it’s all over…. it is now!’

May 28, 2015

Yep, it’s that time again, my fourth end of season football review, and, as ever, I’ve got a few things wrong, and a few things right, but…. mainly wrong. From a personal view, I’ve found this season a bit disappointing – my hometown Wrexham have slid into mid-table obscurity, and, believe me, mid-table in the […]

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EU and NATO: Spot The Inconsistency

May 27, 2015

From today’s Queen’s Speech… “My government will renegotiate the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union and pursue reform of the European Union for the benefit of all member states. Alongside this, early legislation will be introduced to provide for an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017.” And […]

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The Queen’s Speech And Some Quick Thoughts About Sport

May 27, 2015

Today’s Queen’s Speech will pave the way for a free vote on Government time to repeal the ban on fox hunting. Why? Because, say the Tories it is right that people are allowed to play whatever sport they wish and for the traditions of the country are preserved. There are a few problems with that […]

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#1024: 1994, Joni Mitchell, Yvette in English

May 25, 2015

Welcome to the next in our series of political party leadership songs. Tonight’s song of choice is Yvette (Cooper) in English by Joni Mitchell. At some point in our lives, most of us probably had a Joni Mitchell phase. My Joni Mitchell phase occurred in 1994. Back in 1994, I was a callow youth studying […]

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Week 21: Villain – The Banks

May 25, 2015

This week’s Villains of the Week are the banks fined record amounts in the US for FX fixing With the honourable exception of the good people of Iceland we collectively learned not a single thing from the 2008/2009 financial crisis.  As the election last week showed the British people swallowed the lie that that crisis […]

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Week 21: Hero – The People of Ireland

May 24, 2015

This week’s hero of the week award goes to the people of Ireland – where 62% voted in favour of changing the constitution to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Well played Ireland. Well played indeed. The good people of Ireland have voted overwhelmingly to move their wonderful country into the 21st century. The […]

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#1023: 1956, Faron Young, Sweet Dreams

May 24, 2015

Firstly, my apologies for not posting a contribution to Songs to Learn and Sing for a few days. My reason is that George East set me a difficult challenge with Ray’s last song: one dedicated to Tim Farron. If he becomes leader, Farron will be the first Liberal Democrat leader who is younger than me […]

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Week 21: Prat – Alistair Carmichael MP

May 24, 2015

This week, our award for the biggest prat of the last seven days goes to former Secretary of State for Scotland, Alistair Carmichael A month before the general election, the Daily Telegraph published a leaked government memo stating that the French Ambassador had held a conversation with Nicola Sturgeon in which the latter indicated that […]

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The Big Task For Labour: Find An Economic Theory!

May 20, 2015

So, let me get this right: according to Yvette Cooper, Labour were far too left wing; according to Len McCluskey, Labour were far too right wing; according to Tony Blair it was a lack of aspiration; whilst according to Peter Mandelson, well, it was a lack of Peter Mandelson. The reality, of course, is that […]

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#1022: 1980, The Undertones, There Goes Norman

May 18, 2015

Say one thing about the Lib-Dems and their predecessor Liberal Party, they’ve had some spanking leaders – from Gladstone and Lloyd-George, through to Joe Grimmond marching to the sound of gunfire and David Steel, preparing for Government, even mad Captain Ashdown was a towering figure – ok, Nick Clegg has been a bit of a […]

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What the Next Labour Leader Should Say…

May 18, 2015

As Labour faces an existential crisis after a disastrous general election, we now have four months of hand wringing as Labour make the important decision of choosing their next Leader and Deputy Leader. This new appointment is possibly the most important decision of the history of the Labour Party. At present, Labour are in tatters. […]

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Week 20: Hero – Steven Gerrard

May 18, 2015

This week’s hero is the retiring Liverpool and former England skipper – Steven Gerrard. I was listening to a radio phone-in the other week; the question being asked was ‘what would Steven Gerrard’s legacy be?’ and time and again, in response football fans from teams other than Liverpool were ringing up saying that Steven Gerrard […]

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Week 20: Prat – Chuka Umunna

May 18, 2015

This week, the Streatham MP wins our award for being the biggest prat of the last seven days A week ago, Chuka Umunna looked like the favourite to become the next leader of the Labour Party: clearly getting the nod from the Prince of Darkness himself, Lord Mandelson. Everything looked to be running in his […]

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Week 20: Villain – David Cameron

May 17, 2015

This Week’s Villain of the Week Award goes to Prime Minister, David Cameron for setting the grim tone of the next 5 years Back in 2004 when George W Bush was re-elected for a second term over John Kerry in a closely fought and in the end narrow election, he declared that he had ‘political […]

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#1021: 1969, BB King, The Thrill Is Gone

May 16, 2015

A legend is gone, that’s for sure. The sad news of BB King’s death at the age of 89, sees the loss of one of the last remaining blues greats.  Buddy Guy is still going strong, as is Taj Mahal, but as the years go by those with real connections to that extraordinary musical style […]

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What Next for the Liberal Democrats?

May 14, 2015

Paddy Ashdown. David Lloyd George. William Gladstone. David Steel. Jo Grimond. Nick Clegg…your boys and girls took a hell of a beating… The biggest loser on election night was the Liberal Democrats. A party that prides itself on its resilience was reduced to a parliamentary husk. The Lib Dems are now left with a meagre […]

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Welcome to the Tory Vision of Orwellian Britain

May 13, 2015

According to media reports, David Cameron is going to tell his National Security Council this as he announces plans to crack down on radicalisation:- “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens: as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone. It’s often meant we have […]

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Shy Lefties and the Tory Assumption

May 12, 2015

This afternoon the place where I work is having a champagne celebration of the election result. I don’t work at Conservative Party Central Office, but sometimes it feels like it.  I have had to endure weeks of a straight up assumption that I vote Tory and that a Labour minority government in an arrangement with […]

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New Labour Criticises Ed Miliband For Failing To Be ‘Aspirational’ – But What Does ‘Aspiration’ Actually Mean?

May 12, 2015

It began with almost indecent haste – it was almost as though the Ed Sceptics in the Labour Party had already decided on their attack before we’d even had time to pick our jaws up off the floor after hearing the exit polls last Thursday. And, the thrust of their attack seems to be that […]

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#1020: 2014, Hiss Golden Messenger, Mahogany Dread

May 12, 2015

This is one of those songs that has got under my skin in a way I can’t quite fully explain. Bitter-sweet, resigned but hopeful, musically quite simple but with a real warmth and depth to it. I love the voice, probably most on that opening line ‘Well I can’t go back, I know that now’. […]

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Should Labour Go Short or Long?

May 11, 2015

Following the shortest resignation in history, Nigel Farage is back as the leader of UKIP this afternoon.   The Lib Dems (or what is left of them) have announced that they will resolve their two bald men fighting over a comb leadership contest by the middle of July.  But what of the official opposition.  What of […]

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#11: The Secret MP – A New Member Of Parliament

May 11, 2015

I am the new Secret MP. But, you can call me Douglas. My friends call me Deadly Doug, due to my eurosceptic views, pro fox hunting, pro austerity, One Nation Tory ideology. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I am now a Member of Parliament somewhere in the South West. I defeated my rival Keith, incumbent […]

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#1019: 1972, David Bowie, Five Years

May 11, 2015

Five years. We have the Tories for five more years… Take it away, David Bowie… Pushing through the market square, so many mothers sighing News had just come over, we had five years left to cry in… We’ve got five years, stuck on my eyes We’ve got five years, what a surprise We’ve got five […]

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The Labour Party Need 2020 Vision

May 11, 2015

The Labour Party is dead. Long live the Labour Party. As Labour faces an existential crisis after a shattering election defeat, a period of navel gazing and endless discussions about whether they are more electable as a left-wing or centre ground party has begun. Welcome to the battle for the soul of the Labour Party. […]

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Week 19: Prat – the Pollsters

May 11, 2015

This week’s Prat award goes to the Pollsters, yep, every last one of them. I don’t like polling much – I understand its relevance, but I fear that one of the reasons why our politicians are so unimaginative is because they spend most of their lives in terror of how the polls will react to […]

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