South Shields image via mirror.co.uk
Imagine those poor lost souls still claiming to be Liberal Democrats waking up with the realisation that they were beaten into seventh place by an orange woman representing the BNP and calling herself Lady Dorothy Macbeth Brooke.
If losing their deposit was bad, losing to a racist with a fake tan must be the most spectacular act of retribution since Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane. A lost deposit in South Shields is nothing compared to lost principles, lost liberalism, lost manifesto promises and lost political credibility. On the night that Shirley Williams claimed on BBC Question Time that the Liberal Democrats had saved the NHS by voting with their Tory masters to privatise it, electorates across the country were voting for an “anti-establishment” one trick pony led by a public school stockbroker and followed by a host of white, male, middle-aged golf club Napoleons and dodgy double glazing salesmen. When Shirley and the others in the Gang of Four broke the mould of British politics, I would wager that she never imagined that it would end in the destruction of liberalism at the hands of little England xenophobes. We should congratulate UKIP for a 23 per cent share of the vote even if this is not sustainable. However, the greatest achievement in their 15 minutes of notoriety is the fact that they have seen off the spineless sacks of bat guano formally known as the Liberal Democrat Party. Nice one, Nigel. (more…)
Image via Walsall Council
You can`t beat a good ghost story. Months beyond Halloween, it is deliciously chilling to know that spectres still haunt the streets of Walsall that are beyond the imaginations of Sheridan Le Fanu or even Edgar Allan Poe. The terrifying ghouls are invisible Walsall snow spirits.
To everyone`s great surprise, snow fell in winter on a small island just off continental northern Europe. Oh the humanity as car drivers trembling with fear at the covering of white ectoplasm used first gear and a floored accelerator in the hope of escaping the horror by spinning their wheels to polish snow into ice. If the “right foot make car go” boneheads cannot master driving in snow, what hope for them next week when the pot holes of Hell have opened up again. It is likely that the boy and girl racers lacking in the competence to drive to the conditions are the ones complaining of an absence of rock salt treatment to the highways and byways. Others, however, report experiencing ghostly visitations from huge yellow monsters spewing out grit in some malevolent attempt to keep the roads open. We might never be able to explain the presence of the creatures of the night on “the other side”. Mwuhahahaha…
Okay, Walsall does not boast of the best track record for gritting when the snow descends and the ice forms but, the ghost busters claiming that the roads received no grit seem to be as knowledgeable of physics as they are adept at driving in the white stuff. It seems that the amiable snow rider Brownhills Bob pointed out on the dreadful Facebook that rock salt was not magic and would probably not slaughter household pets. The reason that I don`t “do” Facebook is because it is difficult enough to cope with idiots on Twitter and apparently Bob`s sensible comments were removed from idiotville Facebook because of complaints by some very stupid people. The truth is out there, but some folk still believe in ghosts. (more…)
Mary Evans/Romulus Films/Everett Collection
Oliver Twist, or The Parish Boy`s Progress, was published in monthly instalments between February 1837 and April 1839. Today, with both national and local government harming children and young people, Dickens could have published his critique of the Poor Laws, class and child poverty yesterday.
From day one of this malignant coalition government, it was clear that we would be returning to an era of workhouses, kicking beggars, demonising the infirmed and denying education to all but the privileged, wealthy few. With men as irredeemably insane as Ian Duncan Smith, Chris Grayling, Eric Pickles and Michael Gove introducing new poor law legislation to dismantle the Welfare State, the only surprise is how quickly and how far they have gone in achieving the destruction of fairness and equality of opportunity.
Closing Surestart centres, scrapping EMA, increasing tuition fees, forcing Academy status on unwilling schools, politicising the curriculum and inventing then increasing artificial and meaningless “targets” confirms their mad agenda for the end of state education. The latest tool in the Department for Education`s armoury is a John Nash. No; not John Nash the architect who designed most of Regency London, but John Nash the wide-boy venture capitalist who is currently being fast-tracked to a peerage in order for him to join the government. It seems this shyster is qualified to become an education minister because he has sponsored Academies and is clearly an expert on teaching and learning because he and his wife have donated £300,000 to the Conservative party. Parents, teachers, school governors and children need not be concerned that a loan-shark that has never faced an election should now be shaping education policy under the barking mad Michael Gove. The government, after all, did not win the election and have no mandate to impose such carnage. Her Majesties loyal opposition remain implacably silent. If these events took place in another nation, Miliband would be screaming “corruption”. Consider yourself, well fooled. (more…)
Image via last.fm
There are some weeks that are best forgotten. Forget slings and arrows, when sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions. The central heating boiler stopped working.
On an unusually cold Saturday morning, the usual descent toward the kitchen for toast and coffee was interrupted by the adolescent braying of the Neanderthal that shares this household. “Dad, the computer`s not working.” The tone of voice and rising inflection, mercifully different to the usual monosyllabic grunt, suggested that this was some sort of instruction rather than a sharing of information. Sitting in my tasteful office chair that swivels and everything, sitting at my computer, this barbarian made in my image demanded that I fix it in order for him to continue playing something called Minecraft.
Trouble is, the only experience of data retrieval enjoyed by this simple Luddite was the removal of a table top Space Invader machine from a hotel bar on a notoriously debauched tour of the West Country in the early 80`s. Fear not, no felony was committed. We were simply taking it upstairs to one of our rooms to continue playing and we left a note telling the staff where it was. The duty manager, however, seeing four young men struggling upwards with the Taito Corporation`s finest, feared the worst. Checking our occupations on the hotel register, he seemed convinced that we were about to hurl Tomohiro Nishikoda`s greatest achievement out of the window. He seemed disappointed when we put it back in the morning. Not a lot went on in Exeter back then. (more…)