The ongoing farce of Theresa May

It was the final day of the Tory Party conference in Manchester today, and Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech was without doubt the most memorable political speech of the year. Sadly for May it was for all the wrong reasons First of all comedian Simon Brodkin handed her a fake P45 in a speech which by this point was going down as well as calling a snap general election and losing your majority.

Coupled with May’s cough due to her cold, and the fact nobody in that hall believed a word being said it really couldn’t get worse? It could. This happened.

If you wrote a political comedy and included that moment the script editor would say something like ‘mate, that’s just taking it a wee bit too far‘. Even Armando Ianucci didn’t go that far.

On a human level one has to feel sympathy for May, except I’m not going to feel a fucking yoctogram for her as she had no sympathy for the people her policies have hurt, even killed since her government came to power in 2010. I could not care less for those commentators mumbling about feeling sorry for someone who is taking us off the edge of a cliff thanks to Brexit and has encouraged all the racists in the UK in her time in government.

This isn’t to say the alternative is appetising, it isn’t. But May’s speech summed up not just the state of British politics but the UK as a whole. Holding itself together for seconds before falling apart and becoming the laughing stock of anyone caring to pay attention. Still, if we’re all going to be fucked at least we’re still able to laugh right?

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Three years on from the Scottish Independence referendum

On the 18th September 2014 the people of Scotland went to the polls to decide their future. The choice was between being an independent country or remaining part of the UK, though the vote itself was never a vote on things staying stagnant as politicians on the Better Together side defending the Union promised real, defined change.

Near federalism was promised. Scotland’s voice would be heard like never before in the Union. Powers would be devolved. The UK’s entire structure would be changed for the good of all and the democratic deficit closed forever as we enter a new Golden Age.  This lie died a horrible death in the early hours of the 19th September 2014 when David Cameron brushed everything said and done over the long referendum campaign to one side and announced plans for EVEL-English votes for English laws. That demoted Scottish based MP’s to second class MP’s, bodyswerved the democratic deficit and all of Gordon Brown’s promises of ‘near federalism’ were seen as the bollocks they always were.

Three years later all those party leaders are now yesterday’s men having all left and been replaced. Brexit threatens he devolution settlement itself and the UK of 2014 which at least had a semblance of sanity has been replaced with a country full of people who think Brexit will work because the EU ‘needs us more than them’, and that is one of the saner opinions on Brexit out there.

The UK is being pulled to the edge of a cliff gleefully by Theresa May’s Tories, and more insanely, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party even though Brexit isn’t really about trade or democracy, its about ethnic nationalism and British exceptionalism. Basically everything independence supporters are accused of.

So on this third anniversary of the vote we have David Mundell saying Indyref 2 must be ‘decoupled’ from Brexit while the Labour Party put party first in propping up the Tories on Brexit. A second independence vote could well be the only way for Scotland to have a voice about where Brexit is going and both main Westminster parties are fighting to deny that chance. The UK today is not the UK of 2014. Things have changed for the worst and things will get much, much worse, so remember all the promises of 2014 and how they were unfulfilled as we enter the next phase of Brexit as promises are made which will never be executed and realise the only thing left is independence.

It won’t be easy. It’ll be hard but we need to ask people what sort of country and what sort of people they want to be in the future.

 

The UK government wants disabled people to die

I recommend people read this blog titled Disabled? You May Be Sanctioned For Being Too Ill To Get To The Jobcentre because it is vitally important. The short version is that the Tories are imposing such a hard regime of sanctions upon people that they’re killing themselves to escape it, and as usual it’s the disabled getting the worst of the impact.

Since the Work Capability Assessment was introduced by Labour in 2008 after being proposed by Alistair Darling in 2001 there’s been a stream of disabled people being forced into work when they’re clearly not fit. When the Tories came back into power in 2010 they upped what Labour had done by bringing in things like the bedroom tax (thankfully mitigated in Scotland by the Scottish Government) but for a decade now the disabled have first been slowly demonised, and are now essentially being hounded out of existence by the British state, a chunk of the media and the population who look through the disabled like we’re invisible at best and all the positivity after the 2012 London Paralympics have been flushed down the toilet.

Instead we’re not at a place where the United Nations damn the UK government for their treatment of disabled people and the media barely registers it, and the population at large are unaware of the reality of so many people’s lives. There is a body count. Nothing is done because the disabled are seen as either ‘spongers’ or sort of magic cripples wheeled out to provide some entertainment and boost faux national pride at sporting events.

We now have people like Dominic Raab given high office rather than being kicked into the gutter where he belongs, and with no sign of austerity ending thanks to Brexit, things will continue to get worse. Some MP’s warn of a ‘human catastrophe’ but none will say what this is which I think is a concerted effort to let people die as after all, the British government is out to kill hope itself and without hope just what is the point of a daily life struggling to just exist let alone actually form anything like a life?

Which brings me to my point. I’ve only been disabled 18 months or so. I’ve not had a life of struggle but what the Tories are doing is inhumane bordering upon genocide and I don’t use that word lightly. My question to you, the reader, is what are you going to do to help people less fortunate, less able than myself to fight back to exist? The time for words and politics is over and we need to ensure what’s going on stops so are you happy to tolerate this or are you going to join us to fight the state from forcing people to early graves?

Watching Scotland play in Scotland is more difficult than it should be

Last night I was feeling a bit peaky so went home to watch Scotland play Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier which if lost, meant Scotland had no chance of qualifying, if won then it kept it us with a shout. Turning on STV I found them showing the England game and after slipping into a mild coma listening to Ryan Giggs dazzle us with the fact he’s got the personality of rice paper. No Scotland game to be seen.

Now since moving back to Scotland this is something I’ve encountered before and frankly, it is extraordinary. I’ve been in France and Sweden where their respective national broadcasters broadcast games of this importance, but in Scotland you need to sign up to a subscription package or scour the internet for a stream. It is frankly ludicrous a Scottish based broadcaster doesn’t show Scotland national matches on free-to-air TV, and that isn’t an opinion which is mine alone, but tens of thousands others share. As for STV, their word on this is this Tweet.

So here’s the problem. ITV as a network buy the England rights, but feels it isn’t worth buying Scotland (or indeed Wales and Northern Ireland) rights. The BBC have been priced out the market and the SFA doesn’t give a fuck about fans anyhow. Now Westminster could legislate to ensure Scotland gets their football on free-to-air TV but that ain’t ever going to happen so we endure England playing Malta is a game so turgid and without tension it could be mistaken for a dead bird lying in the gutter.

This isn’t a good situation if we want to get future generations excited about the game. A child may watch this and think ‘I want to do that’, go out and become the best footballer they can, but if you only have Scotland games subscription only then you keep many kids away from the game as after all, kids aren’t going to go to the pub to see the match and if the national broadcasters don’t give a fuck why should they? It’s a crap short sighted, fuckwitted decision that reduces the national sport into an afterthought and it shames the Scottish media that there isn’t more fuss about it. Then again after nearly a year of being back in Scotland I have to say the Scottish media can always be there to let you down.

Princess Diana has risen from the grave

20 years ago Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris and the UK lost it’s tiny little mind for what seems like a lifetime, but it is only 20 since the ‘people’s princess’ speech from a then, fresh-faced Tony Blair which really helped the lunacy kick into gear.

The week before was the Reading Festival and the dregs of Britpop died a death then, but waking up on that warm August Sunday morning 20 years ago to face wall-to-wall media enforced grief imposed upon a people who somehow mainly became infected with something that wasn’t just normal human responses to the death of someone famous, but something almost hysterical in it’s response.

Then there was the conspiracy theories. Oh god, the theories! I went to my local that Sunday night (I was living in Leicester at the time) and even in those early days of the internet there were people talking of what they’ve read online. As for the funeral it was a ridiculously mawkish display from a people who’d lost all sense as they were all driven forward as driven on by some memetic infection as everyone had to shown to pay respects and be stricken with grief about someone many of them were sneering at or lapping up Sunday tabloid headlines the week before her death.

The lunacy took years to die down. It even affected comics as writer Pete Milligan and artist Mike Alldred were planning to use Diana in the pages of X-Statix, an X-Men spin-off title, in 2002. That was until the press got hold of the plan.

And after a Daily Mail/Express fuelled outrage, Marvel changed the storyline from it being about Diana to a nondescript ‘pop star’.

It didn’t have anything like the same impact even if reading the story it was clearly Diana, the faux outrage neutered the story. Thankfully things started retreating into the pages of hysterical tabloids as people woke up from what was a feverish dream, or nightmare depending on your point of view.

And now here we are in 2017 facing the 20th anniversary of her death and those that canonised her in death (but mocked/hated her in life) are now flooding back into the media like a burst sewer telling us of how sad, upset and tearful we all were. Well, we weren’t. On the day of her funeral I went to the pub, and with others, played pool and stuck the Sex Pistols on the jukebox til the whole thing washed over us. Two decades on and I’m a different person to the one I was on that warm late summer’s day, but I again treat the oncoming storm of Diana programming and articles with suspicion. After all, Diana can now be used as this immortal figurehead of a Britain that doesn’t exist except in the heads of people who see the British identity as a superior one, and her ‘sacrifice’ gives these people a martyr to rally behind.

So I suggest over the next few weeks retreating to the pub to ignore this. Even if you, like me, no longer drink. It’s the only way to maintain sanity.

The trouble with Corbyn

I’ve voiced concerns about Jeremy Corbyn a lot of late, especially since seeing him at the Pyramid Stage at this year’s Glastonbury Festival where I saw a crowd cheering on someone who I think is setting people up for an almighty fall. I’ve never been able to fully pin down just quite what the problem with Corbyn is outwith of the fact he’s not what he pretends to be and Labour are still a party mired in policies of austerity and a faux radicalism that just tweaks round the edges while keeping the establishment machine in place.

Alan Bissett manages to articulate everything I couldn’t in this video from the excellent Phantom Power. It’s an excellent, and damning, critique of Labour and especially Jeremy Corbyn in relation to Scotland and is essential viewing.

Fighting Nazis in the 21st century

In the US right now there’s a load of actual real Nazis meeting and marching in Charlottesville with actual real life armed militia marching with them. It is by any stretch of the imagination an ostentatious display by white supremacists that’s resulted in one anti-Nazi protester being killed so far. I say ‘so far’ because I’m astonished more people haven’t been killed.

Terms like ‘alt-right’ are essentially meaningless. They’re Nazis. Call them that. Groups like the National Vanguard are just Nazis and here’s where we have to stop agonising about how to deal with them. We don’t tolerate them. We fight them, and we don’t sit around like some of the ‘radical’ left agonising about whether violence is wrong or how much guilt we should have for the situaton getting here. We know Donald Trump encourages these people and has made it easier for them to grow in his short time so far as president and we know good people have died while the far-right grow and become empowered, and this is what we’ve got to remember: Trump has empowered them, just as Brexit & it’s cheerleaders like Nigel Farage have over here.

At this point people should read Umberto Eco’s essay titled Ur-Fascism, because we’re living in the age where it has finally become real again and not something of Eco’s childhood. What we’re seeing in the US and UK is Eco’s Ur-Fascism, and that scares me that we’ve let it get to a point where we need to fight not just a bunch of National Front arseholes, but vast swathes of the country who are turning to a form of fascism that is endorsed by those in power.

Back in the early 90’s the NF tried to make one last push to start the race war they were wanting. Groups like the Anti Nazi League stopped them because black, white, whatever race, religion, background united to fight them; often literally. I myself carry scars from those fights back in the days when I lived in Nottingham and we’d have to stand our ground against them. We beat them. Sadly the job now is harder and it won’t help if people aren’t prepared to perhaps get their hands a bit dirty because I look at pictures like the one below and think the young folk surrounded by actual armed Nazis are among the bravest people I’ve seen.

Those people standing in the middle of a crowd are amazing.That’s who we need to be in the days.months and years to come because sitting in Byres Road cafes worrying about the structrual problems of racism isn’t going to stop the prick with a Union Jack tattooed on his arm from beating up Asian shopkeepers. Let’s be blunt, we’re in a fight and the time for polite discussion is gone.

And the problem is the same over here in the UK. We know Neo Nazis pose a larger threat than Islamists because this is what the authorities tells us, but it barely gets reported outwith of the odd mention. If we don’t actually stop this by fighting the Nazis where we can, and making an argument for a multicultural, progressive society (and those on the left leaping on the Brexit bandwagon to get Labour into power aren’t helping one bit) we’re fucked. So lets take it back to basics, unite, argue, fight and win together and remember, punching Nazis is good for the soul.