Why the UK coverage of this election is like this Armando Ianucci sketch

In less than a fortnight we’ll find out who will be the next Prime Minister of the UK but if you watch this election through the prism of the mainly London-based media you’d think it’s a straight fight between Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May. To an extent it is as only those two can become Prime Minister but seeing people talk of Corbyn as the great hope for ending tuition fees or stop the bedroom tax is frankly a tad irrelevant here in Scotland as these don’t apply. Fees were scrapped a decade ago and the Scottish Government mitigates the bedroom tax.

Many of the things Labour want in the UK is already being done or are being worked towards. True there’s more to be done, and the stuff that’s still reserved to Westminster (which is still most things) will still hurt if the Tories get back in, but in Scotland (and indeed, in all the devolved nations) we’re still at the mercy of Westminster.

As much as I wish Corbyn well in England, I don’t feel he, or his party, will work for me or for Scotland as his support for leaving the EU isn’t what Scotland, or indeed Northern Ireland, voted for. So for most of this campaign as I view it on social media is a bit like this sketch from the wonderfully but underrated Armando Ianucci Shows from 2001…

Don’t Look Back In Anger

It’s been a crap week. My weekend has changed due to the horrors of Manchester meaning security checks at airports means there’s little or no chance of people flying on time or even flying. On top of that Glasgow City Council are being the biggest pricks on the planet and there’s ginger people walking the streets of Glasgow in 30 degree heat frying like a sausage.

But this wee video of the memorial for the dead of the Manchester bombing should empower anyone watching it, unless you’re a cynical far right arsehole doing exactly what the likes of ISIS want us to do which is to hate each other. Still, well done to Manchester. You’re setting a glorious example to us all.

A few brief words about the Manchester bombing

On Monday evening something horrendous happened to dozens of innocent people. The killer has been named and frankly, I’m not going to give him the air of publicity and will hope he rots in whatever hell his faith has for him. In this respect Charlie Brooker’s advice on spree shooters plays out the same here.

Neither am I going to give much time to the hate-filled supporters of ”final solutions” on either side as frankly, the only thing that separates a Hopkins from the people who radicalised the Manchester bomber is that one has a column in a national newspaper to radicalise people and the other uses other means. I’m also not going to say anything about the arseholes talking of ”false flags” or conspiracies where none exist in order to try to bend this to their own politics.

I will however say the reaction from the UK government is disturbing. Raising risk levels is fine, but placing troops on the streets to protect the people who failed to protect us in the first place. I’m scared of politicians and the wrong people, be they Islamic terrorists or Daily Mail columnists taking advantage of this to entrench themselves and draw to them followers who will perpetuate this. Raising the threat level seems fair, but Operation Temperer (the name for what’s going on as we speak) isn’t without precedent but we’ve seen how Labour under Tony Blair whittled away civil liberties and frankly, Theresa May has a poor record in that respect. One way to let terrorism win is let our governments use their attacks to take away, restrict or curtail our freedoms.

We should remember these people died not for terrorists and governments to use as they want. We should remember them for what was lost and the stories coming out of Monday’s atrocity are relentlessly tragic but that isn’t an excuse to militarise policing as frankly all this does is give terrorists an incentive to make the next atrocity bigger to garner a bigger, more disproportionate reaction and we end up repeating the cycle over and over while nothing actually gets solved.

So we’re in a bad time. People aren’t even in the grieving stage yet, and there’s people making political capital from this, but we need to step back, think, help who we can and make things better rather than dig in and make things worse.

The Tory manifesto was launched today

Theresa May launched the Tory general election manifesto today. Essentially if you’re vulnerable, sick, an immigrant, or not stupidly wealthy then this is the vision of the future the Tories are laying out for you after they’re done at the end of the next parliament.

That’s for plebs like you or I. The likes of Iain Duncan Smith will be dining on the finest wines and meats while your children starve at school.

The Tories are dangerous. This manifesto is dangerous. It needs to be fought. Think about the future when you cast your vote next month.

The UK welfare state is broken

I recently had to attend an assessment by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in regards my Employment Support Allowance (ESA) which involved a lengthy two hour questioning and then physical examination. Sure, it was with a very decent, kind GP, but not my GP and not anyone who’s spoken to my consultants in Glasgow or back in Bristol however the entire process was designed to relegate people into units where your future ability to provide economic worth to the state is assessed.

Now I want to get back to work and thanks to a mix of improving health and the incompetency of Glasgow City Council that’s probably something that’s going to happen sooner than later. Last week though I saw people who could clearly and obviously barely walk and/or were in such clear pain/discomfort that dragging them through a Kafkaesque procedure only made any conditions they have worse. When you’re ill, seriously ill as opposed to ”oh, I’ve got a bad cold” ill, you’re going to suffer from anxiety.and stress about your own perhaps curtailed or painful existence so the last thing you need is some apathetic DWP employee looking at you as if you’re some sort of stain on their horizon.

The system is broken. Things are going to change in Scotland as the Scottish Government is banning the likes of ATOS and will be attempting to create a more humane system however that’s years away, and for the rest of the UK looking down the barrel of a ruthless Tory government things will only get worse. The system is needlessly cruel because a media reports on people ”scrounging” all the bloody time.

The picture being painted is one of masses of the sick and disabled playing at it to pull in massive riches (as if £146 a fortnight is riches) or defrauding the system but the system is impossible to fathom without having a computer to work out the calculations. And those that do manage to somehow game the system amount to a pitiful 1.8% in 2015. On average the fraud level is around 1% which means the screaming headlines of ”75%” is bullshit, but this constant level of lying has worked. The sick and disabled are seen as ‘faking’ or if you speak to some people you get the line ‘nah, not you, you’re one of the genuine ones” as if there’s massive hordes of people developing debilitating conditions in order to grab money.

I hope the new forthcoming Scottish system helps change things for the better, but it took years to harden things up and it’ll take years to get rid of what are now entrenched opinions. One thing is clear though; vote Tory in June’s general election and things won’t get any better.

Well done to France for rejecting fascism

Well done France. You did the right thing in rejecting Le Pen. There’s plenty of us in the UK and US looking at you jealously thinking ‘fuck, why didn’t more of us do that’, but still, you’ve done us all proud and carried on a proud French tradition of fighting Nazis.

Vive la France!

My thoughts on the local elections in Scotland, Wales and England.

Firstly, well done to Kim Long of the Greens for becoming a councillor for Dennistoun which is where I am for now. A good local candidate who’ll do the area well and with Dennistoun going through massive changes and gentrification (for those familiar with my blogs, it’s a bit like Stokes Croft from about 12-15 years ago) it needs people who’ll do the incumbent and incoming population well.

Secondly, well done to Plaid Cymru and the SNP for a strong showing in Wales and winning the Scottish elections respectively.

Now, those of you who voted Tory. What the fuck have you done? You’ve given the worst government in my life (which speaks volumes) a boost they don’t deserve because you think they’re ‘strong and stable’ or will ‘fight a second referendum’ or ‘fight for Brexit’ but you’ve fucked it up. So when your bins aren’t emptied, or the potholes in your street aren’t fixed, or your kids aren’t educated because schools are being run down or worse, remember, you voted Tory. This is on you. You own what’s coming. The Tories can’t hide behind ”Remoaner traitors”, ‘Nats’ or blame everything on Sturgeon, Corbyn or the Lizard People. They own the clusterfuck coming thanks to Brexit.

Of course you can change this. Look at the Tory polices. Look at what their record is. Look at what they promise. Look at the Tories elected yesterday and think do you want people like this to decide you and your family and friends futures? Look at Theresa May refusing to debate. Look at Iain Duncan Smith tumescent with excitement about imposing new cruelties upon the most vulnerable. Does that make you angry? Good. Get up then over the next five weeks campaign, and get people out to vote. Pissed off with the result today? Chap doors and get people out to vote. June the 8th get people out to vote. If you’re young and don’t vote you’re dooming yourself to decades of hell.

So vote. If people don’t make a stand next month against the Tories people will die. You will be sending people to an early grave and too many have went that road already. As said, a vote for the Tories means endorsing their policies so make your choice. Where do you stand?