Lexit and the ongoing failure of the English left

One of the things about the fact the BBC’s Question Time had the same former UKIP candidate on for at least a fourth time to repeat pretty much the same speech he’s clearly reeled off millions of times in newspaper comments sections wasn’t the fact that Question Time is a big fat fix, but the reaction of some of the English left. To be precise the more Corbynist you were the more likely you were to see an ally in the rantings of an Orangeman. For example;

Which is clear nonsense for anyone actually paying attention to Scottish politics. No such claims have been made and the very idea of independence breaks the status quo clean in half; a fact Bastani ignores because it doesn’t fit his narrative or the idea that’s popped into his head.

And by narrative, I mean this;

There’s an idea among the English left that we in Scotland just need to pay heed to Jeremy Corbyn, fall into line with them and vote Labour yet polls show the Corbyn bounce Labour enjoyed in the 2017 general election is well and truly gone with Labour now firmly third in the polls and slipping. That’s not just down to the simply appalling leadership of Richard Leonard, a right hand man of Corbyn’s and someone who doesn’t even know what is or isn’t devolved. The fact is Labour are tanking partly because of Leonard & the fact the party can’t come up with one workable idea, but also because they’re a party of Brexit, or Lexit, the left wing version if you believe such a thing possible.Labour in effect have put themselves in the position of supporting removing our rights as Europeans, but also thanks to them aping Tory immigration policy, they’ve shown little opposition to the increasing deportations which are happening. This is all because of Lexit and the idea Corbyn is playing ‘a long game’.

Lexit is the idea that it’s possible to have a left wing Brexit. In effect from the ashes of leaving the EU, a new socialist utopia can be built which relies upon one major point; that things for people become so intolerable that they feel the only way out is voting Labour at an election, but polls clearly show Labour lagging, or such such a small lead that it falls within statistical error. So for people to be pushed to Labour they have to essentially suffer and for me, that’s the exact opposite of socialism and I find those advocating such a policy tend to be well off and able to survive when right now, people are losing jobs, or being hurt by Tory policies, or being pushed to take their own lives because they can’t take it anymore. Then of course there’s the fact Lexit throws EU27 migrants under the bus, and it risks the Good Friday Agreement.

So for me, if you support Lexit you’re in the same bracket as Brexiters who don’t care about the effects of what’s happening now, let alone what will happen come April, let alone what is to come longer term when all those folk let down by both main Westminster parties look to further extremes (with sections of both parties endorsing the worst of conspiracy theory led bigotry) out there for answers. With Nigel Farage rearing his ugly head, and talk of a ‘centrist’ party with Tony Blair’s cold, bloody hands at the helm, both Labour and the Tories look ready to tear themselves apart now that the contradictions of what are loose coalitions are being torn apart.

In effect we have the left, like the right, having an aspect who are rushing headlong into the destruction of people, their lives and relationships because they feel their version of political purity is worth a try. For people like myself whose life relies upon just in time distribution the idea that my life hangs on a thread because I’m threatened by zealots from the right, and the left, is deeply depressing. We are insulated in Scotland to a degree, but Brexit will rip that insulation aside, and without the protections of the EU and our European allies, we’ll be left to the whims of people who think in conspiracy theory, idiocy and xenophobia.

Basically we’re fucked. Like the Iraq War though, there will be Brexiter and Lexiter in a few short months desperately recanting as the people who have been ignored throughout all of this kick back and take their anger out on the cheerleaders of what is the single more insane act a nation has done to itself in peacetime.

Good luck to us. We’re going to need it.


Steve Ditko’s Spider-Man is the only one that really matters

Steve Ditko’s death brought to focus the saying that his Spider-Man is the only true one and everyone after him is a bloke wearing a costume. That’s borne out by the fact that since the early 80’s every single writer who has taken over control of the character always mentions Ditko as an influence but the Peter Parker of today (a wealthy industrialist) is nothing like Ditko’s nebbish, freakish, sad little loser of a boy learning to interact with people and become a decent man who does the right thing.

Peter Parker isn’t a hero when Ditko and Stan Lee (I’ll leave how much involvement Lee had in Spider-Man to others but the title read more and more like Ditko as it progressed isn’t something that should be up for debate) start telling his story but he develops as the title moves on. Even so he’s always struggling with his heroism and the fact he’s a nobody; a loser.

Which brings me to Amazing Spider-Man #33.

Its here that Ditko’s Spider-Man becomes the hero he’s been building up to being, and yes, it’s that few pages of art (forget about the script, it only gets in the way) that over the decades has become so iconic that it can tell Spider-Man’s story in a few pages.Peter Parker is still disliked, even hated but he’s getting better by the end of Ditko’s run.

When Ditko left, Spider-Man carried on and although talents like John Romita and the great GIl Kane turned in some amazing work, they weren’t Ditko producing this odd wee title about a hero who doesn’t think he’s a hero, and in real life is hated by everyone but his aunt.

Other creators have tried; none succeeded. That’s Ditko’s legacy for Spider-Man.


Boris Johnson drinks Mugwump jism

That was the first thought when I heard the Tories prime fuckwit Boris Johnson call Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a ‘mugwump’ this morning and no, this wasn’t a word make famous in usage by J.K Rowling. That belongs to William Borroughs who used it in The Naked Lunch which was eventually made into a fine film by David Cronenberg which in turn spawn a quite wonderful tune from Bomb the Bass.

So next time you think of Boris Johnson, imagine him supping on a glass of Mugwump jism…

Dreams & Nightmares-The Ongoing Story of my Stroke/Cancer

I’m on a slightly different cocktail of drugs which has affected me oddly, so last night I had the most bizarre waking dream which turned into a nightmare. To explain, the doctor yesterday was worried about my blood calcium level so has ordered me back to the doctor’s on Monday for more tests. He thinks I have low calcium levels which will be confirmed on Monday but its easy enough to treat which didn’t stop us joking about how it’ll end up with my bones breaking. He’s from Belfast so we share a similar taste in humour.

Anyhow, last night I went to sleep and woke up with a start around 3am thinking my legs were crumbling underneath me a bit like the T1000 from Terminator 2.

Of course they weren’t, I was just coming out of a dream which lingered on after waking up, but this one persisted as I lay there trying to get back to sleep. At some point I was convinced there was a massive dent in my shins and the bones in my legs were going to give way. I even considered calling 111 to ask about what to do as I thought I could feel my shins starting to crumble under my skin, but I lay there sort of asleep, sort of awake, having this waking nightmare.

At some point I passed into full sleep, but upon waking up a few hours later I could remember every single detail. The entire thing was bizarre and a wee bit scary but I’m hoping that was a one off as after all if I’m the T1000 I end up dying. I’d rather be Big Arnie and I get all the best lines..

What I thought of A Train Called Love #1


The idea of a Garth Ennis romance comic is so obvious it’s brilliant. After all he’s done romance comics before in the shape of Hellblazer and Preacher, which hinges upon the main characters love for each other.

A Train Called Love is Ennis not giving a fuck. Here’s the bumf from publishers Dynamite.

Valerie’s getting dirty phone calls, but when she goes to take revenge she meets Myles, the man of her dreams. But Myles is up against Emil and Gustav, mentally unstable guns for hire. And Valerie’s sister Penny’s friend Marcy just wants to play her own songs, but no one in the bar tonight cares- least of all Penny’s loser boyfriend Marv and his buddies Chip and Jev, who want their homeboy Mike to play the race card in a dubious scheme to get rich. But Mike has just fallen foul of a certain organisation with a lot of Ks in its name. And then there’s Mister Fluffy.

From the off Ennis makes it clear he’s not giving a single fuck about possibly offending anyone.


If you’re not used to Ennis’s sense of humour then by page three you might want to read Spandex Boy or whatever superhero title is the order of the day because as said, Ennis doesn’t just give zero fucks, he’s on top form here and the pace of the comic is fast. By page 10 we’ve had the Ku Klux Klan involved and our protagonists Myles and Valerie haven’t just met, but they’ve got to know each other very, very well….


Ennis is playing this for comedy as much as possible here. In fact it’s almost like a Ortenesque farce at times, with some bits of comedy gold like this…


Also, any comic that lets Ennis write Commando style dialogue for Germans is fantastic…


As you can tell, I loved this comic. It’s a laugh, not to mention it doesn’t play it seriously at all but it’s so skillfully put together by Ennis and his artist Mark Dos Santos that the entire package is an utter joy even if at this point, I have no idea where the plot is going.If you need a cracking bit of comedy, then this is the comic for you!

Jeremy Corbyn is the new Labour leader and things may never be the same again.

Jeremy Corbyn has been elected the new Labour Party leader for about an hour or so and already carnage is breaking out among the Blairites and the Tories. There’s shadow cabinet members quitting to a wave of apathy, though most people are smirking about Rachel Reeves stepping down as she’s the person that said Labour shouldn’t represent people on benefits, or indeed, anyone that isn’t working. So frankly, she can get to fuck.

Corbyn as leader is something the Blairites in Labour hoped would never happen and it’s astonishing to see leading Tories using the same sort of language as them in their opposition to Corbyn’s election but the fact is that for the moment, Labour have moved massively to the left and potential allies in the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens have reached out to him in order to stand against the Tories.

This isn’t to say that I’m going to rush to vote, or even rejoin Labour. Corbyn’s a Unionist, and I find it odd that someone that does hold so many good progressive opinions supports an outdated, broken, corrupt and undemocratic institution like the United Kingdom. I know many in Scotland feel the same too, so the scale of Corbyn’s task in Scotland is probably unassailable because the Labour Party in Scotland is dying. Corbyn’s election may halt that for a while but the face of Labour in Scotland isn’t Corbyn, it’s Kezia Dugdale and her shadow cabinet of arch Blairites so there’s a problem right away.As reported after his talks in Scotland, Corbyn doesn’t really get what’s changed there, or indeed, does he know about Scottish politics but the entire heart of his campaign to get elected is rooted in what’s been happening there over the last four years.His bigger problems lies elsewhere.

It is of course in England where UK elections are lost and won and it’s here where the battles are seriously going to be fought because as many has pointed out, if Corbyn’s Labour can’t get enough seats in England they’re not going to even be the core of a progressive alliance. In fact it’s worth reading this quite splendid Bella Caledonia piece to get the size of the task before Corbyn in England and these paragraphs are important.

In a postscript added to the second edition of Parliamentary Socialism, Miliband provided a brief survey of the Wilson government (1964-70). There is an insightful passage here which begins with Lord Cromer, then Governor of the Bank of England, explaining to Wilson the imperative of Tory policies in 1964. It is worth quoting, not only for what it tells us about Labour governments up to 1970 but also for its prescience, given that these words were written almost some five decades before New Labour left office in 2010:

“There is a Tory way of carrying out Tory policies, and there is a Labour way of carrying out Tory policies. It may readily be granted that the [Labour] Government carried out Tory policies in a Labour way, with heart-searching, qualifications, exceptions and so forth. But carry them out it did, all the same, and thereby cleared the way for the more drastic application of Tory policies by their Tory successors”

What Miliband is saying here is that Britain is, in effect, a one-party state. Not only because of the preponderance of Conservative governments in Britain, or because the twentieth century was the ‘Conservative century’ but because, even when the Conservatives have not been in government they have still been in power, and the ruling class interests which they protect in the British state have had little reason, whatever their protestations, to fear any Labour government. While it’s true that the British ruling class has often feared Labour governments more than Tory governments, that rather underlines the point that the main ‘progressive’ gloss that can be put on Labour governments is that they have not been as regressive as the Tories. But with the ‘progressive’ bar being set so low in Britain, that hardly constitutes its own recommendation, all the more so in Scotland where oppositional politics, for generations, has been lined up against a Tory party which last won a general election in Scotland in 1955.

The Milliband mentioned here, is Ralph Milliband, Ed and David’s father. The truth of these paragraphs need to be taken in because the UK has effectively been running a one-party state since 1979 which is why there was so much opposition not just to Scottish independence (after all breaking up that state means a restructuring and possible removal of things the state holds dear over it’s people) but to the SNP and to a lesser extent, the Greens when they surged before the election. The SNP though were and still do threaten the old hegemony of the Tory/Labour axis to such a degree that all the Unionist parties united in endless attacks upon them and their supporters in an never ending Project Fear.

That Project Fear was extended to Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t a shock to anyone that’d followed Scottish politics since 2011, but it opened up the eyes of so many in England and Wales who’d not see just how far the state acts as one when confronted by a potential threat because even though Corbyn is a Unionist, he’s a threat nonetheless. After all he’s one election victory away from seeing all the stuff Prime Minister’s keep secret, plus with deputy leader Tom Watson he’s got a fantastic campaigner against the cover-up of institutional paedophillia so imagine him getting to see secret files? There must be people in the high levels of influence and power quite literally shitting themselves at the thought of people exposed right now.

Of course there are issues with Corbyn as I’ve mentioned. The fact he’s sat in a party that’s become as rabidly right wing as Labour and not tried for the leadership before is a sign that he’s not a natural leader, and indeed, this was (and it is) his last attempt to try to reform the party from within. Some of his ideas are thin, plus frankly, I find some of the old Labour socialist rhetoric a bit cringeworthy at times as this is the 21st century. Left wing politics have moved on and Corbyn also needs to realise to win elections, especially in England that he needs to reach out to everyone, not just the left.

So here’s an idea but it’s inspired somewhat from this Mhairi Black speech.

Rather than just draw a shadow cabinet from Labour MP’s who are mainly a bunch of hopeless bastards biding their time to overthrow Corbyn, why not offer positions to MP’s from other parties in a progressive shadow cabinet against the Tories? Not only does that get voters in England used to the idea of consensus politics, but it might give the likes of say, Caroline Lucas as shadow environment minister or even Mhairi Black as shadow welfare minister a louder voice? It is of course a pipe dream as it’ll never happen, Corbyn wants Labour to win itself and unite his party but he could well find himself needing allies from other parties as his own MP’s ensure his term as leader goes as badly as possible.

But is Corbyn is serious about reaching out then good. The people of England in particular need this but if it doesn’t look as if Corbyn is going to win the next UK election then the date of a second independence referendum for Scotland becomes very clear as Nicola Sturgeon has already pointed out.


She’s right. If England doesn’t accept even Corbyn’s vision of social democracy married with old-school socialism then it’s over for the UK because make no doubt, that the people of Scotland aren’t going to tolerate perpetual Tory government and the continued policy of austerity. Independence will be the only option left so for all those Labour activists getting exited that all they’ll need to do is wave Corbyn as few times at the people of Scotland and they’ll come running back, they need to realise it’s not as easy as that and as said, things have developed in Scotland down a different path to England.

I wish Corbyn well. I hope he does manage to form alliances, fight the Tories and win elections not just in England, but in areas that have strong Tory support, but I can’t help inject a note of caution. There’s going to be hard times ahead and battles will be dirty, plus the early signs are that the Blairites are not going to go quietly.

Right now though it’s a good day for the fight against the Tories, and that’s the focus now. Fighting the Tories, be they on the government benches on sitting behind Corbyn planning and plotting because in five years time the country is going to be ravaged by Tory policy if Labour don’t join the SNP, Greens, Plaid, and the others in the fight against them.

A quick word about the long death of the Labour Party

There’s been an almighty fuss over the last 24 hours about the comments of temporary Labour leader Harriet Harman in regards Labour’s support for parts of the most regressive and brutal Tory budget in my lifetime, which is saying quite a bit. Labour supporters in England are apoplectic as they see Labour supporting the basic principles of the Tories, Owen Jones is spitting teeth, Twitter has melted.

Yet it’s all so predictable to anyone paying attention, especially those in Scotland where this sort of Tory enabling bullshit has been common for some time, hence why the people of Scotland kicked out their Labour MP’s for SNP ones. This isn’t suddenly Labour veering suddenly out of control to rubber stamp austerity or the Tories as they’ve done this before, and they look like they’ll do it again, and again, and again or at least for as long as people futility think ‘if we give Labour one more chance they’ll come good!!‘.

Of course the four leadership candidates have spoken about Harman’s comments with Jeremy Corbyn speaking out against it, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham trying hard to condemn it while trying not to look scared and Liz Kendall to the surprise of nobody fully supports the idea because she’s a Tory in every single sense bar the party she’s in. In fact one has to question not only why she decided to join Labour, but why the party allowed her to get so far in it? Then you remember Jim Murphy and it all becomes more clearer..

Kendall is simply extraordinary. Burnham and Cooper are faceless planks, but Corbyn represents what Labour should try to be and though no means a perfect answer to Labour’s many, many (mainly) self-inflicted problems he at least understands the power of standing up against austerity. Kendall seemingly wholeheartedly endorses austerity and a quick look at her Twitter feed reveals this jaw dropping Tweet.


Not only is it patronising to the people that are going to be driven into suffering, but it clearly shows Kendall’s main priority which is winning. Sure, she might kill the Labour Party off once and for all but hey, she’ll have won!

It’s a fucking horrendous situation. There’s no rage, no anger coming from Labour, Just endless attempts to talk to the same sort of Southern English middle class voter that may have voted Tory in May in vaguely Tory language while failing the most basic thing Labour was set up to do which is represent the people at the bottom. As this splendid Bella Caledonia article says, this is Orwellian and if Labour play the Tory game then we’re fucked.

This is a turning point for Labour as it’s opened eyes to people especially in England about what they’ve become in their slow journey from left til right. It could change them for the better, but I doubt it. Corbyn is being monstered not just by the right wing press but by within his own party as ‘left wing’. In 2015 the term ‘left wing’ has become a pejorative to some in Labour. That’s how fucked they are because they carry on as they’ve done today then the death of the party in Scotland will spread to England and Wales so that all that’ll be left is a mindless husk shambling around agreeing with the Tories because they’ve got not one original idea left.