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Saturday
Oct012016

Twisted City is 10

So my record Twisted City is 10 years old. Fancy that. Here's a little mini-documentary about how it was made and what it's about: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l8n9RLLcdg

Saturday
Jul022016

5 reasons why Jeremy Corbyn has to go

Jeremy Corbyn

During the last Labour leadership election I wanted Jeremy Corbyn to win. Like many Labour supporters across the country I was not keen on Labour's 'austerity-lite' politics; I still felt betrayed by Labour's support for the Iraq War; and I found the other three candidates for the leadership entirely uninspiring.

But after seeing Corbyn's performance as a leader over the past 9-10 months, and particularly given recent events, I've now come to the conclusion that Corbyn has to go - and soon. Here's my reasoning:

1. The EU referendum

By taking such a half-hearted approach to the EU referendum, Corbyn helped an ugly Leave campaign to win. This in turn means that the vulnerable people he has always professed to care the most about are going now to face huge challenges - their jobs, rights at work and (in the case of ethnic minorities) their basic security have all been put at risk. There are times to be equivocal and critical about the EU (and it *does* deserve criticism, not least in how it treated Greece, or where TTIP is concerned), but the referendum campaign was not one of them: the stakes, overall, were too high for that. Much has been been made by Corbyn's followers about the fact that two thirds of Labour supporters voted Remain, but that still means a huge proportion of Labour voters did not support a key Labour Party policy. If even a small percentage of those Labour Leavers could have been persuaded by a more positive and vocal Labour campaign to stick with the EU, then we would not be in the dreadful mess we are in now, with the economy on the brink of a recession and racism being displayed overtly on the streets.

2. The electoral stats

In the recent local elections, Corbyn's share of the vote was down on Miliband's (who was hardly the most electorally successful Labour leader ever), and in Scotland, under his leadership, the Labour Party finished third, behind the Tories. This gives the lie to the idea that Corbyn is uniquely capable of re-energising Labour voters. In both the local elections and the EU referendum he simply could not get the former Labour heartlands to vote for him, or even with him.

3. Corbyn's supporters

The way that many of Corbyn's supporters react to criticism is often very sinister. Anyone who dares criticise the man on social media, even mildly, can expect to be labelled as a 'Red Tory', 'Blairite scum', 'liberal fascist' and so on (regardless of where they actually sit on the political spectrum). At rallies, 'Eradicate Blairite Vermin' t-shirts are worn. His followers direct misogynistic abuse towards female reporters whom they perceive as being biased. MPs who don't toe the Corbyn line are threatened with deselection. I've had personal experience of Corbynistas deleting comments I've made on Facebook which were broadly supportive of the guy's policies but critical of his leadership. All this undermines the idea that the movement behind Corbyn is particularly tolerant and inclusive, and if he's relying on a following that seems to routinely dehumanise, abuse or censor its critics to stay in his position as leader, it might be time to start questioning the 'decent man' description that everybody automatically inserts into a conversation about him.

4. First Past The Post

First Past the Post is an antiquated, unfair voting system that the vast majority of modern democracies do not use, because it rewards single parties who win considerably less than 50% of the vote with majorities in parliament. By attempting to cling onto the leadership despite a colossal loss of support from his MPs, Corbyn is risking a permanent split in the Labour Party - a split which, under First Past the Post, would in all probability deliver majority government to the Conservatives for a generation. Remember what happened when the SDP, Labour and Lib Dems were all simultaneously vying for left-leaning votes in the 80s - we got 18 years of Tory rule, despite 60% of the population consistently voting for other parties throughout that period. Until Labour is in a position to introduce proportional representation (and I've yet to spot much enthusiasm from Corbyn for that), the reality of the situation is that as a party Labour will have to remain a broad church. With the vast majority of the parliamentary party so opposed to his leadership, Corbyn has proved himself incapable of keeping this church together.

5. The mandate of Labour MPs

Yes, Corbyn got a large mandate from Labour party supporters, receiving over 250,000 votes in a leadership election. But over 9 million people voted for the MPs who now want Corbyn to go. Those voters deserve a voice and a say in proceedings - but they are being ignored by Corbyn's decision to fight on.

Tuesday
Jun282016

So here are the EU referendum results

So here are EU the referendum results

  • The Scots are pissed off with the English.
  • The 'natives' are pissed off with 'foreigners.'
  • The Remainers are pissed off with the Outers.
  • The young are pissed off with the old.
  • London is pissed off with the shires.
  • Europe is pissed off with Britain.
  • The middle class are pissed off with the working class.
  • The working class are pissed off at being patronised by the metropolitan elite.
  • The metropolitan elite are pissed off at being called a metropolitan elite (but probably coined the phrase themselves).
  • The 'educated' are pissed off with the 'uneducated'.
  • Depending on which meme you're into, Piglet and Pooh, after initially being quite friendly about it all are actually increasingly pissed off with each other.
  • Leavers are, in increasing numbers, now pissed off with themselves for voting leave.
  • Daily Express readers are still pissed off with everybody (except Princess Diana, who may, don't you know, still be alive).
  • Daily Mail editors are pissed off that despite their best efforts, they couldn't *quite* convince the general populace of a link between the EU and cancer.
  • The Irish passport office is pissed off with the fact that everybody suddenly has an Irish granny.
  • Boris is pissed off with about 3.8% of the people who followed his advice to vote Leave.
  • Cameron is pissed off with the idea of actually negotiating a way out of the mess he made by calling a referendum in the first place.
  • Jeremy Corbyn's right-on, loving and 'inclusive' fans are pissed off with 'Red Tories', 'Blairite scum' and 'liberal fascists.'
  • The rest of Labour is pissed off with Jeremy Corbyn for not taking a hint (or getting up off his arse during the referendum campaign).

And meanwhile, everybody, including the Leave faction, is pissed off at the prospect of actually invoking Article 50 any time soon.

(Good name for a band that actually, Article 50).

 

Friday
Dec182015

David Bowie EP

A very quick note to say that December 18 sees my band's 'David Bowie' EP released and available on all major streaming platforms.

You can find out more about the David Bowie EP here.

Saturday
Nov142015

Prayers are not what Paris needs right now



Paris is the most amazing city I've ever been to - aesthetically and culturally. It's heartbreaking to see what happened there last night.

The #prayforparis hashtag isn't sitting well with me though. Paris is the home of the Enlightenment and capital of one of the most (proudly) secular countries on earth; and, although there are many complex factors at play here, it is impossible to ignore religion as a key driving force behind these awful attacks. So given the toxic role that relgion in all this, and the historical aversion to it in France, I'm not sure Parisians want to be prayed for right now - there are more appropriate or practical ways of supporting them. And better hashtags.

Feel iffy about all the flags on Facebook too, sorry. Facebook could have suggested a better way of showing solidarity than encouraging a bit of flag-waving (mixed with selfies) at a time like this.

We find ourselves in a place where religion and flag-waving have played a huge role in generating these awful attacks - but somehow our collective social media response has been 'let's pray, and here's a picture of me with a flag on my face'. There's an old catchphrase involving liberté, égalité, fraternité which might work a tad better both online and offline. Each of these three ideals will be much needed in the coming weeks. Less so the prayers and French-themed selfies.