Follow
Download
Twisted City by Chris Singleton - album sleeve

Just enter your details below to get a copy of Chris Singleton's first album, 'Twisted City', entirely free.

Your name *  
Your email *

Postcode (County if Ireland) *


By signing up you accept
the
terms and conditions.

Sign up to the blog

Enter your email address below to receive Chris Singleton's blog in your inbox. You can also subscribe via RSS (using Feedburner).

Facebook
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.
Saturday
May092015

This election result does not mean another five years of Tory rule. We're probably talking decades.

I've encountered quite a few "let's cheer up, Tory majorities come and go" style posts on Facebook and Twitter. But I feel that this time it's very, very different and that we are now looking at the bleak prospect of England effectively becoming an one-party state, with decades of Tory rule - and all that implies for any vulnerable person in society, young or old. If you think that sounds like nonsense or hyperbole, bear with me and I'll try to spell out why I believe Tory rule for generations (in England anyway) is now an entirely plausible scenario.

1. Scotland's off soon - whether through the introduction of some form of 'devo max' arrangement or full-blown independence. This means that the introduction of English votes for English laws (so-called 'EVEL') is imminent. As they've just secured a majority in 2015, these English laws will be made by the Tories until the 2020 election, which they are practically guaranteed to win, for reasons which will be made clear below.

2. One of the laws the Tories will pass soon involves changing the electoral boundaries and reducing the number of MPs - in a way that will be very favourable to the Conservative Party. (They tried to pass this legislation in the last parliament but failed due to a spat with the now somewhat defunct Liberal Democrat party over House of Lords reform).

3. Recently the Conservatives changed the way that people register to vote - by introducing a new process called 'Individual Electoral Registration'. Google it for more background, but in a nutshell, it will make registering to vote significantly harder for certain groups - and yes, you guessed it, groups that tend not to vote Tory: the mobile, the young, university students and those in rented accommodation in urban areas.

4. The Conservatives will not replace the First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system with proportional representation (used in nearly all other western democracies). FPTP allows parties to win a majority of seats despite only winning a minority of votes - as happened in this election, with the Tories getting 37% of the vote, but 'winning' over 50% of the seats. Or the SNP getting less than half the number of votes that UKIP did, but 56 times the number of seats. Broadly speaking, the Tories have done very well out of FPTP, especially when its opponents have been split into several groups; and for this reason - and as we saw during the 2011 AV referendum - they are desperate to keep it, no matter how unrepresentative it is.

5. The combination of EVEL, electoral boundary changes, the reduction of the number of MPs in parliament and the preservation of First Past The Post will make it easier than ever before for the Tories to lock its opponents out of power. But if all that wasn't enough, the 2015 election victory ensures that there are two other key advantages that the Conservatives will be able to preserve that would in likelihood have been lost to them under a Labour-led coalition:

  • Political support from a largely foreign-owned, rabidly right-wing press (a press which, as we've seen from the savaging dished out to Miliband recently, routinely succeeds in producing Goebbels-grade propaganda). The chances of the Leveson recommendations being implemented in any meaningful way, or media plurality laws being introduced, look fairly remote now.
  • Financial support from wealthy donors: the Tories legislated last year to allow parties to spend more during election campaigns (obviously this is far more beneficial for the Tories than other parties) - and you can expect more of the same in the new parliament.

I hope that I'm wrong, but if you take all these developments into account - which have only been facilitated by this key 2015 'win' - it is hard to see anything but Tory hegemony, in England at least, for decades. And the other parties will only have themselves to blame - Blair and Brown (along with other Labour dinosaurs) passed up on the opportunity to introduce electoral reform, media plurality laws or state funding of political parties; and Clegg blew his 2010 kingmaker position by not making the introduction of proportional representation a red line, instead settling for an AV referendum that was always going to be fought tooth and nail by the Tories.

You can see now why they fought so dirty.