Sunday, December 04, 2011

Green Margarine

Many things went through my mind this morning; some of them are barely repeatable. One of the trains of thought I had was how much I need to do today because I'm going to Nottingham at 6:00pm. I should be ecstatic about seeing one of my favourite bands, but it's taking a whacking eighth of my weekend away - the part of my newly discovered weekend where I slump in front of the TV, have a long hot soak in the bath and generally do my bit for doing nothing.

The thing is, even though it feels like I do nothing I get things done: my lunch for Monday; all my clobber, clean shoes, and the usual Sunday ordered day. It sounds a bit anal, but my Sundays have always had a reasonable structure, even when I've been out of work; so therefore having something like this gig come along has thrown a spanner in my orderly Sunday.

It's 11:45am and so far this morning I've managed to do very little and I got out of bed at 9.30, which means that for over two hours I've managed to eat my breakfast, do most of my ablutions and... um... decide to sit and write an extra blog entry complaining about the fact I haven't got enough time today to do all the things I usually do at my leisure.

I have to prepare and cook the dinner (veggie sausage toad-in-the-hole) and make sure it's all done and eaten by 5.30 (at the very latest). I have to take the dogs out (approx 90 minutes earlier than usual, which will have a knock on effect), clean the duck shed out (but since writing that line the wife has said she'll do it); sort out my lunch for tomorrow, get the clothes I'm wearing put out (away from the dogs), do something with my hair (which needs cutting but I haven't got the time or the money to do that at the moment)... GAH, you don't really want to hear about it; I don't really want to explain it because explaining it eats into what little time I have already!

Oh and on top of it all my back has been grumbling like a wounded polar bear since Thursday and this has me concerned because the gig tonight has no seats - Rock City isn't a civilised, sit down venue. Time to break out the expensive painkillers, methinks.


Another thing that has played on my mind this morning is the doom and gloom across the news - both print and broadcast. As if I need to tell you what a mess we're all in, thanks to the world economy far more than the previous government - yes, they borrowed too much, but only the most right wing have to agree that the 13 or so years of Labour rule did at least see some rebuilding of infrastructure and for the majority of those years, most people were reasonably happier than say they were in 1996.

No one in their right minds will disagree that we need to lower our debt; only Gideon and his cronies seem to think that the only way of doing this is to piss off the poor and less well off. It's like they're saying that civil servants and public sector workers are most likely not to vote Tory therefore they need to be punished. That's how it feels and yet there's still people out there - some I know personally - who seem to think that Tory is best, even if they ultimately face more than just an uphill struggle for the next five or six years.

The wife and I were discussing her stepfather (or adopted father depending on how you look at it). He grew up in Sunderland in a staunchly left wing family and yet, to our knowledge, has never voted for any one other than Conservative; even though the Tories have spent more time screwing up his life than Labour could ever hope to. Neither of us could really fathom why some people are so averse to Labour. Yes, some people think unions have too much power, or that Labour pfaff about too much with bureaucracy and red tape; but surely the rights of people against unfair practice or pernicious government policies is something we should be grateful for. We don't live in a dictatorship; having the right to campaign against injustice is a right we fought for an won a long time ago, yet some people find the concept of voting for a political party that appear to care more for the people than the rich abhorrent.

I've asked some of my right leaning friends why and so far haven't heard an argument that can't be argued against. The thing with Tory voters who don't fall into the usual Conservative demographic is that they're almost as tenacious as their rich, snobbish, selfish counterparts. Conservatives are a little like born again Christians in that they believe and therefore there is no alternative. I'd like to think that I've looked at Tory policies and found some ideas pretty good; unfortunately just because I can see some good in some ideas, doesn't mean I believe they truly have the country's interests at heart. Dyed in the wool Blues view all Labour policies as having sub-agendas, even if there isn't one. The same true Blues don't accept that a lot of good was done by the previous administration and like the Daily Mail will offer a stupid example of stupid government decisions, yet are the least vocal when a Tory MP is guilty of the same thing.

Anyhow, the point of this was purely to say that I think Labour needs to seriously consider suggesting to Ed Milliband that his place in the party is important, just not as the leader. Today's Mori opinion poll in the Observer has the Tory's leading with 36%, Labour next with 34%, the Libdems on 16% and 14% undecided. The fact that the Tory's, nearly two years into a coalition where they are the controlling party, are actually top of the polls suggests that Labour got it wrong and this is after a year of falling economies, idiotic scandals and Hooray Henrys yawping about things in plummy voices and seemingly out of touch with the majority of common people.

Cameron might be a posh twat, but on a world stage he seems to fit the bill (even if he spouts neo-fascist anti-European rhetoric most of the time). You can't even compare Millband because he does seem like a well educated schoolboy with a vague resemblance to a stoned panda. He has about as much gravitas as a bail of straw and I view him as much a liability as Neil Kinnock was. Has the party at his heart, but fails to impress people because he just hasn't got much to like about his personality.

The leadership question is now old; it's been 18 months since EM was chosen and instead of a resurge in the polls, they are in 2nd place behind the cruelest of enemies. Would it have been any different if Ed Balls had been elected? I doubt it; for he polarises opinions far more than Milliband. David Millband was too Blairite, even if he possesses more of the qualities you would expect from a leader.

The person who should be leading Labour didn't even stand for election. Yvette Cooper might be Ed Balls's wife, but she actually comes across as the best man in that family and in my humble opinion would have united the party and the country far better. We're not going to get another Thatcher; Cooper could have restored faith in women leaders in this country and I have this horrible feeling that she refuses to be drawn into this because she's loyal to her husband, who obviously harbours hopes of becoming PM one day (even if he would become a Red Top caption editor's dream).

The conclusion I drew this morning is that things will only get much worse. But not because the Tories are in. I don't think anyone would have solved this problem, it's a global one and all the finger pointing in the world is not going to alter the fact that Britain in 2016 is going to be a much different place than any of us expected it to be.

However, it will definitely be a place where the haves still have and the have nots will become increasingly desperate to exist. There are areas of our life that have remained relatively unscathed by the cuts and the impending world economic disaster; I seriously believe that once something untouchable is hacked to shreds with the cuts knife, it will open a floodgate which will see everything we take for granted obliterated.

Perhaps we have to start living in a real world; working longer, earning less, paying more. It isn't fair, because we leave people in charge, they screw up and we pay for it. But that's democracy and we have to pay to live, however unpleasant life might end up being. I just wish people would look at the widening gap between the rich and the poor; at the increasing civil unrest and the fact that bankers are getting away with repeatedly raping us and realise that the Tory's have never, ever, been the party for growth and the future. Top Tories will be okay regardless of the economic state and will continue to be okay if everything melts down. They might lose lots, but they'll still have more than me and you. Most Tories have this, 'we'll worry about then when it comes' attitude and that means we're likely to lurch from one crisis to another; more people will lose their jobs, more small businesses will fail because fewer people will be spending money; creating a vicious spiral.

A few months ago I wrote in my almost defunct political blog what the consequences are if just one person loses his job; the more people claiming the dole - and estimates reckon unemployment will peak at 3.25million (nearly twice what it is at the moment), the less money going into the economy and more coming out of it. The knock on effect is scary, because it will drive even well run businesses to the wall. Pubs, clubs and restaurants will close; only the best will survive and these will only be frequented by the people who still have and they will be contemptuous of the homeless littering the streets near their restaurant, even though they know the world has gone to shit. The service industry will take a hit; manufacturing will struggle to be competitive and eventually, the Tories will suggest banishing the minimum wage; arguing that it will make things competitive and put money back into pockets, give them self-esteem and a chance - even if they're working for £2 a hour and coming home with less than £70 after tax; about the same as JSA. Of course, you will have to do this or you won't get any benefits and Theresa May may well get her wish to scrap the Human Rights Bill.

You might sit there and think that some of these ideas might be reasonable; especially to the long term unemployed; but the upshot is you would think like that until something happens to you that suddenly puts you on the other side of the argument. Then you would be wondering where all your human and employment rights have gone and how grossly unfair it all is, but by then it will be too late.


Seems like my weather forecast of the other day might have been a little rash. Winter's coming and will hit the north later on tonight; the forecast for the rest of the week is not one to get terribly excited about and tellingly, the bookmakers have halved the odds for a white Christmas. The long range forecasts seem to think we might even see some sleet or snow as far south as Northampton by next weekend. They might all be wrong (and probably are) but I expect the late season raspberries, mushrooms and sweet peas are going to be crushed by Jack Frost's icy grip.

The wife is taking it seriously; she's out in the shed armed with saws and all the wood we've collected throughout the year.


The final thought I had this morning was how the hell am I going to get out of Nottingham tonight without breaking the law? I've been to this lovely city a number of times, but have struggled to get out of it - the main reason being the sign posting is bloody awful. The last two occasions I've gone one-way up a tram road. The one-way being the wrong way and the tram road not being for cars. I did, however, save huge amounts of time. According to directions I've got from Google Maps, it should be straightforward. We shall see...


Right, time for doing all the things I'd do over the next 9 hours in the next 3...

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