Blogsy be Kind

Will Blogsy be kind tonight? I don't know. I hope so, but the internet signal goes from weak to disappeared so maybe not.

For the record, it's Saturday night. I am sitting in the forecabin with a blanket over my legs and I am warm and cosy. MasterB is on the bed where he has spent most of the day after being extraordinarily vocal for extraordinarily long amounts of time during the night.

I slept in once he allowed me to sleep at all.

He has had shore leave, two lots in fact. One he decided quite quickly he wanted to get back on board, the other he was looking increasingly confident, had just dug a shallow hole and squatted down when a couple approached from the far end of the marina. I thought they were heading for a car, but no they continued towards us, presumably going to the pub a mile or so away. MasterB lowered himself to his belly and scuttled back to the boat and the indoor facilities.

Earlier I went to the organic farm and bought some salad. There wasn't much in the shop. An architect called Colin who I met in the car park explained the lack of rain has held growth back. He started the conversation by asking me if I came there often, a cliché so hackneyed I wasn't sure what he meant. It turns out he helps at the farm once a week and is married. By some curious chemistry we quickly devined each other as non Tory Remainers. That's how I came to stand in the April sunshine for a good thirty minutes clutching the money I still owed to the shop's honesty box while we agreed on almost everything. There was a sticky moment when he asked if the Daily Mail was my newspaper. To dignify the Mail by calling it a newspaper is several steps too far in my book.

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Give Me Strength

The general election, which will take place 8th June, fills me with gloom. Truth, as we have been made so miserably aware in the past twelve months, is usually an early casualty in a political party’s electioneering. What many forget is that language is used to manipulate our responses, just as it is in slick advertising campaigns because we are worth it. Though that should probably be because we are receptive to positive sounding messages that are endlessly repeated.

I have been quiet about the election here in the blogosphere, but Twitter has seen me splutter a few times. None of the three leaders of the main parties give me hope. I certainly wouldn’t want any of them to be looking after my granny. If leaders are only interested in the powerful, the vulnerable tend to get a bad deal. Theresa May’s mantra of strong and stable leadership/government, a phrase never examined or explained on any programme I have watched, has already entered the public consciousness. Voxpops reveal average Joes and Josephine saying they think May is strong. Nobody asks them to define that strength, or to ask them which other current leaders would come under the same heading. My gut feeling is that Putin sees himself as a strong leader, and certainly Mussolini, Hitler, Mao and Stalin all fall into the category. Strong in political terms means powerful. Powerful does not necessarily mean wise, just or fair. Not that it’s just the politicians who like this muscular language. Another voxpop found pro May voters in Essex saying they thought May would ‘fight’ to get us a good deal in Brexit. If this is a fight, who started it? Not the other members of the EU, that’s for sure.

Aggressive posturing, sabre rattling is all the rage, with a number of politicians from various countries apparently keen to join in and talk tough. Trump has been doing it for months, though did anyone else see the completely vacuous drivel spouted by Ivanka when questioned about her new role? All accompanied by hair flicking and smiles. Meanwhile her father, having said he would not be interfering in foreign affairs has apparently had a look in the toy box of weaponry at his disposal and exploded a bomb so big people thought it was end of the world. North Korea’s Dear Leader has stated he is ready to defend the country, though I somehow can’t quite see him crawling through scrub in camouflage gear.
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In It Together

Maybe it’s the optimism of spring, but the general election is looking a lot more interesting now than it did back in January.

Sunny Boy

Sunny Boy


The leaders of the three main parties still look and sound like Stepford Wives and could probably make a mint selling recordings of their speeches to cure insomnia. Well not David Cameron. At least not for me. He does bad things to my blood pressure.

Sal of Greece, aka Japonica Flowers here in wordpress Land, says that when the anti-austerity party was elected to government in her adopted country people started smiling aagin.

It’s a comment that has stayed with me. The speeches I have heard from the three main parties have each extolled their party’s virtues as being the best to govern, but they don’t exactly make your heart sing. UKIP is about the politics of fear, and could cause a surge in prescriptions for anti-depressants, and we keep being told that the NHS is pretty hard up right now.

Increasingly I find I am paying attention to groups of people who are not standing for parliament but who are working to achieve change in different parts of the country. People like Focus E15 who grew out of a protest when a local council tried to disperse single mothers from a Newham hostel to private rentals 100 miles away; people like the New Economic Foundation “Economics as though people and the planet matter”. At times it feels like the spirit of Greenham Common still lives. Continue reading

Whose Country?

There’s a debate on the television tonight. I may or may not watch it. Probably not.

It’s billed as the leaders’ debate. Seven people who lead parties standing for election next month. I anticipate it will be an event where each of these leaders have several carefully crafted lines that they will at all cost say. I doubt very much whether we will be treated to a thoughtful discussion about how our country is, the choices we might make.

I watched George Osborne on Channel 4 News the other night. The experience was bad for my health. If you don’t know who George Osborne is, congratulate yourself on having escaped exposure to a man I described on Twitter as an oleaginous git.

I am hoping Natalie Bennet will at least be unscripted. She was ridiculed some weeks ago when she admitted not knowing the answers the questions she was asked. I found it quite refreshingly honest. Most politicians ride roughshod over their questioners just bleating out the lines their spin doctors have coached them to say.

I saw another interview with someone last night. I don’t recall his name, but he was part of the business community who say we should vote Tory because that would be best for the country. I really wanted him to define what and who he means by country. For I had a very strong feeling his country is composed of a small percentage of the population who have most of the wealth.

The mantra of there are more people in jobs and more jobs is a mantra full of holes.

Zero hours contracts are great for those people because they never have to live on them. Ed Miliband wants those on zero hour contracts for three months to have those contracts converted to permanent ones. This is either fudging the issue or showing a belief in human nature that is touching but probably misled. It would be all to easy to tell the employees their services weren’t needed after ten weeks.
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Looking for a Hero(ine)

Armando Iannucci got me through the last general election with a number of sharply observed and very funny https://isobelandcat.wordpress.com/tag/aramndo-iannucci/ in The Independent newspaper. But last year he said that British politics had become too bland for humour.

With a general election not due until May, you may be wondering why I am thinking about this now. Well, there’s been a change. We now have fixed term elections. So as well as being so legislation-lite there almost wasn’t a Queen’s Speech in 2014, our politicians started their election campaigns yesterday. Heaven help us, we now have four months, four months, of posturing, bickering and oneupmanship to look forward to with neither Armando Iannucci or Simon Hoggart to leaven the dough. It’s a pretty dire prospect.

Hoggart, easily the most entertaining political sketch writer by several miles, died a year ago yesterday from pancreatic cancer. A friend of mine interviewed him once and found him modest and courteous. He used her surname in a piece published the following day in The Guardian. An ex-neighbour worked with him and admired his wit and intelligence, and loved him as a friend. John Crace is alright, but he isn’t the must read that Hoggart was. Though give him his due, they were hard shoes to fill. Here‘s some more of Simon Hoggart’s writing, this time for The Spectator, in case you are not yet convinced. Continue reading