A Word in Your Shell-like Landlord…

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An open letter to Al Murray

I like a laugh considerably more than the next man, but there are times when even I get po-faced and snotty. I watched your party political broadcast and fell off my bar-stool chortling but… for a moment, stop sounding off to your adoring public and think about what the man behind the pint puller really wants to achieve.

I know your antecedents are titled and that you went to a posh school, but its hard to tell where your political leanings actually are.

If you are blue to the core and want to ensure a right of centre victory in Thanet South then your candidacy makes sense. There will be a few of my fellow constituents stupid enough to believe that the pub landlord is for real and his policies serious… this is an area of very high unemployment and significant immigration… there are one or two massive old hotels filled with ex-asylum seekers and eastern European migrants. Racism is real and walking the streets of Cliftonville and Margate.

One of the big new employers, Planet Earth, employs temporary migrant workers for eight weeks at a time because it is cheaper than giving real jobs to settled locals old or new… so we have a high turnover of temporary residents.

When the ‘kiss-m-quick’ culture of this famed seaside resort dwindled away all the small B&Bs and guesthouses started to become temporary accommodation for DSS clients. Tory London boroughs sent their unwanted claimants to Margate. They also sent many of their ‘place of safety’ children to local children’s homes as it was cheaper than keeping them in London. Probably as a consequence of the latter policy rumour has it that Thanet has a high concentration of convicted paedophiles, and doubtless unknown ones too.

High unemployment, high immigration, high crime rate, huge numbers of ‘voids’… is it any wonder UKIP decided this was where to helicopter in their beer drinking, grinning ex-city trader boss as a candidate?

Thanet has also been one of those places that vote with the trends. The number of tory and labour councillors is close to even with a handful of liberals, independents and greens recently joined by UKIP’ers too.

I have no doubt that you will attract votes from the ignorant who believe you are as prejudiced as them, as well as from people who enjoy the joke and think all politics is buffoonery. What you will not do is split the UKIP vote.

The Greens have a weak candidate so even those to the left and who care about the planet will not know who to vote for and may well throw their vote away in your direction.

So Al, what do you want to achieve… you already get sell-out performances so I doubt you are self-publicising although this is what the Daily Mirror and others thinks.

I doubt that you believe that you will get elected.

So why are you standing?

As far as I can see the most likely thing you will do is split that left vote and reduce the likelihood of a labour victory and increase the chance of the Tory candidate or UKIP win.

With the polls so close nationwide it looks as if no party will have an overall majority. If UKIP have a significant number of seats they may well keep the Tories in power so the richest 1% can go on getting richer and the poorest 40% will continue to get poorer… with the added disaster of a referendum on withdrawing from the UK from the EEC. The Pub Landlord would be delighted, but will you? Even if ‘common sense’ doesn’t lead Al to withdraw, surely the Pub Landlord will want out when he realises that this far southeast he is in danger of getting a French accent!

She was asking for it…

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Yet again a judge – and to the eternal shame of feminists everywhere, this time it’s a woman judge – has given a lenient sentence to an abuser because the victim ‘virtually groomed him!’.

(A 16 year old schoolgirl apparently groomed her 44 year old male teacher – now there is a power relationship that is totally new to me!)

Our judiciary is, of course, overwhelmingly drawn from the establishment. A certain moneyed class has an education bought for them that, naturally, creates another generation of the establishment carrying the ‘cultural capital’ that the rest of us seem to think is about cleverness and intellectual merit instead of privilege and power.

Crimes against the person are, to the vast majority of us at the peak of infamy. Murder, rape and abuse of children bring out the fascist flogger and executioner in even the mildest pinko liberal. Yet it is often property crime that gets the big punishments.

Kill a Hen Harrier to stop it eating your ‘game’ birds and likely as not you will get off, or get a few hours community service. Poach those game birds from their ‘rightful owner’ and the peasant with a pheasant gets a gaol term! Stealing from us all is, apparently, the lesser crime!

Rip off a bank and you risk decades in prison, kill an innocent pedestrian when you are three times over the legal limit and your Jaguar mounts the pavement and there may be some finger wagging.

Unreconstructed judges have allowed rapists, especially middle-class ones, to walk free because of the provocative clothes of the victim or the fact that she is a sex worker.

Turn this on its head. Let us suppose the high street store is provocative with its display of perfume, or the grocer puts out nice juicy pears… would that enticement and flouting of the fruitiness be an excuse when you nick the perfume or nab a pear… of course not!

Can one be judged when you’ve been deliberately tempted? Our whole society rests on a plinth of temptation. Adverts flagrantly entice us and incentive schemes are there to turn our heads.

I ask every member of every bench from the lowliest magistrate to the Lords in ermine to think about it… if provocation is a mitigating factor then every crime against property should be treated leniently.

“Its hardly surprising m’lord that he took the TV… it was blatantly broadcasting in HD for all to see!”

I rest my case!

Roundabout Way of Doing Things

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An American friend and I were exchanging mails… as I am contemplating a trip there this year and was saying how I found driving there confusing and I wasn’t quite sure what to do at junctions. In offering his sympathy he mentioned his experience driving in the Uk and said how, for him, every roundabout, he thought he faced certain death!

Well these days so do I!

What the hell happened to discipline on our roads. Its time that we introduced stop signs at all roundabouts and enforced them with the zeal shown by French police!

I’ve only been driving for thirty something years and learned to drive in the aggressive arena of central London. Nevertheless, I slow as I approach a roundabout ready to give way to the right as I should. If something is approaching there I come to a halt to let it take precedence. There are a few drivers like me but the rest split into two factions… the nervy ones who have panic in their eyes and are only happy if there is no other vehicle visible within fifty meters of the junction and the evil-eyed, hell-bent, selfish majority who accelerate into the roundabout as if leaping into a boxing ring.

There is no civility or courtesy, not even simple caution… nowadays the roundabout is just the chance to be as Macho as a Portuguese driver… you know the ones who sit behind you on a straight and empty flat road and wait until you are on a blind bend and more blind summit before overtaking. They believe there is no fun in it otherwise. Or maybe they are like the fatalistic Indian drivers I once encountered in Delhi driving against the traffic in the fast lane of a duel carriageway! Kharma kept them safe it seems.

Every roundabout is now a test of courage, tenacity, stubbornness and brinkmanship!

​If there was just one law I could pass….

Define Richer?

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Cuts in public spending will eventually lead to government surplus. Keep up the surplus for long enough and the nation can repay all its borrowed money. How does that make us richer? Sure we won’t be ‘bankrupt’, but we will also strengthen our currency on international exchange markets and so make imports cheaper and exports harder to sell. So this enrichment process makes it harder for us to compete in global markets and spending cuts throw millions below the poverty line.

In pure monetary terms things will cost more so inflation will rise and in our own backyard everything will cost more. Anyone on a fixed income such as a non-index linked pension is worse off. The country will have some very wealthy businessmen and a broad band of wealthy people who live off money manipulation. There will be millions of pensioners, disabled or sick people or unemployed people unable to have anything other than a bare existence.

So If the top few percent have a life most of us would need a lottery win to match; most of us get by and a whole swathe of people struggle to survive how does that make us rich?

Here’s a thought. How about, instead of squeezing the poor until the pips are dust, a bit of clever quantitive easing. I don’t mean the stupidity of letting the Bank of England issue several billion new bonds for the moneyed classes to buy and save with virtually no trickle-down so nil impact on the economy. The clever thing to do would be to declare a one off cash bonus to all pensioners and claimants. Money printed and given away to the poorest people in our society. Such money would immediately be spent and the economy gets more money pumped into it at no borrowing cost thus enriching us all… and that ‘us all’ is the inclusive definition of ‘richer’ I trust.