Here’s why I’m IN!

It seems strange to be writing this on the very eve of the EU Referendum vote. I’ve wrestled with writing something for weeks now but this debate has made me so angry, depressed, upset and fearful there just doesn’t seem to have been a right time to do it. I’ve feared I’d slip into some sort of blinkered, personalised rant; filled with the very ire that to be fair the majority of the last 10 weeks of campaigning has been littered with.

This has not been the United Kingdom’s finest hour. Language on both sides of the debate has been at best highly charged and at worst fuelled by hate. I would argue that this type of discourse hasn’t started with the EU referendum campaign. The bile, veiled threats and gutter politics has been growing for well over a decade now. We’ve just seen a crescendo over the past 10 long weeks of which I personally, haven’t seen in my lifetime and I don’t know if we’ll ever recover from it in the near future whatever the result. More on that in a future blog I feel!

Putting all of that aside though, yes, I am a remainer! Feels good to write that. It’s a perfectly innocent word. To continue to be. I’m in and not out. I’m a British, English, Scouse European in no particular order of merit. I’m happy to embrace all sides of those cultures together with any remaining trace of Irish ancestry embedded within my own and many Liverpudlian’s DNA.

There’s no treachery there. There’s nothing unpatriotic about that. Nobody can seriously claim otherwise.

There are lots of reasons why I’ll be voting to stay in the EU. I won’t go through each of them here as over the last 10 weeks people far more eloquently have put arguments across that I’ve shared through social media. I will just touch upon the ones that I feel most strongly about.

Firstly, I’m from Liverpool. It’s no exaggeration to suggest that the European Union saved the city of Liverpool. The EU saved it from a Tory government with a Thatcherite policy of “managed decline”. Under that government Liverpool qualified for European Objective One status. Reserved only for the poorest parts of Europe as a whole. Just think about that for a moment. Our own government let Liverpool and other areas of the UK rot until they were officially the poorest regions of the entire EU. So much for the 5th most prosperous economy in the world! Europe bailed us out. You can’t walk around Liverpool without walking past something that is there only because of European funding. It’s a vibrant centre that millions visit. The bars and hotels are full every weekend and there are just so many of them now! It’s not Utopia but just what would have happened to Liverpool and other vast swathes of neglected, typically working class areas, without all that money from Europe? (Note to Frank Field: Can you actually remember how run down Liverpool and the City Region were? Are you sure you’re in the right party? Maybe you should take your own advice and “think the unthinkable” of a Merseyside devoid of all those European millions begging for the crumbs off the Tory table?)

Secondly and following on from above, the UK will not be able to get a better trade deal than almost an entire continent. There’ll be no special treatment for us from the rest of Europe if we decide to go. Quite the contrary. We’ll be made an example of to quell any other nations who may question their European status. The “5th largest economy” is a misnomer. The majority of that wealth sits with the top 2% of our population anyway and that’s not because of Europe! To suggest we’ll still have access to the European market on our terms because we’re Britain and they need us is nonsense. Leaving Europe will be like a bitter divorce and asking for free trade on only our terms would be like asking your ex-wife to have free access to her home and complete use of all the facilities whilst expecting to continue to make love to her on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Bank Holidays!

Thirdly, you simply have to look at who wants us to leave. On the face of it that’s a point based on personalities but it’s far deeper than that. It’s about their political DNA. Anyone contemplating voting to leave the EU has to at least stop for even a second and think about the long-held beliefs of those campaigning for Brexit. Why are this lot so keen to leave the European Union? Really, think carefully about it. Why? 

Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Ian Duncan Smith, Nigel Farage, Priti Patel, Paul Nutalls of the UKIPs, Toby Young, Katie Hopkins, Neil Hamilton, Julia Hartley-Brewer, Rupert Murdoch, Liam Fox, Nigel Lawson, Chris Grayling etc. Not one of them have done anything for or have any good will towards the working class. Between them their policies include, privatising the NHS, dismantling the BBC, scrapping workers’ rights, commercialisation of the education system, relaxing gun laws, denying climate change, further austerity, reducing public services even further, supporting bankers’ bonuses (yes those people who caused the financial crash in the first place!) banning satire, scrapping social housing, attacking the disabled, protecting tax havens, scrapping support for legal representation to those who cannot afford it, defending zero-hours contracts… The list goes on.

Why are those people with their track record so desperate to leave the EU?

Finally, I’ve seen so many people viewing this referendum as some sort of vote to get rid of the Conservatives. There’ll be no General Election as a consequence of this vote. We have fixed term parliaments now. You might see the back of Cameron and Osbourne only to usher in the new dawn of Johnson and Gove and strengthening the position of Farage and the far-right.

This isn’t about anything other than our future in Europe, potentially our future as a United Kingdom and protecting our children and grandchildren’s rights, mobility and influence on our own continent and beyond.

It really is no time, with all the issues facing us as a planet, never mind Europe, to be isolating ourselves on an opportunistic right-wing whim.

The Case for Jeremy Corbyn

If you believe everything you read Jeremy Corbyn is the anti-Christ. He’s the Bogey-Man hiding under the bed (dressed in red – obviously) waiting to destroy humanity as we know it. He’s outdated, a danger to the current civilised world and the free-thinking, fast-paced, free-market economy and all of the wealth that it provides.v218-Jeremy-Corbyn-Get-v2Whilst clearly, none of this is true, despite what the Daily Mail, Katie Hopkins and even Tony Blair will have you believe. One thing is for definite. Jeremy Corbyn has got some people very, very scared.

Let’s hop back to 1997. Tony Blair’s New Labour swept to electoral victory following a string of defeats under the likes of Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock. Margaret Thatcher had changed the political landscape. Pure socialism or anything close to it was seen as outdated and unelectable. The free-market and capitalist thinking had won and had become generally accepted as how modern society worked. Blair had recognised this in opposition as party leader. For that victory in 1997 to happen, Labour had to change or face extinction. The question was how to stay a party of the left whilst being open to capitalist thinking. Step forward the “third way” and let’s not forget, despite Blair’s tarnished legacy, Labour achieved a great deal. New schools, hospitals, inner city regeneration programmes, future jobs fund etc. All principally Labour values yet mixed with a new openness to business, corporations and an acceptance of capitalist ideology.

All was fine until, Iraq, Gordon Brown and Tony Blair’s falling out and the global financial crisis which caused chaos around the world and has left us with the austerity politics of the current times. OK, admittedly this is a simplified recounting of political and economic recent history but the point is that Blair’s New Labour fitted that particular moment in time.

Back to 2015 and times are very different. Not that, the Tories, the right wing press and the global corporations would lead you to believe this. The fact is that capitalism, as we know it today, has failed. We live in this country and globally, more than ever, as the haves and the have-nots. Globally, the markets failed, crashed, banks went bust whilst the rest were bailed out by Governments. We paid for the mistakes of the bankers. You did and I did. Global institutions ran by the richest people on the planet and we kept them afloat. Have they paid us back? – No! Are they still the richest people on the planet? – Yes. What have we been left with? – Austerity. Cuts in essential services, the rise of foodbanks, the ruthless demonisation of the poorest and must vulnerable in society and for what? To protect the richest top 1 or 2% of the population, the banks with their ever increasing bonuses despite crippling whole countries through their own incompetence and the corporate giants who dodge tax and pay slave wages.

Capitalism, as we know it today has failed, just as the old socialism had prior to Thatcher. Politicians have failed to protect us from this failure and have been complicit in accepting donations, turning a blind eye to tax avoidance and in the current climate of austerity continued to line their own pockets with huge pay rises whilst the rest of the public sector has had pay frozen or been closed down for good.

Times are different and whilst the answer may not be a return to that old socialism of the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s if what has happened in the likes of Greece and more closer to home, Scotland is anything to go by then there is a surge of anti-austerity feeling. There is a lack of trust in politicians. There is a ambivalence to the carefully selected suit, the pre-prepared sound-bite and the polished party-line.

That’s why there has been a “Corbyn effect”. That’s why he stands out against the same old – same old of Cooper, Burnham and Kendall and that’s why the right and their press friends and corporate cronies are desperate to portray him as a relic, a dangerous lefty, a “friend of Bin Laden” and whatever else they can throw in his direction. Should he win the Labour leadership election is he a likely election winner in 5 years time? Not necessarily perhaps, but it could be a timely last hurrah for anything approaching socialist, value driven, politics in England and Wales. The press will remain in opposition to him and the establishment figures won’t give him an easy ride, but if he can carry on what he has started, by being himself, embedding a new social agenda that can stand up against austerity, whilst credibly filling the vacuum where capitalism has failed. Then, maybe, just maybe, with that traditional left-leaning, grass roots support that fell for UKIP, the Lib Dems or simply can’t help but fall for the media spin of “the one you like but can’t win” – just maybe he can pull off one of the most dramatic political sea-changes ever brought about in UK political history.

It may be a tall order, but not impossible. I for one will be willing him on.

Britain Loves an Underdog… Sometimes.

The British love a sporting underdog. We revel in a “giant killing” in the F.A. Cup, unless it’s our team being slayed of course! We watched in our millions late into the night when Dennis Taylor, the plucky Irish funster, beat Steve Davis the boring, safe, winning machine in the last frame on the final black. More recently we cheered on Garbiñe Muguruza as she went toe-to-toe with Serena Williams in this years Wimbledon Ladies Final as she threatened to make an impossible come back from 5-1 down in the last set.

There’s an overwhelming feeling of the British sense of fair play when it comes to sport and we like to make heroes out of the unlikeliest people. Step forward Eddie “The Eagle” Edwards and any junior football team paraded annually in the local press for going a full season without winning a game and getting thrashed every week 62-0 but never giving up, tuning out every week and with the goalkeeper suffering repetitive strain injury from retrieving the ball from the back of the net so often week in, week out.

Strange then that this sense of fair play and supporting the underdog doesn’t seem to apply in other aspects of our country. London Underground workers staged a strike last week over Boris Johnson’s plans to introduce night trains. Whilst this may seem a good idea it’s somewhat of a vanity project for Boris and something he basically announced on the fly, without discussing with anyone about how it might work and probably more problematically how much it might cost.

Transport for London’s proposals to drivers terms and conditions for pulling off Boris’s night trains see drivers faced with rotas where the amounts of night shifts they face are totally set apart from any realistic work-life balance one might expect. Imagine if you suddenly faced the prospect of having to change your hours of work from the daytime to the middle of the night. Particularly, if you fancy spending time with your family when you’re not working. I’m guessing you wouldn’t be too impressed?

Surprising then the amount of vitriol against the tube workers from many in what seems to be a tale of the underdog, in this case the ordinary working tube driver, against the establishment figure and Bullingdon bully boy Boris Johnson. Ah! But look at how much they get paid and ooooh! Look at their holidays, those greedy tube drivers! Why do tube drivers get paid more than nurses? Greedy, overpaid, underworked tube drivers!!!

Strange how when we look at ordinary working people and what they are worth compared to other ordinary working people we seem to reason that X gets paid more than Y so X is totally underserving and should be only getting paid the same amount as Y. It’s the race to the bottom and the politics of envy.

The ordinary working people of Britain should be looking at the tube drivers and underground staff and lending them their full support against Boris and his tax avoiding top earning, Tory donating friends. We should applaud them too in that their perceived high wages and generous terms and conditions shouldn’t be a stick to beat them with but a model for us all to follow and fight for. The RMT Union is a strong one, perhaps the last of its kind. It shows just why all ordinary working people should join a union as a matter of course. Together, through a union, ordinary workers can be heard and have a strong powerful voice against poor working practices and the attempts by employers to treat their staff unfairly. Instead of envying tube staff, we should be using them as the model to springboard fairer wages and terms and conditions for all.

David Cameron wants to opt out of the European rules on employment rights. Those rights entitle you to fair hours, annual leave, sickness and maternity benefits, redress against unfair dismissal and so on. At a time when unions have been vilified by a right-wing media and membership is on the wane we now find ourselves in need of them more than ever as workers rights that we have all become accustomed to are under threat. London Underground workers should inspire us not anger us. Whilst austerity continues to bite, whilst the vulnerable are attacked, whilst the rich get richer and contribute the least to society as a whole and whilst the political classes merge into a faceless force for the few and not the many; let’s support Underground staff in their battle with Boris.

It’s actually a battle we all need them to win before they come after us next.

A Progressive Nightmare

So it’s 5 years of Tory government.

Unadulterated Tory government this time as they gained seats against what the polls had indicated throughout the campaign and the Liberal Democrats capitulated. Indeed, the Liberal Democrats lost so many deposits they could have been mistaken for an absent minded banker. It seems only the Liberal Democrats themselves didn’t see their apocalypse coming. When the exit polls predicted their lowly seat count once the voting had closed Paddy Ashdown immediately rubbished them and declared that if correct he would, “eat his hat”. R.I.P. Paddy Ashdown’s hat. It was very rarely seen in public much like the Liberal Democrats of today. Let’s not forget that in the run up to the 2010 election when everyone was clambering to “agree with Nick”, the Liberal Democrats, under Clegg, had gained popularity using the left-leaning base that Charles Kennedy had previously solidified before turning to drink. Clegg had campaigned not for austerity, but similarly to Gordon Brown’s Labour had criticised the Conservative thinking of cutting welfare and public services as opposed to public investment to stimulate growth. Here is why Nick Clegg’s gambit of entering a coalition with the Conservatives was always going to be their downfall. You can’t pick up votes and seats using a left-leaning set of values and then prop up a right-wing Tory government. In effect they conned their own support and have paid a heavy but highly predictable price.

What happened to Labour though? Let’s be frank. Five years ago they picked the wrong man. Ed Miliband never convinced as a leader, rarely looked comfortable (with or without a bacon sandwich) and just didn’t strike anybody as a plausible winner. If one of the best moments in your election campaign is the trending Twitter hashtag of a 17 year-old girl then that really speaks volumes. Moving forward it is now so important that Labour picks the right person to start their recovery. There is now a debate, driven largely by a right-wing media, as to whether or not Ed Miliband’s Labour positioned itself too far to the left of centre-ground politics. This is well worth looking at more closely. In Scotland there was a very clear left-wing anti-austerity choice with a convincing party leader leading the charge. The result for Labour was a Nicola Sturgeon led SNP destroying the former safe Labour heartlands North of the Border. In England, there was no such credible anti-austerity ticket. You could have austerity max, austerity, austerity light or mildly racist. Labour lost votes to UKIP because many of its traditional voters lost trust in them as a party of working people. Sadly those defectors were falling for the Nigel Farage “man of the people” routine and “blame everything on immigrants” lines. Others, to a lesser extent, voted Green in terms of it having the most left-leaning policies available to vote for. Would this have happened though with a well reasoned, firm and credible rejection of Conservative austerity akin to what the Scots clearly chose in their thousands?

Overall, it was a nightmare for progressive politics in the United Kingdom. A Conservative majority in the House of Commons, an annihilation of the Liberal Democrats, Labour almost 100 seats behind the Tories and a popular, progressive SNP sweeping Scotland but without enough progressive allies to keep the Conservatives at bay.

At least Nigel Farage didn’t con the electorate of South Thanet.

Bloody polls eh?!!

Watch Out! Democracy’s About!!!

So, it’s nearly time for the most exciting and unpredictable vote in years. Yes, the Eurovision Song Contest is almost upon us! As a nice little warm up though, there’s also the small matter of a General Election. When you think about it there’s actually quite a lot of similarities between the two. No really, bear with me here!

No-one really is totally keen on any of the choices available, the whole process goes on a bit too long and the voting system is just a bit suspect.

The similarities don’t stop there either. This campaign, even putting aside the personal attacks, right wing media hatchet jobs and social media trends has seen the emergence of a threat from a land far away. Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon’s SNP has given everybody a bit of a scare. Likely to stamp across the Labour vote in their home territory and vilified as potentially bringing down democracy in Britain as we know it by those on the right, Sturgeon has been the breakout star of this campaign. Say it quietly but there are plenty of voters on the left and South of the Border who wish they could vote for her. Ssssshhhhhh!!! That was off message wasn’t it? The message is actually the democratic process in Scotland as a part of the United Kingdom (I know they stayed with us – No, they really did!) will spell CONSTITUTIONAL ARMAGEDDON!!! Democracy is clearly a dangerous thing.

This year’s Eurovision sees a special guest entrant, this time from the South, but also from a far away land. Australia.

Eurovision purists aren’t happy. Australia have always had a strong link and affection for the competition throughout its 60 year history. This year, to mark the 60th anniversary Australia have been given a one-off ticket to compete in the final. Hang on a minute though! They’ve actually entered a decent song which might actually win! Europeans everywhere might actually vote for it. Hardly fair that is it? Asked to enter a competition and actually trying to win it? Especially as Australia isn’t in Europe (who knew?) and what would happen if they do indeed win this year’s contest? Europe would be held to ransom by a non-European country. Not only would the Eurovision constitution descend into chaos, Australia, as winners would demand the winner’s right to defend their title in 2016. Europe might actually have to hold their own competition in Australia. What nonsense would that be? EUROVISIONAL ARMAGEDDON!!! Democracy once again proving itself unreliable and downright dangerous.

Sounding familiar?

UK General Election 2015 Liveblog

21:09  It’s almost time…

Join me from 10pm here on Election Night and bring some snacks for comment, speculation and coverage throughout the night into the wee small hours for what is set to be one of the closest elections ever. Who will win? You decide! (Probably)

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22:12  Exit Poll

Well that’s it then but it isn’t is it? No it’s just the start again. The polls are closed and now the votes are being counted. What have we done? Well, the exit polls are predicting a hung parliament with Conservatives having 316 seats, Labour 239 seats and the Lib Dems on 10. The SNP are predicte to have 58 out of 59 possible seats with UKIP on 2 and others on 25.

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22:19  Paddy Ashdown

Paddy Ashdown says he’ll “eat his hat” if the exit polls are correct and the Liberal Democrats are obliterated as predicted by them. As yet there is no official statement from Paddy Ashdown’s hat.

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22:23  Race for a Result

One of the usual set-pieces of the election is the race to have the first result in. Only Newcastle and Sunderland seem to take part in this demeaning “It’s a Knockout” style display. Let’s face it, it’s the only thing Newcastle or Sunderland ever look like winning.

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22:33  Portillo Moments

Will we get any Portillo moments this time around? Esther McVey in Wirral West will be one of the seats that will be closely watched. There could well be some high profile Labour casualties in Scotland and just how many Liberal Democrat big hitters could go?

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22:37  Snacks

Just to confirm the result of my trip to the shop for tonight’s snacks. I’ve got crisps, custard creams, Nice biscuits and Kit-Kats. Does that seem excessive? It’s a long night you know!!!

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22:43  Paul Nuttalls of the UKIPs

An early appearance of Paul Nuttalls of the UKIPs. On brighter news though he doesn’t believe the exit polls either. Although back on the downside again he’s confident of a win for Nigel Farage in South Thanet.

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22:47  Sunderland

Looks like Sunderland have stuffed up their fast count and have failed to beat the current record for announcing a result. Heads will roll. More bad news in the North East then.

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22:50  Prediction

Early prediction of George Galloway’s mood tonight: Smug.

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22:54  Result

Labour hold Sunderland South. A safe Labour seat and increasing their majority but interestingly UKIP have come second and the Liberal Democrats last with what might well be described as a deposit losing sympathy vote.

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22:57  My Prediction

My thoughts prior to the exit poll were Conservatives to be doing slightly worse than predicted, Labour to be doing slightly better and Liberal Democrats to do very badly. At least one bit of that seems to be holding up.

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23:00  Charles Kennedy

Charles Kennedy may well lose his seat in Parliament but has got a stool on standby at his local pub.

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23:02  Ed Balls

Rumours that Ed Balls could lose his seat!!! Shock Portillo moment on the cards?

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23:05  Eating

Alastair Campbell now says, “he’ll eat his kilt” if the exit poll is correct. There could be a lot of politicians with indigestion in the morning.

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23:10  Lead

Labour, dismissing the exit poll disappointment by proudly stating they have been in the lead in the actual election results so far for almost half an hour now.

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23:17  Result

Labour hold Sunderland Central. Liberal Democrats blushes spared by an independent candidate but still lose another deposit.

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23:21  Caution

Nicola Sturgeon, trying hard not to squeal with glee, also urges caution on the exit poll but as yet has not promised to eat any article of her clothing.

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23:24  Prediction

Nigel Farage and Al Murray predicted to challenge each other to a “yard of ale” challenge, whatever the result of the voting in South Thanet.

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23:28  Newcastle

Disappointment in Newcastle as they still haven’t declared any of their seats. John Carver denies any involvement in coaching the counters.

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23:31  Result

Labour now hold Sunderland West. 3-0-0-0-0-0-0!!!

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23:33  Farage

Farage rumoured to only have come third in South Thanet. Bloody polls!!!

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23:40  Queen Speech Fest?

A hung parliament could see a record number of Queen’s Speeches this year. Black Rod limbering up as we speak.

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23:53  Green Fact

Natalie Bennett is no relation to the late comic Lennie.

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23:54  Holding Up?

This election is dragging now isn’t it?

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23:58  Prediction

George Galloway now rumoured to be losing his seat in Bradford. Predicted mood adjusted to: Conspiratorial.

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00:04  Danny Alexander

Danny Alexander looks to be losing his seat to the SNP. He will be missed by no-one.

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00:07  The Man from the S*n

It’s OK. He’s gone. You can come out now.

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00:10  Peston

Is it just me or does Robert Peston look like he’s in the middle of a mid-life crisis?

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00:14  Snack update

First packet of crisps down and now I’m feeling a custard cream coming on. Well there’s nothing else going on and frankly I’m not resorting to pictures of dogs at polling stations!

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00:24  Exit Woes

Chester and Wirral West expected to stay Conservative if the exit polls are correct along with Southport becoming a Conservative gain from the Liberal Democrats. The whiskey bottle could be replacing the snacks.

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00:27  Suggestion

One of these elections they should replace Jeremy Vine with Tim.

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00:29  A Plea

Count faster people! I’m almost hoping to see Paul Nutalls of the UKIPs on the telly again. Almost.

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00:32  Latest

UKIP said to be “bouncy” in Canvey Island. Well who wouldn’t be, let’s be fair!

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00:35  What?

So Neil Kinnock’s son is likely to become an MP tonight in Wales and he’s married to the Norwegian PM? What sort of political Game of Thrones is this?

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00:39  Negatives All Round

The Dark Lord Mandelson is here. “All 3 parties have lost”, he says, “just some have lost more than others!” Chin up though. Remember what Nick Berry said. Every loser wins!!! Not sure how that might work though.

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00:43  Result

Swindon North is held by the Tories.

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00:46  Wirral West Update

According to the Liberal Democrat candidate Wirral West, currently held by Conservative minister Esther McVey is “very close” between Labour and the Tories.

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00:52  Theresa May

Theresa May standing by her SNP constitutional crisis line. Alan Johnson repeating the Dark Lord Mandelson’s “all 3 parties have lost line”. A whiff of central office there. Incidentally, the Liberal Democrats have lost their deposit in all 4 declared seats so far.

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01:02  Result

Conservatives hold Wandsworth. Not looking good for Nigel Farage in South Thanet. Crying into his beer perhaps?

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01:07  Dull

Good Grief! Just to prove how dull this election has been the dogs at polling stations twitter malarkey has made the BBC’s news bulletin. Scooby Doo currently unavailable for comment.

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01:09  Result

Another Labour hold in Newcastle. Looks like the least expensive result to date for the Liberal Democrats in terms of their deposit!

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01:14  Tooting

Toot toot!!! (Sorry, it’s late) Sadiq Khan holds his seat for Labour and race into a 5-2 lead.

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01:16  Neil Kinnock

“WELL ALL RIGHT!!! WELL ALL RIGHT!!!” – Oh hang on again!

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01:20  Selfish 

Neil Kinnock says that if the exit polls are right, a swing to the Conservatives is down to selfish, greedy, self-centred morons.

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01:24  Result

Battersea held by the Conservatives. MP wearing one of the most hideous green jackets I’ve ever seen.

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01:30  George Galloway Latest

“Would you like me to be the cat?”

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01:33  Early Results

Labour have held Wrexham but a 2.5% swing from Labour to Conservative, along with the exit poll doesn’t bode particularly well for Ed Milliband. Is it too early to barricade ourselves into our local hospitals?

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01:42  Correction

Mrs Kinnock is indeed the Danish PM and not the Norwegian one. I stand corrected, (Thanks Paula) although not too effected.

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01:46  Emigration

I lived in Dundee for a few years can I claim refuge in Scotland? What’s Denmark like these days too? Maybe the North can declare UDI?

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01:48  Lefties

BBC pundits wondering if Labour campaign might have been too left-leaning. Maybe it wasn’t left leaning enough though?

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01:54  Nuneaton

Conservatives hold seat and Liberal Democrats lose deposit again. Labour had hoped to gain this one but lose ground. Exit polls looking more accurate with every result so far.

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01:59  Nuneaton Curse

That Nuneaton result could actually spell the possibility of a Conservative outright win. Pollsters scratching their heads and searching for their book of excuses.

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02:04  Breaking News

David Milliband packing his bags and ready to return to Britain. Whatever might be left of it by the time he gets back. Sure it’ll be just to offer Ed some consolation.

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02:09  BBC

Kirsty Walk doing her best Norman Collier impression there. (Ask your parents)

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02:14  Results

Lib Dems off the mark with a hold in Wales and SNP gain Kilmarnock from Labour in what could well be a familiar story as the night goes on.

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02:19  Targets

Mixed messages coming out of some of Labour’s target seats. Both Labour and Conservatives think they may have Wirral West. Labour also think they may have taken Bury North from the Tories.

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02:26  Paisley Pattern?

Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander’s face gave it away. In the biggest “Portillo moment” of the night so far he’s lost to a 20 year-old student. SNP gain.

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02:29  Battering

Dumbatonshire and Dundee West go SNP with massive swings from Labour 33% and 29% respectively.

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02:32  Another one bites the dust

Labour lose Falkirk and Ochil & South Perthshire to SNP. Oh and Glenrothes goes the same way too. A 35% swing there!!!

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02:40  SNP

Alex Salmond still hoping for a “progressive alliance” in the House of Commons. Looks less and less likely now but Salmond can hardly contain his delight at the scale of the SNP result in Scotland.

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02:52  Wirral West

Result due in around 25 minutes I believe. Will Esther be safe now?

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02:56  The Message

There was a clear anti-austerity message by the SNP in Scotland. No such choice in England. Interesting that Labour Chair Lucy Powell pretty much blaming the Scottish electorate for a possible Conservative Government.

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03:10  Emergency

The emergency kit-kats have come out and here comes the whiskey!!!

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03:20  Gone

Jim Murphy loses his seat in Scotland now. That’s the Scottish Labour Leader out now. Very likely that there’ll be no Labour MP’s in Scotland. Back in England Labour’s number 1 target seat in Warwickshire has seen the Conservatives extend their majority and in Wales they’ve lost Clwyd!

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03:21  Wirral West Update

Re-count rumoured. Looks like it’s close.

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03:27  Scotland

Sturgeon and Salmond have already got the builders in. Huge wall rumoured.

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03:32  Sad Times

Tessa Jowell looks depressed. No sign of Ed Miliband yet. Apparently he might not see this afternoon out according to the Guardian. I’m presuming they mean as Leader of the Labour Party.

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03:37  Huge Pockets

The Liberal Democrats are losing that many deposits they could be mistaken for an absent minded banker.

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03:49  No Energy Left

Ed Davey is now the former Energy Secretary as he loses his seat to the Conservatives in Kingston. Meanwhile, Labour’s safest seat in Scotland is lost to the SNP with a 39% swing. At this rate the BBC’s swingometer will be lapping itself.

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04:02  Left, Right, Left, Right

Still no political pundits giving any credence to the possibility that Labour might not have been left wing enough as opposed to too left wing! SNP clearly an anti-austerity party and look at their results. Look how well other anti-austerity parties have done in Europe too. There was no clear anti-austerity choice in England.

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04:12  Liberal Who?

Simon Hughes has lost his seat to Labour ending his 32 year career as MP for Bermondsey. Nick Clegg under threat in Sheffield. Another close one it seems.

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04:22  UKIPs

Douglas Carswell who defected from Conservative to UKIPs holds onto his seat in Clacton. Immediately calling for electoral reform!

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04:28  It’s Late

Surely it’s well past Menzies Campbell’s bed time?

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04:39  Cable Ties

Vince Cable loses his seat in Twickenham. Liberal Democrats learning that you can’t enter an election on the left and end up propping up a Government on the right.

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04:41  Hold

Lib Dems have managed to hold Southport though, which looked against the odds earlier on.

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04:45  Wirral West Update

As the re-count is underway, word has it that Labour think they have narrowly defeated Esther McVey.

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04:49  Ed Balls

Rumours persisting that Ed Balls may well have lost his seat.

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04:53  Clegg Watch

Nick Clegg has held his seat but he’s looking a lot lonelier.

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04:54  Wirral West Update

Result imminent…

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04:56  Clegg Watch

Looks like Nick Clegg has resigned himself to resign as Lib Dem leader.

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04:58  Irony

Tactical Conservative votes keeping Nick Clegg in his seat.

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05:00  Wirral West

Esther McVey looks like she’s out!!!

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05:02  She’s Gone

Esther McVey loses Wirral West to Labour by 417 votes. Every cloud…

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05:12  Balls Up

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls may well have lost his seat, in what would be a devastating blow for Labour and Ed Milliband.

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05:26  Ding Dong Do

Charles Kennedy has lost his seat in Dingwall. As leader of the Liberal Democrats he moved them to the left and gave them the base for Nick Clegg to build on successfully in 2010 only to throw it away by propping up a right-wing Tory party. Charles is another victim and is likely to be seen queuing outside Weatherspoons this morning.

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05:30  Significant Others

Thanet South result probably not due until 6am at least. Likely that we won’t see Ed Balls’ result for another hour or so either.

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05:37  McVey

Esther McVey talks about bitter, brutal campaign in Wirral West. Maybe some truth in that but her actions and demeanour in office didn’t do her any favours.

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05:50  Every Cloud?

Chester may turn red it seems although a Conservative victory looking increasingly more likely.

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06:03  Enough is enough

And on that bombshell…

I think that’s me done for the morning. It’s been emotional hasn’t it? Oh and a very depressed Danny Alexander has just lost his seat to the SNP now! (Every cloud again eh?). Well, another grim 5 years in prospect then. Night Night!!!

Large whiskey anyone?

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Feeding the Beast. (Instantly)

Sue Perkins waved an enforced and indefinite goodbye to twitter this week as the Motor-freak Lunatic Fringe showered her with death threats on the popular social media tool. Her crime? She was linked, falsely as it happens, as the favourite to replace the prophet Jeremy Clarkson as the new Top Gear host. Clarkson’s disciples can’t bear any non-Clarkson replacement for Clarkson, particularly as Sue Perkins happens to be a woman and a lesbian. It’s probably just as well that she isn’t black or Muslim as burning effigies of her could well have littered some of Britain’s streets and social media timelines.

Makes you proud to be British doesn’t it?

You get hounded off twitter with death threats for having the sheer arrogance to be punched by Lord Clarkson for not providing any hot supper to his holiness. Then, for actually not being Clarkson or conforming to the bigotry of the Jesus of Chipping Norton, you can expect exactly the same treatment, if not worse. The story wasn’t even true, indeed Sue Perkins herself said of presenting the show that she, “couldn’t imagine anything worse than doing it.”

Ah, but let’s not let the facts get in the way of a good story!!!

In 2015 that old media line probably couldn’t be more relevant. In the old days, before social media, the internet and making a career out of being a rent-a-gob scumbag like Jon Gaunt or Katie Hopkins there wasn’t much stuff about that was instant. Even instant stuff wasn’t that instant. There was instant coffee, but you still had to wait for the kettle to boil and stir the coffee in the hot water and even then bits of it would still float about the top. Similarly instant custard wasn’t quite so instant, you still had to get the amounts right and boil water and stir etc. Instant cameras were probably a bit more instant but then again you still had to wait for the picture to gradually appear and maybe have to shake the resulting photo about a bit, requiring some effort and possible wrist injury, for an image that wasn’t that great in the end. By today’s standards that definition of instant would probably be subject to the Trades Descriptions Act.

Nowadays, patience is thin and instant is king. People want stuff. Lots of it and they want it not in the future, not now, but then, just then. They need to access stuff “at the touch of a button”, “as quickly as possible”, “instantly”, “superfast”. There’s no time to waste, you must have your stuff now and be ready to move onto the next thing, and the next thing. Who wants to click on something more than once? Just give me it now, one click, speculate as you like, just give me it now before my finger falls off with repetitive mouse click injury.

There’s no time to actually research anything and form a well balanced view. We have 60 second news for God’s sake! There was a time when the opening titles of a news programme lasted longer than 60 seconds let alone the whole news bulletin! It’s instant though isn’t it? Forget any actual detail, or balance or heaven forbid actual facts. Here’s 5 news stories and the weather in 1 minute now go away and get back to watching Celebrity Flag Waving Extra with Stephen Mulhern.

Modern life has become a slave to the instant. The instant soundbite, the instant speculation, the instant social comment, instant news. In return everyone can react instantly too. We’re encouraged to instantly vote, to feedback instantly and so there is a prevalence to take information in instantly and to instantly like, hate, comment and worse still abuse.

There is a notion amongst a significant minority to read something on the internet, social media or to Google something and hit the first link that takes your fancy and believe everything in there and react instantly to it. I think some people must just move from outrage to outrage, spoon feeding themselves a diet of indignation and moral disbelief. Life has gotten faster and there’s no time to do any research anymore or to actually stop and think about consequences or hurt feelings. There’s a whole host of cowardly, faceless, “keyboard warriors” out there who revel in this new world of the instant and the ease of access that social media brings and joyously troll their way through anybody who doesn’t fit to their own personal tastes.

Don’t think this hasn’t gone unnoticed. It’s being gleefully used against us. Corporate companies, politicians and media groups know it and use it to their own advantage. The same lies, rumours and spin used over and over again to be liked, retweeted and shared until it becomes the truth as people can’t be bothered to find out what the facts might actually be. Look at how popular Britain First has become on Facebook. It doesn’t out itself per se as the fascist, far right, thug merchant organisation that it truly is. You actually have to do a little research to become au-fait with that. However, it constantly churns out memes and messages about Britain and the flag and the armed forces and lies about how badly done to white British folk are done to compared to foreigners. People who by and large wouldn’t class themselves as racist or thugs or fascists gleefully like and share this far-right nonsense without batting an eyelid. It callously uses the image of Lee Rigby for its own nasty propaganda, fully aware that’s his family condemn them for using those images and his name for a fascist cause that he didn’t and would never have supported. Ah, but people won’t find that out though will they? They’ll just see the plausible message and the picture of a dead soldier and click like or share in a second. You don’t actually need to think about it, just scroll and click. (We won a war remember against fascism, that’s kind of one of the reasons we have an armed forces.)

Britain First Lite or UKIP as they are more commonly referred to has Nigel Farrage declaring himself as a “man of the people” and “anti-establishment”. “Oooooh! Look at Nigel there all dressed in tweed and with a pint in his hand everywhere he goes!” people say, “He’s one of us isn’t he? Wearing all that tweed and drinking pints of real ale all the time, whatever he does, anywhere he goes, ever. Ah yes! There he is, good old Nige and that glorious tweed that we all wear don’t we? Drinking ale, good British, real ale, in pints, wherever he goes, not litres like in France but proper British pints for tweed wearing, common sense, men of the people. There he is, “The Fage” educated at public school in South London and going on to work in the City, trading commodities, perhaps tweed or real ale, just like us, Mr Anti-Establishment himself, ready to ditch workers rights and really putting two fingers up to the man, ready to dismiss us unfairly with no cause to redress whatsoever…”

The Establishment are cynically luring working class people, in a time of austerity, to blame everybody but themselves for cuts in public services, low wages and an unprecedented housing crisis. Protecting their own (bankers, non-doms, corporate tax-avoiders) whilst blaming immigrants, “benefit scroungers”, attacking the disabled and the working poor. Classic divide and rule. Retweet, share, like and believe. Just don’t check the facts.

Someone on my Facebook timeline, a young, white, working class male, argued that Clarkson was “one of them” and “spoke for people like us”. That of course will be the same Jeremy Clarkson who writes for The S*n, is a close friend and neighbour of David Cameron, supports fox hunting and was one of the invited guests to the funeral of Margaret Thatcher.

There is a whole beast out there feeding us constant information in an instant. It is a bigger beast than ever before and it’s growing. It is largely unmoderated and completely accessible. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the internet and social media and that very accessibility and freedom. We are all feeding it in some form or another, I am doing it now by writing this. It is a beast though and it can bite. Someone feeds it some nonsense about Sue Perkins and the beast bites and claims another victim.

Don’t believe everything you read. Never has this been more relevant and true in today’s society. Except it should probably be extended to read:

Don’t believe everything you read, or see liked, shared, favourited, retweeted, blogged or googled.

There’s a beast needs feeding, right now! It’s hungry and ready to bite.