The Excommunication of St Cadbury

Poor old St Cadbury.

Once the revered Christian saint of chocolatey goodness; now a despised infidel having stabbed Jesus, Christianity, Easter and no doubt the Easter Bunny firmly in the back. A whole Christian doctrine of Immaculate Eggs bestowed upon all believers at Easter time, as originally told by the Bible in the story of Jesus, St Cadbury and the Chocolate Factory (Wonka 4:15-32).

Who could have believed after all these years that in 2016, according to the Daily Telegraph’s John Bingham, the word “Easter” had been “quietly dropped from Easter eggs”? To make matters worse, at the head of this heinous, secretive and cowardly act was none other than St Cadbury himself, clearly egged on by the Dark Lord Nestlé. (Sorry. I have to allow myself one egg based pun.)

Immediately, St Cadbury’s Twitter feed was targeted by devout Christians everywhere, leaving many parishes across the country to wonder where they had been hiding during Sunday mass all this time:

“Shame on greedy St Cadbury for dropping the word Easter from our choc eggs”

“Disgusting you’ve dropped the word ‘EASTER’ #BoycotStCadbury (well the truth is if I didn’t like your choc so much I would lol!)”

“Is it true that you are banning the word  from your Easter eggs because it offends other religions?”

“St Cadbury – So my fiancé informs me your removing #Easter from your eggs in the future? I find this disgusting we have had Easter eggs 4 yrs”

“Well, St Cadbury,  why not stop selling chocolate altogether in case you offend people who don’t like chocolate?”

Outraged Christians overwhelmed St Cadbury who, as if blind-sided by the criticism could only muster the mealy-mouthed reply:

“Hi there, we haven’t removed the word ‘Easter’ from our products, it’s on the back!”

 A collective sound of mass self-righteous jaw dropping was heard far and wide across the land. What had happened to St Cadbury? OUR ST CADBURY!!! He of the Immaculate Eggs bestowed upon all believers at Easter time and to this day readily available at retail outlets for a huge profit! On the back indeed! ON THE BACK?!! Why this sudden relegation from the front to the back?

Despite no evidence suggesting the word “Easter” had ever been particularly or consistently prominent on the front, back or sides of such eggs since those biblical times of old; (largely because they only appear at Easter and tend to come in a large, clear, egg shape so that even the most moronic of dullards could hazard a guess as to what they are!) In stepped The Archangel Louise Mensch to drive out the now excommunicated former St Cadbury: (Notice I’ve resisted cheapening this story by not using “eggs-communicated” there keeping to my word about only one egg based pun.)

“St Cadbury. It’s Easter Day. Maybe ease up on the insults to Christians by telling them Easter is now “on the back” eh?”

And so, as it was prophesied in Charlie 16:1-7: “The nation’s moral compass, Hopkins, will be too busy striking down lefties, migrants and child sex abuse victims. So, the lesser Hopkins, AKA Mensch shall drive out St Cadbury from this great nation and free the people to worship through stuffing their faces with the Holy chocolate just as Jesus would have wanted us to do.

As for John Bingham of The Daily Telegraph? He slipped away silently, back into the darkness, his work on Earth done until the next opportunity to awaken the “political correctness gone mad” brigade with more spurious facts of an unspecified origin.

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The Trouble with Gameshows

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Gameshows are never going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Often maligned as cheap, low-brow or tacky and let’s face it some of them have been, (Sue Pollard’s Take the Plunge I’m looking at you!) a good gameshow can provide those essential talking points for the next day.

– Notice I avoided the phrase “watercooler moment” there. Personally, the only “watercooler moments” I’ve ever had have been wrestling with the cheap plastic cups from the dispenser, a distinct lack of cool emanating from the water from the watercooler and back trouble from stooping to get the water or from lugging a watercooler refill around. There is nothing remotely cool or momentous about the watercooler.

Anyhow, I digress. – A good gameshow should fulfil some very simple principles in order to get people talking and tuning in again for the next episode. Essential to the format are the contestants. Sounds obvious doesn’t it? However, a gameshow should choose its contestants wisely and the format should bring out the best in them. Essentially, for a gameshow to work, an audience must invest in the contestant. They have to be likeable and the audience needs to be on their side so that at the finale they can share their delight at winning or pain at losing.

All too often though, gameshows are being let down by their choice of contestants and how they are encouraging them to come across to the viewer. There seems to have been an increase in the “serial contestant” desperate to put themselves over as funny, or talented and hoping to be given a shot not at a big star prize, but to become a star themselves. They are those people at the very bottom of the wannabe food chain, moving from gameshow to gameshow and no doubt constantly sending their wacky audition videos to Big Brother.

Producers of some gameshows seem to actively encourage these people to apply to their programmes. Dermot O’Leary’s bulging snooze-fest, The Getaway Car is a prime example. Their audition process for contestants specifically referred to wanting “lively, up-for-it” couples. This is TV executive code for loud, annoying fame-chasers. Sure, you don’t want contestants to be boring but you don’t want them forcing the issue either for their own ends. In an hour long show, already 50 minutes too long in the first place, these people don’t instil any empathy with the viewer and so you don’t care about them winning and the whole show is lost.

Stephen Mulhern’s Catchphrase with Stephen Mulhern as well as Stephen Mulhern’s daytime vehicle Stephen Mulhern’s Pick Me also starring Stephen Mulhern are other examples of shows deliberately featuring the “up for it” contestant. Catchphrase, in particular, is a show with a long history and a favourite in the eyes of the British public following its original run from 1986. Its current incarnation however, is virtually unwatchable and it’s through no fault of Mr Mulhern (who I rate, incidentally!) but the obsession with contestants who are more concerned about themselves than the prize, or the show or anything else going on in their lives. They come across as annoying and self-centred, desperate to be noticed morons, which is exactly what they are and destroy a perfectly good format because you can’t invest in them and so you’re left with nobody to root for at the end.

So what’s the point?

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.

Prickly Heat

At long last summer in the UK has arrived. Get the barbecue out, set sun factor to 50 and dust off those shorts folks because we’re having a heatwave!!! Wimbledon is here, the ice cream van owner is finally smiling and turn up Cliff Richard’s “Summer Holiday” up to the max for some “fun and laughter”.

Actually, on second thoughts, best scrub the Cliff Richard bit, just to be on the safe side!No matter though because it’s officially a heatwave and time to get out those paddling pools, fill the coolbox up with ice and get the super-soakers out for some fun in the sun. Sounds great doesn’t it? It’s what we’ve all been waiting for hasn’t it? – Well, hasn’t it?!!

Perhaps not. Barely day one into this festival of sunshine and the naysayers have been out in force droning out the common British phrase, “It’s too hot!” They go on and on and on about it too. “It’s toooooooooo hot! Oh my,it’s tooooooo hot!” they say, “Oh I’m melting in this! It’s just tooooooooooo hot!!!” These will be the same people who a few days earlier will have been moaning about how wet it’s been and constantly asking the question, “where’s summer?” Waxing lyrical about how summers were better in the 70s and dismissing global warming at a stroke.

Ok, so you think you can avoid the naysayers perhaps? Possibly, but it seems these people all work in the media too. Aside from the obligatory two kids together with an ice cream shot and a scantily clad, bikini shot of Emma (22) and Claire (19) from Kent enjoying the beach, the papers aren’t exactly to sold on the weather either.

The list of sun-related problems we’re about to face makes you wish it was Christmas already (which helpfully is only 25 weeks away – hurrah!). Here’s what we need to be on the look out for as we go into “meltdown”:

  • Just surviving is going to be an issue. This hot spell only means one thing. – Death! Heatstroke, exhaustion, skin cancer, dehydration, killer bees, crazed terrorists and drowning. Probably best staying in then and seeing this out.
  • Infrastructure. It can’t cope can it? Not in this heat. The roads are going to melt like they’d been laid by the Devil himself at the Core of Hades. Trains aren’t going to fair much better either, the tracks are going to be buckled so much that a single from Liverpool to Manchester could see you ending up in Middlesbrough. Let’s face it nobody wants that!
  • Foreigners. If they’re not trying to kill you then at the very least they’re going to spoil your holiday with ferry strikes, road blockades, air traffic control disputes and generally not being able to speak English!
  • Water. No man is an island they say but thankfully Great Britain is, surrounded by water and with plenty of rain for the other 50 weeks of the year. Expect a hosepipe ban in place by the end of the week.
  • Idiocy. Let’s face it if there’s one thing we Brits are good at it’s summer idiocy. If it’s not jumping from high ledges into shallow water, or all day drink-fuelled nuisance or the classic leaving dogs with the windows shut in the car until they become a Korean delicacy. Let’s not forget the discarded cigarette that will turn half of the Yorkshire Moors to dust too. If there’s one thing we can rely on in this hot spell it is the rise of the idiot.
  • Extreme Weather. If it’s not enough that the heatwave is destined to kill you one way or another than if there’s one thing a hot spell will bring with it is thunderstorms and heavy rain. Classic cathedrals, iron waving golfers and Wile E. Coyote are all at risk from being struck by lightening. Then there’s the torrential rain and flash flooding destined to see people stranded in their cars, sheep stranded on small hills and Paul Daniels marooned in his house in the middle of the Thames unable to escape. (I thought he was a magician?) Despite this the hosepipe ban will remain in place for another three weeks.
  • Facts. Heatwaves bring stats and lots of them. If it’s not the torrential rain that will drown you, it’ll be the stats. Highest temperatures, (since records began), lowest water supplies, (since records began) greatest humidity, (since records began) and so on. Who started these records anyway? Is there a record of this? (since records began) and is there a record (since records began) of when the records began, since when records began there was probably no record of this. – (Incidentally, if I hear just how many portions of strawberries and cream will be consumed at Wimbledon this year one more time my blood, if it isn’t already in this heat, may just boil.)

So, there we go then, day one of the heatwave and just thank God you’ve survived it. Make sure you’re well prepared for the apocalyptic meltdown that we face over the next few weeks and remember be careful! It’s an arid, barren, melting-pot of boiling, burning death out there and frankly it’s just too hot!

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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The Case for a New Smashie and Nicey

In the seventies, eighties and early nineties radio sounded a lot different. Its focus centered around DJs and their “personality”. On the whole the format didn’t really change very much and neither did the DJs. John Peel aside, the DJ would be ego driven, wacky, outspoken, cheesey or a rich, pungent cocktail of each. If you saw them at a roadshow or in a publicity photo they would be dressed with one or all of an extremely loud shirt, colourful glasses and highlighted hair. As listeners we went along with this. Frankly, we didn’t know any better or for that matter, realise what questionable activities they got up to in their spare time.

Then there was a swift awakening from our audio slumber. Video didn’t kill the radio star, but a comedy double act did! Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse created Smashie and Nicey and the truth about what we’d been fed by radio stations across the nation suddenly smacked us in the face. Almost overnight radio had dated 20 years as Smashie and Nicey ridiculed all that was supposedly (quite literally) great about the industry. Resignations, retirements and sackings followed whilst radio changed.

That change for a time was a welcome relief. Independent stations split their AM and FM frequencies, new licences were awarded and community radio stations added to a new found choice.

Gradually, however the airwaves have become somewhat bleak again. Independent stations have merged into all encompassing brands and local radio has almost become a thing of the past as networking has taken hold. It doesn’t matter which part of Britain you live in, chances are come 10am you’ll have to suffer Toby Anstis. Toby once won the Great British Lack of Personality Award narrowly defeating Nigel Mansell, Ken Barlow and a chair. In fairness, with the exception of the odd breakfast show, personality is a strict no-no in the radio industry these days. Presenters, (they’re not DJs anymore) are restricted in what they say, how much they can say and the time they’ve got to say it as stations chase the same demographic. Playlists are narrow and even the songs themselves are edited if they are deemed too long to fit the format.

I have friends who work as presenters today, many for a long time now. When they were younger it was their dream job. Now most tell me they don’t enjoy it anymore. (If they don’t what chance has the listener got?) Of course, radio couldn’t stay as it had been in the ego inflated decades of Fluff Freeman and co but unfortunately what we have ended up with today, by and large, is just plain bland. Take some time and listen to radio presenter’s links over a period. There won’t be many of them, they’ll be very short and they’ll amount to nothing paricularly exciting, funny or original. Radio Fab FM has been replaced by the Brand Bland Network.

We desperately need a modern day equivalent of Smashie and Nicey to shake us out of this new slumber, so we can once again realise just what dross we are being served, so that talent can make their mark again without fear of breaking convention. We’ve switched right across the spectrum from one extreme to the other and it’s time for change.

Harry and Paul it’s time for you to save radio. Again.