Wednesday, 31 March 2010

The forthcoming general election...

Decisions decisions...

Here are my options:

  1. Vote Conservative
  2. Vote Labour
  3. Vote LibDem
  4. Vote Green or some other minor party
  5. Spoil my ballot paper
  6. Don't bother voting
Option 1: Vote Conservative.

No. If it came to a choice between voting conservative and eating dogshit, I'd ask for a fork and a side serving of cauliflower. I haven't forgotten what they did last time they were in power, and I see that little has changed. Agressively monetarist, without even a social agenda to redeem them. No. For all the evils perpetrated by the current shower of cack, there's nothing that the Tories wouldn't have done differently.

Option 2: Vote Labour.

This is a slightly harder one. They have done some good things. But only sort of. for example, they introduced a national minimum wage, then set it too low and with exceptions for under 21's, etc. They equalised the age of consent for same sex relationships, but couldn't quite go as far as granting marriage rights to gays and lesbians. My Current MP is Angela Eagle. At the last election, she had a majority of just over 9000 votes. That's not an unassailable lead by any means. I'm not a huge Fan of Angela Eagle. In particular, she was happy to vote in favour of the Iraq invasion. But not voting for her could mean a Conservative MP in my constituency. The Labour Party themselves? Well, another centre-right monetarist party, locked into the idea that growth is the only meaningful good. Lackeys of Big Business. PFI. Privatisation of anything the Tories couldn't unscrew from the floor when they were in power. Why not give another £778,372,878,327.22p of taxpayers money to investment bankers? Vive la fucking system! As sleazy and careerist as the others. They do have a more progressive social agenda. Unless you take drugs or are an immigrant or a demonstrator of course.

Nah. Fuck 'em. After 17 years of the same old shit, given a choice between tactical voting and principled voting, there's no contest. If they stood for something different to the other guys, then there might be some point, but they don't so there isn't. Back in 1997 I hoped for something better. I didn't expect anything better, but I did hope.

Option 3: Vote Liberal Democrat.

Why? They're also a centre right party with a more progressive social agenda. On some issues, they're to the left of the other main parties, but all three of them occupy the same ideological space on the political compass. For all the big words, I doubt if they'd have done anything that differently either, plus there's absolutely no point using the Lib Dems as a means of keeping some other group out. They have no chance of winning in Wallasey.

So having ruled out a vote for the status quo, I have a choice of wasting my vote on a minor party, or voicing my disillusionment by telling them all to go hang, or I can boycott the entire process.

But if I don't bother to vote, then I have no right to criticise whatever government gets in. So my only choice lies in voting for some left wing party like Respect (remember them?) or voting for the Greens. Or in exercising my democratic right to say "none of the above"

Of those, I suspect I won't be able to make up my mind until I'm there in the polling booth with a pencil poised obve my ballot paper.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Half Man Half Biscuit in Shrewsbury

Who are you? The Severn Bore?

Half Man Half Biscuit did a gig in Shrewsbury last night, and I was there.

Mainly there anyway. A couple of beers and a pipe meant that I nearly didn't get in at all, as I left the tickets on a table when I went out for a cigarette before the gig.

The gig was a sell-out and the audience was a mix of old fans and new. Quite a good atmosphere, although a few years ago, I'd have been one of the ones right down the front getting barged around.

I can't remember the entire setlist. They played, including encore, for almost 2 hours and got a lot in. The playing rocked. The songs were interspersed with some entertaining heckling, and some very sharp ripostes from Nigel Blackwell, as the above quote shows!

Below are all the photos I took, including the blurred ones. I tried to record 24 hour garage people, but my camera took a picture instead of a video, and half the song was gone before I realised.

Monday, 22 March 2010

They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot....

Something caught my eye when I posted my last post.

Here are the pubs I went to, as visualised on Google Earth:

(there's one missing actually, and it slightly bucks the trend, which may be the reason why I couldn't find it.) but generally, please, take a look at how much space is allocated to humans, and how much is allocated to cars.

There are some things money just can't buy...

First things first. This morning one of my pupils had her driving test. She failed because of two serious faults. One was the subject of a previous post. The other was because she tried to emerge to the right from a T junction at the same time as a vehicle from her left turned right into the side road she was emerging from. She ended up stopping in the middle of the road. The examiner reckoned she should have waited. She reckoned they didn't signal right until the last moment.

After that, I had a lesson with a lady who has her test in a couple of days. I wanted her to reverse around a corner, and we went here...

See? Lot's of options. This is the kind of road examiners use, because if there's a parked car at one corner, they can use the next one, or the next...

Because I wanted her to do it for herself, I amused myself with making anagrams of the road names. Durban Road is an anagram of "A dour Brand". Glencoe Road is an anagram of "Eagle Condor"

Just thought I'd give you a little insight into the care and attention I put into my job :o)

This afternoon, I did a complete pass plus course. I used my usual complete pass plus course, going to Glossop and the Snake Pass.

The pub I usually schedule a meal break for was shut. Not a problem. I already knew it would be, and I had a plan B ready and waiting.

The Grouse Inn between Glossop and Hayfield.

That was shut up tight too.

OK. We'd passed any number of hostelries offering home cooked food on our way. So we tried another in New Mills. It may well serve food on Mondays, but it didn't open until 5pm. We weren't going to sit twiddling our thumbs for an hour, so we got on with driving.

I took a diversion from our normal route and went through a place called Charlesworth.

This was a fantastic part of the drive. The road was the sort of thing they use for car adverts. The scenery was breathtaking. I intend to go back there with my significant other and take a nice walk. Soon.

We ended up in Marple Bridge, which had a pub, which advertised food, and it's doors were open.

We ended up just having coke, because they don't serve food on Mondays. Cant' blame them really. The place was empty. The only other people apart from staff were an elderly couple who walked in as we were leaving. I had a fag in the car park and they came back out again. I heard them say "Well we'll just have to have fish and chips then".

I gave up. You can't buy pub food in rural Derbyshire on a monday afternoon. End of.

We drove around the north of Manchester in a spectacular hailstorm. (bad weather pass plus module nirvana) before heading back on the East Lancs.

But then things got really dangerous. We were heading west into the setting sun on wet roads, and it was almost impossible to see what was happening ahead. I got us off the road at a budget food pub near Haydock on the outskirts of Liverpool, and we spent half an hour killing two birds (getting the promised meal sorted, and giving the sun time to fuck off out of the sky)

Seriously. If you can't see where you're going, don't go.

Friday, 19 March 2010

James Delingpole

I've read James Delingpole from time to time, but I actually heard him on the radio yesterday, or possibly the day before. He was debating with the communications director of Greenpeace on Jeremy Vine's programme on radio 2.

I don't agree with what he has to say, but I had no idea what he was actually like.

By the time Vine had ended the debate, he'd somehow managed to sink even further in my estimation. Bullying, overbearing prick. Stating bare faced lies as truths is one thing. Breaking in to pretty much every response by the greenpeace guy just made him sound like a twat.

You can listen to it here if you're interested. It's from 40 minutes in, and goes on for about 10 minutes.

It will be up for the next couple of days. Try not to kick your monitor.

My last FM

The Mazzy Star stuff is an anomoly and I probably wouldn't put spirit in there, but the rest is a fair reflection of where I am musically. I'd replace them with Billy Bragg and Tanya Donnelly today, but next week I'd replace them with someone else, maybe.

Of course, you don't have to be a slavish devotee. Gillian Welch is near the top of my list. Born again Christiania, but fucking well done. Being an Atheist doesn't necessarily sto pyou from being spiritual. Something else I'd put in here is Mark Burgess' song, "Restless Children" if I could find it.

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