Tag Archives: Gordon Brown

Well hung?

You would never have a ‘hung X-Factor’ or a ‘hung Britain’s Got Talent’, where Piers Morgan invites Stavros Flatley to form a coalition group with Susan Boyle. In fact, if there’s one thing that these shows are good at, it’s explaining, often ad nauseam, what’s happened, what’s happening and what’s going to happen in unnecessarily simplified detail. 

We could do with that in politics. But unfortunately it’s the polar opposite and it’s the reason that so few people are actually interested in it.

If you want to know the exact shade of vomit of Nick Clegg’s tie or the intricacies of Sarah Cameron’s tattoos then switch on the news or flick through a paper, but if you want any actual information about, say, the ramifications of a minority administration, or coalition government, then forget it. 

I don’t consider myself a moron, yet over the past few weeks I’ve come to feel that I’d have been better equipped and informed to vote in the Star Wars Galactic Republic than in the 2010 UK General Election. As I’ve said before, it’s impossible to get any real information or facts. We’ve already been made aware by the media that we will be financially shafted by whoever is elected, yet none of them will admit it. No wonder the average voter is so disaffected; I’ve only had the pleasure of voting a few times and I’m already considering a permanent move to North Korea. 

Politics in Britain (perhaps everywhere) holds little appeal to the average person because it is unclear in every vital area. We are all very aware of every politician’s latent ability to reel off an endless stream of baffling and often contradictory diatribe that we’re encouraged to believe is too complicated to be understood (even Brown has his own curious ‘stat-man’ version—reciting facts like a ticker-tape); frequently they bamboozle us with fabricated nomenclature that they never fully explain (Did you ever find out what ‘quantitative easing’ meant?); and they spend the rest of the time skirting round their flaws while sniping at their opponents. They drip feed us enough bullshit to keep us interested enough to trudge over to the polling station, without ever supplying us with enough actual information to know who or what to vote for when we get there. I expect it’s because if we did know we wouldn’t bother voting, but turn up at Whitehall en masse—a motley pack of rabid Dimblebys and Paxmans with pitchforks. 

Policies and politicians aside however, what has also become startlingly obvious in this particular election – and more interesting than the usual concoction of lies and spin – is the flawed way in which our electoral system operates. As the predictions for a hung parliament abounded I found myself asking questions . . . How on earth can a party win more votes but retain fewer seats? How can a party win fewer seats but remain in power? How can two parties that have both failed to win the majority coalesce to form a ruling government? Is any of this fair? Is it even democratic? 

It certainly doesn’t make any sense. 

If we’re to believe the news today then some of the political flotsam should coagulate to form a sort of government by the end of the weekend, and whatever else they choose to do, it is likely that they will reform the ‘first past the post’ electoral system to make way for a fairer, clearer structure, which should at least allow the voice of the people to be heard, even if we still have no idea what we’re voting for. 


“The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.” Charles Bukowski

  

 

 

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Ash Clouds

Oh the volcanic ash cloud. What will holiday makers do? They’re stuck in Madrid. They can’t get a flight, they can’t get a boat. Oh, the horror of it—the horror!

Now some of those people have managed to get on coaches and now they’re all arriving at Calais. There are too many people at Calais. THERE ARE TOO MANY PEOPLE AT CALAIS! There will surely be crime. They’ll be mugged and robbed and buggered for all they’re worth. Oh, the treachery of that volcano! Oh, the misery for those poor people.

I’ve been stuck in an airport overnight in Menorca; I’ve slept in a train station in Malaysia; I’ve been marooned in places where no one can speak English with no feasible method of exit for a prolonged period of time; and I’ve taken a plethora of 15-25 hour coach journeys all over the world in vehicles you wouldn’t even deem roadworthy (sometimes while also suffering from diarrhoea); yet, even without someone bringing me blankets and cups of hot tea, I am alive and not horrendously scarred by these experiences, because, honestly, they weren’t all that bad.

But maybe I’m wrong. I am, after all, just one man with one opinion. Perhaps the reality of the grounded flights is truly dreadful. Let’s watch the BBC interview the people involved and listen to their tales of woe.

“Hello Sir, how are you bearing up?”

“Not too bad.”

“Hello there, how has your journey been so far?”

“Long, but pretty good to be honest.”

“How have you been treated by the embassy?”

“Very well.”

Right, so even the majority of the people experiencing this catastrophic humanitarian disaster first hand seem to be ‘bearing up well’ as one reporter put it. But still the media insist on portraying the ‘inconvenience’ as a challenge akin to Cook’s endeavour voyage.

Impossible to get the facts these days. Even at the source they try and warp it. And so this brings me, by a knight’s move, to the 2010 General Election.

Last night saw the three main parties tackle foreign affairs. I’ve recorded it with the vague idea of watching it at some point today, but already, having watched just a snippet of today’s television, I’ve had the whole thing summed up for me from multiple angles by multiple people. Not the party policies on foreign affairs though. I’m still no clearer on them. But I do know that last night’s debate was more evenly weighted than the first one, with none of the three men emerging as the clear victor, which apparently heightens the prospect of a ‘hung parliament’. Is that good? I can’t find a conclusive answer. This morning I read contradictory pieces in the Times and the Telegraph, one of which expounds the virtues of such a parliament and the other lambastes it as sure fire economic disaster for Britain. It’s all conjecture and, as such, I have no way to form an opinion on which outcome is the more likely.

I’m told that a vote for Nick Clegg is pretty much deemed to be a vote for a hung parliament, which means that I’m not actually voting for a man, I’m voting for a government coalition that I don’t fully understand. Understanding the implications of these things is important if we are to make reasoned, logical decisions, yet all we are really told about is how tall or short the three party leaders are; how garrulous or reticent they seem; are they posh or common? What are their wives like? The real information – the party politics – is shunted behind a layer of spin and treachery and, as voters, we must grope through this oomska to find out what the difference is between them. And when you do, guess what, it’s virtually nothing.

The difference between Barack Obama and John McCain was the difference between black and white (and not just in looks). What’s the difference between Nick Clegg and David Cameron? They could practically be brothers. Gordon Brown could be their weird uncle. The three men are virtually indistinguishable (and not just in looks).

I keep waiting for someone to say or do something that I consider worthy of a vote – something bold and brave – but it’s not forthcoming. So then, on the flip side, I wait for someone to blunder in epic style so I can write them off. Holiday pictures of David Cameron shooting White Rhino’s with an AK47 would work, but, to date, that hasn’t happened either.

A friend of mine recently summed up the reason for this similarity between the Lib. Dems, Labour and Tories by stating that, although Britain had problems, they are not problems major enough to warrant radical reform and, therefore, the main objective of the three parties – as they were so closely matched in polls – is to seem more appealing than their rivals in order to edge the votes in their favour.

It’s not a new thing; the politics of appearance has always been important, but today it seems to dominate. How you look is more important than what you have to say. Style over content. Celebrity politics. And the media continue to play it up. The papers take sides. Impossible to get the facts these days. Ah, the news is on . . . The stranded Brits are coming home on a luxury cruise liner . . . The volcanic ash cloud has blown away from Britain . . . But I can still see a haze in the air. I can’t see clearly. May 6th. All will be clear after May 6th . . . But will it be better?

 

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Am I bovvered?

Write something. Anything! It’s come to the point where it would be less detrimental to write 500 words of completely inane stream of consciousness crap than nothing at all. It’s been over a month since I last wrote this blog, which has led people to speculate that I may have died, or worse than that, entered the Big Brother house. It was this final and horrific assumption that stirred me from my ennui and resulted in me writing what you are now reading. I can cope with being assumed dead I thought, but I’ll be damned if people assume that I’ve taken to spending my time with that horde of bastards.

The real reason for my lack of activity is because of bother, or specifically a lack of it. And not just on my part, no. Of late, I’ve realised that no one and nothing can be bothered.

They can’t be bothered to make good television shows. The last thing I watched was a program called ‘Young, Dumb and Living off Mum’, which in short, involves a group of spoilt insufferable brats whining about the difficulties of existing. It’s almost exactly what I and the other two million nine hundred and ninety nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine unemployed people don’t want to watch; a show where those with everything moan about how difficult it is to do nothing. What next? . . . A man dousing couture gowns with 1945 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild, whilst eating fistfulls of £50 notes?

The news can’t be bothered either. Rather than giving you information about events from around the world, it chooses to provide updates on MP scandals and a death count of troops in Afghanistan. Unnecessary deaths in a futile and unwinnable war is nothing to sneer about in a blog, and MP scandal is so boring and tired that I wouldn’t even feel incensed if it transpired that Gordon Brown had claimed a million pounds a month for renting out headspace to his ears.

My personal life can’t be bothered. The most interesting thing that has happened to me of late was an argument with a bus driver that resulted in me leaving the bus a pound poorer and him being called a fucking prick. I won’t go into the details of the incident as it is long winded, boring and, most of all, I can’t be bothered. But rest assured that I was right and he was a fucking prick.

I even found out this morning that the weather can’t be bothered. August, at first predicted to be swelteringly hot and lovely, is now being described as ‘unsettled’.

So, there you have it, I’m not dead and I’m not in the Big Brother house and what’s more, I bothered to write something that, provided no one from Transport for London reads, will have proved less detrimental than writing nothing at all. I only hope that you lot can be bothered to read it.

 

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Brown’s got talent?

The media must be gutted now that Britain’s Got Talent is over. It’s gutter press gold. Even Gordon Brown has muscled in for some scraps. Just like last year, when he sent extremely widely known personal letters to all X-factor contestants, now he has made a statement congratulating the public on their decision to vote for Diversity and earmarking it as a harbinger of doom for the BNP. It’s a statement so obviously meant to assure the public that “Hey, I’m just like you guys!” that you can practically see his disingenuous smile looming out of the words on the page, like a horrifying magic eye.

Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if they erect a commemorative Britain’s Got Talent plaque on Fleet Street, or create a bank holiday to mark the ending of the show. It’s so rich in people to venerate, mock and taunt, it’s the literal equivalent of throwing fistfuls of filet mignon into the mouths of hungry wolves.

The danger with creating such a media feeding frenzy though – as any ex Big Brother housemate will tell you – is that the rising bloodlust can only be driven so far, before the frenzied wolves turn on the feeder. Susan Boyle is this year’s meat feeder; ridiculed and revered in equal measure – built up to hero status and now driven to check-in at The Priory.

This is the general pattern in which the media treat all pseudo celebs. But never before have we seen the sharp rise from obscurity and subsequent descent into oblivion happen in such a short space of time. Susan Boyle’s story of destruction at the hands of the media is so clear cut and absolute that it could be considered a parable, which, if I were Secretary of Education, would be circulated throughout primary schools to highlight the dangers of the press, fame, fortune and Simon Cowell.

By now, most of us know Boyle’s life story better than that of our own parents; she is a dumpy 48 year old woman, who lives alone with her cat in a small Scottish town and, just to make her seem even more pathetic and parochial . . . she has never been kissed. Boyle was sneered at by Cowell et al, when she first appeared on stage, only to silence them as it became apparent that it was possible for this unattractive, lonely woman, from a small Scottish town to have a nice voice. Much Amanda Holden gaping and Cowell/Morgan wide eyed smiling supplication later, she leaves the stage to rapturous applause and is then subjected to an avalanche of world wide media pontification, which has possibly damaged her irrevocably.

For me, the shock was not that a woman of Susan’s appearance could possess a nice singing voice, but the fact that half the world found that it was shocking. I’m amazed by such a profound level of attention, generated from nothing more than the simple incredulity that this woman is ugly and can sing. It beggars belief!

More unbelievable though are Gordon Brown’s ill advised interjections into these matters. He may think that his little speeches help engage him with the public, but it just strengthens my opinion that he is as stupid as they are. Any sane voter would want to elect the Prime Minister – the person who will run the country – on the basis of talent for the role, which should definitively eliminate all but a handful of people with the bounty of skills that make them apt for the job and, therefore, those people will be more than an average man. By commenting on a show where a panel of millionaires critically appraise the ludicrous displays of the country’s underclass and project it for the amusement of the rest of us, Brown shows himself to be both a fool and, more importantly, devoid of the acumen required for leadership.

It’s a recession, everything is fucked. The US has Barack Obama – a forthright, commanding President – and Britain too needs a decisive leader. A leader who, through courage in his convictions, can forge a road in one direction and stay with it – however that road may turn out. Brown, by governing to the meandering whims of the media and trends of the masses, is no better than a Britain’s Got Talent hopeful standing in front of us and hoping we’ll like him. Cracks are appearing in his performance though and when it does all break down he will find himself at the mercy of the media wolves, wondering where it all went wrong, just like any other pseudo celebrity.

 

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I can’t always right this blog . . . See!

Sometimes the news is so depressing and just plain boring that I can’t muster the enthusiasm to sit at the grey/brown desk and lazily poke my fingers into the plastic board sat in front of me. “Look at it, with its stupid letters all in a random order; how can I make any sense of this?” I often wonder. Then I chain my pet chimp, Edgar, to the chair and voila, every week it’s gold! It’s not Shakespeare yet, but I only have one chimp and at the moment he is sick with Swine flu. I would have been able to test out my new arrival, Sedgwick, but he was unfortunately seized at the airport in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

So, alone I have to try and alchemise this pile of baseness that we inhabit.

Stories that I considered and in some cases even started to write about this week, are as follows:

UEFA and their useless set of rules that benefit literally nobody

Destroy a young man’s dreams of playing in the biggest game of his career; allow a diabolical Norwegian referee to fuck up a massively important games. That’s about as far as I got before a red mist descended and all I could do was type ‘TWATS, TWATS, FUCKING TWATS’, like that bloke Jack Nicholson plays in The Shining.

Joanna Lumley’s Gurkha love

I was more intrigued by Joanna Lumley’s particular zeal for the campaign than what it stood for and as I found no particular reason for her fervent campaigning I lost heart in the matter. As for whether Gurkhas should be granted right of abode in the UK, I say – No.

Madeline McCann

Looked promising due to yesterday’s ridiculous headline: ‘Very ugly man is now Madeline suspect’ and accompanying artist impression, which made the bloke look like an Egon Schiele portrait. Then I started to write these things down and realised that only cheap laughs can be wrought from the disappearance of a three year old girl and that is not what Ventspleen is about – unless the cheap laughs are directed at someone or something that deserves ridiculing.

Government expense claims

Seemed mildly amusing when it came to light that Gordon Brown had paid his brother to clean his flat. I envisaged Brown stooping over the hunched figure of Andrew in an apron and spitting through clenched teeth, “You’ve burnt the Ristorante Quatro Formagi!”, while Andrew gushed apologies and continued to vigorously scrub Brown’s toilet with his own cascading tears. Then it turned out that they ‘shared’ a cleaner, which sounds a little disgusting, but far less humourous.

So that’s it. A week of news and nothing insightful or interesting to write. Hopefully Edgar will have recovered by next week, or you can expect more of this shit.

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