Archive | May, 2016

Do you know Hanif Kureshi ?

31 May

“he asked me if I knew the novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureshi. I was slightly surprised but replied that I knew who he was but did not think I had ever met him. Neil seemed to accept this and then explained that it had been reported that a Shadow Cabinet member had been heard to opine that Neil was ‘no good on television”.Inquiries had been made,the report had been traced to Hanif Kureshi, and he had in turn apparently said that he heard the comment from me. This was a ridiculous assertion,…”

So does Bryan Gould sum up a conversation between himself and Neil Kinnock which probably summarises everything that was wrong with Labour in the 80s/90s. Kureshi a playwright and author of some distinction becomes the symbol of Labour Lovies , whether he was or not, Pinnock constantly sniping,constantly paranoid and constantly moaning and Gould constantly believing himself to be right.

In some ways that Gould even wrote an autobiography is vainglorious, he was the defeated leadership candidate for the Labour Party. Although his comments on the Labour party campaign machine in the 87 and 92 election are interesting he was clearly getting his retaliation in first. And to some extent his bubble is pricked by Mandelson being very complementary about him in his own book.

Gould it appeared was always right, and always alone in thinking so. He’s not alone in that, but self reflection doesn’t come across at all.

You might wonder why I am noting a book written 20 years ago, well I bought it recently for a $1, a fair exchange I reckon and just read it. Well worth a dollar.


Neil Hamilton Light entertainer as Politician

14 May

The return of Neil Hamilton to the political world , a phrase many never thought would be seen, has left us looking to remember why Neil was never a good idea. Michael White captured much of this in a blog article on the Guardian website this week. Titled ” Why Neil Hamilton’s return should trouble us” White captures perfectly what was wrong with Neil in his incarnation as a Tory MP. He was the man whose tale led to the frontage of the guardian ” a liar and a cheat “He had always been anti-EU/Immigartion/Unions and Pro-free market/privatisation. All standard Tory fare , but with some twists. The brown envelopes full of cash, the speeches to Fascists organisations in Europe..the ongoing court cases.
Hamilton, according to White will play the anti-elite card well without ever giving away his eliteness!Hamilton will play to the gallery and prey on their fears. His first action was a coup against the presumed UKIP leader in the Welsh Assembly – who knows where this will end, but I would be surprised if the same 7 UKIP assembly members are sitting in the same seats in 5 years time.

But Neil Hamilton, Im not sure his old politics are the point. The fascinating issue is what he has been up to since 1997. He’s a celebrity and an entertainer. Pantomime, check. Comedy Song, check. Embarrassing TV fly on the wall film, check. The now obligatory accusation of sexual assault, check.
As a character Neil no longer exists. Its Christine and Neil Hamilton, a “formidable” pair. A double headed entertainment spectacle. It is very rare that you don’t see them together. Neil has been interviewed many times as a UKIP politician and his “battle-axe ” head is swirling around the back. It was this head that attacked Martin Bell, and probably still does. It may awake at night and talk of the battle of Knutsford Heath, it may.
Neil though does do something as a mono head. On the internet there is a grainy video from some TV show. I don’t know the show or the purpose of it. It features the wonderful comedian Jonny Vegas ( who understands he is a character on screen ) and a lady from the public throwing fish into a chamber where Neil Hamilton is contained dancing to ” get down on it” and catching the fish. I do not wish to know why. It tells me everything I need to know about Neil Hamilton. He is a court gesture and always was, a light entertainer, a tax barrister,a friend of Barbara Cartland ( the last two are true and not euphemisms). What are his values as he leads the Welsh UKIPs ? Does anyone really care? He dances for fish, like a Dr Seuss character, he contorts our mind and takes our collective money. Maybe that is our expectation of former disgraced Politicians ? John Profumo went to clean toilets and raised money for charity. Im not saying this is the model, but he also kept a low profile. Neil decided to cash in on his lying and cheating by dancing for fish and dancing to the Welsh Assembly. Hang in Wales I don’t think it will last.

UK local elections on the radio …

6 May

I managed to listen to the radio ( via the wonders of the internet)whilst in the drizzle at work today. Its an electoral smorgasbord all those devolved things. Jim Naughtie told us that theres only one Police Commissioner result due tonight so don’t get your hopes up …but my hopes were up !

I got slightly excited when I heard the first Scottish result come in – Orkney Lib Dem hold ( surprise ) it was an SNP target , as though anywhere in Scotland isn’t.
Keep calm , UKIP think they have done well. They would wouldn’t they- Hartlepool/ Portsmouth/Wales – even though the party is a shambles in Wales. Neil Hamilton ! Neil Fuckin Hamilton !!The guy who looks like Peter Baynham and hates foreigners ( ok thats not helping) The other ex MP. Neil Hamilton !! Shameless. Mark Reckless that was him. 2 ex-tories indeed. Apparently the Referendum is helping them. Oh well.
11.55(to me ) they are reading the East Kilbride result live, theres some static over the result and the returning officer reads out spoilt ballots before the Tories- to much laughter. SNP with a 9% swing from labour. Krankiegeddon looms.
Its going to be a ” nationalist” night.
What are UKIP up to in Northern Ireland , they expect to win seats ? Will that help anyone !

The joy of council elections ” Leaders are prowling across the sports hall floor” Plymouth Council – oh I Love Radio 4.
Welsh labour are talking things down , its UKIPS night. ” The current vehicle of protest”. Shit its 12.28 ( 1.28 in the uk). What about the Bristol Mayor , the marmite Mayor any news ?
UKIP have gained a seat on Dudley Council they think they could win Thurrock. Labour losing badly in Bury apparently its the Jewish – Livingstone thing.
1.45 I return Labour doing ok in the South and Midlands.
John Curtice thinks the SNP party vote is off such a high its impossible to gain. Philip Cowley agrees – have we reached the tartan ceiling ? A rumour that the Lib Dems have won East Fife seems to have been started by the Lib Dems. There was a reasonably personable SNP female MP on the radio , didn’t get her name.
The woman who won the Sheffield by-election is on, she was the wife of the deceased MP. She was very coy about her support for Corbyn. Oh shit they are interviewing Neil Hamilton, unfortunately I have to do some work. He’s all immigration, steel EU and China.
North East Fife, its Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party by the way. The winning Lib Dem says he’s had the time of his life but misses singing it ” booooosting mental health services” is his thing.
Jim Naughtie interrupts to say in Cowdenbeath the SNP beat the Labour deputy leader. A significant result.
Oh John Manns on the radio, what will he say. He can’t hear the questions and sounds pretty weedy ( a grumble weed )” Cataclysmic if they come third in Scotland,Unthinkable ( not really its easy to imagine ) Does he wish Corbyn hadn’t said they wouldn’t lose seats ? mixed bag result but mainly lost Jewish populations. Corbyn now has to define his leadership, but there shouldn’t be a challenge.
Im back again at 2.50/3.50 SNP winning something, Labour losing something else. something about the Lord Provost of Edinburgh its all a bit confusing.
Labour leader of Redditch council ( remember Kevin Turvey red ditches full of blood – oh well I do) Compares them to Leicester ( at last ) we fought on local issues ‘ Im the leader of Redditch Council ” like he won the lottery! Oh but they are losing Dudley.
Labour and Cons neck and neck in Scottish vote.
Philip Cowley is eating a fudge during a result, this is major. Edinburgh West. The Norwich Labour MP Clive Lewis comes on but says nothing then sounds like the smash men. Shut up or get out he says.

Wales has its first openly Gay MWA , then another. Come in Matt Lucas !
Jim Naughtie is riffing on how significant the Cons vote in Scotland is.
Oliver someone has won Dumfries, his dad according to prof Cowley was dead set against it . Why asks Jim ? , oh well being a politician and he’s young . Its a Tory gain.
Edinburgh central and Jim is talking over the top like a Jamaican Toaster. ” yes” “she’s here” he says over Ruth Davidsons return. Is it Dickie Allison or Allison Dickie ? who cares ? Jim thinks its someone else anyway. She thanks the Police but tells the SNP this is a message.

The were in Wales , Brecon, the winner is thanking the campaign team as a second family- thanks her Husband and Mother in Law, opponents, the people of Brecon. She has held it since 1999, the amazing and well known constituency- especially its people. It turns out she’s the leader of the Lib Dems. Jim thinks the mother in law reference is the first time he’s heard it in a speech by a victorious candidate. Im doing a Les Dawson face at this point. Labour may be able to govern on their own in Wales, who knows.
Lab have held somewhere in Wales, I didn’t hear but lost Glasgow Pollock ( not the artist ) Jim is loving the Scottish results. Prof Cowley thinks Lab have lost 8 to SNP, SNP have lost 4 ( 3 Lib Dem 1 Cons). Are the SNP underperforming- its an astonishing performance under the current system so say Alec Salmond and Philip Cowley. SNP have taken either Mary or Merry hill it may be a kidnapping or a constituency. They do what they like at 4.30 in the morning.

” Im sat on a bench in Stourbridge near the crown shopping centre but no one has the crown in Dudley” – Its not Alan Partridge but the radio reporter. Dudley has lost its Green and Independent and is No overall Control. ” Whose going to get into bed with who ” Not Partridge ponders..Jim seems speechless. The Labour leader thinks the glass is half full- they defended 17 seats, one had 5 recounts and they lost it by 3 votes ( id ask for a 6th count to be honest )- Of the 3 parties on Council – Lab Con and UKIP no one wants a coalition- so thats sorted. Except the ex-Conservative leader whose suggesting a Con-Lab arrangement. Jim does a Grand Coalition in Dudley Comment – then were off.
Another result Edinburgh South, theres a lady saying ” Can you turn it up ” and ” I can’t hear the program ” Jim is telling the story ( perhaps to the noisy lady ) The SNP have lost a seat to Labour, the Lib Dem vote has gone AWOL.

UKIP at 13% in Wales, Reckless Mark is confident. 8 seats ? Would be spectacular he says , is that what Neil said well 5 is the target,then he counts from 5 to 8. UKIP are going to shake ups the Cardiff Bay establishment, a fresh approach – devolved policy , something about grammar schools. UKIP campaigned to abolish the Assembly in 2011, in 2016 they are looking to make gains in 2020 they may invade Wales.
The Liverpool Mayoral result is coming in – Roger bannister ( the 4 minute mile man isn’t he dead ) but no party labels being read out but its all cut off to go to Glasgow and Nicola Sturgeon/ So sod off Liverpool mayor. The Lib Dem vote in Glasgow gets hysterical cheers, the SNP sincere ones.
She thanks the Police ( creep) the team and agents the voters, and Glasgow ( not her in-laws ). She claims the 3rd SNP Government is in the bag. Will she mention the referendum? She wants to make a pledge – is this it ? No its to govern in the interests of everyone …really ? I wonder if that includes Ruth Davidson.

Then I went home, and theres so much more still to be counted.
Thank you BBC radio

Zac Goldsmith and his Pint

4 May

This Thursday London will elect a new Mayor. Boris is going back to politics and Londoners have what appears a slightly underwhelming choice between Goldsmith and Khan.

Goldsmith has been accused of running a fairly toxic race based campaign, Peter Oborne badged it with Smethwick 1964 ( often confused with Leyton 1965 ) and Peter Tatchells 1981 by-election defeat.(His campaign billboards have had more of a touch of the Crosby/Textor framed 2005 New Zealand billboards.) ¬†Zac though has a serious crime in the British psyche,apparently he can’t hold a pint. Forget that he may have some allergy to beer, that he may have been momentarily steadying the glass, forget that he’s actually of the beer bottle generation ( sadly not a Tommy Cooper joke ) and forget that , well he’s well a man. You see isn’t this one of the “suggestions” about a man who can’t “hold”his pint, it’s a euphemism for being a soft man, not a real man, maybe a gay man. Of course real men don’t have hands equipped to hold pint glasses and also drink in enormous volumes in one attempt.

It was according to many on social media his bacon sandwich moment. Remember anyone born before 2014 or who wasn’t listening, this was the moment when Ed Miliband blew his chance to be Prime Minister by pulling a funny face as he ate a dead pig between two bits of bread. I know, we are now entering a gastronomic food and beverage wonderland for Politics. I wonder if Ronald Regan slurped his coffee ? Does Donald Trump use a fork for eating fries ? It’s all so exciting. Pint vs champagne Flute , Does Khan drink ? No doubt ¬†George Galloway ( also a reminder for anyone born before 2014 he was the guy on celebrity big brother ) will have mentioned this as he did in his Bradford Spring ( again if your young ignore that reference along with the Leyton by-election and Tommy Cooper )