Friday, 31 October 2014

A public service poster...


In the interests of providing a valuable public service, here's a handy poster to stick up in your window this evening to - hopefully - prevent the little buggers ringing your doorbell and demanding money with menaces.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Poor old Ed...


I almost feel sorry for Ed Miliband. Well, almost but not quite. It seems that his party are beginning to realise that he is a liability as a leader and are making moves to get him out of the job before he loses them the election.

Never mind the ridiculous panic measures he keeps announcing to buy votes - like freezing power prices, 7 day cancer treatments, mansion tax, regulating football ticket prices and God knows what else he's going to come up with, it seems now that the voters in Scotland are turning against him too.

Of course, that could be something to do with him blocking constitutional reform to give Scotland the  more devolved powers that he promised them during the referendum campaign. And that's made worse by the majority of people in Glasgow and it's surrounds voting Yes when he urged them to vote No. Oh dear! That's their heartland gone tits up!

A poll over the weekend in Scotland gave the Tories a 1% lead over Labour - admittedly with a declared large margin of error - but this is the first time the Tories have been put ahead of Labour in Scotland in any poll in the last 50 years. And where are all those Labour votes leaking away to? Well, it seems they're going to the SNP and the Greens. Latest predictions show that Labour could lose as many as 20 of their MPs north of the border to the SNP next May.

And then just when he thought things couldn't get much worse, his Scottish party leader chucks her hand in, referring to Miliband as treating Scotland like a branch office and, in the lyrical language of the press, 'lobbing had grenades over her shoulder as she walks out the door'. All he needs now is Gordon Brown to re-emerge as the new Super ScotLab king! Go Gordon!

Unfortunately for Ed, England is not much better. Here they're haemorrhaging votes to UKIP and the Greens and the even worse news for them is that the disillusioned Lib Dem vote is not coming their way either.

And senior Labour figures are also starting to break cover. Andrew MacKinlay, the former MP for Thurrock, said the party’s dismal performance in the Heywood and Middleton by-election ‘was not the performance of a Government-in-waiting’. He says that Miliband’s leadership is ‘a complete disaster’. He pleads: ‘Ed – for the sake of the party we both love, please stand aside now.’

One northern Labour MP, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: ‘If Miliband cared to ask me, I could tell him why UKIP is picking up votes in northern constituencies. It is because if a single mother with a child is in a queue for council housing, she will find that an East European family with three children can jump ahead of her.

‘And if she goes to the local GPs, the same East European families will have taken all the appointments. Anyone who utters that kind of sentiment is denounced as a racist. It is nothing of the sort: it is the truth.’

So it seems that Miliband's future could well hinge on the Strood by-election next month. If Labour does badly there, then his head could roll. But then when you have a leader elected by the Union block vote who is not even allowed to pick his own shadow cabinet, what kind of leadership do you expect to get?

Will Miliband lead Labour into the General Election? I fear he may well not - which is unfortunate because the country badly needs them to lose...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

"Gimme yer money..."


£1,700,000,000.

That's quite a lot of money when you see it written down like that. It works out at an extra £65 a year for every household in the UK on top of the £525 they already pay for being a member of this piss taking bunch of crooks.

But if you think that's bad, then you might not be aware that next year, the same formula requires us to cough up another £1,000,000,000. That's another £38 per household.

So here's a thought. If you're not getting worked up about this row, how would you feel if we slapped an extra £103 on your council tax bill next to cover it? You'd refuse to pay it wouldn't you? Well, that exactly what's happening except that it's coming out of your income tax bill instead.

What could we do with £1,700,000,000? Well, we could employ 60,000 nurses and cover their pensions to boot. The NHS apparently needs £20,000,000,000 over the next few years. Easy, With change. Cancel the aid budget (£12,000,000,000), leave the EU (£13,000,000,000) and tell them where to stick this latest demand. Done - with change to spare! And that's all in one year. We save the same next year as well. And every year after that.

Now Cameron says he won't pay this demand on time. Not, please note, that he won't pay it. He says he'll demand a reduction. Dream on, Dave!

The unelected EU bureaucrats say that if the UK doesn't pay up on time, then the EU will levy large fines for non payment. I'm forced to ask why we should care? After all, if we're refusing to pay the £1,700,000,000 then why wouldn't we just refuse to pay the fines as well?

The EU goes on to say that if we don't pay, then they could kick us out of the EU.

Good. Bring it on...

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

"On yer bike..."

I've got a lot of time for Norman Tebbit, especially as we live in the same town. I often see him in Waitrose when I do the weekly shop.

He got in trouble a little while back for kicking a Chinaman up the arse and telling him to 'Bugger off" because he was letting off firecrackers to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Quite right, too! Noisy little bastards...!

You might remember his famous quote about the unemployed when he was in the government? He said "I grew up in the 1930's with an unemployed father. He didn't riot; he got on his bike and looked for work and he kept going 'til he found it!"

Anyway, good ol' Norman has been at it again. He thinks that if people are claiming unemployment benefit then it's not unreasonable to ask them to do some work for it. Norman said East Anglian landowners were plagued by ragwort and suggested Neets – people not in education, employment, or training – should help tackle the problem by pulling it up.

"I suggest you come to the Norfolk/Suffolk border areas of East Anglia. Landowners who wish to control ragwort face an impossible task when roadside verges are dominated by it to an extent I cannot remember in the past. There would be little cost to bring that under control if Neets and low level criminals were required as part of their contribution to the society which finances them, or which they have abused … to uproot this weed." he said.

Of course, the PC brigade think it's a shite idea. Chris Bryant, the shadow welfare reform minister, said the idea exhibited the "values of the Victorian workhouse" and was "demeaning".

I suggest that if you put it to the vote, the vast majority of people would agree with Norman...

Monday, 27 October 2014

Jack Bruce


A guest post by ChasCMusic...

I was sad to hear that former Cream bass player Jack Bruce died over the weekend from liver disease.
I was once privileged to play in the same band as him and Eric Clapton - although admittedly they had left several years before I joined.

I first came across Jack when he played with Alexis Korner back in the early sixties. In 1963 he was a founder member of the Graham Bond Organisation before being chucked out of the band because, ironically, his bass paying was considered to be 'too busy'. He then went on to play with Clapton in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, the meeting that ultimately went on to spawn Cream, the band with whom he sold over 35 million albums and to whom I still listen today and have been a big influence on my own music.

Jack was a great bass player. If I could have my choice of a fantasy band then the only two bassists in the picture would be him and Level 42's Mark King. Ironically, both of them are really jazz bassists. I remember Jack once saying in an interview on the BBC that Cream was not a blues band, but a jazz band. "We just forgot to tell Eric."

Jack played with his band at the Bury St Edmunds Festival last year. I would have gone to see him, but my house is so close to the site that I get to sit in my back garden with a glass of wine and listen for free. He was on form, if a little self indulgent - but then when you've been at it as long as Jack, I think you can be allowed a little self indulgence.

There are a couple of things I remember from that performance. He was in great voice, but the guitarist was no Clapton. It was obvious to me that he needs other outstanding musicians around him to bring out his best. What made Cream so great was not just three great musicians, but the meld of three great musicians.

Like me, Jack lived in Suffolk so he was a local boy. Knowing Bury St Edmunds as I do, I suspect his talent was probably lost on most of the locals, but the concert was a sell out. They came from miles around to see him - and if you're a performer then there can be no greater compliment!

So rest in peace, Jack. I'm off to raise a glass to you and to stick on 'Crossroads' off the 'Wheels of Fire' album which, in my view, is something most of us can only aspire too. Crank up the volume...