Eclectic Blue

Lipstick on a pig

0 Comments 15 November 2018

Well, Theresa May has confirmed what us remoaners have been saying since the EU referendum in 2016: the older generation has sold out the younger generation by voting to end free movement. When I said that older people had decided that their children could not enjoy the rights and freedoms they themselves enjoyed, there was much gnashing of teeth and wailing. Of course, Brexiters love their children as much as remainers but let’s not pretend that the future will be so bright for the next generation. Now we know it has been snatched away.

Free movement allowed us to live, love, study, live and retire in other EU countries. I know countless people who have done just that. People who have moved to France, the Netherlands and Spain to work, others who have moved to Italy, Spain and Greece to retire. Many, if not all, have integrated into their new communities, learned the language and embraced their new culture. By the same token, many EU citizens have come to Britain. I met plenty of them staying in and visiting hospitals this year. May has confirmed tonight that free movement will end. This is not a remoaner from project fear saying this: it’s the prime minister.

At least we will not require visas when we visit EU countries in future once we step off a cliff. EU negotiators have said that bit already. However, the real risk is now that, as well as losing our free movement, it will become far more difficult and more expensive to travel abroad. And, as we pull up the drawbridge and tighten up the borders, it will be us Brits who feel the major effects.

May completed her announcement with the following words: “I firmly believe with my head and heart that this decisive choice is in the best interests of the entire UK.” If she really means this, then I am afraid she is an idiot. Every available form of Brexit is far worse than what we already have. Instead of taking control, her nonsensical Chequers agreement will see the UK lose control. Instead of gaining influence in the world, we will continue to lose it. We will all be worse off in both the short and long term.

If nothing else, May has united everyone, But only in that virtually everyone thinks her deal is rubbish. If you put lipstick on a pig, it is still a pig and her Chequers shambles is the biggest, fattest pig of them all. It’s lucky us oldies won’t be around when our children realise what we have done to end their freedom of movement.  I doubt they’ll be very happy.

Eclectic Blue

Down the Colston Hall

0 Comments 14 November 2018

It is not my fault that the Colston Hall in Bristol bears the name of a slave trader. Edward Colston was a philanthropist, a merchant and a slave trader. Streets were named after him, there is a statue of him on the city centre. He died in 1721, so, old that I am, I never met him. More importantly than that, whilst the Colston Hall bears the name Colston, it was named after the street, Colston Street, in which it stands, not Edward himself. He also had nothing to do with the funding of the hall which opened in 1867. So, why the fuss?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? We should be ashamed of the past. It was utterly appalling that people made their wealth out of slavery. Had I been around in the 1600s and 170os, I would have fought on the front-line to oppose slavery. It’s a stain on our history, but how can it be a stain on me? I wasn’t there at the time. I had no say in it and, so far as I can tell, none of my ancestors were in any way involved. And what if they had been? There’s not much I can do about it now, is there?

I understand the sensitivities, of course I do. I am white, albeit five-eighths foreign. I am sure it still feels raw to many people of colour to know how their ancestors were treated and regarded. But I say it again: it was not my fault. I didn’t stand around doing nothing when slavery was going on. Is there anything to be gained from changing the name of the Colston Hall to something less offensive?

It hardly matters what I think, because the name is changing whatever I think. There is a consultation exercise going on at the moment which, if it gives the ‘wrong’ result, will change it anyway. For what it is worth, the name Colston should be preserved. Not to illustrate what a great bloke he was, but to remind people, especially young people, how things were hundreds of years ago. It is all very well to urge teachers to teach children about our history, especially the grim parts, but if there are real life symbols that encourage people to ask questions, then isn’t that better?

There are reminders of slavery in Bristol. How could there not be? The Wills Memorial building at Bristol University, for example. Blackboy Hill in Clifton which links onto Whiteladies Road. Do we change every single name and attempt to remove history from our city, the ugly ones, as well as the beautiful?  I fear that people are already thinking that way already.

It’s very hard to defend the Colston Hall in an environment like this. Those of us who do are generally not racists, few if any will excuse slavery. I can’t see how changing the name is anything other than tokenism and I’ll bet that vast numbers of people will carry on referring to the Colston Hall and not whatever it is a small minority of people decide it should be called.

Eclectic Blue

Here comes the iceberg

Comments Off on Here comes the iceberg 14 November 2018

We are the Titanic, heading towards the iceberg which will eventually sink the good ship United Kingdom. The only difference between the iceberg that sank the real Titanic and this one is that we know it’s coming and that our ship is rudderless.

Theresa May was the person who wanted to be captain of the our Titanic and it soon became clear that she would find it to distinguish her arse from her elbow. The previous captain David Cameron had deserted the bridge when he steered the ship towards a disastrous referendum and the mutinous crew joined him in the lifeboats as it became clear the mess we were in. Boris Johnson and David Davis were but two of the mutineers who left the UK in the lurch. Now they shout from the safety of the mainland, hurling simplistic slogans as the ship gradually loses control.

Enough Titanic analogies. The reality is that the UK is now in its most perilous position since World War Two in every way imaginable. Even in the unlikely event that parliament accepts May’s wretched deal, which will further wrest control and power from this country, leaving us a permanent rule taker than rule maker, which will make us poorer, which will open the door to lower living standards, job losses, the loss of vital freedoms, it will condemn us to years, perhaps decades, of lengthy debate and negotiations as to our future outside the EU.

Make no mistake, the rest of Europe has moved on. Brexit remains an internal squabble between members of the Conservative Party that has spilled out and poisoned the rest of the country. The rest of Europe has far more important things on its plate than a belligerent island across the North Sea which is grappling with a self-inflicted crisis for which there is no end in sight. Europe is not being ‘difficult’. It has merely told the UK that leave means leave and we cannot enjoy all the benefits EU membership gave us. People say things like “they don’t want us to leave”, but the truth is they wish we would just get on with it now. We are the laughing stock of Europe and increasingly the world.

Theresa May, that most inadequate of politicians, has reached the end of the road in ever sense. She was never up to the job in the first place and it is doubtful that even a competent leader would save us from the coming iceberg now.

Be afraid, be very afraid. We are about to hit the iceberg and the damage will be catastrophic.

Eclectic Blue

Get me out of here

Comments Off on Get me out of here 13 November 2018

There are a lot of movies and TV shows I have never seen. I’ve never seen a Star Wars film, nor the Indiana Jones series of movies, nor Star Trek. I’ve never seen Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Nor have I seen a full episode of the X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent. I never seen Ant and Dec present anything so I’ve certainly not seen I’m A Celebrity. I do not feel the quality of my life has suffered as a result.

The Bristol Post has reported tonight that ‘Bristol’s very own Noel Edmonds’ will appear on the latest series. I hate to come across as a party pooper – perish the thought – but Edmonds does not come from Bristol. He was born in Ilford, Essex. When he was filming Deal or no Deal, which is yet another show I have never seen, he lived in Bitton, which I would argue is South Gloucestershire, not Bristol. And Edmonds is not yesterday’s man: he’s the day before yesterday’s man.

Fellow contestant Nick Knowles is ‘Bristol’s own’, too, because he filmed an episode of DIY SOS in the city last year, and so is former football manager ‘Arry Redknapp for is appearing in the city early next year to perform in ‘An evening with ‘Arry Redknapp’. If the Post had its way, these men would be given the freedom of the city. Noel, Nick and ‘Arry, the famous Bristolians who aren’t.

Having never seen I’m A Celebrity, I thought it vital to carry out some in depth research on the show, so I had a look at Wikipedia which describes it as a TV reality show  “in which celebrities live in jungle conditions with few creature comforts.” Celebrities have to compete in ‘Bushtucker trials’ where they eat things and do stuff. There is probably more to it than meets the eye but I’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to look it up yourself.

Anyway, the food menu looks delightful. Here, courtesy of Wikipedia, are some of the gems on offer:  ‘Green ants, mealworms, witchetty grub, roasted spider or tarantulas, kangaroo testicles, kangaroo penis, kangaroo vaginal parts, crocodile penis, cockroach (prepared in various ways such as being cooked into biscuits, blended into drinks, eaten alive or dead). Other past foods include beach worms, bull’s tongues, the anus of various animals, vomit fruits, cooked pigs’ brains, various animal testicles, raw fish eyes, sheep eyes, blended rats or mice tails.’

It’s probably just me but I have no interest in watching minor celebrities munching their way through a kangaroo vagina or a blended rat (is this a smoothie drink?). Still, it’s all about taste. Personally, I cannot think of anything I’d less want to watch than this sort of thing, but then I like doing old fashioned things like listening to music, reading books (ask your parents’ what they are, kids) and of course speaking with my partner.

I note that Ant (or is it Dec?) is not on the programme this year because he is, or has been, in rehab and is taking time off work. I’m not sure I would get away with that one at my place of work. Then again, given the number of TV shows which are presented by Ant and Dec, I suspect he has a few quid hidden down the back of the sofa to cover his treatment. Good for him.

No, I’ll give I’m A Celebrity a miss this year, as with every year. The producers regard the signing of Edmonds for a mere £500,000 as the “cherry on the top of the series”, in which case, what’s the cake made out of? Raw fish eyes? Crocodile penis? Roast spider?

 

Acknowledgments to Steve Young for giving me the idea about films and TV shows I have never seen.

 

Eclectic Blue

Box on

Comments Off on Box on 13 November 2018

I have an uncomfortable liking of the noble art, or boxing as it is better known. I rarely watch the Big Fights which appear almost solely on Pay Per View TV stations. I pay more than enough, thank you very much, for what I already watch. So, obviously I didn’t see last weekend’s Big Fight between Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk and Britain’s Tony Bellew. I had never heard of the former and had never seen the latter fight. However, I did listen on BBC Radio Five Live.

My liking of boxing is not consistent. Sometimes I find myself disturbed by it. There is something glorious about two courageous warriors scrapping out in a modern day pit from which there is no escape. Or, to put it another way, two incredibly fit men, each trying to render the other unconscious.

Being hit on the head is not good for you. I think we can all work that one out for ourselves. The brain is such a fragile object, yet we replay those sensational knockouts where a boxer is literally knocked out. We were in awe when Mike Tyson was wreaking havoc although we rarely thought about they effects he might be having on his victims. And when the boxing tragedies came along, we express our sadness, mouth platitudes about how “we know it’s a dangerous game but these things are rare” before moving on to the next fight.

I saw a clip on the BBC website today which horrified me. Bellew was interviewed on Sky after being knocked out by Usyk. He had no recollection of the final knockdown and repeated himself throughout a ghastly interview. That he had been affected by the trauma was undeniable. The only question is whether the scars will remain when the concussion has gone?

I was assured by various media pundits that at no time Bellew was at risk. His trainer was with him, along with the rest of his team, as well as his ever loving promoter Eddie Hearn. The boxer’s interests were all that mattered. He would be just fine. Well, we will see whether there will be any lasting effects in the coming years.

Let’s not make excuses. Look at the likes of Thomas Hearts, Evander Holyfield and Gerald McLellan and tell me boxing is safe. It is believed that 90% of professional boxers suffer with some form of brain injury. The evidence  is overwhelming.

If tobacco had been discovered today, it would have been banned. By the same token, if boxing had been invented today, it would surely operate only as an illegal underground operation. And yet we, and with ‘we’ I include me, still watch it. I suppose we must subconsciously convince ourselves that boxing is safe, when in our heads and hearts we know it isn’t.

Bellew’s disturbing confused post match fight interviewers should not be forgotten but I suspect it will be. There’s money to be made and money makes the world go around.

 

Eclectic Blue

Power to the people

Comments Off on Power to the people 12 November 2018

And now the result of the You Gov jury. The question was this: which of the following do you think would make the best Prime Minister?

  • Don’t know – 38%
  • Theresa May – 36%
  • Jeremy Corbyn – 22%

People are quick to slag off the British public but they are surely onto something here. British politics is a sea of mediocrity.

I’m in the non existent category ‘None of the above’. I can’t be considered a ‘don’t know’ because I do know that both May and Corbyn are woefully inadequate politicians, arguably the worst PM and leader of the opposition at the worst possible time for the country.

It is said that oppositions don’t win elections; governments lose them. It’s an arguable point of view but there is some truth in it. Yet, all the rules are going out of the window at the moment.

The Conservative Party is divided like never before in my lifetime, maybe more so than in its entire history. I cannot help but thinking that a half-decent Labour leader would have taken his or her party miles ahead in the polls. But we haven’t got a half-decent Labour leader: we’ve got a terrible one, a career backbencher who has never had an original idea in his life. Jeremy Corbyn, for all his bizarre cult following, is the greatest asset Theresa May could wish for.

Theresa May showed just how bad she was in the 2017 election campaign when she threw away her majority in the House of Commons by running the worst campaign in British political history. Like Corbyn, she is managed by her minders and kept away from major TV interviewers like Andrew Neil and given sofa space on the wretched Andrew Marr show or light-entertainment fluff like the One Show. All this would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

It is entirely possible that within weeks, Theresa May will have been removed from office by her own party. Having made a complete mess of Brexit to the extent that her government still doesn’t have an effective position on many of the major issues, her plan made at Chequers is about to be rejected by all sides of her party. And quite right too. May is putting forward a deal which makes things far worse than they are now within the EU, with the UK becoming rule-takers rather than the rule-makers we are today.

If you think the current Brexit negotiations are the end of Brexit and we can all move on, forget it. This is just the withdrawal agreement. Our departure from the EU will dominate our politics for years, probably decades, to come and all that our negotiators will be trying to do is replicate the agreements we already have. It’s madness.

A no deal would be a calamity. Even the lying Brexiteers know that chaos will ensue if we crash out without a deal. All the doom-mongers will be proved right when food and medicine shortages kick in, when planes stop flying, when border checks are imposed. Britain will grind to a standstill. There are people who are prepared to accept the hardest Brexit of all: the hardline extremists from the likes of Johnson and Farage on one side and Corbyn and McDonnell on the other.

When May’s deal is sunk by the House of Commons which will certainly reject a no deal Brexit, what happens then? The politicians, who got us into this mess in the first place – don’t forget that Labour voted through the referendum bill, too – have no way of getting us out of it. There is only one way forward: a second referendum.

I have changed my mind on this after a great deal of thought because I now see no alternative. There is no deal available that will attract a parliamentary majority. Of course, we respect the 2016 vote to a point, bearing in mind the crooked campaign run by the Tory hard right alongside the likes of Farage and supported – who knows how? – by the likes of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. However, if the country is not allowed the opportunity to change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy. Arch leaver David Davis said that, one of the few things he has ever been right about.

So, my lifelong opposition to referendums ends for this one vote and there must be three options for the British people:

  1. Vote for Theresa May’s Chequers deal
  2. Vote for no deal
  3. Vote to remain in the EU

I advocate this option with no confidence that remain would win. Precious few leavers have changed their minds since the referendum and I doubt that the campaign would be any different. Remain would not be led by anyone from the top table in the government and only half-heartedly by the Labour front bench. May, half her parliamentary party and some Labour MPs would support Chequers. And the hardliners like Jacob Rees-Mogg, Boris Johnson and David Davis would seek to throw us off a cliff with no deal.

The campaign for the first referendum was a joke. Remain, complacently led by David Cameron and George Osborne, ran a campaign many called Project Fear. It focused on how bad things would be under Brexit and not how the EU had been so positive for Britain through four decades. The leave campaign was also predicated on fear and, even worse, outright lies. Do people really think Boris Johnson would suddenly become an honest and decent man in a second referendum? Hardly.

And if May falls soon, Johnson will be among the main leadership candidates, our next Prime Minister. Imagine a choice between Johnson and Corbyn for Number 10. If you thought May and Corbyn was as bad as it gets, this could be even worse.

The current default position of the British people is “don’t know”. Plenty of them probably do know that both May and Corbyn are hopeless and they don’t know where to turn. At a time of great uncertainty around the world, turning away from our closest allies would be madness. With the politicians unable to decide, it must be left to the people to sort out the mess or, as some of us fear, make things even worse.

Eclectic Blue

Not Going Out

Comments Off on Not Going Out 11 November 2018

I am supposed to be at the Bristol O2 Academy tonight, watching the popular beat combo outfit Blackberry Smoke. I bought my ticket ages ago. Instead, I am at home watching Boca Juniors v River Plate on BT Sport. I couldn’t face the music. Well, not really, I just thought it was a decent play on words. In fact, I couldn’t face the crowd, I didn’t want to out alone, I wanted to be in the cosiness of my own home. This was the second time today. This morning, I had intended to go to the local Remembrance event. I couldn’t face that, either, for the exact same reasons.

I became aware only recently that I might have a small case of Crowd-Phobia, since this kind of thing has happened all my life. Parties and gatherings have always filled me with dread and anxiety and have caused me to become very depressed before and after. As part of yet another attempt to get better, I made the decision earlier this year to simply avoid places where I might suffer Crowd-Phobia.

I have declined party invitations and school reunions and accepted only smaller events and occasions. I’m okay with a few people but very bad with a lot.

I had been looking forward to seeing Blackberry Smoke for a very long time until the last few days when it occurred to me I’d be in a very crowded place away from home. As I knew nobody else who wanted to go, I was to be Billy No Mates, not for the first time. In the end, I had to make a decision, as my brain turned to papiermâché, and that was to write off the £28 I’d paid and feel safe.

And when I felt safe, I was really low because I’d not gone somewhere I wanted to go. There simply wasn’t an alternative, though. I was not frightened of being endangered or anything like that. It was irrational, as are all my mental demons. I was worried I might have a panic attack or ‘merely’ mired in stress all night. I’m home now with the door locked.

I’m playing golf next weekend and I am mainly looking forward to it. It will be way out of my comfort zone but I am determined to go through with it and I am going to try hard to enjoy it. I should feel completely safe because I will be with much loved friends.

What a state to get in. I’m better than I was last week but I’m really pissed off. I should be watching a band I love and I can’t face it. How ridiculous must that sound?

 

Eclectic Blue

Freedom

Comments Off on Freedom 10 November 2018

The Three Lions pub in Bedminster is a pub I am hardly likely to visit. It’s the number one City supporters pub. Despite my waining interest in Bristol Rovers, my loyalties remain across the river. Today I wouldn’t be allowed in anyway because I am not wearing a poppy.

The landlord has declared that people will not be served unless they wear a poppy. Sean Donnelly, for it is he, has  according to the Bristol Post “long been passionate about supporting Remembrance Day.” Well, good for him. So am I and the only reason I am not wearing a poppy today is because I lost the one I bought within a few hours of buying it. I’ve been wearing my numbered Shrouds of the Somme badge instead, which cost me a fiver. That wouldn’t be enough to get me a pint.

It’s up to the landlord what rules he imposes in his pub. However, I think there is an element of danger in what has happened.

Surely, those who gave their lives did so for us to be free. And freedom means we can choose. If we choose not to wear a poppy or lose theirs, like I did, that’s surely okay. As a libertarian, I don’t like to be told what to do by anyone.

 

Eclectic Blue

The lunatics have taken over the Labour Party

Comments Off on The lunatics have taken over the Labour Party 09 November 2018

Just yesterday, the proprietor of Novara media, Aaron Bastani, made his views clear about the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance.  It was“racist”, “white supremacist”, “a joke for people on the left” and “grotesque”. Just for good measure, he declared “Fuck the Invictus games.” Today, his fellow Corbynista media outrider Owen Jones joined in the ‘fun’ with his supportive tweet (see below) of Bastani by taking the piss. And what does the Magic Grandpa himself, Jeremy Corbyn, say about it? Absolutely nothing.
Far be it from me to use bad language on this family friendly website, but fuck it: Bastani and Jones are taking the piss.
Bastani, predictably yet another grammar school Corbynista, has a PhD from the New Political Communication Unit, whatever that is, from University of London. He’s another middle class posh boy who knows what’s good for the working classes. Or rather, thinks he does. And Owen Jones went from humble beginnings to Cambridge University where he studied Sneering Superiority at Seriously Smug level. These days they exist in the chattering classes of trendy London with all the other sneering superior millionaires like Momentum owner Jon Lansman and the official leader of the Labour Party, Seumas Milne, formerly of Winchester College and, obviously, Oxford University. These people have no idea how ordinary folk lead their lives.
People fought and died for our ever eroding freedoms and I believe we have a duty to remember them always. But whilst I am free to believe that, people have the right not to believe that. I have the right to be offended, the likes of Bastani have the right to offend me. It’s a price we pay for free speech, no matter how disgusted they make me feel. I rather think, anyway, that their motives were not quite as they seem.
There is no doubt that there is an element in the hard left which regards Remembrance with contempt. I would think that Bastani and Jones fall well within that category. However, it is entirely possible that Bastani is employing the old adage that any publicity is good publicity, so acting as an agent provocateur might bump up the number of hits on his website and earn him more money in traditional socialist fashion and it’s entirely possible that Jones thinks it’s all a bit of a laugh. In which case, I feel very sorry for them. They have all year to question the Royal British Legion, yet they choose to shoot from the hip at the time of year when the rest of us remember and pay tribute to our fallen.
Remember that Labour is, or rather was, the party of Clement Atlee, Aneurin Bevan, Harold Wilson and John Smith. Now it is a ragbag coalition of the hard left masquerading under Labour’s flag. Where two of Jeremy Corbyn’s most loyal and trusted lieutenants ride roughshod over the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we would be free, something isn’t right.
Yes, Bastani and Jones are free to take the piss out of Remembrance, regardless of how much it offends many millions of us. I am also free to not vote for a Labour Party that not so much tolerates but encourages the likes of them and that’s a freedom I shall exercise until the party is in the hands of decent, responsible people. Failing that, I’ll stay politically homeless. I could no more stand alongside the comrades than I could Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg. Shysters and chancers all.

Eclectic Blue

That Friday Music Shuffle (9/11/18)

Comments Off on That Friday Music Shuffle (9/11/18) 09 November 2018

I need some music. Lots of it. To that end, I’m going to inflict some on you, albeit only by way of song titles and artists. Because it’s that time of the week when I set up my iPod (ask your dads, kids) and let it play ten tunes at random and post it on here. Pointless? Oh, yes, but no more pointless than anything else that appears on this website .

I’m back in my Man Cave, cup of Earl Grey at the ready (I know how to party, me) and I’m ready to go.

Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends. Let’s rock.

  1. Plaster Caster by Kiss. You don’t want to know who and what Plaster Caster was.  Classic Kiss, though.
  2. Scatterbrain (As dead as leaves) by Radiohead. From the wonderful Hail to the Thief Long Player.
  3. Chloroform by Phoenix. Perfect from the Bankrupt LP.
  4. Don’t Ask Me Questions by Lynyrd Skynyrd. This would be the legendary original line up, not the current touring version with just the one original member.
  5.  The Troubles by U2. From their not too bad Songs of Innocence which they gave away for free on iTunes, which is just as well since whilst I don’t mind them, I’d have never had paid money for it!
  6. Love Me Tomorrow by Boy Scaggs. From his defining album Silk Degrees comes this track written by Toto’s David Paich. If you love great music, it is the law to own this record.
  7. Real Love by Clean Bandit ft Jess Glynne. Our Jess has a great set of pipes which may or may not be autotuned. Lovely.
  8. Across the Universe by the Beatles. Simply magnificent.
  9. Open Arms by Journey. From their classic album Journey’s Greatest Hits. Nice.
  10. Visibility Zero by Kansas. If you don’t like slightly prog rock from the USA, with crashing cymbals and lots of guitars, you’ll hate this. However, I love it.

That’s all, folks!

 

 

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