Tag archive for "5"

Eclectic Blue

Doctor, doctor

No Comments 29 April 2017

If you do something horrible in your life, the Daily Mail has a solution for you. It’s not your fault. Just blame your employer. That’s what the Mail does today when giving its usual news distortion about the surgeon Ian Paterson who carried out unnecessary breast surgery on a number of women. Paterson, it turns out, wasn’t in any way responsible: it was entirely the fault of the NHS.

The sickly surgeon faces time away at her majesty’s pleasure and I hope he hates every single second of it. He has ruined countless lives but the Mail has another agenda. Of course it does. The Mail hates the NHS and it sees an opportunity to give it a swift political kicking.

It is undeniable that there will have been failures in management and governance that enabled Paterson to get away with his crimes for so long and on the face of it that appears to be what the Mail is saying but in reality Paul Dacre’s odious organ says one thing and means another.

When they say the NHS, not Paterson, is to blame, they mean the entire NHS itself. The very idea of the NHS is an anathema to the Mail which, rightly, sees it as the greatest victory of socialism in our history. Everyone is equal, services are free at the point of delivery, the rich person does not get better treatment. It exists not to make money, but to make people better. This flies in the face of everything the Mail believes in.

And the Mail sees a golden opportunity to get rid of what they see as the NHS money pit once and for all. Theresa May’s increasingly strident government, already driven by hard right illiberalism, and not just with its attitude to Brexit, is likely to be returned with a significant three figure majority in a few weeks time. What better opportunity to scrap the NHS in one fell swoop right after the election?

The ground has already been prepared by various ministers and promoted by their media allies by saying that the very existence of the NHS can only be maintained if we have a strong economy, with the unsaid proviso that if we don’t have a strong economy we can’t have an NHS. With the economy about to take a sustained hit as we leave the EU, something else the right wing red tops have long campaigned for, this is a golden opportunity to those who see the American model as our preferred health option. May and chancellor Hammond have also laid the groundwork for turning Britain into a tax haven once we leave Europe. You can’t have low taxes and decent public services. It’s one or the other.

I see the Daily Mail story as being yet another dig at the NHS. By continually blaming the NHS in general for everything that goes wrong, sometimes major things like this, sometimes small things, they want to create an impression that it’s reaching the end of it useful life.

There will be things that could have been done better, but the truth is the Mail’s attack is an attack on every doctor, nurse, porter and paramedic in the land. This is how politics works today and we’d better grasp that fact before it’s too late.

Eclectic Blue

You don’t know what you’re doing?

No Comments 28 April 2017

“Oh my God,” cries Gashead Wayne Scrote, tears dripping onto his computer keyboard. “Will Puddy, Bob Harris, Danny Greenslade, Cristian Montano, Dominic Thomas, Jermaine Easter, Jamie Lucas and Jake Gosling” have all been axed by Bristol Rovers supremo Darrell Clarke. And you know what’s worse? He’s only gone and offered new contracts to Ellis Harrison, Rory Gaffney, James Clarke, Ryan Broom and Alfie Kilgour. You don’t know what you’re doing!”

I don’t know if anyone is saying anything remotely like this but if recent history is anything to go by, Darrell Clarke’s judgement will be questioned by experts who have never so much kicked a ball in a Sunday game, let alone managed a League One football team. “I really like Montano. But I don’t like Ellis Harrison. If I’d been manager…” Yes – and then what? If you’d been manager, then what? If you, dear Gashead, having stumbled out of the Forresters Arms ten minutes before kick off were manager, we certainly wouldn’t be in the Conference now. We’d be on our way to the Toolstation League.

We can have opinions, of course, and yes, it is entirely possible that Clarke may have made mistakes with his retained list. He may make mistakes signing players this summer because, believe it or not, managing a football team is not an exact science. Even the greatest managers have made blunders.

Eric Djemba-Djemba, so bad they named him twice, Juan Sebastian Veron, Ralph Milne, Massimo Taibi, Quinton Fortune, William Prunier, Kleberson were all signed by the guvnor himself, Sir Alex Ferguson. It did not stop the old boy winning a shed load of trophies but it proves that even the best gaffers can make blunders. If Sir Alex can cock up, let’s cut Darrell Clarke a little slack given his fine record to date.

I would imagine the reason so many players have been released is because Clarke wants to strengthen the team. This season was always going to be one of consolidation, even if we did get dangerously close to making the play offs at one point. Many of the current team were at the club in the Conference and League One and in certain instances desire and hunger has overcome individual shortcomings. Seen in isolation, a player might not appear that good, but place him in a team context and it’s a different ball game altogether. Clarke has a large number of players who would run through brick walls for him, players without egos and issues. The next step, if it’s upwards, will mean signing players who probably do have egos and will be harder to manage. There’s only so much running through brick walls fans will put up with in the long term, unless we want to stand still.

I will be sorry to lose the likes of Easter and Montano because they have been decent servants to the club. But one is well into the long decline and the other is a hard-working journeyman. This is not an insult. But to move to another level, Clarke knows he will need a bit more of the X factor.

That Ellis Harrison remains will have surprised some, but it makes total sense to me. Sometimes he looks like a world beater, other times he looks like he couldn’t beat an egg. Oddly, that’s what I like about him. If he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next, how do you think we are supposed to feel? He’s got that something about him and maybe Clarke thinks the finished article is yet to be seen. And Rory Gaffney – yes, he is a limited player, but we are not in the changing room, or on the pitch with him. The manager and his players will know exactly what Gaffney brings to the team. It may seem odd to folk who have never played the game, but the best team doesn’t always include the best players. Sometimes a team is built by design, other times by accident.

Darrell Clarke does know what he’s doing but that doesn’t mean he will get everything right in his team rebuilding. What he does deserve is that one commodity usually denied football managers and that’s time. We’d do well to stick with him because we know what happens when we press the panic button and it isn’t good.

Eclectic Blue

Friday Music Shuffle 28/4

No Comments 28 April 2017

All round to my man cave for a glass of Innocent Smoothie Uplift, featuring raspberry, blueberry, acreola cherry and flax seeds. Flax seeds? Yes, flax seeds. Oh and for some random iPod music played through my modern day music centre.

1. Fault Lines by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The old boy made a triumphant return to form with the excellent Hypnotic Eye long player from which this gem hails.

2. Ong Ong by Blur. Unmistakably Damon and the chaps with their triumphant return to form from the Magic Whip, which by the way refers to a particular type of ice cream.

3. Medley: Bring it on home to me/Send me some loving’ by John Lennon. To my mind, Lennon was the greatest rock and roll singer ever and this track from his Rock ‘N’ Roll album tells you why.

4. At Night by Shakedown. Some quality house music here.

5. I can’t help myself by Mark Lucid and Kenny Hayes (remix). More jolly nice disco thump.

6. Questions by Jack Johnson. Hawaii’s finest and some double tracked vocals from Sing-A-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George. Nice.

7. (Is this the way to) Amarillo? by Tony Christie. The classic walk on tune for the legendary (?) former PDC darts player Peter ‘One Dart’ Manley, who got so bad towards the end that his scores suggested the nickname was spot on.

8. Yesterday by the Beatles.

9. Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees. Barry Gibb in full castrato mode here. The Naked Gun interpretation still the best version.

10. The Sun Brings out the Girls by the B Sides. The brilliant Sean Macreavy and my old pal Rob ‘Shithead’ Dean make the best “Beach Boys” record in decades. Wonderful harmonies.

That’s all folks!

Eclectic Blue

View from the sewers of journalism

No Comments 28 April 2017

“Knife one, lads” joked the Sun today, as police yesterday arrested a potentially armed terrorist approaching Downing Street. Get it? Knife one, nice one? You are meant to laugh at that. It’s a joke.

Quite how amusing our brave police officers, not to mention the family of the late PC Keith Palmer, found the Sun’s pun following the recent terror attacks in Westminster, I don’t know, but not, I suspect, very amusing.

How do you think it works at the Sun? I am imagining a group of sweaty hacks with their shirts hanging out and their ties at odd angles trying to come up with puns. “Now look lads,” says the editor. “This beardie weirdie – hey, we could use that one, too, ha ha ha – has turned up near Downing Street with a bag of knives. The police and M5 know all about him and indeed have had him under surveillance until they nicked him yesterday. He went there to kill someone, probably a cop (police officers are always called cops in the Sun) but our lads stopped him. Anyone got a good joke for the headline?”

Now I am nowhere near as clever and sophisticated as a Sun journalist so I can’t come up with puns, but I would like to think I am not so heartless or uncaring. Put yourself in the shoes of PC Palmer’s family when reading the headline. Do you think you would give a wry smile?

I hope you don’t think I am being a killjoy here – actually I couldn’t care less if you do – but I find the whole thing quite sick. Here we have what could have been a repetition of the murder of a police officer who died carrying out his duty protecting the people and the country’s most popular newspaper is making a joke of it.

Should we be surprised by this? Not really. We know that Rupert Murdoch’s squalid little newspaper has history and plenty of it. Whether it’s the Falklands, Hillsborough or now the death or threats to police officers have exposed the ugly side of journalism. As an insignificant blogger who does not command millions of readers, I would not sell out my principles to gain a wider audience by sinking to the sewers where Sun journalists seem to live.

“Knife one, lads”, honestly. The sniggering, snorting hacks must have thought they had come up with comedy gold when they came up with that one. If you bought the paper and you think it was funny, you are no better than they are.

Eclectic Blue

Down the Cole Snaw

No Comments 27 April 2017

First of all, Bristol’s grim history in the slavery trade was not my fault. So far as I am aware, none of my family was involved, especially since most of them came from other parts of the world. Whilst I am the son and grandson and son of immigrants, coming over here and taking your jobs. At least they chose to come here. I am very sorry Bristol was so involved in the slave trade but I was not there at the time. If I had been, I’d have been protesting about it and, had the internet existed, I’d have sent some angry tweets and signed on-line petitions.

The row about Bristol’s premier music venue, the Colston Hall, being named after a street which was named after slave trader has rumbled on for years. Edward Colston was a slave trader born in our fair city in 1636. He was a major benefactor who endowed Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital school (QEH) and helped found Colston’s Hospital, a boarding school. He was also a Conservative MP which will surprise no one. Loads of things are named after Colston, as well as the Colston Hall. Colston Tower, Colston Avenue, Colston Street, Colston’s Girls’ School, Colston’s School and Colston’s Primary School. Now, after many years of debate, the name of the Colston Hall is going to be changed.

I can see the arguments. Slavery remains a blot on our history. It was evil. I watched a compelling interview on TV yesterday with Massive Attack’s Daddy G in which he gave highly persuasive arguments why the name should now be changed. As a white man, it is hard to argue that the Colston Hall should retain it’s current name, but I still think it should.

Yes, Edward Colston made a lot of money out of slavery. I get that. He wasn’t the only one. One of the few things I learned at school was about our associations with slavery. I was taught about Colston and, until relatively recently, I didn’t really think too deeply about his business and a connection with the concert hall I have attended on numerous occasions all my life. I never once went to a gig and thought, “Blimey. I’m supporting slavery tonight. I hope it doesn’t spoil my enjoyment.” Of course, I wasn’t supporting slavery. I was going somewhere that was named after a road which was named after a bloke who made money from slavery.

Everywhere in Bristol, as we know, we can find reminders of a different time. Travel down Blackboy Hill onto Whiteladies Road – see what I mean? Shouldn’t these unfortunate reminders remain in order to remind us of what we once were and what we are today? (I mean ‘we’ in sense of we the human race.)

I realise that my arguments in maintaining the status quo are flimsy. I remain as opposed to racism now as I have been at any time in my life. I don’t want people to forget about slavery, I want people to remember man’s inhumanity to man. And I want to go to what we Bristolians call the Cole Snaw. But soon it will be called something else.

How about the Brunel Hall? Oh bugger, I can see a problem there too. “Isambard Brunel? What kind of name is that? Wasn’t his father an asylum seeker? And he never lived in Bristol, did he? Bloody immigrants, coming over here, building railway lines, bridges, ships and all the rest of it. Stealing the jobs of British engineers. We should look after our own engineers first.”

It’s not a fuss about nothing and it’s not “political correctness gone mad” because the very term “political correctness” is bollocks anyway, usually employed by people like racist and sexist comedians who don’t like being pulled up for racism and sexism. But it divides people when the last thing we need in this hopelessly divided country is more division.

You can probably tell that I am slightly uneasy with my view that there is no compelling reason to change the name of our premier concert venue. In any event, the decision has been taken out of my hands by the charity which runs the place in what is, I suspect, an attempt to ditch the controversy forever, even if that controversy only really affected a very small group of people.

Eclectic Blue

Keep fighting

No Comments 26 April 2017

Anyone else following the story of little Bradley Lowery, the amazing little lad from Sunderland who is dying from a rare form of cancer? The story of five year old Bradley has broken the hearts of millions and yet made us smile as he posed with Jermain Defoe, his footballing hero, and led out the England team at Wembley. Tonight’s tweet by his mum Gemma made for very sad reading:

“Bradley is not good 😢 he has been in horrendous pain with his leg since yesterday to the point he couldn’t move in bed last night. We have had him to the hospital today and they have give him a x Ray but it didn’t show anything. The doctors gut feeling is that it is his cancer progressing but we need to wait and watch for a few days to see what happens.
Bradley was due to be mascot at the Riverside tonight but he is not well enough to go so we have had to cancel it.
I am hoping and praying that it is nothing serious and he starts to improve as I’m not ready for this to happen yet 💔💔 #keepfighting.”

I do not really know how my words can follow that. This lovely, sweet boy has done nothing to deserve the horrendous pain that neuroblastoma has visited upon him. Surely he was not born just to die young, before he had ever really lived at all, awash, as soon he will be, in an ocean of tears.

The more I know, the less I understand. I know in my heart that little Bradley was no more given this illness by some supernatural being than it will be taken away by one. Bradley’s, I’m afraid, is the tragedy that afflicts some people and avoids others. It is very hard to see anything positive in such a negative situation. And yet.

Through the darkness shines a light of sheer humanity, a torch held by extraordinary people, like you, you and you, who do extraordinary things. Like Defoe’s inspirational support, born of love and compassion, and the donations made in the hope that somehow Bradley might survive, from people who never met him, just read a sad story and tried to make things better. There’s that light. And I see it shining every day.

Bradley’s story won’t end well. For a time, the darkness that eventually consumes us all, will snuff out the light on Bradley. A young boy, loved by the nation in a sort of twice removed way, but loved by his family more than anything else on this earth.

Bradley Lowery reminds us that it’s good to love one another. No Newcastle United fan feels different from a Sunderland fan about Bradley’s plight. The colour of a shirt means nothing at all. The colour of anything means nothing at all. He’s just a young boy, like every other young boy in the world. Bradley teaches us that love will save the day, that hope will triumph over hate, that one day we will find treatments and cures that will mean no one ever needs to suffer like Bradley and his inspirational family. One day.

Nothing can compare to a young child in pain. It isn’t fair, life isn’t fair but if we all put our minds to it, we can love everyone, like we love Bradley. If we can all learn to do that, maybe there will be a happy ending. Keep fighting, little man.

Eclectic Blue

A vote for the Tories means a vote to destroy the NHS

No Comments 26 April 2017

There you have it. The future of the NHS depends on how you vote on 8th June. Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for dismembering the NHS, effectively said so today. Hunt’s words formed part of an old Tory slogan that having an NHS depends on a strong economy. What he, and his Tory friends, actually mean by this is simple: if the economy tanks badly you can kiss goodbye to the NHS and when we complain about it they will say “told you so.”

Today, Hunt made a subtle change to the Tory line. He brought the forthcoming Brexit negotiations into the equation. He said: “If we get a bad outcome, it will be terrible for the British economy. We won’t be able to lock in our recovery, there will be less money for the NHS – all of our public services.” What’s more, Hunt managed to keep a straight face throughout.

So, if we get a “bad outcome” – and any outcome May comes up with will be worse than what we already have – the NHS and just about every other vital public service is in serious danger. And if May is true to her word that “no deal is better than a bad deal”, it will be just as well to not get ill at any point in the future unless you are as wealthy as Jeremy Hunt.

Unless you were born yesterday – or believe every word you read in the Mail and Sun – you will know full well that the NHS and the Tory Party are not natural bedfellows. The NHS only just survived a sustained assault from Margaret Thatcher’s government from 1997 which took it near to a point of ruin. It was New Labour, under Tony Blair, which made record investment in our NHS, investment that ended once the Tories assumed power again in 2010. Now, with Labour destined for a long period of opposition at best and oblivion at worst (and most likely), the Tories have their biggest opportunity to get rid of the NHS once and for all. And now they have the excuse to do it.

Brexit will be long, complex, tortuous, painful, damaging and expensive for our country. Chancellor Phillip Hammond has already set aside £60 million of our money, which surely could be better spent, to deal with the financial storms which will soon hit. We already have a slowing economy where growth has been based almost entirely on borrowing and consumer spending. What happens when the borrowing and spending stops? Why, the government has lower tax receipts. Some things will have to give.

I have no faith in the ability of Theresa May to negotiate her way out of a paper bag, never mind “the best possible deal for Britain”, whatever that is supposed to mean (which is nothing). But I do believe that she is cynical enough to carry out an exercise whereby Brexit goes horribly wrong, as I suspect it will, and armed with a substantial three-figure majority can get rid of the NHS “at a stroke” and blame everyone else in the process. It will be the EU, those remoaners, Jeremy Corbyn, who will by then returned to the backbenches voting against everything the Labour does, the BBC and everyone else, except her.

Jeremy Hunt has admitted the NHS is on the line and a vote for Theresa May’s nasty Tory Party is a vote to end the NHS. Think about that one when you get in the polling booth and vote for that hard Brexit.

Eclectic Blue

This changes everything

2 Comments 25 April 2017

I am sure you are familiar with the old expression, “This changes EVERYTHING”. Suddenly, straight from left field, something so utterly startling occurs that everything you thought you knew, understood and believed in turns out to be untrue. In every single election of any kind since 1979, I have voted Labour, even when my candidate was Tony Benn who oversaw its collapse in 1983, but now, thanks to Keir Starmer’s confirmation of what we already suspected, that Labour really does support Theresa May’s hard Brexit, what do I do now?

One reason I stuck with Labour, until the ill-timed invasion of Iraq, was because it was truly internationalist. Labour’s hard left always hated the EU because they saw it as a “rich man’s club” and because Winston Churchill was always a fierce proponent of the concept, Indeed, Margaret Thatcher opposed the EU so much she helped create the single market and took us deeper into Europe than anyone else. Thatcher was horribly wrong about so many things, but not about the EU.

Theresa May is taking the country to a damaging hard Brexit and the least I expected from Labour was a serious fight about what kind of Brexit we should have to endure. May is the first PM in our history who is committed to obtaining a worse deal than we already have on Europe and today Starmer effectively said that Labour agreed with her.

Labour has now accepted the end of free movement which will have profound effects not just on those pesky Europeans who want to come and work here, but to our citizens who want to live, love, work, study and just abroad. They want to come to an early deal regarding people who are already here, but to hell with everyone else. Labour, through Corbyn and John McDonnell, have already conceded we must leave the single market which will have a serious impact on both our imports and exports. And they accept leaving the customs union. This is exactly May’s agenda. It’s breathtaking. I am wondering how I can even consider voting Labour after this and my job was made even more tricky when Lib Dem leader Tim Farron said he wasn’t as homophobic as we thought he was.

Now I like Starmer. He’s a smart operator, more a safe pair of hands than a charismatic Macron, Trudeau or, yes, Blair but in these dangerous times maybe a safe pair of hands is better than the alternative. But in committing Labour to the end of free movement and leaving the single market, that goes against everything I stand for and believe in. It’s not Starmer’s fault that he had to deliver such a clunking, incoherent speech because the blame lies firmly at the top, the useless comrades around the top table who haven’t the faintest idea of what they are doing.

Right now, as I have said before, I am becoming politically homeless. The far right has been invaded by May’s Tories, thus rendering Ukip irrelevant, and Labour has lurched the hard left fringes, leaving the Lib Dems. But really?

I still see the Lib Dems through the prism of their taking seats in the last Tory government, enabling David Cameron to attack the sick and disabled, enabling the Tories to bring in the Bedroom Tax, raising VAT and of course lying to the country about tuition fees. It would be a massive step for me and I am, for once in my life, that swing voter, undecided as to what I should do. “None of the above” is currently in front.

Imagine a Labour Party supporting the end of the free market and leaving both the single market and customs union, things that will damage the lives and prospects of the very people Labour is supposed to represent, the very people Labour was formed to represent.

By Christmas of this year, someone will have written a definitive book about how Labour set about committing electoral suicide and allowing the country to live under an elected dictatorship for a decade, maybe longer, maybe forever. Just when I thought Labour couldn’t sink any lower, they sank lower. What am I going to do now?

Eclectic Blue

The polls are wrong

No Comments 24 April 2017

Speaking via the inter web today with old friends who used to be very senior people in the Labour Party, one of the centre left, the other of the mainstream, conventional not-as-extreme-as-Corbyn left and both feel the same thing. The opinion polls are wrong. Things are much, much worse than the polls suggest. Current polling suggests the Tories are at around 50% with Labour on 25%. This doesn’t feel good to me.

I realise that this is all anecdotal, based more on gut feeling than actual statistics but all the feedback so far is that Labour in general but Jeremy Corbyn in particular is toxic on the doorstep, to the extent that even previously rock solid guaranteed Labour voters are either wavering or they’re donating their votes elsewhere and it’s not just to the Lib Dems.

Part of the Tory resurgence is, we can all agree, because of the collapse in support for Ukip. With Theresa May’s Tories lurching to the right at breakneck speed, embracing the far right vote, there’s no point to Ukip. They’ve got us out of the EU. What’s left for them? But in many areas, particularly in more working class areas where Labour support leaked away to Ukip, that support is not all coming back to Labour. It’s going to Theresa May.

“So things are worse than they seem,” I said. “What sort of Tory majority are we facing? 100? 150? 200? 250?” The view of both friends was the Tory majority was far more likely to be at the higher end of predictions. 250 was a real possibility. “And the number of Labour seats? 150? 125? 100? Less than that?” Yes, less than that.

The election campaign is not a week old yet and we are talking about Labour going into meltdown before the manifesto is even published. If Corbyn is toxic on the doorstep now, I was told, just wait until the Tories and their media friends start dragging up old quotes, old interviews, photographs of the old boy with terrorist sympathisers and out and out terrorists. Not to mention his disagreement with half of Labour’s policies, especially on defence. Yes, less than 100 seats for the Labour Party. Any less than that and the SNP will be the official opposition.

Actually, I was not really shocked by these apocalyptic predictions. Labour, for reasons best known to itself, has sent out the likes of Diane Abbott, John McDonnell and Emily Thornberry to face the media and none of them are effective communicators. Far from it. Every time Abbott and Thornberry are interviewed, I can almost feel votes slipping away from Labour. Worse still, they haven’t got a message for the electorate.

Theresa May has a message, even though it’s empty rhetoric. The need for “strong and stable leadership” which she most definitely not brought so far and describing the opposition as the “coalition of chaos”. It doesn’t mean anything, but people are actually starting to quote her, in the same way people talked about “taking back control” in 2016. It might be tosh, but it works.

An incompetent leader, no message for the voters, a hard right media – what could possibly go wrong for Labour? I’d say absolutely everything.

Labour’s problems are becoming existential and if they are not careful they could end up like the socialist candidate in the French presidential election, with less than 7% of the vote.

As I said the other day, Corbyn might be an idiot but not all of his team are and they will know, as well as we do, what a mess Labour is in. If they really care about the future of Labour and the future of the country, they would have a word with old Corbo, but the truth is they don’t. This is all going to end terribly, or wonderfully if you are a Tory supporter.

Eclectic Blue

The fightback begins

No Comments 23 April 2017

In two weeks, the people of France could be in a position to start the world fightback against the hard right. With Russia under the dictatorship of KGB thug Putin, the USA with a hard right unstable idiot at the helm and the victory of Ukip in Britain as we leave the EU, the centrist candidate Emmanual Macron will be up against the Front National candidate Marine Le Pen.

Yes, it is a matter of concern that an out there fascist like Le Pen has attracted over 11.2 million votes. There is no getting away from that. And it is a concern that the mainstream socialist party has collapsed to 6.8% of the popular vote. Macron, from a standing start, in the centre ground of French politics could end this crazy march to the right.

That France, which was occupied by the fascists in the Second World War, is even considering the election of a fascist is astonishing and worrying enough. I have said this before and I will probably say it again, we in Britain have consistently rejected the far right in elections, from the days of the National Front, the BNP and now Ukip. Granted, the country embraced the existential reason for Ukip’s very existence last June, and much of the anger and antipathy towards foreign people was part of the referendum result. Theresa May has marched at top speed to trample all over Ukip territory in recent weeks and plant her tanks on Nigel Farage’s lawn. I am hoping this will be a short term aberration on May’s part before moving back to the centre right.

The Trump/Putin axis is worrying enough, what with Trump being incredibly close to Farage. Trump is close to Le Pen too. One day someone will follow the money and find that Russian money is everywhere and has poisoned everything. As we found with Watergate, money is at the centre of every scandal.

How I wish we had a Macron type politician to represent the huge mass of those of us in and around the centre ground. In Britain, I am all but homeless. New Labour, which gave us three general election wins, gave millions more a home but old Labour, the resurgence of the nasty Tory Party, the hangover of the Lib Dem sell out from 2010 and the hard right Ukip provide us with no real choice at all.

Surely the French will support a presidential candidate who seeks to unite the country and not a fascist who will divide not just France but the rest of the world. Surely they will send the rest of a glimpse of hope that there can be something better.

When we elect a right wing Tory Party in six weeks or so, we will have five years to think about what we really want in this country. In an ideal world, Labour would dump yesterday’s men and women who have ripped the heart out of the party with their dogma and return to a Labour that understands and supports aspiration, fairness, equality and seeks to reward success. If Macron can win, it will be a victory of hope against hate. And that hope could spread everywhere.

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