May 23. Yesterday a British serviceman was hacked to death in
broad daylight. Lee Rigby was run over and brutally stabbed before
his assailants tried to decapitate him. Yet looking at Twitter
this morning you’d think the real story was that an EDL protest
demo got a bit rowdy last night. On the Left, the standard liberal
cringe kicked in. Let’s cover our eyes and pretend it isn’t happening;
that it’s an aberration, that it’s no big deal. BBC1’s 6pm news
was reluctant to even mention that the murderers were Islamist...
Don’t mention the elephant in the room, the one that’s shouting
“Allahu Akbar.” There are two words for this response, the politer
one is apologist. Whatever atrocity occurs, the modern middle
class Left will bend over backwards to take the side of people
who want to do Britain down. The great and the good; the self-styled
intellectuals, the cultural relativists... there seems to be nothing
they hate more than the English working class, specifically the
white ones with their quaint belief that parts of our culture
and traditions are actually worth fighting for. They don’t even
realise that THEY are the reason groups like the EDL exist.
I saw the kneejerk anti-Muslim stuff on Facebook and Twitter last night, and I admit a lot of it made me feel sick. I understand why people are angry – watching the story unfold on Sky News made me incandescent with fury. It would have been horrific anywhere but this was happening in Woolwich, the place where I was born, a place that I now barely recognise. But it’s mad, illogical and wrong to blame all Muslims for this atrocity. Islamist nut-jobs no more represent majority Muslim opinion than the Ku Klux Klan represented all Christian opinion. The Muslim Council of Britain was quick to disown the pair, saying “This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly. Our thoughts are with the victim and his family.” They rightly went on to point out that British Muslims have long served in the Armed forces and that “This attack on a member of the Armed Forces is dishonourable, and no cause justifies this murder.”
The Council should do more to monitor the hate-preachers in their own community, but the fault for this barbaric killing does not reside with everyday Muslims and the people who have responded by attacking mosques are not helping anyone. Religious war is precisely what the jihadists most desire. If you want to protest, get smarter. Instead of throwing bottles at the cops, picket the politicians and professors who came up with the deeply flawed and ruinous ideology of multiculturalism, and the Guardianistas who defend it; stage mass demos outside of the European Court of Human Rights; repeatedly name and shame the self-loathing fools behind unrestricted immigration; mock the pretend-Marxists who embrace reactionary clerics; vote for politicians who aren’t part of the corrupt elite. Take the protest to the top, don’t turn on the poor sods at the bottom. Above all, at a time like this, keep calm, keep alert, sling some cash at Help For Heroes and stay free. No surrender.
May 11. I was accused recently of being “obsessed” with the EU. Not so. I’m just incensed by the constant insane meddling and bureaucracy of this undemocratic anachronism. The latest law proposed by the European Commission would make it illegal to "grow, reproduce or trade" any vegetable seeds that have not been "tested, approved and accepted" by a new EU bureaucracy called the EU Plant Variety Agency. This Plant Reproductive Material Law would effectively criminalise home gardeners who grow their own plants from non-regulated seeds. Organic growers and small market farmers would be stopped from developing vegetable varieties, according to Ben Gabel of The Real Seed Catalogue who adds: “Home gardeners have really different needs - for example they grow by hand, not machine, and can't or don't want to use such powerful chemical sprays. There's no way to register the varieties suitable for home use as they don't meet the strict criteria of the Plant Variety Agency, which is only concerned about approving the sort of seed used by industrial farmers.” He goes on: “This is an instance of bureaucracy out of control... this new law creates a whole new raft of EU civil servants being paid to move mountains of papers round all day, while killing off the seed supply to home gardeners and interfering with the right of farmers to grow what they want. It also very worrying that they have given themselves the power to regulate and licence any plant species of any sort at all in the future - not just agricultural plants, but grasses, mosses, flowers, anything at all - without having to bring it back to the Council for a vote.”
Meanwhile, the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive seeks to re-classify
e-cigarettes either as tobacco products or medicinal products.
Eh? Tobacco products? E-cigs contain no tobacco at all (and are
actually used by ex-smokers to break away from normal fags.) Either
classification would make e-fags harder to buy. Shouldn’t the
health fascists be promoting and encouraging these ingenious consumer
products as a healthy alternative to lung-rotting tobacco?
Incidentally, May 9th was Europe Day, and over in Brussels EC
President Jose Manuel Barroso, the Portuguese Maoist, used the
occasion to promise to drive on to what he called “intensified
political union.” He is pledging a revised treaty to speed up
the EU's aim of becoming Europe A Nation (the old Mosley dream).
So don’t be fooled when Shameron tells us Britain can renegotiate
our relationship. Sovereignty, our right to make our own laws,
along with economic freedom, nationhood, liberty and democracy
are the price of membership – as our rulers have always known,
even though they have lied shamelessly about it for decades (and
still do). Full political, economic and military union is the
stated goal of the EU elite. Member countries can’t pick and choose.
British voters will (eventually) have one simple but very real
choice to make: in or out. Let’s hope we make it soon.
May 7. Just heard Nick Clegg spouting cobblers about the EU and “what people want” on Radio 4’s Today Show. The latest polls indicate that what more than eight out of ten voters actually want is an In/Out referendum... something Clegg promised to deliver before the last election. The Lib-Dim leaflet calling for a “real referendum” even had his face on it. It read: ‘It's been over thirty years since the British people last had a vote on Britain's membership of the European Union. That's why the Liberal Democrats want a real referendum on Europe. Only a real referendum on Britain's membership of the EU will let the people decide our country's future. But Labour don't want the people to have their say. The Conservatives only support a limited referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Why won't they give the people a say in a real referendum?’ Yes, and why won’t you Nick? Nick? No answer. Oh, that’s a shame. I’d hate people to think he was just another slippery liar intent on lining his own pockets on the EU gravy train.
Conspiracy Corner: Jimmy Tarbuck was arrested on 26th April.
Why was this only announced yesterday? We can’t be sure, but it
certainly keeps deputy speaker Nigel Evans off the front pages...
I hope Tarby is innocent, but if he’s not, the joke of the day is at least he’ll be Live From Her Majesty’s again...
May 2. Unfortunately I can’t vote today, but if I did I would
protest-vote against the clapped-out establishment parties. There
are only two protest parties to take seriously, the Greens and
UKIP. The Greens have some admirable sentiments. I like their
commitment to smaller companies and cooperatives, decentralised
health care, and high-quality public services. You just feel that
almost everything they stand for would involve punitive levels
of taxation. In practice they backed Red Ken, which is never a
good sign, their energy policies are ridiculous, they’d tax your
kids’ tellies, and they give credence to homeopathic hogwash.
At heart they’re dippy hippies who’d love the world to be one
great big happy commune – and it never will be. UKIP have been
accused of being something far worse. One Facebook group paints
them as the gateway to Nazism, which is ridiculous even by internet
standards. In reality they’re the closest we’ve got to a Libertarian
Party. Their economic policies make far more sense than say anything
endorsed by Ken Clarke (the clown who wanted us to join the Euro).
UKIP were mocked on last night’s 10 O’Clock Live for stating prominently
that they are not a racist party. Why do they do that? Because
for decades infantile ultra-Left politicos have accused anyone
remotely patriotic of being ‘racist’ or ‘fascist’ even when they
plainly are not. Are there cranks in the party? Of course there
are. Which party hasn’t got them? One eccentric Labour fruitcake
praised a repressive totalitarian South American regime just a
couple of years ago – Harriett Harman was her name. Miliband’s
mate Eric Hobsbawn was an apologist for Stalin’s multitude of
horrendous crimes against humanity. Livingstone is a friend of
the maddest of Mullahs... I have spoken at length to Nigel Farage
on the record and off the record. He isn’t a racist, and he has
taken huge steps to expel anyone with dubious connections (unlike
the Labour Party which currently has three ex-BNP councillors
and an unhealthy paedophile scandal they’ve managed to keep out
of the papers). He is one of the few MPs I’ve met who actually
seems a) normal and b) in touch with everyday reality. Labour’s
Joe Ashton was another one. You couldn’t sling that accusation
at Ed. Like the Greens, Farage’s motley crew appeal to those nostalgic
for a lost world, but in their case it is one that actually existed,
a world of small freedoms which we seem to be losing more of day
by day. Nostalgia isn’t necessarily healthy but neither is surrender.
At a time when politics and politicians are increasingly remote,
when our lives are blighted by decisions made in European Courts
and undemocratic ‘parliaments’, voting UKIP today represents a
chance to kick back and to show the powers that be that we’re
not dead yet.
April 23. Happy St George’s Day! People who try and tell the
English that we shouldn’t be patriotic are either misguided fools
or self-loathing nitwits. “What does being English even mean?”
they sneer – a question they wouldn’t dream of asking a Scot or
a Frenchman. “You’ve got no culture”, they parrot, being too blinded
by wilful ignorance to acknowledge that from Chaucer to Tallis,
Purcell to Elgar, Kipling to Browning via Tennyson and Ralph Vaughan
Williams, the English have one of the richest cultures in the
Patriotism should not be confused with nationalism; it’s a healthy natural emotion. It’s about loving your country, not hating others. Patriotism crosses party boundaries, of course, but I’ve long felt it would do the Labour Party good to endorse the St George’s Day campaign. It’s never been more obvious that the super-rich and multinational corporations are the real anti-social elements in our society. Trouble is, the Labour Party don’t really exist in any meaningful sense. Old Labour was a people’s party and as such it was instinctively patriotic. But that was before the middle class professionals and consultants took it over and watered it down to the party of nothing very much, thank you.
This wretched ragbag that calls itself Labour today stands for
globalisation, regionalisation, rule by Brussels, and ‘British
jobs for the cheapest imported workforce’. In power, Blair and
Brown fawned over failing bankers and genuflected before irresponsible
speculators. Jet-setter Anthony Blair now pockets £7million-a-year;
he has at least seven houses – one worth £5million - and more
than £20mill in the bank. Oligarch enthusiast ‘Lord’ Mandelson,
who made more than £2million out of the EU gravy train, has a
£180,000-a-year pension and a £5 million mortgage... People’s
party, my arse. Miliband shows no sign of being any better. In
fact ‘Red Ed’ seems happy to be part of the hypocritical new elite,
alongside Cameron and Clegg. They’re all busy selling the birthright
of the English, and all British people, down the river – including
our liberties and our democracy. Tens of thousands will protest-vote
UKIP on May 2nd because they want this process of deceit and betrayal
to stop. I don’t hammer my colours to any political party, but
it’s a protest that needs to be registered – and loudly.
Blog silence now resumed.
Sorry, this blog is off-line while I finish my new book. Bushell
On The Box carries on as normal.
April 19. Poor old Rolf Harris, 83, is the latest aging celebrity
to be nicked by the ludicrous Operation Yewtree plod. We don’t
know the details of the decades-old accusations against the veteran
entertainer, but I reckon it’s all a tragic misunderstanding.
Rolf probably just asked the woman to close her eyes and hold
out her hand before asking “Can you tell what it is yet?” And
it was his didgeridoo all along. (For all possible bad taste gags
about tying kangaroos down, wobble boards, Jake The Peg’s extra
leg and Two Little Boys, see sickipedia, Twitter, Facebook etc
Don’t you feel sorry for the old boys being humiliated like this?
Ten will get you twenty that none of these charges will stick,
but their lives and reputations are ruined. So what’s it all about?
See my earlier answer – it’s a smoke screen to keep our minds
off bigger scandals involving the rich and powerful.
Paul Offit, who argues that the MMR jab should be made compulsory
for all kids, is no impartial expert. Yet strangely the BBC chooses
not to mention his ties to big pharmaceutical companies...
April 18. The Independent’s review of the Thatcher funeral,
by the usually entertaining Grace Dent, includes talk of empty
streets, and claims “the throngs never came” – all undermined
by pictures of the thousands lining London streets, eight deep
on the pavements around St Pauls. The only throngs who didn’t
show were the protestors.
Nigel Farage might live to regret his Maggie remarks. How many
thousands of votes will that cost him in the North East?
April 17. The far-Left did themselves no favours at Margaret
Thatcher’s funeral. A handful of activists near Ludgate Circus
heckling a corpse? They’d have been better off boycotting the
procession and staying home. At least then the myth of furious
mass opposition, fostered in advance on the BBC website, might
have been more believable. Other talking points, besides Sam Cam’s
ludicrous Pan Am-style mourning look? Shameron’s claim that “We’re
all Thatcherites now” – David Cameron has never believed in anything,
other than the advancement of D. Cameron, in his slippery, over-privileged
life. And David Dimbleby’s half-hearted gaffe-strewn BBC1 commentary.
April 15. So here’s my big news: I’ve signed a deal with Caffeine
Nights to publish the third part of the Harry Tyler pulp fiction
series. People kept asking me what Harry did next; for all his
flaws as a human being, you seem to really like the character.
I didn’t want to leave Harry in limbo either. So I’m very happy
to be finishing the trilogy and even happier to have signed up
with Caffeine Nights, an independent publishing house who specialise
in crime fiction, to do so. This new adventure reunites Harry
with his smartest, toughest foe, gangster Johnny Too from The
Face, and pits him against a deadly new adversary... The press
‘Face Down follows The Face and Two-Faced and is the closing
instalment of the brutal but darkly funny Harry Tyler trilogy.
Book one, The Face, introduced undercover cop Harry Tyler and
told how he brought down vicious South London crime family, the
Bakers. The novel was a controversial success when it was published,
selling out three editions and making front page news. The follow-up,
Two-Faced saw detective turned renegade Harry escape a lonely
death in Ireland after being set up by MI5. Face Down catches
up with Harry in 2012. The fast-talking character is surviving
on his wits in the North West of England until fate conspires
to reunite him with formidable villain John Baker, known as Johnny
Too, released from jail early as bait for a serial killer. “We
are thrilled to have Garry on board. Face Down is a great book
in the style and tradition of the previous two novels in the series.
It’s a fast, action-packed and full-on sexy book that readers
will love,” said Darren Laws, CEO of Caffeine Nights Publishing.
“Signing Garry is a major coup for an independent publisher of
our size, but it highlights our ambition to attract quality authors
with great novels.”’ Face Down is scheduled (a trifle optimistically)
for an autumn publication in paperback and all eBook formats.
Watch this space for news on my other new book, Rock Zombie Dreams,
which should be published in the USA and here this August.
*Also launching soon is an exciting Street Sounds e-book imprint,
initially aimed at publishing youth cult related fiction by new
authors... more details will be in Street Sounds #3
April 14. If you live anywhere near Southend, don’t miss the
live comedy benefit gig for the C.O.P.S. charity on May 6th. Comics
including TERRY ALDERTON and MARK ROUGH will be performing at
the Park View Suite, Chalkwell Park, SS0 8NB Southend-on-Sea.
Tickets: £10 from here.
Dark thought: most high profile celebrity arrests are based on
accusations that could never be proved in court. Am I alone in
suspecting that Operation Yewtree is a smoke screen designed to
distract us from a bigger scandal? It seems unlikely that Cyril
Smith was the only stinking pervert in Westminster.
Good news coming: tune back here next week for a BIG announcement...
Meanwhile, smartphone users can now add this website to their
phones by scanning the QR code. Try it!
April 9th. Yes, they all despise Maggie. George Galloway, the
silver-tongued apologist for brutal Middle East dictators, wants
to ‘tramp the dirt down’ on the former PM’s grave. Gerry Adams,
a former Provisional IRA commander, says, with no sense of irony,
that Baroness Thatcher “did a great deal of hurt.” The rapist-friendly
SWP are “rejoicing” in the 87-year-old grandmother’s death, which
is in marked contrast to the respectful tone of their obituary
for Osama Bin Laden, whom they dubbed “the only serious response
to the power of the West.” No doubt the Argentinean government
have got a few harsh words for Maggie as well.
If we are judged in death by the people who hated us in life,
then the old girl didn’t do so badly.
Of course Margaret Thatcher did many things I disagreed with
– back in the day quite vehemently. But in stark contrast to most
modern British Prime Ministers she was a conviction politician.
She was also anti-Establishment, a radical of the free market
Right who acted on her beliefs, and so of course she divided public
opinion. She split Britain, she had to – in order to change us.
But was it change for the better or for the worse? Let’s remind
ourselves what life was like in the 1970s. The UK was essentially
washed up, floating up shit creek without a paddle. Our economy
was the sick man of Europe; our GDP was 46 per cent below the
Germans, and 41 per cent below France. We were even out-performed
by Italy. Inflation was in double figures, there were three day
weeks, rubbish was piling up on the streets, the dead in Liverpool
went unburied and it was the widespread belief of politicians
and the media that this horrendous decline was inevitable, unstoppable
and probably deserved. Margaret Thatcher turned all of this around.
Monetarism kick-started the ailing economy; free enterprise and
aspiration were encouraged, taxes were cut, revenue flooded in,
productivity rose, business boomed and Britain bounced back from
disaster. Managed decline had turned into rampant recovery in
under a decade, and Thatcherism created the boom that other PMs
rode... until Gordon Brown pissed it all away.
Here’s what else Maggie did right: she refused to endorse the
single currency and gave council tenants the right to buy their
homes; with Reagan, she helped speed up the collapse of the repressive
state-capitalist ‘Communist’ regimes and she stood up to Argentina’s
fascist junta when it tried to crush the Falkland Islanders, who
were all British citizens, under its iron heel. Her values were
simple but they were good ones – self-advancement, self-improvement,
hard work, and taking responsibility for your own actions. So
where did she do wrong? The Poll Tax was a major political misjudgement.
Our manufacturing backbone was destroyed and the defeat of the
miners’ tore the hearts out of many communities. Yet people conveniently
forget that more pits were closed down under Harold Wilson than
under Thatcher, and that the main architect of the miners’ defeat
was that jumped-up Stalinist Napoleon Arthur Scargill who fought
the wrong fight at the wrong time for the wrong reasons. We could
argue for some time over whether it was right to stop state subsidies
to heavy industries that were already clearly doomed by globalisation;
it was certainly wrong not to encourage new jobs to flood into
single-industry towns when those subsidies did stop.
The bottom line is Margaret Thatcher is hated because she achieved
things. People either loved her, including millions of working
class voters (she was elected as Prime Minister three times) or
they despised her. Uniquely both left and right wings of the modern
Establishment hated her. They looked down their noses at this
upstart grocer’s daughter who had bigger balls than any man in
Westminster and to this day they cannot comprehend why Maggie
commanded respect from so many. I think the venom of the abuse
storm on Twitter says more about the Left and modern ‘left-wing’
values than it does about the late Baroness. In a democracy surely
we can disagree with someone without rejoicing vilely in their
death? Let’s count the thousands who line the streets in Maggie’s
memory next Wednesday, and then ask would any current Labour leader
attract a tenth of that turn-out.
Great Thatcher quotes: “We have not successfully rolled back
the frontiers of the state in Britain only to see them re-imposed
at a European level with a European superstate exercising a new
dominance from Brussels.”
“People from my sort of background needed grammar schools to
compete with children from privileged homes like Shirley Williams
and Anthony Wedgwood Benn.”
What she ACTUALLY said about society: “People have got the entitlements
too much in mind, without the obligations. There's no such thing
as entitlement, unless someone has first met an obligation.”
April 6. Random thoughts: how has Labour got themselves on the
wrong side of the Philpott row? The Labour answer to poverty and
unemployment should be job creation not welfarism – there is a
great piece by Brendan O’Neill on the welfare myth in today’s
Mail. The respectable working class want nothing to do with cheats
and scroungers. It's true of course that more money is lost by
tax avoidance than playing the benefits system, but welfarism
is a poisonous cancer rotting the nation’s soul (and sapping the
will to fight). Most of our people want to work – we should encourage
It just cost me £4 to go through the Dartford Tunnel and back.
We were told that the toll was only introduced to cover for the
construction costs. Yet the Crossing was paid for NINE years ago.
This didn’t stop the current operators, Connect Plus M25 from
putting the price up last October. It’s daylight robbery plain
and simple, the worst stitch-up this side of BBC1’s Sewing Bee.
Motorists shell out enough already.
I saw a brilliant poster driving into Bexley today: a cross
of St George over the slogan: Home Rule. Too right. The fight
for English home rule should be our priority; to save democracy,
and freedom, we need our Parliament to be sovereign rather than
subservient to Brussels and the European Courts.
Nigel Farage is storming the country on his speaking tour; every
public meeting is packed, with standing room only at the back.
I expect UKIP to do as well in next month’s council elections
as they did in Eastleigh. Voters have had enough of our Tweedledum
and Tweedledumber politicians. It’s time for change.
Question of the week: who causes the most damage – the tame
fascist managing Sunderland or the lame ex-Communist overseeing
the dismal decline of the NHS?
Jim Davidson has been barred from the Marlowe theatre in Canterbury
because the director says his jokes could cause offence to women
and the disabled; in the same breath he says he’d consider booking
Frankie Boyle. That’s it folks, irony has officially died.
April 1st. The Mirror got in a great April Fool’s Day gag today
with their front page story: ‘D-Day For Savage Con-Dem Cuts’.
How we laughed! Government spending (and state debt) is still
rocketing up not down, of course, and do they really think a Labour
government would be doing anything different? Gertcha. Quick fact
check: in 2009-10, under Gordon Brown, social security benefit
spending came in at £163.7bn; tax credits were £22.9bn. The forecast
for 2013-14 is £180.4bn on social security benefits and £29bn
on tax credits – that’s an increase of more than 12%. If the Con-Dem
Coalition government is really intent on “dismantling the welfare
system”, they’ve got a funny way of showing it.
Nature has played the cruellest prank on us, though, by carrying
Winter on into April. We changed to British Summer Time two days
ago, someone tell the weather.
David Miliband has quit his £75,000-a-year directorship of Sunderland
FC over new head coach Paolo Di Canio's “past political statements.”
Miliband is however delighted to accept a £300,000-a-year job
with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the New York based
“relief organisation” that has Henry Kissinger on its board of
“overseers” ... That’s the same Henry Kissinger who Christopher
Hitchens convincingly accused of war crimes in Cambodia and Chile.
Tom Lehrer famously said satire was “obsolete” when Kissinger
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973. Next to him Di Canio,
the self-proclaimed “fascist, not racist” seems almost harmless...
although it’s hard to believe anyone with half a brain could seriously
advocate the corporate state as the answer to Europe’s economic
*Di Canio was a great footballer but as a politician he’s an
embarrassment. Surely it’s up to Sunderland fans to decide how
to react to his appointment, though. Many of them will have had
relatives in the Durham Light Infantry, the Northumberland Hussars
and the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers who would have fought against
Mussolini’s boys at Monte Cassino, in Sicily and at Salerno. If
they are offended by a fascist sympathiser manager then they should
vote with their feet and stay away. As Jock Stein once said (and
too many club directors forget) “football without fans is nothing.”
*We’ve had political managers before, of course. Brian Clough,
a socialist, gave free tickets for Derby's games to striking miners.
While Bill Shankly once said: “The socialism I believe in is everybody
working for the same goal and everybody having a share in the
rewards. That's how I see football, that's how I see life.” (The
shares have got increasingly lop-sided since then of course.)
As a matter of fact, England have only ever won the World Cup
under a Labour government, but I doubt that there’s a causal connection.
March 31. Happy Easter? Not if you’ve got your savings in a
Cyprus bank. Thanks to the arrogant robber barons of the European
Union, British ex-pats with deposits in the Bank of Cyprus will
be walloped for 37.5% of every penny they’ve got over £85K. Those
saving with Laiki Bank face an 80% raid. This grand larceny isn’t
for the benefit of the Cypriot people – it’s purely to save the
Euro. The doomed currency, dreamed up by politicians and bureaucrats,
is already responsible for more theft than Bernie Madoff and Ronnie
Kray put together. Of course, the Cypriot people would have been
much better off if they’d been allowed to leave the Eurozone and
devalue, but that doesn’t suit our masters. The Euro-fanatics
would rather help themselves to your hard-earned dosh than give
up on the dream. You wonder what they’ll go for next. Will they
send in EU dinner inspectors to over-see how many chops the Cypriots
can have for tea? “Two for you, two for Angela Merkel”? You wouldn’t
put it past these creeps to start breaking into kids’ piggy banks.
Some call it asset confiscation. It’s more like economic rape.
The will of the German parliament outweighs the rights of the
Cypriot people. They’re the daddy, Cyprus is their bitch. It isn’t
over yet, either. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who heads the Eurogroup
of Eurozone finance ministers, says this is the template for ALL
eurozone countries. That’s right. If you live in a country whose
currency is the Euro then your rulers believe they can do what
the hell they like with your money. Something to chew on if you’re
Spanish, French or Italian with a few bob in the bank.
March 28. My John King interview is now
up and running at litopia.com. We discuss his novels, Orwell,
Alan Sillitoe, London Books, punk, identity, Richard Allen, the
EU and more.
Will any of the celebrities lifted with great publicity by the
Operation Yewtree cops actually be charged? It is looking increasingly
unlikely, yet the likes of Jim Davidson and Freddie Starr have
had their reputations tarnished by being unfairly linked to the
odious Jimmy Savile. I do hope they have grounds to sue.
March 27. Ed Davey has an “action plan”. That sounds like good
news, what with energy bills rising, gas supplies running out
and no sign of Spring. For the best part of a week most of our
back gardens have looked like a trailer for Game Of Thrones season
three. Sadly Ed’s grand plan is completely out of step with reality.
The Lib-Dem Secretary of State for Energy & Climate Change is
setting up the Heat Network Agency (more pen-pushers), “green
apprenticeships” and a £9million Heat Network scheme. It all seems
as disconnected from modern Britain as Babylon 5. As we endure
the coldest winter since 1963, this useless government is imposing
new taxes on gas and coal-fired power stations to drive up fuel
bills. They, and New Labour before them, have blown billions on
pricy wind farms that don’t work that well. Labour stopped building
nuclear power plants, and the recent announcement of planning
approval for Hinkley feels like too little too late. “Science
drives our policies,” claims Ed. It doesn’t. UK energy industry
has been sacrificed on the altar of suspect ideology and a “capacity
crunch” is looming. My advice? Buy in candles and look forward
to the black-outs.
March 25. My latest podcast is up and running at Bloodstock Radio,
with studio guest Rhoda Dakar from the Special AKA, and tasty
tracks from Bonecrusher, the Harrington Saints, Smalltown, the
Dualers, the UK Subs, Vinnie & The Stars, the Black Marias, the
Selecter, Klasse Kriminale, the Skoisters, Mannequin, Dublin’s
Hooligan, and the Noxious Toyz. Hear it here,
if the mood takes you.
The papers reckon Boris Johnson has been fatally damaged by yesterday’s
Eddie Mair interview. Somehow I doubt it. Surely most people will
just shrug and say, “If that’s the worst they can dig up about
him, he can’t be too bad.” I disagree with Bo-Jo on a whole range
of issues, but compared to Livingstone he’s an incredibly likeable
figure and he’ll make a much better Tory leader than Shameron.
These ancient charges will bounce off Boris like bullets off Superman’s
David Cameron’s new pledges on migrants are empty rhetoric. He’s
playing to the gallery. They won’t change a thing.
March 24. Is now a good time to remind the Independent that
13 years ago they solemnly promised us that snowfalls were “a
thing of the past”? Thought not.
March 23. It’s one month until St George’s Day, and as is traditional,
there are no grand national events planned. But there are some
good and varied local celebrations of England’s national day including
a St George’s Day gala at the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday April
21 which features traditional English music played by the Royal
Philharmonic Concert Orchestra with readings from Wordsworth and
John Betjeman. (Tickets range from £14.00 to £46.50; booking line:
0845 401 5045).
Most knees-ups for England's patron saint will be low-key affairs
on the day itself. The Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden is one of
many London pubs laying on colourful events; while up in Lytham
there’s a four day festival including a comedy night with Phil
Walker and UKIP supporter Gregg Cook. All good, but a long way
short of the festivities for St Patrick (another fine Englishman).
Why is this? The traditional problems still persist: chiefly middle
class self-loathing and the left intelligentsia’s illogical distrust
of patriotism. Elsewhere on this site, you’ll find my archive
feature on England and English identity, which analyses the arguments
that are trotted out against St George’s Day and finds them wanting.
More recently, it has been claimed that the use of the English
flag by groups like the EDL have “toxified” it, which is cobblers
on a stick a) because what other flag would they use? b) if this
were the case why didn’t the Provos use of the tricolour toxify
that? And c) the EDL only came into existence because ordinary
people felt their identity and rights were being sacrificed on
the altar of multiculturalism.
The suppression of English identity leads to unsavoury mutations.
Yet that identity has long been genuinely threatened by politicians
– the EU would like to break us up into regions, while New Labour
tried to permanently change the nature of the country by recklessly
relaxing immigration controls. The devolution debate in Scotland
and Wales gave these countries a renewed affinity with their national
identity, but Establishment politicians and the media have been
keen to suppress this process in England. John Prescott, born
in Wales, infamously said: “There is no such nationality as the
English.” We have to prove him wrong. And to prove also that there
is no shame in being English, rather that there is much to be
quietly proud of – from Alfred the Great and Magna Carta to English
law and jurisprudence, from trade unionism to one-man one-vote,
from the Bard to the Buzzcocks via England’s historic role in
the fight against slavery, Nazism and other foreign tyrannies.
Oh I know the temptation is to shrug apathetically and say “What
can we do?” but the answer is actually quite a lot. Firstly, if
you’d like to see St George’s Day become a bank holiday, then
book the day off work as a holiday and join thousands of others
who agree with you. That sends a mighty message to our rulers:
this is OUR day and we’re taking it, like it or not. Detractors
say a national day off would cost a packet – the Centre for Economics
and Business reckons it’d cost the UK economy a whopping £2.3billion.
Except, we’re not asking for a new bank holiday, merely for the
May one be moved forward to April 23rd. And besides, St Patrick's
Day is a massively commercial, money-spinning event. Four million
pints of Guinness were sunk in the UK alone. This is a challenge
England’s bitter drinkers could easily out-do, given half a chance.
Guinness has backed St Patrick’s Day for three decades, and I’m
pleased to see English breweries like Wells & Young and Shepherd
Neame doing their bit too. As Labour’s Hilary Benn, the Shadow
Communities Secretary, said last year: “Each country should feel
comfortable with celebrating its own identity while being part
of a partnership from which we all derive benefit, security, mutual
support, and greater influence in a changing world." Too right,
Hils. But don’t let’s wait for the green light from untrustworthy
politicians. Party for England! Celebrate for England! Drink for
England! Remember, as G.K. Chesterton wrote: ‘St George he was
for England and before he killed the dragon, he drank a pint of
English ale out of an English flagon!’ Cheers.
March 22. The fight to save Lewisham Hospital’s A&E and maternity
services goes on. The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has called
for a lobby of Parliament next Tuesday, 26th March, under the
slogans: ‘Say No to Privatisation Of the NHS’ and ‘Stop the Section
75 Regulations’. Protestors are asked to assemble at the Lobby
Gate at 12 noon. Heidi Alexander, MP, says: “At the end of January
despite huge public opposition, the Government decided to proceed
with the closure of the full A&E and full maternity department
at Lewisham Hospital. They claim they will retain a ‘smaller A&E’
at Lewisham and a mid-wife led birthing unit. Be under no illusions
- these changes will lead to a decimation of services at Lewisham.
Whilst the plans will take about 3 years to implement (and all
services at Lewisham are set to remain until investment has taken
place at other hospitals in order to deal with patients displaced
from Lewisham), it is clear that ultimately, all "blue light"
ambulances will be sent to other hospitals and up to 9 in 10 babies
will have to be born elsewhere. The sale of two thirds of the
land and buildings at Lewisham Hospital is also set to proceed.”
Lewisham Council has launched a legal challenge, and a challenge
fund to assist with covering the costs of the legal action. If
you are able to make a donation (no matter how small), please
click on this link.
March 21. George Osborne’s Budget was like watching Mr. Bean
attempt to stuff a partially-inflated blow-up doll into a bedroom
drawer. He got increasingly furious to little effect. Osborne
has one economic policy which he sticks to like glue: carry on
building up debt but lie about it. At one point, his voice gave
up on him as if even it couldn’t contemplate reading out any more
of his bullshit. George has been preaching the gospel of austerity
for three years yet real public spending continues to rocket.
The Government is spending £120billion a year more than it earns.
£120billion! That’s disastrous. The only sensible policy would
be to slash taxes and stop blowing billions on useless quangos
and undeserved overseas aid; but that’s a message no establishment
party will deliver.
March 20. What a tough choice for the people of Cyprus. Do they
do a deal with a sinister bunch of pushy, dictatorial villains
with no concern for democracy, or do they tell the EU to poke
it and deal with the Russians instead?
March 19. Bit by bit, the freedoms that the British once took
for granted are being chipped away. The Royal Charter deal, seized
on by our discredited political leaders, is the first step towards
state control of the press. Putting MPs in charge of the debate
was like asking Kim Jong-un to watch out for the best interests
of South Korea, or Millwall supporters to regulate West Ham. Of
course politicians, still smarting from the expenses scandal,
want to create a powerful ‘watchdog’ to gag the Fourth Estate.
But is their proposal in the interests of freedom of speech? Of
course not. Look at the small print and any website containing
‘news-related material’ also falls under the Charter’s remit –
and that means anyone running a blog. Why? Laws already exist
to protect the rights of anyone abused or libelled on-line as
well as by newspapers. At the risk of sounding paranoid, I suspect
this is actually more to do with long-term suppression of dissent.
It’s not about protecting the merry band of shaggers, coke-sniffers
and sadomasochist orgy enthusiasts behind Hacked Off. It starts
with Hugh Grant’s blow-job and ends with the gagging of anyone
critical of the EU – something much harder to swallow, as I’m
sure even Divine Brown would testify. We’ve already seen civil
servants attempt to gag anti-wind-farm protesters. Who next? Britain’s
national newspapers, for all their flaws, have long been at the
forefront of exposing the follies of the European ‘project’. But
for how much longer? The basic principle of a free press, which
Churchill called “the unsleeping guardian of every other right
that free men prize” has been lost. Still never mind though, Clegg
and Miliband are certain to walk into well-paid EU jobs once their
domestic political careers end in ignominious failure.
March 18. I’m still reeling at the thought that the EU can just
over-ride the law and individual rights to pick the pockets of
savers in Cyprus. The German news media are peddling the line
that the island is awash with dodgy Russian loot. But clearly
not everyone with a Cypriot bank account is a Muscovite money-launderer.
And besides, if they were, isn’t that a job for Interpol? These
two-bob tin-pot Eurocrats seem to think that we are here to subsidise
them. What’s theirs is theirs and what’s ours is theirs too. Cyprus
today, Madrid tomorrow, your bank next Tuesday. This will get
a whole lot worse before it gets better. Sod the banks, buy gold
March 17. A nasty outbreak of mugging in Cyprus. The victims
are anyone with savings, the muggers are the EU. They’re calling
it a tax on savers, imposed as part of the bail-out deal for the
island. Savers with deposits over £86K will be robbed of 9.9%
of their money; anyone with less will lose 6.5%. More than fifty
thousand of them are thought to be British, including about 3,000
members of our Armed Forces. They don’t have a say in the matter,
but will be compensated by our Government – i.e. British taxpayers.
This direct pillaging is scandalous of course, but at least it’s
more honest than our own politicians’ approach. Governments, who
continue to live way beyond their means, regularly pick our pockets
through inflation, savings taxes or by fixing interest rates so
they can borrow cheaply (at the cost of plummeting returns for
anyone prudent enough to save). Sometimes they do all three at
the same time. That’s pillaging by stealth. Savers in British
banks and building societies have been robbed of around £43billion
since the Bank Of England froze interest rates at half a per cent
four years ago. It’s estimated that the average UK saver has lost
£2,500 in real terms since the credit crisis began. In other words,
it’s not just Cyprus. We’re all being fleeced. As Bernard Manning
used to say, “At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.”
Bizarrely I have been named as one of House magazine's Top Ten
'Political Comedians'. The piece manages to make three mistakes
in just under two lines, including misspelling my name, but never
mind. The hook is of course the rise of Beppe Grillo in Italy,
whose major gift to his country's battered political culture is
V-Day - that's V for Vaffanculo, the Italian for “Fuck off.” That's
pretty much his manifesto: “Politicians, fuck off”. You can see
why he's caught on. Brillo’s 5 Star Movement are the Italian equivalent
of the Monster Raving Loony Party, only with more brains, a broader
base and a serious manifesto. Italian politics has long been a
boom area for clowns, of course, from Il Duce to Berlusconi (AKA
"the Great Seducer") so one more won't make much difference. But
you get the feeling Grillo could make a real difference if his
Movimento 5 Stelle had more coherence. He says it isn’t a political
party but rather “a democratic dialogue” born online and in public
squares. Every ten days, they vote on positions, always working
from below, never from above — “the opposite of the political
pyramid that has suffocated our democracy.” He has swerved traditional
areas of political debate, taking his message to the people via
comedy shows, demos, on-line forums, city-council meetings, and
public gatherings. His core values appear to be "trasparenza"
(transparency), "coerenza" (consistency), "efficienza" (efficiency),
and of course, "democrazia" (democracy). Unlike many Italian politicians,
M5S MPs can't have criminal records, can't serve more than two
terms in office, and will only take home one third of their MP
salary. (The left-over dosh goes back into the government pot.)
You might not agree with M5S’s political manifesto, but it’s still
exciting to see something grow from the bottom up and challenge
the established system - especially one as corrupt and tarnished
as Italy's. The cynic is me says M5S will be rapidly corrupted
itself, but the dream of citizens running their own country is
a just and beautiful one.
* I quite like the idea of being identified as a comedian. It
must be the funny walk... but if I were a stand-up, the last thing
I’d be is a political one. You listen to Jeremy Hardy on the News
Quiz and he sounds like Eeyore with a death wish. They must hide
the razor blades every time he’s on the panel. Like Mark Steel,
Hardy is from the wilder shores of the Far Left, which rather
buggers the standard leftwing argument that the BBC is a conservative
monolith. In fact it’s far easier to get on state radio or TV
if you’re a Marxist comic. Rightwing ones barely get a look in.
I know a few good, popular turns who support UKIP and they get
no air-time at all. It makes you wonder if the Beeb operates a
blacklist. This isn’t paranoia. I haven't been booked to appear
on a BBC TV show since I stood in a by-election arguing for the
establishment of an English Parliament in 2005. But look who has
prospered from state endorsement: Marcus Brigstocke (public school
rebel turned atheist and climate change bore), Mark Watson (who
campaigned for bloated hypocrite Al Gore), Stewart Lee (right-on
comedy snob)... Oppose the ruling elite from the Left and exposure
is assured; oppose them from a position the Tarquins crudely identify
as "the right" and you can kiss broadcasting goodbye. It's one
of the things I touch on with Nigel Farage in my first talk show,
available for free on iTunes - (I'm not a UKIP member, but
Farage is right about the damaging anti-democratic monolithic
nature of the EU and it's hard not to warm to his honesty, openness
and those funny old lizard eyes.)
My new book-related chat-show is up and running at Radio Litopia.
The first guest is Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, sounding
forth on Cameron, BBC bias, and of course the EU. We also chat
about Chandler, Madness, Windrush and much more... Hear
Nigel’s robust views on The Garry Bushell show.
Jan 27. This blog is closing down, but be warned - this is coming
And for those in need of fine reading matter, issue #2 of StreetSounds
will be available to order from Tuesday 29th, here.
People often ask why I don't do much TV any more. The simple
answer is I can't bake or skate and the only low dives that interest
me are bars, clubs and gambling dens. The longer answer is that
TV is now so feminised there is precious little I'd care to be
on. I've got nothing against women of course, but like most men
I consider it a sad state of affairs when the likes of Miranda
and Call The Midwife occupy prime time TV slots which were once
the preserve of Steptoe and the Sweeney. It's not a question of
gender but of quality. BBC1's evening schedules in particular
are full of badly written soaps, while their poorly presented
Saturday night line-up makes you long for the simple joys of Noel's
House Party. Where is this generation's Marti Caine? Male interest
TV is neglected and ghettoised or sabotaged by the idiotic and
illogical pursuit of demographics. I say no to two or three shows
a month and will continue to do so until something decent comes
Jan 25. Thrill-seekers are said to be having sex near the top
of London’s Shard Tower. Talk about being taken up the Shard.
The dubious evidence for this claim is a solitary pair of black
thongs found discarded in the gents’ toilets. Very possibly on
floor 69. But at nearly £25 a ticket, thong woman isn’t the only
one getting screwed. (In a related story, applications for window-cleaning
jobs have gone through the roof... )
Imagine the scene. He’s pounding, she’s panting, her eyes rolling.
“Vertigo?” asks the fella. “No,” she replies breathlessly. “Just
three more strokes... ”
Jan 24. The Socialist Workers Party, by far the most influential
far-Left organisation in Britain, is said to be a war with itself
after a senior official - Comrade Delta - was accused of raping
a female member only to be cleared by seven other senior 'comrades',
five of whom had served with him on the party's Central Committee.
Instead of facing the 'bourgeois' courts, he was tried by his
mates who surprisingly found in his favour. Trebles all round.
But branches all over the country are up in arms about it. Decades
ago I was a member of the SWP's predecessor, the International
Socialists. They were a bright, principled and funny bunch; unlike
the grim Workers' Revolutionary Party who were led by the rapist
and serial sex pest Gerry Healy. But I became disillusioned by
IS policy changes; specifically their defence of the Paedophile
Information Exchange and their support for English working class
people getting blown to bits by terrorist bombs. When the IS absurdly
declared themselves to be the Party, they became increasingly
anti-democratic and cult-like. They were led, badly and erratically,
from the top. For the last decade the SWP have marched hand in
hand with clerical fascists who detest the very feminist and gay
issues the SWP claim to espouse. The weight of ideological contradictions
has seen membership drop to under 2,000 'cadre', a long way from
the highs of the mid to late 70s when 40,000 copies of the Socialist
Worker were sold every week and they were riding the crest of
a militant wave of union action and cultural revolt. And their
old tactic of crushing dissent by expelling 'factions' no longer
seems to be working. Not that other far-Left organisations are
likely to gain from the SWP's crisis. Deeply flawed by Leninism,
they are unable to speak to working class people in language they
understand. A new 'UKIP of the Left' may be needed for the good
of democracy, but it won't come from these clowns.
One thing the sordid SWP business illustrates is that the far-Left
have no monopoly on virtue. Their activists believe, rather like
Jehovah’s Witnesses, EU Commissioners, Nazis and Islamists,
that they are the sole beacon of light in a darkening world. It’s
this sense of being on the side of history, on the side of the
angels, that allows them to think that they can break any law
they choose with impunity. Your truth means less than theirs;
your rights have less value, your arguments less merit. In practice,
the far-Left are just as venal, bent and obnoxious as their political
opposites. In practice, absolute power still corrupts absolutely.
Jan 23. What a strange speech from David Cameron. He told us
today that the public are pissed off about being denied a referendum
on the EU, while failing to mention that he denied us the “cast
iron” one he promised before he got elected... Now, as predicted,
he’s promised us another one, but in five years time... when he
won’t be in power... This isn’t a serious pledge, it’s an obvious
ruse to win over Eurosceptic Tory MPs and win back Conservative
voters. Like the rest of the British political establishment Cameron
is instinctively pro the European Union. If he wasn’t he would
have made this speech in 2010, and given us a referendum five
months later. Why wait until after the next General Election?
Why wait at all? The Article 50 option of the Lisbon Treaty means
we could be out in two years. Instead, it will cost us £80billion
to stay part of this expensive fiasco until at least the end of
Cam is now promising to renegotiate Britain’s position within
the EU, just as Harold Wilson did. Like Wilson, he’ll achieve
a few face-saving cosmetic tweaks that won’t derail the EU’s drive
towards complete political and economic integration. (Euro politicians
have always been open about this, it’s only British MPs of all
parties who have lied about the nature of ‘the Project’ from the
off - the political class has been absolutely complicit in betraying
5,000 MOD jobs are to be cut, but Cameron still wants our boys
to fight in Mali, and Afghanistan, and possibly the Falklands
too... must be so easy being an armchair general. Perpetual war
was of course one aspect of Orwell’s 1984, which is becoming less
a novel and more a guidebook every day. Now the EU want to regulate
the views of the British press to keep our papers in line with
their aims. Goebbels would have been proud. “Freedom? There ain’t
no fuckin’ freedom” – Stinky Turner, 1979.
Jan 22. Two unexpected and intriguing developments this morning;
both ultimately disappointing. Firstly I received an email from
Pauline Black’s PR informing me that the Selecter will be playing
‘Live at Garry in Bushell’ in March. Well, I cleared the patio
and everything but sadly this turned out to have been a computer
glitch. The 2-Tone stalwarts are actually playing at the Assembly
Hall in Islington, fourteen miles away. Still, if Pauline ever
changes her mind, my back garden is always open for her. Secondly
Official Danny Boyle tweeted saying how much he looks forward
to reading my telly page in the Star, saying it “gets my bowels
ready”. It’s kind of him to say so. I prefer my bowels to be like
the column: irritable. Of course on closer examination ‘Official’
Danny turned out to have just five followers, suggesting that
either the esteemed producer/director is very choosy about who
he hangs with, or he’s about as authentic as a politician’s pre-election
promise... (if it is the former, then Dan is of course welcome
to come to my big Selecter gig/barbecue on condition he brings
Freida Pinto and a bottle or two.)
Jan 21. Owen Jones is advocating the creation of a new force
in British politics – “a UKIP of the Left” he calls it – to rally
“progressive” forces. He writes in the Independent : ‘Capitalism
is in crisis, but its opponents are writhing around in an even
bigger mess.’ Which is true enough; but the Left has two massive
problems: it no longer knows what it wants, and it has completely
lost touch with working class voters. Socialism was easy once.
It was about the workers vs the toffs , about replacing the market
system with a socially owned, planned economy that put the needs
of the many above the greed of the few. What does the Left stand
for now? Its leaders are as posh as the Tories, its “cadre” are
largely middle class, and its focus isn’t on working people but
various minority interests. A genuine “UKIP of the Left” would
have to get back to socialism’s roots, which would mean rejecting
both the EU and the clapped-out Labour Party. It would have to
talk about re-industrialisation, nationalisation, re-unionising,
protectionism, curtailing the multi-nationals, radical home building
programmes, and “British Jobs For British Workers”. It would be
a lot like the BNP without the racism. Long-term, it would have
to deal with the small matter of socialism’s appalling track record.
Socialism sounds great in theory; unfortunately it doesn’t work.
It failed in the alleged “socialist countries”, and it failed
less brutally in the social-democracies. In practice, ‘socialism’
means Statism, a system that delivers power to the bureaucrats,
economic inefficiency, the suppression of democracy, and national
decay. A genuinely radical alternative would beat back the state,
spread ownership, encourage small businesses and workers’ co-operatives,
protect liberty and safe-guard freedoms – including free speech
and freedom to protest. And as we have seen time after time, the
British Left aren’t fit for that purpose.
The 'Puke Box Jury' edition of my Bloodstock
Radio podcast is up and running; judges Max Splodge & Paul
Hallam weigh up the hottest track of 2012. Did it come from Case,
King Brillo, Missing Andy, Night of Treason, the Cockney Rejects,
Argy-Bargy, Buster Shuffle, Honest John Plain, Chris Pope or one
of the eleven other contenders?? Ooh the suspense, ooh the tension...
(Warning: extreme bad language throughout, as Max channels the
spirit of missing judge Bev Elliott.)
Jan 18. Obama has stuck his nose into our business again, telling
us he wants Britain to stay in the European Union. What’s it got
to do with him? You might suggest that maybe, given the US current
economic position tap-dancing between the fiscal cliff and the
debt ceiling, the President should concentrate on putting his
own house in order. Obama giving advice on how to run a country
is like Lyndsay Lohan giving tips on etiquette or Donald Trump
writing a guide to sensible haircuts. The Pres doesn’t know what’s
best for his own economy, let alone ours.
Obama’s administration supports the “European Project”, despite
it being cumbersome, meddlesome, inefficient and anti-democratic.
We’ll hear a lot more about Britain’s EU membership from the Yanks
over the next four years. There will be much talk of “the Special
Relationship”, which, if it exists (and I suspect it doesn’t)
would surely be a lot stronger with a free Britain, unshackled
from EU waste, red-tape, over-regulation and economic ineptitude.
We might be more inclined to listen if the US were to become part
of a supra-national trading bloc with its Parliament moving between
Havana and Mexico City and with open borders to all points south.
I recorded my 2012 Rancid Sounds round-up podcast for Bloodstock
Radio today. Some mighty tracks competed for the dubious prestige
of being named song of the year, with sterling ditties from Argy
Bargy, Missing Andy, the Cockney Rejects, Night Of Treason, King
Brillo and Taurus Trakker in the mix. I’ll let you know when it’s
Jan 17. All week we’ve been hearing that the PM shouldn’t make
his big EU speech, that he’s been forced into it by the rising
UKIP vote. The Times suggests he’s misreading the public mood
because the EU isn’t the main concern even for UKIP voters, immigration
is. This conveniently overlooks the fact that most immigration
into the country is from Eastern Europe and is only possible because
of our EU membership. It’s all tied up together. And Romania and
Bulgaria join the party next year. According to Migration Watch,
about 50,000 people from Romania and Bulgaria will come to the
UK every year when restrictions are lifted in 2014 with “significant
consequences” for housing and jobs. I’ve got nothing against immigration;
most immigrants are hard-working people seeking a better life
for their families, and good luck to them; but an open door policy
can never work in a country with a welfare system and to impose
one on us is suicidal.
Jan 16. Just looked in the fridge at the burgers I’d bought
from Tesco’s… And they're off!! (Not an original gag,
just spreading the joy - I got it over the canter... ) Message
from the webmistress: Well you wanted fast food. I heard that
they're thinking of putting greyhound meat in the hotdogs too.
Jan 15. All these crocodile tears for HMV are getting right on
my thruppennies. If people had genuinely cared about the chain
then they’d have used it more, and it wouldn’t have failed. And
if HMV had cottoned on to internet sales a decade sooner, ditto.
That said, the death of local book and record shops (the only
shops I’d ever willingly browse in) is a crying shame. Especially
when the English high street is curling up at the edges. Most
now consist of charity stores, boarded-up pubs, over-priced coffee
hell-holes and empty premises, courtesy exorbitant rents, ridiculous
rates, and the pox of yellow lines. If you love shops, use them
or lose them! Pubs too.
HMV were good enough to stock my Time For Action book on the
Mod revival bands of 79/80 – so that’s a few grand the publishers
can kiss goodbye to... BUT you can still buy the book on-line.
Here’s the review from Zani, to give you a taste of what’s
I’ve just heard Nick Clegg on Radio 4’s Today programme answering
questions about a Lib Dem election leaflet issued in 2010. The
leaflet, complete with a picture of Clegg, stated clearly: ‘It
is time for a real referendum on Europe. Sign our petition today.’
Not much space for misinterpretation there, you’d think; but the
shameless git proceeded to shrug off the leaflet as insignificant.
It didn’t mean what it said, he explained. The Lib Dims’ actual
position was that we could have a referendum the next time we’re
faced with a “fundamental change” in the UK’s relationship with
the EU. And who defines the fundamental part? Two-faced, self-serving
weasel-politicians of course... Which brings us neatly to that
other slippery chameleon, David Cameron, the man who previously
gave us a “cast-iron guarantee” of a referendum about the (fundamental)
Lisbon agreement which never materialised. The PM has been promising
us to deliver his new blueprint for Europe for at least six months.
He was due to make his big speech a week today, but he’s had to
bring it forward to this Friday to keep the Germans happy (there’s
a good omen). It’s believed that he will offer us a referendum
sometime in 2018… five years from now. How completely pointless.
For starters Cameron won’t be in office in 2018. Secondly why
would anyone who objects to the EU quagmire - its excessive meddling,
its relentless drive to integration and homogeneity, and the eurozone’s
continued debt crisis (not to mention the new wave of Eastern
European immigration due next year) - want to wait that long to
debate our position? Thirdly, we know that Cameron’s Conservatives
have absolutely no intention of leaving the EU, so ‘Dave’ will
be setting out the goal of a new relationship between Britain
and other member states that he knows cannot and will not be achieved.
It is a huge game of bluff that serves only to placate gullible
members of his own party. Cam cannot buck the system – he doesn’t
even want to try and do so. His speech will be a smoke and mirror
exercise; all blather and bullshit. The only point to it is to
con us some more.
Jan 14. You know what I’m sick of? TV arts programmes metaphorically
kissing the butts of over-rated elitists. Shame viewers can’t
press the red button on their remotes to register a protest. If
enough of us vote, then that message should flash up on screen:
‘Hey, Yentob, that novelist is unreadable’, ‘This playwright is
unwatchable’, ‘This band is unlistenable!’, and increasingly:
‘This very camp man is a talentless show-off, get him off telly
until he can do something remotely entertaining.’ I’m also sick
of always being told all our weather in centigrade and distances
in kilometres. At least one third of the British population has
no idea what you’re talking about, so please do us the courtesy
of using a dual system that also includes Fahrenheit and MILES.
Who voted for the metric system anyway?
Jan 13. Quite excited, I’m recording the first of a new series
podcasts today. This show will be all about books, authors and
matters arising. It starts with special guest Nigel Farage who
will be discussing his autobiography Flying Free as well as wider
cultural issues. No doubt the European Union will get a mention...
It’ll be on-line in about ten days time. My old punk and Ska podcast
continues apace but now at Bloodstock Radio. Very ’eavy, not very
Jan 10. Morrissey has told Loaded magazine: “I nearly voted
for UKIP. I like Nigel Farage a great deal... His views are quite
logical – especially where Europe is concerned.” This has excited
(and irritated) the chattering classes, although personally I
won’t be satisfied until I hear Steve Harris of Iron Maiden’s
views on the matter. On Sounds, back in 1979, I asked some of
the hottest acts of the day who they would vote for at the General
Election. John Otway was Tory, but the majority were Labour by
a landslide... and Maggie still romped home with a 43-seat majority.
Pop and politics: as meaningless now as it was then. PS. Hey Steven,
if you had a bit of meat inside you then you might have the energy
to get down the polling station next time old son.
Jan 9. The economy is still broken, our soldiers are still dying
but at least there’s time to talk about David Cameron’s pants.
He says they are from M&S, and his wife makes him wear them (the
bloke can’t take responsibility for anything). They’re women’s
pants of course, and true to Coalition policies they have a big
soggy centre. In other pants news: Ed Miliband reports a swing
to the left and Eric Pickles has gone commando. I’d like to know
what Clegg’s wearing; what are the most comfortable underpants
for political eunuchs?
*Just seen today’s Times. Now I love David Bowie as much
as the next 1970s teenager, but is the great man’s new single
really front page news in The Thunderer? Man Releases Single isn’t
the world’s biggest story, is it? Especially as the Thin
White Duke hasn’t had a Top Ten hit since 1992. Is the story
actually, David Bowie Not Dead? (for which we’re all grateful)
or perhaps Children Of ‘The Revolution’ Now Run The
Show... (and everything’s still crap)? New bosses pretty
much the same as the old bosses, but taste in music has improved.
Noddy Holder Rejoins Slade is the splash I’d like to see.
I like the way Bowie has managed to stay under the radar for
ten years... it reminds me of me.
Jan 8. Happy birthday, David Bowie; and thank you for the haunting
new single, ‘Where Are We Now’. As long as there’s fire, indeed...
Bowie’s latest album (his 25th) is out in March. (Part of the
lyric is ‘Walking the Dead’ - one letter out from a Jimmy Savile
tribute. Sorry for lowering the tone.) By the way, regarding that
allegedly unheard Hendrix single, I’m pretty sure we have heard
it ‘Somewhere’ before. Crash Landing from memory.
Jan 7. David Cameron has called some UKIP supporters “odd.”
This from a man with Michael Fabricant and Jacob Rees-Mogg in
his own party! This from a man in bed with the LibDims, an outfit
who have elevated oddness into a way of life! Personally I’d prefer
the company of eccentrics to the kind of Teflon-coated, two-faced,
conviction-free careerists who rise to the top in our political
system; but UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage is probably the least odd
politician I’ve met since Labour’s Jack Ashley. (His Deputy Paul
Nuttall is as down to earth as a Brookside corpse too.) Farage
drinks, he jokes, he doesn’t do jargon. He takes his message seriously
but isn’t puffed up with self-importance. He’s charismatic
and good-natured; he works hard; he doesn’t seem to tell lies...
unlike a certain PM we could all mention who, before the election,
promised to give us a referendum on the European Union, get shot
of the human rights act and reduce immigration. No wonder UKIP
are rattling Shameron’s cage. Is it odd to be concerned about
the EU? No. Is it odd to query the economic competence of the
disastrous last two (or three or four) governments? I’d have said
not. Cameron claims he will offer voters a “real choice” in 2015.
Great. Except, firstly he’s a proven liar, and secondly we’ve
got that now: vote UKIP.
Jan 6. Today’s scandal: up to 40,000 soldiers and 300,000 nurses
will lose money under Osborne’s benefits crackdown, according
to a report. That’s it Geo, stick to all those craven shirkers
and scroungers who work long hours in crap conditions and put
their lives on the line for us.
Jan 5. Went down to the basement of the Vintage Shop in Brewer
Street today to look for old copies of Sounds, and was surprised
to come across (consider re-wording) 1970s soft porn mags: Men
Only, Penthouse... talk about All Our Yester-Wanks. Maybe that
guy with the hand transplant would relish the chance to splash
out on Liz Richards from a fresh perspective.
Jan 4. The Argentineans are rattling their sabres about the Falklands
again, banging on about British colonialism. Their big mistake
is the Falklands aren’t a UK colony; they are self governing under
the British crown. The Argies are the colonialists – they want
to make the islands an Argentine colony against the will of the
people who live there.
People say you can’t rely on our trains, but give them their
due, the fare rises always arrive on time.
Jan 3. Jim Davidson was arrested as he stepped off the plane
from Dubai yesterday. Talk of a “Jimmy Savile” connection was
all over twitter. Today’s papers also link Jim’s “nick-nicking”
to the Savile investigation: ‘Davidson arrested by Savile police’
(Mail), ‘Davidson arrested in Savile abuse investigation’ (Telegraph).
The mental image of Jim being involved with the DJ’s sickening
crimes against kids was conjured up revoltingly. Except he wasn’t.
Not at all. But it’s only when you read beyond the headlines that
it becomes clear that Jim’s alleged offences had nothing to do
with Savile or any form of child abuse. Rather, Jim, released
on bail last night, was questioned about claims made by two women
who were “in their mid-twenties" at the time of the alleged incidents,
sometime in the late 1980s. So we’re talking about something that
might have happened between adults more than 25 years ago; something
that will almost certainly boil down to their word against his.
So why is this happening? Why are much-loved stars, and Max Clifford,
being dragged through the dirt? I suppose it makes the cops look
good. They couldn’t get Savile but look at all the front pages
they’re generating now. Freddie, Max, Jim... And when they’re
all found to be innocent, as I suspect they will be, will they
be entitled to any compensation? Because suspicion and public
humiliation is costing them all a packet – Jim’s dropped out of
tonight’s Celebrity Big Brother because of it, much to the delight
of Davidson haters on Twitter. How they love running him down,
slurring his character and questioning his skill as a comedian...
which is like pygmies mocking a giant for being too short. The
twitterati may hate Jim because of his politics – not only is
he a working class boy made good, he’s a working class boy made
Tory. But there is no doubting his comedic abilities. I’ve known
him for thirty years, I’ve watched him mature and grow as a stand-up.
He truly is the best comedian of his generation. Even the Independent’s
Terry Blacker wrote that Jim’s live show is ‘unspeakably filthy
and, by all civilised standards, goes too far. But going too far
is what Davidson is good at and, if the best comedy is about taking
an audience out of its comfort zone, then that is precisely what
his does. He takes the rage and hang-ups of everyday life, not
to mention his own insecurities, and uses them as material. The
result, while often shocking, is curiously more engaged and life-enhancing
than safe liberal chunterings from an allegedly alternative stand-up
about Bush, Prescott and Noel Edmonds. Jim Davidson is the true
alternative comedian. His is not the English humour that will
necessarily appear in Open University joke surveys or the next
interminable compilation of the country's favourite comedians
on Channel 4. Self-revealing, raw, angry, sentimental, it reflects
the audience's prejudices back at them, sometimes unflatteringly,
and yet avoids endorsing them. He may make us uncomfortable, but
his brilliant comedy catches our national identity all too well.’
Jim might not be the easiest man to get on with. He’s opinionated,
misogynist and argumentative. But he is also loyal, and sincere,
and brilliant at what he does. I reckon he’d be a lot more successful
today if he knocked the politics on the head and got back to filth,
but then again that might just be me.
Five Reasons to be Cheerful in 2013: Game Of Thrones, season
three, airs in March. Harry Hill goes live with his Sausage Time
tour. Johnny Marr’s debut album is out next month. Mad Men is
back in May. Springsteen tours the UK in June...
Jan 1st. Happy New Year. Here are my awards for 2012, starting
with Book of the Year: (Factual): Iron Curtain: The Crushing Of
Eastern Europe 1944-56 by Anne Applebaum; and Danny Baker’s hilarious
autobiography Going To Sea In A Sieve.
Album of the Year: ‘Generation Silenced’ by Missing Andy (Invasion
Records). Runner-up and Top Punk Album: ‘Hopes Dreams Lies & Schemes’
by Argy-Bargy (Randale Records). TV Show of the Year: Game Of
Thrones. Film of the Year: Marvel’s The Avengers; Top Documentary
Film: East End Babylon
Irritations of 2012: the compulsion to reward failure; from bungling
bankers to George Entwhistle via social services incompetents,
no matter how badly anyone screws things up they still get handsomely
bunged, more often than not out of the public purse. They muck
up, we foot the bill. They might be forced to resign but they'll
still pocket a year's salary and the gold-plated pension ta very
much. Also endlessly infuriating: the narrowness of political
debate, the debasement of British popular culture, Afghanistan,
the enduring cult of Che Guevara, and dogma-blinded fools like
the publically funded Environment Agency who earlier this year
told us that Britain would have "hotter, drier summers"
for decades to come, and that the drought was likely to last "until
Xmas and perhaps beyond". Cue the wettest eight months since
records began. Well done, everyone.
Political quote of the year: “The entire political class
is held in contempt. I am just lucky to be held in less contempt
than the rest of them.” – Nigel Farage.