Saturday, 31 March 2018

Sound and fury

If it takes you two years to specifically address anti-Semitism without hiding behind “all forms of racism”, and then only when you’re cornered

If your deputy one day promises to “eradicate” anti-Semitism, and the next claims to be unable to address the issue of a prominent member of the NEC questioning the suspension of an alleged holocaust denier...

If after promising to act, you have local Constituency Labour Parties threatening an MP with deselection or, in the case of Bristol West, being called in to explain their actions in supporting the Jewish community by attending an anti-racist demo…

I’d say that counts as enabling the behaviour that you claim isn’t in your name. The rest is just noise, signifying nothing.

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

You can have any representation you want

Democracy, the great leveller. It cares not for education, nor wealth; no one vote is more important than the other. In this, if only this, we are all equal.

The poor, the uneducated, are - we are told - more likely to have voted Leave. Conversely this means the educated and the wealthy are more likely to have voted Remain. Despite my somewhat questionable academic achievement, and my even more questionable finances, I voted Remain too. I think leaving the EU is a mistake.

Yet were the referendum result somehow overturned what does this say? That some people don't count, that - despite what you've been told - some people don't matter. If the result is overturned, I hope we’ll all have the good grace to stop asking why some feel disenfranchised, when the cause should be obvious. It simply doesn’t cut it to say you can have any representation you want, so long as it’s the EU.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


Fellow remain voters tempted to snark at ‘Leavers’ complaints that sovereignty won is now being (mis)used by parliament – along the lines of “isn’t this what they asked for?”, and presumably followed by much self-congratulatory guffawing at their own cleverness – are rather missing the point. That is that sovereignty lies somewhere along the line of existing only within the people, to something granted to parliament through the express wishes of the people. Either way it suggests to me that whether by accident or otherwise, your Leave voter’s position on this particular detail is more nuanced; or, in other words, correct.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

This is just to say

I have wrapped
the presents
that were in
the cupboard

and which
you were probably
thinking were
for you

Forgive me
yours were not
so important
and so forgotten.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

We see what we want to see

I know nothing. I was reasonably sure of Remain, more confident that Hilary would clout Trump, and convinced that people would see through Corbyn. And now I wonder where the percentages lie; how many voted for the party despite their leader, how many ignored or denied his past, or accepted his own warped history of those troubled times, or, worryingly, how many see no shame at all.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Sorry, not sorry

Not so long ago I described something as being “a bit mental” and it’s quite possible I will do again. I probably shouldn’t, we’re better than that and in the wrong context (every context?) it can be construed as offensive.

There is though - and I may be flattering myself here - a big gap between my fault and that of Ken Livingstone. Today, the former Mayor of London described a political opponent as being “obviously very depressed and disturbed” and needing “psychiatric help”. And all because Kevan Jones (same party, but it’s difficult to tell) had suggested Ken wasn’t up to his new job. This would sound like the usual rough and tumble of politics were it not for Jones’s known history of depression; something he had spoken about in the House of Commons.

Livingstone did apologise, but only after much strong arming from Jeremy Corbyn, then watered it down in a television head-to-head with the standard “sorry if you’re offended” non-apology, suggesting that, anyway, the other guy had started it. I could have left it at one politician saying something unpleasant about another - it happens all the time, it’s a democracy in ‘rude health’ - were it not for an earlier claim to be unaware of Jones’s mental health condition. This was plausible enough in itself, but when accompanied with some vague reference to not having been around Parliament for some years felt like an embellishment too far.

The function of prayer

"The function of prayer", wrote Søren Kierkegaard, "is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays". Maybe, just maybe, that's why some choose prayer in times such as these. So enough with the snarking over "pray for Paris"; it may not be my way, but if it helps others it would be intolerant of me to say "no". And I'm pretty sure that, if anything, it's intolerance, not religion, that's at the "root of all evil".