Hello, I’m tired as I start this blog on Friday evening. Last weekend 450 miles clocked up to Lincoln and back over two days as Penny and I took our mum up to one of my sisters. It was good to catch up with the family over the weekend but this weekend I just have a short trip to London and back to see my friend John and have a catch up.
It’s been an eventful couple of weeks. What shall we start with? Firstly Liam Neeson. I’d forgotten about him but then I saw John Barnes on Question Time. First things first, Liam got angry about something, and wanted to kill an innocent person in revenge, realised how stupid that was and decided not to. Good for him…
But hang on a minute. he isn’t seeking out the perpetrator to commit an act of revenge on. Just someone who has something in common with the perpetrator. In this case the colour of the perpetrators skin. He reassures us that if it has been a Lithuanian or a Pole he would have done exactly the same, so he’s not being racist. Except he is not going after a white person, any white person, wherever they come from in the world, because a white person has hurt his friend. No, that would be ridiculous. Except it’s ok to harm an innocent person who is black, any one will do, as long as they are black?
Now he may be a fine actor and a mature one at that. But with age you have the opportunity to gain perspective and wisdom from the experiences you have. I’m afraid if he thinks what he did then was reasonable then he has age but I would challenge the notion that he has wisdom.
He justifies himself in terms of ‘primal urges’. What the heck is he talking about? I’m guessing that he is saying the human being is at times unable to prevent itself acting on emotion. Except the ability to do so is what separates humans from animals. Liam Neeson is making a poor attempt to justify irrational actions. You don’t have to tell me about tribal impulses. I’m a Cypriot and I’ve heard this crap all my life. The justification of one innocent person’s murder because he has the misfortune to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
What else. Well we have now had 12 MPs (9 Labour and 3 Tories) leave their parties. 11 of them are in the ‘Independent Group’. 1 is independent of the Independent Group. And these 12 join Frank Field, Stephen Lloyd (ex-Liberal and MP for Eastbourne) and the one in Peterborough who was found guilty in court recently. They are not a party. They have no leader. They have no progeramme for government. The Labour ones don’t like Jeremy Corbyn, the Tory ones don’t like what Teresa May is doing. The 3 Tories last month had confidence in Teresa May, now they don’t even want to be in the same organisation as her. These 12 are having their 15 minutes of fame but in political life you don’t succeed by isolating yourself from others. 11 of the 12 want another ‘People’s Vote’ but this is a reference to another EU referendum. Not a people’s vote on who should be the MPs for the constituencies they represent. The 3 Tories have supported all of the attacks on the most vulnerable in society over the past 8 years. The 9 Labour MPs have been opposing them. When they stop talking about Brexit it will be interesting to see what they can agree on.
Many of the Labour MPs are unhappy about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. Yet he won convincingly with over half the votes of the members in 2015. And again in 2016. And in 2017 the Labour Party gained another three million more votes than Ed Miliband had achieved two years previously. I’m not saying Corbyn is a genius. But the party is not a personality cult and when he isn’t leader it will be someone else who inspires the membership. It won’t be any of these 9 ex-Labour MPs who owe their office to the party and their constituents and who now think they can survive without the party and without consulting their constituents.
I lived in Islington in the 1980s when all our MPs and over half our councillors left the Labour Party to join the Social Democratic Party. In 1983 the new Labour candidate, a certain person by the name of Corbyn, faced not just one ex-Labour MP but two and defeated them. What John Grant (MP for the abolished Islington Central) and Michael O’Halloran (MP for Islington North) faced was the realisation that the Labour Party is one of the strongest vehicles for social progress in this country. By 1987 the SDP voted to abolish itself and join the Liberal’s with yet another new party, first called the Social and Liberal Democrats and then eventually to settle on calling themselves the Liberal Democrats. It isn’t saying much for the Liberal Democrats that in 2019 these 12 MPs have ignored them. By going into coalition in 2010 with the Tories the Liberal’s made themselves irrelevant. Which I suspect will be the fate of these 12 in the long term.
Either way next week may be when Teresa May decides whether to abandon or embrace the extremists in her party. The role of the Labour Party in these times is to perform their historic role, to speak for the poor and advocate a more just society. It is not to save Teresa May’s skin.
The other news of the week is the girl, now woman, who went to Syria with two of her friends and now wants to come back, she has a new born baby. Firstly, we need to ask how a 15 year old made it there. She went through customs in the UK and then arrived in Turkey and made it to Syria, there are issues there that need addressing. Secondly the Syrian people have suffered enough from these intruders who have done nothing but made their civil war worse. They are currently held by opposition forces that are backed by the American’s. Who have said they’re going to leave. Miss Begum has to answer for her actions in the UK and face whatever consequences arise. Shifting the responsibility for her to a country she has never visited is probably illegal and we will now see the drama played out in the courts. I could have guessed that when the Tories put a Muslim in the Home Office he would do his best to show how integrated he is by testing the definition of citizenship in case he be accused of favouring her. Once again, it’s not where you’re from, it’s what you do that matters. And Sajid Javid is providing a cover for some reactionary elements in our society. And he may be doing so because he wants to be their next leader.
Lastly I have been following the news about Venezuela, it’s clearly a country in a lot of trouble. I hope its people get the help they need and not weapons to kill each other with.
2012 and we’re getting closer to the current day. On 21 February Eurozone finance ministers loan more money to the Greeks, £130 billion.
On 30 June Mohammed Morsi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, is elected President of Egypt.
The London Olympics cheer us all up.
On 6 November, Barack Obama is re-elected President of the USA.
Over 200 tracks on my IPod from this year, the best of which in my option are;
Casse Mes Objets by Mama Rosin
Clown by Emeli Sande
Don’t Go To Strangers by Amy Winehouse and Paul Weller
Ela Navaga by Allah Las
Free by Dexys
Going Down To Monte Carlo by Van Morrison
Hail Bop by Django Django
I Used To Have It All by Maverick Sabre
It’s Ok John Joe by Dexys
Like No One Else by The Orwells
Never Knew Your Name by Madness
No Hope by The Vaccines
Nowhere Is Home by Dexys
Read All About It, Part III by Emeli Sande
Shooting The Stars by Maverick Sabre
Something Good by Alt J
Super Rich Kids by Frank Ocean
Teenage Icon by The Vaccines
Tides by The xx
Try by The xx
Two Fingers by Jake Bugg
Wisely & Slow by The Staves
You, Me, Bullets, Love by Bombay Royale
But the track I leave you with is Rest by Michael Kiwanuka, a London born artist.
A lovely acoustic track and a soulful voice.
Things I recommend: being honest with yourself. And the rest of us.