Friday, 9 June 2017

On the side of the angels? My election posts

Delighted as I am with the General Election result (at time of writing it's a hung parliament, Theresa May's nose bloodied, Jeremy Corbyn on top of the world), my Facebook posts over the past couple of months may have suggested I'd be anything but. Looking back over them now, my pessimism and cynicism seems positively doom-laden. What can I say? I'm delighted to have been proved wrong. Here's a selection of dim-witted futurology from yours truly.

May 2
Having slagged off the opinion polls in my last post, I do love a good graph. I've bookmarked this, the Poll of Polls for the election. It looks like it shows you something significant, until you look at the foot of the graph and realise it's effectively meaningless unless the polls are separated out constituency by constituency. SNP on 4%? In Tunbridge Wells maybe, in Maryhill & Govan not so much. Still, enjoy those meaningless upticks stat-fans. Only 7 more weeks of this nonsense to go.

May 2
I made an interesting discovery about the word Stable, while trying to write a Shakespearian "Strong & Stable" tweet at the weekend. In Shakespeare's day, stable just meant a place where you keep your horses. It didn't mean steady. I'm now trying to find out when it took on that meaning. In the meantime, you may still need this Strong & Stable Bingo Card for the next time Theresa May opens her face.

May 2 Independent -  The Tories dropped by 10 points in the polls in the first week of the campaign. That could grow as the public gets to know Theresa May

Uh oh, a headline about an opinion poll that makes a prediction about a future opinion poll. Have these people not heard of regression to the mean? It is much more likely that the next poll will see the graph move the other way. Then the one after that will bounce back up again and so on. But still the lazy journalists will report each jerk of the graph as "closing the gap" or "plunging towards doom" or some other nonsense. Have we learned nothing from the 4 successive votes? Referendum, election, referendum, election, every poll got it wrong in the end. Every exit poll was greeted with "well I didn't see that coming". Nobody knows anything. Still, as this blog attests, you gotta say something.

May 6 
Why are we so surprised when the working classes reject Labour? It is much more surprising when they vote Labour. They've really only done it three times in living memory. Attlee in 1945 (and that took a war), Tony Blair in 1997 (and that took 18 years of Tory rule), and Harold Wilson in 1964 (and that took The Beatles). Seeing this image (and many more like it) since the election result brings back many memories. For I am old enough to remember 1979. They coined the term "Basildon Man" for the unprecedented phenomenon of the working class voter who'd inexplicably shifted their allegiance from Labour to Tory, even though the Tories had spent half of the previous decade trying to destroy the union movement, and were vowing to do the same if they got into power. Plus ca change.

May 2 Guardian -  Tories under fire for banning local paper from filming Theresa May

More Theresa May media mismanagement that will make absolutely no difference to any voters whatsoever. Have you ever met a Tory who wasn't going to vote for someone cos it turns out that person doesn't like common people?

May 3 Guardian -  Brexit could wipe out Welsh farming, say union

Dear Farmer who voted for Brexit. You'll just have to sell a lot more of those Turkeys who voted for Christmas to make up the shortfall.

May 9 Guardian - Corbyn says he will not quit as leader if Labour loses

Of course he won't. He's the Black Knight out of Monty Python & the Holy Grail. "''Tis but a flesh wound. The real fight starts here. "

May 9 Guardian -  With its bedrock smashed to pieces, Labour cannot win

What? There isn't "an obvious alternative (in Wales) like the Scots have with the SNP"?? I hope no Plaid Cymru supporters read The Guardian. Why are Welsh voters going Tory rather than Plaid?

May 9 BuzzFeed News denied access to Corbyn events after interview

What'll he be doing next? Calling them 'fake news'? Way to get the media on your side, Labour.

May 10 
Are Labour throwing this election or being sabotaged? I just realised I haven't seen any of Labour's star players on the telly or in the news. Where's Chuka Umunna? Where's Yvette Cooper? Where's Harriet Harman? Where's Hilary Benn? Where's Caroline Flint? We once had a line up of great speakers, vote-winning charismatic figures who could pop up on Question Time and make you say "go Labour go Labour." Are they all deliberately holding back so that, when Labour lose, they can step back into the fray and rescue the party? Or are they simply being ignored by the media, who've always found Nigel Farage so much more camera friendly?

May 10 Guardian - Labour hints that it will pledge to abolish university tuition fees

Labour hints? "Hints"????? Yes, cos this is the time to be vague! It doesn't matter if it's true, it doesn't matter if you mean it. Write it on the side of a bloody bus and be proud of yourselves! "Hints", my God.

May 12 Guardian article: Labour has a chance if it replaces Corbyn. Look at Australia in 1983

Interesting. Not gonna happen here, but interesting. Did not know this.

May 21
A nice find on today's internet. Whenever the Tories mention Jeremy Corbyn's support for Sinn Fein, remind them there's a Tory councillor in Croydon who was literally, physically, genuinely in the actual IRA!

May 22
Dementia Tax U-Turn. Great name for a band.

May 22 Independent: Recording shows Theresa May is not telling the truth about the Dementia Tax

I hesitate to say we're clutching at straws with this Dementia Tax story, but here I go retweeting it to the choir regardless.

June 2 NME - Jeremy Corbyn cover shoot

Ah the good old NME. I used to read it back when it won the 83, 87, and 92 elections for us.

May 27 Daily Mirror -  Tory slates 'Jeremy Corbyn quote' - then awkwardly realises who actually said it (Boris Johnson)

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha they're still going to win aren't they?

June 1
I'm getting a bit bored with the repetitive echo-chamber that is my Facebook. (In brief, my friends and I are lefties, so we're either grabbing at every straw that suggests the polls are closing, repeating every meme that laughs at Theresa May & the Tories, or moaning because we find not everyone thinks the same way we do.) So here, for light relief, is what elections were like when we were kids. Enjoy (Monty Python video).

June 1 Guardian - BBC have banned a song that calls Theresa May a liar (even though it's number one)

If you need any more reminders of how 2017 and 1983 are, in so many ways, the same year, let's all remember Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

June 1 Independent - London's favourite for prime minister is Jeremy Corbyn

An opinion poll taken in London? Wow! That's so relevant to every other constituency in the country. Said no one ever.

June 2 Guardian - How satire could swing the UK election

I'm reminded of Peter Cook who spoke of "the satirical Berlin cabarets of the ’30s, which did so much to stop the rise of Hitler and prevent the Second World War."

June 2 Evening Standard - Labour slashes poll gap again as female voters desert Theresa May

Remember polls are there to motivate voters (in this case complacent Tories) not for information.

June 3 Indy100 - Guerilla anti-Tory adverts appear all over London

Anti Tory posters? All over London? Yes that'll do it.

June 5 Independent - Tories will lose out on majority by 21 seats, YouGov results find

Repeat after me, everyone: "Opinion polls are a device for influencing public opinion, not a device for measuring it". And YouGov was founded by Stephan Shakespeare - a Tory candidate and Tory pollster! This news is put out to scare Tories into remembering to vote. If you think it is an indication Labour are going to do well, you haven't been paying attention.

June 6 
Thanks to Ferg Handley for directing me to this website. It shows you the last election's results in your constituency. Here's mine. Hmmm, a 53% vote for Liam Fox. C'mon guys, if we get all the Lib Dems and Greens to vote strategically and, er, grow some new people...

June 7 The Times - 'Unwell' Abbott caught out after turning down Womans Hour debate

For weeks now I've been suggesting Diane Abbott was unwell, and that her faltering TV interviews were a result of this. Having been told she's ill, the right wing press has now leapt on her because they got footage of her travelling home and talking on a phone. Their argument seems to be you can't be that ill if you have the energy to get on a train and hold a phone to your ear. Enough with the bullying. (God, imagine how much worse the bullying would be if she were female or black).

June 7 - V for Vendetta

Anyone fearful for the future after tomorrow's election might care to remember these words of doom and woe. "It’s 1988 now. Margaret Thatcher is entering her third term of office and talking confidently of an unbroken Conservative leadership well into the next century. My youngest daughter is seven and the tabloid press are circulating the idea of concentration camps for persons with AIDS. The new riot police wear black visors, as do their horses, and their vans have rotating video cameras mounted on top. The government has expressed a desire to eradicate homosexuality, even as an abstract concept, and one can only speculate as to which minority will be the next legislated against. I’m thinking of taking my family and getting out of this country soon, sometime over the next couple of years. It’s cold and it’s mean-spirited and I don’t like it here anymore." - Alan Moore, the preface to V For Vendetta.

(Spoiler alert: the 90s didn't turn out all that bad.)

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