Norway option, at least in the interim, offers the only sensible route out of this mess

The Conservative party likes to boast that it, combined with our FPTP electoral system, provides strong and stable government.

Well, a fat lot of strength and stability the Tory party and FPTP system have given us in the last two years!

We’ve had two Prime Ministers, Cameron and May, who will have historians squabbling for years as to whether they are the worst or second worst or third worst Prime Ministers in the history of this country! Continue reading

What a wonderful day to walk up to a young voter, hug them* and say: “THANK YOU”

I braced myself at 10pm last night. “Oh gawd – here we go again” I thought – along with “goodness how I hate David Dimbleby’s pompous accent and patronising manner”.

There were some distressing losses for us, and some frustrating near-wins, which Caron wrote about earlier.

But I’d like to just think about the wider picture.

As the exit poll appeared, and then the results unraveled, one thing became clear:

This was the election of the young voter. There were reports of queues of young people waiting to vote all over the place. The effect could be seen in result after result. Continue reading

Insanity, stupidity or senility?

Is it insanity, stupidity or senility that has led me to volunteer to deliver so many pigging Good Mornings tomorrow? Eight bundles!

Tim Farron says he’ll be up at 5am, so I will be up at 5am. I am not going to be outdone by Tim Farron. But I have had to carefully choose the sequence of the roads I will do. One has to carefully judge the extent to which residents in certain roads will tolerate some numpty stumbling around at 5am delivering “Good Morning” leaflets. (By the way, if you knock over some milk bottles, take a tip from an old colleague of mine and shout: “Sorry – Labour Party delivering leaflets!”. (That’s a joke by the way)). Continue reading

Photo feature: Ballot box goes off to Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland, a day early due to the ferry schedule

Some great photos from Getty Images (click on the arrows to see the slide show) which give a great view of the workings of democracy on “these islands” (as they say).

Mandy Hassan, an assistant area electoral officer for Antrim and mid Ulster, accompanies the ballot box on the ferry destined for Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland. There are 99 voters on the island and they usually have a 80% turnout.

Update 8/6: I changed the title upon sage advice from locals. Weather concerns were not a factor.

Continue reading

Excellent 1959 hour on Pick of the Pops


Often listening to 1950s chart rundowns can be a bit like wading through a sea of treacle consisting mainly of Guy Mitchell and Frankie Laine.

But Pick of the Pops this week, through a mixture of luck and judgement, presents a fantastic line up of great hits from 1959. Radio 2’s Paul Gambaccini plays:

Marty Wilde – Teenager in Love
Little Richard – Kansas City
The Coasters – Charlie Brown
Cliff Richard and the Drifters – Mean Streak
Chris Barber – Petite Fleur
Buddy Holly – It doesn’t matter anymore

And as the K-Tel adverts used to say “AND MANY MORE!”…And I even enjoyed the double helping of the work of Russ Conway’s 9.75 fingers!

All in all an excellent listen on BBC iPlayer!

If you read one thing today, read this: “Britain is being led to an epic act of national self-harm” – by Will Hutton @williamnhutton


Well done to Will Hutton, in the Observer, for marshalling the words to brilliantly sum up what I have been thinking since June 24th 2016.

I am not one of those who feel despair about our country. But I am old enough to have experienced what economic hardship and chaos feels, to an extent. This isn’t going to be pretty. Numbed by the valium of insane and misplaced national pride we are sleep-walking to the most awful economic disaster.

Here’s a sample of what Will Hutton says today:

Every day in Britain, 14,000 trucks come from and head to the European Union. If there is no Brexit deal with the EU, is every one of those trucks going to be inspected as they bring vital food and goods into the UK to see that the right tariff is being charged and correct regulation observed? If some trucks get delayed or traffic volumes plummet, who will organise food rationing in our supermarkets? Five days before a general election called to give the government a negotiating mandate for leaving the EU, is anyone aware of the risks?

Equally, a quarter of British exports with the EU pass through one single port, Calais – £3bn a month – with zero border controls or inspection. Who in Calais is going to inspect these goods to see if they correspond to EU rules if we crash out with no deal? Has France any interest in investing quickly in the customs structure to keep British exports flowing? The M20 and M2 will become gigantic truck parks as drivers wait to be inspected. You might think that, just as a precautionary measure, as the prospect of the exit talks collapsing is less than two years away, the UK government would be investing in customs inspection depots in our great ports and along the land border with Ireland and also offering to build similar structures in France to ease the inevitable congestion on UK roads. Surely someone, somewhere might have asked these questions?

Nothing is being done at all. Mrs May and her breezy lead negotiator, David Davis, offer platitudes about Britain embracing the globe and no deal being better than a bad deal, but even the most innocent negotiator in the EU team can see this is vainglorious posturing. They are betting on a deal being struck – negotiators with few cards, nor making sure they hold better ones. As matters stand, the consequence of no deal would be calamitous.

You can read the full article here.