Song Of The Day – Ouch Monkeys by The Teardrop Explodes

From the EP ‘You Disappear From View’ (1983)

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You stupid bastards

The only thing sillier than predicting the future is the future itself.

Now maybe that’s been said before, in fact it probably has, though perhaps slightly differently. I’ve probably read it and it’s been lodged in the ever shrinking subconscious part of my mind. Either way it seems apt now.

I don’t worry about my own future, as I’m in my mid-thirties now, so I’m well past it. But I do for young people, particularly those who aren’t eligible to vote. They deserve better.

This occurred to me after seeing the results of the election come in on Friday morning. I kept thinking of the location where I cast my vote on Thursday morning – St. Ninians primary school in Knightswood. As with any primary school that’s temporarily converted into a polling station, aside from the kids and the teachers, everything was left in situ, including pictures on the wall of the kids. They looked happy in those pictures. Now, I’ve always had a mild aversion to children, in the sense that I find them annoyingly smug in their infantile liberation, but I do acknowledge that they’re not malicious cunts like the adults who consistently betray them and did so on Thursday.

So what’s the difference? Well, kids are yet to be worn down by self-consciousness and made cynical by the difficulties and disappointments of adult life. They don’t think about death and taxes, or worry about the future. They have their whole lives ahead of them. Clearly this last point doesn’t occur to Tory voters in Scotland, or, even more egregiously, it does and they believe, in the ultimate of delusions, that we’ve never had it so good, and that we (and this includes future generations) will continue to. Just, well, because.

Seeing the Tories pick up twelve seats in Scotland was sickening. The raison d’être of Tory voting demographics; elderly voters, who have lived their lives, selfishly voting for themselves or to resist the imposition of change, the dogma of the “No Surrender” crowd with their red hand of Ulster tattoos and hard-line Unionists who are obsessed with stopping independence at all costs, are understood. It’s the spite and selfishness of the non-Tories tactically voting Tory just to prevent a second independence referendum that I can’t handle. You stupid fucking bastards. In fact, when considering the importance of posterity, it beggars belief that they’ve ignored the contemporary and historical realities of Tory rule in favour of a misguided attempt to resolve their grievance with an ongoing constitutional issue.

And you know what, if they’re gonna have this level of contempt for young who can’t vote to protect themselves, they deserve to cop some, and they will, from Brexit. But they also deserve some right now – even if it’s just from me on a blog nobody reads, so here it is – everyone who voted for Tories is complete and utter scum. They’ve sold the kids out, and I hope they all get cancer of the ringpiece. I know that isn’t a pleasant or constructive musing, but neither is a Tory government.

Also not constructive, but funny nonetheless, was an extreme measure offered up on Twitter – to carpet bomb all areas of the UK that aren’t towns and cities and euthanise anyone over seventy. I know country folk who are the complete antithesis of the usual stereotypes, and there are older voters who don’t vote Tory, but, let’s be honest here, in both cases they’re the minority – mostly, I suspect, because folk working in Fishing or Agriculture always get taken for granted.

You’ve gotta love to loathe Ruth Davidson, she’s a pound-shop Donald Trump and an arch arsewipe opportunist who, like a proper aspirational faux neo-liberal, nauseatingly places her image, career and own financial gain ahead of political principle or her self-respect. The gall of her claiming that Indyref2 is now dead after the Tories won twelve seats in Scotland out of fifty-nine was quite something. Despite all the attempts to project and foist our own narratives on what the outcome means (who knows?), let’s not forget why this election actually occurred in the first place – a combination of Tory hubris that a larger majority was in the bag regardless of what campaign they ran, that Thatcher’s children would reject Corbynism, and that the increased majority would reinforce their mandate for a hard, veins filled with custard and lard, Brexit. This election wasn’t a vote on whether Independence should or shouldn’t happen, or whether it will remain on the agenda. The SNP continue to receive that mandate on a local and national level. Anyway, with the Tories no longer having a majority, Ruth can now look forward to the delights of being associated with the DUP. Not that she’s averse to working with creationist, xenophobic, sectarian, homophobic, evangelical pro-life nutters to feather her own nest.

Speaking of the DUP – a nutter fringe that make UKIP seem as benign as the fucking Teletubbies (though in the DUP production of Teletubbies, Laa-Laa would be made to keep the baby because the Earth is only four thousand years old). Anyway, this lot are now poised to prop up the Tories in government. What does this mean for Northern Ireland post Brexit? The DUP advocate a hard border, which would jeopardise the Peace Process. The DUP helping the Tories to govern contravenes the essence of the Good Friday agreement, where the Unionist or Nationalist parties should receive no form of favouritism from Westminster, but the Tories are going to have to make concessions for the help. It seems nothing is more important to Theresa May than preserving her own position. She is utterly shameless.

As for the state of Scottish independence there was a lot of hand-wringing by Yes folk on Twitter as the results were coming in. A significant drop in support for independence and that a change of leadership was now needed were the most common musings. So it was surprising that a BBC journalist had the most salient take of all:

We know there are more people out there who vote for independence but not the SNP, than vice-versa. The SNP lost just two percent of their vote on a lower turnout. They won the majority of seats. But hey, what do I know? Perception is everything. They lost twenty-one seats, so now Independence is far less likely, or a referendum won’t occur until [insert date plucked out of your arse here – preferably after you’ve euthanised your ringpiece cancer with Vindaloo]. What did I say earlier about predicting the future? Who would’ve predicted any of this five years ago?

What happens next? Well, there’s still Brexit to come, or will it come at all? Will there be another independence referendum? Will there be another election? Nobody knows, certainly not me. But at least the kids are alright, until they become like us.

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Song Of The Day – Amma by Trans-4m

From the album ‘Sublunar Oracles’ (1992)

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Please vote against UKIP and the Tory bastards

Look, I know there’s nothing more tiresome than blogging a condescending plea, on top of being bombarded by all those fucking tweets begging you to vote, especially if you believe, and justifiably in some cases, that it won’t change much if anything. But, let’s be like Howard Beale. Let’s delude ourselves into making an exception.

Because this coming Thursday the wankers will be out en-masse. There’s been a concerted effort via social media to create the impression, mostly using fool’s gold polling by firms who randomly ask a thousand people at a time (which isn’t representative of anything), that the polls have narrowed. While encouraging engagement and turnout is welcome, it does alter expectations, and if it proves to be a mirage, and it could be, it has the potential to demoralise, possibly discouraging the young and first time voters from bothering again.

Realistically it would constitute a major success if the Tories lost their majority, but, going by actual election results past, this feels unlikely as there is a large demographic who always vote for them. We can call them quiet Tories. Don’t call them daft or misguided, the kind of contemptuous Guardian claptrap that gets churned out in bad faith. They’re the sort who’ll be friendly to you in person, but become coldly ambivalent to your struggles and that of countless others in the serenity offered by the ballot box. By voting Tory, they know they’re getting what works for them. The Tories’ recent cleaving to their euphemisms for austerity ‘No Money Tree’ and xenophobia ‘Brexit’, affirming the need for retaliatory means during nuclear annihilation, even commending the virtues of the ‘Big Society’ to fill in for their unforgivable shrinking of the welfare state, is an attempt, in the context of economic and constitutional uncertainty, to vanquish any tinges of guilt the bloated middle may suffer in lucidly conflating a vote for this shitefest with a central tenet of the Tory message, the most dismal of aspirations – that putting yourself first is the safe and smart choice. The SNP (Nationalism), Lib Dems (Eurocentric) or Corbyn’s socialism, thanks to a media that’s largely incapable of presenting a nuanced retort, are characterised as threats to the medicore stability we currently enjoy.

Usually I attempt to empathise with the other viewpoint in an attempt to understand its motivations, but not on this, that Tory voters see and ignore its hypocrisy makes them proper cunts. As spineless as Theresa May’s ‘campaigning’, actually. Given May’s inability to mask the blatant opportunism that drives it all, an opportunity to thoroughly shame Tory voters has arisen. The Tories gained a majority by cynically appealing to the indignant Little-Englander mini-Farages with chips on their shoulders, propping up their bar stools extolling their Elephant-man complexes of believing that progressiveness, be it modernity, science and intellectualisation, is a curse upon them. The Britain of Brexit and controlling immigration is now a hive mind, and is readily inclusive of archaic nostalgias – of how things used to be back when you could smoke in pubs, Africans, Romanians, Poles and Pakis knew their place was not on your street, in your area or even your town, young women could be molested in clubs and wouldn’t complain, guns were available to the likes of Thomas Hamilton and you could still watch reruns of Top Of The Pops and Animal Hospital as you were blissfully unaware that Rolf Harris and Jimmy Saville, or even that fella who did the weather on This Morning, were nonces.

Sadly, the events in London on Saturday night won’t help to open more persuadable minds. It will certainly close a good few others. In this twisted scenario the mini-Farage mob and those who committed these violent acts are a dogmatic photo-negative of the other, with both wishing to arrive at the same goal – eradicating diversity. The Farage acolyte is privately delighted when secularity is targeted. It’s something he or she can still claim to own, albeit tenuously. Terrorism further fuels their sense of victimisation and marginalisation by construing its indiscriminate murder as both an attack on their values and to reaffirm that their beliefs on immigration and Brexit aren’t extreme enough.

Voting Tory puts such warped wisdoms in the ascendency, as they’ve already done so, to dire effect, allowing them to sell us all out – whether it be agriculture, the welfare state, affordable housing, the police and emergency services, pensions, fishing, The NHS, education and school meals and many more. And then there’s the threat of a hard Brexit looming just to preserve British pride. If not for Trump we’d be the biggest laughing stock around.

Sure, today you may be sorted, with your mortgage and your job, and you’ll work to make sure your kids will inherit it. But voting for a party other than the Tories isn’t going to strip you of what you’ve earned. Middle to low income folk are likely to benefit from more progressive governance, one that isn’t cowed by the crocodile tears and back handed threats from the rich and conglomerates. The Tories happily parrot their shite self-propagated mythologies of wealth creation and trickle-down economics driving growth, entrepreneurship and jobs, and that the prospect of introducing higher taxation will cripple their and the UK’s ability to compete.

Enough, and back on point – it’ll probably rain on Thursday, and it’s a Thursday, which aren’t Fridays, but nonetheless when you’re out, fucking vote. Tactical voting is straight up bollocks, but here’s something we can all agree on: every vote placed for someone (even the Make Cannabis Legal candidate) that isn’t Ukip, Scottish Labour and the Tories helps send the message that the way things are, and are heading, just isn’t acceptable.

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The revolution has been televised

And it’s the opposite of what Gil Scott-Heron prophesised, no individual empowerment going on here. Still, on a more humorous note, there’s a line in ‘The comeback’ by Alex Cameron in which he assumes the predicament of a washed up TV show host – ‘they say the kids are done with television, and it aint getting a second chance’.

TV’s not done yet. I mean, how else do we explain the continuing popularity of the woeful Conservative party?

There are digital alternatives now, but television still holds an undeniable sway over western culture. Future generations are being weaned on to it as the majority still cleave to it as the entertainment medium of choice. The programming on it still holds an inordinate influence over the daily schedules of many lives, and it shapes our attitudes on various social and political issues.

To paraphrase someone much smarter than me, there is no such thing as absolute truth, and perception is the only reality that counts. In the realm of media this allows facts to be replaced by opinions. Politics has always been mostly about perception, about how you sound, about what you’ll claim to do in power. But now, due to the utterly deplorable and sycophantic style of mainstream television journalism that now prevails, reporting, or parroting a perception, is always favoured over presenting facts or forensically challenging a political narrative, because it’s just easier.

I’m well-adjusted these days, no honestly, so it’s difficult to make me angry, but the dreadful BBC News’ reporting of the unelected Tory leader Theresa May’s ‘campaigning’ in the lead up to this snap general election has brought on the fume. Her avoidance of any possible sources of mainstream media scrutiny, hiding from the public, unless it’s in a controlled environment with her sympathizers and their vetted fluff questions, is being presented as normal democratic process. It is wholly indicative of the contempt they have for their audience. I don’t go for the ‘Illuminatus!’ angle that everything’s potentially a conspiracy theory, but watch any of the BBC’s political output and it becomes impossible not to feel you’re being cheated on purpose.

Part of my anger stems from defending the BBC’s right to state funding during the last Independence referendum in 2014. It’s a massive and diverse organisation of which its News division is only a fraction so the argument went. But, you know what? It’s gotten worse since. It’s betraying us. Remove its taxpayer funding. The BBC’s arrangement takes the premise of The Social Contract and pisses on it from a height. Saying that the reporting on other channels/networks is just as mendacious isn’t a good excuse.

It behoves the BBC News to be partisan to the government by regurgitating its slogans, not because they think it’s what people want to hear, or need to hear, but because affirming the self-interest of the taxpayer which funds it, a societal value which is currently popular going by recent voting patterns, is the easier choice. Forms of contrarianism, be it satire, challenging the validity of a consensus or just sheer research on claims made, requires the effort of ingenuity and commitment. A lack of integrity encourages the loudest most repetitive voice to win. It’s why that cunt Nigel Farage is always on the News or fucking Question Time. The ‘Safe and stable’ label and May’s scripted lines are left unchallenged, and every day you know what you’re getting on the news – a series of faulty, half-baked perceptions; the dreadful Laura whatsherface jabbering on about what it means, a story of yet another foiled terror attack here or one in the Middle East, replete with a jus of xenophobia ‘that it makes us less safe’ to enrich Brexit’s appeal. There are segments with Mark Carney using a combination of hand movements and ‘dumbed down’ euphemisms to predict interest rates and the economy. Often there’s a report on the NHS going over budget again – with the included privatisation is the answer subtext lingering as subtlety as a massive dogshite festering on the pavement – usually accompanied by statistics which can always be massaged in a big fuck off pie chart sans any meaningful context.

Even reporting of Dickensian struggles; zero hour contracts, foodbank use, benefit sanctions and rape clauses – if it’s reported at all (and the last barely was) ‘for balance’ and ‘to keep it real’ are cynically posited to encourage a ‘be thankful’ complacency because they have little continuity with most of the audience’s everyday existence. This subliminal message is created by the starkness of the contrast in which it is delivered, it comes to you from a state-of the art, sanitised studio, to match the decadence of your open-plan living space, or maybe just your safe place, and you’re liable to be watching it on a Full HD obscenely widescreen screen. It helps to create the impression that things aren’t that bad for you, and they probably aren’t. Those afflicted are still, for now, the minority, and that’s considered political success. It’s the end result, not what it costs (others), that counts. We’ve still never had it so good.

Perhaps we should consider why the illogical juxtaposition, as shown above, happens. Unless you live in Scotland, an alternative that’s perceived as credible is lacking. There are several reasons to hate Tony Blair, but the current demonisation of the Labour party, both internally and externally, is another egregious element of his legacy. Blairism was a net positive, but television documented his sickening hubris so vividly that it’s made Labour’s brand of kinder centralism toxic, as it became synonymous with that erroneous and disastrous foray into Iraq.

Today, the only way to find out what’s really happening, and who’s doing what, is to do your own research. Most folk are up to their eyes in it just trying to get by, under constant pressure due to austerity and inflation with stagnant wages. Being in this position means I can empathise with those who choose the complicity of self-interest which the media encourages. Cop-out on your sofa and channel hop after the headlines have piously roared at you of the need to ‘take back control’, who wouldn’t? Many young folk are so disenfranchised by the tone of political debate that they can’t even be bothered to register to vote, and the disingenuous, biased or inaccurate reporting on televised news betrays the older voting demographic the most, as it’s often their only source of news.

People aren’t naïve; deep down they know they’re being cheated, but most of us don’t know how to change it. Suitably, I don’t have a solution. Voting Yes in the next Independence referendum (should there be one) feels like a start, but I do know that hiding out on Twitter and retweeting a satirical comparison between Alan Partridge and Theresa May is ineffective and apathetic.

Sadly, being politically aware on the net is a bit of a fruitless pratfall. Internet congregations on forums, Facebook and Twitter, are still relatively small affairs, and they’ve now supplanted equally meagre Union meetings as the de facto place to fight the power of tabloidization through venting, reaffirming confirmation bias(es) and building discontent and bitterness for those who don’t see things the right way, your way, or don’t care to see anything at all.

While social media is invaluable in affording you the chance to source your own news, isn’t it dismal that it and most political blogging largely exists to refute the misinformation on mainstream media outlets? It’s time consuming for them and for you, and reaches only a fraction of the audience of the BBC News. Our sense of helplessness, spliced with negativity, at the prospect of changing this being so distant, does in fact share similarities with the media’s propagation of our and the government’s motivations behind Brexit – ‘taking back control’ – but there the question is never posed – of fucking what?

This election will reaffirm the Brexit narrative and prove we’re fucked. We’ll have witnessed, on television, the abdication of our responsibility to think, and as such we’ve given reality over to it.

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