Seven years into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and just 95 days away from what could be the most crucial General Election since the Second World War, and Ed Miliband and the Labour Party are in deep trouble.
If you think they aren’t just watch this brilliant comedy video by the Artist Taxi Driver:
So what can be done about it? What should the Labour Party be saying in its 2015 Election Manifesto?
Over the past 40 years I’ve watched the rich and powerful greedily chomping their way through every scrap of public property they could get their hands on – from British Aerospace and British Telecom to gas, electricity, water, British Rail , the Royal Mail and now – the last remaining jewels in the Great British public’s crown – the NHS and the BBC.
It’s not hard to understand why they want all this stuff. If you sell things people don’t really need, your profits are hostage to the whims of fashion, but if you have a monopoly on all the things people can’t live without then your profits are guaranteed for life.
A video Christmas Card: a load of YouTube videos mashed up with a home-made song.
“Woe is us, we”re in a lot of trouble. We’re at a point of maximum denial. People are ignoring the obvious, They’re keeping the news out of the News.”
“The oligarchic character of the modern English Commonwealth does not rest, like may oligarchies, on the cruelty of the rich to the poor. It does not even rest on the kindness of the rich to the poor. It rests on the perennial and unfailing kindness of the poor to the rich.”
In the age of global terrorism, the need to increase security to protect our freedom is something most of us accept without a second thought. “If you’ve got nothing to hide you’ve got nothing to worry about” is the mantra repeated whenever concerns are raised about any loss of civil liberties accompanying increased surveillance – succeeding not only in dismissing those concerns but also implying that anyone who IS concerned MUST have something to hide.
So what Benjamin Franklin had to say on the subject seems to make about as much sense as saying that those who are willing to trade money for something they want deserves neither and will lose both. Everything comes at a cost, and loss of liberty is the cost of safety. Everybody understands that.
But what DOES make sense are the constant threats to our safety and well-being that we hear about on the news everyday. Every kind of ill, from terrorism to carbon emissions, from measles to AIDS. All are kinds of illness. All put is ill-at-ease. All are kinds of dis-eases to which we are continually trying to find a remedy or cure.
Watching Jeremy Paxman interview Russell Brand last night my first thought was that Paxman has way too much of that laconic Oxbridge arrogance the BBC thinks made Britain great, and Brand has way too much of that street-smart wit and charisma the BBC posh boys really hate.
But the more I thought about it “in my nut today” the more I agreed with The Artist Taxi Driver when he said: “Listen to what Paxman’s saying. You can’t change things. This is how things are.”
“Jeremy Paxman is like the voice of the entire centre ground of the country, which is virtually everyone bar f****ng extremists.
What is it about the music used in this clip, Title Music from A Clockwork Orange by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos, that makes so many companies want to claim the copyright?
If ever there was an example of fair use under copyright legislation surely this must be it! The music has so many resonances with the subject matter and is so obviously being used for the purposes of criticism, research, teaching, historical archiving and scholarship.
Nadine Senior, Founder of Northern School of Contemporary Dance, reflects on the incredible success of her work as a dance teacher at Harehills Middle School in the 1970s and 1980s.
How it began
In 1970, I was appointed Head of Physical Education in an all-girls high school in Leeds. Many of the girls in this inner city, multi-cultural school had behavioural problems and one of them eventually burnt the school to the ground, though fortunately no one was hurt. Thereafter, we simply moved into the boys’ school which was on the same campus.
“When a woman wants me to do anything, I always insist on knowing why. The oftener you make them rummage their own minds for a reason, the more manageable you will find them in all the relations of life. It isn’t their fault (poor wretches) that they act first, and think afterwards; it’s the fault of the fools who humour them.”
The Moonstone, Wilkie Collins, 1868
How’s that for good ol’ unreconstructed sexism? No way a writer would get away with that today. Then again, I’m reminded of what Jack Nicholson’s character says in the movie As Good as it Gets when a young female receptionist can’t resist asking him:
Receptionist: How do you write women so well?
Nicholson: I think of a man and I take away reason and accountability.
Radio Times, 14 August 1979 BBC2 8.5-9.0 Brass Tacks Are The Kids Alright?
With unemployment running at twice the national average, and further redundancies in the shipyards, the age of leisure has come early for many of Sunderland’s youngsters.
Michael is 16, on the dole, and buying a £300 guitar on HP. His recently-formed group – The Rejected – is receiving encouragement from the local community theatre, which also faces redundancies as government cutbacks begin to bite.