Offence: a fuel

easy taken
freely sent


cathartic vent



and globalised


I wish it didn’t matter

I wish it didn’t matter
how identity is packed
and that the psyche frackers
stacked upon their borderline obsessions
would retract because the boundaries
they’re adding are just value-cladding traps.

How I wish it didn’t matter
who I am or where I was,
since I can give myself the slip
as quick as sticking to my spot
because, as often as I am,
as much, I’m also often not
and, well, I wouldn’t give a jot
except there seems to be a lot
who need to squash identity
into a fixed and clearly labelled box.

But I wish it didn’t matter
if I’m fabled, vintage, English rose
or fifty-seven beans of British stock.
And I wish I didn’t have to choose
which union do we lose or fuse:
the Kingdom or the European bloc.

For I do not want my space to shrink
nor see it brought to its own brink
and I do not like being made to think
about which bits of me I dare forego
– not just to satisfy those who,
no matter what the cost, do swear
that they are better placed to surely know.

No: the world is small in kind enough
without this categoric guff.



Dear Cons,

Re: ‘GPs’ leader hits out at plans for seven-day surgeries‘ (BBC)

I need my GP to be a doctor of medicine, not a bureaucrat; not an accountant; not a glorified admin clerk. I do not need to feel like I’m an inconvenient glitch on a production line because my doctor feels like a rushed frontline workhorse. I want my GP to be well-trained, well-qualified, patient and empathic. I need him or her to have the time and space to be able to concentrate on being a sensible, enthusiastic and compassionate advocate for and minister to my best health. I want to be able to see the same GP insofar as it is possible and reasonable so that a relationship can be established, thereby promoting confidence and a continuity of care. I want my doctor to be well-remunerated and respected and to be deserving of both. I need a doctor whose working conditions are conducive to his or her own well-being. I do not need my GP to be so overwhelmed, overworked and stressed out that his or her own health, professional standards and judgement are compromised. And I need my family doctor to be easily accessible because the practice is nearby and open and because it is adequately funded and staffed. I do not want my GP surgery to be under constant threat of breakdown because of its inability to retain more than a skeleton locum staff or because of the ignorant politicking, privatising and weaponising of capricious or incompetent government ministers.

And if you think my sentiments only extend to my family doctor and not to all public servants, you are gravely mistaken. They apply to all medical staff, cleaners, paramedics, firemen, teachers, social workers, policemen, community care workers, coastguards, soldiers…


Probably not just me.


celeb commentariat,
presume to know
and feel the need
to tell us so
of this and that
as though their narrow,
shallow, fallow
personal opinion
or the echo of another’s
were a fact.

Labour’s tedious tosh

So, while the Cons are busy diluting and dismantling our democracy as they pretend to understand and care about what they are doing to the ‘United’ Kingdom through this cheap, hotchpotch devolution wheeze and superficial sovereignty nonsense avec Europe, the Labour Party is treasure-hunting for the People’s trust and wisdom and for the source of its own dried up imagination and shrunken aspirations

Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper, Mary Creagh, Liz Kendall and Tristram Hunt (maybe) – the misinformed, economically illiterate, totally uninspiring selection from which Labour voters and would-be voters are supposed to choose the next leader and, hopefully, future Prime Minister. Well, stop that silly hoping, right now.

I don’t know which is worse: the dire choices provided with their patronising aspiration and trust guff or the enthusiasm being expressed for any of them by die-hard Labour supporters. This is really desperate stuff. The candidates claim they are listening to the views of their would-be constituents, ‘learning the lessons’ – yawn – but only insofar as it confirms the rubbish they already believe.

The level of misinformation and enthusiasm for populist piffle on both sides of this candidate-voter equation is so disappointing and tedious that I am struggling to maintain respect for either. I know I’m not supposed to say that because apparently it’s rude and alienating or something but I just don’t care, today. I’ve had enough of listening to and reading the tedious tosh of the well-played public and all its woefully inadequate servants.

Even if we took all the present candidates, popped them in a machine and blended their strengths and better characteristics into one big candidate, he or she would still only be as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike. And as for the deputy prospects.. Oh, I can’t be bothered. You can look them up if you’re still interested.

A Little Less ‘Aspiration’

[Please forgive me. This has been cheesing around in my head for a few days now so I stopped resisting and have let it out]


A little less ‘aspiration’, a lot more inspiration, please
This Blairite naval-gazing is just exasperating me
A little more left and a little less spin
A little less dim and a little more vim
Get wise and open up your mind and Labour, please inspire me
Please inspire me, Labour

Labour lose the Right and listen to the music
Of the Commons’ mood and needs
It’s an awful blight and you should really disabuse it
Come along with us and resonate with We


A little less ‘aspiration’, a lot more inspiration, please
This Blairite naval-gazing is just exasperating me
A little more grip and a little less shit
A little less ‘hip’ and a little more grit
Get wise and open up your mind and Labour, please inspire me
Please inspire me, Labour

Come on Labour, I’m tired of balking
Grab some nous and let’s start talking
Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Come on, come on
Don’t turn back and Labour, don’t hold back
Guys, the record’s scratched, getting sick of waiting around

A little less ‘aspiration’, a lot more inspiration, please
This Blairite naval-gazing is just exasperating me
A little more dare and a little less fear
A little less flare and a little more cheer
Get wise and open up your mind and Labour, please inspire me
Please inspire me, Labour…


When I first joined Twitter I had a little refrain that went: Conservatives: they con us and serve themselves – Labour: making hard work of everything. I’ve seen many variations on the Tory one over the last three or four years. They are true, though, for both parties have become parodies of themselves, Labour being the most disappointing.

I really wanted to support Labour throughout the whole of the last Parliamentary term and, where possible, I did try but the Party made it so difficult that, in the end, I realised they were unlikely to provide the political answers and vision I was looking for. Though I exerted the majority of my contempt on the Cons because they were the ones in charge, I bashed Labour quite often on this site but, at the same time, I still hoped they would win this General Election because I knew that in a FPTP system, we needed them to, just to be rid of the Tories. Getting rid of the Tories became paramount. It was an odd circumstance, therefore, to ridicule and encourage, to bemoan and support Labour but I knew I couldn’t pretend they’d come good just because I wished they would. There can be a fine line between positive thinking and delusion.

Wishing and needing Labour to be the main governing party was, in the end, then, mostly to provide a brake; a breathing space. I remember writing that, when they won, we wouldn’t be able to relax for long; that we would have to push for the changes we wanted in all matters, from Foreign Policy to Social Justice; from democratic reform to environmental responsibility. I think all but the loyally blind knew this, too. Labour, in its present form, with its prevailing mindset, could only be temporary caretakers – willing facilitators at best – while we created something real and reflective of those who knew we could well do with turning ‘left’.

Like the neo-liberal groupthink of economics that thinks super-strength homeopathic treatment is appropriate when, really, we are in amputation territory, Labour seems intent on reaffirming the very characteristics that so many of its would-be, wanna-be voters have clearly and repeatedly expressed as loathing with a vengeance.

After the Scottish Independence Referendum, when Jim Murphy was installed as the Scottish Labour leader, I laughed and sighed and knew that the Party had learned absolutely nothing from the enduring impact of Thatcher and the negative effects of Blair. Since Ed Miliband resigned, the inevitable wallowing has begun and the Party is doing it again. They keep talking about how they must ‘learn the lessons’ and mustn’t go backwards but they can’t seem to move much beyond 1997. They are as misguided and nostalgic; as uselessly sentimental, in their own way, as Ukip and the Conservatives.

The Party still thinks and speaks of people in terms of top, middle or bottom boxes and of aspiration by categories of economic class. It still thinks of aspiration as something only ‘hard-working families’ possess and still imagines that our individual hopes and dreams are predominantly economically motivated and, when it says, like the Cons, that it is a ‘One Nation’ party, I feel it probably means conformist; homogenised, rather than nuanced and inclusive.

Too many in the Party still think and speak of ‘wealth creation’ and enterprise as being purely Business and Market led and that wealth and ambition are always about status and financial enrichment. They present as though only the poor old squeezed middle has aspiration and as though to lack it, in a recognisable form, is a failing. They think they didn’t win because they failed to talk about it enough… They think too much like the Conservatives and that is the last thing we need: more imitation. It is neither necessary to copy nor does it flatter the people of the country/countries – whichever the heck we are, now.

Aspiration is like growth, devolution, choice, Big Society and British Values – just another nebulous concept noun for nodding dogs that greases the wheels of policy but translates down into a patronising sop and an overly shepherded reality. Besides, not only do many people not wish to live by such intangible, politically arbitrary terms but aspiration is a disingenuous, deeply patronising hopium in a system that is knowingly manufactured as one big Ponzi scheme.

Sadly, the more some Labour folk try to explain what they think ‘went wrong’ and what it needs to become, the harder it is for me to even imagine being able to identify with the Party. I watched Liz Kendall on Sunday with Andrew Neil and I liked her. She seemed authentic and resonant, enough that I even thought I might want to give her more time of day. Afterwards, I came across a couple of articles that proclaimed her Blairite credentials which I had not recognised at all from her interview. I sighed. Again. She was going to be too far left of Blair’s, Mandelson’s or elder Miliband’s ‘centre’. Oh, they’ll choose Chuka Umunna, I mused. They’ll never let her lead. And I wondered if I would have liked her sufficiently to want her to and if I’d even get the chance to genuinely find out. How cynical…

Another five years?

These last twenty-four hours I’ve found my entire mundane self alternating between shutdown and panic. My personal circumstances and resources; my health and general well-being have been run ragged by the Coalition and dire lack of a decent Opposition and, such is my dependency, now, on reserves of adrenaline just to cope with a normal day that I don’t know if I can sustain myself and keep going like this for another five years. And worse: I’m still actually one of the lucky ones. My heart is breaking for those worse off than me.

It’s as though we were all just involved in a terrible accident for I can’t believe my country actually meant to vote for this outcome; actually wanted this. You see, I’ve heard about the negative perceptions of Ed, fear of the SNP’s gargantuan tail and a persistent, faulty belief in the Labour is the incompetent party narrative until the journalician class were quite blue in their self-fulfilling, prophesying faces. Or should that be proselytising… I’m really struggling, though, to believe that more of the electorate actually actively and consciously wanted this result than wanted it five years ago. Even if true, it can be only half of the story at most.

It seems just as likely to me that sufficient of us managed to vote to our detriment quite by mistake, whether by head or heart, simply because of the tactical and wasted vote conundrums and the glacial opportunity for change in safe and marginal seats that our First Past the Post system invokes. (Not that I’m convinced that proportional representation is necessarily the solution, either, long-term but that’s for other posts.)

From the ludicrous to the tedious, I’ve heard and seen all manner of crap these last few hours. Like that the Labour Party moved too far to the Left. What the f***? Or that because we declined the Alternative Vote that we simply don’t want electoral reform, even though The Powers That Be know it was turned down largely because it was a really rubbish offer. From Jim Murphy on default denial with his deluded romantic show must go on act to Nick Clegg at his exhausted and hurt feelings best to how can Labour sneak another Blairite in… It’s like muzak for muggles.

‘They’ don’t listen and they don’t learn. And I despair. I feel ill and enraged and bored and frazzled and contemptuous and… Just so sad. So desperately effing sad.

It’s a slim Conservative majority that may not yet hold, I know but it has supplied a mandate to govern, nonetheless and it occurs in an already dangerous climate of paranoia and hysteria and in an already severely weakened political environment. The Tories will take the piss in any circumstance so I fully expect them to run amok now they have caught a small whiff of permission. I’ve come close to throwing up at the thought of free-to-roam Cons and I’ve felt like giving up entirely as I’ve listened to the insultingly oversimplified and misguided analyses of what passes for more serious journalism and news broadcasting, these days. The stuff that’s worth reading and listening to is so astute and so too-damned-late-seeming that it physically hurts.

Now, as the political classes pretend to still have souls to search for, we’re being told that election battles and political arguments can only be won from the centre ground. That anything to the left of prescriptive mainstream thought is ‘radical’. But that old centre ground trope is being used to contain our hopes and manage our imagination and I just can’t face doing battle with that mentality for another five years.

‘They’ are going to bamboozle us again, now. Just like they framed the arguments to position us leading up to the election, they’re now busy framing our understanding of went wrong and why and lining up the teeny tiny field of discourse within which the next set of perceptions and expectations can be managed, such as the true nature of the Tory beast and the new party leaders they want us to prefer. We’re not even to get a small break in which to weep, to absorb, to mourn; to restore or muster strength; to gather ourselves to fight neoliberalism for another five years. Nope. They are going to cut the democratic deficit in half and save us the time and trouble. A long-term democratic plan, if you will.

Now, as political parties naval gaze and worry about themselves more than us again, we must be the Opposition. Again. Now, as the Media fails to inform us of something in time to do anything about it, we must be the messengers. Again. Now, as we are steamrollered with yet more false flags, we must be the watchers. Again. Now, when we need a bright and trustworthy media, we must be the source. Again. It’s exhausting. Just the thought is exhausting. I know I say that Democracy is messy and a work in progress and that it requires engagement and active participation but this is getting ridiculous. It’s like we’ve actually been abandoned.

The Tories rose to Con

The Tories rose to Con
upon invested tools,
the fear of fools,
division and collision
of the abstract
and the ‘radical’
and all-too-timid vision
of an idle opposition –
played the Commons’
head or heart decision
in a faith-eroding system.