queen of cracks

Raise an eyebrow
Ask an obvious question
Lean in slightly and she folds
Susceptive of suggestion

May be told
When moths of right and left
Expose her warp; her weft
Undone
More holes in her control
Than summed in any round
An orange golfer says he’s won

And the sterner she becomes
The more the brittle can be seen
She is the queen of cracks
And bending back and all her
Narcissistic hacks will shit a cat
When European Power tells her
What she can and cannot “mean”

So if this vexed election
Doesn’t lead to her collapse
You can bet your bottom fiat that
The EU and her Bulldog Blighty Brexit
Is the straw that makes her snap.

“Strong and stable”

“Strong and stable”
Tory fable
Not the same as wise or able.
In their hands
A dead cat’s cradle:
Concentrated Chaos
Is a better label
For their toxic brand.

Lull me a lullaby

Lull me a lullaby
Sand in my eyes
Buy me a mockingbird
Give me the sky

Betcha by golly
Wow, build me a folly
Bring me some Kool Aid
And fill up the trolley

Sprinkle the pixie dust
Set up a blind trust, go
Short of a picnic
And cut off the crusts

Pipe me a loony tune
Red, white and blue my shoes
Kansas is dying
Jump over the moon

Corbyn isn’t working for Labour

The two main political parties are in meltdown and I feel like we’re just visiting different chapters of ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’. Each day I wonder which crazy land we are going to visit. Britain is on a full-on chaos trip and we must take care to not encourage or advance it. That does not mean, however that all radical and courageous options should be refuted or neglected: there is still useful chaos to be had.

First, I’m not a labour member. I’m just an ordinary voter who wants a credible, competent, pro-EU, not-Tory government. I welcomed Corbyn’s election and the opportunity to give oxygen to anti-TINA economics and a platform for socio-economic justice. I recognised and called out the sabotaging acts of his party’s right-wing and Media’s eagerness to scrutinise and sensationalise everything except his ideas. I voiced apprehension that he would be chewed up and spat out in our political climate. I mused over why he stuck with Labour and didn’t join the Green Party. And I wondered and worried about whether Jeremy would have the capacity, temperament and level of sophistication required to be a credible, long-term prospect. I wrote to those effects, several times, on this site and on social media. I did give him a chance. Chances, actually. In the end, the face palms I performed were over his own doing or failure to do and I saw that a glimmer of timely semi-eloquence, here and there, his constant need to maintain a difficult relationship with journalism, his inability to manage and command authority over his MPs and his preference for preaching to echo chambers was just not going to cut it.

But it was never actually about Jeremy Corbyn, for me; it was only ever about promoting the socio-economic narrative into mainstream discourse with a hope that Labour would recognise its mislaid purpose again.

It doesn’t mean I don’t sincerely wish that things were different. But they are not and now, the EU referendum result has produced special circumstances. Undoubtedly, Corbyn could have done more to better put the remain case for Labour but, how much he is responsible for the result is best left for in-party squabbles and psephologists: I was struggling to see him as a viable party leader, let alone a prime minister, way before that. We are in extraordinary times and now have a sudden opportunity for a General Election that may void Brexit, altogether and avert an utter catastrophe. I need a credible Labour Party to vote for but it has a shed load of work to do and time is of the essence.

The referendum campaign was a farce of outrageous proportions and yet Corbyn’s first public response, after the result was declared, was to announce that he’d respect the democratic will of the electorate. This is supposed to be how it works, except, this was a democratic will to irreversibly leave the EU, expressed by an indecently narrow majority, based on a campaign of incompetence, deception and outright lies. And there he was, the next day, calling for the government to get going on our exit negotiations immediately. This does not square with a self-declared Remainer who could be seizing the opportunity to void the referendum he has reduced to ‘a rejection of the status quo’. The rejection of the status quo is why people chose him, in the first place and he would put it in jeopardy.

At PMQs, Cameron’s evident concern for what he, himself, has recklessly unleashed was clear in his emotionally sincere and frustrated plea, to Corbyn of “for Heaven’s sake man, go!”. On previous days, Cameron’s response to Corbyn’s clumsy, accusatory validation of protest as motivation, I would have put down to his typical Flashman expedience. But Cameron knows, whatever he insists, publicly, that the referendum was a disaster and he was suggesting that Corbyn’s intransigence is now just adding to what stands in the way of a return to effective political sense. That sense being to hold a disreputable Conservative government to account, play smart, limit the damage and rescue Britain – as was already clear in his answers to the House, on Monday, when he quietly and quite cleverly hung Brexit out to dry.

Even if he could win a general election, it seems Corbyn would take us out of the EU, irrespective of current events, options and changing mood. The waves of resignation are from across Labour’s spectrum. They are not just from the opportunists who were always looking for this chance: many are from those who support his politics and have tried hard to promote them and yet his voting base focuses on conspiracy theories. There might well be a bit of two-birds-one-stone truth in them but there are also many, way better reasons for this ‘coup’ than Chilcot opportunism and/or deflection and ‘Red Tory’ framing.

Equally, I can’t blame people for being anxious at the idea of losing Corbyn, since no replacement can necessarily be guaranteed not to swing back to the right. What do his most ardent supporters want most, though? That Jeremy stay as a leader of a cult and lose the general election or perhaps win and be so Brexity or authoritatively hamstrung that the crises continue with more years squandered? Do he and his supporters not realise that the movement towards social justice would come to nothing if he cannot be taken seriously, once PM or if he lets the Tory/UKIP hands of the deregulating-market-is-God, bread and circus (bring your own bread) Brexiteers have their way? The first best chance for the country to achieve his socio-economic vision is by not leaving the EU and, right now, his lovely socio-economic visions count for little if he can’t even acknowledge that Brexit and increasingly he, himself, risks them all.

He says, rightly, that the Government is in disarray. He acknowledges that two thirds of his own party’s voters chose ‘remain’. And yet he only listens to his followers. And yet he wants to start exit plans now. It really doesn’t compute. Jeremy claims he is not resigning because he must represent his own voting base and, of course he must and I respect that. Nevertheless, he has to weigh the blind faith of his fans against the best interests of the country’s whole electorate.

If the Labour leadership election sees Jeremy Corbyn ousted, what I want to know, now, is: 1) will the candidate(s) who stands against Corbyn be actively concerned with trying to void the EU referendum and 2) can the Labour Party give reassurance that they have shifted left and that his replacement now shares his anti-neoliberal, pro social justice mindset. If the answer to either is no, then Labour dooms us all, anyway.

Brexit Bull

”We just don’t know,” said Brexit Bull
”Our heads are with fantasy, already full.
Experts and facts to the back of the queue
We’re busy with wishing and making that do.
We’ve got ifs in derivatives; hedges in coulds
And a spitfiery spirit you can’t overlook.
We are pedlars in miracles and magic beans;
We spin rich over-egging and push mighty memes.
We add garnish and condiments, relish and dread
To our circus and clarion (bring your own bread).
We’re the Bulldogs of Blighty who know what we want:
Passports that honi soit qui bordeaux pense.
We want rid of the regs that endorse workers’ rights
And to loosen the standards that dignify life.
We’ll trade anything, anywhere, any old how
And swear we’re putting Great back in Britain now
We’ll screw everything, everywhere, for everyone
And declare it is you who control that which comes.”

Tory Story

That time a minority of voters misplaced
their faith and saw chaos cross the line
to screw the country over – again

when the Cons went long
and the People went short
and few could walk a mile
in their own shoes,
never mind another’s

when the mother of party ideology
gripped the land to a snapping
cracking austerity’s whip

when reward was rationed by
the fashioning of division,
superstition and deservedness
and everything was weaponised

nuance and empathy nosedived
as all media took
and hooked the bait
and shaped a hollow prize

People forming enemy lines
behind there is no alternative and
every
single
thing disliked
is a lie

or was it the messenger..?

Hark! Fear and Favour by and buy
the power and will of undermining;
they whose goal on any other day
is to give it away, now chiming
”Take back control!”
with flesh-wounded pride that dreams
a never-setting sun’s return, whining
“we want our country back”
and wagging the body politic
with unpalatable joy and toy facts

Cor blimey high and mighty
bulldog Blighty save us
from the cuts you made
with promises on premises
“we just don’t know”
and a finite pot of money
Britain never wholly gave

Reason was rationed by
the fashioning of derision,
definition and false consciousness
and everything was scrutinised

But “they added it up and
added a bit more
and created something that’s daft”

drilled down into reality and gasped
and laughed and sighed for
foreign cheese and geezers
cars and nurses, wine and visas versus
NEETs and teachers
bankers, builders and baristas
bluntly played

the double blade
that Con men hold to their mirroring throats
as nasty fills the showboat to its brim
and every futile, flimsy, fragmentary whim
is a chicken coming home – again