Monthly Archives: August 2019

Homemade, Witty Placard Parade

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So you’re Boris Johnson. You’ve bided your time as Tory leader (and by default Prime Minister) in waiting, struck when Theresa May was at her weakest (and let’s face it that wasn’t hard) and now you’ve made it, you are Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Problem: You have a working majority of one vote, propped up by bribing the right wing, socially conservative Democratic Unionist Party.

Solution: Take the UK out of the European Union, preferably with a deal but without if necessary, on 31st October, then call a general election, riding high on the headlines that you were the leader that succeeded where David Cameron and Theresa May failed, mopping up votes from the newly defunct Brexit Party, which was basically a home for Tory eurosceptics who didn’t believe that the Tories could achieve leaving the EU anyway, and return with a bigger majority from which you can claim a mandate to further your neo-liberal agenda.

Problem: Parliament (in which you have a working majority of one) is set against a no-deal Brexit and prepared to legislate against one. They also voted down Theresa May’s deal and every subsequent amendment as not good enough and, when given the option to create their own deal, failed to come up with an alternative. Worse, the EU have been kind but clear that there is no other deal on the table. Worse still the DUP, on whom you rely for a parliamentary majority, will not tolerate any deal that treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the UK and, despite talk of it, there is no alternative to a hard border between the UK and the EU in Ireland once tariff-free trade ends.

If Parliament legislates against leaving the EU without a deal and there is no other deal to be done the best that you can hope for is a further extension of Article 50, the worst a successful vote of no confidence moved by Jeremy Corbyn. In any event plans to call a snap election on the back of Brexit delivered on time would be in tatters.

Solution: Prevent Parliament from sitting, using what you’ve previously described as an arcane and undemocratic procedure, so that they can’t legislate to stop you leaving the EU by any means necessary on 31st October, tell some bold lies[1] in friendly media outlets and tough it out.

Problem: Shutting down democracy has brought thousands of demonstrators onto the streets, on the day prorogation was announced, at the weekend and more protests are set to follow.

Gird your loins comrades, keep fighting for democracy[2] and let’s figure out what it takes to make toughing it out no longer an option for Johnson. Let’s get the Tories out.

We know so may songs about him.

Steve

[1] Our post-truth, polarised world gives new meaning to the word “lie”. Politicians, press and the people all know he’s lying, it just doesn’t seem to matter.

[2] The real stuff, not what a bunch of Old Etonians debating in a medieval building pass off as democracy.

Bury FC

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Bury FC’s crest celebrates the town’s industrial history: metalworking, wool, textiles and paper making.

Bury FC, formed in 1885, twice winners of the FA Cup, promoted last season to League One, have been expelled from the English Football League. The gutless EFL expressed their deep regret, their fit and proper person test neither fit nor proper, taking no responsibility for overseeing the sale of the club in December 2018, for a pound, to asset-stripper Steve Dale, hiding behind “the integrity of the competition”[1] and not for the first time.

Steve Dale, who sold the club’s trophies to Bury Heritage, a company that he owns, who sold a £7m debt owed by the club to RCR Holdings, a company wholly owned by his daughter’s partner. Steve Dale, who didn’t pay the bills or the players’ or staff wages. Steve Dale, who on BBC Radio 5 Live said these things:

I never went to Bury.

It’s not a place I frequented.

So for me to walk away from Bury and never go back is a very easy thing to do.

I didn’t even know there was a football team called Bury to be honest.

I’m not a football fan.

If you’re a football fan then Steve Dale is a monster, and he’s not alone, the modern game breeds them: the Oystons, Sisu Capital, Francesco Becchetti, the list goes on.

Becchetti of course, tried to destroy Leyton Orient and it was a sustained and determined fans’ campaign, led by Leyton Orient Fans Trust, that was instrumental in the club being bought, some might say rescued, by Texan investor Kent Teague under the guidance of lifelong fan and Dunkin’ Doughnuts chairman, Nigel Travis.

But owners come and go, as do managers, players, trophies, good times and bad. The only constant is the fans, often generations of them.

When we wrote Brisbane Road, it was as fans. The song celebrates all the things that Orient’s not: nobody takes out a Sky Sports subscription to watch the O’s on the television, nobody picks Orient players for their Dream Team, and all the things that it is: Doug’s multiple message board personalities, Lee Steele’s winning goal at Oxford, visiting fans taking the piss out of Chris Tate’s hair and singing “we can see you washing up” to the residents of the newly-built flats in the corners of the ground are all parts of our heritage.

Two years ago, it could’ve been us. Today it’s Bury. In the next couple of weeks it could be Bolton Wanderers too.

Football is about community, social fabric, belonging, yet is bought and sold by billionaires and taken away, re-packaged and marketed to us as a product. We have been consistently let down by those trusted with the governance of our game and it has to change. We are not customers, we are fans, we are supporters. Join your team’s supporters’ trust or if there isn’t one, start one. Demand a voice before you think you might need it. And turn off your TV.

Squires

David Squires says it best.

Solidarity with Bury fans today, let’s hope they can re-build.

Steve

  1. On 29th April 2017, already-relegated Orient’s last home game of the season was interrupted in the 85th minute by a pitch invasion, the fans protesting that Francesco Becchetti was deliberately destroying the club. An hour later, once the stadium had been cleared, the game resumed and the players of both sides idly passed the ball around to complete the final eight minutes play. This farce was at the EFL’s insistence to “protect the integrity of the competition”.

The Progress of Society is Not Linear

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The Centre for Social Injustice

It’s what Supersonic is all about.

The press report this week that Iain Duncan Smith’s think tank, The Centre For Social Justice, recommends increasing the state pension age to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2030 because, they say, we’re living longer and we are unaffordable.

In 1948, when the state pension was introduced, a man could expect to live for 12 years in retirement and a woman 19, approximately 16% and 24% of their lives respectively[1]. The current state pension ages improve those percentages to 24% and 26%, the proposals from the Centre for Social Justice worsen them to 18% and 20%, with a man receiving his pension for just 17 years on average and a woman hers for 19 years.

But those are just numbers without considering the real hardship of people that can’t afford a workplace pension or the effects on your health and well being of being forced to work full time into old age. Those who would keep you in the workhouse, such as the Centre’s head, Andy Cook, would have you believe that work is good for you whatever your age, and stealing your state pension is a means to “help older people to remain in work”[2].

Nor do the numbers speak of inequality, the life expectancy of Blackpool man (74.7) compared to Kensington and Chelsea man (83.3), the widening of that divide with time or the socioeconomic back story.

The reality will be to make death in service the norm. This isn’t economic good sense, it’s class warfare.

Duncan Smith? We know a song about him. Hard work? We know a song about that too.

Steve

  1. Office of National Statistics
  2. Daily Mirror, 17 August 2019