Point of View – Election Schadenfraude – Fox or Faux

Point of View

There are three ways to do things; the right way, the wrong way, and the Max Power Way. FT 😄

Election Schadenfraude

Nigel Pompadour took a sick day after reading this story and refusing to report on it. FT 😛

Fox Or Faux?

Gene and I started a project called “Ask Gene Hackman” years ago solving real problems for real people. We were inundated with letters to the point where a hiatus was in order; however, since this is such a heinous issue that needed to be addressed, I asked Gene to bring his remarkable powers of common sense to bear and settle it…..once and for all. Thank you, Gene. FT

You can follow The History Twins at @thehistorytwins and at the webpage thehistorytwins.wordpress.com



What a week

It’s been a busy week, the sun has been shining and I have been spending as much time as possible in the garden – it’s done my inner calm no end of good. However…

I know hardening of sides within a political discourse is not good, I would much rather we had consensus politics, but when the Tory party is careering even further right, absorbing UKIP and putting up racists for election at both council and MP levels, a stand against them must be made.

The first English MP candidate (and magistrate) who got into the news this weekend over unsuitable comments did not simply tell an indy supporter to “Fuck off back to Scotland” The person in question was a 16 year old school girl during a school visit! I would hope that the school immediately kicked him off the premises for such behaviour.

He said it was a joke. Oh yes, the “banter”defense. Well then he won’t mind me joking that he is a complete and utter cock who should never be allowed near children or any position of power. No report as yet to if he will be suspended.

Unlike this charmer who has been suspended from the party for 6 months. I’m surprised, I half expected him to get moved to the Department for Exiting the EU, the Northern Ireland office or given an apprenticeship under Johnson.

(A quick I told you so, I’ve been saying for ages that Irish and Scots will be the next targets/scapegoats after the migrants, disabled, single parents, unemployed, elderly, EU. Lets face it if you are fair game if you aren’t on Theresa May’s Christmas card list.)

All week Ruth Davidson has been called out on the behaviour of her councillors, but as we can seen in the case of Mulder1981 it appears that they would rather keep the seat than seriously deal with it.In the last week even more bigots have crawled out of the woodwork

. Cameron Archibald @MammothWhale

Ah, first it was Alastair Majury, but now it looks like another Tory Cllr on @StirlingCouncil holds extremist and racist views.

And what do the Tory party do? Well it looks like their councillors are under instruction to delete their Twitter accounts

. Wings Over Scotland @WingsScotland

Yet another new Tory councillor – @SJHMurray of Liberton/Gilmerton – has suddenly and mysteriously deleted her Twitter account.

There’s no point in expecting Davidson to reprimand her Councillors? This is the type of dog-whistle politics she’s employing

Today we had this:

Seriously. I’ve tried reading it with different emphasis but I cannot see a way that this is good.

Simply seeking peace. What the fuck is wrong with that? Didn’t enough people die? Would she rather that the conflict continue? That bodies pile up? There were atrocities on both sides.

I would think that the majority that wore the uniform would have preferred not to see more of their friends injured, killed or traumatised by what they went through.

Is this tweet meant to highlight that she too has “worn the uniform”?

Three years in the TA as a signaler. I’m pretty sure we’d have heard if she had actually served during any tours. I did a quick look – TA are expected to do 19 days a year, even Army cadets spend more time training (2 nights a week plus weekends)

She’s probably spent more time with military equipment during photo opportunities than she did when she served.

It would be better if she spoke out for those ex-military who are homeless or requiring mental health support, or even got her government to do something about it.

In short I’d much rather have a man of peace in charge than someone gung-ho for action.


(Although seeing Windows XP has been hacked in the NHS does not reassure me as Trident uses the same fucking system – War Games anyone? Do you want to play Global Thermonuclear War?)


I think she’s trying to distract from the shit storm hitting her own party. I mean it’s not been a good week for her.


John Buchan ( @crouchy197) has been reported on over his racist, homophobic and sectarian tweets. Have to admit he is wide-ranging in his hatred, he dislikes Catholics, Muslims, immigrants, LGBT & women. It appears the only people he like approves of are the Tories and the OO.

Hopefully now his views have become more widespread others in the fishing industry might question it’s support for the party who will quite happily sacrifice it to protect the City of London’s financial interests.

I’ll admit I hate the Tories. That’s due to their policies, not due to race or religion. And I’m not saying they are all racists/bigots/misogynists but I do think that the majority of those that fall under those groupings are the ones likely to vote for them.

This next election is not about Indy (Holyrood has already voted on Section 30) or even about Brexit (again, Section 50 has already been sent and the EU doesn’t give a fuck about the size of the UK government’s majority)

What it is about is do people want a right-wing future or not?

Do we want to end up like the US – who elected Trump, an overgrown toddler who thinks only of himself and has the attention span of a brain damaged goldfish

. Liz Wheeler


Cannot stop laughing. This story is real life. Somebody put actual time into preparing this “news” package. DYING. http://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2017/05/12/trump-white-house-two-scoops-of-ice-cream-moos-dnt-erin.cnn 

Photo published for Trump gets 2 scoops of ice cream, others get 1 - CNN Video

Trump gets 2 scoops of ice cream, others get 1 – CNN Video

If you ever have ice cream at the White House, expect President Trump to be served two scoops while everyone else gets one. CNN’s Jeanne Moos reports.


This should not be news, it shouldn’t be anywhere even close to news. The fact it is shows how bloody weird the US system is that  they elect someone who has to have an extra scoop of ice cream (and I wish you could see the look on my 12 year old daughter’s face over that.)

We have May on offer. A woman who attends her own rallies sneaking in thouh fire exits in an attempt to hide from the public. Who gets puff pieces on the One Show rather than doing direct face to face debates.

May is not a strong and stable Prime Minister. Every single time she repeats that I am reminded of Sheldon Cooper


The Tories don’t want you to vote, they know their supporters will crawl from their death beds to vote. Low turnouts help them.

Get registered by 22nd May, in fact don’t wait DO IT NOW. And then vote.

Don’t whine that you don’t like Corbyn, he’s better than the alternative.

I am in Scotland and will vote SNP, but – and this is no endorsement for the bunch of Blairite wankers we have in Scotland – if I were in England I would vote so hard for Corbyn’s Labour I would probably break the pencil.

You can follow Simone Charlesworth on twitter @cee4cat and at Mewsing Out Loud

featured image the Week



Journalist ARRESTED for covering controversial demonstration in Tory marginal

There has been widespread international outrage after a journalist was arrested in the US for simply asking a question to one of Donald Trump’s cabinet members.

By contrast, when a UK photo-journalist is arrested here in Britain and is due in court for covering an anti-fracking demonstration – the compliant UK press is completely silent.

Photo-journalist Peter Yankowski-Walker is due in court on May 15th after attempting to cover a demonstration in Bolton against a fracking company (full information below).

Fracking is a controversial subject in Bolton as the local Tory MP Chris Green is defending an extremely narrow majority of just 801 against strong local feeling against fracking.

Could this be an attempt to intimidate local press from covering a subject which could damage a local MP in a Tory marginal – not to mention a government which supports fracking – during the election campaign?

Or are we in Britain so kow-towed to our ruling masters that we no longer even notice – let alone care – when any members of the press not prepared to tow the government line are being silenced before our very eyes?



Local documentary photographer unfairly targeted by police after covering an

anti-fracking demonstration for nine minutes.

A photographer has been unfairly targeted by police after covering an anti-fracking protest in Greater Manchester.

Oldham-based Peter Yankowski-Walker, 53, was arrested in Horwich, Bolton, on February 28, 2017 nine minutes after arriving at a demonstration outside AE Yates, a company who have supplied oil and gas exploration firm Cuadrilla with a drilling pad for their controversial fracking work in Lancashire.

While photographing the demonstration, Yankowski-Walker was arrested for obstructing a public highway – after almost being knocked down by on of AE Yates trucks. He was held in a prison cell for 10 hours before charged. Yankowski-Walker believes he has been unfairly targeted by police because of a government crackdown on journalists sympathetically covering anti-fracking demonstrations.

At his subsequent appearance at Bolton Magistrates Court police presented the criminal record of another man as Yankowski-Walker’s, a mistake they later admitted – yet the same incorrect criminal records was presented at a second court date in Manchester nine days later.

Peter Yankowski-Walker does not have a criminal record.

During his police interview after his arrest, Yankowski-Walker said police tried to coerce him into admitting guilt; he claims this excessive form of policing is part of a government-led attack on protest and suppression of information surrounding fracking.

Peter Yankowski Walker said: “I am trying not to be paranoid, but when sat in a dock after not even committing a crime and to see the effort to prosecute someone for something so trivial is mind blowing and a waste of taxpayers money. Especially as the incident was live-streamed and completely backs up my statement.

“The judge demanded the Crown Prosecution Service remove the wrongful criminal record from my file – but he decided to take my case to a full day’s trial, using as evidence against me body cam footage from four directions. This was pushed forward by two representatives from the Crown Prosecution Services.

“Independent photographers and film-makers are seeing a trend unfolding as in the last few months the police have stepped up their arrest rates on anti-frackers. Valued footage has helped cases to clarify that no wrongdoing occurred and it seems now, those who document and provide evidence are being targeted too. Photojournalists, documentary filmmakers and live-streamers have contacted me to say that that they are experiencing less tolerance by the police and more oppression, whist collecting evidence and imagery of social change.

“I feel that my case is being treated more seriously because of the links with documenting the protest against hydraulic fracturing than it would be if it was another subject. I am honour-bound however to continue to do my job; unbiased grass roots reporting is essential in providing a balanced picture.”

Yankowski-Walker under the name Peter Walker is due to appear before a district judge at Manchester and Salford Magistrates Court, Crown Square, M60 1PR Time 9.30am May 15th, 2017.


February 28, 2017 – Peter Yankowski-Walker is arrested at demonstration outside AE Yates in Horwich, Bolton.

March 7, 2017 – Bolton Magistrates Court. False criminal record of Yankowski-Walker to magistrates. Yankowski-Walker visits Bolton police later who agree that false records were presented in court.

March 16, 2017 – pre-trial, Manchester. Police again present false criminal record of Yankowski-Walker to district judge.

May 15th, 2017 – due to be appear before district judge at Manchester Magistrates Court.


Images of Peter Yankowski-Walker are available upon request.

Contact Peter Yankowski-Walker:

Email: vital.media@ntlworld.com

You can see some of Peter Yankowski’s images here:

Big issue: http://www.bigissuenorth.com/news/2017/03/tidal-wave-force-fracking/

Drop the Dril: https://drillordrop.com/2017/03/03/protest-weekly-update-27-february-5-march-2017/

Salford Star: http://salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=2673

The Canary http://www.thecanary.co/2017/03/09/first-telegraph-lied-now-police-use-gratuitous-violence-quiet-lancashire-village-video/

Primrose Bank, Past, Present and Future. Social documentary photographic book.


Peter Yankowski-Walker has a Masters in International Photojournalism, having trained with one of Britain’s best know social documentary photographers: Ian Beesley at the University of Bolton. Peter is well known by many for his iconic imagery, documenting the anti-fracking protests in the North West over the last three-and-a-half years. The images will be published in a photo documentary book.

His images have been shared all over the world and have appeared in many magazines and online news journals.

Yankowski-Walker added: “I feel that unrestricted social documentary photography gives a balanced view of contemporary social history as it unfolds, a perspective that is essential to freedom of expression and democracy.”


featured image silhouette

You can follow Tom on twitter at @ThomasPride    and at his webpage Prides Purge

UnGagged — May’s Day Celebrations

In this episode, Mark Little will be leading us in 20 seconds of hate, we’ll hear part one of The Meaning of Life according to Chuck Hamilton,  Teresa Durran will remind us that seven weeks is a long time in politics, Joe Solo talks about how optistic he is feeling in the run up to this electionRed Raiph reminds you that if you vote Tory, you’re a Tory, Artist Taxi Driver shares his poem on the zombification of Britain, Nick Durie discusses “nationalism” in the UK, and Victoria Pearson asks people to think carefully before throwing the vulnerable people under the Brexit bus.

Neil Scott will be giving us a short reprieve from the election by talking about the red Elvis, Debra Torrance talks Scelection scelectrix and playground politics, Steve McAuliiffe gives us a #fakenews Conservative party political broadcast, Eric Joyce draws parallels between May’s brexit mandate and Scotland’s independence mandate, George Collins discusses his part in the struggle, Simone Charlesworth talks about staying engaged in politics, despite voter fatigue, and why the Scots are the most political aware country in the UK, Mara Leverkuhn talks about the importance of nagging with people outside of your echo chamber, Derek Stewart Macpherson gives us the Hitchhikers Guide to Local Elections,  and we have an Independence Live interview with Roza Salih and Euan Girvan.

With music from Joe Solo, XSLF, Marshall Chipped, Pilgrims, Roy Møller, Steve White and the Protest Family, Thee Concerned Citizens, The Hurriers, The Tuts, The Exiles, The Cundeez, Gerry Mulvenna, Wilde Sammon, and Dean Reed.



If you love Ungagged and want to help support us financially you can donate to us HERE – we are a not for profit and meet running costs ourselves,so even 50p helps us massively.

You can visit Ungagged at there twitter page @_Ungagged     or at there webpage UnGagged

It’s A Bullseye?





Finally! A comic that includes two of my favorite things….Scottish independence and my newly discovered love for “Bullseye” Oh, any and all characters are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. (Except for Lindsay) FT 😛

You can follow The History Twins at @thehistorytwins and at the webpage thehistorytwins.wordpress.com



Ungagged: Scottish Elections

The daft fools lovely people at Ungagged weren’t put off with my first attempt at a podcast and asked me to do a second.  Link here to listen to the talented contributors, my piece is only 5 minutes.

I’ve been to my local polling station so often in the last few years I’m half expecting to get a bill from Glasgow City Council for room rent.  Between moving here at the end of 2012 and June 8th I will have made my mark for two General, 1 Scottish Parliament, 1 European Parliament, 1 council and 2 referenda.

And to make it that little more interesting, we also have 3 distinct voting systems; first past the post for Westminster, d’Hondt for Holyrood & European and finally Single Transferable for Councils. Which latter two means there is always a discussion on the ability to tactically vote.

Is it any wonder the Scottish electorate is considered to be the most politically aware in the UK? And you know what? We are still beginners when compared to the Swiss. They had 13 propositions put forward for referenda in 2016 and plan another 7 for this year.

People talk as though going to vote is so difficult, that it’s such a hassle. I have to say that putting a cross or ranking candidates is far from being the most onerous task I have been asked to do. But of course that’s not what they mean. What they are on about is that they don’t want to have to weigh up the options. Making an informed choice means thinking, and taking responsibility for the results of your choice.

Any Leaver who complains about having to pay to visit Europe after Brexit is an idiot. You can’t expect there to be exceptions just for you.

A third of UK registered voters don’t even bother, presumably because they think their vote won’t change anything. People say politicians are “all the same” and “nothing changes.” Well it won’t if you don’t do something about it.

The Conservatives got a majority in 2015 with 37% of votes cast, this equals only 24% of the UK registered voters. This is a disgrace not a democracy.

Many politicians want a compliant electorate; they want you to think it has nothing to do with you, that it should be left to professionals.

Politics is not for an “elite,” it impacts us all. Saying you don’t do politics is stupid because politics “does” you. It encompasses everything from bins being emptied, pot-holes being filled, the food on your table, the water in your taps, young people being sent to fight in foreign lands.

You can’t wait until issues directly effect you, you have to get in there first. Call out representatives on their policies. Petitions, emails & protests may seem pointless, but the “noise” adds up. Pressure can be applied. Doing nothing never changes anything.

But I digress.

Until I moved here I had no idea of Scottish politics apart from it being – at that time – a Labour stronghold. I was fairly politically aware, but it’s not like Holyrood ever featured much (if ever) in the UK national six o’clock news.

I wonder how much coverage the “suspect packages” delivered to SNP offices earlier this week is getting? It feels like terrorism in Scotland isn’t newsworthy unless it involves someone getting kicked in the baws or an egg thrown at Jim Murphy.

It’s not normally as extreme as that, usually disagreements don’t get past inventive name-calling on social media and you have to take into consideration that swearing is taken to a level that is almost an art form.

You get some saying that Scottish politics have become divisive but to be honest, I don’t remember the 80s being all peaceful what with the poll tax, miners strike, Toxteth riots etc. What they mean is shut up, don’t rock the boat and do as we tell you.

It’s an exciting time in Scotland, there has been a lot of change and the upcoming Council elections could be an indicator of the changes to come. The unionist parties seem to be running solely on a No Referendum line, which is strange as I’m pretty sure none of the Councils are thinking of striking off on their own.

To put it bluntly, Labour up here have been totally screwed over by the Tories. They happily took they money and fronted the No campaign in the 2014 referendum and then wondered why so many left-wing people stopped voting for them. There are alternative up here, the SNP, Greens, and smaller socialist parties.

And yet, they don’t learn. Despite only keeping one MP in 2015, coming third in Holyrood and repeated “listening exercises” they still don’t hear many of their ex-supporters calling for change.  They’re seen as Tory-lite. And unfortunately for them, Ruth Davidson, with media backing, has stood up and declared herself defender of the union.

You can never out-Tory a Tory. They are so much better at being it. Whether “it” is wrapping themselves in a Union flag or being heartless bastards.

It feels like it is the unionist parties who go on and on about referendums the most, which is seen a distraction from their policies, or lack thereof. When the leader of the Scottish Tories response to cruel cuts to benefits is to suggest that the Scottish Government mitigate them, you know the current system cannot continue.

The commentariate talk as though the upcoming council and general elections are there to judge whether or not the Scottish Government have a mandate for a referendum. They forget they already have it. That was delivered in the Holyrood election.

Scotland as a whole voted 62% to Remain in EU, much higher than the 52% Leave for the UK which Theresa May says gives her a strong mandate. Right now it looks like it will be her own party which will be the main architect for breaking her “precious union.”

Right I’m off now to see if anyone has managed to get her to say something that isn’t a slogan.

 Image by: Red Raiph
You can follow Simone Charlesworth on twitter @cee4cat and at Mewsing Out Loud


Just recently I found myself saying “Over thirty years ago we decided we were all just consumers…and now we’re utter c**ts because of that” So that inspired a wee poem


I want I want I want it all
Work buy get paid
Hoping to get laid
Give me more stuff
As I work rest
And get played
For that new phone
Over glass I would crawl
I only let Nike
Ever kick at my balls
I need I need I need everything
G string nose ring
Cling to the bling
Only drink this brand
Cos its the real thing
Eat drink
Piss in the sink
Work hard play hard
For everything else there’s MasterCard
I have I have I have all the best stuff
I bet he drinks Carling
He looks kinda rough
Gas coal and oil
The planet it boils
Screw it
Just do it
Who cares if it spoils
If there is shit
Then we’re shovelling it
But we care not a bit
Because we are loving it
This can’t last forever
It’s a fairly safe bet
Is this really
The best a man gets
Consume deplete
Live in compliance
This is the rot
The appliance of science
Advertising hoods
Finger lickin’ good
My health fuck it
Eat shit by the bucket
This credit card’s a git
Don’t leave home without it
We’re ravers and cravers
We’re masters and slavers
Lost sight of ourselves
Should have gone to spec savers
Does this fit that bit
Cashmere fine knit
Close pit job quit
Because we’re really worth shit

You can Follow John Scott on twitter at @JohnScottComedy or at JohnScottComedy Dissent



Austerity – Is For the Thick “Jocks” Up In Scotland – Down Here In London We Take Their Money and Spend It – Spend It – Spend It – Keep Your Oil Flowing In Our Direction – Keep Them Confused Ruthie – We Love You

My top staff aren’t worth their extravagant pay extraordinary confession from boss of RBS

The boss of bailed-out Royal Bank of Scotland revealed that many of his top staff ‘aren’t worth’ their extravagant pay and bonus deals.

In an extraordinary admission, the chairman said legions of traders and financiers at RBS’s investment bank were not generating enough profits to justify their lavish rewards.

He told a conference on restoring trust in the banking industry: “I’m sure that we’re paying many people who aren’t worth it – maybe that’s the issue.”

The declaration by the RBS boss is also likely to inflame public anger over the pay deals on offer at the bank, which has received more than £45b in government cash since its implosion.

More than 100 bankers at the group’s investment banking wing were paid a bonus of at least £1million last year – even though the Edinburgh based giant racked up losses in excess of £28billion.




But, defending the practice of handing fat bonuses to staff at its so-called “casino” division – even if it meant that some bankers were paid too much for their efforts he said: “We see people who are worth a lot of money (to us), who when they leave take a lot of business with them,”

He further claimed that RBS, which is 84 per cent owned by the taxpayer, was powerless to rein in rewards as this would trigger a walk-out of top staff. He said: “If you are the bank that decides to cut bonuses for the most important people, you’ll be the first with a franchise-destroying defection.”

So the UK electorate is forced to stand back and witness a rapid, public funded banking recovery from a financial crisis created through the greed of those who stand to benefit most.

Seizing the opportunity and with embarrassing haste, banks embarked on a virtually unprecedented hiring spree, driving up wages across the London Square Mile.

RBS, which employs 160,000 staff across the globe, last night maintained that very few of its staff enjoy bumper bonuses and salaries.

But the bank handed out a gigantic £1.3billion to its 16,800 investment bankers last year. On average, this is equal to a bonus of around £77,400 each.

But, in mitigation the Chairman offered that RBS had “virtually” eliminated cash bonuses, with most rewards paid out in shares and other stock, and staggered over a number of years so that they can be clawed back.






His comments were echoed by Barclays chairman, who added that “unilateral action by any single bank (would) not provide a practical solution” to the problem of ever-rising pay for “star” performers.

The revelations lift the lid on the bonus arms race that is currently sweeping through the Square Mile. Goldman Sachs recently handed tens of millions in bonuses to its 80 London-based partners to prevent more senior staff defecting to rivals.

The headline is incomplete, should it not have read “My top staff aren’t worth their extravagant pay”, but “what the hell, we are being subsidised by the taxpayer so lets make hay while the sun shines”.

They and all of the banking industry know that those in government have not the guts or the brains to stop one of the massive injustices of all time. Instead they hit the soft target, the Taxpayer. (Daily Mail)


A Boom in Hedonistic “Greed is Good” Spending is Sweeping Through London

The return to “flaunting it” mirrors the conduct of the cinematic symbol of eighties excess, (Michael Douglas’s amoral trader Gordon Gekko.) West End stores, clubs and restaurants have been astounded by the sustained growth in guilt-free spending.






A spokesman for Selfridges said: “The range and style is more obvious’ or ostentatious than ever. Stuff is just flying off our shelves. There are a lot of £1,000-plus shoes being sold.”

Particularly popular are Alexander McQueen Loki’ankle boots at £2,195 a pair and Christian Louboutin Margot platform shoes costing £1,575.





fashion and luxury goods groups report that sales of their  £1000 Prada bags had exceeded expectations. The ‘Neverfull’ handbag from Louis Vuitton at £900 is very popular



article-0-1D84044500000578-463_634x947mulberry-handbags-kate-middletonMULBERRY BAYSWATER BAG 000


Bollinger UK, imports £140 a bottle Special Cuvée into Britain because demand is so strong. A spokesman said: there was a time when people certainly didn’t want to be seen with an expensive bottle of champagne — but we’re past that phase now.”





Bugatti and Ferrari have sold out of their latest models





The spending boom is being fuelled by the prospect of yet another year of bumper bonuses in the City — an estimated £10billion will be handed out this winter

And there is the influx of rich high spending Arabs influx of high-spending

The opening of a number of rejuvenated nightclubs and hotels after sumptuous makeovers is also being seen as a sign that it is acceptable to be rich.





Tottenham Court Road lap dancing hangout Spearmint Rhino, which fell heavily out of favour during the credit crunch years, is booming. A club spokesman said: “We sold out of  £395 a bottle champagne last night.





He went on: six City guys came in and dropped £5,000 to take the VIP area for the evening.

A few nights ago we had four guys from the Middle East who bought £20,000 in chips for dances and drinks. After service charges they spent £24,000.

It’s great to be back to the days of five or six years ago. Those sort of customers are starting to come back, there’s been a huge increase just in the past five or six weeks.”




London is also being assisted by France’s burka ban with many wealthy Arabs boycotting Paris. Saudis who divert to London spend an average of £40,000 each.

They will easily spend £5,000 or £10,000 a night on the casino tables at Les Ambassadeurs (in Park Lane) or treat their friends with the best champagne as Scott’s.

You can follow Calton Jock at his webpage CaltonJock



What’s Propaganda Got To Do With It? | Turn LEFT and Make June the End of May

Over the last few days the misrepresentations of and attacks on Jeremy Corbyn have escalated. Whilst Labour continue, day-on-day to publicise and attempt to widely promote new policies on health, housing, Brexit, pensions, education and so on all we hear from the Conservatives (aside from juvenile insults and made up smears) is how ‘strong and stable’ they are. Their claims are twofold in terms of a ‘strong and stable leadership’ and ‘a proud record’ as opposed to ‘a coalition of chaos with Jeremy Corbyn’. There is no talk of how the Tories might tackle poverty, homelessness, the health and social care crisis and so on and in their attempt to distract us from election fraud, their dubious allies (at home and abroad), the poor state of the economy, rising child hunger and the rest they continue with their their two pronged campaign of a) smearing the Leader of the Opposition and b) the cracked record like messages. In this they are largely supported by the mainstream media (MSM). No need to take my word for it; check out these two recent articles by Steve Topple:

The Tories have been caught using fake news to smear Corbyn

We need to talk about the mainstream media and the Election. Because a disaster is looming 

In the few ‘closed’ speeches she has given in the last week (in contrast to the very public presence of Corbyn, other members of the shadow cabinet and politicians from other parties), and in the final Prime Ministers Questions before the General Election, Theresa May repeated her key phrases, most especially ‘strong and stable leadership’, and popped in other references to ‘strong’ and ‘stable’ innumerable times. To save you having to look I can also confirm that there are short clips of her repeating this mantra on her twitter feed also. There is a precedent for this type of campaign as the constant repetition of  ‘strong leadership’, a ‘clear economic plan’ and ‘a brighter, more secure future’ helped the Conservatives to gain power in 2015. Well that worked out well, didn’t it.

We have to hope this time that the simultaneously teeth grindingly annoying and comical repetition of ‘strong and stable’, (rather than, as many have noted, the more accurate ‘weak and wobbly’) by Theresa May, and anyone near her, has less of an hypnotic effect on the many. Anyone who parrots it needs to be reminded of this; a ‘proud record’ indeed.

I have written before of my gratitude to the alternative news sources (and to various bloggers and vloggers) for the challenge to and corrections of the MSM. If like me you lament the election coverage on the BBC and many other outlets and in much of the newsstand coverage have a look at The Canary, The Morning Star, The Word, The Prole Star (all available online) or written and video posts by people such as Peter Stefanovic, Harry Leslie Smith, Lindsey German, Rachael Swindon (and others) and look at some of my previous posts here.

Yesterday I was cheered also by a tweet from @MirrorPolitics. By way of introducing an article focusing on the foolish posturing of Boris Johnson MP (there’s no need for me to go into detail given the MSMs preoccupation with this non-story but read the article if you want to here http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/jeremy-corbyn-blasts-boris-johnson-10306382) they wrote:

      Labour leader vows not to use Tory’s ‘personal’ tactics (and gets on with campaigning about               housing instead). 

As a further example of the current MSM spin on the messages from and behaviour of Jeremy Corbyn the BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg @bbcclaurak tweeted: Corbyn says ‘I don’t do personal attacks’ but says disappointing the tories are doing negative campaigning. As at least one person has pointed out why BUT and not AND here. . .

Recent political events (in the USA as well as closer to home), and the media coverage of them, have led some to reflect on the significance of George Orwell’s work. I see the point. Returning to Animal Farm (1945) recently myself I was struck, as others have been, by the rewriting of the agreed seven commandments of Animalism, by the ruling elite (the pigs). The seventh commandment which begins All animals are equal and becomes All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others is relevant not least in that: All British people are equal but some are more equal than others (and just as in Animal Farm it is the many rather than the few that are other/less equal. And it is the 1%/more equal whose privilege can even protect them from both the laws of the land and the demands of the tax office that the rest of us are subject to).

And then there’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). Any cursory dip into mainstream or social media gives us much fuel for comparison between our most powerful media and the propaganda machine at the heart of the novel: the infamous ‘Ministry of Truth’. Additionally, we know that Big Brother is not only watching but silencing us as the new surveillance law, or as it has been termed ‘The Snoopers Charter’, requires web and phone companies to store everyone’s browsing histories for 12 months and gives the police, security services and official agencies unprecedented access to the data. There are implications here for all of us, not least in terms of the investigative journalism that we have left.

I wonder what’s in your Room 101?  As a researcher of both patient and healthcare professional experience; as a daughter and wife of individuals who suffered cancer and heart disease; as a friend of people who care for young children and others who care for elderly parents; as a mid-life woman who already accesses screening services (and will likely access more in the future) and who has a health condition that will need monitoring and treatment for as long as I live the death of the NHS is high up on my list. Take a look at this Alan B’stard YouTube clip which is doing the rounds at the moment: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVltOSC0JMQ Sadly and frighteningly if it wasn’t for the laughter it would be easy to think this wasn’t a comedy sketch.

Staying with Orwell for a moment, anyone reading Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) or The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) and comparing the injustices and inequalities so evidence today to those described by Orwell in the 1930’s must surely ask themselves, as Orwell did ‘Why are we not all socialists?’ 

So as I said I see the point of these references but I’d like to suggest there were warnings in other iconic books. Just a brief review of a couple from my own childhood and youth.

John Wyndham’s 1957 novel The Midwich Cuckoos tells the story of an alien invasion of children born on the same day across the world; children who protect themselves as much as possible using a form of mind control. When the people in the village that is the focus of the book begin to understand what is going on they attempt to resist but to no avail as ‘the Children’ make the villagers attack each other. Sound familiar?

Ira Levin’s novel The Stepford Wives, published in 1972 focuses on the town of Stepford where ‘Diz’ (a previous Disney employee) is the ominous leader of

the Stepford Men’s Association and the power behind the Stepford phenomenon of the gynodisation of the women of the town. The popularity of The Stepford Wives is reflected not least in the classification of Stepford as an adjective: 
‘Relating to a person who has an unthinking. conformist, and uncritical attitude.’ 
www.wordspy.com/words/Stepford.asp Take note everyone.


SO: What’s propaganda got to do with it?
Answer: A LOT.

It is, I believe, the responsibility of all of us to keep challenging the dominant messages we are hearing and seeing and to keep offering the alternative. With this in mind  I watched a vlog by Giles Fraser this morning:

 ‘Maybe that;s why I am a fan of Jeremy Corbyn’ says @giles_fraser ‘…he seems like an 
        ordinary bloke, concerned with ordinary people’. #bbctw 

Please go to his twitter page and watch it too. Have a look as well at  #publicduty, the hashtag being used by individuals across health, education and beyond, warning us all of the consequences of five more years of the Conservatives: https://www.indy100.com/article/general-election-2017-tories-hashtag-publicduty-7703846

Turn LEFT and Make June the End of May.

You can follow Gayle on twitter at @GayleLetherby or at her webpage Arwenack Creatives | Gayle Letherby’s Blog

featured image by by Dave Brown political cartoonist
NB: with my friend and colleague Deborah Davidson I have previously used the Stepford analogy to reflect on the increasing corporatism of higher education: Davidson, Deborah and Letherby, Gayle ‘Heroes of Higher Education?: Stepford Wives, Non/Mothers and Academics’ Auto/Biography Study Group Conference, BSA, Reading University (July 2012)