The General Election Player Ratings 2017

As I have literally nothing original to add to this squalid, tawdry election, and certainly nothing that will change any of our bitter, ingrained mindsets, I thought I’d waste some of your valuable time rating various politicians and entities for a few cheap laughs. You’re welcome.

Main leaders

Theresa May – 10/10

Could not have asked for better from the PM. Since calling this election, May has diligently set about the task of tearing down her own facade with surgical precision. A visionary who has elevated the humble gaffe from a misplaced word in a speech to an 8 week rolling barrage of ineptitude.

In all likelihood, will still win, but with reputation permanently damaged. Has displayed so little strong and stable leadership that the party have had to ditch that entirely and try to swing back to Brexit, even rolling out Boris for good measure.

Highlights: Trying to position as the person to defeat terror and reduce immigration, having spent 6 years doing that exact job and achieving precisely nothing. Threatening longer prison sentences for terror offences to deter suicide attacks. The thing with the police. The thing with the elderly. Most of it really.

Jeremy Corbyn – 8/10

Decent man with sensible policies and easy manner proves surprisingly popular. Seems to have startled many, including his own party, by not referring to everybody as ‘comrade’ and proposing collective farms in the manifesto. Has made several high profile errors, admittedly in the 1970s, and this is apparently relevant. Is against nuking people, which is a bad thing. Will not make a good leader because he makes his own jam, listens to others and doesn’t shout constantly.

Highlights: Inspiring the youth, none of whom will vote tomorrow.

Other notable toerags

Diane Abbott – 30,000/10

I based this entire piece around that gag. In hindsight it was not worth it.

Paul Natalie – 2/10

Worse than the above, if that were possible.

The Daily Mail – 10/10

Vintage Mail. 13 whole pages in a single issue dedicated to attacking Labour. Paul Dacre must be on the verge of a heart attack or an orgasm at almost all times, which an image you won’t be able to unsee. His 3 readers must lap it up.

The Guardian – 1/10

Organised a year long hatchet job against Corbyn and then backed him. Who needs enemies when you have friends like these?

The internet, and most of us, including me – 1/10

Rare indeed is the discussion that doesn’t descend into a slanging match. There’s a familiar narrative to most online comment threads about politics in this country. Pro-Labour? Well, you’re living in a fantasy world, your lot are going to crash the economy, and you’re a soft little snowflake. Pro-Tory? Well, you’re scum and you want to murder the poor. Pro-anyone else? Wasting your vote, get out.

Rinse. Repeat.

We need to do better than this really, otherwise the Duplo bricks are going away and you’ll be grounded for a week. Oh, and also all elections will be as interminably miserable as this one forever more as nobody can countenance the merest hint of an opposing view and we all just hide behind our confirmation bias, hurling insults and whatever facts support our blinkered arguments, because there really is no better way to convince somebody you’re right than to call them an arsehole.

All we need to remember is:

Left wing does not equal stupid.

Right wing does not equal evil.

Opposing views can both be right.

We’re still not America.

Happy days.

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“Strong, stable leadership”, confirms May

“For the avoidance of doubt, strong, stable leadership”, continued the prime minister. “And if you’re unsure what I mean by that, I mean strong, stable leadership.”

And so it continues. On and on and on. What about the NHS? Strong, stable leadership. Brexit? Strong, stable leadership. What are you having for lunch? Strong, stable leadership. Anything else to add – any policies or stuff like that? Strong, stable leadership.

It’s unclear whether May is following a grand strategy or has simply suffered a stroke, but even by political standards this is getting a bit much. Slogans and soundbites are part and parcel of elections, but there’s a point where ‘message discipline’ starts to look quite a lot like bullshitting. We’re yet to hear anything of substance about what this actually means, as May and her MPs are too busy deflecting questions with this inane, meaningless line.

More than that, it’s actively damaging for people trying to make an informed choice on who to vote for. It’s hard to form opinions on who’s better-placed to take the country forward when the incumbent leader has morphed into Hodor from Game of Thrones.

“Strong, stable leadership”

Labour aren’t exactly succinct in summing up their positions, but at least they have them and try to discuss them, the commie bastards. The Lib Dems are crystal clear on theirs, they just happen to also, fatally, be the Lib Dems. Even UKIP have ‘policies’, sort of, in a kind of ‘shouty drunk family member everyone avoids’ sort of way. But the Tories? Strong, stable leadership.

To combat this in my own increasingly tortured mind, I’ve taught myself a sort of Pavlovian response. Every time I hear ‘strong and stable leadership’, I immediately think ‘Hodor!’, which I figure is equally meaningful. Give it a go. It’s oddly calming.

 

Hodor!

Voters caught between rock, hard place, various pointy objects, and large turd

And that’s exactly where Theresa May wants them.

“Mock my red, white and blue Brexit will you? Fine, but don’t be upset when I CRUSH you”, the Prime Minister probably didn’t say.

But possibly did.

So here we are then. Who do you pick from this cornucopia of idols, this raft of gods made human? Which of the deities on offer shall we humble Brits choose to part the waves of the Channel and give that there Europe what for? In case you’re in any doubt about the runners and riders, here is a quick summary:

  1. Theresa ‘fuck you all’ May – Champion of Tory ‘Battle Royale’ 2016. Victorious through a combination of backstabbing and Andrea Leadsom. Would stab own mother in back for small piece of cheese.
  2. Jeremy ‘fuck all chance’ Corbyn – Principled man with number of well considered policies. Gives balanced answers. As a result, will get annihilated.
  3. Tim ‘who the fuck’ Farron – Your guess as good as mine
  4. Paul ‘fuck off’ Nuttall – Fuck off. Only included him to say fuck off. Fuck off.

However will we pick from such a bountiful harvest? Christ, it makes Sophie’s Choice look easy.

Right, that’s the sweary bit over. Let’s try and extract something useful out of this farce.

On the plus side, this is funny

The reaction to the snap election – presumably called because we don’t have anything more pressing that we ought to concentrate on – has been interesting. If May has achieved nothing else, she has at least succeeded in at last uniting the country, albeit only in a long, weary, apathetic collective groan.

 

One of the biggest dangers of this election could be apathy. It feels like people are tired of politics, of the bickering, the infighting, the lies, the bullshit. I certainly am. A lot of people won’t want to vote for May and her band of Brexiteers’ vision of a future Britain. At the same time, people aren’t exactly going to be rushing to the polls to vote Labour or Lib Dem. We’re sorely lacking in politicians to get behind, politicians to trust and follow. The sentiment of ‘what’s the point, nothing changes, they’re all the same’ feels increasingly commonplace, and is understandable.

That said, I think it’s misplaced. Things do change. Political parties aren’t the same. Votes matter, and who you vote for matters too.

Think back to 2010, when the Tories came to power. Ever heard of a food bank in 2010? Nobody had, because they barely existed. The Trussell Trust gave out 40,000 emergency food supplies that year. By last year, they were giving out in excess of 1,100,000 – an almost 30-fold increase in just 7 years.

Homelessness? Doubled since 2010. Homelessness funding? Halved since 2010.

Can’t get a doctor’s appointment? This government has strangled spending increases in the NHS at an unprecedented rate.

Everywhere you look, public services have been cut for the most vulnerable. People we should value in society – teachers, doctors – are constantly asked to perform the impossible and consistently improve provision on less and less money. Who gets the blame when they can’t pull that rabbit from the non-existent hat? Certainly ain’t the government.

Have the Tories managed to cut the deficit as they promised? Have they fuck. It’s accelerated at a prodigious rate.

People have never felt poorer. More families are in poverty than ever. We’re a meaner, pettier, more hateful society than I can ever recall. We are big on rights and small on responsibilities. We rely on charity to do what the state ought to.

We kiss the arses of the worst men in the world because they might buy some guns off us. Our PM holds hands with the World’s Greatest Dickhead in the hope they’ll trade with us. British values? Please.

But don’t worry, the economy is in good shape. Record numbers of people can’t feed their kids, but hey ho, that’s just the market for you.

All the while, we’ve been merrily letting the richest off their taxes, and letting the most powerful corporations pay barely any tax at all. Given that tax is where the money for those doctors, teachers and other non-essentials comes from, this seems like an oversight at best.

And let’s not even get started on Brexit. What started as an attempt to quell an entirely Tory argument has led the country into a hilarious shitstorm the likes of which may of us have never known. No Tories, no Brexit. Simples.

So it’s wrong to think that votes don’t matter. It’s wrong to think that nothing changes whoever you vote for. Things change, massively – they just don’t change overnight. Now I’m not suggesting that a vote the other way would lead to a glorious Utopia whre we all hold hands and sing songs – but there is a lot in the above that simply would not have happened with a Lib/Lab government. Sure, there would have been other problems, undoubtedly – but I can’t see how we would be in quite such a mess with any other party.

The Labour/Lib Dem options are hardly appealing. But they’re better than what we’ve got at the moment, they could hardly be more damaging. So much as I would like to sit this election out, eating tiramisu with a long spoon, I’m going to vote for one of them. I don’t even mind which – just whoever is stronger in my own constituency. And it will be a wholly joyless experience.

Yay, democracy!

Nothing to see here. Carry on.

It’s been, somehow, 8 months since my last post on these pages.

8 months.

I’ve been thinking about the reasons for such an extended absence. The obvious suspects are ‘the twins’: namely endemic laziness and a permanent sense that everything you write is shite of the highest order and your entire readership is just your mum visiting from an exotic range of browsers. These, however, are neither new nor unique, so let’s discount them.

After deep thought and intensive study of current affairs, I have concluded that, startlingly, absolutely nothing of note has occurred in the world since last September. Nothing at all. No material to work with.

I know, I was shocked too. However, I feel as though it is my duty to offer a quick recap on some events that have happened – simply so as to bring the reader up to speed on global affairs. Be warned – I expect this to be a particularly dry and uninteresting list, which should be considered educational in nature. If you are a teacher or other authority figure to the youth, these facts could make a reasonable pop quiz for toddlers, or potentially form part of a three hour exam for the under-5s.

In the UK

Overall, a few trifling issues to report.

On Europe – There has been a small kerfuffle in the Conservative party. As far as I can tell, the Tories have had enough of their current leader and would like another small-minded, braying wanker to replace him. Instead of doing this through the normal channels, they’re embracing democracy and asking the whole country to vote on their favourite. Oh and also whether or not we should be leave the EU.

But mainly the ‘who leads the Tories’ thing. On one side are Cameron and Osborne and a cadre of assorted cronies. Opposing them are Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan Smith, who coincidentally also make up the answers to the popular game ‘Name the absolute worst three people you can think of’.

As mentioned, this seems to be about leadership of a political party as opposed to the EU. Of the 137 Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem MPs supporting Vote Leave, 130 of them are Conservative. Overall, however, there is very little information on the actual EU referendum to be had aside from lies, lies and more lies.

Thankfully there is only one sensible option to vote for so this almost definitely won’t have major, life-altering implications for any of us. And as if to help us pick the right option, Johnson and friends have surrounded themselves with a motley collection of odious bastards, and Nigel Farage. They’re even considering flying in nasty horrible racists like Marine Le Pen from around Europe to really hammer home their ‘you really shouldn’t support us’ credentials, as well as demonstrate a pleasingly poor grasp of irony.

In Health, doctors have had a bit of a disagreement with Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary. Quite why they, the experts, think they know better than Hunt, a man with exactly, exactly the same facial expressions as Dougal from Father Ted, is beyond me. Noted simpleton Hunt has concluded, after perhaps seconds of deep thought, that doctors don’t seem to work very hard and maybe they should work more, maybe also for less cash and maybe also at earlier, later and more weekend-y times than they currently do.

When doctors pointed out that they work at these times, get paid fuck all and literally cannot do any more hours without physically killing people, Hunt decided to put his fingers in his ears and sing loudly to drown out the sound, then carry on with his plan to impose an unworkable contract on an exhausted and underfunded workforce. Should the doctors’ unprecedented industrial action fail, they will just have to hope that a contract written in crayon is not legally binding.

Jeremy Hunt in his thinking jumper

Jeremy Hunt in his thinking jumper

In Education, see above, except Jeremy Hunt has longer hair and is called Nicky Morgan, and doctors are called teachers, but pretty much the same dynamic is playing out.

In world news

Some French and Belgian guys have attacked bits of their own countries. Therefore, immigrants and refugees should be banned. Look, it doesn’t have to make sense ok?

In the US, there’s a presidential nomination campaign going on and for the Republicans the frontrunner is a man who looks like every picture I ever drew at nursery and speaks like a Microsoft chatbot. His policies comprise: shouting, shouting words, shouting other words. He is the least extreme Republican candidate, and whilst scary, is scary in the same way as a monkey wielding a potato masher.

Potential for some damage, but the poor thing doesn’t actually know what it’s doing. Professionals will handle it.

In Environment news, the world is heating at an unprecedented rate, but look on this as an opportunity to get a crazy good tan on your next trip to Glamorgan.

Finally, in Celebrity, everyone your parents adored is dead. This is also hard for you, as you’ve had to quickly brush up on Bowie songs and learn that Prince was from Minnesota so as not to miss out on the mandatory outpouring of grief. Who cares if you only know them principally from cameos in Zoolander, the world has lost a genius and Twitter needs to hear your pain.

So, as you can see, not much to report. All pretty normal, cheerful stuff. Definitely no impending apocalypse. I’ll keep tabs on anything else that crops up so you don’t have to, and we’ll aim for an update in another 8 months or so.

In the meantime, if you need me I’ll be stocking up on provisions, building a needlessly cramped concrete bunker, weeping inconsolably and learning to scavenge for local London sustenance like wild herbs and fried chicken.

Those survivalists might look mental, but perhaps, grudgingly, they had a point.

Labour confusing words again

The Labour Party – Britain’s premier right of centre left wing political party – has started mixing up its words and phrases again.

As the Labour leadership election contest heats up, many prominent bigwigs have become somewhat lost in the moment and completely lost track of their vocabulary.

The most obvious and oft-repeated mistake of recent days has been the use of the word ‘credible’, where in fact the phrase ‘an utter bastard’ ought to have been deployed.

Key examples include:

labour

 

As well as a fairly widespread attempt to label frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn as “not credible”. In a lightly more complex misunderstanding, many big beasts within the party have apparently, somehow, been using the word ‘electable’ in place of the common phrase, “exactly like the Tories, except wearing a red tie”. Journalists recently recorded a conversation between Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson which shows how commonplace this mis-speech has become:

Blair: This Corbyn fellow – do we think he’d make a good leader?

Mandelson: Well, let’s see. He’s had about 60% of the vote in his constituency for the last 32 years so he must be doing something right.

Blair: That’s good – is he credible though?

Mandelson: No. He’s not a fan of having a large and costly arsenal of those vital nuclear weapons we so desperately need, he’s against selling off literally everything we have, and for some reason he doesn’t think migrants are the cause of all of our problems.

Blair: This sounds bad. I dread to ask, but which countries does he want to bomb?

Mandelson: None of them Tony. None at all. Not even the really oily ones.

Blair: Sweet lord. Please tell me he’s at least electable Peter?

Mandelson: That’s just the thing Tony – I’ve never even seen him in a tie.

Blair: Well this could be a total disaster, we’ll never attract the UKIP vote with that kind of attitude. Tell you what, let’s use our overwhelming publicly popularity to speak out and bury this rabble rouser.

Mandelson: Great idea. And if for some unthinkable reason that doesn’t work, let’s suggest we cancel the election altogether until Corbyn dies and we get a leader who is credible. That would send a great message and not make us look even remotely stupid.

Blair: You’ve still got it Peter. Now, which one of these orphans should we kick next?

Labour does have form in this area – most notably during the reign of Blair when they started using the term ‘has millions of massive nuclear weapons pointed at us RIGHT NOW’ in place of ‘is totally unarmed’ – so this latest episode is not altogether surprising.

Perhaps Corbyn’s radical ideas are just too scary for many to contemplate – a more equal society, a move away from the pursuit of naked profit at all costs, pointing out that perhaps all the money doesn’t need to be shared between about 4 people, spending more cash on schools than on massive tanks – these are all things that surely no ordinary voter could ever align to.

We don’t need a genuine alternative to right wing politics in the UK. What this country surely needs is a Labour party headed by an identikit politician that works hard for the rich and the middle classes, shows a bit of flirtatious ankle to our hard-working billionaires, and installs a death ray that sweeps over Calais roughly every fifteen minutes.

If they don’t fight for these necessities, who will?

Wait! We can still salvage something from this! Oh, wait…

…we can’t. Bugger.

Nick's happiest day

Nick Clegg seems to have had a pretty rough week. In fact, the only person in the whole world who has had a rougher week seems to be the late world hide and seek champion. And, like said elusive hate-mongerer, Clegg and the Lib Dems appear to be all at sea. (N.B.: The alternative joke there was that like said hate-mongerer the Lib Dems needed this week like a hole in the head. Thanks Osama, you’re a goldmine.)

Evidence of this hilariously predictable turn of events can be found by casual scrutiny of Nick Clegg’s face, and the party in general might be best summed up this over-ambitious outdoorsman. So close, but then he never stops sliding.

In a cruel electoral double-whammy, Nick and friends lost somewhere in the region of a billion council seats, and then promptly lost one of the most winnable referenda in human history simply by having their names attached to it.

Perhaps that’s a little unfair. There were maybe three major factors why AV got utterly routed on Thursday:

  1. The Yes campaign was as effective as the Pakistani intelligence service
  2. The No campaign was as effective as the US Navy Seals
  3. Nick Clegg said he liked it.

Which is a shame really, and definitely an opportunity missed for something approaching a fairer system. When the next debate about the voting system swings around in fifty years or so, I hope the proponents of change will look back at the way this one was conducted. And then do the exact, polar opposite. Seriously, you propose a half-arsed version of electoral reform, market it by assuming everybody is going to vote yes so you can save on those expensive leaflets and commercials, let the opposition tell outright lies and respond with a wall of indignant silence while their slimy propaganda sinks into the public conscience, make no attempt to ever explain why FPTP is crap, agree to hold the election on a weekday, when everybody is, y’know, working and have better things to do than worry about voting, agree to hold the vote in the midst of swingeing public cuts when faith in politics is at an all time low and then get the most despised political figure in the country to offer very public support for the cause, a man so distrusted that turkeys would vote for Christmas if he told them not to.

“Say, Moira, I see that Nick Clegg on telly telling us not to cut off our own feet. Isn’t that something?”

“Yes, that scarf will make a fine tourniquet. Thanks, darling.”

Utterly hopeless.

On the plus side, the Apprentice starts next week. Which means I can link to this, the finest video ever made.