There has been a lot of renewed speculation in recent days, following the local government elections, about the need for IDs in order to prove ones identity and rights as a voter.
Many years ago, I worked with someone who (initially) refused to wear an identity card at our place of employment, as he felt that it was up to our employer to prove that he was not entitled to work there, rather than the other way round. At the time, I had some sympathy with his view but, with the passage of time and that the world has dramatically changed in terms of terrorism and (although not necessarily related) immigration (for example), we clearly need some mechanism by which we can prove who we are and others can challenge that, if needs be.
It seems that, however small the number of cases are, that there is a degree of fraud in voting either in local or general elections. There are cases of people pretending to be someone else, individuals who are not citizens trying to vote and people voting on behalf of others, often whole families. None of these are acceptable or part of British culture. If they had happened in previous generations there would have been an uproar. There is an argument that if even one vote is ‘illegal’, the whole democratic system is flawed and we should strive hard to ensure that even that is not the case.
I do not, now, subscribe to all the fuss about ‘rights’, as with those rights come responsibilities. As many other democratic nations have IDs and have moved on in their ideologies, it seems that tightening up the democratic system is entirely possible. It also does not seem beyond our imagination to have some form of IT recognition, passwords, optical recognition, fingerprints of whatever to aid in the ‘crusade for perfection’ in the democratic process and balance the rights and responsibilities as well as scrutiny in being part of it.
Well, 48 hours after some local councils and seats were up for grabs, there seems to be a surprising status quo, with very little change and all parties crowing about their successes and, in the case of Labour, a much repeated and well briefed “solid performance “. It is quite remarkable that Labour have not done much better given the status of the government and the criticisms of their performance generally and more specifically on Brexit. Usually at this stage of a government, you would expect a massive ‘swing’ away from them, but not so in this case.
Various people are suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn and his type of politics may have reached its ‘sell by date’ or that his ‘bubble’ has burst. I wonder if it is more that the younger voters, who supported Labour at the General Election and who may not have properties or recognise (local) services, did not bother to vote? In terms of Labour’s ability to bounce back when it really counts, only time will tell.
It seems amazing to me that someone who can only pluck a few strings on a guitar and churn out largely the same turgid so called music over many decades, could possibly be made a Companion of Honour. Just looking at many of the truly great and talented people who have been so awarded in the past, merely magnifies his void in talent or qualities one would expect for and from such a distinguished group. It never ceases to amaze me how the myth of the Beatles and its 4 members survived so long. They were, still are and will always be a very shallow expression of ‘music’ even in its broadest sense.
The Windrush issue continues to plague the news and, along with so many other minority issues, seems to occupy a hugely disproportionate amount of time in the media and in Parliament. Parliament, the media and society more generally, are giving far too much ‘airtime’ to these minority issues and in many cases individuals and, as a consequence, losing sight of the many issues that affect the majority of British people. Parliament ins particular should focus on government and not raising and discussing individual grievances. The job of MPs is and should be to gather these up in a coherent form and present them to Parliament as such.
Talking of MPs, it was once suggested to me that a ‘good manager’ should justify their existence away from their team, on their return, by gathering them together and explaining to them how their absence had added value to them and their output. I have often wondered why constituents don’t insist on that from their MPs, whilst they are away from their constituency?
Let me begin by saying that the circumstances surrounding the death of Stephen Lawrence 25 years ago must have been horrific for him, his family and his friends.
My concern is to question the appropriateness of a ‘national day’ for one individual in these circumstances. After all, there have been many many others who have been murdered for what they are, or they represented, both white and black – Kriss Donald in Glasgow along with Richard Everett and Lee Rigby in London spring to mind, to ‘balance the books’. Personally, I would also question the motivation behind the fact that it is 25 years ago and maybe it’s time to move on? The point has clearly been made as both his parents and especially his mother, are now part of the ‘establishment’.
To develop this issue, I have noticed that many politicians and especially those in government and more widely in Parliament (predominantly on the ‘left’), have resorted to focusing on individuals and individual causes and cases. They raise individual (often named) cases in Parliament and at ‘Prime Minister’s Questions’ and, as above, we now have national days (paid for by the tax payer) for individuals. Surely the purpose of government and MPs is to collect and collate individual cases and present them as issues in a constituency or national context. If we spend too much time on individual cases (and for that matter referendums) the role and purpose of Parliament (and MPs) becomes degraded, devalued and eroded and the governance of the country and government is diluted.
Today, a statue to Millicent Fawcett is being unveiled in Parliament Square. This may be a different case/cause, but my concern is that it is being driven by a feminist cause (which so often is, by nature, one driven by misandry) rather than recalling the ‘mission’ she represented. If this is the case, this is sad, as it is of national importance to us all. I would also criticise the ‘art’ in the statue, as it lacks the subtlety of those around it. Most of the statues in Parliament Square are of people who said a lot, had a lot to say and is memorable, but they are not holding up banners, which I appreciate the Suffragists and Suffragettes did, of course. The words inscribed on the plinth would have been adequate, as with the staggeringly haunting Edith Cavell on the edge of Trafalgar Square. The images of another 50 or so individuals (who of course have to be mentioned!) also spoil the statue…and set a worrying precedent.
Well, the big day for ‘music lovers’ has come…and gone. The programme for the “largest classical music festival in the world” is out today and continues the downward trend toward some form of ‘cross-over’ music prostituting itself under the guise of ‘classical music’. There are some truly ‘classical music’ concerts, don’t get me wrong, but there is no way that the entire programme is ‘classical’ or even in some cases “music” and then there is the usual liberal dose of BBC ‘virtue signalling’…which some may call propaganda or even brainwashing. It is so sad and the abuse of Sir Henry Wood’s concept for the Proms has been hijacked and polluted by the BBC long ago. He must be turning in his grave.
I switched on BBC Radio 4 as usual this morning to listen to the over-dramatised regurgitation of the same issues as yesterday and the day before…pretending to be NEWs. Suddenly and to my amazement, I heard the dulcet tones of Billy Bragg (who I can’t abide even for a few minutes) spouting his marxist theories for the salvation of mankind. Nothing new there I thought, but as always I wondered what he was ‘selling’…a lot of the BBC output these days are in fact trailers or adverts for their forthcoming programmes. So, I was firstly dumbfounded and then horrified to hear that this was indeed a trailer, but not for a BBC programme. It was in fact for a “speech” he was giving on (marxist) economics…AT THE BANK OF ENGLAND this afternoon, in London. I almost fell off my chair…as I did when I listened to his claptrap on YouTube this afternoon, which I did in order to reassure myself of my personal assessment of this dangerous man and his ideals. I can only assume he wrote the speech…because he read it…in his opulent study in his (by most people’s measure) ‘small Marxist palace’ or, perhaps, Dacha would be a better word.
Incidentally, Billy Bragg calls himself a “musician”, so it got me thinking as to whether he would ever appear at the BBC Proms, given the direction I mentioned earlier. Given the BBC and it’s ‘leftie’ views, I guess that is highly likely.
I have read a number of posts on Twitter recently that have encouraged me to write this short blog, which some are likely to feel is somewhat of a diatribe.
These Twitter posts are not infrequent and reflect views clearly and widely held, that so-called ‘popular music’ is…and should be seen as… ‘on a par’ with music that is commonly described as ‘classical music’. Such a myth has been developed and encouraged by the ‘music industry’ (and in the case of the Beatles, by the city of ‘Liverpool’) over the last few decades and has meant an almost universal brainwashing of global citizens that this is indeed the case and that it is all accepted as ‘music’.
In the strict sense of a definition, of course, much of it is ‘music’, but the key issue for me is whether ‘art’ and especially ‘great art’ (of any type) is determined by the level of great (public and massed) adulation OR by its great content and quality. For me it is and should always be the latter.
It just cannot be, that even the ‘great’ Beatles, who managed to strum a few naive, repetitive and bland chords on a guitar to accompany some arguably catchy lyrics, could possibly be compared with even the weaker output of, say, JS Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky or such composers. This is, frankly, an insult to anyone with reasonable senses or sensibilities.
So how have we arrived and this ludicrous point in civilisation given that, up to now and especially following the ‘age of enlightenment’, things have generally move forward and improved. I don’t have the answer for this ‘u-turn’ in our development as human beings, but it is clearly accelerating downwards based even on a cursory analysis of, say, Spotify. There we see a lot that makes even the Beatles look vaguely acceptable.
I just had to post these magnificent photos I saw today…amazing!
Well, it seems that that Labour Party continues to decline! Barry Gardiner is using Hebrew words to describe the Good Friday Agreement! An interesting mix of errors given their recent antisemitic scandals and the sensitivities about Brexit. I see that Maureen Lipman has joined the debate and may even been considering a shift to the Tories!
There seem to be a lot of calls for a new ‘centre party’ at the moment. Certainly it needs to happen now, if it is going to emerge to give it time to mature in time for the next General Election.
Things seem to be deteriorating in and around Syria. Lots of warmongering from the US. Let’s hope we don’t get sucked in again as the parties involved are very complex, possibly more so than in, say, Iraq. I guess the main issue is whether this is more about Russia than Syria?
Since the ‘attack’ in Salisbury, the issue around chemical weapons has ‘met the public eye’ once more. I have never quite understood the ‘additional emotion’ around these ‘weapons of war’, over and above, say, tanks, bombs, nuclear weapons, nail bombs etc etc. Is that ‘additional emotion’ because of the potential of/for ‘collateral damage’? I wonder also whether the use of the word “war” should be defined by (and only used when there is) a willingness to accept collateral damage as a consequence of action?
The BBC are giving a lot of profile to a so-called work of art by Tracey Emin that has been unveiled in that glory of neo-gothic architecture that is St Pancras station in London. On her own admission on the Today programme on Radio 4, it’s a clear anti-Brexit statement for arrivals in London to see when they step off their Eurostar train from France. I wonder what would happen if I asked the station authorities if I could put up a large pro-Brexit poster? Would it help if I called it ‘art’?!