what could we possibly do?

I shouldn’t have to state this proviso at the start of this blog but society has it’s knickers in such a twist that I feel I have to.
What happened in Manchester was terrible…sickeningly terrible and it just shouldn’t have happened…. but it did.
As a fellow human being…that kinda shouldn’t need to be said unless we’re at a stage where anyone who doesn’t say it is immediately on the side of ‘the terrorists’….
Whats that?
We ARE at that stage…oh yeah…I forgot.

I honestly don’t understand the emotional tsunami that has swept the country…a big wave with a blow up Princess Diana riding the crest. Once I was sure none of my Northern rellies or friends were involved (well…when I say make sure…I saw them posting on facebook so I presumed they weren’t)…. and seeing as the closest I’ve ever been to central Manchester was a trip to the theatre once… I decided that I’d leave the grieving to those closer to the event and those who are suffering as a direct result.

On a scale of empathy and sympathy I’ll place Manchester a bit above the 68 children who as result of a suicide bomb in Syria last month but that’s just a natural reaction based on geography. But also in my thoughts is the suicide bomber himself (… and his family…and their community). What makes a young man…because that’s what he was…not a monster…a young man… what makes a young man do a horrendous thing like this not just to other people – but to himself?

Right…moving along… which is what most people are doing by now…except politicians who for some reason unlike policemen, nurses, doctors, teachers, mechanics, sales assistants etc etc are taking a little holiday from campaigning out of respect – which is nonsensical…. it’s almost as if they are admitting that it’s politics that brought about the event….
oh…. yes…they kinda did.

Anyway perhaps a more enlightened and sensible reaction from our government would be ‘to do something about it’…I know…me and my strange ideas eh?

I grew up in the days of the IRA bombing the fuck out of places – there were all sorts of names the IRA were called but I’m not sure ‘terrorist’ was bandied around like it is now. Living in Blackpool and having party conferences in town the risk felt very real, bomb scares in shops and an Irish friend at college being arrested out on a photography brief from college because he had the wrong accent and a camera…and of course my Auntie who reported an IRA cell working in the garage across the road.
My ex- narrowly missed the Birmingham bomb…a choice of two pubs and luckily she chose the right one for a birthday drink.

We lived through it…we coped… we got over it and without the internet it didn’t become a hysterical grief-fest of ‘self important disaster wanking’ (thanks De for that lovely turn of phrase).

But we are where we are as opposed to where we were – so – as the title above says… what can we possibly do?

Now, again, call me a radical thinker (or call me a heartless terrorist sympathiser – I don’t much care which) but I was thinking this morning that all those radicalised Irish Catholics (funded by American sympathisers) don’t seem to want to bomb us any more… so let’s think…. what’s changed?

Oh yes… a peace process happened.

Everyone sat down over a cup of tea, a few beers, a plate of bourbon biscuits and Mo Mowlan’s wig and sorted things out.
Of course it wasn’t ‘quite’ that simple…but that’s the gist – you have to understand what makes young men (and it does tend to be young men in the main) go out and do this shit – you have to talk to them (or at least their representatives)…. you have to realise why they’re pissed off enough to kill people and you have to somehow come to an understanding of each other.

I suspect Jeremy Corbyn has more of a grasp of why the IRA doesn’t bomb us nowadays than Theresa May does – and despite what The Sun says…I think that understanding is a good thing.

Whereas Theresa May just knows how to posture and threaten to hit things with a big stick… and politics in the Middle East are beyond threats… we are already part of hitting out almost randomly with a big stick and until that stops… until we change foreign policy we are going to keep getting young men in this country who feel so alienated from the people they live amidst that they blow themselves up and take many, many other people with them.

It’s a tangled political web….. but you don’t start to unravel it and begin a peace process by continuing to kill people or by selling arms to other people who kill people.

slightly simplified guide to politics No.54

The Labour Party seems to be in a dark confused place but it seems to me that they have two clear choices. (if anyone knows of a third way keep it to yourself…we tried that third way shit with Blair and look where it’s gotten us).

1.The Party can split into what is essentially ‘Blue Labour’ and ‘Red Labour’ (though at least one of them will have to come up with a catchier name) thus splitting the non-Tory vote still further and having 0% chance of becoming the next government. Especially if the General Election is called early.

2.They can have a leadership election – or not have a leadership election-  either way Jeremy Corbyn will be the leader of the party. They can all get behind him, support the party and have anywhere between a 10% and a 99% chance of becoming the next government (both those numbers are bigger than 0% chance…and the more they grow the fuck up and get over themselves the closer to 99% chance it will be.

Actually the third option is perhaps the one I’d like but it starts with Blair being tried as a war criminal and ends happily ever after with Blue Labour cast adrift clinging to the bloated, decomposing body of Rupert Murdoch to keep themselves afloat whilst Jeremy Corbyn, is at the heart of a new Progressive political alliance with the Greens and anyone else sensible who doesn’t want to drain the life and spirit out of the people of Britain any further.

political indecision

I didn’t join the Labour Party when my husband did last year to support Jeremy Corbyn’s rise to leader – I was a disaffected Labour voter who had joined the Greens in order to give my practical support and enthusiasm to ‘someone’ with sensible policies I could mostly stand behind for the 2015 general election.

Since then my Green Party membership lapsed and I didn’t renew it….I’ve sat back and watched the Labour Party.

I like that Corbyn has inspired a new generation of Labour voters. He’s re-engaged people with politics. He’s happy to have people working on his team who don’t always agree with him yet at the same time he doesn’t back down often on his own principles. When he does have to compromise for the good of the party he does it quietly and lets other people take the lead and make the party’s case.

And under him Labour has won by-elections.

He’s not flash, he’s not very media friendly…. he’s a good man who is truthful, honest and principled and that is what draws people to him as those qualities are sorely lacking in politics.
I can sort of see that if you are the sort of MP who needs a line manager with a corporate message then as a leader he may not be the best but I suspect he’s always there for his colleagues if you knock on his door and want to talk something through….
…but I don’t really know.

Anyway…. I was on the cusp of re-joining the Labour party after a long absence when, like hysterical teenagers a wave of cabinet members resigned.

My first thought was to join the party anyway…quick this time to add my vote to Corbyn’s already massive members’ mandate should there be a leadership election.

But no.

I’m going to wait.

My time away from Labour was spent voting Liberal (until they got in bed with the Tories and I felt I had to give Nick Clegg a swift kick for student fees).

I think I may be the voting equivalent of a serial monogamist…. but whatever I am I am a supporter who is always ready to put my enthusiasm where my vote is. To join a party. To post leaflets…to engage.. not just put a cross in a box next to the right name.

I’m going to wait now to see who I’m going to put my energy behind when the political dust settles.

And in the meantime I’ll probably engage with the Ely Progressives…. for all that I’m not sure quite which party to get behind I KNOW it’ll never be the Tories.

somebody find a grown up….

…you know that moment in life where you suddenly realise you ARE the grown-up and you have to grit your teeth and gird your loins (impressively both at once) and just get on and do the thing(s) you have to do.

The whole Corbyn debacle is making me feel that there’s a huge number of people who are sitting at home following twitter/facebook/the news/whatever thinking is there a grown up we can turn to?…someone important…powerful….someone who can just say ‘stop – this is all very silly and undemocratic’.

It’s all just getting ridiculous…there’s ice-cream and jelly flying about, the cat’s covered in cake where’s the grown up?….it was fun until I got a fig roll in my eye…just somebody make it stop.

There’s an old guy wearing a vest and good intentions but he’s the reason for the creamy maelstrom…he certainly can’t make it stop.

Come on….someone important just admit it’s all gone a bit far and it’s all a bit messy…someone?…please? Mum?

But no….. my mum is 89 and has dementia and I know there’s no point ringing her up to ask what the flour to suet ratio is for dumplings anymore.

I’m the grown up…. I nowadays look up a recipe online and feel a little bit sad for my mum and a little bit bereft for me and try not to throw cake (or dumplings) because it’ll surely be me who has to clear up the mess.

So…. I’m looking at our political elite…our media….. I’m watching a political party implode itself with dishonesty, cheating, spin, smears and lies and I know we have to be the grown ups….

…but I’ll be beggered if I know what to do.