Bummer

Well if we thought that the fall out from Brexit was a bit shit, that is nothing compared to the morning after the Trump before.

Here we are with a English synonym for fart heading up the world’s favourite democracy, after a campaign in which he showered anyone who wasn’t white and male with shit, and generally made the world simultaneously laugh at the US for their stupidity, and shiver inside if there was a chance he’d win.

Well, win he did. I’ve just had a look at a couple of NYT headlines and it’s apparent that  something went badly wrong (again) with polling because no-one saw that coming. My theory about modern polling is that instead of being a descriptor of how people are feeling in the moment, people are looking to polling as a sort of political weather forecast: so if the political weather is moving rightwards they have the confidence to go out with their political umbrella and vote the crap out of whichever wackjob they fancy…. safe in the knowledge, gleaned from the polls, that they won’t be alone.

Trumps supporters were clearly pissed off with the establishment in the US (just as those who voted for Brexit were largely putting a cross next to ‘fuck you’ on the ballot). Clinton was most likely perceived as a ‘same shit, different day’ candidate and, dear god, a woman to boot. The racism, misogyny, childishness and idiocy of their chosen candidate was not viewed as a problem – indeed it was likely that the more folk were told that they were dumb to pick him, the more likely they were to pick Trump. Nobody likes to be told that they are dumb.

Now there are a few things that we could learn from this (and Brexit). One: that a lot of normal people are not enjoying the benefits of our modern democracies. Their wages have stagnated, often their jobs are insecure, local shops are stuffed with cheap stuff from overseas (which is most likely where the few remaining jobs are heading) and life is not likely to get better for their kids. Two: that when governments, presidents, MP’s, Eurocrats and politicians of every stripe get into power nothing changes  – life stays exactly the same despite promises to the contrary. Three: that the press/media are more than happy to help identify who is to blame in this situation – but they themselves largely comprise members of the establishment or capitalists, who are (let’s face it) unlikely to put themselves forward as the ‘evil ones’. SO.. Five: When the world has a problem with capitalism it had been known to lurch rightwards and seek enemies within.

We could take all this on board and try to change the life chances of the majority, we could share around the benefits of capitalism more equally, we could reign in the powers of the rightwing ideologues who head up the press and media, we could make democracy do what its supposed to do (i.e. represent the people and work for them).

But the chances are that we won’t. Many people in the establishment will take this as confirmation that the voters are indeed as thick as pigshit, and that that if they want to be Trumped (which they clearly do) they are going to be Trumped good and hard. All those turkeys who voted for Christmas are going to find out what happens next (clue – it involves being stuffed and carved). It will give comfort to the racists (that the majority appear to agree with them), hope to misogynists (tremble if you are a woman) and fuel to nationalist paranoia. This is unlikely to end well.

The only consolation to liberals and lefties this morning is that compared to the US, the UK isn’t quite as bad. Yet.

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Teeth

I recently visited the Facebook of the right wing Monmouth Tory David Davies MP to take issue with his suggestion that dental examinations should be used to prove the age of teenagers looking for refuge in the UK. I suggested that demanding that we see the teeth of migrants was sinister and rather called to mind the Nazi’s looking at the teeth of Jews during the hellish genocide in the mid-20th century.

I was immediately attacked for trying to allow ‘rapists’ and ‘terrorists’ into our schools and country (or a small number of under 18 year olds if you get your news from somewhere other than the Mail and the Sun) and told to stop exaggerating by comparing the succession of racist horrors in the UK to the actions of the Nazi’s and their countrywide supporters in Germany. This was on the one hand an insult to those who died and an insult to them (as upright citizens) who were merely pointing out the ‘facts’.

History teaching in the UK, as I know to my cost, is not always very good. All I learnt during my years in school was a little about the Romans in York, Henry 8th and the development of the Spinning Jenny. But I have read a lot of books and watched quite a lot of serious telly so I have made up for some deficiencies in my knowledge, but I accept that I may have got it wrong vis a vis how genocide happened in Germany.

Apparently it must have happened like this – 1942 WW2 starts and overnight suddenly everyone is a Nazi in Germany, Hitler dies, the war ends and its all back to normal with everyone suddenly respecting the Jews, Romany’s, homosexuals, communists, trade unionists and mentally/physically disabled people. And of course it’s been a forward march to enlightenment ever since.

I thought (in my ignorance) that hatred for Jews and minorities had been built up over time with smaller humiliations and losses of dignity, insults and other-ing, hate speech and intolerance – long before the machinery of the the Holocaust was in place. That bigotry and prejudice set the background for horrendous policies that should still shame everyone that took part in them (and everyone who knew what was happening – and did nothing).

We are not Hitler’s Germany yet, but I am not reassured that we are any more civilised, tolerant and forgiving than we were less than a century ago. And if we cannot be more welcoming to people who need our help now, and if we continue to tolerate bigoted and xenophobic speech, who can say with any confidence that we will avoid a repetition of the Holocaust.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Please read….

To the Parliamentary Labour Party
Some years ago, pounding the streets of my local town, trying to get Labour elected we frequently despaired of the PLP and the establishment media. The former gave us nothing to doorstep with: even deeply unpopular policy like the spare bedroom tax remained unchallenged until the end of the parliament, many MP’s had voted for a ‘welfare’ bill that was cruel and damaging – and what did the Labour leadership do? Nothing.
Meanwhile, the establishment media disembowelled the Labour party and because our supporters aren’t tax-avoiding millionaire peers, there was no prospect of counteracting the stories (or lies) that passed for news. My fellow canvasser and I were convinced that the only way to win people over to Labour was to build a grass roots Labour movement based on socialist values, and the conversations we had with people on the doorstep. We needed to offer help, but have a framework and an ideology (if you will) to deliver the help that was needed. 
I never voted for Tony Blair – much of that was down to being cussed, but I was also overseas through the greater part of his incumbency (which included being in Dubai when he bombed Iraq. Nobody in the ME gave any credence to the WMD btw). I remember being excited that we finally had a Labour government, but successive years of governance showed Mr.Blair’s Labour to be a chimera: we had a mandate for change and the country had an appetite for new policy, but all the Labour party gave them was the same old same old. Capitalism and big business did bloody well out of UK plc, the Labour party gave the poor ‘compensation’ and “stuffed their mouths” with tax credits. I loathed Tony Blair by the end of his stay in power, didn’t have much time for blundering Gordon and was heartsick about my Labour party.
I voted for Ed Miliband and hoped for the best, but he lost his political fire so quickly I wondered if it had ever burnt at all. He was destroyed by the press of course, but also by a Labour party that no longer understood what it was there for.
Let me be clear, we are not about giving capitalism the reins and making life a wee bit easier for the poor and left behind. We are not about dismantling the social security system in cahoots with the Tories. We should be happy to re-nationalise utilities and transport (we know that nationalised power and transport can work, as we have several other country’s nationalised power and trains making money over here) and we should make sure that the NHS remains free – free to use and free from the taint of privatisation. This is self-evident to me, but I couldn’t see any evidence at the last leadership election that these were the core values of the candidates. Kendall, Cooper and  Burnham all filled me with despair: Andy at least was prepared to countenance mentioning re-nationalising the railways. Kendal simply stated that she was not a Tory (while giving no evidence to counteract this impression), Cooper appeared to say, I’m a woman so I must be Labour. 
I wondered if there was an alternative to voting Labour – but of course there is none. I prepared to put a peg on my nose and vote for the least awful option. 
And then Jeremy Corbyn snuck onto the ballot. I remember a talking over a cup of coffee to a friend. We discussed the horribleness of the line-up and the late appearance of a traditional socialist on the ballot. This is how we framed it at the time – we know he can’t win, but god, it would be tempting to vote just to see what would happen.
As the numbers improved for Jeremy, I decided to vote for him. I didn’t know anything about him other than his left-wing politics. I knew he was a dedicated constituency MP and a rabble rouser and it was that combination which sealed it for me. Kendall would never rouse a rabble, Cooper wouldn’t know a genuinely socialist policy at 3 paces, Burnham would always follow the crowd.
Jeremy won. I was happy to support the Labour party again. I knew that the settling-in period for Corbyn would be tough, but I assumed that he would be given a grace period and help from the rest of the PLP.
How wrong I was. From the start he was briefed against, plotted against, rubbished by his own party, and the whispering campaign was supported by the left/liberal press so there was few voices raised in his support. It was horrifying to see how far adrift the PLP were from the people who did their legwork, knocked the doors for them and paid the dues that got them elected. The PLP seemed to think that losing 2 elections was some sort of ‘victory’ for how they ‘did’ things – as opposed to a damning indictment of their misunderstanding of the voters. 
The voters wanted credible, passionate politics and they wanted change. The PLP seemed to think that this meant the same sh*t in a different suit. 
And then Brexit came along. The Tory’s great big, enormous pile of steaming division and an open goal for a united Labour party.  But the chicken coup happened instead. And the PLP even screwed that up.
After Leadership election 2 – the PLP is now obliged to shut up, put up and work together. If they fail to do so we will not win another election in this decade. And it won’t be because of Jeremy Corbyn, it will be because the party is divided amongst itself, cannot accept (with grace) a democratic decision, rubbishes the membership, takes their money and bans them from voting, and plays all of this out with the help of friendly media moguls. (Who will of course stab them firmly in the back in the event of another general election)
PLP members point to dire polling and say Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable – and sure, we couldn’t win an election today. But really, who’s fault is it? A losing PLP which cannot change and believes that it’s their way or the highway, or a man who’s only real fault is that he represents ‘old’ style Labour and socialism. You can talk about the abuse and the anti-zionism, the misogyny and the hate, but anybody in the Labour party could tell you that was a ‘pre-existing illness’ pre-dating Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.
But there’s been numerous people talking about what is wrong, here’s a few ideas about how to get it right. 
1.
Stop dissing the leader now, give him the help he needs to foster a good impression in parliament and elsewhere, and act together. I’m not advocating Stalinist putting down of dissent, just a mature appreciation of how sh*t you look when you’re squabbling. 
2. 
Understand Brexit: it was a roar of pain from parts of the UK who feel forgotten. Many of whom now believe that it’s OK to be racist.  They wanted change  – some sort of change, and much of their information came from a press hostile to the EU and foreigners. The Labour party has not done much to counteract the anti-immigration message and bugger all to take racism off the agenda. We need to make it clear that racism is still something to apologise for, and ultimately ensure that those ‘left behind’ understand that it was white men in suits at the head of UK/ multi-national corporations, and bad government under white men in suits that made their lives precarious. We should not  say “I feel your pain” about ‘Immigration’ – it’s a nonsense, and dangerous.
3. 
Be passionate about your politics, don’t focus-group your beliefs into sound bites, make your case, take on the arguments, keep it brief but don’t patronise. Politics isn’t science, it’s an art, it should be about gut feelings and yes, even anger. (but always ensure that you have the facts at your fingertips). Anger is a difficult emotion and hard to manage – how do we know? Look at Brexit. But righteous anger (free from the taint of violence and bullying) can power change as various human rights movements can testify.
 
4.
You have the policy framework:  green energy, nationalised utilities and transport, the NHS and social security system (NOT Welfare), a great education for all, devolution of powers to the regions, redistribution of wealth, strong unions representing a strong, fairly paid workforce and so on. We don’t need new policy. The above are tried and tested, you lot – the PLP – just have to argue for them. Take the Overton window and drag it over to the left of the political spectrum. Oh, and get rid of Trident for chrissakes. Have you never heard of the ‘turning swords to ploughshares’?  Of course jobs will be lost, but money for re-investment will be freed up. And it’s vile anyway. Should you be making your daily crust making weapons of mass destruction? Of course not.
5.
Want a slogan? Labour. Just Fair

I voted for Jeremy Corbyn – I just had a look at the brochure that came with the ballot paper and sighed, virtually all the PLPs voted for Owen Smith and the vast majority of CLPs voted for Corbyn.  Awkward.

Maybe the PLP are genuinely convinced that this is the correct road to power, but I’m wondering whether electing a leader, publicly scorning him, organising an ineffectual coup, attempting to shame him into resigning, calling for a new election and trying to exclude the sitting candidate, putting up two terrible alternatives, organising a poor campaign against the leader (even as it seems that the leader is going to get a clear win anyway, thereby making them look a bit, uh, dumb), preventing paid-up members from electing the leader (even while their dues contribute to Labour funds), preventing long time members from voting, allowing LibDem donors and people who liken Labour members to “stormtroopers”a vote and doing it in the glare of the press, much of which is naturally unfriendly, really is the way forward.

 

Ban the Burkini ban

Dress and custom are ways we maintain boundaries or how we identify ourselves as being part of a certain group or community. I wear Converse with my bootleg jeans and grow out my grey hair because I want to be recognised as part of the alt-middle-age group (and not the M&S clothing demographic), Mods wear Docs with their fish-tale parkas, Sikhs wear turbans, priests wear dog collars and crosses, politicians are apparently obliged to wear a dark suit (if men) or plenty of chest-covering (if women), toddlers don’t generally wear business suits and business men don’t usually dress up in rompers and bootees (unless they are having some very special moments with grown up friends). Clothing is cultural, symbolic, loaded with meaning and a way of signalling your tribal alliances. It’s also a gender battlefield and deeply political.

For example, adherents of this religion must dress modestly, their heads must be covered at all times, knees and elbows should be concealed, fashionable or tight-fitting clothes are frowned upon. It’s terrible isn’t it, the strictures that Islam places on women? Except that it’s not Islam and it’s not women, these are the restrictions placed on some orthodox Jewish men.

It’s interesting to note however that no-one wants to rescue these men from the dress-code they live under, because they are men and if they decide to do something, it’s assumed that it’s their right to do so, and they have full agency. Muslim women who want to veil their heads are viewed as victims and oppressed, or foolish followers of male dictates – and in France at the moment, potential terrorists.

I hope I wasn’t the only one to be appalled at the pictures of four armed men obliging a lone woman to undress on a public beach. I assume that if you believe that these are foreigners who should observe our cultural norms, you would be happy to wear a hijab and face veil when you’re next in Dubai, and be happy if your grandma was forced at gunpoint to don a black robe over her one piece swimsuit on one of their public beaches? If you’re not, then darling, you’re a raving hypocrite. And an Islamophobe.

Oh, but of course, we only worry about women being oppressed by their clothes if they’re brown and foreign. If they’re white and young they might well be oppressed by  various other strictures: skirt too short = slut, skirt to long = frump, too much make-up = slut, too little = lesbo, too much chest on view = slut, too much chest on view = breast feeding mother = feminazi, but this is just part of our cultural values that women have to negotiate and that, brother, is that.

I don’t think that those who have been cheering on the French authorities for clamping down on burkini’s are actually defending women, I think they’re other-ing Islamic people and going after an easy target, the dress that defines them as different, because if they were really and truly worried about women’s rights and freedoms they’d allow the women in question to wear EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT.

Bridges

Whatever the motivations of the anti-Corbyn plotters – and I’m sure that many of them are sincere in their commitment to the party welfare, what they did and what they are doing has been a disaster.

If those who genuinely believed that the only way forward was a new leader, the timing was abominable, if their motives were sincere, the organisation of the coup was appalling. If they thought that they were doing the best for the party, they have completely mis-read the mood of the vast majority of Labour supporters.

People love to point to our terrible poll ratings as proof that Jeremy Corbyn is an insufficiently effective leader, but they only really indicate that so much shit is hitting so many fans, some is bound to stick.

And it’s pointless: Jeremy will win, the right wingers will sulk (and plot again? Dear God, I hope not) and we will be so far behind in the polls by that point that the Tory’s will be distant dot on the horizon. And for what? The opportunity to prove to critics that Labour cannot be trusted with a piss up in a brewery.

And how do we row back from this? Some people who I used to respect and admire are writing the most preposterous nonsense about people like me, and of course, some Corbyn supporters have said equally horrible things about people who don’t support their position.

We have aired all our dirty laundry in public, and if the voters now believe that all the Labour party are misogynists, anti-semites, Trots, plotters and incompetents, we’ve only got ourselves to blame. The man in the street will most probably have an abiding impression that the Labour party would rather hate each other, than work together against the Tories, and they won’t care who started it and who had the most pragmatism or the least principles.

But we have seen a huge upswing in people motivated to do politics – and ok, a hundred people at a rally doesn’t mean that we have 11 million extra votes, but it does mean that we have a 100 people willing to go doorstepping and make our case. You sneer that all these new supporters are middle class or students or not from the Labour heartlands, but not too long ago you said we had to take our message to the non-voters, the well-to-do and the south of England – ta dah!

We have tons of potential positive energy out there and we’ve always known what our politics should be – the NHS, a decent social security system, fair income and wealth distribution, a great education for all, nationalised utilities and transport etc etc. Give our members a manifesto they can be excited and passionate about, have the courage to air your own ideals and convictions and fight the Tories for governance of this country.

But we need to do this as a party that’s organised, tolerant and most of all united. It’s time to start building bridges.

Entitled to your opinion but….

To the Labour MP’s attacking Jeremy Corbyn

 

I am more optimistic about the Labour party’s direction of travel than I’ve been for many years: in Jeremy Corbyn I see a decent man with decent politics.

The way he is being harried by the press is shameful and evidence (if its needed) that the print media and their cronies are tools of the establishment.

But it’s been even more painful to endure the daily round of disgruntled Labour MPs making their feelings plain via the ‘sympathetic’ press and adding to the impression that Labour is in ‘chaos’. The leadership election happened – your candidates lost, put up or shut up. If you want somebody to attack – try the Tories! The party that is running the country (into the ground) and the government you’re supposed to be in opposition to.

Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you ‘won’, got your way and ensured another leadership election. Unless you change the rules to make the party less democratic, the outcome will be the same: Jeremy Corbyn will win, he has the support – you don’t.

And if you did change the party rules and entitled only your friends and yourselves to vote, why would you think that a General Election outcome would be any better than the last? We had a moderate man saying moderate things and we lost badly.I think that the definition of stupidity is to go on doing the same things again and again expecting different outcomes.

In Scotland, lest we forget, Labour lost power because they couldn’t offer a different future. The SNP, still riding high, gave an alternative to austerity (it may be pie in the sky) which struck a cord.

Use your passion, your enthusiasm and your political experience to go after the party that is demolishing all that is good about the country that I love – attack the Tories. If you think that your party isn’t good enough – talking to the Telegraph will certainly not help – talk to the leadership instead.

You’re entitled to your opinion, but now is not the time to voice it especially in the press. Go back to your constituents, listen to them and fight for a better future.

For all our sakes.

Pigs in a trough

Today’s news has been balm to the souls of Labour party members: the monstering of Jeremy Corbyn has been front and centre since he had the temerity to get himself elected but today it’s David Cameron’s turn. One time supporter Lord Ashcroft has done a fine demolition job on the PM and it has been fun to see the allegations aired on the front page of the Daily Mail and elsewhere. Who couldn’t feel a bit gleeful about the jokes (sample – Paddy Ashdowns “David Cameron hogging the front pages”, Guido Fawkes “Pig society” etc etc and there’s more here).

But friends, as tempting as it is to take some joy in all of this (and admittedly, it’s been a real pleasure so far) we should be as appalled by this horrible tabloid behaviour even when its directed at someone we despise. He has young children and a family who will be shocked by the revelations, and we all did dumb things in our youth which we might not want anyone to publish on the front page of the Daily Mail. I grant you, my dirty secrets usually involved drink, vomit and a vile headache rather than a pig, but I didn’t go to Ox-bridge.

The press in this country are shameful: they are beyond the law, taking the piss and controlled by tax-avoiding scum-bags of the worst order. Even those that purport to be a better class of chip-paper like the Guardian have betrayed their readership and revealed themselves as establishment poodles. The treatment of Jeremy Corbyn in the red-tops might be more crass, but is it worse than some of the bile spouted by the likes of Anne Perkins or Martin Kettle?

The nation and its venerated legal system had a chance to clean up the press: Murdoch got off more or less scot free, as did most of his acolytes and press regulation seems to be off the menu for a good while.. although..

…although, maybe now Mr. Ham-eron has experienced life at the sharp end of the British press, maybe he’ll be a wee bit more receptive to reform? Who knows. Oink, oink.

Humanity

We seem to have lost our moral direction in the last few decades: perhaps it was when we were told that there was no such thing as society, maybe it was when governments of both stripes started using the fear of “immigrants” to distract us from homegrown inequality and the tightening of purse strings. Maybe as the years passed we began to forget what happens when you demonise a minority and choose to forget their humanity.

We are now in the middle of a humanitarian crisis, caused to no small degree by misguided interventions overseas: we have bombed when we should have talked, talked when we should have sanctioned and walked away when maybe we should have intervened. We screwed up, and now people are fleeing various war zones, barbaric regimes, poverty and violence. These people scrape together enough cash and give it to criminals who stuff them into boats that are too small, or lorries that are too full. And then they die. If they are lucky enough to survive, they might end up in makeshift camps where they are reviled by politicians, condemned by journalists and feared by racists and xenophobes.

But these refugees are people like you and me: they have been forced to travel far from their homes to seek safety and the hope of prosperity – I don’t think that we would be different in the same circumstances. We always want to do the best we can for our children don’t we? We want them to be happy and safe, fed and warm.

The young men who travel are no less worthy of our understanding: your dad was 21 once, single and trying to make his way in the world. That didn’t make him a potential criminal did it? He hoped to find someone to love, settle down with them and create a home. If violence and war had intervened would you have expected him to give up his dreams,  stay in his shattered home town and wait for death?

But the current Tory government has decided we are full up: David Cameron pledged to keep immigration down: ‘no if’s or but’s’ he said. I guess that he meant it too – even ‘if’ dead children were washing up on beaches and people said ’but it’s a humanitarian crisis’.

Voices are now being raised against his callousness, and in Europe we are seeing valiant efforts to change the cruel narrative: instead of celebrating a new stretch of razor wire, some governments are welcoming refugees. I would like to think that the silent majority in this country are those who believe we should do the right thing, that the bigots in the ‘comment’ section of your on-line newspaper, or the front pages of our right wing press do not reflect the British people. Sign this and write to your MP to remind them that we should not stand by and let other peoples children, sisters, brothers, fathers and mothers die

The Glorious British Press

Today it’s the Independent’s turn to prove that Jeremy Corbyn can’t win, on this occasion with an opinion poll. Let’s leave aside the inevitable concern that opinion polls predicted a Labour minority government as well and move onto the behaviour of the press in the UK.

It’s a given, I think that the majority of the press in this country is owned by millionaires (many of them other country’s millionaires) for the propagation of policy that benefits millionaires. To this end they tend to support the Tory party. If they occasionally go ‘off piste’ and support a Labour-led government you can be pretty sure that this is because the government in question is most likely to be ‘Labour’ in name only and headed up by Tony Blair, and that their idea of radical social democracy was mostly ‘hands off the banks’ and ‘make life a little less horrid for the poor’ with a soupçon of ‘expand the public sector as long as it doesn’t involve re-nationalising anything’. This appeared to make them electable, but that could well be because by the latter end of that lamentable Tory incumbency, a group of llamas wearing red ribbons would have been odds-on favourites to win.

profile_picture_by_free_llamas_for_all-d4yu347

Anyway….. after you’ve discounted most of the Tory dailys, you’re left with the Mirror, the Guardian and the Independent.. The Mirror is reliably Labour and frankly I don’t really have any complaints about it. Not because it’s perfect, but because it doesn’t claim to be anything that it isn’t. It’s just a Labour supporting paper. The Independent is owned by a Russian oligarch who used to be a billionaire, and it’s website is kinda clunky so I don’t tend to worry to much about its output. We bought it today because the Guardian is just too annoying.

The Guardian likes to think of itself as centre left but, my friends, if that was the case in the past, it is no longer true. It did suggest voting Labour at the 2015 GE but did so with such obvious reluctance it was painful to behold. You could tell that they only recommended a Labour vote because they knew that the LibDems were going to sink without trace and no-one likes to back a loser. Since the election they have been going all out to rubbish the Labour party, hound its more left-wing supporters and most recently, to ensure that anyone stupid enough to vote for Jeremy Corbyn is aware of how criminally fucking stupid they are. (Please note: that includes me)

The Guardian was founded in Manchester in 1821 by cotton merchant John Edward Taylor after the police closure of the more radical Manchester Observer. That paper had championed the cause of the Peterloo Massacre protesters. You would imagine that a paper with such a proud radical history would have been a wee bit less hysterical in its anti-Corbyn stance, but you’d be wrong.The Guardian has been monstering Jeremy Corbyn since it began to look like he could actually seriously compete with the nominated poodles, even going as far as cooking-up a survey to establish beyond a doubt that it’s coverage was fair and unbiased with figures from www.pluckedoutofmyass.com. (I made that up if you’re searching for the link. My contention is that the paper did too)

I enjoy the Guardian on a Saturday, I like many of its writers and quite frankly none of the competition is all that, but I am fed up with it.

I long ago stopped paying money to buy the five or six sheets of paper it had to cheek to sell for a stupid sum of money during the week. I stopped laughing at its naked cheek as it asked Northern readers to part with hard-earned cash for London based London-centric courses for Londoners, or as it boasted about its fearless investigative journalism and printed another piece of fluff straight from the Associated Press or the marketing department of some beauty product. But how can it imagine that routinely rubbishing the readers of its hallowed pages is good marketing strategy – does it want those few loyal lefty readers with a moral conscience to finally leave them? Is it happy to compete (ironically enough) for the remaining newspaper readership for whom house prices and immigration are the only things of interest until they get to the sudoko? Surely not?