Thursday, 28 December 2017

Only one party is to blame for #Brexit - the #Tories

I voted to remain. I have lots of things I don't like about the EU but, for me, the right thing to do was remain and reform. I wrote a post about it here. The referendum result didn't go well, and now we are stuck with leave - for the foreseeable future. I can understand the frustration and anger of remainers, but there is one thing I can't understand - the desire that many seem to have to blame Labour for the debacle we are faced with.

Lest look at the facts:

  1. The Tories called the referendum and the Tories lost it. It was Cameron who fronted the remain campaign (not Corbyn)
  2. Corbyn went all around the UK campaigning for remain and delivered the votes of 2/3 of Labour supporters for remain.

There you have it. 

Not long after the result lies were spread that Corbyn had not campaigned, really supported Brexit, and even voted leave! Although they were lies many people wanted to believe them. Subsequently, Labour voted to trigger article 50 and it was the right thing to do, respecting the result and reflecting the fact that a majority of Labour constituencies voted leave. Even if Labour had wanted to stop A50 they didn't have the votes in parliament to stop it from happening.

Even now, despite a disastrous election result for the Tories, Labour still doesn't have enough votes to stop the Tories following through with Brexit. So why all the anger directed at Labour on social media because they "refuse" to stop Brexit? And why all the nonsense directed at Labour that they want a "hard Brexit". Labour's policy is clear, it's in the manifesto. Labour wants a soft Brexit which will protect workers rights and the environment. All this is obvious enough but there are many who refuse to see it.

Can Brexit be avoided? Yes, it can but only if the polls shift very significantly so that there is a clear majority for remain. And the only party that can deliver this is - Labour. Labour is playing a long and difficult game, trying to keep their voters and membership onside whilst looking for the softest landing they can. That much is obvious. However, nothing is obvious to many politically naive rabid remainers who expect Labour to ride to the rescue on a white charger. Of course, much of the vitriol directed at Corbyn and Labour from remainers comes from Labour haters and Lib Dems but if those people are really serious about stopping Brexit they need to shut up and start supporting the only party who can prevent it from happening.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

A remembrance of things past

Once you pass the big six-o you can no longer pretend to be young. In your fifties, you can just about get away with thinking you could go clubbing, even though you never do. It's not just creaking joints that bring about this situation - its change. Things have really changed since you were young, and you have changed. Even though you probably have a mobile phone and use social media things have moved on - Facebook is for boring grown-ups - not the youth of today. For my part, I use Facebook and Twitter, though I loathe the former, but can't be bothered to also use any more social media apps. The gap between you and youth is growing and it will get wider as time goes on. Their lives, as they develop, will be very different to yours - that's progress.

I began to muse about this during the latest episode of my never-ending quest to clear 'stuff' out of the garage - something I suspect many people will be doing for years to come and that will affect children who haven't been born yet - because the only real solution to this problem is not to have a garage. Whilst sorting through stuff I found a box that contained a number of old letters I'd kept dating back to the early eighties. They were all love-letters from ex-girlfriends and I found them very moving. What struck me about them, apart from the passion, was their length and the relative amount of effort involved. Does anybody do that anymore? Does anyone send long passionate emails to their girlfriends or boyfriends? Its possible but I doubt it - we live in the soundbite age of the text and the Tweet.

I think the letter is something from the past, something we are all, young and old, missing and all the poorer for not receiving. I remember the anticipation of receiving a letter, of hearing the clank of the letterbox as the postie made his early morning delivery (you had two posts a day then) and going to pick up the post. Was there a personal letter for me amongst the brown envelopes? Was it from her? Then sitting down to read and digest the letter's contents - it was good, it moved me. And all the better because it was handwritten, and someone had taken the trouble to craft it. It was personal and had a kind of warmth that can never be reproduced in digital communication.

While I'm on the subject of good things we have lost due to 'progress' I need to put in a word for the vinyl record. For people of my generation, your album collection wasn't just a shelf full of records - it spoke about who you were and what you were into. Your record collection was one of your most treasured possessions and something you happily humped around from student flats to shared houses along with your stereo. Now you can have digital devices that store thousands of tracks, create playlists, and listen to virtually any music for free on Spotify but it's just not the same.

Listening to an album was a ritual, finding the one you wanted, hauling it out, looking at the cover art, lovingly sliding it out of its sleeve, putting it on the deck and then listening to that satisfying clunk as the needle hit the record. Then, sitting down to listen to the music. Listening was a rewarding activity and the music was not just something in the background when you were talking to others or doing the washing up. And the best bit is the fact that the analogue sound quality is superior to digital - warmth, once again.

There is hope for vinyl, sales are increasing, but will we ever see the revival of the letter? We are missing out, but does it matter?