Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Cabinet

I can't quite work out what has happened to Communities as a brief in Cabinet.Ruth Kelly was there before, but all I can now find is a new post of Housing held by Yvette Cooper. After her aversion to LGBT rights,where her personal beliefs and actions conflicted with the job description of 'equalities' , perhaps Kelly will will have a brief she can actually support rather than undermine?

Update I see Hazel Blears has the role of Communities Secretary, which includes Local Govt, Planning, the Environment and Equalities (and Housing seperated ?). Hmmm...

Brown and the government of 'all the talents'

Brown has been accused of being 'tribal'. The Tories have warned he will drag the country to the left. Fat chance. It seems he has even less loyalty to Labour (and I mean in a 'broad church' sense) than Blair.

Brown is compiling his government of 'all the talents', but lets not kid ourselves that this is inclusive or wide ranging in the views it encompasses.
He started off with trying to get Paddy Ashdown to take up a job, welcomed a particularly reactionary Tory into the fold and has set up the 'Business Council for Britain' to advise the government. This includes Alan Sugar and private equity king Damon Buffini. The message clearly being he has no real interest in listening to the unions and the workforce they represent.He does not want people outside of the Party that may offer up even mild criticism of the business friendly New Labour agenda.

Today it has been announced that bloody awful Shirley Williams seems to have been offered a job. Arghhh. Check out some youtube clips over at DSTFW for her inability to defend free speech. Of course my dislike of her goes back to the SDP/Gang of Four days .

Lets see what the rest of the day brings...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ponderings on Blair and Brown

Blair resigns as PM today,so why no celebration. Well of course I am glad he is going, but Brown was an architect of New Labour and has been a major part of the government for the last ten years. So when he takes the reins of power he is not going to be heralding the dawn of the revolution or even anything a little bit reformist. Things aren't going to get better, to misquote the New Labour '97 election song.

On to Brown. Well he seems to have started as he means to go on, beginning with his determination to ensure there was not an election for leader and as in the old Soviet days, that all nominated and endorsed him. It seems he wants to limit any real debate with his proposals to reduce further the influence of unions and conference. So much for those unions who backed Brown against McDonnell, who seemed to think they could exert influence on him. Will the tactic of not upsetting Brown whilst giving some support to Cruddas may any difference long term ?

Then there is the welcoming by Brown of a Tory defector to labour. Now as much as the next leftie I do like to see the Tories fight amongst themselves, but this is overshadowed at the horror of seeing him join the Labour ranks. Quentin Davies , the Tory defector, does not seem to have shifted his right wing views. Instead the Labour Party has become a place he now feels comfortable in:

Mr Davies said he had found himself increasingly "naturally in agreement" with the Labour Party.

He praised Mr Brown as "a leader I have always greatly admired, who I believe is entirely straightforward, and who has a towering record, and a clear vision for the future of our country which I fully share".

Mr Brown said: "Quentin Davies is a senior parliamentarian and he commands respect on all sides for his expertise and his dedication to public service, and I welcome him to the new Labour Party."

Take a look at a post from Owen highlighting what a nasty Thatcherite homophobic anti union shit he is. Proof if needed that Brown is not going to move leftwards , if any had any illusions (and I certainly didn't).

The Tories have tried to make out Brown is a closet leftie, but I suspect for all their talk of focusing on policies, their attacks will continue to focus on the personality differences. Cameron is more in the Blair mode with his bike riding, webCameon and converse shoes. Blair played the media, ingratiating himself with britpop in his early days and playing to the audience even to the extent of changing favourite foods and music to match the people he was addressing.

Of course it is not just the right that is attacking Brown on his personality . Hakmao highlights an attack on Brown by Galloway, interestingly in the 'showbiz and entertainment' section of the Daily Record. Says it all about Galloway really .

Galloway's comments :

THE first time I met Gordon Brown, more than 30 years ago, he was weighed down with more newspapers, magazines and policy papers than any normal man could possibly carry, never mind read.

But the clue is in the N word. Normal. Brown, who follows Bonar Law, Campbell-Bannerman, Ramsay MacDonald, Harold Macmillan, Sir Alec Douglas- Home and Tony Blair into No.10 as a British premier of Scots descent (not bad for an OPPRESSED small nation) is no normal man.

I mean that kindly as well as unkindly. Ir'n Broon has a completely abnormal single-mindedness - every step he has ever taken has been with this week's trip to the Palace in mind.

He is a policy worker on a par with Bill Clinton, though Brown's idea of a good time in his office is a study of endogenous growth theory rather than erectile expansion. He has a brain the size of Hampden, intellectually he is Bertrand Russell to Tony Blair's Bob Monkhouse (who said: "Once you can fake the sincerity ... the rest is easy.")

He is as straight as a son of the manse should be. Not for him the Cool Britannia pals and his missus will never secretly snap up nice flats in Bristol or get down and muddy for a spot of re-birthing with a con-man's floozy.

Neither will the new PM holiday with the likes of Mrs Robin Gibb, a bisexual Druid priestess from Northern Ireland (ah, but which team does Mrs Gibb support, I hear some readers ask).

But Brown's main problem with the N word is that he is, as Alistair Campbell allegedly said, indeed "psychologically flawed". In fact, I knew from that first day I met him that, like many a brain-box before him, he is asocial cripple.

Painfully shy, no small talk, dour to the point of sullen, unable to suffer fools gladly, he is a Rev I.M. Jolly when what the modern stage needs is Rikki Fulton's amanuensis, a Francie. Hullowrerrrr, nor anything like it, will ever trip off the lips of the new PM.

All of this could be carried to victory nonetheless if Gordon could just jettison the albatross of war, privatisation and the alienation of Labour's core vote which has seen them lose four million votes since that "New Dawn" in 1997.

But it can't and won't be. Because Brown is the co-architect of all that and it's too late to do anything about it. For me, therefore the script is tragedy, Shakespearean in scale.

Betrayed by his friends Blair, Mandelson and Reid, when they knifed him before the great John Smith was ere interred, Brown is "in blood stepped in so far, that should he wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er".

The Jim Callaghan of our times, he will likely have inherited his life-long goal, the Prime Minister-ship not Paul Gascoigne's, only in time to lose it.

Yes George, the main issue is his policy, not his personality. Why throw around words like 'normal' ? What exactly is 'normal' and why is it such a good thing ? Nothing wrong with difference . What is wrong with being weighed down with papers, being single minded and focused, not shagging the intern, not using office to gain freebies and hang out with new agers and con artists ?

And what exactly is a 'asocial cripple'? Interestingly language . So being serious and not shallow is being a 'cripple'?
'Painfully shy, no small talk, dour to the point of sullen, unable to suffer fools gladly' , why is this a criticism? is this relevant to his policies? This fits with
George Osborne last year :
He said Mr Brown lacked personal skills and, in a light hearted exchange, seemed to suggest his rival could be faintly autistic.

As I said on my post then :
I suspect Brown will be undermined by both Blairites and the Tories on the grounds of his 'psychologically flawed' personality. Autism and aspergers are not 'flaws' . If Brown is an aspie its telling of this society that he has to hide it. So what, its not a bad thing. Why can't leadership contenders be aspies, be gay , be single parents, have had drink problems,not be cosy family men and women (though of course none are women). I don't like his politics , but as I have said before, give me a dour aspie Scotsman any day over Cameron and his lightweight PR friendly personality .

Blair is 'normal', but he has taken the country to war, has limited the debate in the party and even in his own cabinet. Not just 'asocial cripples' then.
The issues with Brown are political and not his personality, which for the record I think is preferable to smarmy camera friendly Blair.
Lets judge him on his politics.

Monday, June 25, 2007


Been out seeing lots of live music this week, so no blogging .

Back later tonight with some music posts and I'll try to summon up some interest to comment on the Labour Party .

Noticed a new blog on the block, Labour's Fightback, by Owen Jones.
I'll add a link to my list later.Meanwhile check it out. I think Owen is a bit like leftie marmite, people either love him or hate him, as he can be quite arsey at times (that's no bad thing though) .

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups united...

...In their hatred of lesbian and gay people:

A controversial Gay Pride parade is to march through Jerusalem later today with an expected 5,000 participants.
The event has sparked fierce protests among the holy city's religious communities.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have protested repeatedly against the march in the past week, burning tyres, confronting police and damaging police cars.

Over 7,000 police will secure the parade and prevent possible clashes between the two sides.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead to the event, rejecting last-minute appeals by conservative Jews to get the parade cancelled.

The event, held in Jerusalem since 2001, has been denounced in the past by conservative Jewish, Christian and Muslim groups which share a view that homosexuality is an abomination.

But civil liberties groups argue that event celebrates diversity in the holy city.

"The question of 'why in Jerusalem' is not a question. It is the same question as letting women vote," said Dana Olmert, daughter of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, herself a lesbian, in an interview with Israel's Army radio.

Last year, the event was relocated to a sports stadium due to security concerns.

In 2005, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish protester stabbed and wounded three people despite a heavy police presence at the event.

Israel's largest annual Gay Pride parade held in the mainly secular city of Tel Aviv passed off peacefully earlier this month. About 20,000 people attended the event.

Funny how religious groups are happy to offend , and stab, people they do not agree with but want their own sensibilities protected.

My view is they are entitled to say they are offended, that LGBT people are an 'abomination' and that its sinful. But LGBT people, non believers,whoever, are entitled to criticise their beliefs and insult and offend them. And its seems their very existence is an offence . Whether they like it or not Christians, Jews and Muslims can also be lesbian or gay .

Why exactly is a religious belief anymore valid than any other belief or view or opinion? Should I ask that no one should offend my left wing or feminist views?

In light of this why should some Muslims demand that Rushdie's' honour be revoked (leaving aside the whole issue of honours here)? He has offended them, so ? I am offended by many things, I don't call for people to be silenced . I don't say I have been provoked into walking into the offices of the Daily Mail with a bomb strapped to me even though I find them offensive to my beliefs .Lesbian and Gay people are offended by being called 'an abomination'by some religious(by no means all) people and by the killings of LGBT people in Iraq, for example. Is that also a provocation?
So why this :

Britain's knighthood to the author Salman Rushdie contributes to insulting Islam and may lead to terrorism, a Pakistani minister has said.
Such actions are the root cause of terrorism, Religious Affairs Minister Ejaz-ul-Haq told parliament.

"If someone commits suicide bombing to protect the honour of the Prophet Mohammad, his act is justified," he said, according to the translation by the Reuters news agency.

Religious belief is just that , a belief. It should not be given special privilege or protection.

Of course I accept there is Islamophobia , but that does not mean no criticism of Islam (and that can also come from within the Muslim community). Being oppressed does not justify attacking other oppressed groups , such as LGBT people in the middle east or women in places like Afghanistan. The left should not excuse reactionary views justified by religious beliefs, whether Muslim, Christian or any religion. All views should be open to challenge. Fight the discrimination and oppression groups face, but not by condoning the oppression of another .
Religious beliefs are also not homogeneous. There are groups fighting within their own religions for the rights of LGBT people and women, for example. Silence in the face of reactionary views and behaviour does not support them in their struggles.

Just as I may be condemned by some religious people for my views on issues such as sex, abortion, marriage etc, I should also have the freedom to say that religion is unscientific, superstitious reactionary twaddle. Its called freedom of speech.

pic, a previous Gay Pride in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Punchie !!!!!!

I know, he really should not be encouraged but I couldn't resist a post on this as it made me laugh.

Punchie is concerned that we may miss out on some of his comments he makes on other blogs. He states :

I’m pleased to be making this week’s article a joint post with my new subsidary site Southpawpunch Comments.

Southpawpunch Comments will publish what I think are the most interesting comments that I make on other sites.

I’ve been thinking that some of what I write isn’t easily available to those who may wish to read it - unless they go to the same sites as I do.

And points I make elsewhere can be hard to find later - comments usually aren’t picked up by search engines and it can be hard keeping track of all the different threads to which I may post.

And let's be frank - many are sharp, acerbic, deal with difficult topics and are a lot bolder than the mush and mess littering both 'Marxist' and moderate sites. Maybe some of my comments are worth more than evaporating when the historical work of the reformist sites is finally done and they are forced off the stage of history.

Mainly from memory, I’ve collected a few of my previous comments (below) under the name of the blog where I first made them. (If you remember anything else you think worth including, please do let me know by sending me a link).

Next week I shall also publish some of my previous comments made on Southpawpunch and that are currently just hidden away in the comments boxes. Pulling them out to the main site will make them easier to find.

But in future I’ll be adding comments on a chronological basis, not by blog - I’ll post maybe a weekly article or a less frequent round-up (when I don’t say much) of my most recent comments at Southpawpunch Comments.

I won’t publish anything there until the original thread appears to have finished. Some comments that I will publish there will have minor edits - for clarity, spelling or grammar.

Of course, this is all rather one-sided. I will give a little background about the issue that was being discussed but I won’t be including the comments and the original posts of others - articles will just get far too long if I include everyone else’s text.

I also won’t be allowing comments on Southpawpunch Comments. I think debates read better when they continue where they started. I’ll publish a link (detailed links will be find on the Southpawlinks site) - if you want to make a point, or find out more, you can go to the original site.

I’d love to combine Southpawpunch, Southpawpunch Comments and Southpawpunch Life into one website with a multi-stranded front page that included all of these and more. If anyone knows how to do this, incorporating these blogs in a cheap (or free) and simple way, please do let me know.

I don’t know of anyone else who has published a site to report the comments that they make elsewhere. Can you copyright an idea like this? I’m sure many a multi-national has protected far more nebulous concepts. I intend ensuring that all the Southpawpunch sites are as innovative as the technology allows - this new site is one of the many new ideas that I try.

I'm really quite lost for words !!

A while back I toyed with the idea of a carnival of Denham. Perhaps a carnival of Punchie is in the offing .
Still if anyone really wants to make sure they do not miss a word of wisdom from the real really really really revolutionary punchie then head over to punchie comments !!

The pic is for Punchie as he is such a fan of Ms Hilton;-)

Just thinking there is plenty of scope for other 'spin off' blogs .Lets not stop at three Punchie blogs, the world wants more !! We could have a 'comments on Punchies comments ' one.
How about other bloggers. Well what about 'Andy Newman spellchecker' blog featuring classic badly spelt and unreadable comments? .How about 'the collected swear words of Will',featuring his most obscure and creative uses for them. Try googling rekkamiehen-pastilli . And no, its not some obscure political philosopher ;-)
After that we could have a 'cooking with Will ' blog.

Yep, plenty of scope for spin offs.

The Chelsea Hotel

The Chelsea Hotel is infamous in the world of music and creative arts . Its fame and notoriety includes :

Owing to its long list of famous guests and residents, the hotel has an ornate history, both as a birth place of creative modern art and punctuated by tragedy catching the public eye. Sir Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying at the Chelsea, and poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso chose it as a place for philosophical and intellectual exchange. It is also known as the place where the writer Dylan Thomas had died of alcohol poisoning on November 4, 1953, and where Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols may have stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death on October 12, 1978.

During its lifetime Hotel Chelsea has provided a home to many great writers and thinkers including Mark Twain, O. Henry, Herbert Huncke, Dylan Thomas, Arthur C. Clarke, William S. Burroughs, Gregory Corso, Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, Quentin Crisp, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Robert Hunter, Jack Gantos, Brendan Behan, Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Oppenheimer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Bill Landis, Michelle Clifford, Thomas Wolfe, Matthew Richardson, Raymond Foye, and René Ricard. Charles R. Jackson, author of The Lost Weekend, committed suicide in his room at the Chelsea on September 21, 1968.

The hotel has been a home to actors and film directors such as Stanley Kubrick, Shirley Clarke, Mitch Hedberg, Miloš Forman, Lillie Langtry, Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper, Uma Thurman, Jane Fonda and Gaby Hoffmann.

Much of Hotel Chelsea's history has been colored by the musicians who have resided there. Some of the most prominent names include Patti Smith, Virgil Thomson, Dee Dee Ramone of The Ramones, Henri Chopin, John Cale, Édith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Richard Hell, Ryan Adams, Jobriath, Rufus Wainwright, Leonard Cohen and Anthony Kiedis.

The hotel has featured and collected the work of the many visual artists who have passed through. Larry Rivers, Brett Whiteley, Christo, Arman, Richard Bernstein, Ralph Gibson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Robert Crumb, Jasper Johns, Claes Oldenburg, Vali Myers, Donald Baechler and Henri Cartier-Bresson have all spent time at Hotel Chelsea.

Its been the subject of many songs , such as Chelsea Girls by Nico and Chelsea Hotel #2" by Leonard Cohen .

Today it is still a haven for creative types and run by the same family since 1946 :

It is unique in a town peppered with corporate hostelries and overrun in recent years with so-called boutique hotels that offer increasingly tiresome elements of over-design - all the way down the de rigueur buttoned black suits of the cat-walk bellboys - in exchange for exorbitant rates and rooms barely big enough to swing a Blackberry. The Chelsea is an outback of bohemia, a treasured throwback to times when personality came before profit.

The special atmosphere of the place is mostly about the artistic community it has fostered through many decades. Most of its long-term residents, who occupy about 60 per cent of the rooms, are in the creative world.

If the Chelsea Hotel has survived less as a place to sleep and more as a cultural institution, the credit goes to the Bard family, which has been known to let struggling artists fall behind on their rent rather than throw them out, or take pieces of artwork in lieu for cash payments.

This seems all set to change , a boardroom coup has brought in a team of city hotel developers :

The new team knows it has a potential media backlash on its hands as enemies of the Chelsea's artistic legacy, and has already hired the PR firm Rubenstein Communications, famous for spinning tinsel from any kind of turd, to defend them. But ambushed by a reporter, they make the first stab at reassurance. They will not turn out those residents already in rooms, they insist. And they will renovate slowly while respecting the hotel's soul. It will always be the Chelsea; it will just function better.

The concerns are it will end up just like any one of the luxury or boutique hotels in New York .Or perhaps just as bad, some sort of theme hotel, trading off its reputation but with all the rough edges and eccentricity knocked off. Sanitised and cleaned up, a sort of Hard Rock Hotel .

One resident at the Chelsea Hotel commented on the team's makeover of the Chateau Marmont in LA, another hotel with a past:

But Back in his room, Scott Griffin can not hide his doubts. He has stayed in the Chateau Marmont before and after the takeover by Balazs. "I know what the difference is," he says. "It has become much more expensive. Really, it's no different nowadays from staying at the Four Seasons or any other luxury hotel. Which is perfectly fine, of course, but it's more of a straight hotel, much more generic."

So not that hopeful really.

I always wanted to stay there, and did once pop my head in and had a look at its tiny lobby and amazing staircase. Looks like I left it to late.

Pic, two former residents, Sid and Nancy.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Iggy Pop and Jarvis Cocker

I'm off to see both this week as part of the Meltdown Festival at the SouthBank Centre.

Trouble is when I booked the tickets over the Internet the system was crashing. I thought I had ordered one set of tickets for each night and I have ended up with two sets !

So anyone want to buy some tickets . They are :

Jarvis Cocker
23rd June
Rear stalls
Face value £22.50 per ticket. So £45 for the pair.

Iggy and the Stooges
20th June
Face value £25 per ticket. So £50 for the pair.

If so drop me an e-mail (see profile).

Jarvis tickets now gone, still got the Iggy ones if anyone wants them.
I'm not about for the next day or two, so if you want them e-mail Dave .

Tickets now gone.

I'm back!!

Well almost. I have a dial up service, broadband next week.

Bloody hell, its so slow and I can't download much. Oh well, its better than nothing and I have had withdrawal symptoms from my daily internet and blog fix.

Anyway , i'll be back posting over the weekend!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Paris Hilton :a new mental health 'condition' is discovered.

Now its a little while since I worked in the field of mental health, but I like to keep up to date with issues. So it was with this in mind that I saw with interest a new 'mental condition'.

Apparently it is most likely to affect : Rich spoilt heiresses famous for little more than getting kit off and staring in home videos.

Brought on by : Not getting own way.Forced to obey the law like the rest of us. Stopped from partying and made to live in a small prison cell with no champers on ice.

Symptoms: Hissy fits , stamping of manolas, screaming and crying when not getting own way.

Prognosis: Highly likely to clear up when gets own way and released from prison.

Has some similarity with 'prison induced Alzheimers '.

Pic pinched from Will.


Sporadic access to the Internet still.
Won't have broadband up and running till next week.

Lesson learned, don't faff about changing providers for no good reason.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tale of two children

Seems some children's lives are more newsworthy and'deserving' than others .

Recently there have been two stories in the press related to children, one getting worldwide attention, Madeleine McCann, and the other a teenage boy no one really gave a damn about.
The Independent has the story of 14 year old Adam Rickwood(pictured) who committed suicide :

A month-long inquest into the death of Adam Rickwood, who was just 14 when he was found dead in his room at a privately run centre in Co Durham, in 2004, found that he had hanged himself by his shoelaces in a deliberate attempt to take his own life. The troubled teenager, who had a history of self-harming, had written to his mother a month before he died, begging her to remove him from the centre and warning her he would "flip" if he could not go home.

Adam, from Burnley, Lancashire, had been in remand at the Hassockfield Secure Training Centre for four weeks before he killed himself. Hours before his death he had been restrained by staff using a "nose-distraction technique", in which pressure is placed on the nose to cause pain.

Though professionals involved in his care told the inquest that Hassockfield was "an appropriate" place for the teenager, the Inquest group, which represented the boy's family, likened the facility to a prison.

Adam was sent to the Hassockfield centre on the basis of a form completed by Lancashire County Council's youth offending team that indicated he had had no contact with mental services, had received no kind of mental diagnosis and had never harmed himself. Yet the teenager had suffered a variety of traumas and had displayed clear suicidal tendencies, the jury heard.

Social services had been involved with Adam since the age of three. Overdosing on drugs, Adam had shown signs of mental disturbance and undergone psychiatric examination, which led to him being diagnosed at Lancashire's adolescent mental health unit as suffering from severe emotional problems. By the age of 13 he had been excluded several times from school and admitted to hospital seven times. He had also become known to the police after burgling a house and being remanded in custody after being charged with wounding a man in Burnley. An absence of secure accommodation meant he was temporarily sent to the local Elm Tree children's home, where he flourished. But the cost to the council meant he was removed when a place became available at Hassockfield, which had fewer social work staff.

The decision to send Adam to Hassockfield drew on the results of a form which authorities have since admitted lacked crucial information. Lancashire County Council's director of children's integrated services, Gill Rigg, told the inquest:"I accept that [Adam's mental health record] was a very critical and essential piece of information that should have been on [the] form."

Hassockfield was 150 miles away from Burnley, and Adam was terrified. He said he would take his life if his detention were prolonged. "I told [Hassockfield] what he had said, [voiced] my concerns and I was told not to worry; Adam would be under constant watch," his mother said.

In his last telephone call home, on 8 August 2004, Adam discussed his anticipated return, after the retraction of the original allegation against him. But at 3.20am the following morning police officers contacted his mother to reveal he had hanged himself with his bootlaces.

While fighting back tears, Adam's mother said yesterday: "I am disgusted with what has happened. They can go home each night to their children; I have to put mine in a bag. They want to hang their heads in shame. Not once have they said sorry."

Of course we all feel for the McCanns and hope that the outcome is a happy one, but does anyone much care about Adam's mother. She isn't middle class, professional, articulate and photogenic. Isn't her pain just as real. She does not have a large support network around her,no visits to the pope for her.

Somehow I expect many of the chattering middle classes feel Adam's mother was to blame, without looking at what her life was like . Seems she tried to get the system to listen, she rang them with her concerns when Adam wrote saying he was suicidal. Not for her buying into a nice area with a good school. No MPs asking questions or wearing ribbons for her son, after all he was a bad un.I suspect also the media would have been more judgemental if the couple in Portugal had been a working class family who had gone for a few drinks whilst leaving their children alone . Would they have been any less loving and caring?

In this society some children have more worth.The media idealises some, usually white pretty middle class kids, whilst demonising others. Meanwhile society lets down kids, many are abused at home and by strangers, many die in poverty and war and others trafficked for sex. It gives up on the Adam's of this world.

I accept not all children in the headlines are middle class,the other issue is the idealisation of the family and the idea that most attacks and abuse are by strangers. In fact that is not the case and the number of stranger attacks has not increased in 30 years. Most abuse is within the family and by people known to them. Children are either angels or demons and the ideal news story is a middle class kid abducted by a stranger, it presses all the buttons. The concern is not for a kid who commits suicide in a jail, or one who becomes so disturbed that they kill another child (Bulgar killers and Mary Bell), its the story that asks the least questions about the nature of the family and childhood. And even though there is sympathy for a working class parent , its usually when no blame can be attributed to them and the baddie is a clear cut stranger or a 'bad' and 'evil' child.

The Independent reports on a dossier compiled by the Children's Rights Alliance for England (CRAE), :

The report highlights a series of issues the Government needs to address urgently if it wants to meet its obligations to children. Some 3.4 million children remain in poverty, despite living in the fifth richest country in the world. About 400,000 live in overcrowded conditions; the same number are on the Home Office's DNA database, and the UK incarcerates more children than any other country in Europe, about 9,000. More than 3,000 are in young offender institutions and 500 are in prison on remand, breaching international child-protection conventions.

The average age for depression to strike is now 14, down from 30 in the 1980s. Britain also has the highest self-harm rate in Europe.

For those who do end up in the criminal justice system, the outlook is bleak. More than 3,000 children have been sent to young offender institutions despite being classed as vulnerable.

Another article in The Independent highlights figures from Barnardos and the NSPCC :

In earlier reports, the charity (Barnardos)has drawn attention to the extent of sexual abuse in this country, claiming that at least one child in 10 suffers sexual abuse and that children as young as nine are being forced into prostitution. Another children's charity, the NSPCC, thinks this is an underestimate, reporting that 16 per cent of children under the age of 16 - about one in six - experience sexual abuse during childhood. And while the Madeleine McCann abduction has highlighted the danger to children from strangers, the NSPCC confirms something which has long been known to professionals working in the field of child protection: that children are more likely to be abused by someone they know, including relatives and family friends, than strangers.

Those figures were just this country, life is even harder in many parts of the world. No child should be given up on, but not all have parents able to fight their corner in the society we live in.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Internet connection

As I said earlier , I am changing my broadband supplier and may be off line for a week. I'll try to get one of those disc thingies so I can do the odd post, but if not I'll be back again in a week.

Cold turkey !! At least I have my guitar to play with, or even venture out into the real world.

Feel free to argue amongst yourselves, treat this as an open thread...


Its no secret I really really don't like slippers.

There is no excuse whatsoever for wearing them. But my argument was based on 1) they look crap, 2) I like walking around in my bare feet at home, it feels nice.

I have now found some evidence that its also better not to wear slippers .
A podiatric surgeon, Mike O'Neill, spokesperson for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists makes some suggestions for looking after feet. They include :

Walk around your home in bare feet: this exercises all the muscles in your feet, can prevent foot strains and will help keep the feet strong and flexible.

So slippers bad, bare feet good!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Stroppy and her guitar ...its love

Just bought a guitar. I'm sure this is starting to bore people and I will get back to other subjects soon. But, but but but its really cool and cerise and glittery and and I'm in love ;-)And no its not sensible and I believe some may say I am being unseemly even . Pah !

Bought the Daisy Rock Rock Candy in Atomic Pink . The pics do not do it justice. It is a cerise pink and it glitters. I keep looking at it. I will learn to play it , I have a DVD !

I have taken some pics of it on my phone, but can't work out how to e-mail them and I have lost the connection lead.

Still I can look at the pics when I have to be parted from it.

I got a bargain as well. It was £450 in the shop. I spent hours looking on the Internet at shops, guitars and reviews. I found it was cheaper on their website and they sold it to me for £250. Result!

I'm gonna get a strap for it, some music books , probably more DVDs so I can learn some songs. I'll get some books about guitars so I know what it does and what others do.

Oh and a glittery pink anorak.

This may distract me from the blog. And politics, pah, sod that I'm playing my guitar...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A guitar for Stroppy, part 2.

I am aware that this is probably of very little interest to anyone, I'm just getting a little obsessed with guitars. I have spent hours looking at reviews and shops on the Internet.

Volty and Denham are poo pooing me wanting a bright girlie guitar, but I'm gonna get one. Well if I'm going to have a mid life crisis I might as well do it properly ;-)

Its now between two Daisy Rock guitars. Both get good reviews and play well. I'm not just attracted by bright glittery things like some magpie, honest.

So it is down to the Rock Candy in Atomic Pink (very dark and sparkly, pic does not do justice) , see below

and the Rock Candy special , see below

Just need to decide, find the cheapest place to buy and then learn how to play the damn thing.
I'm sure my neighbours are gonna love me...

Saturday, June 02, 2007

I may not be around much...

...internet stuff. I stupidly changed my provider to a cheaper option. Turned out to be slower so changing back. I may have a week without broadband. How will I cope .

I'll try to get one of those dial up disc thingies to tide me over.

I do think I am a little addicted to the internet. Cold turkey awaits...

A guitar for Stroppy

I have absolutely no intention of 'acting my age' , whatever that means anyway. I plan to grow old disgracefully. In my 60's I shall still pootle out to see unknown indie bands play in small crappy venues . I shall listen to old favourites but still have a thirst for hearing new music. I shall wear fishnets and DMs when I really should know better (that is probably now). I shall have bottle blonde hair and avoid sensible comfortable practical clothes. If I change, and start going to dinner parties and listening to Dido , please take me out and shoot me.

Anyway, is there a point to this ? Shouldn't I be debating the Deputy leader contest? Well there is a point and I have already discussed Cruddas with Dave at 7.30 in the morning (sad I know), so enough of all that. Right, the point to this post,I am going to buy myself an electric guitar and learn to play. The other option was a red sports car and a toyboy. Trouble is 1) I can't afford a sports car. 2) Think Osler might be a bit miffed to be replaced by a toyboy and anyway I much prefer weird arsey old leftie men.

Today I spent hours perusing the guitar shops of Denmark Street and Charing Cross Road . Dave played loads to hear how they sounded and helped me decide what I needed .

I came home empty handed but with the bug for a guitar. I know I will get very anoraky about it. I saw loads and am left with a decision to make.

My options are :

- a very good deal of a guitar and amp for about £110. Nothing exciting but good value for a beginner.(Can't find pic, but its a strat type).

- A blue Yamaha that looks a bit nicer. About £190. (the first guitar pic)

- A retro guitar that has lots of options for different tones etc.

- And a girlie bright deep pink sparkly 'Daisy Rock ' guitar. The one in the shop was £440 . It was glittery and almost cerise in colour. I looked at it first and then went round all the other shops. I came back to have another look, after resolving to be sensible. Trouble is the others looked dull afterwards.
I have looked on the website and there are others very similar a lot cheaper.See pics above.

I could only find a pic of the Yamaha, the first pic above , and the Daisy Rock ones.See above for an idea of the sort of Daisy Rock guitar I am tempted by. I would probably have to pay £350 ish for it.Plus amp and other bits and pieces.

And yes its an extravagance but I have decided to treat myself. When my mum died I inherited the grand sum of about £1500 . My mum was a character. She hated the 'uniform' of pensioners in their beige clothes and bobble perms. She wore bright colours, loved purple and had a bright blonde bit in her hair with swirls of pink and lilac. I think she would approve of me buying a guitar and learning to play.

Any thoughts? Should I get the sensible budget option,the inbetween options or the bright girlie guitar ?
Or should I just stop all this nonsense and grow up...