Conference: Tories


Tory conference

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the Tory party, and that was confirmed by the continued mentions for Thatcher we’ve had just in the last two days – she’s like Michael Myers from Halloween, just keeps appearing when you hoped they were gone for good.

The nonsense brigade have already been out in force with such stupid and pointless ideas as the Married couples tax allowance that punishes lifestyles for not having a piece of paper, or a partner who was willing to stick around, or was still alive. Then Gideon Osborne gets up today and proposes a right wing high five in the shape of “Make the buggers work for the dole!” cries that again misses the point – if the clusterf*ck of ATOS can’t decide if people are disabled, in hospital or even alive to go to work in the first place, I can’t wait to see how this one pans out. Being told by a man who inherited a fortune tell others that you don’t get money for nothing is so ironic that Alanis Morrissette actually exploded when she heard.

The self same sleaze made promises that weren’t achievable in terms of fuel duty and getting the economy back in black – the only AC/DC effect we’re likely to get would be if Gideon plugged in that special chair we had a whip round for. Theresa May has finally realised that the hugely racist “Stop and Search” isn’t working but is vague on what will replace it – I’ve got a fiver on the possibility she works with Osborne on his “Work for Dole” and gets the EDL to do it instead of the police. Although how you tell the difference in some cases…

Everything about this shower of ***** annoys me. Yes this was the Prime Minister who brought in same sex marriage but if rumours are to be believed then it’s something Cameron regrets already. The Economy is going nowhere quickly thanks to Gideon’s friend ‘Austerity’, benefits have been slashed for the most needy in society, the bedroom tax is punishing families just trying to get by, millionaires got a tax cut, they criticised Jimmy Carr for avoiding tax yet did nothing about all their friends in the city doing the same thing, they have eroded the working relationship with Europe and they are still run by a group of elitist, Eton educated, millionaires with no grasp on the reality of of day-to-day life for you and I.

The sooner 2015 comes round the sooner we can kick this lot out.




Same old Rangers


It saddens me to say this but if this is how the Armed Forces of this country behave, lowering themselves to the level of Sectarian singing at a Rangers match, then I’ve lost some respect for them this weekend.

And if you’re wondering why this has not made the news, then you’re not the only one:

A former editor of the Daily Mirror has questioned apparent media reluctance to report what he claimed were scores of uniformed soldiers taking part in sectarian singing at a so called Armed Forces Day event at Ibrox stadium.   Roy Greenslade, who now writes for the Guardian newspaper and the London Evening Standard, described the events which took place after hundreds of military personnel had marched onto the park before Rangers’ game against Stenhousemuir on Saturday.

According to the journalist, a group of soldiers were filmed dancing, clapping and singing along with the crowd.  Mr Greenslade suggested that chants were sectarian in nature with references to IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands –

Rangers don’t accept this kind of behaviour though. After a game against Berwick in Feb they said this:

Rangers issued an apology while the match was still ongoing after ESPN microphones picked up the offensive chants. A Rangers spokesman said: “The club is disappointed by certain outbursts of inappropriate singing by a section of the support at Berwick.

“Our fans have been excellent this season both home and away and we do not want to see this tarnished.”

Mind you someone should tell their media advisors and spokesmen:

“The problem is that sectarianism is incredibly hard to define, especially in modern Scotland. Dictionary definitions simply don’t cut it in Glasgow”Kevin Q Anderson is the Social Media Editor at Rangers Media a man who doesn’t understand what a “definition” actually is.

So Saturday’s embarrassment is being kept quiet because:

A) We don’t want the MoD and the Armed Forces to get bad publicity

B) Rangers don’t understand what is a sectarian song as it has never been defied

C) No one is brave enough to stand up to Rangers in the Scottish Press anymore, or

D) All of the above





Aberdeen’s Embarrassment


Aberdeen Traffic

Why is it that the “Oil Capital of Europe” has yet again today found itself at a standstill because of one accident on one road? how can it be that this mighty and powerful beast has such a pathetic Achilles’ Heel as this? While I wish a speedy recovery to the injured man from this morning’s crash I can’t help but think that once again we are living in a city that thinks it’s one thing but is actually another.

We talk a good game in the North East and I love the area, it’s my home and I always will, but our jumped ideas of brilliance are very quickly squashed when two cars have a crash on one of the many roads into the city. There are many who will point out that the new Western Peripheral Route, that is due to be built at the same time Satan makes a snowman, will solve these kinds of issue. I say “you’re wrong.” The accident happened on the Ellon Road which would not really be effected by the bypass as it is one of the main conduits to the city centre. Where the bypass or the proposed improvements to the Haudagain Roundabout (a strange and mystical place that has been compared to the River Styx due to the likelihood of getting across unscathed) will help is in taking traffic out of the city when trying to cross it.

This morning I left the house at my usual time of 7.40am to get the Park and Ride bus that leaves the AECC at 7.52am. Within a few minutes the queues were backing up and almost meeting by the Bridge of Don branch of Asda from both exits. I thought I’d be clever and skirt around the Parkway by taking the back road behind the Scrappy only to find the queues were as bad that way. How is it possible that the entire area of the Bridge of Don is brought to a halt by one accident?

“We need a third crossing!” goes the cry from the campaigners to put another bridge over the River Don. They’ve completely missed the point – we’re well beyond a third, we need a fourth and fifth to start changing the madness seen this morning. Look at a city like Glasgow or Newcastle or Manchester or London where there are numerous bridges crossing the main rivers not just a couple. This just shows how backward thinking we are here to set our sights so low. We need one across to Bucksburn, one to Stoneywood and one to Grandholm for starters. Then there’s the south of the city where everyone coming north has to squeeze across two bridges at Garthdee.

It’s easy to point the finger at successive local councils for wasting money – so let’s do it. There is so much potential in this corner of Scotland but between the local dipsticks and the pathetic specimens in Holyrood no-one has bothered to do anything about anything for nearly thirty years. the original plans for the famous WPR was supposed to be finished two years ago and they’ve still not sorted out the money for it yet.

So where does that leave us? Still stuck in a traffic queue with no sight of the end anywhere close. We’re all sitting behind people who have crashed the finances of an “oil rich” city and we can’t get past them. No diversions in place either. We’ll just sit and wait. Again.


Is it me? Tattoos


Cheryl Cole Tattoo

I’m Sorry. I know dozens of people who have got them and they love them – but I just don’t get it. For me it’s the modern equivalent of the “Comedy Tie” – an item of clothing used by those without a real personality to put one on themselves. The tattoo seems to be replacing something missing in their lives.

Now let me be clear that I appreciate the fact that they are traditionally used in many cultures and that’s fine – it’s just I don’t remember them being part of ours. I also understand that the ones that are done well can be beautiful – indeed works of art. I think my issue is with the trend of everyone getting them to be an individual. You need to check the definition of individual. Go and buy a t-shirt with the image on it first, or get a henna one to make sure you like it – but please stop covering yourself in tattoos, to cover up the tattoos you don’t like with bigger ones. It looks awful.

The stats speak for themselves with some surveys revealing up to 70% of those who were inked on holiday regretting it. There are also a growing number of employers who say that visible ink is an issue for them when hiring people. Numbers of people getting laser treatment is increasing – especially in women who change their minds after only a couple of years of having them done. Year on year the removal rate is increasing by a third. So why do people do it? It’s not like we aren’t aware they are permanent, so why do people fall into the trap time and again?

There seems to be a statement of rebellion in getting a tattoo, but it seems a bit extreme to go to these lengths to piss your parents off. Speaking of parents I do understand those parents who have lost a child to get a small tattoo of their name – that makes some sense to me and I don’t want to put them into the same category as the stupid people who get it done while pissed. I also support the rights of the individual so I am a little torn with this, but more and more you see people who have had giant tattoos or numerous ones all over their bodies, necks and faces and it’s not a pretty sight. Also the amount of errors that are made in spellings and designs you wonder what planet some people are on in the first place. You just need to Google “tattoo mistakes” to find millions of examples.

Like all trends there are those who don’t know when to stop: tattooed eyeballs, on teeth, inside your lips, eyelids and tongue – what is wrong with you? Then there are the parents around the world – not in places where traditional tattoos are part of the culture – are deciding that it is appropriate to ink their very young children. As far as I’m concerned if you are legally allowed to get one at eighteen, and you do so by choice that is one thing – yes I’m not a fan but I accept it is your decision to make. The decision by parents like the one below is tantamount to child abuse and it should be stopped from happening. This video is upsetting – for many reasons.

The rights of the individual to do with their bodies what they want is something I will always stand up for – I don’t have to like what hey do, but I agree to the principle. I don’t think you look good because you have a giant flower or foreign phrase on your arm, I don’t think your tat above your arse is sexy and I don’t really see the point of a “joke” tattoo like a lawnmower on a bald head or just above your pubic area, because the joke would only work the first time. I know you spent a small fortune on it, but I actually think it looks cheap. I am one of the few people I know who doesn’t have and doesn’t like tattoos – ironically that makes me more of an individual these days than all the people with ink.




£3.85 better off a week? Marry Me!



Well the Tories are in touch with modern Britain aren’t they? Us married folk could be £200 better off a year if David Cameron’s proposal (see what I did there) comes off.

“Other countries recognise marriage properly in the tax system and that’s what we’re doing” Cameron in the Daily Heil

So the big plan is to reward those who are married – straight or gay. Brilliant extra money is never a bad thing. Just a few wee questions for you Dave:

  • What about Single Parents who are bringing up a family on their own because their husband or wife died? They’re struggling to get by, but who cares about that?
  • And the half that was walked out on for no reason and left to bring up the kids – they don’t need any support do they?
  • And obviously don’t worry about all those families that are being hit by the bedroom tax because you’re going to give them back some of the money you have just stolen from them?

What world do these toffee-nosed, elitist, snobbish, cretins think we live in? “Oh thank you so much Mr Cameron sir. I can save up to put on the heating now for an extra week over Christmas. I say week I mean hour.” The government are cutting £25bn pounds from the economy in the next two years, do they honestly believe that this kind of pathetic gesture will help people forget the closing down of hospitals, specialist units, A&E depts., school, libraries or the additional taxes on flights, the bedroom tax, the cuts to disability allowance, the ham fisted nonsense of ATOS telling terminally ill patents and severely disabled people – or even dead ones – they can go back to work.

This latest announcement sums up why I hate the Tories and all they stand for. It’s like giving the servants wee treat of an afternoon off at the Downingstreet Abbey. We should all bow down and thank him for ruining the lives of poor, the elderly, the infirm, the disabled because we’ll get a hand out in return of less than the cost of four pints of milk, a loaf of bread, a bag of apples and a chocolate bar? This Tory party continues the horrible top down approach to government and society that got us into the problems we findi n society today – caused by them and their matriarchal leader in the 80s.

The “Me” culture. The culture that says if you screw the economy we won’t come after you because you are our friends and we’ll look after you – as long as there is a job on your board going when I step down. The culture of sleaze and back-handers and donations from business and tax dodging millionaires  in return for policies being ignored or awarded.

In a country that has Food Banks as one of the fastest growing “businesses”; fuel poverty for the elderly and long term unemployed; social housing with damp or unsanitary conditions; where 5.5 million go without adequate clothing; 12 million people can’t afford simple luxuries like clubs for their kids to go to; where you are punished because you were given an extra bedroom by your local council because of a shortage of one bedroom residences; where 1.5 million children live in homes that cannot afford to be heated, where rich pensioners are not means tested for free TV licences or winter fuel allowances even though many don’t want the payment; where a quarter of the population are living below acceptable standard and where that number has doubled in the last 30 years under all colours of government – yes Mr Cameron that extra £3.85 will buy you another term in office.



Now that’s magic!


Rabbit with top hat and magic wand

Tonight I’m taking Jake to a magic show at the Lemon Tree called “Morgan and West – Time Travelling Magicians” and I’m looking forward to it as much as he is. I’ve always loved watching magicians either on TV or at events where people hire them. I’ve never really wanted to perform magic myself because I don’t like the idea of know how the tricks are done – it would spoil the fun for me too much.

Growing up there were always magicians on the TV, Paul Daniels was the big name and every Saturday night his show was on BBC1 and I loved the close up magic bit most. Being right beside the magician as the con and misdirect you is brilliant. While I can appreciate the big stunt type tricks that stage magicians do you are always too aware that they are not real blades, swords or floating assistants and there is an element of fakery there. With close up magic there’s a real skill to not be caught out by the public and to avoid revealing the secret behind the illusion.

I hated the trend in the 90s of the TV shows that revealed how many of the biggest and best known tricks are done – it’s a big like dissecting a frog in the end you’re left with a useless dead frog no-one wants or needs, all we want to see is the frog jumping round not drawing a white line around where he used to sit. I’m usually the first to want to know how things work and the ideas behind them but all too often the truth is mundane and banal. Often the more elaborate the trick the simpler the explanation and vice versa. The joy is that moment when your brain that has been following the logical narrative is blindsided – you rarely get that these days.

There is also a real backlash against magic and magicians with only a handful of household names over the last few years – Derren Brown being the best known, but even he is not doing classic tricks. I do love Derren’s work but sometimes the simple and basic tricks are the best. We seem to scoff at those who can do magic but to do it well is a real skill and the sleight of hand and palming is not an easy thing to master. Why do we mock the old fashioned style – is it like when we had the crossover in comedy from the 70s comedians to the 80s alternative ones? Now with Ali Cook, Morgan and West, the brilliant Penn & Teller, Pete Firman, Dynamo and Derren there appears to be a revival in seeing the classic and close up tricks back on TV and in our theatres.

There are so few surprises in life these days that when you see a great TV show that hasn’t been spoiled by the internet or annoying friends, or a brilliant performer like a good magician it is something to be cherished. I don’t want to know how it’s done, I just want o see it all happen and go home happy.


Mental Costumes


Mental PatientPsycho Ward

Question: If you shout “Are you deaf?” at your child should you go round to apologise to your hard of hearing Granda?

Question: On a night out if you say someone is “Legless” should you apologise to the next leg amputee you meet?

Question: If I say an idea is “mental” should I say sorry to myself because I suffer from depression?

If you said yes to any of those then stop reading now as your little brain won’t handle the rest of this blog.

When Tesco and Asda apologised for their fancy dress costumes of “Mental Patient” and “Psycho Ward Patient” a part of me died – to be fair there’s plenty of me so I should be okay. You do wonder who decided that they should be called this in the first place but I won’t take offence at the names or the costumes because I am an educated human being who can tell the difference between a costume for a Celtic Pagan festival and “real life”. If I ever struggle with those two feel free to dress me in either costume and cart me off.

Those who are offended by it have a point and worry about the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Too often people worry that the depressed or bi-polar or schizophrenic neighbour is going to break down their door shouting “Here’s Johnny” whilst wearing a white mask and brandishing a knife. Obviously the neighbour is not very intelligent and I assume doesn’t have access to scissors or sharp objects in general. We are more aware than ever of mental illness – it’s almost a fashion accessory for the rich and famous to be “f*cked up” as well as loaded. Very few people aren’t aware what mental illness actually means – the issue is still that people feel afraid to talk about their own issues with mental illness and this is almost a reaction to that.

If it’s not spoken about or mentioned then it’s not happening. This seems to be the reaction of many in society; that they don’t need to know – they’re wrong of course we need to feel as comfortable saying that we have a mental illness as we do a cold because it’s almost that common, but not as infectious. The costumes are just that – costumes. To worry about a label or dressing up costume is to miss the point. If that turns sensible people into torch and pitchfork wielding vigilantes I’d suggest the problem is theirs and not ours. If we are going to have such knee jerk reactions every time the wrong thing is said we are never going to solve the main issue of opening and demystifying the reality of mental illnesses.

One in eight doctor’s appointments in the UK is to deal with depression or mental health. Let’s stop pretending that it doesn’t exist because we all know it does. Why can same-sex couples, Muslims and atheists all stand up in public and be applauded for their expression of their lifestyles and choices,  and why do we still celebrate those living with or having beaten cancer or disabilities or serious illness when we still don’t feel comfortable with someone saying that they are mentally ill. I’m not saying we don’t celebrate and respect the other things but it shouldn’t be one rule for them and another for the depressed, suicidal, anxious and bi-polar. It’s not something you can catch, so don’t fear it.

If it’s put up in a supermarket to celebrate Halloween then take it for what it is – a bit of fun. We need to get the perspective right on this one and not make scapegoats out of supermarkets when it’s society as a whole that has a problem.