Posts Tagged ‘ Election Debate ’

JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just an Observation

And so begins the never ending cycle of elections.
The big one though has to be the General Election in June which has has seen our glorious leader turn into what I always suspected she was, a Dalek in drag. With the phrase ‘Strong and Stable Leadership’ now her mantra repeated at every available opportunity and which offers as much clarity as her previous ‘Brexit means Brexit’ statement also trundled out when she had nothing clear to offer, which was often and still is it would seem.
I suppose we have until June 8th now to listen to the lies and mantras on repeat and try and sift through them all for a grain of truth and hope. Good luck with that one. Certainly in Scotland there seems to be some form of hope of an escape from a very Dis-United Kingdom although the right wing bias in the national mainstream media seems to indicate we too are set for a Tory takeover.
Hmmm, we’ll see!
The local elections in May will hopefully see that one-off with its tail between its legs.
Elsewhere away from the world of politics- politics are never far away though these days- I have been shocked and saddened to hear of gay concentration camps in Chechnya where gay men are entrapped then held in camps where they are tortured merely because of their sexual orientation. The fact that this is going on in the 21st century is almost beyond belief.
That is until you consider the way the world has tilted over the last few years with the rise of the far right in most of Europe and the still very unfathomable rise of Donald Trump in the US. Surely these factors and what is going on in Russia should be a lesson for us to put the brakes on now.
In times of crisis there is always music to turn to and whilst the live circuit has been a bit drab recently it looks as if things are on the up over the next short while with the likes of Chrysta Belle and Kraftwerk visiting the capital over the next couple of months. Not to mention both PJ Harvey and Jarvis Cocker both making an appearance during the Festival.
However much as I look forward to seeing these acts unfortunately they do little to help the local music scene which is once again floundering and the worrying news that even the Leith Depot which has done a lot to galvanise its local area is under threat of demolition. What with the closure of the legendary Port O’ Leith and The Parlour- both last weekend- things are looking desperate where they were once looking hopeful.
The state of the roads in the town centre are also ridiculous and although the newly introduced speed limits of 20mph-why exactly?- haven’t helped anything at times it feels as if that stupidly low restriction is actually speeding compared to the remaining stationary for an interminable age whilst travelling I have experienced recently.
Never mind at least there is always ‘Line Of Duty’ to keep our minds active whilst we seem to be at a standstill. No-one could ever accuse this drama of moving at a pedestrian pace and there is absolutely no second guessing what is going to happen next with this one. The latest series finale on Sunday looks like being an explosive one and even I wouldn’t hazard a guess as to its outcome.
Until then I am going to content myself with the new albums by The Gorillaz, assisted by the likes of Grace Jones and Mavis Staples, and Mark Lanegan albums-both out today- which on first listening sound impressive to these judgmental ears. At the cinema I aim to catch Park Chan-wook’s erotic thriller The Handmaiden. Now all we need is for the weather to improve and it could be a great weekend ahead.

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JUST AN OBSERVATION

Just An Observation
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So with the General Election only a matter of weeks away last night’s debate with seven party leaders- itself a break from the norm as usually only the three ‘main’ parties are invited along- certainly seems to have captured the attention of a large part of the nation. The very fact that seven party leaders- The SNP, The Green Party, Plaid Cymru and UKIP are all new invitees- were asked to debate shows exactly how much politics has changed in the last five years since the last General Election and just how much of a broken system it has become since the coalition took power in 2010.
Nick Clegg who actually emerged from the three leader debate in 2010 as a promising hope and then disaffected all his voters by jumping into bed with the Tories as the first whiff of power wafted in his direction, last night started by claiming that no one party could win this election out right. Not the most encouraging start and a sure sign that the coalition has not worked.
He then engaged in a slanging match and locked horns on several occasions with David Cameron who he has been supposedly making policies with and alongside for the last five years but only now weeks before the election can the divide and disharmony at the root of their relationship be revealed to us, the voters. Not that it came as any great surprise and the Lib Dems and Clegg have nothing more to lose as they lost it all the moment they hopped into bed with the Tories in the first place.
David Cameron appeared as his usually supercilious, smug and arrogant self and focussed most of his time on reminding us of the mess that Labour created when in power and that he has been trying –not very successfully it would transpire-to salvage ever since. Focussing on the past and allaying blame rather than offering any new policies –unless you count more austerity and more cuts as viable offerings- his performance was listless and yet again when attacked about cuts to the NHS and benefit cuts he used his dead son Ivan, disabled with cerebral palsy and epilepsy, as a political weapon to deflect and distract from the questions at hand.
Ed Milliband came across as slightly better than he usually does but he lacks any tele-genic charisma and doesn’t face the camera squarely in the eye. In the cult of personality in politics, heading to a more Presidential style, this disadvantages him greatly although he came across as more convincing than he has done at any other time since he took over as Labour leader.
Surprisingly though all of the three ‘main’ leaders could have learnt a thing or two from relative newcomer Nigel Farage who despite being an odious man with extremely worrying policies came across as more convincing than any of those mentioned so far. However he wrong footed several times, not least seeming to blame all Britain’s woes on foreigners followed by an unprecedented attack on HIV sufferers which saw him reprimanded by Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood who accused him of scaremongering and attaching stigma.
That brings us neatly to the real stars of last night’s debate and also the real winners; the three women. Natalie Bennett (The Green Party) and Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru) performed admirably, if a little out of their depth on occasion, but Nicola Sturgeon-looking good in an outfit by Edinburgh favourites Totty Rocks- emerged as the true winner of the whole event. Clear, concise and cutting through the bullshit, she made a convincing case for the SNP having a say in the next government and a say which will be fair to the whole UK and not just Scotland. This is in total contrast to the picture of the right wing press who have wasted no time in painting her as demonic figure who simply wants to break up the union and doesn’t give a second thought for the rest of the UK. Last night revealed that what is most important for her and her party now is bringing a fairer and more progressive political landscape to the whole of the populous.
Certainly this is one of the most closely fought elections in recent memory and last night it became clearer to see that alliances are going to have to be made but the real concern is between whom.
Elsewhere a load of multi millionaire musicians-Jay Z, Beyonce, Madonna, Kanye West and Chris Martin among them- are trying to encourage us to cancel our Spotify subscriptions and sign up to their more expensive Tidal streaming service as this pays more money to the ‘suffering’ artists. I actually don’t have a Spotify account to be honest but do believe that music shouldn’t be for free –musicians have to pay for instruments, rehearsal space, travelling and this is all before taking into consideration the time involved in creating even the simplest of songs- but subscribing to a music service which lines the pockets of those who are already millionaires several times over seems like anathema to the problem at hand. Surely it would have been more productive to spend money on getting newer and less formulaic music out there or is it all just big business now and the music on offer is becoming less and less important to profit?
Seriously the only thing in a scarier state than the music industry right now is British politics.
This who gets paid for what doesn’t only extend to musicians however as this week saw photographer Pat Pope send an open letter to Garbage- I remain unconvinced by all this open letter sending why not just express an opinion and stop hiding behind this ‘open letter’ crap although ironically I did find Shirley Manson’s recent one to Kanye West quite amusing- concerning the alleged non-payment of fees regarding photos taken back in the nineties. There seems to be a grey area in this matter as I am unclear whether he was paid handsomely for his work in the first place and therefore his photographs now belong to someone else to do with as they please or does he still own the copyright and is being blatantly stolen from.
I know of a photographer friend who was paid upwards of £20,000, quite a bit upwards if I recall correctly, for a session with David Bowie and whose photos are used time and time again-one of them graced the back cover of the ‘David Bowie Is’ catalogue- and he was forever complaining that he made no money every time one was used although his permission was always asked. I always argued that £20,000 upwards wasn’t a bad deal for one days work but this didn’t seem fair recompense to him.
Pope hasn’t made clear what his deal with Garbage was or whether he took the photos in the good faith that he would receive a fee if they were used in the future but the whole thing stinks of middle management and the industry yet again ripping off an artist whenever the opportunity presents itself. It would seem that nowadays art whether it be the visual arts, photography, music or writing is expected to come free with no-one really willing to pay any artist for their work even if they are making money out of it themselves. This disgusts me to be honest!
It would appear that Easter is upon us yet again and although I don’t have mush interest in these holidays it doesn’t mean I won’t take the time out to participate if there is something interesting going on. Not much is happening over this weekend as far as I can work out but some interesting things upcoming in the next month or so. The Cathode Ray have an album launch at Elvis Shakespeare and the Voodoo Rooms,- more about this nearer the time- , Neu Reekie have an all star line up at La Belle Angele at the beginning of May followed the week after by a Women’s Aid charity gig at Summerhall wherein a selection of female artists will perform their favourite girl group songs and there is also the prospect of Patti Smith performing her seminal ‘Horses’ album in its entirety in June whilst August sees Franz Ferdinand team up with Sparks-FFS- as a Festival treat and highlight. Good times ahead I feel!