FROM THE RIDICULOUS TO THE EVEN WORSE

By Panda Paws

Recently Danny from Missouri and I had an interesting wee chat about the number of American Presidents who had been assassinated. He mentioned that only one British Prime Minister had ever been killed in office. Which is not to say that a number of them haven’t wanted shooting! But the non-existent British constitution only allows us to “bare arms” though this is currently not advisable due to bad weather so assassination is much less likely!

The bloke’s name was Spencer Perceval who was killed in 1812 so not within living memory. Though Edward Drummond, a civil servant was killed during an assassination attempt on PM Robert Peel in 1843 by Daniel McNaughton, a Scot, who was suffering from paranoid delusions (unrecorded whether he thought Scotland was a valued and equal partner in the Union). He gave his name to the legal McNaughton clauses that define insanity in English law.

Anyway, all this prompted me to think of the PMs I have a living memory of though for some of them I was very young. And what a sorry bunch they have been, resulting in the article title. So here is a brief journey through the leaders of our nation.

  1. Ted Heath, Tory

He and Harold Wilson took buggins turn at the top job during the 1960s and early 1970s. During Heath’s tenure, we had the three day week, due to industrial action by mine workers and a Middle East oil crisis. He was also PM when Bloody Sunday happened and some of the most violent days in the Troubles. A gay man, most of his life he had been closeted given homosexuality was illegal until 1968 in England. He famously hated his successor as Tory party leader. Didn’t we all mate, didn’t we all.

  1. Harold Wilson, Labour

Regarded as soft Left, or what many current members of the party would call a raging communist!, he was PM twice – 1964 to 1970 then from 1974 to 1976. His was a mixed bag premiership. In 1967 sterling was devalued and he made his famous “pound in your pocket” speech. Which was a lie. He also secretly offered circa £500 million in today’s money to Libya’s Gaddafi for the latter to stop arming the IRA. He should be congratulated though for keeping UK out of the Vietnam War despite pressure from the US. He resigned abruptly in 1976 citing exhaustion though he was probably suffering from the onset of the dementia that was hushed up during his retirement.

  1. James Callaghan, Labour

He is only British politician to have held all 4 of the Great Offices of State (Chancellor, Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary, PM). He was Chancellor during sterling devaluation and the Home Secretary who sent troops to Northern Ireland. For a lot of people, he is best known for being PM during the Winter of Discontent. A bad time which I now look upon fondly given the disaster capitalism that we currently have. Brexit will probably make it look like the happiest days of our life.

For me, he is best remembered for:

The 1979 devolution referendum I was too young to vote in and the infamous Cunningham amendment aka the “deid voted naw”. The referendum that was 52 yes and 48 no – those numbers may feel familiar in a UK context – so obviously devolution didn’t happen. Because yes really means no.

Keeping quiet about the McCrone report. It was commissioned during Heath’s time but reported during Wilson’s. (But Callaghan was part of the Cabinet keeping it to secret and ensured it remained secret when we were considering devolution).

The no-confidence vote. Look, an election would have needed to be called in at most 5 months after it actually happened. Denis Healey blamed Labour backbenchers for the vote loss, but SLAB blamed and continue to blame the SNP for it. Funnily enough, they never blame the folk that voted Tory; just the SNP for voting against the government. It would take decades for the SNP to rebuild and lose its minority party status.

  1. Margaret Thatcher, Tory

My loathing holds no bounds for this personage. Everything that is wrong with the UK economy today dates back to her obsession with Chicago school economics. Which is bollocks! The only thing trickling down is rich people peeing on you. Which may be marginally better than cats pooing on your petunias or not. (Munguin says he has to think about that- Ed.)

There was no Thatcherite economic miracle. She STOLE my country’s wealth to fund tax cuts for the richest and build infrastructure in London and SE England. In 1990 having sat on the still-top secret McCrone report, she told a Young Conservative conference

We English, who are marvellous people, are really very generous to Scotland and very generous to Wales.”

Generous, fecking generous?

Ravenscraig, Dalzell, Linwood etc – the deindustrialisation of Scotland. Maybe the industries were at the tail end of viability but she did nothing to replace them and instead threw our money at the rich.

Compare and contrast with Norway – roughly same population and fewer non-oil-related natural resources – megabucks, one of the happiest nations on Earth. I imagine when she died they needed to create a new circle of hell just for her! Ironically the woman that privatised our national assets (“selling off the family silver” MacMillan called it) was given a state funeral paid for by the taxpayers. At which George Osborne cried. I cried during her premiership, like most of Scotland.

  1. John Major, Tory

By the 1990s even the Tories had had enough of the mad bag and she was deposed and replaced, not by Heseltine, the stalking horse, but by a man said to be so boring he ran away from the circus to become an accountant. Actually, it’s not really true but his father had been a music hall performer. His Spitting Image puppet famously had a crush on Virginia Bottomley. He was actually having an affair with Edwina Currie. I now pause to allow you to clear your mind with bleach at the thought of John and Edwina together… (Munguin had to leave the room at this point! Fortunately Tris is made of sterner stuff, and has blocked the two of them completely. NO DOIN’T MENTION THEM AGAIN… preferably EVER!)

He was PM when the UK dropped out of the ERM and his tenure became mired in sleaze and numerous sex scandals. Tory family values may not be your family values.

  1. Tony Blair, Tory

Yeah OK, technically Labour, but not really. Thatcher said New Labour was her greatest legacy! Well, I suppose compared to everything else she was responsible for, it might be the least toxic of the toxic. So things didn’t actually get any better – I blame that Prof Brian Cox. Stick to the Physics mate, not the keyboard!

PFI, Iraq, spin, Cash for Honours. Of course, some will credit him with devolution but he was actually against it and his hand was forced by the Council of Europe which had stated the UK was too centralised. So devolution happened on his watch as did stealing 6000 miles of Scottish coastline before its enactment aided and abetted by (not the) Father of the Nation, Donald Dewar, the first First Minister. Why did he steal 6000 miles? No, not to outdo the Proclaimers but did I mention the McCrone report ?– it’s still top secret in 1999 when parliament reconvened (or the Executive as Labour and LibDems liked to call it) and was indeed was only revealed in 2005 after a tip-off about its existence led to an FOI request.

  1. Gordon Brown, New Labour

Or as I like to call him “how now Brown vow, you’ll have had your federalism”. Others call him Nokia Brown due to his apparent penchant for throwing phones at people when frustrated. He was treated badly by the press, however. Yes, he was useless, but Tony was too and got away with murder literally – Iraq!

Funny though that the press that hated him suddenly started treating him like an elder statesman in 2014. The good ole BBC even interrupting programmes to beam his No thanks speech live, despite purdah. Still, this closest thing to federalism is great isn’t it? Nearly as good as the Sewell Convention.

  1. David Cameron, Tory

Just call me Dave, he said. I have several other names in mind. He famously said he wanted to be PM because he thought he’d be good at it.

He wasn’t.

Lazy (chillaxing anyone?) and entitled, he thought he was cleverer than everyone else and didn’t need to try. Newsflash – you weren’t and you did.

Brexit is his legacy. He’d gambled the nation’s future to settle an internal Tory party struggle and the challenge from UKIP. (I’m not sure that little ploy worked too well…well, look at Liam Fox and Anna Soubry-Ed) Buoyed after winning the Scottish independence referendum, which at one point he looked like losing – Daily Record to the rescue – he seemingly forgot or perhaps was too arrogant to see that the MSM wouldn’t be 100% behind him this time.

Jim Callaghan was the only PM to hold all four Great Offices of State and, thanks to Cameron and EVEL, no MP from a Scottish Constituency will ever be able to match this feat should we be daft enough to remain in the Disunited Kingdom. And don’t get me started on his austerity and social security measures!

  1. Theresa May, Tory

Please make it stop. Please. I can’t even. (Nor can I – Ed)

And they say Scotland doesn’t have the talent to run itself!

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EVEN MAD MAGGIE COULD SEE THAT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA

aguy

Mrs Thatcher was a fan of the single market apparently, according to a tweet today from Guy Verhofstadt as he settled into the ‘Salle Margaret Thatcher’ for a Brexit steering group meeting. He cited this quote for evidence:

aguy1

Even Mrs Thatcher with her known dislike of all “foreigners” (except Americans, whom I imagine she considered to be honorary Englishmen) could see that the European market was a jewel. It’s well over 300 million now (510 million). How mad must the great dictator be to want us to be out of it?

 

bex0

Oh yeah, sorry, I forgot… that mad!

RANDOM THOUGHTS

 

!1
Difficult choice…

 

aconm
Well, we knew that all along… (BTW, wasn’t he the one with a lot of dosh in the BVI? I hope they got someone out there trying to net it up.)
a thick1
Oh aye? On what planet exactly is that happening?
acon2
Guest houses “doon the watter” better get painting and decorating over the winter.
ahome.
Another day, another complete balls-up by the Home Office.
Conservative Party Conference 2014
Not for any reason other than he seems to epitomise Brexit. Small, silly and at times comical.
amaggie
Bit obvious really. It’s ok to be a Britnat or and Engnat. Just never a Scotnat.
anaz
What a fine figure of a man, I mean Nazi. I wonder why he’d want to get his top off and show himself off. Emetic maybe?
apensions
Deeeeeeeep bow everyone…
a labour
Indeed, Homer, indeed.
aboris
Oh, really… funny, that’s not what you said in 2016.
atessy
Taking back control to the 16th century. Bravo, May.
ap
Perth played host to a small gaggle of SDL protesters today. They had to be penned in like animals. However, thousands of human beings packed the streets in a counter demonstration. The low life was seen off on an English bus. I’m wondering just how Scottish these people are.

 

WHAT WAS THAT ABOUT “JUST ABOUT MANAGING”?

amay1

So, I expect you remember the gut-wrenchingly awful speech, dripping with sugary insincerity, that Mayhem made in Downing Street upon her accession to the post. Her St Francis moment, I thought. Where there is ‘just getting by’, let there be starvation, I though.

She was going to act for the ordinary person; she was going to care about the “just about managing” (not the ones who weren’t managing at all);  she was all about people with mental health issues; she really cared about black people, working class boys, you and me, and not the super rich. This is what she said. (My emphasis in her speech.)

“I have just been to Buckingham Palace, where Her Majesty the Queen has asked me to form a new government, and I accepted. In David Cameron, I follow in the footsteps of a great, modern Prime Minister. Under David’s leadership, the Government stabilised the economy, reduced the budget deficit, and helped more people into work than ever before. But David’s true legacy is not about the economy, but about social justice. From the introduction of same-sex marriage, to taking people on low wages out of income tax altogether, David Cameron has led a one nation government, and it is in that spirit that I also plan to lead. Because not everybody knows this, but the full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist Party. And that word unionist is very important to me.

“It means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. But it means something else that is just as important, it means we believe in a union not just between the nations of the United Kingdom, but between all of our citizens, every one of us, whoever we are and wherever we are from. That means fighting against the burning injustice that if you’re born poor you will die on average nine years earlier than others. If you’re black, you’re treated more harshly by the criminal justice system than if you’re white. If you’re a white, working class boy, you’re less likely than anybody else in Britain to go to university. If you’re at a state school, you’re less likely to reach the top professions than if you’re educated privately. If you’re a woman, you will earn less than a man. If you suffer from mental health problems, there’s not enough help to hand. If you’re young, you’ll find it harder than ever before to own your own home.

amay4

“But the mission to make Britain a country that works for everyone means more than fighting these injustices. If you’re from an ordinary working class family, life is much harder than many people in Westminster realise. You have a job but you don’t always have job security. You have your own home but you worry about paying the mortgage. You can just about manage, but you worry about the cost of living and getting your kids into a good school. If you’re one of those families, if you’re just managing, I want to address you directly. I know you’re working around the clock, I know you’re doing your best and I know that sometimes life can be a struggle. The Government I lead will be driven, not by the interests of the privileged few, but by yours. We will do everything we can to give you more control over your lives. When we take the big calls, we’ll think not of the powerful, but you. When we pass new laws, we’ll listen not to the mighty, but to you. When it comes to taxes, we’ll prioritise not the wealthy, but you. When it comes to opportunity, we won’t entrench the advantages of the fortunate few, we will do everything we can to help anybody, whatever your background, to go as far as your talents will take you.

“We are living through an important moment in our country’s history. Following the referendum, we face a time of great national change. And I know because we’re Great Britain that we will rise to the challenge. As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

“That will be the mission of the Government I lead. And together, we will build a better Britain.”

**********
I heard early morning news today, that nearly a million families are having trouble paying their mortgages. And that is before interest rates increase, as they are bound to, and people are forced make real choices.
Then there was this tweet from Jo Maugham:
**********

Inflation 2.7%. Wage growth 2.1%. Were you just about managing?

**********

amay2

I’m intrigued to know how a cabinet of highly-paid toffs can say that they are listening to ordinary people when they go out of their way to avoid talking to ordinary people. We know May’s general election speeches have been delivered to selective audiences in closed factories, under the watchful eyes of bosses. So how exactly does Mrs May find out what the just managing are thinking?

And, if it is not the rich and the powerful that are foremost in her mind, but people with mental health problems, people unable to find a school (don’t worry, there will be some selective grammars along very soon), people working all hours to pay the mortgage, or rent, ordinary people with ordinary problems… why did the royal household find itself given a bigger cash bonus in the budget than the WHOLE of SCOTLAND?

What I read in Jeremy Corbyn’s manifesto sounds a great deal more like what Mrs May was promising, than what Mrs May has delivered thus far.

Random thoughts…

 

a security
Probably best check the security on Trident?
a salaries
So, that’s fair then.
aira
Ruth condemns Corbyn for wanting peace?  Jeez, we all wanted peace, you silly woman and these leaders worked for it.
Are we president
Strong and stable worries me….
astrong12
…firstly because if I had to choose anything tat was NOT strong or stable, I’d choose May…
astrong1
…and secondly, I’m a bit worried about its origins….
astrong
…and thirdly, because I’m sick to the back teeth of hearing it.

.

conservatives
Much better to get their grandfathers to vote. They’re not so worried about the future.
ChaRLES
Damn, I suppose now he’ll be going back to England for a bit of bloodthirsty killing of the weak and defenceless.

 

WELL, THAT DIDN’T TAKE LONG

awar

So, here we are, four days into Brexit and we are already threatening war with a fellow EU member.

This morning the Tories, for some weird reason, wheeled out Michael Howard, who, as you might have guessed, is one of these noblemen the Tories keep locked away for just such purposes. You probably remember him best as Michael ‘Prison Works’ Howard, Michael ‘Are you thinking what we’re thinking’ Howard, or even Michael ‘Something of the Night’ Howard, but we must refer to him by his proper name The Noble Baron Howard of Lympne, CH, PC, QC. It’s only respectful. And we are nothing if not respectful.

abre2

Right, so the Tories dug him out from whatever dungeon they have been keeping him in, to remind us that a precious female prime minister, when a Great British territory was threatened, hastened to dispatch a mighty Task Force and, like Britannia herself, became the greatest military leader of all time.

Old Howard was, he said, sure that the current lady prime minister would not hesitate to do the same. Although she might have to ask President Hollande for a boat.

awar1.jpg

Now old Howard, for all he reminds even his colleagues of Dracula, used to be someone. Indeed, after Wee Willie Hague and then his grandad, Iain Duncan Smith, he was the third disastrous leader of the Tory Party to sit opposite Tony Blair on the opposition benches. So, I suspect that he was sent out to fly a kite that they should use military might to deal with Spain if they don’t get their way.

awar

If it goes down in a frenzy of red white and blue waving fascist nutters, then it may become policy. If not then the Tories can say that it was just some batshit mad old aristocratic senior citizen having had too much Port for breakfast.

One of the reasons that the EU was set up was to try to foster peace in a continent which had been constantly at war throughout a thousand years and more. Four days into Brexit and the Brits are sabre rattling. (Probably all they have to rattle.)

awar2

It may, too, have escaped Mr Howard’s notice that Spain is a NATO member and that NATO is a “one for all and all for one!” organisation. In short, if you attack one member, you attack all members. Oh well…

Fortunately not all talk today has been of war.

aIcelandic_Passport_Front_Cover

Brexiteers are making plans for the future. The Great British Passport all in blue will be making a return according to the Sunday Diana. (So usual caveats apply.)

awar2

And some fossil from the Telegraph wants Imperial Measures brought back.

12 d = 1/-; 20/- = £1; 12”- 1′; 3′ = 1 yard; 1760 yds = 1 mile… and don’t get me started on tons, hundredweights and quarters, chains, poles and gills!

aafar

I look forward to farthings’ return. A wren on the back, and, who knows, a portrait of Queen Victoria on the front.

Very Jolly.