Election ’17 Results: Jack Caramac Special II

After his popular Election ’17 Specials – check out Part I, Part II and Part IIIJack Caramac returns with some post-election responses to the media, and to our political leaders, at home and abroad. Don’t miss the first part of this series from last week.



All images by Jack Caramac.

It’s Here and It’s Queer! Portsmouth’s First Ever Pride Week is Happening Now

Claire Udy is the first ever LGBT Officer for Portsmouth Labour. She’s sought to help with Portsmouth Pride but she hit a snag this year as it isn’t happening. However, as we are in the middle of Pride Week worldwide, Claire uncovers a new and exciting series of fringe events that have appeared almost overnight and are happening right now.

The event Pride In Portsmouth has this year taken a breather due to funding issues, after returning two years ago. As the city had not had a Pride event for more than 10 years, the hiatus has been to the upset of many in Portsmouth.

Step in Donna Carter, Samo White and their great team of fabulous queers, a group of local business people who just couldn’t sit down and let a year pass without celebrating everything that’s wonderful about the Portsmouth LGBTQ community. After starting up the Southsea Safe Space Initiative, where businesses now proudly display they are a safe space for all people regardless of their gender and their sexuality, and holding Portsmouth’s first ever Queer Disco earlier this year (which was a sell-out), they’ve decided to take matters in to their own hands and make their own version. This week, different fringe events have been coming out of the gallery of Highland Road’s own creative hub Playdead.

Already as we move into Thursday on this week of festivities, previous events including a Transgender Q + A, Coming Out stories and Sexual Health Awareness day have been well attended. Today, expect to see a creative workshop at Playdead, and on Friday there will be a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at 7pm following a Queer Kids workshop where parents and children can chat and get advice in a relaxed environment.

Transgender Pride is an important part of the series of events this year, and Queer Kids is desperately needed all over the country considering referrals to the NHS regarding gender identity in children have gone up 1000% since 2010. On Saturday, Pride Week draws to a close but not without a walk from Playdead (meeting at 11am) through Southsea and onto the Common for a BBQ. In the evening, the second ever Queer Disco will be taking place at Coastguard Studios.

Pride is very much something that should be celebrated year after year. To miss out this year’s main march has been somewhat of a blow to the local community and in all honesty, takes us all back a step. However, for two of the curators of the new Pride, Donna and Josh Daniel, the vision goes further than just marching for one day a year.

Pride is about celebrating diversity in the community and making sure solidarity is shown day in, day out. As the curators look forward they seek to open a Queer inclusive venue, a creative café, book and film library and performance space open to all. As a resident of Southsea, I’ve seen the creative scene absolutely thrive in the last ten years and a true safe space is the addition I’ve wanted the most. Being LGBTQ isn’t just about celebrating your worth in Brighton or Soho once in a while, it’s about breaking out and making it known that diversity is for celebrating and it’s happening here.

Here’s why Pride is important to me.

I was about 13 when I realised I appreciated the look of other girls as well as boys, and it just made my life almost unbearable. I was bullied of a result of a private conversation between friends in senior school (which never turns out to be private when you are at school), which was relayed to one person after the other and I was called every single stupid homophobic insult going. Still I didn’t get it as bad as a friend who was openly gay, and was beaten in the playground at school purely for being so.

Fast forward to now after some great times with great people I’m married with children. I am deeply in love with my husband but I’m proud to say I’m 100% queer. I don’t fit into a label and as I felt like one of those shamed bisexuals who weren’t just ‘gay enough’ to fit in, queer encapsulates all the labels that fall into the LGBTQ remit and throws them out of the window. You don’t have to conform to specific sexuality or heteronormative gender, you can just be you. The best thing about the brilliant LGBTQ community here in Portsmouth is the fact they are so welcoming and just by existing they have helped me unleash my inner charisma, uniqueness, nerve and talent.

To read up on more of the events this weekend give Playdead Studios a follow on Facebook, where you’ll find all the details, and please remember that you don’t have to identify as LGBTQ to join in as the community welcomes all.

All images by Donna Carter.

8 Reasons Why I Voted Labour for Portsmouth South

Local writer and commentator Matt Wingett captured many S&C readers’ attention when he changed his mind about tactically voting for the Liberal Democrats in Portsmouth South and voted Labour. Here he outlines just some of the lies and distortions in the media during the election campaign that helped change his mind.

During the election campaign, a series of lies and distortions appeared in the right wing press about Jeremy Corbyn and Labour. Now the election campaign is over (at least for now), it’s worth taking a look at some of the inconvenient truths beneath the spin that we the people should never forget…

Lie #1: Jeremy Corbyn is a terrorist sympathiser

The media repeated this one in a variety of forms. One of the ways this piece of propaganda was spread was repeatedly stating that Corbyn stood in silence to honour the IRA dead in 1987 despite his repeated assertions – at the time, as well as now – that he had attended the event to honour all who had died in the conflict. Because Corbyn met with Sinn Fein when they were being silenced by Thatcher’s government, during the election campaign he was repeatedly accused of meeting with the IRA, although the fact that ‘the British government also maintained contact to the IRA leadership through a secret back channel’ during the same period rarely received a mention. In the end, dialogue brought peace, not suppression, so who was right?

Though repeatedly accused of being ‘a terrorist sympathiser’, Corbyn has never sold arms to a regime with an ideology that mirrors that of ISIS. Theresa May has, and continues to court Saudi Arabia – a state that has used bombs and munitions sold to them by the UK to carry out over 80 ‘allegedly unlawful’ attacks in Yemen. Our current PM also continues to suppress a government report into funding for extremist groups operating in the UK, thought to focus on Saudi Arabia, ‘which has repeatedly been highlighted by European leaders as a funding source for Islamist jihadis’.

Lie #2: Labour caused the credit crunch

Labour are often blamed by Conservatives for the Credit Crunch. Strange that the Tory bankers who made it happen don’t get a mention in the far right Press, nor the financial deregulation started by the Conservatives in the 1980s that New Labour dared not repeal, lest Murdoch and co hammer them. New Labour’s mistake was making a deal with the devil. No one has been punished for Credit Crunch banking fraud under the Tories.

Lie #3: Austerity is necessary and it’s saving the economy

As the New Yorker pointed out in 2012:

Any decent economics textbook will tell you that, other things being equal, cutting government spending causes the economy’s overall output to fall, tax revenues to decrease, and spending on benefits to increase. Almost invariably, the end result is slower growth (or a recession) and high budget deficits.

Leading experts on economics such as David Stuckler agree, highlighting that:

‘Recessions can hurt, but austerity kills’ as his research uncovers ‘more than 10,000 additional suicides and up to a million extra cases of depression have been recorded across the two continents [ Europe and North America] since governments started introducing austerity programmes.’

Austerity is wrecking the economy and has caused the slowest recovery in British history. So why do it? The answer is an ideological obsession with small government as being in and of itself a good thing. That’s why the Tories have promised to axe local government grants from Whitehall by 2020. Worried about the rise of rates and your local council charging for everything? Worried about the penny-pinching and perverse priorities that led up to the Grenfell Tower fire?

Well, now you know why.

Lie #4: The NHS is safe in Tory hands and so is your health – it will remain a public service free at the point of delivery

The Tories have already privatised large parts of the NHS and want trade deals with Trump. The US pharma industry is eyeing up a massive market in the NHS. US Big Pharma keep the Americans unhealthy and poor by profiteering on drugsImagine those ruthless bastards slicing up the NHS.

Lie #5: Theresa May is a strong and stable leader

By now it’s clear to all that Theresa May is brittle and inflexible, as was shown throughout the election campaign and her handling of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Do you really think someone who can’t even answer questions from fellow MPs should be in charge of negotiations in the EU? Absolutely not.

Lie #6: We’re all in this together

The Tories have continually cut services for the poor and taxes for the rich. The rich make their money because of ordinary people in society buying their goods and services. They owe the rest of us for their success. Yet the wealthy get a free ride while the poor are treated as worthless and expendable. There were no billionaires caught up in the Grenfell Tower disaster, which has been compared to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in exposing the divide between the rich and poor. We are not all in this together. That is the reality.

Lie #7: Jeremy Corbyn refuses to order a first strike nuclear attack and this makes him weak on security

A big deal was made about Jeremy Corbyn refusing to order a first strike nuclear attack. By contrast, much of the media fed the lie that because Theresa May would do so, she is a stronger leader, and that the willingness to do so makes her a stronger leader. Not true. All parties consider nuclear weapons to be a ‘deterrent’, which means by definition, you never order a first strike attack. Anyone who says otherwise is willing to start World War 3.

Lie #8: We are more secure with the Tories

Theresa May has consistently cut the numbers of police and the money going to the secret services. She’s not willing to put resources into hunting terrorists, but is very happy to put time and resources into hunting foxes. This is a clear reflection of her priorities.

So what have we learned from these 8 lies?

There is terrible inequality in this country, and ordinary people are sneered at by a self-serving Tory elite. The majority of people need fairness in this country, instead of 5 more years of grinding unfairness and the targeting of the poor to support the rich.

More than anything, these are not just 8 lies exposed, these are 8 reasons to keep fighting and protest – and there are plenty more!

Main image: Screenshot of Labour Manifesto cover.

Holmes Fest 2017 Celebrates Conan Doyle in Portsmouth

Portsmouth’s very first Holmes Fest is coming up on 28th June, celebrating the world’s most famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes, his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, and their relationship to the city. Holmes Fest host and local writer, Matt Wingett, reports.

Wednesday 28th June sees the very first Holmes Fest to be held in the town where Sherlock Holmes was created. Writers, musicians and Victorian duellists will descend on the Square Tower, Portsmouth, to pay homage not only to the super-sleuth, but also to his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, who arrived in Southsea in 1882 and began his writing career in the slack period between seeing patients in his GP’s practice in Elm Grove.

The evening of storytelling will include comedy tales about Doyle and Holmes, spiritualist tales and investigations into Victorian crimes by internationally published writers including Diana Bretherick, William Sutton, Zella Compton, as well as brilliant comedy writers Charlotte Comley, and Anthony Noon , as well as writers Amanda Garrie, Christine Lawrence and local actor Alan Morris, and will be hosted by writer Matt Wingett. Music hall songs will be performed by Matt Parsons and Janet Ayers, and there will be projection of Victorian and Edwardian film footage from Dr Lighthouse.

Audience members are invited to join in the celebration by donning costume – and there will be a prize for the best-dressed Victorian. Further fun will be added by displays of marksmanship with nerf guns by the Gosport Steampunk Society and Victorian duelling will also be demonstrated. Prepare to settle old scores with polystyrene bullets.

Drinks and light refreshment will be available, with doors open at 6.30 pm and performance beginning at 7.00 pm.

Tickets are selling fast, and advance booking is strongly advised. Click here to get your tickets.

The performers look forward to meeting you!

Hurrah for the DUP! An Election Reflection with Sir Eugene Nicks 

Many Conservatives are concerned about their parliamentary party’s new deal with a hard right-wing, terrorism-linked outfit from Northern Ireland. Not so our regular pundit Sir Eugene Nicks, QC, KBE. 

Good Lord that election was a close shave, wasn’t it? We almost had for PM that buffoon who looks like he’s just staggered out of a folk music festival from 1967. And I know how much Star & Crescent readers hate him and his Monster Raving Stalinoid Labour Camp Party!

Alright, Mrs M’s campaign had about as much style as a solicitor has moral scruples or my old mate Peter Griffiths had cultural awareness, but I for one am very very very optimistic about our new collaboration with those lovely ladies and gentlemen of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP). We are, at last, returning to our roots as true reactionaries. If only Mrs T* were still here to giggle about it as much as I am right now.

Hypocrisy being every politician’s secret weapon, isn’t it marvellous that, after Mrs M’s bunch trying to slight Jesus Corbyn as a terrorist-licker, we Tories are now in bed** with a party with deliciously close links to violent Loyalist paramilitary cells such as the Ulster Resistance Movement (URM)? Between 1989 and 1990, three men were gaoled for storing and transporting rather a lot of guns and bombs on behalf of the URM.  In 1991, Noel Little – father of current DUP MP Emma Little-Pengelly – was prosecuted for arms trafficking and associating with terrorists. Further to all that, the URM worked with another band of trigger-happy yahoos, the Ulster Volunteer Force, which pilfered £300,000 from a bank in Portadown in 1987.

The DUP was once led by another old chum of mine, the Reverend Ian Paisley whose calm, generous and inclusive spirit was evidenced by the many wise things he said. ‘Catholics breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin’ is a particular favourite of mine. He dubbed Pope John Paul II as both ‘the antichrist’ and ‘the scarlet woman of Rome’. He was a multi-talented fellow, was old Pope JP.

‘Line dancing,’ he once told me, ‘is as sinful as any other type of dancing, with its sexual gestures and touching. It is an incitement to lust.’ To which I replied, ‘country and western music is truly the devil’s dirge.’ When I offered him a hot toddy once, he politely refused with this classic line: ‘Alcohol is the devil’s buttermilk.’ I pointed out to him that, in point of fact, a hot toddy is warmed whisky, honey and a few herbs and spices. He then tried to strangle me. But we remained close friends until he popped his jackboots in 2014.

If you think the modern DUP have moderated a little, think again. And a good thing they haven’t, if you ask me. They continue to oppose abortion, stand against equal marriage, deny climate change, support Brexit and one of their number, Sammy Wilson, recently agreed with a member of the public who said ‘get the ethnics out.’

Happy days ahead!


*May her name be praised.

** Not literally – they’re dead against that sort of thing being the rabid God-squaddies that they are.

Beyond Southsea Food: Choc & Truffle

It’s easy to forget that Portsmouth isn’t just Southsea, that hidden gems are scattered across the entire island and not only down by the sea. Food critic Emily Priest goes off the beaten track and finds a little-known chocolate paradise.

Tucked away in a street in Hilsea is a little chocolate studio. You may not notice it at first but the garage for no. 40 has been refurbished into a magical chocolate-making studio, where workshops take place and bespoke wedding favours are made.

You may have seen Choc & Truffle around Southsea at markets. They make countless curiosities from decorated truffles to lollies, to sculptures, all crafted by hand.

Choc and Truffle was opened last year by Kerry and Claire, who have both been trained at Banbury Chocolate Academy. I hadn’t heard of them before, as I tend to stick to Southsea, but last week I received a message inviting me to one of their workshops. Obviously, I couldn’t refuse.

I found the place easily, yet soon discovered their hamartia: parking. Everyone in Portsmouth knows the agony of finding a parking spot; luckily, someone was looking down on me that day. I managed to find a gap. Heading inside, I was welcomed by a cool, pristine area and two friendly females who offered me tea, coffee and water. They were formally dressed in brown shirts, and aprons with their logo embroidered in gold thread. I was impressed by their professionalism and friendliness.

The table was set up for six places with cutlery, scales and bowl. Overhead, a disco ball hung from the ceiling for when the party really gets started. I kid: it’s for the children’s parties and workshops where they create animal sculptures out of chocolate and biscuits. Choc and Truffle also have vegan events, and private parties including hen dos. I’m sure you can guess what shapes they make in a hen do party.

Shortly after I arrived, the other workshoppers turned up and we started at 7 pm. All of the ladies (and the one man) were lovely, and we all joked and laughed with one another. At times, I did find it was a bit too cosy; I kept standing on the foot of the lady beside me. I really hope I didn’t leave a bruise…

We started by making truffles, which was certainly a first for me. We mixed up the ingredients to make a ganache, squirted them into small piles on a tray, and left them in the fridge. Kerry and Claire were very helpful, advising us on healthier and vegan alternatives. They even offered flavourings, such as rose or orange. My batch produced around 25 tiny poos, which Kerry and Claire (generously) complimented.

For the lollies, they had countless moulds to choose from including moustaches, pirates, flamingoes and anchors. I settled on a rose and an anchor. The lady in front of me had animal faces and flip flops.  I loved the level of customisation and freedom they offered us, including what type of chocolate we would use: dark, milk or strawberry. I chose strawberry and milk, which I melted under Kerry’s guidance. She went into great detail about how to properly temper it, and gave us tips that we could use at home.

‘Microwaving is the best method,’ she said, preparing to heat some chocolate. ‘You can use old chocolate, but mix it with new if you want to get that shine. Only put it in for around thirty seconds, and then mix it. You are heating it and cooling it down to give it the right crystals.’

We all had a go at mixing, to melt the last few lumps, and I could feel my bingo wings slip away. I’d prefer to make chocolate than go to the gym any day.

We filled the moulds with our chocolate, added a stick, and put them in the fridge with the truffles. I was given the honour of licking the spoon. I may be 20 years old but once you offer me a spoon and a bowl to lick, I immediately revert back to a 4 year old.

As we waited for the bits and bobs to cool we did some chocolate tasting.  We started with dark chocolate with a 70% blend, followed by milk chocolate blends and a moo-free, vegan-friendly chocolate. There were hints of coffee, hints of raspberry. A glass of wine would have been the perfect addition.

At this point, our creations had cooled and were ready to be decorated. We took the lollies from their moulds and dusted them gold and red. Then, we packaged them in a plastic wrapper with a coloured ribbon of choice (red and gold for me). When done, we were left with three beautiful-looking chocolates, wrapped and ready. I was very proud of my efforts, and getting a buzz like that is what made this night truly worthwhile.

To finish our truffles, we were offered a range of transfers and sprinkles. I used a white zebra-print transfer on one half of my batch, and gold nuggets on the other half. Like the lollies, they were then wrapped in plastic and topped with a gold bow.

Two and a half hours into our workshop, we were all smiling with a bag full of handcrafted choccies. Kerry and Claire gave us some more advice on where to buy moulds and exactly which type of chocolate to melt if we wished to try at home. They were pleasantly encouraging, unlike companies who play their cards close to their chest for fear that people will take away their business.

But Choc & Truffle are not a normal business. Instead of a shop front they have a cosy, approachable studio. It may be a touch cramped but smaller groups allow a more intimate workshop. The owners are friendly and helpful, and the chocolate is not only incredibly tasty – with plenty of flavourings – but also comes in funky shapes.

The workshop was a perfect opportunity to meet people, and a fun date idea. It was enjoyable, and rewarding, but also allowed me to appreciate the care and effort that goes into making chocolate. Next time you’re heading out into Portsmouth, try going beyond the dockyard, or the seafront. There are delicious discoveries waiting for you.

Images by Emily Priest.

Free Event: Explore Rare Books, Art Collections and the University Archives

The University of Portsmouth is opening the doors to its Special Collections in a unique and free community event to celebrate the University’s 25th birthday.

Student magazine ‘The Collegiate’ published in the 1950’s – just one of the items available in the archive collection. Image by University of Portsmouth.

The University of Portsmouth Library is hosting a free event on Tuesday 25th July for anyone in the local area interested in learning about our special collections. These collections include the University Archives, Rare Books, Map Library and the Art Collection.

Usually accessible by appointment only in the archive room, the University Archives tell the history of the University, and the students and staff that have studied, worked and played here. It includes material not only from the current university but also its predecessors and associated organisations:

  • Portsmouth and Gosport School of Science 1869 – 1894
  • Portsmouth Municipal and Technical Institute 1894 – 1908
  • Portsmouth Municipal College 1908-1953
  • Portsmouth College of Technology 1953-1969
  • Portsmouth Polytechnic 1969-1992
  • Portsmouth College of Education (Formerly Portsmouth Training College) 1907 -1976
  • College of Art 1894-1994

Beyond the University archives, the event will also introduce visitors to a range of local collections, including creative writing, local history, architecture, art, design and cartography. From pop-up books, to student magazines (see right), and old photo albums, this event is guaranteed to have something to surprise every visitor.

This is a must-visit event for local writers, researchers, historians or just the rampantly curious. Get inspired, learn what you can access and use for your projects, or just be nosy.

A range of resources will be on display on the day for visitors to handle and discuss with the experts.

This event will run during the day from 10:00 until 13:00 hours. The 25th July 2017 also marks the University’s 25th birthday.

You can register through Eventbrite or contact Lizzie Wildgoose by email (lizzie.wildgoose@port.ac.uk) or phone 023 9284 3452.

It Ain’t Half Hotwalls: Could Portsmouth Politics Be Less Divisive?

Portsmouth Green Party member, Mike Wines, gives a personal account of Tory Minister Phillip Hammond’s recent visit to the Hotwalls Studios and the somewhat surreal fracas between Labour and Conservative activists, members and campaigners that followed.

I was quietly sitting at home before the election, pondering what to do that afternoon when it popped up on Facebook that Philip Hammond, incumbent Chancellor of the Exchequer, was going to be in Old Portsmouth at the Hot Walls at 2:45.

Now, being Green through and through, I disagree with everything he and the Tory party stand for both on points of principle and humanitarian grounds, but I thought it would be good to have my thoughts confirmed from the horse’s mouth so to speak.

I also thought it would be interesting to see how the Conservative party’s campaign machine operates given its corporate sponsorship, as the Greens are a party of and by the people and we generally rely on crowdfunding for our campaigns.

So, I popped on a public transport bus and headed down there, half expecting Mr Hammond to pass us on the Tory Battle Bus somewhere along the way.

Hopping off the bus, I walked to the expected venue for this grand event, musing over whether our Chancellor would, perhaps, give us all words of hope and encouragement about the Strong And Stable future our country might expect post-Brexit from a Strong and Stable Conservative Government. Glancing up, I was surprised to see Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond (for she was still known as such then) walk past me with her little entourage.  Apparently, Mr H was running 45 minutes late, which is only to be expected from such an important person during this vital time for the country.

As I followed, I saw a gathering outside one of the Hotwalls Studios that had a definite blue hue to it. I wandered on. A small group was gathered on a bench under a tree close by, and one of the members threw me a knowing grin that seemed to say, You’re not a Tory, and as I’m not, I headed over.

It turned out to be a rather earnest group of Labour supporting students. They all seemed keen and eager to “make a statement” and do what they could to disrupt events.

I looked around. There were the blues huddled together, preening their rosettes and trying to iron their posters.  There were the reds huddled together, working out how to be annoying to the blues and perhaps discussing obscure political philosophies and doctrines.

I went to get a coffee and a rather tasty cheese straw.  By the way, try the café down there, well worth it.

Time passed. The local Council leader turned up, which required the blues to engage in a bit of extra preening with a touch of fawning.  The reds got so deep into discussing doctrines I was beginning to wonder if they were making terms up just to catch each other out.

And all the time we were waiting I could see both packs trying to act casual as they eyed each other up.  What are they going to do?  How can we screw this up for that rich lot?  A couple of community police were standing by, occasionally muttering into their walkie talkies. Not far away, a couple of what I assume to be security guys or Tory advance party suits were keeping a wary eye.

The local media turned up.  It was unclear if they had any more clue than the rest of us what was going on but at one point their correspondent wandered over to the non-Blue area, where I and the reds were gathered, and chatted with us.  The MP spotted this and casually wandered over in an “Oh hello, you’re from the BBC aren’t you” kind of way.  Chitchat ensued until said correspondent got the point and moved away from us.

Apparently, the reason for the Chancellor’s visit to this specific location was to visit one of the Hotwalls Studios involved with military veterans and their rehabilitation.  Flick Drummond was very concerned about their welfare and was involved in several projects to do not only with them but the problems of drug addiction and homelessness in Portsmouth.  She could meet and talk to the Chancellor every day but felt it would be good for all her “lovely supporters” to meet him too.

Eventually, about an hour later than planned, the Chancellor arrived in the middle of a convoy of 3 rather large black vehicles, 1 BMW and 2 Land Rovers.  The crowds gathered.  The Blues cheered and held up their Flick Drummond Tory Posters.  The Reds booed and shouted and tried to get their posters in front of the Blue ones.  The Blues objected.  They tussled.  I finished my coffee and let them get on with it.

The Chancellor was greeted by the MP (I didn’t see if she curtseyed or not) and then he was escorted through the masses to the designated studio. Well, I say masses but it was pretty much 20 Tories, 10 non Tories and a handful of confused passers-by.  The doors were shut, the security guards positioned themselves by the door and all outside waited.  Oh, and apart from an elite few, including the current leader of the council, Donna Jones, no one else was actually allowed in the studio.

After about half an hour, presumably so the Chancellor could catch his breath, grab a coffee, maybe sneak a fag out of the public gaze, they re-emerged and he was shuffled back to the shiny black BMW.  Chants about the public debt etc echoed around the Hot Walls but he had a smiley, dumb head on and was soon in the sanctum of the car and whisked off.

The Blues and Reds conversed for a while before the Blues realised the rosettes had to be returned to their keeper for future use and the Reds realised they had a lecture to go to.

I wandered home, pondering on the afternoon’s events. I was left with a strong desire to tell the main political parties of this country to grow up.

What had been the purpose of today’s circus?

Why is it so hard to just tell the people exactly and honestly what your party stands for? To let other parties do the same?  Trust in your message.  Yes, the others are twats.  Yes, they talk bullshit a lot of the time.  You’re bound to think that, you don’t agree with them.  But chanting stuff at another party’s flash in the pan photo shoot? Is that opposition? And getting snotty with them, and trying to get your poster in front of theirs in a tussle for a photo, is that leadership?

Perhaps, like John Lennon, you may say I’m a dreamer. But I wonder if more people might engage in politics – and whether that politics might be less toxic, less divisive – if we took a different approach?

Tell people what you believe in and stand for.

Trust them to make up their own minds.

Leave your egos at the door.

Just a thought.

Main image: screenshot of Flick Drummond’s Twitter account.

Election ’17 Results: Desperation, Not the Left or Right, is Driving Politics

S&C regular and local writer, Matt Wingett, explores the growing resentment with austerity that drove the results of last weeks’ general election, and how the Prime Minister could have so badly misunderstood the electorate.

It’s not the left and it’s not the right that has been driving politics in the last few years. That’s the miscalculation Theresa May made in the General Election that has wounded her so badly.

She assumed that most Brexiteers were right-wingers and that she would hoover up the votes of these people who had, as it seemed, inexplicably converted to the far right wing ideas of UKIP now Brexit was set to go ahead.

Yes, it’s a logical next step to make that calculation. But it misses the main underlying factor that had been pushing voters toward far right ideologues.

What both the Brexit referendum and GE 2017 had in common was not the ascendancy of right wing ideology. It was more simple than that, and more from the guts: desperation with the status quo.

Many Brexiteers voted that way because they were fed up with how things are now. They framed the squeeze on health services as the EU’s fault. That notorious figure of £350 million a week for the NHS on the side of the Brexit Bus was a simple lie, but an effective one that made a false but highly powerful equation. The EU = bad for NHS.

Then there were “those foreigners coming over here” and putting a squeeze on British people’s jobs and homes. Resources are limited, this logic said, and so we should save them for British people. Simple.

Yet that same narrative of scarcity is exactly what led many UKIP voters and Brexiteers to vote for Corbyn. It’s been estimated in various reports that between one third and one half of UKIPers voted Labour. That was part of the canniness of the Corbyn campaign – to keep the pro-Brexit vote by promising Brexit would go ahead – but to nuance it in such a way as to make it a “pro-jobs Brexit“.

This, was perfectly congruous with Corbyn’s other policies: more money for the NHS, the police, public services, universities, teachers. All of these said that austerity would soon be over, thank God, and we could get back to normal.

The renationalisation of former public assets to prevent corporations from profiteering and living off of taxpayers’ money as they do now is perhaps best legitimised by the current obscene situation in which Government-subsidised private railways pay dividends to shareholders.

That taxpayers’ money is paid directly to private, wealthy individuals is one of the absurdities of Thatcherite and post-Thatcherite privatisation. It is a policy known as redistribution and is hated by the Tories when funds actually go to the needy.

So, yes, Corbyn inspired the youth vote. He is an absolutely brilliant campaigner, and he drew on the skills and energy built up and honed over the last 40 years. Yes, Momentum ran a brilliant social media campaign. Yes, in the heat and necessity of the moment, Blairite New Labour fossils abated their criticisms, secretly believing in their hearts that if they held their noses just a little while longer, the stink of what they perceive as unreconstructed Marxist policies would finally clear and the Party would wake up, Rip Van Winklesque, to a new reality.

What those Blairite lickspittle reactionaries (just like their close relatives, Theresa May and Co.) didn’t see and haven’t seen from the beginning, is the seething rage at austerity that has built up ever since the Credit Crunch first withered the country. No high-ranking bankers were jailed for fraud. Instead the poor were made to pay for the mistakes of the rich. Meanwhile the rich got tax breaks as a reward.

That rage, that anger, that sense of injustice is at the heart of the reaction against the established order that was expressed through Brexit and the current rise of a proper, leftist Labour.

I encourage the Tories to continue austerity and, indeed, to deepen it.

Within it lies the key to their own destruction.