First we take Manhattan…

Well, this is new for me lying on a sumptuous (spelt correctly this time) bed in Carey’s Manor Hotel, sipping Cava after a blissful spa time and connected to the interweb writing this blog. Kate just off for a pedicure (thanks Mike and Sal), now she really deserves some pampering. Especially driving with me as a passenger, I’m too censorious, need to sort it out. It is very relaxing here, I love water based therapy.

Think I’m finally getting over stomach peg and accepting second belly button.

Will only be brief today as we want to make most of time here but as we were relaxing in the relaxing area making the most of the drinks available I read (just heard Dylan singing about money swearing, how true) an excellent essay by David Hare. In 1992 he joined the Labour election team and then wrote a play called ‘Absence of War’. It is touring again as it resonates so well with the current state of play, especially the pusillanimity of Milliband and Labour and it’s echoes of 1992 and how Labour has yet to find a resonant voice. Many lines and phrases stood out but this stood out most for me: “The welfare state and NHS, perfectly affordable when the country was desperately poor after the war, we are told, mysteriously unaffordable now that the country is infinitely richer”. Go figure and you will understand how much the kleptos and bb’s have hoodwinked us.

This is why Syriza enervates us lefties so and next up Podemos. When Pablo Iglesias of Podemos was in Athens earlier this week he took the stage to Leonard Cohen’s ‘First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin’, my favourite Cohen song. A clear reference to the IMF and ECB for Syriza and Podemos, but Cohen’s interpretation of the song is malleable and he’s developed it over the years and it is a song we can give our own interpretation, just as they did in Athens and of course Cohen has a strong link with Greece. Just link it to “Democracy” and hey baby, what a pair of contemporary songs you have, Leonard on the board surfing the zeitgeist.

The cava is beginning to talk too much and I need a bath before dinner.

Manifesto 75:

  • every town should have a spa.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Leftie Zeitgeist

Yesterday afternoon was another eye opener for me, sitting on the sofa feeling absolutely drained, as if a tap had been left on in my foot and all energy emptied from my body. I’ve tried to describe it before, as the fatigue I experience now is so different to even extreme tiredness I’d experienced pre-crabtime. For example, previous tiredness might have been muscular from lots of physical exercise or work but current fatigue is as if every part of my body, every cell is knackered. Or maybe not every cell as after taking a while to come round in the evening and some re-fuelling at dinner I returned to my blog and although quite an arduous process produced some writing that caused for the first time more than one contrary response: thank you Richard and Martin.

Richard, I did not write that the Greens began life as an environmentally concerned group as a putdown but as a fact, and that they did not originate in direct response to wealth inequality and the kleptos and bb’s austerity bollocks as Syriza have. Since then they have evolved and are now asserting their opposition to austerity, their humanist credentials and attempts to create ‘bottom up’ policies which chime with many of us on the left. I understand the appeal of ridding ourselves of the duality of left and right and it’s polarising effects, but I have yet to develop beyond Socratian dialogue and dialectic as a means of understanding and progressing. Our current Westminster politics is but a very pale shadow of this as they bandy insults and dodgy statistics, just the simulcra the powerful want. But I rejoice in the simplicity of Syriza who are by no means extreme left wingers, merely people who want simple justice and fairness and reflect how skewed to the right our politics has become. As Mehdi Hassan writes their programme of “debt relief, fiscal stimulus, and financial support for the poorest, rather than the richest, is mainstream macroeconomics”. Let’s wish them all the best as there are many powerful people and groups, both outside and inside the country, who will be plotting their downfall, then we might have, as Martin suggests, Germany 1935.

Martin you’ve too long been swimming in the pool of the prevailing right wing orthodoxy and portraying the Greeks as lazy, non-tax paying and corrupt reflecting what the powerful want. Syriza are against such corruption and of course nothing like that happens in our enlightened country; home to most of the world’s tax havens and world leaders in tax dodging (let’s just call it this instead of pretending that avoidance and evasion are somehow morally different) and chief architects of a horribly simplistic ‘austerity’ which is used as cover for the right wing fucks to dismantle the welfare state, workers rights and working conditions and the complete hegemony of the kleptos and bb’s. Also to talk about the failure of communism is a rewriting of history, it’s certainly not the end of history. Look around at the effects of so-called neoliberalism and an unfettered free market. There have been some attempts at communism, and variations of, and each time we should learn from the failures and shortcomings but not then assume that capitalism is the only game in town. Perhaps some fusion of Green approaches, especially considering the environment, and left/socialist principles? Bring on the dialectic!

So read this blog and surf the zetgeist, you pompous twat Duncan. But, a few days after I write about the prevalence of the privately educated in the arts the New Statesman has it’s latest edition given over to this. Stuart Maconie writes an impassioned piece: “The current economic climate is returning the practice of art to what it was 300 years ago – a rich fellow’s diversion, a pleasant recreation for those who can afford it, rather than the cultural imperative it should be”. There is a blanding and coarsening of our culture with the increasingly bland art being produced by the privileged few and the coarse prurience of Jeremy Kyle and Benefits Street (alongside the fetishisation of wealth). Will we witness the likes of Lennon and McCartney again? At the end of his piece Maconie has bows and arrows to fire up the ladder at james blunt, so with my pitchforks our arsenal is growing.

Maybe I’m not a zeitgeist surfer. I may have mentioned my recent marmalade craving and a reawakening of it’s pleasures, in my new more health conscious phase I have just one slice of toast but with a really thick layer of butter underneath an equally thick layer of marmalade. But marmalade sales have been in decline for a while with the less sophisticated likes of nutella increasing with the marketing gurus saying marmalade is old-fashioned – ignorant twats. Then along comes the Paddington film and sales increase, see me sharing my board with a Peruvian bear.

More affirmation of the simulcra of modern existence when Will Self (now he really uses words you need to look up in a dictionary) as he writes about Jo Malone on Desert island Discs being asked about packaging being as important as content and her agreeing profusely. Self then writes about the victory of style over substance being complete and we have exchanged ” the indivisible, and the eternal, for the many, the fissiparous and the provisional”. (I had to look up fissiparous – inclined to cause or undergo division into separate parts or groups).

Kate and I are off to a pretty flash spa stay tomorrow, Careys’ Manor in the New Forest (when does it become old?). Bleedin’ champagne and spa socialist that I am.

Manifesto 74:

  • a realignment of political descriptors so that all reporting truthfully presents stuff as either right or left

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Time we split asunder the market spun simulcra.

Went to my school this morning, well I say my school it’s not really my school but the establishment I’ve taught at for many years, although I’m sure there are some who would question my use of the word ‘taught’, I did get the book ‘Bluffer’s Guide to Teaching’ twice in my first 3 years there for my secret santa. Anyway, spoke with George in the office who’s retiring tomorrow then joined my class for the morning routine. It was a lovely reception with most of the students coming up to greet me and say their different things. Jo’s kept things going well and it was great to see how things have developed in my absence but mainly the very tangible feeling that the students appeared happy and confident. I liked the way Jo asked them a provocative question about Barb’s birthday celebrations, shows how out of practice I am as I immediately blurted answer out not waiting for the students! Tom, Barb and Sharon all supporting Jo brilliantly and it really moved me to witness.

Then had chat with Sophie, the head, spoke of my returning and other stuff, there was much heartfelt greetings from many and it really touched me (Suzie, Simon, Lesley, Tania amongst others). Felt quite weird being there but glad I’d been.

It’s now gone 6 and I’ve been asleep all afternoon, seems like that little visit this morning has really wiped me out and there was I talking about going back to work full time, will need a tad more energy than my battered body has currently.

So George Monbiot writes a piece following on from my thoughts a week or so ago and the possibility of not voting labour and going green as the Green Party are the closest we have to a left wing party at the moment. Unfortunately they are a party born out of environmental concerns, which of course is vital, but what they are not is a party in the mould of Syriza or Podemos which are unashamedly left wing. As Suzanne Moore suggests, despite the Greens claims about being anti-austerity, they are not essentially a party of the left.

Just listening to Hozier, love his voice and ‘take me to church’ is a fine song.

Anyway, conflicted Duncan re-reads both Monbiot and Moore and has sympathy with both but continuing disillusionment with what the kleptos and bbs are doing and how our homegrown politicos are so sadly lacking in oh so many ways. Wonder why I suddenly shift to the third person? But reading the comments in response to Suzanne Moore I come across a very fulsome reply by someone calls themselves Iruka who thinks that the Greens are at least attempting a different approach. They do try to develop policy from the bottom up, in the Andrew Neil interview with Natalie Bennet (Green’s president) that many think was a disaster for her and the Greens, Ms Bennet made frequent reference to how they develop policy through discussions of the members not the top down crap of other parties (and the corporations).

Also that our binary system (i.e. tory/labour) does not allow for full and proper discussion and debate, just witness many of the ‘for public consumption’ shows they put on for us like prime minister’s questions in parliament or question time on telly. Although I have to say that parliamentary committees do do some good work, Margaret Hodge for example and her public accounts committee. Iruka goes on to decry nationalism and it’s anti-democratic hierarchies, the corporations and ‘financial enforcers’ and their ’empty market-spun simulcra’ which goes against our common humanity. He finishes with: “The first step towards getting out from under their thumb is to recognise the ugly falsity of their claims to be the embodiments of anything remotely like solidarity.” I think this is what we have to do, it’s why I bang on about the kleptos and bb’s, that Syriza and the Greeks have made their first step and, whilst I agree with Suzanne, a massive Green vote might be a first step for us.

Unless Ed suddenly does the right thing and goes left.

There is no campaign against chelsea jose, just recognition of your twattishness.

Aren’t we all pleased for apple and their massive profits, can’t resist putting in today’s Grauniad cartoon about this by Martin Rowson:

Martin Rowson 29.01.15

Manifesto 73:

  • from Grace, my daughter: reduce or get rid of university fees.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Let’s grow up and get rid of private schools.

Good night’s sleep and feeling a little better than of late. Off to have dental check at hospital this afternoon. I’m getting a little depressed with the constant sore throat, I know it will eventually go (hopefully) but it seems as if I’ve had it for a very long time. There is a local group who get cancer patients together to have some sort of group therapy and they should be contacting me soon, I’ve vacillated about whether to participate or not but think I will. The treatment I’ve had has been severe and has affected me a great deal physically and I’m becoming more aware of the emotional and psychological effects as well, I am a different person but I’m not sure how I’m different.

Last night I was also thinking again about this blog and it’s psychology as well as my own. Stuff about myself has lessened as treatment has finished and recovery is well under way. There is still the getting of results but that is still 2 months away. Am I going to carry on ranting away about all my perceived injustices of the world?

Yes I am, and today instead of the usual sort of stream of consciousness bollocks I want to write a more focussed piece about an injustice that is close to my professional heart, is stifling the life chances of an ever increasing number of people in this country and is detrimental to the well being of this country. It is the ever increasing prevalence of the privately educated in areas of life that previously afforded those from less privileged backgrounds opportunities. It will not be about those areas that are already well known: the old etonians in condom cameron’s bulligang, the judiciary, thendiplomatic service and higher echelons of the civil service and the like. Instead I want to focus more on the arts, an area where one would think it more down to whatever innate talent and drive individuals have.

First up I would like these institutions to be called what they are: private, not public, schools. I went to a grammar school and these were modelled on private schools. Whilst I quite enjoyed my school days I never felt totally comfortable and knew that segregation of young people a bad thing. Many who go to private school experience extreme segregation from their parents and homes as they will be sent off at a tender age, often 7 or 8, to boarding school and this is emotionally and psychologically damaging to such young children. There is increasing evidence of this: http://www.joyschaverien.com/  Joy Schaverien has termed it boarding school syndrome.

Anyway I digress a little. I have read various articles in recent months about the increasing prevalence of the privately educated in the arts. In acting we have the likes of the privately educated racist cumberbatch and redmayne up for oscars and Julie Walters expressing the opinion that she doesn’t think she would have the chances she did as a young actress and despairs at the number of begging letters she gets from aspiring young actors who cannot afford to go to drama school. One oft quoted aspect of private education is that it instils and breeds confidence and that is a pretty important component of acting and performing. Add to this a 400 seat purpose built theatre, a head of theatre, a director in residence, a full-time designer, carpenter, manager, wardrobe mistress as they have at eton and the already privileged have a massive head start on those less fortunate. Despite this all concerned will claim that it is ‘raw talent’ that brings their success, as may be, but from a very small pool. Also acting is notorious for many actors being out of work so it helps to have rich parents.

I was in London in the early 80’s when alternative comedy came about and it was very exciting and great fun as anyone could have a go. Delve into the academic provenance of current comics and the same story emerges. For example up to the end of series K of QI there had been 114 appearances, 43 were privately educated, that’s about 38% (remember 7% of all children are privately educated). Even ‘thick’ Alan Davies went to a private school.

Now you would think that pop music might be different and 25 years ago in 1990 it was with just 1% of chart musicians privately educated. A survey in 2010 showed an astonishing 60% of chart musicians went to private school, including everyone’s favourite chris martin of coldplay.

And so it goes on in the rest of the arts and sport, even footie is getting more privately educated players.

Her’s a spreadsheet: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Xk0iSzutXsNlthkNQwJy9ymu5vhJcbZuSBhd7Pgts9I/edit?usp=sharing, shows some differences to my earlier quoted figures, especially with pop, but the one I quoted was from a snapshot in 2010. Either way we live in a class ridden, ‘elitist’ society and there is precious little meritocracy.

And it is compounded by many of these institutions being all male and mostly white, so the narrowing is enhanced.

The answer, if like me you want change, is obvious – get rid of private schools; time we stopped tugging forelocks (I can’t anyway since my hair fell out) and grew up a little. It seems the Green Party are the only ones who might even consider this, at least they’ve debated it and are committed to a proper comprehensive school system.

Don’t know why the gargoyle might be against plain fag packets, would give him and ucrap a little more space for policies.

Manifesto 72:

  • probably had it before but no harm repeating: abolish all private schools.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

IGNORANCE

Just back from Shaftesbury, had birthday lunch with Kate’s aunt and uncle (Margie and Richard). We were in a very popular place called the Salt Cellar at the top of Gold Hill, great views. Gold Hill is mainly famous for the hovis ads, which is a bit sad really.

Must say I’ve taken a little dip the past couple of days, probably a bit of a cold. Throat more sore and keep having sneezing fits, which is a little weird. Also those who know me know that my sneezes are somewhat volcanic.

Thanks for comment Jo, just read link ‘Living Within Justice is not Living With Injustice’ by Librarian Shipwreck (it’s on WordPress) and has some interesting stuff especially about lack of respect for ‘the other’. Respect has always underpinned my way of being and my work as a teacher, since I’ve been a sentient being I’ve not bought into the racist, misogynist, class ridden ways of much of our media and become more aware of how those with power too often resort to promulgating fear and disrespect of the other. What I feel now is anger at the powerful and very wealthy for what they have done and continue to do, I have no respect for them, they only deserve ridicule, contempt and a pitchfork between the shoulder blades for they foster ignorance.

Watched Adam Curtis’s latest documentary ‘Bitter Lake’ on i-player last night. I love his style, the way he takes a premise then moulds and develops it to try and reveal something greater. Also the way his commentary is minimal and he uses such a range of visuals: from Carry On Up the Khyber to archive newsreel to home movies all thrown together in a montage of images. He uses Afghanistan as a centre of events, which in many ways it has been for quite a while and represents how our leaders start out by trying to present situations as simply good versus evil which soon unravel into unresolvable complexity. Also that Roosevelt’s deal with the Saudis after the second world war (on Bitter Lake) has had many unforeseen and unfortunate consequences, and added to the complexity. It links with  ‘Living Within Justice is not Living With Injustice’ as both describe how mythologies are presented by our leaders, such as the simplistic ‘good versus evil’, and that they soon unravel.

bliar’s myth that we were the goodies fighting the baddies in Iraq has soon unravelled and he’s seen as a war criminal by many. I’m also just reading Ghost by Robert Harris, he used to be a mate of bliar but later thought bliar suffered from a ‘messiah complex’ and became too obsessed with money and the kleptos. In Ghost a ghostwriter is employed to write an ex-prime minister’s memoirs and whilst doing so becomes embroiled in the ex-pm’s indictment for war crimes. I now have this weird juxtaposition of reading about extradition and torture in the book and watching and listening to descriptions of the same on Curtis’s film in the same evening. Weird.

But I, like I’m sure many others, try hard to hold on to stories and myths and that many of us have quickly latched on to the election in Greece. Of course there is the obvious danger that we invest too much and will soon be disillusioned but for now it gives us hope that there is some alternative to the austerity narrative and tory bollocks for example.

Forced myself to listen to condom features cameron on the toady programme this morning and his continuing promulgation of the tory myth. Makes me so angry that when one actually knows the facts and evidence almost everything he says is a fabrication, but I suppose as the Librarian Shipwreck writes: “It is rather fascinating the extent to which people can become accustomed to living with injustice”.

Following on from menstruation in sport (and Michelle Hanson) did you know that tampons are taxed as luxury items! Only women bleed, but men set the taxes.

Paul McCartney looks weird.

Just read the report suggesting the government’s academy programme for schools isn’t performing as well as they claim, no surprise there. They interviewed some geezer called Greg Martin, head of Durand Academy in London. He’s trousering a lot of money for himself, well he is a ‘star’ and worth it. Last year he got £230,000 for being a head and received £165,000 from a company that developed some of the school’s assets creating a private gym. Days get sadder when even headteachers become kleptos.

Anyway one comment about this caught my eye: ‘Parental attitudes and also the wider popular and peer-group culture are crucial. Schools can only do so much. A greater problem is the anti-learning, anti-intellectual popular culture in Britain, and unfortunately, it’s been around for decades.’ As a teacher I’ve often been lectured to by others about teaching and teachers whose qualifications are that they were once pupils at a school and maybe have a relative or friend who is/was a teacher. Armed with this extensive knowledge and understanding of teaching they proceed to slag off teachers. They are also often anti-intellectual themselves and have developed a strange aversion to learning. Obviously the schooling they received has played some part, maybe they went to a secondary modern school learning at an early age they were educational failures or maybe a faith school where they were abused one way or another. Whatever the reasons it’s sad, especially sad for their children who might continue the cycle of ignorance and are likely to, as Librarian Shipwreck states: ‘choose the cheap distractions put forward to lull us into inaction’.

So we come full circle, this circularity that keeps so many of us in a state that the kleptos and BBs are so happy with.

Manifesto 71:

  • elevate and celebrate education and respect teachers and teaching such that we truly start to eliminate ignorance.

PS I must be getting old as there’s another discussion about the Archer’s scripts dumbing down, feel like I’ve heard this before many times.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Hooray for Syriza and away with all titles.

Throat sore, boring. Belly and stomach still readjusting. Jaw and earache a little unsettling. Fatigue reducing slowly. It’s hard to think I’ve still got 2 months before we know the results.

Had family christmas dinner yesterday, felt a little weird but I enjoyed it even if les enfants found it hard to enter into the spirit. Kate had a lovely birthday and spent yesterday recovering, we’ve already marked the new carpet with candle wax. Despite the more ‘grown up’ look of the house we still aren’t very grown up ourselves.

Thinking of being grown up I think that Syriza’s win in Greece can be viewed as a form of growing up. The leader (hope he doesn’t turn into that which most leaders turn into when they achieve power) Alexis Tsipras not only put forward an anti-austerity programme but also targeted corruption and tax evasion. Greece has a long history of a corrupt bunch of kleptos (shipping magnates, bosses of various industries and football club owners) who have avoided paying tax no matter who the government was. They continued in their ways even after the so called troika implemented the ‘bailout’ in 2010 so the repayment burden fell on the workforce. Link this to the increasing ossification of social strata i.e. the kleptos keep themselves and their offspring rich whilst pulling up the ladders which previously allowed some sort  of meritocracy, and it’s been the younger generations in Greece who’ve understood this and overwhelmingly voted for Syriza. As Paul Mason writes these are ‘the networked generation’ and their values are: ‘self-reliance, creativity, the willingness to treat life as a social experiment, a global outlook’.

This is in contrast to the older generation and the kleptos, they tend to look to the ‘old order’ even the extreme right wingery of fascism. It was the politicians in Greece as well as the kleptos who pandered to the fascist golden dawn a few years ago (their vote was well down this time). Now I am well aware that these are generalisations but there is a lot of truth here. And, of course, it’s not really that hard to see similarities in other countries. What do we have in this country: kleptos who avoid tax (the UK is, after all, the actual and spiritual home of tax evasion), older folk who are more likely to vote tory and ucrap, a right wing government who impose nasty shit on the poor, the sick and the disabled. It is the young in this country who are now flocking to the Greens. How much discussion and hand wringing has there been over recent years about the young not voting? As they are increasingly subjected to unemployment, poorly paid jobs, zero hour contracts, expensive and poor housing, massive student debt, and more. That the progeny of the kleptos have such an unfair advantage, meritocracy in the UK r.i.p. Look to Greece and Syriza you young folk, and of course everyone else who believes there is an alternative to the neoliberal bollocks.

So, such a shame to witness all the ucrap turmoil over the weekend as the party’s general secretary, Matthew Richardson, has declared that “there are hundreds of thousands of bigots in the United Kingdom and they too deserve representation”. He attempted to downplay this by saying it was just like “lighthearted harmless banter in the pub”, which, of course, is the grinning gargoyle’s schtick with pint in hand. Now the pub is a great British institution which I love, but I do not like the way that the ucrappers are claiming it for themselves and that they are just places for the great British public to express their bigotry. I claim it for myself and like minded people to express our bigotry about other bigots.

Oh how I wish for some grown up proper debate and instead we get salacious, small-minded, reactionary crap from much of our media. Anyway just came across this quote from John Stuart Mill and it made me chuckle:

“Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative.”

I know that my beliefs and thoughts may well be considered naive but I do hope the likes of Syriza and Podemos provide real hope for people and that the tide can be turned against the kleptos and BBs and all their financial alchemy that so dominates modern life.

Anyone else watching Spiral? Brilliant French series on BBC4.

So here’s something currently close to my heart as Oliver Wainwright writes about the science of taste and spoons. Different metals have different tastes and also affects the way that the food on them tastes. The science is that it depends on how easily the metals oxidise, so the easier they oxidise the more atoms are released into your mouth. So some foods are made revolting with certain metals and others enhanced. Silver generally scores low, which is good in my view as it confirms my beliefs about those born with silver spoons.

Manifesto 71:

  • (thanks David), no more titles, everyone called simply by their names. No more sirs, lords, ladies, what a more grown up world it would be.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.

Happy birthday Kate and kill all sociopaths.

No blog yesterday, Kate’s birthday was a full on all day, thanks to Laurice and Alison for preparing house and food and making sure I didn’t do too much and tire my poor little body. Thanks to everyone who came and made it a grand day for Kate. Was supposed to be just an afternoon affair, finished about midnight. We had 12 sitting on our new sofa, new suite great for entertaining. Cake sparkler thingy donated by Jo and Den worked well.

So good for me to be able to participate, drank steadily and enjoyed all the tastes of different drinks and foods, still find hot and spicy too much for my sensitive mouth and throat. As Kate said to think of the state I was in less than a month ago there was no way we could anticipate then the possibility of having such a day yesterday, and there’s more to come!

Mark and Pam’s card included an absolutely lovely card from their daughter Sam, beautifully expressed sentiments and funny observations, brought a tear and a smile to my crabby face, thanks Sam.

Well the corporate mindset is really exposed with their pathetic attempts to prevent plain packaging for cigarettes. On Friday’s toady programme some klepto called axel gietz put forward a ridiculous argument that packaging doesn’t encourage anyone to take up smoking, if it doesn’t then why keep it? Of course tobacco sellers want to keep replacing those who die from smoking and the quitters and brand and product placement are vital to corporations. Just think how many of us are brainwashed by all the brand marketing, how influenced we are by labels? As Rachel Cooke’s article describes gietz has an ally in the form of the grinning gargoyle who will go into a shop to buy his fags and ask for a defunct brand and the poor assistant unable to find it behind the screen is then asked to get the manager. What a wag the gargoyle is, of course the twat is also against plain packaging.

Sometimes I wonder why I write my ranty political bollocks, who or what is it for. Well I don’t have an answer but when I read stuff like Lucy Mangan’s piece in yesterday’s Grauniad: “If you don’t understand how people fall into poverty, you’re probably a sociopath”, I get angry and very sad and writing about it in this blog affords me the opportunity to express such and hopefully cause at least one reader to share my feelings or even to attempt to justify the behaviour of those such as ian duncan smith. I do believe he is a sociopath, in private he may well be a caring, thoughtful and funny being (sorry if I’ve upset some of you reading these words in association with such a sociopathic twat), but what he is implementing with his universal benefits and the way it is being implemented is deeply nasty, in my opinion evil. My thoughts are reflected in this comment to Ms Mangan’s article: ” Ignorance? Or willful neglect? How often do we allow our rulers the undeserved luxury of claiming ‘ignorance’ when it is clear that a more aggressive process was being pursued? Lucy is right. But does not go far enough. The willful neglect of the vulnerable, being actively pursued in order to further the greed of the Bulliboys, bankers and cankers is bad enough. But worse is the deliberate and persistent slagging off and foulmouthing of those who are unfortunate and in desperate need of support. That is truly sociopathic. True psychological dysfunction.”

What deepens my anger and sadness is the apparent willingness of so many people to believe the tory propaganda, and help them propagate it. Our supposed political discourse is so coarse and corrupted.

Enough, on this day after a wonderful day for Kate, would that many more people in the world could also have and share such times with each other.

Manifesto 70: all those who make up and implement social policy have to personally experience it’s effects for at least 1 month.

Keep on keeping on, love Duncan.