Oi journalists! MPs tweeting campaign pics. It’s called democracy and it’s great.

January 20th, 2015
Wes Streeting is standing for Labour in Ilford North.

Wes Streeting is standing for Labour in Ilford North.

There is currently a deep and widening fracture between the British people and their political parties, apparently. The chasm is so big that the political party as a concept is in terminal decline. The main two parties are in particular danger because their joint share of the national vote has fallen dramatically in the last six decades: it’s all over now, baby blue and baby red.

These assertions have become truths all but universally acknowledged; it’s all a bit boring really. People do not join parties in large numbers any more. The electorate has slammed its doors on the main parties after saying “you are all the same”. People feel alienated and disenfranchised, believing that politicians are only in it for themselves and only come round at election times when they want votes and are nowhere to be seen during the rest of the electoral cycle. Yada yada yada.

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Aux armes, citoyens!

January 11th, 2015
2015.01.11 Tricolore

Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons!


I first heard about today’s London vigil for the Paris victims on Twitter; a friend was going and looking for someone to meet up with. In Trafalgar Square’s fading light several thousand people, mostly French, stood in quiet reflection. Many holding hastily produced “Je suis Charlie” posters, some displayed “je suis juif, others “je suis Ahmed.” We felt all in it together, for once.

The air was sad with palpable grief, without being sombre. Politesse suffused the square. The lack of tension was partly aided by the welcome absence of any evidence of the Trotskyism that has polluted every Trafalgar Square rally I’ve attended over more than 30 years.

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Stephen Lawrence: in remembrance

January 4th, 2015

Three years ago someone commissioned the following from me. They didn’t publish it because they were worried it would upset Shami. Meh.

It’s 3 January so I thought I’d let it see the light while raising this year’s glass. Here y’go.


Triple jeopardy

I’m no legal expert but 48 years in South East London has schooled me on where Stephen Lawrence died. My youthful drinking was done in pubs near where, a few years later, he was murdered by Gary Dobson, David Norris and others. Every journey on the 122 bus to visit my first girlfriend ended at the very stop where they stabbed him. I know they are guilty. Defendants and families aside, no one says otherwise. Dobson and Norris are not the Eltham Two, a modern day Birmingham Six. No MP will make a name fighting to clear theirs; no barrister will work for reduced fees to free them. Books may be written but they will only confirm the convictions. Dobson and Norris are where they belong and will, in time, be joined by the others. They weren’t fitted up by the system; they were protected by it: by its incompetence, corruption and institutional racism. For years. Their victims, Stephen Lawrence and friends and family, were stitched up. Until yesterday.

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