A Pre Election Thing I Wrote…

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged so now hoping to get back in the saddle…This is a thing I wrote for Narc magazine just prior to the election of 2015…

THE STATE OF THE STATE.

So we have an election coming. I’m reminded of that old joke that goes, “I see we have an election coming. And of course the big problem is…One of them will win it.”

If you don’t know me I for the past two years have run a comedy panel show in Newcastle called Sod the Tories (And Have a nice Week) it’s as militant and angry as the title suggests.

For around 4 years now I’ve turned towards a more politicised style of stand up. Mainly due to the fact I find this government and most of its opposition to be utterly despicable.

I had to do an interview regarding austerity the other day and I found myself making this analogy……”Look I hate to sound predictable but we bailed out the banks to the tune of over 350 billion. Then we blamed the poor for that loss. That’s like having a big dog around the house that makes a terrible mess on the carpet. You say…that big dogs made a terrible mess on the carpet…I know…let’s rub the hamsters head in it.”

The interview suddenly ended. Didn’t even have a producer come on my earpiece and say thanks for that. Cut dead. Nothing,. I actually call that a result.

Once the election result comes in nothing is going to change too drastically. Nick Clegg says he’s still willing to do a deal with the Tories. I can only imagine this one is regarding his redundancy package.

But if you look at the longer game then things are veering off into uncharted territory. If certain folks get their way a Scots immigrant like me might be taking a trip on a get yerself hame van.  I see UKIP have unearthed another couple of racists in their ranks just this month. Well…it’s hardly where’s Wally is it?

Coming from the North we have the SNP. Again Nick Clegg has been making noises by stating…and I quote, “Ed Miliband is hoping to enter Westminster sitting in Alex Salmonds jacket pocket.” Yeah unlike you Nick who did it hanging out of Camerons arsehole.

For 20 odd years I was a pro yes supporter. It was never anything to do with abandoning the working classes of England. For me it was always about giving the establishment a mighty kick up the Trossachs. However, now that we may be putting a proper anti austerity pressure group via the SNP into Westminster I’ve changed track considerably. I’m now totally for better together. So much so I’ve actually gone and joined the Russian Army.

I reckon if tensions rise much more between the Scottish parliament and Westminster they may find a much quicker way to send their Trident missiles back to them.

And finally fighting for the top job we have Messrs Cameron and Miliband respectively. Does anyone care? Not one jot. This pair can relate to peoples genuine needs in about the same way the Yorkshire ripper used to relate to hammers.

The fact that both of these men see the call for more austerity as a vote winner pretty much sums up how detached they are. It’s like being represented by a puddle with autism.

So if we’re to spend another 5 years blaming the poor and the vulnerable for the fact you’re on a zero hours contract, working for less than minimum wage, with enough savings to take out a mortgage on an empty crisp packet and about the same level of trade union rights as a Bernard Mathews Turkey Burger…well by all means stick with the status quo.

But before we go let’s look at some facts. On average people think 27% of social security is claimed fraudulently. It’s actually 0.7%

People think 41% of public money goes on the unemployed. It’s actually 3%.

We actually spend 15 times more than that on pensions. So in our current climate of zero compassion politics the logical step to fixing the economy is to kill your granny.

And for all you kippers out there I’m not keen on Europe either. I think all Europe is doing is paying lip service to mega corporations so they can move cheap labour around the continent. But in saying that I’m blaming the cause not the symptom. Jeezo it’s amazing how just stopping to think for a second can move your thought process from bigotry to nobility.

PS…Yes I know I’ve left the Greens out of this. I’m just sticking with current media traditions. When it comes to the Greens the press pretty much treat them like a Scottish person would…leave them at the side of the plate.

Sod the Tories returns to the Stand Comedy July 27…

Todays problems in brief….

It’s the best smokescreen ever and a scapegoat for all the main political parties…blame the foreigners….The fact is there is no problem with immigration. 20 billion put into the British economy in the past 10 years from migrants. Benefit tourism takes up 0.04 % of the budget. The London economy is thriving because of immigration.  Migrants do work we don’t want to and help balance the economy. Europe may be a problem because it is used to shift about cheap labour. But that’s blaming the cause not the symptom. Workers are exploited regardless of where they are from. There is a problem with excessive population growth but that’s a different issue.
Corporate tax evasion, wealth tax avoidance, bankers unregulated while the public purse pays for their sins, politicians using their job as a way into city finance while having little regard for who they’re supposed to represent, fracking leading to pollution of the water supply, the third world being kept in their place because capitalism wouldn’t work without it, entire continents being pushed back into slavery,  austerity cuts, persecution of the disabled, demonization of the working classes, zero hours contracts, people being worked like battery hens in call centres, no access to education unless you’ve got money…these are  real problems. Either wake up or get in the bastards faces. I look forward to what alternate votes like Green and SNP bring to Westminster next year. That is all. x

Lawrence Vs Brand.

I think the thing I’ve found most interesting on this here comedians crucible of what we can and cannot express within our jobs/opinions/lives is the amount of comics in the same week who went out their way to savage Russell Brand for saying “nice” things while not defending his freedom of speech, while passionately defending Andrew Lawrences freedom of speech to say “not so nice” things, while being quite accepting of what was being said.

These are interesting times. Obviously I find much of what Andrew Lawrence said pretty abhorrent. Of course I do. I’m one of the leftie/liberal hacks he’s targeting. But I’m also an advocate of free speech and I’m delighted he’s said it. I can think of a couple of other folk I work with that have exactly the same views but not so high a profile. Do I refuse to work alongside them? I do not.

So let’s look at Mr Brand first. I can’t ever really say I was huge fan. But that changed last year when he did the editorial of the New Statesman. It was informed, eloquent and raised some great points. Yes he got it wrong with the “don’t vote” thing. Especially because that’s what everybody decided to leap on and completely ignore the main thrust of his polemic. The one thing I’ve personally taken from the whole shebang is I’ve read the New Statesman ever since and I feel I’m better informed because of it. I really am bamboozled as to why such a good looking, opinionated millionaire manages to attract such disdain from the community.

I haven’t seen Mr Brands latest News Night appearance or read his book. I’m of absolutely no doubt that some of what he says is ill informed or total pie in the sky thinking. Here’s why I like him. It was actually his involvement that put me on to reading the New Statesman. More shame me for letting celebs influence my tastes.  So maybe the good thing about him is he raises the profile of important humanitarian issues and then we go look at more informed sources for the real solutions. This is a good debate we’ve all had about him this week and the points he airs. But we are having it BECAUSE OF Russell Brand. Here ends the defence.

And so the prosecution. It may come as a surprise but like Andrew I am also anti Europe. The main reason I have for this is I think it is a gang master for moving about cheap labour and exploiting workers. And there’s the difference. In saying this I’m attacking the cause not the symptom.

It’s Andrews language and targets of attack that so concern me in his initial diatribe. But can I first take a wee look at the type of comedian he attacks. He describes, “Out of touch, smug, superannuated, overpaid TV comics with their cosy lives in their west-London ivory towers taking a supercilious, moralising tone, pandering to the ever-creeping militant political correctness of the BBC with their frankly surreal diversity targets.”

For anybody that knows me and the lack of impact I’ve made on the comedy business there’s no way I can fit into this bracket. Jings how I wish. In fact in reply I would say Andrew fits this description much more than me. I accuse him of being a smug, overpaid TV comic living in an ivory tower, because from my career perspective that is what he is. It’s not only Andrew that everything didn’t come up roses for but he’s had a way better kick of the ball than I ever did. So why the hatred? I’m frustrated too but it does not manifest in attacks on minority groups.

I do wonder if he’s actually ever had to watch 300 EDL marching past his house chanting vile hatreds on Islam and anything else their bile gets directed at that day from his London hole. I somehow think probably not.

Then there was the comment on “liberal back-slapping on panel shows like Mock The Week where aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians, sit” If this was intended to sound like the language of a bigot then he did a no bad job. I’m just glad I’ve still got my hair. I don’t think we need pour over those words too much. Others justifiably already have.

The bit that really concerned me was in the comment(s) “for every person that comes here and contributes to our culture there are those benefit tourists, criminals and those that refuse to assimilate.” I feel here he’s laying the blame for our economic woes squarely at the foot not just of the immigrant but also at the underclass. But hey he’s a right wing comic. That is his (new) job.

How terrible it is that everybody moving around the various bits of the planet does not walk along the great and the goods corridors that Andrew feels he strides. For shame that not all of us can reach the same salient heights of human endeavour that Andrew so clearly must feel he has.

I’ve mentioned further back what I feel the problem with Europe is. I’d rather we kick up the way than down. But that’s the fundamental difference in our thinking.

Overpopulation isn’t just a British problem it’s global. And yes I feel it needs addressed. But I advise great caution in the language we use when addressing such issues. Otherwise somebody somewhere will shoulder the brunt of the blame. If you’re going to shout, shout to the top.

Does any of this mean I’m opposed to Andrew expressing his views? Absolutely not. But if the gloves come off we should be allowed to take a swing back. I actually quietly respect his…er…gall. But I also fiercely defend my/our right to be equally as galling.