Look At It This Way - February 27, 2015

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How dare politicians hector and lecture us on tax – avoidance or evasion – when the Moral High Ground seems to be made up of quicksand?

For the first time in my voting life I’m at a complete and utter loss.

If you’d spoken to me this time last year I’d have been keen to contest a seat for the local council, do my bit in one of the most blighted wards.

I don’t want to squander the right for which Suffragettes fought, my conscience wouldn’t permit it, but I don’t even know who to vote for. Correction: I know who I will vote for – but I’m not so sure I know why.

Last year I was clear eyed – I knew the course, and the cause. I was sick of standing on the sidelines writing about poverty and social deprivation, homelessness, destinies lost to drugs, unemployment, and appalling inequalities of a postcode lottery which can blight a child’s health or aspirations from birth.

So I joined the Party for which I’d voted for decades. I threw my hat into the ring, too. It took ONE conference, as delegate, after years of covering them, to turn me into a Party pooper.

How lightly I must have worn my political identity to let it be undermined so easily.

Labour’s lost me once before when Blair put me between Iraq and a hard place. I voted Liberal. Never again. And I’ll never be caught napping by UKIP.

I feel like a quitter. But I don’t have time to waste. I still need to make a living and balance that with being a carer.

I actually see no harm in MPs having second jobs so long as constituency work comes first – and there’s no undue influence or personal gain by association.

It was the barely concealed complacency of Messrs Rifkind and Straw which irked me watching the Channel 4 documentary. The shrug of implicit authority, influence. I’m all right, Jack.

Labour’s not so much lost me as temporarily misplaced me. I think Ed Miliband would make a good PM but his image doesn’t fit with today’s ‘Lite’ politics. Burnham would be better? You betcha.

At least councillors talk rubbish because it’s in their remit.

I’m concerned at the increasing range of that remit – given the hit all councils have taken from central Government. Manchester may gain billions to run health services as powers devolve but we still need doctors, not spin doctors. That said, Manchester’s leader Sir Richard Leese is one of the greatest MPs we’ve never had.

What we don’t want is a pick ‘n’ mix of devolved powers which leaves the NHS on life support. We want proper economic clout to make this corner of the country count.

And I count myself lucky that others are still willing to stand for council.

They’re not in it for themselves – it’s a tedious, time consuming, thankless task by and large.

And I now know, a year on, that I’m too selfish to make a stand. When push came to shove I fell over then ran away. I don’t even go to branch meetings or on the hustings any more.

I’ve left some good people in the lurch. They deserve more respect and recognition. It’s great having passion and principles but you’ve got be pragmatic, too.

The new crop of younger councillors and fresher faced candidates have most to lose – in terms of time and money and employment – and most to give. They don’t carry the emotional baggage of Old Labour or Tory or Liberal. They’re prepared to strike a balance for public service.

For their sake – and mine – I don’t want to hear the words: Love, Labour’s lost on Friday, May 8, after the results come in. But it is my Party and I’ll cry if I have to. Even a spoonful of sugar from that Ukranian refinery won’t make that bitter pill any easier to swallow.

Stone the crows - telly’s gone back to dark ages

Television – don’t you just hate it rather than rate it? I’ve been ill this week so have watched more telly in a week than I would in a month. It’s left me feeling more sick – at heart.

Benefits Street, Immigration Street, Romanians, child criminals, women with hips so wide they look like they’re wearing giant jodhpurs with shire horses inside… is this what passes for meaningful social 
commentary today?

Or have they just run out of MPs to sting?

When my mother got her knitting out to watch Jeremy Kyle it was like watching a public hanging.

Madam Guillotine. Knit one, purl one, “I knew he was lying.” DNA result, dropped stitch.

For light relief I turned to 10,000 BC, the reality survivalist series, because surely it wouldn’t have been like this in the old days.

Stone me, it was. Never mind the Baltics, here are the Brits, doing what they do best, whinge.

No wonder the wild boar are tetchy, there’s a chap in wet fur crashing through the forest trying to wing them with a bow and arrow which looks like it was bought on the Golden Mile.

Wonder if he’s remembered to take the rubber safety tips off?