Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Little bit of politics!

Yes, that's right, I still have this blog and I've decided to resurrect as a place to dump my opinions on random stuff. Today: politics!

There are some European elections approaching in the UK, where we get to elect who will represent us in the European parliament.
Much has been made in the last day or two about Labour's somewhat worrying slip in the polls. I say worrying because, even though I'm not actually a Labour supporter per se, if it's bad for Labour that generally means it's good for the Tories and that's just a horror beyond imagining. 
I can only speak to my own personal views on such things, so here they are...

I know that I for one, as a regular left-leaning schmuck with a generally low opinion of politicians, will be voting for the Green party in the approaching Euro elections.
Yes, I know, the Greens have the image of being a bit happy-clappy and hippyish but at least their message is actually progressive and positive, and at least they seem to genuinely, passionately believe in what they're saying. I look at the Labour front bench, at the likes of Balls, Byrne and Hunt, and all I see are the Coalition in different coloured ties. 
The only Labour front bencher who I can currently recall actually fighting back against coalition policies and speaking with passion and belief is Andy Burnham.
For what it's worth, I actually quite like Miliband. He might not be the last word in charismatic leaders but he seems intelligent and decent enough and I agree, for the most part, with his politics. It's just hard to look past the shower of drones he's surrounded himself with and their piss-poor attempts to offer an alternative message to the one the coalition is spouting.

I just had a look at the leaflets I've had through the door (including one from the BNP - bless their racist little hearts, they never give up do they?). Everything in the Labour one is "David Cameron is doing this bad thing, we won't do such a bad thing!". The Tory one is essentially the mirror image of that.
The Green party leaflet, on the other hand, doesn't mention the other parties, just lays out what they believe in a simple, positive way. Maybe I'm being naive but I find that appealing.

Come the General Election next year I'll probably still vote Labour, however. It's certainly not out of any great faith in them - I have none - and not because I really want to, it's just out of fear that a split vote would give power back to the Tories and that's not something I even want to think about.

Oh, and just for the record, if you vote for UKIP then you're an idiot.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Flapjack Bread!

This afternoon I experimented with some soda bread, adding oats and golden syrup to a normal soda bread recipe!
This is the result, and I shall call it Flapjack Bread! It has quite a sweet flavour (big shock, I know) but it's very nice.

If you're interested:
250 grams of flour (I use a 50:50 split of white and wholemeal)
2 teaspoons of baking soda
5 grams of salt
150 ml of milk
Some porridge oats (didn't measure them - I'd guess about 50 grams)
2-3 tablespoons of golden syrup

Mix it all together into a very claggy dough, keep mushing it together (or 'kneading' if you want to sound proper, like) for a couple of minutes to make sure it's all properly combined
Give it a dusting of flour and slash the top, then bake at 200 degrees celcius for 20-25 minutes.
Leave to cool for a few minutes...enjoy!

Note for non-UK types pondering about what the hell a flapjack is - this is what I'm referring to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flapjack_(oat_bar)

Monday, April 08, 2013


Not my usual content for this blog (not that there's been much content at all lately - sorry!), but I wanted to express my feelings and thoughts on the death of Margaret Thatcher.
I should say at the outset that my personal politics are moderately left-leaning - I'm certainly a lot closer to socialism than I am to free market capitalism.

You would be hard-pressed to find a more divisive figure in Britain than Thatcher - there are some who worship the ground she walked on, and there are those who will be dancing in the street at the news that she's died.  My own opinion is mixed.  On the one hand, I despise many of the things she did to this country - I'm from the north east, an area that was traditionally very industrial and that was comprehensively gutted by Thatcher's policies.  On the other hand, her presence was such a constant thing during my childhood that to have her now be gone is very strange.  At the time, when she was dismantling the region where I lived, I was too young to understand it (I'm 37, by the way, born in 1976) and my family was never that politically engaged so a lot of it passed me by.
She was just this figure on the telly who made speeches and didn't like the miners and Arthur Scargill (I was only dimly aware of who Scargill was and even less idea what a trade union was), and she was the British PM who fought off the nasty Argentinians who wanted to come and take our Falkland Islands!  Again, I was 6 at the time, I had no knowledge of the history of the Falklands, why Argentina might want it or indeed where the Falklands or Argentina actually was.  All I had were the less-than-objective snatches I caught on the news when I was waiting for the cartoons to appear and a childlike view of the world being divided into "Us" and "Them" (where "Us" were the good guys, obviously).  I knew something bad was going on but Thatcher would appear on the news giving a speech and it was reassuring, and as much as I now know a lot more about the Falklands, the history of colonialism, and how hateful the idea of "Us" and "Them" is, I still feel echoes of that.

What she did may have devastated parts of this country, and I now despise the kind of right-wing politics she represented, I can't separate that with those childhood impressions.  And whatever you might think of her politics, it has to be admitted that she accomplished a huge amount.  For becoming the first female prime minister at a time when gender inequality was still very prevalent (not that it's entirely disappeared now) she deserves respect at the very least.

I don't celebrate anyone's death, whether it's Thatcher or anyone else, all I can feel is sympathy for the grief of those who cared for them.

I will say, however, that I'm not looking forward to what is sure to be the nauseatingly mawkish news coverage of the next few days.

Right, that's enough, I've had my two penn'orth, I'm going back to writing the sequel to Crystal Eyes