Six Reasons why Jeremy Corbyn could win next General Election

uppitymonkey:

I think this needs being said to offer a counter point to all the anti-Corbyn sentiment going around.

Originally posted on Think Left:

Six Reasons why Jeremy Corbyn could win the next General Election By James Meadway , previously published by Novara Media

Jeremy Corbyn, on current polling, is on course to win Labour’s leadership campaign. Conventional wisdom, as recycled by Britain’s political class, has put this down to a kind of post-election sulk by Labour’s members and supporters. Elect Corbyn now, they insist at increasing volume, and Labour can kiss goodbye to powerJeremy c192x108 for a generation or more.
The Westminster bubble was wrong about Corbyn’s candidacy, and it’s wrong about how the left might win the next general election. It’s the left in the party, not the right, that can show a path to Labour’s return to power. Supporting Corbyn is not just about principle or ‘self-indulgence’. It’s about strategy. Here’s how it could work:

1. It’s the stupid economy.

The chances of the UK avoiding a financial crisis and…

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Cinema Experiences

I have never been a big cinema goer. I get engrossed in movies and feel far more comfortable doing so alone or with few others, without distractions. I want to think and analyse and soak it all in. I watched the Lord of the Rings at home on DVD and I wouldn’t want to change that. The first I watched alone and was utterly absorbed by it.

Mind you, my wife is a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings and one day soon we’ll watch it all in one day together. That should be great.

Last summer she and I went to the cinema a couple of times. It was a small one and quiet, about twenty or so people in there at best. We saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and Guardians of the Galaxy. I enjoyed them both, even if my wife is loud when she sobs or glees over something.

But in my younger years my family went to a much bigger cinema and saw some big blockbusters. The place was packed and I hated going there and coming out, but once I got settled I felt secure and ready to absorb another story. Or at least have my eardrums pounded by the speakers.

We mainly saw Star Trek movies because my uncle and aunt were huge Trek fans and they loved going to see them with us. My dad and I were Trek fans too. This made me like the Next Generation films a lot more than I would have alone. The audience enjoyed the banter of the characters and some of the set-ups. As I have watched those films since, I’ve found myself barely able to tolerate them. Especially after watching some of Mr Plinkett’s reviews. The point about TV Picard vs Movie Picard was spot on.

Still, people had a good time and so I did too.

The same went for watching the Phantom Menace (speaking of Pinkett). I saw that in the cinema and, well, I had a good time. We laughed at Jar-Jar (don’t hate me, I was swept up with the crowd!) and the end fight was pretty cool. However – and this is an important moment for me as a movie nut that I only realised later on in life – as soon as we were in the car, I did start complaining about a few things to my younger brother. Small things, like the bigger fish bit being repeated. He looked at me and muttered: You take movies too seriously.

He was right, of course.

I still have a bit of liking for the Phantom Menace. Oh I know it is a poorly thought out plot with annoying characters. But I find the simple and direct story an okay watch. The other two films I had no enthusiasm to watch and only did so when I got round to it. Neither worked for me. Probably because they were more about the bigger picture, telling a tale I already knew the outcome to. I can give a crappy scifi film a pass if it keeps things more simple and focused. After all, I grew up on science fiction most would despise today. Cheap effects, stereotypical characters, goofy music. Still, I loved them. I watched Roger Corman’s Space Raiders not long ago. It was daft but I couldn’t help enjoying it. So many deaths! Fun times.

So back to the cinema stuff, I have to relate a story while watching the Phantom Menace. We were at the big fight and had just seen Darth Maul kill Quids-In Gin, or whatever. Obi is mad but then is hanging from that thing, whatever that was. Darth Maul is glowering and growling. Suddenly Obi flips up, catches the light saber and cuts Darth Maul in half.

This bloke a few rows back yells in a hushed voice: Yes!

Everyone around us heard him. Everyone laughed.

I know that film is poor and I’d much rather watch Mr Plinkett’s review of it than the movie itself, but I do remember that moment fondly. I love knowing someone was so into the film that they had to let that out. Just had to exclaim it, but still tried to keep quiet. Good for you, man.

I did see Return of the Jedi when I was very young too. I have no real recollection of viewing it though. I just remember my brother and I running about pretending to fly ships and shoot each other. We must have driven everyone around us mad.

Another vivid memory I have is watching the Mask. Us Brits had no idea who Jim Carrey was back then. I didn’t even know I had seen him before! Turns out I had seen Earth Girls Are Easy and a few others he was in. Oh, only recently I watched a vampire movie which was kind of a sex comedy too, and I found that was him. Oddly enough, my uncle and aunt had put this film on one time while we were staying with them. They chatted with my parents at the dining table as my brother and I watched it. Basically we were at that age where we didn’t get half the jokes and didn’t want to let the adults know we knew the other half. It didn’t really stick in the mind until I came across it on tv recenly, and I had to go: Is that Jim Carrey?!

So yeah, we sit and watch this movie (the Mask) we only know has this green faced loon in. I always remember the mood. Everyone was still and relaxed. Things were ticking along. We meet Stanley, Milo his dog, his best friend at the bank, etc. You could just sense people urging the movie forward.

Then he puts the mask on. Wow, the energy level leapt up in the cinema in a second. This was what everyone had come to see! People were laughing and buzzing as the madness was let loose. When the mask was off, people calmed down, but they had had a taste now and you could sense people were still excited for the next time. It came. People loved the big musical number.

What I will say about the strength of the movie was that by the end, I actually cared about Stanley as a character and not about him as the Mask. That other side was fun but ego-centric and reckless. I think the audience went that way too. By the end, everyone was giddy having laughed a lot and, I think, cared a lot. Not many movies I have been to see have left a crowd that way.

There are a lot of things about going to the cinema that still aren’t for me. I was annoyed at having to watch Guardians of the Galaxy in 3-D, and having to pay extra for something I didn’t want. But there have been some films that would never have got me without that crowd atmosphere. There are some experiences I’m glad I had.

Oh, but that time I threw up on myself in the back of my uncle’s car on the way to a film, not so good. Had to change on the side of the road and everything. No idea what that movie even was! Would have been fitting if it had been Star Trek: Generations.

Vandals: Trouble by the Horde

Among the monsters that have entered our world from the Shadow World, the vandals rate among one of the most brutal and aggressive. Of course, this leads to the perception of them as evil monsters – a common reaction to the supernatural races. Harbingers are natural born hunters. Brutes live by strength. Devil-beasts… Well, okay, they are pretty bad in both action and intent. Vandals, however, are not as singularly cruel as many humans would insist upon. They are fighters, conquerors, adapters. A strong rival to the ambitions of super-soldiers and cyborgs, not least due to their large numbers. Vandal hordes have plagued the world for some time.

Vandals have some similarities with brutes – physical power is admired, bravery in combat is demanded – but they are not the same. Vandals are more intelligent. They have learned the ways of humans and mutants, and so are often found using their weapons. They still prefer melee weapons, especially bludgeons, but guns are just too damn good at killing not to be admired. While brutes care about how a fight is won, that the combatants must face each other and win by strength alone, vandals care only about the result. Winning by cunning is just as worthy as by skill or force.

The vandals are also quite egalitarian. While females are the ones who give birth, they are required to fight and work along with anyone else unless incapable. Parenting is not a responsibility of individuals. All young are the property of the horde. Fathers and mothers are only such in a biological sense, and rarely does this matter at all. The young among a horde are raised together, taught the same lessons their elders were raised on, trained to produce strong fighters and clever leaders, regardless of gender. Siblings have a tendency to remain close, either in support or rivalry, but rarely are there lines of succession. Everyone can succeed. If they truly want to.

A feature of the young that vandals prefer to keep quiet is that they are born with soft skin. Adult vandals have green, tough, leathery skin, layering their stocky frames, with solid horns jutting from such places as knees, elbows, shoulders and foreheads. This means they are among the toughest warriors to face. But their young have to grow and develop this skin. Some think this could be why they relish their own resilience when full grown. As children, they have to be protected and nurtured, if in a harsh fashion. Once matured, they have little to fear. Most poisons are like spices to them. They can chew even wood with their wide, solid teeth, and also digest it. Vandals can cross all kinds of terrain, endure all sorts of weather, and survive most hardships.

Not all vandals live in the traditional hordes, though. Many have adapted fully, settling in places like Trade Island, where their natural benefits make them easy hires as mercenaries and bodyguards. Many move across Europe in small bands, sometimes mixed ones, either raiding settlements or offering their services to those who need a strong force. Wherever there is conflict or gain to be had by the ability to kill others, vandals can be found. Often these vandals are more worldly than the common type. Knowledge is a weapon, after all. But their natural ruthlessness and their enduring physiques mean that anywhere, any time, vandals are feared and respected as destructive creatures.

Their name has been well earned.

I Am Still Legend

About a year ago I posted my feelings and thoughts on the audio version of Richard Matheson’s I am Legend.

For one reason or another, one today did I complete listening to it properly. I began yesterday, had some issues so had to stop, resumed today and concluded. As I said in my previous post, I had been listening to it on the BBC radio, but had missed the odd episode and then missed the end.

Having sat down and listened to it to completion, I have to say what an engaging and admirably written tale it is. Robert Neville is a very understandable character, yet vibrant in his lonely rants. He isn’t a genius scientist trying to cue a disease or a highly trained soldier seeking revenge. He is a just a man, getting by on his routine, hurt by loss, turning to drink, despising those who seek his life. Even when he does begin to analyse and figure out the vampiric disease that has blighted the human race, he does so in a procedural and practical way. Even I could follow his logic!

The ending was great. I liked Neville yet also found him flawed. Consciously so.

As I pointed out before, the movie – the Last Man on Earth – fits the story best.

However, here is the audio version I listened to. If you haven’t read the book, I’d highly recommend listening to this:

The Sicilian Briton

I finally found my history book, the Age of Arthur, by John Morris. I read this a long time ago, a very good read, but one individual and his words stood out.

The Sicilian Briton was an unknown monk who wrote about the unfairness of wealth versus poverty and ranted against the rich and powerful. Considering the mood of today, I find his words even more pertinent. I’m not convinced I agree with everything he has said, but here are some lines that really strike home and could apply to any time period. Ours especially.

“Listen to your rich man calling your poor man ‘wretch’, ‘beggar’, ‘rabble’, because he dares to open his mouth in ‘our’ presence, because in his rags he reproaches ‘our’ morality and conduct, … as if the rich alone had a right to speak, as if the understanding of truth were a function of wealth, not of thought.”

I loved this next bit as he called out the hypocrisy of rich Christians, who sought to wriggle out of Jesus’ comparison of a rich man with a camel.

” ‘But,’ you say, ‘it does not mean a camel, which cannot possibly pass through a needle’s eye, but a camelus, which is a kind of ship’s hawser.’ What intolerable subtlety when human greed … grasps at the names of ropes to keep its earthly wealth! It is a rotten argument that will do the rich no good. As if it were easier to get a huge rope through the needle’s eye than that well known animal the camel! If you want an excuse to live estranged from heaven’s throne with an easy mind … ships are no good to you, with their huge great fittings. You had better try the weaving trade, and search for some kind of thread called camelus. Such idiocy may amuse men … but it will carry little weight with God.”

He wrote with such passion. A shame we know so little of him. He was a potent enemy of the powerful and caused a lot of agitation at the time, especially with his slogan ‘abolish the rich’. Pretty surprising that hasn’t been reclaimed by protestors today. The sentiment is the same, though.

Meme on Parties’ Positions on NHS Privatisation and State Support

uppitymonkey:

This is useful to read as well as important, I feel.

Originally posted on Beastrabban\'s Weblog:

I’ve been following the campaign of the people involved in the 38 Degrees internet campaign group to hold demonstrations and protests in Bristol against the privatisation of the NHS. They’ve sent me this little infographic showing where the parties stand on allowing private companies to bid for NHS contracts, and funding it properly through higher taxes.

NHS Parties Meme

Only the Greens and Labour wish to stop private companies bidding for NHS contracts, and fund it properly through higher taxation.

Tellingly, UKIP wish to allow private companies into the NHS, while the Lib Dems say they’re neutral on it.

The Tories claim they’re against, but frankly, I don’t believe a word of it. They’ve been privatising the NHS by stealth ever since they took power in 2010. Jeremy Hunt, one of the ministers or secretaries in charge, even said he stood in favour of its privatisation, while another Tory minister let the cat…

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