Pear Shaped


I haven’t written anything here in a while as there is nothing to promote at the moment (apart from Pear Shaped at the Fringe) and I haven’t been gigging much due to the fact that I have opted out of the  Working Time Regulations that will soon be abolished anyway now we’ve opted out of the European Union and I never took any notice of anyway. 

Who could have predicted Brexit?  Certainly not me or I'd have written an allegorical novel about it.  Also there isn’t anything I want to write about much at the moment about the non-publication of the Chilcot Report since it’s out now. I could read it but that's taking things a bit far and I believe it's been done.

Never-the-less I thought possibly I should write something here though even though not many Pear Shaped gigs are promoted anymore apart from Pear Shaped Afternoons but when I look about me everything and everyone seems too mad or trivial to comment on...

I say “mad” but of course I (like Owen Smith) am probably not allowed to use this word anymore as it is a “mental health slur” like “loony”.  Or so an earnest man with a hammer and sickle next to his twitter handle informed the world in general on twitter that day.  According to him there is “never any excuse for using mental heath slurs”.  Apart from everyone calling Donald Trump a psychopath.   Personally I don't think Donald is a psycopath.  That would suggest he had superficial charm.  Whereas it has to be said really that with Trump what you see is what you don't want to get.  Hilary Clinton to be displays more psycopathic traits although I can't believe she threw an ash tray at her husband - the Clintons are too right on to smoke.  Still inquiries into the mental state of potentates are not on.  Let us not forget the compact on mental health previous MPs have signed that ineffectively bans politicians from making slurs about opponents’ mental health.

I suggested that possibly if you don’t want to be mistaken for what used to be called the “loony left” then it might be sensible not to have a hammer and sickle next to your name as Stalin did kill several million people.   After thanking me for “the GCSE history lesson” (any time – I got a B in 1990) he asked if Stalin “killed them all with his bare hands, did he?” to which I replied “no, that was just his wife he’s believed to have murdered personally.  Most of the time he just instructed the NKVD remotely... 

This set me cogitating on how when I was his age the Cold War wasn’t history and I felt very old suddenly.  Somebody then chimed in with a screengrab of something the said tweeter had said several years ago that included the word loony in relation to Isreal’s government (you can't do this to me my tweets automatically now self destruct Mission Impossible style after 2 weeks...'s like snapchat for old people
).  This seemed to progress into some spin off argument about anti-semitism that I didn’t feel like getting involved in no matter how many prose poems Martin Niemöller writes.

Talking of Stalinist purges the other thing I seem to see on twitter a lot is people being banned from participating in the election to give Jeremy Corbyn a new mandate that doesn’t mean anything.  Every day someone seems to claim they have been banned from voting for “anti-semitism” or something.  I don’t know why … I seem to be in the reverse situation … they can’t stop writing to me asking me to rejoin the party and pay my membership which is “in arrears” … sorry Comrades – no money left over for middle class hobbies like socialism at the moment.

Anyway … Following the election with no freeze date when everyone and their dog was invited to join the party for a pittance we members (in arrears or otherwise) now have the election from which everyone and their dog is randomly excluded by the NKVD NEC for saying boring stuff on facebook or twitter including... 

...David White of Croydon Central CLP who an exhaustive investigation by the NEC finally cleared of saying something faintly interesting on twitter and having followers.  Apparently these days the CLP is not even allowed to have meetings anymore in case anyone who attends them is intimidated.  A level of paternalistic control that even Jack Straw might have baulked at...  It’s no wonder no one wants to do the security for the party conference.  I mean …intimidation? Labour party meeting?  Unless you define “turning nasty” as “boring people to death” … That said there do seem to be meetings none the less … another mystery I don’t fully comprehend.

Labour's National Executive Committee

The nadir of these witch hunts as identified as bordering on insanity even by arch-Blairite John Rentoul is probably the person banned simply for using swearwords…  Oh well … If demonstrably no one listens to anyone else any more or has any sense of proportion why say anything?  Perhaps the solution is to go down the Donald Trump route and talk complete nonsense.  Incidental to which does anyone understand how it is that Donald “authenticity” Trump’s hair was brown in 1987 and is blonde in 1996. 

Is he a brunette who uses peroxide or did he brown up for the Regan years?  Perhaps he worried that if he didn’t look blonde haired and blue eyed enough he’d lose his core voters?  Still, at least he’s not as wooden as Hilary Clinton.  Poor old Hillary …no matter how hard she tries next to the Obamas she always comes over as a stuffed shirt no matter how many colourful stories are invented about her ...

As to the two candidates for the Labour party leadership it’s hard to know who is the worst.  I can’t even be bothered to go to a hustings to find out.  Probably just as well as I might be identified as an entryist by Owen Smith …… whereas in reality if anything I am an exitist or a cantbearsedist.  Still if you’ve lost your audience why not tell them to get lost?  Owen Smith is just such a bore … a man falling back on such blank cheque political promises we know no one will ever honour as replacing student loans with a graduate tax. 

Then again perhaps that will be honoured now there is a student debt time bomb that is apparently larger than the national debt. 

The man actually comes out with such classic labour grassroot stoking old empty chestnuts as “the Tories have a secret plan to privatise the NHS”...  maybe but which party introduced public private partnerships again?  Oh P3 … the second most feared P after P45.  Still had to laugh at the person who accused Peter Mandelson of "stealing the red rose"... wasn't that a bit of New Labour rebranding.  Maybe we need to go back to the Red Flag. 

    The People's Flag is deepest red,
    It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
    And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
    Their hearts' blood dyed its every fold.
        Then raise the scarlet standard high.
        Beneath its shade we'll live and die,
        Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
        We'll keep the red flag flying here.

    Look round, the Frenchman loves its blaze,
    The sturdy German chants its praise,
    In Moscow's vaults its hymns were sung
    Chicago swells the surging throng.

        Then raise the scarlet standard high.
        Beneath its shade we'll live and die,
        Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
        We'll keep the red flag flying here.

    It waved above our infant might,
    When all ahead seemed dark as night;
    It witnessed many a deed and vow,
    We must not change its colour now.

        Then raise the scarlet standard high.
        Beneath its shade we'll live and die,
        Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
        We'll keep the red flag flying here.

    It well recalls the triumphs past,
    It gives the hope of peace at last;
    The banner bright, the symbol plain,
    Of human right and human gain.

        Then raise the scarlet standard high.
        Beneath its shade we'll live and die,
        Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
        We'll keep the red flag flying here.

    It suits today the weak and base,
    Whose minds are fixed on pelf and place
    To cringe before the rich man's frown,
    And haul the sacred emblem down.

        Then raise the scarlet standard high.
        Beneath its shade we'll live and die,
        Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
        We'll keep the red flag flying here.

    With head uncovered swear we all
    To bear it onward till we fall;
    Come dungeons dark or gallows grim,
    This song shall be our parting hymn.

I was interested to learn that Mr Smith had worked for Pfizer as I thought they’d relocated most of their workers to the US years ago and that I was the only person left in British Industry until even I left to go into finance because of the OPEC price war...

Then there’s Jeremy Corbyn … a man who has achieved the astonishing triumph of making Richard Branson look honest.  One has to admire the way Corbyn’s supporters insist that he didn’t walk past empty seats in the teeth of all the evidence.  Particularly when Mr Corbyn’s new line is that he did walk past empty seats because he was looking for two seats next to each other because he wanted to sit next to a lady.  Virgin trains new line is that they offered him a first class seat.  On balance I would go for Jeremy as leader I think my mum fancies him and keeps on telling me he’s a really good looking man with a well proportioned face… As to sitting on the floor of Virgin Trains...  Well, finding a seat isn’t the problem with Virgin trains …the problem is paying for it.  It’s cheaper to fly.  Many important questions remain unanswered however.  Such as …why Corbyn didn’t have his own reserved seat?  Can he really afford an “anytime” ticket?  I mean you don’t just turn up and get on a Virgin train…?

Not unless you want to pay 100-200 per cent more than the standard price (1st class upgrade not included)?  Was the MPs’ entitlement to first class train travel rescinded so they could afford an anytime ticket instead?  And if he has bought one what does this say for his financial prudence?  Then again I have a particularly strong view…

…and nothing is impossible in the world where “Straight Talking Honest Politics” is an actual slogan and not an obvious oxymoron.  Amazing how a binary issue “did he lie or didn’t he?” can be blurred into such a wide spectrum – still that’s politics for you.  Nothing’s ever as simple as do you believe him or not?  Besides which if he really wanted to see how the other half lived he’d go National Express.  I don’t expect him to travel Megabus.  Even the underclasses and out of work acts don’t do megabus.

In other news one has to admire too the inanity of the people attacking Corbyn for his salary as Leader of the Opposition.  That said …should he have the title if he can’t actually command the second largest majority in the House of Commons?  The Leader of the Opposition is not actually by default the leader of the largest party.  As the SNP points out …this actually creates a mini-constitutional crisis.  Mr Bercow said no but if the Labour Party splits formally might he change his mind?  Then Mr Corbyn would lose his place on the front bench while still formally remaining the leader of the Labour Party…?   The mind boggles.

The Labour party it seems has broken out into total internal war with Momentum and Progress both fighting the kind of dirty war I can’t remember for a long time.  The source of this conflict is, of course, the previous leadership election with its lack of freeze date where the membership base was massively expanded overnight resulting in a new membership that is pretty much estranged from the Parliamentary Party.

While the PLP waffles on about “Parliamentary Democracy” (i.e. you get us elected and then shut up ) Jeremy Corbyn holds on to his position of party leader despite his entire shadow cabinet continually resigning.  It’s somewhat reminiscent of the collegiate way in which Peter Buckley-Hill holds the Free Fringe together despite everyone continually resigning except him (oh he just did) except that at least Corbyn was elected. 

There’s much talk of the 1980s split that created the SDP but there are important differences.  The Gang of Four’s argument was that the Labour Party lacked any meaningful internal democracy whereas the argument of Owen Smith and Co is something along the lines of “we can’t have this much democracy and function properly – get real”.  Almost the exact reverse position.  It's not a gang of 4 either but a gang of of 172.

The female of the species

Of course one should probably say something about the Conservative Party’s election of Theresa May as a replacement for David Cameron.  Unfortunately and in good old fashioned Tory party tradition …there wasn’t one.  Ms May doesn’t have too much time for voting...

Upon the initiation of an election for the Leader, it shall be the duty of the 1922 Committee to present to the Party, as soon as reasonably practicable, a choice of candidates for election as Leader.

“The rules for deciding the procedure by which the 1922 Committee selects candidates for submission for election shall be determined by the Executive Committee of the 1922 Committee after consultation of the Board.”

“If there is only one candidate at the time laid down for the close of nominations, that candidate shall be declared Leader of the Party.”

In other words although the MPs told Tory party members they were entitled to elect their leaders now in reality the rules say the 1922 Committee can decide the members are a bit of an optional extra if they can’t be arsed.  Power in the Conservative Party remains firmly with the Parliamentary Party. 

To the

As to Ms May in general apart from people claiming she’s like a Tudor monarch for not allowing parliament to vote on Brexit we really haven’t seen much of her yet.  I wonder which Tudor Monarch she’s supposed to be?  Henry VIII without the sex life?  Edward VI without the illness.  Lady Jane Grey without the head?

Bloody Mary without the bloodbath?  Elizabeth I but with a sex life…?  Well, the bitter recriminations in the Tory party have not suddenly gone away they are just buried in a shallow grave until Ms May actually activates article 50.  Last I read the Cabinet had all decamped to the house of peace and ancient memories given to England as a thank-offering for her deliverance in the great war of 1914–1918 as a place of rest and recreation for her Prime Ministers for ever to discuss the riddle:

Q: When is a Brexit not a Brexit?

A: When it’s a Snafu