Casuals 2003-2013/100% Pure Wool – life in a northern new town

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Self-serving hypocrite that I am, here’s a link to my book ‘100% Pure Wool’ and the revised edition of Casuals with new chapter and photies etc – look, I’m donating 10% to puppies with HIV OK? Gimme a break over here!

You can read some extracts here – email purewool1965@gmail.com for more information or don’t, I don’t give a fuck, honest I don’t, OK, I do!

http://philthorntoncasuals.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/revised-book-100-pure-wool-books-out-now/

YKTD TV – Austerity Special

'Hey kids, try this, it'll take all your troubles away!'

‘Hey kids, try this, it’ll take all your troubles away!’

Remember all those boss ‘lifestyle’ shows of the 90s and 00s that encouraged everyone to buy houses they couldn’t afford and move to Mediterranean resorts where they could live the good life for ever and ever? Now that the south sea bubble of the home owning Utopia has proven to be just another capitalist con trick, the presenters of these programmes are having to re-position themselves as ascetic frugalists and money saving austerity gurus. Here are just some of the many programmes now appearing on all channels

Sarah Beeney’s Selling Smack

Since she lost 3 million doing up a disused windmill, ‘Beeney’ (TM) is now reduced to grafting wraps of brown outside the gates of her daughter’s private school.

Phil and Kirsty’s Button Mission

Tory millionaire icons, Phil and Kirsty (TM) want to show YOU how to survive the global fincancial meltdown by sewing buttons to trees and buildings. Buttons are the new gold as paper currency becomes obsolete so start hoarding now.

A Place In The Sunderland Slums

Forced to move back from their villas on the Costa del Sol, broke ex pats find themselves living in bed sits owned by gangsters who steal all their housing benefit. Serves em right!

Super-Scrimping Hero Benefit Scroungers

Undercover reporter, Dom The Grass follows so-called disabled Afghan war veterans who are claiming for wheelchairs on the NHS yet still spend money on beer and ciggies.

Nigella’s Holocaust Cook Book

Eating well and hosting lavish parties for pretend pals doesn’t have to be expensive as former Auschwitz prisoner, Nigella (TM) Lawson knows too well. Given a few scraps and a lot of imagination, even wood can be made into delicious stews that will feed a family of five for a week.

Ant & Dec’s Bedroom Tax Takeaway

The loveable Geordies invite poor people onto stage and try to catch them out about their living arrangements on behalf of judges David Cameron, Gary Barlow and Carol Vorderman. ‘It’s for yer severely disabled son?’ Pull the other one!!

People Like Them

The BBC demonise feckless, workshy proles by selecting a load of gullible meffs to walk about in their pjs smoking weed whilst laughing at albinos. (sub-titles)

The Worst Place To Be A Commissioning Editor

You think you’ve got problems? Well, for you and me it’s another day in paradise compared to a Sri Lankan arse farmer with no legs and a cold sore. I’ve had to move from Surrey to Salford you know and there are no decent schools around here for Archibald and Gelatine.

Kim & Aggie’s Buck House Cleanathon

We’ve all got to do our bit to pull together and weather this financial storm of Johnny Foreigner’s making, so the Queen herself has enlisted the nation’s favourite cleaning ladies, ‘Kim and Aggie’ (TM) to do a deep clean of all her royal palaces, beginning with Buck House, saving the nation a fortune on Cilit Bang and bogus passports.

Keeping Up With The Cambridges

Look, it’s not all doom and gloom, Wills & Kate are a young couple in love expecting their firsy baby. This edited fly on the wall piece of royalist propaganda shows how the Cambridges are just a normal couple like you or me, as they discuss names for the little bloodsucker and try out a new range of gifts from grateful tax avoiders and child killers.

Shit Train Journeys with Michael Portillo

Due to licence fee cuts, Portillo (TM) can no longer swan off on the Orient Express but has to make do on the Northern Rail journey from Warrington Bank Quay to Manchester Piccadilly. The former right wing, formerly gay, former minister now dresses in clashing pastels and minces about with a brolly, so beware the Patricroft stop Micky!

I am a human being!

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You can’t have your cake and eat it! That saying always used to puzzle me. Surely the word ‘have’ should be replaced by ‘keep?’ Anyway, as with all things in life, it’s all the Tory’s fault, all this having your cake and eating it, I mean. Having it both ways in other words. Take, for example, the European Union. There are millions of Torys who despise the very notion of European identity yet who have benfitted financially from the stability and generous fringe benefits of EU membership. Farmers for example. Aristocrats for exmaple. Subsidised to fuck for being so-called ‘custodians’ of the vast tracts of private land dating back to the Norman conquest.

Now, each party leader is trying to out do the other on the never ending hot spud ; ‘immigration.’ Y’see we’re TOO tolerant here in Blighty. Yes, our international reputation for extreme tolerance is being abused by gyppos, darkies and chavs. Why if we weren’t so tolerant we’d never stop going on and on and on and on about how we should them back, send them down and send them packing. Why, if we weren’t so tolerant they’d be placed in concentration camps and gassed, every last man, woman and child, thieving, lazy, sub-human bastards taking advantage of our good nature.

Now, we’re not against people with skills; Polaks in fewer numbers, Pakis and Chinks who are boss at electronic enginerring and all that shit that we can’t do any more cos all our kids are fit for is shop work and call centres. Yeah, they’re OK to come over but not them Romanians and Bulgarians, not those Roma gyppo beggars with their fucking accordians, headscarves, sand dogs and living statues. OK, they’re now part of the EU cos they came in handy picking spuds a few years back but now our lazy disability scroungers can do that work, so fuck em.

If UKIP have struck a chord with the Torys and Labour, then the EDL have also mobilised to corner the market for angry white proles with a grudge. Remember Enoch Powell, remember Oswald Moseley, remember that proto-fascist, Churchill? They use the media to stoke up the ‘us’ and ‘them’ divisions and rattle the cages of their working class footsoldiers in times like this. The rich are not the enemy, the ones who took all the money from privatisations schemes, the ones who gave trillions to the banks, the banks they are advisors and consultants to, the banks they deregulated and refused to control, they are not the enemy. No, it’s those bastards trying to forge a different life for their families, one way or another.

The more i see of Miliband, the more he reminds me of John Merrick. His face, his voice, his ability to run away from the mob whilst wearing a sack over his mishapen head. Miliband’s advisors are still fighting the election on the same issues where those cowards Blair and  Brown fucked up; sucking up to bigots and racists, fuelled by a media that enflames emotions with a relentless diet of anti-immigrant, anti-socialist, anti-European, anti-working class hate that then becomes the TV agenda, that then becomes the political agenda.

Post-Leveson, the political elite is still running scared of Murdoch and Dacre and Desmond. I’m not tolerant because tolerance is not a virtue. I hate these parasites, the toffs and the fat cats and the propagandists. Let’s send them back, send them down, send them packing.   

WindsorCorp Weekly Strategy Meeting Minutes ( leaked by Wikiwikiwikileaks)

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Date : Monday 18th March 2013

Apologies

HM The Queen

The rest of the fuckwits

Present

Grand Poobah Maxwell House (Lord Wizard of the Inner Sanctum)

Druid Wizard Puppet Masters 1-18 (Outer Temple Orderlies and Owl Sanctuary Janitors)

Me – taking snaps, taking minutes, brewing up  (Workfare Magic Eye Disciple Intern)

Agenda

item 1 – Minutes of last meeting – approved

item 2 – action points  from last meeting

2.1

kate ‘no personality’ accusation – action 1 : think of ways to prove kate does have a personality : sinister advisor 5 to lead

sinister advisor 5 reported that several ideas have been discussed to demonstrate DOC’s (Duchess Of Cambridge) sense of humour and personality traits – example – kate to take part in school sports ‘three legged race,’ kate to appear at michael mcintyre concert laughing her head off at joke about periods,kate to black up at comic relief and pretend to be starving african person. get will.i.am to produce charity single with william and kate for deaf mute dwarfs with cancer.

action 2 – get media contacts to dig up dirt on hilary mantell – possible lezzer skeletons? contact dacre asap.

2.2

Oman/Saudi weapons contracts action – dispatch charles and camilla to sand nigger land to dance with natives, eat sheep bollocks and get prince abdullah whathefuck to sign for 20 new fighter planes to bomb democracy protestors aka militant islamist insurgents. if fucks up DO NOT send andrew – get foetus boy hague over without his ‘friend’ (after the last time).

2.3

Queen’s alzheimer’s

Liz found wandering around grounds of Windsor pretending to be Jimmy Savile shoting ‘now then, now then, guys n’ gals, have you got another one for me, philip?’   – contact hospital and admit for 2 days under pretext of ‘viral’ or stomach bug then inject her with creosote till Project W Phase 1 complete.

2.4

Andrew dead whore incident

MI8 now taking charge of disposal of remains of Belarussian call girl – diplomatic and business role to be handed over to ‘hip and happening’ Beatrix and the other one. Need other role for pussy mad moron – golf ambassador???

item 3 – harry warrior prince

afghan ‘tour’ completed to plan -all media agencies stuck to approved tone and content – need to open ‘foundation’ or ‘charity’ for gun fodder killed or maimed by taliban (don’t mention talks!!!) – maybe another polar expedition or desert trek with grateful one legged chavs to talk up  ‘ordinary solider H Wales’ – ‘banter’ etc. is that jamaican runner chap still ‘on-side?’

item 4

Proejct W phase 2 – plans running to schedule – wedding to stepford home counties may queen complete – ensure greedy ‘uncles’ and family members go through correct channels before contacting ‘hello’ ‘ok’ ‘whore weekly’ etc

W now embedded with ‘search and rescue’ – all copter pilots instructed to never let him anywhere near controls after PR ‘take off’ – need ‘real life rescue’ to bolster public admiration for W – now appears as boring as K – need more H type action man role – sort out Snowdon kiddy rescue – preferably paki kid for the press to give PC angle??

Liz now being sedated and due for croak June 2103 – keeping doses low till Charles is ‘paid out’ – still asking for 500 million per year – maybe leak details of dead butler kinky gay drug death incident to test water?

Item 5

Media briefing – ensure all media outlets report to platform 8 st pancras for next briefing – note: any reporter or producer not wearing regalia and blindfold will be sent back – ensure Dacre has paid his subs this time (owes 5 months )

Coping Strategies

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I could try to be clever

But what use is intelligence to me?

Number in class = 26

Position in class = 26

Well, that was me fucked!  That wasn’t in the script. Being clever is a curse. It’s all a bit subjective isn’t it? I mean, what defines cleverness, clever in what way? Adding up, writing stuff, remembering stuff, so what? I never read books as a kid, even though I was encouraged to do so. I liked maps, drawing maps, drawing birds of prey, making model aeroplanes, the Messershmidt 262 was my favourite Nazi engine of death.   I passed the 11 plus, or did I? I vaguely remember being told that I’d actually failed it, but they’d made an exception for me because they could see that I had potential. Potential for what? Anyway, doesn’t matter because I was going the grammar and that was that. No tears from me would persuade them otherwise. I was bought a geometry set and a uniform and a brief case. A fucking brief case! On the Grange estate!! You want stigma, there it is, right there.

I can still smell that briefcase now, its leathery odour of expectation. Well, first report, two subjects; bottom of the class and there were some proper thick cunts in our class let me tell you. Kids who could barely write their own name yet had somehow managed to pass their 11 plus. They seemed to come form the posh schools, funny that, as if there was a quota system operating or something. Anyway, the exams came up in the summer and I got my report;

Number in class = 26

Position in class = 26

Maths and some other subject, biology I think or combined science or whatever the fuck. Not only did I have to endure the provocation of those who equated the grammar school with homosexuality – grammar puffs – but the realisation that I was now not one of the clever kids but one of the thick ones. It’s all relative after all.

I could try to be funny

But what use is humour to me?

People are usually surprised when they meet me because I come across in print as a bit of a self-righteous, humourless gobshite and I am a self-righteous, gobshite but I like to think I’m a funny one. My sense of humour has always been one way of avoiding the usual working class routes to popularity, ruthless ultra-violence and an ability to dive off bridges into the canal or break legs in football games.  Junior school is where you find your place in the pecking order and secondary school, those five never-ending years, will either make you or break you.

Our junior school, Halton Lodge was typical of many council estate schools constructed in the 60s. It was modern and functional and brutal. I used humour to counteract my shyness and uselessness at fighting. When it came to end of term ‘bring a game in’ day, rather than Kerplunk, Crossfire, Battling Tops or Striker, I’d bring in my precious microscope and try to impress girls with close ups of hair follicles or the tiny biddies floating around in a drop of piss. Wearing a lab coat didn’t help.

Then at the Christmas party fancy dress, when all the other kids simply put on their older brother’s footy kit and came as Kevin Keegan, Stuart Pearson or Bob Latchford, I’d roll up as leading enlightenment figures. One year I came as Tom Paine and read an extract from ‘The Rights of Man.’ Kevin Keegan won it that year. Another year I came as Rousseau and quoted his famous maxim “Falsehood has an infinity of combinations, but truth has only one mode of being.” The headmaster asked me if I was trying to be a smart-arse and awarded first prize to Donna Jones who had painted her face orange and come as a carrot.

Ofcourse these are lies, not the microscope bit, that was true and I did go to the fancy dress as Oliver Twist one year but you catch my drift. I was a strange kid. One time I went to the park with six or seven belts tied around my kecks and one lad asked why. I told him my dad had told me to ‘belt up’ and I’d taken him literally. I ingratitiated myself with the school’s hard knocks which resulted in them picking on some other poor cunt instead, usually ‘Ironside’ who had the misfortune to have been born with a muscular wasting disease that affected his legs and, as his family were poor, had to endure having his misshapen legs placed inside medieval iron callipers.

This only encouraged us to chase him around the playground and he was surprisingly fast for a skinny kid weighed down by three hundred weight of solid iron. When we caught him sometimes we’d put him in the ‘kicking pot’ which was the small circle at the centre of the netball court and proceed to kick fuck out of him.  Is that funny? No, it isn’t but that’s what having a sense of humour saved me from, most of the time at any rate. I had my share of beatings too.

I could try to be kind

But what use is generosity to me?

I was a bit of a kind Samaritan too, which doesn’t exactly square with the kicking pot incident described yet, at heart, I was one of those kids who tried to protect other kids, as long as it didn’t get me twatted (see bravery below). I remember there this kid in the year below us in juniors who got called ‘albino.’ He wasn’t an albino but he was very pale skinned and had ginger hair and red eyes. Not REAL red eyes, just the kind of kid who always looked as if he was always crying because he WAS always crying. Anyhow, I’d try and protect Albino from the worst of the playground bullies and attempt to talk to him but rather than thank me for my care he once told me to fuck off, so I banged his head against the metal apparatus. Or did I? It was so long ago, maybe I made that bit up.

I also remember giving some kid all my Panini Football 74 stickers in a misguided attempt to curry favour with him.  He was the cock of the year and therefore the most popular lad in the year too. That’s how it worked. When me dad found out I’d given him all me stickers he went mad and battered me. OK, so this wasn’t really generosity on my part but rather self-interest dressed up as altruism, which is, when all’s said and done, all altruism is, as the Darwinists would agree. So, helping albinos and giving away footy stickers never did me any good. Fuck kindness.

I could try to be brave

But what use is courage to me?

Bravery is such a misunderstood virtue, if a virtue it is. Remember ‘Brave’ Sefton the police horse injured in the IRA’s Hyde Park bomb? How exactly was Sefton brave? One minute he’s stood there with a bizzie on his back having the time of his life, enjoying the day, looking forward to his tea and the next minute he’s flat on his arse with shrapnel hanging off his hooves. That’s unfortunate Sefton. Wrong place. wrong time brother. Bravery doesn’t come into it, not for horses. Can horses be brave? Yes, the ones who jump over fences that other horses shit out of, or the ones who risk their lives carrying warriors into battle as canons explode all around them. Or maybe, if they didn’t have some fucker whipping their arse and spurring their flesh with sharp pieces of metal, they’d just turn round and do one.

Likewise, my idea of bravery doesn’t involve physical feats of stupidity, placing yourself in harm’s way to prove what a man you are. Better alive and a coward than a dead hero is what my draft dodging grandad always taught me.  Now he turns up on Remembrance Day parades with his ‘Suckers’ placard and gets stick for standing up for his beliefs. Unbelievable!  Yes, the military are always presented as inherently brave but are they? They are mostly young, impressionable and liable to believe that their deaths will somehow be glorious and they will have died for a true and noble cause but life goes on. All wars and conflicts end in compromise or capitulation.

Don’t get me wrong if someone was trying to kill my kids, I’d try to kill them first, I’m not a pacifist. However, my idea of bravery is the ability to confront injustice and bullying, preferably by writing about it  that than actually doing something stupid like chucking yourself in front of the king’s horse or setting yourself alight.   I’m not going to put myself out for strangers. I admire those who went to Spain to fight Franco in the International Brigades but I doubt I’d do the same. I’m a shithouse, always have been. It’s saved my skin quite a few times and if we’re being honest, self-preservation is just our DNA telling us to take the shithouse way out.  You can’t fuck about with evolution.

I could try to be wise

But what use is philosophy to me?

‘Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit’ as me Aunty Hilda used to tell me. I think I know what she was getting at. Any soft cunt can claim to be wise but one man’s wise man is another man’s fool. Take the Three so-called Wise Men for example. How wise was it for them to get on their camels and transport three of the most expensive raw materials of the ancient world through Bandit Country to follow a fucking star!! And what were they following it for? On the arl magi grapevine they’d heard a new king was to be born down Judea way. Sounds reliable evidence, that. And anyway, if they were so wise, why did they hand over gold, frankincence and myrrh to a tatty pair of tramps squatting in a cow shed?

And another thing, what happened to all that gold, frankincence and myrhh after they got off? If Baby Jesus was the king of all mankind, who weighed in all the lolly before he became a carpenter? Ah but wisdom is not to be found in the Bible, everyone knows its just a ten bob tribal saga and that poking holes in the historical accuracy of the Good Book is shooting theological fish in a barrell. These days wisdom is to be found on Babestation lap dancers with exerpts from A Critique Of Pure Reason tattoed across their midriffs. Or the existential tweets of the Heidegger of Huyton, Joseph ‘Don’t call me Joey’ Barton. Old people are thought to be wise but stupid young people turn into stupid old people. Wisdom doesn’t come with age like big ear lobes.

You get the picture.  Wisdom is wasted on the wise. Better a live fool than a dead sage, as my milkman says.

I could try to be ruthless

But what use is ambition to me?

Ruthlessness and ambition take energy and I’m a lazy cunt. I have ambitions of a sort I suppose mostly not to work and get paid handsomely for not doing it. If you count THIS as ‘working.’ I’m 47 now and ony jsut realising that I should concentrate on my one true talent; writing shit like this. I’ve written on and off for 30 years now, I’ve had books published and written for quite a few magazines over the years. I’ve done my own fanzines and ezines, blogs and poems, short stories, polemics, skits. I shit words, but what I’ve always failed at is uniting them into some overarching theme or concept. This is an attempt at it, I suppose. I’m not trying to crack on that I don’t have an ego. Only egomaniacs say they don’t have an ego in my experience. I can be narcissistic and big headed. I’m also self-aware and this gets in the way of ambition. We’re no good at ‘bigging ourselves up’ the working class and that’s we allow mediocre talents to succeed. The ones who force themselves upon others, who shout from the rooftops, who see no shame in cashing in on daddy’s connections and fucking others over.

You hear them on the train every day, these self-important pricks, desperately trying to make out their far more important and influential than they are. If that’s what ambition gets you, then count me out. A little cottage by the sea and my kids’ health will do me.

I could try to be stoical

But what use is fatalism to me?

Or maybe accepting your fate is a sell out. We shape our own fate surely. Ambition shapes it, DNA shapes it, accidents and coincidences shape it. The actions of others impact on our lives every minute or every day.  I’m torn between two men and two ideologies :

‘An ounce of love is worth a pound of knowledge’

‘Go throw off holiness and put on intellect.’

Wesley and Blake. I know what both of em are saying and swing between both schools of thought, like I swing between Epicurus and Diogenes. Live the good life, live the true life. Pre-determinisim is just an excuse to stay in bed and cynicism is an excuse to shit on the pavement. There is no soul, no afterlife, no morality, no law, only the abstract beliefs and customs, control mechanisms and myths of human culture. I suppose in a perfect world we’d all like to get through life without suffering or harming ourselves or others. Ideology makes monsters of some and evil is just a word. Nature v nurture, the same old shit, what maketh man? Manners? Never talk with your mouth full especially if it’s full of shit. Never discuss religion with the religious and never talk to intellectuals unless they have big  tits, as my Uncle Alf used to tell me.   

 

I could try to be faithful

But what use is religion to me

This is more or less the same spiel as fatalism and free will. Do you believe in aliens? I do! Statistically it’s impossible that there aren’t millions, trillions of other life forms in the universe  or what we know of it. The one thing I know for sure is, however, that they’ll look fuck all like humans. If you accept evolution as a scientific fact – and if you don’t accept it, then go and kill yourself right now and get to the heaven you crave – then there have been millions of chance mutations and chemical coincidences that has lead to the diversity of life on planet earth. What are the odds that exactly the same millions of chance mutations and chemical  coincidences have also happened on another planet?

OK, even if there are billons or trillions of life forms in the known universe, and say there’s one planet amongst these that more or less followed exactly the same evolutionary path as humans, what are the fucking odds on them actually finding us?  So, every time you see one of these Hanger 13 type autopsies carried out on little green men with massive Swedes and diddy legs, ask yourself this one question; why do they all look like Ronny Corbett?

Ah but that’s not religion is it? Well, it depends what you mean by religion. If you believe in a ‘creator’ of some kind, whatever you call that person, that God, that ‘thing,’ then the obvious question is what made God, to which the religious answer ‘He was begotten not made.’ So, that’s sorted then. Those who question the big bang ask what came before the big bang and quantum physics has at least tried to find an answer to how atomic material can be produced from ‘thin air’. The religious can simply say ‘it just happened.’ No formulas, no tests, no experiments, no years and lifetimes of research, just ‘Pow!’ God’s not there and now he’s there and he made everything. Just like that!

I thought most people dismissed God once they got beyond the age of nine or ten, once they realised that the Kingdom Of God was a metaphor, and Christianity was an ideal.  Look people; Muslims and Jews, Hindus and Buddhists, Christians and Satanists, country and western fans and heavy metalists, you are a grain of sand on the beach of existence. The wind blows you away into infinity and the best you can hope for is a moment in the sun, a flicker of warmth before endless cold. That’s what I tell my kids before they go to bed anyway.

I could try to be poetic

But what use is language to me?

ABC, it’s easy as 1,2,3! Or is it? All language is symbols. Shapes. Sounds. 26 letters, endless permutations. ‘Our’ alphabet at any rate. Put these letters together in sequences to make words, sentences, paragraphs, letters, books, poems, novels, speeches, stories. Magic! The alchemy of abstraction, the human gift of expression. This stuff I’m typing now, it’s only shapes that we have become accustomed to linking to sounds in our heads. I think I’m addicted to writing, I can’t go a day without it, without putting something down on paper or on a blank word document. And, at the end of my life, what will all this amount to? Not much. A few books, a lot of cyber-garbage lost somewhere in the fifth dimension of the internet. I try to write poetry because – well I don’t really know, ego again, definitely ego comes into it, showing off, all writing is showing off and all art is ego. Good or bad, art is the manifestation of human creativity. Homer or Shakespeare, Milton or Keats, Joyce or Woolf, Lennon or McCartney.  And in the end you love you take is equal to the love you make. Wish I’d written that.

I could try to be political

But what use is ideology to me?

Ideology makes misanthropes and monsters of men and women. The most reviled men in history were idealists of one stamp or another. The world failed them, the faults and flaws of others fuelled their hatred. The ones who wanted good were killed, the ones who wanted evil were dead already. Whatever the hue of your politics, what most people really fear is change. Unless we’re REALLY in the shit, most of us want a quiet life until the conditions for leading a quiet life become intolerable. Food in our bellies, a roof over our heads. Fairness, justice. That’s it. Hypocrisy and sophistry, lies and propaganda. All systems adopt the same control mechanisms; fear and brutality to protect the powerful. There’s one conspiracy at work in the world and that’s to keep rich and powerful people, rich and powerful or even richer and even more powerful. That’s it! Simone De Beauvoir once said ‘if we live long enough, all victories end in defeat.’ That might sound like defeatism but it’s true. That’s we honour martyrs for having the courage to die for their beliefs while most of us sit it out.

I could try to be happy

But what use is contentment to me?

As Doddy puts it “Happiness, Happiness, the greatest gift that I possess.” But then again, all that happiness has made a miserable cunt out of Ken. What is happiness? A chair? A bowl of fruit? A sausage butty? I was a sad looking teenager and when I used to collect glasses in the local club, people would say to me ‘cheer up, it might never happen.’ It wasn’t that I was miserable but I couldn’t pretend to be enthused by collecting and washing pint pots, sometimes half full of vomit. I’m a laugh, me. Some times. I tell a good story, me when I’m in the mood which is usually when I’m pissed.  We all find contentment in different ways; a walk along the beach, a decent meal, time spent with family, acts of kindness or altruism, a win for our team, a kiss from a lover. ‘Ataraxia’ the Greeks called it. A sense of well being. I’ve experienced that feeling many times and they’re always fleeting, because our day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute existence is  mundane. As Denis Leary put it in ‘No Cure For Cancer’

“Happiness comes in small doses, it’s a cigarette, a chocolate chip cookie, a five second orgasm. You cum, you eat the cookie, you smoke the butt, you go to sleep, you wake up in the morning, you go to fucking work. That’s it! End of fucking list! OK?”

Another great mind Albert Camus put it this way;

“You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

So, get a grip! Snatch what momentary pleasure  you can while you’re here because, as me  nan used to say, ‘call no man happy until he is dead.” Or was that Aeschylus?

The “Apprentice” ?

 

 

 
 

There’s nothing like giving yourself a good old pat on the back. I have been drawn into the hilarious world of elected tweeter Joe Anderson and, as ever, he doesn’t disappoint.
Here’s an example of how Twitter can allow people to convince themselves that because they have tweeted, it must be true.

apprentice
Wow, I thought, that’s ace. Nice one Joe. Then I wondered just where, in amongst cuts and voluntary redundancies the City Council and come on let’s face it Joe personally, had placed these apprentices and what kind of apprenticeship they would be serving. I’m thinking Four years, trade, indentured. Like..erm…an apprenticeship. So I had a look on their website and was immediately confused. It’s the words “we’ve taken on” and “apprentice” used by the self-congratulatory elected mayor that have me a bit puzzled.

Liverpool City Council offer “The Liverpool Youth Contract”, here’s how it works :


Liverpool Youth Contract (nationally funded programme) is offering businesses across the city an Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy of up to £3.5k. Employers will support the recruitment of young people into Apprenticeships (Liverpool residents, 16/17 year olds who are not currently in Employment, Education or Training).

The Offer

  • Liverpool City Council and Connexions will assist you in recruiting a Liverpool resident(s) aged 16/17 who is not currently in Employment, Education or Training.
  • Employers will benefit from a pre recruitment matching service.
  • Free training for apprentices will be delivered by approved Skills Funding Agency Training Providers.
  • The Liverpool Youth Contract Apprenticeship Wage Subsidy initiative will pay the National Minimum Wage (£3.68 per hour) for the first six months of an apprentice’s employment.
  • Support will be offered to all employers in terms of mentoring and coaching the young people during their apprenticeship.
  • We are happy to support multiple applications and we are looking for proposals of any size.
    Employer Requirements.
  • You will be expected to provide a full time apprenticeship opportunity to 16/17 year olds (who are not currently in Employment, Education or Training).
  • Apprenticeships will last at least 12 months.
  • We will favour proposals from businesses who can provide a sustainable future for our apprentices, and whose employment will continue beyond our funding.
  • We will place greater emphasis on supporting those employers who help fill recognised skills gaps, or target potential areas for economic growth in the City’s transformational area such as: SuperPort, Low Carbon Economy / environmental related work, Visitor Economy, creative, digital, media, financial and professional and Five Star Customer Service.
  • We particularly welcome applications from businesses operating within the newly created Mayoral Development Zones and the Liverpool City Enterprise Zone
yts

Left wing Militant lunatics protesting against “apprenticeships”

Now I may have misread that but for some strange reason the word “contract” changed mid-offer to “apprentice” yet at no point am I left thinking the word apprentice is applicable to any of it.

I mean 800 (500 more to come) young people taken on by firms paid £3.5k so long as they employ the “apprentice” for at least twelve months. It’s all very commendable IF you endorse cheap labour designed to massage unemployment figures and also allows Joe to kid on that his council, led by him, has done anything other than re-brand the good old scheme.

They are not apprenticeships. They are not employed directly by the council. It’s a nationally funded programme.

Billy The Kid’s Kidder who Kidded Billy The Kid’s Kid…..or something.  You aint kidding anybody but yourself Joe.

We called them YTS back in the day.

Dress it up all you like…it’s STILL YTS now.

Coming Soon : Redundancies : Elected Mayor introduces Liverpool City Council’s “A Change is as Good as a Rest” scheme.

 
 

Green Light for Peel Holdings “Stan Waters” Project

Joe Le Cafe

“and I say this as elected mayor..and Labour Leader or erm…on a board or something. I will bring more cafes to Liverpool. Just watch. Fuck the libraries. We need more cafes”

A while back I was informed by Roger “Joe Anderson is proper ace” Phillips on his phone-in that I “know absolutely nothing about politics”. It was during one of those Big Joe love-ins Roger likes to hold for his Shanghai bunk-mate in which the two of them tell the world just how proper ace Joe is. My question wasn’t political it was based on simple mathematics. I asked how Joe could keep a straight face as he made the “heartbreaking” decision to pass the 2012 budget in which Liverpool was yet again raped by cuts. I merely asked why Joe’s Mayoral piggy bank of £130million could not just be offset against the loss. Roger scoffed and offered no reasonable explanation. Apparantly that’s politics and I don’t understand it.

Fast forward 12 months and another “heartbreaking” rubber stamp from the Mayor/Leader as he sanctioned the closure of ten libraries across the city and upped Council Tax whilst halving bin collections. No illegal budgets here. I mean having the ball’s to carry out the promises people elected you to do ? Fuck that…people go to jail for stuff like that and have people like Joe and Roger call them lunatics. Again, actually having the balls to stand and fight against that which is 100% wrong, must be politics, and I wouldn’t understand it.

So we move on and Joe blames everybody for making him do stuff he doesn’t really want to do it’s a plain as day in Joes world that his yearly acquiescence to cuts is down to “”Failure and legacy of the Liberal Democrats which, by the way, was equal to that of Militant in the 1980s”.

Perhaps it’s me but what is being played out in our city is like watching an old Play For Today in which councilors and mayors trouser huge sums of cash and fringe benefits as developers basically take the piss. Todays Fifty Storey Tower is yesterdays piggeries or Braddocks. Back in the day it seemed that’s how politics was and having been highlighted in lurid “expose” these practices ceased. Somebody needs to tell Joe.

I may be well off the mark here but a couple of examples recently are straight out of Our Friends in The North. A few weeks back a very irate (and heartbroken) ELECTED Mayor (don’t forget the word elected. Joe loves it. To those 66,000 Joe smugly reminds us of at any opportunity. I feel for you.)  Anyway, Joe sent an invitation to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles (who’s dog found the world cup in 1966) and a train ticket so he could “come to the city and see the impact of Government cuts”. He didn’t bother his arse and Joe implemented the cuts regardless. Then, as if by magic, Eric Pickles decided not to call in the Peel Holdings Liverpool Waters scheme. A scheme in which Peel Holdings appear to have plucked huge figures out of nowhere and then got Joe to tell us “it’s going to be cracker”. The scheme was highlighted in the Echo with diagrams. It’s huge. You can see how huge by the size of the boxes the Echo use in their illustration, a big box next to another smaller box which was Liverpool One and obviously for those who have difficulty grasping “smaller that the larger one” we have…a football pitch. Liverpool Waters is as big as loads of footy pitches. In welcoming this £5.9BILLION Scheme Joe beamed “I’m absolutely delighted that the Secretary of State shares the confidence we have in our ability to deliver this vitally important regeneration scheme, while protecting our architectural heritage.” So I guess Eric Pickles won’t be using the train tickets and we can kiss goodbye to one of the world’s most iconic stretches of waterfront. Something else we destroy then mourn.

Peel’s figures are truly baffling. I mean 9,000 homes and 3 million square feet of commercial space and a 55 storey tower. It will provide offices, shops, restaurants (cafes), hotels and leisure facilities as well as a new cruise liner terminal. Sounds ace. Yet in a city that is selling off empty houses at a pound a pop just to get them occupied you have to wonder how these figures have just been accepted. Peel themselves acknowledge the dearth of empty apartments in the city and blame it on privateers offering little in the way of help in purchasing. With that in mind I thought Peel would have a solution for their new “community”. Alas they tell us “It is likely that much of the residential in Liverpool Waters will be private, sold to private individuals. We do not yet know the prices, particularly given the credit crunch. We are of course aiming to attract successful business people to live, work and invest in the area and the housing products will be aimed as high as possible.”

Amusing in itself yet it was the next bit of Peelspiel that had me cackling.

“Not having a job is the root of many people’s difficulties in owning their own home. The opportunity to get a job within Liverpool Waters is high and therefore this should help some to afford homes within the scheme.” So Peel will be taking people off the dole, allowing them top work in one of the many cafes and thus become “successful business people” so successful they will be able top buy a new house next door to the cafe the work at. Ace.

I find it distasteful seeing heartbroken Joe salivate at the thought of this scheme and ask how hard it would be to ask Peel to REALLY invest in Liverpool. £5.9BILLION makes a mockery of budget cuts and tax hikes. How about Peel Holdings REALLY getting involved in the city ? Even a very, very small percentage of £5.9BILLION would ease Joe’s heartbreak (which is going to be worse again next year) and maybe keep a few libraries open. I mean Peel love Liverpool, Joe loves Liverpool so much that they carry on talking in sunshine happy billions and fictitious tenants, shoppers and cafe owners as they cut more and more services with gutless ease.

joehighviz

“Sharon you are just a woman and I’m a proper Man Mayor. I’m Alf Roberts you are just Annie Walker. See that white envelope he’s holding ? That tells me we can get at least 3 cafes up here which would create about 2,000 jobs and a three runway international airport with more cafes”

Anybody would think money was changing hands, brown envelopes and that kind of nonsense. Surely not ? that would be like the Mayor/Leader sanctioning and applauding the purchase of a building using our money and not disclosing how much it cost or what the term of the “partnership” with the private developer are. We are getting another hotel and Joe is fucking ecstatic..so shut it and get back to finding that extra dough for the Council Tax.

As Roger stated. I know nothing about politics. I am confused about Joe’s role(s). Is he Mayor, shaker, mover and facilitator in bazillion pound deals or suicidal pawn forced to steal from the poor ? Councillor looking after his ward or Mayor sitting on multiple boards and making key decisions on how to spend OUR money without conscience or explanation. “We have bought the Municipal Building and we are turning it into a hotel. Done deal, don’t dare ask how much we paid and anyway there’s going to be a cafe”

I’m not suggesting for one second that Joe, Roger and the hacks at the Echo are laughing their tits off at people like me who don’t understand politics.

I would also find it hard to believe that a Mayor/Council Leader, heartbroken as he is, would descend into countless trivial and personal arguments at the height of the city’s budget meeting surely that’s what Twitter is for eh Joe ?

It is always reassuring to know that the doubters, not me like, are left with no room for cynicism as in these days of transparency a man holding high office with high remuneration to match is beyond reproach as every penny Joe earns (who said given) will be there for all to see. Full disclosure at all times.

If anybody comes across a definitive account of how many posts Joe currently holds and how much each pays I’d welcome a gander. I mean Joe works dead hard. Demolishing a world heritage site to facilitate cafes and shops isn’t easy. Then again Joe has two hats complimenting his two faces I’m sure one of them will justify all.

A far cry from those Joe is quick to mock. Men and women jailed for having guts and principle. A far cry from TRUE labour statesmen like Eric Heffer and Terry Fields expelled from his party and jailed for 60 days for refusing to pay poll tax. Terry Fields ELECTED Labour member taking a fireman’s wage and no more.

Ken Loach was quoted as saying that if ever there were a revolution it would start in Liverpool. Thirty years ago any revolution would have been politically motivated and the city had men and women capable of carrying it through. Now ? The people of Liverpool still know how to fight. Sadly it’s elected Mayor/Labour leader/Socialist is too busy with secret deals and a quest for even more cafes for any of that shit.

Then again..as Roger said…I know absolutely nothing about politics.