The Lib Dems’ problematic promise

I’m not sure what to make of the Lib Dem’s new promise to cancel Brexit if they’re elected outright. As much as I passionately oppose Brexit, I worry that this move is just a stunt to get votes. The Liberal Democrats know how vehemently some people oppose Brexit, and think this promise will make such people vote for them. My worry is, it will end up splitting the remain vote, and the tories will end up winning the next election by default. Either that or it will backfire and they’ll end up losing votes: after all, I don’t think even the most hardened Remainer would be quite comfortable if Brexit was just cancelled without a second referendum. It would look completely undemocratic and only serve to enrage the Outists. As much as I would like to see Brexit stopped, I worry that pledging to do so just to win votes in an election is clearly a ploy which may well backfire badly.

Is London-centrism a problem in the UK?

I have heard it said that London is not just the UK’s political capital, but also it’s centre for economics, media and culture. More than in most other western countries, London dominates the rest of the UK. Our biggest theatrical district is here, as are the BFI and the main TV stations.  Thinking about that recently, as fond as I am of this sprawling metropolis, I’m not sure that I like that: why should one city be so dominant over all others in a country? As I discovered yesterday (albeit via youtube) there are towns and cities in the UK which have just been allowed to go to ruin, and that that disparity was probably one of the main factors behind the Brexit vote. It is, of course, unfair that London should get all the attention while other places in the uk are left to fail?

Perhaps I’m as guilty of this as anyone else: after almost a decade living here, I’ve began to tend to think of London as the epicentre of the UK; the place where everything cool happens. But why should that be the case? Why shouldn’t places like Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or indeed stoke be just as culturally significant as London? I’ve also heard it said – by more than one person – that London isn’t really a British city but an international city alongside Paris and New York etc. I certainly see what they mean: there’s an exotic, unique mix of cultures here from all over the world. Yet that exoticism brings with it a differentiation with the rest of the country: international cities, by definition, cannot be said to have one single culture or belong to one nation. London has a different feel to it than the rest of the UK. I daresay that difference, both financial and cultural, is illustrated in the fact that so many people more voted remain in London compared with other parts of the country. If that is the case, though, how might London be reconciled with the rest of the country?

As much as I love this vast, multi-national metropolis, i’m really starting to get the sense that the London-centrism of the powers that be in this country is becoming problematic. London has been allowed to boom while other places have been ignored, and people outside the capital are starting to resent that disparity. London gets all the new buildings, transport projects and sporting and cultural events while everywhere else suffers from lack of investment. Surely it’s time to redress that balance, before even more resentment is provoked.

Visiting Stoke on Youtube

This morning I was messing around on google maps, as I often do, when I came across Stoke-On-Trent. It’s somewhere I went to quite often in my childhood and adolescence, but I haven’t been there in years. On a whim, media buff that I am, I decided to tap ‘Stoke-On-Trent’ into Youtube. I expected to find the usual range of city tours and local business adds, but I have to say what I found appalled me: video upon video  documenting an abandoned, derelict city. From what I saw, the city has been totally left to ruin. The contrast with what i’m now used to in this clean, shiny metropolis, is what strikes me the most: I mean, what on earth happened? How could any local council or government let a city go to waste like that? Of course, the reasons behind such a collapse in a city’s fortunes will always be complex, but with cities like London and Manchester clearly booming (for the moment at least) why are cities like Stoke-On-Trent being allowed to go through such harsh, devastating declines? The Guardian has done an interesting video series  looking at the city (second link), and  you have to see their point when they speculate that such mismatches in investment may have been one of the reasons why so many people in Stoke voted for  Brexit. Either way, I find the sight of such dereliction, with row upon row of boarded up shops and houses, chilling.

Captain Ska

Perhaps the best thing I can do on here today is to direct everyone here, to the Captain Ska Youtube channel. I just came  across it, and was  instantly taken with it’s political yet catchy music. I better warn you, some of their songs will get stuck in your head. If you ask me, though, things like this are precisely what we need in terms of politics and culture: the tide of public  opinion is now quite firmly against brexit, and that tide is growing stronger every day. The problem  is, people on both sides of the argument are getting angrier and angrier, and I’ve started to see talk of a civil war being bandied about. I’m not sure how serious such talk is, but nobody wants to see this stupid little farce turn violent. It’s far better,  surely, to resolve this debate creatively, through art, which is why catchy little tunes  like ‘F**k Borris’ and ‘Nigel Farage is a Racist’ are certainly worth getting into.

EU flags at the Last Night Of The Proms

It was great to see so many EU flags at last night’s Last Night Of The Proms. I only caught a bit of it, but I had to raise an eyebrow at seeing so many EU flags at such a traditionally patriotic event. Of course, there are those  who will try to dismiss it, and  put it down to London being such a fervently Remain city; but I think this is a clear sign that the public is rejecting brexit, If people are now so passionately opposed to Brexit that they politicise an event like Last Night Of The Proms, surely the tide is turning and it’s days are numbered

How will Brexit Impact people with disabilities? The Tories don’t care

I don’t think this should come as a surprise to anyone. The Tories have admitted not considering the impact a no-deal Brexit will have on disabled people. From losing out on European funds  to losing access to potential  personal assistants from the EU, as usual those of us with disabilities stand to be the hardest hit by Brexit. But does the government give a toss? They haven’t even carried out the proper impact assessments! They are so concerned with achieving brexit, just so they can maintain the integrity of their party, that they let even the wellbeing of the citizens  of this country fall by the wayside. How deplorable can a government get? They can’t even guarantee than nobody will die as a result of brexit, but they still want to continue with it. Surely it is clear to any thinking person that they are utterly unfit to govern this or any other country,

Playing with Star Trek Nemesis

If you want to see an example of just how technologically advanced Fan art and fan  responses  to film is now becoming, check this out. While, as the article says, Star Trek Nemesis was a pretty dire film, this certainly demonstrates just how adept some fans are becoming at taking films, playing with them, and improving them.