May 2018


It’s May!

Or is it might…?

It can be a bit of a bugger. On the face of it, dead simple. May equals permission, might equals uncertainty. (Although it has to be acknowledged that, in our current political situation, May equals almost absolute uncertainty) It might rain. You may have another beer. There might be some left-overs which you may eat. But what do you do with, ‘You may as well / You might as well…?’ Have a think. It’s tricky.

Diving headfirst into the old Interweb, the general consensus is that they are interchangeable. But I know plenty of grammar fussbudgets that would take issue with that. There is some evidence that ‘might’ could have a slightly less likely element attached to it, as in, ‘you might… or… you might not’. This concurs with the idea that ‘may’ is more about permission than likelihood.

DSC04047Of course, the whole thing can be turned on its head when you consider that ‘as well’ can also mean ‘too’. As in ‘You may also’. Maybe it’s better just to avoid it altogether. The whole problem only occurred to me as I was running up a Sheffield hill (Kate Bush style). A passing car shouted, ‘You might as well be walking!’. I was about to correct them and say ,’It should be “You may as well.”‘ But then bottled it when I realised I wasn’t sure. Plus, I was in some degree of shock having realised that cars can actually shout.

A very pleasant May Bank Holiday was highlighted by seeing the great Christy Moore at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. There was a rough plan of arriving mid-day on the Sunday, having a wander around the city and to then grab a few beers and something to eat before the concert. Although I live in a busy city, I completely underestimated the level of ‘busy city’ that Manchester could achieve on a hot Bank Holiday. The relaxed meal with a few beers turned into drinking in the doorway of Wetherspoons with a bag of crisps. You live and learn.

DSC04009Christy sang Lingo Politico (I hate politicians). I hadn’t heard it before. I will be hearing it again and plan to adopt it as a motto. With very, very few exceptions, I have always held politicians in contempt. They fall pretty much into the category of, ‘If you want to do it then you shouldn’t be allowed to.’ A bit like magistrates and local councillors and gun owners. But recently… I mean, there’s not even a pretence that any of them are trying to do their jobs, is there? We’re watching a civil war within the party that’s supposed to be running our country. It’s like the world’s worst scripted soap opera. I keep expecting someone of authority to step in and shout, ‘Will you all just stop fucking about and get on with some work!’

It’s not going to happen, is it?

I worked for years in primary school and did many, many playground duties. It’s all depressingly familiar.

I remember a time, maybe a decade ago, when my view on politicians was seen as a bit of a problem. It was reported in the press, with some concern, that the general population held most politicians in low regard. It was actually seen as quite a shocking thing and many of them (MPs) announced that they were up for changing that view. What happened? Did they just forget? Because there isn’t even a pretence that they care what the public think now. The masks are off. With very few exceptions, they have exposed themselves as a complete shower of shit. It’s as though they don’t actually value respect. Has it become a thing of the past?

DSC04027The few exceptions seem to support the theory that respect is an outdated quality. I know how subjective this is but, generally, friends and colleagues tend towards some degree of tolerance with the likes of Ken Clarke, Michael Heseltine, Robin Cooke and John Prescott. Maybe even Dennis Skinner (though right leaning folk might baulk at that one). The point is, they are all getting on a bit now. The only youngster I can think of who might curry favour from both sides is Mhairi Black. Perhaps she’s the exception that proves the rule.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion of those few names, it’s pretty clear that we are no longer being governed by people with integrity. Every day there is something new, something that paints them in an even worse light than they were already in: screwing over the students; cleaving the country in half for the sole reason of keeping their own mortally divided party together; cozying up to Trump, Saudi Arabia and Erdogen from Turkey – Turkey! They were the country they threatened us with having to be close to if we didn’t leave the EU! Grenfell; Windrush; NHS; Jacob Rees Mogg & Johnson – Jesus! (No, he hasn’t been involved with them at all) I mean, Boris Johnson! What the fuck? They have no shame.

DSC04117I read a piece in The New Statesman titled, ‘Why the Tories Keep Winning’. It’s a good question. The article was fascinating and managed to shed some light on what is actually going on. The Tories give the impression that they are deeply idealogical and principled and consistently true to their own beliefs. That was my view as well, which is why I have been struggling to understand how Theresa May can have been such an ardent remainer and then, seemingly overnight, a rabid brexiter (my adjectives do sort of give away my position on this). William Harcourt, in the late eighteen hundreds said, ‘The Conservatives, mark my word, never yet took up a cause without betraying it in the end.’ The piece goes on to argue that the catastrophic split in 1846 over the corn laws taught them a lesson they will never forget. They adapt, whatever the cost. The aim is to stay in power regardless of the consequences. They will support any cause, any, that keeps them in power.

It all sort of makes sense seen like that. I was bought up to be a good little Socialist and I wouldn’t dream of betraying my own principles (unless there was money involved). I guess that’s why I never got anywhere. Not that there’s anywhere I would particularly like to be… maybe a Greek island.

I’ve scattered  a few photos throughout this that reflect what I thought the Brexit negotiations might look like. But, sadly, I think they’re nearer to this: