Wednesday, May 12, 2010

fulham fallout

Having watched Gordon Brown's oddly compelling - and no doubt thoroughly sincere - farewell performance oustide No. 10 yesterday evening, two small boys and wife in tow, I awoke to see a caravan of Fulham FC partisans rolling into Hamburg ahead of the UEFA Europa League Final.

On Freeview, that is. I have not, without warning, relocated to ply my trade on the Reeperbahn. A fat ass might go a long way, but in Jutland there is just too much competition.

A Conservative 'safe seat', the new constituency of Chelsea & Fulham returned a 60.5% share of the vote for Greg Sands in the wake of the disintegration of the borough of Hammersmith & Fulham following the Boundary Commission's review for parliamentary representation.

The ruling has not significantly altered voting habits.

From Wiki:

"The 2006 Conservative administration has introduced a number of changes to the running of the council, including the sale of homeless shelters, charging for home-care, increasing fees for meals on wheels and selling youth clubs. The administration has also been accused of intending to sell off council housing to private developers, charging council tenants market rent for their properties.

In a report into the the treatment of a pregnant homeless woman that the council refused to home, the Local Government Ombudsman accused the borough of hindering her investigation and of maladministration."

The one thing abundantly obvious is that those same voters, presumably, in West London who returned New Labour in 1997 have changed position, if not locality. Presumably, a pogrom on those lowering neighbourhood tone is back on the agenda. Those who can, may make a million selling mobile ringtones to the proles in Barking; those who can't, should move to Streatham.

A resettlement zone in Glasgow.

Brushed under a carpet of volcanic ash where once there fell soot.

What is clearer still, though, from observing the outcome of this general election nationally - and the protracted interparty negotiations which ensued as a result - is that the Majoritarian system which exists to serve only two parties in no way reflects the demands of the electorate.

While the media, in particular the press, was quick to proclaim a marginal overall majority of seats favouring the Conservatives sufficicient cause to demand Gordon Brown's immediate expulsion - contrary to both law and precedent - the fact remains that even under a prejudiced system those votes returned were by no means decisive.

The Conservative party won only one seat north of the border, of course, but look south too and the result was far from an outright mandate.

The case for substantial electoral reform has never been clearer. All the more irritating then, when former Thatcherite, and plausible Gestapo agent, Malcolm Rifkind popped up to protest at the Liberal Democrats holding "secret talks" with the Labour Party, or to witness a retired John Prescott's vociferous tub thumping as though New Labour retained sovereign right to govern.

To write off "Little Nicky Clegg" as "merely a pretty face", as Ann Treneman did in The Times, is - if not wholly unpardonable - nothing short of sloppy hyperbole.

Clegg had every right to negotiate with candor; to seek a deal for a referendum on proportional representation.

While his party may have merely secured 57 seats under the "broken system" both Cameron and Brown were prompt to condemn, as a percentage of the vote he scored a solid 23%; an incontrovertible fact some commentators remain ill at ease with. Or care to concede.

The "first past the post" system does not serve the touted national interest.

Where seats south of the border were most fiercely contested, in some instances where entire swathes of the electorate were denied their right to cast a ballot, it would be presumptious in the extreme to celebrate a narrow defeat as indicative of victory.

The electorate seems governed by mistrust. The coalition now entering office seeks to govern on a shoestring.

Or a recycled Ratners rope.

It is only proper that the party leaving is held accountable for policy and, crucially, its refusal to put those same policies to the test. A taciturn refusal to appeal directly to the electorate at the earliest opportunity has not served Gordon Brown's ambition to implement long term policy where he felt he most evinced just cause.

Neither do I believe that the electorate generally favours those immediate wholesale cuts in public spending both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are bent on now imposing. Rather, in response to the expenses scandal and collapse of the financial services sector in no small part, the British public is more keen to prune back those inefficient layers of bureaucracy; to unravel the worst self-serving excesses insulated by state.

Whether Nick Clegg, as deputy prime-minister, holds enough cards to steer a coalition clear of selling its hand to the highest bidder remains to be seen. The position he now occupies, I would suggest, is a good deal more central to that national interest than the "tiny circle of space" derided by Ann Treneman.

THE LURKERS: GERALD from "Fulham Fallout" LP (Beggars Banquet) 1978 (UK)


David Veinot said...

Love "Fulham Fallout". Got me through the 80s.

@eloh said...

A few years ago, our cable TV would broadcast Parliament. It was about the time they had seats for the Irish (finally). It was extremely interesting.

ib said...

Big Ed:

The Lurkers may well have been the poppiest pub rockers to straddle the football terrace effrontery of 'Oi!" before "Oi!" was openly declared.

I still listen to Fulham Fallout, too. And the 45s. Maybe "Freak Show" would have been more appropriate, under the circumstances ? Or "Mass Media Believer".

Glad you confessed to this. I would never have pegged you as a Lurkers aficionado.


One of the funnier things regarding Republican representation in the UK Parliament was the measure which outlawed Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams from publicly broadcasting any incendiary statement.

Instead, an identical soundalike was hired by the BBC and ITV to appease potential outcry.

David Veinot said...

My Lurkers fav is "Go, Go, Go". Nice & mindless.

My LP was a jet black cover with a faux masking-tape sticker that read "Fulham Fallout" on it -- only the record label indicated it was the Lurkers. I thought that was so cool.

ib said...

I have the gatefold lurking some place among my old vinyls.

On second thoughts, I should maybe have opted for "Chaos Bros." A flexi freebie with the 45, "Ain't Got a Clue" originally, it's included as a bonus on the CD reissue of the LP which I blagged elsewhere a while back.

Nice to see all the good stuff is on that one.

The black sleeve is somehow more fitting than the illustrated one I have. Never much cared for it. Savage Pencil's work, though, on "Freak Show" was great.

Löst Jimmy said...

The Parliamentary juxtaposition of parties leaves the matter of cuts, cuts, and cuts as a recipe for unpopularity for the incumbents whatever their colours. In true British establishment fashion they will continue the tradition of robbing the poor to pay for the rich, or should I say reward the rich.

ib said...

It's a bit like watching a snake slowly trying to consume itself.

The wheel grinds to a standstill.