BUSHELL ON THE BLOG

April 23. Happy St George’s Day! Chesterton wrote ‘St George he was for England and before he slew the dragon, he drank a pint of English ale out of English flagon.’ I’m on my fifth right now, but round my way the streets are crawling with old dragons...



April 22. This is hilarious. Labour MPs have erased lame duck Corbyn from their campaign literature. We could have the first election ever where the leader of a major party only appears in the propaganda of their rivals.



April 21. Is Theresa May the person to deliver “strong leadership”? I doubt it. The Grey Lady’s tough image is media manufactured illusion, just as risible as the Left trying to paint her as “right-wing”. What kind of right-winger advocates raising taxes and flushing away our hard-earned tax money on wasteful foreign aid? May wants to be seen as the Thatcher of our times, but Maggie didn’t rush to the centre ground, she moved the centre towards her. UKIP could use May’s weaknesses to show precisely why they are still a necessary force, not just to see Brexit through but also to push for a vibrant low tax economy. Labour’s best hope is to bang on (and on) about the Tories breaking the spending rules at the last General Election. Some even speculate that May called this on to bury the scandal.



April 20. TV broadcasters are threatened to “empty chair” Theresa May if she refuses to take part in televised leaders debates. Mind you if it was a choice between Corbyn and an empty chair I’d vote for the chair every time.



April 19. Another general election! Just what nobody wanted, especially if the nobody in question is Jeremy Corbyn. Jezza looks set to lead the Labour Party into their biggest electoral defeat since 1983. So May could actually be doing the Blairites a favour. If Corbyn conks out at the polls, as seems likely, Labour moderates will be able to wrest control back from the Momentum mob. We might even hear the slogan ‘Save Labour, Vote Tory’...



May’s strategy is not risk free of course. The Tories may prove vulnerable to the Lib Dims in certain areas, particularly the West Country. Mind you, the more Sturgeon sticks her nose in the better the Tories will do south of the border. UKIP might nick a couple of seats from Labour, Thurrock looks particularly vulnerable, but their general vote will collapse. Meanwhile Labour voters can only sit back and reflect on what might have been if smart, down-to-earth, moderate man of the people Alan Johnson were leading the party instead of leaving Parliament.



Actually you can get good odds on Corbyn. I’ve seen him at 7 to 1 to win the next series of I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here.



THERE was more sadness this week in TV’s vale of tears, EastEnders, as the Carters gathered to send off Sylvie – the Gran of the clan who recently electrocuted herself in the bath. As ever, the soap’s claim to reflect “reality” was sorely challenged by the storyline. For starters how did the cash-strapped Carters pay for her funeral? Sylvie had dementia; she and had no plan in place. And funeral services don’t come cheap. The average cost in London is just under £3,700 (more if it’s a burial). That covers the cremation, the minister, the funeral director and local authority fees. Granted it was a restrained affair by soap standards. Albert Square funerals traditionally involve a horse-drawn hearse, and a team of four shire horses costs £1,800. But even if Billy Mitchell did it at mates’ rates, the cheapest you can get cremated for in East London today is around £900, not including the other costs. And as regular viewers know the struggling family couldn’t even afford to fix the Queen Vic’s leaking roof. Maybe they put it on Vincent’s purloined credit card... This was the perfect chance for the writers to bring home the soaring costs of funerals – they’ve more than doubled since 2004 – and show how the Carters could and should have handled their grandmother’s final years.

For starters, as soon as Sylvie was diagnosed with dementia they should have persuaded her to give a trustworthy family member (there must be one of them) Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA). That would have allowed Tina, say, to help her make decisions or make decisions of her behalf. A Property & Financial LPA would have let her manage Sylvie’s bank and/or building society accounts, pay bills, collect her pension or sell her home if she’d had one. The Carters should also have looked at putting a funeral plan in place. These start at around £2,900 and consequently would have eased the burden when she passed, leaving the family just to pick up the tab for the wake (in this case, four Canning Town pensioners bang on the gin). The soap has striven to “educate” viewers for decades, and yet here they missed a golden opportunity to explain simply how best to deal with a relative who is sadly afflicted with dementia and how proper plan can reduce both the cost and the stress of funerals. This handy, easy to read information pack explains how it could be done:



April 8. This blog is still shut, but it's difficult to keep quiet about Donald Trump launching dozens of Tomahawk missiles at one of Assad's military airfields in Syria. So much for "America First"... so much for avoiding the folly of counter-productive international wars... Trump violated US and international law to rain 59 shades of hell on the Shayrat air base. He had no UN remit for it, but justified it as a response to Assad's use of poison gas earlier this week. Yet there is no evidence that Assad did anything of the kind. Why would he? He's winning! Why would he risk provoking this kind of reaction? This smells suspiciously like a false flag operation. Bashar Assad is a bastard, there's no doubt about that. But he's a secular one. Who do the Yanks intend to replace him with? Another medieval theocracy? Look at the barbaric mess that followed when Western 'humanitarians' took out those other secular hard-men – Saddam and Gaddafi.



On the ground the people who benefit from Trump's bombardment are Assad's enemies, who are essentially al Qaeda – the scumbags who brought down the Twin Towers, and who gleefully slaughter Christians and other faiths across the region.



The complexities of Middle East politics make Game Of Thrones look like a game of Ludo. The West condemns Assad while high-fiving the Saudis who are no strangers to murdering and torturing their own people. Not to mention the poor sods in Yemen.



It looks as if Trump is lashing out abroad because he can't push his policies through at home. It seems to have worked for him, with hostile media outlets, the Washington establishment and the neo-con wing of the Republican Party suddenly singing his praises. But unless Donald's prepared to put boots on the ground for a generation he's just stirring up the wasps' nest.



The consequences for the Middle East don't bear thinking about. If Trump steps up the action, the Yanks will find themselves taking on Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. No doubt we'll get dragged in their mess too. More British blood will be spilt on someone else's problem for which there is no apparent solution. As the drums of war grow louder, logic flies out the window.



I'VE written a few more articles on Wills and related subjects which might be of interest. They are: Why musicians needs Wills, The Mysterious Case of Ken Barlow's Will, new love and your kids' inheritance, and how to ensure your Will rules supreme.

April 2. I'm shutting down this blog for a bit to work on the new novel. Cheerio.



April 1st. It's April Fools' Day, the day when jokers try and con the public with inventive lies. Or as Alastair Campbell calls it, Saturday.



At first I thought the Sun's Farage splash was an April Fools' prank. But it turns out the former UKIP leader was seen canoodling with 'glamour' model /porn star Valerie Fox in Virgin Upper Class on a recent flight to the States. Virgin Upper Class - three words that don't seem to readily apply to Ms Fox. Whatever the truth of the story, frustratingly it has blown my own chat with Farage out of the window for tomorrow's paper. (I'm sure that was the only thing blown, but I'm amazed that attractive women are so into him. I met a stunning brunette who declared her undying love for Nige, who she had never met, just days ago. They should form a fan club - Nigel's Nubiles! Farage's Fillies! Politics is a tough game but it appears that there might be compensations...)



March 30. Theresa May should go to the polls as soon as possible and get the mandate she needs to push Brexit through parliament. She'd walk it. Labour under Corbyn has never looked weaker. In fact they are in real danger of being over-taken by the Lib Dims as the second force in British politics. You wouldn't be too surprised if a new pro-EU coalition coalesced around Farron's mob with Blairite Labour MPs and wet Tories defecting to them. It would be a home from home for yesterday's men. You wouldn't be too surprised if Blair positioned himself as their figurehead either.



Which prominent and distinguished self-adoring Remoaner paid a dominatrix hooker to lead him around naked on a lead? Ask me in the pub and I'll tell all.



March 29. Happy Liberty Day! May has finally triggered Article 50. IF, and I'm still not convinced, we get full independence from the EU, the UK must swiftly become a low tax, deregulated economy trading with the world. That means burning every ounce of the mega-tonnage of red tape that Brussels lumbered the economy with. (Those imperial measurements were used deliberately; we'll have them back too please, along with duty free and weather forecasts in Fahrenheit.)



Spuds can be grown on Mars, say scientists. When they're carving kebabs up there, I'm interested.



March 27. I met Nigel Farage today hours after he reduced Alastair Campbell, Blair's liar in chief, to apocalyptic fury on Good Morning Britain. How did you stay so calm? I asked. "You have to," Farage replied. "That's how you win..." Read the interview, and Nigel's responses to my tough questioning, exclusively in this weekend's Daily Star Sunday.



March 25. Today I'm launching a historic campaign on Kickstarter to raise dosh for the Benny Hill statue. It will be sculpted by Graham Ibbeson who did the marvellous Eric Morecambe statue up in Morecambe. Here's where to go. Benny's statue will be erected (careful) in Southampton and will cost 65K or just 10 from 6,500 of Benny s millions of fans around the world.



March 24. The Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood was not an immigrant, he was born in Erith and brought up in Royal Tunbridge Wells, one of the posher parts of Kent. His name was Adrian. He didn't convert to Islam until he was radicalised in prison. So no-one should blame British Muslims in general for his terror attack on Westminster. At school, Adrian was the only black face in his year. Like the scumbags who carried out the attacks in Berlin and Nice, he was low-life, a petty criminal. The majority of terrorist outrages in Western Europe since 9/11 have been carried out by citizens of the countries under attack. The debate we should be having isn't about migration. It's about why we're breeding killers and how we tackle extremists in our under-staffed, under-funded prisons. According to his school friends, Adrian was also a long-term cannabis user. So we should also be asking why the political elite are so keen to decriminalise dope, including skunk.



March 23. Theresa May told the Commons today that "we will never waver in the face of terrorism". This on the same day that James Brokenshire attended the funeral of Martin McGuinness and just a day after she'd expressed her condolences to his family! No-one on the TV news pointed out the irony.



March 22. The horrific attack on Westminster dominates the news, largely with speculation. Should it? Rather than running around like headless chickens, wouldn't it make more sense to restrict coverage of such incidents to the facts in usual news bulletins. R.I.P. PC Keith Palmer and all of today's other innocent victims. London stands strong.

Lord Tebbit has come under fire for saying the "world is a sweeter place" after Martin McGuinness's death and that he hopes the former IRA Northern Commander is "parked in a particularly hot and unpleasant corner of hell". He also said: "He was a coward who never atoned for his crimes. There can be no forgiveness without a confession of sins… He claimed to be a Roman Catholic. I hope that his beliefs turn out to be true and he'll be parked in a particularly hot and unpleasant corner of hell for the rest of eternity." Here, here. McGuinness is lauded by the likes of Blair for becoming "a man of peace" and bringing an end to hostilities in Northern Ireland. So let's remember that this was the man who gave the orders to assassinate Mountbatten and who authorised the ambush at Warrenpoint, that most of his victims were fellow Catholics and that he was known to have killed and to have enthusiastically tortured using a power drill. Today let's also remember Patsy Gillespie, father of seven Patrick Duffy, James and Ellie Sefton, and mother of three Caroline Moreland who all died thanks to this man of peace. Let's remember Frank Hegarty. When this IRA informer fled to a safe-house in England, McGuinness went to his mother and, according to an eyewitness account, promised her on bended knee that her son would be safe if he returned to Londonderry. Within hours of his return his bullet-riddled corpse was found in County Tyrone. Hegarty's poor mother took guilt as well as grief to her grave.



David McKittrick's Lost Lives catalogues in detail the 3636 deaths due to the Troubles. Nearly 2139 of them, around 60per cent, were the responsibility of republican terrorist organisations, 1771 of these were attributable to the IRA… the people that John McDonnell, Labour Shadow Chancellor, is on record as saying should be "honoured" for their sacrifice and commended for bringing the British government to the peace table. Like Corbyn, McDonnell was always committed to a united Ireland. They wanted the IRA to win. Neither played any part in the peace process. Corbyn voted against the signing of the Anglo Irish agreement in 1985, telling the house: "Does the hon. Gentleman accept that some of us oppose the agreement for reasons other than those that he has given? We believe that the agreement strengthens rather than weakens the border between the six and the 26 counties, and those of us who wish to see a United Ireland oppose the agreement for that reason." Remember that at the ballot box.



And remember the IRA were on the verge of defeat before the Peace Process. McGuinness only renounced violence to save his own neck. Britain, led a compliant Blair and pressurised by Clinton appeasing his own voters, surrendered. We disbanded the RUC and its Special Branch. We released IRA killers back onto the streets guaranteeing their safety from future prosecution while establishing no such protection for our own soldiers. And the media spun it as a historic victory.



March 21 Martin McGuinness dead. Condition satisfactory.



March 20. My Rancid Sounds podcast for bands outside the corporate "biz" starts a new life on Second City Radio from 11am tomorrow night – you can listen online or via the app. And next month, I'll be launching a brand new Sounds of the Street show. The latest Rancid Sounds features the Godfathers, Booze & Glory, Neville Staple, Oxley's Midnight Runners, King Hammond and more with studio guest Nick Welsh.



March 18. Chuck Berry, who died today, was the Shakespeare of rock'n'roll. His lyrics, riffs and duck walk defined the revolutionary new music of the 1950s and changed pop forever. Berry's classic songs like Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene and Roll Over Beethoven were charged with wit and energy. The unique merger of country and the blues that he created inspired everyone from the Rolling Stones to the Sex Pistols. And of course he could play that guitar just like ringing a bell. When Keith Richards inducted Berry into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame thirty years ago, the Stones guitarist admitted "I've stolen every lick he ever played." His ding-a-ling aside, carpenter's son Chuck sang about sex, cars and hamburgers sizzling on an open grill. His poetic words summed up the mood and the lifestyle of 1950s teenagers. Chuck Berry was a giant. He helped to define rock at the start and elevated it into an art-form. He's gone, but his influence will last forever.



March 17. To dispel any suspicion that the political elite are too close to the media, George Osborne was today announced as the new editor of the London Evening Standard. Naturally we can expect the BlackRock hedge fund to be covered with the same dignified impartiality that Theresa May has got coming…Osborne will work four days a week at the Standard (salary undisclosed) and one day a week for BlackRock (£650K a year) as well as making speeches for large wads of cash. Talk about Greed All Abhart It. Yet he also intends to remain as MP for Tatton. This is ridiculous. Three-jobs Geo can't possibly do all this and represent his constituents. He's in the wrong place. He ought to be in the Lords.



Happy St Patrick's Day! St Patrick was an Englishman who chased the snakes out of Ireland. You can find them now running the BBC. PS. St George's Day is five weeks away. How will EastEnders avoid it this year?



GCHQ say they didn't spy on Donald Trump. They just fitted his telly.



March 16. Useless Jeremy Corbyn missed another open goal today. Twelve police forces have sent files to the CPS about the Tories fiddling their election expenses and how many tough questions did the Labour leader hit May with yesterday? Nada. You can only assume Labour have been doing a little backdoor spending of their own. Anything to keep UKIP out of Parliament, eh chaps? Vivat democratia, and all that.



March 15. Scientists have found a plant over a billion years old. Yes, they found it at the back of a salad bar in Glasgow.



March 13. After I posted here about the importance of making a will, a bloke contacted me to say that his dad's will had been successfully challenged by relatives who'd been left out of it. So what was the point of making one, he asked? It's true that wills can be challenged legally, but there is a simple way to back up your decisions. When you make your will you can also write a Letter of Wishes which effectively allows you to speak from beyond the grave and explain why you've cut someone out. Maybe the relative had become estranged from you, or perhaps you've already provided for them while you were alive. The onus is then on them (the claimant) to show why they feel you had a duty to provide for them. If they didn't rely on you financially and your Letter of Wishes explains why you've blanked them, then their own lawyer will advise them that their claim isn't strong and that if they go ahead they could face having to pay not only their own legal costs but also those of the people you appointed as Personal Representatives. This could run into thousands.

So why not just explain why you've cut someone out in the will itself? Here's why: once it has been processed through Probate, your will becomes a public document and anyone can pay to obtain a copy. It's not a great idea then to make public declarations about why someone has been left out within the will itself. Making old fall-outs public could wind up someone enough to start a claim. But a Letter of Wishes is private. Only your executors, the potential claimant and his lawyer see it. So common sense tends to rule the day. If no claim is made then no one needs to know what you said. To sum up: there are no guarantees your will won't be challenged but there are sensible ways you can back up your decision. And by the way that Active Wills deal I mentioned before is still available – they're offering wills discounted from their standard prices (£99 and £149) to £19.99 and £29.99 here: *The common reasons to challenge a will are either validity, undue influence or under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.



March 11. John Le Carre will be involving in the writing a new BBC series. It'll be a second season of The Night Manager and not, as I'd hoped after the Richard Whiteley rumours, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Quiz Master…



March 10. Finally! The new season of the spell-binding Game Of Thrones hits our screens on 17th July. It's only seven episodes long, but I guess there are fewer cast members left to kill.



March 9. The CIA have used smart TVs to bug people, according to the latest Wikileaks allegations. So Game For A Laugh was ahead of the curve, watching us, watching you…



March 8. Here's my latest Rancid Sounds podcast: with top tracks from The Godfathers, Booze & Glory, Neville Staple, Duffy's Cut, King Hammond, Oxley's Midnight Runners, Assault & Battery, Hard Evidence & of course the Gonads. Special guest is the immortal Nick Welsh.



What a lousy, cowardly, self-defeating budget! By hammering the self-employed, ham-fisted Hammond has declared war on the Tories' natural supporters. So much for May's "conservatism". Who benefits? UKIP – if they can get their act together. Corbyn's response was pitiful.



The Lords are rather pleased with themselves for making Brexit difficult, but their show-boating makes no sense whatsoever. Who wants to deport EU migrants who are living here legally? Who has ever called for that? Precisely no-one.

 

March 7. I've just recorded a new Rancid Sounds podcast with some terrific tracks from The Godfathers, Booze & Glory, Neville Staple, Duffy's Cut & many more. Nick Welsh is my studio guest. I'll let you know when it's up and running.



March 6. Thirty years on, the images of the Zeebrugge tragedy are still haunting. After the news broke, I had the idea of releasing a charity single. It took just sixteen days to rush out the Ferry Aid single Let It Be which raised £1million for the families of the victims. It was a hell of a job to organise it, and I couldn't have done it without my team especially Sue Humphries and David Nicholson. Producer Pete Waterman was pivotal in all this. CBS came on board straight away and the song featured everyone from Boy George to Gary Moore via Mark Knopfler, Edwin Starr and Mel & Kim (I was secretly in love with Mel, R.I.P.). Paul McCartney not only gave us his blessing – he filmed a special piece for the video. Michael Jackson owned the publishing rights and when he rang from LA with the message "Go ahead, make a fortune" there was no stopping us. The record flew straight to number one and stayed there for three weeks.



March 5. There's a startling exclusive in today's Daily Star Sunday revealing that former London Mayor Ken Livingstone escaped a second assassination bid in the 1990s. The plan, involving a UFF hit-man and a 750-strong mob of football hooligans from various London clubs, are detailed by former London UDA commander Frank Portinari in his newly published autobiography Left-Right-Loyalist. This plot to attack the Bloody Sunday Troops Out march in January 1993 makes troubling reading, but what makes it more significant is that Spurs hooligan Portinari was once a Trotskyite Young Socialist. It was the Far Left's support for the IRA while they bombed working class pubs in England that made him, and many other natural Labour voters, trade in socialism for a violent form of reactionary nationalism. When you throw in the Left's decision to defend the Paedophile Information Exchange, and their bizarre approach to immigration, the reasons why so many traditional Labour voters abandoned the party become glaringly apparent. Current Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were also on that London march.



(Note for the hard of thinking: the fact that I find Portinari's story sociologically significant is clearly not an endorsement of his views or activities).



March 3. Richard Whiteley from Countdown was a spy, according to Ricky Tomlinson. And in a related story Ted Heath was a proper consonant, vowel, consonant, consonant.



It all seems barking to me. I can't imagine the affable Whiteley, R.I.P., in such a role. (Vorderman maybe, she looks like she has more secrets than the Sphinx). Besides if MI5 wanted a quiz-show host on the books surely they would have recruited my old chum the late Ted Robbins. Countdown conundrums may be tough, but the clues on 3-2-1 would have foxed John Le Carré. Still, we have to take Ricky seriously. Countdown needs to be watched with new eyes and Rachel Riley must be debriefed immediately. The woman is not so much MI5 as MI perfect 10.



March 2. Why does Nigel Farage even want a knighthood? Aren't they a) tainted and b) a symbol of the venal political establishment that he has fought against all his adult life? The hostility to Douglas Carswell is equally hard to understand. Carswell as a libertarian may be at odds with the Faragists, but don't UKIP allow different strands of thought now? Have they become some kind of reverse-Leninist, top-down monolith?



March 1st. Get well soon Brucie! Bruce Forsyth was Britain's greatest-ever game-show host and a much-loved all-round entertainer. (I feel guilty now for putting him in a triple with John McCririck and Vera Lynne but, as the great man always knew: you get nothing for a pair, not in this game…)



Feb 25. I've been looking into wills ever since Micky Fitz died, and Active Wills seem to be the best value around. They're currently offering wills discounted from their standard prices (£99 and £149) to £19.99 and £29.99, which looks a real bargain. Why does it matter? Well, if you don't make a will, you'll have no say over who gets your stuff once you're gone. For example, without a will current laws make no provision for your other half if you're not married to them. I've also been investigating related areas such as power of attorney and probate too, and will report back.



DANNY Dyer is accused of asking a woman to send him smudges of her "lills" (breasts), "bottle" (arse) and "boat" (face).

He clearly wasn't interested in her Jack & Danny.

FEB 24. Hard to see how either Comrade Corbyn or Paul Nuttall can last after the latest by-election results, but the smart money says Jezza will cling on like a suicidal limpet. Corbyn's views on the nuclear industry were probably the chief reason the Tories snatched Copeland from Labour. While the UKIP leader scored a disastrous own goal in Stoke-on-Trent. His series of porkies ranged from self-aggrandising fibs (such as claiming he'd played pro football for Tranmere Rovers) to the more serious suggestion on his blog that he'd lost close friends at the Hillsborough tragedy – a claim blamed on a PR. I don't think the tweeds helped either. Nuttall, a likeable down-to-earth fellow in person, called these astounding errors of judgement "mistakes". Unfortunately Stoke voters (and probably everyone else) now see him as Bootle's answer to Walter Mitty. Paul beat the Tories, but the combined UKIP and Conservative vote would have unseated Labour. UKIP believe correctly that there is much sympathy for some of their policies among Labour's traditional base, unfortunately Nuttall blew their chances of translating that into votes. Mainstream politicians have misled us for decades, the last thing Joe Public wants is another Billy Liar.

Clever Tories will now start asking what the point of UKIP is. If Theresa May implements Brexit, they'll argue, then why is the party even necessary? UKIP grew by being more Tory than the Tories, an approach that could still make sense if it fought for genuinely radical policies – lower taxes, less state, less red tape etc. May's Government are not as "right-wing" as the BBC believe and are vulnerable to serious opposition on a number of fronts. A UKIP that challenged vested interests and transnational corporations, and championed opportunity, small businesses and fair play would have a real point. A UKIP that presented itself as Blue Labour, Nuttall's stated direction, would tear itself apart.



It's interesting to note that the new Labour MP for Stoke, Gareth Snell, once accurately dismissed Corbyn an "IRA-supporting friend of Hamas". Yet by winning Snell has saved Jezza's bacon. He's now free to carry on leading the Party to disaster. Labour's vote fell by 2.2% here, UKIP's went up by 2.5%. To make a real difference UKIP have to stop looking like Dad's Army and start shaping up as a modern and radical challenge to the political establishment.



Feb 22. While fanatical Remoaners shrilly extol the virtues of the EU, the Euro crisis has steadily grown to Galactus status. Debtors in the southern states now owe hundreds of billions via the European Central Bank. The Bank of Italy alone owes E364bn in ECB liabilities. As they can't possibly repay this mountain of debt, what will happen to the Eurozone when they inevitably knock them for it? Galactus consumed planets. Defaulting will devour the EU, starting with the Deutsche Bank. Auf wiedersehen, Mutter Merkel.



Feb 20. Isn't it time to abolish the clapped-out House Of Lords and replace it with a second chamber that is elected by Proportional Representation and therefore accountable to the electorate? #ScrapTheLords



I'm shutting the blog down for a bit to concentrate on the new Harry Tyler novel, but I'll drop by every now and then.



Jan 1st 2017: Happy New Year! Let's hope we build on the promise of 2016 when democracy triumphed and the British people voted for independence – yet to be delivered by shifty-eyed Theresa May and her caucus of clowns. The folk throwing their toys out of the pram about last year are either cheesed off because they lost the vote, or because elderly rock stars died. I knew Rick Parfitt and will miss him, and I loved Bowie and Prince, but if you party for decades it isn't too surprisingly if the Reaper comes a-calling. No-one's immortal, except maybe Ozzy Osbourne.



Trump's big win provoked fury too. The Republicans' crap candidate beat the Democrats' crap candidate. Knees are still jerking angrily and the Donald isn't even in office yet. Let's see how it goes. The Trump presidency might surprise us all. For starters it should be great for workers in the fossil fuel industries, for growth, investment, tax-payers and the military. There's no doubt that of the two, clapped-out, scandal-dogged Hillary was the candidate most likely to drag the US, and consequently the world, into more disastrous neo-liberal wars. Trump doesn't want war with Russia, which is surely a good thing; whether he can avoid yet more conflict in the Middle East is another story.




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