In the spirit evoked by Nick Hornby’s wonderful ‘High Fidelity’, I continue to supplement this blog with yet another list. This list is inspired by notions present in our day to day lives that everybody knows, but we often feel uneasy about admitting. At least that’s the way I see things, as of course, everything is subjective and up for debate.
Nobody Wants To Vote For Ed Milliband In 2015
With an upcoming general election, and a UK governed under a coalition partnership where normally, a single party is in place, it would seem that as the head of the Labour Party, Mr Milliband has a high chance of becoming the next UK Prime Minister. That’s how things appear on paper. However, the reality is far different. When he took down his brother, David Milliband during the leadership contest of 2010, he effectively took the most potentially effective contender for an election-winning party leader out of the game. Ed has made enemies left right and centre. And some of his policies seem to be of the ill-conceived fag-packet variety. His suggestion to freeze energy prices for 20 months seems rather crazy, considering that the energy companies are no longer state-owned. And such a rigid clamping of prices would bankrupt the energy companies in the event of a spike in wholesale energy costs. Which reveals the policy for what it is; a cynical exercise in electioneering. Not wanting to vote for Ed won’t get in the way of people wanting to stop the Conservative Party getting in, but the floating voters may well be lost to rival parties. Perhaps his only chance has come courtesy of the double-crossing antics of the now incumbent Liberal Democrats after they blatantly discarded their election promises upon coming to power. However, it seems that the floating voters may well turn to Nick Farage’s momentum-gaining, Eurosceptical UKIP. Perhaps the best Ed can hope for is a coalition with UKIP, which sounds like more fun than a barrel full of rabid monkeys.
The Beatles Aren’t All That
The Beatles are not the greatest rock band of all time. One might say that album sale statistics provide irrefutable prof of their status as rock legends, if that is the yard-stick, The Beatles are competing with heavyweights of the calibre of One Direction. Were the Beatles really responsible for bringing the spirit of the East into Western music. No, that was Led Zeppelin. Were they musical prodigies? Try Jimi Hendrix. What about incredible lyrics with a deep social message? No, that was Bob Dylan. What about psychedlia? Actually, that was The Doors. Did they make bubble-gum pop songs about teenagers having crushes? Yes! That was The Beatles! ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand’ was a golden template for a tacky line of throw-away pop music that would persevere through the decades and continue to bring crap, catchy, meaningless fluff with high production values into record-shops all over the country and all over the world.
Beatlephiles would have us believe that ‘Revolver’ and ‘The White Album’ are two of the greatest records ever made. After having listened to both albums several times, I continually struggle to find the hook song that will make me come back to the albums with a sense of joy. ‘Revolver’s opening anthem of ‘Taxman’ starts me off on the wrong foot straight away. Are The Beatles trying to tell us that we shouldn’t pay tax? So what they are saying is that we should abolish public services and scrap state benefits for people on low incomes. In trying to appeal to the working classes, they are trying to sucker people into their nasty right-wing ways! I can understand why they wouldn’t want to pay tax on the volumes of rancid cash swelling their bank accounts.
Admittedly, The Beatles did write a few good songs, amongst the torrent of pap that is commonly spun to be the work of geniuses. ‘Hey Jude’ was pretty good, while ‘Helter Skelter’ was such a great rock song, it may have inspired heavy metal, and convinced Charles Manson to make it his anthem. But in no way whatsoever are the Beatles deserving of their legendary status, other than to major record label share-holders who want to use their business model as a go-to method for producing factory-line, cash-cows to absorb the cash of the musically illiterate.
Important note: don’t ever try to have this conversation with someone who hails from Liverpool. It will end with you getting stabbed in the eyes.
Paying Tax Is A Good Thing
Well, George Harrison’s protest song against taxation brings up the next reluctant truth! Thanks to Clement Atlee, the UK has a great welfare state. Benefits for the elderly, infirm. Free healthcare of a decent standard. Travel to certain places and witness extortionate costs for services that should be unavoidable fundamentals. Case in point, I had a friend that went to work in Ireland. after a couple week’s stay at a hospital there, not only was she docked wages, but she was handed a €1500 bill to boot. Taxation provides us with a great set of resources at a massively discounted price, because of the subsidisation of buying en masse, and the fact that we are buying these public services without profit being a motive in the enterprise. So there is no premium cost for these services. Compare us to the United States, and we start to see the differences. Where tax is low, people live in ghettos or gated communities policed by private security as law enforcement is stretched so thin. With crime levels so high, the United States has the highest global prison population per capita. Benefits are cripplingly inadequate too. Morgan Spurlock’s fantastic TV Show, ’30 Days’, saw Spurlock and his wife attempt to get by living on the US minimum wage. Within a couple of weeks, he was getting grave warnings from his medical advisors to stop the experiment. Medical insurance is so expensive, that people have to work more days in the year to account for such costs. Should we find it a surprise that while the Scandinavian countries and states such as Japan have relatively high income tax, they also exhibit longer life expectancies than both the US and the UK? Admittedly, just raising tax is not necessarily the solution, as it has to be a balanced and fair increase. The poorer people in society get hit the most by VAT, so if anything, that should be lowered. So income tax is the prime candidate for being raised, with a gradual proportional increase according to the amount of income. Income tax was the very thing that the Beatles were complaining about in their music, causing them to become occasional tax exiles. Starr fled to Monaco, while other members spent considerable time in France and the USA to avoid giving back to society.
Hollywood Thinks We’re Stupid
Take a look at the biggest budgets flying around the movie business, and we get a list of some really dumb movies. With nearly every film put in front of us presenting either a theme of sex or violence, there does not seem to be much of a respite for the idea of cinema being an enlightening art-form, in which we are presented with thought-provoking narratives that fan our imaginations and inspire us to be creative. Take Roman Polanski’s fantastic film, ‘Carnage’. Released in 2011, the movie gives us access to a meeting held between two pairs of parents, as they discuss an altercation that has occurred between their children during an incident at school. While this movie may have been the best movie of the year, and received an array of acclaim and awards, it barely made back it’s relatively modest $25 million budget. Compare the figures to Michael Bay’s ‘Transformers: Dark of the Moon’, released in the same year with a $200 million budget. Well that movie brought in over $1 billion at the box office. It’s official. Hollywood thinks we are stupid, and we seem to agree. Cinema audiences seem to have extremely low expectations from their cinema trips and are prepared to throw money at robot battles and huge explosions, rather than experience great stories by the way of inspired acting performances. For every person that wants a film to be witty and enlightening, the figures say that there are forty that want to see robots throwing taxi cabs at each other, public monuments being destroyed by devastating alien forces, and mutants and ninjas and monkeys and tits and Brad Pitt posing and more Hobbitses and as many unlikely love stories, 1980’s TV remakes, and kitsch nostalgic drivel as we can cram into our once potentially intellectually receptive brains.
So there you have it. That’s my tedious rant over. If you have any comments about any of these ideas, I’d love to hear them. Otherwise, welcome to a modern world full of right-wing capitalist politics, shit music, shit films and no time or money to spend on doing good stuff. Count yourself lucky, you could have been born to be a slave in ancient Rome…