by Martin Odoni

This dictionary is a simple guide to understanding and navigating the dizzying labyrinth of reality-free English customarily employed by members of the Conservative Party in England and Wales.

The guide cannot hope to be comprehensive, but it shall provide a handy analysis of the frequent and misleading phraseology of Tories, both individually and collectively, making it easier to interpret their crude and obscure alien language.

Each guide entry will open with the unconverted phrase, followed in brackets by an identifier of type e.g. a noun will be marked as {n}, a verb as {v}, an adjective as {adj.}, a mindless party motto as {pmt}, a Cameronite-ism as {cant}, an IDS-insinuation-term as {idiot}, an Osbornite-buzzword-grammaticism as {o-bugga}, a Boris-Johnson-enunciation as {bore}, a Govian-assertion as {gass}, May-ist-declaration-words as {madcow}, a communication-by-Hunt {c-unt} etc. (There is also a type called a Shapps-iteration, but the reader is left for the time being to guess for himself/herself what the identifier is for that.) There will then be an apparent translation, followed in turn by an actual translation.

Entry 1:

“We are adhering to our long-term economic plan, of which this current action is a necessary part.” {O-bugga}

Apparent translation:

This Government has calculated in precise detail, while taking into account as many  integral factors that can affect the course of a national economy, the best possible strategy to ensure the ongoing health of British industry and its workforce, and our present policies are a necessary part of this strategy. Carrying them to their conclusion will reap dividends in the long run.”

Actual translation:

“This Government is just doing what a handbook written by some bloke called Milton Friedman keeps telling them to do, and then getting taken completely by surprised when what it tells us will happen doesn’t happen at all. But please keep voting for us, and we’ll then start rolling the dice at random and hoping better numbers come up further down the line, which we will then assure you was exactly how we planned it to happen all along.”

Entry 2:

“Labour got us into this mess, we are simply clearing it up.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“The previous Government of the Labour Party created the economic turmoil of the last seven or eight years, and we are simply making the unhappy choices required of any responsible Government who wishes to repair the damage that has been done.”

Actual translation:

“The banks got us into this mess, but we don’t want to do anything to rein them in because over half of our party and its funders are bankers themselves, so instead we are creating the perfect conditions for the banks to get us into an even bigger mess in a couple of years’ time.”

Entry 3:

“We are paying down Britain’s debts.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“Britain’s National Debt has declined since this Government came to power due to our shrewd handling of the public finances.”

Actual translation:

“Britain’s National Debt has almost doubled since this Government came to power due to our cack-handed butchery of the public finances, and we haven’t the remotest scooby how to stop it.”

Entry 4:

“Tax-cuts for the wealthy create more jobs.” {o-bugga}

Apparent translation:

“Reducing the tax burden for the well-off and the business-owning classes will make extra money available for them to hire more staff, combating unemployment.”

Actual translation:

“Tax-cuts for the wealthy create more off-shore bank accounts for people who look and sound an awful lot like ourselves, and who are also likely to offer us directorships in their companies once we’ve given up this politics-malarkey.”

Entry 5:

Employment frees people.” {idiot}

Apparent translation:

“Getting a job and a regular wage is the best way to escape the hardship of poverty.”

Actual translation:

“Getting a job that includes a regular wage is almost impossible due to almost all the workers’ rights we have ruthlessly hacked away, and so you are now compelled to accept work on slavery-level terms to keep you trapped in the hardship of poverty, because even that is preferable to actually starving to death, which is what will happen if you don’t do precisely what we tell you.”

Entry 6:

British education should teach our children British values.” {gass}

Apparent translation:

“Britain has a proud history of dignity, of law and order, and of human rights, and we will raise a generation of better people if they are taught from the cradle to respect and prize that heritage.”

Actual translation:

“Britain has a dark and shameful history of imperialism, slavery, manipulation and bullying of the poor, rigid and indefensible hierarchism, militaristic aggression, and borderline genocide, but we don’t want our kids to know about those things, so we’re going to teach them heavily-selective and jingoistic claptrap in history classes instead.”

Entry 7:

“As a country, we have run out of money.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“After long years of excessive public spending of borrowed funds, our country’s debts are simply too high and we must make cutbacks if we are not to go bankrupt.”

Actual translation:

“As the UK has its own currency, there is no such thing as ‘excessive public spending’ or ‘the threat of bankruptcy’ as any amount borrowed, plus interest, can be issued back to the lender through our central bank, and if we are worried about this causing inflation, we can just raise taxes and force the well-off to give a little bit back. But we don’t want to do that, because rich people are the ones who vote for us, so we’ll just keep on making scary noises about the National Debt to frighten you into tolerating the unnecessary total destruction of the public sector.”

Entry 8:

“Personal responsibility.” {pmt}

Apparent translation:

“People who wish to live free lives and to make their own choices must also be able to stand on their own two feet, and not expect others to have to shoulder the burden of taking care of them.”

Actual translation:

“We don’t want to have to give a single blob of cow-shit about anybody except ourselves, so when anyone poor needs help, we will always go out of our way to find reasons to say it is their own fault that they are in trouble to begin with.”

Entry 9:

“We cannot continue subsidising people who choose benefits-as-a-lifestyle.” {idiot}

Apparent translation:

“People must be motivated to work for their upkeep, we cannot keep expecting the industrious and talented of the UK to prop up the workshy and the indolent.”

Actual translation:

“A tiny proportion of benefits-funding in the UK goes into supporting people not in work, with most of the funding going to pensions, and a significant amount going into necessary support for the sick and the disabled, but as we need someone we can demonise to draw attention away from what a bunch of greedy money-hoggers the bankers are, we’ll keep investing ludicrously-excessive resources into clamping down on benefit fraud.”

Entry 10:

“I am doing what I earnestly believe to be right! I am proud of my reforms!” {idiot}

Apparent translation:

“This system is old, obsolete, and has too many loopholes that need to be closed to curb the ongoing abuse of it. I must continue with my work, it will all come good eventually.”

Actual translation:

“WAAAAAHHHH!!! I don’t like it when people point out to me what a monumental balls-up I’ve made of everything, so stop pointing out to me all the solid facts that prove beyond any sensible doubt that I have! I rate my opinion far more highly than mere facts, and I mean, I’m going to keep doing my job this way anyway, because I hate smelly, unclean, badly-spoken, poor people that much, so you might just as well stop telling me how much money I’ve pissed away on this broken new system, or how many people I’ve killed. Leave me alone, you bullies!”

Entry 11:

“The rich are an oppressed minority.” {bore}

Apparent translation:

“Rich people get so much undue criticism simply because they are successful. It’s a sign of the jealous British tendency to resent success.”

Actual translation:

“Rich people get so much criticism because they already have more money than they are ever likely to need, and take far more from society than they are ever going to put into it, but they also still insist on hogging more and more wealth while the poor are left abandoned to struggle without even a basic income, which in any industrialised society is categorically unjust, unfair, and counter-productive.”

Entry 12:

“Ed Miliband looks weird.” {sh-it}

Apparent translation:

“I don’t mean to sound superficial, but let’s be honest; a British Prime Minister needs to be statemanlike, and you see the present Labour leader and he just doesn’t have that look. He looks so undignified eating a bacon sandwich, and his nose looks weird, and he always sounds like he has a cold! We’ll be laughed at in the international sphere if this is the man to represent us as a country.”

Actual translation:

“Oh bollocking hell, I just can’t think of anything sensible or important to criticise the Labour leader for that we can’t be criticised for in the Tory Party too! This is what being a Party Chairman has reduced me to; having a pop at some Jewish baseball-fan-cum-violinist for having a big nose! WHAT HAPPENED TO MY LIFE, DAMMIT?!?!?!?”

Entry 13:

“These new powers are necessary to combat the threat to the West from international terrorism.” {madcow}

Apparent translation:

“Radical Islam is a growing and terrible threat to the West, and, despite our reluctance to erode the liberties and rights of the British people, in order to protect them from this threat, we must give our security forces greater powers and resources.”

Actual translation:

“Radical Islam is overwhelmingly an issue in parts of the world outside the West, and only plays a very intermittent role in Britain at all, but we need some pretext for silencing people’s right to protest against our policies, or otherwise more of them might vote against us.”

Entry 14:

“This atrocity is an attack on our values.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“This atrocity by militant extremists must not go unpunished, and we must invest considerable resources into tracking down the perpetrators and bringing them to justice, lest they attack again and harm our society in more fundamental ways.”

Actual translation:

“This atrocity by extremists took place in another country, whose values are not all the same as ours, and had nothing to with our values, because if it did, they’d have attacked us instead, and now we are going to respond by eroding people’s freedoms and privacy even more than ever, because there is no surer way of defending the values of a country that believes in liberty and the rights of the individual than by reducing individual privacy and the right to a fair trial.”

Entry 15:

“The NHS is safe in our hands.” {c-unt}

Apparent translation:

“We will do all in our power to protect the institutions of the National Health Service, to make certain it remains properly funded at all times, that it is always a receptacle for care and never a tool for profit, and that the guiding principle of free treatment at the point-of-delivery is always respected and defended.”

Actual translation:

“The NHS is safe in our hands, but we have no intention of keeping it in our hands for long, which is why we are selling off component after component of the Service to private companies whose only interest is making money.”

Entry 16:

“We must learn the lessons from this.” {madcow}

Apparent translation:

“What we did was wrong, but on the plus side, we now know better and will not repeat the mistake in the future.”

Actual translation:

“What we did was wrong, and we knew full damned well at the time we did it that it was wrong, but we did it anyway, and we’d do it again, only what we’ve now learned is that we won’t get away with it if we do it again, so we won’t try, but we’re not going to accept any actual punishment or repercussions for what we did.”

Entry 17:

“This behaviour is criminality, pure and simple.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“This behaviour by certain members of the public is unacceptable and should be met with the severest sanctions.”

Actual translation:

“We are far more comfortable getting angry and self-righteous about the crimes these plebs are committing, because they are not members of the same party or social class as us. Hence we are far happier imprisoning them for stealing a bottle of water from a shop than we are imprisoning our colleagues for fraudulently claiming Government money as ‘expenses’ for ornaments to place on their mantelpiece.”

Entry 18:

“The banks are entitled to be well-rewarded for the wealth the City brings into this country.” {o-bugga}

Apparent translation:

“High rewards encourage talented people into the sorts of work that enrich the country.”

Actual translation:

“Bankers are unaccountable greedy buggers.”

Entry 19:

“Banks should not be hampered by excessive rules and regulations.” {o-bugga}

Apparent translation:

“A free banking sector is necessary to ‘lubricate’ the mechanisms of the economy with loans and credit for starting and building businesses.”

Actual translation:

“Bankers are unaccountable greedy buggers.”

Entry 20:

“My colleague has apologised and returned the disputed money, and we believe that should be an end to the matter.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“We all make mistakes, and as long as remorse is shown and some attempt is made to undo the initial damage, there is no need to make anything further of the matter.”

Actual translation:

“Cabinet Ministers are unaccountable greedy buggers.”

Entry 21:

“We have halved the public sector deficit!” {o-bugga}

Apparent translation:

“The rate at which the National public sector debt is increasing has slowed to half what it was when we came to power.”

Actual translation:

“We have cut the public sector deficit by about one-third, but want people to think we did better than that, having promised as we did to balance the books entirely by the end of the outgoing current Parliament, a target we have missed by about a thousand light-years.”

Entry 22:

“We’re the victims of intrinsic liberal-left bias in the mainstream media!” {Sh-it}

Apparent translation:

“There is a cynical left-leaning tendency in the majority of the British media, which is leading most newspapers and television news to report our policies and actions in unsympathetic terms.”

Actual translation:

“It is very frustrating for ourselves in the Tory Party, after all these decades of browbeating the British media into becoming the unquestioning mouthpieces of the free-market-right, that some news outlets forget that they are supposed to just believe and uncritically report everything we say.”

Entry 23:

“This Government will not allow the Trade Unions to hold the country to ransom.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“Unreasonable threats and demands by workers’ representatives to withdraw labour until their terms are met will not result in any concessions from this Government.”

Actual translation:

“Trade Unions cannot bend this Government to their will, because only big international conglomerates and foreign-owned utilities companies can do that.”

Entry 24:

“I support Aston Villa.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“My favourite football team is based in the Aston area of Birmingham, and play under the banner ‘Villa’.”

Actual translation:

“’Football’? Football… football… what’s…? Oh yes! I remember. Football. Yes, my favourite team is West Ham United. What do you mean ‘Aston Villa’? They’re the same team aren’t they?”

Entry 25:

“We are the party of working people.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“Our policies are specifically designed to make sure that those who are industrious and want to earn their way in life get rewarded, while those who are not will receive nothing.”

Actual translation:

“We’ve cut in-work benefits by hundreds of millions over the last five years and taken away employment rights to such a draconian extent that the way of life of most working people is insecure, squalid, stressful and frightening from day-to-day. But so long as we can keep blaming the European Union and immigrants for the scarcities besetting the working class of our country, we know these silly plebian suckers will keep voting for us.”

Entry 26:

“We face a stark choice.” {cant}

Apparent translation:

“There are only two options, one is good, the other is bad.”

Actual translation:

“We have loads of different options, most of them unpleasant, but we don’t want you ignorant members of the public realising how complex it is, because then you might start thinking about what everyone is saying, and realise how almost everything we tell you doesn’t add up.”

Please note, this dictionary is an ongoing project, and extra entries could be added to it at any time. Furthermore, any additions readers might wish to suggest are welcome.

Downs Under #10

April 23, 2015

by Alec Downs

Hi there!  Apologies for the gap between articles, I’ve been busy. Yes…for nine years. I’m still pretty busy – busier than ever, in fact – but hopefully I’ll be able to churn out more than one piece between now and 2024. Probably as a result of me living here so long, but I’m afraid to say a few Aussie colloquialisms will undoubtedly pepper my writing. I’ve spent so long wearing thongs (flip-flops) that this column likely won’t be the most formal or sombre affair. Still, here we are. I’ll focus on current affairs, but I suppose a quick précis is in order before moving on.

How to summarise the last near-decade in Australian politics? ‘Briefly!’ cry the wags in the audience. Okay, let’s cut a long story *extremely* short.

Since my last post (2006?!), Australia has changed governments a couple of times; in 2007, Labor’s Kevin Rudd defeated Australia’s longest-serving Prime Minister, John Howard of the Liberal-National coalition, Australia’s ‘small c’ conservatives.  Rudd was then usurped by his Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who challenged him for the leadership of the party in 2010 in an internal party spill. Rudd did not contest the challenge, and overnight Gillard became Australia’s first female Prime Minister. Also the first Welsh-born PM.  Rumours that Bill Bailey caused Rudd’s downfall from his quip on 2010’s ‘Dandelion Mind’ that you can’t have a world leader called Kevin, are probably without substance.

In June 2013, Rudd re-emerged from the back benches and, in a Game of Thrones- or House of Cards-esque manoeuvre, challenged Gillard for the leadership as she had done to him three years previously.   He defeated Gillard and won back the leadership. Rudd called an election in September of the same year, but Labor was resoundingly defeated by the Liberal-Nation coalition, hungry for blood after six years in strident opposition. Rudd resigned in November 2013 and now lives in the US. Gillard also retired from politics, choosing not to contest her seat. I really am leaving out an awful lot of detail here, but it would take far more time than I, or you (the three people reading this) to go over everything that has happened over the years.

In 2013 the Liberal-National coalition once more took power, under the leadership of one Anthony John “Tony” Abbott. He is very much right wing and old school. A retrograde dinosaur, leading a cabal of science-decrying, climate change-denying, women- and minority-oppressing, big business-supporting buffoons who seem desperate to return Australia to the 1950s. Abbott was a rabid dog in opposition, hounding Rudd and especially Gillard with obstructionist manoeuvres and a contradictory mindset. He and the Liberal-National Party (forevermore here abbreviated to LNP) remind me very much of the Republican party in the US, whose main policy after the 2008 election was to prevent Obama from doing anything constructive.

The LNP have few policies of substance; after 18 months in government they are still in electioneering mode – blaming Labor for perceived failings, espousing slogans over detailed policy, and not even paying lip service to the idea of compromise for the good of the country. Safe to say, I’m not a fan. Neither is anyone I talk to, which leaves me slightly baffled as to how they got into power. Labor certainly had their failings – the factionalism and in-fighting that plagued the party in recent years, combined with some poorly-executed policies and a dogged opposition no doubt contributed to their defeat. The less said about the mainstream media in this country, dominated as it is by Murdoch companies, the better (although I may well talk about that in future posts).  The next election will likely be in 2016, and the feeling among my cohorts is that the LNP will be defeated.  It’s an interesting time for Australian politics, and there is a lot to talk about. I’ll write about those issues most of interest to me, and hopefully more regularly that once per decade!

by Martin Odoni

Apparently, Nigel Farage is upset. He is offended and hurt. People have been saying things about him and his party that he feels are unfair and uncalled-for, and he has spoken out on Channel 4 to object to it. Apparently, it hurts him when he hears that the UK Independence Party, of which he is the leader, is routinely associated with racism.

Leaving aside the reality that the number of UKIP members who have uttered racially-charged, or at least xenophobic, public remarks is almost startlingly high, and that homophobia and ‘pestilence’-fear-mongering are also unsettlingly commonplace, it should be conceded that calling the party as an organisation racist is perhaps hyperbolic. There is no doubt that its outlook is very insular and abrasive, and opens the way to ideas driven by stereotypes instead of nuance or real-world issues. It is also reactionary, inward-looking, and anti-minority enough to attract precisely the sorts of people who are prone to colour-feeling. But there is nothing in particular in UKIP’s thinking or ideals that indulge in, say, white supremacy, or even in old-style Imperialism.

So technically, we could concede the point to Farage and accept that he is right that his party – again speaking strictly about it as an organisation – is not racist.

But the problem is, even if the party organisation is not racist, a great deal of its support-base quite emphatically is. Some of them, especially those who have historically supported the British National Party, are downright ‘pro-Final-Solution’. This raises the question as to whether a party can ever really be anything other than the sum of its membership. Even if we are safe to assume that Farage is not a racist – and we would be assuming rather than certain – that does not make him UKIP. He does not control the thoughts of his party, and I doubt he would want to claim that he does, as it would cast a totalitarian shadow over his presence. So those sorts of people are in his party.

Add in all the rather unpleasant and ill-informed, reactionary views Farage has expressed, especially about HIV-sufferers and ‘benefit-tourists’, and even if he and his organisation can be said not to be actual racists, what they really are will not be any better. Their manifesto platform and wider rhetoric mark the party down as homophobes, xenophobes, Christian Imperialists, Big-Money-sycophants, benefits-bashers, Islamophobes, 40’s-style jingoists, climate-change-denialists and misogynists (especially Roger Helmer). None of these mindsets are noticeably more creditable, either morally or intellectually, than racism.

Offended as he is at the racism accusation, I somehow suspect that Farage would be equally offended if he knew that I have called him and his party homophobic, xenophobic, Big-Money-bootlicking, benefits-bashing, Islamophobic, jingoistic, misogynistic, climate-change-denying, Christian Imperialists, even though every word of the accusation is true. So what he really dislikes, it appears, is receiving condemnation.

In some ways, I do not mind that. After all, who does like getting condemnation?

Except…

This is UKIP we are discussing.

This is the party that massively exaggerates the scale of immigration. The party that massively exaggerates the British resources that immigrants consume. The party that seriously understates how much immigrants contribute to society. The party that vilifies and scaremongers Islam and its adherents. The party that attacks women’s rights, and implies that feminists want to conquer the world. The party that castigates the European Union as some evil foreign Empire that has colonised the United Kingdom and is in the rapacious process of stealing all its resources. The party that falsely asserts that more than half of HIV-positive diagnoses in the UK are non-British nationals. The party that accuses the Scots of lazily depending on English subsidy. The party that accuses climatologists of being part of an International Marxist Conspiracy to take over the world.

Any time anyone objects to UKIP making these untrue – or at least wildly exaggerated – and often hurtful remarks, the objector is accused of being too ‘politically correct’, of being ‘weak’, and of being too ‘soft’ to cope with hearing ‘hard facts’, even though the remarks are measurably not factual. Being abusive and spreading hyperbolic, offensive rumours are not irresponsible or shameful behaviours. Understood, everyone? It is ‘politically correct’ to describe them as such.

We get that stance from UKIP all the time. And with that being so, UKIP, I have decided to say that your party are all racists.

Yes, Farage, I know, you say that it is untrue. It is probably, as I said above, hyperbolic. But I shall say it anyway.

UKIP IS A RACIST PARTY.

Do you not like that, Farage? Is it not fair? Does it upset you? Do you think of it as a hyperbolic, offensive rumour?

Well, tough. Stop being soft, Farage! Stop being weak! Deal with hard facts when you hear them!

Oh well. I guess I am just not as politically correct as you, Farage.

by Martin Odoni

Over the last two and a half years, when we have heard that there have been startling new revelations over a major British stadium disaster, it has been exclusively about the Hillsborough Disaster of 1989. Therefore – insofar as it is possible for such a grim topic to be ‘refreshing’ – it could be argued that it would make a ‘nice’ change, were there a revelation about a different disaster.

Well chin up then, everybody – this week, it appears to have happened.

The Valley Parade Fire, which took fifty-six lives in Bradford in 1985, has long been widely seen first and foremost as a dreadful misfortune. While Bradford City Football Club, whose stadium was the venue for the tragedy when its timber-framed main stand burned down in just a few minutes with many people trapped within it, received considerable criticism for the appalling safety standards of the ground, there was never any real suggestion at the time that the club was guilty of actual foul play.

This week, however, the accepted story of what happened in Bradford on the 11th of May 1985 has been quite loudly challenged by one of its survivors – a man who lost four of his family at Valley Parade, and who states coincidentally that he witnessed the Hillsborough Disaster first-hand as well. A book published on Thursday the 16th of April, titled Fifty-Six – The Story Of The Bradford Fire, and written by Martin Fletcher, asserts that the terrible inferno was just one of at least nine industrial fires to befall businesses run by, or closely associated with, the then-Bradford City chairman, the late Stafford Heginbotham. It also states, apparently, that Heginbotham made considerable money in the aftermath of these fires from insurance claims, and that he had realised that the expense of improving Valley Parade’s safety standards to make it adequate for hosting football matches in the old Second Division (to which the club had won promotion in the 1984-85 season) would be beyond what he could afford.

In short, Mr Fletcher appears to have uncovered considerable circumstantial evidence that, at the very least, invites a re-investigation of the Fire’s causes. The original Inquiry, by Justice Oliver Popplewell in the summer of 1985, concluded that the blaze was an accident probably started by a carelessly discarded cigarette or match that was dropped through gaps in the floorboards onto mounds of rubbish that had built up over the years in the void below the stand. Without apparently making any explicit allegations, however, Fletcher has asked, perhaps rhetorically, whether anyone could be as unlucky as Heginbotham seemed to be.

Now, I have not read the book as yet – I may well write another blogpost assessing it once I have done so – and so I do not wish to sound totally dismissive of any possible implication that the Valley Parade Fire might have been an act of arson aimed at cashing in on the insurance. However, for a number of reasons, I do think that people should treat the story with a great deal of caution; –

The most important reason is that Heginbotham had already arranged the part-demolition of the main stand at Valley Parade for the 13th of May, 1985 – just two days after the Fire. Not only did this invalidate any insurance policy on the stand, but it would also take the destruction a great deal further than the demolition; most of the planned dismantling work would have been to replace the ageing timber roof with a much safer metal structure, while the wooden floorboards would be replaced with a concrete surface. And most importantly, the materials for the new stand had already been purchased – the order had been placed back in the March of that year in fact. Having already procured the needed materials, it sounds very strange to suggest that Heginbotham would then try and burn the stand down, meaning it would have to be rebuilt entirely from the ground up, meaning far more materials would have to be purchased. It was bound to cost a lot more, and to take an awful lot longer, than just replacing the roof would have done. (As indeed was the case; because of the Fire, Valley Parade went completely unused for the 1985-86 season, with Bradford City sharing a stadium with the local Rugby League club.) It should be mentioned that the club did receive a few hundred thousand pounds in insurance pay-outs after the disaster, but not for the destruction of the stand itself. It was to cover damage to other facilities within the stadium.

Another question mark over the implied foul play is that it sounds needlessly ruthless of Heginbotham to have a fire break out actually during a game, especially one that was effectively a promotion party. Not only would he have known that a bigger crowd than usual would be there, but also he knew that Yorkshire Television would have cameras in the ground. It would be an open invitation to discovery. Why not just have the fire break out in the dead-of-night in the middle of the week, when there would be no match on and no one around to see that it was an act of arson? Or even a few hours after the game ended.

Other doubts are worth raising. Why would Heginbotham have the fire break out in the main stand and not in the tiny, one-storey stand on the opposite side of the pitch, which would be far quicker and cheaper to replace, would endanger far fewer lives, and was not scheduled for demolition and was therefore still covered by the stadium’s insurance? Why, for that matter, would Heginbotham risk a fire breaking out in the corner of the stand that was right next to the Directors’ box, thus endangering his own life, and those of his family, who were sat in the main stand too?

Popplewell’s conclusion that rubbish that had built up under the stand for over twenty years previously had caught alight was supported by analysis of some of the items that had survived the blaze; one of them was a discarded peanut-wrapper priced at ‘4d‘ (four old pence) per bag. Did Heginbotham go scavenging on rubbish tips to find bits of litter from the pre-decimal era that he could secretly plant in the stadium before setting it on fire, just so that accusations aimed at him would be reduced to gross negligence instead of mass-murder? Gross negligence can still result in a long prison sentence.

Either way, no evidence was ever found after close investigation by the police and the fire brigade to suggest arson, and from what I have been able to read so far, Fletcher offers no direct evidence of such a crime happening either, only a pattern of misfortune surrounding Heginbotham that might or might not be seen as suspicious.

Fletcher apparently alleges that Heginbotham ‘lied’ to the Popplewell Inquiry that he never saw a letter sent to Bradford City by the Health & Safety Executive warning that the main stand was a fire-hazard. But Heginbotham was not lying. The letter in question was sent to Bradford City in June 1981, at which time, Heginbotham was not associated with the club; he had been a chairman in the late-1960’s/early-1970’s, but had left in 1973. He only became chairman again in 1983, after the bankrupt club had been liquidated, and he had bought up the assets and formed a new company to keep the team playing. A second letter was received, this time from the West Yorkshire County Council, in July 1984, again arguing that the stand was unsafe and needed extensive redevelopment. Far from ignoring this, Heginbotham had presented it as evidence that the club should receive a grant from the Sports Ground Trust, a request that the Trust upheld; this was how the money had become available for rebuilding the roof in the first place.

As I say, I am not going to dismiss the arson idea completely, at least not until I have read this book and found its ‘wavelength’. If there turns out to be substance to the idea, then I hope that the long-running cries of “Justice For The 96” will soon be joined by cries of “Justice For The 56”, as it would establish that there are matters from that horror-day in 1985 that are still not settled. But at present, my position has to be that the innuendo against Heginbotham sounds somewhat implausible, and what evidence there is against him appears entirely circumstantial and indirect.

Whichever way that pans out, one thing I would like to suggest is that Popplewell is a man who has some past remarks to reassess. Until this week, he had been noticeably silent since the Report Of The Hillsborough Independent Panel was published, unseating his previous insinuation that Hillsborough campaigners are just paranoid conspiracy theorists who lack the dignity of the Valley Parade bereaved. I would suggest, with all due respect to those affected by the horrors of the Valley Parade Fire, that the biggest conspiracy theory by far has come from Bradford.

by Martin Odoni

(Satire.)

(Well, just barely.)

In a week of hideous revelations about the louche nature of the apparent Prime-Minister-elect of this country, you might imagine that the people of Britain could face no more. As if it were not bad enough for us to learn that the Labour leader Ed Miliband has been shown to be such a womaniser that he repeatedly cheated on his wife in the long years before he ever actually met her, our nation’s most heroic paragon of journalistic integrity, The Daily Mail, will now reveal sordid details of the feckless, leech-like ways in which this Marxist idler, in former years, would casually sponge off the state, subsidised by hard-working British taxpayers.

For today, it can be revealed that, for the first sixteen years of his life, Ed Miliband did not get a single proper job, and so, when not propped up by his irresponsible socialist parents, he lazily attended schools – paid for by the hardworking British taxpayer we might add (DISCLAIMER: We might make an exception for the schools he attended in the USA, but seeing the USA is really just The Colonies, it’s practically the same thing anyway, right?) – instead of doing the responsible thing and going up chimneys to clear the soot. More damning still, Miliband was so free due to all the subsidies he was receiving that he had the time to learn to play the violin. The Mail must ask the good British Middle Classes a key question about Miliband’s self-indulgent past; a Prime Minister is not just a leader of the country, he is a leader of its very culture, but how can any human being make a contribution to the culture of our society when they insist on wasting time and resources on being good at things like music?

This vile, lazy, womanising, overly-subsidised moral-leper has tried to conceal his idleness by sneakily graduating with honours from University of Oxford and the London School of Economics. But fear not, o hard-working non-poor people who read the Daily Mail, you can rest assured that your journalistic heroes are not fooled for one moment by this deceitful gambit. There is a popular notion, often put about by sub-human left-wing Marxist traitors, that graduating from Oxford and the LSE are marks of excellence and high endeavour. On the contrary, it is a standard dirty trick of all treasonous, anti-British, socialist enemies-of-the-human-spirit in this country to receive these dumbed-down, easily-won qualifications as a cover to hide their lazy, Jobseeker’s-Allowance-financed intentions to overthrow and subjugate the Middle Classes and conquer the Universe. There is only way to stop this Stalinist eater-of-the-flesh-of-new-born-babies; –

PLEASE, OH GOD, PLEASE, VOTE FOR DAVID CAMERON INSTEAD!!!!!! No would-be conqueror will be able to overcome that!

Oh go on, vote for Cameron – go on, do it! Please. We know you’re of a higher moral standard than Miliband, just like we are, and we’ll print some pictures of Miliband’s former girlfriends in swimsuits as a reward if you do, just to prove how much less-obsessed with sex we are than the Commies.

PLEASE!!! VOTE CAMERON! PLEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAASSSSE!!!!!! We’ll cry if you don’t.

WE’LL PRINT PICTURES OF KATIE HOPKINS IN A SWIMSUIT IF YOU DON’T!

That genuinely gave you uncomfortable pause-for-thought, didn’t it?

IDS is not, technically, a murderer, but his wilful negligence amounts to tens of thousands of counts of manslaughter.

jaynelinney

Joe Halewood writing as @SpeyeJoe has reprinted a letter from the Tory Chief Whip informing IDS his #BenefitCap will actually cost money!

This is yet more evidence of IDS electing to continue his campaign to punish the poorest of us for the complete cock up by the banks and previous Governments, despite it costing the public purse?

Further nickd at http://ilegal.org.uk/ has spent this week posting more evidence that IDS has been Lying to both his own party and the public throughout the Coalitions Term in Government; this covers Lies about Incapacity benefit, ESA and the Work programme.

Isn’t is time for IDS to be held responsible for these Lies, the same lies that have seen hundreds of chronically sick, disabled and workless people Die under his watch;  irrespective of Who wins on May7, IDS will still remain responsible for the man who oversaw the deaths of so many

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These are the reasons…

View original post 69 more words

by Martin Odoni

It has so far been an utterly dire Conservative Election campaign planned out by Lynton Crosby and Grant Shapps, and it perhaps reflects the ugliness of the two men’s characters – their cynicism, their shameless deceitfulness, their controlling, bullying tendencies, their school playground demeanour.

The cynicism is reflected in the absolute void of policy proposals so far; scarcely a hint of positive campaigning can be found in Tory announcements since Parliament was dissolved.

The deceitfulness is reflected in the constant scare-stories that they keep trying to circulate about opponents – especially Ed Miliband of whom they are now clearly terrified – that are routinely shot down and debunked before they can get their pants on (to paraphrase an old saying that usually implies the reverse), as well as the laughably-obvious ‘set-piece‘ publicity stunts they keep resorting to that, they wrongly imagine, make Tory support appear far greater than it really us.

The controlling, bullying tendencies are embodied in just how personal and even ad hominem some of the negative campaigning has been, just the latest and worst of which has been Michael Fallon’s real ‘cheap-shot’ at Miliband for, supposedly, ‘stabbing his brother in the back’ to become Labour leader. (By ‘stabbing his brother in the back’, Fallon of course means, ‘defeated his brother fair-and-square in a straightforward leadership election’. Otherwise, David Cameron must have stabbed David Davies in the back in 2005.) The matter under discussion was whether the UK should renew the Trident missile defence system, and the relevance to that of Miliband’s path to the Labour leadership is so slight that Fallon should have lost his job for using such an obviously crude and insulting non-argument. The tendencies are also reflected in the glaring over-orchestration of general Tory activity, which has been almost mechanical, as this amusing meme demonstrated in the aftermath of the ITV Leaders Debate c/o Buzzfeed; –

Over-orchestration of the Tories Election Campaign

Tories were clearly instructed at the outset to give the same message during the Leaders’ Debate.

The school playground demeanour has been reflected in angry jeering, and the habit of defending the indefensible once the mudslinging has already happened.

And none of it has done the Tories any good at all. It has been the campaign of a 1980’s football hooligan, and it has led to brow-raising news in the opinion polls. Labour now have a three-to-six-point lead in some polls, and Ed Miliband, for the very first time, is even ahead of Cameron in the party leader-approval ratings; –

Miliband leads Cameron for the first time

The public is starting to see Ed Miliband as doing a better job as a Party Leader than David Cameron is doing.

To give Ed Miliband his due, his profile has definitely been on the rise since at least the turn-of-the-year (Easter transgression apart), and he is now ahead of David Cameron for the first time in the personal poll. (It needs to be noted that this does not mean that most people think Miliband would make a better Prime Minister – Cameron still has a comfortable twelve-point lead on that score – but they do think he is making a better fist of the narrower job of party leader.) There is no doubt that Miliband has really started to do the job for more effectively than he was for the first couple of years. He has looked cool, assured, even statesmanlike, in the face of all the shameful hostility that has been thrown at him.

But at the same time, Miliband’s ‘leapfrog’ over Cameron in the polls is as much a reflection of how appallingly weak and tired Cameron’s recent efforts have been. Miliband has even been able to afford a very slight dip in approval since Easter, probably due to that needless swipe at the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon, because Cameron’s approval ratings have slumped very quickly, and could be poised to go into free-fall if he fails to get his act together. Partly, people seem to be reacting to his aloof, cowardly reluctance to take part in the televised debates, and also to his awful showing in the one debate he dared take part in. But also playing a likely role in Cameron’s woes is the suffocating negativity, constant fakery, and exceeding stage-management of the Tories’ overall campaign. People are noticing it, and they dislike it.

Labour’s campaign has been far from perfect, but it has shown more flexibility, more energy, more initiative by far, and has at least been positive enough to come up with a policy idea or two.

There is a real danger that the Tories could go into meltdown, unless they change their approach by one hundred-and-eighty degrees. The problem they have given themselves is that they decided to go for an all-out “We-really-are-the-Nasty-Party-now-what-you-gonna-do-about-it?” stance from the get-go. They almost look like they want to get in a physical punch-up with the Labour front benches, instead of the Election. Their bearing and body-language are negative, macho, posturing, jeering, deceitful, petulant. That can work, it saddens me to say, but it has to be done very carefully and precisely so that it definitely lands some heavy blows on the other parties, and it has to hit all its targets straight from the off. Instead, the early attacks by the Tories have all been very clumsy and transparent, and so have not only failed to hit any of Labour’s weak spots, but have backfired outright.

So instead of looking tough and in control, the Tories’ conduct has made them look like childish, clumsy, jeering hooligans. That is bound to distort people’s perception of everything the Tories do from here-on. Even if they do start landing some genuine verbal blows on Labour, people will still see them through the distorting lens of bullying hooligans. Even when a criticism from the Tories is justified, it will still look unpleasant and distasteful, instead of fair or reasonable. So the Tories will not advance themselves, even when they can peg Labour back a bit. Therefore, Cameron and his advisors have to dream up a full, active and positive policy program to fight the rest of the campaign on, and they have a little over three weeks in which to do it. Given Election campaigns by even the most competent parties normally take years to organise and deploy the needed resources, there is practically no chance of the ragtag collection of buffoons who make up the modern Conservative Party managing it in three weeks. As things stand, it is a party that can offer nothing but five more years of hardship, and has no strategy to speak of except the telling of lies. The party’s campaign is imploding, and the perception they have created of themselves among the wider public will make that implosion continue.

Therefore, there is no chance of the Tories winning the Election on their own merits. They can only win by other parties’ showing lack-of-merit. That can still happen of course, but it should not.

So for better or worse, the 2015 General Election is now Ed Miliband’s to lose.