Blue South

I went to Bristol yesterday with Mrs. L. We drove, from Hampshire. On the drive through Hampshire, Berkshire and Wiltshire, the road & motorway edges were decorated by political posters, all Tory of course, most memorably those of Damien Hinds, Maria Miller and Kit Malthouse.

In East Hampshire, the Tories (Hinds) have got their farmer support back and all the roadside posters are Tory (and not UKIP as they have been in previous elections), although one of the very largest has been decorated by an opponent. 🙂  (Not me!) UKIP are reduced to flyposting. They seem to be working quite hard, they have canvassed our street twice, once with Hinds (PPC) and once with Carew (County). The latter has a problem, he crossed the floor in the County Council and is an ex-LibDem, Bordon/Whitehill has historically returned LibDems to the County and District and the Tories lost the Hampshire PCC elections to an ‘independent’. Carew has an uphill struggle! (We should have run a candidate, we did in 1997.)

bluesouth

A bit further north, we should all remember Maria Miller for her resignation from government and her ‘apology’, although electoral calculus has this as a safe Tory seat, but the county council seats for the Basingstoke wards are split, two Labour, two Tory and one LibDem. I wonder if this has been overlooked. Travelling west, we see posters for Kit Malthouse, well known in London for his time on the GLA. Less well known is his part in Westminster Council’s Shirley Porter affair; he was Deputy Leader of Westminster Council (and Head of Finance) when it agreed to the full and final payments for the surcharge recovery, which according to wikipedia and the FT, was £12m less the courts seem to have deemed appropriate. Interesting that there’s no discussion about how corruption impacts all parties when talking about Tower Hamlets and the Tory promise on Right to Buy and the Government’s squeeze on Local Government housing have brought the Porter issues back into political currency. (Her council was trying to export Labour voters that they had a duty to house up north.)

Then we reached Bristol, our host is living in Bristol West, one of the Green’s target seats and one which the main polling organisations (well, You Gov) have been forecasting as too close to call between Labour & the Lib Dems, a dialectic that has dominated Bristol’s politics for the last five years, maybe longer. However, the day we arrived, Ashcroft has published his poll, which says the LibDem vote has collapsed and that it is as the Green’s hoped Red/Green competition. I was disappointed to see that Labour lost my local poster count, but there were quite a few for both sides; my host advised me that he lives in a pro-Green ward and that if I travel east within the constituency its a better result for Thangam Debbonaire, the Labour Candidate.

Blue South

Dinner

I & Mrs L watched episodes, 3 & 4 of “Back in time for dinner”, the 70’s & 80’s. What’s great about this show, probably much to the chagrin of Giles Coren the presenter is the way it deals with food, the economics of its production, including the access to consumer technology (white goods in particular) and the economics of society. Its focus on women in society is also important to talk about to tell the full story.

Dinner

The Eighties

From the BBC TV show, “Time for Dinner”, in the 80’s, industry pushed convenience, the microwave and time saving to ensure that women were freed from the kitchen to go back to work. The protagonist family, despite their connections with the NUM, felt that the 80’s was a period of growing freedom, but for many it was a time of great economic insecurity and their first line of defence, the trade union movement was gutted. The decade started with the election of Thatcher and ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The show talks about the growing food counter culture and notices the effect of reforms to come about labelling; it was increasingly hard to eat healthily and the closing scenes the family have their first delivered take away.

I met and married Mrs. L. in the ’80s so it wasn’t all bad, but in the latter half of the decade, it was a growing time of great economic insecurity with no-one to watch your back.

The Eighties

Food History

The story of British food in the 70’s is about the victory of the food chemist, they wait to the’80 episode to mention the ultimate victory of the food chemist, the election of Thatcher but I remember the food and the politics. While it was a defeat for the blandness and terrible cooking technique, it wasn’t good food. The power cut to represent the coal strikes of the ’70s was fun, given that all domestic food production and storage now depended on electricity. The show mentions the food price inflation towards the end of the decade and the growing sense of a potential return to poverty and insecurity. Our parents remembered the ’30s.

Food History

Pasokisation

Seamus Milne in the Guardian, on the Tory attack on the SNP. I like his contrasting of the Tories overseas, non-dom debt with the anglo-centric articulation of the danger of the SNP. While several, including me have written of the PASOKisation of Scottish Labour, I think Milne maybe hte first to suggest that the SNP is part of Europe’s resistance to austerity and thus plays the Syrizia/PODEMOS role. Interesting if it’s true.

Pasokisation

Plan B

Milne also in his article, articulates the democratic legitimacy of the Scottish MPs, they will be elected representatives of the Scottish citizens of the United Kingdom. I agree with the Open Democracy piece that argues the press are preparing for a parliamentary coup, Cameron will lose the election and refuse to resign, because he has more votes, or more English votes or Ed Miliband is an oik that went to a state school. They have already delayed the re-convening of Parliament. The next Prime Minister must be based on the ability to maintain confidence and supply, it’s got nothing to do with number of seats nor number of votes by party.

Plan B