Tag Archive: Sheffield

The people have spoken and they have unanimously decided…. NO!!!

No to what? Well obviously no to political reform. But also a great big vocal no to politics as a whole. Here are some of the other questions posed at the ballot that were rejected.

Q. Do you have any sympathy for Nick Clegg’s scapegoat status?

A. NO!! One thing is for sure, Liberals got hammered in England, Scotland and Wales.

Q. Have you given up on government?

A. NO!! In England Tories are still firmly in control of local councils and whilst they expected to lose hundreds of seats they actually gained 81.

Q. So do you support the government?

A. NO!! We hate tuition fees, we don’t like the cuts but we blame the Lib Dems and Labour so Tories have got through the local council elections unscathed.

Q. Have you forgiven Labour?

A. NO!! Labour fell well short of the 1,000 extra councillors they wanted to gain in England and they took a beating in Scotland courtesy of the SNP.

The public may not know what it wants but they know what they don’t want and that’s everything currently being offered.

The traditional progressive movement in England has been given a resounding kicking. The Liberal Democrats got annihilated in the local council elections losing just shy of 700 seats and 9 councils. Even here in Sheffield, where it was expected that things would be bad with Labour gaining control of the council, it was far worse than expected. Nine councillors were lost and many other wards saw Sheffield’s lowly conservatives overtake Clegg’s men.

And then there was AV. The polls seemed to agree that there was no hope for the attempt at political progression putting it 18 points behind the No2AV campaign. In actuality it was far worse than this as 68 per cent voted against thus giving Clegg his second kicking and leaving his party at a crossroads.

Can he lead Scotland to Independence?


The one concrete result we have got is in Scotland. Ed Miliband wanted the Labour recovery that aims to eventually see them retake Westminster, to begin in Scotland. Such talk indicating Miliband’s patronising belief in Scotland’s subsidiary status didn’t have the desired effect and pushed the voters towards Alex Salmond’s ‘putting Scotland first’ approach. The Scottish Nationalist Party stormed to an impressive electoral dominance destroying the labour party who so long have ruled the lands north of the border. However, whilst the SNP are experiencing a surge in support, this may not actually point to a thirst for progression. Whilst the First Minister, Alex Salmond, now has a position to implement a referendum for independence it is not at all certain that if he does he will win. The result was massive for the party but if they don’t win a referendum on independence then it could be assumed that the results of the Scottish assembly elections were an anti labour and Westminster vote more than a victory for SNP. Salmond is a heavyweight politician operating in a pool of small fish. And whilst clearly he has voter appeal he may have benefited more from poor labour tactics than having successfully united his country over political reform.


Liberal Democrat attention is now being switched to the next great battle. NHS reforms will serve as the latest battleground in order to refocus and regroup the party. I have always resisted previous talk of the coalition government not lasting as ‘too early to say’ but now the government is ‘mission creep-ing’ its way to internal crisis. Divisions that were previously confined to the backroom are now open to the public. Aside from the AV campaigns and figures such as Chris Huhne, and Paddy Ashdown throwing tantrums the formerly silent but lurking Tory backbenchers are creeping into the limelight. When asked about the longevity of the coalition government conservative Peter Bone MP said: “I don’t think it will go on for the full five years that’s for sure. The only reason for the coalition was to come together and sort out the economic mess that labour left this country and once that’s done there’s absolutely no need to continue with the coalition.” He went on to say: “Liberals have got to row in behind the government and stop bleating”. This opinion is reflective of so many Tory backbenchers who don’t see this as a coalition government, but a conservative one with a few refugees thrown in to provide Mr Cameron with the votes he needs to do the bidding of middle England.

Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, most famous for threatening to resign unless changes were implemented to Andrew Lansley’s NHS reforms, stated today: “We have become a human shield for the conservatives”. There is no doubt this is true and it’s hard to see what they can do to change that whilst remaining in government. Mr Cameron won’t throw them any bones. The Tory backbenchers won’t allow it. They’ve come to the fore as they did to derail John Major over the EU. The current PM will be wary of his history, internal party rebellions destroyed the two previous conservative PM’s and now that the Liberal Democrats are so weak and Labour are still a long way back on their road to recovery, his primary concern is to appease his own party.


Why I hate Mainstream Clubs

Nostalgia or Nausea?

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel like you’ve been at the same party for years stuck in a rigidly structured routine? I do every time I go to a conventional club. Mainstream clubs are nearly always exactly the same, dominated by a vast central room and occasionally attached to underwhelming ‘alternatives’. In said main room the music is invariably exactly the same with “R&B” and “cheese” having somehow become the columns upon which nightclubs are built.

But how did this convention begin and why has it stuck? My prime example is the location I am most familiar with; Sheffield. Having been at university here for four years I have put in more ground work for the basing of this blog than any I could ever conceivably write. The clubworld is dominated by Embrace, Plug and five completely individual, yet utterly indistinguishable, University nights (Tuesday club disregarded). But this seeming lack of choice does not deter the punters. Instead it has resulted in a situation whereby anything out of sync with this quagmire of stodgy, insipidness is actively rejected by the masses.

Pre-drink parties now include the very music you will be subjected to in a club. The eternal line is: “It doesn’t matter what the music is, you just get drunk and then you can dance to anything”. I hear it so often it’s almost as if there was a meeting attended by all potential clubbers who decided upon this as the official line. I unfortunately missed this extensive briefing that garnered the foresight to address the natural response: “But if you’ll dance to anything, why does it always have to be dreadful.” Dare to venture a suggestion, maybe anything well regarded by those of a critical disposition or a single that didn’t rely on a target market of 10 year old girls and the answer is this: “Well you can’t dance to that.” It is a sad state of affairs when prepubescents have become the deciders of what those of drinking age can dance to. Club music is indistinguishable from primary school discos or embarrassing post wedding parties. There is no point arguing any further. You’ve lost. It’s check mate. Even though it clearly isn’t!!! It definitely is.

The problem may be the state of pop music itself. “R&B” took over from Indie music as the king genre and much like its precursor it has lurched along until it reached the nirvana of musical formula: structured, repetitive, and uninspired. It is a genre consisting of cliché wails spouted from a production line of lookalike/soundalike/dancealike singers with instrumental accompaniment consisting of, seemingly, a single drum line that is the same in a billion billion billion songs. There isn’t exactly the world of difference between Ne-yo, Akon, Flo-Rida, Sean Kingston and Chris Brown. Just think that this is a day and age where “Chris Brown” as a name suffices for a pop star! How boring is that??  I digress, the point is they’re just rip offs of Usher who in turn was a rip off (although an improvement) of R Kelly.

Indie music had gotten just as stale with the Arctic Monkeys being the swan song of a genre that had run out of ideas. By the end it was gushing out the likes of The Enemy and The bloody View with that garbage “Same jeans” song which would have been an entertaining pastiche of the previous five years had it not catapulted the band and revealed they had an entire album of the stuff. I was just about old enough to get into clubs at the end of the Indie era and since then it has been “cheese” and “R&B” all the way.

Why cheese?? Why do Steps, S Club 7, Westlife, Blue, Backstreet boys, B*Witched etc. etc. etc. get continuously played often in the same order? Nostalgia is a wonderful thing when used sparingly. I would happily ironically dance to a surprising play of “C’est la vie” maybe once every couple of years. But if it’s on every night at numerous venues day in day out then it isn’t a happy nostalgia trip anymore. It’s just a rubbish song being played as often as it was 15 years ago when it was a novelty rubbish song everyone assumed would be forgotten by the end of the week. For instance, if Limp Bizkit is played once in a while then, out of surprise as much as anything, I will roar with approval and bust out the old Fred Durst pervy pelvic thrusts and ‘rollin’ arm movements. I’m as willing as anyone to be a 12 year old again but it’s like watching the occasional episode of Fireman Sam, you don’t watch four hours of continuous CBBC coverage.

So if music doesn’t liven up soon the mainstream will remain dead and that means junk pop club venues will plough on. I’m not saying we need a new Brit Pop, but I am saying we need a new Brit Pop. The problem is that X Factor and friends of X Factor are dominant on both sides of the Atlantic. The brand has taken control of the music buying public and commands popular music. Anything new and original is not encouraged and so struggles to break into a world that has never been so difficult for legitimate talent to blossom into.

I’m not saying the situation is wrong. I’m saying that it’s simultaneously as mental and depressing as scientology.