Joe Bonamassa Live in 25

  On Misinformation

  Joan As Police Woman LP

  Killers UK Tour 2024

  Politics - Who To Trust?

  The 76 Year Catastrophe

  Black Country Communion Back!

  Within Temptation Live Recordings

  Montreux Festival July 2024

  Beth Gibbons New Solo LP

  DOWNLOAD 24 UPDATE

  Politics Is Failing

  Ani DiFranco New LP

  Pink Floyd’s Animals Remix

  SHIT FLOATS

  Seasick Steve Alive & Kickin’

  Glen Hansard New LP/23-24 Tour

  Joe Bonamassa Live LP & Tour

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  “My country, right or wrong…”

  Heart Announce Live Tours

  Anais Mitchell HADESTOWN Returns

  The Photographer’s Selection

  My Favourite Records

  Gaza Nightmare Continues

  Download 2024 First Acts

  Princess Goes COME OF AGE

  Springsteen 2024 Tour

  Philip ‘Seth’ Campbell Live

  This Troubled World

  Dark Side Of The Moon 50th

  The More I Hear The Less I Know

  Great Albums: Fresh New Life

  Hozier’s New Album

  Nicole Atkins Jim Sclavunos Live

  SBT (Sarabeth Tucek) Live

  I’m As Angry As Hell!

  Magnum - A Year in Ukraine

  Alessandra Sanguinetti Interview

  The Damn Truth Live

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  The State We’re In Pt II

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  Moby The Very Best Of Interview

  Lucy Kruger TRANSIT TAPES

  Joe Bonamassa Live!

  Rodrigo Y Gabriela Interview

  Amy Macdonald Rescheduled Gig

  Music & Brexit

  Happy New Year?

  On Barbra Streisand

  The State We’re In…

  Welcome Back! But To What?

  What Have We Done?

  A RISK TOO FAR

  Photojournalism Hero

  Samantha Fish Live

  Gill Landry Live in Chester

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  Snow Patrol Live in Manchester

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  David Gray Live in Liverpool

  The Slow Readers Club Live

  Karine Polwart Trio Live

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  Jim White Live in Manchester

  Tori Amos Live

  Bush & RavenEye Live

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  Jimmy Eat World Live

  Roger Waters on Amused To Death


I’m As Angry As Hell!

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The UK

In my long lifetime I cannot remember the UK being in such a perilous financial and social position. Over the last 12 years every public institution (NHS, Justice System, Policing, Social Care, Education…) has been starved of cash while the standard of living for all but the wealthiest has declined to a level not seen before. How can the most valued professions have seen their income decline by as much as 26%? Is it any wonder that desperation has led to the current level of union strikes, and by workers who in the past have never or seldom struck?

p-191

With the unprecedented numerous changes of Conservative ministers and prime ministers in recent years, and the dire economic situation, I cannot understand why an election hasn’t been called. The sale of council housing and failure to replace those sold (a Thatcher innovation designed to attract voters amongst the working class), the uncapped rise in prices and rental charges has resulted in millions, especially the younger generation, unable to afford buying or renting. It’s an unparalleled housing crisis while social inequality has never been greater. How is it that the world’s 6th richest country is heavily populated by food banks used by the aged, families, unemployed and employed (including nurses)?

p-618

The Opposition

Only the Scottish SNP party has managed to effectively defeat the failing Conservatives. Labour has dismally failed and even under its new leader still fail to effectively reflect the many Conservative abject failures in parliament. In fact in some key areas there’s alignment with Conservative polices notably in EU policy. Keir Starmer has declared that a Labour government will not attempt to join the EU Single Market and Customs Union despite the country’s critical economic need. While the original Brexit campaign was misleading and dishonest, the Remain campaign failed to nail the true and serious implications of departure - now beginning to be felt. Starmer has declared 5 Missions should he win in 2024. I’m not impressed. Tell me how he plans to fix some of the critical problems mentioned here and I’ll be more convinced. Rhetorical statements will not convince many and while Labour should win against the Conservative government’s performance and social ills, they may not win with a significant majority. Perhaps he should also promise a fairer election system to replace the current unfair and outdated system…

p-182

I recently read the excellent book by EU Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier entitled MY SECRET BREXIT DIARY. The book highlights the lack of planning by the British, and ineffective, incompetent leadership by ministers who now happen to hold top jobs in the current government including Dominic Raab and Jeremy Hunt (both also have performing poorly in previous ministerial roles with Rabb also accused of bullying civil servants - now being independently investigated…). While it was the EU policy to be open and transparent in negotiations, the UK operated in secrecy often proffering misleading and inaccurate information (magnified by the UK’s right-wing media).

In order to ’save face’ by achieving his own timing for a Trade Agreement Boris Johnson agreed to a legal comprehensive international agreement which both Johnson and Sunak now wish to change. In relation to the Northern Ireland Protocol (part of the Trade Agreement) the complex question of a border between the republic, and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement, the minority DUP party has effectively refused to participate in the Northern Ireland government until the Protocol has been significantly changed. This despite Northern Ireland voted convincingly to remain in the EU (as did Scotland with Gibraltar voting 93% to remain!). The government has postponed the legally required election (as a result of the absence of a Northern Ireland Assembly) fearing that the Tory-supporting DUP could lose many seats if the election were to be held quickly. The latest and rapid re-negotiation of the Protocol (with logical and practical solutions) points to Johnson’s/Frost’s negotiations being nothing less that incompetent and at best expedient.

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It is now clear that many who voted to leave now regret their decision and should there be another vote are likely to vote remain. Farmers and Fishermen (many who voted leave) have been hit particularly hard by Brexit and are highly critical of the flimsy Brexit departure action plan and loss of previous EU farming subsidies. Many small to medium sized businesses have ceased exporting to the EU stating that the level of paperwork now required and the higher costs make exporting to the EU highly problematic.

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Scotland Be Brave

The original Independence vote in 2014 reflected the belief that the UK would remain in the EU. The later material change in EU membership (Scotland voted convincingly to remain) has justified the request for a second Independence Referendum according to the SNP government. But both government and Labour opposition will not support a second referendum. I suspect the real reasons for this is that many companies would partially or completely move to Scotland who have vowed to rejoin the EU, and the potential loss of oil and gas sources.

Independence is an honourable cause with the outcome of a vote uncertain. Why then should Scotland not be allowed the vote? I believe an Independent Scotland could be successful economically and socially. Let them vote for it, let them do it!

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The Freeport Myth

The UK government is pouring millions into building Freeports to somehow offset some of the negative implications of Brexit, and to boost the faltering economy. Freeport is something of a misnomer as they are anything but ‘free’. They function as warehouses for product imports and enable the importers to avoid paying duties and taxes while the goods remain housed in them. However, there is a fee to be paid for using the facilities (there surely has to be way of covering the substantial costs of running these places) and as soon as the goods are moved out of these facilities duties and taxes have to be paid. In this commercial age of ‘just in time’ replenishment the purchase and supply of goods (including parts used to complete other products including motor vehicles) is timed for their fastest possible use and/or sale, and therefore the shortest time for capital to be tied up and minimising the level of loan interest. Goods stored for longer periods of time are simply not financially viable.

In past years these facilities have been closed (not least by the Conservative government) but in a desperate move to seem business-friendly and partially offset the disadvantages of Brexit millions have been poured into these facilities as nothing more than a PR excercise. The opposition parties have failed to highlight this wasteful and expensive move just as they failed to question Boris Johnson over his claims that being part of the EU would have negated the country’s early and substantial commitment to Covid vaccines (as EU nations were free to make their own arrangements).

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