Manchester -

The Fat Labour’s sung

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It’s all over. Labour, inevitably, has managed to hold on to its lead. Give it credit though – they tried hard. For instance, the overseas army and navy soldiers – the great majority of whom do not know why the hell they’re out there and wouldn’t be supporting Labour – *accidently* didn’t receive their postal voting slips until it was too late. And when John Humphries, editor of the BBC today programme, went to vote he found that his vote had already been cast. By someone else. Mariella Frostrup phoned the show and said the same had happened to her. Presumably this didn’t just happen to them in particular. And in a final insult to all who may think this election is fair to all, a tally of the votes so far cast shows that in fact Labour came second polling 35,906 votes fewer than the Tories. but the way the system is balanced, Labour still win with a large majority. As Richard from Manchester said on the BBC page ‘Labour victory: Your reaction‘, “Scotland has its parliament, Wales its Assembly yet they are in effect deciding who governs England. Time for an English parliament on the same basis as the Scots.”
As ever, Boris Johnson’s columns hit the nail on the head. “If Labour is re-elected,” he warned three weeks ago, “it will be with the help of one of the most gerrymandered systems in the western world.”
But still, there’s no need to be overly bitter. The reduced majority means that at least the government can’t railroad their proposals through, and at least another term of Labour will mean we’ll definitely want to see the back of them next time…

The Ends of the Earth

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Well, tie me down and call me Bertha, I’ve been bombing around the country this week. Here’s a brief overview:


Hull – The fact that it rhymes with dull is no coincidence. Saved only by the magnificence of the Humber Bridge (see right).
Grimsby – As enticing as the name suggests. A constant and sometimes overpowering smell of fish hangs over the town, although the locals are oblivious after years of fishy assaults on their nasal passages.
The M62 – The views in some parts are spectacular. The drivers in the area, however, are not.
Leeds – Dark, but presumably only because I arrived late. Has not improved since the last visit, although the transvestite hitching a lift off the motorway was an interesting distraction.
Manchester – Surprisingly pleasant. However, a word of advice: never make jokes about back passages and Canal Street while in the city. Oooh, the stares I got…

Manchester Rainy Games

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I’m watching the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, which frankly is like watching 50000 people drowning in an enormous swimming pool. It’s in Manchester, it’s one of the wettest weeks on record in sunny England – surely brollies would have been on the shopping list? Oh no. All the officials stood in the centre of the stadium, pristinely ironed suits on display, hair gelled to perfection, bald spots combed over perfectly. As the head of the Manchester Committee made a Herculean effort of finding some of “the splendours of Manchester” (here’s one), the heavens opened royally, as if wholeheartedly disagreeing. They’re still there, bless ’em, 30 minutes in, suits slowly shrinking and foreheads doing a commendable impression of Niagara Falls. Someone get them an umbrella, for pity’s sake!