Roy wrangles with his latest re-issue…

We decided, a long time after the commercial world did so, I have to say, that we would re-release arguably the best ten or twelve of the catalogue as LPs once again. I’d looked at it for years, and while I was out in California putting ‘Man and Myth’ together I became aware for the first time, first hand, that the turnover in high end 50s, 60s and 70s amplifiers for turntables, was huge. Then I had discussions with Simon Raymonde at Bella Union about a vinyl release for Man And Myth, and the rest of that chapter is history. It was a good experience, and it became obvious that at least the main figments of the Roy Harper catalogue were going to become available on vinyl again.

In theory, it seemed to be easy to transfer what we already had on cd and tape back onto vinyl and, hey presto, it would just happen. Wrong. All vestiges of old artwork had disappeared. A lot of it had, quote, “Gone into the skip”, as first EMI fell off a high ladder, (during which years of turmoil, for instance, the old EMI Studios in Abbey Road had become independent and were only affordable if you were making a blockbuster movie, Etc). We’re all used to the world changing very quickly. The shock of the previous generation to the ploughing up of its old means is always brutal. De facto, the new world arrives a second later and empties the skip. Then just as easily subsumes the old generation in the blaring glare of the newbies strutting their stuff. As Kurt would have said, ‘so it goes’.

So, not having any artwork was going to present problems. Some were big problems, but not entirely insurmountable because, well, mainly because, by some hook or crook, the artist is still alive, and still has sufficient in the memory bank to be able to curate a resuscitation of all that the old artwork meant. He even has enough in the scrapheap of his archive be able to add to it with one or two salient items. Time and care were necessary, but with the help of his old mucker Harry Pearce, and a bit of techno wobble, the past can be re-visited.

We decided that it was best to release the new vinyl in batches of three in order to facilitate most of the releases within a few years. It was hard work. Nothing like as easy as we’d first thought. There were all kinds of stumbling blocks, but, to cut a long story short, the first batch was released in 2016.

I’d wanted the second batch to include HQ, Bullinamingvase and Folkjokeopus. I rate Folkjokeopus, and particularly McGoohan’s Blues, but I quickly realised how unfinished it was. that I’d always regretted not being able to edit it in the way it should have been edited in 1968. Back in that year, there wasn’t the time/money to do another take of McGoohans Blues. We’d had to use the first take. Don’t get me wrong, the first take wasn’t that bad at all, but there’s a huge gaping error in it. I’m not going to say here where that error occurs, because most of you will have enjoyed it for years the way it is. But now I have the chance, the chance I’ve always wanted, to fix it, to finally scratch that itch, and I was going to, but it became difficult… I need to get a band together, I needed time.. I needed to learn the song again.. I needed to… wouldn’t it be nice to take it on tour again.. Fifty years later, if only to flag up ‘the bankers and tycoons and hoarders of money and art’ again, fifty years on.. but then there was a tour already happening.. and.. finally I had to shelve the idea of tackling that immediately.

So; what was I going to put in it’s place? Would I go forward, and look at re-instating ‘Unknown Soldier’, ‘Descendants Of Smith/Garden Of Uranium’, or ‘The Dream Society’; ‘Jugula’ or even ‘Death Or Glory’.. Mm, too close to the bone.. Or should I go back? Now there’s a thing! Lying there, full of bad edits and underrated by me. “Underrated by me”? What d’you mean roy, you know you’ve always hated ‘Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith’”? Yeah, but why? “Isn’t it that hair in your mouth that you’ve always tried to get rid of, and thought you had, but it’s still there, isn’t it? How come”?

So I listened to it again, for the first time in decades. It made me smile. Instead of hearing a couple of great clanking hand-fisted edits again, and the piece of 1950’s dialogue that I’d written off centuries ago as juvenile tosh, I heard the young roy, the very young man, trying to pull out all the stops, with some success, although the second side of the record is trashed by the lack of cash and hasty production.

Then something strange happened. The original producer, Shel Talmy, or people on his behalf, had obviously been unearthing his past to put together a compilation of his work, which includes early Who and Kinks records, and we received a request. Could he use a track from ‘Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith’? Of course I agreed that they could use it. The track is called ‘Aging Raver’. Then, by some turn in the conversation, we discovered that the original tapes had been found: in a tape vault at SONY! Immediately, I wanted to use them to bring the record back to life. To take away the generations of cd dust attached to them, address the edits, and re-instate the record. For me, it didn’t have a former glory. It was what it still is. A sound bite from 1967 that hadn’t had the attention that it perhaps might have deserved because no time could be spent on it, and it’s author couldn’t be present to make the edits at the time. And no one else knew, or cared, that there were edits that needed to be tidied up.

Shel was not to blame for any of this. He had a job to do, and a record company to accommodate, and in 1967 direction by the artist was absolutely discouraged. EMI might have had enough cash return from The Beatles to indulge them, and George Martin was a brilliant foil for them, but old roy was an alien from the folk cellar with very little clout, and Shel wasn’t that far above him.

When we got the old tapes into the Studio at Lettercollum, it became immediately obvious that we had something which was very much more alive than it’s cd counterpart. The decision to include it in the second issue of LPs from Science Friction was probably already made. That decision could easily have been reversed, but the moment I heard the real tapes there was no way of backing out. Here was a real chance to bring an uncared for and diminished collection back from the dead. It had to be done.

There were still production issues though. Would I take it back to the bare essentials? Could I? Even. I toyed with leaving the soap box imaginary conversation with my illusive dad off it. I was really tempted to cut out all the earnest but semi-embarrassing drivel. It was like listening to mock Mike Leigh or juvenile Pinter. And what would I do with the poem at the end? Was there anything I should do about that mock Dylan last line. Could I pare the record down to just the songs? I badly wanted to.. but in the end I couldn’t. I’d become a recidivist by so doing. I’d be modernising 1967 out of it. I badly wanted to, but the truth is that I couldn’t have done it without falling.. in my own estimation.

I did wrestle with the poem though. The words themselves were good. The sentiment was right. What the poem actually says is.. ‘please explain to me why you think that we’re not en route to annihilation’… (Fifty years ago). Which is a recurring theme in my work. Viz. – ‘And so the game is played out on the sinking *Wigan pier, With brass bands round the gravestones so that no one can quite hear, The prophets and the gentle people’s feelings that are lost, inside the ringing cauldron of the crashing holocaust.. Farewell to you Dear Genghis Smith, I’d help you if I could, But there’s nothing I could have told you, that you’d have understood; And there’s nothing I could have told you that would have done you any good, and Hey there!.. is there much more room down there? All I can see is mud.’

It was the right poem in the right place, but the delivery was perhaps too flippant. I faced a dilemma at the time. How was I going to not make it sound like T S Eliot or Ezra Pound reading his own poetry? Staid and confounding, but in some way dead. I needed people to be entertained in a more Betjeman on acid style, or so I thought… but what if the mock Dylan of that last line had been spoken in mock David Attenborough, which it could have been..? “What if roy, what if..”.. “Leave it alone Sunshine”.

——————————————————————————

The result of all this wrangling with myself is that there’s a new vinyl version of Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith on its way out again for the first time in decades.

In September 1967, CBS, (the company I’d signed to earlier in the year), wanted to finalise the cover. They’d heard demos, produced the contract in July, and the record was about to be made. They were hinting at a photo to hang alongside ‘The Times They Are A-Changing’ and ‘Sounds Of Silence’ in the CBS offices, but not enough of them were…

They were silent when I voiced my sleeve idea, based on the title track, Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith, of having a birth picture of a new born human, umbilical cord still attached. Not a word from any of them. It was potentially an image for me that conveyed my own vision of survival against the odds. It was also intended to be an image of the birth of the carefree destructor itself. The pushy ploughman on the planet. I was voted down, although I was never in attendance. I was obviously not going to be included in any vote that in any way impinged upon CBS corporate policy. Silly boy, how could he have imagined that a corporation would ever have gone out on such a limb? After all, they weren’t in the business of making hit records by virtue of controversial images on record sleeves. Heaven forbid!

So what they came up with, and confronted me with, was the finished product. A front cover with a ‘sweet’ pic of the art director’s new born baby on it. What bollocks! So, a decent record, in which production the artist had no say at all, was finally relegated to the status of detritus by the usual corporate nonsense view. The view from the middle of the front row of The Circle. The whole character of the intended record had been diminished. Actually, the cover now didn’t have any character at all. However, FINALLY, the artist lived long enough to put the record into the context he’d always wanted it to have. A pyrrhic victory, you might think, in terms of the millions it would never have sold in any case, but not for the artist himself. For him, it’s a sweet moment. A moment when the original idea teamed up with the ability to finally do it justice.

I spent days, on and off, searching for the right photo across the world, on the internet. What I found was amazing. Hosts of pics of how homo sapiens likes to picture its babies, from complete fantasy to full-on photographic real. Through rose tinted speculation to comic pop art, from bad photo to gruesome image, from ridiculous Disney to WTF! I mailed people to ask for the use of pics, to no avail. Then suddenly, as deadlines approached, I found the right picture, taken somewhere in London. I found it at a photo agency, and it wasn’t going to be too expensive to obtain the right to use it. We had to ask the photographers permission for it to be used publicly, of course, but that came with a return of email. Bingo! An ambition had been achieved. I was so pleased.

I’d already sent it to life-long friend Harry Pearce, at Pentagram, so that we could discuss dimensions and etc., and I was thrilled by Harry’s first demos returned to me by PDF. The effect of having this in the bag, fifty years later, was so uplifting. There were one or two more back and forths between Harry and I, in which we questioned crops and fonts, but what had happened was serendipitous.

There is still a question that begs to be addressed however. Should a picture like this be used in a public arena? Does it derogate the intimate? Does a picture like this add to the seemingly mindless dilution of human integrity that is now profoundly global? Does it add to the possible diminution of human character that the internet multiplies every minute of every day? Is the act of being born diminished by such an image being so common? Were CBS right in 1967?  There are questions. Questions of honour. Questions of character.

There are questions of taste. There are questions of morality. Questions that a young man wanted to dig out in 1967. To ask questions of the world with. Can those old questions still be asked in the same way fifty years on? How many people, and particularly those of a fragile disposition, will this image offend? Was this that young man’s intension, in 1967, to offend those kind of people? All he remembers now is a will to go against the accepted grain. To expose the grain for what it was and still is. How unkind would that have been, to do it just to be offensive? He knows that he didn’t do that. His heart has never been like that. Not the heart he sees in the mirror anyway. Away away! Flee from the thought and have done with it.

Conversely, is birth not a reality? Isn’t it to be pictured in the way it is? Et al. I didn’t see it as a controversial image in 1967, and I still don’t; but that’s me. ‘Be careful what you wish for’. The old man whispers a cliché under his breath. It’s just a cliché, isn’t it?

1967 was a funny old year. It was the year before the revolutions. In some ways, it could be said that it was the calm before the storm. My writing in ’67 was seemingly far more parochial than was the fare of ’68. At the end of ‘67 I was writing McGoohan’s Blues.. but that’s another story.

‘Baby You’re A Rich Man’ was the B-side of the Beatles single of the same year, ‘All You Need Is Love’, which I thought at the time was fatuous. Opinion – The B-side is a much better song than the sugary A-side. On ‘Come Out Fighting Genghis Smith’ I criticised the A-side and used half a line from the B-side.. no one noticed.. … …. :—)

‘Oo mum, he said, does God go to bed
Or is he a rich man too
She said in a minute my son
I’ll box your bloody ears for you’

And instead of the flatulent ‘All You Need Is Love’, I reposted with..

All You Need Is
All you need
Is all
You
Need
Is

All You need Is Love is a great sentiment, and the song is clever, but on a personal level, I didn’t need to be knee deep in treacle at that moment.. Although, I have to say that I was a Beatles fan. Still am when I hear some of the songs from that era on the radio.

Meanwhile, was it tantamount to self harm to marry myself to such stark realities? Would the original sleeve idea have won through? Should I have absolutely fought for it at the time? Should I have fought harder for the future of those ideas? Speak up boy!

Pre-order Now…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apologies.. and Thanks.

I have to apologise to all of you who I might have confused or offended in my last posts. I let too much emotion loose when I said, ‘If the majority of the people want to be in long term debt with very high borrowing and all its attendant fiscal implications, then so be it’. It was a mistake to say that without qualifying it. It was a mistake anyway.

Here’s why I said that. For over 60 years I’ve witnessed this identity which is now called the EU in progress. It was initiated by the necessity for West Germany and France to bind themselves together after the Second World War in order to end the long history of European ‘civil’ wars that had raged and ravaged the continent for over a thousand years. It also became implicit to include the countries around France and West Germany in that union, so the original pact was made between six nations that bordered each other in north west Europe + Italy. Britain was not included. There were many reasons for this. Too many to include here.

Shortly after the inception of the original EEC, as it was then known, at the Treaty of Rome in 1957, Charles De Gaulle became the President of France and over the next years exercised inordinate control over the new European alliance. Britain was twice refused entry into the club during De Gaulle’s period in office. At one point in 1967, every British newspaper had a big headline declaring ‘NON’, accompanied by a head shot of De Gaulle. This was the start of GB being visibly excluded from the European club.

So, the European nation that had contributed more than any other to the defeat of Hitler was excluded from the ‘new’ Europe. There seemed to be a purposeful move to keep us out. At the time, a lot of us young people felt confused and insulted. There was a perceptible move by the French to veto us at every turn. I was personally disappointed and disillusioned. Weren’t we allies? De Gaulle became a very unpopular figure in Britain, the country that had sheltered him for the duration of the war. There are interpretations and opinions as to why this was the case. Many of them involve Anglo-USA versus the new France-West Germany and are not particularly relevant to this essay. Suffice to say that the time between De Gaulle and Juncker has often been visited with antagonism bordering on hostility between.. well, what appears to be two perceived different ways of life! Mmm. (c.160 years before this, Napoleon had disparagingly called the Brits “A nation of shopkeepers”).

The short story is that after many attempts we were allowed in, but the terms were always confused. ..Long story. There always seemed to be a disparity between what we owed them and what we received. And it’s never really been settled. So much so that for decades, you have to wonder about the legality of what’s happening in Brussels.

As far as I can see, GB is something of a cash cow for the EU. We’re the second biggest contributor, and have always seemed to give more than we receive, as if we’ve been awarded the role of net contributor ad infinitum. I have learned over the years not to trust the EU. I don’t need Farage to tell me this. I’m older than him. And although I might appreciate elements of what he’s done, I couldn’t give house room to either him or Aarron Banks.

So; the comeuppance of all of this is that I don’t want anything to do with the EU. I view the EU as being corrupt. More corrupt than the UK. Like all monolithic organisations, it cannot help being very highly impersonal. It seems as if the individual counts only as a virtual cypher in law, while the institution itself is necessarily insensitive. Meanwhile, at the top, there are a very wealthy elite who are creaming it off. They need to look into the mirror. They never will. In my opinion, the Brussels parliament is a club of high earners on multiple perks. Exactly the kind of body that should not be in charge of the cash. Perhaps the worst bit is that I don’t think that there’s any way that I could ever be persuaded to change that opinion.

My views on race have been well publicized for fifty years. I’m totally inclusive. For instance, if you have a regional British accent, you’re 100% British. If you have a regional French accent, you’re 100% French. Both are 100% European. If you’re in the process of acquiring any accent, at whatever age, you’re 100% human, regardless of colour or creed. 28 years ago, I was right to flag up a controversial religious movement that was going to impact Britain. I don’t regret doing that. I’ve done that since I first picked up a pen. My writing is inclusive. With a blank page in front of me I become everybody. Literally.

I’m not remotely attached to right wing politics, and I think that T May has now made it much more difficult to get the kind of deal from Europe that GB needs. She’s single-handedly devastated the power to negotiate that we had on June 7th. Much bargaining control has been lost. The Brussels mafia will be quietly overjoyed with the result of the June 8th General Election. We are now forced into doing more of the kind of deal they want to do because May has a wafer thin minority government whose constituents will not always agree to holding the line. (Against inadvertently being ripped off). Any weakness might even result in another election that could conceivably reverse the initial Brexit result and put GB at the complete mercy of the EU. I.e., in a worse position than we were before the Brexit referendum took place.

I don’t have a voice any longer, and I won’t even try to have one. Again, I apologise for the seemingly flippant manner that I’ve been responding to you with in recent days. I should not have said anything about GB possibly entering long term debt because of Corbyn’s populist manifesto. It’s just not my place any longer to say things like that, however much truth there may or may not be in them.

It’s right that austerity should be put to bed. It’s right that people should be at least made to feel better about their lot. It’s right that the minimum wage should be a wage that people can actually live on. Regardless of how much more tax the middle class might have to pay, or how the deficit will eventually affect living standards. If a Labour government becomes a fact of the near future, then I’m sure that all those things should be attempted. Really, who am I to even attempt to gainsay millions of voters? Democracy has to take place.

In saying this, I realise that I’m coming from a different place than most people. I’ve never depended on anyone other than myself. I’m not collegiate in the structures of my lifestyle. I’ve been a loner for 76 years. I mainly take decisions unilaterally. So I should not be consulted about anything. For the last 35 years I’ve never lived beyond my means. I’ve been lucky enough to hold onto being able to make a living without having to need credit. I’ve gone without rather than accept credit. I’d love credit, but it’s unacceptable to the way I live. It’s come close at times, but I’ve never gone into any debt. I’ve sold things when necessary, but times have gradually improved. I don’t have a pension. I rely on myself completely. In fact, I might as well be off-grid.. and soon will be, :)

In some way, I expect everyone else to be like me, but if I stand back for just a moment I realise how unrealistic that is. In many ways I’m frugal, and I’ve been in control of myself and what I consume for decades. Feast and famine, without much interference from the state at all. I pay taxes and live in the garden I’ve built from a rough piece of hillside, and I’m not politically correct; and never will be.

One final thought, GB might have made a big contribution to winning the last war but it’s consistently lost the peace, for what are now very obvious reasons, and it’s in dire danger of doing that again, without even knowing it. I know that I’m a fair person, but I have to forego staring into the abyss of social media for the foreseeable future. It just isn’t my place to alienate compatriots and friends unintentionally.

There’s much to say, but in my own case it’ll now be to the trees. My aim has always been to tell it as it is, although we know ‘it’s’ all opinion in any case. I am and will always count myself as a person of what has broadly become the left, and it’s to those ideals and social justice that I’ll always be beholden. Good luck everyone. From the heart, rh.

The Great Leaning on May

I’m happy for Left leaning politics if the exit poll is right. If the majority of the people want to be in long term debt with very high borrowing and all its attendant fiscal implications, then so be it. Even though the poorest people will not remotely know the difference. I would be over the moon to see the NHS totally funded and austerity banished. It would benefit my own position greatly, but I wouldn’t want to see the British population taken to the cleaners by the European Empire. Permanently. I would warn against that for the rest of my life. Yellow alert…

On a Mattress Near You

A couple of months ago I did an online quiz that purported to allegedly reveal my political orientation. There were about 50 questions that gave you the opportunity to choose a particular field of response, AND how strongly you felt about that, in five different ways, from ‘very’ to ‘not at all’, so it was potentially pretty revealing. It was an Irish quiz, so although you couldn’t say that it was written for a Brit to respond to, all the usual suspects were there. The right of centre party here is Fianna Fåil, pronounced ‘Fall’, while Sinn Féin is a kind of socialist party and Fine Gael is the conservative party. The other parties are the same as they are in Britain, with Labour heading the Greens, Solidarity – People before Profit, the Social Democrats and Independents.

So where was I going to fall? Well, as it turned out, the strongest of my connections was with the Labour Party, at 62%, While the weakest connection was with Fine Gael, (pronounced Feena Gwale, with an almost silent ‘w’ in there), at 39%. I expected it to be about 80/20, but of course it wasn’t. That would have been unrealistic. I thought about it for a moment or two, then I thought, ‘but essentially I’m Green’. Luckily, Green was in third place at 60%. All in the name of questioning myself.

Then, come May 21st, I had another strange revelation. I got ready to vote; or leastways, I thought that I was going to. But then; just as I was about to do it; I realised that I could only really vote Labour. I went away from it for an hour. I’d found out that if I didn’t vote this time, then I wouldn’t be able to vote ever again. Because there’d be more than fifteen years between my last vote and my next. This had a revelatory effect on me. I could see myself in the mirror, again… it wasn’t pretty. I had to ask myself whether it really was my world. Is it my place to vote at this age, when so many people don’t want the grey hairs to vote at all? After deliberating over it into the small hours of the morning, I decided that it wasn’t my place to vote any longer.

I based this on the fact that I’m living in one country while voting in another. Yes, I get to vote on local issues here, and I do vote, but I’m not allowed to vote in a general election. It’ll be the same for the Irish living in Britain. I could become an Irish citizen, but why would I go through that enormous hassle at this stage? So; I sat back the following day, and watched time drifting away from me. I thought about it a few times, but I came back to the same conclusion each time, and each time more quickly than the last. So that as night fell on the 22nd of May, it was just a passing thought. It was a little bit like a suicide, but in the end it was just a calm and gentle death. My British voting rights had died, while I looked on.

So I’m not going to vote in any general election any more. I took it out of my own hands. In the following days, I realised that I was now political flotsam. I’d forsaken yet another home. Something else that I’d participated in a lot of times in my life was now closed to me, and the door was bolted. And it was final. It was a leaving, an actual leaving. There was an almost morose feeling with that. Part of a dismantling of myself. I’ve been through it many times before. It’s part of me. It’s almost a will to loneliness. A deliverance from the pressure of others. It’s not cowardly, it’s just another step on a journey. It’s not a fulfilment of anything either, it’s just another place.

Then, like a huge swathe of other voters, I also realised that it didn’t matter anyway.. whether I lived or died or voted.. or not.. Then it occurred to me that one of the logical extensions of that was that it didn’t matter who I would have voted for, because Brexit was going to happen anyway. …Which is where the whole of Britain is right now. It doesn’t matter who you vote for; because the course is set. So.. everyone can now revert to type, or become a new type.. or walk away. None of us have to have an allegiance with any party we are not comfortable with because Brexit is happening, whatever.

So what do we have? Gurning Theresa versus The Man From Uncle. The vicar’s daughter versus the trillionaire who will splash the cash into the next boom, without ever knowing where it’s coming from. Or where it’s going to. The Oxford debating soc. versus the man from Paddy Power. St. Theresa versus Santa. With great uncle Vince trying to uncable his nostrils, in the wings. Oh, and Nicola taking off Rabbie Bruce sat in the corner watching the spiders frae mars bubbling in the batter.

Meanwhile, the ranch has been moved from Texas to Florida, which has cost about a billion dollars a square foot, recurring, recurring, multiplied by itself. While The Don himself is acting suspiciously like he’s in the proverbial bunker, still in titular charge, as ex-mayor Bloomberg makes a speech on the Reichstag steps suggesting that everything will continue as previously. That is, before the USA cut itself off from the rest of climate change. Which could easily become a series in the near future, to be aired on Sky Atlantis. ‘New Deal!’ An everyday story of the Pres continuing to pretend to shoot himself in the foot.. so that he doesn’t lose his ‘base’. Instinct will carry him through the trapdoor into the final of The Apprentice. Coming soon.

On a mattress near you.

I laughed. It was a single laugh. And in my head I walked away, into the garden. It was three in the morning and I could see the Milky Way, and billions of light years.

Lingua Franca

Juncker is a joke. He tries to have a go at the Brits by having a go at the English language. Playground stuff. Water off a duck’s back. There are circa a billion ducks who speak fluent Hollywood. He tells a room full of Italian Eurocrats, in English, that he’s going to address them in French, because English is going to lose it’s value in Europe from now on! Puppy shite. Tears will roll down English faces. They will be filled with remorse because of the decision they’ve made. They will deeply regret what they’ve done to the lovies in Europe. My arse. How childish? How feeble? But this is the quality of ‘negotiation’ that we can surely expect from an overblown ex-leader of Luxembourg. Actually, how parochial can you get?

Admittedly, May had gone OTT over alleged ‘details’ that were ‘leaked’ originating from a dinner she’d had with him and Brexit negotiator Barnier, as she accused Brussels of trying to interfere in the coming Brit election and etc., from the lectern in Downing St. She was obviously playing to UKIP voters and the right wing of her own party; while they were cat-calling and whistling at the girl.. from their local Euro scaffolding. Feeding her with “The Prime Minister will be barred from negotiating with her fellow leaders” and other friendly little barbs. Unreal regulations from the playground. Perhaps they don’t believe that she might just walk away. Unlikely, but after a couple of years of wolf whistling, who knows? Apparently Merkel stepped in yesterday (6/5/17?)to tell the old Plunger to cool off, and that ‘a friendly tone should be maintained’. (Der Spiegel reports the German Chancellor reacted angrily to the [Juncker’s] leak. Dei Welt said Ms Merkel believed the leak was unhelpful).

Juncker said that he was.. “Sad, very sad”, on the day that May sent the letter from Downing Street triggering Brexit. 29/3/17. So was I. A cloud descended over me because of the same old conflict. I know that I’m European, and I’m very sad to now be leaving the EU, personally. But the actual emotion soon turns to something akin to disdain. In so many ways I’m angry. Angry that they never took Cameron seriously, that he was too eager to please them. Sad that they seemed to be too arrogant to entertain him, or anything he was trying to say. What he was trying to say, and never quite got there with enough statesmanship to alert them, was that he had a cage of hyenas at home who weren’t going to react well to anything he brought back that didn’t at least make an effort to address their concerns. Dave was too kind of a man for the job. He wasn’t nasty enough. Verhofstadt’s Euro version of this is that apparently the Brit ‘remain’ side are to blame for not alerting their voters to what Europe was saying……. ! Mmm..

Dave also had an ineffective opposition who were visibly imploding, a sizeable minority of whom were Europhobic in any case, including their leader, Corbyn. And no one, but NO ONE in power had any clue that the greater half of the British population, and a bigger majority of the English, were totally fed up with Europe. To the back teeth, and had been for decades.

Every consideration was either over or under estimated. Would the vast majority vote to stay in? Of course they would. Would Cameron be able to put Farage in his place? Don’t be stupid.. Of course he would, etc., etc. But lots of people who’d seen Dave come back from Brussels virtually empty handed saw the same thing they’d always seen when it came to Europe. Immutability would aptly describe it. There was a detectable arrogance that naturally comes with power. They didn’t properly realise that the worst could actually happen. No one thought for a minute, not them, not us, that we would actually get up and leave. Had they properly considered that, they would have made a greater effort. If not for any other reason than that they too have a lot to ‘lose’, apparently.

But even though many of the EU magnates IQs are in the region of 200, they were too blinded by their own perceived strength to be able to use that so-called intelligence. What a shame. I feel it again today. I really feel it, although I know that it’s a passing feeling. I never liked the Brussels institution; I detested a lot of it, especially the attitude, but did I really want to leave it? Well, probably, but I had thought that negotiation was the best way forward. I was never sure about the ability Brussels had to listen though, or for that matter, to hear. For lots of reasons. I didn’t even try to vote. I was far too conflicted.. Then the referendum happened, and there were a lot of people who’d obviously felt a lot stronger about it than I did.

The reaction of the ‘remain’ contingent was predictable in the circumstances. After all, they’d seemingly been defeated by people who they’d always perceived to be less ‘intelligent’ than themselves. They came out of the woodwork everywhere assuming, just because you appeared to be on the same side as Farage, that you were thick. Or a tory right winger, or worse, a UKIP voter. Or worse still, a racist! And that you’d senselessly, unintelligently destroyed their lives… their world. And they cried ‘foul’ for what seemed like centuries on TV, and are still doing so.

Let me say this.. ONCE.. AND CLEARLY..

WAKE UP! All of you (who will never read any of this in any case). The people who are carrying Brexit to the only end it can now go to ARE ALL STILL ON BOARD. They’re cognisant, and they’re immovable. They will stay with it until it’s done. And I’m now one of them. We are LEAVING Europe. We are determined not to allow any fence-sitting nimbies, or derelict wishy-washers to set another course. BREXIT has absolutely NOTHING to do with party politics. It’s way above and beyond that. BREXIT is not Conservative, it’s not Labour, and it’s certainly not Lib-Dem. It stands for NOT Fannying around any more. It stands up for standing together against The Empire.

“But”, I hear you say, “This hands the conservatives a whacking majority in the new parliament that means that they can pass things like the ‘snoopers charter’.” Yes, but Manchester and Liverpool can begin the fightback at local level. It’s going to be a long hard fight to get Apple etc., and globalised industry to recognise what part they can play, HAVE TO PLAY, in securing actual social justice in a new Northern, Eastern, Western and even Southern construct of local government, everywhere. I’ve steered away from using the word ‘powerhouse’, but there are a couple of green shoots appearing after the local elections of May 2017, in spite of Corbynism.

The next National parliament is already sacrificed to the only majority who can handle Brexit. The fact that it’s Conservative by party is better than any other solution or combination at this moment. It would be diluted, weakened, misappropriated and rendered meaningless by any other combination of screaming genuflectors. When Brexit is done and dusted the Con government is going to have to live up to what it has to do as necessity to hang onto power in the election following this one. Otherwise, dependant on opposition leadership, it will quickly be removed. The coming ‘boundary changes’ might have little effect on a population that now knows how effective it can be when it comes to activating change. Party now means a lot less than it did even a year ago. Once you’ve flipped, it’s becomes much easier to do so again. At any given opportunity. If the electorate doesn’t want to see the NHS run into the ground, they are now much more empowered to vote against that. And a more inspiring leader than either Corbyn or May might prioritise that. More on that later, perhaps.

May has now taken over the centre ground. To hold on to it, she must espouse social and centrist causes. Her party must be in it FOR the people, NOT for the party, and least of all for themselves. If they stray from the wishes of the majority of the people, they will be removed. I believe that Theresa May knows this.

I admire Corbyn. I see him in the mirror every day. He’s a decent man with good values, but he’s not up to this job, he privately argues with his own best intentions, (and thinks ‘who doesn’t?’), and it’s time for him to retire. Farron has to LEAVE, no two ways about it. That contingent are misrepresented by him. Sturgeon has to get back into the water… (no, don’t go there roy). A united Ireland? Well, conceivable, but Ireland might be content with both worlds on the doorstep, who knows? Whatever, a genuine people’s party might eventually emerge from the ashes, but that seems like an antiquated idea now. Politics is surely all about single issues now. One party cannot hope to contain all the disparate messages being sent by the millions to the speakers chair. At PMQs, every week, we see just how diluted very needy causes can become. Ok, so parties mean potentially less anarchy, but the dilution of serious issues is plain for all to see. A parliament is a wonderful ambition, and we have one of the best, but it falls a long way short of representing ALL of the people for even some of the time. Meanwhile, Merkel probably has the right attitude to Brexit. At this moment, the rest is immaterial.

The French are voting tonight. I’ll be watching it. Most of the French people don’t want either candidate to win. They’re as split as the Brits, but they have a different problem. One of their two choices is unacceptable, while the other is part of The Empire. Hobson’s choice. A lot of ballot papers will either be ‘spoiled’ or just left ‘blanc’…. And there’ll be on-going turmoil. The French are still waiting for that defining vote. The vote ‘for’ or ‘against’ The Empire. The Empire is going to be unwilling to let them have that vote, so the French are going to have to work at getting through the maze. There’ll be millions of frustrated people in France tonight. There might not be a choice for them right now, but someday there will be. They just have to get the system changed. After that, when it becomes possible, it’s probable that Europe will reboot a more feasible trading federation. Give it about 30+ years and a couple of currency wobbles. Pipe dream #2. It shouldn’t be like this, but what should it be like. A lot of great minds have tried to answer that one. Off the cuff, I’d have to think.. the simpler the better.. Does that seem too glib? I’ll work on it then..

I should write a little about me and France perhaps… tbc