2019 in 12 postings – And what a sad year for progressives

2019 must go down in politics as a really sad year for anyone who describes themselves as a progressive. That the UK has become more isolationist and racist is regretfully a given but for me as a passionate internationalist our frankly bizarre decision to become at best semi-detached from our European neighbours both economically and politically is profoundly depressing. I’m reminded of the play ‘Brick up the Mersey Tunnel’ as 2019 could easily be the start of us, at least in the abstract, bricking up the Channel Tunnel.

Anyway here’s my year; some big issues, some matters close to my heart and some personal reflections:-

January – Elected Mayors – too many and too costly tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/01/20/metro-mayor-tax-another-call-on-your-pocket/

February – Why we have a housing crisis on our hands tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/02/20/council-housing-social-housing-housing-associations-whats-gone-wrong-and-why-we-have-a-housing-crisis-on-our-hands/

March – HS2 the Brexit of the railway world tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/03/16/being-anti-hs2-is-a-bit-like-brexit-its-all-about-the-rose-tinted-past/

April – Rotten Boroughstonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/04/23/local-elections-are-rotten-boroughs-creeping-back-into-out-creaking-democracy/

As an aside I still remember a remark made to me on the day that I became Leader of Sefton Council in 2004. It was in the form of a question to me along the lines of ‘what’s the most important thing for the Leader of Sefton Council to do? Answer – Keep the Council out of the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ page of Private Eye!

Michael Portillo with Frank Hornby Trust Chairman Les French as seen on TV.

May – Time to celebrate in 2020 – 100 years of Hornby ‘O’ Gauge trains tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/05/27/maghull-2020-will-be-100-years-since-the-towns-most-famous-resident-brought-his-o-gauge-trains-to-the-market/

June – Still getting the local housing market wrong! tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/06/22/sefton-council-draft-strategic-housing-market-assessment-update-2019/

I realise that the link within the article no longer works

July – Co-option is not democratic, just stop it tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/07/14/melling-theres-a-price-to-pay-for-democracy-but-surely-its-better-than-co-option/

August – Air conditioning in shops and cafes an environmental disaster tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/08/26/supermarkets-cafes-shops-turn-down-or-even-better-turn-off-your-air-conditioning-shut-that-fridge-door/

September – A look back at New Heartlands in Bootle tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/09/04/bootle-newheartlands-pathfinder-housing-initiative-a-look-back/

October – The late great Isaac Hayes with Donald Byrd tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/10/25/isaac-hayes-the-master-jointly-cut-a-track-id-missed-back-in-1981/

Norman Lamb

November – Norman tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/11/06/norman/

December – Tactical voting (by progressives) did not work tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/12/16/why-peoples-vote-and-other-tackical-voting-orgs-sites-got-so-much-wrong/

So that, for me, was 2019 – a year when housing policy/practice remained far removed from the reality of our housing crisis, when the very real crisis of climate change took a back seat to the made up crisis of Brexit and when the crisis within progressive politics was exposed as much by our warped electoral system as by the lack of leadership from progressives. A year to forget unless of course you back the politics of the right and far right…….

Barry White & Love Unlimited Orchestra – Love’s theme

If you’re of a certain age this could have been the theme tune to your youth if you were into soul music in 1973:-

www.youtube.com/watch?v=0If2j-egRm8

Barry White, sometimes referred to as the poor man’s Isaac Hayes, with his only well known instrumental track which still sounds great many years on from its launch into music legend.

Just take a minute to look at all those session musicians in the orchestra. They probably earned just a few Dollars for their performance whilst White would have been cashing it in so to speak.

A piece that Maghull Wind Orchestra could take on I wonder?

My top 10 live music performances

My good friend and fellow blogger Phil Holden often posts about music and occasionally I do too. In recent times I have really begun to appreciate that the only way you can tell really great musicians is by how they perform live, so here are my 10 best live performances, in no particular order:-

Bobby WomackI Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much
www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2NXqi2xBBo

Candy DulferDon’t Go
www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_5ccXi2RCs

Isaac Hayes & Soul II SoulPapa was a Rollin’ Stone
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppleGn1LppM

Cris ReaJosephine
www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaXbs6nN8OY

Joan Osborne & The Funk Brothers – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted
www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA0GcXV2njY

Snake Davis Band – Going home – Theme from Local Hero
www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJM5w9utmt4

Isaac Hayes – ‘Your love is so doggone good’ from Wattstax 1972
I can’t track down a live video of this song so here’s the album version which, whilst being good, does not have the raw energy of the live performance at Wattstax in 1972 that’s available on CD
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-oHYHVbRHk

Keiko Matsui – Forever, Forever
www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzqsWxau_gI

The Rippingtons – She likes to watch
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7en3HLWcq3w

Bob James – Mind Games
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP52BVOlbtM

For a bit on context I’ve seen Issac Hayes, The Rippingtons, Chris Rea, The Funk Brothers, Bob James and The Snake Davis Band live over the years.

Isaac Hayes – ‘Your love is so doggone good’ from Wattstax 1972

The other day I was asked by friends Brian Keoghan and Chris Reilly what my favourite song/tune of all time is.

I found it hard to answer at the time as there are so many great songs that I like but after some consideration I am plumping for Isaac Hayes live version of ‘Your love is so doggone good’ written by Difosco Ervin & Rudy Love. The version I refer to is the one from Isaac’s set at Wattstax in 1972. There’s a studio version of it on his Black Moses double album of 1971 but I like the raw energy of the one from the Wattstax set.

Here’s a link to Isaac’s Wattstax album, the track is at 20min 30sec.*

www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcJ2KPDtbt8&t=184s

If you want to know about the significance of the Wattstax concerts this Wikipedia link is quite informative:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wattstax

* Sadly the youtube video has since been deleted

My life heroes – Kennedy x 2, Randall and Hayes

www.libdemvoice.org/jim-wallaces-inaugural-charles-kennedy-memorial-lecture-charles-legacy-should-be-a-call-to-refresh-our-radicalism-48337.html#utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=email

Without having to think too deeply my life heroes will easily trip off my tongue; music – Isaac Hayes, cricket – Derek Randall and 2 Kennedy’s (Ludovic and Charles).

Isaac Hayes introduced me to soul and funk around 1970 and I never tire of listening to his music, especially when driving. To Be Continued must be the best of his albums; strings, brass and his deep southern cotton belt voice.

Derek Randall was the jack in a box Nottinghamshire cricketer who played many test matches for England. Probably the best fielder of his generation world-wide I loved to watch him on TV, although Geoff Boycott broke my heart when he ran Derek out at Trent Bridge!

But what about the 2 Kennedy blokes and no one was not a former President of the USA. My Kennedy chaps are Ludovic and of course Charles. Ludovic’s writings brought home to me two things, that our legal/justice system gets things horribly wrong at times and he opened my eyes (which were already hugely sceptical of religion) to being an atheist.

index

Charles Kennedy was probably the best left of centre political leader that we have seen in the UK in a very long time and like the former Truro MP David Penhaligon he did not seem to have a genuine enemy in the world. When Charles died earlier this year the world stopped and took notice for a moment. This was not just another party political hack that had died it was Charles Kennedy.

The link at the top of this posting is to a memorial lecture given by former Orkney and Shetland MP Jim Wallace in praise of Charles Kennedy. It is long but if you have the time it is worth the time.