Althea review

Althea Came First review
Documentary Rating: ***
Buff Film Festival 2016
Odeon Swiss Cottage
London NW3
Tuesday 20th September 2016

Rex Miller – Director/Producer/Cinematographer
Elizabeth Haviland James – Editor/Producer

Althea is the story of Althea Gibson, the first African-American champion tennis player. Life for her began as a truant from the rough streets of Harlem. However upon discovering and developing her talent for tennis the documentary shows how she improbably turned herself into the most unlikely queen of the highly segregated tennis world of the 1950’s.

Althea’s life and achievements transcend sports. The documentary depicts the struggles she had in playing and earning a living in a sport where there was no money to be earned from playing – not even at the highest levels. Furthermore it clearly shows the trials and tribulations of trying to make it in a white dominated sport and during a time when racism and segregation was everywhere in America. I admired the fact she didn’t let this overly bother her or rule her life and just got on with being the best player she could be.

“They hadn’t seen Black people before. They didn’t know they could play tennis.”

Althea Gibson

Althea Gibson

Althea’s is an amazing story and a fine documentary, meticulously put together by Rex Miller and Elisabeth Haviland James, that clearly shows the journey from up coming player to tennis star. At times it was a little too slow moving, but as it moves along the interest levels greatly increase. The latter sections of the film are somewhat of a surprise as you realise that, totally unlike the vast riches available to the best professional players today, in the 1950s and 1960s there were no such fortunes to be earned. Its quite tragic as we are used to, in fact expect the best players in the world, at whatever sport, to be well remunerated for their talents.

I loved the fact she was so multi-talented. Her skill set wasn’t just in tennis, but she became a pro-golfer and recorded jazz albums using her lovely singing voice. I guess she basically had to find other avenues to make a living. There was some fine humour in it too, particular from her British tennis playing friend Angela Buxton, who features quite prominently and told a particularly memorable story about one night in Althea’s love life that in no uncertain terms put to bed rumours she might have been gay!

Althea is an inspirational story that needed telling. As we approach Black History Month in Britain this documentary is a timely reminder of a great African-American sportswomen who is often overlooked.

Althea was hosted by the Buff Film Festival and Akua Gyamfi, Editor of British Black List, who expertly facilitated a post screening Q&A with Rex Williams. It was part of a closing night double-header of Buff Film Festival 2016 films which also included the drama, ‘Residential: The Only Way Out is In’ about the world of crime and consequences.

© Tiemo Talk of the Town

Achievements

  • Althea won the French Open (1956), Wimbledon (1957, 1958), French Open doubles (1956, 1957, 1958), and the US Open (1957, 1958).
  • She was the first African –American to win these championships.
  • In her entire career, she won 11 major titles.
  • She won the Female Athlete Award in 1957, and again in 1958.She was also the 1st African- American to win this award.
  • She also received the NCAA’s highest honor, the Theodore Roosevelt Award in 1991.

Source: Tori from Peach Tree

Links:

  1. Seven Reasons Why Serena Williams Isn’t The Greatest of all Time – 13th July 2015
Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Residential – The Only Way Out is In

World Exclusive: Residential film review
Film Rating: ***
The Only Way Out Is In
Buff Film Festival 2016
UK and World Premiere
Odeon Swiss Cottage
London NW3
Tuesday 20th September 2016

Writer/Producer/Director – Kenneth “Demus” Pascall
Executive Producers – Lawrence Coke and Chris Goldfinger
Production Designer – Channelle Needham

Demus Pascall’s debut feature Residential, starring Aubrey Whyte, Juanita Ingram, Jevon Brown, Bola Oke, Louis Jordan and Lawrence Brown, received its UK and World Premiere at the closing night of the British Urban Film Festival 2016 in London.

residential-film-poster

Residential is a London based yardie drama that follows the journey into the deep and cold blooded mind of Bolo, (played by Aubrey Whyte) a paranoid sociopath with a vision to set up life back home in Jamaica with his family. Bolo’s days on the streets of South London as a prolific ‘Don’ have expired and he realises it’s time to step down but not before agreeing to do ‘one more’ drug transaction with Kingston Jamaica’s most wanted person of interest, ‘Fats’.

Bolo plans to fully legitimise himself with the profits never to look back but things take an ugly turn when his childhood friend ‘Freshers’ is mysteriously gunned down in a vicious set up, forcing him to return to the life that he’s been trying to escape from, not knowing that an unexpected fate awaits him that will shake the foundations of everything that he’s ever believed in.

Whilst I wasn’t thrilled about watching yet another gangster film, Residential proved to be a highly watchable, earthy, London centred drama about a group of Jamaicans and their world of crime and consequences. It was, as you would expect, very violent in parts, but also tugged at the emotions as you observed Bola seeking to get out of the gangster lifestyle and battle to ensure his son didn’t follow in his footsteps.

Residential is a very exciting film with lots of glamour and beautiful night time aerial shots over Brixton, Croydon and London and Kingston, Jamaica.  The unexpected twist in the film was something else. In a funny way, part of the appeal of the film for someone not a fan of such films, is that is doesn’t glamourise gangster life in a way that perhaps Legend (2015) did and producer Kenneth “Demus” Pascall was keen to emphasise that in the post screening Q&A.

There were plenty of fine, passionate performances from a wonderful cast, which comprised a combination of experience actors with up and coming actors. Residential was hosted by Comedian Travis Jay & Akua Gyamfi, Editor of British BlackList, who skillfully facilitated a post screening Q&A with the writer, director, producer and cast.

This UK and world premiere screening was part of a closing night double-header of Buff Film Festival 2016 films which also included a documentary about tennis superstar Althea Gibson.

Review and photos below @ Tiemo Talk of the Town

Links:

  1. Althea the documentary – 24th September 2016
  2. Legend: The Krays – movie review – 8th September 2015
  3. Ghettalife – 15th September 2012
Residential cast and Director during Q&A at Odeon Swiss Cottage

Residential cast and Director Kenneeth Pascall (3rd from right), Travis Jay (in red jacket) during Q&A at Odeon Swiss Cottage

Residential cast on stage during Q&A Odeon Swiss Cottage

Residential cast and Director on stage during Q&A at Odeon Swiss Cottage

Posted in Film Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Did Corbyn Get Away With Wearing the S Word?

A strange thing happened this week. Jeremy Corbyn went to a boxing gym (Caris Boxing Club, Finsbury Park, North London) on Sunday 18th September and did a little sparring. The press were out in full force and un-surprisingly photos of the 67 year old Labour Leader made the front page of many national newspapers the following day, including The Daily Mirror, Daily Telegraph and The Times.

Not only was it a shock to see Jeremy Corbyn sparring, even more shocking was the brand name of the gloves he was wearing. SAMBO. Incredibly, hardly anyone seems to have picked up on this and it’s extremely fortunate for Corbyn that no one did. Talk about poor judgement. Maybe it’s a cultural thing as it’s not a word you ever hear these days and perhaps peoples have forgotten, but growing up being called Sambo was right up there with the N word. It was every bit as blatantly, racistly insulting as being called the N word. It’s therefore somewhat surprising that Corbyn’s not been taken to task on this.

Jeremy Corbyn at Caris Boxing Gym

Jeremy Corbyn at Caris Boxing Club

Perhaps he has too many friends in the press and they decided to let this one slide and not allow something as trivial as wearing racist branded gloves get in the way of his “coronation” in the final week of the labour leadership contest.

Nonetheless for him to wear them shows a lack of judgement and insensitivity on his and his advisors part. I appreciate he might not be aware of the loaded meaning of the word, but surely someone in his circle (and at Caris Boxing Club for that matter) should have known and advised him against wearing those gloves. I don’t actually have reason to believe he is racist, but it does add credence to claims he turns a blind eye to various forms of discrimination including the virulent anti-Semitism which appears to be rife in the party and has been suffered by many Jewish MPs. If he and his advisors can do that it’s unsurprising he had no problem donning a pair of SAMBO boxing gloves.

Whatever you think of Corbyn he’s certainly a fighter and has absorbed a great number of heavy personal blows since the Brexit vote 3 months ago that would have felled many an opponent. It’s quite admirable that he’s stood up for his principles and that of the grass roots membership who appointed him as leader and has doggedly and determinedly fought for the right to continue as their Labour leader. I suspect he will win by a clear knock out against rival Owen Smith today. It would be even better going forward if he could show sounder judgement, leadership and stronger punching power to deal a decisive blow to the anti-Semitism and racism troubling Labour members, supporters and minorities outside the party looking for strong opposition to this and to her majesty’s government.

@ Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photograph @ SWNS

Caris boxing club presents an evening of boxers from different clubs getting together and sparring in aid of raising money for local charities and raising awareness on homelessness, addiction and troubled youth.

Many boxing legends are due to appear on the show such Frank Bruno and many more British boxing legends. Food and drink will be available on the night.

The Big Spar, a fundraising night of boxing is on Saturday, October 8, at Pooles Park, North London. It starts at 6pm and tickets are £10.

Links:

  1. Brexit Fallout – Who’s Laughing Now? – Post Brexit analysis – 29th June 2016
  2. Fury over Fury – Tyson Fury furore over christianity – 26th February 2016
  3. A Load of Old Maloney – Frank Malone on transgender issues – 31st August 2014

 

 

Posted in News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Noble in the Bunker

Comedy Bunker
Star rating: **
Ruislip Golf Club
West Ruislip HA4
Sunday 18th September 2016

In what can best be described as Ross Noble’s weird hour, like a mad pilot he took his audience on numerous flights of fancy largely based on whatever grabbed his attention, be it  audience members who caught his eye or the golf club venue. You could say whimsical comedy is very much par for the course with Mr Noble, but having seen a lot better from him over the years, I found this performance to be distinctly sub-par.

There were flashes of brilliance when he riffed about a woman drinking both wine and water or the quality of the shoes and clothes she was wearing. Similarly the catchphrase he created out of nothing was impressive, but there were too many lulls and it just seemed to be a bit all over the place, as if he was making it up as he went along. Maybe, hopefully, he was saving his best for his forthcoming national tour and decided just to do a whole set based on audience improvisation and banter. Which can be fine if it works. It’s much less appealing if it doesn’t. On this occasion the route to the ultimate goal of laughter was less clear, moreso when even Noble is probably just as in the dark as the audience as to if and where the punch lines will arrive.

Ross Noble

Ross Noble

Some evidence of this was in the flagrant use of mobile phones by two audience members sitting not more than 3 rows from the front! One was checking up on his babysitter (which lead to some brilliant, innovative jokes) and another, even more weirdly was texting her flatmate about the laundry! I think the mundanity of this put his nose out of joint somewhat. To think that in just a one hour show people couldn’t forget about their ordinary home life and put away their phones. Maybe it was a reflection on their interest levels in the show, but still very rude and uncalled for all the same, especially in clear sight of the performer. Perhaps Dave Chappelle was onto something when he banned all mobile phones from his London shows two weeks ago.

@ Tiemo Talk of the Town

Ross Noble – Brain Dump tour starts on 27th September and  continues until 17th December 2016.

The brilliant Omid Djalli is next on the Comedy Bunker stage, Tuesday 20th September 2016.

Posted in Comedy Reviews, Comedy Reviews 2016 | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Dave Chappelle Bans Mobile Phones in Brixton

Star Rating ****
Dave Chappelle Bans Mobile Phones in Brixton and Camden Town
Electric Brixton
London SW2
Tuesday 6th September 2016

Having never before undertaken a UK tour, last year Dave Chappelle performed seven eagerly anticipated sold out Hammersmith Apollo shows. Last week he returned to our shores for eight impromptu “intimate” shows. You couldn’t say they were eagerly anticipated (well they were, but not for very long) as for some inexplicable reason the shows were only announced with one week’s notice, on Wednesday 31st August!

I have no idea why the short notice for these impromptu gigs but it’s in keeping with his character of doing the un-expected. What he did do, as expected, was deliver a very funny, often thought provoking hour long set covering a wide range of largely politically themed comedy, spanning Brexit, the US elections, the victimisation and killing of African-Americans, African-American culture, as well as transgender issues.

At this first show (there were two per night between 6th – 9th September), Chappelle was largely exercised by the on-going plight of African-Americans being targeted and killed by Police and made his points with good humour, pondering why on earth some people are only just realising that people’s live’s are precious to them and they’d quite like to be left alone to go about their business and not be shot dead for no good reason. You got the sense that even though he is successful, famous and wealthy he wasn’t any safer; his skin colour marking him out as no different to any other African-American. Certainly not it would appear to him in the eyes of gun toting, trigger happy US cops. Alongside his many other thoughts on the subject, this was quite poignant.

Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle

Highlighting how out of control gun control is, he humorously and succinctly pointed out the absurdity that even a blind man can quite easily purchase a gun in America!

Notwithstanding this, he concluded with a note of hope, comparing the present crisis to a bad marriage. He was confident that America will work it out as deep down Americans understand and care for one another. America has to make it work, he said.

Considering purchase of a ticket came with a long list of demands – no mobile phones, no talking during the show, no heckling or calling out of any kind, no loud breathing (OK, I made that bit up) it was a pleasant surprise when he invited questions from the audience. On the topic of the US elections he was surprised that Hilary Clinton wasn’t out of sight in the opinion polls compared to Donald Trump. He reckoned she needed to do something quite outlandish to secure a bigger lead and victory. The vividly crude suggestion he had was certainly way out there to say the least and had the audience heartily laughing away. Joking aside, that’s an interesting observation, as compared to Trump she hasn’t really said much in the way of stand out comments and actions during her campaign. Then again, neither did Theresa May in her short campaign to become Conservative Leader and Prime Minister and it did her no harm! Maybe the days of the loud, bombastic politicians carrying all before them are over.

Kanye West gets a mention in passing, as does France. Whilst Chappelle felt for the terrible time France has been going through in recent years with terrorism he couldn’t help but wonder if they’re possibly bringing this upon themselves and aren’t helping matters with actions like the recent ban on wearing burkini’s on French beaches. Oh the irony of causing offence by covering up! How times have changed.

chappellebrixtonelectric

 

Mobile Phones Banned 

The contradictions didn’t end there. Whilst signs in the Electric Brixton clearly stated no smoking for its patrons, Dave Chappelle merrily chain smoked his way through his show.
Mobile phones were banned with threats to evict anyone caught using one. This applied to all Electric Brixton and Camden Electric Ballroom gigs. I don’t think anyone took that risk as attendees were given sealed pouches to contain their phones until the show concluded. Whilst I didn’t miss not having mine to hand, it did add considerably to creating the lengthy queues and additional time taken to get into the venue. However it was refreshing to observe the whole audience focused on the show or talking to one another during the intervals rather being than hunched over their mobiles.

Whist there was plenty to admire, the show often seemed unstructured and a little all over the place, literally so at one point when he tripped and nearly fell over. Fortunately he recovered well with a good ad lib.

Chappelle seemed very laid back adopting a curious leg stretched out stance throughout the show and regularly laughed away at his own jokes. Nothing wrong with that per se but it seemed a bit OTT to be doing it as frequently as he did. It was a very enjoyable show, but for the price charged, a whopping  £74, I didn’t consider it very good value for money, especially considering that some of our biggest names like Michael McIntyre and John Bishop charge around £50-60 a ticket and deliver 2 hour long shows in top quality arenas. Sadly the quality delivered in this show overall just wasn’t in that league. Neither did the quality of the venue merit such a hefty price tag.

Kojo and Wil Sylvince

The two support acts, Londoner Kojo and Haitian comedian Wil Sylvince (now resident in New York) were good, although Sylvince was at times a little too crude with his humour, but overall delivered some fine, original material. Kojo also garnered plenty of laughs, but it was a bit of a surprise that he repeated a couple of jokes from last year’s Chappelle shows. Considering he was the support act then, was only on for 5 minutes this time and that people had paid up to £74 for a ticket it didn’t feel right.

Dave Chappelle is a master at translating acute observations of the US political scene into excellent, thought provoking laugh out loud comedy , his infrequent stand up performances are always going to be a must see event. Many will have been delighted that he performed in London, but it would be even better next time if he toured all over the country. After all, there is more to England than London!

@ Tiemo Talk of the Town

Links

  1. Armed Police Can’t Stop Attacks – Tiemo Opinion – London Evening Standard –  8th August 2016
  2. Brexit  Fall Out – Who’s Laughing Now? – 29th June 2016
  3. 3.5 Minutes, Ten Bullets – Film Review – 10th October 2015
  4. Dave Chappelle – London Hammersmith Apollo review – 18th July 2015
Posted in Comedy Reviews, Comedy Reviews 2016, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Armed Police Can’t Stop Attacks

Last Wednesday 3rd August 2016 the London Evening Standard displayed a terrifyingly stark front page featuring four Robocop style Met Police Officers.

Armed to the teeth in a show of military strength. Inside there was a detailed breakdown of all their artillery. This would keep Londoner’s safe was the clear message, despite Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe past comments that it was a case of not if, but when terror strikes the capital.

Armed Met Police

Armed Met Police

 

Horrifically, a tragic incident later that very same evening exposed the futility of such a strategy as a rampaging knifeman cut to shreds the Met Police’s show of military level strength which they and the Mayor of London hoped would give reassurance to Londoner’s.

A letter I wrote about this is published in today’s London Evening Standard, p41, Monday 8th August 2016.

The article is but an extract of the full article below. The essence is there but it omitted one key message re the requirement, in my view, to target mental health, which is more often than not a key feature of mass killings in USA, France and the smaller scale attacks witnessed in England. It’s quite ironic, symbolising all that’s wrong with the approach taken by the authorities, that the paper overlooked the key element of my article!

In the past week today’s paper reports that 5 other people have been stabbed to death in the last 7 days alone in the capital. Sadly, armed police didn’t prevent any of those losses of life, which further highlights the impotency of the Met Police’s strategy.

Met Police Robocops and Mayor of London fail to Protect Londoners

Last Wednesday 3rd August 2016 the London Evening Standard displayed a terrifyingly stark front page featuring four Robocop style Met Police Officers. Armed to the teeth in a show of military strength. Inside there was a detailed breakdown of all their artillery. This would keep Londoner’s safe was the clear message, despite Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe past comments that it was a case of not if, but when terror strikes the capital.

 

Well we didn’t have to wait long as the very SAME day terror struck in Russell Square leaving one unfortunate US tourist dead, Mrs Darlene Horton from Florida and 5 others badly injured as a young man went on a violent rampage.

Darlene Horton

Darlene Horton

Whilst I don’t doubt the Metropolitan Police have and will continue to foil many attacks in the capital, the fact of the matter is they failed this time. The fact of the matter is they cannot prevent such an attack, any more than they seemingly cannot prevent youth knife crime murders by schoolboys and young men.

No amount of intelligence or armed presence can stop a random, lone individual who is not on their radar. They can of course respond. Anyone can after the event. It’s not their fault of course, but that’s just too late. Rather than squander so much money, time and energies on defence on the ‘war on terror’, a better strategy would be for our political and law enforcement leaders to invest their resources in a refocused priority to tackle instead, or rather simultaneously, The Rise in Mental Health issues, which is killing more people in the Western world than Islamic terrorism ever has.

Recognising it, diagnosing it, treating it – both for children and especially un-diagnosed adults, for whom access to mental health treatment is woeful is vital. More often than not so many of the tragedies here and in America have clearly been rooted in unresolved, severe, mental health issues. Regardless of other extremist opinions some may carry this is the underlying factor that needs tackling if the authorities are to reduce the number of future tragedies.

Mayor Khan Fails Londoner’s
London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote an opinion piece in the Evening Standard (04.08.16), yet he failed on so many areas it was as shocking and as blatantly clear as the previous day’s front page.

Don’t change your plans he told Londoner’s. Carry on your daily business as normal. Yet he reportedly immediately left his Mediterranean holiday (abandoned his family?) to immediately return to London. Why? What could he possible do AFTER the event?

He said his #1 priority is to keep London safe to be prepared for any eventuality, that the police were doing all they can to prevent and respond to any attack. Yet he and the police failed to do so on Wednesday night and I fail to see what value there was for the victims in his breaking his holiday.

He said we mustn’t jump to conclusions? Yet he did so in returning immediately! Jumping to the wrong conclusion at that. We don’t need a showboating Mayor. We need one that’s going to get to the root of the problem and deal with it. He’s new in the role and I wish him the very best of luck. He’s going to need it.

Whether its mental health or terrorism related outrages, lessons must be learned, but as last Wednesday night showed, arming our police to the teeth and declaring war on an unknown enemy is not the solution.

Article © Michael Peters, Editor, Tiemo Talk of the Town
Photographs © Evening Standard

I welcome your comments.

Links:

  1. Anti- Knife Crime fundraiser –  Standing up to Knife Crime at the Hammersmith Apollo – 19th October 2015
  2. The Cross and The Switchblade – Book review – 17th February 2015
Posted in Legal, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Brexit fallout – Who’s laughing now?

So it happened. The unexpected outcome of the EU Referendum. We’re out of the EU and EURO 2016 – which is one thing all sides would agree was not part of the masterplan! Or are we definitely out of the EU? I’m not so sure. More of that later.

The country and its media is acting like it’s surprised but why, as we all knew it was going to be a close call and that there were strong arguments for both REMAIN and LEAVE?

First things first, we have to congratulate the LEAVE campaign (all LEAVE campaigns, both official and so called unofficial one’s) for their clear victory at the ballot box last Friday. When all is said and done, forget the polls, the ballot box outcome is the only public opinion that matters. Whilst I voted for and would have much preferred for the UK to remain IN, one cannot deny that LEAVE won the argument fair and square. The contest turned into the heavyweight contest everyone predicted when Boris Johnson nailed his colours to the LEAVE camp back on February 21st, 2016. It’s no wonder Cameron responded bitterly in the House of Commons at the first opportunity he had. He assumed he was going into battle with his ‘Ronaldo’ only to find he’d switched sides at the last minute.

Why did BREXIT win?

It’s incredible and shows just how convincing an argument LEAVE made that they defeated what should have been an unbeatable ‘interim’ coalition, if I dare to use that word, comprising all the leading political parties who showed a rare display of unity. Well officially at least. The Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP and Green party all backed REMAIN, so how on earth did they lose?

Boris Johnson MP

Boris Johnson MP

There was no one over riding reason, more a culmination of issues – immigration, loss of sovereignty, control of our legislation, borders and the economy – the £350m a week going to the EU all struck a chord with a majority of the British public. Regardless of the accuracy or not of that figure, for years the message given out by the political classes, of all hues, was that we were giving over too much money to the EU who were not spending “our” money wisely or in our best interests. Here’s one example of their largesse. Why was our, now resigned, EU Commissioner Lord Hill, on a salary of £200k per annum? That’s £60k more than the PM gets for running the country. Staggering.

Immigration

For years the fears of many Briton’s have festered unsatisfactorily unresolved. This was the public’s opportunity to change things and they took it. Nigel Farage, as he said so colourfully, in the EU parliament yesterday when paraphrasing a famous quote from the late, great Bob Monkhouse – “When I came here 17 years ago and said I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union you all laughed at me. Well, I have to say, you’re not laughing now are you?”

People are entitled to their fears – and you can argue for or against them anyway you like, the fact is a large number of people do not like or welcome what they perceive to be a seemingly uncontrolled flow of immigrants into Britain (which just isn’t the case). I don’t want to go into the ins and out of that in detail here, but this perception clearly matters and bothers people. I don’t condone the racist attacks that have sprung up since the Brexit vote, but now that it’s out in the open, we can look at it as an opportunity for a further national debate about the subject. This is reminiscent of last year’s general election. Significant numbers were unwilling to admit to pollsters they planned to vote Conservative. Perhaps that has been the case with polling this time with people choosing not to admit they were going to vote to leave.

It’s funny how people forget the benefit of immigrants. Here’s a couple of examples. If all the immigrants were to go home, as some would want, who’d be left working in the NHS – their local hospitals, GP surgery, dental practices etc… who’d be driving the buses in our major cities?

On a lighter, but equally serious note, people love to praise and boast about the Premier League as the best league in the world, but what if all the immigrant players and managers were to “go home” just how premier would our ‘English’ league then be? These “immigrants” playing in the Premier League aren’t eligible to play for England and look how embarrassingly England fared without them. The performance against Iceland was abysmal and the failure to get wins throughout the group stages of EURO 2016 was equally dire.

Status Quo

I think it’s always easier and more electorally attractive for the challenger to promise a change from the status quo and LEAVE painted a rosier picture of life outside the EU than REMAIN painted of staying put.

I also think some of the REMAIN MPs didn’t portray themselves and their arguments in the most convincing and persuasive manner. In some of the televised debates I came away thinking BREXIT did better despite being clear in my mind of the need to stay in the EU. For instance on the ITV debate (9th June 2016) with 5 women and 1 man (Boris Johnson) the 3 remain women MPs were practically picking on Boris throughout teasing him about his leadership ambitions etc.. Boris rose above it and handled himself well and diplomatically, but I’m sure if it was 3 male MPs ganging up on one female MP there would have been an outcry of sexism raised.

They came across as dour, overly serious, angry and humourless, especially Amber Rudd, which are not nice qualities to display if you want the national TV viewing audience to vote for you in a major referendum.

Some leavers are saying they didn’t realise the implications of their vote. Well more fool them. There was plenty of information out there for people to look into and do their own research into, rather than lazily just go by the sound bites of the political debates, TV, radio and newspaper campaign coverage.

The way forward

I think the decision to leave is terrible for Britain, but we could turn it to our advantage. Firstly, if I was David Cameron I would go back to the EU and outline the key factors that caused Britain to vote out and ask whether the EU can do anything to address these concerns e.g. over control, the amount we give to the EU, how it operates, is financed etc… If they are willing to review this then there is hope, as all sides here recognise the flaws in the EU. This is our one last chance to see if they’re willing to adapt.

The likes of Michael Gove, Boris Johnson, Andrea Leadsom, Ian Duncan Smith and Nigel Farage are not idiots. They have not persuaded a majority of 17m voters to take us out of the EU without good reason. To dismiss them and the 17m voters as fools or racists is inaccurate and misleading. Many have been doing just that.

Judging by the mood of talks at yesterday’s EU Summit it looks like this may not be feasible, but we can but try as it’s also clear that our exit is not something the EU or wider world outside of Europe really wants. President Obama came over to London and made an impassioned plea (22nd April 2016) for Britain to REMAIN. The Leave campaign dismissed and insulted his intervention, but who’s laughing now?

Secondly, the Government and parliament simply does not have to follow the outcome of the referendum. It is not legally binding. If it’s put to a casting vote in parliament, based on party lines this referendum to leave will simply not get through. However if parliament is to ignore the referendum outcome, they should at least try and wring further concessions out of the EU otherwise the status quo with the EU continues which nobody really wants.

David Cameron and leadership

This leads me on to the position of the Prime Minister, David Cameron. If the above is legally feasible and the will of the people is to stay in, then there is absolutely no reason for him to follow through with his resignation. It was a truly honourable and magnanimous thing to do and must have hurt as I’m sure he wanted to carry on as PM until 2017. I believe he has been a very good PM and still has the energy, commitment and passion to keep going until that time. Clearly everything’s in a state of flux right now and were the country/parliament to decide not to leave then the rationale for him resigning becomes null and void.

The haste to resign and progress a leadership contest at unseemly speed may come back to haunt him.

Jeremy Corbyn

If David Cameron’s resignation (similar to ex-England Manager Roy Hodgson’s speedy resignation on Monday night) is a mark of integrity and accepting the reality of a situation, then what are we to make of the Labour Leader’s dogged determination to hang on in the face of an unprecedented rebellion by his cabinet and MPs? On the one hand I’m not a big fan of resignations and acknowledge he may well have the support of the wider grass roots supporters, if you can’t form a shadow cabinet and haven’t the support of the majority of your own MPs then you’re a busted flush and it’s time to BREXIT the Labour leadership.

I don’t see him lasting beyond the end of the week – that is assuming reality finally dawns upon him. If he toughs it out and stands in the leadership election it will be fascinating to see how it pans out. Corbyn is a well known Euro-sceptic amd rebel. Let us imagine we do BREXIT and it turns out to be the best for Britain, then his euro-sceptism and lukewarm remain campaign will have proven to be the correct stance. He doubtless believes that passionately, so when you consider that, it is understandable he would feel that he has no need to resign.

Chuka Umunna

Nonetheless this is clearly looking terrible for Labour. All of this would have been avoided if Chuka Umunna had not mysteriously quit the leadership campaign last year. I think he would have won, would have campaigned hard for REMAIN (as he did) but the difference is he would have brought the Labour party and Labour supporters with him and REMAIN would have comfortably won the vote last week. He’s been noticeably quiet since BREXIT.

Now might be a good time for him to throw his hat in. The problem is that the factors that caused his withdrawal last May 2015 – unwillingness to put himself and family through the close media scrutiny that goes with the job – haven’t changed, so this may still prevent him putting himself forward a second time.

We live in interesting times. If Umunna does and wins and a general election is called (unlikely I think), who knows, he could just be PM before the end of the year!

BREXIT Strategy

Some complain re the lack of a strategy for BREXIT. I’m not that concerned. It was never vital to have a clearly outlined one. 17m voters were not sufficiently concerned either. The main thing is they made a strong case for the advantages of leaving. What next could wait and could only be determined once they saw the detail of all the trade arrangements etc… that would have to be untangled. I mean, if someone asks for a divorce the other side don’t really care that the one asking to leave has a post separation plan. They will figure something out. So too in this situation.

As I say, there are fascinating, unprecedented times ahead for our country. The country and leading political parties are divided. However I do accept the LEAVE line that we are a strong nation. If it comes to pass, we can and will have to find a new way to thrive and survive outside the EU whether we like it or not.

Links:

  1. Does the murder of Jo Cox MP tell us something about the state of Britain?
  2. Welcome to London – Immigrant Diaries – Sajeela Kershi.
Posted in Debates, Legal, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments