Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Political Teeth are grinding - the tom toms are banging + News and reviews and events

So after the disaster of the weather we start to return to some sort of normality, but only under the threat from the weather man that it's all going to go pear shape again at the end of the week ahead.

Just in time for Christmas then!

And what a week in the political arena it has been. I can't help feeling that The Lib / Dems fell for the oldest trick in the political book when they signed the pledge not to increase Higher Education Tuition Fees to students.

To be honest I have no sympathy for the Lib / Dems, the political naivety that has led to them now facing political oblivion is all of their own making. And is it any accident that Mr Cameron gave the Political responsibility of introducing the £9K fees to a Liberal? Of course not.

Of course what this has done is to demonstrate to our young people just how corrupt our Political system has become, when not even a signed pledge has any meaning. No wonder they have taken to the streets to demonstrate.

Of course our media has concentrated upon the violence that has irrupted during the demonstrations, and dare I say a little one sided, yes the windows got smashed, the Royals shaken up a bit, but put against the total decimation of our Higher Education system these amount to a mere bagatelle.

How many realised that whole of Arts Teaching Government funding was being withdrawn. That Science was having it's funding cut. That's why the fee's are being increased, not to add any sort of value to our University Education, but to provide the funds for their very existence, especially in the area of the arts.

And don't look so smug you boys on the Labour Left. I'm sorry to say that it was you via that fine Socialist Tony Blair that first introduced the concept of Tuition Fees. Pushed through in the days of his huge majority. I look back in disgust, for surely it was obvious that once the principle had been established future Governments would use it as a tool to reduce direct Government funding of Higher Education.

Perhaps those of us of the generations that enjoyed free access to Higher Education, I personally had six years (equates to £54K of debt before Maintenance Grants or lack of them come into the mix at given the top Universities I was lucky enough to attend, at the new prices), should think very carefully before we criticise students for taking to the streets or feeling moved to take direct action to make their protest felt by an establishment that has shown that they don't give a fig about young people.

And this is just the start. As the New Year kicks in and more and more people begin to become directly affected by Osborne’s emergency Budget there will be more and more violence on our streets as people demonstrate their objection to the cuts coming your way.

We're hearing a lot from this Government about the Big Society and how this Coalition Government has been heaven sent to sort the economic mess ironically created by their good mates in the City. I see no justice at all in making us all pay for the sins of the greedy “quick buck” merchants. And while the young and disabled find budgets being cut major Companies like Vodaphone are allowed to get out of massive tax liabilities and others are allowed to profiteer while hiding behind the cloak of the bad weather etc.

And if the Liberals really want to know why their message that it's all going to be easier for the Students under this new system is not getting home, they should look to of their honesty and integrity. The message that all this is in the National good is complete rubbish. It's about fairness, it's about justice and if the Liberals do not realise it they are contributing to propping up a Government that subscribes to the Bankers Club.

It's no good looking back and saying, why could we afford it back then and not now? And not realise what the answer is, TAX RATES. The attack on tax rates has been relentless. I can remember a time when I was paying 33% of taxable income when I first started work. It was a fact of life if I wanted to enjoy the all the privileges of free education, medicine and a welfare network. What needs to be done is to work out a Tax system and rate that returns us to balance.

Greed has created this hiatus, and yes we do need to rediscover the Big Society an all inclusive Society and recognise that personal or Corporate greed has nothing to with Society.

So I take my Mashers hat off to the Students - our Youth have been quiet for far too long – it's great that they have at last found their voice, and discovered that they can have an impact upon the way that decisions are made. And if this goes as deep as I would hope, then yes unwittingly The Lib Dems may well have been responsible for a major change to British Politics. They might reflect upon this and use it as a comfort blanket as they look in from the outside in the years sat in the wilderness I fear they now face.

There endeth one of our infrequent political rants.

Hey and wasn't it good to see our Cricketers giving the Aussies a “rite kicking”. Amongst the gloom of the weather and the political scene an innings and 71 runs does one spirits a great deal of good. So long as you're not Australian that is. One in the eye for this chap HERE

And non of that has much to do with music, or does it? Look closely.

For me personally this weather has been a complete disaster. Looking at my Accounts for this year there have been four weeks of minimal or non activity. Not good for the self employed. And then it always takes a bit to kick everyone back into some sort of action.

It's not been great for the Folk Clubs or sessions either with yet more events being cancelled. Ironically those that have gone ahead have been well attended – I have been told.

The Mashers moved nowhere.

But we will be out on Tuesday night for Myke Barritt Music Trust Yule Time Bash at The Bridge. There's an amazing list of acts on show, so head off HERE for all the details.

On a personal note I'm looking forward to meeting up with some old friends. It's been a long time for me to be totally inactive. It's now reached the stage where I don't know where health issues and just not being bothered to go out / laziness meet. So it will be a bit of tester for The Masher so come give me a cheer or heckle – any sort of reaction will be good.

Don't forget the Philip Cockerham's Charity CD for “Help For Heroes” Three great tracks. Phil is working really hard visiting as many Folk Clubs as he can before Christmas selling his CDs but if you miss him here's where you can get a copy HERE 

You can of course get other stocking filling presents from the Acoustic Rotherham Amazon Store.................... tuners / strings / CDs from all Acoustic Rotherham's favourite Regional artists. HERE

On the negative side I was sorry to hear that the Kirkby Fleetham Folk Club are cutting back on their activities. No Winter Warmer in 2011 – not good news, and the Monthly get togethers are no more. On the positive side they are promoting a series of Acoustic Heroes Concerts with an impressive line up coming your way. January 14th they have Phil Beer supported by Brother Crow, April 8th it's Martin Carthy with support from Rebekah Findlay and 20th May Chris Woods. Tickets available from Paul Arrowsmith at £10 at this Email

Well, I actually found myself out Saturday night. I think I was just a bit stir crazy as we headed for Rotherham Trades Club where Real Madness were strutting their stuff. Don't be fooled by the name, this is not a Madness tribute Band, no, this duo are probably the top Party sound in club Land. I love their performances, OK the cheesy mix of music is sometimes predictable, but wow, the energy and overall slickness of the performance is just awe-inspiring. Forty five minutes of spirit lifting music.

There was only one place to go after that, yes The Bridge, where Searching for Sylvia were punching out their songs in their typically slick manner. We were also lucky to just catch a couple of songs from their support for the night Rachael Barley. What a voice.

While on top local acts. Here's a new one. Some of you will already have had the chance of to see this new duo in action, I haven't as yet, but judging by the sound of their tracks they are going to be in great demand. Meadowland. On first listening their Country based Americana roots sound will I think be very popular. See if you can spot who makes up this duo on their Myspace page HERE

It was good to get out, even if I'm likely to pay for it as today (Sunday) wears on.

So fingers crossed, lets hope the weather forecasters have got it all completely wrong again and that the run into Christmas is not affected by piles of white stuff laying on the ground. Don't forget you can keep up with all the events running into the Festive season HERE on the Diary page and if you want something adding just Email me at

Whatever you're doing this week, have fun and keep it live.Keep up with news by heading to News pages regularly HERE

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