Electoral Reform Is British Politics Next Big Challenge

The single worst response I hear when asking people who they’re planning to vote for is “Labour to keep the Tories out” or whichever two parties it may be. In a democratic sense, it is genuinely sad that people feel the need to vote tactically in a general election that will affect them in most areas of their lives. There are huge issues in politics both in Britain and abroad and while overseas problems may prove to be trickier, a lot of the domestic dissatisfaction can be resolved by an overhaul of our unfair electoral system.

In the last General Election, the Liberal Democrats tallied a massive six million votes, which was nearly a quarter of all votes cast but they only won a paltry 58 seats – a quarter of what they actually deserved. Ironically, with the Lib Dems slumming it down at around 9% in the polls in the lead-up to the current election, they would actually obtain more seats under a system of proportional representation right now than they did in 2010 under First-Past-The-Post (FTPT), telling you all you need to know about how flawed and unrepresentative the current system is.

Not only has the current FPTP voting system proven to be irreflective of the British electorate’s views time and time again, those ‘chosen’ Members of Parliament then have to have their decision making ratified by a house of privileged Lords in the government’s upper house. To think that an entitled few can actually be given a genetic claim to government in 2015 in Britain is frankly obscene.

Unrepresentative… Parliament does not accommodate all of the nation’s views

An overhaul of Britain’s electoral system would not only deliver a more legitimate representative democracy, it would also address several key issues that plague British politics in the process. Firstly, there would be no majority governments – that might sound like an odd thing to list as a positive but hear me out. In a two-party system, which we currently abide by, we are usually dealt a majority Labour or Conservative government, and subsequently permission for either to implement their undiluted reckless ideologies. And when it doesn’t satisfy us, we elect the other one to do the exact same five years later. Doesn’t this sound like Einstein’s definition of insanity; repeating the same behaviour over and over again and expecting different results? The two main parties are now only commanding two-thirds of the popular vote, and I would bet a fair portion of that support comes from the fact they’re the only two that could feasibly form a government in this system. We, in the UK, have now embraced a more plural attitude to politics and our electoral system needs to evolve in tandem.

As a result, people will feel that their vote actually counts for something – because it will. In the current system, votes effectively count differently due to the simple accident of where you live. For instance, those in a safe seat have a far less valuable electoral opinion than those in a marginal seat – and nobody seems bothered by it. If we were, for argument’s sake, to switch to proportional representation the votes of each person would actually carry equal clout, voter apathy would decrease and the rise in drives for Scottish and Welsh independence would be lessened as more people would see their opinions manifested in parliament rather than a fleeting pressure in a capricious opinion poll.

Fair…How better systems would have changed 2010’s votes

 

In turn we would see the end of ‘tactical voting’. Democracy should never be about picking the lesser of two evils. Now the parties, and indeed the electorate, lack their former rigidity and don’t abide to a strict ideological conservative, liberal or socialist regime and rather diverge in to many political areas, there is less reason for a two party system that basically encourages people to champion who they dislike least.

We also need to focus on not allowing a duopoly of politics like we see in the United States, lack of pluralism in politics simply diminishes democracy. One of the best ways to achieve this is to set a cap on party donations. Is it really a coincidence that The Sun, the UK’s largest newspaper has backed the winning party of every election for over twenty years? Is it right that one of the world’s wealthiest and most influential men in Rupert Murdoch can berate his staff from the very same publication for not doing enough to turn the British electorate off of Ed Miliband? This influence is poisonous and manipulative and far from conducive to true democracy. Thankfully, the Liberal Democrats at least have committed to addressing this in their 2015 manifesto.

In reality, British politics is sick. And at this rate it will only be a few years before it is lying prostrate on its deathbed waiting for the plug to be pulled. Robotic politicians towing to party lines have certainly contributed but they are too victims of a system that makes it easy for the established parties to be complacent and retain power yet impossible for the smaller parties to do the same. Yes, the AV referendum was defeated in 2011 – but it was incredibly sketchy and in as short a time as four years, politics in this country has changed dramatically. I would personally rather we didn’t keep subjecting the nation to the unrestrained force of Labour’s reckless economics or the Tories’ callous social policy on the whim of a third of the voting public. Politics in this country is becoming increasingly opaque, in a time where transparency is the key to defeating political dispiritedness. Ironically, a change in system won’t benefit either the Conservatives or Labour, and they are realistically the only ones able to enforce it – and just as with everything in this tired, almost laughably archaic procedure, until either the Tories or Labour have an appetite for it, genuine democracy will merely remain a pipe dream.

Who Should LGBT+ People Vote For?

General Election fever is in full-swing. Different areas of society are being urged, swayed and pleaded with to vote a certain why. With that in mind, who should the LGBT+ citizens of the United Kingdom be voting for next month? Labour? The Lib Dems? The Greens? The major seven UK parties are all very different on their vision for the next steps in LGBT+ equality and here’s why;

The en vogue parties in the LGBT+ community right now are without a doubt the Labour party and the Green party, with the latter soaring in support from gay, bisexual and transgender people. In fact, just this week Peter Tatchell called out for us to vote Green next month to further the agenda of equality. Now, I have looked at the Green party manifesto and everything they want to do for the LGBT+ community is nice, fluffy and genuinely quite lovely, but too typically of them – vapid. There is very little substance to what they specifically would do to help those in the LGBT+ community. Bar misleading claims that Caroline Lucas was the one that drove the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act through the last parliament, the Greens actually have a weak case for the gay vote.

The Labour party are also being touted as champions of LGBT+ rights, despite failing to place Marriage Equality in their 2010 manifesto and even this year their offer is very slim too, only outlining an LGBT Rights Envoy to promote human rights internationally – a good idea but ultimately, it’s not a lot. Plaid Cymru make a positive contribution in their manifesto and are probably the second best choice in this election – with a clear strategy to tackle specific acts of LGBT+ discrimination in many different areas. Their nationalist counterparts the SNP are surprisingly quiet on the subject. In spite of being on the social left; they offer nothing more than an a mirror of Labour’s international ambassador plan. Unsurprisingly, the Conservatives, who probably think the work for LGBT+ equality is done with the passing of same-sex marriage under Cameron’s premiership, offer absolutely nothing specific in their manifesto. UKIP are similarly mute, they haven’t even pledged to increase homosexual activity during drought season. Apparently Farage’s “people’s army” is “not driven by the needs of differing special interests groups”. I guess his is a heterosexual people’s army instead.

Hero… Lib Dem Lynne Featherstone (left) was the biggest LGBT+ advocate in the last Parliament

Is this meagre choice really the best LGBT+ citizens can hope for from the next election? In my view, the answer is no. The real party for LGBT+ people is still plugging away and providing sound basis for a progression in equal rights – and they are the Liberal Democrats. We’re told we’re not allowed to trust my party – we’re simply poisonous in the media realms – not to be entertained on the back of one broken pledge, a mistake no other party has ever made. But just hear me out. In the Coalition government, the Lib Dems succeeded in implementing marriage equality, almost solely on the back of the pluck from former MP Lynne Featherstone. And this is just one example in a long, long history of the Lib Dems catering for LGBT+ needs. The preceding Liberal party was the first to introduce a gay rights section for policy, while the Lib Dems have actively supported drives to make the age of consent equivalent, protect LGBT+ asylum seekers from unjust criminal charges abroad and oppose the ban on teachers being allowed to disclose their sexuality.

Thankfully, the Liberal Democrats haven’t stopped there and the party has pledged even more for LGBT+ citizens in their 2015 manifesto. The Lib Dems want to extend the rights of co-habiting heterosexual couples to homosexual ones, include all relationships in qualification for Civil Partnerships, crack down on homophobic bullying in schools, make homophobic football chanting a criminal offence like racist chanting is, permit humanist weddings, seek to end the disgraceful  and unnecessary bans on blood donation for MSM, pardon those convicted of historical homosexual ‘offences’, and they even match the SNP and Labour’s pledge for an appointed international  gay rights advocate – and in greater detail too.  For gender non-confirming people, the party have pledged to introduce “X” gender markers on passports and eliminate the need for a gender dysphoria diagnosis to acquire legal gender recognition.

Equal rights for LGBT+ citizens is one of, if not my biggest passion in politics and the Liberal Democrats are simply streets ahead in this vicinity and have been for a long long time. I wouldn’t say this if I didn’t mean it and I wouldn’t have joined a party that didn’t put the drive for LGBT+ equality at the heart of their policy making. If you really want a conscious, caring, allied voice for non-heterosexuals in government for the next five years then don’t vote Green, don’t vote Labour, vote Liberal Democrat.

Manifesto Check

Where the parties stand on LGBT+ issues in their 2015 manifestos

LGBT2015

Student Disunion

#TrollTheNUS – https://www.facebook.com/events/1028359820527087/

Recently the National Union of Students (NUS) released their pre-general election campaign for 2015, a tradition that is supposed to mobilise the youth vote and champion student politics on a national stage – however this year’s campaign is less remarkable for the promotion of student involvement in the democratic process and more for partisan alienation of those who don’t subscribe to a very specific ideology.

The not so subtle smear drive against the Liberal Democrats for what is perceived as a betrayal over the issue of tuition fees in the 2010 coalition agreement is the focal point of their campaign. Seemingly angry at a perceived dent to student finances, the union has spent £40,000 of student money to whinge about it five years later – that costs more than your degree. The NUS is supposed to be an independent body that encompasses, reflects and supports the variant, diverse political views of student bodies up and down the country – and with that in mind, this campaign is disgraceful.

Truth... Tuition fee repayment under Labour and the Lib Dems

Truth… Tuition fee repayment under Labour and the Lib Dems

Firstly, let’s clear up any discrepancies over the Lib Dems controversial U-turn on tuition fees. I, even as a Liberal Democrat member myself have a major issue with the party’s failure to deliver the policy that was one of the focal points of our 2010 manifesto. It’s frustrating but concessions had to be made to form a stable government in a time where the economy was anything but. The less publicised version of events is that both the Conservatives and the apparently supreme student guardians Labour both opposed the abolition of tuition fees, so the policy was undeliverable unless the Liberal Democrats won an outright majority. After all, it’s probably a little silly to expect a party that was awarded just 57 out of 650 seats to enact their full manifesto as the junior party in a coalition government, but I guess that’s a discussion for another time.

Regardless of this shortcoming – which has been persistently apologised for by both the party and Nick Clegg by the way – the Lib Dems are still championing rights for students such as the delivery of the Pupil Premium and commitments to slash public transport costs for students dependent on the service. The point I’m making is a sense of Lib Dem abandonment of the student population is so far wide of the mark.

Clangers... Labour aren't student policy champs

Clangers… Labour aren’t student policy champs

The big issue of this campaign by the NUS is its blatant subterfuge. The union carries very cosy links with the Labour party. Does anyone else find it convenient that the SEVERAL broken pledges by Labour on tuition fees are ignored in this ‘student retribution’ campaign? They pledged to not introduce them, and then did so in 1998. By 2001 they were promising not to raise fees but went right ahead in 2003. Ten years later, the party want to reduce the fees to £6000, which will only benefit those students with more disposable income – just when you thought Labour couldn’t slink any further to the right.  Perhaps, the most staggering fact of all is that students are now paying back less in loans under the Lib Dems than they were under Labour, despite the heightened fees. Surely the NUS’ decision to turn a blind eye to all of these clangers by Labour on student politics has nothing to do with the fact that each NUS leader has been a Labour party member for the last thirty years running, and that the Lib Dems are traditionally their biggest competitor for youth support?

Look for yourself, the party’s each have their own ideas for student politics – some more than others. The NUS should place the impetus on students to explore their own political opinions and form an identity for themselves. They should not pigeonhole a group of people they’re supposed to represent in to a parochial parable that only serves their interests. The so-called National Union of Students has done nothing but disunite the student population by propagating votes for their chosen political ends on the back of a false pretence whilst typecasting 10% of the student population as supporters of poisonous liars.

Accurate... How the campaign should have looked

Accurate… How the campaign should have looked

Thankfully, an anti-campaign aiming to troll these biased perjurers is in place, you can donate money to the Liberal Democrats, if you’re that way inclined and not let the NUS manipulate you with senseless propaganda. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that this campaign is a disgusting betrayal of the student population, something they’re purportedly against. The only liars here are the NUS, they haven’t failed to deliver on a promise, they’ve tried to exploit student to further the power of their UKIP-lite overlords, they should serve the student population – not manipulate them.

#TrollTheNUS – https://www.facebook.com/events/1028359820527087/

Are You Being Persecuted?

This past week the governor of Indiana passed legislation that effectively allows gay men and women to be rejected by businesses due to their sexuality in the name of protecting ‘religious freedom’.  No, you’re not reading The Onion and no, you haven’t stumbled in to the Tardis in a drunken stupor and found yourself back in the 1920s – this has actually happened.

Let’s say two women out on a date somewhere in the heart of Gary, Indiana fancy some ice cream on their way home, they stumble in to their local ice cream parlour and order two scoops of mint choc-chip. The vendor spots a romantic glance between the two, confiscates their food and shoves them out of the door. Now, the most decent of people can see a major issue with that behaviour but now it’s perfectly legal in one of America’s fifty states – well, as long as he says it’s in the name of God.

The United States has many more theists than the United Kingdom; devout Christians are much more vocal across the pond than they are here. But why is the autonomy to choose a religion more important than the freedom to simply be? I’m not a religious person but I acknowledge and advocate the right for each individual to pick their own faith and spirituality. If you want to be a Christian, be a Christian. If you want to be a Sikh, be a Sikh.

Homophobic…A courthouse in Tipton, Indiana

The problem forms when people exploit this unassailable freedom for a sinister motive like we’ve seen stateside this week. There is no requirement in Christianity, the predominant religion of Indiana, to reject, banish or scorn homosexuals. The Bible is pretty clear in its condemnation of homosexual activity but it doesn’t call for gay men and women to be outcast.

Again, we arrive back at this question; why is religious freedom considered more imperative than sexual freedom? It’s widely and correctly believed that a person’s sexuality is not a choice – but a person’s religion is. Why are we giving legal clout to the need of some to discriminate against those with an inoffensive innate characteristic in the name of their chosen beliefs? Would I, as a gay man be allowed to turn away a theist who I felt was immoral? No, I wouldn’t and that shouldn’t be the case either. This is not a motion to protect religious freedom, its legislative homophobia and nothing else.

Just a few weeks ago, Antony Sher, a rich gay actor, said “life is good for gay people in this country now”. That is simply not true, gay people still face discrimination every single day both socially and lawfully. If this case in Indiana isn’t enough to attest to this then we only have to look to the Republic of Ireland where gay men and women are facing a referendum to determine whether or not they’re allowed to get married. That to me is simply absurd, millions of people who will be entirely unaffected by the legal union of two people of the same gender can spitefully vote to keep it illegal. That’s similar to me surveying my entire street on my preferred choice of dinner every night to see if my eating habits suit them – of course, it doesn’t affect them or the enjoyment of their own meal in any way, but they deserve to have their say on my life, right?

Unjust… “Religious freedom” campaigners

You would think that in 2015, we would have moved past this thinly veiled odium. It’s high time we stopped trying to lawfully isolate people as social lepers in the name of religion. I imagine there are countless theists in Indiana and elsewhere that have found the passing of this new law as abhorrent as the LGBT community has. I for one am not sorry for being romantically and sexually attracted to the same-sex, I’m just not and I shouldn’t have to be every time I fancy a cupcake.

The people of Indiana are being short-changed by a discriminative movement guised in the name of faith. There is no requirement in any religion that necessitates refusal of service to gay men or women. Homophobia is alive and well and unfortunately is rearing its head in pseudo-clever yet imaginative ways. This law should be overturned immediately – imagine the stain on the so-called “Land of the Free” when this bill goes in to the history books. Finally, as for those Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists or atheists for that matter, who feel they cannot serve people of a certain disposition – get your arses out of public service, you’re doing it wrong.

 

Isolation Through Stereotypes

Stereotyping any type of person is problematic. The LGBT+ community, like many others, is rife with preconceived false notions of what ‘should’ constitute an LGBT man or woman. A prevalent stereotype of gay men is that we love pop divas and their music, think Cher, Madonna, Kylie – and while that is true of plenty of gay men around the world, the sheer scope of exposure afforded to this cross-section of gay culture is somewhat isolating to the rest of us.

Obviously gay periodicals and news channels like HuffPostGay, Gay Times and Attitude will commercially benefit from covering news stories pertaining to the aforementioned artists, and I’m sure many gay men have a vested interest in these people but that doesn’t mean that their excursions constitute ‘gay news’.

Irrelevant… Dannii Minogue’s return to music made headlines among gay publications

There are many gay men who are interested in sport, politics and other types of music, to name just a few examples. Shouldn’t gay news outlets publish gay features on a plethora of interests or more simply just cover gay and LGBT issues, rather than paying disproportionate attention to stereotypical music tastes? Printed versions may have to restrict the range of news covered due to lack of space but online, where many of these outlets operate, there is no such excuse.

Of course, these celebrities can largely attribute their popularity among the gay community to their do-gooding, and it remains imperative for rights activists in the media to be reported on when they are active in that process. However, it isn’t factual to suggest that Kylie and Madonna, to stick with earlier examples, are only reported on for equality campaigning. In contrast, Maroon 5 front-man Adam Levine and pop band Fun get nowhere near the same level of coverage despite similar if not excelling levels of activism themselves. Well, Adam Levine does get coverage, but a different kind. In recent years Levine has persistently and vocally championed equal rights and Fun have co-founded the Ally Coalition that encourages the idea of straight allies.

The point I’m trying to make is that the release of Madonna’s album is not ‘gay news’. Liza Minnelli going back to rehab, though sad and upsetting for some, is not ‘gay news’. In fact, just yesterday Attitude published an article listing all the instances of self-reference on Madonna’s latest release, Rebel Heart. I mean really? For the record, I think Attitude is an excellent publication but why are certain gay men’s interests more important than others? I’m sure many consider these stories important or interesting but it isn’t gay-specific news and the sole focus on trivial topics like these only propagates stereotypes of gay men and isolates those who don’t fit in to these conventional interests.

Overlooked… LGBT+ issues in sports are often not given the same importance as pop music

There are a couple of ways that gay news carriers could correct this, and to be honest, it’s surprising it hasn’t already happened. They could either stick to LGBT specific news or feature a wide variety of interests remarked on from a gay angle. Let’s be fair, a certain genre of pop music is not under the ownership of all in the gay community. In modern times, we are told repeatedly that gay men are a diverse group with a wide range of interests, views and beliefs – and rightly so. But why is it that in 2015, we still assume that disco pop is the only thing that gay men are interested in outside of being gay? Obviously, I don’t expect a horse racing pull-out and a motorsports section but why are, for example, potential features on homosexuality in football or even the LGBT policy proposals of political parties being displaced by Britney Spears’ latest robotic effort?

While I concede that it makes financial sense to include these stories in gay magazines, it doesn’t make much sense to exclude other interests held by gay people that may transcend other spheres. This, remember is a community that added a ‘+’ on to the LGBT acronym to be wholly inclusive – it’s time to walk the walk. LGBT men and women should be able to purchase, follow and read gay news and have their other interests covered if the stereotypically common interests of other LGBT people are. Let’s not isolate gay people via the media because they don’t conform to traditional typecasts. It may seem like an over-the-top reaction to a seemingly minor issue but pigeon-holing people is never a good idea, particularly when these outlets are supposed to be representative. Let’s not give others the chance to stereotype those in the LGBT community and embrace the wide variety of interests we share – that’s the right attitude.

Dear, Football

Dear players and staff of *club name*,

My name is Chris Whiting; I’m a 19 year old lifelong football fan. Ever since, I was very young, I have loved football. I’m a passionate, dedicated, loyal and hopefully knowledgeable Leicester City fan. And I am gay.

I have been gay for as long as I have been a football fan and personally, my sexuality has never caused me any internal anguish. But, for many fans it does, and still in 2015 they are unable to marry these two qualities.  Football has always been viewed as fair game for banter, or what could be better termed as vitriol. Racism, sexism and homophobia have always been rife in the stands but the latter two are fading gradually with higher visibility of ethnic minorities and women in the sport.

We haven’t even begun to go down that road with homosexuality.  Of course, being gay is something you can hide in football and until that changes it will always be viewed as a weakness.

Every Saturday, I get angry when the linesman misses a blatant offside, I taunt the opposing fans when their star striker blasts wide from six yards, and I flail my limbs like a lunatic when we grab a vital goal. I do these things just like every other football fan in the country. So, why is the thought of homosexuals being involved in football still such a stigma?

Like I’ve already said, I’m a normal football fan and I’m gay. Statistically, at least one of your squad is too. I don’t wish to force anybody ‘out of the closet’, but in honour of LGBT+ history month, I wanted to try and encourage somebody to take that brave step on their own.  Or at least, encourage anyone to whom this doesn’t personally apply to be allies. ‘Coming out’ is a personal journey but the inability of football to address this affects everyone.

Society has made massive strides in terms of accepting gay people. I’m pretty much considered normal in every other part of my life. One day, I hope to feel the same at 3pm every Saturday.

Football isn’t ready, and it never will be until we make it get ready. It’s never as bad as you think it’s going to be.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Whiting

The Official LCFC Loyal Supporter Charter

NOTE: If you don’t understand that this is satirical then God help you.

There are way too many disloyal Leicester City fans out there, it’s time there was an official charter to sift out the true, die-hard supporters from the prawn sandwich brigade tossers.

AND IT’S LEICESTER CITY!

Firstly, if you live anywhere past Aylestone or Beaumont Leys then why are you even reading this? Go and support Anstey Nomads or Blaby & Whetstone and leave the real local supporters to it.

1. You must attend all away games, and you must travel to them on Coach One, anyone who rides on Coaches two or higher or even makes their own way via car is a disloyal twat, trains are okay for some reason – they just are. Optional: Mock a woman dubbed ‘Hagrid’ mercilessly on social media because, well you know, she’s not conventional looking and definitely deserves it.

2. Make sure your phone has Instagram, you will need it to upload as many action shots of every game as humanly possible. It is advisable to upload stadium panoramas and away day tickets to prove what a hardened sport traveller you are. If we don’t see these pictures how will we know you’re a true fan when the purging starts?

3. You most show yourself to be a friend of the players, just how Directioners think they have in-jokes with the group and affectionately call them ‘the boys’, but this is different because it’s football. We as fans must suck up to our team’s WAGs, this is crucial, you should reply to all of their tweets as if you are a long-term friend of theirs. It’s definitely a good idea to tweet youth players too. Get in there before they become the stars of the future so you can laud it over fellow fans because you saw their talent first. Man like Panayiotou etc. etc.

4. Bi-annually, you will be expected to report breaking news and insider transfer knowledge to your legion of Twitter followers. So, pretend to be an ITK, it doesn’t matter if you just know the Belvoir Drive’s lawn mower or even if you just work in Maryland Chicken, make it work. After all, people only judge you on the guesses you get right, and you may be able to force yourself in to becoming a local celebrity if you kiss the arse of Ian Stringer enough.

Now, we’ve pretty much covered how you should act as a supreme fan of Leicester City, let’s discuss how a true fan looks;

5. It’s crucial to set your display picture on every social networking site you’re on to either the badge, a player or the stadium, preferably Filbert Street because we all know it was better there. Who are these traitors who think their faces are more important than the holy fox’s head? That’s sacrilegious in my book.

6. Every away day should be spent the same, lace up your Gazelles, throw on your Stone Island jacket and remember, always hop aboard Coach 1… or a train, and blast out the most angsty monotonous Oasis track in your music library. If your taste is different then being a loyal football fan simply isn’t for you. Thankfully, as followers of Leicester, we can choose from either Oasis or Kasabian, but remember if you weren’t at that Kasabian concert last summer then your support of the football club is simply invalid.

Finally, what defines us most as die-hard Leicester City supporters is how we speak to those lesser people who think they’re fans but we all know are not.

7. No matter what the situation, whether we’re performing catastrophically, or the manager has tossed away the FA Cup like an out-of-date bag of Walkers crisps (the only crisps you can eat by the way), we have to support the team! Now, there are many ways to do that but we believe that the best way is by completely suffocating any criticism whether it be fair or otherwise. Most people think that negativity is okay as long as it isn’t voiced in the stadium but they are wrong, you must NEVER speak negatively or even think negatively, if you do you are a plastic, knee-jerk traitor – and your conscience will never be clear!

8. But we cannot stop there! It is simply not enough to be positive all the time, suffocate other opinions, exert delusions of grandeur and basically be a vacuous passive puppet, it is our duty as fans to name and shame those that dare besmirch the team in any form. The best way to go about this is to call them negative, knee-jerk, wankers, morons or disloyal twats before suggesting they move their support to Coventry or Notts Forest.

I hope that clears everything up for all you plastic arseholes out there. As for you diehards, sing it with me; WE ARE STAYING UP! SAY, WE ARE STAYING UP! And, if you don’t think so, you’re a treacherous balloon-head.

Hidden Gems 3

Bahamas – All The Time

This song is great to listen to while relaxing, it pretty much epitomises easy listening. It’s simple construction means it pretty much suits any kind of mood or weather plus you can pretty much make it about what you want. Unbelievably, this song failed to even place on the alternative chart of Bahamas’ native Canada.

Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better

Bleachers is a one-man music project founded by Fun. member Jack Antonoff. The 2014 album Strange Desire is a great example of the current trend of 80s throwback music. Along with fellow singles ‘Shadow’ and ‘Rollercoaster’, ‘I Wanna Get Better’ really stands out as an irresistibly catchy anthem.

Kim Cesarion – Undressed

Okay, so this one is a bit of a guilty pleasure. When I first heard this at the start of last year, I was expecting it to rocket to the top of the charts in the UK that Summer, much like it had in Australia but nothing ever came from it. It’s just, in my opinion, a very good pop song.

Angus & Julia Stone – Grizzly Bear (Synapson Remix)

Originally a bluesy folk song from Australian brother-sister duo Angus and Julia Stone, Synapson has transformed the track in to an instantly memorable song. Maybe, that’s a bit harsh – the original song isn’t bad either, in fact, I can barely sum up what I love so much about this remix, but I’m willing to sit through all six minutes so it must be quite good. Oh, and the song isn’t actually about a grizzly bear, at least I hope it isn’t..

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Home

I’m starting to think people maybe just don’t like folk music because this song is exceptional. It probably sounds familiar, as it served as the soundtrack of a Peugeot advert from 2014. The song is a five minute nostalgic story set to the sounds of a Summer’s evening, I almost get a sunburned neck listening to it. It was also featured on Modern Family when Cam and Mitch finally wed, just in case you didn’t already love it.

Foals – My Number

Okay, so this is a bit of a cheat seeing as it actually did reach 23 in the UK singles chart. Nonetheless, it’s an upbeat, infectious indie song perfect for Summer. I like Summer, okay?!

Justin Timberlake – That Girl

This is another song for Summer, if anyone is having any summer parties and they want me to DJ then clearly I’m the guy to ask, no, just kidding. Anyway, I digress, this is a chilled out summery song like much of the others, it’s arguably the best song on 20/20 Experience, scratch that, it’s easily the best (sorry Suit & Tie), so show it some Southern love.

The Walkmen – Heaven

The only thing to go right in the How I Met Your Mother season finale. God, I need to get over that. Regardless, this is such a ‘grower’, it’s not summery but it is nostalgic, I’m predictable I know but it really is infectious and I’m sure you’ll love it like I do.

 

From Great Expectations to Great Escape

I was planning to write a lengthy coherent  piece of prose about the quagmire Leicester City’s season finds itself in but I have just finished an arduous 2000 word essay for my university course so don’t get your hopes up. Sunday was the last straw for me. I am no longer a Pearson advocate, I’m not anti-Pearson either; I’m in a Pearson purgatory. On Sunday, I was angry and here is why;

  • What on earth was going on at Villa Park on Sunday? An FA Cup quarter final up for grabs, a pressure free game away at a league rival who, to fit the famous chant, couldn’t score in a brothel and there we are lining up in a 5-4-1 formation. Five defenders, at Villa Park. We still conceded twice and allowed the ball in the net on two other occasions despite Matt Upson’s insistence that we ‘reduced their opportunities’.
  • The real smack in the face was Pearson’s stubbornness. 1-0 down in the FA Cup with 25 minutes to go and the best he can do is using one of three available substitutes and a switch to the neutral 4-4-2 formation? Not an all-out attack on the Villa goal? It was an FA Cup suicide by Nigel Pearson and nothing else.
  • Let’s be clear, the players were also crap, bar two glimpses of quality from Matty James and Andrej Kramaric, we looked like a side ready for the drop in to League One. Wes Morgan moved around the pitch like a computer glitch and our off-the-ball movement continued to be horrendous. At times, it looked like a game of stuck in the mud.

This season has been a disaster pretty much from the 22nd September onwards. In fact, why are we doing so badly? Well, we’ve abandoned our playing style in an attempt to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League, Burnley didn’t and they have managed to bridge a considerable gap between us and them and have become a better side than the Foxes this campaign. So have Queens Park Rangers for that matter. Jesus.  Our team selections have been unsettled nearly every week of this season; do the backroom staff know our best XI?

Most of us thought home matches this season would be crucial in our survival campaign but goodness have they been embarrassing. Burnley, Sunderland, Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa and Stoke are among the lesser sides to visit Filbert Way so far this season. A whopping five points have been taken from those games, including one win and just three goals. A truly atrocious record I’m sure you’ll agree. Our ‘easy’ run-in which includes home matches against better sides such as Newcastle, Southampton, Swansea and West Ham is suddenly looking a lot less prosperous than in June.

Why do we even bother taking corners? I’m at a loss. Have there been any effective set pieces from us this season? They are just truly woeful, how do we continue to decline in this area, it really is appalling.

Of course, the Foxes have been on the end of some horrendous luck and even more horrendous refereeing decisions this season, that’s certainly true. But, you cannot be consistently unlucky – if we are, we’re doing something wrong. Nigel Pearson can bemoan fine margins in games where “we’ve played well” but if you don’t put the ball in the back of the net and stop it going in at the other end then you don’t get any points – and if you don’t perform in those key areas, can you even say you’ve played well?

This season has been a major disappointment. With the exception of Mahrez, Wasilewski and Schlupp, last season’s heroes have all regressed this year. In fact, I would contend we’ve become a worse team than last term which is absolutely criminal in my book.

We’re on course to become the first side promoted to the top flight with 100+ points to go straight back down the season. I wore that stat out at the start of the season, confident we could consolidate ourselves, and I truly believe we should have. This season has been a disaster, Nigel Pearson has been a masterful manager for much of his reign at the King Power Stadium but for fans who stuck by him through a dire season, choking opposition players and telling fans to die were repaid on Sunday by an FA Cup forfeit.

I will always be a big fan of Nigel Pearson but something needs to change at Leicester City – if Nigel is the man to find the formula then fantastic but I am rapidly losing faith in this man’s ability, a man who seems incapable of coping with the grander spectacle of the Premier League. We have two choices, in my opinion; accept relegation, go down with Nigel Pearson and let him lead another promotion push next season. Or, we roll the dice and change the manager – I honestly don’t know which I would do but something must change and now.