Just for fun

The Leicester City Alternate End of Season Awards 2015–16

The Claridge Shin ‘Scenes of the Season’ Award

Oooya fuckoh… Hazard’s goal gives City the title

We’re going to kick off (pun intended) this year’s set of awards with a bit of controversy. Whilst the joyous and vociferous celebrations after Leonardo Ulloa and Nathan Dyer scored their crucial late winners against Norwich and Aston Villa, this year’s award is going to an off-the-pitch moment. The 2016 recipient is Hazard’s goal against Spurs. How could it possibly be anything else? Chisits across the globe piled in to bars and pubs to watch Spurs go toe-to-toe with the incumbent champions. After a sparkling first half from Tottenham, things looked bleak, and Chelsea look bruised…both physically and mentally. But Gary Cahill pulled one back and Eden Hazard, Leicester legend found the equaliser with a one hit wonder to make Owl City blush, sparking the wildest celebrations Leicester has ever seen.

The Dennis Wise ‘Twunt of the Year’ Award

Chat shit get banged…

So many contenders, well, there always are. This year’s winner is so deserving of this spack-olade, Jon Moss. Mr. Moss, has two choices; accept that he knows nothing about football or that he’s an attention-seeking foghead desperate for a part in Jamie Vardy’s Hollywood biopic. Of course, if he was actually given that choice it would be the wrong one. Apparently, winning the ball in a slide tackle and tangling legs with a defender merits a red card but grievous bodily harm on four counts doesn’t if you’re wearing a West Ham shirt. I will still never forgive this dumpy attention seeking moron for sending Schmeichel off at Nottingham Forest for throwing the ball back to the centre circle. Perhaps Jon Moss should take up a new career at Gringotts bank, he certainly looks the part.

The Yann Kermorgant ‘Stupid Decision of the Year’ Award

HOOOOOOOF…. Huth fires the ball in to Row Z… of the West Stand

I was going to give this award to Riyad Mahrez, for deciding to take and miss yet another penalty away at Aston Villa, which ended up costing us two points. But, then I remembered that that’s ridiculously harsh and I owe our resident Algerian some reparations for not voting for him in the actual End of Season awards. So instead, this year’s winner is letting Robert Huth take *that* free-kick. I love Robert Huth, he’s a frighteningly good centre-back who could part a tidal wave by his sheer presence but taking set pieces clearly aren’t his strong suit. In fact, the shot was so bad, it was probably closer to a Stoke corner than a Leicester goal-kick. Either way, it was good for a laugh – same old Leicester, taking the piss.

The Zoumana Bakayogo ‘Signing of the Season’ Award

This justification is somewhat of an open love letter to my favourite player, so here it goes; N’Golo Kanté is a phenomenon. No, not a phenomenal footballer, just a phenomenon. Describing him as a footballer would imply that he’s human when he clear isn’t. Golo is clearly a sentient god-like being sent to planet Earth as some sort of reward for inventing the beautiful game. There is nothing this guy cannot do. He flies from box-to-box in minute one and minute ninety three, extending his Stretch Armstrong legs to win the ball every…single…time. If you don’t love him for his alien sporting abilities alone like how cute/cool he is in the gif above. Genius.

The Alan Birchenall & Tony Currie ‘Romantic Moment of the Season’ Award

One King in Leicester…

Romantic moment of the season? I should just choose the whole sodding thing. The entire story, sub-plots included is like a literary masterpiece. A squad of rejects bound by a brotherly bond, representing a self-deprecating club that has underachieved for 130 years, in comes a man with the same history of underachievement. In a climate of uncertainty, the nearly man and the nearly club combine and this band of brothers win the league at odds of 5000/1, led by three players who were lower league nobodies just months before. What a season and story it’s been. Wes Morgan lifting that trophy was a sight I’ll never forget but the real romance was portrayed by a latter holder of the famous trophy. Seeing Andy King lift that trophy was special. He is a man who has stuck with this club at it’s lowest ebb, for his entire career and has been rewarded for his fierce loyalty in the most glorious way, in an era of football where players are so fickle. To cap it off, it was fitting to see King score on Leicester’s historic coronation, a true Filbert Way great getting his just desserts.

The Claudio Ranieri ‘Claudiism’ of the Year Award

Ranieri is a such a charismatic man. His forays in to the media’s all pervasive glare couldn’t be more different from his predecessor’s. Whilst Nigel Pearson was more adept at measured snarling, King Claudio is much more jovial, so much so that his Dilly Ding Dilly Dong outburst will long live in the memory of Leicester City folklore. It has taken on a life of it’s own, a popular slogan, a disgustingly catchy chant. Claudio has become every fan’s surrogate grandfather, a man you just cannot dislike no matter what, with a charisma so stringent he can melt the most sour-faced Foxes fan like butter. Thank you for blessing our club with your footballing prowess and charming humour, we owe you a pizza.

The Paul Gallagher ‘We Forgot That You Were Here’ Award

Spuds… Spurs bottled it

How’s the head, Tottenham Hotspur? I know crying relentlessly can be really dehydrating. So… when exactly are you coming for us? We have one game left this season and we’re ten points clear. In fact, since you started singing that, we’ve pulled further away from you. So,  are you coming to get us after you write us off as ‘nobodies’? Are you coming after your fan groups make a video on YouTube so arrogantly explaining why you’ll win the league on goal difference, despite being so far behind? Or are you coming after your entire outfield side gets suspended for kicking seven bells out of Chelsea in a futile attempt to keep your title hopes alive? By the way, are we the same ‘nobodies’ that have spent eleven times as many days top of the Premier League this season than Spurs have in their history? There’s no doubt that Spurs had a great season, they’ve been a truly exhilarating side to watch, but you didn’t finish 1st in the most important statistical ranking -so thanks for the tacit competition, you made it interesting for a few weeks but we are the champions, and your 2015/16 season will be a forgotten footnote in football history.

Top 10 Game of Thrones Characters

I resisted the urge to watch Game of Thrones  for years. This was a social urge by the way, not a personal one. I had assumed it would be along the lines of Lord of the Rings and not entirely tolerable but alas it’s appearance on Sky box sets meant I gave it a chance and some five weeks later, I’ve seen all fifty episodes, I’m obsessed and counting down the days until the new season.

I’m a fully-fledged bandwagoner.

So, to sate my current need to talk to everybody I knew about Thrones I thought I would rank my ten ‘favourite’, and I use the term loosely as some of these characters I don’t actually like, characters.

10. Oberyn Martell

Prince Oberyn only appeared in seven episodes but he certainly made an impression on me, if not only for his weirdly attractive unattractiveness. As a visitor from Dorne, the home of the socially liberal, free-thinking, open-minded people of Westeros, Oberyn hosted bisexual sex parties and tried in vain to avenge his sister and her children. His smutty charm and progressive attitudes created a charming charismatic persona that had us on his side very quickly. Unfortunately, his humility and ability to finish off a job were lacking, and well, you know the rest.

9. Ned Stark

Poor old Ned Stark, his appearance in just one season of the show made an impression. As we have heard persistently since that sadistic bastard Joffrey had his head removed, Ned Stark was a man of real honour, and one of the few in the Seven Kingdoms who didn’t really deserve to die. In ten episodes, Ned Stark did little to warrant anything but admiration, and his legacy, if you like, will be setting out the show’s brutal tone, where anyone can die…at any time.

8. Jon Snow

Jon Snow is a little dry a lot of the time if we’re being totally honest, but his pretty Northern face just about excuses it. Like his father, he’s a genuinely good guy, on a continent where there are precious few. He’s pretty much served as the only hero against the White Walkers. With that in mind, his ‘death’ certainly wasn’t warranted and making him the victim of hostile tribalism against wildlings, whilst the White Walkers are advancing, probably wasn’t the Knight’s Watch’s best idea. Having said that, I don’t for one second think he’s gone anywhere – but like the bastard himself, I know nothing.

7. Brienne of Tarth

The feminist icon of the series is not-a-knight Brienne of Tarth. Having faithfully served Renly Baratheon and Catelyn Stark, even after both’s deaths, she has shown her unwavering loyalty to her oaths. Plus, she’s an absolute behemoth, possibly the most fearsome warrior in the entire series, looking like Draco Malfoy’s mother with Hagrid’s power. She has uprooted gender stereotypes, which, let’s face it are probably harder to usurp in a world such as the Seven Kingdoms, and she deserves a lot of respect for it. However, I fear that her storyline is coming to an end, and if I had my wish, it would do next season, as one of her former ‘masters’ returns from the beyond…

6. Sansa Stark

For the first three seasons, I was begging and pleading for this girl to have more respect for herself. I actually viewed her as a pathetic shrinking violet but when I think back, for a young girl to lose pretty much her entire family, deal romantically with two violent psychopaths and to be at the top of King’s Landing’s most wanted list, you’ve got to be pretty damn strong. Like Brienne of Tarth said of Sansa’s mother, Catelyn, she’s got courage, and plenty of it. The best of Sansa is yet to come, for sure.

5. Cersei Lannister

I loathe this hateful cow. In fact, nothing gave me more satisfaction throughout the series than seeing Cersei covered in blood, shit and spit, walking through King’s Landing being heckled like she deserved.  That being said, any character that can stir up this sort of venom from a viewer has got to be celebrated as a bloody good one. In fact, she’s the best villain in the show. Let’s not forget that the butchering of the Starks, the imprisonment of the Tyrells and the unjust attempts at convicting Tyrion for crimes he didn’t commit, were all, in some way, orchestrated by her. What a poisonous bitch. Bravo, Lena Heady.

4. Tyrion Lannister

Yeah, everyone’s favourite character is only number four on my list. And it’s not because I have anything against Tyrion, I just think there are better characters. He’s the only Lannister who you’re always on the side of, which is a testament to him, given the bloodline of arseholes he comes from. That being said, Tyrion often seems to be there for comic relief more than any sort of epic quest, a role he plays exceptionally well but one that’s kept him off the top spot.

3. Olenna Tyrell

The legendary Dame Diana Rigg takes bronze in my countdown. As the matriarch of a dynasty that only really came to the forefront in season four, the Queen of Thorns has captured my heart in a short space of time. It’s my belief that she has everyone’s number in King’s Landing and they don’t even realise it. Her barbed tongue, sharp wit and wily plots are no match for the Lannisters/Baratheons. Plus, she killed Joffrey, she deserves the Iron Throne herself for that alone.

2. Daenerys Targaryen

Is there a person alive who doesn’t love Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, mother of Dragons? I can think of no character more deserving of being called fire, like, she literally is fire. Whether she’s liberating oppressed slaves or resurrecting the coolest mythical creatures known to human folklore, our Khaleesi has often possessed the most enthralling plot lines in the series. If we were honest, we are all desperate for the day, Daenerys and her dragons fly to Westeros and take back the Iron Throne she truly deserves. All hail Khaleesi!

1. Catelyn Stark

An unconventional choice, I know, but not a surprising one if you’ve spoken to me at any point over the last few weeks. There has quite simply been no person in Westeros dealt a worse hand than Lady Catelyn Stark. Her husband is beheaded, her son crippled, her daughters held captive or missing and then her family and allies brutally murdered at her own brother’s wedding. Sure, sympathy isn’t enough to place her at the top of the list but her poise in dealing with all this hardship is admirable. She never wavers. She even faces her brutal untimely death with the most poetic air of peace possible. Catelyn is the strongest woman in the show, right until the end she is defiant in her instinct to protect her family. Perhaps, she is so loveable and so respectable because she is the only character who acts selflessly, and whose motives aren’t fuelled by a desire to better her own social standing. Here’s to Lady Stoneheart in Season 6. Please.

2020 UK General Election Prediction

The idea of trying, and likely failing miserably, to predict a General Election in five years time appeals to me – so I’m doing it.

I’ve tried to be objective and somewhat scientific by looking at previous trends in UK elections but here is my prediction for 2020.


 

Conservatives

Buoyed by their shock majority win in 2015, the Tories enjoy five years in charge on their own. The Tories won’t be particularly affected by the EU referendum result. The party will continue to fudge economic figures and their austerity will still be preferred to weak opposition from Labour. The election of widely popular Boris Johnson will be a big boost prior to 2020.

Labour

Perhaps the hardest to predict. Jeremy Corbyn’s reign won’t stretch until the next election, eventually moderates and the electorate will kick him out of office. Hillary Benn seems like the front-runner to take the helm, so let’s assume he’s successful. Labour will avoid another SDP style split and perhaps won’t be as battered as many expect.

UKIP

After, the EU referendum defeat, Nigel Farage’s party will slow down in the polls – their purpose will be spent. Of course, they won’t vanish in to a puff of smoke, the SNP had been buoyed by referendum defeat. The reactionary politics on issues like immigration and terrorism which give their party life will still be prominent in 5 years time.

Lib Dems

There is no bigger opportunity for a centrist party in the UK than now. Of course, as fate would have it, Britain’s liberals are at their lowest recent ebb. Tim Farron is a great campaigner and at his best can lead the fightback. However, if he fails, they face terminal irrelevance. No party’s place is more precarious than the Lib Dems’.

SNP

The SNP train will come to a gradual break by 2020. Nicola Sturgeon will be unable to keep civic nationalism sexy in Scottish politics in 5 more years as their poor record in Holyrood shines through, along with a string of corruption scandals. They will still be the largest party north of Hadrian’s Wall – comfortably in fact.

Greens

The toughest to predict, their steady upward trend will probably be interrupted by Labour’s lurch to the left and whatever scale of revival the Lib Dems undertake. It’s hard to make a case for political obscurity for the Greens, they still have a purpose.

Plaid Cymru

Scottish nationalism won’t quite be replicated in Wales. I think Leanne Wood’s prediction that Plaid’s time is yet to come may take a little longer to come true, but they could win votes from unsatisfied Labour supporters.


 

Popular vote

CON: 39.9% (+3.0%)

LAB: 25.9% (-4.6%)

LDEM: 14.9% (+7.0%)

GRN: 7.9% (+4.1%)

SNP: 4.0% (-0.8%)

UKIP: 3.4% (-9.2%)

PC: 0.7% (+0.1%)

Seats

CON: 355 (25)

LAB: 190 (42)

SNP: 46 (10)

LDEM: 34 (26)

PC: 4 (1)

GRN: 2 (1)

UKIP: 0 (1)

 

“You Are #LibDemFightback”: 10 Liberals Who Can Lead The Party’s Recovery

The Liberal Democrats are down but they’re not out, excluding our leader and party president, these ten Liberals can be at the forefront of the Lib Dem fightback!

Norman Lamb

Despite being defeated in the leadership election, Norman Lamb is still a politician of real quality. His extraordinary work towards improving treatment of mental health in coalition government means Norman will find being the party’s Health spokesperson a breeze. Norman is a rare breed of politician; he’s widely liked outside of party lines – he even received a glowing report from The Daily Mail! Health issues are always at the forefront of British politics and Norman has the qualities to make people listen to our plans for the NHS.

Kirsty Williams

The Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats is one of the party’s best parliamentarians. Kirsty’s leadership will be crucial in leading the Lib Dem revival in Wales. Kirsty is a dedicated and passionate liberal with an irresistible charm, her record in the Welsh Assembly, particularly on education and providing children and young people with greater opportunity needs to be exploited. Her track record and natural poise mean she is one to watch in the party and should consider standing for deputy leadership.

Josh Dixon

He probably thinks I’m taking the piss by including him but that’s only partially true. As the most senior member of Liberal Youth and experience at the very top of the party, Josh has the tools to lead the Lib Dem Fightback online and with the young’uns. Josh is a respected member of the Social Liberal Forum and can help the party regain positive traction with younger audiences. Josh’s tweets and life in general may be a bit tragic but his politics are great and I’m sure given the opportunity, people will respond to that.

Jo Swinson

Most people’s tip to be the party’s next deputy leader. Jo Swinson’s defeat in the 2015 General Election was undeserved and is considered a travesty within the party. Swinson flourished as Junior Equalities Minister in the Coalition government and is renowned for putting tackling gender discrimination at the forefront of her politics. Jo Swinson is a passionate advocate for equalites regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality or ability, the Lib Dems can thrive in these areas of policy because the Tories will not prioritise them over the next five years.

Maajid Nawaz

Maajid is ever the controversial and divisive figure, but I think his expertise is vital. In an increasingly uncertain world, Nawaz is the perfect man to lead the Lib Dems on policy concerning Islamism and the emergence of the so-called Islamic State. It is crucial we as Liberals redress the culture of disenfranchising Muslims in Britain and Nawaz can help the party on it’s way to attaining a broad, range of views on the matter.

Tessa Munt

Tessa is another leading former MP who has allegedly long had her eyes set on deputy leadership. Munt has proven herself to be a capable and resilient politician, already expressing her desire to stand again in the constituency she lost just four months ago. Tessa’s speeches at Lib Dem Autumn Conference were confident, punchy and inspiring and her steely determination and unwavering gumption are exactly the assets the party needs to recuperate.

Lynne Featherstone

Lynne Featherstone is one of the party’s most internally popular politicians. As a minister in the Home Office, Featherstone paved the way for same-sex marriage to be legalised in the coalition government and also set about ending the heinous practice of FGM. As one of the new ‘kamikaze peers’, Featherstone will once again be at the forefront of the party, tackling Energy & Climate Change – an issue that is often overlooked. Lynne Featherstone has a natural aura that makes her likable and personable and let’s face it, her outstanding legacy speaks for itself.

Catherine Bearder

As the party’s sole MEP, poor Catherine Bearder has her work cut out for her ahead of next year’s EU membership referendum. But make no mistake, Catherine Bearder has her seat on merit and has the tools to lead the party’s unashamedly pro-European stance. Of course, Bearder will need the help from the wider Lib Dem membership but Catherine’s position of influence could help her and our party be on the right side of history by championing EU membership next Autumn.

Zack Polanski

I really like Caroline Pidgeon but Zack Polanski would have been my tip for the top of the Lib Dems’ GLA list. As he showed during the party’s rally at this year’s Autumn conference, Zack can really make liberalism exciting. His pure exhilaration and passion for liberal politics and the people he desires to serve means he is arguably the best example of how the Lib Dems can rebuild from the grassroots up. There are a finite number of people, if any, more likeable in the party than Zack and if that translates he can be at the forefront of the party’s grassroots and capital revival.

Chris Whiting

And finally, there is me. As the best blogger in the Liberal Democrat world and generally the best liberal ever, I am undoubtedly the party’s best asset. I mean I’m 200/1 to be the next leader for goodness sake, I’ve as good as got it – in fact, I’ll eat my hat if it doesn’t happen. Seriously though, members of Liberal Youth and avid social media users like me can also make a massive difference to the party’s fortunes but I’m just going to list my name… for the attention.

Liberal or NDP?

Canada’s 2015 General Election is in full swing. Just like in the UK, the opinion polls can’t seem to call it, but in the Great White North, there is not an unpredictable two way race but three genuine contenders all vying it out for power. As a member of the Lib Dems in the UK, I am thrilled to see a liberal party and a socially democratic party vying it out at the top of the polls. The question is; which is the best choice for Canada?

Using the ISideWith website, I have cherry-picked 28 non-Canada specific issues to compare the parties on.

Domestic

Domestic policy always dominates election discourse and as we’ll see with the trend of this post, there is little room for disagreement between the Liberals and the NDP. On issues like protecting citizens phone calls and emails from government snooping, both parties take an encouragingly liberal approach by opposing such measures. Both wish to stop sending non-violent drug offenders to prison. And both are keen to put public interest at heart by investing in vital commuter rail links and nationalising the energy sector to protect citizens from economic extortion. Justin Trudeau has been much firmer over talk of abolishing the Senate but the NDP are officially on side with that issue too. On Quebec sovereignty, I favour another referendum much like we saw in Scotland – both the Liberals and the NDP are anti-Quebec independence. The only real difference in this area is that of national daycare. Whilst, I respect and like the NDP’s pledge to offer the policy to all families of all economic situations, at a time where Mr. Harper’s Conservatives have led Canada back in to recession, I prefer the more sensible Liberal plan to offer it to poorer families who really need the support.

Winners: Liberal 

Economy

The one that everybody worries about; the economy. As I mentioned, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government has left Canada in a recession for five consecutive months and lagging far behind over developed Western nations, Canada used to glide in front of in a fiscal capacity. On three of the four economic issues I selected, the Liberals and the NDP are concurrent. Both reject plans to tax the pensions of retired workers and both pledge to utilise economic stimulus to aid the economy during recession – really positive and progressive economics. Whilst, I wouldn’t be so quick to increase corporation tax in the UK, I feel differently in regards to Canada. I don’t support a drastic increase but given the nation implements a globally low rate of 15%, a modest increase to 20% could raise revenue to ease the deficit. The NDP would have edged this section thanks to their morally righteous commitment to only pursue free trade with countries that respect the human rights of its citizens, something the Liberals haven’t stipulated as a deal breaker, but Mulcair’s minimum wage plan is rife with subterfuge and would only benefit 1% of workers in Canada – for that reason, it’s a dead heat.

Winners: Tie

Healthcare

The NHS is the crown jewel of British politics and the Canadian health system is considered as good, if not better than the UK’s. Of course, health care is a vital public service and I oppose any cuts to it. Thankfully, that’s not even on the radar for either party and they agree on all four issues regarding healthcare. Both want prescriptions and preventative dental care to be included in Canada’s Universal Healthcare plan, if only such a thing was on the agenda in across the pond. It encourages me to see that marijuana legalisation is being treated as a health issue and encourages me that both parties are staunch supporters of adopting that very position. However, I’ve taken an extremley liberal position on the policy of forcing parents to vaccinate their children for preventable diseases. Both the NDP and the Liberals want that to happen but I would prefer fierce support of vaccination but I’m not sure I like the idea of forcing someone to do something with their child, no matter how positive the outcome may be.

Winners: Tie

Foreign policy

The Liberal Democrats in the UK pride themselves on being internationalist, so it would be reasonable to assume the same attitude was adopted by these two parties. Both parties take progressive and diplomatic approaches to foreign policy by pledging to raise foreign aid from the paltry Canadian rate of 0.4% and by rejecting any plans for Canada’s military to get more involved in Iraq. Whilst, I would never be one to advocate for a large defence budget, I am not too disgruntled by both’s plans to increase spending on the military which stands at under 1% of GDP, especially given the rising global threat from ISIS and Russia. The clincher in this area of policy was the C-51 bill, an act which gives counter-terrorist services a mandate to infringe civil liberties in name of security. Disappointingly the Liberals support a slightly better version of the Conservative bill – but it remains an affront to liberalism, and hypocritical of the party to support. The NDP opposed the bill in parliament and as a result are the best of the pair for foreign policy.

Winners: NDP

Social

Social policy is yet another draw. I can’t say I expected anything else from the parties either. Both the NDP and the Liberals are in support of euthanasia, an issue I take a passionately liberal stance on and both are challenging the Islamophobic rhetoric of the Conservatives by refusing to back any movement towards banning the wearing a niqab during civil ceremonies.

Winners: Tie

Electoral

The appetite for electoral reform is as big in Canada as it is in the UK. The difference is, they have parties in a position to do something about it. Despite the fact, it can often work to both’s benefit, the Liberals and NDP are in favour of establishing a proportional electoral system to better reflect Canada’s popular vote. Both are unsurprisingly in favour of allowing corporations, unions, and non-profit organisations to donate to political parties – either would have earned extra brownie points for proposing a donation cap.

Winners: Tie

Environment

On the two environment issues I chose, there is unsurprisingly little to separate the two. It’s important to prevent climate change and protect the environment, the Liberal plan to subsidise production and consumption of renewable energy sources and to increase regulations on businesses is a responsible one with sound and fair intervention. The NDP want to go a little further by incentivising business to use greener energy. Whilst, the intentions are admirable, it’s in effect, a double subsidy that wouldn’t be wise given the economic state of Canada and the fact environmental protection is part of a businesses’ duty to the people and its country and not something the electorate should have to shell out for.

Winners: Liberal

Education

I don’t side 100% with either party on the one education issue I picked. Both the Liberals and the NDP want to abolish university tuition fees. I would rather the rates were lowered and a fairer repayment system was installed but I don’t object to their shared alternative plan and I’m still very movable on this topic.

Winners: Tied

Immigration

I’m fervently against the right’s efforts to demonise immigrants and immigration. The process of immigration is a net economic benefit to a nation and a country as sparsely populated and steeped in multicultural history, society and foundation as Canada should welcome immigration with open arms. Thankfully, both the Liberal party and the NDP agree with me.

Winners: Tied 

Leaders

Having watched one of the leader debates, I was really impressed with the poise, conviction and passion of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, something I’ve consistently found when I’ve been exposed to his campaigning. He is popular, relatable and exciting. However, despite popular consensus, I cannot warm to Thomas Mulcair who seems warm, stoic, dry and patronising. Any slant against Trudeau’s age is just condescending and ageist. He looks like a better candidate for Prime Minister than Mulcair.

Winners: Liberal

Conclusion

Having weighed all of these issues up, there really isn’t much to separate the two parties. To be honest, I think a vote for either is a good choice for the Canadian people. If anything, the Liberals just about pip NDP as the best choice for Canada, but there’s not a lot about the New Democratic vision that I can disagree with or actively condemn. If these two parties manage to find themselves in first and second then the future is bright for Canadian politics. The best of the rest are the Greens with Bloc Quebecois miles ahead of Stephen Harper’s Conservative party, who are simply awful. I endorse a Liberal party victory in the Canadian election but given how unlikely an outright majority is, a coalition of some sort would be grand.

Winners: Liberal

5 TV Characters I Would Have as Dinner Guests

I’m having a dinner party and there are six seats at the table, including one for myself. Who do I choose to join me?

Leslie Knope

Who could not want such an infectious positive energy at their dinner party? Leslie is fun, vivacious and entertaining, okay she can get a little annoying but she’s probably really hilarious when she’s drunk so if I encourage her to drink loads it will be great. Also, she’s political so just imagine the glorious conversation we could have

Cameron Tucker

Now, if you know me, you know I live for Modern Family and funnily enough Cameron is not my favourite character, he’s not even in the top five but as a dinner guest, he’s probably the best choice. Again, he can be quite over the top but these are TV characters they’re supposed to be, and he’s good for a story or three.

Selina Meyer

I need even more political women in my life and Selina Meyer is just the sassiest woman to ever grace the fictional version of the West Wing. Seriously she’s funny, catty and downright vulgar, I would absolutely have her sat next to me in case our other dinner guests get too irritating and we can delight in each other’s bitchiness. She can bring Gary too and he can wait on the tables I guess. Also, imagine a drunken Knope vs. Meyer debate – a dream come true.

Connor Walsh

Okay, this guy’s character is far less exciting as the others, he’s a sociopath, a little evil but importantly he is absolutely stunning. Connor can sit opposite me and play footsie with me while I enjoy the meal, then he can spend all of five seconds trying to seduce me and we can go to a different room for dessert. He may be a smaller personality but he’s super hot and hugely endearing. sjdasjfsjfqjpqoptpwq

Gabrielle Solis

I actually might fancy this woman more than Jack Falahee (aka Connor Walsh). She’s seriously stunning. Gabrielle Solis is a loveable bitch, she has so many selfish tendencies but always seems to redeem herself with kindness. She’s funny, intelligent and glamorous, I just need a spicy, petite Latina diva in my life and she fits the bill perfectly. Also, Eva Longoria called me sweet once so you know…

Honourable mentions

  • Edie Britt
  • Every single other Modern Family character
  • Robin Scherbatsky
  • Roger from American Dad
  • Raven Baxter
  • Zack Morris
  • Jane Kerkovich-Williams & Brad Williams

2015–16 Football League Predictions

Here are my pointless, largely unsubstantiated predictions for the other leagues;

Championship

Middlesbrough‘s signings will carry them to the league title complimented by the capable hands of Aitor Karanka. Derby County won’t possess quite enough to reach the top two, instead Wolves late flurry will roll in to the current term. Hull will be the best placed of the relegated sides, QPR will semi-capitulate and Brighton and Reading will join Rotherham in the bottom three.

Pos Team
1 Middlesbrough
2 Wolves
3 Derby
4 Brentford
5 Hull City
6 Ipswich
7 Cardiff
8 Burnley
9 Bristol City
10 Blackburn
11 Birmingham
12 Sheff Wed
13 Bolton
14 Fulham
15 QPR
16 Leeds
17 Nott’m Forest
18 Charlton
19 Preston
20 MK Dons
21 Huddersfield
22 Rotherham
23 Reading
24 Brighton

League One

Sheffield United will finally return to the second tier, pushed all the way by a Wigan side too good for League One. Burton and Shrewsbury will take League One by storm, with the other two promoted clubs also surviving. Colchester will finally go down to League Two.

Pos Team
1 Sheff Utd
2 Wigan
3 Swindon
4 Millwall
5 Bradford
6 Burton Alb
7 Shrewsbury
8 Chesterfield
9 Peterborough
10 Gillingham
11 Bury
12 Fleetwood
13 Walsall
14 Coventry
15 Barnsley
16 Doncaster
17 Rochdale
18 Southend
19 Scunthorpe
20 Crewe
21 Colchester
22 Oldham
23 Blackpool
24 Port Vale

League Two

Notts County will lift the League Two crown  but will be pushed all the way by Oxford. Cambridge will be the season’s surprise package, whilst Bristol Rovers enjoy a happy return to the Football League and Portsmouth continue to underachieve. Hartlepool and Mansfield are the goners.

1 Notts Co
2 Oxford
3 Stevenage
4 Plymouth
5 Leyton O
6 Luton
7 Cambridge
8 Wycombe
9 Bristol R
10 Yeovil
11 Portsmouth
12 Crawley
13 Northampton
14 Exeter
15 Barnet
16 Morecambe
17 Dag & Red
18 Accrington
19 Carlisle
20 York
21 Newport
22 Wimbledon
23 Hartlepool
24 Mansfield

National League

It’s a bit of a cheat to include the National League but let’s go for it. Eastleigh’s spending power will put them on divisional parity with Pompey. Grimsby will come up frustratingly short yet again, whilst Wrexham, Chester and Lincoln improve. Tranmere will struggle to make an immediate return.

Pos Team
1 Eastleigh
2 Grimsby
3 Forest Green
4 Wrexham
5 Cheltenham
6 Woking
7 Tranmere
8 Chester
9 Lincoln
10 Dover
11 Macclesfield
12 Barrow
13 Torquay
14 Halifax
15 Gateshead
16 Braintree
17 Kidderminster
18 Bromley
19 Aldershot
20 Southport
21 Altrincham
22 Welling
23 Boreham Wood
24 Guiseley

2015-16 Premier League Predictions

Last year, my Premier League predictions weren’t that bad so I haven’t been discouraged through shame from reproducing another prediction post this time round. Here is basically my irrelevant, largely weak opinion on how it will all go.

Arsenal

Last season: 3rd
Bookies’ prediction: 3rd
Random prediction for season: Piers Morgan to call for Wenger’s sacking after a loss to Manchester United.

Contenders… Arsenal will challenge for silverware again.

It’s been a long while since Arsenal were considered genuine contenders for the Premier League title – but this could be the year they get that title back. When the Gunners are on their game, they are the best team to watch in the league, their silky fluid football is enough to beat any other side in the division, but I reiterate that’s when they’re on song. Arsene Wenger, despite popular Twitter consensus, is a very apt and capable manager and if he can iron out the creases in his side, the class of Ozil and Sanchez et al can set their sights on something more than just the FA Cup. 2nd.

Aston Villa

Last season: 17th
Bookies’ prediction: 16th
Random prediction for season: Villa to go at least four league games without scoring a goal.

Prepared…For the 2016-17 Championship season

With maybe the exception of Newcastle United, there was no worse side to visit the King Power Stadium last season than the Villans. In fact, I am genuinely perplexed as to how they managed to stay up last season and beat my team twice in the process. That being said, this Summer hasn’t been all too good for Villa, they’ve lost star men Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph and summoned up inadequate replacements as a result. Aston Villa will struggle even more than last year and I think this will finally be the season they bite the Premier League dust – which could turn out to be good news for Villa in the long run. 19th.

Bournemouth

Last season: 1st (Championship)
Bookies’ prediction: 18th
Random prediction for season: Bournemouth to beat one of the big seven at home on Monday Night Football.

Underdogs…Eddie Howe’s cherries can blossom

I hope Bompey learn the lessons of Leicester City last season and stick to their guns and play the Bournemouth way next season. The Premier League debutants may look out of sorts in the English top flight on the face of it but with one of the nation’s best young managers, a positive playing style and a contained stadium that will give the bigger clubs a scare, Bompey may be able to crawl over the dreaded dotted line of relegation – at least we all hope so. 17th.

Chelsea

Last season: 1st
Bookies’ prediction: 1st
Random prediction for season: Chelsea to pick up more away points from the big seven than any other club.

Incumbents…Chelsea can keep their trophy safe

Chelsea were by far and away the league’s best side last term and with the added fire power of Falcao, who I think will salvage his stalling career at Stamford Bridge, the Blues will retain their crown. I don’t expect it to be as easy as last term with the sides around them getting stronger, but Chelsea should have the efficiency and tactical astuteness to overcome their challengers. Let’s face it, they were the only side able to beat Leicester at the end of the season – and that’s an unbelievable feat. 1st.

Crystal Palace

Last season: 10th
Bookies’ prediction: 12th
Random prediction for season: Palace to go the entire season without a managerial change

Supportive… Selhurst Park can be a happy hunting ground for the Eagles

It’s hard not to admire Crystal Palace since their return to the Premier League, their intensity and positivity has defied popular expert consensus two years running and seen the Eagles soar to 11th and 10th respectively. With Yohan Cabaye rejoining the Premier League after a two year absence and Palace’s ability to keep hold of their key players, there seems no obvious reason why Palace won’t carry on with their overachievements. Perhaps, the biggest hindrance to the club would be the ending of Alan Pardew’s honeymoon period – time will tell on that front. 12th.

Everton

Last season: 11th
Bookies’ prediction: 7th
Random prediction for season: Everton to lose at home to Crystal Palace yet again.

Sticky… The Toffees were in a sticky situation

Everything about Everton last season was lacklustre. This year they need a really injection of vitality and talent to counteract last season’s woes. I think this side is good enough to make amends for last season’s under-performance but it won’t come without hard work. And I’m just not sure a) that Roberto Martinez is as good a tactician as widely believed and b) that Tom Cleverley is the signing that will propel them back in to Europe. 9th.

Leicester City

Last season: 14th
Bookies’ prediction: 15th
Random prediction for season: Claudio Ranieri to be the favourite for the axe at any point this season

Fortress… City’s atmosphere can provide a boost in a difficult upcoming season

I’m not really sure what to make of my team, our true quality shone through at the end of last season and while I still think we’re too good a team to go down, even without Esteban Cambiasso, I don’t think we’ll progress either. Whilst, I’m prepared to give Ranieri every chance to deliver success to Filbert Way, I don’t see him being a long-term solution or getting the Foxes in to the top half like I would have optimistically wagered Pearson would next season. I cautiously predict/hope it will be more of the same this year. 13th. 

Liverpool

Last season: 6th
Bookies’ prediction: 5th
Random prediction for season: Liverpool to lose away at one of the three promoted clubs

Pressure… Coutinho must become Liverpool’s leading man

There’s something in the water of the River Mersey and it’s uninspiring mediocrity. With the exception of Firmino, who seems an intriguing purchase, Brendan Rogers has moved little to help steady his sinking Kopite ship. The Reds should a plethora of weaknesses at the end of last season and with Gerrard and Sterling gone and Benteke and Danny Ings now the stars of Anfield, another trophy-less season beckons. Of course, this is hyperbolic, they’re still Liverpool so they’ll be up around the top somehow… 7th.

Manchester City

Last season: 2nd
Bookies’ prediction: 2nd
Random prediction for season: Manchester City to rip Spurs apart at least once.

Understudies… Man City are not good enough to supplant Chelsea

Manchester City are on the decline, despite finishing as runner-ups to Chelsea last season, they hardly set the league alight. They often looked average and with others around them strengthening and their tired squad growing ever moreso, the arrival of Raheem Sterling will do little to boost waning energy or workrate levels. Manuel Pellegrini will probably face the axe at some point this season too. 2015-16 may not to be a period of adjustment and reflection for the Citizens so they can regain their lost title in the near future. 4th. 

Manchester United

Last season: 4th
Bookies’ prediction: 4th
Random prediction for season: Manchester United to lose 0-1 at home to at least one bottom half club.

Individuals… United’s keeper drama highlights the lack of synergy in the squad

Lazily assembling squads of world-renowned superstars is a tactic that often fails, and it will for United too. Whilst Louis Van Gaal’s frivolous spending on world-class midfielders will wet the appetites of Red Devils’ fans, it will do little to pave over the cracks of instability throughout the squad, and the gaping holes in a shockingly deficit in defensive talent. United will gradually continue on the way to being a genuine shout for the Premier League title, but this season will be just another stepping stone. 3rd.

Newcastle United

Last season: 15th
Bookies’ prediction: 13th
Random prediction for season: Newcastle United to do the double over Sunderland

Protestors… The Geordies will be slightly less irritable next season

Modest redemption is the trend I see sweeping up the River Tyne this Summer. With the best coach in the Premier League gone and brolly-carrying Schteve now in the dugout, the Geordies have somewhat upgraded, that coupled with the signing of Aleksandr Mitrovic, who I’m tipping to be a hit in the top-flight, Newcastle’s problems won’t be as bad as they seemed just two months ago. Of course, don’t fear Newcastle fans, you will still throw away both cup competitions so you’ll have that to complain about. 14th.

Norwich City

Last season: 3rd (Championship)
Bookies’ prediction: 19th
Random prediction for season: Norwich to play Liverpool on Super Sunday

Star turn… Redmond can lead the Canaries’ charge

Norwich already have a squad littered with Premier League quality having only experienced one year of top-flight exile. The Canaries will benefit from a bottom half of the table almost void of genuine quality and I think City can and will flourish again, perhaps the only question mark is Alex Neil’s ability to guide a football club through the more challenging rigours of the Premier League, that being said, I have faith in him being better than at least a few others at that. 15th. 

Southampton

Last season: 7th
Bookies’ prediction: 8th
Random prediction for season: Southampton to lose away at Bournemouth

Marching in… Saints will sustain their form

I really rate this Southampton side. Their performance last season was extraordinary given the turmoil they faced at the training ground and in the media. Ronald Koeman has proven to be the perfect fit for the Saints, an astute operator in the transfer market, he has consistently built on the strong base of Southampton Youth players to found a strong top-half of the table team. Even with departures this year like last, the Saints look no weaker and have only gained financial clout from it. Their Achilles heel will be managing their Europa League schedule. 8th.

Stoke City

Last season: 9th
Bookies’ prediction: 9th
Random prediction for season: Stoke to lose at home on a cold Tuesday night

Undone…Stoke’s Britannia home is no longer the fortress it once was

Stoke City will remain a quality outfit next season, they have a decent enough squad to not even be entertained as possible relegation candidates next campaign, but there isn’t a lot to suggest they’re capable of anything better than 9th place. Bojan will be the Potters’ star player next term but they need more than one tricky Spaniard in the middle of the park to lodge themselves in the top seven. 10th.

Sunderland

Last season: 16th
Bookies’ prediction: 17th
Random prediction for season: Sunderland to score fewer goals than any other side.

Doomed… I can see no escape for Sun’lun’

Sunderland’s team reeks of tedium and impending demise. The Black Cats have done well to basically replicate the exact same season for however many years running but their nine lives are up this term. There is little to suggest that the diminutive Defoe possesses the attacking impetus to fire Sunderland away from the relegation they’ve been flirting with for years. There will be no great escape this year, their biggest challenge will be to keep in touch with safety for as long as possible. 20th. 

Swansea City

Last season: 8th
Bookies’ prediction: 10th
Random prediction for season: Swansea’s away ticket initiative to be endlessly praised on social media.

Excelling.. Swansea’s rocket ship to the moon shows no sign of return

The Swans very quietly had a barnstorming season last term. Everyone was talking about Southampton, and West Ham before they went off the boil but they failed to notice just how close Swansea were to matching the Saints pound for pound. Garry Monk has done well to maintain the club’s attractive philosophy and has done even better in the transfer market, the signings of Eder and Ayew place Swansea at the top of the transfer market Premier League, and as a result, I tip them to be this year’s surprise package. 6th. 

Tottenham Hotspur

Last season: 5th
Bookies’ prediction: 6th
Random prediction for season: Spurs to crash out of the Europa League with a whimper

Meh… Spurs are Spurs.

Spurs are sort of where they are by default, I imagine Harry Kane’s form will cool off next term but given the disarray they’ve found themselves in, they should be able to keep their main challengers Liverpool at bay for another season. There’s really not a lot to comment on on the White Hart Lane front, they will do exactly what they always do, sort of achieve domestically, fail embarrassingly continentally. 5th.

Watford

Last season: 2nd (Championship)
Bookies’ prediction: 20th
Random prediction for season: The Hornets to win at least one game 4-3.

Buzzing…Watford will give survival a good stab

Watford’s unstable approach is what concerns me most. They’ve signed some real quality to compliment the existing talent in their side but they are likely to go gung-ho and do seem to employ the belief that big names equals achievement and as we’ve seen it doesn’t always. Watford will certainly be entertaining and expansive, of that I’m confident but I just don’t see them as anything other than a better Queens Park Rangers. 18th.

West Bromwich Albion

Last season: 13th
Bookies’ prediction: 14th
Random prediction for season: West Brom to avoid the bottom three all season

Hot property… Berahino and co will be in the mix for the top half

Again, there isn’t too much to say here, West Brom looked doomed for the Championship this time last year but Tony Pulis has been instrumental in gifting the club with some sturdier stuff. Albion fans shouldn’t be fearful of finishing anywhere below 15th because they are simply better than a lot of the sides at the bottom. In fact, I think there is leg room for the Baggies to climb the league ladder, but they must start beating struggling sides at home. 11th.

West Ham United

Last season: 12th
Bookies’ prediction: 12th
Random prediction for season: West Ham to win their last match at Upton Park

Upheaval… The Hammers have a lot to deal with this term

It’s all change at Upton Park this season; a flashy new stadium, a flashy new manager, and a flashy new European competition. The Hammers though good enough to avoid the drop will need to be wary of succumbing to their end of season form, and early Europa League forays don’t look promising. The danger for United this year will be that they spread themselves too thin, if they don’t manage all of their competitions competently, they could rue the day they binned Big Sam. 16th. 

The Leicester City Alternative End of Season Awards 2014–15

The Claridge Shin ‘Scenes of the Season’ Award

Magic…Cambiasso draws City level

Until the last few weeks of the season, the winner of this award looked like it would go the distance completely unchallenged. While several contenders in our run of six wins in seven eventually received some passive contemplation, the 5-3 humbling of Manchester United could simply not be beaten. That game in September has already gone down as one of the Foxes’ most famous ever matches, coming from 3-1 down to win 5-3 against arguably the world’s biggest club in just over twenty minutes is mesmerising enough but when you list the talent the opponents had on the pitch and in the dugout; Falcao, Rooney, Van Persie, Mata, Di Maria, Van Gaal and Giggs – it’s simply spectacular. It’s hard to say whether Cambiasso’s inaugural strike or Jamie Vardy’s classy winner were better moments, but it’s not hard to say that this is the most scenic football moment I have ever witnessed.

The Dennis Wise ‘Twunt of the Year’ Award

Tw*t… Alan Hutton’s mentally deficient anger reflects the club he represents

The Dennis Wise gong really is one of great shame, while Leicester have had their share of villains throughout this season with honourable mentions to Pat Murphy for his pathetically uncomfortable lecture to Nigel Pearson that was merely a sick ploy to provoke the City boss. And, Mike Jones must receive a huge slice of disdain for his inability to differentiate between a face and a hand; robbing the Foxes of yet another scalp at Anfield. But the award goes elsewhere despite their best arsehole-esque efforts neither did enough to trump Aston Villa’s Alan Hutton. This poisonous thug is a real tosser, hacking City players like Piers Morgan does childrens’ phones – he should have seen red in all three of Leicester and Villa’s clashes. However, not everything he inflicted on Foxes fans was bad, he did give us a reason to like Paul Konchesky.

The Filbert Fox ‘Foxiest Fox Of The Year’ Award

Retention… Kaspy beats Jam-Jar to remain LCFC’s pin-up boy

I’ll be honest, I had gone off Kaspy a bit this season; and when he was out injured and last year’s runner-up Matty James got an extended run in the side, I was sincerely prepared to unseat the Great Dane in favour of Filbert Way’s resident Lancashire lothario, then this picture happened and Kasper did what he does best – pulled off an unlikely save.

The Frank Sinclair ‘Comedy Goal of the Year’ Award

Head’s gone… Morgan gives Cambiasso the indignity of a Foxes own-goal

Last year, I had the pleasure of giving this award for a goal that counted in our favour, this year I can do no such thing. Despite his usual wizardry, Estebae was on the end of a pretty diabolical own-goal at home to West Brom. The Argentine raced back in to the box to help clear a cross from the Baggies but Wes Morgan got there first, nodding the ball on to the obscenely muscular thighs of Cambiasso and in to the back of the net. Thankfully, City would have the last laugh at the Baggies’ expense a few months later.

The Yann Kermorgant ‘Stupid Decision of the Year’ Award

Embarrassment… City were dumped out by a poor Villa side that reached the final

While we could focus on individual errors such as Schmeichel decided to award Ross Wallace with roughly 30 miles worth of empty net to aim at in stoppage time against Burnley or Paul Konchesky’s inadvertently superb assist to Andy Carroll against West Ham. However we’re not going to – meaning this award goes to a man who has by all means been forgiven for his mid-season shortcomings but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been forgotten. Pearson’s tactics in the cup at Villa scoop the dong. City, away at Aston Villa in the FA Cup, the giants all dropping like flies and a real chance for the Foxes to really go for the trophy that has so famously eluded them. But Big Nige opted to line the Foxes up in an unfamiliar 5-4-1 formation…in a cup match…a local derby… away at a side who had scored 0.5 goals all season. Not only that but with the Foxes being obviously outplayed and trailing the hapless Villans, Nige decided to use just one of our three available substitutes – erm why?!

The Neil Danns ‘Fraud of the Year’ Award

Brute…You put your Big Pole in…

This award is not for the Dan Turner school of frauds but rather an affectionate look at one of our own’s ability to get away with (attempted) murder. The debut recipient of this award is terrace hero Marcin Wasilewski. I commented during pre-season in The Observer that Wasyl’s elbows would be no match for a pacier defender – but I never should have underestimated his multi-purpose arm-joints, the fact Wasilewski has never been sent off for Leicester City means he’s thoroughly earned it – keep the unsporting subterfuge up, Was!

The Zoumana Bakayogo ‘Signing of the Season’ Award

Saviours… Cambiasso and Huth are City’s key players

This is the toughest call of them all… by far. While, I have to give the optimum credit to Robert Huth, whose loan signing has transformed both Leicester’s defensive capabilites and in my opinion, fate at the bottom of the table, I simply can’t not give this award to the legendary Esteban Cambiasso. From the moment he took to the field at the Britannia in mid-August, Estebae has been the puppet-master in the midfield for the Foxes and as the season, and with it his fitness, has progressed he has become more and more mesmerising. I genuinely feel fortunate to have seen this man play for and care so much about my club and I pray Estebae (and Robert Huth) for that matter stay with us for next season – we rely on them more than they know.

The Alan Birchenall & Tony Currie ‘Romantic Moment of the Season’ Award

Shithouse… Vardy nabs City a crucial breakaway winner

In a season where City fans have been able to cherish their Premier League status, a nostalgic throwback to the Championship anguish that preceded it scoops this year’s romantic moment award. In the middle of Leicester’s remarkable surge to survival, the Foxes notched up a 1-0 win away at Burnley, replicating an immediate response to avoiding conceding a penalty going up the other end and scoring the winner seconds later, as we saw at Watford. We also left the bitter and frankly deluded Sean Dyche with no doubts as to who the better side were, even without the ‘many, many pound notes’ he thinks we’ve flashed – the result effectively relegated Burnley and put the Clarets in their place.

The Nigel Pearson ‘Pearson-ism of the Year’ Award

Boss… He can handle himself, you know?

‘He says what he wants, he says what he wants! You’re an ostrich, so f**k off and die!’ *chokes player*. Relaying that chant is the best way of detailing all of the nominations for this new award. What was best? Well, choke-gate was odd and not really funny, ‘f**k off and die!’ was funny and probably deserved but given how left-field Pearson’s ostrich quip was, there was no way it would be beaten. Having just lost 3-1 at home to champs Chelsea, Leicester fans online were reflecting and speculating what else needed to be done to secure survival when news that Pearson had compared a journalist to a flightless bird with his head in the sand – he later apologised but the worldwide social media reaction has cemented it in Foxes folklore. Come on you Foxstritches!

General Election 2015 : Power Rankings

There is absolutely no real need for this post, my list of the seven main UK parties ranked based on how worthy I think they are of voting for.

7. UKIP

Wooden spoon… Made in Europe probably – bloody EU! 😡

Manifesto: http://www.ukip.org/manifesto2015
Strength:
 Ale drinking 

Weakness: Foreign policy
Party trick: Making casual racism acceptable to 15% of the electorate

Potential Coalition Partners: The ConLabDUP

Where to start with Nigel Farage’s pestiferous cult “people’s army”? On a policy basis, believe it or not, UKIP aren’t totally repugnant – they are mostly but some policies do make sense, although it’s hard to believe a single word, given that populism is at the heart of the party’s ideology. Several gaffes from its members, PPCs, MEPs and leader alike simply make UKIP a no-go. Their divisive aim to ethnically separate the nation may be slightly well hidden by Nigel Farage, who was accused of being a racist fascist by a teacher at his expensive private school but the dwindling support of the BNP is no coincidence. The high rate of absenteeism as well as the fugacious nature of their policies does nothing to reassure those who doubt the party’s competence. Their leader may be among the most charismatic in British politics but being literally the worst human in the world lets him down. Let’s hope UKIP’s steady decline in the opinion polls picks up.

 Score: 14 /100

6. SNP

In the driving seat… Ed’s probably tied up in the back

Manifesto: http://votesnp.com/docs/manifesto.pdf
Strength:
 Social policy

Weakness: Domestic policy
Party trick: Ironically giving the Tories the best chance of sneaking back in to government

Potential Coalition Partners: The LabPCGreens

Again, the SNP aren’t that deplorable when you look at everything they stand for. Though their lack of real commitment to LGBT+ issues this year was seriously poor for a socially left party, a lot of other things they profess to stand for are very agreeable indeed. Unfortunately, the SNP are bunny boilers in a political sense, though hesitant to admit it, the SNP are desperate for another Indy Ref and to pull Scotland out of the union – or to at least demand more disproportionate funds and electoral sway to the north by simply being noisy. Arguably, Nicola Sturgeon has been the most impressive leader in the build up to this election, she has portrayed herself as calm, powerful and together (ironic I know). However, for all of her popularity, there is a dissatisfaction with the SNP’s hypocrisy as head of the Scottish Parliament with many feeling the SNP fundamentally are under-performing in key areas of their ideology.

 Score: 42 /100

5. Conservatives

Forever blowing bubbles…Cameron prepares for his club’s derby against West Bromwich Hotspur

Manifesto: https://www.conservatives.com/manifesto
Strength: They’re not Labour
Weakness: Domestic policy
Party trick: Retaining over 30% in the opinion polls despite accruing the support of Katie Hopkins
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibUKIPDUP

What to say about the Tories? Let’s just say on a policy basis, I’m never likely to be onside. Fundamentally opposite to me on the social spectrum, the Conservatives are just a bit far too nasty for me. While, I certainly view them as more competent than the Labour party, their ideological drive to punish those at the bottom and preserve a select few at the top of the spectrum does not sit well with me. You could also make the point that David Cameron carries himself in a more statesmanlike manner than the other potential Prime Minister – but to be honest, I’m not sure why that’s preferable – policy is certainly more important than personality. I’m genuinely fearful of a ‘Blukip’ coalition of the Tories, UKIP and DUP, I really don’t fancy a single ticket trip to the 1950s.

Score: 45 /100

4. Labour

Let Me Tell You… Ed’s public speaking courses are hilariously apparent

Manifesto: http://www.labour.org.uk/manifesto
Strength: They’re not Tories (but they’re getting there)
Weakness: Economic incompetence
Party trick: Retaining over 30% in the opinion polls despite accruing the support of Russell Brand
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibUKIPGreensPC

Dissimilarly, I don’t agree with Labour on a personal basis. While their manifesto is mostly quite nice, championing some really good social policy, the party has decided to scooch further and further right in some areas too. Who can forget mug-gate and Harriet Harman’s patronising pink bus? Saying that, Labour are too incompetent – powerfully purporting their disdain for zero hour contracts and love for students despite the fact they did nothing about either in 13 years of majority government – in fact they screwed the latter over thrice as much as the Lib Dems! Yes, Milliband has come on stronger as a leader recently but that really isn’t enough to convince me Labour’s left-wing veil is anything but that.

Score: 47 /100

3. Greens

WON’T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE VERTEBRATES?!

Manifesto: https://www.greenparty.org.uk/we-stand-for/2015-manifesto.html
Strength:
 They’re lovely
Weakness: Failing to understand that 3% to 5% does not constitute a ‘surge’
Party trick: Making people think their manifesto is genuinely fully costed
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibLabSNPPC

If this election was solely about social policy then the Greens would be jostling for top spot. Seriously, they have some genuinely fluffy, lovely ideas but they’re so vapid it’s unreal. As much as the most prominent politicians in the Green party, leader Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas are lovely people they are just a bit out of touch with reality. I’m sure all parties left-of-centre would love to implement those in the Greens manifesto but being realistic it just isn’t going to happen. Their economic policy would be a disaster, it’s no coincidence that the only council in the UK that they control has one of the lowest satisfaction rates. It also probably irks those in poverty that Bennett routinely claims how bad ‘we’ have got it while riding to Question Time in a first class train carriage. On top of all of this, environmental experts have even claimed the party isn’t that eco-friendly – ouch! Perhaps, the Greens should put the green down and embrace the real world. Bless them, they are lovely though.

Score: 48 /100

2. Plaid Cymru

Fy ffrind gorau Nicola i fod yn onest

Manifesto: https://www.partyof.wales/2015-manifesto/?force=1
Strength: A quiet but deadly leader
Weakness: Civic nationalism
Party trick: Being a far more likeable SNP
Potential Coalition Partners: The LibLabSNPGreens

Again, on the side of nationalism I deplore Plaid Cymru’s stance and if there were as big a demand for Welsh Independence as there is Scottish Independence, they would be further down the list – thankfully there is not. I always feel that the Welsh get a poor deal in comparison with the Scots and Plaid Cymru (obviously) have rectifying that at the heart of their agenda. Socially the party is truly a champion of the left showing a remarkable commitment to the LGBT+ community that is only matched and indeed surpassed by one other party, while their economics may be idealistic and of the breed of the Green party and the SNP, Plaid Cymru carry slightly higher levels of competency starting with a remarkably quiet yet sassy leader in Leanne Wood who is ready to take Nigel Farage to task and then some at any given opportunity.

Score: 66 /100

1. Liberal Democrats

The Last Clegg… Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry

Manifesto: http://www.libdems.org.uk/read-the-full-manifesto
Strength:
 Centrism

Weakness: The immovable bastard that is tuition fee-gate
Party trick: Best 404 pages ever
Potential Coalition Partners: The ConLabPCGreens

In a time of economic uncertainty and social complacency, the Lib Dems are managing to once again strike the best balance in their manifesto. Although, not perfect – having made some mistakes in the last coalition government while diluting the Tories hardcore right-wing whims, the Lib Dems have managed to put together a sensible centrist economic policy that aims to wipe out the deficit while making sure those at the bottom aren’t pressed to make up the difference. The IFS and several other leading economists have praised the Lib Dems’ plans as the most credible. Social policy has too been by far the most forward thinking with substantial plans to improve humanist recognition, LGBT+ issues and champion youth and students too. I’d even go as far as to say that the Lib Dems are what a lot of Labour voters think Labour are. While their campaign message hasn’t been the strongest, Nick Clegg has shown glimpses of the Cleggmania that engulfed the electorate in 2010. However, the biggest challenge for the Lib Dems is to set the record straight on previous errors and perhaps fight a little harder for more Liberal values in any future coalition in order to tempt anyone back on side – it really is time to get over that one. Hear that, NUS?

Score: 92 /100