Lucas, Bartley and Womack: The Future of the Green Party

2 2 4 Politics

Last weekend saw the Green Party of England and Wales’ autumn conference, and the formal announcement of the Green Party’s new leadership team – Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley as joint-leaders, and Amelia Womack as Deputy Leader.

Lucas and Bartley’s victory was not a surprise, but perhaps the size of their victory was (87.7% of the vote, 81% clear of their nearest rival). This is despite some displeasure at the manner of the announcement they’d be standing (an article in the Guardian the day before formal nominations opened). Lucas had previously suggested she may continue with the decision she made in 2012 – to step aside from the leadership so that, among other benefits, more faces could make a name for themselves, and build a national reputation. Deputy Leaders Amelia Womack and Shahrar Ali among those suggested as possible candidates, as well as MEP Molly Scott-Cato.

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Mid Table Matters Podcast Episode 1


So. This is a podcast I have the honour of chairing. And this is our first episode. I’m quite enjoying doing it, and hope it fills the gap in the market where Radio 4 lacks a programme like this.

If anyone from Radio 4 is listening, our rates are reasonable..

Episode 1 is here! We review the first round of Euro 2016 games and look ahead to the rest of the tournament.   Listen here: Or download from here:   We’ll be back on Saturday……

Source: Mid Table Matters Podcast Episode 1

Now That’s What I Call Music 56


Released-  17th November 2003

Music History


Me History


If I had to save one track from this album, which this time around feels like asking me which of my children I’d want to survive, that track would be… 

Track by Track Breakdown

The Black Eyed Peas – “Where Is the Love?”

The perfect crossover point between the serious hip hop act responsible for Joints and Jams and the pop act to blame for Boom Boom Pow. So good, but also a little sad.

Rachel Stevens       “Sweet Dreams My LA Ex”

Kylie Minogue        “Slow”

Blue   “Guilty”

Fatman Scoop featuring The Crooklyn Clan – “Be Faithful”

Literally just a guy shouting over Chic Cheer. But in its favour, what’s wrong with a guy shouting over Chic Cheer?

Beyoncé featuring Jay-Z – “Crazy in Love”

While she’s put out some absolute classics since, has Beyoncé ever managed to outdo this track in 13 years? I’m not sure.

Sugababes    “Hole in the Head”

Liberty X“Jumpin'”

It hasn’t aged well, but it does have a pleasing sinister streak behind the inane lyrics. Sleazy and with a great low slung feel.

Jamelia –  “Superstar”

I can’t remember if it’s true that this was written by Chris Martin from Coldplay. If so, he’s wasted on his own records. This is class.

Lumidee       “Never Leave You (Uh Oooh, Uh Oooh)”

Stacie Orrico          “Stuck”

Lemar “Dance (With U)”

Javine          “Surrender (Your Love)”

Emma “Maybe”

S Club 8        “Sundown”

Ultrabeat      “Pretty Green Eyes”

Sophie Ellis-Bextor “Mixed Up World”

Phixx –  “Hold On Me”

It’s terrible, but the synthetic sounds a lot like The King of Rock and Roll by Prefab Sprout, which makes me happy.

D-Side          “Invisible”

Louise          “Pandora’s Kiss”

Girls Aloud   “Life Got Cold”

Atomic Kitten –  “If You Come to Me”

You’re nothing without Kerry Katona.

Elton John   “Are You Ready for Love”

Justin Timberlake   “Rock Your Body”

Robbie Williams –  “Something Beautiful”

He’s done. It’s not bad, but his spark has gone out. Whatever magic touch he had has gone.

Nickelback    “Someday”

Busted         “Sleeping with the Light On”

Mark Owen   “Four Minute Warning”

Amy Studt    “Under the Thumb”

Texas featuring Kardinal Offishall         “Carnival Girl”

50 Cent featuring Nate Dogg – “21 Questions”

Cracks already appearing in 50 Cent’s limited skills. But the joy of Nate Dogg’s somnambulistic voice is never in doubt. Still miss hearing him on a joint.

Ashanti        “Rock wit U (Awww Baby)”

Joe Budden  “Pump It Up”

Jaimeson –  “Complete”

Smooth sounding, then jumps in with a great breakbeat. Needs a little more change to be truly good, but an alright effort.

Lisa Scott-Lee“Too Far Gone”

I get the impression of a writers room throwing around every au courant idea they can think of and shouting ‘Why is nothing working!’.

Angel City featuring Lara McAllen         “Love Me Right (Oh Sheila)”

Richard X featuring Kelis – “Finest Dreams”

Both Richard X and Kelis are masters of this sleazy, wonky sounding electro R&B. I can only assume The Weeknd was paying close attention.

Rishi Rich Project featuring Jay Sean and Juggy D    “Dance with You”

UB40 featuring The United Colours of Sound – “Swing Low”

On the one hand this is a terrible version of the song. On the other, Johnny Wilkinson, dying minutes, beating an Australia side with the ref in their pocket, taking home the World Cup.

Starsailor     “Silence Is Easy”

Stereophonics        “Maybe Tomorrow”

Daniel Bedingfield –  “Never Gonna Leave Your Side”

He’s gone back to the gentle, moving ballad well. It’s getting dry, sadly.

Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules   “Mad World”


Final Verdict

out of 43.

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

Happy Burns’ Night

I love that the Scots think we English hate them, when every year we allow them to sell us catfood in fancy packaging, and wolf it down in honour of a poet who didn’t even speak very good English and pretend we don’t know they’re playing us!

Just playing, love the stuff! May yer lum be reekin etc.


PS- Sorry I’ve been hibernating. Normal service will resume shortly.

Now That’s What I Call Christmas

Okay… its a repost from last year. But it’s Christmas. And this album doesn’t change much each year. From a quick glance, I think there’s one song I haven’t covered in this article.

Sooo. In the spirit of completeness;

Idina MenzelDo You Want to Build a Snowman

A worthy addition to the Christmas song canon. But Let it Go is clearly better.



This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here. This, however, is a break from the norm to review an annual offshoot of the series, compiling (in theory) the best Christmas songs of all time onto three fun packed discs.

Released- 3rd November 2014 (Though, let’s face it, there’s one every year)

Music History

2000 years ago, in a manger, Jesus was born. 1950 odd years later, pop music was born. The two work well together.

Me Holiday History

Originally a Roman festival called Saturnalia, and appropriated by Christianity under the Emperor Constantine as the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday. In fairness, Jesus is pretty cool about the whole thing, and doesn’t want presents himself, and is just like, ‘Guys…

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A sort of companion to last week’s turkish delight recipe, except where that was simple, this is hardcore. You can make it simply by shopping online or living in North East London, where ready made filo pastry can be purchased.

Despite having two books on baking, I didn’t have a recipe for filo pastry. Despite being judgemental on the Great British Bake Off, even the sainted Paul Hollywood tells you to just to buy frozen filo! The filo recipe is by Michel Roux, and seems to come out pretty well.

Also, baklava is just crispy, nutty, syrupy heaven, so it’s worth every ounce of effort.



200g flour
170ml warm water (warmed to 50c)
1 tsp salt
15ml olive oil
Cornflour (for dusting)


300g shelled pistachios
125g butter (melted)


300ml water
500g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp rosewater
Some orange zest


So, are you brave? Are you going to try to make impossible pastry? Good on you. If not I’ve stuck a heading below for you so you can start from there.

Still reading? Okay! In a large bowl, mix together the flour salt and water until they all start to come together. As they do, pour the olive oil in in a thin stream, like you’re making mayonnaise.

Beat for another 5 minutes, and it should be soft and sticky. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and dust it lightly with some cornflour.

Pull the dough into 60g balls, about the size of a small satsuma, and lay on the baking tray. Cover with cling film, and leave somewhere cool for about 2 hours.


After 2 hours, dust your work surface with cornflour and roll each ball out into pieces about the size of your baking tray. You want the pastry so thin you’ll be terrified to move it for fear it will break. At the very most, about 3mm thick. As you finish each piece, lay it on some cling film, then lay more cling film on top for the next piece.

Anything you don’t use will keep well in the freezer, well wrapped in cling film.

Recipe for cowards

Preheat your oven to 180c.

Welcome back! So… If you have a food processor, stick the shelled pistachios in there and blend them up. If not, stick them in a sandwich bag, wrap it in a teatowel, picture the face of someone you hate, then beat it with a rolling pin until they’re reduced to crumbs.


In a suitably sized tin, place a layer of pastry. Brush this with melted butter all over, then add a thin layer of pistachio crumbs. Lay over more pastry, brush again, nuts again, until you have 5 or 6 layers of pastry. Pre-slice these into pieces about 2cm each. Pick whaterlver shape you fancy.

Stick this in the oven for 30 minutes, until puffed up and golden.

While this cooks, put the water and sugar in a pan over a high heat. Bring it to a pretty firm boil for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the lemon, rose water and orange zest.

Pour half of this over the baklava as soon as it comes out, then the other half at least 10 minutes later.

Eat sparingly. It’s syrupy and will be too rich for a full blown binge. Trust me… I tried.


Turkish Delight

Well its vaguely christmassy, if you’re a fan of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and more importantly, it’s bloody delicious.

Also, at the halfway point, as it’s setting, it looks like the pink goo from Ghostbusters 2, which made me want to put it in the toaster and sing to it!

Makes a very nice Christmas gift too! Or any time gift. People just like this stuff.

Also, if you fancy a more varied approach, lemon essence and coconut dusting, or orange and pistachio would both be a worthwhile try. Just vary what you stir in at the end!


300ml water
8 leaves gelatine (or equivalent of Agar powder for veggies)
500g caster sugar
Rose water
Pink food colouring
30g icing sugar
15g cornflour


Put the water in a large pan, and put the gelatine leaves in there. Go and have an amble for 10 minutes until they’ve started to bloom. In English, this means they’ve gone kind of wispy.

Put the pan on a hob at a very low heat, then stir until all the gelatine has gone. Add the sugar, increase to a medium heat and sturdy until all the sugar dissolves.


Bring this mix to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

When you’re done, remove from the heat, then stir in the colouring and the rose water. A few drops of each should suffice. Subtlety is key here!

Pour into a moistened mould (I used a small loaf tin) then leave to set overnight.


The next part is hard. Put the icing sugar and cornflour on a plate and mix well. Then remove the jelly from the mould, directly onto the sugar mixture.

It is the stickiest thing in the world, so it will be a nightmare to get out, and if you don’t land it on the sugar it will stick to whatever it touches!

Get your sharpest knife, rub a little neutral tasting oil all over the blade, then cut the jelly into bite sized cubes, tossing each one in the sugar until it’s no longer sticky.

Put in a suitable container, and add some more sugar mixture, just in case!


Tasty Tuesdays on

Rock Around The Clock

As always Sundays is number one days (you can try and move the charts Radio 1, but no one’s buying it) so here is the next one.

Closing in on the end of 1955, it’s Bill Haley and his Comets with rock around the clock. Technically the first rock and roll song. Although… really it’s the first successful and good rock and roll song by a white person!

Anyway, that’s not to do the song down at all. Everybody knows this one. Almost everybody loves it, myself included. So its still bloomin brilliant. Blaming Bill for the racist one sided way history is decided is like blaming Freddie Mercury for We Will Rock You the musical… He didn’t have any say in it, he just wrote some great songs!

Talk About Pop Music

I have a playlist that contains every UK number one song since charts began in 1952. Thanks to EveryHit, this is a fairly simple process. Let’s remind ourselves of these songs.

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Now That’s What I Call Music 92


Released-  20th November 2015

Music History

Adele releases an album much like her previous two, which appears to be revolutionary in this day and age. Cilla Black  dies, which is a pity. And as a response to allegations that he uses a ghostwriter, Drake dances badly…

Me History

Haha. This is an odd one to do… I am in the process of getting divorced, I’ve moved house twice, and the company where I work has had a massive restructure which means I have to do the work of three people. Yet, my life hasn’t been this enjoyable in years. My new house is amazing, I’m doing all of the awesome things around my beloved Birmingham, dating hasn’t yet become bleak and terrifying to me, and best of all, nobody tells me off for smoking.

If I had to save one track from this album, mostly because they’ve shockingly overlooked Hotline Bling, that track would be… well… Grace and G Easy deserve it musically. But sometimes the fun one beats the worthy one. So Silentó steals the crown… Now watch me whip. WATCH ME NAE NAE.

Track by Track Breakdown

Sam SmithWriting’s on the Wall

Tries for the same level as Adele’s Skyfall but it’s a bit too melodramatic and a little bit dull. Who cares though… the film has Blofeld in it.

Justin BieberWhat Do You Mean?

Beibs bas got very good at picking up prevailing trends. After the Diplo heavy ‘song of the summer’ Where Are Ü Now, this is basically a Kygo track with his vocal over it. A Good Thing.

The WeekndCan’t Feel My Face

Still find it weird that The Weeknd is big now. I remember being really excited about his Noir n B in 2012, but would never have expected him to blow up like this.

Calvin Harris and DisciplesHow Deep Is Your Love

In a fair world, Calvin Harris would have been introduced to heroin at the age of about 17, and died in a pile of his own urine and faeces by 22. Sadly, instead I am forced to listen to the piss and shit he forces into our ears every second month.

Naughty Boy featuring Beyoncé and Arrow BenjaminRunnin’ (Lose It All)

A lot of waiting for a good chorus. Can’t help but feel he’s wasted two very good collaborators here…

Charlie Puth featuring Meghan TrainorMarvin Gaye

Referencing Marvin Gaye is cool. This song is kind of alright but not worthy of the guy’s name, I’m afraid.

R. City featuring Adam LevineLocked Away

Liking that reggaeton has made a return this year. More the soppier lovers end but I take the wins where I can!

Rachel PlattenFight Song

Landfill ballad. Going big like it’s 2013 on the chorus doesn’t save it. It tries too hard to be the moving song from the end of a reality TV show…

Jess GlynneDon’t Be So Hard on Yourself

All your songs sound the same. Like a boringly classy dance music. Radio 2 rave.

Olly MursKiss Me

The X Factor cheeky chappie tries to go sexy. Nope. It’s akin to Liam Gallagher trying to go emo. It’s too late. Your role is decided now…

Ellie GouldingOn My Mind

Still haven’t quite worked out the purpose of Ol’ Big Nose. Weak singing voice, and a desperate relentless bandwagon jumper. Answers on a postcard.

Little MixLove Me like You

You go girls. Lovely Motown style number. You could imagine The Supremes or The Shirelles absolutely killing this. I hope they put it out on 7″ for authenticity.

One DirectionDrag Me Down

After appropriating Journey before, this is a mildly EDM appropriation of The Police. Honestly I’m a little impressed at the clever way they steal from very uncool sources and sell it on. It’s good by the way. The above makes me sound like I don’t like it…

Demi LovatoCool for the Summer

Despite some sort of alt pop riffing at the chorus, this is a dissapointingly dull effort from a pop artist I know can kill on her best days – Heart Attack is pure gold.

Years & YearsEyes Shut

It’s a shame when the beat and clicks kick in, because the piano tone on this track is fantastic. Unfortunately it’s knocked down to mediocrity by the rest of the song.

Grace featuring G-EazyYou Don’t Own Me

Nice to hear some triplets (the musical rhythm, not trizygotic children). Also, the switches in style every 12th bar is both disorientating and brilliant! One of the best tracks out at the moment.

BirdyWings (Acoustic)

No chance of a difficult second album here, was there! Bless, it’s a steady job at least.

AURORAHalf the World Away

Oooh. I know what would be a good idea! Why not get a girl to sing a great song in the style of a lullaby NOBODY’S DONE THAT BEFORE! This is the music from John Lewis’ Christmas advert, where an intergalactic paedonazi grooms a small girl into helping him plot his escape to earth.

Jamie LawsonWasn’t Expecting That

Okay. It’s really cute. Maybe I’m a little sentimental but I kind of love it. I’m ashamed that I do. But I do.

Ed SheeranPhotograph

As always it’s not terrible. Like a guy at an open mic night who is just a little too in love with Coldplay. its nice, but not worth writing home about.

Selena Gomez featuring A$AP RockyGood for You

Last year he was collaborating with Drizzy and Kendrick. Now he’s on this bleak, dark ballad that sounds a little like a new age offcut. Not a bad effort though.

5 Seconds of SummerShe’s Kinda Hot

Basically it’s The Offspring’s Why Don’t You Get a Job updated for modern gender politics… In a good way. Big and stupid.

The VampsWake Up

Sounds like Passion Pit without the passion. Going into U2 at their worst for the chorus.

KDA featuring Tinie Tempah and Katy BTurn the Music Louder (Rumble)

Yeah. It’s alright. Tinie Tempah can always charm his way above an average song.

GalantisPeanut Butter Jelly

Promising start… even if we call it JAM here, you Yank gits. And the drop lives up to the intro. I like it a lot.

Sigala Easy Love (Radio Edit)

If you make a deeply average song, don’t then include a Jackson 5 reference. You’re just advertising your own weaknesses.

Martin Solveig and GTAIntoxicated

Fun. Just plain fun. Big farting horns and a tasty beat. Great.

MNEK and Zara LarssonNever Forget You

One of those attempts at emotional EDM for people who lack the basic intelligence to have real feelings. The relentless bass noise is a small saving grace.

Diplo and Sleepy TomBe Right There

Starts dissapointingly. I was ready to call time on Diplo, but luckily it jumps into some 80s electro grooves and recovers somewhat.

Felix Jaehn featuring Jasmine ThompsonAin’t Nobody (Loves Me Better)

Much like Kygo’s remix of Sexual Healing this summer, this seems to add some faint dance tropes and a xylophone. It works but seriously? WTF is the deal with all this xylophone house? 2015 is the year glockenspiels blew up?

Pia Mia featuring Chris Brown and TygaDo It Again

I remain amazed at the number of women willing to work with Chris Brown. His career should be down there with Gary Glitter and Rolf Harris’. This track is pretty much exactly how you expect it to sound. Lazy EDM/R&B crossover.

Rudimental featuring Ed SheeranLay It All on Me

More middle of the road EDM that won’t challenge your brain. With that nice ginger lad. It came, it went.

Sigma featuring Ella HendersonGlitterball

Bland. Even by the standards of the artists involved.

Disclosure featuring Sam SmithOmen

Probably the best Disclosure song I’ve heard. Yeah. That is like saying it’s the best sexually transmitted disease I’ve ever had.

Fetty WapTrap Queen

Up there with Biz Markie’s Just a Friend for badly sung songs by rappers. He’s missing the notes… With autotune. Genius.


Quirky with a deep groove. I’m pretty into this one. A lot of it sounds like it’s held together with elastic bands. In a good way.


The Hey beat is well overused at the moment. This is not great. It appears that so long as you have a South London accent at the moment you’ll get on the track… even if you can’t sing or rhyme.

Ariana GrandeFocus

Cowbell people! One of those rare ones where the verse and fills are so much better that the chorus. Good work you doughnut licking loony.

SilentóWatch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)

Basically it’s Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em all over again. Which is a very good thing. Okay… its not quite that great. But you get the idea.

Joe Stone featuring Montell JordanThe Party (This Is How We Do It)

Taking away the Slick Rick backing from the original is a huge loss. Still, a good fun way to hear it if you end up in a shot club, rather than one that would just play the original.

Nick Brewer featuring Bibi BourellyTalk to Me

More 90s dance sampling. A bit of Crystal Waters. I love the original, so this gets away with some weak rapping out of nostalgia for the original.

KSI featuring JmeKeep Up

Grime lite. But it has its bit of ringtone Rick Ross fun as it goes on. You know, does anyone still use ‘bare’ in the real world these days? Anyway, it’s bare okay.

Wretch 32 featuring Anne-Marie and PRGRSHNAlright with Me

I like it. A false lead at the start ends up taking it down a Billy Squier The Big Beat route. On fleek.

Philip George and Anton PowersAlone No More

More stuff I thought we’d left behind in the 90s. Ah well. It’s inoffensive. Not much else.

Kygo featuring Ella HendersonHere for You

More plinky xylophone. But what will happen when Kygo gives up his gimmick? I look forward to finding out. Though I will miss his brand of plonk house.

Ben Haenow featuring Kelly ClarksonSecond Hand Heart

I always feel sorry for unsuccessful X Factor winners. There should be a special home for them. Bless Kelly Clarkson for trying to arrest the decline. I love Kelly Clarkson.

Final Verdict

23 out of 46. It’s like they were aiming for that 50%. It’s half great!

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

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