Desperate Measures

The General Election was interesting wasn’t it? Interesting would be one word for it. It hasn’t delivered the one word she grasped following the result , certainty. Neither will it show fairness, honesty, integrity or any other one upbeat word she utters.

It certainly isn’t the two words Theresa May hoped for, Strong and Stable. She touted that the progressive parties working together would lead to a Coalition of Chaos. Well we have one except she owns it now.

Ok, I am a Labour Party member and lifelong  Labour voter. We didn’t get a majority and are not even the biggest party. We did however defy pretty much all political commentators expectations. Our membership mobilised tremendously. We offered a radical, progressive and unlike the Tories, costed manifesto. We gained 30 seats and have created dozens of very marginal Tory seats.

Yes, the Tory press tried their hardest to wipe the Labour Party off the map with scare tactics, smears and lies. The Conservatives shot themselves in both feet, their shins and most of the way up to their spine (if they actually possessed one). The electorate spoke and gave at best a tepid and at worst damning evaluation of Theresa Mays decision to have a snap election.

Theresa May has turned a small commons majority into and minority government. Let’s be clear about why I say Theresa May and not the Conservative party. It was her decision. She put her name above her party on all party slogans and leaflets. She decided to make it a presidential election, a straight fight between her and Jeremy Corbyn. This has ‘backfired spectacularly’ to quote BBC political editor Laura Kuennsberg.

Her next move was to seek support from Northern Ireland. She is attempting to make a deal with the Democratic Unionist Party. The party of bigots, homophobic, terrorist supporting, bible bashing extremists. She risks crashing the Anglo Irish agreement into a cliff face. No UK Prime Minister with any clue about the history and politics of Ireland has ever come out untainted by siding with one side.

The press and Tory party had the temerity to accuse Jeremy Corbyn of supporting terrorism because he met with Sinn Fein’s Gerry Adams. And now they cosy up to a party linked with protestant paramilitaries who have murdered in the name of a warped sense of justice in just the same way that the IRA did. There is no justification for terrorist murder in any form.

Having sucked up to the right wing of Ulster, she reshuffles her loaded deck of cabinet  cards. She keeps her friends close and enemies closer. Gove returns, Johnson remains. She dare not oust any big hitters for fear they may stab her in the back.

This is mainly just news.

The point is that she has learned nothing.

She has listened to no one.

She does not appear to show any remorse or humility. She is purely and simply corrupted by power and control. Power and control mean more to her than the country’s best interests. She does not care if the population, the reputation of the country abroad or her own party suffer.

She is for the moment, Prime Minister.

She has been found out though.

She can never be trusted again. The sycophants who surround her, should never again be trusted. The few prominent Tories who have spoken up against her have been ignored by her. She is out of touch with every aspect of her support.

We must remain calm and grow our membership base. We must turn the Labour Party into an even more popular, progressive mass movement. Our membership moves quickly towards One Million members. The party has engaged the young like never before.

The Tories have had their day. Their cruel, inept management of the UK has been exposed. There are many moderate Tories wishing for a return to the moderate, even some could say compassionate conservatism of pre Thatcher.

She once said that there is no such thing as society. Well I tell you what Mrs May, you better realise very quickly that there is.

And we’re pretty angry now.

 

 

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A Nation Divided.

The United Kingdom. Four countries joined/linked/coerced/invaded Ok whatever the historical connection. The sixth largest island on earth but still pretty small compared to many of our European fiends, tiny compared to USA or Australia. Under 900 miles from top to bottom and less than 150 miles at its widest. If you are rushing to Google in order to prove me wrong on the facts then you may as well stop reading this. 

I was born in York. An ancient city which was once briefly the capital of the Roman Empire. It’s in Yorkshire which is an amalgamation of 3 ridings or nowadays several counties and authorities. It starts about 170 odd miles north of London and 150 miles south of Edinburgh approximately. I grew up in Kent which is south east of London. I have a hybrid accent that reflects both counties. I can be understood in both hopefully. This is all background so you know where my rant is going. 

I have no interest in defining where ‘Up North’ or ‘Darn Sarf’ start or end. I don’t care if the midlands begin at Northampton or Coventry. I don’t think southerners are soft or northerners tight. I don’t exercise much energy wondering if all Geordies go out on the lash without coats whatever the weather. You see it’s all so tiresome. 

We live on an island which views it’s own citizens with suspicion and mystery. Some people I grew up with have never ventured as far north as I live now. I know folks who have never been to Scotland. This requires no passport, ferries or even flights. You can drive into Scotland and even use English money. It was not uncommon that before the invention of the motor car , some villagers would never travel further than the boundaries of their own village. Now much has changed since the 1890’s but that mentality still prevails in some. So there is maybe no surprise that the home nations occasionally view each other with suspicion born of ignorance. 

Division has existed throughout the centuries. The division of wealth and its lack of distribution. The division of work. The old industries were centred where the raw materials were to be found. These are largely defunct with thousands left to reinvent themselves and their region. However many schemes set up to decentralise government and finance from London, the capital retains the vast majority of both. It’s the capital of Great Britain and England although Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast are national capitals. That United Kingdom controlled hundreds of miles away from millions of its citizens. Admittedly the USA is governed from Washington DC but it’s formation is a nation of states. The UK is a nation of nations annexed by England. The English took control of their neighbours over the last few hundred years. By fair means and otherwise. 

We stand at a crucial point in our history. The UK has narrowly voted to leave the European Union. Scotland and Northern Ireland actually voted to remain in the EU but our lords and masters in Westminster fail to recognise the validity of this argument. This is driving more wedges between our nation of nations. That is also driving wedges between itself and our partners on the continent of Europe. 

Far right politicians across the European Union have seized the lurch away by the UK as a means of further fracturing the EU. This organisation was set up to partly help heal the wounds caused by the Second World War. The conservative and right wing politicians use Winston Churchill as their figurehead but he was an advocate of European Union. He fought against his own party’s insular suspicion of Europe because he wanted it to learn from the lessons of division and nationalism. 

Whilst I still can, I shall proclaim myself to be a proud European. To see what unites us and what we can achieve by working collectively. Our diversity is not a reason for mistrust but a reason to celebrate. That mistrust creates fear, bigotry and hatred. The UK feels a nation divided more so than in all my 50 plus years on this planet. We surely are grown up enough to throw our arms out and share with all. 

But what do I know. The little Englanders are in charge, dragging the islands further towards the orange tyrant over the Atlantic and away from friends a mere 22 miles away in mainland Europe. We are returning to our village mentality where mistrust of our neighbours is preferable to inclusive cooperation. I just hope the regression is worth it for you small minded insular nationalists. 

The President’s New Suit

“Nice suit Mr President”

“It’s a great suit. I always wear great suits”

“Very bold to go with white sir”

“It’s grey. Always wear grey suits. It’s my colour”

“But excuse me sir, I think you are mistaken”

“Grey suits are business like. That’s why I only wear grey”

 

“But sir if you look in the mirror, You will see it’s white”

“I will see grey because it is”

“Sorry but sir, mirrors only show a reflection of what is”

“My mirrors show me wearing grey suits. You are mistaken. You are talking fake suits”

“I only report what I see sir and you are wearing a white suit”

“One of us is lying son and that’s you”

 

 

 

 

By Definition

The world is a very complex thing. It’s a complex planet with billions of processes carrying on every second. The structure is formed through millions of years of change. Humans have been shaped by environment, the ability to to reason or not. Civilisations have grown and collapsed due to a myriad of events. And now we are here in the 21st century still trying to make sense of it all.

Those who believe they have the answers, who know what label to put on themselves and what that label requires them to behave must be happy. They know what they are and what they stand for. They know who they dislike, fear, mistrust, oppose. They are clear about how the rest of us who are less certain should think, behave, respond.

But what actually defines who we are? What is it that assigns us a label, a persona, a group within we can sit?

Political affiliation is seen as an easy grouping to be assigned. After all if we have the ability to vote freely and exercise that vote, we must therefore identify with the core aims of a political party or movement. This doesn’t always follow. People will vote differently at different stages of their lives. People will switch allegiances according to the promises or rhetoric espoused by a party at an election. Age is supposed to affect how one votes. The older you get, the more conservative with a small ‘c’ you become. Maybe however it may be that you become more entrenched in your opinions?

The current new world order is veering towards extremism. Intolerance, fear and hatred and becoming state sponsored. The world after 1945 sought by and large to cooperate. The rise of communism did not necessarily help with this nor did many brutal dictatorships but communism in itself is not a system of extremism. It was merely used as such by the ruling elite of these countries. People power eventually pulled back the iron curtain. The void left by many decades of state control has had its many downsides and power is still in the hands of ruling elites in many former soviet block countries. Power has also been in the hands of global corporations, social classes and dominant political movements in too called democratic countries who sought to lecture the eastern block about freedom and democracy. It was easy in the 1950’s to see communists as dangerous because the arguments were often presented so simplistically. Indeed the rise of far right extremism leading to the election of Donald Trump and the far right in Europe has returned to the language of fear simply presented. The millions left worse off by global corporate greed have turned to the loudest voices claiming to represent those disaffected voters. Many of these voters stuck slavishly to old political allegiances despite their own circumstances deteriorating at the hands of the few.

I have always been a consistent voter. I have rarely switched because I believed my countries best interests were best served by my party of choice. I am no longer that person however. I find myself more liberal and less entrenched in party politics now. Having said that, you will probably guess my politics are not conservative in any way! It does not however determine who I am. It merely asks me to question what do I believe in?

Religion is a vastly influential cornerstone in millions of people lives. You are often assigned a religion at birth by the very religion that then demands your allegiance and unquestioning devotion. Some come to religion or change religious affiliation in adulthood. Many find a comfort in an order that prescribes a way of living and a code of ethics to adhere to. Atheism is feared by some as there is no real value system based on faith. The vast majority of religions at their heart claim to promote peace, love and cooperation but yet again, those in power seek to use selected doctrines to promote more extreme versions of their faith. You cannot blame the faith for acts of barbarism carried out in its name. A wooden stick is not inherently violent unless its used in a violent act. I don’t follow a religion but I have faith in my fellow human beings to eventually do the right thing. This can be tested and I have done so myself on occasions. My faith or perceived lack of one does not however define who I am.

Gender and sexuality can be a minefield of continental proportions.  Gender and sexuality are fundamental to the core of humans and centuries of persecution because of supposed differences in gender assignment and sexuality have made the battle for mainstream acceptance extremely tough. To be someone who realises they are gay or that their assigned gender at birth is incorrect must feel at odds with a world still predominantly heterosexual and gender pre determined. The issues and struggles are massive and should never be belittled. However, I do not wish to be known by my sexuality or gender. It isn’t who I am. It is merely a part of the whole who I am. I don’t take my gender or sexuality for granted but have never experienced what it would be like to be otherwise.

I am a slightly overweight, white middle aged man. I am a writer, poet, parent and partner. The writer, poet part is what I do. That is what defines me. Being a parent and a partner are states of being. Once you have children, you are seen as someones dad or mum. Your children mainly see you as their parent and rarely as a man or woman, conservative, liberal, heterosexual, homosexual person. These are not what constitutes being their parent. Being a partner is a state of being. Yes we have choices in that and we are seen as our partners other half, significant other, boyfriend/girlfriend. They are however states of being.

I prefer to be known by what I do. By what I contribute to the world and how I help others and the world around me. I could introduce myself by saying “Hi I’m John. I’m a straight middle aged atheist, liberal” . What does that tell you about what I do in the world? It hangs labels round my neck for others to form judgements about me. I accept others have different political beliefs to me, that others have different sexual and gender assignments, that their religion is different to mine. I do not mistrust those people by their labels but more by how they act and what they do. People can judge me by the actions I take or don’t take. It is far harder to run away from the consequences of your actions or inactions. To hide behind a label of which version of god I hold up, to adhere to the doctrines of the party I vote for does not define me.

Now can we get on being decent people and making a world that helps each other instead of worrying which side of the fence you wish to stand on and why the other side is wrong. It’s just different. If the world was made up of white middle aged, liberal, atheistic men, it would crumble. Difference is wonderful, enriching, enlightening.

 

 

 

Worrying Times

Can’t put the news away

Can’t not read the words

Hiding from the TV doesn’t work

When fear is all around

 

Transfixed by hatred, pain, terror

Hoping for glimmers of hope

Mesmerised by mans inhumanity

When fear assumes command

 

Rise up all you good people

Should loud and long and true

Make freedom and love your targets

Now worrying times are here

 

 

Well what did you expect?

Its been nearly a year since the general election. The dust has sort of settled and the Tories are getting into their cruel, self centred, egotistical stride. I guess by that last sentence, you may have gathered I’m not a fan. They were elected with 36.9% of the vote. They have a majority of 12. Not a big majority but a big enough one.

11,334,576 of you voted for them.

9,347,304 voted for my lot except they weren’t really my lot. More like a watered down version of the lot with 11 million votes.

They have now embarked on more austerity, greater steps along the privatisation of the NHS, the demonisation of refugees and those seeking a place of safety (which is what the word asylum stands for). The prime minister has been revealed to have fucked a pigs head whilst at university. He has made repeated slurs on the leader of the opposition because he can’t win a rational argument with him. He even criticised his suits whilst wearing clothes that cost in excess of £4000. The leader of the opposition may not dress as snappily but at least he pays for his own clothes.

His chancellor promises more cuts, more pain and yet cannot deliver a reduction in the national debt (that he says he can). The health secretary has chosen to impose working practices on junior doctors against their will. He continues to threaten and abuse them. The education secretary seems to be hell bent on alienating teachers and parents whilst exhibiting an understanding of education of someone on the lower end  of the IQ scale. We have decided to stop the bombing in Syria by bombing, erm, well yep you guessed it, Syria!

And now. David Porky Hameron has decided to bring our relationship with Europe into the centre of politics. This is bear in mind, a fight within the Tory party. It has always been an internal squabble. The little Englanders that couldn’t stomach the ambivalence to Europe left and formed UKIP. The stroppy little Englanders who lack spines decided to stay and pick a fight. The prime minister has to look tough whilst at the same time not too tough so that he will piss off the Germans and French. He spent far too long not making a deal but coming up with more like an excuse.

Remember chaps, this is not an issue the whole country is obsessed about. The Tories are proving experts in convincing the population that their internal arguments are actually national debates. His cabinet is beginning to openly disagree and reduce the arguments to primary school playground levels.

And you, yes you those 11 million people out there voted for these lot! You voted because you were scared and cajoled by the press and the Murdoch media. You bought the personal insults, the threats and the lies. They have not and will not deliver on any of their promises. The economy will not recover because they created the climate for it to do so. The economy is likely to struggle in the coming years. This will then be the fault of world markets and global stresses. A bit like 2008.

Syria will not become a peaceful country, free from the threat of IS/Daesh or whatever we choose to call them. It will be a massive pile of rubble with a tragically displaced population.

We will go through the farcical process of a referendum on remaining in the EU only to remain in the EU.

The doctors lot will become even more wretched as the NHS is starved of resources and respect.

The state education system will be required to reform. Again. And with no extra funding or support.

So tell me you loyal true blues. Is this what you expected would happen ? Is it the perfect world the Bullingdon boys promised you? You will not learn the lessons of your loyalty to a party that is run by those who do not care about you, because they are not from you. They exist to serve the betterment of the top 1% because that is where they are drawn from.

Mind you, it could be worse. You could be American and stupid enough to vote for Donald Trump.