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I’ve just come across an AlterNet article entitled ‘5 Ways Trump Is Mentally Torturing Us Now’.

UK readers might struggle a bit with this as this is America wearing its heart on its sleeve, something which in Britain is culturally alien to us. But before dismissing this with any of the usual cynical, and frankly smug, hauteur with which many this side of the Atlantic view America, this is a very serious matter and one that, not only should we pay attention to, is something we are also grappling with, albeit in a less overt way, but at the cost of thousands of lives.

The western world and significant developed countries across the world have been privileged to enjoy a relatively peaceful existence since WWII, and we have also been fortunate enough, in the process, to take that for granted, despite living in a world in which less privileged nations have suffered dictatorships, warfare and invasion ever since the second world war, much of that at the hands of the greedy west.

The rise of economic colonialism, which we call Neoliberalism, has seen the rapacious corporate greed which has torn so many countries apart turn inwards on those countries which have reaped the most benefit from advancing technology and capitalism. In the UK this began with Thatcherism, but which, on the back of the bankers criminal global crisis and financial robbery, has seen, since 2010, a gloves off attack on our entire way of life. They began with poor, sick and disabled people and have been ramping it up ever since to cover more and more social groups; those who live less fragile and precarious lives, one such group being junior doctors.

It remains, though, that we are not yet experiencing anything like the terror of the apartheid regime in South Africa, Chile under Augusto Pinochet, the genocide in East Timor, the horror of the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine, to name but a few in which there has been and is untold suffering which westerners generally have quite comfortably ignored, including the many wars of aggression for which the west is entirely responsible for prosecuting in the name of democracy.

David Cameron said in 2013, “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.” Of course he did not tell us what plans he had in place to attack us and our way of life, we had to wait for their imposition and at every stage people have been driven to despair, poverty, deprived of the means of survival, causing death and countless suicides and we were entirely unprepared for the onslaught.

To be clear, although so many other nations have, and are, experiencing very much worse, the situation we are in is no less serious and, as so many are discovering to their great cost, we ignore it at our own peril.

What we are having to learn in the UK is that we are, in the current climate, in this for the long haul. Despite the many cries that we should, ought or must do something, what those cries ignore is that right now there are no ready solutions available, and we all need to learn to toughen up and go the distance, to fight and never give up fighting and, frankly, we are unprepared and out of practice. Relatively speaking, we’ve had it easy, notwithstanding that those who have suffered the violence of poverty over the years are a little better prepared for the war on the poor and the escalation of right wing oppression.

We are, perhaps, just slightly ahead of America in this, again, not withstanding the millions in poverty, without health care, living in tents, abandoned by capitalism, but still America was not prepared for Trump and many in middle class America are shocked and traumatised newcomers to the internal war of neoliberalism and last gasp vulture capitalism.

This is not the time to gloat, this is the time when we need to find common cause across the globe, this is the time to stop segregating people by nationality, race, colour or creed, and finally accept that we are neighbours, sisters and brothers.

We have a common enemy, the corporatised world of global greed in which our governments are fully complicit and it is, in fact, time to grow up, if we can, if we are willing, if we are able and if we have the courage to go the distance. Every death and every suicide is a tragedy and many of us have already lost friends and family and our grief is yet more of the burden that we must carry. Whatever happens, the solution is not going to come from above and there are no pills that will cure this, if people need therapy and can get it, so much the better, but this is the fight of our lives and for our children’s lives and our common future.

KOG. 25 March 2017

http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/5-ways-trump-mentally-torturing-us-now?akid=15356.21655.er0pjT&rd=1&src=newsletter1074416&t=1003

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/britain-is-too-tolerant-and-should-interfere-more-in-peoples-lives-says-david-cameron-10246517.html

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This is a difficult one, what I am about to do is like going on stage and having a shit. As a writer, that’s not something you ever want to do and then something happens and you have to write something because if you don’t it’s just going to be in there tearing your head and heart apart.

What the fuck happened in London? People have died because someone for reasons unknown decided to drive a car through pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people and injuring 40 others, and attack parliament with a knife, stabbing a copper to death. I don’t care who the guy was and I care even less about why he did it and I am deeply sorry for the harm he caused and those he killed and I cannot help but be affected by that, especially in ways that are not obvious until you start to think about it.

It headlined all around the world… Latest terrorist attack, usual racist, xenophobic, shit from the Sun and others, hate spreading. Heroes of the hour. Statements from Theresa May and parliament. Endless talking heads talking bollocks and meaningless conjecture.

We are living in extraordinary times, but certain things have not changed and parliament is still the home to the worst, terrorist, government in UK history, and Theresa May, whatever she may say, doesn’t give a shit about ordinary people and what this fucking idiot has done is hand her a golden chalice to continue to oppress us, invade our privacy, destroy lives and steal from us all that makes life good and meaningful. All the stuff that day by day does not make any headlines, all those who have died due to Tory austerity policies, the violence of increasing poverty, the suicides, the hunger that drives people to food banks in shame and despair.

Every fucking day. Every day.

Parliament was in lock down on Wednesday, Theresa May was whisked away to safety, safe in the knowledge that she will probably never have to answer for her crimes against humanity, just like David Cameron and a Tory party which is robbing all of us blind: the most corrupt government in UK history and entirely corrupt financial markets which have also robbed us blind and are protected by government as they continue to do so.

On that day, Wednesday 22 March 2017, the world reacted in horror and Britain joined the club of nations subjected to a very public, so called, ‘terrorist’ attack – by a bloke with a knife.

Knife crime in the UK is rising, the Office for National Statistics reveals that there were 13,613 offences of “assault with injury or intent to cause serious harm” in the year to the end of June 2015, a rise of 1,788 from the previous year.

Disability hate crimes recorded by police rose to 2,765 incidents in 2014-15 compared to 1,955 incidents in 2013-14, up 41 per cent. A UN report revealed evidence of “grave or systematic violations of rights of people with disabilities” by the UK government. Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green rejected the report’s findings and said the document demonstrated “an outdated view of disability which is patronising and offensive”.

Damian Green also criticised as “monstrously unfair” the portrayal of Job Centre staff (who are, by government dictat, destroying people’s lives on a daily basis) in ‘I, Daniel Blake’, despite admitting he had not watched the film.

Ken Loach, the films director, said of the government, “If they don’t know what they are doing to people they are incompetent and shouldn’t be in Government. If they do know what they are doing then they are not fit to be in Government.”

When is the world media going to report on the systematic brutality and cruelty of the UK government towards ordinary people, when will we see the outrage, the shock, the horror of what goes on every day in Britain by the terrorist actions of the UK government?

KOG. 24 March 2017

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/22/victims-london-terror-attack-murdered-police-officer-named-keith/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/the-uk-is-a-global-corruption-centre-campaigners-claim-a7058126.html

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/knife-crime-in-britain-soars-by-15-in-one-year-new-figures-show-a3091326.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/hate-crime-against-disabled-people-rises-41-per-cent-in-one-year-a6713546.html

http://dpac.uk.net/2016/11/the-united-nations-report-into-the-uk-government-maltreatment-of-disabled-people-has-been-published/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-37899305

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/ken-loach-i-daniel-blake-damien-green-monstrously-unfair-a7393031.html

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It all began when his mates Isla and Jeb moved house and in the midst of chaos Jeb had set up his computer system. After a day of lunking boxes he’d emerged from beneath his desk, wrestling with the usual spaghetti, to note the time on his digital clock was 9h:9. Too knackered to even begin to make sense of it, he’d given it the finger and hit the sack, but not before Isla had grabbed a shot on her phone and texted it to her mate KOG, quoting Jeb, “Now what the hell is wrong with that clock?”

For KOG it had been a Damascus moment, he’d nearly wet himself with joy, the ultimate victory, an anarchist’s wet dream.

Recently retired, KOG was in the process of reclaiming his life from all that time represents, the orderliness of work, appointments, schedules and a slavish obedience to order which was none of his own. Now 66 he resented every external routine that had ever controlled his life. What use was time to an ageing hippy with anarchist pretensions? Time was now his own, but that was a misconception, still ruled by rules he despised. Fuck time, it was his own life he wanted. And Jeb, friend and computer genius, had cracked it in one moment of knackered inattention and ramped himself up to inadvertent hero status in KOG’s life.

Time, KOG mused, is the orthodoxy of our time and has been since the Industrial Revolution and the rise of the factory, the machine and thus enslavement to time. Time has all the characteristics of the blind unquestioning following of a religious cult to which KOG now aspired to become an apostate.

In response to Isla’s email KOG had immediately turned his digital alarm clock upside down to thus enjoy its now meaningless symbols of his once enslavement. Glancing up he noticed that it was just past midnight 50:0, or SOD. Perfect in its meaninglessness. Every time he glanced at it he was presented with an ever changing display of linear nonsense which delighted him.

Years ago KOG had discovered that the human experience of time is not an orderly linear progression. Our experience of time speeds up over time. A newborn of course has no concept of time, but in her first year experiences an infinite extent of time. By her second birthday a year represents 50% of the entirety of her experience. But at 66 KOG’s 67th year only represented a 66th of the entirety of his lived experience and the years were racing by at an ever increasing rate. That’s where time goes as we grow older, it truncates as Christmases come and go with what feels like ever decreasing time in between.

If he was ever reduced by age and no longer capable of looking after himself, KOG might find himself in a care home, something he contemplated with horror, imagining some well meaning member of staff asking him if he knew what day it was. As if days mattered to him, or even weeks or months. The passing seasons impressed themselves upon him as the wholly natural cycle of nature, in which the surest clock was a window or simply opening a door and stepping outside. No longer a marketable commodity, he had not much use for time, other than for visits to the doctors or hospital. Time was function for others in which he fitted when he had to.

In latter years KOG had turned to political activism, though he disliked the term. He had no time for television or whiling away his time in sedentary meaninglessness. Retirement did not mean an end to work, it just meant an end to work within the silly constraints of political polemic, at which the current government excelled and therefore got up his nose enough to write to the pointless incumbent of number 10 Downing Street about policies aimed at ridding the world of useless eaters like himself.

He saw David Cameron (for it was he), an over privileged, badly educated, fool in life, as an affront to human dignity. KOG was, by disposition, sanguine about fools as long as they kept their foolishness to themselves, Cameron was not one of those fools and the Internet had opened up a whole new world as a platform for the voices of ordinary people and KOG used it with alacrity. History, as they say, belongs to the victors, or to quote Braveheart, “history is written by those who have hanged heroes”, but the present now belongs to ordinary people, something despised by the rattled ruling elites who leave no stone unturned in their denigration of ordinary people in their attempts to silence them through division and derision and policies of attrition.

His time his own, KOG went on the attack, burning himself out in the process. He found himself leaning ever further towards anarchy, the democratised self and the exercise of inalienable human rights to speak, to think and express creatively, a social bottom up order of being instead of the oppression of top down feudal throwbacks and the inventors of the clocking in machine, a heinous affliction on the lives of workers.

So with boundless gratitude, KOG raised a delighted toast to Jeb and a life in which 9h:9 was a fitting symbol of liberation and contempt for those who are hounding and killing the living for profit.

What does 9h:9 mean? Nothing, glorious nothing. And everything.

KOG. 21 March 1027

(Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely gratuitous.)

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The Tories have decided to play skittles with 3 million lives, assisted in their bastardy by ‘UKIP, the DUP and a few Eurosceptic Labour rebels’.

These are peoples lives and livelihoods, families and children. It involves their life choices and endeavours, legally and legitimately strived for and achieved. All cast aside by a vote of 335-287 by politicians who demonstrate nothing but contempt for real people and their lives.

This is the Lords amendment that they have cast aside like an old chip wrapper: “Within three months of exercising the power under section 1(1), ministers of the crown must bring forward proposals to ensure that citizens of another European Union or European Economic Area country and their family members, who are legally resident in the United Kingdom on the day on which this act is passed, continue to be treated in the same way with regards to their EU derived-rights and, in the case of residency, their potential to acquire such rights in the future.”

And for what? To use as fodder for blackmail to grab the best trade deals and market freedoms, once again, on the backs of people’s lives and well being.

The Tories could not make it any clearer that they are willing to sacrifice the living for private gain and personal profit. From a public perspective their crimes should rightly be regarded as hate crimes and yet the even more brutal reality is that they are malicious crimes of complete indifference.

Theresa May is prepared to sacrifice the livelihoods and well being of 3 million EU residents who have legitimately settled in Britain, using them as little more than casino chips, gambling with their lives.

They began with the poor, which remains to this day in their ongoing ‘war on the poor’, but their contempt and indifference is for everyone who is not a member of their corporate club and the elitism of wealth.

These are the vilest human beings imaginable without a shred of human decency for whom no lie is too egregious, no deception too despicable, no depth too low to which they will not stoop.

Theresa May, like Cameron before her, and her government are impervious to reason or entreaty, an enemy of the people at the heart of Westminster. They appear on the media and are accorded respect and dignity which they in no way deserve. It falls to us to call them out at every opportunity, to treat their every word with the deepest suspicion, as we would any cheap chiseler and fraudster. We cannot afford to accord them any room for doubt, the evidence is entirely against them and too many lives have been lost, it is not our place to make any allowance or room for manoeuvre, they simply cannot be trusted.

The notion of innocence until proven guilty in law no longer applies to this government, the empirical evidence is overwhelmingly against them, even as they demonstrate utter contempt for the rule of law, supreme court rulings and the findings of the United Nations for “systematic and grave violations” of disabled people’s human rights. Words like disgrace, shameful, shocking, no longer apply to the outrage that is this Tory government. This is a rogue government and should be treated as such without mercy. They have abandoned the right to any consideration of human decency and respect.

KOG. 15 March 2017

http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2017/03/the-tories-just-voted-to-allow-theresa.html

http://www.heraldscotland.com/opinion/sunday_herald_view/13620791.The_Tories_know_austerity_cuts_are_killing_people/

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2015/nov/23/ken-loach-benefit-sanctions-jeremy-corbyn-food-banks

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/gloating-tories-dont-care-people-3022783

http://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/confirmed-un-is-investigating-uks-grave-violations-of-disabled-peoples-rights/

http://www.politics.co.uk/news/2017/03/14/bedroom-tax-couple-in-court-as-dwp-try-to-block-future-appea

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Where do you start with something like this?

Let’s start with the context. Jeremy Corbyn was asking Theresa May, “Did she actually know what arrangement was made with Surrey County Council?” This relates to the still unfolding scandal of a sweetheart deal being struck with Surrey Council ‘to persuade one of the richest councils in England to cancel a planned referendum on a huge council tax rise’ of 15%, which May categorically denied to parliament, despite leaks of emails and texts proving that, in fact, the government had intervened, which included her own Chancellor, Philip Hammond.

I am very sure that readers of this do not require me to explain the reason for an outburst of mocking hilarity in such a moment, after all if you have to explain a joke, it inevitably fails like a damp squid. The best response you’ll get in such a situation is, ‘Oh yeah, I get it’. And you’ll have to forgive me if I do indeed get it and consider it is not in the least funny.

The range of thoughts that went through my mind were impossible to capture and it has taken some days for me to get to a place where I can even write about it.

I am a retired community and youth worker and as such I was a public servant. I have served on and made representations to many committees in my time. In one of my more personally pleasing moments I took it upon myself to drive a career politician, seeking the office of mayor, from a youth committee in which she made it abundantly clear that youth, as far as she was concerned, should do as they are told by their superiors and betters, meaning her. I took it upon myself to discredit her before the committee from which she silently disappeared without notice or trace. What I did not do at any time was bray like a jackal at her obvious absurdities, absurdities which were entirely absent in Jeremy Corbyn’s questions to Theresa May in parliament.

What Theresa May did in parliament that day was mock the nation, flanked by two laughing sycophants. There are no circumstances in which such a hideous display of mockery is appropriate in the highest office in Britain and within the confines of the seat of parliament in the, supposed, mother of all parliaments.

I was a display of unrestrained arrogance, mocking the many lives that have passed, shattered and ruined by government dictat. What Corbyn was addressing was the issue of social care budgets slashed by this government and Surrey, a Tory stronghold, was shamefully seeking preferential treatment despite being one of the wealthiest councils in England. May even accused Corbyn of presenting “alternative facts” which, along with ‘fake news’, is the latest right wing ploy in its inexcusable murderous intentions of depriving ordinary people of life and the means of survival.

The chief thought going through my mind as I watched this obscene display was that she was mocking, above all, the poor and, specifically, the most vulnerable people in Britain in the last, waning, years of their lives.

But, worse, many times worse, is the arrogant presumption, which has marked Tory misrule since 2010, that they act with impunity, that they can and will get away with it and see fit to mock the entire nation. That is what Theresa May did, and that is what makes this so utterly obscene. And what is also abundantly clear is that redress is never going to come from the top, were that so then ample time has passed for it to have done so. It falls to us, ordinary people, to hold them, these abysmal excuses for humanity, to account by any means at our disposal, to be the gad fly to power, to bite and keep biting at every opportunity. It is too obvious that they should be drummed out of power, shamed and humiliated, and it we who must raise and continue to raise the kind of stink that will drive them and their filthy, corrupt, policies out. Clearly, no one is going to do it for us. That, at least, should be obvious by now.

In 2011 David Cameron introduced the fixed term parliament and they still plan to gerrymander electoral boundaries which will effectively see them in power for a very long time and preferably, they hope, forever. They do not like democracy in any form, and they have no interest in accountability, which was also what May was mocking apart from anything else. Any movement of the people is something they fear and, as we’ve so often seen, will attempt to brutally suppress. If Theresa May is reduced to hysterical displays of mockery in parliament, and it looked nothing if not hysterically contrived, then it falls to us to turn her into a gibbering wreck, it is the least she deserves.

KOG. 11 March 2017

#Smokinggun – email proves May lied re Surrey #sweetheartdeal

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/mar/08/philip-hammond-among-mps-lobbying-for-surrey-county-council-in-funding-row

http://anotherangryvoice.blogspot.co.uk/2017/02/jeremy-corbyn-just-destroyed-theresa.html

What’s #SurreySweetheart deal fuss all about? This video makes it all crystal in 2.5mins

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixed-term_Parliaments_Act_2011

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/boundary-changes-tories-ruthless-gerrymandering

playa

Many years ago, after some years of hard work and building trust with a wonderful therapist, Del (now amongst the dearly departed in my life), she helped me get to a place where primal terror lived in me and prevented me from having any real sense of identity and self.

She asked me if I could see it, which I could, and asked me to describe it. This was indescribably hard, it was repelling me with incredible power, such that I did not want to see it, only the love and trust I had for Del enabled me to withstand the waves of darkness that were pushing against me. I stood in the storm and looked and saw that the terror guarded a room, and that room had a door. The whole thing was not just black it seethed darkness, This was pre Jackson’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, but Gandalf’s , “You shall not pass!” would not have been out of place there.

I visited it many times over several weeks and became familiar with it and it is as visually clear to me today as then. I knew what had to happen, but building towards it was slow, yet the day inevitably arrived. I think we both knew, I sat looking at Del and she kept silent as I closed my eyes and stepped towards the room. The darkness parted around me, no longer terror, and I entered the room and described what I could see. It was entirely bare and light coloured, not white, just light. On the far wall was a box of muted colour, unremarkable in every way and Del asked me if I could open it. I approached it carefully, uncertainly, but I really wanted to know what was inside.

As I lifted the lid, clouds of colours poured out of it and I could see nothing for a while, but peering into the colour I saw the shape of a small child. I reached down and lifted the child up and cradling it in my arms I just looked at it, I don’t know how long for, but all the colours were coming from the child. I remember opening my eyes and looking at Del and saying, “It’s me”.

It is hard to describe the sense of knowing that filled me. This was the child I had hidden a very long time ago in my childhood. The child I had made safe, protected by terror that I had used to seal him away from harm and now I was scared, afraid that I might not be up to the task of caring for him. But it was the start, what I call ‘big Keith and little Keith, back together again, home to myself. That was the beginning.

I remember a conversation with Del and realising that the mind is kind, in its way, it protects us from trauma, something we have no control over. My life is full of holes, even now, where I have no idea what’s there or what happened. That used to really mess me up, but I am more comfortable with it now.

Last week, in therapy with ‘H’, I realised I had some unfinished business to do with little Keith. As I walked away from my session, I thought I was ready to take back some of the stuff that little Keith has carried for me. This was a new thought, a new development, something I’d not seen before. I’d just had a tearful session, revisiting old pain. Driving home I was leaking tears, not least from the awareness that I was ready, big enough, to take back some of the burdens of little Keith, like picking up pebbles from his soul. As I neared home, another thought entirely came. He had something he wanted to give me, a gift. This was not a one way street.

I have always been a serious guy, over the years I have tried to learn to play, but it doesn’t come easy to me. I have kites and a camera, I’ve learnt to mess on, joke and banter, but I do not just let rip playfully. Over the years I’ve been fascinated by children playing, the sheer abandonment with which they can attack a pile of leaves, and of envying them that exuberance for life, free of care. I think it is a mark of profound adult ignorance that the primary place of play is not well understood, respected and protected. In educating children we risk depriving them of their primary source of learning about the world they have been born into, play, and adulthood without play is pretty dull really.

If I am to emerge from my many years of isolation and cave dwelling reclusiveness, I am very sure that play is absolutely central and essential to this. Even the thought of play contains, for me, thoughts of joyful abandon, letting go, release, loosening the grip of too heavily applied control over my own life, easing up, learning to just be. And I think I have done enough work, in preparation, to learn some new tricks, even if I am an old dog now. Depression is oppression, it feels like pushing a boulder uphill with my forehead. I’d kinda like to get rid of that bloody boulder, I’ve been shoving the damned thing a long time now and it has never done me a bit of good. But I like hills well enough, even if I puff quite a bit these days.

KOG. 09 March 2017

homelessa

When I was a lad I had an idea, a dream, a dream I shared in common with my sister, in particular, our two brothers may have been on it as well, but it has persisted with my sister to this day and, in fact, we were talking about it today, this day of writing.

What we wanted was a space, a 24 hour space, where we could go and be, together with others who needed or wanted a safe space, a coffee bar space, a shared space. I remember the loneliness that drove the idea, I also remember walking the streets at night, being there but also yearning for somewhere to go and be, of being followed by Police vehicles and of having to vanish into alleys and parkland to avoid them.

There was something wonderful about the night, when the world slept and all the space was mine to wander at will, subject to no other human presence, to no other will, nor interference (though I kept a wary eye out for cops). The night was, and is, a beautiful space, the sounds were the sounds of nature and the sensations those that nature imposed, where the wild things are, in the absence of human hustle and busy-ness.

Over the years our dream changed and we yearned for a creative space, somewhere we, along with others, could pool our energy and be supportive and supported in our creativity. Maybe a farm or a barn, a community space, where we could live and work together.

Back then we only applied social significance in as much as we felt alienated from the world around us and wanted be away from that. Today I see it as something else entirely, in that we were on the right track but a long way from seeing it.

I have been wondering for a long time now, why protest is not working as it once did and why is there, in me, a sense that protest is not enough?

Reading George Monbiot’s article in the Dorset eye today (“To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing” – see link below), I felt I had something to add, if we are to find a way forward in these incredibly dark times.

Protest is not necessarily progress, it may contain the seeds of progress but it is essentially reactive, as such it doesn’t go far enough and perhaps that is what people feel, that hope is still absent no matter the courage and sincerity of those protesting and the results they do achieve. Please understand, I am not denigrating protest, it’s necessary, laudable and positive, but it has been weakened and brutally attacked by successive governments.

But I am witnessing the seeds of something else growing around protest, in every food bank and street cafe, in every support group and network for those oppressed beyond endurance, in clothing banks and street projects supporting others. It is what Monbiot refers to as ‘the commons’, ‘an asset over which a community has shared and equal rights’.

What he is talking about is being pro-active, something which is 180 degrees the opposite of reactive. It is about working in projects which are not concerned with the rejection of bad ideas and disastrous ideologies, or the exclusive world of neoliberalism in which we are neither welcome nor invited, projects which by their existence and out-working are inclusive and creative and which are working forward, not just offering the dream of hope, but being that hope in doing. As welcoming as a warm cafe and a hot meal to a frozen homeless person, where the door is open and the company wholesome.

Rosa Monkton was reported by the BBC as saying her daughter, who has Down’s Syndrome and whose godmother was Princess Diana, should be allowed to work for less than the minimum wage, and that to most parents in her position a “therapeutic exemption” from the minimum wage would have a “transformative effect”. I find it hard to imagine a worse world to expose vulnerable people to than the exploitative world of work in which even the most able bodied are struggling to survive.

Monkton said, “The rules are there to prevent people from being exploited (no they aren’t) but… there should be separate rules for people with learning disabilities… based on self-worth, on the feeling that you have got somewhere to go to when you get out of bed in the morning.”

I would suggest that the last place anyone would choose to go, based on issues of self worth, is the exploitative world of work in which ‘7.4 million people, including 2.6 million children, are in poverty despite being in a working family’.

Voluntary or paid a fraction of the minimum wage, I would not even consider for a moment exposing my disabled child (if I had a disabled child) to that world which is predicated on profit, not social care, which puts profits before people. That is what is wrong with Monkton’s idea, work is not a health outcome, neither mentally nor physically. It’s just more of the same empty rhetoric of exploitation. That is where those charities who brought in to Workfare got it so wrong, Workfare isn’t voluntarism, it is opportunistic exploitation, just as working even on the minimum wage is opportunistic exploitation.

If the world of work, which the government is so avid to force us all into, even if we are dying, was the only possible work available, then maybe Monkton might have a case, but it is not and she does not.

Working in common within our communities is an establishment of our rights as people, that is what community projects have in common. The government is hell bent on destroying self worth, it is we who can, and have the power to, give it back to ourselves. If dignity and respect mean anything to us, then it behoves us to prevent those who would steal them from us from doing so and to jealously guard them from the abuses being heaped upon us by the government. Every suicide is an act of despair, even those who despair of mental or physical pain beyond suffering, it is the ultimate loss of all that it means to be human.

That requires a proactive response. I require a proactive response. I have chosen to go into therapy, having lived under the oppression of social phobia for too long, indeed most of my life. My sister and I, had we but known it, already had the solution all those years ago and I have not been paying attention. I am socially phobic for a very good reason, I should have been paying attention to what it was saying to me, instead of hiding in terror.

Those who exploit us tell us we can all aspire to be rich like them (absurd nonsense!), but I have no desire for their kind of riches, I have riches of a whole other kind in mind. They choose to sell their souls for a handful of gold, my soul is too precious to be measured in gold. I would rather walk hand in hand in common with my sisters and brothers, nothing in life has given me greater satisfaction or love or riches, and nothing ever will.

KOG. 03 March 2017

http://www.dorseteye.com/north/articles/to-be-truly-radical-is-to-make-hope-possible-rather-than-despair-convincing

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39138775

https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/work-poverty-hits-record-high-housing-crisis-fuels-insecurity

phoenix

I see a lot of comments about the sleeping masses, and great anger and bitterness about people who do nothing and allow the appalling situation we are in in this country to continue and many, of course, vote for it.

I’ve had my moments and battles with this, so called, ‘apathy’, it is undeniably an insidious concern and yet, I suggest, one that must be internally fought because it only leads to and feeds hopelessness and despair. We have already lost too many to suicide, not to mention the deaths procured by government policy.

If anyone is motivated to take any form of protest action, say, against the privatisation of our NHS, then loses motivation because of the perceived lack of protest and/or support from others, does that not call into question the motivation of the individual rather than the collective? If something is worth doing, and worth doing because of a deep personal sense of care and concern, how much does it, or should it, matter whether the amorphous ‘many’ do the same?

The public in all its multiplicity is not my enemy unless I make it so. If people will not wake up, in what way is that my problem other than when it becomes a wall against which I find myself continuously banging my own head?

If I beat my head against a wall, who gets hurt? Blaming and shaming is what Tories do, it neither inspires nor draws anyone to a cause, it does the exact opposite, it is counter intuitive and serves only our real and present enemies who use divisiveness as an ideological weapon.

In the four and a half years I spent writing a letter a day to number 10 very few letters reached a thousand shares, a 1000 shares would be 0.0016% of the population of Britain. Typically, a letter might be shared by 100 or so people, that’s 0.00016% of the population. I stopped writing the letters, not because I despaired of the lack of response, but because I was exhausted, yet the desire to write on matters of deep concern to me was in no way diminished and is alive and well to this day.

I think of publishing a piece of writing like releasing a bird from a cage. Whether it actually takes wing and flies is beyond my control, I’ve done my bit and opened the door, what happens then has nothing to do with me and is beyond my power to dictate. Of course it is gratifying if something I write gets shared, just as it is gratifying if I share someone else’s work and it gets shared. It is part of the process of creativity that we hope what we produce is meaningful and worth sharing. I suppose if nothing I ever did got a single share, I would have to conclude that I am writing psycho-dribble and have to face up to the reality that writing is not something I am any good at, unless it is purely for my own satisfaction and amusement, in which case it would be perfectly reasonable to carry on.

In fact, my little birds have flown across the world, not in a big way, as in the New York Times best seller list, but in a very small but entirely gratifying way, not least because my letters were about life in Britain and my very real concerns for what is happening here. To discover that something I’d written resonated with someone in Australia enough that they chose to share it, is definitely a ‘wow’, pleasing, moment, to which I can only say, ‘thank you’. Did the earth move in Australia in response? No.

I had more than a few online responses telling me that my letters were a waste of time and likely consigned to the bin unread and that David Cameron probably never read one of them. No, he probably didn’t, but that was not why I wrote them. The point was that I could not be silent in the face of the appalling lies and abuse being heaped on us by the worst government in UK history. It was entirely appropriate to direct them at Cameron, rather than my neighbours dog, but my writing them was in no way contingent on receiving a reply, and, in fact, such was Cameron’s towering arrogance and malicious ill will towards ordinary people, that I would have been very surprised to receive a personal response from him, let alone an honest one.

Do I want people to be aware of what is going on? Of course I do. Does it matter to me that vast numbers of people don’t want to know or, indeed, vote for the abuse that is being heaped on their own heads by a government which has nothing but ill will towards them? Oh yes! Can I change them or demand they change? No. But come the day, when the itch for change awakens and when the courage to seek information and to face the many obstacles placed in our way by those in power which frustrate and beat us down, I hope that enough information is out there to help people take those first steps towards liberating thought and personal freedom from oppression and if I can contribute towards that in some small way, I will do it to the best of my ability.

I will not berate anyone for not waking up sooner and nor will I call anyone a sheeple thus driving them further away on a tide of rejection. Waking up is a very fragile process, full of doubt and uncertainty. I know because I’ve done it and it is painful. The waking up of an individuals consciousness is a truly awesome thing, worthy of praise and admiration at every step of the way. No one other than a brute calls a child a fool for not walking, and no child was ever helped to walk by being called useless for falling over or not yet standing up. Consciousness is no different, and requires many faltering steps to achieve. An awakening mind falls on its arse many times and that is exactly the time to offer encouragement and support and that is the very least we can do.

Is there such a thing as too late? Our NHS is in desperate straits, in fact it’s very nearly gone, stolen from us by government and corporate thieves whose only consideration is its market value, and who care nothing for the life and well being of the patients they betray. Well, yes there is such a thing as too late, but that is no reason to give up and certainly no reason to heap shame on others, other than those who are orchestrating this atrocity. This is not the time to abandon care and consideration for all those who have yet to see what is going on, quite the reverse, because if there is any hope of winning a losing battle, care and consideration are our greatest weapons. The interweb is heaving with personal abuse, nothing is served by my adding to it other than defeat. I refuse to go there.

KOG. 28 February 2017

image1

As a 66 year old bloke, a post war baby boomer, it is incredible to witness that the NHS and the welfare state aren’t even going to make it through the life cycle of one whole generation.

Out of the debt and destruction of war came the greatest revolution in social care that this country has ever seen and I am watching it be destroyed.

Remember houses for heroes, the greatest house building programme this country has ever seen, built by the survivors of war, in which I am part of the first and only succeeding generation to experience that monumental achievement in social housing. House building peaked in the 1960’s at 400,000 homes a year.

The post war consensus was not a harmonious meeting of political minds so much as an uneasy alliance in which the Tories gave grudging agreement and yet, in reality, were bitterly opposed to it. It lasted until Thatcher came to power, 1979 marked the beginning of the end and by the time she was defeated by the treachery of her own party it was dead.

Since 2010 the velvet glove of oppression has been entirely abandoned, every penny spent on the working and jobseeking ‘stock’ is a penny wasted. It was ever thus, but now is exposed in all its brutality and includes children, the elderly and sick and disabled people.

We are in a catastrophic housing crisis, and scarcity, as we know with jobs, is just another means to transfer wealth from the poor to the rich via unrestrained market forces. Councils are now prevented from building houses and it was just over a year ago that the Tories voted down an amendment to the housing bill to force landlords to make rented homes fit for human habitation.

Those who have contributed all their lives to universal health care and the safety net of social security are now being scorned for being too old and a burden on the state by whipper snappers who demand to know why they should pay for us? How dare they? We contributed and helped build a system of care that could and should have lasted generations, indeed we contributed in good faith in the knowledge that generations to come would enjoy the benefits of our labour. And now we are scorned.

The wealth of the nation is being siphoned into the hands of the banks, financial markets and corporations who enjoy tax breaks and financial incentives, though never called welfare. Welfare is only for the scrounging poor who are to a body a drain on the nations resources. COE pay goes through the roof and bankers still enjoy their excessive bonuses, whilst workers are yet to be granted a true living wage as the minimum exchange for their labour.

Blaming baby boomers for getting old and living too long is an outrage for which poverty and the denial of health care are a sure cure. Let’s go back to the days that Harry Lesley Smith remembers only too well, who recently wrote in the Guardian, “Neither the midwife nor my mother would have expected me to live to almost 100 because my ancestors had lived in poverty for as long as there was recorded history in Yorkshire.”

That is the world the Tories long for, that is where they are so avidly driving us, but this old man, like Harry, will not slip silently into my coffin nor spend my last days in Tory driven misery. I have more to offer now in old age than at any time in my life and long years of experience on which to draw. I will not be silent nor be dictated to by ignorant children who have never known want or the terror of poverty and yet see themselves as political movers and shakers with the right to dictate misery for millions.

Every suicide hurts me, every sanction is an affront to human dignity, every cut for the poor and tax break for the rich is an outrage which I take personally and every lie coming from the mouths of thieves must be countered with the truth.

I look back at the revolution of youth in my teens with great love, which inspires me to this day, and today’s young ones deserve no less. The dismal Victorian workhouse ethic of the Tories must die, it is not a matter of if, only when. I may not even see that day, but that doesn’t matter, all that matters is the desire to fight and keep on fighting for a better world than this dismal neoliberal nightmare.

KOG. 26 February 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/24/history-british-housing-decade

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adnan-aldaini/housing-crisis_b_6639040.html

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/12/tories-reject-move-to-ensure-rented-homes-fit-for-human-habitation

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/24/dont-dread-old-age-fear-tories-tyranny-austerity

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/16/uk-poverty-rates-office-for-national-statistics