Archives for posts with tag: Richard Branson

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The system is broken, and by that I do not mean accidentally, oops how careless of me, broken, I mean wilfully and deliberately broken.

I have lived my life with mental ill health and what I described as ‘social phobia’ years before any such description existed. Doctors told me I was agoraphobic, which then and now I refuse to accept, I am not afraid of open spaces, of the great outdoors, I am afraid of our system of inhuman society. What my mind and body has been telling me from a very young age was that there was and is something wrong with human society. I am not sick, or mentally deficient, my mind and body were accurately responding to a system that was and is exploitative and broken.

It is broken for many, if not most, ordinary people by design.

We are dangled a carrot of work for rewards which are inadequate to our needs. No matter how hard I worked, I had no control over the system that ‘rewards’ that work and so have spent most of my life living hand to mouth, and if something went wrong which required more money than I had available to fix it, I had no way to generate the necessary income to meet the need, other than by going into debt.

In the systems terms that is quite reasonable, and yet it is indisputably true that each of us is capable of creating more than we need to meet our own requirements, how else do companies profit from us? If the planet Earth were not capable of meeting all our needs, we simply would not be here. Forget evolution, if the abundance of resources are not there to sustain life then life does not survive. Had we husbanded the Earth well and wisely we would not now be facing the human made crises which threaten our future and life on planet Earth.

In Britain, one of the most fertile land areas on Earth, wealthy landowners are paid fortunes in subsidies not to produce anything of common usefulness from the land they own and the government will do everything it can to ensure that such subsidies continue after Brexit, as a matter of priority.

If you believe the world is overcrowded and we cannot feed the world, ask yourself how you know that? Where did you learn that from? If all the world’s population was gathered side by side, each taking up a square metre of land, we would occupy a space of 7,200 square kilometres, that’s over ten times smaller than Ireland at 84,421 square kilometres. It is estimated that it would take less than 10,000,000 square kilometres to feed the lot of us, roughly the size of the USA. It is, of course, a bit more complicated than that, but it gives something of a perspective on what we are told and many unquestioningly believe as written in stone. Remember David Cameron and his swarms of immigrants? It generates plenty of hate and very little sense or reason.

In January this year (2017) Oxfam reported that just 8 men own the same wealth as half the world. The report ‘details how big business and the super-rich are fuelling the inequality crisis by dodging taxes, driving down wages and using their power to influence politics’.

That is a system that is irretrievably broken with no political will to change it in the current government or amongst the super wealthy who milk it for personal gain. They are very comfortable with starving people to death to increase their wealth even more. Every time a million children die, by war or famine, it really doesn’t matter how, a rich man yawns, safe in the knowledge that he’s a few billion quid richer.

Theresa May said there is no magic money tree, well yes there is, it’s us and most especially the poorest. Harvesting the poor is very lucrative indeed, it’s been going on for centuries and it is something that pretty much everyone regards as normal, especially the harvested poor who are so successfully deceived they even vote for it thinking, ‘that’s democracy’.

By way of example, there is nothing wrong with our NHS, not with the concept, the founding, nor the enormous task of running it over almost 7 decades, what is wrong with it is the Tories and the corporations who want to suck on its teats and drain it for profit. Richard Branson, who has recently taken over much of the NHS in Bath, is a parasite, nothing more, a parasite who hides his wealth and lives in a tax haven. Branson has been given, or ‘won’ as the Guardian put it, £700 million to run 200 privatised NHS and social care services in Bath. Whatever motivates Richard Branson, it isn’t an overwhelming, altruistic, sense of philanthropy. He isn’t some kind of popular hero or man of the people, he’s a corporate blood sucker.

If you are reading this it won’t be on the mainstream media or reported on television, those billionaire owned, tax evading, corporate bastions of the status quo, which includes our publicly funded BBC, you’ll be reading it on Facebook or on my blog or the citizen media outlet, The Dorset Eye. And that is the proper place to be reading it, far from the corporate lobbyists and the dark influences of the likes of Rupert Murdoch and his evil media empire.

But for me, if we want to understand just how all this works and what we can do about it, than we can do no better than watch and engage with the banquet of corporate carnage and murder that is Grenfell Tower. We need to pay attention to what the priests of power are saying, certainly, but we should be bolted and riveted to what the survivors are saying, who refuse to be silenced. Grenfell Tower was state murder and the state is the last thing which should be trusted to investigate the murders they have committed. If the survivors want an inquest or investigation then the chair of those inquiries should be found in the angriest and most horrified residents, who should also be committee members, who will never fear to ask the most brutal questions, no matter how many times they must be repeated, nor rest until they have the answers, no matter how many times they must be demanded.

The system will never fix itself and if anyone who is not at least a millionaire thinks that Theresa May and her government has their back, then they are at the very least deluded and at worst complicit in a system that doesn’t give a flying fuck for the lives of ordinary people.

If Grenfell teaches us anything it is that the system is stacked against us and the only way to deal with that is to speak out and keep speaking out and not wait in an orderly queue for permission to do so. As the late Howard Zinn put it, “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”

The question then becomes, can we change? And then, dare we change or are too many of us suffering from Stockholm Syndrome and siding with our oppressors? Because it will be a cold day in hell before there is any justice being volunteered for the people of Grenfell Tower from those in power. That’s why they and we must demand and keep on demanding until the system is so rattled and shaken it bloody well falls over.

KOG. 20 July 2017

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/nov/11/virgin-care-700m-contract-200-nhs-social-care-services-bath-somerset

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/29/the-queen-aristocrats-and-saudi-prince-among-recipients-of-eu-farm-subsidies

https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-01-16/just-8-men-own-same-wealth-half-world

https://snapzu.com/geoleo/how-much-room-the-entire-world-population-would-take-up-if-standing-side-by-side

https://www.quora.com/How-much-land-is-sufficient-to-produce-enough-food-for-10-billion-people-or-reduce-world%E2%80%99s-population

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/jul/30/david-cameron-migrant-swarm-language-condemned

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The Independent reports that five families are being made homeless every hour in the UK. The Joseph Rowntree Foundation reports that ‘almost 13 million people are living in poverty in the UK’, with over half of those in families with at least one adult working. And the BBC, amongst others, reports that, ‘More than 16 million people in the UK have savings of less than £100’.

These are dreadful statistics that highlight the terrible suffering of people in Britain today as a matter of policy. This is not a failure of government, it is deliberate policy, an economic war of attrition being waged against the poorest and most vulnerable people in society who are not just being abandoned, but are being targeted and penalised for absolutely no good reason.

I am sick to death of reading that some of those being attacked are called wasters and losers, alcoholics and drug addicts, fraudsters and cheats. As if such ‘character defects’ are exclusive to the poor. Who in hell created this mess, who bombed the global economy, who has trillions of dollars stashed away in tax havens exploiting all the benefits of society and contributing nothing? The poor?

Anyone who whinges about the poor on benefits needs to take a long hard look at the world and themselves and maybe begin to wonder, who makes these stories up, who is aiming the arrows of their hatred at the most deprived and yet cover up and hide the most depraved, like ex-prime minister David Cameron, George Osborne, Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey, Priti Patel, Philip Green, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Jeremy Hunt and the entire financial ‘free’ markets? This is orchestrated hatred which is morally and socially bankrupt.

Richard Branson lives in a tax haven. Yeah, he really is one of the good guys! He’s one of the people stealing our NHS from us. Richard Branson is a carpet bagger of the worst kind, looting and plundering what we have paid for.

Meanwhile, every single day, there is an unsung army of ordinary people giving of themselves and the little they have to succour and support others. There is a 91 year old man called Morrie Boogart, a cancer sufferer who lives in a hospice, yet who found purpose in knitting over 8,000 hats over the last 15 years for homeless people which are delivered to shelters throughout the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area in the USA.

This Thursday, Charlotte Hughes will be at the Jobcentre in Ashton-under-Lyne, as she has been for two and half years supporting those hounded by the DWP in one of Britain’s most deprived areas. Charlotte and friends, whose names I do not even know nor how many, are feeding, supporting, offering advice and a kind word, to those who are victims in one of the DWP’s test areas, where the DWP practice their cruelty first before rolling it out across the country. I name her only because I know her and have the utmost respect for her, yet she is suffering for what she is doing, it is tough and demanding and at times downright dispiriting.

Under the shadow of oppression there are millions helping out, volunteering, giving of their time gladly, against the odds.

People know of the Trussell Trust, but they are only one part of the food banks that now exist across the UK, keeping people alive just because they care.

There are street kitchens, cafes and restaurants across the UK feeding the elderly and homeless, not just at Christmas, but every day.

It is impossible to even begin to name all that goes on every day out of kindness and care by ordinary people giving their time and energy to support others. It is impossible to even guess how many lives are saved daily who are abandoned and ignored by government.

This is barely even news, whatever scarce mention is made in the news of those who care is the merest tip of an enormous tsunami of care happening every day, saving lives, offering support and advice, giving a helping hand, lifting up and sustaining life.

If there is any place for cynicism, it is not here, if there is reason to abandon hope, it is not for want of the efforts of those trying to offer it. Yes, we do lose people and each one hurts and at times the tears and sorrow are overwhelming, but that is not the time to give up, even if we must pause for breath and catch up with our own needs, because we forgot to do that for a time.

But that is not what takes courage. What takes courage in a time of need is asking for help. It says much about us that we manage, and we manage and we manage, until we have nothing left, but that is not the time to die, that is the time to courageously ask for help. Asking for help is not weakness and nor is it failure, that is the time to surrender and say one of the toughest words to say, ‘help’: to a friend or neighbour, a doctor or care worker, someone who can connect us to the care we need. It is not that no one cares, they just might not know we need it, and may be stricken if we die when they might otherwise have offered a helping hand had they but known.

It may feel easier to die and cease to be a burden, but caring does not recognise any of us as a burden. I speak from personal experience, it is ok to need help, but it takes courage to seek it and ask for it. It is ok to be in need.

KOG. 30 January 2017

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/homeless-rough-sleeping-figures-increase-rise-conservatives-housing-shelter-vertical-rush-a7550251.html

https://www.jrf.org.uk/press/report-reveals-new-face-uk-poverty

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37504449

http://www.taxjustice.net/topics/more/size-of-the-problem/

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/23/charlotte-sees-desperation-first-hand-job-centre-benefits-system

http://streetskitchen.co.uk/scotland/

http://www.peopleskitchen.co.uk/be-a-volunteer/

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/06/europe/muslim-restaurant-christmas-homeless-elderly-trnd/