Sunday, 1 November 2015

The Arrogance of Power

There can be few instances, now, of Tory behaviour that can really come as a surprise; that can be considered shocking. However to witness Phillip Davies, the dishonourable 'gentleman' for Shipley - a place I can only conclude is run by cunts - filibuster a bill whose sole purpose was to ease the cost of parking in hospitals. 

For ninety minutes this inhuman misogynistic piece of utter shit spoke - with the sole purpose of shutting down the vote. 

This is not democracy. This is the politics of the ruling elite at its most venal; a select cabal of Tories who's sole purpose is to sabotage bills they don't like. The rules - inexplicably - do not prevent this. Private members bills have no time limit for talking and so it is quite permissible for one of these scumbags to decide that, instead of having a civilised democratic discussion, they will take the piss. In this case there was a little gang of them and, like the school bullies they no doubt were, they saw the opportunity, and not for the first time, to stomp around and assert their assumed authority.

If this isn't enough to demonstrate how broken are democratic processes are and how exploitative and abusive its agents are, I don't know what it will take. Anyone that can defend this doesn't deserve to live in a civilised society.

Mr Davies is quite happy for the taxpayer to pay for his parking, and his expenses. He is quite happy to waste taxpayer funded Parliamentary time behaving like a petulant child (as most of them are) just to get his way. But what is worse is that he's not alone: people like him don't get to have that power by themselves. He got elected in that constituency - he has support. In fact I bet he has a lot of people who share his evidence-free spiteful politics. That's the shape of the world we live in today; it has lurched painfully to the right thanks to a drip by drop poisoning of the public consciousness thanks to the incessant whining of the media and the dog whistle politics they espouse. Whether it's the muslims, the EU, the scroungers, the foreigners (in general), the red tape, the lefties, the climate, this or that, there is always something held over the necks of the masses that they believe not only to be actual, but to be deliberately set up to trip them up and take their 'hard earned' cash.

Unlike the disgusting Mr Davies.

I would love to believe this could change, but I don't think there's much hope. Unless people rally together, for real, with genuine single minded purpose and refuse to be stopped - as they did during the Poll Tax riot - I don't think the Tories and the likes of Mr Davies have anything to fear. Jeremy Corbyn hasn't got a chance, he will succumb to that same poison as the media will not relent in their assault. Eventually they will be joined by his own party members who will be the ones most willing to stick the knife in finally.

There are plenty of Philip Davies' out there because this system and this society breeds them. They are like ticks that feed on the blood of animals; parasites bred by the system for the purpose of feeding on it. Capitalism continues to convince everyone else this is in their best interests as they are 'encouraged' to work harder while being told to blame any of the above perceived bogeymen as the reason they have to do so. But they receive no extra benefit for doing so and indeed face losing out, which in turn feeds more acrimony. The means of production are still out of their hands and the capitalists make more and gain more power off the backs of their unwitting compliance.

Just as the likes of Davies, and his scummy ilk, want.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015


I feel raw. I feel vulnerable, in a way I never really expected.

For a long time a tooth has been bugging me -  one of mine that is; not the errant molar of a neighbour for example. Today I had the offending article removed. I have been dreading it, absolutely dreading it. But as the day wore on that feeling has sublimated into a deep sense of vulnerability; a part of me that has died and is with me no more. Even though it was just a fucked tooth.

Oddly I was expecting to feel better and relieved a lot quicker, but the list of post-extraction requirements, and the repair time, are a great deal more onerous than I imagined. 

It's ridiculous really; right now there are children undergoing chemotherapy, facing cancer and loss of a more profound and painful kind. Why am I complaining?

It is because I am alone. 

No matter the procedure, the company of another makes all the difference. The presence of someone to assure and reassure. A hand to hold. An ear to hear. That is the sense of loss I feel. That, as parts of my body begin to falter (a trend that can only surely increase as the years inevitably and inexorably pass), life starts to diminish. Where once it began with a sense of promise in the flush of youth and opportunity, as purveyed through school and upbringing, it calcifies into missed opportunity and loneliness. Will the world get better? Will society ever really reject the oppression that is sold to us on a daily basis? Will technology save us?

Is this all there is?

I had a call yesterday from my GP having heard back from the ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) people at the Mental Health assessment unit in Bristol. They decided I couldn't qualify for an assessment because they felt I had an underlying anxiety disorder that would, one assumes, skew the results. Perhaps that's true. She was disappointed and asked me how i was doing; "I've been better I told her". 

I didn't have the heart to tell her the tooth.

Bad joke. What can she do? All there is locally is the CBT-peddling ATOS-partnering first port of call known as Positive Step, of whom I have mentioned before. They are the place everyone is sent that isn't an immediate danger or a severely afflicted soul. They are who you are meant to see if there is no one else, and there is no one else. 

The simple reality of a society where people are raised to be there for others is an illusion. Lucky are those that have that in their lives, but if we were to invest in so simple a means of support a great deal could be done. This is the simple free medicine of human contact that will do more for anxiety sufferers than a thousand pills potions and bandwagons like CBT (if it helps you, good luck to you, but it's not the be all and end all).

I guess it just costs too much to care.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Protesting Protest

Last weekend, and into the middle of this week, the People's Assembly, and various affiliates most notably some of the trade unions, visited Manchester with the notion they would somehow send the Tories a message. I wish this were possible. I would love to think that all it took to dethrone the wicked of Westminster was the voice of comfortable protest in the form of the People's Assembly and it's talking shop commentary carousel. Of course the Tories weren't instead, haven't stood down, and have, within their comfortable champagne drenched enclave, pointed, predictably, to their mandate from the election. 

I agree that mandate is paper thin, but it is a mandate and it's going to take more than a few well meaning student union dreamers organising another anodyne march through town. I watched the speeches on Youtube and it's the same faces saying the same platitudes, interchangeable with every speech made previously at other 'protests'. This is ridiculous. I despair of these people, even DPAC are starting to see through this as their cause - some of the bravest people in our society - is not being represented. 

Now I am not saying that Own Jones or Mark Steele or Mark Serwotka or Charlotte Church don't care about the disabled - far from it. I think they do care; more fundamentally I think they - vitally - the attendees are concerned with the issues of austerity.

But it's not fucking enough. 

Four years the People's Assembly Against Austerity has existed and in that time it's been one meeting after another, one comfortable little protest after another. The reason this is a problem is that it's offering false hope and is, in reality, nothing more than a talking shop. 

Don't get me wrong there's a place for this, but we need more precisely because the Tories are not listening. They don't care: look at IDS's performance, doubling down more on his crusade to disenfranchise the disabled under the guise of 'support', look at Jeremy Hunt's treatment of junior doctors, look at Osborne's desperate bid to reduce the state via austerity (he's setting his stall for the job of party leader and, he hopes, next PM). Look at what all these filthy scumbags are doing across the country and ask yourselves if a few shiny student faces, the same token though well-intentioned speakers, and the same speeches, are really cutting the mustard.

The tragedy of it all is that I agree with their speeches. I agree with the sentiments. I am pleased that people attend - it would be way worse if no one bothered. My problem is that it is simply. Not. Enough. The Tories will concede nothing, it will have to be taken; and by doing nothing the opposition to this madness has allowed the media to position protest in the public consciousness as something to be rejected outright. People have come to believe that strike laws are necessary, even though the Tory proposals (which very likely will become law) are obscene. People have been convinced that it is unthinkable to stop work, even for a day, and the longer this goes on, the more difficult it will be to organise a general strike, which I believe is the necessary first step toward taking back the power.

The week before Class War in the east end of London organised their Fuck Parade where they accrued some notoriety for chucking paint at, and intimidating, the people inside and working for the Cereal Killer cafe. I'll be honest, I don't think this was the right move, I think it smacked of ignorance and bully boy tactics by pushing the notion that a cafe selling bowls of cereal is somehow different from, and thus more ostentatious than, a cafe selling a traditional working man's bacon butty or fry up. This is ignorance. 

But as the Tory conference weekend pressed on it occurred to me that maybe, even though they'd targeted the wrong people (a pair of hipsters are not responsible for the gentrification of London, they are merely a soft target), they have the right idea. It's the notion that dare not speak its name: that protest needs to get tougher. I don't want to see violence, but we already have violence - the violence of sanctions, deprivation and destitution; the thuggery of poverty. These things will not be destroyed at their core through anything less than revolutionary struggle. Even the amiable resistance of the People's Assembly falls short of that which we need to transform society. We don't just need a soft shuffle ever so slightly to the left; we need a fucking charge!

Finally, even though the Tories do have power, i have already conceded the truth of their mandate; it is based on a thin majority. Even though, ideologically, they are highly resistant, and (more importantly) even though they have the media and the corporations (and the banks) on their side, they are structurally weak. The Tory membership is tiny and is actually smaller than the support that put Corbyn into the position of leader of the Labour party. When you consider this should be the honeymoon period for any government, the post-coital glow following an election, this is as good as it's going to get for this government. Therefore it is possible to defeat them, though it will not be easy. The problem is: does the People's Assembly have the stomach for Class War?

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

New Labour?

So Corbyn did it. He's now the leader of our esteemed opposition - at least until the Blairite element shaft him, or the newspapers make his continued leadership untenable and the knives come out anyway. Or perhaps he will make it through 5 years of hell to win the next election, at which point he will be in his early seventies. At that point he is likely going to face another Tory leader as Cameron will, most likely afterwards, make way for Osborne - unless that wiff waff peddling pretend-buffoon and class hater Boris pushes through. Then we could see a world where Boris the posh boy is President Trump's poodle. This of course assumes the Americans are stupid enough to elect that racist misogynist cunt their overlord.

And yet the rhetoric continues: the message of Labour's inherent financial incompetence abounds still, after five years of Tory mismanagement and austerity. Never mind the foodbanks, the dismal failure to restart the economy, to manage the housing benefit bill, to address unemployment (particularly in the young), to 'help' the disabled; people are still being convinced that Tony Gordon Blair Brown tanked the economy. This message was not challenged by Labour, and I'm not even sure John McDonnell is up to the job. Despite losing his job 'sir' (how the fuck did that happen) Vincent Cable is in the media, whining mostly, like an old stink that refuses to leave. Mainly haunting the Guardian like the spectre of a friendly deceased uncle that the family desperately wants to believe in. We'll ignore that he was at the heart of the coalition and, in particular, instrumental in the sale of the Post Office.

But are the cracks starting to show? John McDonnell's strained performance on Question Time the other week - the first time I have ever seen him appear - was heartbreaking as he was forced to apologise for misrepresented comments made over a decade ago. The selective prejudice of a troll in the audience wanting only to score points, ignoring the discussion entirely to focus on his own assumption that John is the sort that would think IRA violence acceptable. This fool clearly happy to entertain the notion that left wing thinkers and politicians would themselves entertain such notions. And so John was excoriated by the establishment; ritually scarred in order to be made ready for the public's approval. As a result he has now watered down Labour's pledge to restore the top rate of tax to 50%, not 60. It was even higher under the milk snatcher.

Meanwhile this morning Shadow Education Secretary Lucy Powell refused to argue in favour of restoring schools to local education authority, offering only a milk-thin sop to bring them under some kind of local 'oversight'. It is clear that the pressure from the right wing element in our society, via the media, has had an effect; the question is what will the cumulative effect of this mean come the next election and can Jeremy survive it? If he stepped down, would that mean John McDonnell takes over, or would that give the Blairites the chance to try and reassert power. There can't be that much gas left in that tank, Liz Kendall, their representative, couldn't even muster 5%!

I really hope that Labour can hold it together. They h ave a chance to penetrate the media barrage and get a socialist message across. If they aren't going to push that message or aren't able to then what is the point. Then who do we have? The Class War idiots who think having a snap crackle and pop at a couple of easy target hipsters running a novelty cafe?

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Corbyn, what is best in life...

"Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of the Tories."

Jeremy Corbyn, on the face of it, seems on course to inherit the poison chalice that is leadership of the modern labour party. I think one of two things will happen: his bid will be chewed up by the accounting process and he will fail, or he will win and find himself leading a party of traitors.

The evidence for the former is the disgraceful way the party has handled 'entryists', those people seeking to join solely to support Corbyn whom the party believes don't support it's 'aims and values'. This is patently absurd since Jeremy is a Labour MP of long standing, to argue that people are joining the party solely to support one of its members is as absurd as it sounds. If they do not believe these people are supporting the party's true values then what does that say about Jeremy? I have never seen such political dishonesty from any party - and I include the Tories. What Labour are doing to themselves is akin to punching themselves in the nuts with an iron fist, repeatedly and loudly.

The evidence for the second point comes from the comments - the shrill hysterical warnings of oblivion - portended by Labour grandees including the warmonger Tony Blair and the insidious Peter Mandelson. These spectres seem fit to continue to haunt the party, but that's what happens when you bury your dead in a troubled grave. We must either throw some sticky rice at these scumbags, or tell them they are no longer welcome. Neither will happen of course, Labour are on a direct line at unstoppable speed toward utter annihilation, and they seem hell bent on liking it. I don't think Jeremy has a chance.

So where does that leave us? It is possible that the violent dissolution of #JezWeCan will demand some release; the energy will need to go somewhere and that could well be the streets. If so I dare say I would welcome that. I'm not in favour of violence or vandalism, and I'm not condoning it (for the benefit of our friends in GCHQ...beep beep), however Labour would only have itself to blame. Should they end up picking Burnham, as I fear likely, they will fart themselves toward 2020 will all the grace of a deflated balloon spurting out it's remaining oxygen. Labour will exhale all that once made it good and die in a fit of inoffensive stupidity. They claim that Corbyn will make them unelectable despite doing the very thing they could not: attracting grassroots supporters: the very lifeblood of any party.

It beggars belief that a party would reject that in favour of an ideology that, on all evidence, cannot and does not work. They offer nothing more than a slightly lighter shade of debt and death. Austerity is a beggars bargain; if only we could peel back the "two for the price of one" sticker that has been placed over our society and see the truth. Fortunately some of us can.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Will Get Fooled Again?

More ridiculousness; this time from the human slime that is Matthew Hancock. This creature is already known to me thanks to his regular appearances as a Tory pundit on the BBC, talking bollocks. He tried to argue against Paul Krugman on the issue of austerity economics, but the former has a nobel prize in the field and Hancock has nothing but contempt; "you're wrong" he claims, on the basis that, being a Tory, he isn't.Yesterday he came out with the latest iteration of the government's viciously circular war on welfare. Another "intensive" work scheme, this time primarily aimed at the young - because after all they broke the economy didn't they!

If nothing else this is actually a tacit admission that everything the Tories have tried, all born of their hateful ideology, since 2010 has failed. Wasn't the work programme meant to be intensive? Wasn't the post WP service meant to be intensive? Wasn't every aspect of signing on meant to be intensive? Wasn't workfare meant to be intensive? Isn't the claimant commitment and it's 35 hour/week jobsearch (I defy anyone to use their website for 35 hours without going mad) meant to be intensive?

This would be laughable if it wasn't so tragic and so damaging. There won't be any intensive support; claimants will just be sanctioned at the drop of a hat as they are now. Where are these mentors going to come from; the same private sector cowboys that have run things so far? Whatever happened to Emma Harrison eh (I bet she turns up again)?  Will it be the already beleaguered JC+ staff - including those jobsworths that push sanctions on to claimants without a care?

This is just intended to play to the gallery: look it's the Tories being tough on scroungers. Except they've already tried being tough. They've already tried asserting there's a culture of dependency to crack...but the evidence doesn't support the existence of such a culture. Even if there was such, threatening people with and putting people through a regime of sanctions achieves nothing. It won't create jobs.

There will  never be full employment. There will always be more out of work, especially among the young, than in work. All this does is punish people for living in the world the Tories have created.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Won't Get Fooled Again?

Although the ascendancy of Jeremy Corbyn would no doubt be a positive for our archaic and corrupt political system, it seems Labour are beyond hope. Why do they continue to allow their politics to be dictated by the right. The centre ground has shifted so far to the right that we have the sad spectacle of the other leadership candidates arguing against Jeremy because we mustn't upset business.

Here they all, including, sadly, Corbyn, on LBC engaged in a leadership debate. The problem with this is that, again, they are letting the tail wag the dog. Iain Dale, the host, is another tedious right wing attack dog; people like him don't give a toss about the rights of workers and exist only to reinforce that same central position of business, quite literally as usual. He even asks Jeremy why he thinks he's qualified to be PM, asserting that Jez hasn't run a business or a bank or a corporation (a bit like Cameron, Howard, Hague and especially Iain Duncan Sauron). In fact there is a banker in government, Lord Fraud. He wasn't elected, he has no idea of life on benefits and yet is integral to teh creation of hideous policies such as the Bedroom Tax, and the notion that disabled people should be patronised by employers instead of treated well.

By participating in this farce Labour not only allows itself to look like a group of squabbling kids, which is no doubt what Dale and the right wing want from this, but allows the right, through Dale, to dictate the terms of the discussion. As he's the host of the show he has complete control - which is the sad nature of living in a media dominated society - he has the power of the button and can thus control what's said and when. If someone, in this case a prospective labour leader, speaks 'out of turn' he can interrupt and accuse them of being difficult or obtuse. In fact this is what made Jeremy's recent interview with Krishnam Guru Murthy so odious, on C4 news: KGM asked long winded questions that demanded a longer answer than time would allow, by trying to answer Jeremy then runs out of time and looks stupid. Or the question takes so long to ask that only a simple short response can be slotted in; couple this with provocative subject matter (such as perceived support for terrorists) and the interviewee is made to look foolish.

This is what happens when the opposition allows the right to dictate the terms of the debate. This is why I would have counselled against going on LBC. Inevitably, with four labour candidates arguing for the same job, there will be disagreements. This is the very definition of airing your grievances in public. Instead they could have held a private hustings. But their idiotic advisers thought this was a good idea, in a particularly Thick Of It fashion, and so they appear, to a right wing audience (as I imagine Dale has, most radio phone ins seem to) like a bunch of petty schoolkids. This only reinforces the notion that Labour aren't fit to run anything.

What is the logic of a party that claims it opposes austerity appearing on a debate controlled by adherents of austerity?