The Lemmings are not for turning

Despite being mathematically disproved, and despite a failure to make any sense at all, austerity is still being imposed in Britain today. The coalition government is very aware that austerity is a theory that was discredited as an economic force earlier this year, so are all, repeat all, of the major parties. Yet, here we are parked in a pattern of austerity that neither Conservatives, Lib dems, UKIP or even Labour are talking about discontinuing after 2015. You’d think we were enjoying it and clamouring for more, like the turkeys who voted for Xmas.
For the past three years, the coalition has blamed Labour, quite unfairly, for our economic woes, despite the country being in better shape in economic terms when Gordon Brown left office, than it was at the time John Major was ousted. Surprisingly, Labour were very quiet about being harshly and unfairly blamed. Perhaps the right wing press had turned Labour’s microphones off. Either way, their voices were strangely silent. The Coalition, however, crowed and crowed very loudly bout the awful job Labour did, and George Osborne asked us to judge his performance on Britain’s credit rating, a top rating he has since lost without referring once to his own pitiful performance as responsible.
So it is that over three years plus, we have had austerity in the form of cuts imposed on us. We started with a trim, then it became a shorter cut, the scissors are making a trench in the scalp now and blood is spraying like a scene from Dexter, with the poor, whether the poor in or out of work, or in or out of good health doing all the blood letting. George Osborne said of his plans to further cut benefits in his latest spending review that those with the broadest shoulders are bearing the heaviest burden. George, cutting off someone’s head may give the illusion of broader shoulders, but I find it very hard to believe that all those wealthy friends of yours are suffering too badly from paying lower or no taxes at all.
Part of the key to what is happening here lies with the many and various chastising slaps being delivered to Government MPs and spokespersons for the various porky pies they are telling about their policies and statistics. Misleading at best, thorough lies more common, are delivered regularly through the Tory press, distractions, apologies and statements revealing the truth not so readily published as prominently. Little wonder then, that the public en masse are convinced that coalition policies are working instead of that other word: disastrous.
So, having lied about what a Government policy is designed to do, then lied about how successful it hasn’t been, they are reluctant to admit to the public that we are being led down a primrose path to the abattoir. Because the lies have been accepted so credibly, the coalition’s opponents, yes I mean Labour, are currently promising more of the same if they are elected in 2015. This makes little sense, the underlying message Labour is currently providing us is that the coalition is doing such a good job that they want to offer themselves as an alternative of no different outcome. In the meantime, the Tories have been made so paranoid about the mid term elections, that they are adopting UKIP policies wholesale. Westminster is becoming Jonestown, with the same economically unviable and suicidal policies being offered by all parties. It is insane.
We were once a nation that looked on things like kindness and service as positive aspects of society, but under a previous Conservative Government, we had a generation schooled on greed, who now are willing to cut each other’s throats for a profit, and see no value in a health service they aren’t currently using themselves. They don’t want to see others helped, place no value in real virtues and have become cynical and cold to others.
For me, I want to know that there are others besides myself out there that care, that we should all live well, not just those who cut the most throats. The nation’s values have shifted drastically, but they lead us up a very blind alley.
Poor health is possessed by many more people than before. I believe this is due to lacing our food with preservative chemicals. Processed food and aspartame are not good for us. We are told that there is a health crisis now, , it will get far far worse. Big pharmaceutical companies divert medical research from finding cures, to the much more lucrative practice of finding expensive ways to maintain life through protracted illness. Nothing is done to curb this, and charitable donations for medical research are very likely not being used in the ways you might want. Monsanto genetic foods are gradually, and without our consent, replacing natural foodstuffs. The chances are, farm animals have Gmail animal feed, it is already widely used in our food chain. Disability and illness will become more widespread, taking a greater percentage of the population into a need for support than ever before. These things are being enacted because big businesses and corporations are buying favours from political parties in the form of lobbying and donations. We are already on that slippery slope.
I believe it is too soon yet to declare who it is right to vote for in terms of party politics, but we must take this into account. In all likelihood, no one party will secure an overall majority. This in itself is a danger. The Lib dems will will sell themselves to any party for a slice of government. They will not pursue their own policies, by rubber stamp that of political partners. They could conceivably partner with Conservatives, Labour or UKIP without finding any of their policies too extreme. A Conservative/UKIP coalition is the one most to be feared, they may well become competitive about which of them can promote the most right wing ideas. Naturally, no risk assessments will be undertaken. What the public needs are policies distinguishable from those of the other parties, and louder voices making the differences between them clearer. If Labour is to be a credible alternative, they need to exercise their voice, one voice, not dissenting policies. Too often blue, red and purple Labour are at odds, and this helps nobody.
I am told that the Peoples Assembly will not be ready for the 2015 election. I hope I heard wrong. If not, I should like Labour to stand up and make their voice heard. None of us need to see them nod their heads and offer to continue in the vein of the coalition.
We could term the various parties agreeing to take the same course, democracy in action, but it outlines the worst aspect of western democracy when parties pursue a populist agenda at cost to their principles. At this stage of the game, given what we currently see, I think I would prefer a benevolent dictatorship. The throwing away of parallel promises in favour of a government that can reeducate us on what is right. If as I currently perceive, all parties are promoting the same disastrous course, then there is no strength of character in evidence. My values are a love and respect of others, but none of us can earn love and respect without first giving it. I know throughout my life I have learned best by my mistakes, and have the humility to admit fault and find new ways to go forward. Cameron, caught in fault is an angry man, no humility, just a blind trudging toward failure and disaster, whilst trying to convince us of his success. This is not the kind of leader a country needs. In the next two years, I hope we’ll hear more distinction between political voices. Enough to give us a party to believe in.

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Gina Ravens advocates for the wealthy to be sterilized

Australian millionaire heiress, the outspoken Gina Rinehart yesterday claimed that the poor should be sterilized in a move to prevent future poverty. She claimed it was the only solution to the world’s ills. I believe she is being incredibly short-sighted in this rash opinion. It is a simplistic view to suggest that poverty would die within a generation, but her ignorance stems from her privileged, yet I’ll informed position.

Certainly, if such a genocide were to be enacted, the world’s population would shrink drastically, and she supposedly sees this as allowing global resources to be sufficient to the population. She also advocates that the wealthy should have larger families of about a dozen children. In this, the flaws in her argument crumble fiercely.

Who would bring up these children once they were born? The offspring of the wealthy are not nannies and childminders, nor are they teachers. In such large families, if the eldest inherited, what would become of the younger siblings?

Competition between the wealthy would be fierce, with nobody to grow crops or raise animals. Oh certainly there would be huge companies in the business of farming, but nobody to do the actual work. Civil war between the monied would be inevitable in the race to own everything. Can you imagine the carnage? The wealthy would die, their blood spilling out as they carved each other up. Inevitably the last survivor would finally own everything and discover how miserable his ambitions have made him.

This, boys and girls, Is why the greedier among the wealthy can be considered sociopaths.I was outraged to read of Rinehart`s statement, but it did give me a clue as to how to really solve global problems.

Imagine a world where everyone in possession of a personal fortune over a million pounds had to be sterilized. With nobody to inherit their wealth, it becomes state property. Companies previously owned by individuals who became wealthy on the backs of the Labour of others, become cooperatives. The vast, squirrelled away fortunes become public resources to enrich us all, with most determined not to become rich enough to qualify for sterilisation, those resources even out.

Money is there for disaster relief, and with those many trillions in circulation, nobody need starve. This cap on wages and ambition allow us to examine what we have achieved in life and be enriched by the experience instead of craving more. Inheritance is a crock anyway, it is unearned by any means, and frequently rests in the hands of the stupid and incompetent, yet well educated people – witness our Coalition Government as a prime example. These Eton educated dunces pass jobs and gravy between themselves, treating the country as a boys club to be plundered. They are the true scroungers, helping themselves to the fat of the land , all the while wagging admonishing fingers in the faces of the population and warning us against feelings of entitlement.

Of course, the best test of my title statement is Gina Rinehart herself, a bloated, ignorant heiress who feels entitled by birth to impose eugenics on the major part of the population. Aside from anything else, it is easier to rid ourselves of the 1% than for them to do away with the 99%.

How do you like your misinformation?

ImageAfter a humiliating defeat of the conservatives in the recent local elections, I was appalled to see Cameron tear up the speech prepared for the queen to read at the state opening of parliament, only to rewrite it full of policies that were thoroughly UKIP, adopting the policies of that party. I was further alarmed when on Wednesday’s Ten o’clock show(channel 4, repeated Fridays) John Sargent described this as good politics, and stated that politicians should be flexible enough to adapt to public opinion. Much as I enjoy Sargent’ s humour on other shows, he meant every word of it. Let me tell you where his argument falls down.

He missed out a very critical word – informed. I could accept if he said that Politicians should be flexible enough to adapt to informed public opinion, but without that word, informed, it is a slippery slope to absolute ruin.

The Government in residence, the coalition are not good politicians, by either version of the above statement. They are able to adapt within their ideology to gain votes, but votes from a local election are not the same thing as informed opinion. For one thing, it is historically established that mid term voting is protest voting by many, for a Government to change course so suddenly in this way is a declaration of a lack of integrity. But there is far more to their lack of integrity than merely this, the coalition practices manipulation of public opinion by means either of coercion, as In the case of the BBC, or cooperation with biased newspapers and their owners.

The BBC can not be depended on or unbiased news. They under report or ignore substantial news items that show government in a bad light, and on talk and debate shows, have cancelled guests at the 11th hour that might be critical of government policy, extracting the real debate from “current affairs debate shows”

Then there was the PR agency employed by government to create images utilising the agency staff as their models, depicting chavs smoking and drinking in public whilst riding mobility scooters. Evidence, if it should be needed, of government creating public opinion in order to align that opinion with their ideology and policies. It is hardly respectful of the voting public to manipulate them so callously.

Add to this the bias of the popular press. The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph are staunch Tory rags, the owner of the Daily Mail, a close friend of David Cameron is a tax avoider. Rupert Murdoch and Cameron have been far too closely involved, it’s questionable as to which of them is actually in command of the Government, despite which, Murdoch continues much as before, using his newspapers to make and break governments. I question with all these influences, how informed voters are when they rely on these newspapers and the BBC for their information. Being fed sensationalist pap which hides the real news and criticisms of the government behind mind numbing reassurances, while a corrupt government is allowed to sell of the country’s infrastructure and pad their personal bank accounts on the proceeds.
Does the BBC or popular press inform the public that statements Ian Duncan Smith has made to parliament and the press are lies with invented statistics? From all I have seen, after reporting the lie, the truth remains hidden, the public seriously and criminally misinformed. The Government have ignored the fact that benefit fraud is only 0.7% according to their own figures, reporting instead of scroungers faking a lifestyle on welfare at enormous cost to the public, resulting in a Government devised and approved culture of hatred and violence towards disabled people. Never mentioning that each of us, careful as we might be, can in a heartbeat find themselves crippled by events and on the receiving side of unwarranted government and press sponsored public abuse. All of which unjustly allows them the economic clout to deprive seriously disabled people of their benefits in justification of their dubious “welfare reforms”. The disabled are dying, mostly unreported, due to these actions. It is time Ian Duncan Smith was expelled from parliament for his flagrant lies and misinformation to that body. This should be done publicly. Cameron has also been criticised for misusing statistics and making misleading statements. The awful thing is, these tabloids will report the misleading statements as truth, but do not report the criticism.

Anyone in public office has a responsibility to the public they represent, to be truthful, to not manipulate, and to have the integrity to not hide their objectives. If they then bend to informed public opinion, they are to be applauded. The most we should expect from them in departing from this course, should be their explanation as to why they think resisting informed opinion is the best course, and have an excellent justification for it. Calling each and every decision “fair” cuts no ice with me. What might seem fair to a millionaire can be grossly unfair to those their policies and ideology punishes harshly.

Anger Management can heal us

I was very saddened yesterday to read of a Twitter storm between blogger Tom Pride and journalist Sonia Poulton. I read through the Twitter stream of both, and as a result I have to tell you that I am going to be Switzerland. I have the highest respect for both and the jobs they do. Tom produces both factual and also satirical blogs, Sonia writes good material for good causes, but in Tory papers, doing her best to change the news establishment from within. To choose sides, I feel, is a mistake. I really hope they can find it within themselves to make a peaceful settlement, and I hope by the time this blog entry is done, you’ll see the sense in my opinion.

I am by nature, and was by profession, a peacemaker. I handled couples therapy, among others, helping people to communicate better and to understand each other more. This does not make me a wishy washy tree hugger, part of creating reconciliation is to provide challenges without being judgemental. This takes infinite patience, an even temperament, an insight into human motivation and a very precise use of the English language. It also demands a good memory and the ability to hold a dozen ideas in your head at once as you negotiate the differences between people to find common ground.
In this regard I sometimes used to appear on the Trisha show, select episodes as I will not do sensationalist conflict TV, but was there to help people come to an understanding. Frequently this meant that a person on stage would say something accusatory to the other party on stage, the audience would make judgements and call things like “kick him to the kerb”, after which I would put things in context and help all concerned to get over the judgemental atmosphere. After the show, I spent some time with those people, giving them a start towards making their lives a little better.

If we are going to be a United people, we must settle our differences. Fragmented people at odds with each other are not winners. We must exercise patience and win people over. It is better to win the person than the argument. It may seem satisfying to create sides,to demolish others, but schadenfreude makes losers of us, not winners.

The left is a collection of ideologies and factions. The Government knows this and encourages it. Government suppression of the people with their various policies is putting a great number of poor paid, unemployed, sick and disabled people under pressure. This places us under great tension and anger, if we exercise this tension and anger on each other, we are doing this government’s job of dividing and ruling us for them. Our anger must be focused more on creative ways, and on the very people who create the tension and suppression in the first place. To be in Tom or Sonia’ s place is to lead a number of people who admire, look up to, and value the work they do, splitting those supporters, rather than seeking better understanding of each other is detrimental to the causes we all stand for.

We must exercise more patience between ourselves, inevitable there will be clashes of personality, but let us be big enough to keep from demolishing each other and belittling our causes in the eyes of the world. I value and like both parties, though I have to say that outside of this, there are people out there I have some difficulty liking. Rather than warring with those people, I show them respect, because it is only through our critics that we can truly grow.
I hear people lament that the country seems so complacent in the face of this Government’s treatment of their most vulnerable charges. They may continue to be complacent if we are so splintered and divided, wasting our energy and passion infighting instead of directing that energy where it truly belongs. Let’s have peace amongst us, and show a United front, please.

What is the point of a left that does not vote?

The active left wing are splintered. Some in the Labour party, others divided in other parties. Their divisions keep them from being a consolidated force in politics. To the outsider, this may seem an oddity. Particularly as left wing ideals encompass equality and diversity. Why then, can they not unify? I don’t intend here to explore the myriad reasons for division, they boil down to experience, and ideology, but are rooted in alienation from the system. The left wing factions need to sit together and make efforts to agree to disagree. Too much is at stake if they do not.
For every active left winger, there are likely 100 inactive left wingers. People badly affected by austerity who are poorly paid, unemployed, sick or disabled. These people do not vote, and it is easy to see why.
They are disillusioned by what they see. They are victims of circumstance that will not improve under a right wing government, often mesmerized by extreme racist right wing views of immigration, the taking of jobs and cheap Labour flooding in from other countries. They do not realise that their skills are being cheapened by a right wing ideology that is trying to recreate a serf underclass. They will not wake up by reading the Sun, Darth Murdoch serves himself and will always back The right wing, whether that is Tory, UKIP or blue Labour. He buys his favours cheaply, the so called “free market” serves moguls of his sort well. He happily mesmerises the masses like sleeping beauties waiting for the kiss. We will never provide the kiss that awakens them if we stay divided. Parties that cannot field candidates in most, if not all constituencies will fail nationally even if they succeed in some small areas.
We need to reach the lower paid, the unemployed, the sick and the disabled, but we need also to present a United front.
The average inactive left winger, even if they are not persuaded to accept extreme right wing views, looks at all the big parties as having failed them. Labour assisting Tories against their own interests in order to achieve compromise is unattractive, particularly when Labour MPs try to compete with, rather than oppose, right wing notions in order to win right wing votes. The inactive left is not voting because they see no viable party representing their interests. “They are all as bad as each other” is what we frequently hear, but it is a position which solidifies a blue Labour, rather than encouraging Labour to return to their roots.
I believe the best option is for factions to return to Labour and apply pressure to steer it back to the left. Nevertheless, whether a left Labour, or a unified left other, we need to reach the disillusioned, and do so before 2015. The alternative currently looks like a Tory/UKIP coalition would ruin the country, and yes, I don’t mean run, but ruin.
We need to change our language, to the average man or woman, calling each other “comrade” feels subversive, and subversive is not mainline. American culture has long pervaded ours, and the Hollywood image of someone using the word comrade is not flattering. For the masses, the word is a turn off. If we want to alienate people and stay on the fringes forever, we just have to continue as we have been without embracing such cosmetic change.
Apart from unifying, the one thing that will make the left attractive again, what else can we do to attract people? We have to get plain speaking literature out there, and directly into the hands of left wing inactive voters. We need to cover hospitals with visits and literature. GP surgeries, job centres, shops and railway stations. We need a unified presence to let this country know we are a force to be reckoned with.
The reason I prefer a return to Labour, rather than a new unified party becomes clear at this point. If we succeed at making voters of the quiet left, filling people with enthusiasm for a New left , pliable Labour may well decide to lean left again and split the vote. Many of us still have affection for the old Labour, and many who traditionally voted Labour still will.
We must unite ourselves, agree to differ on details, but present a viable left alternative, that or be lone frustrated voices calling out our truth, but drowned in a pervasive right wing ideology.

Be Well, Campaigner

Being a campaigner connected to several other campaigners through social media, I see many things. By far the worst is the air of despondency that often falls on us. I feel quite helpless at times, giving encouraging words, but unable to do much more. It is more than that though, it is a privilege for me to be able to be there for them. Not because I know all the answers, but because I understand the problem, and care about my fellows.
I decided to write this today because I feel there is a need for a document of understanding and coping, and though I couldn’t possibly list all of the many reasons that the black cloud can descend, or the black dog bite us, still I can gently encourage and show understanding.
I have myself felt the damnedness of depression and wrestled with it. It always seems a hopeless task to fight it off as it descends, whether it is produced by brain chemistry, circumstance, physical pain, or a combination, it is an insidious foe that fights dirty.
The best prevention is periodic rest. I know I must rest as completely as I can, one day per week, in order to avoid burn out. Pain and depression are exhausting burdens, and those of us called to campaign by whatever method, are cursed to question our effectiveness and to feel that we have not yet done enough. This creates steps of pain. No campaigner I know campaigns for themselves, though the launch point of their campaigning May affect them personally, either due to their own experience, or that of a loved one. The experience opened up the world for that campaigner, and they grasp responsibility for tackling the world, each in our own way.
I view this in a similar way to the approach I took when working in mental health. I had suffered depression as a teenager, and found that I tended to fight the effects of antidepressants, becoming aggressive and self destructive, but not losing the depression. The depression returned during a bad marriage in my late twenties, culminating in a very nasty suicide attempt when I took a garden tree stump killer and survived. Later, having lost my children and grieving for so long, I turned to therapy in an attempt to come to terms with the loss as well as how I viewed myself. I will always be grateful to my counsellor, Serena Surmon, for the wonderful work she did with me. It is due to these experiences that I became a therapist myself. Most medical staff on the higher positions, such as surgeon, psychiatrist etc. Make a choice of their training as a result of a need to have a good reliable, secure job. Psychotherapists in the UK are not a part of that process. Training usually will not commence until the prospective trainee is 25, and must show abilities of advanced self knowledge on which to build. Usually the applicant has either themselves, or had somebody close to them who made use of mental health services.
Listening skills are the first tool to learn, which might sound simple, but has a lot of technique involved in its employment. It is through listening and observing that my understanding of diagnosis formed, not cold diagnosis, but a living caring encompassing holistic experience of diagnostics.
You see, most campaigners I encounter are disabled in some manner, and because of this, they bear physical or psychic pain, or very frequently both. The pain propels them to take action in the best way they can, and I know some very valiant and praiseworthy campaigners who sacrifice much of themselves in an effort to right wrongs and challenge injustice. Some are published in blogs and other efforts. One runs a radio show. Others may be public speakers, or arrange or attend demos. All of them do whatever they can without looking for praise. In their challenges, if they don’t gain sufficient rest, they may burn out. This is frequently not through the pain they experience, but the burden of pain, and yes, there is a distinction. A great many of us are stoics, coping much without complaint, moving from frustration to triumph to frustration. Sometimes the triumphs can be few and far between, but the burden remains. The burden of pain is that moment when under mounting stress, one thing too many leads to collapse. It may be a small thing by comparison, but still it has created a tipping point of overburden. For the depressed, any good the campaigner has done will pale into insignificance compared with the feeling that they should just give up. I would urge each of you that cares to make your appreciation known if you encounter this, even better is to appreciate before the breakdown.
The good news is that despite burn out, the campaigner is there for life. We could no more voluntarily stop campaigning than we could voluntarily stop breathing, it is endemic for those affronted by injustice to react to it. It burns in the blood. Most reading this will be a campaigner in some capacity, exercising our passions in opposition to injustice, even if it is the sharing of news items, it is a job well done. Let me here encourage each of you to do your utmost in pursuit of your beliefs, regardless of the style your campaigning takes, injustice must not prevail, and you are dedicated to that goal. The only thing that will halt our pursuit is death itself, but I would urge each of you feeling suicidal to reach out. The tendency is to withdraw inside of ourselves, but why take that route when there are so many others around who care about our well being and will support in whatever ways they can.
When I eventually conquered my depression, and it is long gone, it was by virtue of understanding that I would not let either mood or circumstance tell me how to feel. When difficulties mount, we can still be in control of our feelings. Remember, nobody can make you feel good or bad, unless you allow yourself to feel it. You cannot make others feel good or bad. Ultimately, whether we realised or not, each of us has ultimate control of our feelings. They are inviolable unless we allow them to be influenced. I wish you all health and strength. Keep campaigning, I am there with you, if only in spirit.