Where We Are

Bedrooms: taxed.
Benefits: capped.
NHS: privatised.
Legal Aid: capsized.
Rights? Being scrapped.

Tramping down.
Clamping down.
Liars seeding,
Feeding
Lies to lies.

Trap and tap the populace,
So easily despised.

Thank the finest boys of Eton
For the food stamps you are needing.

Growth?
Offshore.
Investment opportunities galore!
If you are rich…

‘Ain’t life a bitch –
Getting tax cuts –
Profiteering from the poor?

Oh… and war.

Children homogenised.
Processed fate.
State-groomed serfdom –
Ripening hate.
Confidence: none.

Hope…
Nope.
Still…

Some things are new, under this sun:

Survival is living;
Taking is giving;
Judgement means caring;
And inequality?
Well, that’s for sharing.

Playing With Rights

Picking and choosing

To shore up your stance

Be it ECHR

Or a domestic chance

To do over some section

Of Society,

Be they poor or disabled,

Low-incomed – you see

As expendable our laws

And rights when it suits you –

You boot them aside

Beyond Scrutiny’s sight.

And the world watches on

Split by shock and delight

At the cynical way

You subtract as you like

With no honour,

The codes of a civilised life.

You diminish our name

And you shame –

How you shame us!

Farewell to ‘good form’ and

Fair play in exchange for

Some fancy more fitting of

Dictatorship taking every

Advantage of all disadvantage

Imprisoned in your vice-like grip.

General Election

We submit our objection
To your misdirection
And ripping apart of our seams.
We demand some correction by General Election
To save us from your crazy schemes.

We’ve made our inspection
Of your poor protection
And find it is wanting in deed.
We insist on reflection and General Election
With growing impatience and need.

We suffer infection
By your faux perfections
Induced by your ideals and creeds.
To avoid insurrection give General Election
As purge of your tumorous weeds.

We condemn your erection
Of onanist sections
That waste what you’ve given away.
We demand re-collection by General Election:
Redress to appalling decay.

We announce our rejection
Of moral confections
And doublespeak easy forays.
We instruct new selection by General Election:
The way and the day for our say.

The Right Question?

The first question on the last edition of the BBC’s Question Time was:

    “Why should some people get more than £500 per week on benefits when I only earn £450 a week working 46 hours?”

Well, derr, I don’t know… Maybe you’re not very good at your job? No, of course, you’re good at your job! Hmm… Maybe it’s because you have an exploitative boss? Perhaps you should ask him or her. They will probably cite Government, tax and employment regulations, reduced profit margins and tell you that the Economy makes this a hard time for business etc…

Whatever this chap’s personal circumstances, or those of his boss, it is shocking that £450 for 46 hours of work a week – 46 hours! – is under this magical £26,000 and is becoming acknowledged as not enough for an average family to live on in 21st Century Britain. Either the cost of living is ridiculously high or wages are too low. Take your pick, but it’s both really, isn’t it?

Quite frankly though, dear Reader, I cringed. I mean, for Pity’s Sake!  What the hell is wrong with people? Why do they ask such ridiculous questions?

Given current context, the notion implicit in the question is that it’s the fault of those pesky lower levels, draining the ‘good’ citizens of their hard-earned dosh. Christ! If only being employed was all it took to create ‘good’ people, eh?! Well it’s not! Besides, we’ve all worked with that type who are paid well in spite of the fact that they rarely pull their weight and are just clever at looking busy and we all know people who work damned hard and don’t get paid at all.

We also know that half of the benefits bill goes on pensioners. I’m not complaining, by the way: it’s what they were promised and most of them have even been fortunate enough to be able to contribute their share to The Man. We know that most of those in receipt of housing benefit and those who receive tax credits are in work. And we know that Disability Living Allowance is not remuneration for work but an extra, assistive income that also happens to help many of the disabled find and maintain some measure of employment. We know there is insufficient social housing. We know there aren’t many decent jobs. We know most employment is short-term, casual or zero-houred. We know that most jobs are poorly paid. We know that the ‘workfare’ scheme promotes slave labour. The Government knows all this. The Media knows all this. All politicians know this. How come the general public doesn’t? Do their brains ignore or misplace their critical thinking skills? Are they so fazed, shocked and/or brainwashed that they can’t see through the couriers and their layers of bull?

Make work pay? Yeah, right. Doublespeak.

Rational interpretation: provide employment that remunerates labour with an amount sufficient to live comfortably, save a little bit and still have enough to contribute some tax.

Government’s interpretation: reduce benefits to a level that’s completely inadequate so that even the crappiest, worst-paid job is better than the dole.

Never mind that ever-decreasing numbers of taxpayers have to top this abysmal wage up because it’s not enough. I know! You couldn’t make it up, could you?

Does the public not get the simple fact that Government sets every single benefit available at the lowest rate it can get away with? No benefit covers the things for which it’s been designated and the incredible rise in Life’s basics means it covers less and less each month. There are very, very few who deliberately choose such a lifestyle. You see, Cameron and his cronies say: “‘Welfare’ shouldn’t be a lifestyle choice” but he’s in charge and his government is doing a magnificently shoddy job of providing any alternatives. So: whose choice is it, exactly? Tragically, this attitude is not held exclusively by the Conservatives, for there are prominent MPs within Labour who spout the same view. It’s difficult to wholly discern Labour’s motives: whether they be populist and therefore cowardly or consumed by Blatcherite ideology.

Why is it so difficult to grasp that there are not enough houses; that rents are extortionate; that there are hardly any decent jobs with the hours and pay to cover a life worth living? Why is it so difficult to grasp that the poor, the infirm, the underemployed and unemployed didn’t and never do engineer such a hostile climate? Is it so hard to fathom that policies and economic practice are divined and applied by the Government and not the poor? Yes, those representatives, to whom we gift the authority to run our country in all our interests.

It’s infantile – ignorant, simplistic and shallow to moan about benefits being capped at £500. Wouldn’t the man in the audience have served himself better – and us, therefore – if he had asked: “What are you going to do to really ‘make work pay’ because I only get £450 for 46 hours of work?” This would at least have shifted the onus upwards to those in charge: to where it actually belongs.

Notional Anthem

Begging your indulgence…

Notional Anthem

By powerful decrees
And quickening degrees
We lose our rights.
Let them not us suppress
Our freedom to express
Deep joy or great distress
With all your might.

Authorities extol
Behavioural control
Order maintained.
May we be all and each
Less censoring of speech
To your own morals reach
“Let freedom reign”.

Preserve autonomy
In thought and word and deed
Most consciously.
The balance is immense
The right to take offence
Is all our consequence
For sovereignty.

Let them not us frustrate
How we communicate
Our hopes and fears.
Do not let them confound
Let not our Will be bound
But stand and fight our ground
Amongst our peers.

Let them not us restrain
From venting all our pain
With righteous spite.
To ridicule and laugh
At all we view as daft
And so respect the craft
Of searing light.

All nations of these Isles
Expose established guile
And raze its dross.
Send us victorious
O’er those who shackle us
Manipulation crush
On Freedom’s cross.

 

 

[National Anthem and history]

Top-Middle-Bottom

Too many people don’t get it and politicians don’t want to or can’t cope with alternative socio-economic views. Their ears are on default selection. You want to talk about the idea that public ownership of utilities is better than private and all they counter with – all they hear is Big State, Unions, Taxpayer Money Pit… You tell them working people are claiming benefits because their wages are inadequate and they hear people aren’t working hard enough… All the stale labels of left theory are flung in contempt and the right goes into shallow vitriolic transmission. And the Left, gods bless it, falls for it every time: finds itself utterly positioned. Everyone is stuck in Yesterday.

When the socio-economic climate is sick and unstable as the direct consequence of the malfeasance or incompetence of governance then politicians have no right to punish the least culpable and most vulnerable – have no right to exchange entitlement for discretion.

There is dignity and common sense in a social security system focused on need. Ethical and sustainable employment with a decent wage requires ethical and sustainable policies. The constancy of quality in education and health fosters equality. Both political wings are fools because aren’t these what contribute to making people feel secure and independent? And isn’t this exactly what enables everyone else to ignore those they would prefer to have nothing to do with? It is as though they don’t have the capacity to grasp that contented people of any social/economic ‘class’ tend not to be afraid and judgemental; tend not to desire retribution; tend not to see themselves as taken advantage of; tend not to stick their noses in other people’s general business unless it harms another. Even when they do acknowledge reality, they merely parrot stale rhetoric and erect myths and idiocies as economic barriers. Everyone acts as though there were no other solutions. Call it ignorance, call it inflexibility, call it a lack of imagination. Call it pathetic. But let’s call it.

What to do with such selective intellect? Obviously compassion, ethics and equality are not cutting it so what’s left? What buttons haven’t been pressed?

The excellent argument of false economy is one: that some actions cost much more than money. This argument is poorly made or not made at all by either the opposition or mainstream economists and media. Are they incapable or reluctant? Are they so enamoured of Thatcherite bunkum? For, as we’ve seen all too often, Labour only makes an argument insofar as it doesn’t contradict the Conservatives, so englamoured are they by polished turds – or so scared by the statistical capital of petty polls. Irrespective, this is collusion in a system that keeps people down.

From it’s too icky to it serves them right, people generally don’t want to deal with the vulnerable, nor do they desire the burden of guilt for those who don’t have their good fortune, contacts, ambitions or acumen. This is an observation of people rather than a criticism. It’s not so much that they simply don’t care – though some obviously don’t, but people feel they have enough to contend with in their own lives. Besides, only do-gooders and zealots want to actually be their brother’s keeper on a basis which overreaches common neighbourliness. This is why the caring professions are known as vocational: because not everyone has the stomach, empathy or patience for the tasks involved. It is also why the voluntary and charitable sectors are not a solution or demonstration of a ‘Big Society’ but rather a careless avoidance of a government’s representative responsibility. The ‘Right’ and the comfortable can scoff at the idea of economic common good and interest but it is the cheapest and most egalitarian option for those needs which any or every individual requires, be it ‘welfare’, education, transport, utilities or health. The alternatives currently being endorsed indicate collective irresponsibility.

It is widely recorded in history and accepted by political theorists that the middle-classes hold the power for change. So, is it not the Middle which needs to realise that we can’t afford not to have a strong, dependable and benevolent safety net, especially in such an asymmetric world? The bottom percentage includes them also and, given a long enough timeline, they too may join the dispossessed, as the economic manipulation explodes in the faces of the so-called elites and implodes our planet. Actually, the micro-macro relationship means this timeline is shortening rapidly as events accelerate on the domestic and world stage. The Middle has striven for its aspirations and now finds itself running just to stand still. This wide income bracket may feel ‘squeezed’ but this is not really fair because the poor have the least voice and power and so have little capacity to pressure anyone above them in the economic chain. A capacity that recedes with every year. The pressure comes from the mindset and policies of governments above who have long encouraged the aspirations of some at the expense of others with most careless acceptance. The Middle is a victim, yes, but it is not powerless: it can apply pressure in both directions and I would ask that it aim higher.

Politicians miss how reckless it is to perpetuate systems and policies that leave people with nothing to lose but their anger and desperation; that they undermine, castigate and contain the poor at their peril. The rich and the superrich surely want their children to be free, not locked away from a hostile world, living ever closeted, reductive and superficial lives? And yet this is their direction of travel. And those who are clinging on to their middling comfort, who keep their heads down and hope for survival, do so by practising denial and trying not to become what and who they’re most afraid of which, let’s face it, might be only a matter of time. ‘By the grace of…’ is not a practical approach when your job, your health and your money could collapse in a flash because you really won’t like the net that is waiting to catch and ‘help’ you.

The bottom is a reality that the poor recognise and fear only too well because they live there. The super-rich and super-powerful have been at their grotesque games for a very long time. As in other times, the slow-to-rise middle holds much of the balance of power for change over both the above and the below.

‘The Sun’ is Low

The Sun is low; its shadow long
And unbecoming of the day.
No disinfectant shining light,
But channelling infected rays
Of everything that’s cheap and dumb,
For really, when all’s said and done
It isn’t telling anyone a thing of worth –
It serves no useful purpose
Other than to dish the basest dirt.

It’s like that clown on Facebook, who
Takes photos of their morning poo
Because it thinks its audience needs
Updates on their crappy views.

High agenda based on sleaze,
A story only gets the limelight
If it’s titillating news on A to Zed celebrities
Or serves the Rightist angst and Might.

“Place your bets and ‘ave a voucher!
Get your bread and circus ‘ere!
We’re not a public interest platform
Don’t ya know” –

Yep! Loud and clear!
Murdoch’s minions, scribal pinions,
Corporate mouthpiece at the ‘Gish’,
May you red-shift from dominion,
Lost in permanent eclipse.