Hope

Hope expects
Anticipates
Dares to dream
Despair’s perfected
Antidote, a silver
Spirit, beaming

Feeling is believing

In the higher
Heart and mind
Of Humankind’s
Imagination

Hope: a beacon
Of the possible
Awaits an invitation

Salvation is Creation

Wishing shifting
Past abstraction
Into form – the Soul’s
Desire, born to reach:
When Hope calls Will
To action

Let it speak

Some things that are bugging me today

Here are some things that are bugging me today. I could write a book’s worth, truth be told but you know that, already.

Regulations: why do certain politicians always brag about having fewer, as though the number of regulations were akin to pimples? And what is this ‘one-in-one-out’ now to be ‘one-in-two-out’ crap? This is such a load of nonsense: to think that less regulation is some automatic panacea for economic growth. We need as much regulation as we need. It should be about creating a framework of rules that are both suitable and adequate for the industry or institution in question and sometimes that means less but it often also means more. It reminds me of the big state/small state argument – it’s a red herring. There are 60+ million people in this country and we are, or should be ‘The State’. The ‘size’ of the state, then, is the size of us. The real question is: what do we want the State’s function to be? Just as we should ask why does something need regulating?

Sanctions and castigation: In a healthy economy, if you must. If there is an insufficient number of well-paid jobs then the Government of the day is obviously not doing theirs very well. This is the worst economic climate in which to initiate such sweeping reforms in Social Security. They are misplaced and spitefully punitive in the present climate and are probably costing the taxpayer more money than if the Coalition had just sucked it up until the umbrella issues had been dealt with. And, as for the wider cost to society: well that goes way beyond monetary value, doesn’t it? It’s not the fault of the poor that they are poor, whether they be retired, disabled, lone parents, young, fully employed, underemployed, or unemployed. But politicians of all party colours know this fine well. If Government did its job properly, any actual hardcore idler would soon reveal themselves as their excuses melted away. Until a government can facilitate an economic climate conducive to good employment, training and income opportunities, politicians should calm the moral heck down with this shameful tough guy competition.

Minimum wage and living wage: These two phrases are treated as separate when they should be seen as one and the same thing. That is: the minimum hourly rate by which the average individual can be expected to live a decently comfortable life, as independent of the State as is possible on a day-to-day level; sufficient to also save a little and make a contribution to the tax pot.

Mansion tax: I just don’t get it and I dislike it, albeit instinctively. Many people will be unfairly penalised and in some cases crippled by such a tax. A person’s home may be their only financial asset and it may bear no relation whatsoever to his or her income. Neither are these the people responsible for the extortionate price rises in the housing market nor the gross profit of landlords. Is the proposal that it be a one-off payment? If so, then for goodness’ sake, just raise the stamp duty. Or is it to be an annual tax and therefore an outright challenge to the concept of personal ownership? Is this not crossing a huge cultural rubicon? I can understand an annual tax on a second home and even more so on a landlord’s chain of properties but this latter group is already subject to other scales and types of charges, isn’t it? If these are insufficient that is another matter.

Regional variation in wage and benefits – I despair of this concept every time it’s raised. It acknowledges that there are disparities in income, health, cost of living, etc, then shrugs its shoulders and does nothing, as though these were the totally natural consequences of geography rather than the result of a continuum of bad governance. I don’t mean a pint of milk being a penny or two more to cover transport; I mean a nurse’s pay, the level of a benefit, the market value of an average house… It is surely ignorance and the lack of political will that think it’s acceptable to regard some regions, year after year, as less valuable and unworthy of investment. But, of course, ‘One Nation’, ‘Big Society’ and ‘all in it together’ were only ever the romantic babbling of shallow politicos.

The self-ordained Elect

From the Platform of Years,
Rough-hewn in timeless blend
Of silken tongue and fashioned
Fear ’til smoothly polished by
The sweat and tears and blood
Of salted serfs, the members of
The self-ordained Elect gaze
Down upon the scorchèd Earth
And praise the architects for all
Their artificial worth and on they
Dream to seem to be the sacred,
Necessary cogs – as priests who
Do profess to comprehend and
Represent a god.

Pensions

Just a few general thoughts..

I like the idea of automatic and compulsory enrolment but I think it should be a contribution into the state pension pot rather than into a private workplace pension. It should be compulsory because, when people opt out, albeit often with the intention of making other arrangements later, if/when they do not do so, or their plan simply fails, we all have to pay for him or her anyway as ill-prepared public insurers. I’d rather a state pot (let’s pretend for a moment that there has been some progress in the competency of the State! There could be if we insisted on it..) – a state pot because that is collective ownership of an essential public service. A workplace pension doesn’t sound very stable, either for the individual or the country: it reduces people to relying too much on the investment sense and business acumen of their employers. Every generation and all individuals make daily choices and sacrifices between gratification in the present and insuring the future – that’s life – but feeling forced into choosing between one end of life and the other is too horrific. We have to find a way that doesn’t sacrifice our youth and middle age to our last years. Life can be cruelly short or it may be very, very long and we rarely know how long we’ve got. Securing a pension must not be reduced to a choice between either enforced, possibly constant sacrifice and frugality in the hope of a secure old age which might not come or enjoyment and comfort now at the risky expense of a miserable retirement and old age.

However, everyone knows that, in order to have savings – in order to contribute into a pension fund – one needs to have the disposable income in the first place. Either remuneration needs to go up considerably for the bottom half of Society or the obscenely high cost of living must come down. I would say both need to happen. The current state pension is already inadequate, else there wouldn’t be the need for such top-ups as a winter fuel allowance. We can measure how inadequate it is now, so it surely cannot be beyond our wit to measure more realistically, the individual contributory cost of a decent basic pension. Of course it feels as though it is unaffordable, but ‘they’ tell us this about nearly everything. We can’t afford not to afford it, can we, because, despite the love in a so-called Libertarian to pronounce on choice, self-sufficiency and independence, it is clearly only currently possible for a few. Because of our uneven socio-political structures; our unnecessary and insidious class fixations; the disparities in opportunity; notions of deservedness etc, ‘choice’ ‘self-sufficiency’ and ‘independence’ sound like the doubletalk of crass ideology. A neoliberal attitude towards common need and healthy environment invariably costs us more money in the end. In fact, does not a false economy actually cost us all a whole lot more than just money..?

So, the rest of us – you and me: if we want a whole life, with decent pension included, we obviously need very decent wages. Wages we can not just live well on but which can sustain a taxable contribution. That means a wage that more than sustains, even if and when the employment that’s available (or perhaps desired) is the most menial and simple of labours.

Locust Picnic

If you go down to the hood today
You’re sure of a pack of lies
And you will see some bulls and some bears
Each swapping their empty vials

And ev’ry bloke that trades analogue
Is gathered there unwitting because
The day can’t wait to play with their suckered psyches

If you stray out of the hood to pray
You still can’t escape its grip
For governments and beggars for rent
Will bill you the beastly shit

Coz ev’ry cor’prate man with a plan
Has friends in charge or under command
To cash in now on derivatives of maybes

The creeps who run in the hood today
Construct the future on sand
They mock, they block with TINA’s old stock
Dismissing sense out of hand

For hopium is out for the kill
Farewell goodwill, hello poison pill
They’ve leveraged us over the edge of reason

If you go out to the edge and look
You’ll see that we’re being screwed
If you connect all the caused effects
You’ll see that the emp’ror’s nude

For every scheme and scam is a deed
To dress their greed in common good weave
And how we lose belief in our dreams forever

If you don’t yet see the hood for thieves
You’d better get wised-up quick
The bastards have their eyes on a prize
And your ostrich state’s a gift

For ev’ry locust ever there was
Is preying on the world just because
They’ve come to think the whole planet is their picnic

Seesaw…

Seesaw plummet the poor
Plunder the world to disaster

Thud
Crud
Face in the mud

For they shall have but
The dreggy remains
By courtesy of selfish bastards

Seesaw weighted to moar
Lifting itself ever higher

Grow grow
How low can you go

They would suck all of
The air from your lungs
And offer it bottled for hire

Seesaw game to deplore
Justice can’t come any faster

We saw, we see
The height of the greed
We see, we saw
The depth of the flaw

See saw
See sick
It bores, it owns
It claws at the bones
It tricks, it drains

The war on the poor can’t
And won’t be sustained

The pendulum cannot
Be pushed any more
Before it comes swinging
Back harder…

Life is paradox

Life is paradox: it is
While it is not. Each
Being, its own Universe
Entire and a speck
Within the macrocosm
– All is One –

But every spirit’s fire is
Unique. A human seeks
To leave himself to find
Himself returned to place;
To face his own remains
As though his eyes were
New again.

The less we try to run, the
More we Grow. And yet,
The more we learn, the
Less we know.

Empiric fact is juxtaposed
And overlapped with
Supposition; evidence
With superstition. Memory
May be what wasn’t and
The only truth that is;
A lie can be transparent
While the truth itself be
Masking great deceit.

Confidence is weakened
By an overreach and
Strength can speak in
Silence. Even violence
Can look beautiful and
Seeming beauty be
Mundane – just as a duty
May be free but bought,
Or sought and claimed
As honour or the ruse of
Perfect slavery.

The World is what you’ve
Chosen to believe it is,
Though Universal Rules
Remain regardless.
Death is but a midwife
To the start of life and
Every life is born to die.
Below is like above, as is
Without akin to all within.
A hatred can be loved and
Road to Hell be unintended.
An effect is stored inside its
Cause but Man forgets his
Cosmic Law.

So Progress comes by
Order out of chaos as
The darkest weight of
Shadows knows: the Sun
Comes shining; like a cloud
Creates a silver lining.

If Fate and Will be dice
Of separate states, they
Are the same – just
As the sombreness of
Being and of Doing form
The counters in Great
Mystery’s old Game.

There is no new but wonders
Never cease and increase is
The sum of pieces framed by
Peace or conflict’s stolen
Golden fleece.

And yes: the more things change,
The more they stay the same.
But what is deemed impossible is
Seeded with potential by the want
Of an essential gain and pure
Imagination’s daring pain.

Ambivalence is not a certain
Lack of vision. Nor an absence
Of discretion. Ambiguity is not a
Merely mercenary prism –
Thoughts and feelings can be
Held in opposition. They’re a
Natural reflection of a stimulated
Conscience and an obvious
Response to such a life of paradox
Where all the complex world is
Locked into a mix of truth and
Nonsense.