Oh, Ed

Oh, Ed
you do my head in
now you’ve said
no deal
no vote by vote
no pacts
no coalition
irrespective of the fact
you know we can’t afford
another five years more
of Callme’s Cons and, too,
despite that you’re still Tory-Lite;
a hold your nose and settle for.

But you have set your sights
on Scottish Labour’s fight and, Ed,
while I appreciate your plight, it pales
beside the millions you would leave
to struggle on just for the want of
a progressive left-wing bloc
and the Union you mock as though
not all our nations should belong
together, after all. And I’m appalled
that you would put your party first
before the interests of a tired, poor
and angry population.

It’s infuriating how entrenched you are
in tribal politics and that you have
the nerve to pot and kettle with
the nationalists as if our future happens
only by the measure of their gift.

And yet I swear I heard you say
the other day that Britain was and is
and definitely could do so much better
than all this.

Oh, Ed, how fragile do you think
the UK is that if a sixth of Parliament
be SNP, endangers our democracy
when actually the biggest threat is
politics as usual and the disrespect
it shows to the Electorate who haven’t
even voted yet.

Coz, Ed, do you know what? You’ll do
just what the bloody hell we damned well
tell you when the ballot counting stops.

Another Fudge-it Budget

Bulging with indulgence came
The Chance Seller, with silken
Purse and pork pie puns, for yet
Another Fudge-it Budget in the
Name of long-term economic con.

And so, quid promo comeback kid
Dished guesstimated sums to wish
Conserve yourself priorities upon
A cursed majority, submerged by
Preservation of his power-driven

And to that end, he further nursed
The fortunate already Ones,
Pretending he was nurturing
Recovery for all by spending only
What a showman would and cleverly
Consolidating vulnerable people
Where he dared to think he could.

And every time an ‘expert’ crooned
About a magic hat attuned to sly
Electioneering tat supplied to Party
Wriggle room, a naked M&M danced
Into my imagination’s view as like to
Affirmation’s clue: that ethics and
A Common Good, ignored or just
Misunderstood, George Osborne
Simply could not, would not do.

It’s taxing

Every time a government goes out of its way to avoid adequate public funding of something vital, it becomes a policy of regression where tiers of access develop that lead to a set of easily foreseeable crises. The deepest impact is always on those already least able to compensate for the absence of or dilution in service. This weakened group then becomes desperate and beholden to organised contempt, pity and guilt. Such policies always end up costing more than they might have because of the subsequent or exacerbation of the physical, emotional and mental deterioration that takes its worst toll on the most vulnerable. And what happens? The taxpayers have to pay the bill anyway, not just for the Government’s make-do-and-mend, second best service provision but also for the ensuing clean-up and salvage operations it led to. Does that hinder a healthy economy or has an unhealthy economy hindered general well-being..? It’s circular, now, isn’t it?

Why don’t we just stop faffing, get real and go straight to the taxpayer bit? We might as well… Ah, but we have assumed a convoluted yet immature attitude to general taxation and what it could and should do for us, haven’t we?

Commonly, a typical objection to raising tax revenue is something like because they waste it on… What the ‘on’ is, of course, is variable and subjective. However, the cowardly or ideologically managerial politics of administrations – that we vote in – shouldn’t be unduly conflated with the principle and purpose of collecting tax, should they?

In these times, when taking back collective ownership and control of transport and energy is a commonly held wish and when the NHS has never been in such danger from ideological fragmentation and when the effect of an education is increasingly a lottery of accumulative socio-economic factors: politicians should surely make the argument for general taxation as a part of the economics of common interest.

They should tell us that some things are simpler, more equitable, readily standardised, more transparent, better regulated and ultimately cheaper when people club together to pay for them. That when those things are essential services and utilities, there is an obvious overlap of personal and common good. That this needn’t preclude other public or private capital injections or investments for, for example, research and development because it’s not actually about shutting out the private sector at all costs nor imagining that we can just depend utterly on taxable revenue. That it’s about a narrative supporting we, the People’s collective investment in, ownership of and control over the services from which we all benefit and on which we all depend. I find it tragic that such an argument is beyond Mainstream’s gaze.

For example, Health and Education are rightly considered as bedrocks of community and progress and yet politicians are terribly fond of saying we can’t afford this and that for one reason or another. While, to be sure, there are enormous modern-world challenges which can produce incredible strains on infrastructure, they cannot be addressed by simply tinkering with what are usually symptoms as though they were isolated or anomalous when their real causes are, in fact, complex and interconnected. So, if we are not to fall further into hit-and-miss lives of fortune and distress and, because we know, deep down, that oversimplified blame or ideological zeal used as justification for curbing costs is not just morally authoritarian but a false economy that divides society by ignorance and arbitrary outrage: how can we possibly afford to not afford them?

We should be concerning ourselves with how to create an economy that works for the society we wish to be but, instead, we have socio-economic dysmorphia and it now seems like forever that we’ve been distorting ourselves to squeeze into an economy that is tethered to stale ideas and blind reliance on the inadequate models and systems they gave rise to.

Any decent government or other political leadership would be trying its utmost to ensure that all its populace lived comfortably, securely and with dignity. It would be reinforcing the merit of tax revenue as an honourable, common sense principle of collective responsibility. It would be creating reforms and policies that enabled and encouraged the tax burden to be spread fairly throughout society, from shifty corporations to those who should be on a living wage that facilitates a contribution. It would not keep setting about creating divisions between regions, institutions, economic classes or generations, merely to tinker so as to avoid the all too willing hysteria of our superficial Media and to save an entropic economic climate that undermines our well-being, even as it dies.

The prevailing mainstream view loves to say that we can’t have good healthcare without a strong economy and this is true – even if ‘strong’ is not a word I’d use – but, actually, it’s not the only, or even best way to frame things, is it, because we can equally state that we can’t have a strong economy without the population that contributes to it and is served by it, being healthy and well-educated. It’s a co-dependency. Always was.


‘Recovery’? In what sense?

This is a recovery for the few who least need it. This is a recovery through profiteering by exploitation, achieved and sustained (for now) by requiring the majority to feel insecure on every level and in every sphere of life, so much so that they will fall obedient and grateful.

Recover: Late Middle English (denoting a means of restoration): from Anglo-Norman French recoverie, from recovrer ‘get back’ (OED)

Get back.. what? To what? – A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength? Really? What, back to the way the country and the world was being – is still being run? On reckless ignorance? This is not a normal, healthy state. It’s just a nasty habit. When so much is now being undermined by political socio-economic malaise and elitism, is the integrity of our structures, systems and collective psyche seriously expected to endure? Don’t make me laugh… Neoliberal/neoclassical proponents are treating our socio-economic dis-ease by making everything more complex. This is not a recovery in the sense of making something better. This is just getting back to the conditions that set up all our crises in the first place. Why on earth would anyone want to get back to that state of affairs beyond those few who are willing and able to profit by it.

This is a recovery in the sense of the crony elites regaining a dropped ball – more in the sense of hasty salvage; panicked restoration. Restoration of an exposed and crumbling edifice that is being treated as though it were a treasure of world heritage, worthy of careful conservation. This is The Powers That Be telling us to be patient and blindly accepting of TINA while they keep us on life support long enough to harvest our organs. Austerity, just to keep feeding a cruel, wasting disease. In Britain it’s the ‘long-term economic plan’…

This recovery is superficial and temporary because it’s being built on double down entrenchment: by growing hegemony and bubbles; with conflict over ideas, values, boundaries and resources. By increasing poverty and serfdom and by a bit of superficial tinkering, here and there, as an appeasing pretence at concern. That is: the minority, as individuals, nation blocs or corporations, thriving on the planet’s bounty, at the expense of the environment, ecosystems, nations, people and ideas. And they are doing this by domination through fear, intimidation and avarice as the lazy, expedient shortcuts of petty, feudal imagination. Perhaps the process of removing or extracting an energy source or industrial chemical for use, reuse, or waste treatment is the best defining sense.

It took us decades – centuries if you prefer the long-term view – to get into this mess, so, although it won’t be quick, we can recover, in the sense of get better. And we can get back, restore, retrieve – or, indeed, establish, for the first time – a practical wisdom to support our desire and absolute need for integrity, ethics, justice and dignity. It’s just that we must recognise first how much of our financial systems, economic mechanisms and the attitudes that created and so desperately maintain them, are the enemies of Democracy and Life, itself. Such foes are not, cannot be, don’t want to be and should not be allowed to be the agents of any meaningful and sustainable change.


One, two, three, four, five

One, two, three, four, five.
Once I bought dodgy advice
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then saw so had all my friends
Why did you bother, so?
The Law is soft on those with dough.
Which Law has eased this might?
Whatever he says on my Right.

One, two, three, four, five.
Once I sought to cheat to thrive
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then my luck began to end
Why did your luck run out?
Because we’d always leased our clout.
What clout is that then mate?
The one that operates the State.

One, two, three, four, five.
Once is fooled but not so twice
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
We must turn the tables then.
How shall the temple fall?
Its altar has outgrown the walls.
Cometh the hour, lends
A new beginning in its end.


Away in their cages

Away in their cages, no break for the plebs
The put upon people get deeper in debt
The thieves and the tyrants look down from their heights
And laugh as they profit from entropic spite

A chill wind is blowing through Albion’s lands
As Cons steal and sell all control from our hands
They hover like choppers and inverted snobs
And sanction from mansions like mythical gods

They’ll always browbeat us and won’t go away
Unless we rise up and extinguish their stage
Deliver ourselves of this flat earth nightmare
And build us a future we want to be ‘there’

His Master’s Voice

Labour, who cannot help but make
Of even simple things, hard work,
Funambulates barefoot on a heated rope
In fashioned panic,
Leaning on half-hearted visions
And repeating punchlines
From the Coalition’s dirty jokes,
Sent manic with intent to out-tough the Tories.

The Cons, who cannot help but make
Of even well-known things, revisions,
Buff a tarnished, antiquated glory
Reeking of imperious control,
Extolling values and what-have-yous
To compete with Ukeep’s sentimental story telling.

All secondhand salesmen and gamblers
Selling snake oil to the masses
Reinforcing class by old and new.
His Master’s Voice intones the purple haze
Until their colours verge upon one hue…