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
Chums.

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’?

‘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…

Keys to the crash

Propaganda is a soft weapon; hold it in your hands too long, and it will move about like a snake, and strike the other way.” ~ Jean Anouilh

I’m no big fan of the Labour Party. I’d like to be but it’s falling so far short of its potential that its only use to me, at the moment, is in the urgent necessity of applying the brakes, even if only slightly, to the cruel incompetence of the Coalition. The disconnect between Ed’s often quite astute anti-neoliberal rhetoric and his actual policy proposals is infuriating and distressing. He’s failing so miserably to produce a whole narrative that I know exists and so bent on proposing Tory-lite policies like they’re going out of fashion – which, of course they should be – that there are days when I despair for us all.

But Labour did not “crash the car”. Not on its own. Both it and the Conservatives have been sharing the driving for more than three decades. In fact, just about every government in the ‘developed’ world was on the same road at the same time. There was an almighty pile up. That was to be expected, really. Visibility was very bad, the music was lung-poppingly loud, the road was wet, the tyres were worn and everyone was driving with all the recklessness of coked-up, hormone-charged teenagers, with complete disregard for both the Highway Code and all pedestrians. After the crash, no police or vehicle recovery companies came to properly investigate what had happened or to clear away the wreckage but lots of private ambulances showed up and, well, thank goodness for insurance because it included no claims protection as well as automatic vehicle replacement.

Unfortunately Labour seems content and obliged to be the foil that cops for the points on its licence. It’s such a pity because now they’re being told that not only would it be madness to give them the keys back but that they should never be allowed behind the wheel again and that anyway, their Tory co-drivers (with added Liberal Democrat) have decided to outsource for chauffeurs. That way, Tories say, they can be as merry-hell high or as mean-drunk as they like and carry on carrying on blaming anyone and everyone but themselves.

It would be great if Labour said sorry for their party’s mistakes and its complicity in global meltdown and admitted why the last decades have been to the enormous long-term detriment of 99. whatever % of the world but that, curiously, for a party with a supposed reputation for fiscal competence, the Tories, having constructed a narrative of outright scorn for Labour, have yet consciously and happily, adopted and built upon many of the stupid things Labour did on top of those things for which they, too, and the whole neoliberal world are responsible and are still busy doing to a far worse effect.

Labour may not be the sharpest tool in the box and I’m not trying to defend its members but anyone who believes that the Conservative Party (or, by default, the Lib Dems) has any better a clue about finance and the economic health of this country – or is it four countries or three and a bit, now – is deluded, frankly. None of them really knows what the heck they’re talking about. And neither does the Media.

It’s not as if there’s no evidence, either, as a simple online search of, say, “did Labour really crash the economy?” or “how do Tories feel about banking regulation?” or “who’s the most fiscally responsible: Labour or Conservatives?” or perhaps “why did mainstream not see the financial crisis coming?” would amply demonstrate.

Labour is its own worst enemy; it doesn’t have a clue how do itself a favour. The Conservatives, on the other hand…

Lies – 24/7

Monday’s lie is bare of face
Tuesday’s lie sets out its case
Wednesday’s lie is scare all fools
Thursday’s lie invents the tools
Friday’s lie is for profit with menace
Saturday’s lie enjoys playing tennis
But the lie that is born on the Seventh Day
Doth bless all the rest with contempt anyway.

Down Tools

How dare you denigrate the right to strike!
We’ll withdraw our labour if we think it’s justified.
You can harp and carp about the turnout
Threshold just as much as you all like but
Don’t expect respect for it since, by your
Score, you’ve less mandate to govern than did
Any other cretin that has gone before.

Don’t question our decision with your
Pompous arse derision. Rather, ask yourselves
Just why and how it is so many workers find
Themselves in this position. Oh, do not presume
To lecture us about our worth! And as for spouting
Out your tripe-filled doubts as to our own integrity:
Check yours, you crony bully boys because your
Dirty little ploys are quite the very grit of it.

So, bring your noise, you harridans – We’ll raise you
Clarions with banners, whistles, drums enough to
Make the hills to smoke, until the Justice in our
Kingdom comes and you and all your neoliberal
Chums are choking on your double-thinking,
Double-speaking, worthless poxy plums.

For, we are not the ones who let the country
Fall so ill. And we are not the ones who filled
And fill the World with poison, still. And none
Of us deserves your trumped-up austerity pill.
This world is ours as well and if disruption is
The road we have to take to keep a purchase
On our rights to live a decent life: you betcha
That we damned well will.