#GE2017 manifestos: I can’t wait…

Well, I for one, am most keen to see the #GE2017 party manifestos. I can’t wait to read the print versions of their just-trust-us declarations. What a relief it will be, to finally hear the official prosody of their aspirations. I can hardly contain myself, so anxious am I for the regurgitation of all those populist promises and pompous assertions. Hmm.. hard or soft utopia? It will be quite the rush, mandating an abstraction for the Brexit negotiations to then render meaningless. Still, it passes the time, doesn’t it? So, here’s to taking back control of perfidious delusions. 🥂 Lead on, Leaders.

Funny how

Funny how the will of just over half of the electorate, on one specific day, translates as an overwhelming majority, signifying the fixed and absolute will of the people. Funny how Parliament cares so much about respecting the will of the people.

Funny how the will of the people for a well-resourced, easy-access NHS, free at the point of use, is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for affordable (free at the point of use), compassionate, dignified and accessible social care is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a decent, guaranteed state pension and a dignified old age for all is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people to have justifiable rights to end their lives and receive assistance to do so is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for state ownership and control of an affordable, reliable, interconnected railway system is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for local authority-run libraries, pools, parks and recreation is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a national network of local, comprehensive post offices is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for state investment in council/social housing is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a visible police presence and 24/7 local stations is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a national programme of ‘green’ investment and jobs is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for personal privacy and data security is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a fair and responsible tax system is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a reliable, liveable income is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for a compulsory national school curriculum is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for local state schools to be so good as to be the first choice is not respected.
Funny how the will of the people for even a simple, weekly rubbish collection is not respected.

What do you mean: not everyone wants those things?

Bleedin’ despots, comin’ over ‘ere…

When selecting which ‘Will of the People’ to thwart
Politicians give plenty expedient thought
And whatever Theresa believes she has bought
Big Bad John says the Don is unfitted to talk.

Speaker Bercow opposes the government ranks
Who with desperate haste in their Brexity tanks
Have so shamelessly pimped out the pomp of the Realm
To a monster addicted to taking the helm.

As expected the Brexits are all apoplectic
‘The Art of the Deal’ is their feel of the day
And the U. S. of A says they think we’re forgetting
They’ve just put that Churchill bust back on display.

Behold! Brexity Britain, integrity stripped
By a hopium Blighty with mob-handed grip,
Where to step out of line is the new imposition
And those who oppose brave uncommon position.

But John Bercow’s line is a dignified wall
Between Trumpet the sump pit and Westminster Hall
And as Donald is fickle and dumb and uncouth
He is favoured the better, forbidden of proof.

 

BBC News, February 7th, 2017: “A matter for Parliament

BBC ‘This Week’ April 2nd, 2015 – Big Johnhttps://youtu.be/x-XAOCHPXgs

Lull me a lullaby

Lull me a lullaby
Sand in my eyes
Buy me a mockingbird
Give me the sky

Betcha by golly
Wow, build me a folly
Bring me some Kool Aid
And fill up the trolley

Sprinkle the pixie dust
Set up a blind trust, go
Short of a picnic
And cut off the crusts

Pipe me a loony tune
Red, white and blue my shoes
Kansas is dying
Jump over the moon

Do you remember?

Do you remember when you were young:
When they sold us a future in which everyone
Would have more time for leisure and
Life’s simple pleasures?

I do.

I remember how ‘progress’ was sold as the shift
Toward treasured Modernity’s time-saving gifts.
I remember when ‘free time’ were not dirty words,
But the envy of those who knew it was absurd
To work hard for The Man, at the cost of your Soul;
To neglect your own senses to fit in a mould;
To conform to consensus and stick to the path
Laid out in perpetuity – however daft…

And yet,

Where does the time go and how is it spent,
But by serving The Man just to pay him more rent?
And while faster goes quicker and more becomes less
Of a joy than a measure of burden and stress,
We regress to Draconia’s cold, hostile age
As a new class of servants with masters who wage
On us their aspirations for their perfect nation.

Obnoxious concoctions and new imitations
Of outdated thinking, consigned long ago
To the scrapyard of ignorant, privileged foes.
Resurrected prescribers and makers of woe
Who would keep us distracted and chained by the nose
To a grindstone which cripples and overly loads
On our bodies and minds and the whole of our time
Is spent rushing and pushing and fleeing and fighting
To be the first one to the end of the line.

 

[First posted: March 2013]

‘faith-based prep’ is what I was hearing

I don’t like this Momentum Kids thing. I’m all for extending and incorporating childcare, especially for single parents and for reasons that are not work related. But that is not the bit of this news that has caught my mind.

’The initiative will also aim to increase children’s involvement in Momentum and the labour movement by promoting political activity that is fun, engaging and child-friendly”… Momentum ‘will use the left-wing movement’s network of 150 local groups to help youngsters who want to get involved in politics.’

It’s the partisan political activist education being rolled out bit that makes me go cold. It’s naive, at best. I think organised religion is politics with added conviction and, as I read the piece, ‘faith-based prep’ is what I was hearing.

As you know, dear Reader, I don’t like faith-based schools. I believe organised, religious indoctrination, if it must still exist, is for the designated temple and that in the compulsory years of education, religious study should be facilitated by informed debate and explored under the wider umbrella of Philosophy. So, too, should Politics. Children often need a counterbalance to their parents’ religious/political beliefs. They don’t need them confirmed and cemented by another self-appointed authority.

Children, especially young children, soak up everything. How would this go down if it was a Brexit-teaching crèche? A Scientology-teaching crèche? What about UKIP? Or the TaxPayers’ Alliance?

Is this ethical greyness healthy? I don’t think it is. Nor is it necessary. We have schools already. We have a national curriculum. There is where the pressure for improved learning about civic engagement should be applied. Regardless of the problems we can all cite over the state of our compulsory education system, therein is still the safest objective space for children’s well-rounded, non-partisan education.

Last week, Corbyn was rightly ridiculed for suggesting Labour Organising Academies and people raised justifiable concerns about dogma and ideology in the context of Theresa May’s reinforced support for faith-based schools. Both instances just reaffirmed, for me, why I don’t put much store in Corbyn’s or his team’s judgement and why I am so often offended by May’s.

When there is destabilised society, groups and individuals come to the surface and paint themselves or get painted as saviours and champions of the people. Sometimes, they are. But how many times, throughout history and across the world, has a group or individual become the unlikely romanticized hero, only to distort or corrupt a community by means of brainwashing or bribery?

It feels like the capacity for selective memory and cognitive dissonance is ever-increasing. Left to right, from cynical to starry-eyed, the country seems determined to overlook how easily the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And, of course, most of us want to believe that our intentions are good.

John declared the Jezerendum was his finest conversion.

My mind wandered as I read ten minutes of inspired paranoia and vitriol pick ‘n’ mix that is Labour Twitter… I fantasized that we had a Jezerendum and that the country voted overwhelmingly in favour of giving Mr Corbyn one of our small islands. I don’t know which one it was, only that it required a ferry to access the mainland and that it was big enough for all his personal staff and every adventurous, ardent believer. The offer was extended to the rest of the Labour Party but all sides were affronted so that was quickly settled.

Through an excruciating but often hilarious week of hotly tweeted debate about whether this result was down to the magnanimity of a democratic, reason-minded nation, or another covert neoliberal plot by the Blairite BBC (peak purge, Matt noted, wryly), much of the grassroots came to the conclusion that it didn’t actually matter: the momentum was with them.

Jeremy called a rally. He told his congregation that he accepted the result as proof of faith in his will and a definitive mandate for his kinda politics. John declared the Jezerendum was his finest conversion. Jeremy waved his hat: “Jam for all! And bread-making academies! Come, comrades: we shall build ourselves a socialist allotment. Our momentum has just begun! From now on, you are in charge. Our rallies shall be our news, your placards our policies. Everyone has a right to Utopia!” He looked up from his notes, to drink of the rapturous crowd… “Seumas, I’m not sure this is a great idea…” The country held her breath and crossed her fingers.

And then, suddenly, they were off, the haunting sound of ‘The Reg Flag’ fading into the watery mist.

A collective wow… was exhaled throughout the mainland..: Maybe Brexit would fit on the Isle of Wight..?

Labour Twitter is right: Mr Corbyn does inspire. Or, at least, his grassroots do.