Painting Congress Blue 2014: Focus on Candidates V.

October 12, 2013

Florida's 19th Congressional District Race. April Freeman

At the time of writing the first four in my series of articles on Republican House incumbents and their Democratic rivals for the House in 2014, it seemed that for Democrats to pick up the necessary seventeen seats was going to require a significant political disaster by the Republican Party. If the most recent Gallup poll is anything to go by, it is apparent that the Republican Party may have inflicted a wound upon themselves that they might not recover from in 2014.

Florida’s 19th Congressional District:
Florida’s 19th is currently represented by Tea Party favourite, Republican Trey Radel. On his Facebook page, Radel posted this:

Trey Radel misleading Kentucky Obamacare Stats
– As part of his maniacal effort to defund the Affordable Care Act regardless of the courts or the outcome of elections, Radel is happy to use any PR tactic possible to drum up support for his failing cause. I say that, because the claim in the picture above omits crucial information: The claim relates to a story put out by Fox (obviously) of the Mangione family of four in Kentucky whose monthly premium apparently rises from $333 a month to $965 a month, from private insurer Humana, a few weeks before Kynect (the healthcare exchange) opened. What the story doesn’t tell you, is just who Andrew Mangione – the father – actually is. As it turns out, there is quite the conflict of interest with this story: Andrew Mangione is:

“…the Vice President, Government Relations, for AMAC. Andy’s career spans the medical device, pharmaceutical and managed care sectors of health care. He has held senior and executive sales positions with organizations including Humana, Inc., Pfizer, Inc. and Invacare Corporation. Andy serves as the lead legislative and government contact in Washington, DC for AMAC, and is also responsible for national grassroots outreach and developing strategic relationships. Andy earned a B.A. in Management from Malone University and his Master of Business Administration from Lake Erie College.”

– Not only did he hold senior/executive position in his insurance company, the website that he is now the Vice President of Government Relations for, has spent almost all its energy – prior to his appearance on Fox – fighting the Affordable Care Act. This man is one big agenda, so it is predictable that both Fox and Trey Radel decided not to mention his credentials. And $300 a month for a family of four? That’s a hell of a lot cheaper than most pay. Nevertheless, The New Yorker argues that under the new rules, the Mangione family might actually benefit.

So with that in mind, it is no shock to discover that despite moderate Republicans taking to the airwaves to pin the blame for government shutdown at the door of the Republican Party and its small group of extremists, Radel has decided that those extremists are in the right. Radel told CNN:

“This entire place is failing the American people”.

– He’s right. When a Freedom Works memo (The Freedom Works Website lists Radel as a signee of Sen. Mike Lee’s letter to use the CR to defund Obamacare) demands a willingness on the part of the Republicans the group funds, to use the threat of shutdown and its implications to win a policy battle that the Republicans couldn’t win via the usual electoral process, that is a massive democratic failure. One that Thomas Jefferson noted was a threat to the American system of governance:

“I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”

– But this isn’t what Radel meant. Radel thoroughly disagrees with Jefferson. He seemingly had no issue with the fact that an agreement had already been reached on funding the government, an agreement that hugely favoured Republican demands, only to be reneged on by House Republicans whose corporate backers weren’t happy enough, who now demand the complete defunding of a law they couldn’t repeal through the natural democratic process. Instead, he says:

“The adults need to come to the table, as Republicans are asking…”

– The typical spin, to deflect attention from the fact that they caused this. He then goes on to blame the Affordable Care Act for all the nation’s woes. Later in the same interview, and without a hint of irony, Radel says:

“When you hear the President say he isn’t going to negotiate…. I’m sorry but this is democracy.”

– Here, Radel, like fellow Tea Party members, has apparently redefined the word ‘democracy’. I am struggling to understand how it is possible to lose the Presidency twice, to lose the Senate, to lose the popular vote for the House, to lose a Supreme Court case, to watch your ratings plummet, when 21 of your own House members are willing to vote to reopen government, and still think that by shutting down the government until you get your way, that the path you have chosen represents “democracy”.

It is presumably also “democracy” in action when, at 10pm on September 30th, House Republicans voted to amend House rules, by taking away the right of every member of the House of Representatives to bring a clean CR vote to the House floor, and to bestow that right to Eric Cantor only, to ensure a shutdown went ahead.

According to opensecrets.org, Trey Radel’s 9th biggest donor, is Koch Industries. How surprising. His number one donor is “Every Republican Is Crucial PAC”. This particular PAC is the 2nd biggest donor to the 20 or so dissident Republicans in the House. They are instrumental in propping up support for those who have used the threat of shutdown unless their demands are met. And Radel is doing their bidding. In 2012, his website read:

“Our country has prided itself on freedom and liberty. Regulations like ObamaCare not only place severe restrictions on our freedom and choice but also threaten the economic livelihood of this country. ObamaCare in particular essentially forces individuals to buy a private product just because they are American. This is another example of the government excessively interfering in the lives of private citizens. This law is not only costly, but will also cause great inefficiencies in the medical industry, and have negative ripples throughout the economy. On Trey’s first day in office, Trey would offer a bill to repeal all parts ObamaCare (regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision).”

– The phrase ‘regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision’ should be enough to shock anyone who appreciates the system of American governance, as should the Tea Party section of the Republican Party’s complete lack of respect for the outcome of elections that don’t go their way. It is quite incomprehensible, and very anti-democratic. Let’s not be under any illusions. Trey Radel is one of the small group of Republicans responsible for the government shutdown, and backed by very wealthy donors.

Trey Radel – a man who genuinely believes that Public Enemy’s track ‘Fight the Power’ reflects the message of Tea Party Republicans – is so concerned about the health and wellbeing of his constituents, that he voted ‘NO’ on reauthorising the Violence Against Women Act. Not only does women’s health and rights not concern Radel, but he also voted ‘NO’ on the Sandy Relief Fund and voted in favour of cutting SNAP. I can find no redeeming feature of Radel’s incumbency, it appears to have been a year of making life as difficult for the most vulnerable as possible. Florida’s 19th can do better than that.

The Democratic challenger to Radel, is April Freeman. Freeman’s website identifies exactly what Florida’s 19th District is currently lacking:

“Real people, honest and intelligent leadership, hard working and caring public servants, and more independent women.”

– Honest, intelligence, caring and independent women. Those are the words all progressives would use to describe exactly what the House of Representatives requires more than anything at the moment.

Freeman has impressive credentials to back up the tagline on her website. She was awarded “2005 Business Woman of the Year” by the Business Advisory Council at a White House Dinner; she is the founder of a company that works for no profit to highlight the lives and memory of gifted individuals who died too soon as a result of mental illnesses, and she’s currently obtaining her law degree. Intelligence, and caring, are two traits that Congress desperately requires, and desperately lacks at the moment.

Freeman is right to highlight that voter suppression is a dangerous re-introduction to the democratic landscape, and must be a priority to secure fundamental political rights regardless of race, or wealth. Freeman sets out her position to deal with it:

THE PLAN – Educate local voters in a grassroots effort so they are taught the importance of the early vote & vote by mail in order to relieve the immediate issue of excessive wait times on election days.
THE RESOLUTION – Support Legislation that would make it illegal for the wait time to exceed 1 hour during Federal elections.

Whilst 30 years of anti-union, pro-market fundamentalist rhetoric and policy has seemingly lead to very little other than stagnating wages, poverty increases, recession, and jobs off-shored to the detriment of the lives of real human beings, April Freeman recognises the need to rebalance the scale:

“We need a steady growing economy in SW Florida thus relieving our sole dependence on seasonal residents.
THE PLAN – Support Unions to bring secure jobs with benefits while strengthening collective bargaining ability in order to build our local economy.
THE RESOLUTION – Introduce and Support Legislation that will give tax incentives to small business and corporations in right to work states for merging with unions to provide a living wage and benefits, while penalizing for outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.”

– Freeman’s plans put people right at the centre of policy, and that’s a breath of fresh air for Congress.

If you value women’s rights, ending violence against women, LGBT rights, the right to vote, economic growth and fairness, campaign finance reform, Protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Veterans issues; then there is absolutely no reason to vote Trey Radel, he fails miserably on all of those issues.

The Democratic base in Florida’s 19th has to grow if April Freeman is to pose a serious challenge to Trey Radel. But with the public at large placing the blame for shutdown on Tea Party Republicans like Radel, there will not be a more perfect time for Freeman and Democrats in Florida to grow that base. Freeman certainly has a chance to turn Florida’s 19th blue in 2014.

Vote April Freeman for Florida’s 19th Congressional District in 2012.

See here for FD’s focus on Florida’s 2nd, and Illinois’ 13th Congressional Districts.
See here for FD’s focus on West Virginia’s 2nd, and Colorado’s 6th Congressional Districts.
See here for FD’s focus on California’s 1st, and California’s 25th Congressional Districts.
See here for FD’s focus on Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District.


The Throne of King Cantor: How House Republicans changed the rules.

October 11, 2013

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Mjw23.

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Mjw23.

It seems democracy isn’t an obstacle, the Constitution isn’t an obstacle, the judiciary isn’t an obstacle, and now House rules aren’t an obstacle to the Tea Party juggernaut steaming its way across the American political landscape, flattening everything its path.

As we’re all aware, the Bill for a Continuing Resolution complete with defunding Obamacare attached to it passed the House, and was subsequently rejected by the Senate, thus ending up back at the House on the evening of September 30th. At this point, under House procedures, any member of the House can bring forward a vote on the Senate’s amended Bill in order to end the impasse:

“When the stage of disagreement has been reached on a bill or resolution with House or Senate amendments, a motion to dispose of any amendment shall be privileged.”

– This exists to prevent the minority extorting the majority with threat of shutdown, for policy they weren’t able to achieve through regular democratic process.

But that rule was soon to change. Late on September 30th – with only two hours remaining until the government shut down began – an Amendment was quickly passed – H.J. Res. 59: Continuing Appropriations Resolution – by House Republicans, to the procedural rules of the House. The Amendment ensures:

“Section 2 of the rule provides that any motion pursuant to clause 4 of rule XXII relating to H.J. Res. 59 may be offered only by the majority Leader or his designee.”

– Meaning that the only person who can now bring a vote to the House floor on a clean resolution during an impasse in Congress, is Eric Cantor. Eric Cantor has assumed powers traditionally assigned to all members of the House. They have all lost a right that has guaranteed to them, and transferred to the Republican Minority Leader. This not only disenfranchises House Democrats, it does so for moderate House Republicans too. It is as if Tea Party House Republicans have voted to bestow ’emergency’ powers on the Majority leader, to ensure continued shutdown.

When pressed on this in the House by Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD 8th District), the Speaker pro tempore didn’t seem to want to answer:

Van Hollen: “Mr. Speaker, under the regular order of the House, would any Member of the House, including myself, be able to call up a motion to immediately send the CR to fund the government to the President of the United States, to immediately call up and have a vote on that?”
Speaker: “The Chair will not respond to a hypothetical.”

Van Hollen: “Mr. Speaker, the rule that has now been placed over the House in substitute for the standing rules of the House gives only the majority leader or his designee the ability to move up and ask for a vote on the clean Senate bill that would go to the White House; is that correct?
Speaker: “The Chair will not respond to a political characterization and will state again: Under section 2 of House Resolution 368, that motion may be offered only by the majority leader or his designee.”

Van Hollen: “Mr. Speaker, it seems pretty clear that we have taken the normal rules of the House, Mr. Speaker, and substitute in its place a provision that says, ‘only the Republican leader can make a decision’…”
Speaker: “The gentleman has not stated a proper parliamentary inquiry.”

– Van Hollen is quite right, House Republicans have wilfully rigged House rules to prevent anyone from opening the government, other than the Majority Leader. House Republicans have vested more power over the running of the US Government in Eric Cantor, than the President, the public, the entire legislature, and the judiciary.

So, since 2010 Republicans have been beating the drum of shutdown to win major policy concessions that they were not able to win electorally. Since early 2013 at the very least, a memo circulates from Freedom Works, signed by major Tea Party donors that reads:

“Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds Obamacare. This includes Obamacare’s unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.”

– And when that plot was doomed to fail due to the lack of moderate Republican support in the House for such a dangerous tactic, the extreme wing of the Republican Party resorted to changing the rules of the democracy that they live, in order to force a shutdown that would have been prevented under regular House rules.

It is quite horrifying the lengths the far right of the Republican Party are willing to go to circumvent the democratic process when it provides results that they don’t like. For Republicans, the American people, the ballot box, and the law of the land, are simply obstacles that the Elephant has every right to trample.


Obamacare: The new myths in town!

October 10, 2013

Understanding the Affordable Care Act

As it slowly becomes evident that death panels – with President Obama dressed as the grim reaper in a Che Guevara t-shirt – just aren’t going to happen; as it slowly becomes clear that there will be no ‘forced home inspections’; when all evidence points to full time work not at all destroyed in socialist flames by the Affordable Care Act… then it becomes predictable that new myths begin to take shape. New poorly constructed, desperate myths that nonetheless go unanswered attach themselves to the general ‘understanding’ of the Affordable Care Act, and so are given time to fester in the collective mind of the United States. There are two new myths in particular that are so easy to discredit, that this will likely be my shortest article in a very long time.

Healthcare.gov costs the taxpayer $634mn!!
One new myth that has sprung up and instantly perpetuated by Tea Party writers this week, is that Healthcare.gov has cost $634 million to build. $634,320,919 to be exact. In fact, it’s been reported by news agencies around the World. News Max reported it as fact. The Daily Mail here in the UK reported it, and the story also appears on the ironically named “Examiner”. If they’d have lived up to their name, they’d soon realise that the story is in fact, false.

According to usaspending, the figure of $634,320,919 to CGI, Inc, was paid over a period of five years – between 2008 and 2013 – for 114 different transactions. One of those contracts was Healthcare.gov worth $93.7 million when originally won. There is no mention on whether the cost was over or under budget on that one transaction. But the fact remains, Healthcare.gov did not cost $634,320,919.

The Tea Party website referenced above perhaps gives us a glimpse of just why they’re beginning to invent new rumours, backed by weak research, in order to undermine a law that – coupled with the shutdown and an ever decreasing Republican polling number (they are now polling 1% lower than the percentage of Americans who believe in Bigfoot) – could very well lead to a Democrat House elected in 2014. It is desperation:

“Unlike some Americans, I actually want the Obamacare exchanges to succeed. I’ve given the state-specific options a try (there are 15 of them, including Washington D.C.’s) and they seem to greatly simplify the process of buying healthcare. And the rates do appear to come in far lower than what many people without health insurance from an employer have had to bear until now. It’s not government-run healthcare. There are no death panels. And, from what I can tell, the world will not end if more people have health insurance – quite the opposite, in fact.
What I cannot stand is a nation that has vast technological resources in its citizenry spending $600 million of our collective money to slap together a product that, thus far, has only managed to waste people’s precious minutes.”

– Here, they admit that under the Affordable Care Act rates are far lower, it isn’t government-run, there are no death panels, and it is working to help people. All of a sudden, they’re fine with all of that, and they laugh the myths off as almost whimsical (despite spending three years insisting that those Obamacare myths would burn America to the ground), but now it’s the cost of the website that they’re truly opposed to, having spent….. no time whatsoever concerned about it until yesterday.

Less than 10 people have signed up for Obamacare!
Yesterday, Buck McKeon (R-CALIF) told CNN that he’d heard rumours (always good to be thorough in your research) that fewer than 10 people had signed up for Obamacare. He’d read it somewhere. And so on that basis, he thought he’d tell the entire Nation, regardless of how true that claim was. Predictably, much like the Healthcare.gov cost rumour, this one is also completely false.

As of Wednesday, Kentucky, Maryland and Washington State released data showing that over 16,000 had so far signed up. Connecticut has 1,426 applications, New York officials report 40,000 have signed up. 16,311 had completed applications, and another 27,305 have partially completed applications in McKeon’s own state of California.

In fact, Washington State, despite having a lot of glitches on roll out day for its Washington Health Plan Finder marketplace, the state had 9,452 sign up rather quickly, with a further 10,497 submitted applications but not yet enrolled. 20,000 in less than a week.

Now, maths has never been a particularly strong point of mine, but I am quite sure, after conducting lengthy sums, that we can conclude that more than 9 people have signed up on the healthcare exchanges so far. And they still have five months and three weeks to sign up. Republicans appears to be shocked that 30,000,000 didn’t all sign up on day one. It’s an odd planet they inhabit.

So you see, whenever a new Obamacare myth surfaces, instantly posted on ‘reputable’ media outlets, and is left unchallenged, it grows misplaced anger and fear which inevitably leads to genuine concern among certain sections of the US population who simply do not see any reason to doubt six or seven media outlets seemingly confirming what their Representatives are saying, and suddenly, Ted Cruz is elected and the government is shut down. It stems entirely, from misrepresentations and completely invented logic. The shutdown is therefore a product of misplaced fear, constructed by a constant stream of right winged opportunists. And with polls showing a Republican slide into oblivion, there is only one thing to say: Congratulations GOP… you built that.


The US Government Shutdown: A coup in all but name.

October 9, 2013

Closed Lincoln Memorial. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By Emw (Own work).

Closed Lincoln Memorial.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: By Emw (Own work).


“I hope we shall crush… in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”
– Thomas Jefferson.

In an interview on ‘Face The Nation’ with Republican Senator for Texas John Cornyn, host Bob Schieffer asked:

“How is it that you wind up with a freshman Senator, who’s been in office less than a year, becomes the architect of this thing that has the two sides so gridlocked that nobody seems to know a way out of it? How did that happen?”

– Whilst it’s a fair question, it makes one critical mistake. Senator Cruz wasn’t the architect of the shutdown. Of course one freshman Senator doesn’t have the power or influence to shut down and gridlock the entire US government. But his wealthy contributors and backers certainly do.

When President Obama was reelected in 2012, democracy had spoken. A government of the people, for the people, and by the people had been chosen, with Obamacare a key policy in the minds of voters as they had their rightful say in voting booths across the country. Recently, Republican Senator John McCain accepted and reiterated this:

“We fought as hard as we could in a fair and honest manner and we lost. One of the reasons was because we were in the minority, and in democracies, almost always the majority governs and passes legislation.”

– But notoriously, democracy and people are never equipped to be able to compete with vast amounts of money from very wealthy backers. Knowing this, “Freedom Works”, a major donor to the ‘Freedom Works For America’ super pac and affiliated with the Koch empire produced a memo on a strategy to disregard the democratic process, and defund the Affordable Care Act by any means necessary. The memo read:


“Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds Obamacare. This includes Obamacare’s unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.”

– The memo goes on to suggest strategy (identical to the tactics used during this shutdown):

“A mere “date-change CR” is unacceptable. Although the Obama administration and others will argue the CR is not the appropriate legislative vehicle to defund Obamacare, it is easily done through a series of appropriation riders. Because the CR represents one of the best vehicles possible to delay the implementation of Obamacare, it must not be used to bargain on the upcoming sequester.”

– This was shortly after President Obama’s re-election. The plan was always to use the threat of government shutdown, to defund a law that had just been ratified by the American people via an election, for the sake of the policy of one organisation rather than the votes of millions of American people. There was to be no backing down. The authority of the voting public and the Supreme Court of the United States were to be overridden. Democracy hadn’t worked for them, so they produced a solution to completely disregard the democratic process. For this sickening, entirely anti-democratic goal, they needed a candidate. Well, during the 2011 primary for the Texas Senate race, Freedom Works said:

“After evaluating the candidates in this race, we believe that Ted Cruz will best serve the interests of hardworking Texas taxpayers by advocating the principles of lower taxes, less government and more individual freedom”

– They chose a candidate likely to run at the White House in 2016. One of “Freedom Works For America’s” main financers is Crow Holdings, LLC. Crow Holdings has contributed $20,000 to Senator Cruz so far for 2014. This, on top of the $25,000 from Koch industries. One of the those who signed the Freedom Works memo above was Chris Chocola, President of “Club for Growth”. “Club for Growth” has contributed the most of all Cruz’s campaign contributors at a staggering $705,657. Another signee was David Bossie, President of Citizen’s United. Citizen’s United have so far contributed $15,000 to Cruz.

Of course, it helps that alongside campaign finance, those wealthy backers can afford to produce widespread and misleading ads in order to convince people to vote for their bought candidate. Generation Opportunity is a legally “nonpartisan” organisation funded by the Koch brothers, that produced the despicably misleading ‘creepy Uncle Sam’ anti-Obamacare ads in which Uncle Sam pops up between a woman’s legs during a gynecological exam. On a related side note… Ted Cruz voted no on reauthorising the Violence Against Women Act.

So if you were wondering what constituency Ted Cruz is in the Senate to represent…it isn’t a ‘grass roots movement’, it’s the extremely wealthy Freedom Works For America & associates. Big business bought their candidate at the primary stage of the Texas Senate race, a candidate willing to do the bidding of ‘Freedom Works For America’ and its associates; a candidate who would not worry about the Speaker of his own Party; a candidate willing to disregard the will of the American people, and represent good value for money by ensuring that he use the CR to infect the entire country with the policy of a very small fringe movement.

Polls across America show that the public blame the Republicans for the government shutdown, far more than they blame Senate Democrats & President Obama. And that reflects reality. It is difficult to blame any group other than the Republican Party, when even Republicans blame their own Party for the shutdown. Fox News analyst Dick Morris before the shutdown joyfully insisted:

“Now there’s gonna be, there’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in ’95 and ’96 but we’re going to win it this time!”

– The same Dick Morris that predicted a landslide Romney Presidential win in 2012 appears not to have noticed that the prediction he made, was so wildly off mark. On his website, he acknowledges that Speaker Boehner is the one who is responsible for the continued shutdown. Morris says:

“The dye is now cast. The battle lines are drawn. Boehner has refused to reopen the government or raise the debt limit without concessions from Obama. What began as a foolish government shutdown to try to end ObamaCare is now morphing into a serious, and likely successful, attempt to rein in the ObamaCare cost, cut government entitlements, and hold the line on taxes.
Finally, the Republicans in the House have gotten it right.
They deserve our full support.”

– Yes. The Republicans have chosen to disregard the legislative process, and the public’s rejection of their 2012 platform, by just choosing to pretend 2012 didn’t happen, and relying on candidates wholly owned by big business. Dick Morris fully acknowledges that there would be a forced GOP shutdown, and that Speaker Boehner is the one who could end it.

In 2010 – three years ago – Senator Mike Lee of Utah was asked if he would endorse a government shutdown over the debt limit. Lee replied:

“It’s an inconvenience, it would be frustrating to many, many people and it’s not a great thing, and yet at the same time, it’s not something that we can rule out, it may be absolutely necessary.”

– This is how very wealthy members of Tea Party sect of the Republican Party view a shut down. As simply an ‘inconvenience’ for those furloughed. Here, Lee accepts responsibility for the government shutdown that is happening right now, three years ago.

New York Republican Rep. Peter King has been a vocal opponent of his Republican colleagues shut down tactic. A day after a House Republican private strategy meeting, King appeared on MSNBCs Hardball and said:

“This was a fool’s errand that was started by Ted Cruz. But we can’t just blame him. We have to also blame his acolytes in the Republican Conference—30 or 40 of them who stood with him, who were willing to undo what John Boehner wanted to do, which was to pass the CR, move this along. They insisted on going this route of attempting to defund Obamacare and threatening to shut down the government if it wasn’t done, we got locked into this. Let me just say we are where we are, and I blame Ted Cruz and his supporters for doing that.”

– King’s point here has two important features. Firstly, Ted Cruz and a small group of Tea Partiers are entirely to blame for the government shutdown. Secondly, Speaker Boehner didn’t plan on taking this route. Which suggests, he is now just a puppet on a Tea Party string. The Republican Party is in the midst of a civil war.

King is adamant that there are a lot of moderate Republicans willing to vote on a clean CR, and who oppose the Cruz tactic bought by the Koch Empire. 21 House Republicans so far. But most aren’t willing to go public with how they disapprove of the Koch-led tactics to bring government to a close, for the simple reason that they will get primaried. They are willing to admit it too. Greg Walden (R-OR) said:

“We have to do this because of the Tea Party. If we don’t, these guys are going to get primaried and they are going to lose their primary.”

– And he’s right. It isn’t just the President, Democrats, and the American people in general under attack at the moment. It’s Republicans themselves. The ‘Freedom Works For America’ website openly targets Republicans who they do not consider Tea Party enough:

“The 2014 race for control of the Senate has already begun. Establishment Republicans are beginning to recruit moderate Big Government candidates in races across the country in a typical top-down approach. This approach has led to moderate losing candidates like Tommy Thompson (WI), Rick Berg (ND), and Danny Rehberg (MT) in 2012. We can’t let these opponents of fiscal conservatism win!”

Another Tea Party favourite, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert (who is no stranger to ridiculous remarks) said in 2010:

“Listen, if it takes a shutdown of government to stop the runaway spending, we owe that to our children and our grandchildren. I don’t have any grandchildren yet, but if we don’t stop the runaway spending – even if it means showing how serious we are –okay, government is going to have to shut down until you runaway-spending people get it under control. And if you can’t get it under control, then we just stop government until you realize, you know, yes we can.”

– Gohmert sees no alternative but to shut down the government unless Republicans get their way. He fully acknowledges that this is a viable Republican tactic.

They acknowledge the tactic in 2010, they acknowledge it again in 2013, they threaten Republican colleagues not tied to wealthy far-right backers and who privately (and some publicly) blame this small sect of Tea Party Republicans for the shutdown. There is no debate over who is to blame for government shutdown. A framework for shutdown was articulated by Republicans – sometimes excitedly – in 2010, and codified by a wealthy conservative fringe group and their associates in 2013. It is a coup in all but name.


The Republican-made Benghazi Scandal.

September 11, 2013

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, at ceremony for the victims of the Benghazi attack. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: By U.S. Department of State from United States [Public domain].

President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, at ceremony for the victims of the Benghazi attack.
Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: By U.S. Department of State from United States [Public domain].

It is a year today, since the tragic events in Benghazi unfolded, and four people lost their lives in a senseless terrorist attack. Since that day, Republicans seeking to undermine and attack the Obama Administration by any means, and using the memories of anyone they can find, have used the Benghazi attack for what is quite obviously political point scoring and nothing more. A year of hearings on the subject, and with no scandal to be found anywhere, this hasn’t deterred the Benghazi obsessives. Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz on Hannity accused the President, over Benghazi, of trying to:

“…trying to personally disparage the people that are trying to get at the truth”

– This is the same Republican Congressman who – whilst doing the rounds on TV in 2012 to register his disgust at the Administration for not providing necessary security for the embassy in Benghazi – admitted that he had voted to cut funds for embassy security. In October 2012, Chaffetz said:

“Look, we have to make priorities and choices in this country. We have — think about this — 15,000 contractors in Iraq. We have more than 6,000 contractors, private army there for President Obama in Baghdad.
And we’re talking about can we get two dozen or so people into Libya to help protect our forces? When you’re in tough economic times, you have to make difficult choices how to prioritize this.”

– On a side note, Chaffetz told Fox News that the Administration was intimidating witnesses to keep them silent. When pressed for evidence and examples, he couldn’t offer any. When asked what the cover-up was covering up, he had no answer.

The Republican controlled House cut funding for embassy security by $128 million in 2011, and $331 million in 2012. For 2013, the Obama administration asked for $2.15 billion for embassy security, House Republicans agreed to $300,000,000 less than that. At the time, Hillary Clinton insisted that cuts to embassy security would be:

“…detrimental to America’s national security”

– House Republicans rejected this, despite the fact that between the Islamabad US Embassy burning in 1979, to the Benghazi attack in 2012, over 20+ US Diplomatic personnel in the US Foreign Service had died. Nine embassy staff were killed in the 1998 bombing of the embassy in Nairobi. 13 on the Hezbollah attack on the Beirut US Embassy in 1983. Laurence Foley was an American diplomat assassinated in 2002. Add those to the list of attacks on embassies between the inauguration of George Bush Jr and Barack Obama; Indian US Consulate in 2002, US Consulate in Bali in 2002, two attacks on US Embassy in Karachi in the space of just one year in 2002-2003, 9 Americans killed in attack on U.S. Compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, attack U.S. Embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2004, a third attack on Karachi U.S. Consulate in which US Diplomat David Foy was killed. All under Bush, and none receiving the intense right-winged media & Congress storm whipped up after Benghazi. Despite past attacks, and despite Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and despite uprisings across the Middle East making the lives of diplomatics far more at risk, in some of the most dangerous parts of the World; the House Republicans still voted in favour of cutting funding for embassy security.

According to the Citizens for Tax Justice:

“In fact, under Ryan’s plan taxpayers with income exceeding $1 million in 2014 would receive an average net tax decrease of over $200,000 that year even if they had to give up all of their tax expenditures.”

– A tax cut for the wealthiest, partly paid for by defunding embassies in the most dangerous parts of the World, for which they then attempt to spark up a non-scandal aimed at the Obama Administration when the inevitable occurs.

But it isn’t just House Republicans digging in a haystack for a needle that doesn’t exist. Special Operation Speaks – a group dedicated to uncovering what they call:

“… the deadliest scandal in American history.”

– Apparently choosing to ignore the reasons given for an invasion of Iraq. And, well, the entire Reagan administration and the countless convicts over Iran-Contra. It is of course no surprise that the chief funder of Special Operation Speaks, is a man dedicated to bringing down the President by any-means-necessary, he’s known for this, and not just for Benghazi. The names and the families of those killed in Benghazi are simply a means to an end for Larry Bailey. He really has a hatred for President Obama, and will happily invent scandal everywhere. Bailey once said:

“If there were a jury of 12 good men and women and the evidence were placed before them, there would be absolutely no question Barack Obama was not born where he said he was and is not who he says he is.”

– He of course, has never provided evidence for this assertion, or any evidence for who he believes Barack Obama really is.

The call for the establishment of a House Select Committee to investigate Benghazi, has been put into Bill form, by Representative from Virgina, Frank Wolf. And a credible man he is too, what with having voted for military action in Iraq based on the intelligence for which he’s never asked for a committee be set up to investigate, and for restricted Congressional oversight of CIA interrogations. So far, Boehner has not allowed the bill to enter the House floor. Which, naturally, prompts the conspiracy obsessed Republicans to insist that Boehner must be part of the evil cover up, rather than coming to the realisation that the empty result of hearing after hearing, is proof enough that there is no big scandal. It must be incredibly embarrassing to be a Republican these days.

In fact, a House Republican Report contradicts many of the claims made by those purportedly searching for the “truth”. For example, on the often repeated claim that the President refused to offer forces to help those being attacked in Benghazi, the House Republican Report says:

“The progress report finds that officials at the Defense Department were monitoring the situation throughout and kept the forces that were initially deployed flowing into the region. No evidence has been provided to suggest these officials refused to deploy resources because they thought the situation had been sufficiently resolved.”

– Republicans discrediting Republican complaints.

Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas weighed in shamelessly with:

“One of the problems with all of this focus on Syria is it’s missing the ball from what we should be focused on, which is the grave threat from radical Islamic terrorism. Just this week is the one year anniversary of the attack on Benghazi. In Benghazi, four Americans were killed, including the first ambassador since 1979. When it happened, the President promised to hunt down the wrongdoers, and yet a few months later, the issue has disappeared. You don’t hear the President mention it. Now it’s a phony scandal, we ought to be defending U.S. national security and going after radical Islamic terrorists.”

– Three issues here. Firstly, Yes. You should be defending U.S National Security. How about you start by adequately funding security for embassies, with money you’d otherwise give away in tax breaks for your donors?
Secondly, Cruz seems to flippantly brush off the urgent need for a response to the crisis in Syria. It is as if he’s choosing to ignore the 600,000 dead, the 3,000,000 displaced, the hundreds of thousands of children facing forced prostitution and poverty, instead choosing to focus on a non-scandal, discredited even by House Republican Reports.
And thirdly, the issue hasn’t “disappeared” with regards hunting down those responsible. In August of this year, the US filed charges against Militia chief Ahmed Abu Khattala, among others, for the attack in Benghazi.

Where was the outrage for the lives of those killed in attacks during Bush’s years? Where was the outrage for the three attacks on the US Embassy in Karachi, resulting in the death of US Diplomat David Foy? Where was the demand for select committee investigations? There wasn’t any, because it wasn’t perceived as politically valuable for House Republicans to shine a light on those attacks.

The real scandal of Benghazi is two fold. Firstly, could the deaths have been prevented if the funding hadn’t been so drastically reduced by House Republicans over the past three years, and secondly, the shameful use of the victims of the attack on the embassy, for political purposes. The longer Republicans insist on focusing on trying to expose a scandal that doesn’t exist, the more the attention is turned on their own lack of principles with regard funding for embassy security and the lengths they’re willing to go to, the names and the families of the victimes they’re willing to insult and degrade, just for political point scoring. This is a Republican-made scandal and nothing less.


Tony Abbott – in his own words.

September 7, 2013

Source: Wikimedia Commons. Author: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website – www.dfat.gov.au

Source: Wikimedia Commons.
Author: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website – http://www.dfat.gov.au


Tony Abbott was not a politician anyone expected to become Prime Minister, back in 2007. Abbott was a force of reaction more than anything else. The Liberals were shattered. But then, a sort of bitter War of the Roses-type family rivalry took over the Labor leadership – both trying to slightly out right-wing each other – and the Liberals were always going to be the obvious benefactor. And so Australia has today dealt Labor a mighty blow in the Federal Election, and elevated Tony Abbott to the Prime Ministership. So, it is perhaps worth noting the new Prime Minister’s thoughts on a variety of issues.

On women, Tony Abbott said:

“I think it would be folly to expect that women will ever dominate or even approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.”

“What the housewives of Australia need to understand as they do the ironing is that if they get it done commercially it’s going to go up in price and their own power bills when they switch the iron on are going to go up.”

On man-made climate change:

“The climate change argument is absolute crap, however the politics are tough for us because 80 per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.”

– Tony Abbott here is in direct disagreement with Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, U.S. Global Change Research Program, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2007, African Academy of Sciences, International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, Polish Academy of Sciences, Geological Society of London, Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences, Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, American Geophysical Union, United States National Research Council, Royal Society of New Zealand, and many more. Abbott believes he knows better. I am unable to locate any research or thesis he has written on the subject.

On the right for same-sex couples to marry:

“I’m not someone who wants to see radical change based on the fashion of the moment.”

– Fashion of the moment. Seriously.

On the huge life decision whether to have an abortion:

“Abortion is the easy way out. It’s hardly surprising that people should choose the most convenient exit from awkward situations.”

On what abortion might lead to:

“I believe that there is a vast moral gulf which separates modern Australia from Nazi Germany. But can we be so sure that, under pressure over time, we will not slide down the same slippery slope. We only have to look at the abortion situation in this country.”

On rose-tinted Colonialist history:

“Now, I know that there are some Aboriginal people who aren’t happy with Australia Day. For them it remains Invasion Day. I think a better view is the view of Noel Pearson, who has said that Aboriginal people have much to celebrate in this country’s British Heritage.”

On the death of an Australian soldier in Afghanistan:

“Shit happens.”

On a woman’s right to control her own body:

“I think there does need to be give and take on both sides, and this idea that sex is kind of a woman’s right to absolutely withhold, just as the idea that sex is a man’s right to demand I think they are both they both need to be moderated, so to speak.”

On the plight of Aboriginal Australians:

“There may not be a great job for them but whatever there is, they just have to do it, and if it’s picking up rubbish around the community, it just has to be done.”

The Liberal’s website echoes the thoughts of right-winged Parties in other developed nations, with its delusional promises:

“The Coalition’s priority will be to build a stronger, more productive and diverse economy through lower taxes, more efficient government and more productive businesses that will deliver more jobs, higher wages and better services for all Australians.

– The exact same plan is well underway in the UK, and hasn’t delivered more efficient government – I challenge anyone to suggest the Department of Work & Pensions, or the Education Department, or the Health Department are now ‘efficient’ – hasn’t delivered more productive businesses, hasn’t delivered higher wages, or better services. Quite the opposite. With an added dose of misery and a distinct lack of hope. Similar policies in Republican controlled States in the US, offer similar results. Austerity is completely unnecessary in Australia in 2013. It doesn’t work. And it wont work for Australia.

Abbott is an Australian version of the slightly less sane sect of the US Republicans in Congress, a sort of Louie Gohmert figure for Australia. It will be interesting to see how the Abbott administration acts on the positions that their new Prime Minister fosters. It’ll be equally interesting to see how Labor change and if – with Rudd having retained his seat – they can move forward, get it together with a new leader, and new direction in time for 2016.


Tweeting Tottenham

August 7, 2011

What an eventful day. Whilst David Cameron is away, and George Osborne is on Holiday in California (coincidentally, the same week that the US credit rating is downgraded…. that’ll teach them, for letting him into the Country), from my tiny screen in an old miners cottage in Victoria, Australia, I have followed minute by minute coverage of the Tottenham riots. Twitter is a great tool. It has the power to both inform, and be woefully incorrect. The riots have been the top trend today. So I followed along on Twitter. More specifically, following the right winged reaction to the riots in Tottenham.

The causes remain unclear. All I know is that a man was shot and killed by police, which led to community outcry over the abuse of power by the Met. The Met is saying that their officer was shot at first, and fired back, shooting a gangster who was armed. In that case, I have no sympathy for the man. If you fire at the police, then don’t express shock when you’re fired on. It is hardly a case of police injustice and brutality, if the man had shot at police. That actually is about as much as anyone knows. Twitter is alive with people telling me about their “reliable witness“. As if i’m supposed to just accept the reliability of a supposed witness. If it is true that the guy shot first, the fact that he even carried a gun, suggests he wasn’t exactly an innocent victim of police brutality. The problem is though, many people claim he wasn’t armed and didn’t fire. Given the Met’s recent record, one can hardly trust their statements. I am not entirely sure who to believe, and think the adage of “innocent until proven guilty” applies to both the Met and the dead man on this one. No one knows the truth other than the police officer involved.

The riots seemed to start with a protest against police brutality, and just turned into a mass loot. The community of Tottenham this morning will be in ruins. The riot will have caused more pain to the innocent people of the city, than anyone else. It cannot particularly be defended.

The Right Winged outcry was the most outrageous of the comments sweeping Twitter, shortly followed by Sky News journalists begging the public for information, given their own apparent incompetence.
Here are some of my favourites:


– The opportunistic attacks on multiculturalism are a little unnerving. The situation in Tottenham is not a multicultural issue. Muslims are not fighting Christians on a daily basis across the Country. People live quite happily 99/9% of the time, side by side. Kids play with each other in schools regardless of cultural background. Multiculturalism has absolutely worked. On the whole, people live together in harmony. That is a testament to the brilliance of multiculturalism. I can sit discussing football with Sikh, Muslim and Jewish friends without it becoming a full scale riot.

The people tweeting comments like those above, tend to conveniently ignore the 99.9% of the time when absolutely nothing is happening in the way of destructive race relations, and focus on the 0.01%. The Tottenham riots, are not a part of that 0.01%.The used it as a chance to express their vicious Nationalistic ideology, their fascist bullshit. And when brought up on it, they say the following:

– I then asked this idiot to elaborate on the correlation between Marx’s Das Capital, and the Tottenham rioters. He responded with this:

So far, right winged tweeters have blamed black people, jewish people, Chinese people (One had wondered why a Chinese takeaway hadn’t been looted and thought it convenient), people on benefits, socialists, students and anyone with slightly darker skin. Amazing.

The entire thing could have been avoided, had someone shone the Bat Boris signal. Only Boris could have stopped the madness, from his Boris Bike.


The curse of Letwin

August 1, 2011

The Conservative Government REALLY need an Alastair Campbell. Desperately. They attempted to secure a Campbell figure to head their PR team, with the [sarcarm] brilliantly managed and executed appointment of Andy Coulson.[/sarcasm] It would take a top PR team most of the day, every day, to ensure Oliver Letwin, the Minister of State for Policy, keeps his grotesque mouth closed whenever someone from the press is around, because he betrays the idea that the Tories have change, or modernised, since, well, around the 19th Century. Letwin is a left over from a group of Etonians who clearly and misguidedly believe they have a right to rule by way of their heritage. It is an arrogance that the Cameron Government will never shake, because they are the living embodiment of that privileged arrogance. They have disastrously inter-breeded this mentality with a Thatcherite economic mentality that is as dangerous as it is out-dated. His disastrous face, screams contempt for anyone who isn’t Oliver Letwin. He is a PR disaster. It is one of the many reasons (another being massive incompetence and dishonesty – which we’ll come to later) that he was overlooked when the Tories were searching for a leader. Hell, they even chose Iain Duncan Smith, does anyone remember him?

With a face looking as if someone had created him out of the concept of pompous twat, Oliver Letwin has once more allowed the Conservative Party mask it currently shrouds itself in, to fall, revealing a Thatcherite brigade just as frightening and dangerous as their 1980s counterparts.

Letwin had told a consultancy firm, that his proposals for public sector reform should instill:

“some real discipline and some fear”

He said this, because he believes the productivity of the public sector has failed. It is a strange comment and angle to take, given that the private sector has spent the past four years creating sovereign debt crises’ everywhere it goes. Productivity is very difficult to measure in the public sector, because the public sector is not about creating anything. Investment in the public sector has seen waiting lists for operations down year on year since the last Tory administration. Teaching standards are also up. The public sector does not “make” things. So talk of productivity in comparison to the private sector, is futile and misleading. It strikes me as wholly patronising that a man such as Oliver Letwin has the balls to lecture public sector workers – teachers, doctors, nurses, firemen – on what “real discipline” is. They are not children. They also did not claim public money for ludicrous items like mortgage interest payments. Also, the public sector hasn’t spent twenty five years creating a system of easy credit to boost the excessive pay of CEOs and Managing Directors, whilst the average worker saw overall increase in wages? And then when the company or bank failed miserably, the “fear” was THAT pertinent that the CEOs are given massive pay offs and lovely big bonuses. All this, whilst the public sector is told constantly, and has been told constantly, from Thatcher, to Major, to Blair, to Brown and now to Cameron, that it is not good enough, that it must be modelled on a failing private sector built on squeezing productivity out through long hours, a mountain of stress, and all for less pay whilst the big boss is compensated for his little contribution to overall productivity with huge salary and bonuses; and that their jobs are always on the line. A private sector model should be as far away from inflicting misery on the public sector, as possible.

It isn’t the first time Letwin has revealed his hostility to those less fortunate. Earlier this year, he surprised and disgusted the most posh of Tories, Boris Johnson, by telling Johnson:

“We don’t want more people from Sheffield flying away on cheap holidays.”

– At least he recognises that the North suffered horrifically with the gutting of jobs and thus wealth during the Thatcher years. Though he seems to have suggested that it is perfectly okay for the wealthy Southerners to pay for expensive holidays and that holidaying abroad should be based on wealth. I expect he thought he was at home with Boris, and could reveal his true feelings, but sometimes posh Tory twats seriously misjudge the situation, and regret the fact that their well crafted public self has been set on fire by their real self. This seems to happen a lot with Letwin. And now on to why I referred to his as a hypocrite:

In 2005 Letwin used the phrase “Wealth Distribution” in a positive light! I know! I was shocked too when I first read it. A Tory, interested and supportive of wealth distribution? Surely not! Well, actually, not. 2005 was the year Cameron was trying to pose as being a “progressive conservative“, deeply contradictory term yet one he managed seemingly to work. Letwin clearly took on that contradictory term, by trying to fill out a left wing term with right winged substance in the hope that no one would scratch below the service. He said:

…….not by trying to do down those with most but by enabling those who have least to share an increasing part of an enlarging cake.

– In practice what this means is, a desire to scrap the top rate of tax for the richest, a desire to lower the Corporation tax rate to the lowest recorded level, a desire to allow companies like Vodaphone a get out of jail free card by writing off their tax debt, whilst at the same time cutting allowance for the disabled, the elderly, according to a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary Letwin must be talking about the 16000 less police Britain will have after this Parliament; according to the leaks that the Guardian currently has; the Tory’s new director of policy Steve Hilton, suggesting abolishing maternity leave whilst also abolishing ALL consumer rights legislation. Just to reiterate….. this man, is the Nation’s DIRECTOR OF POLICY. Now i’m not saying these idiotic and deeply right winged ideas of Hilton’s are likely to become a reality. To suggest so would put me on the same wavelength as the manic Right Wingers who would constantly suggest that New Labour were about to ban England shirts and change the name of Christmas, or ban you from being white. Letwin must believe Hilton’s ideas will “enable” those with the least to a share of an increasingly large cake. Tories consider Hilton a genius…… not just because of his ideas (which aren’t in any sense a spark of genius) but also because he doesn’t wear shoes in Downing Street and they consider this “wacky”. In their defence, it is as wacky as most Tories are likely to see, given that they are born wearing business suits, slick back hair, and spend the next twenty years trying to hide the fact that their schooling experience is a plethora of homoeroticism cunningly disguised as a love of “Rugger“. It can’t have been too many years ago when gay and black people were described by most Tories as “wacky“. Hilton, like Letwin, is politically dangerous.

The reason why Letwin is hypocritical in his desire to do away with the idea that public money can actually do good, is because he used public money to claim over £80,000 for his Cottage in Somerset, in order to heat the place, empty the septic tank, £1000 in mortgage interest and most beautifully of all…… over £2000 to repair a leaking pipe underneath his tennis court. So much for “real discipline and fear“.

Either the Tory Party spend some time searching and investing in a decent PR figure, or they sew Oliver Letwin’s mouth closed, he is a liability to the Conservatives, and a liability to humanity.


As above; So below

July 26, 2011

I have argued in the past that the list of ten rules handed from God to Moses, in the Abrahamic traditions are rather oddly thought out rules, if not a little lazy. Exodus shows that the first few laws from the Ten Commandments are just those of a jealous God asserting his authority. A bit like a Boss telling you you must remain loyal to him at all times. The next few are obvious. Do not kill. Given that Homosapien had – against all odds – out lasted Homoerectus, Homoneanderthalensis and a whole host of other lines in the Homo genus, it is a bit patronising to think that we didn’t realise we shouln’t kill each other, for the few million years prior to God deciding to intervene. And to my surprise, God doesn’t ask us not to rape, or not to molest children, in his most important set of rules to date, instead he wastes one of his rules telling us not to take his name in vain. It is a disturbingly weak and ill-thought out set of rules from his Holiness.

That being said, the common argument from Christians in the West is that our laws are based on the Ten Commandments. That the genius of the Old Testament is that the Decalogue is still relevant today, because all Western law is derived from it. The problem is, if one has even a slight grasp of human history, one finds a glaring weakness in this argument; The Ten Commandments were not original to Moses.

According to Saint Jerome, Moses was born around 1592 BC. So that would put the Christianity perspective on the time of the handing down of the Ten Commandments to around 1540BC maybe? Anyway, that’s irrelevant, because around 3200BC there existed a tribe of people who lived in Egypt called the Kemet. They seem to have been a civilisation of black Africans who lived a rather advanced existence, just slightly before the Early Dynastic period, and so predating Pharoah Narmer who is identified as the man responsible for uniting the different tribes of Egypt, thus becoming known as the first Pharoah of Egypt. The unified Egypt incorporated ideas and beliefs from the tribes that it unified, one of which was the Kemet concept of “Ma’at“. Ma’at was the principle used as a guide on law, morality, truth, and spirituality that was needed to help unify Egypt. The principle was depicted as a Goddess – also called Ma’at – who was said to be in control of the stars, the sky, law, and men. The deified the concept of Ma’at. She was essentially the main God. The Kemet people could therefore be described as a Monotheistic people. The guiding principles of Ma’at were set out in what is known as the 42 Declarations of Purity. They are as follows:

I have not committed sin.
I have not committed robbery with violence.
I have not stolen.
I have not slain men and women.
I have not stolen grain.
I have not purloined offerings.
I have not stolen the property of the god.
I have not uttered lies.
I have not carried away food.
I have not uttered curses.
I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
I have made none to weep.
I have not eaten the heart [i.e I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
I have not attacked any man.
I am not a man of deceit.
I have not stolen cultivated land.
I have not been an eavesdropper.
I have slandered [no man].
I have not been angry without just cause.
I have not debauched the wife of any man.
I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. (repeats the previous affirmation but addressed to a different god)
I have not polluted myself.
I have terrorised none.
I have not transgressed [the Law].
I have not been wroth.
I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
I have not blasphemed.
I am not a man of violence.
I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
I have not pried into matters.
I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
I have not polluted the water or the land.
I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
I have not acted with arrogance.
I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.
I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.


– They are prefixed with either “I have not” or “I am not” in their original form, because the Kemet people believed when you died you would be judged, and you must be able to recite all 42 of the above. They were often scribed onto tombs of the dead. The 42 differ slightly in the way they are worded and the order in which they are applied from tomb to tomb depending on how each individual related their life to Ma’at, but they are essentially the same.

It is a far more elaborate list, with many declarations that should most definitely appeal today, much more so than the 10 Commandments. For example, we do not need “Thou shalt not take the Lord’s name in vain“, though we would absolutely have benefited from “I have not polluted the water or the land“.

The 42 Declarations of Purity contain eight of the ten commandments. They were known all over Egypt at the time of Moses, because they were the guiding principles of the entire State. The picture at the top of this blog entry shows a scene from the Book of the Dead, depicting a human heart weighed against the feather of truth and justice which is from the hat of the Goddess Ma’at. Egyptians believed they were to be judged against their conformity to Ma’at. Moses and his people supposedly came out of Egypt, they had lived their lives in Egypt, they would have been in constant contact with those principles. It is therefore unwise to suppose, based on Faith alone, that Moses received these laws from God, rather than reworking and shortening the original list of laws that would have governed his life up until that point.

The Kemetic people believed that the heavens and Earth were governed by the same principle (Ma’at) and you are likely to see “As above; So below” written on Kemetic tombs from the Predynastic period. The term refers to a reflection of the material World within the spiritual World; if one follows the Ma’at principles, one will lead a positive life both materially and spiritually. Similarly the Ten Commandments were expressed as both a spiritual and material way of life. It would appear however, that the author/s of the Old Testament, and Exodus in particular chose among their Ten commandments, the most possessive and power hungry laws to force their people to abide by, for reasons I presume can only be for the fact that fear, and particularly fear of the unknown – God – is the key ingredient for power.

So it would appear that the basis of our civilisation is not the Ten Commandments set out in Exodus (historians are pretty unanimous in their insistence that the Book of Exodus is entirely historically inaccurate). We are living by the Kemet principles; a small tribe in North East Africa, on the Nile Valley, 3100 years ago.


Phone Hacking, The BBC, Left Wing Conspiracies and Boris!

July 20, 2011

There are a lot of blogs and articles surrounding the staggering resignations, deaths, arrests and revelations surrounding the Met and its Press Office run almost entirely by ex-News Corp journalists and their incompetent handling of two investigations; the utterly absurd judgement and ignorance of the Prime Minister; the shameful opportunism of Ed Milliband; with regard to the News Corp hacking issue. There are hundreds of articles and new revelations popping up every day. So I wanted to a somewhat different angle to this, and run down a tangent.

Though first, it seems that the Prime Minister is on the very brink of being dragged underwater and his Premiership drowned (I say that, with a lasting smirk on my face) as it emerged that not only was Coulson brought into Tory Party HQ, but also Ex-News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis, who is one of the people who have been arrested so far, was an adviser to Coulson after Coulson began work for the Tories. This is particularly toxic for Number 10, because Wallis has already brought down Met Chief Sir Paul Steve Stephenson and Deputy Met Chief John Yates after it was revealed that the Met had employed Wallis as a PR consultant. This will be worth following, because even Tory blogger Iain Dale makes the extraordinary suggestion that Cameron could be brought down by this scandal. This is echoed with Tory blogger Mark Thompson offering up Theresa May as a replacement for Cameron, after betting agencies were taking 6-1 bets on Cameron being brought down, down from 100-1 two weeks ago.

Anyway. Onto the main point.

At Prime Minister’s questions last week, Tory MP for Beverley and Holderness, Graham Stuart asked the Prime Minister if the police would also be investigating what he refers to as a “criminal conspiracy” at the heart of the previous Labour Government and the Murdoch Empire, into the desire to undermine Tory Peer Lord Ashcroft in the run up to the General Election.

I think it necessary to evaluate the character of Graham Stuart MP directly, as to discern whether his little outburst is worthy of our attention.

When Graham Stuart was at Cambridge, he was the Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association. His term also coincided with a scandal, in which voting for his election was seen as suspicious and irregularities in the outcome meant that eight of his colleagues in the CUCA resigned in protest. Eight!

As well as having a face you just want to slap, and being a little bit untrustworthy at election time, he also managed to acquire the services of the repair men to resurface his private road leading up to his luxury mansion, at a usual cost of £2,500….. for free. There are potholes on the public roads around the town that he lives, but instead the resurfacing was used for his private estate.

But even if he had to pay for the road (which he didn’t), he would be able to, with the money he saves on his fortune, through his expense claims, which he thinks are perfectly legitimate. According to his forms, that I have spent the past couple hours of my apparently boring life reading through, he claimed half the electricity bill, half the rent on the flat which comes to £1400 a month, half the council tax, food, internet, phone, mobile phone, digital camera, tripod, an Egyptian cotton satin sheet worth £40, £240 on bed linen from John Lewis which he says represented “good value for money“, four £86 pillow cases, £8,500 on food between 2005-2009, he claimed £85 from a company called “Freestye Design” whom design company logos. I wondered why he’d be using a company like that. When his expenses were released, he said:

“if anyone has any questions or queries about individual claims they are more than welcome to email me or contact my office and I will do my best to answer them.”

So that’s exactly what I did.
He didn’t reply.

So, given that this man has a bit of a dodgy typical Tory character, one has to examine his question. The point he was trying to raise, was that Tom Baldwin, Head of communications for Ed Miliband, had obtained information about the Tory Lord’s tax affairs illegally. It’s an odd charge to make, given that no one is likely to feel all that sympathetic toward a Lord, worth over £1bn at the heart of a Government (who, indeed, is the largest donor to the Tory government) whose mantra is “save save save!!” Money must be saved everywhere, disabled people must lose out, children must lose out, everyone who isn’t rich must lose out…….. except for Lord Ashcroft, who isn’t contributing to the save save save mantra, because the “illegally obtained information” showed that he is classified as a non-dom, which means he doesn’t pay any UK tax on his fortune made abroad. Yet, he is part of a legislature, that insists the UK is on the “brink of bankruptcy“. He is hardly likely to foster the sympathy of a public, in the same way that the hacking of Millie Dowler’s phone gained. The Tories are actively trying to divert attention away from themselves, because not only did David Cameron appoint Andy Coulson (they clearly want, and desperately need an Alistair Campbell), but Boris Johnson, the Tory Mayor of London referred to the hacking scandal last year, as a Left Wing conspiracy. Whenever a Right Winger uses the term “left wing conspiracy” to refer to something they do not like (it happens alot in America, who, any time a gay guy says he wishes to get married to the love of his life, some lunatic Republican insists it’s all part of the “gay agenda“), I often want to bang my face against a wall and weep for the sanity of that particular section of humanity. Take Janet Daley writing in the Telegraph yesterday:

…..that great edifice of self-regarding, mutually affirming soft-Left orthodoxy which determines the limits of acceptable public discourse – of which the BBC is the indispensable spiritual centre.

Firstly, she does what most right wingers do, and suggests the BBC has a horrid left wing bias. She will no doubt point to some illogical evidence to back up her point, whilst ignoring all evidence to the contrary. The BBC, to me, has no real bias. It is almost impossible for a media organisation to be objective when objectivity itself is impossible with regard to politics. For example, whilst Daley will claim that Euroscepticism doesn’t get treated as a legitimate political view on the BBC, it is equally as important to point out (which she doesn’t) that the BBC personality who presents all their Westminster shows, is Andrew Neil, a man who was in the Conservative Club at the University of Glasgow, was a Conservative Party Research Assistant, and stood side by side with his former boss; Rupert Murdoch at the launch of Sky in the 1980s, before becoming a writer for the Daily Mail. It is almost impossible to become more right winged, before morphing into Margaret Thatcher. And he presents all of the BBCs Westminster coverage. The Daily Politics, sees Andrew Neil flanked by Labour MP for Hackney, Diane Abbott (never been a minister, or taken particularly seriously in politics) and Michael Portillo, a former Tory Defence Secretary, Shadow Chancellor, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Employment, and potential leadership candidate. The balance is tipped very much in the direction of the Right on this one.
The political editor at the BBC is Nick Robinson. One quick google search shows that Robinson, during his time at Oxford, was not just a member, but President of the Oxford University Conservative Association. He was National Chairman of the Young Conservatives. Before the 2010 election he compared Cameron to Disraeli. After the election when the coalition agreements were being debated and drawn up, he referred to a Lib/Lab coalition as a “Coalition of losers“. And contrary to the views of the those of us on the Left, on his blog Robinson says of Cameron:

David Cameron prides himself on being bold when big moments occur – challenging for the Tory leadership in 2005, calling on Gordon Brown to have a snap election in 2007 and that “big, bold and generous” offer to form the Coalition in 2010.

What Robinson has done there, has metaphorically kissed and caressed a photo of David Cameron.

Daley is so blissfully ignorant to the fact that the past two years has seen the political discourse dominated by the desire to see deep public sector cuts rather than tax hikes for the wealthy; it has seen the emergence of the desire to revert back to the Capitalism that indeed failed and brought the World crashing down with it from both Labour and the Tories, and it has seen the discourse in the media and from the mouths of politicians everywhere throw spear after vicious spear at the hearts of anyone on benefits or in a Union. The NHS has been attacked, the Welfare state has been attacked, Universities have been attacked, the public purse has been attacked, and yet the very people who caused the mess in the first place have been given vast pensions and allowed to go free. A Guardian poll yesterday showed the Tories ahead of Labour, which all suggests that the public discourse and its limits are very firmly in the court of the Right Wing. A left wing discourse would, above all, launch a sustained attack on the very need for public sector cuts in the first place, it would be calling for a complete reinvention of the economic system as opposed to ignoring the inherent flaws which WILL lead to another crash, it would be unequivocally supportive of the Unions and public sector workers rather than painting them as out of touch, greedy, and overpaid, it would be constantly presenting the information surrounding Corporate tax avoidance and the obscenely high cost to the taxpayer rather than attacking the single mum who claims a few quid more than she perhaps should. As a left winger, it is an insult to hear the discourse of the political landscape in this country referred to as left wing. But that is the superb nature of right winged discourse, unless we’re throwing anyone with an Asian complexion out of the country, privatising the NHS, and shooting the families of Union leaders in the face, they will insist the Country is too left wing. Boris Johnson did that when he claimed the coverage of Phone hacking was all part of a left wing conspiracy. The same Boris Johnson who will now, in his short term as Mayor of London, see the arrival of the third Met Commissioner on his watch. Not a great record. So that’s Boris, Cameron, The Met, Lord Ashcroft (who we are now supposed to feel sympathetic toward) and Graham Stuart MP, who have not had the greatest of records pertaining to the phone hacking scandal.

Back to Ashcroft. In 2005, he commissioned two polls by YouGov and Populus. The polls were huge, and were set up to help the Tories target marginal seats, therefore it is most certainly in the public interest. He commissioned them and paid for them through his company which is based in Belize, which means he didn’t pay any VAT on them. The Guardian estimated that he owed £40,000 in unpaid VAT. Ironically, Vince Cable, now part of the Tory government funded by Ashcroft, said at the time:

“This is quite serious. We are now not talking just about Ashcroft’s non-dom status, but about systematic tax avoidance in funding Conservative party activities such as polling.”

– So why on Earth should I care that a man who sort to keep his tax details private whilst funding a Party who would almost certainly allow his abuses to continue as they gutted the public purse, had his details extracted illegally? There are levels of poor conduct within the journalist arena, and those conducted by Brooks and Coulson and the Met (the Chief of the Met had a meeting with the Guardian to urge them to drop the phone hacking investigation last year) and in-directly, David Cameron, is far far worse than those by Tom Baldwin.

Graham Stuart MP should quit his ramblings and just go back to his mansion, and lay on his Egyptian Satin tax payer funded sheets.

The saga continues…


The wisdom of Philip Davies, MP

June 22, 2011

Twitter Philip Davies MP

A couple of nights ago, Twitter was alive with the news that Tory MP for Shipley, Philip Davies had stood up in the House of Commons and said this:

“If an employer is looking at two candidates, one who has got disabilities and one who hasn’t, and they have got to pay them both the same rate, I invite you to guess which one the employer is more likely to take on.

“Given that some of those people with a learning disability clearly, by definition, cannot be as productive in their work as somebody who has not got a disability of that nature, then it was inevitable that, given the employer was going to have to pay them both the same, they were going to take on the person who was going to be more productive, less of a risk.

“My view is that for some people the national minimum wage may be more of a hindrance than a help.

“If those people who consider it is being a hindrance to them, and in my view that’s some of the most vulnerable people in society, if they feel that for a short period of time, taking a lower rate of pay to help them get on their first rung of the jobs ladder, if they judge that that is a good thing, I don’t see why we should be standing in their way.”

Philip Davies ideal England is one in which sweatshops, full of people with disabilities create cheap goods for the overly privileged Tory benches to feed from, whilst the sweatshop bosses drive up to the gates of Downing Street in their brand new Mercs, accompanied by a lovely big donation for the Tory Party.

Perhaps we could use the £161,300 in expenses he claimed rather dubiously in 2009, on top of his £65,000 a year salary, to pay people a better salary? On the subject of his expense claims, he claimed the most of all Bradford MPs, and claimed £10,000 more on his second home allowance than Bradford North MP Terry Rooney. I am not entirely sure how that’s warranted, or helps him does his job to a greater degree. Incidentally, claimed for more in second home allowances than my dad makes in a year. Unsurprisingly, he clings onto this gravy train by opposing much needed Parliamentary reform. The lobby for Parliamentary reform, Power 10 label Philip Davies as one of the six MPs who will happily block reform of Parliament. This isn’t surprising, given just how much he has financially benefited from the current corrupt nature of Parliament.

Nevertheless, there is an unnerving essence to a member of our national legislature, insinuating that a person’s worth should be based solely on their physical or mental capability, and then using defensive rhetoric, heartfelt sentiment, to sound as if he only wishes to help disabled people, rather than line the pockets of his Party’s donors, and make it easy for employers to exploit without worry. It is equally as unnerving for a politician to tacitly suggest that wage discrimination is not only acceptable, but entirely the fault of those who are being discriminated against. His words sound as if he is suggesting being disabled is a lifestyle choice, that requires a bit of a punishment. That punishment should apparently be an agreement to work for less money that one needs in order to live, along with the added expense that comes with certain disabilities.

It would be right to point out that those with disabilities, who Davies wants to be paid less, did not cause the financial problems we’re now in. Ironically, for Davies, it was the private sector’s excessive greed (of which he clearly has no problem in promoting) that caused the mess, through unproductive excess profit being used – not to pay people better even when it had accumulated enough to easily manage paying more – but on dodgy asset deals. The problem in 2007 wasn’t that there appeared to be a lack of capital caused by the need to pay disabled people, or anybody a national minimum wage, but by the fact that there was an abundance of concentrated excess capital that wasn’t being put to good and productive use. Wages were stagnating for the majority of people, whilst wages at the very top climbed higher and higher. That, is entirely the fault of the private sector. Is Davies saying that if we dropped the minimum wage, wages would flourish, failed Tory economics would be proven right, and disabled people would be working shorter hours, for a loyal boss, who paid wonderfully? Because I foresee a bunch of employers driving even bigger Porsche’s whilst their £2 an hour disabled employees can no longer afford adequate care. Davies certainly didn’t offer any added benefits that some disabled people may require due to being paid below minimum wage. Grants for specialised equipment? Incomes and the ability to pay for necessary care and equipment cannot always be planned for even on a week to week basis, for those suffering certain disabilities. To promote the idea of wage discrimination against those with disabilities, at the same time as cuts to Disability Living Allowance take hold

It is a minimum wage for a reason. Do we really believe employers wouldn’t use an “opt-out” for their own advantage? Wages at the top are already obscenely high in the private sector. In 2009, for example, the chief executive of the Anchor Trust, which provides home for the elderly, took home £391,000. Anchor Trust is a charity! Whilst donations are down and employees are facing redundancy it is ludicrous for a CEO of an organisation that so many people rely on, to take home almost £400,000 a year.

I continue to be of the opinion that if an employer cannot afford to pay somebody a decent enough wage to live on, he/she shouldn’t be running a business. They are a danger to the public. £5.89 is not a lot of money, and to suggest that the rest of us are entitled to at least that, whilst a disabled person is entitled to less, purely because of a natural affliction is sensationally regressive.

The far right narrative is the problem, not minimum wage legislation. Philip Davis is attempting to remove responsibility for fair pay away from the employer, and onto the employee. Citizens UK found that of the companies in London willing to sign up to paying their lowest paid members of staff a “National living wage” rather than a “National minimum wage”, of £8.30 an hour, they managed to lift 3500 families out of poverty in 2009. It didn’t have an adverse affect on prices, in the same way as the minimum wage introduction in the late 1990s didn’t have an adverse affect as many Tories claimed it would. Campaigners for a National Living Wage are screaming out at Tesco, who have failed to ensure their cleaning staff are paid a fair living wage, despite the company making £3.8bn profit last year. Employers do not, ever, take paying their staff a respectable wage seriously. Ever. Surely if they were made to pay more, of which they can definitely afford, the money would be divided among a workforce who would pay more tax, and use the added disposable income on goods and services from businesses across the Country, rather than wasting it on the very very small band of wealthy elites?

A study in America called “Are Emily and Greg More Employable Than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination.” , found that job applicants with a white sounding name are 50% more likely to be asked back than an applicant with a white sounding name. The researches sent out 5000 applications in sales, marketing, clerical and customer service positions. The names they used were a mix of white sounding names, and black sounding names. The report showed that white applicants with stronger resumes than other white applicants received 30% more callbacks, whereas black applicants with stronger resumes than other black applicants received just 9% more callbacks. It proved that regardless of credentials, black applicants were 50% less likely to get a callback than a white applicant. I wonder if Philip Davis thinks black Americans should agree to work for less money than their white counterparts, purely because they are black? What about a black person with a disability? Back to slavery?

We should though, not be surprised by the ignorance that Philip Davis displayed. Here is an MP who voted against the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations, which state that it is unlawful to discriminate when selling goods or services, education or facilities based on sexuality. Davies therefore thinks it is acceptable for a school to expel a gay student. Or for a shop to ban a lesbian lady purely for her sexuality. He also voted against removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords. So, he wants more freedom for shop owners to ban people based on sexual orientation (individualism and all that Libertarian bollocks) yet that same individualism, he doesn’t extend to the most privileged of people passing that privilege onto their children, who may or may not have worked or produced anything worthwhile in their entire lives? Oh the hypocrisy.

In 2011 he even invented his own logic based on a lie, when it comes to making cigarette packaging plain:

“I believe that the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes is gesture politics of the worst kind. It would not have any basis in evidence and it would simply be a triumph for the nanny state and an absurd one at that.”

– The objection I have with the line “it would not have any basis in evidence” is that it does have basis in evidence. Cigarette companies spend millions on their packaging, and over the last couple of decades, they have used the idea of “light” packaging to sell products to people who believe smoking “light” fags, means less danger. A 2004 British Medical Journal research article found that:

The increase in lung cancer risk is similar in people who smoke medium tar cigarettes (15-21 mg), low tar cigarettes (8-14 mg), or very low tar cigarettes (≤ 7 mg)

– So smoking a cigarette from a package that claims to be “ultra light” means nothing. But do people really believe “ultra light” means they are at less of a risk of developing lung cancer? Does the advertisement on the packaging work? If it does, then Davis is either a liar, or a massive idiot. Well, surprisingly……. he’s a liar or a massive idiot. A University of Toronto research paper, titled “‘Light’ and ‘mild’ cigarettes: who smokes them? Are they being misled?” published in 2002 found that:

In 1996 and 2000, respectively, 44% and 27% smoked L/M (light and mild cigarettes) to reduce health risks, 41% and 40% smoked them as a step toward quitting, and 41% in both years said they would be more likely to quit if they learned L/M could provide the same tar and nicotine as regular cigarettes. These data provide empirical support for banning ‘light’ and ‘mild’ on cigarette packaging.

– The policy of plain packaging is absolutely based on evidence. It is time we started to ignore the “nanny state” hysterical screams from manic, misinformed, ignorant right wingers.

Not only that, but in 2006, after an act of vandalism was initially blamed on a group of Muslim men, Davies said:

“if there’s anybody who should fuck off it’s the Muslims who do this sort of thing.”

– It later turned out that the act of vandalism was caused by white men. Davies did not apologise, nor did he take the same tough far-right, BNP-esque line with the white vandals as he had done when he imagined the vandals were all muslim.

You might think the incessant stupidity stops there. You’d be wrong. In 2009 Davies asked:

“Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person? Why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this?

Maybe he would be happy for black people to take a pay cut after all.


An absurd introvert

June 16, 2011

Learning about myself is like reading a book I need to reread over and over to understand. Sartre’s Being and Nothingness had that affect on me. Read a page, sit and wonder what was just implied, reread the page out loud, put the book down, decide I’ll give it another go tomorrow night. I can’t imagine being in Sartre’s mind, though there must be a serenity in being able to so openly spill your insecurities and create an entire new branch of philosophical thought from them.

If I sit listening to my mind, I confuse myself excessively and have to take a minute to meditate on those confusions before ignoring them, and deciding I’m just being over analytical. Nonetheless, it is quite vicious much of the time, to feel a sort of annoying hot poker jabbing at your brain, whispering “who the fuck are you?” whilst you’re trying to focus on menial life chores.

I decided long ago that I adhere to the philosophy of absurdism made famous by Albert Camus. I discovered this absurdist leaning after becoming most annoyed by a certain work etiquette and a work colleague who seemed to embody it, like Camus’ Sisyphus quietly pushing the rock up the hill only to watch it fall down again and again. I had taken a tray of food over to a table in an uninspiring conference room. An old portrait of the owners’ grandma as a toddler plagues the far wall. An old fireplace confirms my suspicion that the whole place had failed to progress beyond the 1950s. The dullness of the room was reflected in the dullness of the people sat around the conference table waiting for their overpriced dinner to arrive. I had been asked to help take the food out, a joy that I rarely partake in, not least because it is about as intellectually stimulating and as jubilant an occasion as realising you have no toilet roll left in the house during a moment of terrible bowel discomfort. Anyway, I took a tray to the table, placed it down, took the food from the tray and put it neatly in front of the gentleman. We talked for 30 seconds or so about the local football team, and we laughed about something. He was actually very pleasant. He seemed desperate to talk to someone other than the lifeless souls who had gathered around the table to eat, like robots refilling on oil. He gave me a tip too. At my workplace, they don’t normally tip. I walked out of the room and my colleague said, in a brash tone, with a stare that could cut through solid lead, said “I cannot believe you just did that“. After giving her a look of confusion, she told me that I should NEVER put the tray down on their table because it makes us look terribly unprofessional. At that moment, it struck me, just how pointless and meaningless my job was. Just how useless an existence it is to say that your full time job, is to serve rich people. She told me it was awful to put a tray down on a table; she became red with anger. To an outsider, it was as if I had gone into that room, quietly walked over to the table and waved my willy in their faces. It was an absurd situation, of which I had to laugh. I laughed at her. Not intending to be rude, I just laughed, which is rude, but I honestly don’t care. The situation deserved a laugh, and it just spontaneously came out of my face, it couldn’t be stopped. The whole episode was so insignificant it holds more meaning to me, than much of my life so far. That very episode changed my philosophical self reasoning far more than any other.

Discovering your life and your essence are absurd; putting an end to what is seemingly considered an innate search for truth and purpose, by accepting thoroughly that truth and purpose are simply man made concepts that are vastly incompatible with the chaotic and aimless nature of the universe and the random process of natural selection, we must then discover who we are individually. This is the tricky part. There are so many contradictions in my personality and so many faults and flaws that I cannot pin down exactly who I am and this frustrates me. I want to be fully rounded, I want to understand myself entirely and I want to know that I am in control of who I am and what I do.

I think it is fair to say I am decidedly introverted. I would be happy living my life with no interference from anyone else. Whereas many people can count “good listener” as a positive personal trait, I can’t. I may act it, I may pretend to care, but ultimately I am easily bored by the stories of others, I get anxious about how to respond, especially if those stories are excessively trivial. I hate clubbing, I hate too much socialising, I prefer solitude and thought. I like my own company and time to myself. I like losing myself in a book. I may come across as ignorant and at times I wont talk much, answering everything with a simple “yeah“. This is either because my mind is wandering, or I have very little interest in what is being said to me, and feel any response would be forced and inadequate. The only person I like listening to, and being around is Ash, which is probably a good thing. We went viewing homes around Bendigo in Australia last weekend. Beautiful, and yet affordable homes. We both want a personal study room, to lock ourselves away in when we need to be alone. Often you will hear people insist that a happy relationship and a happy family is achieved by spending quality time together, and that’s true. But equally as important is having your own space. Independence is a feature I must never compromise, nor would I ever wish to throw myself so deep into someone else’s life that they feel less independent. If I feel my control over my own life is under threat, I pull away and start to question the route down which my life has rolled. I do not particularly need anyone else. I simply need to know that my World remains my World. Over my domain, I am a control freak.

Carl Jung brilliantly hypothesised that introversion and extroversion are chemical reactions in the brain; the introvert experiences large energy surges when alone or in a small group, whilst the extrovert thrives on less cortical arousal, needing instead outside stimulation. I am far more comfortable writing about how I feel, than actually telling people, because whilst I know I’m being completely irrational, I subconsciously presume that no one wants to hear my ranting, in the same way that I don’t particularly want to hear the rantings of others. I cannot abide people bitching endlessly about each other, or quite clearly having issues with each other and not communicating them. I notice the unneeded tension that I am not a part of, and wonder why the fuck I am in that situation, feeling slightly uncomfortable. I suppose introvert is simply a synonym for prodigiously self involved. That is certainly what “blog” is a synonym for. Or maybe it is the climax to a series of insecurities that chip away but never get faced. I don’t know which line of reasoning I prefer. Spending too much time around others drives me close to insanity and drains me of all energy, I get all anxious and need to get away. Life is not a waste of time, if it is spent on introspection, and reflection, as long as it doesn’t eat away at you. It is a constant search for an identity that seems to so fleetingly blow in the wind. There is an impeccable beauty in the solitude I feel when I am sitting on the beach wall at Dawlish Warren on the English south coast, in the early morning, with no one else around, the sounds of the sea at that particular place is the most serene and perfect of all places in my World. That is where I go when I close my eyes at night.

That is me.


This could be 1983

May 13, 2011

The Conservatives haven’t changed. It is true that they are the epitome of what it means to be wealthy, privileged, and have an in-built mechanism of contempt for anybody who isn’t wealthy and privileged. I find their politics to be vicious and nasty, and their economics to be self serving and hypocritical. They are typical of the type who wish to use a system to climb to the heights they have, and then burn the ladder up which they or their family before them, climbed.

They will always use the “deficit” (which isn’t that bad) to justify the unjustifiable, simply because no one except a tiny band of elite scumbags will ever accept their economic principles. Libertarianism is dangerous and unhealthy to a civilised society. It is built on the premise of judging a nation by how rich its most wealthy have become, how concentrated that wealth has become, rather than how society protects its most vulnerable.

Their language is arrogant, vicious, dirty, and out dated, to match their political stance. Here is a few examples of Tories being Tories.

  • Wandsworth Council today announced plans for the Autumn, to charge children £2.50 to use the local park. It is in response to the £55mn it needs to find in spending cuts. Instead of fighting the obvious manipulation of figures from the Treasury which suggest we’re on the verge of becoming Greece (which we aren’t), and instead of pointing out that the Treasury is in worse shape now than it was when Labour left office, and expected to get worse, with regard to inflation and unemployment……… the Council has just accepted the bullshit, and decided that along with the disabled and the unemployed, children should be the next to be hit. We now have more property millionaires than anywhere in Europe – creating an horrendous property apartheid especially in the South, we have a banking system that has managed to get away with causing chaos, and we have a mass of Corporate tax avoiders costing the system £25bn a year….. and yet Wandsworth Council think the way to go is to make children aware that from now on, any ounce of fun, is going to cost them money. The excuse? The same typical excuse Libertarians use all the time, the same tired, nasty excuse Tories have been using for decades:

    “Why should Wandsworth taxpayers subsidise children from other boroughs?”

    – Who thinks like that? It makes me squirm.
    If that’s the case, why should the majority of left leaning voters (over 57% at the 2010 election) subsidise the jobs of a right wing government? I don’t want our family tax money to pay for our Tory MP to live so comfortably. I don’t want our tax money to go to paying a National debt whilst the very wealthy manage to pump their money into offshore accounts, and be allowed to claim expenses on running those offshore companies, against the UK tax they don’t pay. We are subsidising their ability to pay nothing. They couldn’t run a successful business in the UK, and offshore its profits, without functioning roads, a decent healthcare system, a property protection system like the police force, an education system to prepare their future workforce. And yet, their right to offshore, is supported by our Government who instead choose to attack children’s parks. Great.

    The Tories main campaign poster in 2010 was this:
    – So imagine our surprise when Mark Britnell, who made it into the Top Ten of the most influential people when it comes to healthcare in the country by the HSJ, former Director-General for Commissioning and System Management for the NHS and now “health policy expert” on David Cameron’s personal NHS advisory group said this to a group of Private Healthcare lobbies, organised by private equity firm Apax:

    “In future, the NHS will be a state insurance provider not a state deliverer. The NHS will be shown no mercy and the best time to take advantage of this will be in the next couple of years.”

    Minister for Health Andrew Lansley, who is worth an estimated £700,000, and spent the Labour years flipping his second home, claiming expenses for renovating a cottage designated his second home, before selling it for a tidy profit, before claiming for furniture for his flat in London now designated his second home, insists that he isn’t considering NHS privatisation. One wonders what his most charitable donor, John Nash, of Private Health company Care UK thinks about that. Nash donated £21,000 to Lansley’s private office, whilst they continue to make 96% of their profit from the NHS. Care UK stand to make a great deal more from increased involvement of the private sector in the NHS.

  • Cameron promised that front line jobs would not be cut from the NHS, before the election. Vowing to protect the NHS is a big vote winner in the UK. Cameron knew that. He then didn’t win the election, didn’t get a mandate, and so decided to rip the NHS to shreds. According to Unison, 500 jobs at St George’s Hospital in South London are to go, along with three wards and 100 beds. Similarly, Kingston Hospital in South West London announced that around 20% of its workforce will need to go, to meet the governments cost saving demands. The government repeatedly claims it is increasing spending on the NHS in real terms. Another lie. NHS spending is set to grow by less than under the Thatcher years, which is when the NHS was gutted almost to complete meltdown. Here’s how that “increase” looks on a graph:
    Between 1997 and 2010, the number of doctors increased by 57% and nurses by 31%. Funding rose from around £1bn a year (less than Philip Green paid his family in dividends in 2009, which he financed by taking out a loan, which in turn reduced his Corporate tax rate as the interest on the loan could be offset against Corporate profits of his firm Arcadia) under the Tories, to £4.3bn under Labour, which increased the activity of the NHS by over 40%. It worked. We are healthier now than we were in the 1980s, we are living longer, and morale in the NHS was higher than the 1980s. Increases in spending this year, when adjusted for inflation, will be 0.024% from April 2011. Great. In fact, Sir David Nicholson, Chief executive of the NHS said this about the new spending plans for the NHS:

    there has never been a time where we have had four years of flat real growth. It is unprecedented.

    – There are many Tories that will argue consistently and poorly, that Osborne and the Tories are championing the NHS and funding it amazingly well beyond all recognition. Listening to them, is perilous.
    Waiting lists are already sky rocketing. In Coventry, it was reported that there would be a 13 week waiting list for Hernia repair at Walsgrove University hospital. That has now increased to 26 weeks and should be considered “just a guideline” as lists are likely to increase again this year.
    According to County Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust:

    Trust is undertaking a £60m cost cutting exercise to be delivered by 2014, including £20m in 2010/11. The trust is also cutting 300 beds. 300 nursing jobs will be lost through natural wastage Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust: equivalent cost savings of around 200 fewer jobs are required to meet financial targets. In cash terms, the trust is making cost efficiencies of £25m over 3 years. City Hospitals Sunderland: The Trust undertook a £22.5m cost cutting exercise for financial year just gone. NHS County Durham and Darlington : The NHS service providers in County Durham and Darlington are undertaking a £200m cost cutting exercise over the next 3 years. The trust is cutting 62 senior nurse posts and replacing them with 78 more junior posts. In addition, County Durham PCT has identified 110 management posts for redundancy.

    The managerial posts are “in addition” to front line nursing.

  • Cameron told a female Labour MP in the House of Commons – the NATIONAL LEGISLATURE – to “calm down dear”. One wonders what Tory MP for Loughborough Nicky Morgan thought of this childish, sexist outburst from our Prime Minister, given that she was seen visibly laughing in the House of Commons at that pathetic remark, yet accused ME of being sexist when I simply asked if she had asked a planted question a few weeks back.
    This comes a few weeks after Cameron took a swipe at ethnic minorities in his attack on multiculturalism, in which he mentioned Islam and Muslims 36 times in twenty minutes, and Sikh, Hindu, Jewish, Taoist, Buddhist not a single time. It was an attack on Islam, to the point where even Nick Griffin called the speech “provocative” and members of the EDL said that Cameron “understands us”.
    That came about a week after Osborne referred to an openly Labour MP in the Commons as the “pantomime dame”. It isn’t surprising, their stance on homosexuality, given that whilst 100% of Lib Dems, and 99% of Labour MPs voted to repeal the nasty little Section 28 law that banned anything positive being said about homosexuality in schools, only 24% of Tories voted to repeal it. And whilst 100% of Lib Dems, and 95% of Labour MPs voted in favour of allowing gay adoption……. only 6% of Tories voted for it. So that’s homophobia, sexism, and racism all within a year. What else is left? Ah yes, class.
    David Shakespeare, leaders of the Tory Councillor for Buckinghamshire Council said that poor northerners who are losing their jobs due to the cuts, should go down to London and pick the fruit of the land owners down south, instead of seeking job seekers allowance. He also said:

    ‘The North may replace the Romanians in the cherry orchards, that may be a good thing’

    – Not even a necessary thing? Not even a regretful thing? A GOOD thing? He doesn’t mind kicking people out of their work and their jobs, he thinks it’s a great thing, because they’ll come to the south and work on his land for next to no money! He’s happy that the North is about to be gutted, again, of all funding whilst the south thrives, again, like the 1980s. Luckily I am from the Midlands, so I’m not sure i’d have to pick this overweight Tory prick’s fields, but i’m not sure if I have to bow as he drives past in his luxurious horse and cart.

  • Osborne announced this week that he was going to make it easier for companies to cut pay, cut pensions, dismiss people, and be allowed to get away with being discriminatory. In essence, he plans to make job security as unsafe as possible. It will be golden news to people like my boss. It is an attack on the workforce again. Presumably he will moan about Unions trying to hold the country to ransom whilst he attacks the rights of as many workers as possible, expecting us all to just bend over and take it. I hope the Unions unite and fight, I hope for a period of industrial action on a scale never seen before, and I hope a general strike is called as soon as possible If it is going to be a case of a very wealthy minority making life as miserable and difficult as possible for the many, then I hope the many fight back. Osborne claims employment rules are holding back job creation. He of course, is wrong. Job creation is held back significantly by a vast majority of big bosses plundering money into dodgy stocks or increasing their salaries beyond recognition. Why not cap private sector managerial wealth to a percentage of the lowest paid? Therefore when the lowest paid gets an increase, so does the highest paid. The extra-profit to be used to employ new people. Why attack the right of the workforce to a decent level of job security and working conditions? Why is that the only solution? Do you know what else creates job losses? It is happening on a smaller scale across the country, cuts are having affects on jobs and livelihoods. Cuts….
  • Derby’s Historic Industrial museum has had to close, 9 job losses.
  • Bishop Aukland College – 179 jobs losses.
  • South Tyneside College – 200 jobs to go.
  • Tyne Metropolitan College – 66 jobs to go.
  • Stockton Riverside College – 23 jobs to go.
  • City of sunderland College – 69 jobs to go.
  • Newcastle College – 171 jobs to go.
  • East durham college – 76 jobs to go.
  • New Cross library, Crofton Park library, Sydenham library, Grove Park library, Blackheath library all to close.
  • Oxford Brookes University – 400 support staff received “at risk” letters.
  • Diss weekly Youth Centre praised by police for helping troubled children, to close, and staff to lose their jobs.
  • Taunton Primary School – no more music teacher, no more music lessons.
  • A Big Society initiative – new volunteers to help out at museums in Hampshire – to replace 25 staff who have lost their jobs. Unpaid staff to replace paid staff. Great.
  • Five libraries in Lewisham to close.
  • Cuts to NHS disabled transport in Dumfries – jobs losses expected.
  • 50% of pupil support assistants assigned to children with special needs, to be cut in Aberdeen.
  • 21,000 job losses at Lloyds……..
  • ….. former Lloyds boss Eric Daniels takes home a bonus of £1.45mn…..
  • ….. new Lloyds boss António Horta-Osório takes a signing on fee of £6mn and a salary of £1.6mn.

    In short, the poor need jobs to live. The rich need the poor to be as close to slaves as possible, reliant entirely on them to be able to eat, to be called lazy and scroungers and attacked as greedy if they unionise or refuse to work for a piss poor boss in piss poor conditions for piss poor pay. It is not a plan to increase job creation, it is a plan to enable the very wealthy, to get even more wealthy – to buy an extra yacht to fill the void in their soul – by asking more and more of their staff for as little as possible, and it’s always been the case. The project is designed to make people believe their tax money is wrongly being used, not just by people who claim to have a physical disability whilst they play tennis and golf 24 hours a day, but also by children playing on swings in the town next to yours, as opposed to the fact that your tax money is actually used to make sure that the wealthiest get massively insane tax cuts with Corporation tax expected to drop from 28% in 2010….. to 15% in 2020. That is what your tax money is funding. Make sure the man in the expensive house in Notting Hill thanks you for his lovely new Mercedes….. but don’t let your kids play on the park next to his house, you scrounging scumbag.

    The progress the country has made since the hell of the 1980s, is about to be burnt to the ground. Do not be fooled into thinking this “has to be done”, it is Conservative party ideology, they have waited over a decade to have this chance.

    They are attempting to replace compassion, with greed, and it’s working.


  • Like life

    April 15, 2011

    Sometimes I just want to write.
    I don’t know why, but it becomes a sort of irreproachable desire that overwhelms whatever it is I am doing at the particular moment and I want to write. I have hundreds of drafts of random blogs I’ve started when the propensity to sit down at my laptop and arrange thought patterns into words massacres all other modes of thought. And then I get frustrated with the direction the blog takes, knowing it has no real ending, and so I just give up and wallow in languid self pity. I am told this is common for people who enjoy writing. Perfectionism is a fucking bitch. So I thought i’d just write, and see where it leads, and when it ends it ends. And like life It has no overwhelming purpose or meaning, and just imposes itself on those it chooses without aim, quickly forgotten. Bits and pieces imprint themselves on the memory of the back of the darkest reaches of the consciousness, but its essence is always there contributing to what it is (even in the smallest and seemingly insignificant ways) that makes you, you.

    I was five when we moved away from Cavendish Road, just off of Saffron Lane. I vividly remember a significant amount of enlightening episodes from before the move. Here are a few:

    I remember the fucking horrendous accents – I hate the Leicester accent. I have made a conscious effort over the years to eradicate it from my own speech. If being beaten up badly, and then being spat on as you lay crying in a wrecked ball in a shit filled gutter could be conveyed through an accent, it would be the Leicester accent. It does however provide some beautifully crafted sentences I over hear a lot. Today, in Tesco, a boy on his mobile phone, said “yeah well Josh can suck the fucking piss out of my dirty black nips”. I have never in my life wanted to kill someone for raping the English language, whilst at the same time wanting to worship him as the God of beautiful sentences, so much.

    I remember a man being kicked in the face by two other men and then being chased away.

    I remember drawing a picture of a boat and my teacher pinning it up on the door of the classroom. I was so proud. But we lived in the social darkness and backwardness of Tory England then, as we do now, and no one told me that pursuing art for art sake is irrelevant in Tory England, we should aim for a life in a call centre instead. Beauty is the destitute office with the distinct smell of printer ink, in Tory England.

    I remember adorning myself in Leicester City blue and white and walking down to Filbert Street with my dad, past the rows of cars with Leicester City badges in the windows, and drifting into the wind with the same fans week after week. I was born one year after Gary Lineker moved to Everton from Leicester. The early 90s weren’t the greatest years for Leicester. Though I saw them play in the most exciting Wembley play off final i’ve ever seen, when Swindon Town beat us 4-3 after we went from 3-0 down to 3-3. Steve Thompson was the man on the back of my Leicester shirt that year. The walk to Filbert Street down Saffron Lane was one of the highlights of my childhood. I once saw a man push a grown woman down a flight of stairs of the double decker stand at Filbert Street, she smacked her head and passed out. That wasn’t such a highlight.

    I remember my dad and I watching a sunday league football match on Nelson Mandela park, when the ball was manically kicked out of play, and smashed me in the face. The guilty player (who I am adamant even now, should be shot) came over deeply apologetic, and is now one of my dads good mates. My dad befriended my abuser. Thanks dad.

    I remember walking downstairs one morning to find our shop had been broken into, the windows smashed, and police talking to my dad. This is pretty normal when you live a few doors in from Saffron Lane. The terraced houses all look the same; the towering army of Edwardian brick chimney tops, street after street. England. But the street is usually full of kids kicking a ball, and old women with nets over their hair for some uninspiring reason. Mrs Spick lived opposite us. I always thought ‘Spick’ was a name that conveyed the feeling of living in cramped streets. She was about 50. I vividly remember the awful smell that emanated from her. She spat when she spoke. Missus Spick spat when she spoke. Oh how the structure of language can disguise the vile essence it is trying to convey. Which leads me onto the next memory.

    I remember the day I learnt the word “cunt”. I was 5. I overheard a man on my street call his girlfriend a cunt. We Leicestarians know how to treat our ladies. I didn’t know what it meant, so I thought i’d put this wonderful new addition to my vocabulary to use immediately. My friend who was over with his mum, and I were playing with our wrestling figures. I was Brett Hart, he was Crush. Crush attacked Brett and kicked him across the room. I didn’t hesitate any longer, “you cunt”, I yelled as loud as I could. The helper at our shop overheard me and went insane at me. So I called her a cunt too. I didn’t know what it meant, but the reaction was amazing. One single word could cause an atomic bomb to explode around me? This was like gold dust! Thus began my fascination with the power of language. Word became both exciting, yet largely meaningless and empty. My year 7 English teacher told my parents I would never be a reader and i’d never be a writer. I’ve told this story to a lot of people, because it explains exactly why I struggle at times with my confidence. She used language to convey her stupidity and ignorance and I knew it even back then. Just because I didn’t like Shakespeare, nor her, I was doomed to sit dribbling on myself and getting fat in a dark room with nothing but a TV for entertainment. What a cunt.

    I remember cricket. I come from a cricket background. My dad played cricket. He now coaches cricket. He loves cricket. My mum catered for cricket testimonial matches. I could often be found in a hired out old pub, surrounded by people in grey suits talking about who should and shouldn’t make the team. Cricket is an odd game. It is played by kids, coached by the kids grown up, and watched by snobs. The pub rooms and the snobs always smelled of real ale. I can remember the smell so distinctly. Sometimes I miss it. Real ale, and old leather from the seats in the pub rooms. I played cricket for the school for a few years. I was pretty good too. But my god, it’s a boring sport.

    I remember being told by our school that we should be careful because there is a man roaming the area trying to take kids by offering them sweets. I have only just learnt that all schools do this every year to teach kids about the risk of paedophiles. But when I was younger, it sounded to me like they were warning us against taking sweets from people. Why would they do that? If someone is offering me sweets, I should say no? Only people who offer kids sweets, want to kill me? All of them? This confusion led me at the age of seven to accuse the shop keeper at the end of the road of trying to take kids, because he sells Snickers. In a shop full of people, me, a kid, accused the shop keeper of being a child molester. Great. Thanks school! Not only did you make me believe I could be Fritzled at any moment, you also ruined the life of the nice corner shop owner. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.

    I remember a man a few doors down from us, who was in his 90s and had one leg, the other had been blown off when Saffron Lane was bombed during the war. On the BBC war website, a writer who was eight years old during the war writes:

    The worst bomb damage that I saw was in Cavendish Road, on August 21st 1940. I was with my dad in his lorry on the coal wharf at Danvers Road. The air raid siren sounded, it was just after ten o’clock. Dad made me go into an air raid shelter near by, when the all clear sounded, I came out of the shelter and we could see the smoke rising. Dad was worried as it looked to be in the direction of where we lived. He said “come on son we had better go and see if mum is OK”. As we came up the Saffron Lane past the end of Cavendish Road the gas main was blazing and I could see lots of bomb damage, many buildings were in ruins, people were just being rescued with ambulance’s and fire engines all around. This was less than half an hour after the raid. Six people were killed

    All I knew from the history of my street, was that it had been destroyed during the war. This one guy in his 90s used to say this his knee in his one remaining leg hurt, and he’s lucky he doesn’t have to deal with pain in the other one. He was fascinating. Here is a picture of the building that got hit. Our place was a few doors up from here:


    The houses are pretty much exactly as they were back then. Though, minus that massive gaping hole on the corner.

    I remember my primary school teacher had some sort of odd mental breakdown whilst reading a book with me one day, and started to sing “the wheels on the bus” whilst stood on a table. She then collapsed and was taken away by the school nurse and a few teachers. It’s funny because I worried about her. We never saw her at school again. Years later I saw her driving.

    End.


    The mouth of a river in spring

    March 17, 2011

    When I was six, before life became work, and taxes, and benefit cheats, and women, and racism, and war, and men in suits, and bin collections, and Churchill car insurance, and bank charges for unplanned overdrafts, and Company mission statements with their empty phrases, and burnt out cars, and call centres, and fights to prove you’re masculine, and cars, and alcohol and other games that adults play, I got so angry at my mother one day that I ran away. It was a big decision. I packed my rucksack with crayons and a yoghurt, and ran away.

    I braced myself for the harsh conditions I expected I would face as I set out on my trek.

    Before I continue, I thought I should explain the state of mind I was almost always in, as a child. And nothing explains that state of mind better than a picture of me apparently pretending to be a surfboard.

    If that isn’t enough, here is a picture I drew a couple of years later. I think this should convince you of my state of mind. And also, convince Tate Britain that I have been overlooked far too often for the Turner Prize.

    Anyway, I had ran away from home.

    I lived for the next ten minutes in a bush at the bottom of the garden, before making my way back across the hostile environment of the 20 or so feet to the house, to get back home because it was a bit cold, and I liked Saved by the Bell. I was under the impression that my mother must be going mad with worry, and the police might now be in the house, and that it’d teach her for not buying me the football magazine that I wanted.

    Whilst I was in the bush, I decided that the ladybird that was on the leaf next to me, was called Daisy and that she was playing hide and seek with another lady bird and that I had to tell the other lady bird that I hadn’t seen daisy, if the other lady bird were to ask. The other lady bird never appeared. I guessed this was because Daisy had chosen a fucking amazing hiding place. She was on one leaf out of the hundreds of thousands of leaves that were enjoying the great British springtime. The leaf she was perched on was facing downwards. I decided that the leaf must be helping Daisy out but I couldn’t decide whether this was cheating or not.

    I vividly remember wishing Daisy luck with the rest of the game, and that if I were her, i wouldn’t hide in the shed, because I once put all my action men figures in there and they are now covered in spider webs from the World’s biggest spiders. I used to think the dad spider (which was obviously bigger than my house) would eat me if I tried to rescue my action men. One day a few months later, I hatched a profound plan to rescue the action men (and wrestling figures), by creeping into the shed, with a beanie hat on, and my face covered by my hands, and making what I had decided were “spider noises” to trick the dad spider. It worked. The dad spider must have fell for my tricks. I felt so fucking clever. The action men and wrestling figures are now gathering dust in my loft, because my room is too full of work on the “qualitative methodology in research journalism“. So, when I remember all my little imaginative games (which I believed were real at the time), in those ten minutes in that bush when I was six, I had an imagination that I now envy twenty years later.

    We are like roses that have never bothered to
    bloom when we should have bloomed and
    it is as if
    the sun has become disgusted with
    waiting

    It is like a door that is slowly closing, to a room full of imagination. Every year that passes, the door creaks ever so more toward being fully closed, as your mind is taken up with things that do not make us happy, or achieve anything of any worth. I try to peek inside that door, when I am taking photos, or writing in my notebook, but it still requires much thought and consideration to enjoy. When I was six years old, it took no effort to believe that a ladybird on the leaf next to me, was enjoying the sun, with a game with her ladybird friends.

    Imagination is limited to dreams now. When I was a child I had no need for dreams at night. My imagination in real life was adequate. Some days, I was a professional footballer who was only six years old, but had become the most successful goal scorer in history. The commentators would say “He’s incredible. The greatest that ever lived“. Other days I was a professional boxer. The World Heavyweight Championship was my pillow. I would put it on my stomach and use my mum’s dressing gown tie to tie it around my waist.The commentators, quite coincidentally would say “He’s incredible. The greatest that ever lived“. I was the greatest that ever lived at a lot of things by the time I was seven. I could sleep easily at night without having to dream, knowing my World Heavyweight Championship would still be there in the morning. Now, I dream every night. I remember every second of every dream. I interpret it as a desire to imagine. My mind simply telling me “Okay forget everything about your boring day, here is what matters……” followed by a dream about a theme park being built in my street over night and no one knowing who did it or where it came from (a genuine dream I had not too long ago).

    When I see a ladybird now, I don’t even acknowledge it. I don’t count its spots. I don’t even give it a name and a back story. I am too busy thinking about the NHS reforms.

    How sad.

    I want my imagination to explain why I prefer the mouth of a river in spring, to the grey lifeless buildings filled with the grey lifeless people with their grey lifeless language, that frequent them, even though those lifeless buildings are where the money and the apparent “dignity” lies and why those grey lifeless people in the grey lifeless buildings with their grey lifeless language, don’t congregate every evening, to forget their colourless lives, at the mouth of a river in spring.