Archives for category: Politics

This may well not be a popular viewpoint amongst these new “tech” consumers, people who have had computers of some form or other in their life for their entire life. People who have come of age in an era of programmes such as the X Factor, Strictly Come Dancing et al.
They claim to “love” things made by people such as musicians. However, they only love it if it is free. They love free, consequence free art. Or, they buy digitally through one of the various portals into which we volunteer reams of data, and ignore a plethora of conditions; in order to only spend seven tenths of a pound on a song.
Who benefits from this arrangement? Certainly not the artist, for often they receive a mere single figure percentage of the received income. Not the record label, as they also do receive barely enough money. It also is not the customer. They receive a low quality product which is designed to be heard once, maybe twice and then mostly forgotten about until the utilisation of something called “iTunes Genius“, reminding you of all these songs you actually have.
So no verifiable person wins, nobody who spent their childhood after school learning an instrument, in the vague hope that maybe one day they could earn a crust from their skills. Their idle wanderings along the fretboard as a teen were for their pleasure, but then they realised they were actually quite good at this old lark. Why not try and do it forever? Making music.
Making music is something which is inherent amongst humans. There has always been music. There always will be music. The worry is that we have entered a new age. Not one of particular beauty, of innovation, of expansion or new thought. One where the race to the bottom is the only worthwhile thing. Where everything is described only in profit margins – from the food we eat to the television we watch.
As a result, we are processed into thinking we have more control over our culture, through televised karaoke. We don’t seem to realise that the more we buy into this fake form of “democracy”, the more we lose sight of what it means to live in a decent society. Art is no longer extant for searching for truth, or beauty or a profound sense of what it is simply to be. It is produced in great factories in order that we, the consumer; can forever try and keep up with the vulgar Joneses.
In a world where we believe we have a right to not pay for anything, what do we expect? Our conditioned greed in this toxic environment leads us to believe that because we have more of everything, it is therefore better and more culturally rewarding than in the past. More songs, more films, more television channels, more books.
What people fail to realise is that it is all pulp. Crass, mass produced stupidity. Where are the good ideas anymore?
We, as the world; have not seen new innovations in politics, literature or art that have changed the entire future course of their areas for decades. Everybody peddles all the same wares. Carbon copies of things once done. We need originality, we need to engender an atmosphere in which the eccentric, the bohemian and the simply philosophical can take root.
Since the advent of television, and its incessant popularity since; we have become weaker intellectually. People think that they have access to new and better information with a television. This would be a fine assumption, if it were possible for people to make television programmes. As it stands, a very small number of people across the globe actually put out any form of prgramming.
We are being trained into being stupid. We are trained into accepting things as they are, accepting that art is only ever money.
Maybe, these kids will argue that there are no more geniuses, which is simply absurd. Genius will always exist in people, but if we create a world in which they suffocate rather than breathe in the admiration of their peers, of course they will be forced into mundanity and a real job.
I do not want to live in a world where people pay only £0.69 for a song. Something which most true artists would have pored over maybe for years. It all starts with the musicians. The longer we allow ourselves to be spoonfed the lie that cheap equals good, the longer we will wander headfirst into a new European Dark Age. We are on the cusp. If we persist in humiliating and devaluing that which has the true ability to satirise our society, thus muzzling it and castrating its ability to have any impact, then we will be judged by history as the people who just didn’t care.
I hope you think twice next time the cursor hovers of “Buy now”. Don’t do it, engage yourselves.

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So as not to trick you into reading something which will potentially offend you, I will start off by being blunt: I hate the charade that surrounds Armistice Day. If this idea offends you, and your mind is closed; then by all means click the “x” on the tab and away yourself to enjoy your day. That is your prerogative. As it is mine to not wear a poppy, and to not support the British Legion or Help for Heroes.

The problem emanates with people, unfortunately. In Britain, it is the correct thing to “support our boys” as “heroes”. Most of the time, people who do not engage with, and participate in; such behaviour tend to be viewed as subversive, as outsiders, as inflammatory. I’m none of these things, I’m merely anti-War. People say that Remembrance Day is about showing “respect” and “honouring the dead” of wars. It would be great, except that isn’t what it has become.

Really showing respect and honouring those who have died in wars, would be to either ultimately end all war or to live as the society they died to defend. One where to have a contrary opinion is not a crime, is not going to be a dark mark against your name and character, is not going to paint you in the most noticeable of colours.

I detest war. I detest the capitalist state because its end function is war. War generates revenue. War acquires resources to sell. War is capitalism.

But it is not only that. The Red Poppy is the fundraising tactic of the British Legion. They in turn give the monies to British soldiers. They make no distinction between the Conscripts of the First World War, the Anti-Fascist War of the thirties and forties – and wars like the Falklands and Afghanistan and Éire. The Red Poppy crowd want to whitewash over history, to paint an image of the archetypal British Soldier as somebody who only engages in conflict with the very best of intentions and as a very last resort. Somebody who would never kill unarmed civilians who are fleeing, would never skink a ship sailing away and outside the conflict zone, somebody who would never attempt to cover up a massacre in a “British” city.

The truth is, it is not that simple. The British Armed Forces are neither heroes nor villains. They do what they are told. There is no heroic spirit. Merely killing as a result of killing. Which begets more killing. Also, there is the question of whether or not the British Army is in fact even an army anymore, when it is deployed more as a paramilitary police force. It is pre-emptive, first to strike and heavy-handed. Ask the Irish people, if you want to have your views challenged.

War is not a nice little abstract idea that happens “elsewhere”. That is what people who organise them would like us to believe, as it is good for morale; and there’s less chance of people turning against it if it isn’t on their doorstep; people other than british soldiers die in War. Where is their remembrance? Is there room for the civilians of Dresden on the Poppy? For the Fourteen murdered in Doire? Baile Átha Cliath? Muineachán? The Argentinians on the Belgrano? The Mau Mau?

See, the problem is, the Red Poppy is about normalising war and reducing dissent. It encourages people to think only in terms of “black and white” wherein the army is on the side of the Angels, and the Enemy is Satan reincarnate. It encourages people to forget that civilians, too; are damaged beyond repair by shrapnel, by poor planning and by callousness.

Remembrance Day has become a propaganda tool. Wear a White Poppy to remember all War dead. Or wear none at all to show that you are living in a country that the men and women from the Second World War would recognise. One where dissent is considered a vital part of the due process of “democracy”.

Armando Ianucci is a superb mind, and has a superb knack of displaying a vision of how we think the country is run. During previous seasons of TToI, it was genuinely satirical because there appeared to be an air of “we know what we’re doing” emanating from within the gilded hallways of power. This series seems to fall a little flat, admittedly after only three episodes; because it is no longer mocking anymore. I believe that, the LibDems’ characters aside; it is how government happens.

So far it has felt a little forced. Now with three parties all vying for attention, it makes the stories a little more fraught and all-encompassing. Obviously the idea of TToI without Tucker et al is not possible – but taking us to their “ShadCab” feels unnecessary. We know how unloved the opposition is because we are the people ignoring them, it seems a bit redundant to show us the opposition in a room feeling unloved.

Whilst it has felt messy, the stand-out characters have been Peter Mannion MP and Phil. Once TToI is approached from an emotionally disinvested viewpoint, Phil becomes really a good character. Rather than being a twat in a suit, he becomes a walking joke. Something even funny as Phil himself is acutely aware of just how out-of-place, and out of love he is.

Mannion feels very much like Ken Clarke. Someone who originally felt like a radioactive spillage – something to avoid and leave well alone; now feels rather human. Rather, dare I say it; likeable. His mishaps are not evil engineered by the party machine, but rather an inopportune moment with a lens thrust in his face. I hate his policies, but I could accept his existence.

The real meat of TToI has always been in sweary, creative put-downs. This doesn’t really work in the environment of a coalition government. The key idea being to work together, so everyone is trying to get along. When things do go wrong, the outbursts are funny (see Stewart breaking Phil’s phone) but it is more out of angry spontaneity instead of genuine cold calculation and the desire to embarrass Ben Swain/ Nicola Murray/ anyone else.

I love TToI, and you’d have thought that a government split between the industry killing Tories and pointless Lib Dems would be a haven for Ianucci. A shame that the new characters get in the way. Obviously, for continuity reasons the actors couldn’t just become a different party in the same universe. That would be simple lunacy. But there is no empathy, not even through a malevolent dose of Schadenfreude. For it to really work, the characters have to make you believe they are worth investing in.

It makes even grimmer viewing for somebody who is well acquainted with Ianucci’s recent work in the USA, Veep. Much the same sort of set-up as in TToI, but focusing on the Office of the Vice President. Maybe it just seems better because it is fresh, the characters and situations are new. Whether or not that is the case, TToI needs to buck its ideas up, otherwise this last season will forever be remembered as the show on its last, confused legs.

I’m not going to tell you what my political leanings are, precisely. That doesn’t matter, and it is important for this to be read as it is; not tainted by what I believe, or what people think I believe.

What started out as a noble advert, ironically; in Adbusters magazine has grown into a morphed and sickening monster. The advert depicted a ballet dancer atop the bull, the famous bronze sculpture symbolising that most important of streets just off-Nassau St. In the background, however; was a group of people who appeared to be shrowded all in black, throwing things; looking lively; causing things to happen.

Instead, Occupy has become so self righteous it is beyond nauseating. As one umbrella organisation it has become bogged down in stodgy decision making (consensus is great, of course it is; but it can be taken to a ridiculous extreme); a sense of its own importance far beyond any that has ever been independently attributed to it.

It is saddening. It could have been a force for real dissent, for co-ordinating civil disobedience and disrupting things. Alas, it is content to stay in areas the state has deemed acceptable; a focus on “non-violence” to the point of apathy (guys, it isn’t violent if it is towards an inanimate object i.e. a coffee shop); and god help you if your views stray from those of the party line.

In the U.K. the most successful action has been placing a banner inside a railway station. When you aim to bring capitalism to its knees, who is processing the thoughts that arrive at that being the best action? Banner drops are never going to end capitalism. It’s all too vague. Where are the marches, the direct actions, the actual energy?

Occupy likes to declare itself as the vanguard of the Anticapitalist movement. From where does this legitimacy stem? Just because you shout the loudest and have tents on public ground does not make you a vehicle through which all dissent must be channelled. We’ve had the Millbank demo, the December student demo and the riots in this country in the last two years. Still Occupy doesn’t get it.

If you’re trying to engage with “the youth” eventually they will get sick enough of being told what to do by Levellers fans toting the Morning Star that they take back their voice. They don’t need you. They do things properly. They don’t happily sit within the confines of a system they despise, and which has neglected them for years. They get it done.

The most fantastic thing is the “state sanctioned” protest aspect of Occupy. Sitting on public land is not a protest. Sitting outside a Cathedral is not a protest. The people at the helm of the movement are steering a course straight into an iceberg of mediocrity and ridicule.

Occupy could have been fantastic. Alas, however like so many groups akin to UAF and others, it has fallen foul of egomania. It’s a shame.

You know sometimes when you get the feeling that something or someone isn’t being entirely honest with you? They are probably aware that you know you don’t trust them, and can not rely on them to be there for you; so instead of admitting it- they just ignore your problem and try and force down your throat a completely unrelated topic?

I’m pretty sure that’s what is happening with these olympics. The ever-so-inept “bastard Tory” governmnet knows it can no longer fob people off with “it was Labour! Blame them! shut up !” so they distract everyone by making the state-run television broadcaster report ceaselessly on whether or not anyone who gives a fuck can get to Stratford.

(The answer is yes. But at the cost of everybody who gives precisely 0 fucks).

It’s not that I am anti-sport. I love sport. There are few more socially inclusive and rewarding experiences than going to a park and taking a football. I am anti this olympiad. I am anti the fact that it is enough to get you evicted from your home for raising the idea that having SAMs on the top of your flat is maybe a bit absurd.

Think about the “security” aspect. Surface to Air Missiles; Destroyer class war ship docked (I’ll say this in italics, so as to convey my astonishment) in Central London; more troops on the streets than I have ever known; 3 hour searching procedures at the venues; a combined effort by G4S, the police AND the crown forces to “secure” the games.

Against whom or what, are the games being protected? The rationale is that the SAMs etc are merely a deterrent to “anybody who is protesting, or trying to make a point” as I saw on the BBC News Channel recently. So the olympics are not only “politically neutral” (ahem bollocks) but they infringe upon the right of the Human which was set out in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice”

So LOCOG and the IOC really mean to say that they are happy to break Human Rights Law, so that what? Visa and McDonalds are happy? This is absurd. The truth of it is there is no “terrorist” threat. Only once have the games ever been attacked. The real threat, or perceived threat, to London 2012 is branding. The Ministry of Information refuses to accept that people may wish to pay by cash, or eat something OTHER than the shit McDonalds throw at you. At a time of great economic hardship, as we are constantly reminded weekly on the tele-screens that we can not turn off and which monitor our every reaction; when there have been and will continue to be massive ideological cuts to ensure the poor stay where we are and the rich never get investigated again- was it so wise to be so opulent? The billions wasted on a stadium that will never be re-used in its current form could have “helped reduce the deficit” as our Dear Leaders are always telling us we must do. The quaterly reduction of the deficit has not yet met its required quota, Comrades!

So, yeah, enjoy the sport by all means. But, if you’re willing to accept the drug taking, the tax avoiding, the lack of promised development, the stifling of free speech, the monopolising, the great behemoth of utter wretchedness that is “The Olympic Games”, then by all means continue.

I just want to see sport without all the suits.

What did i do to deserve the contempt? Why does the media portray me as someone who contributes nothing; something worthy of no considerate treatment? Those with employment often talk or write as though envious of us. Please let’s swap then. If you want to live on c. £200 pcm go right ahead.
I will personally swap with you. So you can see all the council housing i don’t have, the lcd tvs i don’t have. D’you see where i am headed?
I have 4 A levels. I played the ‘go to uni even though you’ll hate it game’ thus here I am. My A levels include 2 foreign languages. Am i really worthless? The media never stops to think that people suffer from unemployment. It is damaging psychologically. The stress is awful. The threats pen pushes come out with would be farcical were they not dangerous.
You all clock watch, I get that. Everyone gets bored. However, you know nothing of boredom until you waste hours everyday hoping in vain for just one piece of good luck. That’s all it is. That’s the margin between happiness, acceptance and security -and failure.

The health and social care bill has passed. “Labour” is having its emergency debate as if to show to us, the public; that “hey, look! We did all we could!” when in reality they did nothing.

The chances are that you too did nothing prevent this abhorrent bill from passing into all but law, thus rationing our care and privatising our NHS that had been created in 1948- a period of austerity far greater and far more essential than the one we are “in” now.

It saddens me that you did nothing. It saddens me that despite our protests, our arrests, our desperation for more people, you did nothing. It saddens me that despite the swathes of data and professional and public opinion, you did nothing. In the face of the polling, you did nothing.

 

It saddens me beyond words. If you, the public, have chosen to live in a world where you inherently trust the government, and just simply can’t be arsed to fight for your rights, then fuck you. I’m sorry for swearing, but I honestly don’t know what else I can do, I have done everything. I have fought, I have shouted, I have passed along cobbles to the front lines, I have faced down the police on behalf of you.

 

First, they’ll come for people like me. It’s the Olympics soon, a great time to covertly pass into law any and all “anti-terror” laws the government would like. Ramp up CCTV? Fine, privacy is for paedos remember. Shame on you, because just as now, you will do nothing.

It’s not your fault. You were lied to, and you just choose to believe the liars and the shysters over those of us could see from history what this government meant. And I’m cool with the idea of “someone else will do it”, and I don’t blame you for being so middle class, and so sewn up in this post-apocalyptic dream whereby nothing can affect you- I mean you pay your taxes, you drive your kids to school, you love your god and your wife- why would they privatise your care? You did everything they asked of you.

I do blame you though, for the riots. You won’t ever understand, but it was your complacency, your attitudes, your desire for gated communities, racial profiling, and “customer experiences” that created the conditions rife for social unrest. You failed to heed the warnings, and you sure as hell didn’t listen when the rioters spoke to you in the guardian’s research.

You’ve never suffered any disadvantage, never been harassed by the police.

You did nothing because you are nothing.

It’s people like me, who know our rights, who formulate our own opinions, who refuse to be fed propaganda that will suffer not only from this bill, but all others they intend to introduce. I’m at peace with that, I am safe in the knowledge that what I do is good.

It’s you I worry about. The fact that you let the NHS go says all anyone will ever need, through which to judge you.

But you don’t use it anyway, because you’re healthy. So again, fuck you!  

¡No Pasarán!

 

I’m angry.

Why am I angry? So many reasons, but mostly the Mecca of all evil (Tesco) advertising for a permanent, full-time Night Shift job working in one of their stores. Fair enough, so far, right? By all means, if people are stupid enough to work for them, so be it.

But no, my problem with it, is the remuneration. There is none. The lucky winner of such a coveted job gets paid only £53 per week, as it is “JSA+ expenses” JSA of course being Job Seekers Allowance.

I am so angry, and yet I can not even articulate my anger as there are so many measures in place to keep online dissent in order.

I do not accept the authority of this government, I do not bow to their threats of keeping people silent online.

 

Tesco is trying to get away with murder. Bring the class war home to the supermarkets, they have to realise they cannot force their will on the people who have nothing. If you’re angry, don’t wait around for someone to take action for you; don’t wait for the scary “black bloc” to do it for you; pick up a pen, a paint can, a brick, do a Stokes Croft- whatever your weapon is, raise it and rise up.