Friday, December 31, 2010

today : pre-decadial tension

I thought of you
When they closed down the school
And the hospital too...

Monday, December 27, 2010

today : My Xmas message to the world

It's time to stop looking backwards. It's time we woke up. Nothing ever gets better when people cling onto old ways, old habits, old advantages. Some people will never change. They'll never learn from history and keep repeating the same old errors. They are too scared to jump out of their cosy little lives and actually try to effect change for the better. Or worse, they don't care about better at all. They don't care about the future as long as they're cocooned inside their accrued wealth and power.

So my Christmas message to the world is to keep the pressure on. Don't let them get away with their lazy, selfish small-mindedness. If you have to get out on the streets then why not do it? If you have to stand up and say you disagree, then why not do it? If you can change some slight thing in your own life and those of people around you then why not?

You don't have to take this crap. But you also don't have to sit back and relax.

If you live in a places where voting works, then vote old, backward-staring people out. Stand for office yourself even. If you don't have a vote, or it changes nothing then you might have to be a bit braver. But why not do it? Who else will try and make things better for the next generations.

If we do nothing they and we will be worse off, more oppressed and less free. The opposite of progress.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

today : Merry Christmas, your arse!

This year it took me until 9th December to hear Fairytale of New York. Which is quite a feat, as to only really encounter Christmas in December is rare these days. Hearing it played around is the unofficial start of the Season of Peace and goodwill to men. Needless to say it was in the supermarket, and then on Dec 10th I heard it played on the radio. Avoiding it for so long maybe had something to do with the recent snow, that kept me indoors for more than a week, and also the fact that I haven't really visited any shops. All my Xmas shopping has been done online this year and is already completed. How convenient.

As I say year on year, it's a brilliant song and is in some ways too good for endless Christmas repetition. You wouldn't really want to hear the Lachrymosa from Mozart's Requiem every day for two months in the supermarket, in the local shop, on the radio or at the mall would you, or Strange Fruit, or Miles Runs The Voodoo Down, or Supper's Ready or The Drunkship of Lanterns, or anything else for that matter.

And just in time for the season of goodwill to all men, there are more presents from our friend Gideon the Baronet, and his elves.

Gift number one
Hacking away at council services. The biggest cuts 'in a generation' i.e. since the last time the Tories were in charge.

Gift number two
'Efficiency' savings in the NHS - which in reality is reversing all of the recent infusions of cash into our most beloved public service. Something that hasn't happened in 'a generation' i.e. the last time the Tories were in charge.

Gift number three

Abolishing EMA.

Gift number four

Abolishing the individual living fund for severely disabled people. We're all in this together, it seems.

and more help for the disabled

Merry Christmas, your arse, I pray God it's our last

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

today the snow came

This photo was borrowed from here, a nice blog about where I live.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

today : spirit of 68

I've enjoyed seeing students on the march in the past few weeks. I don't like individual police getting hurt, but smashing windows can make a difference. If it didn't then the establishment wouldn't make such an effort to condemn when a brick gets thrown, or someone spray paints slogans on a police van.

I don't know the motivation of every protestor but it is clear that the ConDems don't get it. The issue is deeper than simply the workings of whatever loan scheme. Youngsters rightly are angry that their parents' and grandparents' generations got it so wrong. Peoples' parents came out of University and were afforded the opportunity to build a stable and comfortable life. Now, many graduates are facing the possibility of never being able to put down roots. Housing costs and restrictive mortgages mean that house ownership seems like a faraway dream. Graduate salaries are flattening out, and they're constantly being told that they can't rely on a lifelong career. They look around the world where there are opportunities but even then they were let down by a system invented and run by their forebears. Whilst everyone in Europe and the Far East was learning English there was no focus on languages in British schools. This makes the EU labour market unbalanced. You were never prepared for a world where your job might be in Germany or Macedonia or China. They told you your Sats results were crucial, then your GCSEs, then your various A levels and finally your degree. You work hard, you believe them and you follow the path. Finally it spews you out into a world where there are no jobs, no mortgages and all you have is a big pile of debt.

When you're 18 or 19 you know that the nearest you can start actually living like an adult is somewhere way past 30. I remember being 18, and 35 is literally a lifetime away.

And whatever they might say, the Libdems lied. They made a solemn pledge about tuition fees but went back on it almost immediately. Why shouldn't intelligent young people feel angry and dissatisfied? Their elders, betters and leaders duped them again. What kind of an example is that?

I never understood political pledges as an election tool. Firstly, nobody ever believes them in the first place and, as the Dems have discovered, circumstance means that sometimes you are squeezed into breaking them. You end up looking hollow and unprincipled.