Where is the media? 4 million Londoners just got thrown overboard

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have been in dispute with the government for 3 years after it decided to tear up pensions agreements and leave firefighters and their families on the scrap heap. This lead recently to members of the FBU in England and Wales to ballot for and take its first industrial strike action since 2002. This is only the third time that the FBU and its members have taken this last resort action in 40 years.

During the recent periods of strike action, the longest of which has been 6 hours (with exception of the odd fire service who have intentionally locked their staff out for additional hours) the mainstream media has bombarded the airwaves with questions and concerns over the risk the public is put under during these times, yet today saw the closure of 10 fire stations and the loss of almost 600 jobs in London after the Mayor Boris Johnson, finally got his way by railroading through his cuts agenda, in assistance with his hatchet man James Cleverly and yet we have had virtually no real concerns raised by our media on these issues. These closures will lead to increased response times for the people who live in these areas but that was of no concern to Boris or James at Mayors Questions in 2013. NO concern for the exponential growth of fire and the importance of attendance times, NO concern for the ‘golden hour’ for the transference to definitive medical care and NO concern for the truth that firefighters in 2014 attend much more than just fires as the recent floodings and building collapse at the Apollo theatre in London (3 of the 8 fire stations involved in rescues closed this morning) have highlighted.

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Message from one of the stations that closed this morning

Another point of interest is that it is not uncommon to see Twitter feeds calling for people to #takeextracare when the FBU and its members are on strike, yet when you (Boris Johnson) ignore the democratic process (94% of people opposed the closures) and close 10 stations and cut nearly 600 jobs, you see nothing. No message about the need to take extra care, which poses the question of what is the BIGGEST risk to public safety? The odd strike here and there to save firefighters and their families futures and their long-term vision to protect the safety of both themselves and the public? Or is it ideological cuts which affect everyone, every minute of every day…?

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Nothing posted today regards being extra vigilant now your station is gone

Our media work hard in the interest of government to frame the agenda, highlighting risks, demonising and scapegoating the poor and immigrants and yet when a very real abuse of democracy takes place, we are left with only our own means to express and share the scale of what has happened. 4 million Londoners just got thrown overboard by Boris Johnson and this government and sat down at a roulette table – where is the media?

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New year, same story: No justice, no peace

I recently undertook a self-imposed sabbatical during the month of December, not because it was needed but just to take a step back and look at things from the outside in. With the new year approaching I decided to give it a week to see what we would see. Did I learn anything? Yes and no. What is sure however is that you quite literally could not make this shit up.

Firstly Nelson Mandela died, the world mourned and so did those who would have previously hung him for being a terrorist. Being on my sabbatical it was easy to focus on Mandela for his life, what he stood for – what he still stands for in death, and his achievements in the face of great adversity. Not getting sucked into comments highlighting how these people, who climbed out from under their rocks to shower praise on him, had previously turned their backs on him or how they took pointless ‘selfies’ with pretty blondes at his funeral and claiming that he helped shaped not only their politics but the politics for the generations. Even wet Ed Miliband saw fit to use the same words he used to eulogise Margaret Thatcher to capture his feelings on Mandela.

The man who shaped politics for generations they said and to “never forget.”

Never forget; the words used when discussing the Holocaust but of course we did forget, which is why apartheid happened in the first place. Never forget; used after Mandela was released from prison after almost 30 years and yet still we forgot which is why we have the Israel/Palestine apartheid happening, why Sudan and Syria is happening. Here in the UK we have let poverty and austerity take hold, strangling the working poor and watching, as our liberties get siphoned away – because we have forgotten the lessons of the past. “There is never a final victory” said Mandela, the fight is eternal.

Then came the new year, 2014 and I witnessed posts claiming it would be the ‘year of love’ but we have seen the sale of chemicals from the UK that form the basis for the very agents we almost went to war over in Syria, Fallujah has fallen into full-blown civil war and there was the announcement that 2013 was the bloodiest in Iraq for almost 10 years with nearly 30 people a day dying. Not a single name reported however, just a body count. Just yesterday, we saw the confirmation that being shot dead whilst unarmed, in the case of Mark Duggan, will be ruled lawful, setting dangerous precedents for the rest of us. The police have now stated in light of this incident that they intend to consider the use of cameras for armed police units to film events. We will of course of clamour for the additional security this will provide us as citizens, there is no risk whatsoever that anything will go wrong with the footage is there? There is also the new Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill being rushed through effectively making it illegal to protest or to be a nuisance. This will result in spot fines and bans from “localities” what ever a locality means, the definition has not been set yet.

So we are a week into 2014 and the story seems much the same, focus on benefits streets and scroungers whilst we are quietly dismantled from the inside but there is a change in the atmosphere. More people are awakening, sharing information and importantly talking to each other about these injustices. The next step is to get active and move beyond the confines of the social media and on to the streets, peacefully connecting these dots – making art, questioning everything, before the law makes it illegal and try to take our ability away from us to stand up for our rights and freedom. In doing so we will gain something much more worthy, unity and the realisation that there is no justice, there is just us.

Rise

The biggest threat to our way of life are not our governments or the terrorists they claim to be chasing across the globe. It is our apathy.

The Royal Mail, educational system, NHS and emergency services have been built by the blood, sweat and tears of you and your grandparents, going back 100 years. Today they are seen as cash cows for corrupt politicians and their privateer friends to siphon off billions in public money, to line their private pockets and they are using the veil of austerity to do so. They have managed, somewhat convincingly, to persuade a large section of society that austerity is both real and necessary and are praying on our apathy to resist.

Alessio Rastani once  told us that a recession is not bad for everyone, that it is an opportunity to make money; this is not a recession or a recovery, it is a robbery.

Worryingly this agenda is being pursued by both Labour and Conservatives alike, one hard and fast and the other a kind of “I can’t believe it’s not austerity”, or “austerity-lite” approach. Either way the end result is the same. Hard working people are being forced to bare the brunt of paying for a crisis created by corrupt politicians, rogue bankers and immoral (if not illegal) banking practices,  not once (with the bailout) but two or three times over with respect to the austerity and cuts we have seen since. In the meantime these pigs at the trough of public money have used our taxpayers money to pay for their second homes, heat horses stables, order a £39 breakfast (whilst telling us we can live on £52 a week) and are set to take an 11% pay rise leaving the rest of us with their scraps on zero hour contracts and lining up at food banks hoping for a meal ticket. You cannot make it up. The leaders of both these parties are no longer interested in popularity contests (as Thatcher or Blair might have been) at election time because there are common themes, goals and aims amongst them. They are ultimately all gorging themselves at the same trough of public money and broadly speaking, their sole interest is themselves and we have allowed them to with our apathy.

The NHS as mentioned has already been paid for by our parents and grandparents, the problem we have is that far too few of us are old enough to remember a time when you would had to pay for a doctor call out and all the associated care that goes with it, even less have stopped to think about the dangers we all face because of privatisation. Some may think that they will see no real problem and no real change because they already have some form of private medical care, paid for either by their employer or private policy but the key point here is that these private firms are currently backed up and supported by the publicly owned and funded NHS. Even the Royal spawn, despite all its top private care, was delivered in a private hospital, ably supported by the “full weight of resources of the NHS” should anything have gone wrong. Kay Burleigh from SKY News told us just after we found out how dilated Katie was.

Where will this support network be once the lot has been sold of to the great bearded one, Richard Branson?

In the case of the NHS, our politicians have gone to great lengths to show us how badly the NHS is failing and have been duly assisted by a complicit mainstream media, none more so than our publicly owned and funded BBC, who reel off story after story about “nurses on safari” looking for patients or failing NHS trusts. As bad as some of these stories may be, these are an infinitesimally small percentage of the millions of people treated by wonderful doctors, nurses and paramedics every day of the year, any time we call on them. Where are our survivor stories?
Along with the horror stories run by the mainstream media, the government also repeatedly tell us that immigrants (who are not even here yet) are to blame for the failure and capacity issues of our A&E departments etc and now they intend for people to prove their origins before they are treated at A&E? You cannot make it up. These blatant lies and scapegoating about immigrants are used to prey on people’s fears and prejudices, manufactured by a corrupt elite to deflect our attention on their intent to walk away with billions in profit at the cost of our health and welfare.

How has it come to privatisation? The process to privatisation is a simple but effective one; first the government goes through a period of de-funding which creates an environment for failure, you then assess to failure and they are reported with the cost to make improvements being amplified as a result. The privateers then swoop in with the answer to take ever-increasing costs and liabilities off of the taxpayers hands, all the while feeding you distraction stories of immigrants, bad nurses and creating apathy to convince you that a nice guy like Branson will make a good job of it.

Really? He is a businessman whose sole  purpose and drive is about making money. Would you really want someone in charge of something that makes money solely off of the death and illness of people? The only way they can make profit from a service such as the NHS is by charging us for treatments, reducing wages of the nurses providing the majority of the care (not the execs, they get paid off to push through change) and by generally hanging us out to dry. See how cheap health insurance will be  when they know you cannot rely on the NHS and they have us at their mercy. These firms will have cornered the market and will drive up prices. Just look at what the energy firms are preparing to do this winter with nearly 10% increase in price’s or the announcement of another increase in our rail fares.

The apathy they are trying to foster enables them to impose these changes because we feel we cannot make a difference and that we cannot make a change. We have given up our power and we have to take it back. One person can make a difference and everyone should do so, if we do not start offering a resistance to these attacks now and come to realise we have more in common with each other than with these merciless privateers and criminals running the country, then we will quite literally be cut adrift.

We can do this by winning the hearts and minds of the people around us, taking interest in each other’s causes and not waiting for people to come to us, we can withdraw economically from certain corporations to redistribute the pain, we can write music, draw, sing and create art – the true way of protesting and engaging the hearts and minds of others. We inherited a world of opportunity from our parents, we have a duty to hand it on to the next generation in a better state than the one we have inherited and not sell it from under them for a fist full of dollars.

Rise.

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