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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Standing up for education: Teachers our children’s guardians

Today teachers across the UK took strike action over the attacks by our government and their puppet Michael Gove.  They are standing up for education and so I went to a rally where I was invited to tell them why I am standing up for education with them.

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I have just been on my first ever strike on Wednesday last week, over the attacks on the firefighters pension scheme, as this government and the fire minister Brandon Lewis refuse to listen to studies and reports that THEY themselves have paid for and commissioned into the appropriate pension age for a firefighter. Their reports state 66% of the workforce are unfit at the age 55 rising up towards 90% potentially by the age of 60. This is dangerous for the public and dangerous for firefighters. Everyone in the fire service knows that 60-year-old firefighters is dangerous and politicians too will admit this behind closed doors. This is why strike action had to be called.

Firefighters could not continue to participate in their lies and neither should the teachers.

68 for a teacher is too late and equally disgusting, in both the fire service and the world of teaching, people and their families are being priced out of being in a pension scheme, a scandal considering the Queen said this year her government would help people to save for their futures. One story I heard today was of a young teacher who had to choose between running their car or paying into a pension. Is this the big society Cameron was talking about I wonder? The one other thing missing from all the government rhetoric and debates about pension age is the effect these creeping pension ages have on youth unemployment and aspiration!

Curiously I was quizzed by someone from the radio the other day and off air he made a statement: “Teachers, Royal Mail, Bakers union and now firefighters. It’s like going back to the 70’s again isn’t it?”

Well aside from the fact I was not even a thought in the 70’s (let alone able to remember it) I did remind him that the BBC had also been on strike, so let’s name them all and reminded him that none of these groups are asking for more of anything, they are just fighting to protect what they have and to protect what the people who came before us fought for and won. Employment rights, health and safety – the right to be able to come home to our families after work, a livable wage and pension. We are custodians of these jobs and we do not have the right to stand by idly whilst these attacks continue to erode and degrade the conditions of employment we inherited.

Like teachers, firefighters face other fights around the corner; cuts and privatisation to name two and like teachers we have a minister responsible for these so-called negotiations who seems to understand and know nothing about what it is we do.

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Teachers have one of the most important jobs in the world, they quite literally are responsible with shaping our future with their everyday engagements with our children. Teachers lay the foundation for which we strive for a better world than the one we’ve inherited, Michael Gove and co would have them only responsible for teaching them what to think but teachers know they are charged with something more important; teaching children HOW to think.

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But teaching and education is under threat from a man who knows nothing about it – Michael Gove – a man intent on crushing the young by testing them to failure.

I have had discussions with teachers and a man I am proud to call a friend, Dave Mingay and I cannot believe what I am hearing about in the world of education and teaching. I get mad and then I get annoyed that it has made me angry.

Then I remember the 1976 film Network when Peter Finch says: “First you’ve got to get MAD!”, and then I settle. Getting mad is not enough, we have to get active and we have to get involved and get engaged, not just with our own issues and disputes but with others too and this is why I am today, standing up for education.

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To this end some firefighters have decided to start standing up against this austerity and provide a voice for those without one and for those waiting to find their voice. Their message to the government and any subsequent government is this; WE SAVE PEOPLE NOT BANKS.

The under pinning reason for all these attacks is the ideological austerity of our politicians to solve a financial crises created by fraudulent banking practices and corrupt politicians. Not by us. Not by you and I. But by them.

But they are making us pay for it and using it as a smoke screen to push through what they started in the 80’s.

They are pushing through everything they can ahead of the next election just in case they do not get back in and they know that once done, Labour will not undo the mess they are creating.

These politicians know what they are doing is outrageous but they are counting on the fact they we will do nothing about it. This is why they are prepared to accept pay rises of £10,000 and claim £39 breakfasts on expenses just after they have told us we can live on £53 a week! If we do not start offering a resistance now there will be no end to what they will take from us.

We are already seeing the attacks on our terms and conditions and contracts and I found out last week that schools and colleges have VTs – visiting teachers? Working on zero-hour contracts?! So we will expect to not get something for nothing but Sports Direct, Academy schools, McDonald’s the Queen and probably Mickey Mouse can get slave labour for nothing??

You couldn’t make it up.

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We are seeing our NHS sold off and now our Royal Mail, the Queens head is for sale, before our very eyes and If we do not start making a collective resistance to all these attacks soon, they’ll take it all back and siphon off the profits of public money into the pockets of their privateer friends.

Together we are stronger than we are divided – we have more in common with each other than we do with the likes of Gove, Lewis, Pickles and Duncan-Smith. I know it’s difficult to take strike action, particular in today’s society. The Media will of course be talking about the disruption it causes families and the loss of a days education. If Michael Gove and his cronies are allowed to push through their agenda unchallenged then it will be more than a days education our children will be losing, it will quite literally be their future and ours with it.

We have to be smarter and utilise the social media to get across our arguments. The majority of people will still get their news from Rupert Murdoch and the BBC but this is about creating ripples. If you drop a pebble in a pond, soon those ripples cross the entire pond. This is what we must do, create ripples and perhaps one day they will become tidal waves.

A wise man once told me that if you’re right you’ve got the right to fight and if you fight you can win. The teachers arguments against Gove’s attacks on education are sound.

Rise

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Boris Johnson and the London 500; what price a life Boris?

Today Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, proved that democracy is hypocrisy. Malc-X-Democracy

The slogan made famous by Malcolm X could not be more fitting as Boris Johnson has now TWICE over turned the London Fire Assemblies democratic rejection of his proposed cuts to London Fire Brigade by doing so again today. The cuts endorsed by Boris would see the loss of ten fire stations and 552 firefighter jobs, leaving both the public and the remaining firefighters at great risk. Strange then how in 2010 he said that he would keep firefighters and the fire engines!

The question Boris Johnson should be answering is what price a life?

At the Mayors Questions in June this year, Boris Johnson made light of the concerns raised in the gallery by the public and firefighters of his pursuit of the cuts. He saw fit to tell them to leave and laugh and joke at the questions surrounding the disproportionate affect his cuts agenda will have on the poor and the disabled and is an issue that has been covered recently by disability campaigner Adam Lotun. 

Firefighters on fire engines do crucial education and prevention work for the public and these cut backs will hit the most vulnerable amongst us the hardest.

The Knight Review cited the reduction in dwelling fires as the reason for cut backs on brigades resources but it failed to comment on the correlation between the work that is done by firefighters day and night to ensure that people remain safe. Where this work fails, having enough people and resources to deal with an incident early on the initial attack are vital to save and preserve life and to protect property.

Both of which do not seem to have been considered by the megalomaniac Boris Johnson, instead he would rather concentrate on revealing blue cocks in Trafalgar Square.

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The decision taken today will mean 500 plus firefighters effectively being binned over one mans vision and like Lewisham A&E the local communities must be encouraged to help rally behind the firefighters in their struggle against the ego of Johnson and his cohorts to save vital services to their communities.

The firefighters of London and their communities did not cause this recession, bad banking practices and rogue politicians have. It is high time we followed the wealth, made a stand and too back what is ours.