Just a choice between fear and hope

“The politics of fear rule over the politics of hope.”

It is only in recent years that this realisation has dawned on me, since my earliest memory of politics in the UK, until today, the only constant has been the policies of fear.

People are scrambling around in support of their chosen party, Steve Coogan, Delia Smith, Ronnie O’Sullivan and now Russell Brand have all had their say and called on us to vote Labour, to remove this Conservative Government, but is that all we have become, a society of protest voters?

It is well documented that I have long advocated a position of not voting, in favour of a more active, disobedient approach to getting things done and creating change. In doing so, I have been more politically active than many people who like to sit on their proverbial perches, throwing stones at me for my belief’s and betrayal of democracy and those that died for it. Before you start throwing suffragette’s or civil rights at me, do not for one minute think we do not have modern-day suffrage or civil rights campaigns or issues.

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For example, Our West Hendon, FocusE15 and New Era are the 21st century suffragettes, taking to the streets and occupying buildings against bailiffs, often young women with families taking on the fights on behalf of others to protect their communities and at times, against Labour lead councils. For too long, Labour lead councils have ( I believe) wilfully imposed Conservative Government sanctions in a show of ‘look at what happens with the nasty party’, blaming the Conservatives for the budget cuts, rather than oppose them on a point of principle that these cuts and sanctions are unjust and force the government to come and do the dirty work themselves.

Labour have one policy, the NHS (maybe two if you count the cheap call on reducing tuition fees whilst making fun at Nick Clegg’s 2010 betrayal). Who started the privatisation of the NHS? Labour. Yes they have something about tuition fees and pandered to the youth by making some comment about people who don’t honour their pledge on fees should be held accountable, but once again these policies just play on people’s fears, rather than offering genuine hope and change. I cannot (and will not) ever condone or sanction voting for a government that gave us an Invictus Games and created the environment for the current atrocities being carried out in Syria and Iraq, a party that continues to roll out the war criminal, Tony Blair, at every opportunity to drum up support and votes, rather than eject him and arrested for war crimes.

My Grandad taught me much growing up but he once told me that he would have liked to vote Lib Dems because he thought it would have been a real change from the two major parties that had dominated for over 20 years, but didn’t because he believed it would have been a wasted vote. An excuse I have heard used regarding some parties on offer in this years election. I did not realise it then, but he had bought into the politics of fear that have come to rule and define our society, the same politics of fear that has resulted in people who should know better, calling for a vote for Labour this General Election, over a vote for the Greens, who represent a sea change and refreshing approach to politics – a real alternative to the Bullingdon old boys club we currently have in Westminster, just to get rid of the Tories.

To not vote for a candidate and party whose policies you believe in for fear of it being a ‘wasted vote’ is the real betrayal of democracy, not abstaining from it.

Now we are told to vote Labour and bide our time for a change of the rules on voting (we had an AV referendum which was swatted away by the very people who now want it) I could never and would never tell anyone how to vote. I have suggested people look within themselves to see what damage has been done to them by recent policies and events of recent governments, to vote on the ideals of self-preservation, particularly if you work in the public sector. What I do know and can say is this; so long as we continue to bow to the politics of fear, we will just continue spinning our wheels.

Be bold, be brave, you deserve better than what is being offered to you. Democracy has never been about a day out at a polling booth every five years, it has always been the battle against the bewitchment of language and daily engagements of accountability. Much more than the vote, a yearly endorsed march where you go from point a to b and go home, or a celebrity endorsement, the establishment fear the philosophy of ‘we won’t go home’.

 

Stand up together and fight for what you believe and you might be surprised at what you can achieve.

99.WSPNB-BoE-signMervyn King

A Tale of Austerity

Five years ago I found myself staring down a mounted horse back charge and like one of those clowns in a disaster movie, stood taking pictures until the bitter end, I stood fast with my camera snapping away. Thankfully my good friend Nuno was there to pull me away.

That was parliament square and the issue was tuition fees. Students had taken to the streets in their thousands over the duplicity shown by Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats who back tracked on a pre-election pledge to abolish tuition fees, only to treble them after climbing into bed with the Conservatives. All for a little bit of power, or the illusion of it. Though this was not the first protest I had been on, it was the first time I went with the intention of capturing the moments that unfolded as they happened. My desire to pursue this driven by the reactions of people I worked closely with who saw only a very one sided view of proceedings on the mainstream media (MSM), Sky News and the BBC. I had been painfully aware of the issues of MSM bias before this, but being a first hand witness to the vast difference in the story being told was quite sobering for me.

The experience of being kettled by the police, charged on horse back and being questioned about my views – all because the television is God said otherwise – drove me to create this blog in the first place. 

At the same time as I created the blog I ventured into photography, well I bought a DSLR and started pointing it at things and pushing the button, taking my camera to every protest, strike or otherwise I could make. Thousands of hours of marching, climbing, crawling and scrambling around to take the pictures I wanted, literally thousands over the past five years. I racked up quite a library and with the General Election wagons rolling, I wanted to share them with people, to remind them about what exactly has gone on the past five years; I called it my ‘Tale of Austerity, told one picture at a time’. I tried a few archival stock sites but they weren’t interested because they said I wasn’t a photographer. 

I was, quite frankly, a little pissed. I had devoted much of my own free time to this, not for any gain, and not initially for this reason (to create a book) but with the words being uttered by these politicians, the lies, the fear, the rhetoric, I felt I needed to put together this pack I curated over time that asks the question “can the public afford another five years of austerity?”. 

So, after the set back, I decided to go it alone and create a book. It’s called A Tale of Austerity – told one picture at a time and I guess will be an on going project for me. With another hung parliament likely or a minority Tory government taking the lead as the politics of fear continue to grow a head of steam in the UK, I will be forced to do a Volume 2 for the 2020 election (minus the next 12 months unless my friend steps up whilst I’m away to snap some stuff!) and see what state another five years of austerity will leave us in.  It will be in an Ebook format and available on print just before the election I am told. Maybe too late to influence the decisions of those of you voting but maybe enough to help prick your interest in campaigning and fighting for your rights if it all goes south on May 7th.

  
Austerity, it hasn’t been pretty so far, one thing is for sure, five more years of the Conservatives will certainly mean the end of our NHS and the end of our emergency services – police, fire and ambo.

Up yours George

The budget is upon us, by the time I wake up there will like be many an angry word uttered in frustration at George Osborne and what the Sky News tonight called ‘the feel good factor’. Feel good factor… with 93,000 kids left hungry and homeless last Christmas, 1 in 4 of people with housing benefits in work – the working poor – and the return of rickets. Somebody must be having a laugh!

This budget will be a precursor to the most significant period in our recent history, with public spending set to return to the 1930’s and not one party offering any real alternative to ideological austerity. NHS, Fire and Rescue, Police, education – It’s all for sale and the song playing in the halls of Westminster? Everything Must Go by the Manic Street Preachers.

To add to the farce of our democratic process, David Cameron has committed to appearing on one televised debate with 7 party leaders. The circus of television debates should be left where it belongs, state side. Politics should be bigger than the character of one person but about the substance of a party and its representatives. When, for example, did a part leader ever get ripped to shreds by the press as bad as Natalie Bennett recently? Tony Blair stumbled through his Iraq war crime inquiry worse than that, as did the vampire Rupert Murdoch when grilled about hacking the phone of a dead teenager, blaming it on his age! You couldn’t make it up.

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Unfortunately for us, voting on the substance of a party is not the case and we vote instead for people based on their manipulated personas shown to us by the Murdoch press. The values and standard of our society reflects poorly too, by the caliber of personality we keep electing. Career buffoons such as Boris Johnson being a perfect example, elected because he was ‘funny’ when he fell over at a football match one time, has devastated the London Fire Brigade with his ideological cuts, closing 10 fire stations in favour of expensive luxury apartments. You couldn’t make it up.

I hope that, as I type this, there are hoards of people descending upon Westminster to make their feelings known and heard loud and clear. You know, that watching the phone, waiting for it to ring on a zero hour contract is not work and that education should be free and inspiring, not oppressive and debt enslaving – that kind of thing.

For too long the majority of the career puppets within the pompous palace have gotten away with defrauding the people who built and rebuilt the UK time and again and then pointed the finger of blame at the poor, the refugees and the less fortunate for everything that goes wrong, all so that they could get away with it.

Hit these people where it hurts, in their pockets. The majority of them have shares in private companies or are setting up for a life outside of the gravy train that is parliament, which is why they are cutting deals for big business in the first place. Do not be divided by the sowers of the seeds of hate, stick together and anything is possible. All together #upyoursgeorge