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.

J crawling

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.

Fascism: a very, very short introduction

boot stamping on a human face forever

This week confirmed what many had known for a long time; that the perpetual message of hatred, fear and mistrust by the media and our politicians has seeped into the psyche of the wider public. Tell the lie often enough and keep it simple enough and eventually we will believe it.

The local elections and European Parliament elections this week have been preceded by endless debate around the viability and validity of UKIP as a party political group. Our state broadcaster has given wall to wall coverage for one group, one individual over all others and have a history of favouring one type of speech over another. Why has there been no comparative in-depth look at the relative surge in support for the Green Party? UKIP have been championed for their earthquake victory and we watch as the last remnants of a broken democracy is washed down the gutter to the sound of thunderous applause.

There has been much written about the history of fascism and politics but one book on both aspects, ‘A Very Short Introduction to Fascism’ by Kevin Passmore, hits the nail on the head when it said:

“It was held that when pressure from the proletariat for the destruction of capitalism rose to extreme proportions, capitalists resorted to terror to defend their control over the means of production. For the Communist International, the current crisis of capitalism was so serious that a conventional dictatorship was inadequate, therefore capitalists used the mass fascist movement to destroy socialism. According to 1935 definition, fascism was not the creation of the capitalists, for it recruited from the petty bourgeoisie (lower middle-class), which had real grievances against the big capital. Nevertheless, capitalists were able to persuade the perpetually perplexed petty bourgeoisie that it’s interests lay in defending the property against socialism. Once fascism was in power and the labour movement destroyed, capitalists no longer needed the fascist party and so it was again suppressed or marginalised.”

The past 6 years, following the recession and general election in 2010, has seen much unrest from the ‘left’ with strikes, endless marches and the like and we have witnessed an equal and opposite rise of the right in relation to this, first through the English Defence League and now UKIP. This is being replicated across Europe with Marie Le Pen leading a resurgent Front National in France. The worrying thing for us should be that the famously fascist BNP have seen their number of voters dwindle at the same time as the UKIP vote has risen. Farage won’t have it but his interview on LBC radio with James O’Brien recently exposed him for the intolerant hypocrite he really is and what UKIP is really all about.

We will now sit and see the rest of the mainstream parties rally further around this message of the far right to appease the middle ground, the firing gun started before these elections with one Tory MP agreeing with Farage’s comments about Romanian’s on trains and since the election George Osborne has said that he ‘respects’ Farage.

Finally from ‘A Very Short Introduction to Fascism’: 

“Fascism contends that a nationality should restore its domination or become dominant within a given state, and perhaps internationally too. Frequently fascists nationalism is that of the dominant ethnic group, or rather of a part of the dominant nationality which perceives itself, rightly or wrongly, to be neglected.

French thinker, Gustave Le Bon argued that irrational crowds were manipulated by charismatic leaders. Georges Sorel argued likewise that the masses were motivated by myths.”

The last two points reflect poorly on our current society. I think it was Noam Chomsky who said that the people you elect reflect upon the state of your society. We have had a buffoon in Boris Johnson as Mayor of London, a war criminal in Tony Blair as Prime Minister and now we have a fascist group gaining prominence that will now shape the future of the general election in 2015, as if the current parties were not fascist enough already. I had it argued against me recently that the current government were not fascist, which I would disagree with, if you look at some of the legislation that is being passed such as the Crime and Anti Social Behaviour Act, Tpims, the authorisation of water cannons and the GCHQ scandal etc but I could be wrong.

Some of us have said for a while that the next general election will be fought on immigration, fear, hatred and the EU, with results like this that much seems certain. Whoever gets in, we lose.