Why I do not indulge in the hypocrisy of ‘Remembrance Day’…


Allied War Cemetery Germany

Allied War Cemetery Germany

poppies

Such a symbol, so taken for granted…

You will not see a poppy in my profile nor on my person.  The whole circus has lost all meaning when you consider we are STILL at war. It might not be Europe imploding on itself again, and call me paranoid if it doesn’t seem to you like a reunified Germany is going for the [economic] hat-trick but it has become a debacle has become consisting of nothing more than a nation-wide display of ostentatious sentimentality: a popular affectation of imagined grief over soldiers and civilians killed in a pointless war while more people on both sides die in pointless wars that we started. I refuse to involve myself in hypocrisy.

This article by Robert Fisk probably says it perfectly.  Remembrance Day is not mourning the passing of servicemen and civilians.  It mourns the passing of the Imperialist British Empire, for which we are reaping the consequences even now. A war which ended which the forced peace of the Treaty of Versailles on the 11th November 1918 to end an unwinnable war: a treaty so punitive against one part of the Central powers that it resulted in another world conflict 28 years later.

We may wring our hands at the horror of it all but how many of us, without a special interest, truly comprehend the context of what went on?  The class-politics and strict social hierarchies, or Germany’s struggle as a new nation in 1871, for ‘elbow room’ and fear of being surrounded? The British Empire was still fairly strong but the the Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman empires were struggling to hold on to power at all costs. Serbia wanted independence and the Austro-Hungarian empire had from around 1912 been determined to end the matter. With assistance from Germany and a promise that Germany would prevent Russia from involving themselves (thus keeping Russia’s allies France and (indirectly) Britain out as well), all they needed was an excuse. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand (July 1914) by one member of a single terrorist (NOT STATE ENDORSED), provided that excuse. however, Germany betrayed the Austro-Hungarian Empire by declaring war on both France and Russia at the last moment, subjugating the Serbia to a secondary concern.

France also wanted Alsace Lorraine-back from Germany, so previous grievance existed between them. A European arms race and the complex arrangement of treaties and alliances (The Triple Alliance and Entente Cordiale) made the First world war, not inevitable but not avoidable either, at least not in Britain’s case: we should not assume a universal experience.  With each party pledging to attack another nation in ‘defence’ of the others, as well as the general attitude toward warfare and glory, WW1 was  highly likely given the mood, but they did not have the hindsight of two global wars not to mention other bloody and drawn out conflicts. School history lessons barely scratch the surface, and the nationalist twaddle of the tabloid press at this time of year really does bring to mind the last verse of a poem by John McCrae, ‘In Flander’s Fields’, which is thought to have been inspired by the death of a Canadian 2nd Lieutenant in 1915 (Ypres) when prior much of the war was yet to occur.

“…

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.”

Even now, while at war in the Middle East can we not now see that the ‘War to End All Wars’ has not lived up to expectation. The best way to remember the fallen servicemen of a pointless war is not to gather round a stone monument and cover it with paper flowers, muttering prayers and singing hymns (when many don’t even believe in God let alone go to church) and pretend that it makes the slightest difference to what is actually happening.  The best way to honour those men (1914-1918) is to not send yet MORE men and women to die in wars, adding to the body-count.

WE HAVE NOT LEARNED A THING…

DULCE ET DECORUM EST(1)

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares(2) we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest(3) began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots(4)
Of tired, outstripped(5) Five-Nines(6) that dropped behind.
Gas!(7) Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets(8) just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling,
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime(9) . . .
Dim, through the misty panes(10) and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering,(11) choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud(12)
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest(13)  
To children ardent(14) for some desperate glory, 
The old Lie; Dulce et Decorum est 
Pro patria mori.(15) –  Wilfred Owen, 8 October 1917 – March, 1918

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How will the benefit cuts affect your children? | BabyCentre Blog


How will the benefit cuts affect your children? | BabyCentre Blog.

The cuts to family benefits and tax credits are a punitive measure against middle-income families which will not save a penny and only cause hundreds of families hardship.

We are on a single income of £35k (pre-tax) with a 3yr old, a 1yr old and another due in 5 wks. We were informed that not only will our tax credits will stop (forcing us to cut back £140 a month) but have been sent a letter saying we now owe them £577! I don’t work because we can’t afford child care and we both believe it’s our responsibility to care for our children ourselves.I don’t know how we are going to manage this unexpected bill but I would sincerely like to thump the money-grubber who decided that we are ‘undeserving’ despite the amount of NI and tax we paid prior to my giving up work to have a family. This is a stress I could really do without.

I have written to HMRC to question where they got that figure from.

The Bastille is Falling Again.


 

Egyptian army tanks in Tahrir Square Cairo, February 2011

“The old slogan from the 1960s has come true: the revolution has been televised. The world is watching the Bastille fall on 24/7 rolling news. An elderly thug is trying to buy and beat and tear-gas himself enough time to smuggle his family’s estimated $25bn in loot out of the country, and to install a successor friendly to his interests. The Egyptian people – half of whom live on less than $2 a day – seem determined to prevent the pillage and not to wait until September to drive out a dictator dripping in blood and bad hair dye.” – Johann Hari – The Independent

The revolts in Tunisia, Egypt and now, Yemen, however violent have to encourage us at least in some small way that the Arab world is in a state of flux which is having a domino effect.   The authoritarian and arbitrary dictatorships in the Middle East were encouraged and capitulated by the west as and when they supported our economic plans.  When they didn’t our governments responded by embarking on illegal wars which have cost the lives of thousands.  However, there is a danger that, as in Iran, Mubarak could be replaced by someone far worse.

“Events in Egypt look more like the Indonesian revolution, where in 1998 a popular uprising toppled a US-backed tyrant after 32 years of oppression – and went on to build the largest and most plural democracy in the Muslim world.” – Johann Hari – The Independent

Mr Hari asked if we should be concentrating on fixing the damage ‘The west’ has caused but I’m not sure at this stage it CAN be fixed.  Owning up to our own unthinking capitulation would be a good start.  UK taxes and resources were used to fund and supply Mubarak’s sick regime of fear.  It is British made machine guns and grenade launchers that are aimed at pro-democracy demonstrators, while we sit quietly taking for granted the democracy we enjoy thanks to the courage and steely determination  of our own ancestors.  The US is not blameless either as their tear-gas was used to subdue people calling for basic human rights and the end to the reign of a vicious tyrant.  We have been used to silently aid a murdering torturer while our governments tear Iraq and Afghanistan apart and pay false  lip-service to bringing them democracy.

“You have unwittingly helped to keep these people down.” – Johann Hari – The Independent

Our foreign-policies SHOULD be a reflection of us as people.  They SHOULD echo our moral principle and codes of decent humane behaviour.  In the meantime our governments, who were elected to represent us, are failing to with dire consequences.  They make hypocrites of us ALL and must be called to heel and made to account for their actions, both presently and retrospectively.  It is for this reason that we need brave people like Julian Assange to provide us with the transparency that big government does not feel the need to do us the courtesy of supplying.  They have repeatedly abused our trust but they are not shamefaced or remorseful for their actions in the least.  They are angry with the person who has exposed their guilt and so try to discredit him.  They pretend to be hurt that we will not now re-extend that lost trust; all actions of the skilled con-artist.  It seems that even the US is ‘not above’ high handed tactics in order to enforce their will on the majority as the Military police have been holding another individual, Bradley Manning in solitary confinement without trial for several months. Transparency over our respective countries diplomatic conduct is essential if we even hope to regain our credibility with the rest of the world.  We should know, and care very much, about what is done in our names as well as the consequences of those actions.

“Very few British people would praise a murderer and sell him weapons. Very few British people would beat up a poor person to get cheaper petrol. But our governments do it all the time. Why? British foreign policy does not follow the everyday moral principles of the British people, because it is not formulated by us.” – Johann Hari – The Independent

To be a true democracy our governments must be made to represent us or be ousted immediately.  We cannot continue to sit complacently by and let these people either rule our lives to suit the whims of big businesses or ruin the lives of others for the same reason and it is about time we ALL stood up and did something about it.  It means using more than the ballot box to have your say because by that time it is too late and the policy has already been set and by voting for it you are giving it your stamp of approval.  What must be done is the right of all free citizens of the UK and the US; JOIN a party,start your own, or become an independent and give people the alternative you think they deserve.   The democratic process is a tool we all have the right to make a use of.  Refusing to get involved or vote achieves nothing but allowing the policies which supported the likes of Mubarak et. al. to continue unchecked and un-hindered.  As it is, big business decides who we deal with and how and all that drives them is money; the rest is immaterial to them.  They have taken it upon themselves to scrap our principles for us and by saying or doing nothing we have sent them our consent to do so.

“Addicts don’t stand up to their dealers: they fawn before them.” – Johann Hari – The Independent

There are ‘reasons’ that our governments use in lack-lustre attempts to defend their conduct in foreign policy.  The first is as Hari says, Oil.  We have become reliant on it for fuel and the oil companies, like drug dealers, do not wish to lose demand for their product.  Our ‘need’ for oil has outlasted its efficiency now that we have the means to produce, clean and renewable energy which threatens the income of those same companies.  Even though Egypt has no oil, it does have pipelines and supply routes that the west rely on the use of.  It is part of a chain that serves Western purposes and without support for the regime, our access to those lines and lucrative routes is also threatened.  So what needs to come first?  Principals!  Integrity!  Simple human decency and consideration of how our actions, conscious or otherwise, affect others.  Integrity means that our principles are not brushed under the rug under the guise of  ‘pragmatism’ whenever it suits us or others.  It is when our principles are really tested that we find out what they are really worth.  As consumers, we need to create a real consumer demand – on both sides of the Atlantic – for those clean energy sources and renewable fuels (even if its more expensive in the short-term) because it will take money out of the pockets of those companies who fund those regimes. THAT is how to rid ourselves of the need for ‘cheap’ oil (cheap for whom?) which is paid for with blood-money and oppression.  We need to demand full and open access to information and a chain-of-custody style of accountability when shopping in order to exercise real purchasing power because we have the correct information.  We must tell those companies what we want and need and stop allowing them to regulate us.  They don’t care about our needs they care about their money.

“Israel blockades Gaza to one side, and Mubarak blockades it to the other. I’ve stood in Gaza and watched Egyptian soldiers refusing to let sick and dying people out…” – Johann Hari – The Independent

The second excuse is Israel.  The so-called promised land of a people who have undergone centuries of religious persecution.  That, however, does not excuse or justify their current occupation of Palestine, usurpation of agricultural land, destruction of property, deprivation of food and basic resources, and imprisonment of 1.5 million people within annexes of their own land.  Punitive action is being taken for the ‘wrong result’ in a democratic election and Mubarak, not content with the suppression of his own people, is a knowing party to the horrific treatment of the people of Gaza.  Israel’s behaviour is disgusting and their ‘peace process’ is a farce; a smoke screen of oppression and outright territorial theft.  Mubarak receives $1.5 billion a year from the US government in return for blocking the passage of even sick people fleeing from Gaza, because their hospitals were collapsing.   It is no wonder they grow to hate us considering what is being done to the people of Gaza and Palestine in our name and with our support.  They have every right to be angry and we should be ashamed for what our respectively easy lives have allowed us to ignore for so long.

Israel and the “peace process”. Over the past week, we have persistently been told that Mubarak was a key plank in supporting “peace in the Middle East”. The opposite is the truth. Mubarak has been at the forefront of waging war on the Palestinian population.” – Johann Hari – The Independent

The final, and even less credible excuse is that these dictators are suppressing a backlash against us.  If they really think that those self-serving tyrants wouldn’t jump at the chance to shift blame from themselves to us, they are deluding themselves.  Their foul penal systems of torture and indefinite incarceration has not stopped our ‘trusted’ officials sending prisoners to those very systems because their methods are illegal here or in the US as if it excuses the act.  Torture by proxy is still torture and the person who allowed it is as guilty as the animal who carries it out.   Tyrants only create more tyrants and when our money is used to harm and demoralise people we are also guilty of those crimes. The people of these countries have my full support and I applaud their courage to stand up for themselves in countries that do not grant the right to any form of protest and where the police are used as a fist to beat down dissent.  In the mean time I shall be doing my bit here.

Robert Baer, once a senior figure in black ops at the CIA, said: “If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear, you send them to Egypt.””

 

Sources

Warsi’s on the War-Path…


Recently, Baroness Warsi presented a speech to an audience at Leicester University.  A speech, which according to sources was not cleared by Downing Street and does not appear on the Conservative Party Website.

No idea is immune to critical analysis or query, least of all her argument that Islamophobia has become ‘socially acceptable’ dinner-table topic of conversation. Islamophobia is a disingenuous and deliberately misleading term which implies that a fear of this backward, narrow and totalitarian belief system is somehow unjustified by those of us who have bothered to give it any real examination.  Baroness Warsi made no mention of the Muslim demonstrations and marches in our streets, with banners denouncing our way of life, our troops and calling for the death of all non-believers (in other words anybody who is not a Muslim or those who dare to call it out for what it is).  What she attempted was nothing short of anti-criticism propaganda aimed at cowing the proportion of the population who are no longer willing to accept anything at face-value.  She did nothing but try to de-value critical thought.

It’s not just that she was selfish and thoughtless in the tone and content of her speech, but her whole attitude toward non-believers is little more than what she describes as Islamophobia under a different mask.  She is even on record of elevating those of the religious persuasion as morally and altruistically superior back in September during the Pope’s visit.  Her claim that there is no such thing as Islamic extremism goes to show how the baroness has blinkered herself to reality and only sees what she wishes to see.  More dangerously, she denied any distinction between the moderate and the extreme.  Moderate Muslims are quite happy to get on with their lives and get along with non-Muslims.  Aside from a worrying lack public of outrage over the attitudes and actions of their counter parts, there is no need to fear them.  Extreme Muslims who demand ‘respect’ (special treatment), have no wish to affiliate with non-Muslims, and attend those venom filled marches demanding for the end of freedom of speech, not to mention the other freedoms which allowed them to march in the first place are the ones we have every right to be afraid of.  Warsi is sorely mistaken if she thinks otherwise.

“Within Government – among ministers, Coalition partners, officials and agencies – there is an endless battle on this matter. It is a fight between those who think that the way to win is to empower nasty people to control even nastier ones, and those who believe that the best way to deal with extremism is to confront it and reward only those who reject it. It is an argument between those who think that only violence need concern us, and those who believe that it is from bad ideas that bad actions spring.” – Charles Moore of The Telegraph.

If Ms Warsi thinks people have not noticed her own past criticisms of her fellow Muslims then she cannot think much of her electorate’s intelligence, potential or otherwise.  Ms Warsi is of the latter group; reluctant to deal with the issue in favour of patching the symptoms when people are hurt due to the negligence and hesitation of those who could have prevented it.  A free country, truly free, needs to live by common values (not legislated morality) and those who refuse to honour those values should be shunned. Extremism in any form is a force-majore, a phenomenon which once it takes hold is contagious and pernicious and does not let go.  It does not listen to reason and any means is justified by the end.   To deny it’s existence as Warsi has done is foolish and dangerous.  She has encouraged the extremist fringe to nurture their supposed grievances (that people are allowed to not be Muslim and not share their lifestyle).

“This refusal to confront bad ideas means, for example, that the public authorities have shied away from having a look at what is preached at university Islamic societies. The security services do not investigate and combat subversion, as they did in the Cold War. Yet we know, from cases like that of the “Underpants Bomber”, that students are often recruited for extremism by contacts at their universities. It is a pity Lady Warsi said none of this to her university audience.” Charles Moore of The Telegraph.

With new free schools and academies increasing in number, it will not just be christian and jewish faith schools on the rise and outnumbering (possibly marginalising) the more secular state schools.  These schools will be state funded despite their freedom to select their students based on the religion of their parents but very little will be known about the background of those setting them up.  Great care must be taken to ensure that  the power to warp young minds is not handed to fanatics along and then the bill sent to the tax-payer.  Muslims are not a singular mass who all think the same way and attacks against them or harassment of them based on their religion is just as unforgivable as the actions of suicide bombers or perpetrators of honour killings: the one does not justify the other.

Let me now be distinct in saying that I do not hate Muslims.  They are people, they have as much right to their own beliefs as I have of mine.  It is Islam I have the issue with: the idea is not the believer.  If this were twenty years ago maybe it is true I would not have been as out-spoken against the terrible ideology of this religion but that is probably due to the fact that it was not as frequently in the public consciousness but I am no less vocal in my criticism of other religions, so Muslims have no need to feel ‘picked’ on by me.  Extremist right-wing groups such as the English Defence League and the British National (Nazi) Party do no favours to those of us who welcome real debate.  Pitting ignorance against ignorance is only ever going to result in more ignorance and it is unfortunate that national papers have thrown their journalistic integrity away in order to use that ignorance to sell their bottom-shelf hack-rags.

Warsi is as much a hypocrite as ever I saw.  Where she acknowledges the importance of distinctions, she wishes us to ignore it.  She wishes people to stop worrying and let others do the thinking for them.  Attempting to persuade the British public to abandon the idea of ‘moderate’ Muslims and replace it with ‘British Muslims’ is all very well but she seems to be ignoring the fact that many British Muslims are not in the least bit moderate having been swayed by international fanatics.  If she wishes to strip them of the title Muslim then she is wilfully ignoring the particularly authoritarian brand of Islam that is being promoted in this country.

“The mere fact that someone is a Muslim tells you nothing about their moral character, sexuality, political attitudes or even wealth. Baroness Warsi is no more typical of her religion than David Cameron is of his. With such a broad general term, being prejudiced in favour is as silly as being prejudiced against.” Andrew Brown – The Guardian

When I see a woman in a burka, I see victim of Stockholm syndrome.  I see a woman who has deliberately isolated herself from society and then displays that isolation because she has convinced herself it is her choice to be separate.    It turns them into a faceless black shape with no singular identity.  It removes their individuality so completely that it is almost as if they have ceased thinking of themselves as people.  This is why I am for the banning of the oppressive garment, not as an ‘insult to Islam’ but out of respect for (and view to protect) the physical and psychological well-being of the women made to wear them.

 

Sources

If it carries on like this, we will have to protest to retain our right to protest!.


“These protesters are not defying the will of the British people; they are expressing it. Look at their two great causes: opposing £27,000-a-degree fees for university students, and making the super-rich pay the £120bn they currently avoid in tax. Opponents of top-up fees outnumber supporters by 10 percent, while 77 percent of us support a massive crackdown on the people who live here but do not pay taxes here. This isn’t an attack on democracy, it’s a demand for it. It’s a refusal to be part of the silent majority any more. When politicians are defying the will of the people – and breaking the “solemn pledges” on which they took our votes – protest is necessary.”

On top of being a somewhat vocal atheist, my other focus is politics.  Why?  Because it affects everything.  If we simply sit back and ignore the super rich Tory-boys who now seek not only to run our lives, but seem not to be trying their damnedest to ruin the lives of over half a million people, then we do deserve everything we get.  If, however, we wake up to our social responsibilities as citizens of the UK and maintain the pressure on the government to stick to promises and policies they made during the General Election in May.  Those promises were made to win votes and they did especially in the case of the Liberal Democrats who at the choice seemed a reasonable alternative to Labour.  Those hopes have been dashed and Clegg (not just because he’s currently my favourite whipping boy) has not only destroyed is own credibility but has probably sealed all elections results for the liberals for the next several generations.  I know that I will never vote for his party for as long as Clegg is an active member.

This is now available on iTunes for £0.79p.  I have already downloaded mine (we also need this to beat whatever corporate overly processed crap that the x-factor produce to be the Christmas no. 1.

This government is a farce and a poor one at that but this is not what this post is about.  Johann Hari of The Independent is of the belief that public spirit has been quietly eroded over the last decades by protest planning behaviour and by harrowing reports of heavy-handed policing.  There was certainly no need to drag a disabled student out of his chair and drag him across a road (let alone twice) and I sincerely hope that those responsible for that disgusting display of brutality are severely disciplined.  So what if he was mouthing off.  Did that seriously pose a threat to officers or the public?  I think not.  This is not the beginning of the slow deconstruction of the right to peaceful protest as it has been going on for some time. Even New Labour would claim that the youth of the country were apathetic and disengaged with society but this was truly due to the lack of complaints but had it not crossed their minds that it was because they had nothing to complain about or maybe even that the atmosphere of self-interested ‘individualism’ was so well propagated in their parents’ generation that it has not quite worked its way out of the social attitude?  Now the is something to justly protest against they are again on the receiving end of unfair criticism.  It is being implemented through a blanket of police and political intimidation launched against all who dare to exercise their right to peaceful protest.

“Of course, it is never justified in a democracy to launch violent attacks on people. Anybody who throws a fire extinguisher off a roof, or throws fire crackers and snooker balls at police officers, should be arrested and charged. It’s morally wrong, and tactically idiotic: it puts people off the protesters’ just cause. That’s why whenever it has happened, the protesters themselves have immediately turned on the violent fringe and made them stop. Yet the government is claiming that to deal with this tiny number of people – a few dozen – it’s necessary to restrict the basic rights to free assembly that have been won over centuries.” Johann Hari

Hundreds were held on Westminster Bridge for hours in the freezing cold with no toilet and nothing to drink.  It did not matter whether people were involved or not and one cannot help the suspicion that this tactic was used to stir ill-feeling among non-protesters who were caught up in the ‘kettle’.  It is all very well that protests must be planned so they do not cause unnecessary disruption to those not involved.  When some students failed to stick to an agreed route they were ALL rounded up.  It is wrong to pressurise or frighten people out of using their right to protest,  unconscionable that the police who are also being cut back to the bone are using their power against unarmed and rightly disgruntled students, and despicable that the coalition government are trying to push this country back to a point where further education was only available to the very rich when many of those in parliament received their education for free.  Free education to all didn’t seem to bother them when they were studying to be nameless back-benchers.

“In reality, these tactics are provoking more violent protest than they prevent. It’s enraging to turn up to peacefully express your views outside parliament and find yourself suddenly imprisoned by police officers who won’t even let you go to the toilet. It doesn’t cool people down, it makes them burn up. There is an obvious alternative to kettling, and it was the norm in Britain until the Mayday protests of 2001 when the tactic was born. It’s simple: arrest anyone who commits an act of violence, instead of imposing mass imprisonment on everyone present. It’s called good policing.” Johann Hari

Separating the masses from a right to further education (by making it prohibitively expensive, it is essentially being revoked) is crass and ultimately very damaging to society as a whole.  At this rate we’ll have ten-year olds stitching footballs in order to pay for their maths lessons.  But it’s not just the police that seem to be suffering from acute-uptake-deficiency disorder, but also those who lean to the right and are of the ‘everyone should be on their own persuasion‘. What this means is everyone out for themselves in a bite-or-be-bitten society.  It is a kin to ‘social Darwinism‘ which oddly enough is often grossly misunderstood and then adopted by both the religious-right and the Libertarian ‘Objectivist’ fringe in the US in order to (weakly) defend their ridiculous ideals.  We pay taxes in order to maintain public services so when our services are cut we SHOULD demand a rebate. The coalition have conspicuously been grabbing back and slashing public spending with their machete-like callousness while conveniently ignoring the loopholes in tax laws which allow them and their ilk to avoid paying the £120 billion shortfall which would close the gap overnight.

“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face forever.” – George Orwell, 1984

No violence is justified in these matters from either side.   This is regardless of whether or not we’re in a democracy.  It has no place and we must not give into the bullying of those who have placed themselves in positions of authority over us.  Though they rely on our votes to keep them in power they forget the plain facts that they were elected to represent the interests of those who voted for them; we are not here to protect theirs.  They win votes by making promises and should be held to those principles and if they do not they MUST be called up on it publicly and relentlessly.  Students are not the only people to suffer in the wave of savagery against those who are worst off.  The Independent Living Allowance allow hundreds of disabled people to stay in their own homes rather than be institutionalised.

The Sunday Telegraph quotes a government insider admitting “it is quite possible there will be cases of suicide” as a result. But after seeing how the police threw an obvious fragile and immobilized disabled man onto the street, they are too scared to protest outside Downing Street. They are forced to watch, helpless, while their support is taken away to pay for – as a Financial Times headline put it recently – Cameron and Osborne’s new “tax boost for wealthy heirs.” – Johann Hari

All of us have benefited from a long line of protests and rallies.  Every woman has the right to a vote, a bank account and a living of her own despite  her marital status thanks to the brave souls who fought tooth and nail against shocking injustice.  Every worker has the right to paid holiday, a minimum hourly rate of pay, a maximum number of working hours, paid maternity and paternity leave,and a host of other employment rights.  For these rights we have the social movements and protests to thank.  Without that bravery, where would we be now?  Women would still be the chattel of their fathers and husbands, no right to a job or her own money.  There would be no health service and no pensions for the elderly.  We would still be at the mercy of the wealthy minority and be subject to the whims of the rich who still dominate government.

“Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.” – Oscar Wilde

We are not given to an excess of civil disobedience in Britain.  In fact, we are guilty of quite the opposite: unthinking acquiescence. Rather than take action, we are inclined to merely whinge amongst ourselves and do nothing, leaving our political voices in the ballot box when we have a right to both complain and get involved in order to make those changes.  I have joined my local party and aim to start making a difference to social awareness as soon as I am able.  For now I will leave you with a simple thought: From anger and mass disobedience comes progress; from silence comes stagnation.

Sources