The stakes are so high now. For example, many European countries might make it clear that someone expressing Nazi hate speech, as Katie Hopkins did, is a security risk and is not welcome. This would serve to heighten the contrasts between the inclusive, multicultural, fully internationalist vision of Corbyn -supported by the youth and popular in most of our cities- and the insular, ultimately fascistic, perspective of the right. The question is, are liberals who see themselves as progressive capable of finally fully recognising the twin threats of a runaway right wing media and a tendency in the current Conservative Party towards isolationism? If so, they would pull out of Labour marginals, recognising the crucial importance of a Labour government that can work with Europe as well as clamping down on the excesses of the Press.
Operation Vanilla Pod is the name given to the heinous practice of euthanising small business owners, especially in the creative industries, in Shoreditch, Stoke Newington, and Crouch End during The Decade Of Perfect Vision. Complacent liberals were unable to mobilise to defend themselves when, surprisingly, the Govestapo came first for the Proprietors of tastelessly monikered cornflake cafes, VJs, Digital Media Executives, Peddlers of Bric-A-Brac, Copywriters, Record Producers, and The Entire Marketing Collective. These incalcitrant liberals were always at risk of finding themselves in the camps, and the surely temporary nature of their independence had fed a growing sense of uneasiness. But death? They had been sure it would be the disabled first, then maybe a few Muslims. Public intellectuals. Those kind of people. They were prepared to wait it out. That was the insidious genius of Operation Vanilla Pod. They had taken a brief glance at History, but no-one guessed Nathan Barley would be incorporated into the blueprint.
Fight back against Operation Vanilla Pod:
Of course the ever-shrinking category of “those with the greatest need” simply reflects a government that has made a partisan political decision to cut disabled people’s essential income to fund a financial gift to the wealthiest citizens. There is no justification for this decision, nor is it “fair.”
Kitty S Jones dissects the DWP rhetoric at
The gloriously eccentric, eccentrically British, Olympic opening ceremony of 2012 allowed us a one off opportunity to celebrate the best of our country on a scale we would never normally entertain.
We know that British history is not a fairy tale. We are not fooled by faceless displays of military might. You can’t roll out tanks and expect the British to think that’s the best parade ever.
Some guy in a glass box turning his nose up at breakfast, lunch, and dinner? But he doesn’t do anything else? No jokes? No songs? At least a tap dance and a smile! Have an egg, mate. And another. Get a load of that.
For all the majesty of the 2012 ceremony, we had to have a gentle poke at our institutions too, or at least get them to tell a few jokes and jump out of a plane or something.
If you wanted to know why four to twelve thousand thousand people will be meeting up outside Downing Street and in Trafalgar Square this afternoon, think of that ceremony without an NHS we provide for ourselves.
[Update: 150,000 people attended the protests! This was scantily reported by the BBC]
Think of it without pianos in the houses of the less well off. That isn’t hard to do. Think of it without houses for the poor at all. Think of it with less guitars. Imagine ordinary people can’t afford things like that. Yeah, think of Britain without Paul McCartney, without The Beatles, and without the uniqueness of modern British music.
Not so great, is it?
Today, we stand up especially for two core British values. Fairness, and supporting the underdog. This government has imposed the harshest measures upon the most vulnerable. The ‘bedroom tax’, an attempt and further plans to cut disabilty benefits by £30 a week, and unfair assessments which have seen in a three year period 2380 people die within two weeks of being declared fit for work. The Government has not collected the figures on how many of those people died from lack of electricity, food, medicines. Nor has it recorded how many were so desperate, not getting the help they needed, they took their own lives.
In 2012, instead of the Olympic opening ceremony, think of a cold flat and a suicidal disabled person, perhaps with a serious mental health condition.
The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948) was motivated by the desire to protect people from the awful things the Nazis had just done. The British Government are under investigation by the UN for their treatment of disabled people.
There are unnecessary cuts that affect all of us. An intention to bring the private sector into every school despite evidence and expert opinion that this is not at all the correct thing to do. There is a secretive trade deal being negotiated that is intended to open up Britain further for American feeding in several ways, such as giving their companies the right to tender for NHS services and even the right to sue British Governments.
Meanwhile, the rich are allowed to bypass UK law altogether.
It’s all clearly unfair and if we don’t do something about these injustices, it will only get worse. I will be joining today’s protests. I feel it is the patriotic thing to do.
The People’s Assembly against Austerity meets at 1pm Euston Road/Gower Street.
Lead photo: Matt Lancashire
The discussion on free will is a fiendish labyrinth. Spend enough time in a labyrinth without monsters, all you feel is great boredom and impatience. The social importance of personal responsibility has no doubt generated a lot of fertiliser.
Cutting through the thickets, I propose that the placebo effect applies to responsibility itself. No-one can conquer the environment. There is little serious disagreement, I think, with the statement that human reasoning is flawed, an imperfect tool for modelling reality. Transcendence seems to me to be artful fiction. The insistent functions of the body only cease in death.
We know that there are things such as temperature, status, healthy relationships, a sense of security that contribute to concentrated mental states. You can influence even the greatest master with a stick. Or by throwing her into the sun.
The measure of freedom we have to make a choice is dependent on many factors the individual cannot control and did not ask for. Anyone who laughs at the teenager who didn’t ask to be born is not doing so because they disagree.
If collectively, according to our power, we create the conditions by which people feel they are able to make considered decisions, they will make considered decisions. If someone has power and they help create conditions that encourage poor health or misinformation, there are two possible reasons. Either they score too highly for dark triad traits to be a good leader for the people or they are not as free as they think they are. For example, the aversion to any perceived loss of status is a powerful motivator of poor decision making. This human fiction of status is treated as an eternal truth to be imposed upon reality and every human suffers.
Personal responsibility is an ideal. Self mastery is an ideal. It isn’t harmful to know this. The placebo effect still works. Making this common knowledge and the basis for policy is not what will end civilisation. A failure to recognise and help each other with our strengths and weaknesses, which is a collective responsibility, is what will end civilisation.