Friday, 15 May 2015

SOS for Democracy...

Is our system of government in trouble and in need of an intervention?  

Our method of government (the system of administration in place to fairly and wisely look after things like health, education, defence, care, infrastructure etc.) appears to have been switched/hijacked/stolen or otherwise come under the control of corporate interests and is no longer performing as representative of the people at all. 

The projects, plans, deals, bills and laws being pushed through (that can and do harm citizens) are evidence that it is in no position to save itself. It grows ever more undeniable and obvious that the generally understood meaning of 'Democracy' NOT what we are witnessing and living. It barely sustains us and allows suffering that WE as the citizens, would not permit.

IF we were truly represented:
-how could our most vulnerable be targeted with austerity that results in genuine suffering, whilst the very wealthy and corporations are allowed to escape paying taxes that would mean we don't need austerity?
-how could our system of healthcare be allowed to fall into the 'at risk' category for finances when it is an essential for all lives? WE would not have accepted the ridiculous terms dictated by Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) that require only specified (expensive) contractors for work and put our hospitals into high-interest debt over 25-60 years?
-how could a once respected profession be stripped of integrity and reduced to entertainment and manipulation rather than factual, accurate NEWS reporting? Most of the 'media' that the majority take in (TV/Newspapers/Magazines/Books) and have taken to be true - is owned by 4 corporations with investment interests across a broad range of industries - industries it would serve them well to share good things about ie: fracking is good, TTIP is good, war is necessary (along with the arms trade it profits), privatisation is a better option?!
-how could an unwarranted 'dash for gas' be happening and putting so many people at potential risk from unconventional energy techniques like fracking? Individuals and entire communities across the country worried and unclear - asking for a pause in the dash; time to consider all the implications and for a report back on what can truly be expected. Who wouldn't insist on a report (without bias) that is transparent, full and clear?

-how could the evidence that points to crimes against our children, not have lead to immediate action to safeguard others? Evidence buried for years, stories silenced, victims/survivors ignored or worse and criminals protected; that is the story on the paedophile investigations. There is every reason to believe that a child is suffering now and yet there is no urgency. That many of the crimes have involved individuals and premises that are associated with the government - makes me certain that this government, the last and many before that, are not governments of WE the People. WE would not hesitate to safeguard a child, the moment we became aware they were being harmed.

At some point very soon, the 76% of eligible voters in the UK who did not put an X in the box for the party now in government - will need to work together; to make clear that the active support of just 24% of the population does not give this government the right to impact all of us.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Monday, 11 May 2015

Gathering Ourselves...

There will be many ways to react to this awful election result; that does not represent the will of the vast majority (only 1/3 voted to have this government). At local levels, creating strong local networks that can assist those affected by policies, improve community awareness of the impact of those polices, skill-share, react quickly and link with others nearby and nationwide when larger actions call for it - seems a good project.
I was very inspired by this beautiful reaction by community organisers locally in Blackpool - made me think it would be of worth to have local gathering places for alternative thoughts, everywhere ...not under any other banner or cause - just gather, connect, share and plan:

Saturday, 9 May 2015

There's no Time...

There is too little time - we cannot wait 5 years. David Cameron formed the government the day of the the election results (despite it being VE Day & the Queen having a bit on)... already he is instigating cuts to welfare and looking to reinstate fox hunting and the clashes today with police in London, were met with a level or ready-brutality and intolerance. As planning for frack sites across the country come to councils now, they will be helped-along their way with Conservative zeal.

We know that this is bad - I had hoped though that there might be a moment to pause, to catch our breath and to find some way of uniting our fractured pieces - torn apart and scattered after politics caused rifts and divisions amongst people who were each simply aiming for better in their own way,
The wrongs and rights we see are not the same but everyone I know who is standing against fracking, standing against harsh austerity or looking to find a better system whilst trying to break down the old... is doing so because sitting on the sofa and swallowing the lies and myths and spin just wasn't tolerable anymore. No-one is acting in self-interest or with ill-intent - I may not agree the methods, reasoning or approach of all but I hugely respect any that got up to act.
I hope we find our MASS of 'we the people' - because this is not the time to go it alone, not the time to argue over anything that compared to where we stand now - cannot matter as much.
Where now, how now? No idea but I do know that we need each other more than ever.


Just after 7am 8th May 2015 the election in Tatton was over...

It was hard to hold back when we did the speeches at the end - but the audience by this time consisted solely of exhausted 'counters' who had worked throughout the night to get the counting done. They were fuelled by Haribos & bananas and lovely humour with each other... the genuine human faces in a room where those with the Blue Rosettes, stalked like lions waiting for dinner.

The Knutsford Guardian reports it here:
[Green Party candidate Tina Louise Rothery said The Green Party was only just beginning to get its messages out, urgent messages focusing on the need to consider “the resources we all depend on to survive” and the importance of nurturing and protecting them.
She added: “No matter how good it is in Tatton I think perhaps the voters here need to be considering beyond the borders of this very privileged and lovely place – that it isn’t the same everywhere.
“For my first effort in politics it’s been a fascinating learning experience, and I go out of this perhaps a little disappointed in some of the democratic process, particularly the media treatment of the whole thing.”]

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Looking into George...

As the political campaigning is at last coming to its end, I am so relieved and 7th May 2015 can't come soon enough. The experiences have been fascinating and the learning intense; the rewards found only in the friendly walkabouts, talks to the young and audiences that show such anger and passion - it restores faith in the wisdom of the masses and awareness that apathy is not everywhere. The audiences were well-informed, engaged and clearly undecided at hustings (debates but not really as we don't get the chance to address the other candidates' points - only each express our own... which can be frustrating) for the Country Land and Business Association at a gorgeous mansion surrounded by polo fields and in village and church halls for Age UK, Churches Together and the general public.

It was very sadly predictable in that each of the other candidates said exactly what I expected and repeated mantras, jokes and family stories at each event as if newly telling; I know there is a practicality in this but for me it felt like each new audience was not being considered for the unique one that it was. On Friday night and Saturday morning, George Osborne shared hustings with us. To put this meeting into context... I have been despising and actively opposing the harms this man has done and continues to do, since joining the Occupy movement in 2011 and becoming part of the now huge anti-fracking movement. George Osborne's father-in-law is an ardent supporter of the shale gas industry and along with George and the government, is doing all possible to get this through - oiling the wheels of planning and legislation to ensure the public do not get in the way. When I knew we would be sharing a platform, I wondered how the hell I would react. I have slept in tents in freezing temperatures, watched treasured friends and fellow activists, brutally assaulted, read manipulated press stories whilst standing amidst truths that they in no way resembled; I've watched communities in fear, communities torn apart and divided and am currently in a court case demanding around 60,000 in costs from me. And so much more, from far more vulnerable people across the UK with sanctions, cuts to allowances for the disabled and cruel measures to punish those who don't fit the category 'HARD WORKING FAMILIES'... it was always going to be tense. But...

I do a thing when I meet people for the first time (particularly those I KNOW I have a pre-formed, bad opinion of) ..I remember that each of us was born a baby and therefore, at some brief stage... I could have loved them (before life scribbled a story all over them with circumstance, upbringing, education, abuse etc.).

This was harder with George than any other human I have met. I looked as deep as I could get and found that underneath the puppet of the party was a weak, insecure man. He worked to instruction and formula and seemed to experience huge discomfort when confronted with anything that was vaguely 'off script'. It felt like he was doing what he was told and if he wasn't told - he didn't know what he was doing. Deep, deep in me was a smidgen of empathy for the little boy who feared the bullies and came to serve them.

Tragically (literally for the many he affects by virtue of his position) - the system puts people like George into positions, where there is power passed through them. At no point in the process of this political campaign (my first ever involvement with politics) have I found it to be democratic, fair or just. From the way our electoral system works (it doesn't for us) that means for some of us, our vote is only worth a fraction (this is crazy), to the vile way the parties 'play' their campaigns; this peek into the strategies politicians use was shared by Boris Johnson in 2013 and is every bit in play right now:
'Let us suppose you are losing an argument. The facts are overwhelmingly against you, and the more people focus on the reality the worse it is for you and your case. Your best bet in these circumstances is to perform a manoeuvre that a great campaigner describes as “throwing a dead cat on the table, mate”.
‘That is because there is one thing that is absolutely certain about throwing a dead cat on the dining room table – and I don’t mean that people will be outraged, alarmed, disgusted. That is true, but irrelevant. The key point, says my Australian friend, is that everyone will shout “Jeez, mate, there’s a dead cat on the table!”; in other words they will be talking about the dead cat, the thing you want them to talk about, and they will not be talking about the issue that has been causing you so much grief.’
The current system of government is not about you and me, is not about people, society, community or family. We have a lot to do but I am more determined now than ever, that we cannot stop until we seize back control of OUR democracy, from the 'system' of government operating it. For now, my activism IS politics and after 7th May, I'm not sure.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Blueprint for Life...

Between 1 in 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people are thought to deliberately self-harm.

That is such a dreadfully sad statistic. Children without hope. Children in despair. What is it that is causing the rise of mental health issues for so many? Aside from the pollutants, industries, additives, pharmaceuticals and other factors that can affect our mental health, maybe there’s something in the way  we live and the example and options we offer our young .  

I recall those childhood wonderings about what it would be to grow up;  hearing about school, work, falling in love, marriage, children etc. I waited each time at the end of conversations about this scenario, this ‘blueprint for life’ - thinking there would be at least another option, if not a whole set of multiple-choice blueprints to choose from.

I didn’t hear any real choices – just success or failure based on matching up to the blueprint

My mum was loving,  fabulous and successful  in her career but she too had the blueprint; doing her best to be the shape it required and help my sister and I to be too. We act with good intent, not wanting our children to be outside society and wanting to make the journey as smooth as possible. There is no malice in shaping our children to fit because this is what life looks like, if you grew up according to the blueprint  - but there is harm.

The confines of society have closed in so much that there are fewer exits and where they lead, grows smaller and smaller. We live anti-nature – shut-in buildings, ritual working patterns,  societal norms,  structured politics and probably most damaging of all, limited boundaries of education that attempt to create those shapes for humans to be - in order to fit the blueprint. 

I know so many out-of-shape people

Of course we can go rogue… live life away from the norm but it is far from easy and getting more difficult all the time. There is little common land to disappear to, few incomes that aren’t attached to a ‘regular job’ etc. So odd-shaped people spend lifetimes trying to squeeze, stretch and bend into places, spaces  and states of being that will always be ill-fitting… and eventually, maddening.

Mental Health has been in the news more recently than at any other time I can recall. Statistics warn:

  • Suicides rates show that British men are three times as likely to die by suicide than British women
  • Self-harm statistics for the UK show one of the highest rates in Europe: 400 per 100,000 population

Of course this is a health issue that we need to look at from a medical perspective but much more than the diagnosis and treatments – the biggest concern is surely:  

What are the causes and how can we address them before the harm starts or is beyond remedy?

The world is dramatically different than the one I knew as a child and yet the blueprint remains pretty much the same. We can see that as a species, we are capable of amazing creativity and ingenuity and yet here we are, stuck in austerity, in debt, discontented with our systems of government, at war, in poverty and often, feeling the huge sense of hopelessness at it all.


As technology races ahead, social media gets us talking and the internet provides ready-resources of information and learning,  people WILL challenge the blueprint. Each day though, suicides, over-medication and self-harm are stealing some of the most creative, feeling and unique minds from us. History reveals that the brightest inventions have come from those with wilder minds; the untamed Einsteins, Teslas and Da Vincis (would they have been medicated as teens in order to get them to conform to an homogenized norm and stop fussing with crazy ideas?). 

Change can't come soon enough and it has to include a review of the blueprint so we can start to set ourselves free.