I know I shouldn’t just flag articles up without saying much about them, but I think everyone should read this today. It’s quite a long economics article in the Guardian, and I feel it reflects what I’ve thought for years: the premise of low tax economy is inherently unfair and does not withstand scrutiny. It’s author goes through the various moral and economic arguments spouted by those on the right for low tax economics, showing the logical flaws in each. The reason why some people are rich and some are poor essentially boils down to luck; in a civilised society, there is no moral justification for allowing some people to hoard vast amounts of wealth while others are left to go hungry. The author of the piece articulates these ideas far better than I can so I won’t try to add much, save to say that having a physical disability probably gives me a slightly different perspective on this: I see myself as a part of society; I try to contribute to society in whatever ways I can, although I cannot have a regular job. People like me make a contribution to society, so shouldn’t society support us? after all, if we all just cared for ourselves and forgot the whole idea of belonging to a society, all the infrastructure we need to function would fall apart. For guys like me to be able to make a contribution to society, then, we need society’s support – support which would not be there in a right-wing ultra-low tax hell the outists seem to be pressing for.
We are currently marking seventy five years since the D-Day landings, in which thousands of people died to liberate Europe from right-wing nationalism. At the same time, the UK is trying to leave the European Union, an international body set up precisely to prevent such military operations ever being necessary again. I doubt I am the only one who sees a monstrous irony in that. It is utterly tragic. Here we are as a civilisation, decrying the folly of nationalism in one breath and cheering it’s resurgence in the next. The EU was created in the wake of the second world war to create a Europe-wide forum in which countries could settle their differences peacefully: how can we be even contemplating leaving it and going back to a situation where such barbarities are possible, and where countries see theirselves as rivals rather than friendly members of a federation? I’m sure many others will be making this very point today, far more articulately and perceptively than I can (see this for example); but it just staggers me how we, as a society, can be stupid enough allow such nationalism to resurface.
A terrible pun, I know, but it amused me enough to steal it. The question is, will it be Boris, Michael or Dominic July?
I should have taken my coat today, but it looked so nice and dry when I left for the protest this morning that I didn’t put it on. I got up to parliament square at about half passed eleven, and the place was already filling up with my fellow Anti-Trump protesters. I try not to go up there too often these days for fear of getting too angry, but today I thought I’d chance it: it’s not every day that the buffoon currently calling himself the President of America comes to town, and I just had to go up there to show my revulsion for him.
Seventy-five thousand other people had the same idea, apparently. In spite of the weather, it was a massive event in parliament square, with a very carnivalesque atmosphere. I spotted one or two pro-Trump people, but the vast, vast majority were there to oppose the embarrassment to humanity. I tried to engage a few people in conversation, but kept finding that as soon as I had typed my sentence into my Ipad things had moved on. That happens sometimes, especially at high energy, fast moving events like today’s.
I was there for a few hours, first watching the crowds gather then listening to the speeches. Luckily, they let me go to the front so I got an excellent view of the speakers; I especially liked David Lammy’s. Of course, it’s anybody’s guess what effect, if any, a protest like today’s will have, but we nonetheless have to try. What is now happening in the world vis a vis things like Trump and Brexit can be seen as the return of a form of fascism. If that is true, then surely we must do something – anything – to try to stop it.
I know I shouldn’t laugh, as advocating violence shouldn’t be encouraged, but this has me chuckling into my morning coffee. The band Killdren has been blocked from their Glastonbury gig this year. “A band criticised for calling on members of the Conservative Party to be killed have had their Glastonbury Festival booking cancelled.” I know it’s wrong but reading that tickled me. How hilarious would it be to see so many people dancing away to songs about killing twits like Gove or Johnson? I suppose it’s just a reflection of the time, both in that society is now so politically furious that we get bands singing songs about murdering politicians, and in that we’re now so insecure that we can’t allow people to listen to them at festivals.
I still think we need some kind of massive cultural movement to counter Brexit, History teaches us that the best way to counter any kind of oppressive or occupying force is through some kind of nonviolent civil action. It is now quite clear that Brexit is that kind of force, and must be opposed. Surely the best way the country can show it’s opposition to the utter stupidity of brexit is through some kind of enormous cultural movement. It’s now obvious that if we don’t act, we can kiss goodbye to the NHS and will be eating chlorinated chicken before you can say ‘human rights’. Surely there must be a way for us Remainers to get together to create art and events to show our opposition to what is happening.
What I have in mind would be massive – it would need to be: festivals, events, music and film. Perhaps it could even be on the same epic scale as the London 2012 Olympics (and London, being such a staunchly Remain city, might make an excellent host). Surely there must be some way to mobilise the vast swathes of actors, directors, writers and artists opposed to Brexit; and presumably most people in the mainstream media industry can see it for the mindless fascism it is too. We need to get everyone together to tell the government that we vehemently oppose what is going on, otherwise something absolutely nobody knowingly voted for will be forced upon us. The only question is, how can we get such a cultural movement going?
This afternoon I had the same problem I noted last Saturday, I just got in from a nice long stroll to Woolwich and back. It’s Saturday, so once again I’m wearing my Charlton football shirt. The problem is, as I’m rolling along in my powerchair, people I pass – strangers, usually men – suddenly shout things like “Come on addicts!” at me, completely out of the blue. The first time it happened, roughly here, it scared the living shit out of me. It took me a couple of seconds to realise what he was talking about and remember that The Addicts or Addics is the nickname for Charlton Athletic FC. I was a little more prepared the second time it happened and didn’t jump quite so high, but I must remember what happens the next time I put this shirt on. I mean, what am I supposed to be addicted to anyway?