Monday, 28 March 2011
....is the number of people who converged on London and peacefully exercised their democratic right to protest against planned Government cuts. And 1/500,000 is the amount of airtime given to these people, in comparison with the hysterical over-reaction of the media to a couple of hundred punks who caused some superficial, albeit irresponsible, damage to a few stores in central London.
The reality of the demonstration was that rather than these stupid kids, people from all walks of life - steelworkers, teachers, nurses, doctors, professors, cleaners, unemployed people, students, had a great day out and made their voices heard.
Aware that overseas readers may not be fully conversant with the situation in the UK, I should briefly explain. Apparently, England is broke. Stone - flat broke. There is, we are told "no more money" left. There is so little money left that the new Conservative-Liberal Government have decided emergency austerity measures are needed. Thus, University budgets are being cut by about 12%. Local authority public service jobs are going to be reduced by 500,000 people over the next three years. The squeeze is on.
The need for austerity can be seen in other areas as well. The Queen herself is contributing to the cost of the upcoming nuptials of Kate Middleton and Prince Wills leaving only 10 million pounds of the overall cost - security, street cleaning and so on - to come from us, the taxpayer. I cannot resist the irony behind a report I read that described how a company contracted to carry out some of the cleaning was recently happy to learn that ten cleaners had been laid off from a local hospital where they worked (because of the cuts) as it provided the company with an additional pool of casual labour for the aftermath of the wedding.
The thing that amazes me about all of this is not the (very) obvious contradiction of a modern society - that we can afford to get involved in a war (using jets that cost 30,000 pounds per hour just to keep in the air) against a nasty dictator (that the UK supported for years), blowing hundreds of innocent civilians to pieces in the process, but that anyone can attempt to justify this and still be considered 'in their right minds'.
The truth is of course, than any justification of such a ludicrous situation is either malevolent sophistry or massive self delusion. I was going to say I am sorry if this sounds harsh, but in point of fact, I am NOT sorry if it sounds harsh. Sanctioning any of the current wars the UK is involved in is only possible if you are personally prepared to fly to another country, stick a gun in a child's mouth and pull the trigger, because as we know, with a 100% certainty, civilians will inevitably die as a result of our government's actions. Supporting them is therefore premeditated murder. The usual defence of our foreign adventures is couched in language like - 'national interest', 'collateral damage', 'regret at civilian casualties' - but the truth is, these are euphemisms for state sanctioned killing.
What possible link is there between Government cuts and war? - you might ask - the two are not necessarily connected. I disagree. I think that there is a direct connection between the cuts and war. The connection is made when you ask "In whose interests are these cuts being made?" or "In whose interests is this war being fought?". In both cases, I cannot answer that either the war, or the cuts benefit me in any way, shape or form. Is it in my interest to reduce hospital workers, police officers, street cleaners or road repairers? Of course not. Is it in my interests to have a war fought in my name in the Middle East? Again, no. So who will profit from all of this?
Well one group of people who will profit is probably the class of people who are going to be represented at the wedding I referred to earlier. With shares in arms manufacturers, oil companies and banking those people will profit. And unlike the cleaners who will be cleaning up after them, their is absolutely zero possibility that their income will suddenly, and arbitarily, be reduced to zero through no fault of their own.
Not perhaps the tone of posting YWNA readers have come to expect. And I accept, probably unwelcome to some. But the truth is, after less than five years here, I am angry again. Completely and utterly pissed off because the story of the UK has been for the last five years, yet again, one of reversal for the majority of the citizens of the place. It is exactly like the Thatcher years again. I do not relish the next few years here at all. There will be increased crime and civil unrest.Increased unemployment. Good news stories emanating from the UK will dry up. It will be all gritted teeth, hair shirts, insecurity and misery if the current Government get their way. And that's why we marched. We dont want to see England of the Eighties unnecessarily recreated, for purely ideological reasons - and like Harper in Canada, this current Government, as ideologues, make most Communists seem utterly pragmatic. YWNA is advertised as News update for friends. It will continue to be that. I will continue, when possible to regale you with stories of my own stupidity, but politics has been added, because politics has become, through necessity, once again a daily part of our lives. I cannot describe with any reliability how I wish this was not the case.
More pictures are in the album below.
Posted by MJN at 20:29