Friday, 26 May 2017

Cut the rich not, the poor.

Repeat post, it's gotta be shared again, for all the Daily Mail and scum readers a counterbalance to your hate filled propaganda and outright lies

Available for download NOW - tell everyone you know!

Captain Ska's "Liar, Liar" is officially released today. We have one week to get it in the top 40s, forcing the BBC to play it over the airways!

Band member and song writer Jake said: "We’ve re-mastered our Liar, Liar song for this General Election because we want to do all we can to expose the horrific effects Tory policy has had on ordinary people. Theresa May lies her way through interview after interview without addressing the real issues."

"We’re sick of her and her party of millionaires privatising and cutting our public services while it’s poverty and deteriorating living standards for the rest of us. The money is there to improve the lives of the majority but it’s in the hands of the wrong people."

"We want to do all we can to make sure Theresa May is kicked out of Downing St on 8 June. I’m confident we’ll get into the UK Top 40’s which would mean the BBC will have to play it on their chart show next Sunday."

All money spent on downloads of the track between 26 May and 8 June 2017 will be split between food banks around the UK and The People's Assembly Against Austerity. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

John Frost : Radical Chartist Leader (25/5/1784 - 27/7/1877)

John Frost  radical Chartist leader was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales  on this day  25th May 1784, the son of John Frost and his wife, Sarah, landlady of the Royal Oak public house in Mill Street, Newport. His father died when John was very young and his mother remarried twice. Aged about sixteen, Frost was apprenticed to a tailor in Cardiff. In 1804, he was an assistant woollen draper in Bristol and the following year he worked in London as a merchant tailor. There he joined radical circles and sharpened his political education by reading Paine and Cobbett. On his return to Newport about 1806, he continued his business as a tailor and draper. On 24th October 1812, Frost married Mary Geach (née Morgan), widow of a timber dealer, with whom he had eight children between 1815 and 1826.In 1821 Frost became involved in a legal dispute with Thomas Prothero, a Newport solicitor. The original problem concerned the will of John Frost's uncle, William Foster. Frost accused Prothero of being responsible for Foster's decision to exclude Frost from his will. When Frost included this in a letter, Prothero sued for libel and in March 1822, Frost was fined £1,000. Frost continued to accuse Prothero of malpractice and in February 1823, he was found guilty of libel again, and this time he was sent to prison for six months.
Frost was told he would serve a long prison sentence if he repeated his allegations against Thomas Prothero. Frost therefore decided to direct his anger against Prothero's close friend, Sir Charles Morgan, one of the major landowners in Newport. In 1830 he wrote a pamphlet, A Christmas Box for Sir Charles Morgan, where he accused the landowner of badly treating his tenants. In the pamphlet John Frost also advocated that universal suffrage and secret ballots was the only way to curb the power of people like Sir Charles Morgan.
Over the next five years Frost established himself as the leader of the supporters of universal suffrage in Newport. As a result of the Municipal Corporation Act, tradesman such as John Frost became more powerful in the running of towns. In 1835 Frost was elected as one of Newport's eighteen new councillors and was also appointed as a magistrate. The following year he was elected mayor. However, his aggressive behaviour upset a lot of people and Frost was replaced as mayor in 1837.
Frost became  an enthusiastic supporter of the People’s Charter, launched in 1837 to fulfil the aims of Chartism. A year later he was elected by his supporters to go to London and represent them at the National Convention organised by the Chartists as a sort of alternative Parliament  The Chartists wanted the vote for all men (though not for women) and a fairer electoral system. They also called for annual elections, the payment of MPs, and the introduction of a secret ballot. Working conditions in many coalfields and ironworks in South Wales were harsh, and there was often conflict between workers and employers. Across Britain men, women and children worked 14 hours a day for little reward. For a time workers looked to the Radicals in parliament, but the much talked about Reform Act Of 1832 only gave votes to the rich. John Frost said that the working man should 'look to no one but himself, for if he depends on those who are in superior situations, he will always be disappointed.' Chartism was about the working class looking to itself. Given these circumstances, it was no surprise that Chartism developed quickly. In the summer of 1838 a Working Men's Association was formed in Newport, Monmouthshire to publicise the People's Charter.

Following a split in the movement, Frost threw in his lot with the Physical Force Chartists, who advocated violent action to achieve reform. This outraged the Home Secretary Lord John Russell and in March 1839 Frost was sacked as a magistrate.
Around Britain, and especially in South Wales, discontent was smouldering  and in May 1838 eloquent speaker Henry Vincent was arrested for making inflammatory speeches. When he was tried on the 2nd August at Monmouth Assizes he was found guilty and sentenced to twelve months imprisonment. Vincent was denied writing materials and only allowed to read books on religion.
Chartists in Wales were furious and the decision was followed by several outbreaks of violence. Frost toured Wales making speeches urging people not to break the law. Frost's plan was to march on Newport where the Chartists planned to demand the release of Vincent.
The authorities in Newport heard rumours that the Chartists were armed and planned to seize Newport. Stories also began to circulate that if the Chartists were successful in Newport, it would encourage others all over Britain to follow their example. On 4 November 1839, 5,000 men roused with much anger  marched into Newport ,and attempted to take control of the town. They marched to  Westgate Hotel, where they had heard that after several more arrests, local authorities were temporarily holding several chartists, began chanting "surrender our prisoners". Troops protecting the hotel were then given the order to begin firing into the crowd, killing at least 22 people, and another fifty being wounded and resulted  in  the uprising being bought to an abrupt end. Among the injured was a Chartist named John Lovell, who was shot in the thigh and badly wounded. It would be the last large scale uprising in the history of  mainland Britain.

After the Chartist attack on the Westgate Hotel Frost and others involved in the march on Newport were arrested and charged with high treason. During Frost's trial  his popularity grew," His self-possession, dignity and respectability, reported during his trial at Monmouth impressed many people."
Several of the men, including John Frost, were found guilty and sentenced to be hanged, drawn and quartered in what would be a traitor's death. The severity of the sentences shocked many people and protests meetings took place all over Britain.
Some Physical Force Chartists called for a military uprising but Feargus O'Connor refused to lead an insurrection.
The British Cabinet discussed the sentences and on 1st February the Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, announced that instead of the men being executed they would be transported for life.
John Frost was sent to Tasmania where he worked for three years as a clerk and eight years as a school teacher. Chartists continued to campaign for the release of Frost. Thomas Duncombe pleaded Frost's case in the House of Commons but attempt to secure a pardon in 1846 was unsuccessful.
Duncombe refused to be defeated and in 1854 he persuaded the Prime Minister, Lord Aberdeen, to grant Frost a pardon but he stipulated that he must not enter British territory.
Frost and his daughter, Catherine, who had joined him in Tasmania, went to live in the United States. Frost toured the country lecturing on the unfairness of the British system of government.This campaign for his return  had kept running for 16 years, until he was an old man of 72 and he was finally granted a full pardon.
To the surprise of the authorities, he had not been forgotten and in 1856 several thousand people crowds turned out in Newport, London and elsewhere to see and hear this man of principle, and give him a hero's welcome. He told them that one day not only would they have the Charter but they would also have 'something more'--a better world where those who make the wealth would enjoy it to the full.
Frost retired to Stapleton near Bristol where he wrote articles for newspapers on subjects such as universal suffrage and prison reform. John Frost died at the  grand old age of ninety-three on 27th July, 1877.
John Frost Square, in Newport city centre, was named in his honour. A 1978  mural of the Newport rising in the square was shamefully  demolished in 2013 :-
We should be grateful to John Frost, that almost all of the reforms for which he and the Chartists had campaigned had been enshrined in law. I believe it is important to respect and honour the legacy of the Chartists and John Frost and the sacrifices they made , as the struggles for democracy continue. Many people have been arguing that modern politics is broken, and now is a time for a  new People's charter. Generations later  the fight to defeat elite driven policies continues, for the many not the few. There is still so much to fight for.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Light rises up

When  blinded by our differences
Life often makes no sense at all,

It's enough to darken the soul
The world  falling  apart at the seams,
Nothing left but blood and bodies
Images that haunt our compassion,
Some people will shout for vengeance
Others  will sing songs of peace and love,
Finding time to ease the pain
Light  candles among the darkness.
Mourning the loss of innocents
That fall on this twisted earth;
United in grief and solidarity
We stand together and cry,
Carrying the weight of heartache
The need for blind retribution must die,
Step by step we can run from  fear
try to reconcile ourselves with one another.

Clinging on to healing overtones
Find the strength and courage to move on;
To a place where hate refuses to grow
Too much pain keeps us suffocating
Not sure we can withstand much more,.
Lets spread  tender inclinations
Build bridges out of  destruction,
In moments of despair cling on.

There is much in life worth saving
But we have to keep working together;
Otherwise the same old divisions take hold
And the second we close our eyes;
Every advance we've ever made
Drowns in  pools of  impossibility;
Hold hands now with your neighbour
Share what you have in common
Beyond our different sadness, light rises up.

* The above poem can also be found here :-

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Manchester Terror Aftermath

At least 22 people were killed and up to 50 injured in an explosion at the end of a concert by pop star Ariana Grande at Manchester Arena last night.  Prime Minister Theresa May said the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack. People are being urged not to speculate about the attacker's identity or share names until police confirm more details.
If confirmed, it would be the deadliest militant assault on Britain since four British Muslims killed 52 people in suicide bombings on London’s transport system in July 2005.
Police responded to reports of an explosion shortly after 10:35pm at the arena, which has a capacity for 21,000 people, and where the U.S. singer had been performing to an audience that included many children
The S**n  newspaper this morning sickeningly has since been using this terrible tragedy to push their own disgusting political agenda .Their article about Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell  on their front page is opportunist, ill-timed, inaccurate and quite simply beyond the pale.The Daily Mail equally should be ashamed of itself.
We cannot let this latest incident make us more divided, if this is the case the perpetrator's job is done.All over the UK we cannot allow our communities to slip in to fear and hate, which is what whoever was behind this would want. There are too many bad people out there who see things like this as something to exploit sadly. We need as much goodwill now as ever before, and that goes for all of us.
I remember that dear Jane was a frequent gig goer in Manchester and worker, thank goodness to the  people of Manchester,  who valiantly helped out to save lives last night, they will mourn, but will not be cowed  ever. Have been reading reports  of acts of kindness and resilience in light off the attack, people across Manchester offering up rooms for those affected by the suspected attack, donating blood and taxi drivers provided free lifts as road closures left survivors unable to get home. In Manchester's darkest hour the cities huge spirit still shines through. The city has come together after previous incidents, and hopefully will carry on going from strength to strength.
While politicians bicker daily at how best to run the NHS and how many policemen and women should be on our streets, it is quite something to hear reports of how they have continued to work under the greatest of stress. It’s at desperate times like this where we should all be grateful to the dedicated men and women in the emergency services..
This post dedicated and in loving memory and in defiance of all those who would harm innocents for a murderous cause. Hopefully the perpetrators will face the full weight of justice.
Several people are still missing in the wake of the attack and their pictures are being circulated on social media. Their friends and family are asking people to retweet and share them in the hope of finding them.A hotline has been set up for anyone concerned about loved ones who may not have returned home.  Families and friends can ring 0161 856 9400 or 0161 856 9900.
Now is not the time for politics, it is time to show some bloody respect to those that died and those who have been injured. May the 22 rest in peace and the rest of us live in peace.
In the meantime, if you want to donate money, Manchester Evening News has set up a crowdfunder for the families of victims of the attack.

If you felt inclined to make a complaint to the Independent press standards organisation, about certain newspapers inflammatory reportage you can do so here:-

Monday, 22 May 2017

You Ain't Done Nothing If You Ain't Been Called a Red

The American folk music revival during the early half of the 20th century was infused with a very strong sense of left-wing rebel sentiment .The following song makes me smile from ear to ear. An inspiring one, that hopefully makes people, get up and want to make the world a better place.
Maybe not as popular as “Solidarity Forever” or “The Red Flag”, but this one is still one glorious uplifting anthem . I simply love its fighting spirit. I for one am not ashamed to be called a Red.
Taken from Rebel Voices: Songs of the Industrial Workers of the World.An extensive collection of writings by and about the Industrial Workers of the World union in the US, compiled and edited by Joyce L Kornbluh and first published in 1964.

You Ain't Done Nothing If You Ain't Been Called a Red

When I was just a little thing I used to love parades
with banners, bands and red balloons and maybe lemonade
when I came home one mayday my neighbours father said
them marchers is all commies tell me kid are you a red?

well, I didnt know just what he meant my hair back then was brown
our house was plain red brick like most others in the town
so I went and asked my mamma why our neighbour called me red
my mummy took me on her knee and this is what she said

Well you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a red
if you've marched or agitated, you're bound to hear it said
so you might as well ignore it, or love the word instead
cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a red

When I was growin' up, had my troubles I suppose
when someone took exception to my face or to my clothes
or tried to cheat me on a job or hit me on the head
when I organised to fight back why the stinkers called me red

But you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a red
if youv'e marched or agitated, you're bound to hear it said
so you might as well ignore it, or love the word instead
cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a red

When I was livin' on my own one apartment that I had
had a lousy rotten landlord let me tell ya he was bad
but when he tried to throw me out I rubbed my hands and said
you haven't seen a struggle if you haven't fought a red!

And you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a red
if you've marched or agitated, then you're bound to hear it said
so you might as well ignore it, or love the word instead
'cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a red

Well I kept on agitatin', cause what else can you do?
you're gonna let the sons of bitches walk all over you
my friends said you'll get fired, hanging with that commie mob
I should be so lucky buddy, I ain't got a job

And you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a red
if you've marched or agitated, then you're bound to hear it said
so you might as well ignore it, or love the word instead
cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a red

Well I've been agitatin' now for fifty years or more
for jobs or for equality and always against war
I'll keep on agitatin' as far as I can see
and if that's what being red is then It's good enough for me

'cause you ain't done nothin' if you ain't been called a red
if you've marched or agitated, then you're bound to hear it said
so you might as well ignore it, or love the word instead
cause you ain't been doin' nothin' if you ain't been called a red

Here's a fantastic version by 96 year old Faith Petric. Simply awesome

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Theresa May: She’s a Liar Liar! You can’t trust her - Captain Ska

Captain SKA's track 'Liar Liar' has been remastered to target Theresa May and the Conservative Party for the General Election. It's a scathing attack on Tory Government's record.
It only takes a few thousand downloads to get it in the top 40s. We need your help to spread the word to your friends, family, workmates.
In 2010 the original track hit No 1 in the UK Reggae charts - the target that time being Cameron, Clegg and the Coalition government. In the run up to such a crucial election we want to think big and get it into the official top 40- obliging the BBC to play it on the airways  reaching millions. 
Today I share a short teaser video - please share on social media, spread the word and get ready to download it on Friday 26 MayAll proceeds during the election will be split between foodbanks, and  The People’s Assembly Against Austerity directly helping those suffering most at the hands of the Tories and and also to help sustain a campaign for the alternative to austerity.
The group says it was “just so angry” recently when Theresa May appeared in one of her first proper media interviews of the election campaign. In her interview with Andrew Marr on 30 April, the presenter challenged May’s record in several key areas. And in particular, he asked about her record on public sector workers who’ve received below inflation pay rises. Marr said:We have nurses going to food banks at the moment. That must be wrong.
The country has seen food bank usage grow and grow under the Conservatives. And what left Captain SKA and others across Britain so angry was May’s failure to give a simple and convincing response to Marr’s point. The Conservative leader simply said: there are many complex reasons why people go to food banks
She also claimed that the problem would only be solved “if you have a government that understands the importance of that strength in the economy”. This in spite of organisations like The Resolution Foundation saying we’re set for the biggest rise in inequality since the Thatcher years. And after seven years of Tory rule, it’s difficult not to point the finger.
Theresa May has already undertaken a number of U-turns since she became Prime Minister. She also has the record of being only the second Home Secretary in history to have been found in contempt of court. A ruling which saw a judge slam her behaviour as “regrettable and unacceptable”.
And her party doesn’t have a much better record itself. In fact, citizens have almost come to expect that the Conservatives will break their promises:
2010 saw Captain SKA hit the spotlight for the first time with the original version of Liar Liar – aimed at the Tory-Lib Dem Coalition:

More recently, the group recorded the following song, which it “dedicated to everyone fighting against the privatisation of our public services”. The inspiration behind the song, it said, was the increasing “marketisation of our education system”; a system in which “head teachers are having to focus far too much time on business plans, marketing strategies and league tables”.

The Conservative government and their toxic flotilla of cuts are ruthlessly hacking away jobs, damaging vulnerable lives and chipping away at the very fabric of our society. We cannot afford to stand by and let this country sail towards a future of inequality.

For more from Captain SKA, check out their YouTubeFacebook and Twitter pages.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017

Old people - we'll take your house and your pension  and make sure  you pay for your own social care

Young people - We offer you no future

Poor people - we'll keep making you poorer

Benefit Claimants - we  will exterminate, exterminate

Children - buy your own lunch you scroungers, Theresa May strong and stable will steal the food from your table

Workers - have less money

Public Services - Cut, Cut, Cut

An affordable home for every landlord

Tax dodging corporations - we'll spend even less chasing you

Cut taxes to the rich

Corrupt millionaires - don't worry we're getting rid of the serious fraud office

Kill more wildlife

Corporate Media - Thank you for having our back , we'll cancel that pesky enquiry into your ethics

NHS -  cackling laughter and the sound of circling vultures

More Fracking

Hard Brexit

No turning back

Strong and Stable

Light on detail

Repeat , Strong and Stable

Vote Conservative June 8th

You Know it makes no sense at all

( Disclaimer: We don't have to live in the dystopia  outlined  by Theresa May . The wonderful thing about living in a democracy is that we have a choice, a fairer Britain  or the backward vision summarised here.)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

R.I.P Chris Cornell, singer and songwriter for Soundgarden, dead at 52 (20/7/ 64 - 17/5/17)

Sad to hear that, the powerful dynamic singer Chris Cornell, best known as the lead singer of the grungeband Soundgarden, who were one of the architects of grunge music has  passed away  Wednesday night just hours after a sold-out show in Detroit.
He was 52.
The singer-songwriter made his name with the Seattle-based rock band,  founded in 1984 creating such hits as “Black Hole Sun” and "Spoonman" in the 1990s, before branching out to create Audioslave, where he found renewed success with former members of Rage Against the Machine.
Prior to Audioslave, Cornell lent his impressive vocal range to another supergroup to honor his deceased friend Andrew Wood by teaming up with members of Pearl Jam to create Temple of the Dog.
Cornell had been on tour with his band and tweeted out a message celebrating their return to the "Rock City" just before performing Wednesday evening.The musician's representative Brian Bumbery confirmed the news that he passed away. The cause of death is currently unknown, but was sudden and unexpected, and the police in  Detroit are treating the death as a possible suicide.
Whatever the circumstances heartbreaking nevertheless for all his friends and family, and his legion of admirers.Bumbery stated that Cornell's wife, Vicky Karayiannis, and family were shocked by his "sudden and unexpected" death.
Mr. Cornell appeared to be active on social media in the hours before his death. A post on his Twitter account on Wednesday announced that the group had arrived in Detroit, and a clip of the group’s 2012 release “By Crooked Steps” was posted to his official Facebook page hours before his death.
Mr. Cornell had admitted in interviews to struggling with drug use  and depression throughout his life. In a 1994 Rolling Stone article, he described himself as a “daily drug user at 13,” who had quit by the time he turned 14.
After Soundgarden disbanded in 1997, Mr. Cornell returned to heavy drug use, he told The Guardian in a 2009 interview, describing himself as a “pioneer” in the abuse of the opiate OxyContin, and saying that he had gone to rehab.
Cornell also pushed himself as solo artist, putting out four studio albums between 1999 and 2015.Known for his soulful covers of popular songs. Cornell co-wrote and performed “You Know My Name,” the theme song for the 2006 “James Bond” film, “Casino Royale.”
He released the single "The Promise" in March on iTunes, with all proceeds going to the International Rescue Committee, a global humanitarian aid, relief and development nongovernmental organization.
In addition to his music, Cornell also became involved in philanthropy and started the Chris and Vicky Cornell Foundation to support children facing challenges, including homelessness, poverty, abuse and neglect.
Out of the big four, the original vocalists for Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains are all dead now… Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is now the only living original singer of these bands.
R.I.P Chris Cornell far too young. Tough one this one , as is every passing, but did listen to his beautiful voice quite a lot over the years. Can hear him singing at moment, his  unique voice lives on. Hey Chris say hello to Jane, a favourite person, who keeps reminding me over and over what could have been..

Chris Cornell -  Black hole Sun ( solo acoustic)

Chris Cornell - Be Yourself  (solo acoustic)

Chris Cornell - The Promise

International Rescue Committee

The Samaritans offer support and advice to people feeling suicidal or vulnerable 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Their website is, email address or call free on 116 123.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Brave Whistleblower Chelsea Manning walks free at last

In fantastic news Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of giving classified government  material to WikiLeaks was released this morning from a Kansas military prison after serving a punishing, cruel seven years
Manning who was born  in  Oklahoma  to a Welsh mother spent part of her formative years in Pembrokeshire following her parents divorce. She attended Tasker Millward School and still has friends and family in the area. As well as her mother, she has aunts and other relatives in Wales who have been  campaigning  for her release since she was jailed. She also has many supporters in Ireland, where her granddad, Billy Fox emigrated from Dublin to Wales in 1948.
President Barak Obama had granted 29 year old Chelsea clemency on  his final days in office in January.
In 2010, the former military intelligence analyst, then known as Private First Class Bradley Manning, provided thousands of secret documents to WikiLeaks, Manning was given a 35-year sentence by a court martial. A extraordinarily punitive punishment for a crime which brought direct physical harm to no one. Much to the contrary, Manning’s act had the highly beneficial effect of providing previously-concealed information to the public, which otherwise would have been kept under wraps.
Manning for many was  nothing less than an honourable whistleblower who felt compelled to tell the world about apparent US wrongdoing in its military conduct in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Working as a US intelligence analyst in Iraq, Manning began to see documents that convinced her that the US military was committing war crimes overseas and doing nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice. Worse, it may well have been deliberately covering up such conduct.
The best-known example was the attack by two US Apache helicopters on a group of civilians in the al-Amin al-Thaniyah district of Baghdad on July 12 2007.At least 12 people were killed,when US military conduct in Iraq was highly dubious, here was vivid cockpit video and audio laying bare the callous behaviour of the US pilots. Some of their cockpit commentary includes language like: “Oh yeah, look at those dead bastards … nice. Nice. Good shootin’.”
Other documents including “after-action reports” describing US soldiers’ experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan, proving that civilian deaths were far higher than officially acknowledged. The cables revealed damning evidence of official US lying, including dossiers on the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay proving that most of them had no significant role in terrorist operations.
Chelsea fulfilled her legal duty to report war crimes . She complied with her duty to obey lawful orders but also her duty to disobey unlawful orders. Enshrined in the U.S Army Subject Schedule No , 27 -1 is ' obligation to report all violations of the rule of war.'
Manning went to her chain of command and asked them to investigate  the Collateral Murder video and other "war  porn" but her superiors refused. Manning's revelations actually saved lives. After WikiLeaks published her documentation of Iraqi torture centres established by the United  States , the Iraqi Government refused Obama's request to extend immunity to U.S . soldiers who commit criminal and civil offenses there. As a result  Obama had to withdraw U.S forces from Iraq.
In a just world, Chelsea Manning wouldn’t have been jailed and tortured, but celebrated as a hero for alerting the public to the crimes of its government.
From July 2010 to April 2011, she was held under atrocious conditions at Quantico Marine brig in Virginia, much of that time stripped naked as a “security” measure. All told, Chelsea Manning spent nearly a year and a half in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day, a form of detention classified as torture by human rights groups
What happened to Manning as a result of her whistleblowing is well-known.The revelations over wrongdoing (including the Baghdad helicopter attack) went un-investigated, while Manning herself was court-martialled and given the longest sentence in US history for leaking information.
This low-ranking, twenty-something was punished in such a way as to send an unmistakable message to other would-be whistleblowers. .Ahead of Manning’s court martial in the summer of 2013, Edward Snowden had exposed a previously unknown global apparatus of surveillance being run by the US’s National Security Agency.If the US authorities couldn’t get Snowden (who was granted asylum in Russia), they could certainly punish Manning.
You might think the US military authorities wouldn’t stoop to vindictiveness when punishing one of their own, but you’d be wrong.During eight months of pre-trial solitary confinement at the US marine corps base Quantico in Virginia, Manning was kept in often cruel and degrading conditions confined in a windowless 12-feet-by-six-feet cell containing only a bed, a toilet and a sink
After putting Manning on suicide watch, the Quantico authorities subjected her to a regime of draconian and demeaning rules: clothing and glasses confiscated, required to observe strict verbal commands and replies, even at one point having to sleep and stand to attention completely naked.
In an Amnesty podcast pod cast from last year Manning said;
“The conditions in my cell were far beyond what is normally associated with solitary confinement. I needed permission to do anything in my cell. I was not allowed to move around the cell to exercise. I was not allowed to sit down with my back against the wall.”
It was all clearly designed to break Manning down ahead of her court martial, and the UN believed it was part of “an effort to coerce her into ‘co-operation’ with the authorities,” possibly to pressure her into implicating others.
Manning almost died as a result of her incarcernation , having to endure long stretches of solitary confinement and the systematic denial of health care, and relentless abuse, despite this she survived and continued to use her voice to speak out about human rights. To fight against the injustices she went on hunger strike. And clinged on to an unrelenting sense of compassion and justice despite all that she had to endure.
Activists  drew attention to her through actions and protest,  rallies were held throughout the world, ads were taken out in major papers, billboards were rented near her trial and prison,petitions signed
contingents marched in solidarity with Manning during pride parades around the world, and supporters packed the military court room, even as the court martial proceedings dragged on for months. These supporters, like myself must be overjoyed currently with the news that Chelsea is now free.
Last week Chelsea released a statement saying:"For the first time, I can see a future for myself as Chelsea. I can imagine surviving and living as the person who I am and can finally be in the outside world. Freedom used to be something that I dreamed of but never allowed myself to fully imagine. Now, freedom is something that I will again experience with friends and loved ones after nearly seven years of bars and cement, of periods of solitary confinement, and of my health care and autonomy restricted, including through routinely forced haircuts. I am forever grateful to the people who kept me alive, President Obama, my legal team and countless supporters.
"I have watched the world change from inside prison walls and through the letters that I have received from veterans, trans young people, parents, politicians and artists. My spirits were lifted in dark times, reading of their support, sharing in their triumphs, and helping them through challenges of their own. I hope to take the lessons that I have learned, the love that I have been given, and the hope that I have to work toward making life better for others."
Now she is free at last , closing a painful chapter on what has been an extraordinary and thoroughly disturbing saga. 
Manning almost died as a result of her incarcernation , having to endure long stretches of solitary confinement and the systematic denial of health care, and relentless abuse, despite this she survived and continued to use her voice to speak out about human rights. To fight against the injustices she went on hunger strike. And clinged on to an unrelenting sense of compassion and justice despite all that she had to endure. Manning has kept in touch with her supporters and the outside world throughout her experience mainly through Twitter. Recently, she wrote of her pending release: “I want that indescribable feeling of connection with people and nature again, without razor wire or a visitation booth. I want to be able to hug my family and friends again. And swimming—I want to go swimming!”
With her freedom, she will be leaving behind the abuses of prison but also the life she built there. The family of other incarcerated people who kept her alive when she was cut off from the rest of the world.In February after her commutation, Chelsea wrote to her friends inside:
“I never would have made it without you. Not only did you teach me these important lessons, but you made sure I felt cared for. You were the people who helped me to deal with the trauma of my regular haircuts. You were the people who checked on me after I tried to end my life. You were the people that played fun games with me. Who wished me a Happy Birthday. We shared the holidays together. You were and will always be family.”
Ahead of Manning's release, Amnesty International called for an investigation into the potential human rights violations exposed by the soldier. 
The organization called for protections to be put in place to ensure safety for whistleblowers like Manning.  'While we celebrate her freedom, we will continue to call for an independent investigation into the potential human rights violations she exposed, and for protections to be put in place to ensure whistleblowers like Chelsea are never again subjected to such appalling treatment,' Margaret Huang, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, said: in a statement. 
Huang added: 'Chelsea's treatment is especially galling given that nobody has been held accountable for the alleged crimes that she brought to light. 
'The US authorities' vindictive treatment of Chelsea Manning after she exposed potential military wrongdoing is a sad reflection of the extremes those in power often go to in order to deter others from speaking out.' 
We should remain critical of a government  intent  on punishing and prosecuting someone who exposed war crimes , rather than those who commit them.Chelsea's brave whistleblowing exposed  the corruption of our governments and the brutality of our wars. Thanks to Chelsea we have a clearer picture of what needs to be done. We need whistleblowers like Chelsea more than we ever have before. We have lot to learn from her. We should celebrate the strength and heroism she has shown. After her release from her ruthless ordeal she will  need the continual support from her legions of admirers worldwide, I hope she continues to get the respect and healing that she deserves as she now takes her first steps to freedom, and  works to rebuild her life.
Ahead of Manning's release, a group of musicians released a compilation album with all proceeds to go to the former soldier as she starts a new life.' Hugs for Chelsea,' here's a link:
a digital album available for a $25 donation, featuring tracks by artists known for their left-wing activism including Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Sonic Youth co-founder Thurston Moore. 

“Thank you for what you did for everyone, Chelsea. Stay strong a while longer!”   – Edward Snowden

Monday, 15 May 2017

Are You Experienced?

Experience, people say
Is the one and only way,
To learn the hardest facts of life
To hold joy and share the strife,
To fall down and get up again
To face the darkest days and not to surrender,
In the company of friends, sincere and dear
Beckoning us  on to a future  near,
Over boulders, rocks and pebbles there
The  sounds of the past still in the air,
The taste of tears, in the mists of time
Shades of answers that expanded the mind,
Deep reflections from the dawns of yesterday
Out of cages we leaped, flying free,
Solving problems, always seeking
This trip of time that kept on travelling,
Walking forwards into another space
Growing stronger in ages of confusion,
Lessons learned released feelings to augment
In world's  expanse, memories not forgotten,
Are we not all experienced in one thing or the other
Allowing us to baptise now, in the name of tomorrow.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Robert Owen ( 14/5/1771 - 17/11/1858) - Pioneering Welsh Social Reformer


Robert Owen who was born on 14/5/1771 in Newtown, Powys ,was a Welsh manufacturer who turned  into a social reformer, and became one of the most influential advocates and founders of utopian socialism and the co-operative movement.
His father had a small business as  a saddler and iron-monger, his mother came from one of the prosperous farming families. A bright and capable child, Robert was schooled at Newtown and then, at the age of 10, was articled to a draper in the town. In due course he moved to London to continue his trade and establish himself in the world.
This he managed to do with some alacrity. A move to the sprawling, manufacturing metropolis of Manchester saw Robert Owen installed as manager  of a cotton mill employing 500 people. He also became a member of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, which discussed the ideas of reformers and philosophers of the Enlightenment, and it was here that his ideas on social reform began to take shape. 
After a visit to Glasgow he fell in love with Caroline Dales, the daughter of a New Lanark mills proprietor called David Dale who he was friendly with. With the financial support of several businessmen from Manchester, in 1810 Owen purchased Dale's four textile factories in New Lanark for £60,000.After his subsequent marriage with Miss Dale in September 1799, he set up home there. Encouraged by his previous success in the management in Manchester,  he had already formed the idea of conducting New Lanark on higher principles with  an interest in helping the poor and put his profits into a series of radical experiments, having been appalled  by the inhuman working and living conditions of his century. 
New Lanark was the springboard from which Owen’s Socialism was launched, and sweeping changes began to take place in and around the local community. For many years the poor had been living in filthy, cramped conditions, and Owen set about enlarging the houses of his workforce. Up until this time, local residents frequently dumped their waste in the streets, but Owen reorganised refuse collection and even built new streets. To ensure health, he urged his workers to appoint a visiting committee, which maintained the standards of cleanliness and domestic economy.
He set out to  make his new cotton factory,  a cooperative factory community that focused more on the  well- being of the community than on profits. Owen set out to make New Lanark an experiment in philanthropic management from the outset. He believed that a person's character is formed by the effects of their environment. Owen was convinced that if he created the right environment, he could produce rational, good and humane people. He argued that people were naturally good but they were corrupted by the harsh way they were treated For his mill, he set up an infant school, a day care center  for working mothers, providing education and health care to children starting when they were three. Children did not have to work in the mill until they were  10, which was revolutionary at the time. He also set up a cooperative shop that provided high quality goods at  reasonable costs for the mill workers and their families. Owen believed that education and safe cooperative work conditions would promote a happy, healthy and productive community of workers. This would not only be good for the business, but for the entire community. Owen was also a strong opponent of physical punishment in schools and factories and immediately banned its use in New Lanark.The Mill became a successful model that prominent social reformers and industrialists visited.

                                           New Lanark Mills

He also found time to campaign and lecture on his view of social reform, writing his personal manifesto, A New View of Society in 1812-13. In 1816, he wrote: "I know that society may be formed to exist without crime, without poverty, with health greatly improved, with little if any misery, and with intelligence and happiness increased a hundredfold."
Owen also toured the country making speeches on his experiments at New Lanark. He  published his speeches as pamphlets and sent free copies to influential people in Britain. In one two month period he spent £4,000 publicizing his activities. In his speeches, Owen argued that he was creating a "new moral world, a world from which the bitterness of divisive sectarian religion would be banished"
Owen was also a religious free thinker. He was critical of organised religion, such as the Church of England. He argued that religion tended to create prejudice in men, which was a barrier to peace and harmony.
“I was forced, through seeing the error of their foundation, to abandon all belief in every religion which had been taught to man. But my religious feelings were immediately replaced by the spirit of universal charity — not for a sect, or a party, or for a country or a colour — but for the human race, and with a real and ardent desire to do good.” Life of Robert Owen (1857)  his autobiography
Over the next few years Robert Owen developed political views that has resulted in him being described as the "father of socialism". In the Report to the County of Lanark (1821) suggested that in order to avoid fluctuations in the money supply as well as the payment of unjust wages, labour notes representing hours of work might become a superior form of exchange medium. This was the first time that Owen "proclaimed at length his belief that labour was the foundation of all value, a principle of immense importance to later socialist thought".
However in 1824,  he had become so disillusioned with Capitalism that he left for America. For five years, he attempted to establish a Socialist community at New Harmony in Indiana, but his efforts were in vain. He lost a fortune in the process.
When he returned  to England in 1829, Owen was surprised to discover that  a movement had sprung up in his name, the 'Owenites' who were engaged in laying foundations for the Co-operative Movement. "The New Society is to be based," explained the pioneers, " on the free association of producers in guilds and manufacturing societies strong enough to dispense  with employers and with  the exploitation of labour for private profit.
Max Beer, the author of A History of British Socialism (1919) has argued that the word "socialist" was used to describe Owen's followers: "Common to all Owenites was the criticism and disapproval of the capitalist or competitive system, as well as the sentiment that the United Kingdom was on the eve of adopting the new views. A boundless optimism prevaded the whole Owenite school, and it filled its adherents with the unshakable belief that the conversation of the nation to socialism was at hand, or but a question of a few years.
After many disputes with his partners, who were always more interested in profits than in Owen's version of ideal living, he resigned from New Lanark in 1828. Owen turned to the formation of co-operative villages, some of which were already being run on Owenite lines in Scotland, Ireland and Hampshire.Although these communities eventually failed, the communitarian tradition persisted in Victorian England and elsewhere. Following the failure of these co-operative villages he entered into the trade union field, and his road to the New Moral World he now saw through the organisation of the Grand National Consolidated Trade Union, which within a few weeks of its formation in 1834 had enrolled more than one million members. This too collapsed in 1834, following the deportation of the Tolpuddle Martyrs, and Owen continuously fought for their return to England.
During a visit to his hometown and birthplace  of Newtown, Wales on November 17th, 1858, he was suddenly taken ill. On his deathbed  he said: "I gave important truths to the world, and it was only for want of understanding that they were disregarded. I have been ahead of my time."
He subsequently died and was buried in a local church yard. The Co-operative Union placed a memorial tablet near his grave in 1902. In 1956 a memorial statue was erected with funds raised by the Labour and Co-operative Movement.
This visionary Welsh man's ideals  who pioneered the prioritisation of welfare over profit,  have continued to inspire many trade and cooperative movements ever since. Friedrich Engels described him as "a man of almost sublime, childlike character," who was, nevertheless, "one of the few born leaders of men." He added: Every social movement and real advance in England on behalf of the workers links with the name of Robert Owen."
Owenism  has since exerted a significant influence on various strands of British socialism, including Christian socialism, ethical socialism, guild socialism, Fabianism and  the socialist labour movement. Co-operative socialism was perceived by these organisations as a replacement for the unjust competitive capitalist system.

                                          Robert Owen, memorial statue, Newport, Powys.

The Palestinian Nakba: A time to remember

I am passionate about Palestine and openly critical of Israel and any Zionist movement.Occupation is indefensible and I never forget that. This year marks the 69th anniversary of the Nakba - "the Catastrophe" - when more than 750,000 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes by Zionist forces. A society was dismembered and fragmented.
 On Monday, May 15th ,events will be held across the world including demonstrations, protests and conferences. We will commemorate 69 years of exile for the Palestinian people and  remember the dispossession and violent removal from their indigenous land and stand in solidarity with their ongoing struggle to return.
This interactive map, featured on the Guardian website, shows the extent of Palestine's changed landscape - hundreds of Arab villages and towns abandoned, attacked and de-populated throughout the aggressive and violent land-grabbing. This oppression of the Palestinian people, which began in 1948,some would say 1917, didn’t end in 1948. The Israeli Government’s theft and colonisation of Palestinian land and its military occupation continue to this day.
The Nakba, which translates as the catastrophe, was the beginning of the modern day situation in which the Palestinians find themselves living under Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, as second-class citizens within Israel or as exiles and refugees around the world.
Even the word 'Nakba' was banned by the Israeli Minister of Education in 2009, and was removed from school textbooks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayah said at the time that the word was tantamount to spreading propoganda against Israel. But the word Nakba is the term that about a fifth of Israel's population, the Palestinians use to describe this day.
This is the Palestines history, it is essential we should be allowed to talked about. It is it not wrong to question, when other regimes oppress, we question them too, we have a duty to criticise and condemn, when fundamental freedoms and rights are violated. Any state that acts aggressively is open to criticism. All human beings are entitled to human rights.
Today refugees are still waiting to have their homes and lands returned to them, after all these years, of living in camps, being displaced. Under daily occupation they are forced to daily endure the humiliation, demonisations, metered out to them Today illegal settlers and settlements still removing people from their homes, with seperation walls, humiliation and discrimination.Today the Palestinians world is still being stolen, as occupiers daily steal all that they possess, the tears of yesterday forge today's resistance .Israel to this day have refused to recognise the Palestinians right of return as expressed in the UN General Resolution 194, Article 11,
We must remember the Nakba of 1948, and  continue to campaign for a just solution so that Palestinians can enjoy the rights that we take for granted.
Today, there are more than 7 million Palestinian refugees, defined as people displaced in 1948 and their descendants. A core Palestinian demand in peace negotiations is some kind of justice for these refugees, most commonly in the form of the "right of return" to the homes their families abandoned in 1948.
Israel can't accept the right of return without abandoning either its Jewish or democratic identity. Adding 7 million Arabs to Israel's population would make Jews a minority, Israel's total population is about 8 million, a number that includes the 1.5 million Arabs already there. So Israelis refuse to even consider including the right to return in any final status deal.
I acknowledge that there are many Israelis who have become increasingly aware of the Nakba, and the more they understand the more shameful side of their history, the more likelihood it is that another  catastrophe in this land can be prevented. Increasingly there are some who reject the notion that they were chosen to displace and cause suffering to others. They too will stand together with Palestinians in mourning .Many because of  deep emotion will not be able to accept this, because of their  daily witness to the ongoing oppression. I know deep down whose side I firmly support.
One  of the core problems in negotiations, then, and in moving forwards is how to find a way to get justice for the refugees that both the Israeli and Palestinian people can accept. Ideas proposed so far include financial compensation and limited resettlement in Israel, but no two leaders have ever agreed on the details of how these would work. And sadly the devastation continues as Israel and its colonial outposts in the West Bank continue to seize peoples lands, and consistently destroy what remains of Palestine , along with this peoples olive trees and wheat fields.
Many Palestinians still have a key on a chain around their necks. These are the keys to homes in Palestine which they were forced to abandon in 1948, 1967.1987, or at any time since.
This then is a narration without an end, until  oppression is vanished, human rights restored, Gaza and the West Bank reunited, after years of forced exile,  the right to return is this peoples  destiny,carrying the twin-promise of the liberation of the imagination, and of their land. We should also remember that the barriers to freedom are man made and can be removed.

In an attempt to understand the catastrophe, here is a  reading list of key books on the Israel-Palestine conflict, from Ghada Karmi, Mahmoud Darwish, Naji al-Ali, Ilan Pappe, Edward Said, Shlomo Sand, and more.

On the 8th June British voters have the power to choose who represents them in parliament. This is also our chance to convince candidates to support Palestine.…/votepalestine17

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Hitler finds out about Labour's Manifesto

As news comes in that many  people  actually back many of the policies in Labour's leaked Manifesto, because they've written down things people actually agree with  including nationalising the railways, building more houses and raising taxes on higher earners, I offer you this hilarious and absolutely brilliant video. Watch it till the end you wont regret it.
Please share and make June the end of May. Don't we all deserve a brighter future.

Friday, 12 May 2017

James Connolly : Working Class hero (5/6/1868 - 12/5/1916)

James Connolly was born in June  5th 1868. For a man so linked to Irish history, Connolly was actually  born in Edinburgh, Scotland. The area he lived in was  nicknamed ' Little Ireland' and was one of the city's slum areas. He subsequently spoke with a Scottish accent throughout his life. His parents  were originally from County Monaghan and their life in Edinburgh was hard.
James Connolly joined the British Military at age 14 to escape his extreme poverty. Seven years later at the age of 21, Connolly left military life and eventually settled in Dublin in 1896.
In 1903 Connolly emigrated to the United States,living for a brief period in Troy New York with a relative, and worked for an insurance firm as a salesman. But by 1905 he left Troy to persue his ideals of organizing a militant working class movement and soon joined the newly formed IWW ( Industrial Workers of the World ), as a member and full-time organizer.
A prolific writer of historical, cultural, political, economic, and social analysis, as well as a one man editor and publisher of his own books and newspaper, many people of opposing political beliefs within the Labor movement and the Left valued and praised Connolly's insightful views.
Connolly did not consider himself an Anarcho-Syndicalist, however in 1908 when a split in the IWW occured between the Marxist Daniel De Leon and the Anarcho-Syndicalists, Connolly sided with the Anarcho-Syndicalists.
Connolly hated sectarianism, which he considered one of the greatest obstacles preventing worker anti-capitalist unity. One of his writings that reflects this belief ;"The development of the fighting spirit is of more importance than the creation of the theoretically perfect organization. That indeed, the most theoretically perfect organization may, because of it's very perfection and vastness, be of the greatest possible danger to the revolutionary movement if it tends, or is used, to repress and curb the fighting spirit of comradeship in the rank and file.Connolly also was distrustful of centralized government, best reflected in his statement that ;
'Without the power of the industrial union behind it, democracy can only enter the state as the victim enters the gullet of the serpent.'
Connolly returned to Ireland in 1910 and became an organizer for the Irish Transport and General Workers Union ( ITGWU ). In 1913 along with Jim Larkin ( a supporter of the IWW who in coming years traveled to America to support Ben Fletcher's IWW Maritme and Dockworkers Union in Philadelphia ), the President of the ITGWU, Connolly organized a general strike in Dublin that paralyzed commerce and transport for many weeks. During the general strike Connolly organized the Irish Citizen Army amongst striking workers, in a self defense response to wide spread beatings of striking workers by the Irish police and British military. The Irish Citizen Army became the nucleus of the Dublin Division of the Army of the Republic during the 1916 Easter Rebellion against British rule of Ireland.
With the outbreak of war, Connolly became increasingly committed to formenting an insurrection against British rule in Ireland; he had gradually changed from labour organiser and agitator into military commandant and theorist. In mid-January 1916 he reached agreement with the Irish Republican Brotherhood Military Council to co-operate in an insurrection the following Easter. He joined the Council, and on the day before the Rising its members appointed him vice-president of the Irish Republic and Commandant-General, Dublin Division, Irish Army.
Connolly proved himself to be the most effective and inspirational of the rebel leaders during the insurrection. On Easter Monday, 24th April, he led the Headquarters Battalion from Liberty Hall to the General Post Office and commanded military operations there throughout the week – supervising the construction of defences, determining and adjusting strategy, summoning reinforcements and deciding on the disposition of his forces. That only nine volunteers in the post office garrison died during the fighting is testimony to his talents. He himself took constant risks with his own safety but even after being severely wounded on 27th April, he remained, as Patrick Pearse said, "still the guiding brain of our resistance".
Connolly after  the failed Easter Rebellion was imprisoned, and despite his severe wounds, was tied to a chair and executed by the British military on May 12th 1916 by firing squad to the outrage of many people in Ireland and across the world. It certainly significantly contributed to the mood of bitterness in Ireland.Although the Easter Rising had little support from the Irish people, it was the martyrdom of its leaders, and particularly of Connolly, that sparked the flame of Irish republicanism across this island, launched a mass rebellion, and ultimately led to the creation of an Irish republic.
Though considered by many historians to be an " Irish Nationalist ", Connolly did not believe in ignoring class divisions in the name of nationalism. That Ireland could not be free until the working class of Ireland was free.
Today, he is regarded as one of Ireland's greatest heroes. He was a revolutionary socialist and militant unionist who dedicated his life not just to the cause of Irish liberation, but also to international socialism.  I am sure  that if was alive today. he would be opposed to the privatisation policies of both the British and Irish governments and that he would challenge the austerity policies being imposed on the working class.
In the history of the international working class movement we should remember James Connolly as a hero and martyr who acted on his beliefs .I will end with  this final quote from him :-
"A revolution will only be achieved when the ordinary people of the world, us, the working class, get up off our knees and take back what is rightfully ours."

Andy Irvine - Where is our James Connolly

Relax with the Conservatives - Peter Cook

The BBC and their political editor  Laura Keunssbergu have been under  fire this week for blatant Pro Tory bias and propaganda. The BBC  are supposed to remain neutral and impartial  but the fact that they are doing this  during an actual election campaign  seems to be absolutely  incredible.  Ofcom has been inundated  with  complaints. Viewers contacted the watchdog about more than 60 BBC broadcasts in the last month – around twice the usual number. Around two thirds of the complaints were about ‘due impartiality’ and ‘bias’ on BBC News, and current affairs programmes like Newsnight and Question Time.
It seems we wont need to be hypnotised by the Tory's, the media is already doing this on there behalf. They are trying to fool the nation. Wake up, snap out of it, don't be fooled. The truth is the Government  is starving our NHS, a Government that has cut money from disabled people, with their conscious cruelty, despite their bluster, they simply do not care. Nor do they seem to want to shape a future that will benefit people socially and economically.
Don't let them continue to fail our country. Now more than ever we must defeat the Tory's ideological driven austerity, it is their heartless policies that we have to continue to be worried about. We have to stop them in their tracks, we have far to much to lose.
Meanwhile here's a timeless classic from the late great Peter Cook.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week

Mental Health Awareness Week 2017 is taking place this week, between Monday May 8 –  Sunday 14.  It tries  to  bring attention and awareness to how anxiety and Depression can impact our mental health.The event is coordinated by the Mental Health Foundation and this year’s theme is “Surviving or Thriving”. It’s no overstatement to say that Britain is living through a mental health crisis. From depression, to anxiety, to eating disorders, one in four of us will experience a mental health problem each year. Many of us increasingly experiencing daily life as a battle. Emotionally, our heads are only just above water.
I personally have a trusty black dog that  calls regularly that has  made me the open, understanding and compassionate person I am. I unfortunately  have no control , it just happens.It suddenly  creates sadness , fear, and all those turbulent feelings that drives one to self destruction , and nights with no sleep. I also  get so angst ridden that I cannot leave my house, let alone phone a GP to seek help, because I fear I will be judged and blamed somehow, embarrassed and ashamed for something I have no control over. A tendency to affix blame and leave me  feeling even more unworthy.
Mental illness scares us and shames us. Those who suffer are often, like me, ashamed to speak of it. Those who are lucky enough to be free of mental illness are terrified of it. When it comes to mental illness, we still don't quite get how it all works. Our treatments, while sometimes effective, often are not. And the symptoms, involving a fundamental breakdown of our perceived reality, are existentially terrifying. There is something almost random about physical illness, in how it comes upon us , a physical illness can strike anyone – and that is almost comforting. Were mental illness to fall into that same category, then it too could strike any of us, without warning. And that is terrifying.
But more than simple fear, mental illness brings out a judgmental streak that would be unthinkably grotesque when applied to physical illness. Imagine telling someone with a broken leg to "snap out of it." Imagine that a death by cancer was accompanied by the same smug headshaking that so often greets death by suicide. Mental illness is so qualitatively different that we feel it permissible to be judgmental. We might even go so far as to blame the sufferer. Because of the  stigma involved  it often leaves us much sicker.
It should be noted  that many  people believe that our Governments policies are actually fuelling the current  mental health crisis. Budget cuts to mental health services combined with no genuine support are driving  many people to the edge. As a result many young people and adults are left isolated facing long waiting lists for mental health therapies and diagnostic assessments. Prime Minister Maggie May herself said   "On my first day in Downing Street last July, I described shortfalls in mental health services as one of the burning injustices in our country.
Despite these gestures the Tories have not delivered on their promise to give mental health the same priority as physical health.They have not offered  no extra funding and have consistently raided mental health budgets over the last seven years. There are now over 6,000 fewer mental health nurses than in 2010. The number of psychiatrists employed by the NHS has fallen by  four percent since 2014 , with a 10 percent drop in those who specialise in children's mental health and a similar drop in those working with older adults. Seven years of Tory Government have left those with mental health problems without the support they need. The only thing that the Tories deliver are empty words and actions  that are shaping a society that does  not help to tackle the injustice of unequal treatment in mental health. Also because of how dire the times are getting: not only are benefit cuts driving people to think of killing themselves, but low wages and welfare sanctions are making people ill, shortening people's lives. For many insecurity  has become the way of  life. You simply can't trust May and co on mental health.
To add  to all of  this I  switched on the television the other night to find that  Theresa May was attempting to 'humanise' herself by appearing on the 'One Show' with her multi millionaire investment banker husband. So, just an average extremely rich couple who live in the very posh Berkshire village of Sonning, where the Georgian, Victorian and Tudor style houses go for anything from £800k to £1.6 million. Someone who definitely knows the effects of benefit cuts, loss of local public services and zero hours contracts on the working poor of Britain. Mrs very privileged.  I slept restlessly.Then I awoke to find she had revealed she wants to bring back fox hunting, overturning Labour’s 2004 ban. Their priorities could not be more clear: they’re a government for the few, not the many who want to keep blood sports in the history books. It seems that there are literally no depths of idiocy and cruelty that the Tories wont sink to in their efforts to restore this country to its backward depressing Victorian values. If this does not make you mad you have become conditioned and devoid of feeling, they simply have you under control.
Too often mental health is swept under the carpet and ignored ,either because of the stigma and taboo surrounding it , so we have to keep battling to destroy the negative attitudes and stereotypes that is directed towards people with mental health issues that disproportionately affect people living in poverty, those who are unemployed, people living in isolation and those who already face discrimination, so we also have to keep challenging policies that  exasperate these problems. In the meantime I will try to keep fighting and surviving, and hope that one day mental health  becomes  a genuine Government priority that would help reduce peoples pain and suffering. And who knows one day might come when I will become strong and stable.

If you need to talk to someone, the NHS mental health helpline page includes organisations you can call for help, such as Anxiety UK and Bipolar UK. or call The Samaritans on 116 123.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

For a lover ( Poem for Jane Elizabeth Husband, 9/5/60 - 8/1/17 )

When there’s someone, one someone, who makes your days brighter, makes your joys greater, makes your heart lighter…Someone, one someone, you want to share with, do everything with, go everywhere. Someone, one someone you want to live for…You have something called love.”

- Kahlil Gibran

Today would have been my beloved's birthday, she would have turned 57 years young, nevertheless her spirit and magic I still feel on every sunrise,  in the early morn, after the moon has set , arriving every dawn, neither west, east, south or north, her petals following no borders,her footsteps still following rhythmic beats of the world, dancing freely, I still see her holding out her hands, in these days of confusion her words still clear, I tell myself she is free, where skies gleam and trees sway ,a drifting peaceful beauty.I offer to sweet Jane this poem.

For a Lover

Born in May like an exquisite flower
The joy she bought never surrendered,
Now in vast eternity, I am still caught
In my garden this light still shines,
Not forgotten, well attended
A passion that still has time to call,
Whispering through the trees
Releasing the memory of breath,
This great mystery who delivered kindness
In this world her love I  crave,
Because there was wisdom in her eyes
And so much laughter too,
She was faithful  true, lended strength
To let sadness flee and escape,
Though she  has gone far away
And her words are silent now,
I often wake from dreaming of  this angel form
Even while unceasing winds have blown,
With the knowledge that she bought me peace
And the greatest of all lifes' gifts- companionship,
Strong memories will always survive
The bonds of love cannot be measured,
Reaching out from  beyond final resting place
Ever so distant, yet so near and dear in heart,
I will wait  until its time to meet  again once more
For us to hold, share and love together,
On each birthday I will continue to celebrate
My special friend and lover who in poetry forever lives,
Whose passion and fire will never  fade
Still guiding and so close to me,
No matter how far  and out of reach
In galaxies of time, presence still, reverberates.