the foundations of oppression can't be plucked up without the anger of a multitude

Thoughts on the Tories and the state of Britain. GE2019.

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The Tories have now presided over two election campaigns and a referendum campaign where someone has done something extreme, resulting in murder.BOJO salute Firstly, in 2016 we have a man so inflamed by rhetoric about liberals wanting to Islamify the country and weaken the white race, that he is stoked up by a pantomime of a referendum (which we now know – and knew at the time – really was about David Cameron attempting to quell a rebellious faction in his party and not about whether the British people agreed with being part of the EU trade and customs alliance, within a certain type of liberal, kind-of-binding legal constitution), and bursts out in a gun and knife-wielding frenzy, killing a Labour MP who was, with the rest of her party, campaigning for remain. And this time around, we have a man on another killing spree, who has spent 7 years in jail for engaging in conduct in preparation for acts of terrorism contrary to Section  5  (1)  of  the  Terrorism  Act  2006, a conviction based on him talking about blowing up racist pubs in Stoke on Trent, discussing setting up a training camp in Kashmir and reading instructions  to  construct  a  pipe  bomb  contained  in  Al Qaeda’s Inspire  1  magazine  under  the  heading  “Make  a  bomb  in  the  kitchen  of  your  Mom”. This 19 year old boy had a sense of injustice at a world where people with a full-time job in his parents’ home country of Kashmir earned less in a month than people in the UK got given on Job Seekers Allowance in a week, and had found a commitment to a section of his religion that was declaring a war against the West. However, before we got a chance to discover whether or not he was chatting shit about his big plans for jihad, and without any Prevent officers coming round and sending him to Redirect and Transform or whatever the next stage of the ‘deradicalisation’ progamme is called, he waas banged up on an IPP.  We never found out why he felt the need, after having had his sentence commuted on appeal to a 16 year determinate sentence and released on a licence with electronic tag, to burst out in the midst of a conference of a University of Cambridge prison reform programme, of which he was part, in a knife-wielding frenzy, killing two people. Certainly, his time in prison did not make him any less angry. We did not find out his reasons for doing what he did because he was shot in the head on London Bridge by a police officer who was alarmed by the fact that he was wearing a ‘very convincing’ fake suicide belt. Convincing, that is, if we are to believe the statements of the same police force who said John Charles de Menezes was carrying a rucksack, had jumped the barriers, ran for a train, when in fact none of these things happened before he was shot 7 times in the head on the floor of a tube train at Stockwell station. It is of course plausible Khan was wearing this belt as the police and other witnesses have said, but this is the same police force that had claimed that Mark Duggan had shot at one of the officers who stopped his minicap, until we discovered that the bullet which grazed this cop was in fact a police hollow-point 9mm that had gone through Mark Duggan’s shoulder, and that there was no evidence that Mark had a gun in his hand at the time.

Of course, if a person is about to kill you or someone else you should do all that is possible to prevent them from doing so, in any way that you need to. I’m not denying that, in case you think I am.

And in 2017, five days before the vote for the general election we had another killing spree on London Bridge, which ended when the police shot dead three men, who were also said to be wearing fake bomb vests, two of whom at least had been reported to the British authorities as dangerous and the other one alleged to have fought in Libya for British backed militia against Gaddafi in 2011[1].

This is the society that governments have been governing. And it’s not just these three killings they have had to manage. It’s all the other times since the emergency Terror Laws were put in place that people have been in killed in strange and often hard-to-decode acts of political violence in the name of, or with the justification of Islam. And also, the times when nationalist patriots have killed or attacked Muslim people in the streets, including driving into a group of worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park or beating to death a 64 year old Imam in Rochdale; countless people shouting anti-Muslim abuse in the streets; even more numerous (but perhaps more countable) people doing so online; and the everyday snide, sly or downright ignorant comments Muslim people in Britain have to face in work and social life. Is it that governments have been goaded into driving ever harder nationalism for these first 20 years of the 21st century by a population binge drinking on nostalgic bunting, God-Save-the-Queen-Englandism, British flag in each hand-waving, protect-our-borderism? Perhaps. Certainly, secret services have been given a lot money to carry out a “resource   intensive   and   highly   sophisticated   process   of   monitoring and surveillance”[2] with Muslim radicals such as Usman Kahn. Certainly, British media have focused quite intensely on the supposed problems of Islam and immigration. Certainly, there has been a lot of public money spent on poppy appeals, Go Home Vans, Olympics, Royal weddings, If-you-suspect-it-report-it public warning campaigns, send-the-migrants back; and all of this has, if nothing else, projected these kind of voices like a megaphone right next to your earhole.

bojo flags

Government has presided over cities where, in micro societies dominated by petty criminality, kids are killing kids for spurious reasons. We have expensively surveilled, small time ‘gangs’, sending vulnerable young people for not very impressive sums of money, to sell crack and heroin to people in small towns with precious little else to do. The UK murder rate has shot up and 2019 appears to be a record year for killings.

Having worked for a number of years now amongst young people who have been excluded from school and often caught up in this violence, I am more and more convinced that these problems stem and are continually nourished by poverty and inequality. Governments, academics and think tanks have dutifully recorded statistics that show time and again that the UK is “consistently more divided than any comparable country”[3], in terms of any number of measurable outcomes across regions, income levels and racial heritage. And austerity itself has been shown conclusively to have killed people.

These have been governments that, since a banking crash that exposed the fragility of a financial service-based economy and the hypocrisy of free-market cant about small state and deregulation, have helped and assisted, with a great deal of public money and at great cost to national health, well-being, quality, and even longevity of live, the transfer of wealth upwards to a super-rich minority and into corporate bank accounts. In just one financial year in Britain (2017-18), “the average income of the poorest fifth of the population after inflation contracted by 1.6% …, while the average income of the richest fifth rose by 4.7%.” Thus the Office of National Statistics announced how the startling rate of increase in the size of this widening gap continues to accelerate, eleven years after the credit crunch and 9 years into austerity.

Governments are presiding over a population, much of whom blames television, social media, benefit claimants, immigrants, bleeding heart PC-gone mad metropolitan elites, gay rights, women’s rights, trans rights, Islam, the end of corporal punishment and all kinds of other things (including ‘the government’), for the kind of place where in the space of a week, one man knives down the people who have been trying to help him out of jail, and where another man is convicted for a series of rapes for which ‘horrific’ seems too light a word[4]; and an unexpected volcanic eruption in New Zealand became the latest in a series of ‘freak, natural’ disasters, whose increased regularity of occurrence makes them seem less and less ‘freakish’ and less and less ‘natural’.

Do we get the government we deserve? Perhaps, as Hamlet puts it, “Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping?”[5] Surely, however, we don’t have to continue punishing ourselves quite this severely. Institutionalised Islamophobia, murderous austerity, a racist police force that continues to kill with impunity, an imperialist foreign policy, murderous border controls, whose malice is somehow regularly mistaken for weakness, and a whittling away of those services that could mitigate some of the problems. An economy that makes everybody work more, doing often quite pointless things, and structurally prone to collapse. A few crocodile tears for capitalism’s unprecedented messing with the workings of the planet, causing a destruction of life and eco-systems that has so made the Earth in its own image that a sense of ugliness and brutal banality pervades much of our landscapes. Although of course built on the sterling work of the previous few centuries, these perhaps are the developments of the first twenty years of this century.

Today the Tories claimed that Labour’s watered-down “opposition to stop-and-search powers for police would see a surge in crime every year,” predicting with admirable specificity, “52 additional murders, … 882 more firearms on the streets and 146 sexual assaults or rapes.” This Priti Patel-authored article declared her party’s intention to spread “terror” among criminals.[6]

In a large part of the media discourse, elections are fought on the level of personality. Really governments are a part of the chaotic machinations of interests and powers within society. A party manifesto may only give some hints as to what kind of flavour they will bring to the mix. The Tory one promises more powers to the state at the borders, on the streets and in schools, having spent the last nine years devolving that same state of responsibility to provide services in return for the taxes it is collecting. Nonsense such as Patel’s supposedly ultra-accurate, future modelling is pedalled as a post-truth, non-fact. Yet, despite this, these Tories accuse Labour’s leadership of bringing in Stalinism. Still, the personal is political and the political personal. Thus, when you look at the personalities involved, some sordid tales emerge. Follow the trail on any number of MPs. Is it surprising, for instance, to find a Chief Strategy Officer of an oil company with interests in the newly created Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq as vice-chair of the APPG on that same region? This man, Tory MP Nadeem Zahawi, appointed under this new Prime Minister as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Industry, lives between a 31 acre estate in Warwickshire and a £14 million house in Belgravia. He is a buy-to-let landlord with a property portfolio of over £25 million[7] and founder of YouGov – a PLC raking in over £100million a year that supposedly gives us independent forecasts for elections. He has declared interests in the Turkish oil and gas company, Genel. In other countries this would be called corruption. Just over a year ago, we discovered that Zahawi was a regular attendee at annual Presidents’ Club charity dinners, which we discovered, hired only ‘tall, thin and pretty’ waitresses, who were told what colour underwear to wear for a discreet men-only event and to expect to receive harassment. One of the prizes at this ‘charity auction’ was a lunch with Ian Botham and Boris Johnson.BOJO auction prize

The Tories brought the APPGs themselves into controversy when in 2013 an undercover Panorama report discovered that Defence Secretary Patrick Mercer was using them to take money from lobbying groups to ask questions, while taking advantage of paid holidays and other bribes. Six years earlier, this ex-army colonel and OBE claimed that ethnic minority soldiers were lazy and using racism as an excuse, while at the same time defended the fact that black soldiers in his regiment were called ‘black bastards’ and ‘niggers’.[8] Six years later that same Panorama documentary that caught him taking bribes, brought us his infamous anecdote about the Israeli soldier to whom he said, “You don’t look like a soldier to me. You look like a bloody Jew”. These are people we are told are the safest hands to get us out of this mess.

What can we say of British people who may well return this Tory party to government? So concluded Hamlet, “Use them after your own honour and dignity. The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.”






[5] Hamlet, Act II, sc 2, 492ff




Written by angrysampoetry

December 10, 2019 at 6:50 am

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