“There’s Something Terribly Wrong…”

V’s revolutionary speech – V for Vendetta

Many of you will be familiar with the graphic novel, or film of aforesaid, ‘V For Vendetta’, by Alan Moore. Moore is an English writer, primarily known for his graphic novels, who has written for ‘2000 AD’ and ‘D.C Comics’.

I thought, like the antagonist revolutionary; V, I’d take a moment to have this quiet rant…

V: Allow me first to apologise for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of everyday routine, the security of the familiar, the tranquillity of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke. But in the spirit of commemoration, where upon important events of the past, usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, are celebrated with a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this…day… by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.”

You see I’m going to reference V quite a bit! Many people at this time of year – Christmastime, claim to feel the joy of the season. Their sense of goodwill to all mankind lights up, and they feel better in themselves. But isn’t this all hypocrisy? How can one feel a sense of obligation and empathy for one’s ‘fellow man’ for a day or two, then disregard it for the rest of the year? How can those who follow religious doctrine claim to be caring and giving when they do not open their doors to the poor and homeless at this time of year? How can any of us claim to be feeling the ‘true meaning of Christmas’ whilst closing our doors and curtains against the bleak truth that there are thousands – if not millions, suffering right now?

“V: There are, of course, those who do not want us to speak…Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there?”

And not just England – which is where V is set and to what he is referring. Take a look at where you live. Be honest. Is it truly a place of equality? Do all people really avoid the truncheon? Do those who speak out maintain their freedom? Or is your government frightening you into a state of impotent paralysis, whereby you feel unable to speak against it, or act against it? Or vote against it? Is your government smothering you with platitudes? Is your government telling outright lies that seem so unbelievable that – you simply cannot bring yourself to believe them?!

“V: Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well, certainly, there are those who are more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable. But again, truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.”

Is there a nation on Earth that does not have a system of surveillance anymore? In 2016, China had a reported 176 million surveillance cameras in operation, with plans to increase this number. The U.S. has approximately 15.3 cameras for every 100 individuals, followed by China with approximately 14.4 and the U.K. with 7.5. Other top 10 countries include Germany (6.3), Netherlands (5.8), Australia (4), Japan (2.7), France (2.5) and South Korea (2). So forget about your ‘western freedoms’; you are being watched, counted, surveyed – spied upon on a daily basis. And how do they get away with it? Because we let them. They say it is for our security and protection, but one has to wonder at the increasing level of CCTV’s around the world. And yet the ‘cruelty, injustice and intolerance’ are rarely recorded by these CCTV’s. These crimes are exposed by the people who happen to pull their phones out the fastest. And when these people stand up for what is right, and honest and true – someone somewhere silences them – or attempts to.

“V: I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. They were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic, you turned to… He promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’m innocent, no, far from it. I am as guilty as the next person. I am as complacent and self-serving as anyone who feels they should keep their head below the parapet of politics. I am comfortable and lazy with it! But our turning away is as bad, if not worse, than the act itself. We know these things are happening and yet….
We know the seas are choking on our plastic – OUR plastic, and yet…
We know the President/PM/Chancellor/Governor lied, and yet…

And yet…
…there are sparks of light in the darkness we all create. Individuals who shine so brightly, speak so passionately, hold up the truth to anyone who will look and listen, that they just cannot (or should not) be ignored.
2019 has seen a rise in young people calling out their governments. Youngsters who have revitalised the people’s passion in a variety of subjects. From gun laws, to education. From female empowerment to climate change.
I raise my glass; and invite you to do the same, to those brave individuals who have not been cowed, or restrained, who have spoken out with fierce determination against systems of oppression. They deserve our support, our thanks and most of all, our cooperation.
Some of them are familiar, some not so; depending on where in the world you live. So let us say ‘Thank you’ to:-

Hong Kong protests – Joshua Wong, age 23 years, helped organise the protests and the Umbrella Movement, criticized the oppression of protesters by the Hong Kong police, and the extradition draft law as pro-Beijing and called for the Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam to resign.

The #NeverAgain movement – David Hogg, Jaclyn Corin, Emma González, Cameron Kasky, and Alex Wind. The center of a massive youth movement for gun control after surviving a massacre that killed 17 of their classmatesat Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Jihye Yang, 22, is one of the leading youth feminist voices in South Korea, which was rocked this year by protests against a spate of illegal filming cases. Women have been recorded in their homes, on the streets, and even in toilets. Tens of thousands of women have marched in protest under the slogan “My life is not your porn”.

Alexandria Villaseñor, 14 years old – the founder of Earth Uprising, a global climate change movement, and one of the youngest organizers of the historic Sept. 20th Global Climate Strike, is on the front lines of the climate change movement.

Youth Climate StrikeGreta Thunberg, aged 16 years, was first pictured sitting alone outside Swedish parliament in a strike that she hoped would raise alarms among lawmakers. Soon, she had spurred an international movement of students striking on behalf of climate change.

V: So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of… government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the… [year] to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me one year from tonight, outside the gates of Parliament, and together we shall give them a fifth of November that shall never, ever be forgot.”

Well, I’m not suggesting we all gather around our parliament buildings on the 5th November or to conduct V-like Vendettas. But I am inviting you all to join these; and other, young people across the world in making things better, making things right. Forget slogans like ‘Make….Great Again’. None of the countries who use this phrase have ever had a decade which was great for all it’s citizens.
But they can be made great for the first time in their histories!

Have a peaceful holiday season wherever you may be. And remember, we can make a difference. YOU can make a difference.

Wishing you all a Very merry Christmas!

And a happy, healthy New Year.

V for Vendetta Christmas

How’s Your Brexit Going?

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With just 6 months to go until this thing we’re calling Brexit goes ahead, how’s it shaping up around the UK?

Current negotiations are, in the words of Malcolm Tucker (The Thick of It) “A fucking omnishambles.”

Why? Because no-one in government actually thought the British peoples would vote to leave and so no-one had made any real plans. It’s been a typically British ‘Make Do and Mend’, ‘Arse Over Tit’, ‘Make-it-up-as-we-go-along’ routine.

Just in case you didn’t know, or are reading this in another country, or been living with your head in the sand, or just not giving a fuck, here’s a quick explanation of some new words that have arisen since Brits voted to leave the European Union.

  • Brexit – a blend of Britain and exit.
  • Bregret – some people are having second thoughts!
  • Braccident – Did we make a mistake?!
  • Brenial – It’s all going to plan! Don’t panic!

Some Brits want a chance to vote again. But isn’t this what Democracy is all about? We get to vote and the Government has to follow through on that decision. But many people believe that we were not given all the information required to make such a huge decision. Some people say they would vote differently, now they know more about what leaving the EU entails. Some people can’t wait to take control of our own decision-making and sod Brussels.

What gets my goat is that all the talk on TV news, Radio news, journals and talk shows tends to focus on trade. How will Britain make trade deals with Europe (and other countries) when we leave? How much will it cost?

BUT, for me, and many others who did give the vote some thought, leaving Europe was not (purely) about trade.

I will admit that I cried the morning the results were announced. Why?

Because the EU is about more than finances –

  • It’s about joining together and sharing a standard system of law.
  • It’s about European integration as an antidote to WWII nationalism.
  • It’s about human rights and democracy.
  • It’s about bringing together those who had previously been at war with each other.
  • It’s about peace.
  • It’s about common values.
  • It’s about where any sane person should want the world to be heading – a unified whole.

So what do we think so far? (and yes, this is a TOTALLY biased selection)

 

Stewart Lee – comedian – “I haven’t written any jokes about Brexit ’cause I didn’t see the point of committing to a cause of action for which there is no logical or financial justification.”

Andy Hamilton – comedian and regular on Radio 4’s The News Quiz – describes it as “Schrödinger’s Brexit; because in theory this Brexit is simultaneously both alive and dead.” suggesting that no-one actually knows if it’s working or not.

Peter Gabriel – musician – was concerned about UK foreign policy after a number of international artists were unable to perform at the Womad Music Festival because of visa issues.

Neil Gaiman – writer – “that sort of moment at the end of Planet of the Apes where Charlton Heston sees the Statue of Liberty … I was going, ‘Oh, no. Are you really …”

David Beckham – former England footballer – “We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone.”

Emma Thompson – actor – “We should be taking down borders, not putting them up.”

Jonathan Pie – fictitious news reporter – “The Brexit dream is dying Tim, aaah.” It’s a cluster f**ck!

 

How’s your Brexit going?!

World Environment Day 2018

Image result for only when the last tree

Rant time!

Today. One day. There are 365 days in the year and we are dedicating 1, one, ONE! to raising awareness of our environment.

I find it completely and utterly mind-blowingly stupefying that we can treat our planet the way we do.

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The captivating South Pacific

If you were given a lovely cottage, on a green plot of land that provided you with EVERYTHING YOU WILL NEED FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, would you scatter your rubbish across it? Would you get rid of all the flowers and grass to be replaced with tarmac or concrete? Would you systematically kill off all the pollinators like bees? Would you – to put it bluntly – shit in your own bed!?

And yet, that is exactly what we are all doing. We are all complicit in the plastic-poisoning-deluge-traffic-jamming-exhaust-choking-animal-suffering-I-couldn’t-care-less attitude that embodies humanity today. Our view of ourselves is so ego-centric, so utterly selfish, that we allow our children to die in the thousands because of chemical pollution, we crave money and ‘stuff’ so much, that the consequences of our actions do not even register in our reptilian brains.

WEDblogspermwhale
Sperm whale that recently died from plastic consumption

I know, I know, you and me, the ‘little people’, can’t make huge changes, and I so want a mobile phone to keep in touch with people, even though it’s made of plastic and tiny pieces of metal that will never decay when it is eventually disposed of. And I really, really need my plastic laptop so that I can write this nonsense. And I need paper to write on, for work and home – and I do like soft white loo roll to wipe my backside on. And on. And on it goes.

I know people who have said things like, “Well, what can I do? And besides, everyone else is doing it.” ! What a stupid comment! Didn’t you mum say to you when you were a kid, and you copied something daft a friend had done, “If he stuck his finger in the fire, would you?”! ‘Course you bloody wouldn’t – and if you answered yes, then you need your head feeling!

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Hong Kong in the Summertime

My old mum always wonders why we spend so much on sending ships to explore space, when we don’t even know, for sure, what is in our seas. We get medicines from the rain-forest, and so we’re busy hacking it down, for what? We have things we haven’t even discovered in our own back yards. What’s that saying, ‘The grass is always greener’? Well at this rate, children of the future will be saying, ‘The soil is always redder.’ as we speed off to populate another globe, so we can simply shit all over that.

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Was the five pence charge worth it?

There are things we ‘little people’ can do. We have something that the governments and corporations don’t have – voices in numbers. If we all shout out together, we can deafen the fuckers. I’m not expecting you to go plastic-free-stop-using-your-car-sow-seeds-everywhere-recycle-everything-and-share-your-shower-with-the-neighbours, BUT, you can do your bit.

You can make a change. You can clean up and thus save the ONLY PLACE YOU HAVE TO LIVE. And if we all don’t stick our finger in the fire at the same time, then maybe there’s hope for us yet.

WEDblogReduce Reuse Recycle

Visit the World Environment Day web-page –                          http://worldenvironmentday.global/

Learn how to make your own household cleaners (and much more) –https://www.goingzerowaste.com/

Recycle your old bras (yep, someone can use them) at some places around your community, or visit –                                                                            http://moralfibres.co.uk/bra-recycling/

Next time you go shopping, don’t use plastic bags for you fruit and veg, and, at the till, unwrap these items and ask them to dispose of the wrapping (I have started doing this, the staff are surprisingly compliant). And sign this petition – https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-stop-supermarkets-from-selling-raw-fruit-and-veg-in-plastic-packaging

Get your children to walk to school, instead of packing them into your fumy car – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/12/children-risk-air-pollution-cars-former-uk-chief-scientist-warns

Read Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, about the appalling effects that pesticides have and continue to have on our land and our selves – because of corporate greed.

Be like David Sedaris, American humourist, writer, Radio 4 infiltrator; who regularly picks up litter from his local area, for nothing other than keeping the landscape beautiful.

To steal from actor Michael Sheen’s 2015 speech on the NHS:-

“…what sort of society do we want to be? What is our vision for ourselves? What are the qualities and the principles that we aspire towards, and choose to defend?”

and to misquote from the same speech:-

“There is never an excuse to not speak up for what you think is right. You must stand up for what you believe. But first of all – by God, do something.”

 

Shame on You?

How many of you want to hide under your desk when your behaviour at the office party is discussed over the following days? (Yeah you have.)

How many times did you hang your head in shame as a child because of your actions?

Shame: noun

1.the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonourable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another: She was overcome with shame.

2. disgrace; ignominy: His actions brought shame upon his parents.

Psychology Today defines shame as – Shame: A Concealed, Contagious, and Dangerous EmotionShame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy, dishonor, or regret . As a self-conscious emotion,shame informs you of an internal state of inadequacy, unworthiness, dishonor, or regret about which others may or may not be aware.

Shame is closely related to Guilt. Many psychologist will argue that shame is harmful to the inner self. Shame is internalised, shame can destroy self-perception. Good old guilt on the other hand, is an external admission to something you have done wrong – or something you perhaps should have done but failed to. Shame is internalized and deeply connected to our sense of who we are. Guilt is often passing. Shame-based comments appear to be accurate statements about our character or lack thereof. Those comments are easily internalized as truth about who we are, haunting us long after the comment was made. Guilt, on the other hand, fades with time or after corrective action is taken.

We love to ‘name and shame’. Even better, we love to ‘name and shame’ publically; social media is a fantastic tool for the ‘shame-r’ to use against the ‘shame-e’ (So they aren’t real words! Yet! Just you wait).

And shame, might I add, is not in the eye of the beholder. Some people are completely shameless; much like Frank Gallagher.

shame 1

Let’s have a look at Guilt V Shame examples:

Donald Trump tried to intimidate his former FBI director into silence by threatening to release secret recordings of their conversations.

Donald Trump baselessly accused President Obama’s national security adviser of committing a crime — after his White House conspired with the head of the House Intelligence Committee to foment a false scandal.

He violated federal law by claiming proceeds from various Trump products would go to charity, although there is no evidence that Trump ever donated the money to charity.

His vow to use torture on suspected terrorists would violate the Geneva conventions. He would be committing war crimes.

He suggested that women should be “punished” for having abortions and “joked” that he’d date his daughter!!!!! (WTF!)

Seeing a pattern here folks? Mr. T has perhaps the longest list of actions and activities that come under the label ‘guilty’, and yet, the man evidently feels no shame whatsoever. (And not only guilty, but libelous. Seriously, how is this man still President?!)

He believes not only, that he is the law, but that he is above the law. He has been sued over 3,500 times in his career, including 70 times during his campaign. He blithely tweets comments and opinions that seem to have been dredged up from a recent dream. He has absolutely no understanding of world politics and how the historical interference of America and the UK have brought us to where we are today.

The man is a buffoon, without the charm (and I use that term loosely folks) of Boris Johnson. And the irony is, he bandies the word ‘shame’ about like a fat cudgel made of Bratwurst. He truly does not know the emotion of shame. I bet he shits bullets; his insides must be as cast-iron as his skin and brains.

Choose your shameful buffoon

 

Now let’s just enjoy some moments that the man should be ashamed of –

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http://www.pajiba.com/politics/a-complete-list-of-all-the-times-donald-trump-has-broken-the-law.php

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/every-terrifying-thing-that-donald-trump-has-done.html

http://sticktrump.com/