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Tuesday, 11 July 2017

243. Sustenance - Sanitation – Safety - Is this too much to ask in 2017?

Rummage through my blog posts and they bang on about the injustices and madness of the world, using satire, allegory, metaphor, anecdotes, facts, figures, provocation, humour and sometimes just anger to make a point. But one thing is for sure; my sense of frustration comes from an absolute belief that it does not have to be like this. It should not be like this in 2017.

Below is a photo of me with my grandson. I’ve just washed my hair and we are cuddled up on my bed.THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON WHY ANY CHILD ON THE PLANET SHOULD BE WITHOUT CLEAN WATER, FOOD, LOVE & SECURITY.

Many commentators still argue that ‘wealth creators’ need to be free to make unfettered profits and be rewarded by keeping what they make because the economic “trickle down” effect benefits us all in the end. Rubbish. That has never happened in the history of the human race. Often they don’t make money; they exploit the people who do. Many of the world’s current richest oligarchs made their billions by appropriating their country’s natural resources i.e. stealing from their fellow nationals.

And yes – there are exceptional entrepreneurs who try to use their money for good. But, if we live in the hope that enough good people get rich, we will be waiting a long time for things to change on the ground.

As the world spins faster, signs that inequality is the route of human misery have never been more obvious. From people-trafficking and the thousands of watery graves in the Mediterranean to those exploiting children in refugee camps to poverty and starvation in countries rich in natural resources, the evidence is grim. Globally we have de facto slavery, the new growth of sweatshops, even here in the UK e.g. in Leicester and the Cannibal Economy (see blog 208) all around us.

There is no justifiable reason why so many of our fellow humans have to live in fear, insecurity, deprivation, exploitation and degradation. We know the answer. The tiny minority at the top of the pile need to have a lot less so that the overwhelming majority can have enough. It is that simple.

The innate selfishness and greed of many with power and influence, coupled with the inertia of the comfortable folk in supposedly democratic countries, maintains the status quo. Sadly, it is a status quo that increasingly suits a smaller and smaller elite.

There are multitudes of good people out there. Like you, I meet many in my daily life. I even think the good folk are vastly in the majority but for some reason, at present, their voices seem to be drowned out (see blog 152 – Could the nice people speak up please.)

N.B.This blog is taking a break until Tuesday 5th Sept but I shall say prayers for the millions around this supposedly civilised world who still do not have a basic, wholesome living environment; sustenance, sanitation and somewhere safe to rest.

Do check out some of my books for your summer reading. Thank you.

Amanda is available for public speaking / lunch or dinner comedy-entertainment /panel discussions etc. Inquiries to Caro Day -

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

242. ‘British Values’ – no thanks…

British Values was a phrase regularly thrown around by ex Tory PM David Cameron but never clearly defined. If a nation’s values can be extrapolated from the prevailing behaviour and accepted social norms – heaven help us.

28 years to get justice for the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster. 24 hours for a de-facto change in archaic Irish abortion provision to keep Theresa May in power…

Sir Philip Green (see blog 185) got less than a slap on the wrist for robbing thousands of his employees of jobs and pensions while the vicious degradation and vilification of the poor is now a perpetual dull throb in our social background.

Tories cheered in Parliament last week at successfully keeping a 1% cap on public pay while the Queen was awarded an 8% income rise, and a billion pounds was found down the back of the sofa to pay for DUP votes (see last week’s post). Redundancies are piling up; prices in shops are increasing, house prices are falling, personal debt is at titanic proportions. Do we need an inquiry into this strange duality which is an entrenched part of British life?

But here is more inequity…

Disturbingly, when it comes to inquiries, far from bringing those responsible to book – they often just results in further enriching other establishment figures. (Hillsborough may be the exception as there is talk of possible criminal prosecution but only after 3 decades of pressure from the surviving family members).

Bloody Sunday 1972 – cost of Saville inquiry £195m
Hillsborough – cost of inquiry £70m

The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war (illegal invasion) told us nothing new, changed nothing and led to no one being held to account. It cost £13million

Rather tastelessly the ex-judge appointed to head up an inquiry into The Grenfell Tower disaster is infamous for supporting Westminster Council in rehousing a single mother, 50 miles away from home, friends, children’s school etc. etc. Fortunately the decision was overturned unanimously by a higher court. Plus, the council, who many feel badly failed the residents, will be consulted regarding the inquiry’s scope while residents will not.

None of these awful things happen without the combination of gross incompetence and or bad people and or bad circumstances. The subsequent delays and cover ups are entirely due to the willingness of The Establishment to do what is best for themselves.
What makes no sense is the way The Majority – or ‘Ordinary People’ as politicians of all persuasions like to call everyone-who-isn’t-the establishment, are bamboozled. Folk are cajoled into acceptance, anesthetised into not caring. They are led by the nose by people who a. have nothing in common with them b. do not have their best interests at heart.

During the EU referendum, the Leave campaign orchestrated the mob in ranting against Polish plumbers and vulnerable migrants while cold calculating corporate bastards were quietly shipping British jobs overseas by the thousands. British Airways – it was revealed a few weeks ago – sacked their British IT staff and reallocated those jobs abroad. This would not have been in the news if it hadn’t been for the IT crash that led to 72 hours of fiasco and flight mayhem.

Our previously world-standard universities are cutting staff right and left as students, paying through the nose to keep themselves out of the unemployment figures for 3 – 4 years (thanks to private school boy, ex Liberal leader and now, thankfully, ex-MP Clegg) are being taught by staff lower and lower down the food chain in huge groups with almost no one-to-one time as used to be the norm.

As more large companies, making eye watering UK profits, sack staff by the thousands (Tesco last week sacked another 1,200 at their head office) and others de-staff their outlets with self-service tills (see blog 218 Lidl – 0 Barrack Obama – 1) we see clearly that the large corporations making money out of ‘Ordinary British People’ do not care about ordinary British people.

The British public give generously to aid charities, like the ones working in Yemen – meanwhile Saudi Arabia is bombing and brutalising Yemen with British weaponry. Basic help cannot get through for those now suffering cholera. Our racist foreign secretary (and would-be PM?) has no plans to stop the sale of arms to the Saudis.

As America celebrates this 4th of July with Trump preparing to throw 22 million poor Americans off health care provision to give billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest – we, here in the UK, have nothing to feel complacent about.
As other EU countries surge ahead with cheap, clean, green energy, Britain is mired in controversy over a possible future of Chinese-owned nuclear power, fracking and even environmentally devastating open cast coal mining (Druridge Bay).

On a more personal level, I am deeply angered by the growing opportunities chasm between youngsters with connections and position and those without; it is a crevasse growing wider daily. Surely basic equality is the sign of a truly civilised society. Global publishing house Random House just released a coffee table book – retailing at £16.99 - of laughable “Instagram quality” photographs taken by the teenaged son of two British celebrities. According to critics, its fifty shades of shite echoing that other piece of crap, also courtesy of Random House – Fifty Shades of Grey. The young and talented artist who created artwork for the covers of my dragon adventure series (see below) was just a teenager when she produced that work. She subsequently won a place at the prestigious Glasgow School of Art based on her talent and hard work. She is currently waitressing.

I wonder – I mean I really wonder – when the great British public – the soap-opera watching, processed food consuming, Daily Mail / Sun reading, reality TV addicted masses are going to wake up to the fact that the people who pull the strings, some of the people they idolise, the people who take their money or deny them enough to live on, squander their labour, crush their dignity commandeer their time and anything else they can take - the British establishment