Friday, 15 December 2017

A LATE-NIGHT EPIPHANY: THE SPOOKY LINK BETWEEN FOOTBALL AND BREXIT



Had a rather strange late night epiphany, that I'm surprised hadn't occurred before.

I really cannot understand, at all, how literally anybody could look at what's happened in Britain in the last eighteen months and think it a good thing, long or short term. And I just don't get why anyone would have desired this division, conflict, and uncertainty.

Then the penny dropped. 'Division, conflict, uncertainty'. We are a country obsessed with football. A country that revels in the mindless caveman-like thuggery of kicking a ball from point A to point B, to prove prowess and supposed superiority. A country that revels in the drama as much as the sport, and more often than not, the simple sense of 'belonging' to a tribal group. A tribal group that by definition, hates another group. And to top it off, we're not even any good at it. Our footballers are some of the most underachieving and primped in the world; our widespread arrogance regarding British football prowess is entirely unfounded. We're a country where poor and disadvantaged people cheer loudly and pave the way for overpaid/over-privileged oiks who literally care nothing for them, and perpetuate inequality. And the most useful/committed ones are usually foreigners any way. Sound familiar?

It's not a popular thing to admit, and I do apologise to friends who enjoy the game, but football has always seemed so backward to me: a mind-numbing pastime for yobs, that should have had its day alongside public flogging. I've never understood it. So it's really hardly a surprise that I shouldn't understand where Brexiters are coming from either, or their desire to turn Britain into a mortal battle between two competing teams. It's quite literally our national sport, after all. In their minds, there can only be winners or losers; that's the 'name of the game'.

The only difference is, sadly unlike football, the sentient among us cannot afford to ignore this particular 'game'.

THE DAILY MAIL HAS TANGIBLY THREATENED BRITISH LIBERTY. IT’S TIME WE DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT.



I bang on quite a lot about how dangerous the UK right-wing press has become: it's one of the factors that made me want to start writing in the political sphere myself. But I, like many, have arguably gone on about it too much now. I can't help but wonder whether there’s been a touch of ‘Crying Wolf’ effect; that even those who agree and recognise the danger, have now become desensitised.

I say that because what The Daily Mail have come out with today (at the time of writing), December 14th, regarding the recent Parliamentary vote on the Brexit bill, is absolutely categorically and unequivocally NOT okay.

The fact the tabloid thinks it can behave like this, posting vindictive and antagonistic bile to rouse a rabble against conscientious MPs, is troubling to the extreme. The fact it will doubtlessly continue unless we do something about it, and that the British public probably won’t even bat an eyelid any way – even more so.

Yes, we’ve heard it all before. Senseless Brexiters rattling on about politicians supposedly “betraying” 17.4m Brexit voters. Presumably inferring that the remaining 16.1m Remain voters (not to mention those who didn’t vote) are apparently not entitled to any representation within Parliament at all: we must simply do as we’re told. In their minds, we lost our rights the day they won their referendum.

Choice of words


Just look at the language on that Daily Mail front page: it’s horrifying. ‘Self-consumed’ (as if anyone who disagrees with this coup is automatically doing so for selfish or nefarious reasons). ‘Malcontents’. ‘Betray’. ‘Damning’. ‘Marxist’. ‘Treachery’. It’s the language of dictatorship, and of fascism. Evocative terminology deliberately designed to stir up anger, hostility, and even violence. You’d think The Daily Mail might have learned a lesson from the death threats Anna Soubry reportedly received the last time they plastered her face on their front page, practically with a bullseye on her forehead. That they’ve been as callous and as confident to do exactly the same again, and so soon afterwards, really begs belief. How did we ever allow them so much power?

Whereas the supposedly ‘responsible’ Telegraph formerly opted to describe Soubry and other Tory ‘rebels’ as “saboteurs”. The exact same term far-right nationalist Thomas Mair used in court to justify his murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, shortly before the referendum.

We really should all hear the alarm bells ringing, loud and bloody clear. But we don’t. Or nowhere near enough of us are hearing them, any way.

I'm genuinely upset by this, and very angry. To be frank, I thought my capacity for anger had been pretty much exhausted; the endless onslaught of bad news and scandal since June 2016 has taken its toll. I imagine even some of the most politically engaged are weary, now just wanting to bury their heads in the sand and/or see an end to it all. To be fair, that was probably the idea all along: a war of attrition.

However for me, this most recent and grotesque assault on parliamentary democracy by The Daily Mail is a whole new level of malevolence. I certainly wish there was something more physical or effectual I could do to protest beyond simply writing an angry opinion piece, but hey, we use the tools at our disposal.

It's just not morally acceptable to me. I cannot and will not accept that such evil and unscrupulous people have such a grip over public opinion in the UK. That a singular powerful and non-accountable/non-democratic faction can literally spew whatever hatred and overly partisan poison it wants, and know with absolute certainty it will form the categorical basis of belief for vast swathes of ignorant/hostile people across the country. The non-domicile Lord Rothermere, and his editor Paul Dacre, are truly two of the most dangerous men alive in Britain today.

I think they define as operating in Britain, even if their paper's money is mostly shielded from paying British tax, offshore in Bermuda.

A Momentary Reprieve of Reason


The UK should be celebrating this small victory for democracy (actual democracy, not the mob-rule/pitch-fork variety that’s become so popular). Celebrating that, for the first time in eighteen months, reason seems to have been granted a momentary reprieve. We should all feel positive and buoyed that a small number of brave Tory MPs finally tipped the balance. A courageous minority had the guts and decency to put their country before their party, insisting that Parliament should be permitted to do its job – eg: be allowed to scrutinise a planned course of action that could theoretically make or break our country. That is its very purpose, after all. And thousands of men, women and children died over the course of British history to preserve that balance, specifically to keep would-be absolute governments and monarchies in check.

Hear that Brexiters, that is the patriotism and pride I take in my nation and its history. Not the ideology of this nationalist backwater you’re trying to turn it into, a place I no longer even recognise as my home.

But far from acknowledging the good sense of keeping options open, Brexiter factions are just stamping their feet, trying to whip up yet more division and hatred. Posturing how the very same British laws and sovereignty they supposedly champion is ‘treacherous’ when it doesn’t work in their favour. They don’t even seem to care if people are killed, or have their lives threatened in the process.

I just can’t bear how unreasonable this Brexit bunch are; it’s beyond farcical. The Tories are almost a secondary concern now - they’re just hapless. As if every pantomime villain in the country was rounded up and told to form a government. I almost feel sympathy for Theresa May and her leading negotiators now, so hammered have they been from all sides.

It’s the Boris Johnsons and the Michael Goves, the Daniel Hannans and Julia-Hartley Brewers, the Nigel Farages and Jacob Rees-Moggs, the Tommy Robinsons and Katie Hopkins of this world shouting from the wings who are causing the most carnage now. Listening to them on social media, you’d think we were engaged in The English Civil War part two; that anyone not willingly aboard the Brexit-train should be shot for treason. Let’s face it, they all ache for continued division and confrontation though: it’s quite literally been their gravy-train. What’s terrifying is how many people agree with them, eating up every word they say.

Threat to Liberty


Why are they so outraged? It’s not like Brexit has been cancelled. It's not like we've totally extinguished the dream of the tax-dodgers and nationalists, or reversed their intended coup of Britain. Not like the adults have totally regained control of the kindergarten, or that someone with nouse has stepped up to suggest we forget the whole sordid nonsense: that we go back to being a sensible nation and economic powerhouse.

No. All that’s been agreed is that IF the deal is too horrendous, IF it’s likely to cause such harm that millions of people could realistically be plunged into poverty and economic chaos, our parliamentary representatives would have the right to say no. They’d have a chance to save their people from unnecessary hardship. So in other words, these Brexit factions, with The Daily Mail at the vanguard, deem the simple preservation of our well-being and long-term interests as ‘betrayal’. As ‘treachery’. They believe our refusal to accept potentially being disadvantaged is effectively a crime worthy of punishment.

Enough is enough. That’s a direct and tangible threat to our liberty as far as I am concerned. Not hyperbole, not exaggeration; simply a realistic assessment of what’s going on here.

Decent people in Britain must no longer stand for this poison being so frugally disseminated and so unaccountable: it’s time we did something about it, before it’s too late.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

BANNON AND REES-MOGG: THE CORRELATION BETWEEN BREXIT AND WHITE SUPREMACY FINALLY LAID BARE



I wanted to give politics a rest for a while. It's mentally exhausting even keeping up with the news nowadays. But then as usual, something else unthinkable or cataclysmic happens.

This. This, this... THIS.




I genuinely don't know whether to be pleased or not. On one hand, I'm glad the smokescreen is coming apart - that finally the leaders of Brexit are showing their true colours. Only days ago, Julia Hartley-Brewer mocked me on Twitter for suggesting Trump/Trump supporters and Brexit/Brexit supporters are different sides of the same coin, like it was a ridiculous assessment. IT IS NOT. It is the truth they don't want you to see; a symbiotic partnership.

So what's happening now? Well, as more reasonable/rational and moderate Brexit voters realise they've been sold a pig in a poke, that this whole thing has been a straight-up catastrophe for our country, the Brexit lobby are forced to enlist and massage support among extremists and unapologetic fascists. They're the only group propping this madness up. And as a result, even supposedly 'respectable' MPs like Jacob Rees-Mogg can now flaunt their true allegiances, actively courting these evil people. The mask has well and truly slipped.

Even a couple of years ago, this would have ended Rees-Mogg's career. That is how much the political and social landscape has changed in Britain. It's just chilling. And those of us who were ridiculed for warning where Brexit would lead, dismissed as hyperbolic, are now being proved demonstrably and unequivocally right.

Whereas many see a series of events, I see a meticulously planned domino effect. It is not coincidence that days ago, Trump endorsed Britain First. That a group formerly overwhelmingly reviled in the UK is now getting MSM attention, appearing on the BBC etc, and swathes of people now argue Trump was "only stating his opinion", and/or the POTUS is above being held accountable. These fascist ideas are in the mainstream again, endorsed by the most powerful man in the world, and yet again, xenophobes and nationalists are emboldened beyond measure.

Then, despite outcry, Downing Street refuse to cancel Trump's state visit, or condemn his words entirely. The fascists are emboldened a little further. It becomes a little more acceptable. And then, out of nowhere, it's suddenly 'revealed' that a British Conservative politician - who many bizarrely revere as a man of probity and reason, who's tipped to be the next Conservative leader - is openly in meetings with Steve Bannon of Breitbart! The only man who was widely acknowledged to be more dangerous than Trump when he initially took office. A truly evil, abhorrent man. An insidious master manipulator and white supremacist, who's openly admitted he wants to see some kind of 'final solution'.

Now? Now many Tory voters will rationalise that 'if Rees-Mogg is dealing with Bannon, he can't be that bad'. Not only that, but Boris wouldn't condemn Trump either. And though Theresa May told Trump he was a 'naughty boy', she stepped way short of taking a stand. It's a very deliberate, step-by-step process being rolled out.

The ideals of fascism are being normalised in Britain, right before our eyes. And as usual, those of us who recognise it are just flailing our arms around, desperately trying to warn everybody.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

THE MYTH OF TORY 'FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY' (INSPIRED BY JOSEPH GOEBBELS)




This recent YouGov poll makes my head hurt.

Yes, it's a common misconception that the Tories are 'fiscally responsible', 'better able to manage the economy' etc, which is just straight up bonkers when you look at the state of our country after seven years of Tory rule. They've increased our national debt by £555bn; they have borrowed more in cash terms than ALL OTHER LABOUR GOVERNMENTS COMBINED IN BRITISH HISTORY.

That is a fact (go on, check... I dare you.)

And yet the nation has still been stripped bare? Over the course of nearly 40 years I've watched my country become a playground for the rich, while everything else around the edges crumbles to dust. This Conservative Party have ravaged the UK with a pitch-fork, and are now - just for good measure - about to push our economy off a cliff and isolate us as a hated island nation: a population of feudal subjects who literally cannot escape, and/or seek justice from a European court. And all so the balance of capitalist power does not shift in Britain, so the Conservatives and their mates can remain gorged fat-cats.

Who feeds this idea that 'managing the economy' means prioritising money and 'fiscal savings' over citizens and living standards? The idea they're somehow mutually exclusive? The very same people with all the bloody money! Anyone who doesn't 'get' that or want to see the connection, is either part of the problem, burying their head in the sand, or entirely brainwashed. It really is as simple as that. It's a question of priorities.

In other words, this myth of Tory 'fiscal responsibility' is a complete and utter smokescreen; so fragile, you can literally waft it apart with your pinky. (Eg: even very loose facts and figures.)

To quote Joseph Goebbels:

"If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth."

The typical Tory response of course, is to blame former New Labour governments. Conveniently forgetting they were just 'Red Tories' in disguise, who Margaret Thatcher even openly crowed as 'her greatest achievement'.

A happy workforce is a productive workforce


I very much doubt I shall ever be someone to head up a workforce, be responsible for other people's livelihoods, or be in a position to dictate political agenda. But I do know if I was, I would recognise that a happy/mentally healthy workforce (or populace) who are fairly rewarded and feel valued are going to be far FAR more productive, loyal and enthusiastic than vice versa. It's nigh time people in this country start to recognise that - and truly believe it. To realise they are entitled to more than a burdened existence, 'just getting by', begging for scraps from greedy overlords who have more than most of us would ever know if we lived a hundred lifetimes. Stop being distracted by bullsh*t like Royal Weddings, the cost of which would probably house, clothe, feed and educate thousands of children worldwide. Which is just sick, if you think about it. They literally rub it in our faces.

The exorbitantly wealthy are only rich because of the societies and 'customers' who made them rich. It's time for them to give something back; to stop hoarding it. The industrial advances of humankind should serve us all - the entire human race - not just the fat-cats who own all the businesses, the robots and automated factories. So if there are no longer enough jobs as a result, it's time ALL of us started to share in the profits via universal basic income. Especially those who need it most.

Instead of demonising socialist principles, I think the rich (and sadly befuddled, eg: people whom socialism would actively serve, but they hate it any way) really need to get their heads round the fact, capitalism is failing. We can see it all around us. It's had its day, and is no longer physically equipped to deal with the size of 21st century populations. We simply have to find another way.

This circus can only go on so long, before a reckoning will come. How that takes shape will entirely define our future as a species, I truly believe that.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

THE REAL REASON REMAINERS ARE SCREWED: EMPATHY MAKES US WEAK



Brexit. The gift that keeps on giving.

Almost a year and a half on from that cursed referendum, the issue is still as divisive as ever. Perhaps more so, given that the repercussions - though not entirely revealed (and won't be until the damned thing happens) are more widely known. As are the lies and invested interests that put us on this particular path. It's remarkable how the debate started out as Brexit being good for Britain, whereas now the debate is really only whether it will be marginally worse, or an all-out economic catastrophe.

What is for the reason for this enmity, if anything, increasing? In my opinion, exactly because to still support Brexit in light of all the lies... to still try and argue this whole thing has been good for Britain, just seems pig-headed to the extreme. And verging on the lunatic. Seriously, take a look around guys. Step out of the bubble. Look what this bullshit has sparked across our country, and the world.

But that's not the only reason Remainers (and the left in general) are tearing their hair out. The truth is, while the right-wing/tax-dodgers/nationalists and xenophobes all present a united front and rejoice in this new world they're creating, OUR team is divided.

No... we're too busy turning on one another, splintering and decimating our own ranks.

I know it only too well. I've written for two of the leading left-wing blogs in the UK in the past eighteen months, and fell foul of both of them for standing by my beliefs. And only last week I had a bust-up within my own extended family, because I'd inadvertently criticised someone's friend on a forum... it's just ridiculous. We really are expected to all pretend the turd is chocolate mousse.


The Burden of Empathy


Here's the general thing about people on the left and centre, and Remainers typically: we carry the burden of empathy. We actively try to imagine how others feel, and to see their point of view. We attempt to be logical, and look at actual facts as opposed to populism and spin. We try to put decency above profits, and modern notions of feudalism.

The ironic and somewhat cruel flip-side to that, is in a situation like we see today, eg: where there is so much widespread support for unpleasant stuff, some on our left-veering team inevitably try to empathise with the very same people who've supported these horrid, horrid things. And thereby sometimes legitimise them.

In the case of Brexit, the result is many Remainers now lambaste other Remainers for simply not 'bending over'. For not accepting a manipulated result that will impoverish our country and diminish our security, with smiles on our faces and a spring in our step! Now, ridiculously, many deem us to be the hostile ones. Black is white, up is down. Whereas the right-wing have no such concerns. Their closed fist is far FAR stronger than our limp hand, fingers spread. Our empathy makes us weak. We end up questioning ourselves or apologising, simply for opposing those who'd subjugate us.

Remain 'supporter', Noel Gallagher


The result is things like this. I saw a post shared suggesting that the Brexit saga is a bit like a Shakespearean tragedy, a battle between good and evil where the good guys will probably lose - a sentiment I'd loosely agree with, albeit a very rudimentary assessment:



However, the response from a popular and supposed left-leaning/Remain supporting blog was as follows:


It continues:



You can tell the writer is a Remain supporter and probably left-leaning, because firstly, they actually take the time to self-analyse and accept a portion of blame, and secondly, they talk a lot of sense! I'm being slightly facetious of course. But the point is, I wouldn't disagree with the second portion of what is written, and would probably also have to concur that I too carry a degree of vanity, simply for wanting people to read what I have to say. However, I would strongly disagree with the writer's assessment of those motives for wanting to speak out. You can in fact want to do the right thing for noble reasons AND possess a degree of 'ego' or 'vanity.' They are not mutually exclusive. 

Of course there are many many different shades of grey, and of course 'good or bad' is far too rudimentary a term to adequately describe the complexity of a huge populace. No human being is entirely good or bad. But in a situation like Nazi Germany in the mid twentieth century, those shades of grey meant nothing. You either supported the Nazis, or you didn't. By the time the danger was recognised, opposing them meant risking your life.

What's happened here, is the blogger's empathy for those who've supported this disaster, and their understandable desire for things to just 'go back to normal' with their friends and family who supported it, has totally undermined the very principles of why so many opposed it in the first place.

Frankly, I see it as a cop-out.

Not all Brexiteers Are 'Stupid'


Indeed. They are not. But intelligent Brexit voters are the most worrying of all. Intelligent Brexit voters would have known they were told a pack of lies, that it was being led by tax-dodging fat-cats, and virtual comic books like The Daily Mail and The Sun. They knew it would impoverish our country, and that it would enable nationalism and xenophobia. And they voted that way regardless.

Which pretty much means one of two things. Either they too were motivated by veiled xenophobia/nationalism (like a majority), OR they stand to benefit from Tory decimation of workers rights, and/or Britain remaining the tax-dodging/loop-hole capital of the western world. (Which it is, make no mistake.) Continuing inequality works for these people. And that in essence is why the Leave campaign was so successful: it allied grumbling xenophobes and nationalists with the rich and financially invested... a truly killer combination.

It was somewhat painful for me to see my former colleague from Evolve Politics, Matt Turner, on Newsnight last night, discussing the alleged influence of Russian propaganda in Brexit. Most of his points I agreed with. As ever, Matt came across as decent, sensible, well reasoned and pragmatic (not qualities evident in the rest of Evolve's editorial team sadly). That is, until he started waving his 'Leaver flag'. And specifically, made an almost glib comment that Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Remain campaign lost "because they were so dire in the first place".

No Matt. Remain lost because actual truth and Realpolitik are far less exciting and stimulating than wild notions of nationalist pride and 'reasserting ourselves'. One appeals to the head, the other to the heart. Ideology won out over pragmatism. People chose The Beano over boring legal documentation. And like many U.S voters a few months later, Brexit supporters were itching to pull a trigger, whatever explosion it caused. That's about it.



Crush The Saboteurs


Can we really not see what is happening here?? 'Traitors'. 'Saboteurs'. And yesterday for God's sake, The Telegraph launched a witch-hunt against Remainer Tory MPs labelled as 'mutineers', while The Daily Mail's political editor insidiously referred to them as 'collaborators': the exact same term notorious far-right killer Thomas Muir used to describe MP Jo Cox, whom he murdered:




If you think of all the words in the English language, use of that word was mere coincidence, it's time to wake up. That is the language of fascism, and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

Right and Wrong


Many Remainers shared a tolerant attitude back before the referendum, and perhaps even afterwards, myself for one (I tried to any way). But since then, we have truly seen Leavers and their figureheads for what they really are. Not all, but a lion's share. And the fad today, is we're unable to call out actual patterns and statistics across demographics of people for fear we'll be deemed as 'stereotyping' or 'showing prejudice'; conveniently ignoring that stereotypes often become stereotypes for a bloody reason.

There IS a right and wrong in all this, however uncomfortable it is to admit. As for the defence there are many 'sound' and decent leave voters, being honest, again I'd have to quibble that. Just because I'm a nice person 90% of the time and help old ladies with their shopping, doesn't mean the fact I 'mug the odd person here and there' is OK. It is not.

Another (admittedly very extreme) example, but presenting a similarly salient point: Hitler was said to be a very nice man, and very kind to those around him - does that mean we forget about other things he advocated for? No. Sometimes in life you need to choose the good or the bad: what's best for you and your team, or what's fair for the common good. And that choice rightly defines you.

So if you make that choice based on ignorance, lies and populism despite evidence being shown to you; if you make a choice that actively takes rights away from other people, potentially destroying lives/families/livelihoods, that will make average people poorer; a choice that will reduce the opportunities and prospects of future generations of this country, please PLEASE don't then moan 'how hard done-by leave voters are'. The hypocrisy of it honestly turns my stomach.

I don't honestly care if some Leave voters insist they're not racists/nationalists: they enabled racism and nationalism, and made us all poorer - period. Don't like that detail? Tough titty. Anyone who voted for this godawful mess should either now put their hands up and admit their mistake (something many of us would respect enormously), or carry on down their path of blissful nationalistic ignorance and fantasy.

But if you go with that, please don't expect any sympathy from those of us who truly see what this evil has done to our country, the lives and livelihoods it threatens, and the path it's put us on geopolitically. We all wish things could go back to the way they were before, when politics hadn't divided our nation, but that was your choice - not ours. Having moral principles means not abandoning them dependent on whose company you're in.

You chose the Dark Side, now you're gonna have to live with it.

Friday, 27 October 2017

DEAR DAILY MAIL: I'D LIKE TO MAKE A COMPLAINT ABOUT MY UNIVERSITY



"Dear Daily Mail,

Although the idea of wanting to educate yourself AND support Brexit are in many ways mutually exclusive, I am indeed a Brexit voter, and currently attend Dingleberry University - on site at Watford Gap services.

I'm enrolled on a three year honours degree in Philosophy and Economics - which is quite a fucking stretch considering I get confused by modern hairdryers.

My professor, who's taught for decades, who's both respected and accredited with several ACTUAL qualifications, whose brain is a hive of information and facts (details we refer to as 'fake news'), is clearly wrong. We may have respected what he had to say before now, deeming him worthy to teach, but now he's teaching 'facts' that suggest we're complete fucktards, his opinion and learning are clearly worth nothing. Professor Remoans-a-lot needs to get with the programme. We won! Get over it snowflake!

I'm far better informed, so it's only reasonable that everyone acknowledge what I have to say. I read The Daily Mail every day, and have a far better understanding of world history and economics than a twat with a PhD, who makes a point of using fancy words I can't understand. (He's probably a paedophile too.)

The students are just as bad. For some reason, the lefty-scumbags want to hear from 'the professor', not me?? The hypocrisy is intolerable. They call themselves 'liberal' and 'inclusive', but then won't agree to making bibs mandatory, or covering all the sharp edges in bubble wrap - when they know I tend to drool a lot, and often bump into things.

Nor will they unilaterally accept Jesus hates people from Europe; I shouldn't have to put up with it.

It's very clear: we must all pretend the turd is chocolate mousse.

Speaking of 'eating shit': if you guys at The Daily Mail are insistent on smearing a particular group for causing this mess and corrupting the sentience of our nation, please can whomever is reading this, eg: the employee and human-being apparently fine with intimidating academics and enabling agenda and media-driven fascism, now stand up, squat over his/her desk, and take a big steamy dump on it. Then scoop it up, pop it in a box, and send to:

The Daily Mail,
Northcliffe House,
2 Derry Street,
Kensington,
London W8 5TT.

Thank you kindly, and good luck with the witch-hunt. I can't wait for everyone to be as gullible and retarded as me.

God save the Queen! (Even if she's German.)

Yours faithfully,

Mr F. Uckyou"

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

SEEKING JUSTICE FOR SCOTT, FIVE YEARS ON... LITTLE PEOPLE STILL DON'T MATTER



Friends and live music fans may remember that back in 2012, Aussie Floyd's drum technician Scott Johnson was tragically killed in Canada, when an outdoor stage collapsed. He'd been on tour with Radiohead. Scott was truly one of the kindest and most decent people I met during those years; it was an unbelievably cruel twist of fate.

Five years on, and no justice has been done; the organisations and individuals responsible have totally evaded accountability. His family have been denied closure; they live in an endless cycle of fighting powerful organisations seemingly to no avail. And now? Now the case has been thrown out of court because it's supposedly 'taken too long' - even though the delays were entirely caused by the courts and defendants themselves, and the agonisingly slow legal process. A process that unequivocally plays to the super-rich, and those who'd deliberately hide behind faceless corporations and brands.

I encountered the same thing to a lesser degree when I took on a large chain of Nursing Homes in 2014, whose negligence caused the untimely death of my mum. It was like swimming against a very large and unassailable tide. The whole thing was just a farce; I was doomed to fail, and it deeply affected me. But my mum was ill and in her seventies; she wasn't a young man with his whole life ahead of him, her life cut short by the questionable negligence of a multinational corporation worth billions. It's injustice off the scale.

Some of the most callous and immoral people in this world always argue it's 'just business'. It's something we see all the time, in every walk of life. From employers and multinational companies and institutions, to politicians, public figures and governments. People at the top don't think the 'little people' matter. They truly believe they can do what they like without reprisal, that the system and our very lives are theirs to play. I am so very sick of it: it's endemic, and it's why I rant at the heavens like a madman. It's the enduring legacy of capitalism, the veiled successor of feudalism and 'divine right', and I know I for one shall never be able to accept it.

This recent industry magazine article by Laura Barnes about the failure to achieve justice for Scott, again brought home to me the corruption and selfish careerism typically lurking behind such injustice. Like the trials and trauma faced by Grenfell Tower survivors battling a council and government that protects its own. Like the situation with Harvey-fucking-Weinstein, people all across the music industry are scared/unwilling to stand up for what's right, because the behemoth that is Live Nation holds too much sway over their lives and careers:


"The feelings of frustration and anger are echoed throughout the production fraternity, with more being shared in private than in public, perhaps due to the grip that Live Nation have on touring and festivals and the fact that people need to earn a living." 

"The UK based BECTU union has not replied to my request for comment, neither have the editors of two notable trade magazines dedicated to the live event industry. I have also contacted a number of large UK audio hire companies, none of whom are prepared to talk about the issue on the record while a few colleagues in senior production roles have spoken out but have asked not to be named- which is not a great deal of practical use, grateful though I am that they have responded."

Cowards, the lot of them.

I'm just so appalled by the way this tragedy has been brushed under the carpet. I cannot begin to imagine the trauma and frustration endured by Scott's parents. I'm still in touch with his father, Ken, who rightly so will never give up fighting, and fortunately Radiohead are firmly on side too - so it's not over yet.

But neither can it be denied, Radiohead are only able to speak out against the might of Live Nation because they're a huge global band, who can't simply be 'shut down'. Everyone else further down the food chain seems to be hushing up and closing ranks.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
- Edmund Burke

Whatever your cause, if you believe wrong-doing and injustice have occurred: fight it. Fight it all the way, even if it's to your detriment. However much others harangue and insult you, ostracise you and mock you...you are the spark of human decency and ethics that dragged humankind from the abyss of ignorance and violence. That spark is why we're free, and why they're free not to care. (Until it affects them, any way.)

RIP Scott. Gone but never forgotten. Good people are still fighting for you mate.