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The absence of a political choice

"George Osborne got up at his party conference last month and declared that to cut the deficit further he needed to find another £25 billion of savings, and that he’d get them from cuts to welfare. You don’t have to be a Harvard-trained economist to know that the last people to have a spare £25 billion sloshing around are the poor. Yet no one seemed that bothered by the Chancellor’s economics."

Armando Iannuci published a powerful piece in The Evening Standard this weekend. I suggest you read it, "Why politicians of all parties are kicking the poor". The leader of the opposition Ed Milliband also comes in for criticism for "restricting his public pronouncements to 'tough' decisions to limit child support payments and to put a cap on welfare spending". Partly as a result of this the UK is "now in the middle of a shocking rise in poverty in all its forms".

The main theme of the piece is that this is being allowed to happen because large groups of people have been switched off the idea of voting:

"I’ve had one senior Labour shadow minister tell me that, if you’ve got a choice between canvassing students or old folk’s homes, you visit the pensioners, since they’ll vote. Hence, students get tuition fees while Osborne in his conference speech assured pensioners they’ll be protected from cuts."

He never mentions Russell Brand's infamous "don't vote" stance but as a subtext it's obvious. He offers no solution though, concluding with the line, "Socially, there can be no hope of cohesion in our communities if politics is now By Special Invitation Only".

It's a brilliant piece, even if he does reference "Lord" Owen Jones.

As someone who happens to agree with Brand's current "don't vote" position the paucity of answers to the above tweet only strengthens my resolve.

The first highlighted response is a reference to Paul Dacre, editor of The Daily Mail. Essentially it's a "blame the media" post. I'm tired of this attitude because it lets politicians off the hook. People are not stupid, they think for themselves. They choose to read The Daily Mail, it's not forced upon them. Blaming "the media" because people don't agree with you means you dance to the tune of those in Her Majesty's Government who want to control and censor it. Their intent is to avoid criticism. At worst the mainstream media acts, perhaps willingly, as a distraction[1]. However, "the media" didn't cause the banking crisis, or declare war on Iraq.

Then there's the other highlighted response, again urging politicians to "challenge" the media's demonisation. Some of the other comments further down are more are interesting but I've written this post as a clear response to this theme that political disenfranchisement is some kind of PR problem.

There are large numbers of people like me who do not vote. I don't think it's because they are apathetic or led by "the media". My reasons are everything to do with the fact there are no politicians or parties with whom I agree. The political system, "Her Majesty's Government", is sick and rotten to the core. It needs massive reform. There are no signs this will ever come because people vote for it. So I, like many others, choose to remain outside of the process. We pay our taxes so we still have the right to criticise it. In fact given that we don't willingly support it I'd argue we have even more of a right to point out its failings.

If a revolution is coming in this country it will only have meaning if it's one of consciousness. A change in the way we think. The appointment of a new "leader", "Prime Minister", "King" or "Queen" is not something I will ever celebrate, or support. The reason I don't vote is because the question I am being asked is meaningless. It changes nothing and only ever brings more of the same.

The sooner people realise this, the sooner we will have real change.

Nick Margerrison

[1] The Hillsborough disaster seems like a good example. Failings by the police seem to have been the main factor there. However an ill judged and factually incorrect opinion piece in The Sun newspaper about the tragedy is still a more widely spoken of concern for many. One of these two mistakes cost lives and had horrific real life consequences, the other was an opinion based upon police testimony. I think our priorities are messed up when we focus on the latter. I'm open to the possibility these priorities are encouraged deliberately because they let the establishment off the hook but confident times are changing.

Wearing my White Poppy with pride.

My Grandad fought in the Second World War. We're not a military family, he was conscripted. For that reason I donate to the British Legion fund, yet each year I'm conflicted about wearing my poppy with pride. Of what am I supposed to be proud, that we send our troops to fight in foreign lands I can't even place on a map, that there are men and women prepared to kill and be killed at the behest of halfwits like Tony Blair, or that my poor late Grandad was sent to be terrified in the face of a dictator who wanted to establish a European Union called The Third Reich? As adulthood has dawned on me all of these reasons feel hollow. I only wear one out of habit these days. That and a deep sense of sadness that there are people whose belief in the concept of our nation has led them on a path to physical and mental injury.

Born in the 70's I grew up in the 80's and 90's thinking this country stood for something good. We were on the side of "freedom" and "democracy". I thought the only problem we had was Thatcher. Then this problem morphed into "the Evil Tories" and, finally, it was solved when The Labour Party were elected. Then of course it wasn't.

Let's bomb Iraq. That way things can only get better!
While at school I remember talking some of my friends out of joining the army. Even so, as with a lot of rough working class schools, there were a large number who ignored me and joined anyway. Most of them were under the impression that a "proper war" was unlikely. I recall one of them honestly seemed to think his job would mainly involve helping people. The sense of helplessness when protesting against Blair's Iraq war was magnified by the fact I'd lost touch with a lot of these people and so imagined them as teenagers about to be herded unnecessarily into a war zone.

Recently I watched a profile of Lucy Aldridge on Sky News, mother of the youngest dead soldier from the Afghanistan campaign which Her Majesty's Government waged simultaneously. That was a war I supported at the time. She now wants an inquiry into how the conflict was handled. Without question I agree with that.

He was 12 when he joined cadets.

The report jumped out at me when she points to a beret he'd had as a kid, "he was 12 when he joined cadets, so that's very special to me". Six years later he was dead. There's nothing in the world that can make that seem ok and I can't imagine what it must be like for her. Our troops are now returning from Afghanistan, few believe they have achieved victory, either there or in Iraq. What an awful mess.

That's why I have bought a white poppy this year. It sits alongside the red one. I can't think of any other way to make it clear that this business is not ok. This is not a situation I'm comfortable with. This is not an arrangement I feel we should be forced to pay for via taxation. It's wrong. We all know it's wrong. It's got to stop.

Peace, not war.
Part of the problem is the fact our country relies upon the arms trade. That's got to stop.

The other side of the problem is the people of the UK have no say in who or why we attack bomb and kill. That seems insane when you recall that it's our taxes which fund it. One reason why I advocate referendum before war.

Until that's sorted, an unavoidable part of the problem is that people join the army. Please, stop.

There's an interview with Dr Pete Yeandle about White Poppies here. It starts 7 minutes in.

Nick Margerrison.

126 - Tim Leary profile with John Higgs and an interview with Thad McKracken

John Higgs writes an excellent blog here and he tweets here.


The festival we refer to is here:


Thad McKracken writes frequently for Disinfo and has a facebook page which is very active here:


His book is here:


I tweet here:


The music on this week's podcast is from Quisling Meet, who tweet here:


Nick Margerrison

Check out this episode!

Andrew Laurence and the "impartial" BBC

"I'm not a political comic"
"There is a deeply ingrained militant liberal politics at every level of the BBC, despite the fact that it's tax-payer funded and supposed to be neutral. It's a biased organisation and the only sorts of political comedians that are welcome within its corridors are those that reflect it's values.

Essentially when we're watching these 'political' comedians cracking their piss-poor UKIP gags on the BBC, I think we need to be aware they are neither engaged nor passionate about their subject- but money-grubbing charlatans, toadying up to the militant liberals that pay their wages, mirroring their own beliefs back at them in an act of false flattery so that they'll feel smug and validated and keep them on the BBC tax-payer funded gravy-train."

I agree with every word of the above quote, taken from comedian Andrew Lawrence's now infamous Facebook update.

I've seen his act live. He's a comedian with a peculiar look, nasal voice and almost otherworldly presence on stage. His delivery and timing are perfect. He does surreal, apolitical material. He's won awards and had rave reviews. Now though, with the BBC being the largest single employer in the comedy industry, I suspect his career is over.

The main part of his rant which I happen to disagree with is the bit about immigration. He blames that for problems with public transport, hospitals, schools, housing and the benefits system. The country is full and the advantages are, he argues, cancelled out by the difficulties it causes. Despite not being a UKIP supporter himself he "can see why other people are, and I don't disrespect them for it". Unlike the "moronic, liberal back-slapping on panel shows like Mock The Week where aging, balding, fat men, ethnic comedians and women-posing-as-comedians, sit congratulating themselves on how enlightened they are about the fact that UKIP are ridiculous and pathetic."
Don't forget to pay your licence fee

To argue immigration is an either/or question is absurd. The benefits and difficulties are dependent upon who you are letting in and why. No nation can survive without any border controls but equally you're shooting yourself in the foot if you don't allow anyone in either. There is a common sense line in the sand which should be drawn but the issue is complicated by our post Imperial legacy. Lots of people around the world feel a link with Britain because our Empire told them to. It's an issue which is separate to our membership of the EU.

That's why, if getting out of the EU is their plan, it's a mistake for UKIP to go on and on about immigration. It'll backfire as a strategy once we're finally given a referendum because there are many like me who want out of the EU but don't oppose a reasonable level of it. UKIP are going the way of the failed Scottish National Party by confusing the issue with unrelated "left wing", or in this instance "right wing", politics. A recent poll has suggested support for membership of the EU is at an all time high.

I can only assume this is because so many people have been turned off by their anti-immigration vibe. I know I am. I want out of the EU but it annoys me people assume I therefore totally oppose immigration, or support UKIP for that matter.

His description of "overpaid TV comics with their cosy lives in their west-London ivory towers taking a supercilious, moralising tone, pandering to the ever-creeping militant political correctness of the BBC with their frankly surreal diversity targets" is familliar to me. It's precisely what the BBC has been for the last twenty years.

However, there's a trap some fall into here which is worth being aware of. On the one hand there are those who think the above descriptions of the BBC are reassuring because they identify themselves as "left wing". The BBC is on the side of the goodies, goes their logic, so all is well. Then, conscious of the fact things change, there are those who think the problem could be fixed, if only the institution replaced those smug liberals with a few "common sense right wingers".

Both are wrong. The real disgrace of the BBC is that everyone has to pay for it, regardless. Those who can't afford its £145 a year poll tax are thrown in jail. This money funds an institution which won't employ people who aren't "politically correct", a subjective term which will also change over time. Make no mistake, the BBC closely monitors its employee's social media feeds for possible signs of thought crime. Any online slip ups may cost you your livelihood. All the while it pushes the absurd idea of its own political "impartiality". This is obviously a lie, no one is impartial, all of us have a perspective. Institutions all have biases. The BBC is no exception.

Why should we all be forced to pay for it to broadcast it's perspective?

Nick Margerrison

125 - Was The Discordian Society a CIA front?

Daisy Eris features. She tweets here:

Everything you need to know about her play is here:


Adam Gorightly makes a welcome return. He tweets here:

His excellent website about Discordianism is here:


The music comes from The Decedant Marsupials, a collection of the Discordian members of @QuislingMeet and @Mirrorkill


I tweet here: @nickmargerrison


All of these messages have been approved by The Discordian High Church, of which I'm the fifth Pope.


The Discordian International Council of Knowledge has requested that we make it clear that the answer to this episode's question, in accordance with both the law of fives and the apple of uncertainty, is a firm maybe.


Finally, a message from Eris D, transmitted from the very Sirius star. Discordia has insisted we make it clear that religion is a work of fiction. Names, Gods, places, and events are the product of the Goddesses imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, places, or deities are purely coincidental.

Check out this episode!

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