I am over 70 and my memories go back over many elections. The whole lot were tweedle dum or tweeedle dee choices. OK I mostly gave in to the lesser of the evils and mostly voted Labour’s tweedle. This is the first time there are no tweedles. It’s them or us.
Let’s start with the context. Oxfam says about the UK: “the richest one percent of the population now owns more than 20 times more wealth than the poorest 20 percent of the population owns between them, and there is a massive disconnect between people with money and those without … if action isn’t taken to reduce inequality then nearly 400,000 more households could be living in poverty by 2030.” This in a world where “the eight richest billionaires control the same wealth between them as the poorest half of the globe’s population.”
On the day I write this Louise Regan, NUT President has said, “We live in the sixth richest country in the world, yet four million children live in poverty. That is shameful.”
In this country 1.2 million people are using food banks. It is a national disgrace that the Royal College of Nursing has reported that “growing numbers of nursing staff are using food banks, taking on additional jobs and accruing personal debt”.
On a personal note and on the subject of health and social care my father spent the last three years of his life in a care home, immobile and staring at the ceiling. He spent nearly all his savings on the fees and was refused NHS funding support on the grounds that he was not considered to be receiving 24 hour care! And that was in the good ol’ Cameron days. One of my sons is disabled and, although he receives benefits may well lose them if this Cold May becomes Frozen December.
This government is not on the side of food-bank nurses and people like my dad or my son. They are on the side of the corporate sharks, gathering like flapping vultures to eat off what they hope to be the corpse of the NHS and the actual corpses of real people.
Did you know that assessments on whether you are fit to work are carried out under Work Capability Assessment (WCA) controlled by private companies Atos, Capita and Maximus. These companies are already embedded (pardon the pun) inside the NHS. Recently I was invited to take part in a bowel cancer test and would I send a sample of my faeces to their testers. It was a company in Texas! No thanks. The US has enough shit of its own to deal with.
After the Manchester terror killings, the government placed armed troops on the streets to join those military vets who are there already, armed with a blanket and some cardboard if they are lucky.
If we are going to respect and honour the dead in Manchester and London then we owe it them to understand the connections between troops on the street and the wider social malaise. I remember the 1980 Bologna railway station bombing in Italy, which became known as the strategia della tensione – involving tactics that aimed to divide, manipulate, and control public opinion. Those eventually convicted included four neo-fascists, two secret service officers and the grand-master of the P2 Masonic Lodge. We now witness own version of this.
If ISIS was responsible for the outrages in Manchester and London then be aware who they are. The Guardian reported that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “‘rat line’ of arms transfers from Libyan stockplies to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gadaffi regime.”
The director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan, General William Odom remarked, “by any measure the U.S. has long used terrorism. In 1978-79 the Senate was trying to pass a law against international terrorism – in every version they produced, the lawyers said the U.S. would be in violation.”
If a Libyan was involved in the Manchester terror then be aware of what happened to Libya. We dropped nuclear-tipped missiles on that ‘Make-it-Fail’ state.
If Theresa May remains as PM and steps up her wish to be ‘strong and stable’ with more bombing of Syria, we must ask her whether her missiles are to be strengthened with depleted uranium.
This is not a time to be wrapping ourselves in the comfort blanket of the Union flag, but in respect for the dead in Manchester, in London, in Syria, in Iraq, in Yemen, for our homeless, for the Mediteranean drowned refugees, for our own NHS and our own health – do I need to go on – to get angry, to ask questions, to be sure we vote for Peace and Prosperity not for War and Austerity. To demand ‘Never Again.’ And from an Italian memory to a Spanish one – ¡No Pasarán
Might be a good idea to vote Labour tomorrow.
David Wilson’s ‘Left Field- The memoir of a lifelong activist’ is published by Unbound and distributed by Penguin Books.
More info at www.davidwilson.org.uk