Wednesday, 27 October 2010


night walk home with the woodle
following the full moon
as it lights our way
across the long meadow
the craters are visible as deep shadows
we locate the plough
and the pole star
i vainly try to explain navigation methods to woodle
but she's not listening
the serenity is disturbed
by a a group of bragging teenagers passing by
then home to the glare of the electric lightbulb

Monday, 25 October 2010


1) a plastic feeding bottle
2) a book of children's bible stories from my godparents
3) a pram
4) a sticklebrick
5) a leather caser football
6) a scrabble board
7) a black and white family photo album from the 70s
8) a silver jubilee commemorative spoon
9) a skateboard
10) a raleigh roadrunner bicycle
11) a silver survival swimming badge
12) a copy of 'shoot' magazine
13) a paperback copy of watership down
14) an olivetti typewriter
15) a practice 'intelligence test'
16) a leeds building society passbook
17) a jumbo cricket bat
18) a pair of size 3 new balance football boots
19) a 1963 bush record player
20) the beatles 1962-1966 lp
21) my mum's nylon-string guitar circa 1981
22) the beatles revolver lp
23) a bontempi electronic organ
24) an illustrated book of birds (3/4 completed)
25) a glass demijohn
26) a second-hand hi-fi system from rumbelows
27) the byrds fifth dimension lp
28) newspaper clippings from the birmingham evening mail letters page circa 1984
29) a uk driving licence
30) a letts a-level revision guide
31) a uk passport
32) a cassette of rem's murmur
33) a student union card
34) an a1 drawing board & t square purchased from jonathan emmett
35) a rotring ink drawing pen
36) a green woollen trenchcoat
37) a payslip from key personnel employment agency
38) a concert ticket to see u2 at wembley stadium in 1987
39) a black 'church' t-shirt
40) a university degree certificate in architecture
41) a round-the-world air ticket
42) a khaki & navy blue karrimoor backpack
43) a travel diary of the usa, canada and new zealand from 1989-90
44) a yha international membership card
45) a sony walkman
46) a praktika camera
47) a steel beer barrel from carlton's brewery in sydney
48) an ankh earring
49) a dog-eared sky blue address book from 1990
50) a PADI diving certificate
51) a lonely planet guide to south-east asia
52) a photograph taken with chris smith in march 1991 in a bangkok guesthouse
53) a pair of doctor marten's shoes
54) a nepalese waistcoat
55) a photo posing at the thorong la mountain pass high in the himalayas
56) a copy of 'how to teach english'
57) a spanish-english dictionary
58) a hiking guide to the basque country
59) a rough guide to spain circa 1994
60) a fostex 4-track portastudio
61) a hair band
62) a filter coffee machine
63) a carton of soya milk
64) a silver-plated seahorse brooch
65) a hardback copy of 'revolution in the head'
66) a beermat from the goat & tricycle pub
67) a clay kimchi bowl
68) a wedding certificate
69) a print of venice
70) a book of london walks
71) a blue waterproof anorak
68) a set of hanbok
69) a pair of metal chopsticks
70) a 10000-won korean banknote
71) a korean fender acoustic guitar
72) a cd-rom of 'sonar' digital recording software
73) a copy of 'the new internationalist' magazine circa 2003
74) a cd-rom of a computer scan of a 20-week-old foetus
75) a letter to tony blair protesting the imminent iraq invasion
76) a compliments slip from 10 downing street dated march 2003
77) a washable nappy
78) a promethean electronic whiteboard
79) a buddhist prayer bell
80) a family portrait from summer 2004
81) a cd of 'mustard seed'
82) a paperback copy of 'the compassionate revolution'
83) a marshall reverb electric guitar amplifier
84) a yoga mat
85) a personal notebook circa 2006-07
86) a black pilot v5 pen
87) an eyes-too-close-together teddy named 'george'
88) a 'green benefits' cotton banner
89) a nylon 3-man tent
90) a birmingham university id swipe card
91) a logo design for northfield eek-o-centre
92) a national trust membership card
93) a high-visibility jacket
94) a pair of steel toe-capped boots
95) a 'giant' bicycle
96) a pair of vegetarian shoes
97) a volkswagen passat saloon car
98) a pair of leather walking boots
99) a cd of 'artifact'
100) a piece of hannah elisabeth artwork from summer 2010

Saturday, 23 October 2010


courtesy of the morning star...


the woodle and i finally track down the party
down by the brook at the corner of the lake
the brief shower has cleared and the park feels clean and fresh
not that a spot of rain is going to put us off
well kitted out as we are in our waterproofs
this morning we have been to the swimming baths
where after woodle's weekly lesson
i demonstrated my prowess at the front crawl
by doing a width in just ten seconds
and then astonished my fellow swimmers
by crossing the baths underwater without coming up for air
(well the woodle was quite impressed anyway)
as we draw closer to the ranger's jeep i recognise adam
a familiar face from my nvq course earlier in the year
it's good to catch up
adam tells me how the cuts are biting in the ranger service
how all are being asked to sign new contracts
requiring them to be prepared to work any day of the week
without receiving the current anti-social hours premium
which will knock four or five grand off their modest salaries
of such "efficiency savings" are the con-dem cuts made
(our green spaces con-demed!)
today's job is to clear leaves and other debris blocking the brook
the woodle applies herself to this task with rather too much gusto
grabbing a rake and wading wildly into the water despite the warnings
almost immediately filling her wellies with water
i admire her pluck though
as i wring out her socks and empty her boots
she sits on the wall and grumbles
but she gamely puts on her wet boots again
and resumes battle with the elements
sockless and slightly less gung ho
everyone applauds the woodle's efforts as she carries on raking
through showers, midges and cold wellies
we toddle home happily having done our little bit for the big society
david and george please take note...

Friday, 22 October 2010


Come and see my menagerie
I’ll show you creatures great and small
You’ll see them all
I'll be your teacher

Just see what waits behind the gates
I’ll show you creatures
That I’ve acquired from far and wide
For their special features

Exotic birds with rainbow feathers
Prowling cats that bare their claws
Fireflies that glow and sparkle
Scaly fish with deadly jaws

Come and see my menagerie
I’ll share my secrets
Wondrous beasts you won’t believe
You will be speechless

Fierce fire-breathing dragons
Pegasus the flying horse
A phoenix risen from the ashes
A griffon and a sphinx of course

Come and see my menagerie
I’ll make you welcome

Thursday, 21 October 2010


in 1967 you could smoke anywhere you wanted to
but you couldn't be gay...
now it is the other way round!


today a grown man well into his fifties
broke down in tears in front of me
this man was a trained doctor and pharmacist in his own country
a middle eastern nation that has suffered terribly
at the hands of invading superpowers
before fleeing to continental europe
to a country where his qualifications weren't recognised
where he was forced to work long hours as a taxi driver
to feed and clothe his family
now that he has come to britain
not content with the lowly part-time work he has found
he wants for nothing more than to work at one of his two chosen professions
he hates having to accept state benefits to provide for his children
it makes him feel like a beggar
as he tells me his story
i reflect on the media scare stories about greedy asylum-seekers
out to rip off our "over-generous" social security system
despite his years this man has pride and aspirations for himself
he wants to provide for the children
who will be part of tomorrow's britain

Wednesday, 20 October 2010


during the daily ritual this morning
i caught a quite amazing discussion
notable for its bare-faced cheek
the conversation revolved around the best way of selling public sector cuts
to the ignorant massess...erm...the general public
to minimize the psychological impact and snuff out any possible protest or dissent
never mind the genuine misery that these decisions could cause many people
the concerns of the 'toady' programme are with how politicians
(and hence powerful interests)
can get away with culling public services!
bonfire of the quangos?
make that bonfire of the useful qangos
the ones that have held corporations to account are being swept away
the ones with the purpose of boosting corporate profits remain untouched
make no mistake
the "economic crisis" is disaster capitalism
- manipulating a crisis to reconfigure the economy in the interests of big business
who could suppose this?
england is sleeping and nobody cries...

Tuesday, 19 October 2010


after too much time spent in the (taxi?) driver's seat
i am back in the slow lane with a vengeance
i have an eight or nine mile cross-city commute
to the badlands of lozells
scene of riots in 1981 that almost razed my grandad's shop to the ground
(miraculously price & oliver remained unscathed)
a car would be a liability on this rush-hour mission
so i leap onto my trusty giant and pedal romantically away
through the morning's anticipation
it's a few leafy minutes up hill and down dale to selly oak
where an eerily empty giant new roundabout guides me down and up
past the new QE spaceship-cum-hospital
to the green suburb of edgbaston
one of the few places in birmingham that has a london-like feel
luxurious detached houses set back from the wide curving avenues
recline like thirties dilettantes
their eaves sculpted with gargoyles
their porches large enough to shelter a saloon car
i sail past long queues of idling cars
then fly along monument road past perrot's folly
said to be the inspiration for tolkien's twin towers
now a short stretch on a couple of birmingham's notorious ring roads
which still strangle the city centre in a vice-like grip
under the hockley flyover
where the stone pelican surveys the endless traffic
and finally a bit of deft manouevring through some back streets
across a park and a children's playground
and up into the mean streets of lozells
forty-five minutes door to door is good going
it's time to meet my new class of refugee doctors and nurses
hope they'll be a nice bunch...

Monday, 18 October 2010


there is a bizarre ritual that i carry out every morning
it involves a strong element of sado-masochism
and goes against all my better instincts
in my defence
i believe that the ritual encourages me to martial counter-arguments
against the stifling dross i must put up with in the course of the ritual
unfortunately mrs f and the lovely woodle are subjected to it too
although lately i've noticed that mrs f has also started to succumb of her own accord
the business i refer to was observed once again this morning
when i plodded reluctantly downstairs to the kitchen
and turned on the radio 4 today programme
my late appearance ensured that i tragically missed the 8 o'clock headlines
the ones that i perenially hope will feature a genuine glimmer of hope
among the catalogue of mis-information, distortion and delusion
a glimmer that sadly never arrives
and isn't likely to anytime soon
so i brew the coffee and set the porridge bubbling on the stove
and endure john "rottweiler" humphrys' 8 o'clock interview
with home secretary malteser may-not
on the prescient subject of "defence" spending
(for defence, folks, read "attack" in bbc / government doublethink)
the "interview" (time to dispense with quotation marks)
consists of a trivial game of cat-and-mouse
humphrys the rottweiler prodding whatnot to explain the gov's spending priorities
fighting cyber-crime?..."the war on terror"? (sorry!)...
building new aircraft carriers?...blah blah blah...
whatnot blustering and refusing to answer the question
she does helpfully confirm the government's number one priority
which is of course to protect its citizens from the danger of attack
the question begs as to how waging constant war on muslim countries
instead of seeking opportunities for dialogue and political agreement
might achieve the stated end
but the rottweiler fails to deliver
on issues of any genuine import nothing is said
honest discussion is as usual completely absent
mention is there none of geopolitical control
of maintaining a good corporate investment climate
at the cost of thousands of innocent lives across the globe
instead the rottweiler is revealed once again as a meek puppy dog
rolling onto his back to have his tummy tickled
letting whatnot off the hook with a playful lick
meanwhile in the region of 40 billion squid of public money is at stake here
dosh that will be subsidising the uk arms industry
and ensuring that private investors get a good return on their shares
daily ritual observed

Sunday, 17 October 2010


we're in the jalopy
on our way to croome park
capability brown's first project in worcestershire
inevitably we're low on petrol
so i pull into the shell garage
all petrol stations have their associations
for me the shell logo screams 'remember ken saro-wiwa!'
i will not be acquiring a shell loyalty card
but i'm not aware of any such thing as an ethical petrol on the market
(motoring = third world suffering = impossible to rationalise or justify)
as usual the right-hand pumps have queues
while the left-hand pumps are empty
(most uk cars, ours included, seem to have the fuel tank on the driver's side)
so i pull into a left-hand pump and try a little experiment
i pull the pump cable across the back of the car to the petrol cap on the other side
there's enough stretch in the cable to reach with ease!
as i empty a few gallons of black gold into the tank
i ponder the times i've sat like a lemming in the right-hand queue
it doesn't bring ken back though

Saturday, 16 October 2010


Today I listened to the news report
They said it’s worse than anybody thought
They said the previous government
Were profligate in terms of what they spent
Now there’s a hole in the public account
And it seems there’s only one way out
Now we’ll all have to tighten our belts
Oh there’s really nothing else we can do

Oh propaganda - it seems you’re alive and well
Oh propaganda - everyone is under your spell

A spokesman came on with a plummy voice
He said the country faced a difficult choice
I couldn’t fathom half of what he said
But he sounded very sure of himself
He said our problems are the fault of the poor
He said it can’t continue any more
Paying them money for the jobs they shirk
Big benefits for being out of work

Oh propaganda - you’re on everybody’s lips
Oh propaganda – no, there’s nothing amiss

These are times of austerity
It will be painful inevitably
We all have to make a sacrifice
We all have to pay our share of the price

Today I listened to the six o’clock news
There’s going to be a public spending revue
There will be cuts left, right and centre
But at least we’re all in this together
They didn’t mention the bailed-out banks
Who gobbled up our money without a thanks
Of corporate profits nothing was said
I guess we’re just supposed to take it as read

Oh propaganda – you’re broadcast far and wide
Oh propaganda – you can’t be denied
Oh propaganda – you’ve got nothing to prove
Oh propaganda – you are the words of truth


Dear Andrew

I was disappointed by both the content and tone of your recent attack on bloggers at Cheltenham Literary Festival.

As a former editor of The Independent and a senior BBC political journalist, you have carved out a highly paid professional career while acting as a prominent guardian of state-corporate power, a notable example being your performance on the BBC evening news in April 2003 when you lauded the then prime minister’s triumph as Baghdad superficially fell to the illegal US-UK invasion. However, it still comes as a disappointment that you should feel threatened by contributions and challenges from ordinary citizens with dissenting views.

The advent of the blogosphere has opened up a crucial space for dissent, making a genuine contribution to the democratization of societies across the world. This is certainly not something to be sneered at.

Best wishes


Friday, 15 October 2010


disgusted by my physical condition
shocked by the bathroom scales tipping thirteen stone
feeling like the tin man from the wizard of oz
this morning i am back on the living room carpet
for the first time in quite a while
fit body, fit mind
oh aint it the truth!
those ancient indian sages sure had it worked out
long before modern science came along
long before the dieticians and the physiotherapists
the fitness coaches and the shrinks
i was born with minimal natural ability in this area
my wiry frame has always helped me to get around a football pitch
but i've never had any flexibility in my long spider-like limbs
a few weeks ago at football i watched a japanese student limbering up before the game
as he stretched he was practically doing the splits
i was exhausted just watching him
but a wonderful thing about yoga is its non-competitive nature
the only person you compete against is yourself
so you can't lose!
yoga also works as a kind of meditation
uncluttering the cluttered mind
many of the poses require 100% concentration to execute properly
it aint easy to focus on your breathing, position and movement all at once
often the mind wonders off somewhere else
like a soldier stepping out of rank
and needing to be brought back into line
it's a constant battle
today i unfurl the mat
i set myself the immediate challenge of sitting cross-legged
like in primary school assembly
palms resting on knees
i hold this for a while trying to settle my attention defecit disordered mind
i stretch out my legs in a sitting position a few feet apart
i swivel my ankles so that my big toes are touching
hold and release
hold and release
i stretch out my left foot straight ahead and point my toe
i hold this for a while then bring my toes towards me to stretch my calf
hold and release
hold and release
repeat with the right foot
it strikes me that the uninitiated watching this would see very little happening
that's the beauty of yoga
seemingly inoccuous movements and changes in positioning and balance
are revealed as having huge impacts on joint, muscle and tendon
just as holding a bad posture can put the body out of kilter
damaging the spine
causing an uneven gait
so the tiny stretch in this or that direction can help to realign
therein lies the importance of absolute control
steady transition from one pose to another
so different from the wild lunges and hurried twists and turns of many sports
risking damage and injury at every turn
therein lies the beauty of the process
not that i can claim any mastery whatsoever of it
but i make sure that at all times i remain in control

Wednesday, 13 October 2010


if you hold up a fork in front of your eyes,
you can pretend you are in prison.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


over the summer
mrs f purchased a second-hand digital piano
it's quite a posh one
and although i protested loudly at the time over the cost
it's been a good investment
it sure beats bashing away on a cheap insubstantial casio keyboard
so well done mrs f!
the woodle has been going to piano lessons for a few weeks now
and she's doing alright
the teacher recommended quite a good little book
the pieces are nice and short and gradually get more difficult
the main object is to coordinate left and right hands
and to learn to read music from the stave
as chief homework supervisor i'm following woodle's progress closely
while learning a few useful basics myself
i've always been pretty clumsy and uncoordinated
as far as playing the piano is concerned
the principal problem lies with my left hand
as a guitar player i'm just not used to striking notes with both hands
the left hand is only used for making chord shapes
('fretting the strings' in the jargon)
this has restricted me over the years to playing basic oompah block chords
in the vein of music hall and 'my old man's a dustman'
but a few simple tips have been quite a revelation
like the idea of grounding both thumbs on middle c
then working up and down the scale from there
left hand in one direction, right hand in another
as a songwriting tool the piano suggests different ideas
it turns me into a different composer
(though hopefully not into elton john)
lazy guitarists like myself and john lennon like guitar chords
which maximise the number of ringing unfretted open strings
(fret ye not!)
on a guitar you tend to get broadly spaced chords
because of the 5-semitone interval between strings
but on a piano there's no such thing as a fretted string
they are all essentially 'open'
and the keys are all only a semitone apart
instead the lazy piano player tends to work in scales
because this entails minimum movement and spread of the fingers
different possibilities and potentials arise
different clusters of notes
different limitations
(you can't strum a piano!)
i've just written a song on piano which exploits this potential quite well
i don't think i would have come up with quite the same thing on a guitar
not that i have any great ambitions for playing the piano
i just want to improve to a functional level
it would be nice to be able to lead an old-time sing-song or two
round the old joanna
but the main priority, as always, is the songwriting

Monday, 11 October 2010


as i climb the narrow spine of the cat's back
i am released from my earthbound destiny
instead i float on air
to my left the monumental hatterrall ridge rises up like an enormous cliff
almost blotting out the low-angled sun
which stands on tip-toes to peek over the ridge
an impregnable barrier between wales and england
an immense offa's dyke before offa was even thought of
far below the lovely secluded olchon valley bathes in hazy sunlight
to my right the undulating fields of rural herefordshire spread out
punctuated by tiny buildings and thread-like lanes
on both sides the hillside falls away precipitously
one slip and i'm a gonner
surely, i think, this must be one of the best panoramas in southern england
suddenly my reveries are disturbed by a huge black form
which sails over my right shoulder
momentarily i know how jason and his argonauts must have felt
when they first caught sight of the giant roc
but this is no mythical bird
it is a great black raven
hanging there on the thermals
croaking out its strange call
huge against the sky
before dropping down out of sight to a crag below
there are plenty of fleeces here
though not golden ones
they belong to the grazing sheep
which scatter when i abruptly appear from behind a rocky outcrop
rounding the cat's shoulder i traverse the spongey hilltop
and descend by a babbling brook to the enchanted olchon valley
where i am sadly earthbound once again

Sunday, 10 October 2010


i pursued riches
but they only made me miserly
i sought possessions
but they only burdened me and cluttered my space
i strove for status
but it only made me anxious
i chased paper
but it only made me dizzy
i demanded fine food and wine
but it only made me bloated and nauseous
i coveted another man's wife
but she only filled me with disgust
i dressed myself in fine clothes
but i only became conceited and vain
i reached for the stars
but i grasped only thin air
now i ask for nothing
and i am content

Saturday, 9 October 2010


the tunes and words in my head go round and round
keith richards once described himself as an antenna
tuning into some mysterious cosmic frequency, man
to write the riff for 'satisfaction' or 'jumpin' jack flash'
that's a little how it feels to me too
occasionally my fingers accidentally stumble
upon a magical cluster of guitar or piano notes
leonard cohen's sacred chord
but often a short phrase or rhyming couplet
suddenly springs into my head without warning
sometimes accompanied by a nagging little melody that won't go away
or perhaps it's the melody that comes first
or simply a richards-style riff
entwining itself sinuously around my skull
lately my muse has been stuck in the melancholic key of A minor
a little like a record needle stuck in the groove
A minor inevitably shifting to F major
sometimes with a G or a C or a B flat inserting itself
i have lost count of the number of my A minor / F major songs
You would think tht they would all sound the same
but they don't
somehow endless melodies can be weaved through these chords
then of course you can vary the tempo, the time signature
the number of beats in the bar
the instrumentation, the arrangement and so on
i always think that i am about to dry up
after all there can only be so many subjects and feelings to write about
only so many tunes out there
but the little worms show no sign of letting up
just when i think that i have cleared the backlog
out pop some more just to spite me
of course the inspiration is only worth 10%
which leaves the 90% perspiration
but i guess the pipe and slippers can wait for the moment...

Thursday, 7 October 2010


After he's gone to a better place
How will his epitaph read?
How will he remembered be
Once his body has gone to seed?

"A great leader of charm and charisma
Man of the people, our deliverer from evil
A peace-broker, he chimed with the voters"
Fine words indeed

He lived his life by his principles
A man of strong faith
He did as he would be done by
The lines of integrity etched on his face

"A new statesman with a special relationship
An honourable friend, a real Godsend
Moderniser, best-selling writer"
A fine man indeed

Now he's departed from this mortal coil
What does his epitaph say?
Now that he's buried down deep in the soil
What lines does the chisel engrave?

"A warmonger, driven by hunger
For power and prestige, and a fitting legacy
Stirring up hatred, his hands stained with blood"
A fine man indeed

"A glib politician, no words of contrition
A cynical liar, a holocaust denier
Peddling his story, a tale of vainglory"
Fine words indeed

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


a heron looks out across the boating lake from atop an old oak tree
the tories are withdrawing child benefit from high-level taxpayers
- an ingenious distraction away from much more damaging cuts to public services
my pockets bulge with king-sized freshly fallen conkers
hannah is hysterical after squidging a snail during a night walk home
mrs f turns into the wrong lane and almost collides head-on with another driver
delia smith made the cake on the cover of the 'let it bleed' lp
our shower is leaking and a patch of furry green mould has spread across the wallpaper
h's teacher says she is shy but 'strong across the board' at our parents' evening
my saturday morning university classes have dried up and been given to someone else
new car sales were down 9% last month compared with september 2009
four heavy boxes of books arrive by sea mail from south korea
the woodle moans about why we can't take the car to school instead of walking
our front garden is full of weeds again
i'm writing a song called 'vendetta'
my rhyming dictionary suggests 'go-getter', 'bruschetta' and 'caburettor'
woman's hour features an insightful item on vaginal dryness
the bridge across the park has been mysteriously fenced off
and bears a 'DANGER - KEEP OUT' sign
mrs f began work yesterday as a trainee classroom assistant
she was largely ignored by the other staff
i'm planning a long hike through lathkilldale sometime soon
the courgette plants in my greenhouse have finally produced courgettes
our two-car-owning neighbours insist on parking opposite our drive
instead of on their own drive
i'm preparing an english course for refugee nurses and doctors
i see too many mangled foxes and badgers by the side of country roads
nick drake still holds the record for the 100-yard dash at marlborough school
jonathan emmett read my post the other day
it's far too long since i last did some yoga

Tuesday, 5 October 2010


It is the unexpected that happens


i have walked eight long miles
across fields to ilam village bathed in warm low-angled sunshine
along the meandering banks of the surging river manifold
over soft sculpted hills past chewing cows to dark satanic milldale
hidden from the sun at the head of the dale
where izaak walton sat on the old packhorse bridge
and contemplated 'the compleat angler'
finally through the narrow twisting limestone gorge of dovedale
where the rocks have been forged into fantastic shapes
where the sun cannot penetrate
and the waters froth and foam
now the gateway to the dale is framed to my left by thorpe cloud
a conical hill that rises steeply from the valley bottom
with one last effort i skirt its slopes
following a rough stony track that winds its way to the summit
i meet a lone woman with a frisky dog halfway up
then i am alone with the hillside, the sheep and my thoughts
at the dizzy summit of thorpe
i float on clouds
master of all i survey
looking southwards the land falls away abruptly
towards the cooling towers of the staffordshire potteries
behind me the wooded interlocking slopes of dovedale
lock away their secrets
and the sun sets on impassive hills
as darkness falls
i must go now
i must leave behind my cloud cushion
to return to the anxious brooding midlands
where my family waits

Saturday, 2 October 2010

BLOATED stomach after last night's dinner?
...the wobbling waistlines of the human wildlife stalking south birmingham?
...the bank accounts of City of London employees?
well probably all three
but i'm thinking of the adjective that the media loves to wheel out
to describe the public sector
a derogatory term in the vein of 'militants'
used to justify the coalition's attack on public services
it would seem that there is no alternative to savage cuts to our services
(not to mention a regressive rise in vat)
at least not if you listen to the mainstream media
but what these state-corporate-friendly commentators don't mention
are the alternatives to the proposed coalition carve-up
there is a long-term trend in the uk that we don't hear much about:
the steadily falling proportion of economic surplus spent on wages
to finance ballooning shareholder profits
why else does social inequality continue its relentless rise?
so tax these unequal incomes instead of punishing the poor
regulate the banking system properly
so that the current financial mess and taxpayer bail-out are never repeated
and stop wasting money on military folly in afghanistan
and red herring nuclear weapons
under the dire economic conditions of 1945
the uk government created the national health service
what will it do this time?

Friday, 1 October 2010


mrs fireseed has recently enrolled for some english study
to get a qualification she needs for the new teaching course she's doing
her classmates are an eclectic bunch
but several of them are asylum-seekers or refugees
some of the stories they tell bring tears to your eyes
there is a woman from iraq with three small kids
the younger ones are three and six
she put a trampoline in the garden for the children to play on
so the local yobs threw stones and rocks at them
the family went away on holiday
and when they came back the trampoline had been ripped to shreds
the yobs through eggs at the windows
the mother was relieved that they were only eggs
the police asked her if she liked living in the area
she told them she didn't
so they accused her of making up stories
so that she could get a move to somewhere else
so a family of uprooted refugees is victimised
by a mob of disenfranchised youths
egged on by the gutter press
dividing and conquering with with their malicious tales
of tides of greedy immigrants
who flood the country to rip off our welfare system
meanwhile away from the tabloid spotlight
in the sordid margins of the media
the wealthy and the privileged go on screwing the poor and downtrodden
and no one bats an eyelid