Woody Guthrie vs. Donald Trump’s Daddy

I stumbled across this article, and it seems relevant considering Donald Trump has gone on record as saying: “My legacy has its roots in my father’s legacy”. The piece tells the story of how Woody Guthrie, a personal hero of mine, was raging against the Trump Empire way back when. Well worth a read!

Woody Guthrie, ‘Old Man Trump’ and a real estate empire’s racist foundations

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The Bullying UK Government

How Do I Know if I’m a Bully? – BBC

This blog is inspired by the above piece, found on the BBC website, which asks the question “How Do I Know If I’m A Bully?” It’s an article aimed at young people, and is designed to make them look at themselves objectively and question whether or not they are having a negative impact on someone else’s happiness. Bullies don’t tend to see themselves as bullies because it’s such a negative label. They are also looking at events from a very particular perspective, and will therefore lack empathy.

Maybe David Cameron and the Conservative government should have a look at the article. It might encourage them to peer into the proverbial mirror so that they can get a glance at the reflection looking back at them.

According to the article, bullying behaviour can include “verbal abuse, such as name-calling and gossiping”. This week our Prime Minister, David Cameron, was caught on a live microphone saying “We just thought people in Yorkshire hated everyone else. We didn’t realise they hated each other so much.” You have to hear the recording to identify the venom in his tone when he said this. The PM says that it was “just a joke”, but a bully would say that, wouldn’t they?

Another indicator is “emotional abuse, such as threatening, intimidating or humiliating someone”. The Tories are acting very threateningly towards the working class by bringing in new legislation to restrict unions and industrial action, taking away people’s power to fight for a fair, safe working environment. And there are thousands of families that have had to go through the humiliation of using food banks because of the barbaric cuts that have been made during this reign of terror.

“Ignoring or isolating someone” is also on the list. The government has ignored the youth of the UK, and has isolated groups such as the unemployed and immigrants, often actively demonising them, and using psychological projection to place blame on them for all of the country’s troubles. This links into the next thing on the list of bullying behaviour: “Criticising or spreading rumours”. Of course, the Conservative government puts Rupert Murdouch’s evil media empire to work when it comes to much of this nasty business. Ask Jeremy Corbyn, who is lynched for something as little as wearing a tie “incorrectly” (while Cameron’s Yorkshire jibes are swept under the carpet).

Finally, the government should look at this one: “physical assaults, such as hitting or pushing”. The way the government is handling the NHS is the equivalent of physical assault. Sneaky hidden cuts, privatisation, and plans to make the public pay for healthcare will batter the British public black and blue. See THIS ARTICLE for more on that.

I think you’ll agree that, by these standards, the Conservative Government is a giant bully, strutting around the UK like it’s a supersize playground. Hopefully Jeremy Corbyn will turn out to be the hero this country needs to put the bullies in their place!

BBC Television on 26/07/15 – Oxbridge Domination

Welcome to a day in the life BBC Television on Sunday the 26th July 2015 (tomorrow’s schedule).

We will start the day off with BBC Breakfast from 6am in the morning. The most senior presenter of this show is Bill Turnbull, educated at Eton College. Following this show, we have more current affairs from the Andrew Marr Show, hosted by Andrew Marr (educated at Trinity Hall, Cambridge), who will be discussing the latest policies from our government, which is run by David Cameron (Brasenose College, Oxford) and George Osborne (Magdalen College, Oxford). At 10am we have more political discussion on Sunday Morning Live, compered by Sian Williams (Oxford Brooks University).

After this we have some light entertainment in the form of Bargain Hunt, where antiques experts such as Kate Bliss (Brasenose College, Oxford), look for antiques at jumble sales.

12:15 – Formula 1 racing. We get to watch the current champion Lewis Hamilton (graduate of Cambridge Arts and Sciences) drive around in a shiny car. He is currently strong favourite to retain his title. But if you’re not a sports fan, you can watch Chefs on Trial instead, hosted by Alex Polizzi (St Catherine’s College, Oxford). Following the F1 we have a sports-based gameshow ‘A Question of Sport’ with rugby star Matt Dawson (Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe)

At 15:45 we have property show, Escape to the Country, with Alistair Appleton (Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge), followed by the Two Tribes gameshow hosted by Richard Osman (Trinity College, Cambridge).

We can then chillax and sing along to Songs of Praise, hosted by the likes of Bill Turnbull (Eton College), and Sally Magnusson (University of Edinburgh). At 17:45 Richard Osman (Trinity College, Cambridge) returns for Pointless, a gameshow which he hosts with Alexander Armstrong (also of Trinity College, Cambridge). Then it’s a news update from Reeta Chakrabarti (Exeter College, Oxford).

At 19:00 it’s time for one of the BBC’s flagship shows, Countryfile, with Ellie Harrison (King’s College, London), and Joe Crowley (Magdalene College, Cambridge). If you’re not into this you can watch Locomation: Dan Snow’s History of Railways instead (Dan Snow is a graduate of Balliol College, Oxford, if you were wondering). At 20:00 we have Fake or Fortune? with Fiona Bruce (Hertford College, Oxford) and Bendor Grosvenor (Harrow School, Pembroke College, Cambridge). Alternatively you can watch Dragon’s Den, where the entrepreneurs are joined by new girl Sarah Willingham (Cranfield University, Oxford).

We end the day at 21:00 with crime mystery entertainment, Partners in Crime, starring David Walliams (Collingwood Boys’ School in Wallington, and the independent Reeigate Grammar School).

This day of entertainment will be brought to you by Director of BBC Television, Danny Cohen (Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford), Director of News & Current Affairs, James Harding (Trinity College, Cambridge), and Director of Strategy & Digital, James Purnell (Balliol College, Oxford).

BBC Mission & Values (link to quotes below)

  • We respect each other and celebrate our diversity so that everyone can give their best
  • Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest
  • Audiences are at the heart of everything we do.

Judging by the disproportionate number of people from privileged backgrounds on the BBC, I don’t feel that socio-economic diversity is being sufficiently celebrated. I also don’t think the BBC’s employment track record is very “impartial”. And if audiences are at the heart of everything the BBC do, wouldn’t it be a good idea to have a proportional representation of the average UK citizen on our screens instead of people who won the postcode lottery?

Weekly Chart Countdown (of how the rich stay rich and poor stay poor)

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the weekly charts. Boy, have we got a show for you today! You’ve heard the rest, now hear the best. This is your top 10 countdown of how the poor stay poor, and how the rich get richer. Mind the gap, folks, or you’ll fall right through!

  1. Privileged in high-power positions

Yes, this one is an oldie but a goldie. Virtually all of society’s most sought after positions are occupied by people born into wealth and privilege. Politicians, masters of industry, actors, singers, bankers – you name it, the privileged have a monopoly on it!

  1. War

War. Huh! What is it good for? Making lots of money! (Iraq). But then there’s total war, too, such as World War 2 when the common folk had to go into battle while the privileged gave them orders. But it was all to protect our way of life! Well, the privileged were doing well before the war, and the poor had it bad, and that’s how it has been afterwards and ever since. So that’s the way of life all the common folk were asked to protect. Sometimes I think it might be time to give those commoners a break….NAH.

  1. Cut Vital Public Services

Nee-naw nee-naw nee-naw. That’s the sound of an ambulance arriving 3-hours too late. The rich can pay for private healthcare, but the poor tend to rely on the NHS. But we can’t make this service too efficient because if the poor aren’t worrying about their health, then they may be trying to steal a slice of dosh from the rich.

  1. Bankers

Bankers (rhymes with wankers) storms in at #7. They take risks and the masses pay the price. The bank charges you a fee if your account balance drops below a certain level (yeah, cos that’s going to help my low bank balance), and they make you pay higher interest rates on loans because you haven’t got a summer house to put up as collateral. Expect this one to rocket up the charts in the coming weeks.

  1. Demonising the Welfare State

This is a zinger. Demonising the Welfare State (B-Side: Fuck Communism) is a new one, and expect it to linger in the charts for at least another 5 years. If the most vulnerable members of society are having a hard time, get everyone to turn against them. This distracts from the bankers (rhymes with wankers) and other Chosen Ones who are slowly killing the working class. That’s right-wing morality for ya!

  1. Withdraw Power

The poor cannot be allowed any sort of power. It is a threat to the rich, and their hedonistic way of life. The number one target? Unions. We can’t have the scum protesting and causing a disturbance because they feel they should be paid a fair wage.

  1. Expensive/Inaccessible High Education

Call us old fashioned, but us English believe that knowledge is only for the richest in society. Otherwise, how would they stay rich? We like the poor to be uneducated so they continue to make bad decisions. Besides, who’s going to clean all those mansions? (no mansion taxes to worry about now, chums).

  1. Fear

Boo! Yes, this is David Cameron’s favourite tool. He wants to scare you into blaming others (immigrants, people on benefits), he wants to scare you about the economy (it’s fragile, but the Tories can fix it; we just need to destroy your lives in the process!), and he wants to make you believe that any positive change would end up destroying the world in the long run.

  1. Don’t tax the rich!!!!!!!!

For God’s sake, don’t tax the rich! They need as much money as possible so they can provide the scum with low-paid, exploitative jobs…so we can tax said scum. The perfect system for keeping the rich rich and the poor poor.

AND COMING IN AT NUMBER 1……SCRAPPING THE HUMAN RIGHTS ACT

May God have mercy on us all.

Bridging the Gap

Important decisions are made by the ruling class. Those decisions tend to affect under-class individuals the most. It’s obvious to see that this is a recipe for injustice and inequality. In order for policy and legislation to be fair for all people, there needs to be a fairer representation of different social classes in positions of power. That’s the only way we can bridge the socio-economic divide in the UK.

Are you comfortable with white male, Oxford educated, born-wealthy careerists making all your decisions for you? Because that’s what’s happening right now. Most people in positions of power fit the description above, yet they make up only a tiny cross-section of the society we live in. Even if they mean well, they haven’t got the same perspective as us, and therefore lack empathy with the problems we face. It’s like an accountant performing surgery on you. They’re great with numbers, but if you’re having a triple bypass you’d much prefer a trained surgeon with the scalpel.

In order to change things, we need the people who are most affected by social/economic issues to be heard. This is easier said than done. There are many barriers preventing these people from occupying positions of power, including:

  • Money issues: people are too busy trying to feed and house themselves to get into positions of power
  • Education: a person may know what they’re talking about, but if they don’t have the right piece of paper saying they know what they’re talking about, their voice can go unheard
  • Current Holders of Power: our current “leaders” have a death grip on their positions of power, and will try to keep everyone else down in order to keep the power for themselves
  • Culture: it is commonly believed that a select group of people are entitled to power and we are not (based what we see day in and day out from birth).
  • Personality Type: people hear the person who speaks the loudest. Good ideas won’t be listened to if they’re not put across in a certain way. Unfortunately, loudness and having good ideas are traits that seem to be mutually exclusive.

…And there are many more obstacles. But that doesn’t make it impossible for lower class people to gain positions of power, it just means we’ve got to work that much harder for it.

For working class people to make changes, we first need to change our own mind-sets and tell ourselves that A) we do know best and B) we are able to make changes if we put our minds to it. I’m not saying everyone should become a politician (although fairer representation in this area is DESPERATELY needed), but there are certainly actions that can be taken at grassroots level that can make real change in local communities, as well as lobbying and pressurising existing councils to make changes.

One advantage we have is strength in numbers. However, that doesn’t mean much if we let the ruling class turn us against each other (which they try to do constantly with regards to religion, race, gender, economic status). They tell us immigrants, or people on the dole are the enemy. That’s BS. The ruling class is the enemy.

With determination and unity we can all become leaders and make a difference.

Disadvantages of Being “Lower Class”

The following is a list of the disadvantages you will have to face if you are a member of the “Lower Class”…

You have to breathe polluted air on a daily basis.

You will have to work until you are dead – no retirement!

Mummy and Daddy won’t be able to get you an instant high-paying job.

You can’t champion your class without the well-off saying that you’re looking for a hand-out.

You are demonised by awful TV shows such as Benefits Street and TOWIE.

If you get into legal trouble you can’t afford a decent solicitor.

You are unable to walk around your neighbourhood without the fear of being shanked by a drug-addict.

You have to see a stressed-out, over-worked doctor every time you’re ill, and hope to God they diagnose you correctly.

You will never own a brand new suit (your uncle’s hand-me-down will have to do).

Your teachers are too depressed themselves to care about your education.

University is never presented to you as a viable option (“Have you thought about the Sandwich Factory?”)

Upper classes are surprised when it turns out you’re intelligent.

You will under the constant threat of repossession and homelessness.

You have to rely on privatised public transport to get you from A to B.

You are constantly judged by your accent and dialect.

You have no power or influence over the local politics in your area, and it is extra-difficult for you to make a change.

These are all things that you will have to overcome if you’re a member of the “Lower Class”. But when it all seems too much, remember this African proverb: “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.”

Tuition Fees: The Lower The Better

Today Ed Milliband promised that he would cut university tuition fees by a third if elected and, crucially (as we learnt from Mr Clegg last time), this would be non-negotiable in any post-election coalition deals. There has already been a lot of cynicism in the media about this, and I am preparing myself for more of the same, but I think this cut in tuition fees would be a great thing.

A lot of the naysayers are saying that the promise is tokenistic, and that it wouldn’t make much of a difference to students. If a student takes a 4-year university course today, it will cost them £36,000. If they take the same course after the tuition cut it will cost them £24,000. They would save £12,000 (this isn’t taking into account other expenses such as accommodation). That’s simple mathematics. £12,000 is a lot of money. If a person doesn’t think £12,000 is a lot of money then they’re out of touch with the real world.

The universities are also saying that this is a bad idea (surprise, surprise). They seem to be concerned that they might not be able to function properly if the tuition fees are capped at £6000 a year instead of £9000. This is all talk. A few short years ago (as recent as 2010) fees were capped at £3000 a year, and they were coping just fine. Now, suddenly they’re horrified at the prospect of having to cope with 6k.

Lowering tuition fees is good for the country but, personally, I think the cap should be even lower. Ideally, I believe higher education should be free.

Up until the late 90s it was, essentially, free to go to uni. But for much of this time university was something that was only accessible to the more privileged, and it wasn’t generally considered an option for the working class. During this time it was acceptable for the taxpayer to foot the bill for higher education. When university became an option for most young people, even the working class, that’s about the time they decided that people should have to pay for university. If you see something wrong with that, then you and I are on the same page.

Why should the wealthy have more of a right to a good education than the poor?

The Nordic philosophy to higher education is what we should aspire to. They have always been strongly opposed to tuition fees. The same goes for Scotland. The difference with Scotland is that they are actually a part of the UK. I also live in the UK, but I wouldn’t get free tuition fees because I happen not to have been born in the right part of the UK. If Scotland gets free higher education I think we should all get the same privilege.

I feel privileged to have been able to go to university. I’m the first person in my family to have done so (in fact, when I got my first GCSE I became the most qualified member of my family, which comprises of coal miners and steel-workers). University is a great opportunity to develop, meet people, and broaden your horizons while in the pursuit of knowledge. I believe it has made me a better person, and I believe our country would benefit from it greatly…IF people didn’t come out of the other side of it with crippling debt.

Cuts to tuition fees would be a big step in the right direction.